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Olmec carving stolen decades ago in Mexico found in France Email

Archaeological
Saturday, 26 September 2015 14:58

 

A nearly 3,000-year-old carving stolen more than four decades ago from a remote area of southern Mexico has been recovered in France.

The Olmec carving dating to around 900 B.C. had been chipped off the rock face sometime between the arrival of an archaeological team in 1968 and 1972, when the team returned to the area. It resurfaced recently in France under unclear circumstances.

John Clark, a professor of archaeology at Brigham Young University who learned about the find Thursday, said the carved sculpture showed the extent of the Olmec's reach in an area of Chiapas better known for ties to the Maya. In the decades since the theft, he said, scholars have made due with a replica created by examining archive photos of the piece.

The Olmec are best known for their enormous carved heads and are considered one of the founding cultures of Mesoamerica.

Read more: Olmec carving stolen decades ago in Mexico found in France

'Nazi Gold' Treasure Hunters Could Face Charges Email

Treasure
Saturday, 26 September 2015 10:53

By Tova Dvorin

 

Two men who claimed last month that they discovered a Nazi-era train laden with gold may face prosecution, Polish media revealed late Thursday - over a paperwork issue.

Last month, the two men sparked a gold rush by claiming they had found a tunnel in Walbrzych that contains a Nazi train that could be carrying valuables.

But the treasure-hunters - Piotr Koper, a Pole, and German national Andreas Richter - did not apply to government offices for permission to use the equipment in making the find, i.e. a ground-penetrating radar (GPR).

Lower Silesia's Conservator of Monuments Barbara Nowak-Obelinda has filed charges against the two to the District Prosecutor's Office in the city of Wałbrzych, Radio Poland reports, alleging the two were required under law to gain approval to use GPR prior to the find.

Just weeks ago, the treasure-hunters applied to the same office asking for 10% of the profits from the "Nazi gold" train. But it is unclear whether the find is real or not; Poland pledged it would deploy the military to look for the train that has sparked global fascination.

The outcome of the case - both whether the train is real and whether its discoverers will be charged for it - could set a precedent for future treasure-hunters.

Two weeks ago, another Polish explorer claimed to have found a network of tunnels also used by the Nazi regime - this time, part of the "Riese" (giant) system of railway tunnels, corridors and shelters that the Nazis were building during World War II in the mountains around the city of Walbrzych, which were used to protect thousands of people.

 

Courtesy: Israel National News

Marine Archaeologists Excavate Greek Antikythera Shipwreck Email

Archaeological
Friday, 25 September 2015 11:49

The 2015 expedition marked the first time archaeologists were able to join specialist divers in descending to the 55-meter (180 feet) deep site. The ten-man dive team used advanced technical diving equipment including closed-circuit rebreathers and trimix breathing gases, performing 61 dives in 10 days of diving on the wreck. (Brett Seymour, EUA/ARGO )

 

Archaeologists excavating the famous ancient Greek shipwreck that yielded the Antikythera mechanism have recovered more than 50 items including a bronze armrest (possibly part of a throne), remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, luxury ceramics, a pawn from an ancient board game, and several elements of the ship itself.  

“This shipwreck is far from exhausted,” reports project co-Director Dr. Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). “Every single dive on it delivers fabulous finds, and reveals how the ‘1 percent’ lived in the time of Caesar.” 

The shipwreck dates to circa 65 B.C., and was discovered by Greek sponge fishermen in 1900 off the southwestern Aegean island of Antikythera. They salvaged 36 marble statues of mythological heroes and gods; a life-sized bronze statue of an athlete; pieces of several more bronze sculptures; scores of luxury items; and skeletal remains of crew and passengers. The wreck also relinquished fragments of the world’s first computer: the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared mechanical device that encoded the movements of the planets and stars and predicted eclipses. 

Read more: Marine Archaeologists Excavate Greek Antikythera Shipwreck

‘Yamashita treasure’ 70 years after Email

Treasure
Sunday, 20 September 2015 14:46

By: Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon 

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—For P50, a visitor is treated to a tale of adventure and nail-biting suspense at a little known museum in the summer capital.

The best part of this story is that “it’s all true,” said Henry Roxas, 47, son of the late treasure hunter Rogelio Roxas.

Henry runs the Roxas Museum near the tourist-drawing Lourdes Grotto, which offers an interesting collection of World War II relics, war helmets, rifle bayonets and a fortune in old coins.

He is always ready to narrate the discovery of the “Golden Buddha,” which his father supposedly discovered, and then lost, to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Some of the relics were dug up as Rogelio searched for the “Yamashita treasure,” referring to loot collected throughout Southeast Asia by invading Japanese forces, which were supposedly buried in the Philippines toward the end of World War II.

Read more: ‘Yamashita treasure’ 70 years after

Metal Detectorist finds 5th century skeleton with shield boss Email

Archaeological
Monday, 14 September 2015 09:32

UNITED KINGDOM - Metal detectorists Dave Derby and Alan Standish found the skeleton in a field near Nether Heyford after they picked up a signal from a shield boss that was buried with the body.

Archeologists have excavated the skeleton and analysis has revealed it is likely to be more than 1,500 years old.

 

 

 

 

The site, known as Whitehall Farm, where the skeleton was found is near to where a Roman villa was located 15 years ago.

Steve Young, an archeologist who led the excavation, said: “We believe it is 5th or 6th century as the burial seems to have followed pagan rituals.

“In those days men tended to be buried with a weapon of some sort. Other skeletons we have found in the area have been buried with swords.”

Further analysis of the site has also revealed some more human remains, believed to be that of a child. A brooch was also found in the grave.

Mr. Derby, who has been metal detecting for 42 years and was the person who uncovered the Roman villa, said: “It is a fascinating hobby. You never know what you are going to find.”

The last major dig on the Whitehall Farm site, which is owned by Nick Adams, was in 2012.

Since the first discoveries in 1996, volunteer archaeologists from around the world have offered their time to dig trenches, uncovering more than 250,000 artefacts in just over a decade.

The historic haul of goods includes 560 coins, 20 brooches, six rings, 32,000 animal bones, 20,000 fragments of pot and many other finds.

 

Courtesy: Daventry Express

“Research Vessel” Possibly Hunting For Treasure Off Iceland’s Coast Email

Treasure
Monday, 07 September 2015 11:05

By Paul Fontaine

ICELAND: A foreign ship conducting unauthorized undersea investigations may have been looking for treasure, possibly within sunken ships and submarines from World War 2.

 Vísir reports that the ship in question is registered in Togo, but belongs to an American company. Called Endeavour, it was caught conducting unauthorized undersea research sixty nautical miles northwest of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord by the Icelandic Coast Guard and ordered to shore.

 Endeavour’s captain admitted the ship had deep sea imaging equipment on board, which they were using to search for wreckage at the ocean’s bottom. There is indeed a great deal of such wreckage around Iceland from World War 2, as Germany and other countries were fairly active around the coast at that time.

 Auðunn Kristinsson, a project manager for the Icelandic Coast Guard, told reporters that there are long-standing rumors of treasure on board some of the ships and submarines lying at the bottom of the Icelandic sea, but that Endeavour’s captain has not made any statements to that effect.

 It is uncertain if the captain and crew will be facing criminal charges, but for the time being, nothing is legally preventing the ship from leaving port and setting sail again.

 

Courtesy: Reykjavik Grapevine

Poland takes Nazi loot train claim from treasure hunters Email

Treasure
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 12:07

The nation is almost certain a subterranean radar signal is that of a highly-armored Nazi vehicle, which were typically used to transport weapons and precious cargo during World War II.

Two anonymous treasure seekers staked a claim to the discovery along a four kilometer stretch of track between Wroclaw and Walkbrzych in the country’s south west earlier this month.

Poland has taken the claim that the treasure hunters, after years of searching, say they learnt of through a deathbed confession from a former Nazi soldier.

The site has generated an enormous buzz mainly because of previous ‘loot train’ finds.

American soldiers in 1945 captured a heavily armored 24-carriage train that was filled with $250 million worth of goods including jewelry and stolen artwork from Jewish families.

“We do not know what is inside the train. Probably military equipment but also possibly jewelry, works of art and archive documents,” Poland’s deputy culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said.

Poland has also deployed local police and railway protection service officers to the site near a collapsed tunnel.

However, it’s not the only nation that has taken interest in what could prove to be a rich discovery.

Russian historian Andrei Swietienko has told local media that Moscow would expect any of its property to be returned as well as a cut of “war reparations”. The World Jewish Congress has also expressed similar sentiment.

Mr Swietienko also referred to the 1945 Potsdam Conference of 1945, which stipulates loot discovery rights between multiple nations.

Firefighters are also on site managing a nearby forest fire.

 

 

Huge Ancient Greek City found underwater in the Aegean Sea Email

Archaeological
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:51

By April Holloway

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs has announced that remnants of a massive Bronze Age city have been discovered submerged in the Aegean Sea. The settlement, which dates back approximately 4,500 years, covers an area of 12 acres and consists of stone defensive structures, paved surfaces, pathways, towers, pottery, tools, and other artifacts.

 

The discovery was made by a team of experts from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, University of Geneva and the Swiss School of Archaeology at Kiladha Bay on the Peloponnese Peninsula south of Athens, while they were searching for evidence for the oldest village in Europe. While they were hoping to find traces dating back at least 8,000 years, the finding of the ancient city is no less significant.

Read more: Huge Ancient Greek City found underwater in the Aegean Sea

Florida Treasure Hunters Discover $4.5 Million in Spanish Gold Coins Email

Treasure
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:27

Florida treasure hunters found a trove of $4.5 million worth of Spanish gold coins 300 years to the day after a fleet of ships sunk in a hurricane while en route from Havana to Spain, the salvage owner said Wednesday.

The 350 coins found on July 30 include nine rare pieces, known as royal eight escudos, which were being transported to the King of Spain, according to Brent Brisben. His company, 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, owns the rights to the wreckage. 

 

Only 20 such coins were known to exist prior to the recovery of the nine royals, Brisben said. 

"The gold looks like it fell into the water yesterday," said William Bartlett, 51, the diver who spotted the haul. 

Bartlett was part of a three-man crew aboard Brisben' boat S/V Capitana when it found coins in shallow waters off Vero Beach, Florida. The search site was picked because it was close to a previous discovery. 

On the same day in 1715, a hurricane tossed 11 treasure-laden Spanish galleons on to reefs off Florida' East Coast, sinking them in the early hours the following morning. Today, the wreckage is scattered over a wide area. 

The coins found by Bartlett are part of the now-scattered treasure transported by the galleons, which have since broken up. 

Bartlett said the crew used the boat propeller to blow a hole in the sandy ocean floor to reach bedrock eight feet (2.4 meters) down. The salvage operation lasted five days. 

Like many Florida treasure hunters, Bartlett, a Pompano Beach kitchen and bathroom re-modeler, dives as a hobby. 

He said he did not hunt treasure for the money, and declined to say how much he would receive under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels. 

"I'm just a guy on a boat living the dream," Bartlett said. 

Hunters like Bartlett typically work under contract with the company, which grants them a percentage of their find after the state of Florida exercises its right to 20 percent of the haul.  

The company acquired legal custodianship of the sunken fleet from the heirs of world-renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher.

Relic hunters vital but troublesome for Civil War history Email

Archaeological
Friday, 07 August 2015 08:09

 

 Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press

 

by Ben Benton

Civil War artifacts in the last century have gone from common leftovers of yesteryear to historic relics subject to federal laws that can land unauthorized history hunters behind bars. 

As laws have changed, so have people's perceptions, and some history buffs believe reality television shows like "American Digger" could be fueling a shift from responsible archaeology to profit-seeking treasure hunting. 

Two Tennessee men recently were sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for illegally excavating and collecting artifacts from sites in Marion and Hardin counties in Tennessee and in Jackson County, Ala. 

Dr. Anthony Hodges, president of Friends of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park and a local Civil War collector, has as many relics and images from the conflict as some museums. 

Hodges said he hasn't been an active relic hunter for 20 years but he defends relic hunting on private land. Those artifacts might be lost to time if not for the people with metal detectors who ask landowners for permission to look, he said. 

"I'm not down on relic hunters. In fact, I'll say a good portion — and perhaps all — of what we know about Civil War artifacts themselves come from the relic hunters. They're the ones who write the books," he said. "The academics don't share that information. 

"That said, I'm a law-abiding guy," Hodges said. "I've never dug on national park property, and if anybody's caught doing it they need to be prosecuted." 

Read more: Relic hunters vital but troublesome for Civil War history