Thursday, 30 June 2022

30,000 yo baby woolly mammoth in Yukon

A gold miner breaking through permafrost in the Canadian Yukon uncovered an almost completely intact baby woolly mammoth. The find, officials say, is the best-preserved specimen in North America to date and only the second full calf ever found. The 55-inch calf lived about 30,000 years ago, and was entombed at about one month of age. Paleontologists were stunned at the detail in the find.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Hagia Sophia’s priceless marble floors damaged

Tiles of the ancient marble floors in Hagia Sophia have been damaged by heavy machines used to clean the site. The historic building was built as a church in the Byzantine era. It was previously a museum but was changed into a mosque in 2020. Work to effect this change is being blamed for the damage.
The historic Imperial Gate in Hagia Sophia has also been badly damaged. The Imperial Gate, the central door of the building, is the largest and has been dated to the 6th century AD.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

The Środa Treasure

The Środa Treasure is a massive hoard of silver and gold coins, plus gold jewellery and precious stones. The hoard dates from the mid 14th century. Środa is a medieval town in Silesia, southwestern Poland. In 1985 a worker doing renovation in an old house in the town square smashed an urn filled with 3,000 silver coins. This was quickly secured by the Communist authorities. Three years later more gold and silver started turning up.
The finds were kept quiet and much of the discovery vanished into private hands. So much was found that eventually someone thought to scour the municipal dump, turning over piles of rubble taken from renovation projects. More treasure was found there, including gold jewelry.
The Środa Treasure is one of the most valuable archaeological finds of the 20th century. Much of the treasure is thought to have been lost to looting.
Over the following years, archaeologists and historians have speculated about the treasure's origins, while museums and wealthy individuals have competed for pieces of the treasure at auction. The treasure most likely belonged to the Emperor Charles IV of the House of Luxemburg. Around 1348, needing funds to support his claim to the Emperorship, Charles pawned various items to the Jewish banker Muscho (Mojżesz, Moishe) in Środa.
Soon afterwards, the black plague visited Środa. Mojżesz was not heard of again. It is believed that he either fled from the plague-struck town, died of plague, or perhaps fell victim as Jews were blamed for spreading the plague. What is certain is that no one ever reclaimed the treasure, which was left hidden in the town for hundreds of years.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality was an exhibition in 2018. For more than 2,000 years, the warriors guarded the tomb of Qin Shihuang, China’s First Emperor. Discovered by chance in 1974, the underground army is one of the greatest archaeological finds known. Centerpiece is a phalanx of the funerary army, including soldiers, horses and chariots.
Works of ancient Chinese art crafted from gold, jade and bronze were found.
As many as 700,000 people toiled to create the army, mainly day labour, and probably conscripted. Each soldier was made from the feet up, with successive body parts shaped from coils of clay. Each face is unique.

Friday, 24 June 2022


In folklore, a werewolf is a human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf. The earliest example of man-to-wolf transformation is found in The Epic of Gilgamesh from around 2,100 BC. The werewolf as we know it first appeared in ancient Greece and Rome. In 425 BC, Greek historian Herodotus described the Neuri, a nomadic tribe who changed into wolf shapes for several days of the year. The werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore.
Belief in werewolves developed in parallel to the belief in witches. Most modern fiction describes werewolves as vulnerable to silver and resistant to injury. These features appeared in German folklore of the 19th century.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Trove of Roman coins in Spain

In 2016 workers laying pipe in a southern Spanish park unearthed a 600 kilogram (1,300 pounds) trove of Roman coins. The construction workers came across 19 amphoras containing unused bronze and silver-coated coins dating from the end of the fourth century.

The coins are believed to have been recently minted at the time and had probably been stored to pay soldiers or civil servants. The clay pots, 10 of which were said to be intact, were found just over a metre underground. The coins bear images of emperors Constantine and Maximian.

The Romans began to conquer Spain in 218 B.C. and ruled until the fifth century.

Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula. Under the Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior.

Latin was the official language of Hispania during the Rome's more than 600 years of rule, and by the empire's end in Hispania around 460 AD, all the original Iberian languages, except the ancestor of modern Basque, were extinct. Even after the fall of Rome Latin was spoken by nearly all of the population.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

The Tyrant Collection

When Edward VIII became King of England, the Royal Mint prepared five proof sets of the coins bearing his portrait, and these were scheduled to be issued in January of 1937. But on December 11, 1936, Edward VIII abdicated. By this act, Edward VIII became the only king of England for whom no coins were issued as money.
The Prince of Wales, (1894 - 1972)

This Ptolemy IV gold octodrachm (circa 202-200 BC) is one of the collection's highlights
The Tyrant collection has been described as the world’s most valuable coin collection in private hands, worth hundreds of millions. Excessively rare with only 8 recorded specimens, the Marcus Junius Brutus, d. 42 BC. Gold Aureus (8.07g), was struck at a traveling mint in Macedonia or Western Asia Minor, in summer/autumn 42 BC. A choice example made $525k in 2010.
Gold Roman aureus issued by Marcus Junius Brutus

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

World's oldest gold coins

One of the world’s oldest coins was sold in Germany for over over $380k. Issued between 600 and 625 B.C., the coin is unique because of the stamp of Phanes. The exact identity of Phanes remains unknown. “I am the badge of Phanes” is one of the translations. The words can also be translated as “I am the tomb of light.” Since Phanes was the god of light, and also the word for light, ancient words can be interpreted in different ways.
There are four examples of these types of coins. Known as Staters of Phanes, the denomination is one stater. Denominations began at 1/96, and went up to one stater. There were seven total denominations. Only the two highest had the Phanes stamp.
One of the oldest coins known was discovered in Efesos, an ancient Hellenic city and prosperous trading center on the coast of Asia Minor. The 1/6 stater was made from electrum, a natural occurring alloy of gold and silver. It originated in Lydia. The ancient stater was hand struck. A die with a design for the obverse (front) of the coin was placed on an anvil. A blank of metal was placed on top of the die, and a punch hammered onto the reverse. The result was a coin with an image on one side and a punch mark on the other.
Electrum Stater Of Miletos. Several Greek cities as well as the Lydian kings began minting the first coins by stamping the badge of their city into one side of a standard weight lump of electrum and various punches into the other. These were used to facilitate trade by certifying that the intrinsic value and weight of the metal was guaranteed by the issuing authority. Of these early coins, those of Miletos (600-550 BC), are probably the finest.

The coin weighs 0.63 grams and has a denomination of 1/24 of a stater.
In 2014 A diver found what is believed to be the oldest gold coin ever discovered in Bulgaria. The ancient coin was found in shallow waters near the resort town of Sozopol on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. The coin was minted in Lydia in the second half of the seventh century BCE, which puts the coin’s age at around 2750 years. Sozopol was founded as a colony of the Greek city state of Miletos about 611 BCE – first named Antheia, it was later known as Apollonia.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Avenue of Sphinxes

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities held a grand ceremony to mark the reopening of the ancient Avenue of Sphinxes in the city of Luxor. The sacred road, once named "The Path of God," connects the Temples of Karnak in the north with Luxor in the south. Paved in sandstone blocks, the 1.7-mile-long road is lined on both sides with more than 1,050 statues of sphinxes and rams. They've spent centuries buried under the desert sands, but slowly, over many years, Egypt's renowned archaeologists are bringing them back into the light of day. The avenue that connects the temples is about 3,000 years old.
Karnak is believed to have been built as a tribute to Amun-Ra. Many of Karnak’s sphinxes have ram heads and lion bodies and are intended as guardians to the ancient temple.
At the other end of the avenue, closer to Luxor Temple, there are also several human-headed sphinxes. Most of the surviving sphinxes date to the time of King Nectanebo, who reigned between 380 and 362 BCE. During its heyday, the avenue is believed to have been lined with 1,350 sphinxes.