BOSTON - To protect them in the afterlife, King Piankhy, who ruled Nubia in 750 B.C., buried all four of his queens with elaborate jewelry.
When the king’s tomb was excavated, archaeologists found the remains of his four favorite horses and his queens’ jewelry – a silver pendant portraying Hathor, goddess of motherhood and feminine love, nursing a queen and amulets of gold, silver, glass and lapis lazuli to ward off danger.
Twenty-seven centuries later, visitors to “Gold and the Gods” at the Museum of Fine Arts can see remarkably crafted royal bling that opens a revealing window on the lives of a culture that seems impossibly distant yet hauntingly familiar. Read more.
Several pieces of Viking jewelry, some of which contain gold, have been uncovered at a farm site in Denmark that dates as far back as 1,300 years.
Although the Vikings have a popular reputation as being raiders, they were also farmers, traders and explorers, and the craftsmanship seen in this jewelry demonstrates their artistic skills.
Archaeologists working with volunteers used metal detectors to find the jewelry in different spots throughout a farmstead on Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The remains of the site, which is now called Vestervang, date from the late seventh to the early 11th centuries. Read more.
An ancient Egyptian iron bead found inside a 5,000-year-old tomb was crafted from a meteorite, new research shows.
The tube-shaped piece of jewelry was first discovered in 1911 at the Gerzeh cemetery, roughly 40 miles (70 kilometers) south of Cairo. Dating between 3350 B.C. and 3600 B.C., beads found at the burial site represent the first known examples of iron use in ancient Egypt, thousands of years before Egypt’s Iron Age. And their cosmic origins were suspected from the start.
Soon after the beads were discovered, researchers showed that the metal jewelry was rich in nickel, a signature of iron meteorites. But in the 1980s, academics cast doubt on the beads’ celestial source, arguing that the high nickel content could have been the result of smelting. Read more.
Anyone buying jewelry for the first time (or the second, or the third), is bound to experience sticker shock. Walk into any major jeweler and even the most nondescript silver bauble can cost thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, astronomical prices don’t always mean exclusivity—there’s a chance you’ll see the necklace you bought on two other people before you’ve left the store.
Those odds become a lot longer when your necklace is 3,000 years old. Sometimes the best jewelry store isn’t a store but an auction house.
How are antiquities like this available to the public and not behind lucite in a museum? Start with provenance. Read more.
Though separated by a thousand years, two newfound “emergency hoards” from Israel—including gold jewelry and coins—may have been hidden by ancient families fleeing unknown dangers, archaeologists say.
Revealed late last month, these 3,000-year-old rings (foreground) and earrings, from the older hoard, were found in a ceramic jug among the ruins of a house. Though unearthed in 2010, the vessel concealed its cargo until late last year, when scientists began molecular analysis of the contents.
"This is really a very impressive piece," Finkelstein said of this golden earring adorned with ibex, or wild goats.
These fractured ceramic fragments concealed the Megiddo treasure hoard for some 3,000 years. But the container itself, Finkelstein said, was originally hidden in plain sight.
"They simply put the hoard in the vessel, put the vessel in the corner of a room, and covered it with two bowls—and that’s it," he said. More.
A spectacular 2,000 year-old gold and silver hoard was uncovered in an archaeological excavation conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Qiryat Gat region.
A rich and extraordinary hoard that includes jewelry and silver and gold coins from the Roman period was recently exposed in a salvage excavation in the vicinity of Qiryat Gat. The treasure trove comprising some 140 gold and silver coins together with gold jewelry was probably hidden by a wealthy lady at a time of impending danger during the Bar Kokhba Revolt.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University have recently discovered a collection of gold and silver jewelry, dated from around 1100 B.C., hidden in a vessel at the archaeological site of Tel Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. One piece — a gold earring decorated with molded ibexes, or wild goats — is “without parallel,” they believe.
According to Prof. Israel Finkelstein of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures, the vessel was found in 2010, but remained uncleaned while awaiting a molecular analysis of its content. When they were finally able to wash out the dirt, pieces of jewelry, including a ring, earrings, and beads, flooded from the vessel. Prof. Finkelstein is the co-director of the excavation of Tel Megiddo along with Professor Emeritus David Ussishkin of Tel Aviv University and Associate Director Prof. Eric Cline of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Read more.
The discovery suggests an expedition led by conquistador Hernando de Soto ventured far off its presumed course—which took the men from Florida to Missouri—and engaged in ceremonies in a thatched, pyramid-like temple.
The discovery could redraw the map of de Soto’s 1539-41 march into North America, where he hoped to replicate Spain’s overthrow of the Inca Empire inSouth America. There, the conquistador had served at the side of leader Francisco Pizarro.
A continent and five centuries away, an excavation organized by Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History found buried glass beads, iron tools, and brass and silver ornaments dating to the mid-1500s. The southern-Georgia location—where they’d been searching for a 17th-century Spanish mission—came to be called the Glass Site. Read more.