Monday, 31 August 2020

Ancient bones reveal Irish aren't Celts

The chance discovery of ancient bones under an Irish pub in the mid-2000s has cast doubt over whether Irish people are actually related to the ancient Celts at all. The police arrived on the scene and discovered that it was not a crime scene but an ancient burial site. After DNA analysis it is turning out to be a hugely significant ancient burial. The three skeletons are the ancestors of modern Irish people and they predate the Celts' arrival on Irish shores by around 1,000 years. Radiocarbon dating found that the ancient bones date back to at least 2,000 BC.

Irish DNA existed in Ireland before the Celts ever set foot on the island.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Ezra coins discovered in Jerusalem

Five extremely rare coins dating to the time of Ezra were discovered in Jerusalem in 2018. The discovery dates to the 4th Century, B.C. A sifting project began in 2004 to remove artifacts from 9,000 tons of earth removed from the Temple Mount in the area known as Solomon’s stables. The dirt was dumped in the nearby Kidron Valley. Using wet sifting, the project recovered more than 6,000 ancient coins. The five coins have been identified by experts as Yehud coins, the first to be minted by Jewish authorities.
The coins are inscribed with the letters YHD, which reference the name for the Persian province of Yehud. The Persians ruled the kingdom during the time the coins were minted. These coins would have been made around the time when the Jews were allowed by Persian king Cyrus to return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. to build the temple.
Standard of Cyrus the Great

Friday, 28 August 2020

2600 yo mummy Takabuti reveals secrets

Mummy Takabuti was acquired in Thebes by a wealthy man named Thomas Greg from County Down in Northern Ireland in 1834. Greg donated Takabui to the Belfast Natural History Museum.

Now, 185 years after she was first unwrapped, a team of experts have gone public with their revelations.
CT analysis on Takabuti reveals that the 20 something sustained a severe wound to the back of her upper chest wall. This likely caused her quick death. The mysterious object in her body cavity was a resin-soaked linen, believed to have been used to pack the wound.

Takabuti had 33 teeth instead of 32, a phenomenon occurring in .02 percent of the population. The discovery of her heart is another surprise as in Ancient Egypt the heart would be removed in order to be "weighed" in the afterlife.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Supernova fingered in Devian mass extinction

359 million years ago Earth suffered one of its worst extinction events. The boundary of the Permian and Triassic geological periods marked the demise of around 90% of marine species and 70% of land species. A team of researchers at the University of Illinois think that it might have been caused by a series of supernova explosions no more than 35 light years away. The last mass extinction event happened about 65 million years ago. It finished the dinosaurs and began the rule of mammals.

The smoking gun for researchers is the fact that fossils of plants from the K/T extinction event show signs of excess UV exposure. The intense radiation from a close enough supernova blast is capable of stripping away the ozone layer. Plutonium-244 is an element that isn’t naturally produced on Earth, so the only way for it to exist in a layer of sediment is for it to have been put there as the shock-wave of a supernova.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Ancient coins doing well in coronavirus world

Results for the Stack’s Bowers Galleries August 2020 auction illustrate numismatics stands firm even during times of economic uncertainty. Over 92% of the ancient coin and world coin and paper money lots changed hands.

Highlights among ancient coins included a gold octodrachm of Arsinoe II Philadelphos, which garnered $38k, a gold stater of Kroisos that sold for $30k, and an exceptional silver half shekel from year 3 of the First Jewish War that made $22k.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Gold coin hoard found in Israel

Students volunteering at an archaeological dig in central Israel landed 425 gold coins that had lain buried in a clay jar for 1,100 years. The coins date to the early Islamic period, when the region was part of the Abbasid caliphate.

The coins weigh 845g and would have been a huge sum when they were buried - enough to buy a luxurious home. The cache consisted of full gold dinars and 270 small gold cuttings - pieces of dinars cut to serve as "small change". Some of the cuttings were from a gold solidus of the Byzantine Emperor Theophilos minted in Constantinople. This provides evidence of the continuous trade connections between the two rival empires during the period.
The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Abbasid dynasty descended from Muhammad’s youngest uncle, Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (566–653 CE), from whom the dynasty takes its name.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Ichthyosaur's 250m year old meal it's last

In 2010 paleontologists digging in a quarry in southwestern China made a rare discovery. The ichthyosaur's stomach they found contained the undigested remains of a thalattosaur.

Researchers speculate that a violent confrontation took place, one which caused the ichthyosaur to fracture it's neck, killing it as it consumed it's prey.

These events took place sometime after the end of the Permian era, some 250 million years ago, when land vertebrates started moving back to the sea following a mass extinction event.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Ancient coins on a budget

Lockdales’ auction in Ipswich on July 5 sold a silver denarius of Septimius Severus. It was minted in Rome in AD 210. It changed hands for just £140.

Severus was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. Arriving in Britain in 208, he invaded Caledonia (modern Scotland) with an army of 50,000 men, strengthening Hadrian’s Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. His ambitions were cut short when he fell ill in late 210. He died in early 211 at Eboracum (York), and was succeeded by his sons.
There is a vast range of Roman coins at all price levels. If you want to collect examples that circulated from the first century to the second century AD, you will need to find two gold coins, an aureus and a quinarius aureus, two silver coins, the denarius and the quinarius argenteus, and five bronze coins: the sestertius, the dupondius, the as, the semis and the quadrans. Naturally rare gold coins will be the most expensive. Bronze coins far less so.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Thracian tomb reveals Gold treasure

In late 2012 Bulgarian archaeologists found golden treasures in an ancient Thracian tomb near a Unesco world heritage site about 250 miles north-east of the capital Sofia.

Items included gold bracelets with snake heads, a tiara with animal motifs and a horse-head piece along with a hoard of other ancient golden artefacts. The items date to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC. They were found in the biggest of 150 ancient tombs of the Getae, a Thracian tribe.

Among the objects found were a golden laurel and ring, rhytons - silver drinking vessels shaped like horns, Greek pottery and military items including weapons and armour. The tomb in Zlatinitsa is extremely rare in that it has remained unopened since the 4th century BC.

Most Thracians tombs were looted in antiquity.

The tomb was that of a high status leader. Used weapons and the arrow wounds in the bones of his horse indicate that he was a warrior. He was buried in the biggest burial mound in the region.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Aztec Gold: The History And Science Of Popcorn

Popcorn is a truly ancient snack. Archaeologists have uncovered popcorn kernels that are 4,000 years old. They were so well-preserved, they could still pop. Corn, and specifically popcorn, helped lay the foundations for the Aztec empire.

When you have a highly productive crop like corn, it makes the rise of higher civilizations possible.
The oldest popcorn ever found was discovered in the "Bat Cave" of central New Mexico. It is thought to be about 5,600 years old. Sometimes, conditions can preserve ancient popcorn so perfectly that it still looks fluffy and white when the dust is blown off of it. In a cave in southern Utah, researchers found surprisingly fresh-looking 1,000-year-old popcorn.
Europeans learned about popcorn from Native Americans. When Cortes invaded Mexico, and when Columbus arrived in the West Indies, each saw natives eating popcorn. Native Americans brought a bag of popped corn to the first Thanksgiving.

A common way to eat popcorn at that time was to hold an oiled ear on a stick over the fire, then chew the popped kernels off it. Natives throughout the Americas also made a popcorn beer. Some made popcorn soup.
After the Spanish invaded, popcorn spread around the world, and soon people began to figure out how popcorn actually works. The rock-hard kernel — the thing that makes popcorn impossible to eat raw — is the key.

"It acts as a pressure cooker," says a food scientist. The durable kernel keeps water and starch sealed inside. When a kernel is heated, the starch liquefies and the pressure builds until the seed coat breaks. A popcorn kernel is actually a seed. Like other seeds, inside it has a tiny plant embryo. The embryo is surrounded by soft, starchy material that would give the embryo energy for growing into a plant.

The ideal popcorn kernel contains about 14 percent moisture. If the popcorn is too much drier, it will not pop.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Gold Bowl of Hasanlu

In 1958 archaeologists were exploring the complex at Teppe Hasanlu near the city of Naghadeh in the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan. They came across a layer of an Iron Age city that had been frozen in time - a ‘burn layer’ containing remains preserved in ash and rubble. The Gold Bowl of Hasanlu was discovered not far from a skeletal hand who was likely the last to touch it almost 3000 years ago.

Evidence suggests when the citadel of Hasanlu was under siege some soldiers penetrated into the citadel grabbing a handful of valuable treasures, including the gold bowl. The theory suggests that the whole building collapsed, crushing the looters and their possessions under layers of debris. And here they remained for thousands of years.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Chew Valley Hoard

The 'Chew Valley hoard' contains 1,236 coins of Harold II, the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England, and 1,310 coins of William I. Experts say the hoard is "hugely significant" as it doubles the number of Harold coins than all previous known finds combined. It also includes fine examples of coins issued by William I after his coronation on Christmas Day in 1066.
Adam Staples and Lisa Grace made a once in a lifetime discovery while out metal detecting together. They discovered 2,571 silver coins that date back to the time of King Harold II, aka Harold Godwinson. He was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England who died in the Battle of Hastings by an arrow through the eye in 1066.

The couple found the coins while searching an unploughed field in north east Somerset.
Harold Godwinson was king for seven months and coins from his reign are rare. Experts believe the coins were buried within two or three years after 1066 and probably before 1072.

The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under King Harold Godwinson. It marked the beginning of the Norman conquest of England.

The battle of Hastings was a decisive Norman victory.