Ancient wall engravings of animals dating back 14,000 years have been discovered by archaeologists in a cave below a seaside Spanish town.
The 50 images were found etched into rock at the Armintxe cave in Lekeitio in Spain’s Basque region and depict animals rarely seen in Paleolithic art, such as lions.
Experts working with the Provincial Council of Bizkaia made the the discovery of the ancient cave artwork, which was reportedly located beneath a building in the small coastal town and confirmed to the public on Thursday.
Archaeologists believe the drawings are identical to ones found in the Pyrenees, according to Basque news outlet Deia, which suggests the people who created them were in close contact.
Sometime between 300-400B.C., an unknown artist in Morgantina, Italy carefully sculpted this terra-cotta replica of the famed god of the Underworld, the feared Hades. The skull or head itself was carefully sculpted on its own, and later the curly hair and beard were individually added, one curl at a time, just before the final firing in the kiln. Afterwards, it was carefully painted, and some parts of the paint remain such as the red in his hair and the blue in his beard. This beautiful artifact is an amazingly well-preserved momento of painstaking artistry.
The piece goes by both the name “Head of Hades” and “Bluebeard” and was illegally excavated from an Italian archaeological dig during the 1970s. Afterwards it was sold and ended up at the Getty Museum in the USA.
According to the Getty Website, the work was initially believed to be a depiction of Hades’ brother, Zeus (known occasionally as Bluebeard). However, examination of the nearby discovered artifacts and the knowledge that Morgantina worshipped Persephone (kidnapped wife of Hades), they now believe it is actually Hades instead. The kidnapping of Persephone is thought to have occurred at a lake near the city.
Long story short, because the work was illegally excavated, it technically still belongs to Italy and was stolen property, meaning the Getty had to repatriate the bust to its nation of origin. Although the legal exchange happened a couple years ago, the official trade occurred recently when Italian officials arrived to take over possession.
One of the interesting notes to me is the fact that the Getty has owned this work since 1985 according to their own website. It is unclear why this is only being repatriated now.
Either way, the work is finally home as Hades returns to his royal lands, protecting the good and punishing the wicked as they pass into his deadly realm.
Clueless builders in a Spanish town accidentally destroyed a 6,000-year-old tomb they mistook for a broken picnic table and replaced it with a concrete bench.
The embarrassing incident took place in the town of Cristovo de Cea in the region of Galacia in Spain’s north west and was described as a ‘monumental error’ by university professor.
The ancient neolithic tomb had been designated a site of ‘cultural interest’ by the regional government of Galicia and was supposed to have been protected by Spain’s historical heritage law.
But instead it was removed and the patch of ground on which it stood covered with a concrete slab so the ugly white bench could be installed.
The mistaken act of cultural vandalism was reported by local environmental group Grupo Ecolozista Outeiro, who wrote in a report, ‘The rolled concrete and modern picnic bench have caused irreparable damage, replacing what was a prehistoric cemetery of the first inhabitants of Cea.’
It was passed to Galicia’s public prosecutor which has opened a file on the case. It is also being investigated by the Galician Department of Culture, Education and Universities.
Juan A Barceló, a professor of prehistory at the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona, told The Local: ‘I was horrified when I heard this news.
‘It is a monumental error. In Spain, no-one is allowed to take the individual decision to rebuild an historical monument, specially when it is classified in the national register, as it was.’. . . .
One of the most catastrophic and damaging volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen, it claimed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killed unknown thousands of Romans.
The pieces are soon to be shown at a Pompeii and Europe Exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy.
Molten rock rained down on the surrounding landscape at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second in an eruption thought to have released 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima bombing.
In recent years, archaeologists used hollows in the volcanic ash where victims’ bodies fell and decayed. They have filled these cavities with plaster to see the outline of their final resting places.
There has been much excavation work of the area, with more than 1,000 casts of bodies being made in Pompeii alone.
In 2010, studies showed that a surge reached temperatures of 300°C in Pompeii.
Volcanologist Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo, who led the study said: “(It was) enough to kill hundreds of people in a fraction of a second”.
In reference as to why the bodies were frozen in suspended action, Giuseppe explained: “The contorted postures are not the effects of a long agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses.”
The eruption was foreshadowed at the time by smaller earthquakes in the preceding days, but nothing was done by authorities.
A Roman poet Pliny the Younger, who was 17 at the time, recorded much of what happened during the eruption, but it is thought that a horrific cloud of ash, volcanic gas and stones spewed from the volcano to a height of around 21 miles. . . . .
Last year, a metal detectorist discovered a sword from the Viking Age in a field in central Norway. Archaeologists from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology excavated the site, and found a grave dating to about A.D. 950 that contained the remains of a Viking and his shield, in addition to the inscribed, high-quality sword. Hidden inside the shield boss they found a leather purse that contained several Islamic coins. Norwegian Vikings arrived in Spain in the 800s, where they may have come in contact with Islamic culture, or perhaps the coins were obtained through trade. “We have not managed to find out who owned the sword, but we know that he was a well-traveled man,” archaeologist Ingrid Ystgaard told NRK, as reported by ThorNews. The shield boss also bears combat scars. “The shield boss has a clear cut mark by an ax or a sword. If he died in combat, we do not know,” added Ystgaard. To read about the earliest Norse raids, see “The First Vikings.”