Sunday, 17 October 2021

Muisca treasure unearthed

The temple and ofrendatarios may be related to deities worshipped by the Muisca. Muisca metalwork inspired the legend of El Dorado.
Archaeologists in Colombia have found eight ceramic jars, with metallic figurines and emeralds inside, within a temple and its adjacent graves. The Muisca (also called the Chibcha) crafted the jars called "ofrendatarios" about 600 years ago. The Muisca were famous for their metal working skills. The temple and graves were in an ancient Muisca town located near Bogotá.
See ----->The Search for El Dorado – Lost City of Gold

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Umutkor collar - Attila the Hun

Authorities of Kyrgyzstan suspected the 5th-century Eastern Hunnic gold collar sold by Sotheby’s was taken from the country illegally. The Umutkor collar was sold for £242,500 ($380,215) in 2014. The royal collar and beads set with garnets and glass belonged to Sansyzbay Umutkor, who bought it circa 1890-1895. The collar was handed down by family descent until it was exported to Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2013.
Eastern Hunnic jewellery is exceedingly rare. A complete collar is spectacular. The unrecorded fifth century gold royal collar set with garnets and glass is from the time of Attila the Hun.
The magnificent collar would have been worn only by those of the highest status. Attila and his Huns are seen in the West as barbarians. In the late fourth and fifth centuries they viciously subjected all of the European tribes and forced Rome and Constantinople to pay vast sums to keep the Hunnic horde out of their cities. Attila led many military raids on both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The Barbarian invasions greatly accelerated the fall of Rome.
He is considered by most Hungarians as the founder of the country. According to ancient records, Attila died in his palace across the Danube after a feast celebrating his marriage to a beautiful young gothic princess named Ildico. Legend says that his men diverted a section of a river, buried the coffin under the riverbed, and were then killed to keep the exact location a secret.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Spinosaurus, largest of all the carnivorous dinosaurs

The largest dinosaur predator that ever stalked Earth was also the strangest. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was the largest carnivore dinosaur of all time. It measured 18 meters (50 feet) long, 4.9 to 7.7 meters (16 to 25 feet) tall and 12 tons. Spinosaurus lived in Cretaceous North Africa from 102 to 93 mya
In Nov 2014 scientists discovered in Moroccan desert cliffs new fossil remains of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a monster that breaks the mold for how a dinosaur predator looked and behaved. It was roughly 2.5 metres longer than T-rex and equally massive.
The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65 meters (5.4 ft) long and likely had skin connecting them.

Spinosaurus is the only known carnivorous dinosaur adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Spinosaurus roamed the swamps of what is now North Africa. Spinosaurus terrorized a vast North African river system from Morocco to Egypt. Spinosaurus's environment was "the most dangerous place in the history of our planet."

Spinosaurus was the undisputed king of waterways teeming with sharks and 11-metre crocodilians. Flying reptiles with wingspans of seven meters soared overhead. It may not have been very agile on land but would have taken down anything unfortunate enough to be in it's path.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is a museum in San José, Costa Rica. It is located in a subterranean building underneath the Plaza de la cultura and is managed by the Banco Central de Costa Rica.
The museum has a collection of over 1600 artifacts of Pre-Columbian gold.

The Central Bank began collecting the country's gold patrimony in 1950.
The Costa Rican metallurgical tradition was imported from Colombia, and its hallmarks include a casting method involving wax and the use of gold-copper alloys to make the metal more malleable. The earliest pieces are small and realistic; some are trade goods from Colombia.

In southern Costa Rica, the discovery of gold deposits meant that artisans could afford to be more profligate, and the artifacts became bigger and bolder.

In Peru and other countries, gold was used to fashion armor and musical instruments. But in Costa Rica gold objects were less utilitarian and more often symbols of prestige and rank.
Warriors projected fierceness and social standing with pectorals, headdresses, armbands and nose pins. Shamans, considered conduits between the natural and supernatural worlds, were represented by finely worked pendants that combined human and animal features, often in the form of masks.
In Costa Rica the first metal objects appeared around 400-500 AD. The manufacture of metal objects reached its maximum development after the year 700 AD and lasted until contact with the Spanish. The majority of the metal objects that have been recovered in Costa Rica come from the southern Pacific area. This is due to the existence of natural gold and copper deposits in the region.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Roman gold : Coins of the Twelve Caesars

Gaius Julius Caesar (born 13 July 100 BCE), belonged to the Caesares family of the large Julian clan. He would live to make the name “Caesar” a title for emperors and their sons; a title that would endure for millennia, becoming Kaiser in German and Tsar in Russian. Few of Caesar’s gold coins bear his portrait; many depict an uncertain female goddess.

A rare example struck by a military mint moving with Caesar’s army in 48-47 BCE sold for over $300k.

The assassination of Caesar renewed the civil war, which ended 17 years later when his great-nephew Octavius received the title of “Augustus” from the Senate.

On much of his elegant gold coinage the only inscription is the word AUGUSTUS. Although he lived to the age of 75, his coin portrait remained youthful and idealized. A superb aureus of Augustus sold for nearly $400k.
Caligula was born in the year 12. His father Germanicus was a successful, popular general. Caligula’s mother, Agrippina was the daughter of Marcus Agrippa, the organizer behind Octavius’s victory in the civil war. Caligula’s silver and gold coins are scarce.
Following the murder of Caligula (24 January 41), the Praetorian Guard declared his uncle Claudius, aged 51, as emperor. Claudius proved to be an effective ruler for the next 13 years.
Nero is remembered as a depraved emperor. In numismatics, Nero is remembered as the depraved emperor who debased Roman coinage. Nero’s gold coins survive in large numbers and are the most affordable aurei of the Twelve Caesars.
Nero’s suicide resulted in another civil war. Servius Sulpicius Galba (born 3 BCE), was proclaimed emperor by his legions. Galba’s coinage is abundant, a surprise as his reign lasted only seven months.
Aulus Vitellius was born in 14 CE. Galba appointed him commander of the legions in Germania. He defeated Otho’s forces and occupied Rome in June, 69. He lasted eight months. When the legions of the East under general Vespasian advanced on Rome, he was hunted down and killed on December 22. The coinage of Vitellius is scarce.
Titus Flavius Vespasianus was the son of a tax official. He rose through the ranks and distinguished himself in the invasion of Britain (43 CE). In 67, Nero sent him to crush the revolt in Judaea. On July 1, 69, the legions proclaimed Vespasian emperor at Alexandria. Titus was 40 when he succeeded his father but lived only two years.
The Arch of Titus in Rome commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem. His most famous coin is a very rare bronze sestertius depicting the Colosseum. An example sold for $155k.
Domitian was about 30 when he succeeded his elder brother Titus. His coinage was prolific.