Category Archives: EUROPE

Tourist Damages A Valuable Italian Sculpture And Just Walks Away

Tourist Damages A Valuable Italian Sculpture And Just Walks Away

The Austrian 50-year-old man who broke three toes of a statue in the 19th century while posing for a picture has been identified by the Italian police.

On July 31 in the Hipsoteca Museum in Possagno Northern Italy, the 200-year-old plaster cast model of Antonio Canova’s statue of Paolina Bonaparte was damaged.

The tourist’s name has not been released yet, but surveillance camera footage shows him laying on the statue to pose for a photo. When the man stands up to walk away, it appears he gets rid of the damages, or toes, and walks away.

Antonio Canova self portrait, 1790.

Canova carved the now damaged piece of art from a marble statue that is currently housed in the Borghese Gallery in Rome. The sculptor lived from 1757-1822 and was famous for his marble statues.

Police report the man was with a group of eight Austrian tourists but strayed away from his friends to get a photo of himself “sprawled over the statue.”

Investigators say there could be further damage to the base of the sculpture that the museum experts still have to ascertain, but as of now, only three broken toes from the statue’s right foot are notably damaged.

President of the Antonio Canova Foundation, Vittorio Sgarbi, wrote in a Facebook post that he has asked police for “clarity and rigor.” He wrote that the tourist must not “remain unpunished and return to his homeland. The scarring of a Canova is unacceptable.”

The museum posted about the incident on Facebook, explaining that the room guard noticed the damage and declared an emergency situation immediately.

Image of the damaged Italian sculpture model from the Carabinieri police.

The man responsible for the damage was identified because of coronavirus measures, which required visitors to leave their personal information for eventual contact tracing if an outbreak were tied to the museum.

When police reached out to a woman who signed in on behalf of herself and her husband, the woman burst into tears and admitted her husband was the toe breaker, according to a press release from Treviso Carabinieri.

The husband later confessed and repented for the “stupid move,” as stated in the release. Charges have not been pressed. A court in Treviso is still deciding on legal actions.

This toe-breaker is not the first person to damage a valuable piece of artwork in an attempt to get a selfie. In 2018, a woman knocked over and damaged two artworks in an attempt to get a selfie, one by Francisco Goya and the other by Salvador Dali, at a gallery in Russia.

The Museum recently affected by the Austrian tourist concluded the Facebook post on the matter with the following statement.

“We reiterate that our heritage must be protected: adopting responsible behavior within the Museum while respecting the works and goods preserved in it is not only a civic duty, but a sign of respect for what our history and culture testify and that must be proudly handed down to future generations.”

The thankfully intact marble sculpture of Paolina Bonaparte Borghese as ‘Venus Victrix’ by Antonio Canova, in the Galleria Borghese, Rome.

Archaeologists unearth third-century’ human mountains’

Archaeologists unearth third-century’ human mountains’

It was discovered near Rome when archaeologists found the remains of a man who was considered a giant when he died in the third century A.D.

It’s an unbelievably rare find – because today gigantism affects three in a million people worldwide. The condition begins in childhood when a malfunctioning pituitary gland causes abnormal growth.

Two partial skeletons, one from Poland and another from Egypt, had previously been identified as “probable” cases of gigantism, but the Roman specimen is thought to be the first clear case from the ancient past, study leader Simona Minozzi, a paleopathologist at Italy’s University of Pisa said.

The figure stood at about 6ft 8 inches, classed as a giant in third century A.D when the average height for a man was 5ft 5 inches.

The unusual skeleton was found in 1991 during an excavation at a necropolis in Fidenae (map), a territory indirectly managed by Rome.

At the time, the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome, which led the project, noted that the man’s tomb was abnormally long. It was only during a later anthropological examination, though, that the bones too were found to be unusual. Shortly thereafter, they were sent to Minozzi’s group for further analysis.

The researchers found a ‘human mountain’
The figure has gigantism according to the study

To find out if the skeleton had gigantism, the team examined the bones and found evidence of skull damage consistent with a pituitary tumor, which disrupts the pituitary gland, causing it to overproduce human growth hormone.

Other findings — such as disproportionately long limbs and evidence that the bones were still growing even in early adulthood — support the gigantism diagnosis, according to the study, published on October 2 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

His early demise — likely between the age of 16 and 20 — might also point to gigantism, which is associated with cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems, said Minozzi, who emphasized that the cause of death remains unknown.

A statue of Maximinus Thrax

Charlotte Roberts, an archaeologist at Durham University, said she was “certainly convinced with the diagnosis” of gigantism in 2012, but that she’d like to know more.

She said: “You can’t just study the disease, you have to look at the wider impact of how people functioned in society, and whether they were treated any differently.”

She added that one thing researchers do know is that the second century A.D. emperor Maximinus Thrax was described in the literature as a “human mountain.”

Archaeologists have found other remains that could have been giants

Minozzi noted, though, that imperial Roman high society “developed a pronounced taste for entertainers with evident physical malformations, such as hunchbacks and dwarfs — so we can assume that even a giant generated enough interest and curiosity”.

Roberts also highlighted how the find has been useful in learning about gigantism.

She said: “Normally a doctor will be looking at a patient with a disease over short term span.

“We’ve been able to look at skeletons from archaeological sites that are thousands of years old. You can start to look at trends of how diseases have changed in frequency over time.”

Ancient superhighways: 12,000-year-old massive underground tunnels from Scotland to turkey

Ancient superhighways: 12,000-year-old massive underground tunnels from Scotland to turkey

This 12,000-year-old massive underground network is very impressive. Some experts believe the network was a way of protecting man from predators.

Others suggest the linked tunnels were used as an ancient underground superhighway for people to travel safely regardless of wars, violence, or even weather above ground.

Since at least 2011, web sites dedicated to spreading rumors about spirits and the underworld have been claiming that a connected “network” of tunnels dating back to the Stone Age and stretching across Europe from Scotland to Turkey has been discovered.

They could be described as a kind of ancient underground superhighway. Others think the tunnels can be seen as a gateway to the underworld.

German archaeologist Dr. Heinrich Kusch said evidence of the tunnels has been found under hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over the continent. In his book – Secrets Of The Underground Door To An Ancient World (German title: Tore zur Unterwelt) – he says that the fact so many have survived after 12,000 years shows that the original tunnel network must have been enormous.

“In Bavaria in Germany alone we have found 700metres of these underground tunnel networks. In Styria in Austria we have found 350metres,” he said.

Evidence of Stone Age tunnels has been found under hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over Europe – the fact that so many have survived after 12,000 years shows the original tunnel network must have been huge

“Across Europe, there were thousands of them – from the north in Scotland down to the Mediterranean.

Most are not much larger than big wormholes – just 70cm wide – just wide enough for a person to wriggle along but nothing else.

They are interspersed with nooks, at some places it’s larger and there is seating, or storage chambers and rooms. They do not all link up but taken together it is a massive underground network.”

Not for the claustrophobic: Most of the tunnels are just 70cm wide – just wide enough for a person to slowly wriggle through

In his book, he book notes that chapels were often built by the entrances perhaps because the Church was afraid of the heathen legacy the tunnels might have represented and wanted to negate their influence.

Similar underground tunnels exist on other continents. Throughout all the Americas there are a number of legends of the secret of subterranean passages stretching for miles.

Were these tunnels made by giants or did perhaps our ancestors for some reason seek protection underground?

Many of these ancient legends tell of a great catastrophe that occurred in ancient times. Several myths and legends also relate to how the first human beings emerged from underground caves, tunnels, and even cities.

Neolithic “Woodhenge” Discovered in Portugal

Neolithic “Woodhenge” Discovered in Portugal

The 4,500-year-old ring of large ‘ shafts ‘ has been uncovered by archaeologists in the great Durrington Walls and the famous site at Woodhenge, just a few kilometers from Stonehenge, in southern Britain.

The newly-discovered circle is over 2 km in diameter and has been carbon-dated to 2500 BC.

The archaeologists identified up to 20 shafts — which are up to 10 m across and at least 5 m deep — but estimate there may have been more than 30 originally.

The 2-km-wide ring of shafts around the great henge at Durrington Walls and the famous site at Woodhenge.

“The size of the shafts and circuit surrounding Durrington Walls is without precedent within the UK,” said Professor Vince Gaffney, a researcher in the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences at the University of Bradford.

“It demonstrates the significance of Durrington Walls Henge, the complexity of the monumental structures within the Stonehenge landscape, and the capacity and desire of Neolithic communities to record their cosmological belief systems in ways, and at a scale, that we had never previously anticipated.”

The scientists think the ring of shafts marks a boundary around the massive henge at Durrington. The features, along with an internal post line, could have guided people towards the religious sites and warned others not to cross the boundary.

“It was extraordinary such a major find had been made so close to Stonehenge,” Professor Gaffney said.

“It is amazing that our seamless survey of the Stonehenge landscape, which apply the latest technology and extends over kilometers of the countryside, has revealed major new features including these huge shafts,” said Professor Wolfgang Neubauer, an archaeologist in the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and the Virtual Archaeology/VIAS-Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science at the University of Vienna.

“They are not only clearly visible in the geophysical data sets, but the survey also provides the opportunity to place these features within a wider context comprising the many monuments associated with Stonehenge including the super-henge at Durrington Walls, just 3 km north-east from the iconic stone circle.”

“The Stonehenge landscape stands apart, not only as one of the most important archaeological landscapes in the world but also amongst the best studied,” said Dr. Eamonn Baldwin, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham.

“To make such a major discovery within such an area is remarkable, and a testament to how archaeologists have begun to integrate technology with traditional research methods including excavation and aerial photographic survey.”

“After centuries of study of the Stonehenge landscape, the discovery of such an incredible new monument is testament to the value of interdisciplinary research,” said Professor Henry Chapman, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham.

“Our understanding of this outstanding place has been transformed in recent years, and the identification of such a significant and extensive new site highlights that there is always something more to discover.”

“We’re tremendously excited at the prospect of applying ancient sedimentary DNA technology to these mysterious structures to discover their purpose in ancient Britain,” said Professor Robin Allaby, a researcher at the University of Warwick.

70 million – year – old Underground village And Magnificent Eben-ezer tower In Belgium

Mysterious 70-Million-Year-Old Underground Village And Magnificent Tower Of Eben-Ezer In Belgium

The Tower of Eben-Ezer is a 33-meter high tower built single-handedly out of flint by a man who worked on it for over ten years to display his artistic, paleontological, and theological discoveries.

The magnificent tower of Eben-Ezer in Belgium.

Who built it?

Some of these mysterious subterranean worlds are famous and examined by archaeologists. Others are virtually unheard of and can never be investigated because they were destroyed.

One intriguing place is the fascinating underground village of Thébah in Belgium. It is said to be 70- million-year-old!

The skull of a Mosasaurus discovered by Garcet

The discovery of the underground village took place when Robert Garcet (1912 –2001) decided to build a fantastic tower in the village of Eben-Emael, in the province of Henegouwen, Belgium.

Robert Garcet (1912-2001), who was born in Mons, Belgium. When he was 18 he moved to this area north of Liège, where he worked as a labourer in the local quarry. He was very interested in geology, nature, the history of mankind and the Bible, wrote a lot of books, and developed his own vision of the creation of man.

He was also a pacifist, and in 1947 began to draw up plans to construct a big tower as a symbol of peace. He started construction in 1953 and, with the occasional help of friends, completed it 15 years later.

What does it represent?

It’s difficult to say. Apparently, all aspects of the tower have a deep meaning. Its dimensions are in proportion to the Heavenly Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible in the Revelation of John. It gets its name from the Biblical account of the place Samuel erected a stone to symbolize peace. It has seven floors reflecting the sacred number of seven.

On the corners at the top of the tower, four sculptures are displayed representing characters of the book of Revelation: bull, lion, eagle and angel.

What’s it like inside?

The inside is as extraordinary as the outside. It’s full of artwork, sculptures and murals, as well as displays of geological discoveries, artefacts and fossils. Part of it is also devoted to a Museum of Flint, which gives you a tour of the history and use of flint over the ages.

You certainly won’t be bored at the Tower of Eben-Ezer. There’s an abundance of things to see, admire, wonder at, and ponder over. Sometimes you’ll be amazed; at other times you’ll just get totally mystified.

A wealth of information is available during your tour of the tower. This includes a bulky A4 binder with pages and pages of descriptions and details of everything you can see and the explanations behind all the displays and symbology. In addition, in many of the rooms computers are set up that you can click and navigate through multiple screens of information.

However, all the information is in Dutch or French. And there’s so much information that even with a good understanding of Dutch I simply couldn’t take it all in. Actually I would have needed hours to go through it all, said Robert Garcet.

The Tower of Eben-Ezer was featured in Channel 4’s 1998 series “Journeys into the Outside”, in which Jarvis Cocker (British musician and artist, famous for fronting the band Pulp) travels the globe in search of large-scale visionary environments.

The relevant clip starts at 11:07 and lasts for nearly 8 minutes.

What is interesting is that it includes an interview with Robert Garcet three years before his death, during which he calls Jarvis Cocker an imbecile! It’s also clear that Cocker himself struggles to understand what the tower is all about, and can’t quite get to grips with Garcet’s beliefs.

The following are pictures from a video documentary and book by Markus May, called Die Steine der Apokalypse, Robert Garcet und die Legende vom Feuerstein. What you can see in those pictures are small portions that remained after the flint company destroyed the village. 

World’s Oldest Toy Car – Could This 5,000-Year-Old Discovery Be The Earliest Evidence Of The Wheel?

World’s Oldest Toy Car – Could This 5,000-Year-Old Discovery Be The Earliest Evidence Of The Wheel?

Many gearheads grew up playing with toy cars. Loyalties to Hot Wheels or Matchbox were as divisive as those between Ford and Chevy are today.

But kids have been fascinated by wheels since long before these companies—or even the car itself—existed.

An archeological dig in Turkey has revealed that our fascination with toy wheels goes back at least 5,000 years, reports the International Business Times.

A toy chariot dating back 5,000 years – which archaeologists believe may be the world’s oldest ‘toy car’ – has been discovered in Turkey. 

The little chair on wheels, made from earthenware, was found during an excavation of the ancient city of Sogmatar, in the south-east of the country.

Sogmatar is believed to have been the home of Moses when he had run away from the Pharaoh. 

A toy chariot dating back 5,000 years – which archaeologists believe may be the world’s oldest ‘toy car’ – has been discovered in Turkey
The little chair on wheels, made from earthenware, was found during an excavation of the ancient city of Sogmatar, in the south-east of the country
The digs have uncovered a number of tombs, including the ones the toys were found, which had provided a fascinating insight into how ancient civilizations lived

Digs in the city have uncovered a number of tombs, including the child’s grave the mini-chariot was found, which have provided a fascinating insight into how ancient civilizations lived. 

In total, 45 tombs have been opened, including three that have remained untouched since the Roman era. 

A 4,000-year-old baby’s rattle dug up in the city of Kultepe in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri in 2014 was at that time hailed as the world’s oldest toy. 

Sogmatar Excavation Head and Sanliurfa Museum Manager Celal Uludag said that Sogmatar was one of the most important excavations in the area.

He added: ‘The excavation in this area continues with the permission of the ministry. In the necropolis part, in a tomb room, we found a toy carriage which belongs to the Bronze Age and believed to have been made for the children of kings or the leaders.

‘This finding is very important for us as shows the aesthetic and cultural understanding of the period. 

‘The item will be exhibited in the biggest museum complex of Turkey, the Sanliurfa Archaeology Museum. We believe that we are going to find even more important things in the excavation.’ 

Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Intact Ligaments Found in Siberian Lake

Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Intact Ligaments Found in Siberian Lake

The Siberian landscape is known to be a rich resource for prehistoric fossils and just recently a group of reindeer shepherds made a stunning discovery: the well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth.

The carcass was so intact, in fact, that it still had some of its pelt and ligaments attached to it. Researchers are hopeful that they may even find bits of its brain still in its skull.

According to the Associated Press, local reindeer herders stumbled upon the specimen in the shallow end of the Pechevalavato Lake located in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region on June 22, 2020. The remains included a skull, several ribs, the lower jaw, and a foot fragment with sinews still intact.

Scientists have yet to analyze the fossils, but they believe them to be at least 10,000 years old.

Locals quickly alerted researchers, who have since been working together with residents to uncover the rest of the remains likely submerged under the lake’s surface. But it’s also likely that the endeavor will take a considerable amount of time to complete.

Researchers are optimistic, however, as Dmitry Frolov, director of the Arctic Research Center told The Siberian Times, “The whole skeleton is there.”

He added that judging by the size of the fossils, this mammoth was likely young, but only further analysis will reveal just how old it really was.

Woolly mammoths roamed our planet during the Pleistocene era, which lasted somewhere between 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago. According to scientists, mammoth populations spread across the globe, but most of their fossils in recent years have been uncovered in Siberia and Mexico.

Woolly mammoths in Russia are believed to have largely disappeared about 15,000 years ago, while another population on St. Paul Island is believed to have vanished only 4,300 years ago.

The bones of what is believed to be a teenage woolly mammoth with soft tissues intact found on the Yamal peninsula.

According to Yevgeniya Khozyainova, a researcher from the Shemanovsky Institute in Salekhard, finding the complete skeleton of a mammoth is quite rare.

However, several other well-preserved mammoth carcasses have been uncovered in the permafrost of northern Siberia recently as a heatwave which has been ripping through the territory over the summer thaws the thick ice. Archaeologists believe this phenomenon will only continue to reveal more prehistoric specimens.

A similar discovery was made on the other side of the world in May 2020, when the remains of 60 individual mammoths were retrieved from a construction site right outside of Mexico City, Mexico. Some 15,000 years ago that site had been the location of an ancient lake known as Xaltocan, where giant mammoths and other beasts of the time would have congregated.

The skull of the mammoth found in Pechevalavato Lake.

Experts suspect that the mammoths in the ancient lake in Mexico died after they became trapped in the surrounding mud and it’s likely that early human hunters capitalized on their misfortune. It took six months for a team of researchers to dig out the remains and work on the site continues today.

The frozen tundra of the Siberian permafrost, however, has been famously known to produce unbelievably well-preserved specimens from prehistoric times. For instance, scientists were even able to analyze the DNA of a 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth specimen that was found incredibly well-preserved in the permafrost in 2011. The analysis showed that the DNA was still alive and active.

Researchers hope to find more of the skeleton.

“Until now many studies have focused on analyzing fossil DNA and not whether they still function,” said study author Kei Miyamoto from the Department of Genetic Engineering at Kindai University. “This suggests that, despite the years that have passed, cell activity can still happen and parts of it can be recreated.”

That 2011 study has led to highly-publicized discussions about possibly cloning the woolly mammoth back to life from these active DNA strains. However, further studies on this continue.

Until then, we’ll just have to settle for the shock and awe of uncovering these prehistoric creatures little by little.

Evidence of Medieval Battle Discovered in Polish Forest

Evidence of Medieval Battle Discovered in Polish Forest

In a forest in Sanok, hundreds of arrowheads and crossbow bolts from a major battle with King Casimir the Great in the 14th century were found.

Archaeologists unearthed the huge find during an investigation to find out why the area was being plagued by illegal treasure hunters.

Biała Góra archeologists say they believe that they now locate Casimir’s Great campaign battleground in Red Ruthenia (formerly part of southeastern Poland and Ukraine).

Archeologists who were wondering why so many illegal treasure hunters flocked to a peak in Słonne Mountains and part of Sanok’s Wójtostwo district, decided to investigate

The hundreds of arrowheads and crossbow bolts come from the 14th century.

Already well-known for being the site of a medieval settlement, the last time it had been officially researched was 50 years ago.

Dr. Piotr Kotowicz from the Sanok Historical Museum told PAP: “We decided to use the same research method and invited the Galicia Historical and Exploratory Association’s representatives to work with us.

“The results of the research exceeded our wildest expectations. During several seasons, in the area around the fortified settlement, we found more than 200 arrowheads and bolts.”

It is still unclear who fought whom and why, but the archaeologists believe that the objects may be a sign of a 14th century battle between Polish and Ruthenian forces.

According to chronicles, in 1340 Casimir the Great with an army of 20,000 conquered several fortified settlements in the area. Kotowicz is convinced, that the latest findings in Sanok can be linked to that particular military campaign.

Shortly afterward, between 1340 and 1344, Red Ruthenia was incorporated into Poland permanently after the death of duke Bolesław – Jerzy II.

Dr. Kotowicz said: “It seems that the caves and bolts we discovered are a testimony of fights between Ruthenians and Poles.

“The analysis of the caves’ spread shows that most of them were concentrated in the stronghold’s area and right next to it.

“We also searched the area around it for ‘response’ to the attack. However, we did not find too many caves with weapons.

“This means that the defenders were dominated by the invaders and their response to the attack was minimal.”

The fortified settlement on Biała Góra was rather small, surrounded by one line of fortifications and dry moat. According to the recent findings, it was heavily damaged during the battle. The arrowheads and bolts weren’t the only surprises that awaited Dr. Kotowicz’s team.

In the area around the fortified settlement the archaeologists found more than 200 arrowheads and bolts.
In the area around the fortified settlement the archaeologists found more than 200 arrowheads and bolts.

A nearby patch of flattened land hid numerous artifacts of older origins – even from the 9th or 10th centuries. Among them is the first Arabic coin from the Middle Ages, dirham, found in Sanok.

Dr. Kotowicz believes that these are the remains of an industrial settlement, as evidenced by numerous cinders – iron ore was probably melted there.