At a dig outside Florence, a group of researchers have unearthed a massive stone tablet, known as a stele, covered in Etruscan writing. The 500-pound stone is 4 feet high and was once part of a sacred temple display. But 2500 years ago it was torn down and used as a foundation stone in a much larger temple. READ MORE: Rare example of lost language found on stone hidden 2500 years ago | Ars Technica
Image Credit: The British Library
A sword on display at the British Library has an 800-year-old mystery engraved on its blade. Dating back to between 1250 and 1330 AD, the sword was discovered in the east of England, in the River Witham near Lincoln, in the 19th century. The sword is a particularly fine double-edged steel weapon of English design. It was most likely forged in Germany and belonged to a wealthy man or a knight.
The hilt is cross-shaped, which is normal for swords from this period of the Middle Ages, and is heavy enough to have cloven a man’s head in twain if swung with sufficient strength.
But the sword, on loan to the library from the British Museum, does have a couple of highly unusual features. Down the centre of the blade, it has two grooves known as fullers, where most blades only have one. On one side, it also bears an inscription:
It’s not the presence of the inscription that has researchers nonplussed, but its content: Experts don’t know what the inscription means. READ MORE: British Library asks for help deciphering a medieval sword | CNET.
A Ph.D. student who stumbled upon several ancient pieces of paper hidden in another book may have inadvertently discovered pages from the world’s oldest Quran, researchers at the University of Birmingham in England announced Wednesday.
Radiocarbon dating estimates the pages, likely made of sheep or goat skin, are 1,370 years old, the BBC reports. The testing is more than 95 percent accurate, meaning the parchment is probably from the era of Prophet Muhammad, who is thought to have lived between the years 570 and 632. READ MORE: Student Finds Old Parchment In University Library, Turns Out It’s Probably The World’s Oldest Quran | Huffington Post.
PURISTS WILL SCOFF, but we could be nearing a future where new technologies make art museums come to life. Not hyperbolically, in the sense that virtual reality displays and touchscreen tablets let you interact with art in new ways (we’re already seeing that in spades, thanks to smart renovations at places like the Cleveland Museum of Art and the new Cooper Hewitt.)
This is more literal. In this near-future, works of art might actually register facial expressions. They might blink, or look right at you. READ MORE: Projection Mapping Brings an Ancient Greek Statue to Life | WIRED.
A damaged sixth-century sword in a museum in Norway has been perfectly reproduced as new through 3D printing.
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN and SAMEER N. YACOUB
Posted: Jan 31, 2015 12:12 AM MST
Updated: Jan 31, 2015 2:33 AM MST
BAGHDAD (AP) – When Islamic State group militants invaded the Central Library of Mosul earlier this month, they were on a mission to destroy a familiar enemy: other people’s ideas.
Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books – including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science – into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts…READ MORE: Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul | FOX5 Vegas | KVVU
ISIS, the Sunni militant group wreaking violent havoc in Syria and Iraq, is fast extending its reach, claiming Iraqi cities as far southward as Ramadi. That dark shadow didn’t stop Iraqis in nearby Baghdad, 80 miles to the southeast, from turning out in droves last week for the re-opening of the National Museum of Iraq, closed for over a decade. According to Reuters, the museum was “packed with visitors eager to glimpse relics from happier times.”
A papyrus fragment that mentions Jesus’s wife is likely ancient, probably dating between the sixth and ninth century, latest research shows.
When Karen L. King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the fragment’s existence in September 2012, there was a widespread debate over its authenticity. The fragment, known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” probably originated from Egypt. It’s written in Coptic and contains the phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife…,'” never before seen in any ancient text. It also mentions Jesus’s mother and a female disciple, who may be identified as “Mary.”
Now, James Yardley, senior research scientist in the Center for Integrated Science and Engineering at Columbia University, and Alexis Hagadorn, head of conservation at Columbia, used a technique called micro-Raman spectroscopy to determine the papyrus fragment’s age. Furthermore, Malcolm Choat from Macquarie University examined the fragment’s handwriting. Combined, their findings indicate that the papyrus and the ink on it are ancient and not a modern forgery. Read more: Papyrus Mentioning Jesus’s Wife Is Likely Ancient and Not Fake, Scientists Say | Mashable.