Tag Archives: Roman

Earliest Known Sighting of Halley’s Comet – Comets and Meteors on Ancient Greek and Roman Coins

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11255168

It seems the ancient greeks spotted Halley’s comet in 466BC.

This got me thinking about ancient greek and roman coins that depict comets or meteorites (or at least appear to depict a comet or meteorite). There are more than a few of them, but wasn’t there a very rare ancient greek silver coin minted sometime in the fifth century BC that depicted a “meteorite”? I wonder if the coin was really commemorating the appearance of the Halley’s comet?

I have been searching around the web trying to find pictures of it and some more details, but so far it has eluded me. Trying to remember the details of this is doubly frustating because I am pretty sure I recently saw one of these coins for sale on ebay.com.

I guess I might be thinking of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great, who produced a coin depicting what is believed to be Halley’s Comet in 87BC.

Did anybody out there see a greek coin depicting a comet or meteorite on ebay in the last few weeks?

See this link for more ancient coins that depict comets and meteorites.

The ancient greeks are believed to have worshipped meteorites and kept them in their temples. Until recently The Black Stone of Paphos, a large dark coloured stone found at The Temple of Aphrodite in Paphos, Cyprus, was believed to be a meteorite.

The Crosby Garrett Helmet – Best Detecting Find Ever (Maybe)

Take a look at the latest Christie’s catalogue, the Roman Cavalryman’s helmet pictured on the cover was found by a metal detectorist in Crosby Garrett, Cumbria in May 2010 and was recorded by the Finds Liaison Officer at Tullie House Museum.

The helmet dates from the late first to second centuries AD, is made from tinned bronze and is 16 inches high. Christies have placed an estimate of £200,000-£300,000 on the helmet, which seems, to me at least, to be a very conservative estimate on such a large and significant piece of Roman military equipment. I would be very surprised if the auctioneer’s hammer came down at anything less than half a million pounds.

My major concern about this incredible metal detecting find is who will buy it? Does the Tullie House Museum have the cash to buy this incredible piece of Roman military history? Is the British Museum waiting in the wings for auction day to rush in and save it for the nation? After all of the post credit crunch cut backs, does the British Museum even have the money in reserve to buy it? The sale takes place on Thursday 7 October 2010, so time is short, if there isn’t a rescue plan in place is there time to organise one?

My biggest fear is that the Crosby Garrett Helmet is destined to leave our shores forever. Could the helmet go to the US, Japan or who knows where else? Surely any attempt to export the helmet would be blocked?

I would love to see the Crosby Garrett Helmet go to the Tullie House Museum, but if not to Tullie House, then the British Museum would be the next best thing. I just hope the helmet stays in this country and that the helmet ends up somewhere the general public can go and see it.

Is the Crosby Garrett Helmet the best metal detecting find ever? It may well be. I have certainly added stunning Roman Cavalryman’s helmet to my “must find” list!

There are more pictures and information about the helmet in the online edition of the Christies catalogue on pages 118-123 (pages 116-121 of the print version)

Rare Roman lantern found in field near Sudbury

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-11161686

“A metal detecting enthusiast has found what is believed to be the only intact Roman lantern made out of bronze ever discovered in Britain.

Danny Mills, 21, made the find in a field near Sudbury in Suffolk.

The area was dotted with plush Roman villas and country estates in the second century.

The object, described as a rare example of Roman craftsmanship, has been donated to Ipswich Museum where is it now on display.

In the autumn of 2009, Mr Mills, a metal detector user, found a large bronze object whilst metal detecting in a field near Sudbury.

He immediately reported the discovery to Suffolk Archaeological Unit.

‘Magnificent object’

A Colchester and Ipswich Museums (CIM) spokeswoman said: “It turned out to be the only complete example of a Roman lantern found in Britain.

“Only fragments of similar lanterns are held in the British Museum and the closest complete example is from the famous Roman site of Pompeii.”

It was found on land belonging to Mr and Mrs P Miller who donated it to Ipswich Museum, said the CIM spokeswoman.

Emma Hogarth, conservator at Colchester and Ipswich Museums, said: “It has been a pleasure to work on such a magnificent object.”

Mr Mills said: “It was an amazing feeling. It took a while to dig down to see anything and once we found it, we had to go really carefully around it to get it out of the ground.

Sheet of horn

“It took the best part of an hour. I looked it up on the internet on my phone and matched it up with some others from Pompeii.”

The lantern dates from between 43 and 300 AD.

It is like a modern hurricane lamp and the naked flame would have been protected by a thin sheet of horn which had been scraped and shaped until it was see through.

The horn is an organic material that did not survive as it will have rotted in to the soil.

The flame would have been produced by placing a wick into olive oil in a holder at the base of the lamp, not unlike a tea light holder.”

The Corbridge Lanx Treasure, Undiscovered Roman Treasure in the River Tyne?

The Corbridge Lanx Treasure

The Corbridge Lanx has fascinated me for many years. The Lanx is now safely housed in the British Museum, but what happened to the rest of the Corbridge Treasure?

Does an important hoard of fourth century roman silverware await discovery in the river Tyne at Corbridge? Click the link and decide for yourself!

Metal Detecting UK