Friday, 30 September 2022

Plinian eruption of Mount Vesuvius

A Plinian eruption of Mount Vesuvius occured around 4,000 years ago—2,000 years before the one that buried the Roman city of Pompeii. The village of Afragola was situated near present-day Naples, about 10 miles from Mount Vesuvius.
Afragola became a snapshot of the Early Bronze Age in Italy.
Following the eruption, the village was encased in meters of ash, mud, and alluvial sediments. The course of the eruption happened in different phases, starting with a dramatic explosion. The villagers had time to flee, which is why the site doesn't contain human remains. Then the direction of the wind changed, bringing a huge amount of ash toward Afragola. In Campania at this time there were huts, but in Greece, they had palaces. Evidence points toward the eruption happening in the fall, as the villagers amassed their food stores for the winter. The eruption occured around 1780 BC.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Akan Gold

The Akan became one of the most powerful groups in West Africa.
The Akan are an ethnic group native to Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Ethnic Akans are the largest ethnic group in both countries with a population of 20m. From the 1500s the Akan dominated gold mining and trading in the region.
This wealth attracted European traders. Initially the Europeans were Portuguese but eventually the Dutch and British joined in the quest for Akan gold. Akan people fought against the European colonists to maintain autonomy including many Anglo-Ashanti wars: the war of the Golden Stool, and other similar battles.
By the early 1900s all of Ghana was a colony or protectorate of the British while the lands in the Ivory Coast was under the French. On 6 March 1957, following the decolonization from the British, the Gold Coast was joined to British Togoland, and the Northern region, Upper East region and Upper West region of the Gold Coast to form Ghana. Ivory Coast gained independence on 7 August 1960.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Devil's Coulee - Alberta

Devil’s Coulee is the richest dinosaur nesting site in Canada and the third nesting site discovered in North America. The site was found in May 1987 near Warner, Alberta when ten fossilized Hadrosaur eggs were found. The site was designated a Provincial Historic Resource the same year.
Finds at the site include young dinosaurs, eggs, embryonic bones, and nests of hadrosaurs.
The find dates from the Late Cretaceous. (100-65 mya). Hadrosaurids, or duck-billed dinosaurs, were a common herbivore in the period. The Royal Tyrrell Museum reports the Devil’s Coulee site is rich with ancient nests of at least two separate duck-billed dinosaurs and five different Cretaceous-era carnivores.

The Devil's Coulee area was once part of a vast inland sea.

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Treasures of Pompeii

The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town near modern Naples. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii was burned and buried in ash, while nearby Herculaneum was destroyed by the pyroclastic flow. The area was buried under 4 to 6m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice from the eruption. Pompeii was lost for 1500 years until its rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later in 1748. Discoveries continue to this day.
The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for thousands of years.
Marble statue with traces of gold-plating from the Temple of Isis, Pompeii.

Helmet of a ‘Thracian’ (Thrax) gladiator. Bronze, from Pompeii.

Mosaic (detail) from Pompeii.

Apollo as an Archer

A gold bracelet bears an inscription. On its inside face are the words 'dominus ancillae suae'– from the master (dominus) to his slave-girl (ancilla).

Monday, 12 September 2022

Roman era Chariot and horses, curse tablets, found in Croatia

In 2019 archaeologists discovered the remains of a chariot from ancient Rome along with two horses. The discovery, estimated to be 1,800 years old, was made in Croatia. The discovery stems from an ancient burial tradition under a mound known as a tumuli. Only those with the highest status and with extreme wealth were buried in this manner.
Archaeologists discovered golden curse tablets in Roman tombs. These contain inscriptions with magical symbols calling upon both gods and demons to unleash ill-health, punishment, and death upon enemies.
The curse tablets were found in Roman tombs at Viminacium, the ancient capital of the former Roman province of Moesia Superior in Serbia. The territory was under Roman (and later Byzantine) rule for about 600 years, from the 1st century BC until the 6th century. Viminacium occupies a total of about 450 hectares (1,100 acres)
“ long as someone, whether slave or free, whether man or woman, keeps silent or knows anything about it, they may be accursed in blood, and eyes and every limb and even have all intestines quite eaten away if they have stolen the ring or been privy (to the theft).”

Other curses are even more personal ... “May your penis burn away when you make love.”
In Viminacium archaeologists found Christians and pagans buried together, suggesting they lived together in relative harmony and tolerance.