Tuesday, 26 April 2022

450 myo Tomlinsonus dimitrii

Paleontologists announced the discovery of an "exceptionally well preserved" ancient creature near the eastern shore of Lake Simcoe in southern Ontario. It was found in a stone quarry that scientists have dubbed the "Paleo Pompeii." Named Tomlinsonus dimitrii, the specimen is part of an extinct group of arthropods known as marrellomorphs that lived approximately 450 mya, during the Ordovician period. Researchers discovered the bizarre arthropod last summer during a formal excavation of an active quarry. Similar to the Burgess Shale, the Lake Simcoe quarry was once submerged and part of a shallow ancient tropical marine sea.
See ----->Theft from Burgess Shale

Monday, 25 April 2022

Ancient puppy in permafrost

This 18,000-year-old puppy, preserved in the Siberian permafrost, still has its whiskers. The puppy’s remains were identified by researchers at a site near Yakutsk in eastern Siberia in 2019. Researchers have determined that the animal is male, was 2 months old when he died and lived around 18,000 years ago. DNA testing could not determine if he was a dog or a wolf. Research suggests that dogs and wolves may have diverged from a common ancestor around 40,000 years ago, although some dog breeds may have bred with wolves after that point.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

"Ides of March" Coins

Brutus issued a silver denarius celebrating the assassination of Caesar on the Ides of March (March 15). The denarius has a portrait of Brutus on the obverse, with on the reverse a liberty cap flanked by two daggers over the inscription EID(ibus) MAR(tiis). The liberty cap was the garment given to a manumitted slave to indicate his free status, so the reverse side symbolizes Brutus and Cassius liberating Rome with their daggers. There are about 60 known copies of the silver denarius. A superb example made $332k in a 2016 auction. Silver specimens in extremely fine condition have sold at auction for $120k. Low grade silver examples will make $50k.
An ‘Ides of March’ aureus is one of three known examples. It was recently discovered hidden away in a private European collection. The coin is in mint condition and has been described as “the undisputed masterpiece of ancient coinage.” It made $3.5m.
In October of 42 B.C., months after the coins were struck, Brutus and Cassius were routed by Marc Anthony and Octavian’s forces and died in the Battles of Philippi. Their coins were outlawed and very few survived.
The famous 'Eid Mar' aureus on loan to the British Museum for the past decade has been offered for sale. It will be sold at auction on May 30 in Zurich and is expected to fetch more than £1.5 million (US$2m).

The coin was minted by Marcus Junius Brutus to commemorate the assassination of Ceasar. The coin shows an inscription that reads “EID MAR” short for Eidibus Martiis, the Ides of March, along with two daggers and a liberty cap symbolizing freedom. The other side of the coin features a portrait of Brutus with the inscription “BRVT IMP” or Brutus, Imperator.
The coin has a hole. It is believed that it could only have been worn by a senior supporter and perhaps even one of the conspirators of Caesar’s murder.

Sweden’s Sandby borg yields gold

Four miles off the Swedish coast in the Baltic Sea, the rocky island of Öland was the site of an ancient mass murder. In 2010, archaeologists uncovered scores of skeletons that had initially been left unburied. They estimate that the massacre at Sandby borg took place in the 5th century. The fort’s 15-foot-tall ramparts were no match for the attackers. A discovery of two gold rings and a coin at the site may hint at the motive. The gold gives credence to the theory that the island may have had ties to the Romans. At the site of an important house the team uncovered pieces of Roman glass.
The aureus dates to the time of the massacre and depicts Emperor Valentinian III, who ruled between 425 and 455. Mysterious is the fact the site wasn't looted.

Even the murdered inhabitants’ horses were tied up and left to starve.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Infamous Titanic gold cigarette case

The cigarette case made $50k.
A gold cigarette case that once belonged to a controversial wealthy couple that survived the Titanic disaster was auctioned. The artifact belonged to Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon. The couple were accused of bribing their way off the doomed liner. Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, his fashion designer wife, and her secretary, were among 12 who escaped the sinking ship on Titanic’s Lifeboat Number 1. The lifeboat, dubbed the 'millionaires’ boat,' had a capacity of 40.
Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon gave each of the 7 crewmembers who had shared his lifeboat £5. Occupants of Lifeboat 1. Middle Row: Hendrickson, Lady Duff Gordon, Francatelli, Sir Duff Gordon, Taylor.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru

Over 3,000 years of Peruvian civilization is on display at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, France. The exhibition, which runs until Sept 4, combines virtual reality and hundreds of archaeological treasures from ancient Peru. Objects on display include ceramics, textiles, jewelry, headdresses, earrings, funerary masks, imperial dresses, silver crowns, and hundreds of gold pieces. After its stopover in Paris, the exhibition “Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru” will travel to other cities around the world.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Largest Celtic stater hoard in UK

The UK's biggest hoard of Celtic gold coins, worth £800k, was unearthed by a birdwatcher in 2020. He saw a glint in a ploughed field, rubbed off the mud and found a 2,000-year-old gold stater. He fetched his metal detector and hours later had recovered 1,300 coins dating from 40-50 AD.
The coins may have been a deposit from Boudicca's war chest for her eastern campaigns.
During the middle of the first century the Celtic warrior Boudicca was at war with the occupying Romans.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

The Torlonia Collection

96 Greek and Roman sculptural pieces from the fifth century BCE to the fourth century CE have gone on display.

Nearly 100 of the finest classical statues, busts, sculptures and reliefs from the fifth century BC to the fourth century AD will go on display in a palazzo on Rome’s Capitoline Hill.
They constitute a priceless collection of ancient Roman statuary that was amassed by Italy’s aristocratic Torlonia family. Accessible only to a chosen few, the collection became the stuff of legend. Even scholars knew it only from its catalogue, which was compiled in 1884. It is thought to be the largest collection in the world. Part of the Torlonia Collection is revealed to the outside world for the first time in its history.

One of the highlights of the collection is a stone relief, about 4ft wide and 3ft high, which depicts a busy scene at Portus, ancient Rome’s port on the Tyrrhenian coast.
The Torlonia Marbles will be embarking on a world tour of museums.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

2000 yo granite sarcophagus in Alexandria

In 2018 archaeologists in Egypt opened a mysterious ancient black granite sarcophagus. The massive coffin was excavated in the city of Alexandria.
Three skeletons and sewage water were found inside.
A layer of mortar between the lid and the body of the sarcophagus indicated that it has not been opened since it was closed more than 2,000 years ago. The sarcophagus was found buried 16.4 feet below the surface. A carved alabaster head, which may depict one of the tomb’s occupants, was also discovered. The Ministry of Antiquities said one of the skeletons bore an arrow wound, evidence the men might have been soldiers.

Measuring nine feet long, the black granite coffin is the largest ever to have been discovered in Alexandria. It was speculated that it might have contained the remains of Alexander the Great, who legend rumored is buried there.
Three drawings, incised on three sheets of gold, have been discovered in a massive black granite sarcophagus in Alexandria. Researchers also learned more about the three skeletons. One came from a woman who was between 20 and 25 years old when she died, while the other two came from men who were in their 30s or 40s.
The enigmatic drawings show what may be the seed pod of an opium poppy within a shrine. Opium was popular at the time. The skull of one of the men has a hole. He may have undergone "trepanation," a medical procedure often used in ancient times.

Friday, 15 April 2022

‘Alien boy’ found in Crimean tomb was a trainee Sarmatian fighter

An 'alien boy' with an elongated skull found in a tomb in Crimea in 2017 was in fact a trainee ancient warrior, say archeologists. Elongated skulls were traditional for the Sarmatian culture. The artificially elongated skull was a sign of a "true warrior". The deformation process began early in childhood when the bones were still soft, and no surgery was needed. Special wooden planks were tied to the skull, pressing the bones and gradually altering the shape. The boy warrior from the second century AD is believed to have been aged between 18 months and two years old when he died.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

The Avar

The Avars, mysterious horse-riding warriors who helped hasten the end of the Roman Empire, dominated the plains between Vienna and Belgrade, Serbia, for more than 2 centuries. Then they vanished without a trace. The Avars left no written records. Grave goods and historical accounts of others suggest they dominated the plains of modern-day Hungary. Elites were buried in burial mounds, surrounded by weapons and finely decorated gold and silver vessels. They were often buried with horses. The earliest stirrups in Europe are from Avar graves.

The first Avar burials were a near-identical match for an individual buried just a few decades earlier in eastern Mongolia. The first Avars in Europe probably made the journey of 7000 km themselves. After their arrival on the fringes of the Roman Empire, the Avars pushed into central Europe, along the Danube River between modern-day Vienna and Belgrade. They even lay siege to Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 623 C.E. They were defeated by Charlemagne. Their genetic signature soon dwindled to almost nothing in the regions they once ruled. The Avars faded into history and left only a mystery.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

The rise of money

Humans have used currency as a means of exchange, a method of payment, a standard of value, a store of wealth and a unit of account for thousands of years.
Money has many functions: It facilitates exchange as a unit of value; it brings societies together by enabling reciprocity; it perpetuates social hierarchies; and it is a medium of state power. Objects that were rare in nature emerged as units of value for exchange.

Shang Dynasty cowry shells
Cowry shells were used in Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. Native copper, meteorites or native iron, obsidian, amber, beads, copper, gold, silver and lead ingots have variously served as currency. People even used live animals such as cows until recent times as a form of currency. Stone weights were used not only for setting prices for goods, but also for converting between systems of weights and measures. The talent and the mina were standardized after the founding of the Akkadian Empire by Sargon of Akkad. Standardizing weights and measures is essential for effective taxation. The Mesopotamian shekel – the first known form of currency – emerged. The earliest known coins date to 650 and 600 B.C. in Lydia. Coinage as commodity money owes its success to its portability, durability and inherent value. Political leaders could control the production of coins – from mining, smelting, minting - as well as their circulation and use.

Ancient Celtic ringmoney
Money soon became an instrument of political control. Taxes could be extracted to support the elite and armies could be raised. It enabled the movement of goods and services, migration and settlement among strangers. Money was able to mobilize resources, reduce risks and create alliances in response to social and political conditions. In short, money allowed humans to develop into the world we know today.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Gladiator - battle scene

Maximus Decimus Meridius, a general forced into slavery, defied an empire.