A dispute over an ancient gold tablet pitting a Holocaust survivor’s heirs against the German museum that lost the Assyrian relic in World War II will be argued Tuesday in New York’s highest court.
The 9.5-gram (.34-ounce) tablet, about the size of a credit card, was excavated a century ago by German archaeologists from the Ishtar Temple in what is now northern Iraq. It went on display in Berlin in 1934, was put in storage as the war began and later disappeared.
Riven Flamenbaum, who died in 2003, brought it to the U.S. after surviving the Auschwitz concentration camp and settling on Long Island. Family lore says he had traded two packs of cigarettes to a Russian soldier for the tablet after he was rescued from Auschwitz. Read more.
OSLO — The wreck of a German World War II submarine that was sunk with 48 people on board has been found off Norway’s coast during work on an oil pipe, a maritime museum official said Monday.
The “U-486” was torpedoed and broken in two by a British submarine in April 1945 shortly after leaving the western Norwegian town of Bergen, according to Arild Maroey Hansen of the Bergen maritime museum.
There were no survivors.
Lying at a depth of some 250 metres (820 feet), the wreck was found when Norwegian oil company Statoil was scouting the area as a possible location to lay down an oil pipe. Read more.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Wolfgang von Schwarzenfeld's sculptures in a Berlin park were meant to promote world peace, but the 79-year-old German now finds himself at war with a Venezuelan tribe which accuses him of stealing a sacred pink stone known to them as “Grandmother”.
The Venezuelan government is championing the Pemon Indians of the “Gran Sabana” region by demanding the return of the polished stone from Berlin's Tiergarten park - putting the German government in something of a dilemma.
With Caracas calling it robbery, and the sculptor arguing that the stone was a legal gift, the monolith is emitting more negative energy than its esoteric fans in Berlin are used to. Read more.
THE FIRST anchor was brought above water just before noon from the seabed where it had lain attached to the wreck of the most famous gun-running ship in Irish history.
Yesterday, a team of marine archeologists and divers recovered the two anchors of the much-storied Aud.
The German ship was scuttled in Cork Harbour in 1916 with 20,000 Russian rifles, 10 machine guns and five million rounds of ammunition that were bound for the Irish Volunteers still on board.
The second anchor was recovered just before 1pm, off the coast of Cobh in Co Cork.
It was the culmination of over two years work by the team that will now begin a three-year conservation of the anchors ahead of the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising. Read more.
Archaeologists have started unearthing human remains from a mass grave near the German town of Lützen, a find that dates back to the Thirty Years’ War.
"We estimate that there are at least 75 dead, who were buried very close together in several layers," archaeologist Susanne Friederich said on Friday.
The Battle of Lützen, which took place in 1632, pitted Swedish soldiers against those under the command of German Roman Catholic general Albrecht von Wallenstein.
It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Thirty Years’ War, with an estimated 6,500 to 10,000 casualties. The Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus was also mortally wounded during the battle.
The grave was discovered in the late summer of 2011. The 42-square-metre tomb is 1.1 metres deep. Read more.
When it comes to human evolution, Europe and the Near East are crucial places: Europe has the first cave art, and the Near East has the first sightings of modern humans out of Africa, for example. Now a leading scientific body, the Munich-based Max Planck Society, is teaming up with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science to create a joint center devoted to studying archaeology and human evolution, to be based in both Rehovot, Israel, and Leipzig, Germany.
On 11 January, Max Planck President Peter Gruss, and Daniel Zajfman, president of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, will sign a contract to create the new center, worth about €5 million over the next 5 years. It will be funded by the Max Planck’s Minerva Foundation, which has supported German-Israel collaborations since the 1960s. Read more.
German maritime archaeologists claimed to have found a urinal used by Kaiser Wilhelm II lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
The piece of porcelain history was discovered in the wreck of the Udine, a light-cruiser which was sunk in the First World War by the Royal Navy, that now lies 28 nautical miles off the German island of Rugen.
"It was sunk by the British in 1915," said Reinhard Oser, the archaeologist leading the expedition. "We managed to take some great photographs, and made this unusual discovery."
At the time the significance of the urinal went unnoticed until later research revealed that the urinal was part of a special bathroom laid on for the emperor’s convenience.
"Kaiser Wilhelm was on board the ship when it was launched in Kiel on December 11, 1902, and went on its maiden voyage," explained Mr Oser, who added the team had been surprised by the identity of the urinal’s user.
The discovery of the regal lavatory has helped focus attention on the vast array of wrecks that litter the seabed of the Baltic. Archaeologists estimate that there as many as 3,000 ships, many of them victims of fighting in either the first or second world war, lie beneath the waves. (source)
An international team of computer scientists has cracked a manuscript detailing rituals of an 18th-century German secret society.
Copiale Cipher, is a 105-page book that was written in a combination of elaborate symbols and Roman letters. Previous attempts to decode it had failed, and it was clear that the cipher being used was more sophisticated than most. It is located in the former East Germany and was signed by a “Philipp” in 1866.
Kevin Knight, a computer scientist at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, collaborated with two colleagues, Beáta Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University. They found that the text was in a sophisticated substitution cipher, which means that the letters one would expect were replaced with symbols.
Such ciphers are common in children’s games –- you might remember the “pigpen cipher” or shifting letters (making an “A” into a “C,” a “B” into a “D” and so on) form grade school. The Copiale manuscript was a step above that. Knight and his team originally thought –- as had many others –- that the visible Roman letters in the text were the coded message. But when they tried replacing those letters with others all they got was nonsense.
That meant the symbols had to be what they were looking for, or some of them. They tried the same thing on the unknown symbols. Again, they got nonsense, but the nonsense seemed to point to German as the original language. Read more.