Stunning Face Hidden for Thousands of Years: Wooden Sarcophagus Is Unearthed at Egyptian Necropolis
A wooden sarcophagus found at an undisclosed location in Egypt. This object has been found by Spanish archaeologists from Jaen’s University at the Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis in Aswan, Egypt.
The team, who have been working in Egypt for a month, has also found a tomb dating back to the year 1830 BC and some twenty mummies in it.
The works are part of an archaeological campaign lead by Spanish professor Alejandro Jimenez Serrano and seventeen experts from two Spanish universities and a British university based in London work at the archaeological campaign.
Encased in soil, this extraordinarily delicate face emerges into the sun for the first time in thousands of years. The wooden sarcophagus was unearthed by archaeologists at the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt.
Believed to contain the body of a person of some rank, it boasts extraordinarily delicate features, well-preserved by the sands of time.
Since starting a fresh excavation, they have also discovered 20 mummies and uncovered a tomb dating from around 1830BC.
He said that his team came from a number of different disciplines which allowed a broad focus.
It had also allowed them ‘to develop new techniques such as RTI or scanning in 3D which helps read hieroglyphic texts with greater accuracy,’ he added.
The team had already found two smaller tombs in earlier digs.
Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis was in use from 2250BC and provided the last resting place for some of the country’s most important officials.
A string of 40 tombs cut into a rocky cliff face, the burial ground also forms one of the best vantage points of the city of Aswan.
One of two such items found in Estonia is a fully preserved early Brooch from the Viking era located in North-East Estonia this spring.
The bronze-box brooch was found in a village located in Ida-Viru, Varja. It’s thought to have been a woman born on Gotland, who moved into Estonian territory later in her life.
The archeologist Mauri Kiudsoo, keeper of the Tallinn University archeological investigation collection (TLÜ) told BNS that the brooch found at Varja was cast as a single piece.
Kiudsoo said that the decorative item has been completely preserved with only slight damage to the surface probably due to the cultivation of land, The pin, which was apparently made of steel, is also missing.
He added that the technical execution of the brooch is indicative of the earlier Viking era.
According to Indrek Jets, a researcher familiar with the period’s ornament styles, the animal ornament on the brooch represents the so-called Broa style, allowing for it to be dated to the end of the 8th or the 9th century.
The brooch was found on the fringes of a former wetland, where a lone farmstead was likely located during the Viking era.
Kiudsoo explained that the village of Varja is situated in the northeastern part of the ancient parish of Askälä and that this region on Estonia’s northern coast, between Purtse River and the present-day city of Kohtla-Järve, stands out for its exceptionally rich archaeological find material. The Eastern Route, an important Viking-era trade route, ran along Estonia’s northern coast.
The archaeologist said that he believes that the brooch found at Varja belonged to a woman born on the island of Gotland, who took up residence in the Viru region of Estonia later in her life.
Supporting this hypothesis is the fact that similar decorative items were in widespread use in Gotland during the Viking era, but are not common elsewhere.
Kiudsoo said that hundreds of box-shaped brooches like the one recently found in Estonia have been found in Gotland.
Unlike items belonging to warriors, women’s decorative items of Scandinavian origin are rarely found in Estonia.
The only box-shaped brooch found here to date, which was found in Kasari in Western Estonia, has yet to be handed over to the Heritage Board. Unlike the item found in Varja, this brooch can be dated to the later period of the Viking era.
Rare Lion Cub Mummies Revealed in The Latest Treasure Haul at Egypt’s Saqqara
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities today announced two mummified lions, dating from approximately 2,600 years, in a tomb full of cat statues and cat mummies at Saqqara, at a press conference.
Mostafa Waziri, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Egypt, said that “this is the first time that a lion or lion cube’s complete mummy is being found” in Egypt. who led the team that made the discovery.
The analysis is ongoing, but it appears the Lions are fairly small — about 3 feet (just under 1 meter) in length, — Waziri said, suggesting that they were not fully grown when they died.
Three other mummies that belong to large cats (the exact species is unclear) were found near the two lions. These three other mummies could belong to leopards, cheetahs or other forms of the big cat. About 20 mummies of smaller cats were also found near the lion cubs.
About 100 statues and statuettes were found near the burials, many of which depict cats. The cat statues are made of stone, wood or metal (such as bronze), and “most of them well painted, well decorated and some were inlaid with gold,” Waziri said.
A small ebony statue of the goddess Neith was also found within the tomb, a discovery that helped archaeologists determine the tomb’s date, said Khaled al-Anani, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities.
Neith was a goddess of the city of Sais, which was the capital of Egypt during the 26th dynasty (around 2,600 years ago), Anani said.
A massive scarab-shaped artifact that appears to be more than a foot (30 centimeters) in diameter was also found in the tomb.
Scarab-shaped artifacts are frequently found in Egypt and were used as seals, amulets and jewelry. This particular scarab artifact might be the largest example ever found in Egypt, the archaeologists said.
The area of Saqqara where the tomb was discovered seems to be a cat hot spot, so to speak. Previous archaeological digs in the area have uncovered the remains of cat mummies and cat statues, and in 2004 a French team found the partial remains of a lion skeleton.
It seems that around 2,600 years ago, the area was a place of commemoration for the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet and her son the lion god Miysis, Anani said.
While cats dominate this part of Saqqara, they do not rule exclusively, as previous archaeological excavations in the area have found mummies of other animals such as birds, Waziri said.
In other parts of Saqqara, many other types of archaeological remains can be found, including Egypt’s first pyramid, a step pyramid built by Djoser, a pharaoh who ruled more than 4,600 years ago. It is the oldest pyramid constructed in Egypt.
Recently, several other interesting archaeological discoveries have been made at Saqqara, including a 2,000-year-old catacomb containing the burial of a “worthy” woman named “Demetria.” Recent discoveries also include a 2,500-year-old silver face mask gilded with gold and a 4,400-year-old tomb built for a “divine inspector” named “Wahtye.”
In Oman’s Al Sharqiyah Governorate archaeologists found an Iron Age settlement and 45 tombs.
In collaboration with Germany’s Heidelberg University, the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture founded a project to study the Iron Age settlements in North Al Sharqiyah. The ministry has said that the tombs are “very well maintained” and cover an area of 50-80 square metre area.
These tombstones are about 700 meters from a settlement that the team believes to have been the home of people who worked in copper mining since the early Iron Age.
Copper mining was thought to take place during the Iron Age and continued until the early Islamic era.
“It is the most preserved sites of its components, where stone buildings and tombs resembling huts are retained by nature for more than 3,000 years, and reflect the method of burial,” the Ministry of Heritage and Culture said.
“It features the social status of the deceased through the length of the tomb and archaeological artefacts buried with him.”
Al Sharqiyah site is one of many archaeological finds discovered in Oman over the past decade. Many were discovered by a team from the archaeology department at Sultan Qaboos University, which works with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to find, protect and preserve sites of interest.
Oman’s ancient sites have also been recognised by the UN. In 1988, Bat, Al Khutm and Al Ayn were certified as World Heritage Sites.
The three ancient settlements in Al Dhahira Governorate of north-west Oman are the most complete of their kind from the Iron Age.
In January 2018, the largest trove of Iron Age weapons in the region was discovered at Mudhmar East. It contained more than 3,000 arrows, daggers and axes.
Possible 1,300-Year-Old Chess Piece from Jordan Identified
The oldest piece of chess ever discovered was a carved rock found in 1991 by a Canadian scientist and archeologist.
In an abstract published in October, the University of Victoria professor John Oleson announced that a piece of carved sandstone that was found in southern Jordan at Humayma may be an ancient rook — a castle-shaped piece in the game.
The roughly 1,300-year-old stone is squat and rectangular, with “horn-like projections”.
Although Oleson mentions it does resemble other artifacts, such as a Nabataean butyl, which is an altar made out of a block of stone to evoke the gods of the ancient Arab nation, when he compared the rock carving to other early chess pieces, the parallels were “far more convincing.”
According to Oleson, the object has the same abstract shape that other early Islamic chess pieces had.
References to chess-playing can be found in Islamic texts as early as the seventh century AD, Oleson said, and the game was “very popular.”
The piece Oleson found is “nearly identical” to abstract rook pieces dating from later centuries that were found near or in Jordan.
“Since the Humayma object was found in a seventh-century context, if the identification as a chess piece is correct, it would be the earliest known physical example for the simplified, abstract design,” said Oleson, “and possibly the earliest known example of a chess piece altogether.”
The history of chess dates back around 1,500 years and is thought to have originated in India, although the names and rules have changed several times over the centuries.
Oleson theorized that the spread of chess occurred westward from India along merchant and diplomat routes and that it is “no surprise that early evidence for it should be found at a site on the busy Via Nova Traiana,” which is a Roman road that served as an important trading route.
A significant chunk of Oleson’s work has taken place in or around the Humayma site.
Between 1991 and 2000, he and his team excavated the settlement center over the course of seven field sessions.
In the process, they excavated two farmhouses, a Roman fort, four Byzantine churches, and “a Nabataean campground and three Nabataean and Late Roman houses.”
Amazing World’s Largest Mosaic Piece Made By 13 Different Ancient Civilizations discovered At Museum Hotel Antakya in Turkey.
Normally, modern architecture and archaeology do not go hand in hand. Nevertheless, the two mixed in an unprecedented way when ancient ruins were found beneath what was to become Turkey’s Antakya Museum Hotel.
The Venture started when Turkish entrepreneur Necmi Asfuroğlu set about constructing a luxurious hotel in downtown Antioch on nearly 200,000 square feet of land.
His south-eastern land is rooted in history and is located close to St. Peter’s church, the iconic pilgrimage site.
As his team started digging for a cellar, a number of archeological remains were discovered below the site dating back to the 3rd century B.C. and included traces from 13 different civilizations.
Asfuroğlu still wanted to build his hotel but could not compromise the ruins he had discovered, so he brought in Emre Arolat Architecture (EAA) and the firm’s New York director, Özge Ertoptamış.
“We were excited by the opportunity to do something that has never been done before,” said Ertoptamış. “But we also had our doubts whether something could actually be done around the exquisite findings.”
EAA’s outlook changed when the firm discovered an area within the site where there were no ruins. That’s because it was the former location of the Parmenius Creek riverbed.
“That is the point where we had the idea, that we could build something, not in it, but above it, by supporting the structure on minimal points where there are no ruins,” said Ertoptamış.
EAA now had a plan to marry two different typologies — a public museum where archaeological preservation could continue and a private hotel.
Ertoptamış explained, however, the design was constantly evolving and took about three years. She told BBC about an incredible discovery when they were digging for a well, which forced her team to rework their calculations.
“There are 66 columns that the building is rising on, and each point is calculated to be on a spot with no ruins, and there are wells to support each of the 66 pillars that are dug underground by hand,” said Ertoptamış.
“At one point, however, there was a discovery of a great mosaic in a location where we were going to place a column.”
The mosaic they found dates all the way back to the second century A.D. and includes exquisite panels with a myriad of mythological figures.
“We had to redo all of our calculations and find a new place for the pillar, but it was worth it because it is one of the most exquisite pieces in the collection,” said Ertoptamış.
Ertoptamış explained that while her team ran into challenges, the project and history inspired her.
“The building is a product of today, a product of the present, but within it, you are always living together with history in an unprecedented way, and that is the most challenging and rewarding part of this project,” said Ertoptamış.
The volunteer tested dirt excavated in 2013 from beneath Robinson’s Arch, at the foundations of the western wall, discovered a seal with a Hebrew name, 2,600 years old.
The seal is inscribed with the name of an individual with the most prominent role in the king’s court in the kingdom of Judea.
The Bulla (seal), which was used to sign documents, bears the Hebrew name and title: “Adenyahu Asher Al Habayit” which literally translates as “Adenyahu by Appointment of the House”- a term used throughout the Bible to describe the most senior minister serving under a kings of Judea or Israel.
According to archaeologist Eli Shukron, who conducted the initial excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority just north of the City of David at the Foundation Stones of the Western Wall: “This is the first time this kind of archaeological discovery has been made in Jerusalem.
The Biblical title “Asher Al Habayit” was the highest-ranking ministerial position beneath the king during reigns of the Kings of Judea and Israel, it is undoubtedly of great significance.”
“This tiny bulla has immense meaning to billions of people worldwide. The personal signet of a senior official to a Biblical King from the First Temple Period.
This is another link in the long chain of Jewish history in Jerusalem that is being uncovered and preserved at the City of David on a daily basis.” Said Doron Spielman, Vice-President of the City of David Foundation which operates the site in which the bulla was discovered and the Archeological Experience where it was uncovered.
The bulla is approximately one-centimeter-wide, and according to the type of writing that appears on it, it dates to the seventh century BCE – the period of the Kingdom of Judea. The term “Asher Al Habayit” describes the most senior role in the royal hierarchy in the kingdom of Judah and Israel and it appears for the first time on the list of ministers of Solomon.
This role is mentioned in the Bible in reference to a number of figures that have a considerable influence in the kingdom and it describes a senior minister who was very close to the king.
For example, “Abdihu Asher Al Habayit,” in the Book of Kings I, is mentioned as having served in that role in the Kingdom of Israel, under the reign of King Ahab during times of Elijah the Prophet.
As part of his tenure, Abedihu acted against Isabel in administering the kingdom and even saved a hundred of the prophets of the Lord after hiding them in a cave. Also in this role in the Kingdom of Judea during the reign of King Hezekiah was “Elyakim son of Partiah Asher Al Habayit”.
According to the book of Isaiah, Elyakim negotiated with Rabshka, one of the ministers of King Sennacherib King of Assyria, who threatened to conquer Jerusalem. The name Adenayahu that appears on the bulla appears throughout the Bible:
This name belonged to one of King David’s sons as mentioned in the Book of Kings. Another individual with that name is mentioned as one of the Levites in the days of Jehoshaphat. Lastly, in the days of Nehemiah, he is mentioned as one of the “Heads of, the people…(Nehemiah, 9:16).
It should be noted that some 150 years ago, French archeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau discovered a burial cave with the inscription: “Tomb of …..yahu Asher Al Habayit.”
The beginning of the name had been erased, but the burial site, on the outskirts of the City of David was also dated to the seventh century BCE, much like the recent bulla.
Although discovered by Clermont-Ganneau, the inscription was only deciphered by Prof. Nachman Avigad some eighty years later.
The bulla was covered in dirt that was excavated in 2013, until three weeks ago, when it was uncovered as part of the City of David’s volunteer Archeological Experience, by an Israeli teenager named Batya Howen, who described the moments of the discovery: “I began sifting through the bucket of dirt by washing it under a stream of water, and suddenly I recognized a small piece of black colored piece of metal.
To hold such a significant find from 2600 years ago, from the time of the Kingdom of Judah, is an amazing thing.”
The bullae stamps – were small pieces of tin used in ancient times to sign documents, and were meant to keep the letters closed en route to their destination.
Rogue Metal Detectorists Stole $3.6 Million Treasure
During the years, metal detectorists make numerous remarkable finds in Britain, with a large crowd of 2,600 coins discovered a few months ago.
Yet archeological discoveries by detectorists are subject to stringent rules. Currently, four people are being held guilty of conspiring to disguise and illegally sell a treasure with metal detectors by the British courts.
Two metal detectorists have been jailed for stealing the “emblematic” Viking-era Leominster Hoard of coins and priceless jewellery worth up to £12 million – much of which is still missing.
George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, failed to declare an “invaluable” collection of buried treasure dating back 1,100 years to the birth of a united English kingdom, during the time of Alfred the Great.
The items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.
It is thought the trove was buried by someone within the Great Viking Army in either 878 or 879, which by then was being forced back east by an alliance of Saxon forces.
Powell, who was described as having the “leading” role, was jailed for 10 years while caretaker Davies received eight-and-a-half years.
Both were also convicted alongside two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, with conspiring to conceal the find. Sentencing at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, Judge Nicholas Cartwright said they had “cheated” not only the landowner but the public of “exceptionally rare and significant” coins.
He said: “90% of the coins or thereabouts remain hidden to this day.
“All four defendants played their respective parts.
“You, Simon Wicks, were part of a conspiracy to conceal the stolen treasure and to sell it.
“Paul Wells, who will be sentenced an on a future occasion, was part of a conspiracy to conceal part of the stolen treasure.”
He added: “The irony in this case is if you, George Powell, and you, Layton Davies, had obtained the permissions and agreements which responsible metal detectorists are advised to obtain, if you had gone on to act within the law after you found this treasure, you could have expected to have either a half share, or at very worst a third share of over £3 million to share between the two of you.
“But you wanted more.”
Among the priceless hoard was a ninth-century gold ring, a dragon’s head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins, some dating to the reign of King Alfred.
Only 31 of the coins have been recovered, although mobile phone photographs on Davies’s phone – later deleted, but recovered by police – showed the larger hoard, still intact, in a freshly dug hole.
Five of the coins are examples of the exceptionally rare Two Emperors penny, valued at up to £50,000 apiece, and so-called as they depict King Alfred and a lesser-known monarch, Ceolwulf II, who reigned in the old kingdom of Mercia, sitting together.
Expert analysis of all the jewellery and coinage recovered to date and now held at the British Museum returned a valuation of at least £581,000.
Wicks, Powell, and Davies were also found guilty of converting their ill-gotten gains into cash, after police traced several coins that had been sold on to private collectors, hidden away or left with expert valuers.
Powell, of Kirby Lane, Newport; Davies, of Cardiff Road, Pontypridd; Wells, of Newport Road, Cardiff, and Wicks, of Hawks Road, Hailsham, East Sussex, were also convicted after trial of ignoring the law stating such finds must be properly declared.