Artifacts

I love ancient artifacts, especially the ones that evoke the daily life or experiences of real people. This is me bringing them to you like a slobbery tennis ball.

A frieze made of glazed brick tiles depicting Persian warriors, from the palace of Darius l in Susa, Iran. Achaemenid Empire, 6th century BC, now on display at the Pergamon museum in Berlin

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Lysimachus Tetradrachm. Byzantium, Posthumous. 190-110 BC. 16.18g.

Lysimachus was a Macedonian officer and successor of Alexander the Great, who became a King in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor, and Macedon. He began as a bodyguard to Alexander before becoming a trusted friend and rising through the ranks.

The coin is a tetradrachm, meaning that it was worth four drachmas; one drachma, in turn, was worth six obols. It is a high-value coin representing, in the mid-fifth century BC, four days’ pay for a skilled laborer or for a hoplite soldier, or two days’ pay for a sculptor working on a public building.

I love how sharp and clear it is.  I wonder how many times, and for what exactly, it was passed from hand to hand.

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1,500-year-old late Roman grass work Panama hat from Flinders Petrie’s 1901-2 field season in Egypt. In 2017 was radiocarbon dated – CE 420-568

 

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the night he was shot.

When Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865, he was carrying

  • two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher,
  • a pocketknife,
  • a watch fob,
  • a linen handkerchief, and
  • a brown leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate note and eight newspaper clippings, including several favorable to the president and his policies.

Given to his son Robert Todd upon Lincoln’s death, these everyday items, which through association with tragedy had become like relics, were kept in the Lincoln family for more than seventy years. Now in the Library of Congress.

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Ball of carbonized thread of linen or nettle dating from the Middle Neolithic (3,900 – 3,300 BC) from the Marin-Epagnier / Préfargier site, France.

After Joëlle Bregnard Munier/Romain Pigeaud

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Book-shaped French cipher machine, with arms of Henri II of France gilt brass and gold. 1547–1559

Enciphered letter from Gabriel de Luetz d’Aramon, French Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, after 1546, with partial decipherment

 

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Shell carefully framed by the knapping. If you consider decoration as art, this is one of the first known art manifestations. West Tofts, England. Around 100.000? BP.

“Properly dating this object is impossible because it was extracted from an archaeological excavation when the strata and the dating still did not matter. They were only interested in extracting objects for the interest of antique dealers and collections.

For the industry in which it is carved, there are authors who say that it belongs between 500,000 and 300,000 years BP while others say it is around 100,000. Others even say it is 10,000 years ago. As there are so many different dates I have decided to put 100,000 BP.” -RCO_

 

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