Ancient, Gold-Lined Tombs That May Hold Princesses Discovered in Greece


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Ancient, Gold-Lined Tombs That May Hold Princesses Discovered in Greece

By Owen Jarus – Live Science Contributor December 18, 2019

This photo shows one of the two tombs that were discovered. The tombs date back about 3,500 years and were covered with about 40,000 watermelon sized rocks to protect them against robbers. The stones had to be removed before excavations could commence.

Here, one of the 3,500-year-old tombs discovered in Greece. It was covered with watermelon-sized stones when archaeologists found it.
(Image: © University of Cincinnati)

The bodies of ancient princes and princesses may have rested in two ancient tombs lined with gold that were recently found at the site of Pylos in Greece, archaeologists announced Dec. 17.
Inside the 3,500-year-old tombs, the archaeologists found intricately carved jewelry and human remains, though they can only speculate as to whether the bodies belong to royalty.

The archaeologists also can’t say how many bodies are buried in the tombs, or anything about their sex and ages, since their analysis of the human bones is ongoing, they noted.
Related: Photos: Mysterious Ancient Tomb in Amphipolis.

The tombs were found near what modern-day archaeologists call the “Palace of Nestor,” which was discovered in 1939, and near another tomb, found in 2015, that also contained elaborate jewelry.

When the archaeologists found the tombs, they were sealed beneath 40,000 stones about the size of watermelons. That covering was meant to protect the tombs from grave robbers — a danger in both ancient and modern times.

At the time the tombs were built, what is now called the Mycenaean civilization flourished in mainland Greece and on Crete. The Mycenaean people built massive palaces and developed a writing system that archaeologists call Linear B. This civilization flourished until around 3,200 years ago, when it collapsed.

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This gold pendant was found in one of the tombs and depicts Hathor, an Egyptian goddess who was regarded as a protector of the dead.

This gold pendant was found in one of the tombs and depicts Hathor, an Egyptian goddess who was regarded as a protector of the dead. (Image credit: University of Cincinnati)

Human remains were found in the two tombs. They are in the process of being analyzed and at present archaeologists don't know how many people were buried in the tombs, what their genders were or age at death was.

Human remains were found in the two tombs. Archaeologists are in the process of the remains found inside. (Image credit: University of Cincinnati)

A type of gold jewelry called a "double argonaut." An argonaut is a type of octopus and this example depicts two of them.

A type of gold jewelry called a “double argonaut,” illustrating two octopuses. (Image credit: University of Cincinnati)

This agate sealstone depicts two lion like creatures called “genii” who are shown standing upright on clawed feet. The lions are carrying an incense burner and serving vase which they are giving as tribute to an altar that has a sapling tree and two horns on it. Above the lions is a 16 point star.

This agate sealstone depicts two lion like creatures called “genii,” who are shown standing upright on clawed feet. (Image credit: University of Cincinnati)

This gold ring, found in one of the two newly discovered tombs, shows two bulls surrounded by sheaves of barley.

This gold ring, found in one of the two newly discovered tombs, shows two bulls surrounded by sheaves of barley. (Image credit: University of Cincinnati)

Gold treasure

When the researchers excavated the tombs, they found a heap of gold leaf that had fallen from the walls of the tombs.

Golden walls were just some of the bling found in the burials. For instance, a gold ring found in one of the tombs depicts two bulls surrounded by sheaves of barley. “It’s an interesting scene of animal husbandry — cattle mixed with grain production. It’s the foundation of agriculture,” Jack Davis, a classics professor and archaeologist at the University of Cincinnati, who is co-director of the team that discovered the tombs, said in a statement.

Related: 30 of the World’s Most Valuable Treasures That Are Still Missing

Another intricate piece of jewelry in the tombs, an agate sealstone, depicts two lion-like creatures called “genii,” which are shown standing upright on clawed feet. The lions are carrying an incense burner and serving vase that they are giving as tribute to an altar decorated with a sapling tree and two horns, Sharon Stocker, a senior research associate at the University of Cincinnati, who is co-director of the team, said in the statement. Above the image of the lions is a 16-point star.

A gold pendant found in one of the tombs seems to have played some sort of protective role, as it depicts the Egyptian goddess Hathor. “Its discovery is particularly interesting in light of the role she played in Egypt as protectress of the dead,” Davis said in the statement.

Many more artifacts made of gold, carnelian, amethyst and amber were discovered in the tombs and are in the process of being analyzed. The artifacts shed light on trade between the Mycenaeans and other regions, as archaeologists found that the amber originated in the Baltic, while the amethyst hailed from Egypt.

The team plans to continue work in the area for at least another two years.

 

In Photos: Tomb of Royal Woman Found in Ancient Egypt


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In Photos: Tomb of Royal Woman Found in Ancient Egypt

By Owen Jarus February 03, 2018

Royal woman

Archaeologists discovered the tomb of a royal official named Hetpet on the Giza Plateau. The tomb dates back more than 4,300 years.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

A tomb dating back over 4,300 years that held a woman named Hetpet has been discovered in a cemetery on the Giza Plateau in Egypt. She was a senior official in the royal palace, archaeologists say. [Read more about the ancient Egyptian discovery]

Tomb paintings

The tomb contains well preserved wall paintings, including this image showing fish and other goods being presented to Hetpet, who is shown seated at the far left.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

The tomb contains well preserved wall paintings, including this image showing fish and other goods being presented to Hetpet, who is shown seated at the far left.

Baby monkey?

This painting from Hetpet's tomb shows a monkey reaping fruit. There appears to be a baby monkey holding onto its back.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

This painting from Hetpet’s tomb shows a monkey reaping fruit. There appears to be a baby monkey holding onto its back.

Dancing monkey?

An orchestra is seen playing in this painting. A variety of wind and string instruments are used by the different musicians. Archaeologists say that there is a monkey (not seen) dancing in front of this orchestra.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

An orchestra is seen playing in this painting. A variety of wind and string instruments are used by the different musicians. Archaeologists say that there is a monkey (not seen) dancing in front of this orchestra.

Slaughtering a cow

In this painting from Hetpet's tomb, three men appear to be in the process of slaughtering a cow.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

In this painting from Hetpet’s tomb, three men appear to be in the process of slaughtering a cow. One of the cow’s legs is about to be cut off.

Coralling cattle

In this tomb scene, men can be seen herding or corralling cattle and people are carrying a variety of goods.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

In this tomb scene, men can be seen herding or corralling cattle and people are carrying a variety of goods.

Offerings for Hetpet

Three men are seen carrying what appear to be birds. They may be offerings for Hetpet.

(Image credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry)

Three men are seen carrying what appear to be birds. They may be offerings for Hetpet. The tomb was discovered recently by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

 

China’s Lunar Rover Just Found Something Weird on the Far Side of the Moon


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China’s Lunar Rover Just Found Something Weird on the Far Side of the Moon

By Andrew Jones September 03, 2019

Tracks made by Yutu-2 while navigating hazards during lunar day 8, which occurred during late July and early August 2019.

Tracks made by Yutu-2 while navigating hazards during lunar day 8, which occurred during late July and early August 2019.
(Image: © China Lunar Exploration Project)

China’s Chang’e-4 lunar rover has discovered an unusually colored, ‘gel-like’ substance during its exploration activities on the far side of the moon.

The mission’s rover, Yutu-2, stumbled on that surprise during lunar day 8. The discovery prompted scientists on the mission to postpone other driving plans for the rover, and instead focus its instruments on trying to figure out what the strange material is.

Day 8 started on July 25; Yutu-2 began navigating a path through an area littered with various small impact craters, with the help and planning of drivers at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, according to a Yutu-2 ‘drive diary’ published on Aug. 17 by the government-sanctioned Chinese-language publication Our Space, which focuses on space and science communication.

Related: Chang’e 4 in Pictures: China’s Mission to the Moon’s Far Side

The drive team, excited by the discovery, called in their lunar scientists. Together, the teams decided to postpone Yutu-2’s plans to continue west and instead ordered the rover to check out the strange material.

Yutu-2 found a strangely-colored substance in a crater on the far side of the moon.

Yutu-2 found a strangely-colored substance in a crater on the far side of the moon. (Image credit: China Lunar Exploration Project)

With the help of obstacle-avoidance cameras, Yutu-2 carefully approached the crater and then targeted the unusually colored material and its surroundings. The rover examined both areas with its Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS), which detects light that is scattered or reflected off materials to reveal their makeup.

VNIS is the same instrument that detected tantalizing evidence of material originating from the lunar mantle in the regolith of Von Kármán crater, a discovery Chinese scientists announced in May.

Tracks showing Yutu-2's approach to the crater for analysis of the gel-like substance.

Tracks showing Yutu-2’s approach to the crater for analysis of the gel-like substance. (Image credit: China Lunar Exploration Project)

So far, mission scientists haven’t offered any indication as to the nature of the colored substance and have said only that it is “gel-like” and has an “unusual color.” One possible explanation, outside researchers suggested, is that the substance is melt glass created from meteorites striking the surface of the moon.

Yutu-2’s discovery isn’t scientists’ first lunar surprise, however. Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison Schmitt discovered orange-colored soil near the mission’s Taurus-Littrow landing site in 1972, prompting excitement from both Schmitt and his moonwalk colleague, Gene Cernan. Lunar geologists eventually concluded that the orange soil was created during an explosive volcanic eruption 3.64 billion years ago.

Strange orange soil was discovered on the moon by the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Strange orange soil was discovered on the moon by the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. (Image credit: China Lunar Exploration Project)

Chang’e-4 launched in early December 2018, and made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3. The Yutu-2 rover had covered a total of 890 feet (271 meters) by the end of lunar day 8.

Watch: China’s Historic Moon Landing Captured by Probe’s Camera

A stitched image from Yutu-2 looking back toward the Chang'e-4 lander during lunar day 7, in late June and early July 2019.

A stitched image from Yutu-2 looking back toward the Chang’e-4 lander during lunar day 7, in late June and early July 2019. (Image credit: China Lunar Exploration Project)

The Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover powered down for the end of lunar day 8 on Aug. 7, and began their ninth lunar day over the weekend. The Yutu-2 rover woke up at 8:42 p.m. EDT on Aug. 23 (00:42 GMT Aug. 24), and the lander followed the next day, at 8:10 p.m. (00:10 GMT).

During lunar day 9, Yutu-2 will continue its journey west, take a precautionary six-day nap around local noontime, and power down for a ninth lunar night around Sept. 5, about 24 hours hours ahead of local sunset.

Follow Andrew Jones at @AJ_FI. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week


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The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week

By Live Science Staff 4 days ago

Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are some of the coolest stories in science this week.

Ghost People

The rock shelter at Shum Laka in Cameroon. Surprisingly, the ancient people who lived at this rock shelter are not related to the people in the region today.  (Image credit: Photo by Pierre de Maret, January 1994)

The ancient DNA from four children who lived thousands of years ago is rewriting what geneticists thought happened in sub-Saharan Africa. [Read more about the mystery.]

Proving the Experts Wrong

Scientists tested Galileo and Einstein’s theories by dropping two objects inside this satellite named MICROSCOPE (artist’s impression). (Image credit: CNES)

Physicists dropped objects on a satellite for two years to test Galileo’s theory of falling objects. [Read more about the effort.]

History Speaks

The mummified body of the ancient Egyptian priest Nesyamun underwent medical scans in 2018 so that a copy of its vocal tract could be made. (Image credit: Leeds Teaching Hospitals/Leeds Museums and Galleries)

The voice of an ancient Egyptian priest has been heard for the first time in more than 3,000 years, thanks to a detailed reconstruction of his vocal tract from his mummified remains. [Read more about the sounds.]

The End Nears

Tick, tick, tick. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A hypothetical timepiece called the Doomsday Clock measures our nearness to Armageddon — by nuclear weapons, climate change and other global threats.  [Read more about the prediction.]

Extreme Effects

Fragment of glassy black material extracted from the cranial cavity of a victim of the volcanic eruption at Herculaneum in the year 79.  (Image credit: The New England Journal of Medicine 2019 )

A man who died in Herculaneum during the historic Vesuvius eruption was found with an exploded skull and glass-like brain tissue.  [Read more about the discovery.]

Oldest Impact Site

Researchers drew the estimated shape of the vanished Yarrabubba impact crater over this Google Earth image of Western Australia. The structure may be part of the oldest known impact crater on Earth. (Image credit: Google Earth/ The Conversation)

The ancient impact site is more than 2.2 billion years old — some 200 million years older than any other site like it on Earth. [Read more about the meteor.]

Thawing-out Dangers

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A new technique for studying ancient microbes in glaciers has led to the discovery of previously unknown viruses. [Read more about germs.]

Evolution Evolves

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Scientists have discovered a form of natural selection that doesn’t rely on DNA. [Read more about the find.]

The Origins of Life?

High-energy particle collisions, neutrinos.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Scientists are searching for a ghostly neutrino particle that acts as its own antiparticle. If they find it, the discovery could resolve a cosmic conundrum: Why does matter exist at all? [Read more about the particle.]

Kissin’ Cousins?

A cassowary glares at the camera.

In some birds, like this cassowary, the resemblance to extinct theropod dinosaurs is easy to see. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Modern birds can trace their origins to theropods, a branch of mostly meat-eaters on the dinosaur family tree. [Read more about the connection.]

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