Secret History


3,500-year-old tomb of warrior prince discovered in Greece

Experts describe the discovery of tomb packed full of gold, silver and weapons, which sheds light on ancient Mycenaean and Minoan civilisations, as one of the most significant in decades.

Flanked by a three-foot long bronze sword with an ivory handle and surrounded by a treasure trove of gold, silver and precious stones, he lay undisturbed for 3,500 years. Now, the skeleton of an ancient Greek warrior, his tomb protected by a heavy stone slab, has been discovered by archaeologists in the Peloponnese.

Described as one of the most exciting discoveries in Greece for decades, the 30-35 year old man has been dubbed the "Griffin Warrior" after an ivory plaque depicting the half-lion, half-eagle mythical beast that was found alongside him. Experts said it was remarkable that the grave had escaped the attentions of tomb raiders over the centuries.

Comment: Very exciting find!

Related articles of other recent discoveries:


Russia to exhume remains of Tsar Alexander III to solve century-old Bolshevik murder of Romanovs

© Wikipedia
Alexander III with his wife and their children.
Russia is planning to exhume the remains of Tsar Alexander III, the father of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II in an attempt to prove the remains of Nicholas II's last two children belong to the slain Tsar's family. It was requested by Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Forensic experts told Russian media the process is likely to start in the second half of November 2015. However, opening the vault of the Russian Tsar who died back in 1894 may be quite complicated. "It [the burial vault] contains not only a coffin with the Tsar's body but also a separate grave with the tsar's embalmed vital organs," Marina Logunova, senior research associate at the St. Petersburg State History Museum, told TASS. Also Alexander III's impressive height - 1.93 meters - could create additional problems, Logunova added. "It can be assumed that the burial vault is larger than the tombstone, and that can create risks for the nearby graves...."

If the experts prove the remains found in Ekaterinburg are genuine and related to Alexander III, then one more riddle of the slain Tsar family would be solved. At that point, all seven members of the Tsar's family will be buried together.

Nicholas II, his wife and five children, including his only son and heir, Alexey, were killed in 1918 following the 1917 Revolution. Their bodies were thrown down a mine shaft and then quickly buried somewhere near Ekaterinburg in the Urals.

For almost a century no one knew where exactly the Tsar family was buried. However, in 1991 the remains of Nicholas II, his wife and three daughters were discovered in a mass grave near Ekaterinburg. Two years later, in 1993, investigators opened a case into the murder of the Romanov family to identify the suspected remains of the Tsar's family and their retinue. The case was closed in 1998 "owing to the deaths of the perpetrators of the crime."

Comment: Russia's last Tsar Nicolas II exhumed, case reopened into murder of Romanov family


Imaging techniques reveal 17th century religious scenes

Synchrotron light has pierced the mysteries of a small 17th Century metallic box thanks to X-ray imaging techniques developed at the ESRF. Scientists were able to virtually reconstitute, in 3D and with astounding resolution, the inaccessible contents of the very fragile and badly damaged box.

© Paul Tafforeau/ESRF
The medal in the middle of the stack represents Christ's crucifixion and ressurection.
The box was discovered on the archaeological site of the Saint-Laurent church, now the archaeological museum of Grenoble (MAG). Restoration of the very badly damaged and fragile box had been limited to stopping the oxidation process, without providing any insight into the nature of its contents.

Thanks to the non-destructive techniques and high resolution imaging of the ESRF, in particular synchrotron X-ray phase contrast micro-tomography, the research team, made up of members of the MAG and ESRF, were able to identify the contents, and the finer details of three medals.


Enormous teeth of prehistoric 60ft megalodon shark found on NC beaches

© / Wikipedia
Reconstructed jaws on display at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Beachgoers in North Carolina were given a shock when the fossilized teeth of an ancient shark washed ashore. The not-so-pearly-whites are believed to have belonged to a 60-foot megalodon.

The teeth, found at North Carolina's Topsail Beach and Surf City, are believed to have belonged to the megalodon - a prehistoric shark which dominated the oceans 15 million years ago.

"Oh my God, like I said, I felt like I was a lottery winner or something," beachgoer Denny Bland told local NBS affiliate WITN. "It's like I'm the first one to touch that since it fell out of his mouth back in the day."


Oldest alphabet primer found on ancient pottery

© Nigel Strudwick
This is a photo of the earliest abecedary.
The world's oldest-known alphabet primer was found in a list of ancient Egyptian words inscribed on a shard of pottery from the 15th century B.C., according to a new study.

Called ostracon, the flake of limestone was unearthed near Luxor over 20 years ago. British Egyptologist Nigel Strudwick found it as he excavated Theban Tomb 99, which was the burial of Senneferi, a 18th Dynasty official who lived under the reign of Tuthmose III.

The ostracon contains an incomplete list of words written in hieratic, the cursive script used in ancient Egypt for some 3,000 years. The instructional list of words in alphabetical order is called an abecedary.


Ancient Alaska infants' DNA supports human migration theory

© Ben Potter, UAF
University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologists Josh Reuther, left, and Ben Potter, right, work on the Upward Sun River site in Alaska.
Analysis of genetic material from the remains of two ice-age infants discovered in Alaska has revealed connections to two ancient lineages of Native Americans, according to a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers in Alaska and Utah have documented that the infants had different mothers and were descended from two distinct lineages not previously identified in the Arctic.

University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter and University of Utah geneticists Dennis O'Rourke and Justin Tackney deciphered ancient mitochondrial DNA from two infants buried in Alaska 11,500 years ago. The burials represent the oldest human remains ever found in northern North America.

Potter and a team of anthropology faculty members and students working at the Upward Sun River site in Interior Alaska discovered remains of a cremated 3-year-old in 2010, followed by the two infants in 2013. The site and its artifacts provide new insights into funeral practices and other rarely preserved aspects of life among people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago, according to Potter.


Polish archaeologists discovered an unknown temple of Hatshepsut

© P. Witkowski
Cut in the rock and consisting of two rooms, the walls of which are covered with poorly preserved decoration and hieroglyphic inscriptions: a team of archaeologists working under the auspices of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw started research in the ancient temple at Gebelein in Upper Egypt.

This place was already known to the local authorities, but so far no archaeologist has studied it. Previous researchers could have been discouraged by the poor condition of the decorations. This year's results of Polish research were surprising.

"This temple was dedicated to two gods. There is no doubt that one of them was Hathor, with the cult epithet Lady of Gebelein. The other deity could be Amun-Ra. Unfortunately, his depictions are not preserved and further studies are needed to verify this idea" - explained Daniel Takács, a member of the expedition.


Grave of "Griffin Warrior" at Pylos could be a gateway to civilizations

© Department of Classics/University of Cincinnati
A bronze mirror with an ivory handle found in a grave of a warrior at Pylos in Greece.
Archaeologists digging at Pylos, an ancient city on the southwest coast of Greece, have discovered the rich grave of a warrior who was buried at the dawn of European civilization.

He lies with a yardlong bronze sword and a remarkable collection of gold rings, precious jewels and beautifully carved seals. Archaeologists expressed astonishment at the richness of the find and its potential for shedding light on the emergence of the Mycenaean civilization, the lost world of Agamemnon, Nestor, Odysseus and other heroes described in the epics of Homer.

"Probably not since the 1950s have we found such a rich tomb," said James C. Wright, the director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Seeing the tomb "was a real highlight of my archaeological career," said Thomas M. Brogan, the director of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete, noting that "you can count on one hand the number of tombs as wealthy as this one."


Ancient healing temple dedicated to Asclepius excavated in Greece

Marble relief of Asclepius and his daughter Hygieia. From Therme, Greece, end of the 5th century BC. Istanbul Archaeological Museums.
Archaeologists in Greece have excavated an ancient healing temple in the acropolis of Feneos dedicated to Asclepius, god of healing. Along with the foundations of the sacred temple, researchers also found an enormous statue of Asclepius, and his daughter Hygeia; an elaborate mosaic floor, marble podiums, and offering tables.

International Business Times reports that the 2,400-year-old temple, known as Asclepion (a healing temple dedicated to the god Ascelpius) was first discovered in 1958. However, archaeologists have only recently carried out extensive excavations of the site and have been able to piece together the layout of the site, as well as unearth numerous important artifacts.

Asclepius, the God of Healing

Asclepius, a son of Apollo, was a god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. We are all familiar with Asclepius in a way, since the symbol that is used for medicine, the snake entwined staff, was the rod of Asclepius. According to mythology, Asclepius was brought up by the mysterious figure of ancient Greek mythology, the centaur Chiron, who raised Asclepius and taught him about the art of medicine. Because Asclepius used his powers to bring people from Hades (meaning resurrecting them), the God of Hades complained to Zeus because Asclepius converted many people from humans to immortals. The result was for Zeus to kill Asclepius with thunder.


Marble Medusa head unearthed in Ancient Roman ruins

© Michael Hoff
The head was unearthed at the Turkish site, Antiochia ad Cragum, a city founded during the first century.
In the ruins of a Roman city in southern Turkey, archaeologists have discovered a marble head of Medusa, somehow spared during an early Christian campaign against pagan art.

The head was unearthed at Antiochia ad Cragum, a city founded during the first century, around the rule of Emperor Nero, that has all the marks of a Roman outpost — bathhouses, shops, colonnaded streets, mosaics and a local council house.

With serpents for hair, wide eyes and an open mouth, Medusa was a mythical monster who could turn a person to stone with her gaze. At Antiochia, a Medusa architectural sculpture would have served an apotropaic function, intended to avert evil —but later, her likeness would have been considered idolatrous by the Christians who came to live at the site.