Friday, October 01, 2004

We aren't sure about the 'sensation(al)' part. . . 'European archaeological sensation' unearthed

An ornament for horses dating back to the 1st century A.D. has been found during excavations of a Roman Empire-era military camp near the southern Croatian city of Drnis, local media reports said on Friday.

Croatian Minister for Culture Bozo Biskupic said the ornament - a small, crescent-shaped object fashioned from bronze and designed to be worn on the animal's head - was a "European archaeological sensation" because it was the biggest such item found and very well-preserved.

A similar item was excavated near Magdeburg, Germany, but it was smaller and less well-preserved, it was said.

Excavations of the camp are still underway and archaeologists believe more precious items could be found.

Then again, when you're used to little bits of pottery and bones and junk, this could look pretty darn cool.

Junk found in water Treasure found off Kudat coast

A Chinese junk containing ceramics from the Sung Dynasty that sank off the coast of Kudat, Sabah, about 1,000 years ago has been located recently, said Museum and Antiquity Department deputy director-general Md Redzuan Tumin.

He said local fishermen discovered the wreck about two months ago.

“It’s about 20m deep and located between Kudat and Pulau Bangi.

“We have retrieved some ceramics from the wreck, which appeared to have been tampered with,” he told reporters after witnessing a soft launch to mark the opening of Kota Ngah Ibrahim.

Pomegranates! 2 500-year-old pomegranates found

Four pomegranates thought to be 2 500 years old were found preserved intact inside a woven basket placed in a bronze vessel that was unearthed during an archaeological dig, an archaeologist said on Friday.

The fruits were found at an archaeological dig in the area of Ancient Corinth, located about 100 kilometres west of Athens.

"They were preserved because the vessel was closed very well. The oxidization of the bronze functioned protectively, so no microorganisms developed and destroyed the them," said Panayiota Kasimi, the archaeologist in charge of the dig.

Archaeologists have been digging in a search for any antiquities ahead of the construction of a railroad line in the area. Such archaeological digs are common prior to major construction projects.

The pomegranates have been placed in a special refrigerator and will be studied further by experts, Kasimi said.

Archaeologists would not allow the fruit to be photographed.

That's the whole thing. The interesting part about this is the preservative qualities of bronze which contains copper which is poisonous to the microorganisms that would otherwise consume the organics. This is why you often find bronze or copper weapons together with their sheaths, or at least the parts of the sheath that are close to the implement. Bronze objects in tombs also very often preserve parts of the burial shrouds.

Here's some stuff on bronze, for the metalurgically inclined.