Sunday, 26 December 2021

'Good Shepherd' Roman gold ring

The title given to Christ, the “Good Shepherd”, alludes to John (Jn 10:11): “I am the good shepherd, the true shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep.”
Israeli researchers unveiled a Roman-era golden ring with a Christian symbol for Jesus inscribed in its gemstone, found in a shipwreck off the ancient port of Caesarea. The thick octagonal gold ring with its green gemstone has the figure of the "Good Shepherd" in the form of a shepherd boy in a tunic with a sheep across his shoulders. The ring was found among a trove of third century Roman coins, as well as a bronze eagle figurine, bells to ward off evil spirits, pottery, and a Roman pantomimus figurine.
Due to its small size, the ring belonged to a woman.
See ----->Roman artifacts from the ancient port of Caesarea

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

72 to 66 myo oviraptorosaur embryo

A 72 to 66 myo embryo found inside a fossilized dinosaur egg sheds new light on the link between the behavior of modern birds and dinosaurs. The embryo, dubbed Baby Yingliang, was discovered in Ganzhou, southern China and belongs to a toothless theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaur. Oviraptorosaurs are a group of feathered theropod dinosaurs, closely related to modern-day birds, known from the Cretaceous of Asia and North America.

Monday, 20 December 2021

The Monster of Troy

At the last moment Hercules arrives to slay the monster and rescue the princess.
A menacing creature lurks on an ancient Greek vase in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The scene is on a Corinthian krater dating to around 550 B.C. It is the oldest illustration of the ancient legend of the Monster of Troy.
In Greek myth, a terrible sea monster suddenly appears on the Trojan coast, where it causes great destruction. To appease the beast, the king of Troy, Laomedon, sends his daughter Hesione as a sacrifice.
The vase shows Hesione and Hercules fighting the monster. Hesione throws rocks from a pile at her feet. Hercules shoots a volley of arrows, one of which has hit the monster’s chin.Hercules and the Princess of Troy (1965)
Some have suggested that the Monster of Troy resembles a Plesiosaur, a Mesozoic marine reptile. Plesiosaurs are amoung the largest marine apex predators in the fossil record.

Sunday, 19 December 2021


A hellhound is a supernatural dog in folklore. A wide variety of hellish supernatural dogs occur in mythologies around the world. Some European legends state that if someone stares into a hellhound's eyes twice or more, that person will surely die.

Hellhounds often have fire-based abilities and appearance. They are often assigned to guard the entrances to the world of the dead, such as graveyards and burial grounds, or undertake other duties related to the afterlife, such as hunting lost souls. In European legends, seeing a hellhound or hearing it howl is an omen or even a cause of death. They are said to be the protectors of the supernatural.
In Greek mythology the hellhound belonged to Hades, the Greek god of death and the underworld. It's name in Greek mythology is Cerberus. It has three heads and guards the gates of hell.

The Bearer of Death is a term often used in describing the Hellhound. Hellhounds are said to be as black as coal with a smell of burning brimstone. They leave behind a burned area wherever they go.

Hades with Cerberus - Pluto Carricci painting
Hellhounds of myth is common across Great Britain and Western Europe.

In southern Mexico and Central America folklore, the Cadejo haunts travelers who walk late at night.

Friday, 17 December 2021

Roman rock crystal jar from Galloway hoard

The Galloway hoard was unearthed from a ploughed field in western Scotland in 2014. It offered the richest collection of Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland. One of the artefacts was within a pouch that was mangled and misshapen. Now that pouch has been removed and its contents restored, revealing an extraordinary Roman rock crystal jar. The hoard was buried around AD900 and contained artifacts from the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Ireland and as far away as Asia. It was unearthed in Kirkcudbrightshire. Research suggests that the rock crystal carving was in fact Roman. It was perhaps 600 years old by the time it was transformed into a jar.
Rock crystal is unusual in itself. It was greatly prized in the ancient world for its transparency and translucency. It was associated with purity. An unexpected Latin inscription appears on the jar’s base. Spelled out in gold letters, it translates as “Bishop Hyguald had me made”. This is evidence that some of the hoard may have come from a church in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. 97 of the hoard’s artifacts are included in a touring exhibition, titled The Galloway hoard: Viking-age treasure.

See ----->The Galloway Viking Hoard

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Metal detector discoveries

The "Boot of Cortez" is one of the most unusual nuggets in the world, and at 389.4 ounces Troy (32.4 Troy pounds), it is the largest surviving placer nugget discovered in the Western Hemisphere. The solid gold nugget was found in the Mexican Sonora Desert near the Arizona border in 1989. It was found by a local prospector using a metal detector he bought at Radio Shack. The nugget sold for $1,853,500 at auction in Dallas in 2008.

An amateur prospector discovered a huge gold nugget in Australia's Victoria state in 2013. The nugget weighing 177 ounces, or 5.5 kilograms was unearthed with a metal detector just outside Ballarat.
Three-year-old James Hyatt may go down as one of the luckiest babies in history. Out for an afternoon walk with his dad in Essex, England in 2010, he was taking a turn with the detector when he discovered a one-inch pendant featuring engravings of the Virgin Mary clutching a cross along with “the five wounds of Christ,” believed to date from the 16th century. Likely worn by royalty, the rare 16th century gold reliquary pendant was used to hold religious relics.
One month after Nick Davies bought his metal detector in 2009, he found the largest collection of Roman coins, called “nummi,” in recent British history. The Shrewsbury Hoard (also known as the Shropshire Hoard) is a hoard of 9,315 bronze Roman coins. The coins date to the reign of Constantine I. The coins are all bronze and silver-washed bronze nummi, and date to the period between AD 313 and 335.
One hour into Dave Booth’s first metal detecting mission in Stirlingshire, Scotland in 2009, he made the discovery of a lifetime. Grouped together were four gold, silver and copper torcs. They date to between 300 and 100 BC and were buried deliberately at some point. The treasure was valued at $1.5m and is said to be the most significant discovery of Iron Age metalwork in Scotland.
When a neighbor showed 7-year-old Lucas Hall his collection of Civil War–era bullets that he'd found on his Virginia property using a metal detector, the boy became hooked. One week after Hall received a detector for his birthday he found a cavalry sword ... described as an 1840 or 1860 lightweight saber.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Shrinking dinosaurs became modern birds

It's known that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs, but a study published in the journal Science shows that the key to this transformation was, for one group of giant lizards called theropods, to continually get smaller and smaller over a 50-million-year time span.
Researchers present a detailed family tree of these dinosaurs and their bird descendants which maps out this transformation. They showed that the branch of theropod dinosaurs which gave rise to modern birds were the only dinosaurs that kept getting smaller. These bird ancestors also evolved new adaptations four times faster than other dinosaurs.
Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, these bird ancestors grew the ability to climb trees, glide and fly. Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins.
Paleontologists looking at fossils of meat-eating dinosaurs, particularly those that were small bipedal like the Veloceraptors, have pointed out how they share an uncanny number of traits with modern birds: everything from wishbones, light hollow skeletons and three-fingered hands that folded like bird wings to an array of bright, complex feathers. Many of them also had some ability to glide, perhaps even fly.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Egyptian mummy wearing jewels found

Spanish archaeologists digging in Egypt in 2017 unearthed a female mummy still wearing her jewels. The mummy was discovered in the necropolis below the temple of Pharaoh Thutmosis III (1490-1436 B.C.), on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The find dates to the Middle Kingdom (2137-1781 B.C.)
For nearly four millennia, the “Lady of the Jewels” eluded tomb raiders, her sarcophagus trapped under a collapsed roof.
Archaeologists were cleaning and restoring several tombs in the necropolis that had been looted in antiquity when they realized that in one of the chambers of tomb XIV, part of the roof had already collapsed before robbers entered it. A large boulder, which had fallen down before the tomb was looted, had crushed and buried a previously untouched coffin with all its content.
“These spectacular findings confirm that an elite necropolis is located under the mortuary temple of Thutmosis III. Wealthy and important individuals of the Middle Kingdom and their families were buried there."

Monday, 13 December 2021

Defaced Roman coins

Julius Caesar, as Dictator (49-44 BCE). AR denarius. NGC Choice XF 5/5 – 2/5, graffiti.
Ancient coins were often deliberately defaced or mutilated as an expression of contempt for the subject depicted or name inscribed. Coins mistreated in this way have an appeal to some collectors.

Gaius Julius Caesar was beloved by his troops and Rome’s common people, but he was hated by many of the elite. Lifetime portrait coins of Julius Caesar are in high demand from collectors, even a deep scratch is an acceptable defect.

Gaius (Caligula). 37-41 CE. Æ Sestertius. Rome mint. Struck 37-38 CE.
When the reclusive, miserly and paranoid Tiberius died at the age of 78, most Romans greeted the accession of his great-nephew Gaius joyfully. That didn't last long. Two years after Caligula's death, the Senate voted that all bronze coins bearing his image be melted down, but the chronic shortage of small change in the Roman economy meant this wasn't enforced, and some coins of Caligula survived, but rarely with the name or image intact.

Nero. 54-68 CE. Æ Sestertius. Rome mint. Struck circa 66 CE.
Nero is infamous for his debauchery and was deeply unpopular with the nobility and political class, which eventually led to his downfall.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Gold at Christies - The Ten Thousand

Prices for two plaques exploded past estimates. An Achaemenid gold appliqué of a winged bull, reign of Artaxerxes II, 404-359 BC. was estimatd £100k-150k. It made £1.4m. A lamassu was estimated the same and made £1.6m. HERE.

Spectacular objects were reputedly discovered during an excavation at the city of Hamadan, in northwest Iran, in 1920. Among the trove of 23 gold items were two plaques, coming to auction at Christies.
Artaxerxes II was a powerful leader who defended the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen — stretching from Greece to India — against his brother, Cyrus the Younger, and his army of Greek mercenaries known as ‘The Ten Thousand’. Between 401 and 399 BC, the Ten Thousand marched across Anatolia, fought the Battle of Cunaxa, and then marched back to Greece. Artaxerxes II also waged successful campaigns against the Spartans, Athenians and Egyptians.
Achaemenid gold applique of a winged bull. Iran, reign of Artaxerxes II, 404-359 B.C.
The Gate of All Nations (Gate of Xerxes), in the ruins of the ancient city of Persepolis, Iran, is flanked by a pair of lamassus.