Tuesday 31 May 2022

Death masks of Mycenae

Gold funerary masks like the ones found at Mycenae have not been found anywhere else.The death masks of Mycenae are golden funerary masks found on bodies within a burial site titled Grave Circle A, located within the ancient Greek city of Mycenae. There are seven masks in total, found with the burials of six adult males and one male child. They were discovered by Heinrich Schliemann during his 1876 excavation of Mycenae.

Monday 30 May 2022

Kushite Pharaohs

The Triad of Osorkon
Nubia, the region south of Egypt, was conquered by the pharaohs. It was freed when the Egyptian empire collapsed around 1100 BC. It then rose to provide a line of Egyptianized kings. King Piankhy established the 25th Dynasty. These kings faced repeated Assyrian invasions, battling the famous King Ashurbanipal. They were pushed out of Egypt around 660 B.C.

Sunday 29 May 2022


In Greek mythology, a Gorgon is a female creature. The name derives from the ancient Greek word gorgós, which means "dreadful". The term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair made of living, venomous snakes. They turned those who beheld them to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and she was slain by Perseus.
One of the earliest representations on coins is on an electrum stater from Parium. Going even further back, there is a similar image from the Knossos palace, dating to the fifteenth century BC.

One of two Gorgon Heads from the cuirass (breastplate) of Macedonian King Philip II
Greek Apollonia Pontica Silver Drachm struck 4th century B.C.Perseus and the gorgon.

Friday 27 May 2022

Ancient gold coins, gold plate, found in India

A total of 117 gold coins, a small gold plate and two silver anklets were found in an agricultural field in a village in Kadambur block in Sathyamangalam taluk in 2012. The coins reportedly belong to the period of the Vijayanagara dynasty. A group of workers stumbled on a pot which contained the treasure when they were harvesting tapioca tuber in a field in Karaliyam, a village located inside the Kadambur forests.
The Vijayanagara empire was an Indian empire that existed from 1336 through 1660. It was founded by Harihara (Hakka) and his brother Bukka Raya. The empire is named after its capital city Vijayanagara, now Hampi in modern Karnataka, India.

Thursday 26 May 2022

Bonhams Natural History Auction

Allosaurus claw boasts exceptional preservation and size.  Dinosaur claws are much more rare than dino teeth, as dinosaurs' teeth were replaced throughout their lifetimes, whereas claws were not. A formidable predator, Allosaurus had short arms with three-fingered hands completed by razor-sharp claws.
Allosaurus hand claws are much larger than Tyrannosaurus.
A virtually complete Struthiomimus sedens hand, mounted in a lifelike pose. As in all members of the theropod subgroup Ornithomimidae, all three fingers are nearly the same length. Struthiomimus, meaning ostrich mimic, is known from the Late Cretaceous in North America. The genus possessed a small, light, toothless skull, a slender, flexible neck and, most likely, a birdlike horny beak covering the jaws.


Wednesday 25 May 2022

The Ancient Kingdom of Axum

The greatest empire to ever exist in Africa, the Kingdom of Aksum lasted from around 100 AD to 940 AD, and extended across East Africa and beyond, including modern-day Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. Located in the northern province of Tigray, Aksum remained the capital of Ethiopia until the seventh century CE. The ancient Kingdom of Axum, also known as Askum, stands out for its early use of coins.
The kingdom is famous for its stone cut obelisks. They were carved out of a single stone and marked graves and burial chambers. Its believed that the Queen of Sheba ruled the Kingdom of Aksum for more than 50 years. According to legend, the Ark of the Covenant came to Ethiopia and has till now been guarded by a succession of monks.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Orchids good as gold

According to cops it was a professional job and the thieves knew exactly what they were after. Bearing all the marks of an art gallery heist, this was the scene at Kew Gardens in 2014 where a rare African water lily was snatched. Its thought to have been sold to an unscrupulous private collector.
The legal plant trade amounts to £9 billion a year worldwide. There is a kudos in owning anything rare. Although it’s impossible to give precise figures for plants, there is a thriving black market involving private collectors. If someone wants a species badly enough they will pay vast amounts of money for it. Rare and new discoveries of wild plants are the most prized.
Monkeyface orchid

Hochstetter Butterfly Orchid
Some orchids species are being driven to extinction. One of the world’s rarest orchids was re-discovered in 2014 by botanists on a volcanic island in the Atlantic. There were 250 plants of the unique species on the island of Sao Jorge in the Portuguese Azores, making it the rarest in Europe.
Bee Orchid

Lady's Slipper orchids

The albino form of the Vanda sanderiana or the Waling-waling is a rare and prized plant for orchid collectors and breeders.

Bulbophyllum kubahense

Phragmipedium kovachii was first found in 2001 and is referred to as one of the most important natural history discoveries in the last decade.

Cypripedium calceolus. It receives round-the-clock police surveillance where it grows on a Lancashire golf course.

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, an orchid that is on top of the endangered species list.
The contemporary orchid-breeding business in Taiwan and its main rival, the Netherlands, centers on the Phalaenopsis, or the moth orchid. In Victorian Europe, orchid hunters, hired by wealthy collectors, sometimes killed each other in pursuit of new breeds.

Bornean slipper orchid

Shenzhen Nongke orchid took eight years to develop and in 2005, it was sold for about $200k.
A new species of orchid found in Colombia has been named Telipogon diabolicus, because the heart of the flower has an eerie resemblance to a devil's head. There aren't many flowers of this kind in existence.

Researchers found a small patch of about 30 orchids between the borders of two Colombian departments. So far, this is its only known habitat.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Truk Lagoon National Monument

A visual history lesson from WW II lies at the bottom of Truk Lagoon. The lagoon hosted Operation Hailstone on Feb 16/17, 1944.
American planes launched an aerial attack on anchored ships. Truk Lagoon was a major naval base with an extensive infrastructure for the Japanese Imperial Navy. Because of this, the base was called the "the Gibraltar of the Pacific."

Truk Lagoon was considered the most formidable of all Japanese strongholds in the Pacific.

Truk was Japan's equivalent of the Americans' Pearl Harbor, it was their largest forward naval base.
The Japanese fleet lost an estimated 10 warships, over 30 supply vessels, 275 aircraft, light cruisers, and destroyers, and an estimated 4,500 military personnel during the two-day strike.
Forewarned by intelligence a week before the US raid, the Japanese had withdrawn their larger warships (heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers) to Palau.