Sunday, 31 January 2021


In 1998, a man walking along the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea stumbled upon a Bronze Age timber circle that had emerged overnight from East Anglia’s shifting sands. The 55 posts circling an upside-down tree is a relic from 2050 BC. The centrepiece may have been a ceremonial altar from which bodies could travel to the afterlife.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Herculaneum beach to be excavated

An ancient beach in Herculaneum is being excavated for the first time in 40 years. Work will commence shortly at the Antica Spiaggia area, already partially excavated in the 1980s. Dozens of skeletons were found, including the famed 'Ring Lady,' named for the rings on her fingers.
Researchers uncovered the remains of almost 300 people who died from the intense heat while waiting for rescue.
The beach is now about four metres below the current sea level, a situation that has always posed problems.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Face of Alexander the Great

Artist Alessandro Tomasi has brought the long dead to living colour before. His latest effort gives us Alexander the Great, based apon on the Lysippus bust and the Alexander Mosaic.

Friday, 22 January 2021

The Crosby Garrett Helmet

The Crosby Garrett Helmet is a copper alloy Roman cavalry helmet dating from the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD. It was found by a metal detectorist near Crosby Garrett in Cumbria in May 2010. Later investigations found that a farming settlement had occupied the site where the helmet was discovered, which was a few miles away from a Roman road and Roman army fort. It is thought to have been used for ceremonial occasions rather than combat. It's design may allude to the Trojans, whose exploits Romans re-enacted in cavalry tournaments. Only two other Roman cavalry parade helmets complete with masks have turned up in the UK.

The Ribchester Helmet was found in 1796 and is held by the British Museum. The Newstead Helmet was found around 1905 and is kept at the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.

The headpiece is shaped like a Phrygian cap with a winged griffin standing with one raised foot resting on an amphora. The griffin was the companion of Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance and fate.
They were agents of death and were often linked with gladiatorial combat.

Statuette of Nemesis in the form of Female Griffin with Wheel of Fortune, 2nd century C.E
The helmet and visor were cast from an alloy of 82% copper, 10% zinc and 8% tin. On October 7 2010, the helmet was sold at Christie's for £2.3 million (US$3.6 million)

Architectural panel with a griffin Roman, about A.D. 175–200.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Theft from Burgess Shale

A tourist from Belgium paid a price for going where he wasn’t supposed to go and attempting to steal an ancient artifact by putting it into a sock and stuffing it into a backpack. An alert hiking guide at the world-famous Burgess Shale Formation in Canada’s Yoho National Park spotted the tourist in a restricted area and alerted wardens.

The tourist was collecting fossils illegally near the Walcott Quarry of the Burgess Shale, a fossil field with some artifacts more than 500 million years old. Wardens dug through the tourist’s backpack and discovered the trilobite fossil.

The Walcott Quarry of the Burgess Shale.
He was charged with removing a fossil with the intention of selling or trafficking the ancient artifact. A British Columbia provincial court fined him $4,000.

Authorities say “a fairly active” black market exists for fossils from the Burgess Shale with values ranging from $300 or $400 for common trilobite fossils. Larger and rarer fossils can sell for $ 10,000 or more.
The Burgess Shale Formation is located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. It is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils.

At 508 million years (Middle Cambrian) old, it is one of the earliest fossil beds containing soft-part imprints.
Burgess Shale contains the best record we have of Cambrian animal fossils. It reveals creatures originating from the Cambrian explosion, an evolutionary burst of animal origins dating 545 to 525 million years ago.
During this period, life was restricted to the world's oceans. The land was barren, uninhabited, and subject to mudslides which periodically rolled into the seas and buried marine organisms.

At Burgess, sediment was deposited in a deep-water basin adjacent to an enormous algal reef with a vertical escarpment several hundred meters high.

The Burgess Shale fossils have been called the world’s most significant fossil discovery because of their great age, their diversity and the detail of their preservation.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Iron Age money

In the Early Bronze Age, ancient people used bronze objects as an early form of money. Researchers suggest that a consistent similarity in shape and weight, along with the fact that the objects often occurred in hoards, are signs of their use as an early form of standardized currency.

Standardized currency is a requirement for trade, a cornerstone of human development.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Europe's most ancient battlefield - Tollense Valley

The Gross Raden Archaeological Open Air Museum is presenting an exhibition featuring artifacts, many of them found on the site of a battle which took place in the Tollense Valley, in the northeast of Germany.
The discovery of the battlefield in the Tollense Valley provides much to consider. Since 2007, over 10,000 human bones have been found. A series of bronze weapons, such as lances, arrowheads and knives were found. A few wooden clubs which were used for battle as well as the remains of horses have been found.
The violence wasn't random. The Tollense battle demonstrates a clearly organized form of violence. It was required to be able to assemble such a large group of young men and issue orders. It demonstrates that power was conditional for such a large, violent conflict.

This man did not see death coming his way 3300 years ago. A bronze arrow tip pierced the back of his head. The bronze arrow tip is still stuck in the skull.
The warriors were exclusively men, mostly between the ages of 20 and 25. The bodies on the battle site that were accessible were looted. They had no metal left on them – although they must have been wearing metal, since bronze was part of men's dress during the period. The remains of those who fell in the river are different, as metal objects have been found on them. Less than 10% of the site has been excavated.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Stash of late medieval coins discovered in Hungary

Újlengyel is a Hungarian village about 31 miles (50 km) southeast of Budapest. The oldest coin is a silver denarius of Roman emperor Lucius Verus, who ruled from A.D.161 to A.D. 169. The newest coins date to Louis II, who ruled Hungary and Bohemia from 1516 to 1526. The hoard consists of nearly 7,000 silver coins and four gold coins. The four gold coins were issued during the reign of Matthias I, the king of Hungary from 1458 to 1490. Hungarians may have buried the hoard during an attack from the Ottoman Empire in 1526.
The Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, defeated Hungary and its allies in the Battle of Mohács on Aug. 29, 1526; this marked the end of the Hungarian monarchy.

Friday, 15 January 2021

The Corsica Hoard

The “Corsica Hoard” was first discovered in the late 1950s by two urchin divers. 41 aurei and large gold medallions were sold to collectors. In 1986 it was revealed hundreds of high-grade Roman gold coins dating from 262 to 272 CE had been found.
450 pieces remain in public hands. Its thought the hoard contained at least 1,400 coins, comprised of coins from Gallienus, Claudius II, Quintillus, and Aurelianus. Archeologists date the wreck to either late 272 or early 273 CE.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Cape Lefkada

A restored fresco from Pompeii that many believe depicts Sappho.
Cape Lefkada features a towering white cliff jutting into the sea, and has inspired many ancient myths. Lovers and tragic figures throughout the ages are said to have thrown themselves from the craggy heights. The death of Sappho is the best known. According to legend, Sappho died after throwing herself from the Cape, forlorn after a beautiful sea god named Phaon rejected her love.

Some versions of the myth of Aphrodite and Adonis end with the goddess of love jumping off its heights after hearing of her lover’s death. Due to her status as a goddess, she did not die, and landed in the water unharmed.