Saturday, 29 April 2017

Golden Pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila

The Golden Pectoral from Tovsta Mohyla is an ancient Scythian treasure discovered in a burial kurgan in 1971. The pectoral is 24 karat gold, with a diameter of 12 inches. It weighs just over 2.5 pounds. The crescent is stylistically broken down into three sections. The top section reflects Scythian daily life.
The middle section is believed to represent Scythian connection to nature. The third section is thought to represent Scythian belief in the cosmos and their mythology.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Artifacts from Rome Subway Work

Construction of the subway in Rome has resulted in scores of treasures from ancient times. A plethora of ancient Roman objects featuring amphora, marble panels, coins and peach pits have been uncovered and are on display at the Metro C archaeological exhibit. Officials are already planning to have a permanent exhibit of the excavated articles at the San Giovanni metro station.

An archaeologist checks human bones at ancient Roman ruins of former barracks. 13 skeletons were found.
The barracks were for Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian. The Praetorian Guard were elite military troops established by the 2nd century BC. They were household troops of Roman emperors and acted as bodyguards to generals.

Notable finds included a three-pronged iron pitchfork, storage baskets, leather fragments possibly from a farmhand's glove or shoe, and traces carved into stone by a waterwheel's repeated turning. Peach pits, presumably from the farm's orchard, also were found. Peaches were still a novelty, first imported from the Middle East. Ancient Romans recycled. Amphorae, the jars they favored to transport and store food, were lined up with their ends cut open to double as water conduits. Other older signs of life were carriage ruts from as long ago as the 6th century B.C.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Salem’s Lost Gallows - Proctor’s Ledge

A rocky outcrop called Proctor’s Ledge has been confirmed as the site where 19 people accused of witchcraft were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Salem witch trials were a series of prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693.
The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging. Five others (including two infants) died in prison. The episode is one of Colonial America's most notorious cases of mass hysteria.

Hundreds faced accusations of witchcraft; dozens languished in jail for months without trials.

Sometime in February of 1692, Betty Parris became strangely ill. She dashed about, dove under furniture, contorted in pain, and complained of fever. The cause of her symptoms may have been caused by a disease called "convulsive ergotism" brought on by ingesting rye infected with ergot. Convulsive ergotism causes violent fits, a crawling sensation on the skin, vomiting, choking, and hallucinations. LSD is a derivative of ergot.

Talk of witchcraft increased when other playmates of Betty began to exhibit similar unusual behavior. Everyone began to believe that the devil was real and close at hand.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Octavian and the Battle of Actium

Octavian was the son of Julius Caesar's niece. Octavian was only 20 years old when he learned of Caesar's assassination. Caesar had adopted him as his son posthumously, and Octavian returned to Italy to avenge his murder.

He leveraged his association with Caesar to gain power. In 43 BCE, he formed the Second Triumvirate with Marc Antony and Lepidus. They defeated Brutus and Cassius and divided the empire, with Octavian holding most of the West and Antony the East.
Antony grew progressively closer to Cleopatra while Octavian worked to restore Italy. In 33 BC, the Second Triumvirate ended, leaving Antony without any legal authority. Octavian then began a campaign against Antony, declaring war against Cleopatra.
Octavian’s admiral Marcus Agrippa held Antony’s fleet back in the bay of Actium in Greece. On September 2, Antony and Cleopatra managed to escape and break free, accompanied by a small squadron, leaving the rest of his men to surrender to Octavian. Antony fled to Alexandria where he and Cleopatra eventually took their own lives in August, 30 BCE after being cornered by Octavian; this marked the end of the Roman civil wars. Rome was officially transformed from a Republic to a Principate in January, 27 BCE. Octavian renounced his old name and only used “Augustus”.
Over the next 40 years, Augustus shared his authority with the Senate. It would not be until Augustus’ coinage reform in 23 BCE that the gold aureus would come into standard use. In addition to his reorganization of the state and institutions of Rome, Augustus introduced a formal system of fixed ratios between denominations of coins.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Newly discovered Egyptian carnivore hunted our ancestors 40 million years ago

A new species of long extinct carnivorous mammal from Egypt has been identified by scientists. The animal, known as Masrasector nananubis, was once near the top of the African food chain and lived in the same ecosystem that was home to our earliest monkey-like relatives. Researchers suggest that our ancient ancestors could have once been hunted by Masrasector.
Masrasector was a small mammal that ate large rodents and other mammals.
The species name, nananubis, means 'tiny Anubis,' because it resembles the jackal-headed Ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife. Masrasector nananubis was part of an extinct group called hyaenodonts. Hyaenodonts were the only meat-eating mammals in Africa for over 40 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs, lasting until around seven million years ago. The specimens were discovered in a quarry called Locality-41, one of the most fossil-rich places from the beginning of the Age of Mammals in Africa.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Secret Crypt found in U.K. - Exploding Bishops

A forgotten crypt has been uncovered in an ancient church in London. Inside are the remains of some of England’s most influential churchmen. They will remain undisturbed for now — being sealed in a lead coffin can have explosive consequences.

The tomb was accidentally uncovered by workmen refurbishing the Garden Museum in a neighborhood of London. The Garden Museum is located in the deconsecrated St. Mary-at-Lambeth Church, which dates back to 1062
The tomb appears to be 400 or 500 years old. At least five of the 30 coffins contain the remains of former archbishops of Canterbury — the most senior clergyman in the Episcopal Church of England.
Clergymen have been identified by plates affixed to the coffins. They include Richard Bancroft, who was England’s No. 1 churchman from 1604 to 1610. He played a major role in producing the King James Bible.

A corpse in a coffin that’s undisturbed for 400 or so years would turn most of us into dust. But some turn into so-called ‘coffin liquor.’

When the tightly sealed coffin lets the anaerobic bacteria win the day, some coffins will be one third full of a viscous black liquid. These contents can burst out violently when the seal is broken.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Record Prices at Ancient Coins Event

Claudius II, the “Roman Savior”, is the emperor who led the revival of the Roman Empire during the great struggle of the third century. Claudius was hailed as a hero of the nation for his success in battle but he died just two years into his reign. Coins bearing his likeness are rare. The coin, graded NGC MS 5/5 – 3/5, sold for $94,000.
The 1684 Charles II Gold 5 Guineas is in Mint State. Graded MS61 by PCGS, one of just two Mint State pieces known, $82,250.

A 1831 William IV Proof Crown, graded PR64 Cameo by NGC. It brought $51,700.
Bavaria: 1640 Maximillian I Gold 5 Ducat, MS64 NGC – realized $49,350.

Japan – 1870 Meiji Year 3 Gold 20 Yen, AU55 NGC – $41,125.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Coins of the Jewish War

Rome terminated the rule of its Jewish client dynasty, the Herodians, in 6 CE, establishing Judaea as a province governed by an appointed praefectus (until 41 CE) or procurator (44 – 132 CE). The most famous of these was Pontius Pilate (26 – 36 CE)

Gessius Florus (64 – 66), appointed by Nero and one of the worst procuratores, did much to provoke a revolt known as the Jewish War.

The “prototype” shekel of the first year of the revolt is one of the great rarities of Jewish coinage – only three are known.
In the Autumn of 66, Florus seized 17 talents from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem, claiming it was due for back taxes. That would be 969 pounds of nearly pure silver. This provoked a riot in the city, which was suppressed with Roman brutality. Florus fled to the coast, and the rebels besieged his troops in the Antonia fortress, the citadel of the city. One of the first acts of the rebels was to assert their independence by issuing silver coins.

Jewish War. 66-70 AD. Shekel, 14.08g. Year 5
Year 1 shekels are scarce; Years 2 and 3 are more common; Year 4 is very rare; and Year 5 is extremely rare, with only about 25 examples known. The supply of silver for fractional coinage may have run short during the long siege of Jerusalem. Bronze emergency coinage was issued in denominations of half, quarter and eighth shekel.
Vespasian. Æ Sestertius, AD 69-79. 'Judaea Capta' type
On August 3, 70 CE, the Romans breached the last defenses of Jerusalem, massacred the starving rebels and destroyed the Temple. Defeat of the Jewish revolt gave Rome an opportunity for massive looting and enormous profits from the sale of slaves. The spoils of Jerusalem funded construction of the Roman Colosseum. The Romans commemorated their victory with extensive coin issues proclaiming IUDAEA CAPTA (“Judaea Captured”).

Coins of the Jewish War have been in high demand with collectors for centuries and there are many fakes, ranging from cheap trinkets to highly deceptive professional forgeries.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Gold Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos

The Gold Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos is the largest known hoard of early medieval gold vessels. The Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos was discovered accidentally in the Banat region of the Habsburg Empire in 1799. Its total weight is about 10 kg. It is remarkable for its quality and precision of craftsmanship.
Studies over the last few decades have revealed that the treasure was gathered over a long period of time, from the late 7th to the late 8th century AD, and seem to confirm its links to the Avar culture.