Category Archives: EUROPE

Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future?

Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future?

The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time, and a select few carried the ultimate weapon: a sword nearly 1,000 years ahead of its time.

A mystery sword made by the Vikings and engraved with the word Ulfberht has stumped archaeologists.

The sword is forged in such a way that it looks to have been made by technologies that weren’t available until 800 years after the Viking era.

Around 170 of the swords have been found, all of which date from between 800AD to 1000AD, but the technology that would have forged them is from the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s and 1900s.

A television program has looked into the mystery in more detail called, ‘Secrets of the Viking Sword’. Its researchers say that to forge the iron which the swords are made of, the ore needs to be heated to around 3000 degrees (F).

The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time, and a select few carried the ultimate weapon: a sword nearly 1,000 years ahead of its time.

It then liquefies and the impurities are removed. It is then mixed with carbon to strengthen the iron.

However medieval technologies, which are what the Vikings would have been using, would not have been able to heat any metal or substance that high a temperature.

In those days, the impurities would have been removed by hammering them out of the iron.

In contradiction to this, the Ulfberht contains almost no impurities at all and it has thrice the amount of carbon in it than any other metals that are known to have existed at the time. The metal the swords are made of is known as crucible steel.

Fashioned using a process unknown to the Vikings’ rivals, the Ulfberht sword was a revolutionary high-tech blade as well as a work of art.

Furnaces that could heat metals and substances to extremely high temperatures what not invented until the industrial revolution when the tools for the heating iron to these temperatures were also developed.

A blacksmith has consulted with the television program’s researchers and has said that to make a sword like the Ulfberht Is highly complex and difficult.

The blacksmith is the only person who has the skills and tools available to try to reproduce the metal of the Ulfberht.

He believes that whoever made the sword during the Viking era would have surely been thought to possess magic powers since the metal was and still is so special and unique.

Produced between 800 to 1000 AD, the Ulfberht offered unique advantages as a weapon. Its combination of strength, lightness.

The sword bends but doesn’t break, it stays razor-sharp and is very lightweight, and so to soldiers, it would have been thought of as almost supernatural.

The blacksmith spent many days working to try to recreate the Ulfberht using medieval technology and finally did produce a similar metal with great skill and hard work. It’s rumoured that his hard work has inspired many others to become a blacksmith and produce a sword of similar quality. Of course, nowadays, it’s easy for someone to get ahold of the best beginner blacksmith kit, whereas in previous years it may not have been that easy.

Researchers now believe it is possible that the knowledge to make the swords originated in the Middle East and that trade routes between there and Europe would have spread the knowledge and technologies.

When those trade routes eventually closed, due to lack of use, so too did the Ulfberht ceased to continue being made.

Viking Sex Slaves, Behind The Founding Of Iceland

Viking Sex Slaves – The Dirty Secret Behind The Founding Of Iceland

Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.
Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.

Iceland has become among millennials a famous tourist destination with its incredible landscape, friendly people, and cheap flights.

Although, if any found themselves in Reykjavik and took a trip to the National Museum of Iceland, they might find a display there with an interesting statistic. In fact, it’s a statistic with some dark implications for Iceland’s past.

After analyzing the DNA of modern Icelanders, scientists have been able to come up with a fairly accurate idea of what the founding population of the country looked like.

Around 80% of Icelandic men were Norse, hailing from Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Of course, as a colony founded by Norse settlers, that’s to be expected.

But based on the mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed down in the female line, we know that over half of the female settlers were Celtic, meaning they came from Ireland, Scotland, and the northwestern islands of Britain. So essentially, the founders of Iceland were a strange combination of Norse men and Celtic women.

At first glance, that fact is just an interesting bit of genealogy. But it quickly grows more disturbing the more you think about it. After all, the people who settled Iceland were also the same people who produced the infamous Vikings.

However, as most people know, the Vikings had a habit of carrying off slaves. Given the genetics of Iceland and the nature of the people who settled it, it’s possible that a large percentage of the first women in Iceland were taken there as slaves.

Slavery played a much larger part in Norse society than most people are aware of. Slaves, or “thralls” as they were called, were present in most Norse communities, with many being taken in Viking raids across Europe. While the warriors spent most of their time fighting or drinking, it was up to slaves to do a great deal of the work around the village.

In fact, it was a serious insult to a Viking to say that he had to milk his own cows. That was considered work for slaves and women, and with so many around, no free-born Norseman needed to milk any cows.

The lives of slaves were often quite brutal. Slaves were regularly subjected to violence, both as punishment and for religious reasons. When their masters died, slaves were often murdered so that they could serve them in death as they had in life.

A depiction of Viking raiders.

Above all, Vikings prized young female slaves. These girls taken in raids could expect to be raped regularly while being pressed into a life of domestic servitude. The desire for women might even explain a lot about why Vikings began to raid Britain in the 9th century.

Some scholars have suggested that early Norse society was polygamous, and powerful chiefs married multiple wives, leaving none for other men.

According to this theory, Vikings first took to the seas to find women because there were few available in Scandinavia.

This theory could also explain why Vikings leaving to settle Iceland would have looked to Britain as a source of women.

There simply weren’t enough available women in Scandinavia to help settle the island. If this is the case, then the settling of Iceland involved Norse raiders making stops in Britain on the way, killing the men, and carrying off the women.

Once on the island, it’s harder to say what these women’s lives might have been like. Some historians have suggested that though they started out as slaves, the Norsemen in Iceland eventually took the women as wives. If so, then they may have treated them with a basic level of respect. Norse culture placed a heavy emphasis on maintaining a happy household with a spouse.

Others have suggested that these women may have willingly gone to Iceland with Norsemen who settled in their communities. But the Vikings were never shy about taking slaves, and there certainly were slaves in Iceland.

The most likely explanation is that there were Celts who volunteered to go to Iceland as well as Celtic women who were taken there as slaves. That means that, on some level, sexual slavery played a significant role in the settlement of Iceland.

This 48-Million-Year-Old Fossil Has an Insect Inside a Lizard Inside a Snake

Fossil of a beetle inside a lizard inside a snake – an ancient food chain

Paleontologists have uncovered a fossil that has preserved an insect inside a lizard inside a snake – a prehistoric battle of the food chain that ended in a volcanic lake some 48 million years ago.

Pulled from an abandoned quarry in southwest Germany called the Messel Pit, the fossil is only the second of its kind ever found, with the remains of three animals sitting snug in one another.

Earlier excavations have revealed the fossilized stomach contents of a prehistoric horse, whose last meal was grapes and leaves, and pollen grains were identified inside a fossilized bird. Remains of insects have also been detected in a sample of fish excrement.

Grube Messel

We have been lucky to glimpse such a primordial food chain of the snake, that ate a lizard, that had previously treated itself to a beetle, and ended up in a volcanic lake of the time. It is uncertain how the snake died.

Perhaps the snake’s body fell dead close to the shores of the lake before the waters claimed it. It had died there not more than 48 hours after its “last supper,” scientists say.

“It’s probably the kind of fossil that I will go the rest of my professional life without ever encountering again, such is the rarity of these things.” Such are the words of Dr. Krister Smith, a paleontologist at the Senkenberg Institute in Germany who took charge of the fossil analysis.

According to Dr. Smith, the almost entirely preserved snake was recovered from a plate found in the pit back in 2009, and the discovery soon turned out to be groundbreaking. Smith remarks, “we had never found a tripartite food chain–this is a first for Messel.”

Dr. Smith and Argentine paleontologist Dr. Agustín Scanferla used high-resolution computer imaging to identify the taxonomy of the snake and the lizard, however, they were unable to name the beetle, the least preserved of the three.

Palaeopython fischeri, exhibited in Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The snake, measuring some 3.4 feet in length, was identified as Palaeophython fischeri, a species which belongs to a group of tree-dwelling snakes that was able to grow to more than 6.5 feet in length and is related to today’s boas.

The preserved sample from Germany was only a juvenile, an assurance being not only the shorter length but also its food choice, the lizard. Adult boas are known to opt for bigger animals.

The lizard would have measured nearly eight inches and a clear hint for paleontologists that it was inside the snake’s body was that the snake’s ribs overlapped it.

It is an example of the now extinct species Geiseltaliellus maarius, a type of iguanian lizard that inhabited the region of what is now Germany, France, and Belgium. Messel has been the site that has provided some of the best-preserved samples of this lizard species.

What’s also interesting is that, even though lizards are known for shedding their tails when under threat, this one has kept it despite falling prey to the snake.

“Since the stomach contents are digested relatively fast and the lizard shows an excellent level of preservation, we assume that the snake died no more than one to two days after consuming its prey and then sank to the bottom of the Messel Lake, where it was preserved,” explained Dr. Smith.

Fossil of Palaeopython in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien

This is a rare type of fossil, but it’s not the first instance in which a fossil has simultaneously exposed three levels of an ancient food chain. According to National Geographic, in 2008, a fossil dated at more than 250 millions of years old depicted a shark that had devoured an amphibian that had previously consumed a spiny-finned fish.

Both these findings are precious as they reveal significant details on how food chains functioned. In the case of the snake fossil, it is interesting that the lizard had eaten a beetle.

Before that, scientists didn’t know that the Messel lizard liked to dine on insects, as in previous digs they had been able to identify only remains of plants in fossilized lizard bellies. In the case of the shark, it was revealed that amphibians consumed fish before becoming a menu item to the fish itself.

The “Oldest Gold Of Mankind” was found in the Varna Necropolis

The “Oldest Gold Of Mankind” was found in the Varna Necropolis, on The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast

In 1972, an excavator operator working in the industrial zone of the city Varna will stumble upon something that will turn out to be a very significant historical site. The Varna Necropolis has discovered approximately half a kilometer from Lake Varna and 4 km from the city center. It is estimated that it was made sometime between 4,600 BC to 4,200 BC.

Around 300 graves have been found at this burial site, but the most significant is grave 43. It contained the remains of a high-status person and it was covered with treasures. This single grave contained more gold than all of the other archeological sites from that period put together.

We constantly speak about early, ancient, civilizations like the ones that thrived in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley, that shaped humanity as we know today. But not a lot of people know about the mysterious people that lived on the shores of the Back Sea in modern-day Bulgaria 7,000 years ago. Archeologists call this civilization the Varna Culture.

The Varna Culture was considered small and insignificant for a long time until it was proven that this was a highly developed culture that preexisted Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. The discoveries made in the Varna Necropolis also showed that it was that first known culture that produced artifacts made of gold. This site is the largest prehistoric necropolis in south-eastern Europe.

According to the evidence, gold processing in the Varna region started between 4600 and 4200 BC. The ore processing technology was constantly developing here, and soon, the craftsmen became very skilled in manufacturing copper and gold items. They had the perfect products for trade.

Varna people were perfectly situated between the east and the western world. One one side they had the Black Sea and the opportunity to trade with their neighbors that lived around it and beyond, and on the other side, the road was opened for trade with the whole Mediterranean region. Because of this Varna became an important trading center.

They were able to accumulate great wealth (especially the craftsmen that worked with gold and copper) and develop a nice society mostly consisted of Metallurgists, merchants, and farmers, kind of a class system. This was the basis upon which a powerful and influential culture emerged, one that would spread across Europe for thousands of years.

Before 1972, the only artifacts found from the time of the Varna Culture were tools, vessels, utensils, and figurines made from stone, flint, bone, and claystone made. But, after archeologists Mihail Lazarov and Ivan Ivanov revealed the Varna Necropolis to the world, this amazing civilization was viewed from a different perspective.

These are probably the oldest gold artifacts in the world.

Inside the 300 graves of the necropolis, archeologists unearthed more than 22,000 unique artifacts. This huge list of items contains more than 3,000 golden artifacts, that is 6 kilograms of pure gold. Besides this, there were also plenty of high-quality copper, flint and stone tools, jewelry, shells of Mediterranean mollusks, pottery, obsidian blades, and beads.

The Varna man 

Among the many elite burials in the necropolis, there was one that was different from the others. Different in the sense of “more spectacular.” After uncovering grave 43, archeologists concluded that it was the final resting place of a high-status male, probably a ruler, or some kind of leader in the society.

This was the richest grave of all that have been found, not only in Varna Necropolis but in the whole world at that time. The person was buried with a beautiful golden scepter in his hand. The scepter is a symbol of high rank or spiritual power.

His whole body and its surroundings were covered with golden items. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, round shaped golden items placed on specific parts of the body, and he even had a golden plate around the genitals. Together with the golden artifacts, the weapons that probably belonged to this person were also placed around his body.

Besides the material richness that Varna necropolis provided archeologists with, it also gave an insight into the hierarchy in this ancient society, their religious beliefs and intricate burial practices. Males and females were buried differently. Males were laid out on their backs while females were placed in the fetal position. There was also another type of graves found.

Some of the graves didn’t contain skeletons, they were only filled with items. These symbolic graves, known as cenotaphs, were one of the richest with gold and treasures. They contained masks made of clay and gold amulets made in the shape of women, placed below the mask, where the neck of a buried person was supposed to be.

Some of the items found inside the “symbolic graves”

The amulets are symbolizing pregnancy and fertility which indicates that they are meant for women. The empty graves also contained a copper pin, a flint knife, and a spindle whorl.

This further indicates that the symbolic graves were made for women, or as a gift for some kind of deity that symbolizes the feminine principle. It is still a mystery why these graves were left without human remains.

The Varna civilization is without direct descendants, they were probably assimilated in other surrounding European and Asian cultures during all those centuries of turmoil in this region.

However, they left a huge legacy and with their accomplishments they made the appearance of the following European civilizations possible. We may never know how the Varna people really lived, but Varna necropolis with all the magical artifacts opens our imaginations.

Well-Preserved Roman Eagle Unearthed In London

Well-Preserved Roman Eagle Unearthed In London

Minories eagle and serpent

Archaeologists have discovered an extraordinary Roman sculpture in the form of an eagle firmly grasping a writhing serpent in its beak.

Working on a site in the City of London, ahead of development of a 16 storey 291 bed hotel by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) and its development partners Endurance Land, the team from MOLA were at first hesitant to announce the discovery and to proclaim its Roman origins, owing to its almost unbelievable preservation.

A symbol of immortality and power, it was carefully preserved when the aristocratic tomb it decorated was smashed up more than 1,800 years ago – and is regarded as one of the best pieces of Romano-British art ever found.

The preservation is so startling that the archaeologists who found it at the bottom of a ditch, on the last day of excavation on a development site at the Minories, were worried in case they had unearthed a Victorian garden ornament.

Excitement spread as it became clear from the context that it really was Roman – but carved in Britain, from Cotswold limestone. Archaeologists are itching to research it further but first after a quick clean – and a frame to support the only damage, a broken wing – it is going on display for six months at the Museum of London, just 30 days from ditch to gallery.

A conservator cleaning the sculpture of a Minories eagle and serpent which was discovered in the City of London.

Martin Henig, an internationally renowned expert on Roman art, said: “The sculpture is of exceptional quality, the finest sculpture by a Romano-British artist ever found in London, and amongst the very best statues surviving from Roman Britain.

Its condition is extraordinary, as crisp as on the day it was carved. All it has lost is the surface paint, probably washed away when it was deposited in a ditch.”

The only comparable find in Britain is the sad stump of a bird, lacking head, wings, and feet, found at a Roman villa site at Keynsham in Somerset in the 1920s. The closest from across the Roman empire was an eagle and serpent found in Jordan, now in the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Eagles are found across the empire, usually as symbols of imperial clout, but they were also used as funerary emblems: there are extraordinary contemporary accounts of live eagles trapped within the funeral pyres of emperors, freed to soar towards the sky as the flames crackled, symbolizing the moment when the dead man became a god.

The London eagle was carved in the first century AD, at a time when the Roman city was exploding in population and wealth. It is believed to have stood on an imposing mausoleum, on the roadside edge of the eastern cemetery just outside the city walls. The road was once lined with the monuments of the wealthiest citizens, like the Via Appia outside Rome.

Possibly only a few decades later, many of the monuments were demolished – probably as ownership of the plots changed and new ones were built. There is even evidence suggesting that some of the old bones were left scattered in the open air.

Most of the stone was reused as hardcore or building stone, but the eagle was carefully laid into a ditch, probably just beside its former perch.

Michael Marshall, finds an expert at the Museum of London Archaeology, believes that superstitious awe probably protected such a powerful religious symbol, even when the tomb of its original owner became builders’ rubble.

There it lay for almost 2,000 years, surviving in almost pristine condition while Tudor cellars, Victorian warehouses, and 20th-century concrete piling punched through the earth all around it. until the Monday morning last month – the last day of the excavation before a 16-story hotel is built on the site.

When Antoinette Lerz and David Sankey lifted the mud-caked lump of stone from the ground, they set it on the edge of their pit, and first began to clean off the clay with a trowel – and then as they saw the delicacy of the carving, with a dentist’s pick.

When they had revealed a wing and the sharp-beaked head was emerging, they phoned site supervisor Simon Davis to suggest nervously that they thought they had found something extraordinary. “We were a bit nervous at first about proclaiming it as Roman, because the condition was so extraordinary,” Davis said.

The bird’s front is intricately carved, but the back is flattened and plain – like a Staffordshire china mantelpiece dog – suggesting that it was originally sheltered by a niche, or stood within a tomb building. Scattered animal bones and pottery nearby suggest funeral feasts or that family members revisited the tomb to dine with the spirits of their dead.

Serpents could be either benevolent symbols or harbingers of evil: some eagle and serpent carvings show the two beasts quite companionably entwined.

There is nothing benevolent about the London serpent, carved wreathed around the bird, its tongue still flickering on the feathery chest, but the great beak is about to snap shut: “It’s all over for the snake – it just doesn’t know it yet,” Michael Marshall said.

Excavation at the Minories site, London, believed to be the base of a grand mausoleum

The eagle’s triumph is greater because the snake is equipped with an alarming row of sharp teeth.

“This may suggest that the artist had never got up close and personal with a snake,” Marshall said. “We did have a go at identifying the species of the snake when we had some zoologists in – but they just said ‘it’s a snake’.”

Viking Chess piece bought for less than $10 sells for over $1.3M

Viking Chess piece bought for less than $10 sells for over $1.3M

A 900-year-old Viking chess piece purchased for $6 in the 1960s recently sold at auction for $1.3 million.

The Lewis Chessmen are intricate chess pieces in the form of Norse warriors that were carved from walrus ivory in the 12th century. A large hoard of the chess pieces, totaling 93 objects making up some four chess sets, was discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

The elaborately carved pieces soon became featured attractions at museums. Of the 93 pieces, 82 are now in the British Museum in London and 11 are in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Five of the pieces, however, were missing. In June 2019, Sotheby’s announced it had authenticated a missing piece, the equivalent of a rook, and would sell it in with an estimated value of $1 million.

The missing piece had been bought in 1964 by an antique dealer in Edinburgh and passed down through this family. For some time, the Chessman was kept in a drawer at the home of the antiques dealer’s daughter.

Lewis Chessmen set

According to The Guardian, a family member said it had been stored away in their grandfather’s house, with everyone unaware of its importance

“When my grandfather died my mother inherited the chess piece,” said a family spokesperson. “My mother was very fond of the chessman as she admired its intricacy and quirkiness.

She believed that it was special and thought perhaps it could even have had some magical significance. For many years it resided in a drawer in her home where it had been carefully wrapped in a small bag. From time to time, she would remove the chess piece from the drawer in order to appreciate its uniqueness.”

Lewis Chessmen Queen. 
Lewis chessmen Queen (back view).

Alexander Kader, the Sotheby’s expert who eventually examined the piece for the family, told The Guardian that his jaw dropped when he saw it, and he knew immediately what it was. “I said: ‘Oh my goodness, it’s one of the Lewis chessmen.’ ”

Lewis chessmen Bishop.

He added: “They brought it in for an assessment. That happens every day. Our doors are open for free valuations. We get called down to the counter and have no idea what we are going to see. More often than not, it’s not worth very much.”

Lewis chessmen King.

The 3.5-inch warder is a bearded figure with a sword in his right hand and shield at his left side.

Experts believe that this Viking chess piece along with the rest of the Lewis chessmen hail from Trondheim, Norway, which specialized in carved gaming pieces in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The Isle of Lewis was Norwegian territory until 1266, and one theory is that the chess set was buried there after a shipwreck.

Lewis was on a thriving trade route between Norway and Ireland and another theory is that they were hidden for safekeeping by a traveling merchant.

They became arguably Scotland’s best known archaeological find when they were found buried in the beach of Uig Bay in 1831, said The Guardian. :How they were discovered is still disputed, with one account claiming they were uncovered by a grazing cow.”

The Lewis Chessmen are “steeped in folklore, legend and the rich tradition of story-telling,” Sotheby’s said in a press release, adding that they are “an important symbol of European civilization.”

Alexander Kader said in a statement, “It has been such a privilege to bring this piece of history to auction and it has been amazing having him on view at Sotheby’s over the last week—he has been a huge hit. When you hold this characterful warder in your hand or see him in the room, he has real presence.”

Since their discovery in the 19th century, a Viking chess piece and the Lewis chessmen has become an important symbol of European civilization, often inspiring portrayals in pop culture, such as the life-size chess game in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Stolen 12th century Indian Buddha statue found in London

Stolen 12th century Indian Buddha statue found in London

In what was held up as an example of India-UK collaboration across all sectors, Britain’s Metropolitan Police recently marked India’s Independence Day by handing back a rare Buddha sculpture stolen from India in 1961.

A bronze Buddha statue of the 12th century stolen from an Indian museum 57 years ago has surfaced in London and is now returning to the country.

The bronze statue with silver inlay is one of 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site museum in Nalanda and changed several hands over the years before surfacing at a London auction.

Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the sculpture was the same one that had been stolen from India, the Metropolitan Police said they cooperated fully with the Met’s Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India.

“I am delighted to return this piece of history. This is an excellent example of the results that can come with close cooperation between law enforcement, trade and scholars,” said Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart, who was accompanied by officials from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the handover ceremony.

“Although this was stolen over 50 years ago, this did not prevent the piece being recognised and the credit must go to the eagle eye informants who made us aware that the missing piece had been located after so many years,” she said.

The statue was identified at a trade fair in March this year by Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) and Vijay Kumar from the India Pride Project, who then alerted the police. Sinha described the return of the “priceless Buddha” as a “wonderful gesture” and a particular honour given his own roots in Bihar.

“I hope it will now go back to where it originally belongs… On our Independence Day, it [return of the statue] highlights the multi-faceted cooperation between our two countries,” he said, after a Tricolour-hoisting ceremony to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day at the Indian High Commission in London.

Detective Constable Sophie Hayes, of the Met’s Art and Antique Unit, said it had been established that there was no criminality by the current owner or the dealer who had been offering the stolen statue for sale.

“Indeed, from the outset, they have cooperated fully with the police to resolve this matter and they have made the decision to return the sculpture via the police,” Hayes said. “We are delighted to be able to facilitate the return of this important piece of cultural heritage to India,” she added.

The Art and antique Unit was founded 50 years ago and are one of the oldest specialist units in the Metropolitan Police Service. The unit prides itself on a “long history of reuniting owners with their stolen property”.

Michael Ellis, UK Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “As we celebrate India’s Independence Day, I am proud to highlight the latest example of the UK’s cultural diplomacy in action.

Thanks to the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit, we are one of the first countries to recover one of the 14 elusive Buddha statues stolen from Nalanda nearly 60 years ago.

“This underlines how law enforcement and the London art market are working hand in hand to deliver positive cultural diplomacy to the world.”

Valuable artefacts have been stolen from India over the centuries by colonial plunderers. However, the latest case involved a notorious smuggling ring. The model of a seated Indian God Vishnu was one of 14 statues taken from an archaeological museum in Nalanda, eastern India.

It is believed to have changed hands several times before it was unsuspectingly offered for sale and both the owner and the dealer agreed for it to be returned to India, for it to return to the place it was snatched from.

The recovered relic is a delicate artwork that depicts Buddha in the Bhumisparsha mudra —seated, with his right hand resting over his right knee, reaching toward the ground and touching his lotus throne.

The gesture symbolises the moment that Buddha summoned the earth as a witness to his enlightenment, and it is commonly represented in Buddhist iconography.

It was created using the specialist “lost wax” technique, which involves a wax model being made which can be used only once, as the wax melts away when the molten bronze is poured into the mould. This makes the statue an extremely unique piece of art and part of India’s ancient tradition.

The identity of the dealer and fair have been kept under wraps.

Bird Three Times Larger Than Ostrich Discovered In Crimean Cave

Bird Three Times Larger Than Ostrich Discovered In Crimean Cave

An artist’s conception of the giant, 1,000-pound bird that once roamed around Europe

Crimean researchers discovered a bird’s fossil remains three times larger than an oystrich, weighed nearly 450 kilograms, and roamed Europe nearly 1.5 million years ago.

The discovery was made in the Tauride Cave on the northern coast of the Black Sea and the specimen suggested the bird was bigger than the Madagascan elephant.

The researchers said the bird may have been a source of meat, feathers, bones, and eggshell for early humans in Europe.

“When I first felt the weight of the bird whose thigh bone I was holding in my hand, I thought it must be a Malagasy elephant bird fossil because no birds of this size have ever been reported from Europe.

However, the structure of the bone unexpectedly told a different story,” said Nikita Zelenkov, lead author from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

It was previously believed by experts that giant birds only existed on the islands of Madagascar, New Zealand, and Australia.

However, the latest discovery puts an end to all the theories.

While the researchers admitted they didn’t have enough data and evidence to prove the bird was closely related to ostriches, they believe it weighs around 450 kilograms.

The findings of the research have now been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

It is for the first time in history that shreds of evidence of a giant bird have been found in the Northern Hemisphere.

The researchers believe the bird was flightless with a height of at least 3.5 meters.

The femur of the bird, which is long and slim, suggest it was a better runner than elephant birds couldn’t run fast because of their enormous size.

While many researchers knew about the existence of such species, no one ever calculated their size and speed.

Based on measurements from the femur bone, the researchers managed to reconstruct the body mass of the bird and also estimated its total weight.