Roman shipwreck discovery in Mediterranean


This video says about itself:

Divers Discovered a Spectacular, Ancient and Important Cargo of a Shipwreck – Caesarea

16 May 2016

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists diving in the ancient harbor in the Caesarea National Park recovered beautiful statues, thousands of coins 1,600 years old and other finds from the seabed. This is the largest assemblage of marine artifacts to be recovered in the past thirty years.

From the Israel Antiquities Authority:

Divers Discovered a Spectacular, Ancient and Important Cargo of a Shipwreck

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists diving in the ancient harbor in the Caesarea National Park recovered beautiful statues, thousands of coins 1,600 years old and other finds from the seabed.

A fortuitous discovery by two divers in the ancient port of Caesarea in the Caesarea National Park before the Passover holiday led to the exposure of a large, spectacular and beautiful ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period 1,600 years ago.

As soon as they emerged from the water divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra‘anan of Ra‘anana contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority and reported the discovery and removal of several ancient items from the sea.

A joint dive at the site together with IAA archaeologists revealed that an extensive portion of the seabed had been cleared of sand and the remains of a ship were left uncovered on the sea bottom: iron anchors, remains of wooden anchors and items that were used in the construction and running of the sailing vessel. An underwater salvage survey conducted in recent weeks with the assistance of many divers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and volunteers using advanced equipment discovered numerous items that were part of the ship’s cargo.

Many of the artifacts are bronze and in an extraordinary state of preservation: a bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave, fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues, objects fashioned in the shape of animals such as a whale, a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head, etc. In addition, fragments of large jars were found that were used for carrying drinking water for the crew in the ship and for transportation at sea. One of the biggest surprises in particular was the discovery of two metallic lumps composed of thousands of coins weighing c. 20 kilograms which was in the form of the pottery vessel in which they were transported.

This discovery comes a year after the exposure of a treasure of gold Fatimid coins by divers and the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is currently on display for the public in the “Time Travel” presentations in the Caesarea harbor.

According to Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dror Planer, deputy director of the unit, “These are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance. The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks”. A preliminary study of the iron anchors suggests there was an attempt to stop the drifting vessel before it reached shore by casting anchors into the sea; however, these broke – evidence of the power of the waves and the wind which the ship was caught up in”. Sharvit and Planer stress, “A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years. Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity. When we find bronze artifacts it usually occurs at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus ‘saved’ from the recycling process”. Sharvit and Planer added, “In the many marine excavations that have been carried out in Caesarea only very small number of bronze statues have been found, whereas in the current cargo a wealth of spectacular statues were found that were in the city and were removed from it by way of sea. The sand protected the statues; consequently they are in an amazing state of preservation – as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1,600 years ago”. The coins that were discovered bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE), and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in a battle that was waged between the two rulers.

According [to] Sharvit and Planer, “The range of finds recovered from the sea reflects the large volume of trade and the status of Caesarea’s harbor during this time, which was known as period of economic and commercial stability in the wake of the stability of the Roman Empire. The crew of the shipwreck lived in a fascinating time in history that greatly influenced humanity – the period when Christianity was on its way to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. It was at this time that Emperor Constantine put a halt to the policy of persecuting Christians, and the faithful in Caesarea, as well as elsewhere in the Roman Empire, were given the legitimacy to practice their belief through the famous Edict of Milan that proclaimed Christianity was no longer a banned religion.”

Easter Island sculpture, by David Attenborough


This video from Britain says about itself:

Where Did The Easter Island Statues Come From? – #Attenborough90

7 May 2016

Sir David Attenborough looked into the history of the statues on the remote Easter Island to discover how these astonishing monuments were first created.

Pirate Captain Blackbeard’s ship discovery, videos


This video from the USA says about itself:

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Blackbeard‘s Shipwreck

10 April 2014

In this fascinating new adventure, Jonathan joins a team of underwater archaeologists who are excavating the sunken wreck of Blackbeard’s pirate ship the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” off the coast of North Carolina near Beaufort. He assists underwater and then tours the lab where artifacts are conserved for display at the museum.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Blue World Extras: Pirate Talk

13 May 2016

In these bloopers from the Blackbeard’s Shipwreck segment, Jonathan talks like a pirate!

ISIS destruction of Palmyra, Syria not total


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Raw: Drone Footage Captures Palmyra Ruins, City

27 March 2016

Russian state television footage from Palmyra on Sunday, as well as drone video obtained from the Syrian Military Media Centre, showed aerials of what remained of the ancient city after the Islamic State group (IS) was forced from the area.

From Associated Press:

By Albert Aji and Philip Issa

DAMASCUS, Syria — Mar 28, 2016, 1:25 AM ET

The recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra by Syrian government forces scores an important victory over Islamic State fighters who waged a 10-month reign of terror there and marks the first major defeat for the extremist group since an international agreement to battle terrorism in the fractured nation took effect last year.

The city known to Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert” is famous for its 2,000-year-old ruins that once drew tens of thousands of visitors each year before the Islamic State group destroyed many of the monuments.

The extent of the destruction remained unclear after government troops took the town in central Syria on Sunday. Initial footage on Syrian state TV showed widespread rubble and shattered statues. But Palmyra’s grand colonnades appeared to be in relatively good condition. …

International airstrikes have pounded IS territory, killing two top leaders in recent weeks, according to the Pentagon. Those strikes have also inflicted dozens of civilian casualties. …

IS drove government forces from Palmyra in a matter of days last May and later demolished some of its best-known monuments, including two large temples dating back more than 1,800 years and a Roman triumphal archway.

State TV showed the rubble left over from the destruction of the Temple of Bel as well as the damaged archway, the supports of which were still standing. It said a statue of Zenobia, the third century queen who ruled an independent state from Palmyra and figures strongly in Syrian lore, was missing.

Artifacts inside the city’s museum also appeared heavily damaged on state TV. A sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena was decapitated, and the museum’s basement appeared to have been dynamited, the hall littered with broken statues.

Still, state media reported that a lion statue dating back to the second century, previously thought to have been destroyed by IS militants, was found in a damaged but recoverable condition.

Extremists beheaded the archaeological site’s 81-year-old director, Riad al-Asaad, in August after he reportedly refused to divulge where authorities had hidden some of the treasures before the group swept in. IS militants view the ruins as monuments to idolatry. …

Maamoun Abdulkarim, director of the museums and antiquities department in Damascus, said Palmyra’s Great Colonnade had suffered only minor damage. “We will rebuild what you have destroyed,” he said, addressing IS.

USA: Kerry sought to ‘send a message’ to Assad via cruise missile strikes against Syrian government positions but Obama refused proposal: here.

Russia is withdrawing from Syria – and the U.S. should follow suit: here.

‘Shakespeare’s skull was stolen’


This video from England says about itself:

TRAILER: Shakespeare’s Tomb | Saturday 8pm | Channel 4

21 March 2016

William Shakespeare‘s grave has long been subject to rumour and intrigue, but has never been investigated, until now

Find out more here.

From the BBC:

Shakespeare‘s skull ‘probably stolen’ from Stratford grave

23 March 2016

A hi-tech investigation of William Shakespeare‘s grave has concluded his skull was probably stolen.

The discovery gives credence to a news report in 1879, later dismissed as fiction, that trophy hunters took the skull from his shallow grave in 1794.

A team used a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) scan to look through the grave at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford in the first archaeological probe of the site.

It allowed investigators to see below ground without disturbing the grave.

Archaeologist Kevin Colls of Staffordshire University, who carried out the project with leading geophysicist Erica Utsi, concluded: “We have Shakespeare’s burial with an odd disturbance at the head end and we have a story that suggests that at some point in history someone’s come in and taken the skull of Shakespeare.

“It’s very, very convincing to me that his skull isn’t at Holy Trinity at all.”

The investigation was carried out to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The documentary Secret History: Shakespeare’s Tomb will be shown on Channel 4 on Saturday 26 March at 20:00 BST.

The playwright’s final resting place has long been the subject of argument among historians and archaeologists, because it is too short for an adult burial.

It also carries no name, only the chilling curse: “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.”

Key findings of the investigation

Evidence of a significant repair to the head end of the grave, leading to the theory that it was needed to correct a sinking of the floor possibly caused by a previous disturbance

The repair gives new credence to a story published in The Argosy magazine in 1879 claiming Shakespeare’s skull was stolen from his shallow grave

The survey found the playwright, his wife Anne Hathaway and other relatives were not buried in a large family vault deep underground, as has long been thought, but in shallow graves beneath the church floor

Shakespeare and his wife’s graves are less than a metre deep

His grave was found to be significantly longer than his short stone – extending west towards the head end, making it the same size as the other family graves

The GPR also found no evidence of metal in the area of the grave, such as coffin nails, suggesting they were not buried in coffins but simply wrapped in winding sheets, or shrouds, and buried in soil

Investigators went to another church, St Leonard’s, in Beoley, Worcestershire, where legend has it a mysterious skull in a sealed crypt is that of Shakespeare‘s.

A forensic anthropological analysis revealed it to belong to an unknown woman who was in her 70s when she died.

Mr Colls said: “It was a great honour to be the first researcher to be given permission to undertake non-invasive archaeological investigations at the grave of William Shakespeare.

“With projects such as this, you never really know what you might find, and of course there are so many contradictory myths and legends about the tomb of the Bard.

“The amazing project team, using state-of-the-art equipment, has produced astonishing results which are much better than I dared hoped for, and these results will undoubtedly spark discussion, scholarly debate and controversial theories for years to come. Even now, thinking of the findings sends shivers down my spine.”

Queen Nefertiti discovered in Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s grave?


This video says about itself:

Hidden Chamber in King Tut’s Tomb May Contain Nefertiti

11 August 2015

A researcher claims to have found a ‘ghost’ doorway hiding beneath the plaster on the wall of the burial chamber, which he believes leads to the tomb of the ruler’s supposed mother, Queen Nefertiti.

By Rossella Lorenzi:

Hidden King Tut Rooms May Contain Metal, Organics

March 17, 2016 07:20 AM ET

The tomb of King Tutankhamun conceals two rooms that could contain metal or organic material, Egypt’s antiquities minister said Thursday.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty told a press conference that analysis of radar scans carried out by Japanese specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu revealed two hidden spaces on the north and eastern walls of the 3,300-year-old tomb.

“Furthermore, based on the GPR data, curves that might indicate doors were also detected above the cavities, which can be seen as an entrance to those cavities,” al-Damaty said.

Who Else May Be in King Tut’s Tomb?

The metal and organic material possibly revealed by the scans strongly suggest to the presence of a another burial, boostering a claim by Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist at the University of Arizona.

In July 2015 Reeves published a paper arguing that high-resolution images of the tomb’s walls show “distinct linear traces” pointing to the presence of two still unexplored chambers.

“It does look from the radar evidence as if the tomb of Tutankhamun is a corridor tomb and it continues beyond the decorated burial chamber,” Reeves said at a press conference last November.

King Tut’s Tomb May Hide Nefertiti’s Secret Grave

According to Reeves, one hidden chamber would contain the remains, and possibly the intact grave goods, of queen Nefertiti, wife of the “heretic” monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten, Tutankhamun’s father.

Reeves speculated that the tomb of King Tut was not ready when he died unexpectedly at 19 in 1323 B.C., after having ruled a short reign of nine to 10 years. Consequently, he was buried in a rush in what was originally the tomb of Nefertiti, who had died 10 years earlier.

According to al-Damaty, the hidden chambers could contain the tomb of a member of King Tut’s family. However, he did not speculate on Nefertiti.

Weird Facts About King Tut and His Mummy

New scans will be conducted later this month to reconstruct the exact size of the chambers and the best way to proceed with the investigation.

According to al-Damaty, multiple steps are planned in coming months to unveil new clues about the secrets of King Tut.

“It’s a rediscovery that might lead us to the discovery of the century,” al-Damaty said.