Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Amazing Historical Artifacts

Broadsword of Oliver Cromwell. Made in England c. 1650. This is one of the finest surviving swords of a type favored during the English Civil War (1642-51).

The association of this sword with English statesman Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) is consistent with the unusual inscription and heraldic arms of England and Ireland on the blade, and with the outstanding quality of the hilt's chiseled decoration. Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Monomachus Crown – Hungarian National Museum, Budapest. The crown is engraved Byzantine goldwork, decorated with cloisonné enamel. King Constantine Monomachus ruled the Byzantine kingdom from 1042 to 1055 with his wife Zoe and her sister Theodora. It was probably made in Constantinople in 1042.

It was found in 1860 by a farmer while plowing. The objects passed to the local landowning nobility, who sold it in four transactions to the Hungarian National Museum between 1861 and 1870.
A Surviving Crate from the Boston Tea Party – The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, Boston.

The Boston Tea Party was the spark in the powder keg for the American War of Independence. The rebelling colonials climbed aboard a ship carrying England’s most valuable commodity – tea, and threw it overboard in an act of open defiance. Two crates survived.

The Axe of Pharoah Ahmes – The Egyptian Museum, Cairo. This gold ceremonial axe was found among the treasures in the Tomb of Ahmes. It is funerary object that was not used in the life of the pharaoh. One of the sides of the blade is adorned with Nekhbet, vulture goddess and the guardian of Upper and Lower Egypt, and other deities who protect the pharaoh . The other side of the blade depicts the pharaoh tormenting one of his enemies as a symbol for sovereign power.
Corinthian Helmet and Skull from the Battle of Marathon 490 BCE – Royal Ontario Museum, Canada. A pivotal moment in Ancient Greek history, the battle of Marathon saw a smaller Greek force, mainly made up of Athenian troops, defeat an invading Persian army.

A fierce and bloody battle, with numerous casualties, it appears that this helmet (with skull inside) belonged to a Greek hoplite (soldier) who died during the fighting.

The story of the man who ran back to Athens with the news of the victory became synonymous with the long distance running event in the Olympics.
The Bullet that killed Lincoln – National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, USA.

On April 14, 1865, five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Virginia, an actor named John Wilkes Booth achieved historical immortality by firing the shot that claimed the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Roman Iron Slave Collar 4 CE – The Museo Nazionale alle Terme di Diocleziano, Rome Italy.

The inscription on the collar reads – “I have run away; hold me. When you have returned me to my master, Zoninus, you will receive a solidus" (gold coin)

Blood Stained Cloak of Archduke Franz Ferdinand – Austrian Military Museum, Vienna. The murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand plunged the world into the first World War.

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Thiruvananthapuram, India.

The temple and its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, and are controlled by a trust run by the Royal family.

In June 2011, the Supreme Court directed authorities to open the secret chambers of the temple for inspection of the items kept inside. Some had not been opened in centuries.

The review of the temple's underground vaults led to the enumeration of a vast inventory of the temple's assets, which consist of gold, jewels, and other valuables. 18th century Napoleonic era coins were found, as well as a three-and-a-half foot tall solid gold idol of Mahavishnu studded with rubies and emeralds.

Ceremonial attire adorning the deity was in the form of a gold anki weighing almost 30 kilograms (66 lb).
It is estimated that the value of the items is close to 1.2 lakh crore or 1.2 trillion (US$22 billion) This makes the Padmanabhaswamy temple the wealthiest temple in India and almost certainly the world.

The treasures accumulated in the temple for centuries, put there by generations of the Maharajahs of Travancore.

Vault B door with Cobra guardians
It was announced that a new hidden treasure vault had been discovered beyond the already documented Vault B. Adding to recent treasure findings in other vaults, researchers are estimating the total treasure could total over $1.5 trillion.

The temple has been shrouded in mystery and superstition. Two enormous Cobras are rumored to be protecting the innermost hidden chamber.
Legend holds that anyone who opens the vault will be met with certain doom.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Inside the 2015 North Carolina $4.8M gold bar heist


16 months ago, a truck that was on its way to Massachusetts to deliver gold bars worth millions, was intercepted by three armed men near Wilson, North Carolina. Now the FBI has revealed how thieves used high-tech gizmos to make off with gold.

Agents identified the alleged ringleader as Adalberto Perez, 46. He was arrested in March at his home in the Miami suburb of Opa-Locka, Florida, almost exactly a year after the March 2015 robbery in Wilson County, North Carolina. Two accomplices remain at large. It appears the case was cracked when a friend of Perez came forward. According to an FBI affidavit unsealed in federal court, the friend said Perez spent about a year preparing for the heist.

Ringleader of the heist was Adalberto Perez
Perez used a GPS tracking device under the TransValue trailer in order to track its location and he also rigged a pepper-spray device inside the cab.

The truck's cab suddenly filled with pepper spray, launched by a remote control, forcing the drivers to pull over. The two security guards working for TransValue Inc of Miami were approached by three armed men who were driving a white van behind them. The men claimed they were police officers and then tied them up.

Then they put out orange traffic cones to make the stopped truck appear innocuous, and wore reflective clothing to appear as though they belonged on the roadside. The thieves then cut off trailer's locks, quickly unloaded 275 pounds of gold and about 40 silver coins into the van, and sped off, leaving numerous drums of silver behind.

Perez sold all of the gold he kept from the robbery, and used the money to buy three homes, three Nissan vehicles and a boat. He also had some gold fashioned into jewelry, some of it featuring religious icons, according to the FBI. After the informant came forward, investigators were able to use cellphone tower records to show that a phone linked to Perez traveled north through Florida along the same I-95 route as the truck that day.

Perez remained in jail without bail on federal robbery and firearms charges. The FBI said additional suspects are being sought, and a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction still stands. The FBI distributed sketches of two other robbers based on information from witnesses. Only a single gold bar was ever recovered, but prosecutors will seek to seize property and assets of those involved.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Galloway Viking Hoard

The Galloway Hoard is a hoard of more than 100 gold and silver objects from the Viking age discovered in Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland in September 2014. The hoard has been described by experts as one of the most significant Viking hoards ever found in Scotland.
It was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast who reported the find to the authorities. A county archaeologist carried out an excavation which revealed the presence of a variety of jewellery from various parts of the Viking world. It is thought that the hoard was buried some time in the mid-ninth or tenth century.

The hoard consists of a variety of gold and silver objects including armbands, a Christian cross, brooches, ingots, and what is possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever discovered. The items among the treasure originated across a wide geographic area that includes Ireland, Scandinavia, and central Europe.
Medieval texts date the arrival of the Vikings in the British Isles to the 790s A.D., when fierce raiders appeared along the coasts, plundering rich monasteries and terrorizing local communities. During the three centuries that followed, ambitious Viking chiefs and their followers arrived to conquer and colonize territories in England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, until they and their descendants were finally defeated or assimilated.

Around the early 10th century Viking forces had suffered a serious setback in Ireland, and local Galloway folklore “referred to a Viking army being defeated by a Scots army” at a Galloway locale.
In the upper layer, the team excavated a gold, bird-shaped pin as well as 67 silver ingots and arm rings, many produced by metalworkers in Ireland. This portable silver served as ready cash in the Viking world: the elite hacked off pieces to buy cattle or other commodities, reward loyal followers, or “pay off the troops” in Viking mercenary armies.
Three inches below that trove, researchers found the Carolingian pot, a lidded metal vessel buried upside down, perhaps to keep out ground water. It turned out to be packed with treasures, many carefully swathed in leather and fine textiles. Only six of these Carolingian vessels have ever been found, and many scholars believe they were used during important ceremonies in the Catholic Church.

The hoard has some similarities with other Viking finds, but its mixture of gold, silver, glass, enamel, and textiles is unique

Sunday, 21 August 2016

1,500-year-old tomb unearthed in China contains spectacular golden jewelry

A 1,500-year-old tomb unearthed in China was found to contain spectacular golden jewelry inlaid with gemstones and amethysts.

Burials from the Northern Wei Dynasty have yielded beautiful gold earrings, but experts have said the earrings discovered in this tomb are the most exquisite to have been found.
The burial was discovered in Datong City, Shanxi Province. Datong City was founded in 200BC and located near the Great Wall Pass to Inner Mongolia. It flourished and became a resting place for camel caravans traveling from China to Mongolia.

Around the 4th and 5th centuries AD, the same era as the burial, Datong became the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty. This was the period that the famous Yungang Grottoes were constructed.