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Artwork Discovered in Vienna Cathedral’s Gift Shop May Be the Work of German Renaissance Master Albrecht Dürer:

During recent restoration work at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a historic Vienna landmark with roots stretching back to the 12th century, experts made a remarkable discovery in a section of the church that now functions as a gift shop. Per a statement from Austria’s Federal Monuments Office, a previously unknown artwork that scholars think was rendered by the studio of German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer—and perhaps even by the artist himself—has emerged from beneath layers of dirt.

The wall painting takes the form of a two-dimensional triptych with Saint Leopold, patron of Austria, in the center, flanked by Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. Below them, reports Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper, is “a predella-type image” resembling the base of an altarpiece.

Rubies are already rarer than diamonds. But star rubies are something incredibly special.

In  1990, Jarvis “Wayne"  Messer, a self-­described “rock hound ”living in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, made an incredible discovery. While combing the native woods for naturally occurring rarities, he unearthed four rough stones that sent shivers through him.

From their outward appearance, he sensed that he had come across something very special.Through   the efforts of a friend who happened to be an amateur stone cutter, the   true impact of Messer ’s find became evident. This mountaindest means, who worked as a trout fishing guide to provideor his family, made the discovery of a lifetime.

Although  Mr. Messer knew in his heart that his discovery was extraordinary, he needed scientific documentation to prove it. Unfortunately, the   cost   for   the   necessary gemological testing was well beyond his means. While contemplating his dilemma, word of the stones spread across the Appalachian   hills.

In short order,   friends and neighbors approached   Wayne. If they  each   "chipped in”   what monies they could  spare, perhaps he  could  pool   enough to  deliver his stones to New York City…to present them to the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.   

And so it happened that these four  stones made their way to the GIA which, in detailed reports, confirmed  that what Wayne had discovered were indeed remarkably   large Star Rubies! A ruby is rare. A ruby with a classic  six-­rayed star pattern—known as a “star  ruby” —  is  one  thousand  times  rarer  still. To find  four  matching  star  rubies  is  nothing  short  of  remarkable. To find them in  the United States (when star rubies have been found in the past, they have been found in Southeast Asia), is  virtually unimaginable.

In  the simplest of terms, a “star” is formed when a stone is placed under a light. As noted above, this happens very rarely. When such stars appear, they are most often faint or somewhat fuzzy. The stars in  Wayne’s  four  stones  are  vivid.  Sharp  and  bright,  when  viewing  them  it  almost  seems like an internal light switch  is turned on. The  stars are  stunning.   

It is a tradition that large and rare gemstones be given names;; with this in mind, Wayne's stones became known as the Appalachian Star (139.40  ct.), the Promise Star (64.16  ct.), the Misty Star (52.36  ct.), and the Smokey Mountain Two-­Star (86.54  ct.) which remarkably has stars on both its top and bottom. Together, the Mountain Star Ruby Collection weighs in at a staggering 342.46 ct! By comparison, the  Smithsonian Museum has on display a star ruby described as one of the world’s largest. That ruby weighs  138 ct., about a carat less than the Appalachian Star.   

As if the GIA reports were not enough, the stones were then shipped to London where the BGI (British Gemological Institute) confirmed the GIA’s findings. Once in England,   the Natural History Museum of London, considered  by some to be the finest museum of its type in  the  world, asked  to  exhibit  the  largest of the stones—the  Appalachian  Star. And quite an exhibit it was. Approximately 200,000 visitors lined up to view the extraordinary stone over a two-­week period, the largest audience that fabled institution has experienced in its multi-­century existence.

The institution’s leading  gemologist, Dr.Cally Oldershaw, described the stone as “quite  breathtaking. “In the Natural  History Museum of London’s Mineralogy Newsletter, Sept. 20,1992, the Appalachian Star was described  as “a  perfect  six-­rayed natural star ruby…  thought to  be the finest  in the world.” London’s Daily Mail was more  succinct  referring to the stone simply as “the world’s finest ruby.

The value of a ruby is typically determined based on color, cut, clarity and carat weight, but rubies also are evaluated based on their geographic origin. Ruby gets its name from the Latin word "ruber," which means red. In the Sanskrit language, ruby is called "ratnaraj," which translates to "king of gemstones."

Greek Farmer Accidentally Discovers 3,400-Year-Old Minoan Tomb Hidden Under Olive Grove...

The untouched Bronze Age tomb and the skeletons inside will hopefully provide archaeologists with information about the mysterious Minoan civilization.

n an extraordinary example of being in the wrong place at the right time, a Greek farmer just made a startling archaeological discovery.

A 3,400-year-old Minoan tomb was uncovered in an unnamed farmer’s olive grove near the city of Ierapetra on the Greek island of Crete. According to Cretapost, the farmer was attempting to park his car underneath an olive tree when suddenly the ground beneath him began to sink.

The farmer pulled his car out from under the tree and noticed that a huge hole which measured around four feet wide had opened up where his car had been sitting. When he peeked into the hole, the farmer knew he had stumbled upon something special. He called the local heritage ministry, Lassithi Ephorate of Antiquities, to investigate.

The four foot wide hole accidentally made by the farmer that ultimately led to the Minoan Bronze Age tomb.

The archaeologists from the ministry excavated the hole. What they found next was unprecedented.

The pit was approximately four feet wide and eight feet deep, was divided into three sections, and very apparently was a tomb.

In the first section, archaeologists uncovered a coffin and a variety of artifacts. The following niche held a second coffin, 14 Greek jars called amphorae, and a bowl.

According to, the archaeologists identified that the tomb was Minoan and of the Bronze Age due to the style of coffin they found. The artifacts — funerary vases and the two coffins— were well-preserved despite their extremely old age.

The eight-foot deep pit contained two coffins and several artifacts.

The tomb was sealed off by a stone wall and only after thousands of years of wear and tear did it deteriorate enough to buckle under the weight of the farmer’s car.

“Soil retreat was a result of the watering of the olive trees in the area as well as a broken irrigation tube,” Argyris Pantazis, the Deputy Mayor of Local Communities, Agranian and Tourism of Ierapetra, told Cretapost. “The ground had partially receded, and when the farmer tried to park in the shade of the olive, it completely retreated.”

Pantazis also said that the fact that the tomb was untouched by thieves for millennia makes it an ideal site for archaeologists to learn as much as possible about the two people buried in the tomb and life for the Minoan civilization.

A look inside the coffin of one of the two Minoans buried in the 3,400-year-old tomb.

According to Forbes, the skeletons date back to the Late Minoan IIIA-B period in archaeological chronology, also known as the Late Palace Period.

So far, not much information is known about the Minoan civilization and their way of life, save for their labyrinth palatial complexes, showcased in classic myths like Theseus and the Minotaur. Researchers also believe that the Minoans met their end because of a string of devastating natural disasters. Most other details of the Minoan’s history remain unclear.

Further analysis of the skeletons and artifacts in the tomb in Crete will hopefully help archaeologists fill in some blanks and answer questions about mysterious Minoan civilization.

Nice! Thanks.
Two thousand years ago, this ship was crossing the Mediterranean Sea full of its cargo of amphorae -- large terracotta pots which were used in the Roman Empire for transporting wine and olive oil.

For some reason, it never made it to its destination.

But having languished at the bottom of the sea for around two millennia, it has now been rediscovered by archeologists, along with its cargo, and dated to between 100 BCE and 100 CE. And it has already been judged to be the largest classical shipwreck ever found in the eastern Mediterranean.

The wreck of the 110-foot (35-meter) ship, along with its cargo of 6,000 amphorae, was discovered during a sonar-equipped survey of the seabed off the coast of Kefalonia -- one of the Ionian islands off the west coast of Greece.

The survey was carried out by the Oceanus network of the University of Patras, using artificial intelligence image-processing techniques. The research was funded by the European Union Interreg program.

It is the fourth largest shipwreck from the period ever found in the entire Mediterranean and is of "significant archaeological importance," according to George Ferentinos from the University of Patras, who along with nine of his fellow academics has unveiled the discovery in the Journal of Archeological Science.

"The amphorae cargo, visible on the seafloor, is in very good state of preservation and the shipwreck has the potential to yield a wealth of information about the shipping routes, trading, amphorae hull stowage and ship construction during the relevant period," they wrote.

Most ships of that era were around 50 feet long, compared to this one's 110 feet.

It is the fourth Roman shipwreck to be found in the area. Classical-era shipwrecks are difficult to discern with sonar, as they sit close to the seabed and can often be hidden by natural features. The cargo hold is wedged six feet underground.

It lies about 1.5 miles from the entrance to the harbor of Fiskardo -- the island's only village to not be destroyed in World War II. The archaeologists think that the discovery indicates that Fiskardo was an important stop on Roman trading routes.

The survey, carried out in 2013 and 2014, also picked up three "almost intact" wrecks from World War II in the area.

But it's the size of the cargo -- 98 feet by 39 feet -- and the intact amphorae which has excited the archaeologists.

The high resolution sonar images picked up the mass of jugs on the sea floor, filling out the shape of the wooden ship frame.

"Further study of the wreck would shed light on sea-routes, trading, amphorae hull stowage and shipbuilding in the period between 1st century BC and 1st century AD," the scholars wrote in the journal.

The only remaining problem: what to do with the wreck.

Ferentinos told CNN that retrieving it is a "very difficult and costly job." Instead, their next step is a cheaper one -- "to recover an amphora and using DNA techniques to find whether it was filled with wine, olive oil, nuts, wheat or barley."

They will then seek an investor to plan a diving park for the wreck.

In the meantime, the Ionian Aquarium museum in Lixouri, Kefalonia's second largest town, holds other treasures from the waters around the island.|1
Very nice!
Thanks, Mike!
A 1,000-year-old silver ingot found by a metal detectorist is of "real importance" in understanding the Viking period on the Isle of Man, a heritage organisation has said.

The 1.4 inch (3.5cm) oblong silver piece was found by Lee Morgan in the south of the island in September.

Manx National Heritage (MNH) said the find would help "build up a bigger and clearer picture of the Viking Age".

The ingot was declared treasure at an inquest hearing at Douglas Courthouse.

The piece, which dates back to between 950 and 1075 AD, will be on display at the Manx Museum from Saturday.

Silver ingots were used for trading during Viking times as, unlike coins, they had no specific currency.

Allison Fox, a curator of archaeology at MNH, said Viking Age finds were "absolutely crucial" to understanding the influence of the period on the island.

"We've still got the Tynwald, so what happened in the Viking Age is crucial and any little bit of evidence that we can gain is of real importance," she said.

The ingot offers further evidence that the Vikings were "using the Isle of Man as a financial offshore centre for their trading empire", she added.

Finds of archaeological interest must be reported to MNH and items of precious metal that are more than 300 years old are the subject of a legal ruling by a coroner.

If declared treasure, items belong to the Crown and are held in trust by MNH, while the finder is rewarded.

It is the second item to be declared treasure under new laws introduced in 2017.

Under previous laws, the item could only be declared treasure if it was proven that the original owner intentionally buried it, rather than it being accidentally lost.

The current laws do not take that into consideration.

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