Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Construction workers find Byzantine sarcophagus lid in northeastern Turkey


province discovered a 1,407-year-old Byzantine sarcophagus cover, assumed to belong to a "blessed" figure, near the ancient city of Satala, reports said Friday.

Workers immediately informed authorities after discovering the 2-meter long ancient cover in Gümüşhane's Kelkit district, Anadolu Agency reported.

Gümüşhane Museum officials said that there was a writing on the cover, saying "Blessed Kandes sleeps here" in Greek characters.

Museum Director Gamze Demir told reporters that the cover is from 610 AD and the sarcophagus is believed to be under the ground.

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Rare Pictish carving of “big nosed warrior” found near Perth

Detail from the stone found near Perth. PIC: Contributed.

A large Pictish stone decorated with what appears to be a big nosed warrior holding a spear and a club has been found by workmen on the outskirts of Perth.

Work on the upgrade to the A85/A9 junction was halted following the discovery with archaeologists called in to examine the stone.

Mark Hall, of Perth Museum & Art Gallery said the stone carried a type of Pictish carving not seen before in the area.

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Byzantine Shipwreck Found Off Coast Of Sicily


The wreck of a Byzantine ship has been found on the sea bed at a depth of 3 metres, buried by about 2 metres of sand, off Ragusa, sources said Friday. 

The wreck is now being examined by the University of Udine's Kaukana Project, which combines research activities with the training of students of underwater archaeology.

The project is directed by Massimo Capulli, professor of underwater and naval archaeology at the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage Studies (Dium) at the University of Udine, and by Sebastiano Tusa, of the Soprintendenza del mare della Regione Sicilia, with the support of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology of the Texas A&M University College Station.

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When the Gloves Come Off – Why We Do Not Use Gloves to Handle Artifacts in the Field


Ever since we started publishing pictures of our crew holding artifacts without using gloves, we have taken some heat in the Facebook comment sections. People have been worrying (or even cringing) about bad effects of touching the artifacts with bare hands. Their worry is that this could contaminate the artifacts with body oils or DNA. This blogpost explains why using gloves in the field is not necessary.

Body oils and other residues

When artefacts are handled in museums, you will see the museum staff wearing gloves while holding the objects. This is done to protect the artifacts from getting into contact with body oils and other residues on the person’s hand. It may seem like an obvious conclusion that the artifacts should also be handled wearing gloves in the field. However, this is rarely seen in practice. Why is there a difference in procedures?

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English Heritage joins the digital age with new Google partnership

Free online collection of high-resolution images offers visitors an intimate look at historic buildings, artwork and artefacts

The decorative ceiling in the library of English Heritage’s Kenwood House, one of the sites included in the project. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Viewers will be able to peer into English Heritage palaces, explore castle ruins and admire historic ceilings in detail without leaving the comfort of their own homes through a new partnership between the charity and Google Arts and Culture.

The website will open up 29 English Heritage properties – the first time that Google has worked with an arts institution across so many sites – including stately homes, castles, prehistoric sites and 19th-century industrial buildings.

Launched in 2011, Google Arts and Culture is an online platform that offers visitors free virtual tours of collections from partner galleries and museums, and high-resolution images of artwork and artefacts.

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Living With Gods review – 40,000 years of religious art, and this is it?

 Chosen for content over aesthetic merit … six Zoroastrian tiles, Parsi shrine, 1989-90, India. Photograph: © Trustees of the British Museum

After a few minutes in the exhibition that accompanies Neil MacGregor’s new BBC Radio 4 series on the power of religion, my skin started to sizzle and my blood to boil. I truly felt branded inside, marked out as a reprobate, for the premise of the show is that belief in God(s) is such a universal human trait that if you lack it, you may not be human.

That is signalled by a large wall text at the start, suggesting that the correct name for our species may not be homo sapiens, but “homo religiosus”. As someone who doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t miss her, I felt a bit left out. Is belief really the all-pervasive force this exhibition claims?

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Fossil of 'our earliest ancestors' found in Dorset


The mammals ventured out at night to hunt insects

Fossils of the oldest-known ancestors of most living mammals, including human beings, have been unearthed in southern England.

Teeth belonging to the extinct shrew-like creatures, which scampered at the feet of dinosaurs, were discovered in cliffs on the Dorset coast.

Scientists who identified the specimens say they are the earliest undisputed fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to humans.

They date back 145 million years.

''Here we have discovered from the Jurassic coast a couple of shrew-like things that are to date unequivocally our earliest ancestors,'' said Dr Steve Sweetman of Portsmouth University, who examined the ancient teeth.

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