Sunday, 28 February 2021

Ancient Salamis

Salamis is an ancient Greek city-state on the east coast of Cyprus, 6 km north of modern Famagusta. According to tradition, the founder of Salamis was Teucer, son of Telamon, who could not return home after the Trojan war because he had failed to avenge his brother Ajax.
The earliest finds date to the eleventh century BC. The copper ore on Cyprus made the island an essential ancient trade port. In 450 BC, Salamis was the site of a land and sea battle between Athens and the Persians. (not the earlier Battle of Salamis in 480 BC in Attica.) After Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, Ptolemy I of Egypt ruled the island of Cyprus. In 306 BC, Salamis was the site of a naval battle between the fleets of Demetrius I of Macedon and Ptolemy I. Demetrius won the battle and captured the island. In Roman times, Salamis was part of the Roman province of Cilicia.
An eBay auction of a looted marble tile from Salamis was stopped by a well-known activist on antiquities.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

The daric

The Achaemenid Empire ruled over much of the Middle East from 550 to 330 BCE. Coinage was issued from the mint of Sardis and consisted of the silver siglos and the gold daric. The coins remained basically unchanged for over two hundred years.

The daric was a high-purity gold coin of 8.4 grams based on the ancient Babylonian shekel. It was a month’s pay for a mercenary. One daric exchanged for 20 silver sigloi.
Hoards of the international trade coin have been found from Sicily to Afghanistan. The daric is one of the few coins mentioned in the Old Testament.

There are 4 main types of daric. There are few survivors of the type 1 and type 2 coins, making them extremely valuable. The Type 3 daric is by far the most common. Dated from around 485 to 420 BCE, there are several variants. Condition determines value. The rare Type IV daric, dated c. 455-420, shows the king holding a short dagger rather than a spear.
Even more rare and valuable are “double darics” which continued to be struck under Alexander the Great at Babylon for a short time after the fall of the Persian empire. The example shown made $50k in 2015.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Roman road unveiled beneath McDonald's restaurant

Two thousand years after legionaries tramped along its well-worn paving stones, a well-preserved stretch of Roman road has been opened to the public – beneath a McDonald’s restaurant. The 150ft-long stretch of basalt road has been cleared, cleaned and made into a permanent attraction at Frattocchie, south of Rome.

Customers in search of cultural heritage can descend underground and view the Roman road, as well as three skeletons. The bodies are believed to have been buried in the period after the road was abandoned. The skeletons belong to three men, the oldest of whom was aged 35-40.

McDonalds customers view the Roman road, as well as three ancient skeletons that were found buried in the culverts either side of it.
The find came to light in 2014 when the area was being excavated for a new McDonald’s restaurant. Archaeologists were summoned and the chain contributed 300k euros to the three-year restoration of the site. Experts say the paved road connected with the Appian Way.

Named after the Roman official who conceived it, Appius Claudius Caecus, it became known as the “regina viarium” or queen of roads.

The stretch of road was built in the 2nd century BC but fell into disuse by the 3rd century AD and remained buried for more than 1,700 years.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

The Trier Gold Hoard

The 'Trier Gold Hoard' is the largest Roman gold hoard ever discovered. It comprises 2,516 gold coins weighing 18.5 kg. The hoard was discovered in 1993 in Trier Germany. The oldest coins were struck by Emperor Nero in the years 63/64 AD, the youngest under Septimius Severus between 193 and 196.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Ancient kauri tree maps geomagnetic flip

The Earth’s magnetic field is fundamental to the existence of life. It deflects harmful solar winds and keeps our protective atmosphere in place. Every few hundred thousand years on average it completely flips, with magnetic north switching places with magnetic south. The last major geomagnetic reversal occurred 780k years ago. Geomagnetic excursions are short-lived, and involve temporary changes to the Earth’s magnetic field. The most recent recorded geomagnetic excursion is known as the Laschamps excursion and it took place around 42,000 years ago. The Laschamps Excursion was the last time the magnetic poles flipped. They swapped places for about 800 years before swapping back again. A kauri tree trunk was found perfectly preserved for 42,000 years, with its rings offering a 1,700-year record of the Laschamps Excursion.
Researchers compared the newly-created timescale with records from sites across the Pacific and used it in global climate modeling, finding that the growth of ice sheets and glaciers over North America and large shifts in major wind belts and tropical storm systems could be traced back to the Laschamps Excursion.
The study showed a depleted ozone layer, higher levels of ultraviolet radiation and increased atmospheric ionization that all coalesced about 42,000 years ago.

Monday, 22 February 2021

The Quimbaya Treasure

Colombia’s Constitutional Court heard testimony from experts in 2015 to determine whether treasures from the pre-Columbian Quimbaya culture were illegally handed over to Spain at the end of the 19th century. In 1893, Colombian President Carlos Holguín Mallarino gifted more than 120 gold objects to Spain’s Queen Regent María Cristina. Since then, the Quimbaya Treasure has been on display at the Museo de América in Madrid. The Quimbaya civilization was first recorded in the 1st century BC in parts of the Eje Cafetero and Valle del Cauca. The Quimbaya were noted for their skill in gold working.

The Quimbaya largely disappeared as a distinct civilization by the 18th century as a result of Spanish colonization.
For more than a decade, Colombian legal experts have debated whether the ancient artifacts should be repatriated. A 2006 case ended with a ruling that the gift of the treasure violated Colombia’s constitutional protections of cultural patrimony. Later appeals overturned the decision saying that the treasure had not been officially considered patrimony at the time it was handed over. The case has been before the Constitutional Court since 2012. When the Spanish arrived in Colombia, Quimbaya civilization was organized and centralized, with its center in the department of Quindío. Their lifestyle was based on the cultivation of yuca and corn, hunting and mining.

Mask with nose ornament, Colombia, Quimbaya

Sunday, 21 February 2021

The Corinthian helmet

Corinthian helmet, fifth century B.C.
The Corinthian helmet originated in ancient Greece and took its name from the city-state of Corinth. It was a helmet made of bronze.

The Ancient Greek helmet evolved over time to meet the needs of the battlefield. Corinthian helmets were perfectly suited for hoplites fighting in the phalanx formations that characterized warfare in Greece.
Corinthian helmets were very popular and became closely associated with Greece, Greek culture, and hoplites. Corinthian helmets remained in use for nearly three hundred years, falling out of fashion by the end of the Fifth Century.

Marmara Island

The largest island in the Sea of Marmara takes its name from its marble quarries. In antiquity it was called Prokonnesos, and Proconnesian marble was highly desired for sculptures, an example being the 3rd-century AD Great Ludovisi sarcophagus. The marble from Marmara is so specific one cannot find any other marble like it in the world. The marble was used for palaces, churches, mosques and statues.
For 2,000 years, the island of Marmara has played an important role in the history of marble. The Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans; all valued the quality and beauty of the marble that was quarried from the island.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Seqenenre Tao

Seqenenre Tao was a pharaoh who ruled southern Egypt in the mid-16th century BC. He met his end in an execution after he was captured in a battle with the Hyksos dynasty. The pharaoh’s mummified remains were discovered in 1881 in the necropolis in Thebes. While his head bore severe injuries, the exact manner of his death was a mystery.

Reasearchers believe he was ritually executed by multiple attackers, with his hands tied behind his back.
A CT scan revealed previously undetected lesions that were expertly concealed by embalmers.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

95.6% copper a covid killer

The knowledge of working with copper and its alloys goes back at least 7,000 years. Ancients knew that copper healed infections, but they didn’t know why.

Copper kills germs because it has an extra electron it its atomic makeup. The outermost orbit electron reacts with things that land on it, killing the germs quickly. Ions blast apart bacterial cell membranes and the coatings that protect viruses, rendering them inert. Most viruses and bacteria succumb within minutes. COVID’s stubbornness only buys it extra time. Within a few hours it too is rendered harmless. The antiviral properties of copper surfaces never wear off.
The only reason copper alloys fell to iron and steel was hardness and durability. Today ancient copper may provide another line of defense against a modern illness.