Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Ancient gold coins found in Jerusalem's Old City

In late 2020 Israeli archeologists discovered four gold coins in Jerusalem's Old City that were minted from the 940s to the 970s, a period of radical political change. During that period, the ruling Sunni Abbasid caliphate, headquartered in Baghdad, lost control of Jerusalem to its rival, the Shiite Fatimid dynasty of North Africa. The Israel Antiquities Authority said the coins were unearthed during excavation work near the Western Wall, which is the holiest site where Jews can pray.

The find marks the first time in over fifty years that a gold cache from the Fatimid period has been discovered in Jerusalem's Old City.

Monday, 29 November 2021

The Treasure of Nimrud

The Royal Tomb of Nimrud was discovered in 1989 in the city of Kalkhu (Nimrud). Assyrian tombs have been found in the past but most were plundered in antiquity. The sarcophagus in the tomb contained hundreds of items.
The priceless treasures belonged to royalty from 744BC to 704BC. The treasure of Nimrud survived 2,800 years buried in northern Iraq. It then spent 12 years tucked away in a vault. It was uncertain whether it had survived Saddam Hussein, U.S. missile strikes, looters, a flood and grenade attacks. The spectacular treasure was found intact in the dark basement of a bombed out central bank building in 2011.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Piece of Dinosaur Tail found in Amber

At a market in northern Burma in 2017, Lida Xing noticed a chunk of amber with a dark blotch inside. The impurity — plant matter, it seemed at first — made the amber far less valuable. But it made the specimen priceless to Xing. Trapped inside the amber was a piece of dinosaur tail, complete with feathers preserved in microscopic detail. Researchers believe the 3.7-centimetre-long section of tail — eight vertebrae wrapped in skin and soft tissue and covered with pigmented plumage — belonged to a theropod that lived in the mid-Cretaceous, about 99 myo. Amber containing feathered dinosaur-era remains reported before included the discovery of a wing from a primitive Cretaceous bird.
Most scientists now accept that many dinosaurs were feathered, and this discovery will help answer questions about exactly what those dinosaurs looked like and how feathers evolved.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Gold bar was Conquistador booty

A gold bar in Mexico revealed that it was once part of the treasure stolen by the Spanish conquistadors during the conquest of the Aztec. It belongs to an event called the ‘Night of Sorrows’ (La Noche Triste) in 1520.

The bar was probably made by goldsmiths working under the supervision of the Spanish in 1519-1520.
On the night of July 1, 1520, Cortez's army left their compound and headed west, toward the Tlacopan causeway. The Spaniards made their way out of their complex unnoticed but were seen by Aztec warriors known as the Eagle Warriors, who sounded the alarm. The fighting was ferocious.

As the Spaniards and their native allies reached the causeway, hundreds of canoes appeared in the waters. Weighed down by gold and equipment, many soldiers lost their footing, fell into the lake, and drowned. Sources vary as to the total number of casualties. At least 450 Spaniards died along with 4,000 of their allies.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

The Peacock Throne

The Peacock Throne was a famous jewelled throne that was the seat of the Mughal emperors of India. It was commissioned in the early 17th century by emperor Shah Jahan and was located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The original throne was captured and taken as a war trophy in 1739 by the Persian king Nader Shah, and has been lost ever since.

The Peacock Throne took seven years to complete. Large amounts of gold, precious stones and pearls were used, creating a masterpiece of Mughal workmanship that was unsurpassed before or since.

A 2000 report estimated the value of the Peacock Throne at $810m

The throne was inaugurated with a triumphant ceremony on 22 March 1635.
Shah Jahan ruled in what is considered the Golden Age of the vast Mughal Empire, which covered most of the Indian subcontinent. It was ruled from the capital of Shahjahanabad and the imperial citadel Red Fort.
It was only seen by a small minority of courtiers, aristocrats and visiting dignitaries. The throne was even for the Golden Age Mughal standards supremely extravagant and cost twice as much as the construction of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb ascended the Peacock Throne and is considered the last of the strong Mughal emperors. By his death in 1707 the empire was in inexorable decline. Nadir Shah's invasion of India culminated in the Battle of Karnal on February 13, 1739 and the defeat of Muhammad Shah. Nader Shah of Persia sacked Delhi and stole the Peacock Throne.
Nadir Shah entered Delhi and sacked the city. Persian troops left Delhi at the beginning of May 1739, taking with them the throne as a war trophy with many other treasures.

Among the known precious stones were the Akbar Shah diamond, Great Mogul diamond, Great Table diamond, Koh-i-Noor, Shah diamond, as well as the Samarian spinel and the Timur ruby.
An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace with eleven polished baroque spinels for a total weight of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the spinels are engraved. Two with the name of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627), one with the three names of Emperor Jahangir, Emperor Shah Jahan and Emperor Alamgir, also known as Aurangzeb.

Portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum). She was the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The following year the emperor began work on the mausoleum that would house her body. The result was the world-famous Taj Mahal.
A Mughal masterpiece. The necklace features five pendant Golconda diamonds with emerald drops. The central stone weighs 28 carats and is the largest table-cut diamond known. The five surrounding stones—weighing 96 carats, collectively—comprise the largest known matching set of table-cut diamonds. From the 17th century.

A rare Mughal pale green jadeite snuff bottle. 1800-1900. The translucent stone is of pale icy green tone. 2 in. (5 cm.) high, pink tourmaline stopper and bone spoon.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ancient ‘piggy bank’ found in central Israel

A hoard of 1,200 year old gold coins was found in 2019 by a team of Israeli archaeologists working in the city of Yavne. The seven gold coins were found hidden inside a small clay juglet and date to the 9th century AD, with one of them being a dinar of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, a key figure in Middle Eastern folk tales known as "One Thousand and One Nights" or "Arabian Nights".
The site included a large number of pottery kilns that were used to make storage jars, cooking pots and bowls, leading archaeologists to suspect that the coins were the savings of a potter.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Gem Mint State Stater of Croesus

Croesus is famous for introducing the world's first pure gold and pure silver coins. Prior to this, coins were produced in electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Scholars argue that the gold standard of Croesus was introduced in stages, designed to recall the circulating electrum staters. Once a sufficient number had been recalled, the new light stater appeared.
Though the light stater was produced for a longer period than the heavy stater, the light stater is actually the rarer coin.
The market seems to be catching on. This NGC Gem MS light stater sold in April 2018 for $180k.
See ----->Gold of Croesus

Monday, 22 November 2021

Battle of Megiddo

The Battle of Megiddo is the first battle that was recorded in detail and for posterity. Pharaoh Thutmose III's military scribe inscribed it in hieroglyphs at Thutmose's temple at Karnak, Thebes (now Luxor). Not only is this the first detailed battle description, but it is the first written reference to the religiously important Megiddo: Megiddo is also known as Armageddon. Megiddo was an important city because it overlooked the route from Egypt through Syria to Mesopotamia. If an enemy of Egypt controlled Megiddo, it could block the pharaoh from reaching the rest of his empire. In approximately 1479 B.C., Thutmose III, pharaoh of Egypt, led an expedition against the prince of Kadesh who was in Megiddo.
Egyptian troops entered the fortress at Megiddo to plunder. They took almost a thousand chariots, including the prince's, more than 2000 horses, thousands of other animals, millions of bushels of grain, an impressive pile of armor, and thousands of captives. The Egyptians next went north where they captured 3 Lebanese fortresses, Inunamu, Anaugas, and Hurankal.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

7-year-old Israeli Boy Finds 3,400-year-old Canaanite Figurine

In 2016 a seven-year-old boy found a beautifully preserved 3,400-year-old female figurine at the Canaanite archaeological site of Tel Rehov. The well-preserved carved form of a naked woman, featuring a narrow waist and apparently an ornate hairdo was turned it over to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Archaeologists are mixed if the figurine is an idol of a fertility goddess, such as Astarte, or depicts a living woman of the time.
The figurine is from the late Bronze period of 13 to 15 centuries BCE and from the city of Rehov, which was then ruled by the central government of the Egyptian pharaohs. Tel Rehov is the location of the largest ancient Canaanite and Israelite site in the Beth-Shean Valley and one of the largest sites in the Holy Land. Excavations at Tel Rehov revealed successive occupational layers from the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age.