Britain discovers its ‘first selfie’: a 4,000-year-old stone carving

Gordon Holmes on Baildon Moor with what he believes is a Stone Age selfie of a person under the symbol for Cassiopeia.

Gordon Holmes on Baildon Moor with what he believes is a Stone Age selfie of a person under the symbol for Cassiopeia.  (© Telegraph and Argus / SWNS.com)

A 4,000-year-old Stone Age selfie has been unearthed from one of Britain’s spookiest areas.

Stunned Gordon Holmes, 64, discovered the ancient picture of a face etched into a rock on Baildon Moor in Yorkshire.

Gordon said: “I realised that I was looking at a Stone Age selfie.”

“It also shows a stick figure, which I presume is the artist, sitting or standing in the local landscape or round a fire with almost like a speech bubble above their head showing Cassiopeia above him. It is as if he has carved a selfie of himself.”

The jury’s out on whether it can rival Kim Kardashian’s pout pics – which will set you back £445 a piece.

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Ironically, Cassiopeia – which the artist appears to have drawn himself under – is a constellation named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, who loved bragging about her ravishing looks.

While the portrait might not be as old as the hieroglyphics drawn by the Ancient Egyptians, it’s an incredible marker for British history.

“I know there could be earlier interpretations of selfies, such as those drawn in hieroglyphics by the Ancient Egyptians, but this stone carving selfie on Baildon Moor may well be the earliest example in Britain,” Mr Holmes added.

Gordon is convinced that the moors hold lots more spooky symbols and etchings that point to mystical workings in ancient Britain.

The retired design engineer and IT technician has dedicated his life to studying the weathered ancient carvings.

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He added: ”There are many cup and ring stones around the moors, carved into millstone grit.

”But there are at least five such rocks with carvings representing aspects of the night sky which are on Baildon Moor.

“It seems that only Baildon Moor carvings correlated to patterns of star constellations.

“The other moors of Ilkley, Rivock Edge, Harden and Bingley only have the odd example of astronomical significance.

“What’s more, these five appear to have a particular style, a bit like handwriting, and I am convinced they are by the same artist.

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“My father said to me all those years ago that no-one knew what the markings were, so I made it a mission to find out. I discovered the carvings showed the Pole Star, Cassiopeia, Hyades and Pleiades.

“One particular stone shows Cassiopeia, distinctive in the night sky because it forms a clear ‘W’ shape.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun.

Underwater Hebrew tablet reveals Biblical-era ruler of Judea

The stone slab, dating to the second century, was found underwater at Tel Dor, south of the city of Haifa.

The stone slab, dating to the second century, was found underwater at Tel Dor, south of the city of Haifa.  (University of Haifa)

A stone slab found off the coast of Israel has finally revealed the name of the ruler during one of the most iconic moments in Jewish history: the Bar Kokhba revolt.

The slab dates to the second century A.D., a bloody time in Jewish history when a fiery leader named Simon bar Kokhba led a failed revolt against Roman rulers . The huge chunk of stone was found at an underwater site called Tel Dor, located about 18 miles south of the city of Haifa. [Photos: 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument in Israel]

The area once housed the Biblical city of Dor, which was occupied until the fourth century. Over the last 70 years, the site has yielded a treasure trove of pottery , anchors and other artifacts from ancient Israel. Ehud Arkin-Shalev and Michelle Kreiser, researchers from the Coastal Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Haifa, uncovered the giant slab while looking in the water of the Dor Nature Reserve.

The inscription was clearly visible, even beneath the water, the researchers said. The team eventually decided to bring the slab out of the water, to prevent damage to the inscription. Researchers discovered that the massive, 1,300-lb. slab had seven lines of ancient Greek inscribed upon it.

“The stone probably formed the base of a sculpture from the Roman period. As far as we know, this is the longest inscription found underwater in Israel,” Assaf Yasur-Landau, the University of Haifa archaeologist who led the excavation, said in a statement.

Although the researchers have not completely deciphered the text, they have already made two discoveries: The inscription identified the Roman prefect in charge of Judea as Gargilius Antiques. Though researchers had found one other inscription bearing this name, that artifact did not mention the region Antiques ruled. In addition, the inscription confirms the name of the province involved in the revolt as Judea, which, until now, no inscription immediately preceding the Bar Kokhba revolt had stated, the researchers said.

The inscription dates from a tumultuous time in Jewish history. The second temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and around A.D. 132, tensions simmering between the Roman rulers of the province and the Jewish inhabitants boiled over once again. At that point, the Jewish leader Simon bar Kokhba led a revolt against the Romans. During the four years of fighting, both sides sustained heavy casualties, and many Jews were ultimately sold into slavery or scattered.

“Immediately after the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans decided to abolish the province of Judea and to obliterate any mention of its name. The province was united with Syria to form a single province called Syria-Palestine,” Yasur-Landau said. “So what we have here is an inscription dated to just before Judea ceased to exist as a province under that name. Of the two inscriptions mentioning the name Judea, this is the latest, of course. Because such findings are so rare, it is unlikely that we will find many later inscriptions including the name Judea,”

Original article on Live Science .

1,000-year-old Viking toolbox found at mysterious Danish fortress

The remains of the toolbox were found in what archaeologists think was a workshop in the Viking fortress at Borgring.

The remains of the toolbox were found in what archaeologists think was a workshop in the Viking fortress at Borgring.

A Viking toolbox found in Denmark has been opened for the first time in 1,000 years, revealing an extraordinary set of iron hand tools that may have been used to make Viking ships and houses, according to archaeologists.

The tools were found this summer at a mysterious, ring-shaped fortress at Borgring, on the island of Zealand. The famed 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth is thought to have ordered the construction of the fortress.

So far, archaeologists have found at least 14 iron tools inside a single deposit of earth excavated from a gatehouse building of the fortress. The researchers said only traces remain of the wooden chest that once held the tools. [See Photos of the Viking Tools Found at the Danish Fortress]

Iron was valuable in Viking-age Denmark , and the researchers think the tools once belonged to a craftsman who occupied a workroom in the gatehouse until it collapsed in the late 10th century.

The archaeologists are still studying the heavily rusted objects, but they’ve already identified several sophisticated hand tools and other metal items, including a set of “spoon drills” that were used to make holes in timber; what looks like a pair of tweezers or small pliers; a “clink nail” used to fasten wooden planks together; four carefully crafted chain links attached to an iron ring; and a drawplate to make metal wires that may have been used in jewelry.

Archaeologist Nanna Holm, a curator at the Danish Castle Center in Vordingborg who is leading the excavations of the ringed-shaped fort at Borgring, said this is the first time an entire set of tools has been discovered in a Viking workplace.

“This is not an ordinary find,” Holm told Live Science. “Not many tools are found in Scandinavia, but the others found before this have all been left for the gods, by being put down in a swamp.”

The newfound tools are special because they were found where the craftsman would have been working, she said. “That’s why it’s so exciting for us to see what’s inside, because we can see what one man has used at this specific site,” Holm added.

Viking iron

The cache of iron tools was first located by amateur archaeologists using a metal detector near the eastern gate of the buried fortress at Borgring.

That discovery inspired Holm’s archaeological team in August to excavate the eastern gatehouse, where they removed the deposit of earth containing all the tools in one piece — a delicate process that took two days.

The next step was to transport the lump of earth, rust and iron to a local hospital, where it was scanned with computed tomography (CT) equipment usually used by doctors to examine the internal organs of their patients. [Photos: 10th-Century Viking Tomb Unearthed in Denmark]

The CT scans revealed the precise arrangement of at least 14 iron tools, which have since been excavated from the toolbox deposit for individual X-ray studies and preservation before they are put on display in an exhibition next year, Holm said.

All of the tools are heavily corroded, but much of the original iron remains, and even more tools may be hidden in the rust, according to the researchers. “There are a minimum of 14 tools, but I think there are 16 now, from the new X-rays that we’ve already done,” Holm said.

The contents of the toolbox provide a rare glimpse of working life in the late Viking age , she said.

“They can be used for different crafts,” Holm said. “We have some spoon drills for making holes in wood, which could be used for building ships or for building houses.”

The iron drawplate has a series of small holes of different sizes that were used to make wires from softer metals, the researchers said. “You pulled the metal through each of the holes to make it smaller and smaller, and thinner and thinner,” she explained.

 

Bluetooth technology

The toolbox is an important early find for the archaeologists, who will conduct further excavations at Borgring each summer for the next three years, Holm said.

The remains of houses and human graves have been found at other Viking ring forts, but the toolbox is the first direct evidence of human habitation at Borgring itself, she added.

“So far, we haven’t found any houses, but we now have proof that there were people here — so hopefully, next year, we will find their houses,” Holm said. [Fierce Fighters: 7 Secrets of Viking Culture]

Archaeologists think the ringed-shaped fort at Borgring and four others like it were built by the Danish king Harald Bluetooth around A.D. 980, as military outposts to enforce his rule as he introduced Christianity into Denmark and parts of Sweden and Norway.

The origin of the king’s curious surname is uncertain, but his success in uniting the unruly Viking clans into a single kingdom inspired the name of today’s Bluetooth wireless technology , according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which oversees development of the technology.

Borgring has appeared on maps since the 1600s, but Holm said the site was only recently recognized as one of Bluetooth’s network of Viking ring forts.

“This is the first ring fort in 60 years that we’ll be studying with all the new archeological methods, and today we can do so much more with science,” she said. “It’s pretty different work compared to what else we’ve done in Denmark, so this is something special. Hopefully, we will get a little bit closer to finding out what actually happened here and what the forts have been used for.”

Original article on Live Science.

Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Incredible photos offer first glimpse of uncontacted Amazon tribe

Uncontacted Yanomami yano (communal house) in the Brazilian Amazon, photographed from the air in 2016  (© Guilherme Gnipper Trevisan/Hutukara).

Uncontacted Yanomami yano (communal house) in the Brazilian Amazon, photographed from the air in 2016 (© Guilherme Gnipper Trevisan/Hutukara).

New aerial photos offer the first glimpse of an uncontacted tribe in the Brazilian Amazon that experts warn could be in danger of being wiped out.

The photos reveal a village in northern Brazil’s remote Yanomami indigenous territory that is estimated to be home to around 100 people.

The village, which is close to the Venezuelan border, has a typical Yanomami ‘yano’ – a large communal house for several families that can be seen in the images. Each of the yano’s square sections is home to a different family, where they hang their hammocks, maintain fires and keep food stores, according to tribal advocacy group Survival International.

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Survival International warns that the area where the tribe lives is in danger of being over-run by 5,000 illegal gold miners, raising serious fears that they could be wiped out. “Miners have brought diseases like malaria to the region and polluted Yanomami food and water sources with mercury, leading to a serious health crisis,” the group warned, in a press release.

Diseases brought by outsiders such as flu and measles can also be devastating to tribes living in the remote area.

Survival International warns that the Brazilian government agents charged with protecting the Yanomami territory are facing severe budget cuts.

“We know that this uncontacted group is dangerously close to illegal gold miners, and that the small team dedicated to protecting the territory face stringent budget cuts,” Survival Internaional’s Campaigns Director Fiona Watson told FoxNews.com, via email. “Without proper protection, exposure to violence or disease could wipe out this highly vulnerable uncontacted people.”

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FUNAI, the Brazilian government Indian Affairs department, has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story from FoxNews.com.

The Yanomani Indigenous territory was created in 1992 in an attempt to protect the group from violence and diseases brought in by outsiders.

The Yanomami have vast botanical knowledge and use about 500 plants for food, medicine and building houses. Tribespeople provide for themselves by hunting, gathering and fishing, as well as cultivating crops such as manioc (cassava or yuca) and bananas, which are grown in large gardens cleared from the forest.

“These extraordinary images are further proof of the existence of still more uncontacted tribes,” said Survival International Director Stephen Corry, in the press release. “They’re not savages but complex and contemporary societies whose rights must be respected.”

ALASKA TOWN WON’T SEE ANOTHER SUNRISE UNTIL JANUARY

Corry added that the groups are perfectly capable of living successfully without the need for outside notions of “progress” and “development.”

Survival International says that uncontacted Yanomami have made clear their desire to be left alone by fleeing from outsiders and avoiding contacted members of the tribe.

Around 22,000 Yanomami live on the Brazilian side of the border with Venezuela, and at least three of the groups have had no contact with outsiders.

“We estimate that there are around 100 uncontacted tribes around the world, the vast majority of which are in South America, in the Amazon,” a Survival International spokesman told FoxNews.com.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Built by the Huns? Ancient stone monuments discovered along Caspian

A massive stone structure, dating back 1,500 years, has been discovered along the Caspian Sea.

A massive stone structure, dating back 1,500 years, has been discovered along the Caspian Sea.  (Photo courtesy Evgeni�� Bogdanov)

A massive, 1,500-year-old stone complex that may have been built by nomad tribes has been discovered near the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.

The complex contains numerous stone structures sprawled over about 300 acres (120 hectares) of land, or more than 200 American football fields, archaeologists reported recently in the journal Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia.

“When the area was examined in detail, several types of stone structures were identified,” archaeologists Andrey Astafiev, of the Mangistaus State Historical and Cultural Reserve; and Evgeniï Bogdanov, of the Russian Academy of Sciences Siberian Department’s Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, wrote in the journal article. The smallest stone structures are only 13 feet by 13 feet, and the biggest are 112 feet by 79 feet. [See Photos of the Massive Stone Structure and Artifacts]

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The structures are “made of stone slabs inserted vertically into the ground,” the archaeologists wrote. Some of the stones, which look a little like those at Stonehenge, have carvings of weapons and creatures etched into them.

One of the most spectacular finds is the remains of a saddle made partly of silver and covered with images of wild boars, deer and “beasts of prey” that may be lions, Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote in their article. The images were etched in relief, sticking out from the silver background.

“The relief decoration was impressed on the front surface,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote. The two researchers think ancient artisans designed the images out of leather and glued them onto wooden boards. “Finally, silver plates would have been laid over the shapes and fixed in place,” they said.

Stone-complex discovery

In 2010, a man named F. Akhmadulin (as named in the journal article), from a town called Aktau, was using a metal detector in Altÿnkazgan, which is located on the Mangÿshlak Peninsula, near the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, when he found parts of a silver saddle and other artifacts. Akhmadulin brought the artifacts to Astafiev who works in Aktau. [7 Bizarre Ancient Cultures That History Forgot]

“Most of the territory consists of sagebrush desert,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote. However, Astafiev found that the desert location where Akhmadulin brought him contained the remains of an undiscovered 120-hectare stone complex. Akhmadulin located the artifacts in one of these stone structures.

“Unfortunately, the socioeconomic situation in the region is not one in which it is easy to engage in archaeological research, and it was not until 2014 that the authors of this article were able to excavate certain features within the site,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

When excavations got underway in 2014, the archaeologists excavated the stone structure where Akhmadulin had found the saddle. They found more saddle parts, along with other artifacts, including two bronze objects that turned out to be the remains of a whip.

Who owned the saddle?

A great deal of work needs to be done to excavate and study the remains of the stone complex, the archaeologists said. “Certain features of the construction and formal details of the [stone] enclosures at Altÿnkazgan allow us to assume that they had been left there by nomad tribes,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

The design and decorations on the silver saddle indicate that it dates to a time when the Roman Empire was collapsing, and a group called the “Huns” were on the move across Asia and Europe, they said. “The advance of the Huns led various ethnic groups in the Eurasian steppes to move from their previous homelands,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

The owner of the saddle was likely a person of considerable wealth and power as the archaeologists found symbols called “tamgas” engraved on the silver saddle above the heads of predators, something that can be “an indication of the privileged status of the saddle’s owner.” These signs may also be a link “to the clan to which the owner of the tamga belonged,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

It’s not exactly clear why the silver saddle was placed in the stone structure, though it may have been created for a ritual purpose or as a burial good, Astafiev and Bogdanov suggested. They found the remains of one skeleton buried beneath the stone structure; however, the skeleton may date to centuries after the silver saddle was deposited there.

Research is ongoing, and Bogdanov said the team plans to publish another paper on research into the silver saddle in 2017.

Bogdanov said the team hopes to make the public aware of the newly found site. “I hope that one day there [will be] a film about the archaeological excavations on the Mangÿshlak, about ancient civilizations and modern inhabitants,” Bogdanov told Live Science.

Original article on Live Science

Neanderthals fashioned ‘jewelry’ out of animal teeth and shells

The Chtelperronian body ornaments and bone points archaeologists discovered at the Grotte du Renne in Arcy-sur-Cure, France.

The Chtelperronian body ornaments and bone points archaeologists discovered at the Grotte du Renne in Arcy-sur-Cure, France.  (Marian Vanhaeren)

About 42,000 years ago, the Neanderthals — the stocky cousins of modern humans — fashioned tiny jewelry beads from animal teeth, shells and ivory, a new study finds.

The finding is momentous, as it suggests that Neanderthals could engage in symbolic expression — the ability to make art — before they went extinct about 30,000 years ago, the researchers said.

“We now know that some of the last Neanderthals in Europe made artifacts that we do not see in Neanderthal material culture before that time,” said Frido Welker, the study’s lead researcher and a doctoral student of human evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. [In Photos: Neanderthal Burials Uncovered]

The discovery is based on the artifacts and bony remains found in the Grotte du Renne cave in Arcy-sur-Cure, an area located about 125 miles southeast of Paris. After the cave was discovered in 1949, its contents were dated to about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, a period during which modern humans were sweeping across Europe and displacing the Neanderthals, the researchers said.

At first, anthropologists credited the beads to the Neanderthals, but the prevailing view of Neanderthals was that they didn’t have the brainpower to craft such items. That prompted many experts to wonder whether the excavation team had made a mistake in attributing the beads to Neanderthals, when perhaps modern humans had made the ornaments, according to Phys.org.

The researchers on the new study set out to answer that question once and for all.

“We wanted to know whether an archaeological culture called the Châtelperronian was made by Neanderthals or modern humans,” Welker told Live Science in an email. “If they were modern humans, they would be some of the earliest modern humans on the European continent, and might have played a role in Neanderthal extinction.”

Protein investigation

The ancient bone fragments in the cave did not have enough preserved DNA for a thorough analysis, so the researchers turned to another identifying factor: proteins.

They used several mass-spectrometry techniques to study the proteins preserved in about 200 ancient bone specimens from the cave, Welker said. The mass-spectrometry methods were key to the experiment, he added. That’s because proteins are made out of amino acids, which are joined together on a string.

Each amino acid has a different weight, or mass. “By using massspectrometry, we can establish the different sequences of amino acids in our sample and compare that with existing protein databases,” Welker said.

They found that, although the majority of the bone fragments belonged to horses or aurochs (wild cattle), some were clearly hominin, a group consisting of modern and extinct human species, Welker said. Moreover, the researchers identified an amino-acid sequence that was unique to Neanderthals, proving that the bones did not belong to modern humans or the Denisovans, an extinct human relative, he said. [The 10 Biggest Mysteries of the First Humans]

Results from additional testing methods, such as direct radiocarbon dating and ancient mitochondrial DNA analysis, also hinted that the bones belonged to Neanderthals, he said.

“Very young infant”

One of the proteins found in the Neanderthal bones was a type of collagen found only in growing bones. In addition, the specimen had a high proportion of a certain kind of nitrogen isotope (a variation of an element, but with a different number of neutrons) that is associated with breast-fed infants.

“We identified ancient proteins in these Neanderthal bone specimens that indicated they belong to a very young infant, probably around the age of 1 year old,” Welker said.

The baby likely lived around the same time when the Neanderthals crafted the 1.2- to 2.4-inch-long beads, the researchers said. However, they added that they “don’t know if they [the beads] belong to a single ‘necklace’ or were worn in different ways, and they were found in different areas of the Grotte du Renne,” Welker said.

“It is now up to the archaeologists to try and explain how this happened,” Welker said. “Did they learn [bead making] from modern humans? We know they interacted, as there is genetic interbreeding between Neanderthals in modern humans in our DNA. Or maybe they imitated, or invented such artifacts themselves, independently?”

It’s also possible that the Neanderthals got the beads from modern humans, possibly as a courtship gift, according to Phys.org.

The findings were published online Sept. 16 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New clues emerge about ill-fated British Arctic expedition

NOW PLAYINGLong-lost HMS Terror finally discovered

The question of what happened to the 129 crew members of the ill-fated 1845 “Franklin Expedition” that was lost in the Canadian Arctic has long fascinated historians. However, researchers at the University of Glasgow may have unearthed clues to help solve the mystery.

The British Royal Navy expedition consisted of the vessels HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, led by Rear Admiral Sir John Franklin. The ships were last seen entering the Arctic in 1845 as they attempted to navigate the final part of the Northwest Passage.

The disappearance sparked a huge search-and-rescue mission, which unearthed a handful of clues. In 1850, three ice-preserved corpses were found in the north Arctic. In 1859, the remains of the rest of the crew were discovered further south on the Canadian mainland along with a single-page document stating the ships were stuck in pack ice in 1846 and deserted in 1848.

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The Erebus was discovered by Parks Canada in 2014, and on Sept. 3 of this year, the Arctic Research Foundation announced it had found the Terror in “pristine condition.” Researchers believe the discovery of both ships will give better insight into what contributed to the disaster, which has become the stuff of legend.

Often, scurvy, lead poisoning and tuberculosis were culprits on expeditions, yet, over time, but have been difficult to prove because the journals or “sick books” that recorded illness on board have never been discovered. Instead, Glasgow University researchers used records from “sick books” aboard other search ships to reconstruct the conditions the Franklin expedition endured and now believe some deaths may have occurred from respiratory, cardiovascular and tubercular conditions.

The team also proposed that the disproportionate number of deaths of Franklin’s officers was probably a result of non-medical factors such as accidents and injuries while hunting and navigating the rough terrain on foot.

“We understand from our colleagues in Parks Canada that if any of the expedition’s written records were stored securely on board then the underwater conditions are such that they may remain in a legible condition,” said Professor Keith Millar, a researcher with the project, on the university’s website. “If a ‘sick book’ has survived on one of these ships it may record the events that led to the failure of the expedition and put an end to further speculation, including our own.”

‘Last shipwreck’ from WWI’s Battle of Jutland found near Norway

The HMS Warrior was one of 151 British warships in the North Sea on May 31 and June 1, 1916, when a German fleet of 99 warships attempted to break out from the British naval blockade of the German coast.

The HMS Warrior was one of 151 British warships in the North Sea on May 31 and June 1, 1916, when a German fleet of 99 warships attempted to break out from the British naval blockade of the German coast.  (Public domain)

The wreck of the British warship HMS Warrior — the “last shipwreck” from the Battle of Jutland during World War I — has been discovered near Norway. The marine exploration team that found the shipwreck also recently located the wreck of a World War II-era British submarine in the same region.

The HMS Warrior is the last of the Jutland wrecks to be located, out of 14 British and 11 German warships that were sunk on May 31 and June 1, 1916, as the Imperial German High Seas Fleet tried to break out from the Royal Navy blockade of the North Sea.

“It’s the only wreck left from the Battle of Jutland that we can categorically say is completely unspoiled,” said Innes McCartney, a marine archeologist at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. [See Photos of the Search for the WWI-Era HMS Warrior]

“It’s completely upside down, and it sank down into an area of very soft seabed, right to the level of the upper deck — so everything inside it is completely sealed in,” McCartney told Live Science.

More than 250 warships took part in the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval engagement of World War I, and more than 8,500 men were killed, according to British and German wartime records.

McCartney said the HMS Warrior, an armored cruiser, was heavily damaged during the battle by gunfire from the German cruiser SMS Derfflinger, but it had attempted to make its way back to Britain.

When the ship’s engines failed, the Warrior was towed throughout the night by aBritish aircraft carrier, the HMS Engadine. By morning, however, the Warrior had filled with water, and it was abandoned after its surviving crew of around 700 were taken off, McCartney said.

He added that the final resting place of the Warrior was unknown until the wreck was discovered on Aug. 25, using sonar scans and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) equipped with video cameras.

Submarine find

The Warrior is the second major shipwreck found in the area within a few months by McCartney and Danish marine exploration firm JD-Contractor AS, which operates the survey ship Vina. The survey is sponsored by the Sea War Museum Jutland at Thyboron in Denmark.

In March, the team reported the discovery of the wreck of the HMS Tarpon, a British submarine from World War II that sank with around 59 crewmembers aboard after a battle with an armed German merchant ship in 1940.

“The survey was initially aimed at Jutland, but there were 25 ships sunk in that battle, and we’ve found 10 times that number,” McCartney said. “In the case of Tarpon, it was simply a matter that the direction that we left harbor took us past a potential location for this sub, so I requested we stop and do a survey there. And within about an hour or so we found it.” [Sunken Treasures: The Curious Science of 7 Famous Shipwrecks]

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Last week, a Danish TV channel broadcast live video from the wreck of the Tarpon as divers from the exploration team were visiting the site.

The submarine is now lying on the seafloor at a depth of about 130 feet, located about 50 miles off the north coast of Denmark.

McCartney said the sub had been heavily damaged by the depth charges that sank it 76 years ago, and that two of the submarine’s torpedo tubes are empty, which suggests the Tarpon had fired twice at the enemy ship.

Wrecks in ruins

Although the wrecks of the Tarpon and the Warrior are legally protected as war graves, McCartney said all war wrecks in the area are threatened by illegal salvage operators, who plunder them for the valuable metals inside.

He said the most valuable items are the bronze condensers that were used in many wartime ships’ engines, which are worth tens of thousands of dollars as bronze scrap when melted down.

“We estimate that in the last 10 years, anything up to 1.5 million pounds worth of bronze has been ripped out of these [Jutland] wrecks,” McCartney said. “And the majority of those wrecks are also the graves of the sailors who died in the battle, and so it’s just wrong that they should be doing this.”

McCartney said that salvaging naval vessels without permission from the owning navy is illegal under international law, but very little has been done to protect the wrecks.

“There are millions of shipwrecks on the bottom of the ocean — it’s the world’s largest museum. And at the moment it’s being trashed just for a want of people standing up to their responsibilities,” he said.

He said the authorities in Europe, in particular, should track salvage ships and monitor their whereabouts.

“And when they’re stopping over wrecks that they’re not allowed to be on, then they need to be [inspected] when they get back into harbor,” McCartney said.

Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rare, gold Roman coin discovered in Jerusalem

(Shimon Gibson)

(Shimon Gibson)

A rare and remarkable Roman coin made of gold and featuring the image of Nero has been discovered in Jerusalem, archaeologists announced on Tuesday.

Over 1,900 years old, the coin likely dates to the year 56 or 57 AD, around 13 years before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.

“The coin is exceptional, because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig,” Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, said in astatement. “Coins of this type are usually only found in private collections, where we don’t have clear evidence as to place of origin.”

The archaeologists discovered it this summer during a dig on Mount Zion in Jerusalem; it was found in rubble near villas that might have been the homes of the wealthy Jewish residents of the time, possibly members of a well-to-do priestly class. At the site, the archaeologists have also found the rooms of a large mansion and even a ritual pool.

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When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, the precious coin could have been lost in the fray, the archaeologists behind the discovery think.

“It’s a valuable piece of personal property and wouldn’t have been cast away like rubbish or casually dropped,” Gibson said in the statement. “It’s conceivable that it ended up outside these structures in the chaos that happened as this area was destroyed.”

Nero, the Roman leader on the coin, ruled the empire from 54 to 68 AD, and isn’t thought to have traveled to Jerusalem himself. The text surrounding his bust on the coin is: “NERO CAESAR AVG IMP.”

Follow Rob Verger on Twitter: @robverger

Rare discovery: Ancient synagogue mosaic may depict Alexander the Great

NOW PLAYINGDoes newly uncovered mosaic depict Alexander the Great?

A remarkable mosaic unearthed during the excavation of an ancient synagogue in northern Israel may portray Alexander the Great.

Experts are thrilled to reveal the mosaic that was discovered on the floor of the fifth-century synagogue in Huqoq. “The quality of the mosaic is extraordinary, the fact that it may depict a meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest is also amazing,” Excavation Director and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor Jodi Magness told Fox News Monday.

The purported Alexander the Great mosaic is the first non-biblical story ever found decorating an ancient synagogue.

Magness explained that the mosaic is divided into three horizontal strips, known as registers, which are read from bottom to top. The top register, which is the largest, shows a meeting between two male figures that are bigger than the other figures portrayed, highlighting their importance.

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One figure, an elderly bearded man dressed all in white, is believed to be a Jewish high priest. Magness explained that the other figure, who is younger, but also bearded, is dressed in an elaborate military outfit and has the trappings of a king, such as a diadem, or headband that indicates sovereignty, and a purple cloak.

“He is accompanied by all sorts of figures that indicate that he is a Greek king – there’s a Greek military formation next to him, there are battle elephants,” Magness said. “These are all things that are associated with the Greek kings from the time of Alexander the Great on.”

However, the professor notes that the meeting between Alexander the Great and the high priest depicted in the mosaic probably never occurred. “This was a story that was circulated a lot in antiquity,” she said. “In the centuries following Alexander the Great’s death when he became so famous that he became ‘the Great’, the Jews sought to associate themselves with Alexander and stories began to circulate about a meeting like this having taken place.”

Not everyone is convinced the mosaic shows the famous Macedonian king. Art historian Karen Britt of Western Carolina University, who is the excavation’s mosaics specialist, believes that Seleucid King Antiochus VII is depicted, according to National Geographic. Antiochus VII led a Seleucid attack on Jerusalem in 132 B.C. and Britt believes the mosaic shows him negotiating a truce with Jewish high priest and Judean leader John Hyrcanus I.

“We came to the conclusion that the story being depicted in the mosaic simply does not correspond to the Alexander traditions,” added Ra‘anan Boustan, an associate history professor at UCLA, in an email to FoxNews.com.

Boustan, who worked on the project with Britt, explained that the defeated army depicted in part of the mosaic does not fit the history of Alexander the Great’s early conquests in the Middle East. Instead, Boustan saw evidence of the later Hellenistic kings, who maintained Greek traditions.

“Right there in an impressive range of ancient sources, both Jewish and non-Jewish, we found a story about the siege of Jerusalem by a later Seleucid king named Antiochus VII Sidetes, who battled with and ultimately made peace with one of the most famous and admired Jewish leaders of the Hellenistic period, the high priest John Hyrcanus,” he wrote. “Not only did the story told in the sources match the details of the mosaic, but text and art both seemed to capture the spirit of the encounter between Jew and Greek, which was characterized by tension as well as mutual respect.”

The Huqoq Excavation Project involves the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Brigham Young University and the University of Toronto.

The Huqoq site offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s lower Galilee.

Excavations at Huqoq began in 2011, and the first mosaic was discovered the following year. Notable mosaics unearthed at the site include Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders, which was discovered in 2013.

This summer the excavation team also unearthed stunning mosaics depictingNoah’s Ark and the parting of the Red Sea. Further excavations at the site will continue next summer.

The mosaic allegedly depicting Alexander the Great was excavated in stages between 2013 and 2015. “Only a portion of it had been released to the public previously,” Magness told FoxNews.com. “This is the first time that an image of the entire mosaic has been released.”

The mosaics have been removed from the site for conservation and all the excavated areas have been backfilled, Magness said. “We hope that the site will be developed for tourism after the excavations end,” she added.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers