Top 10 Treasure, Artifact, and Valuable Finds of 2015
Silver, gold, jewels, and other precious belongings that were lost or forgotten with the passage of time… There were many luxurious artifacts discovered this year. Narrowing the list to ten cannot encompass them all. But there are some finds from 2015 that stood out for their unique or lavish nature. Some of the artifacts had symbolic as well as monetary use, while others demonstrate that the people of the past had just as much of an inclination for the finer things as those of the present.
Members of the Israeli Caving Club uncovered ancient treasures tucked into a narrow crevice of a stalactite cave in the Galilee region of northern Israel. The men found two ancient silver coins, minted in the late fourth century BC with an image of Alexander the Great on one side and Zeus on the other side.
The remains of a pouch cloth contained jewelry – rings, earrings and bracelets. The items were well preserved and intricately detailed and it is believed that the pouch was hidden during a time of political unrest and the owner never returned to claim their belongings. The cave’s location remains a secret, and further examinations by archaeologists and geologists are planned. It is hoped future digs will reveal more interesting and important finds which will shed light on the lives and times of ancient Israel.
A metal detectorist near Tangley, England, found an exquisite onyx and gold ring from about the 300s AD depicting the god of love, Cupid. Per law, the ring was reported to the antiquities authorities and it will be displayed in the Andover Museum for others to appreciate it.
Several rings showing Cupid are known to researchers. But this ring’s design was what made Worrell and her co-author and colleague, John Pearce of King’s College London, conclude it was made around the fourth century AD.
About 1,000 years ago an unlucky soul apparently buried his treasure—a cache of Viking coins—in a field in Llandwrog, Wales and never dug it up again. Perhaps the medieval person died before retrieving it or forgot exactly where it was buried. Whatever the case, the apparent bad luck of the medieval hoarder turned out to be good luck for a Welshman with a metal detector.
Found among the collection of coins were fragments of three or four pennies with the visage of Cnut, all likely from the Chester mint. Cnut or Canute was king of England from 1016 to 1035. He also ruled over Denmark, Norway and part of Sweden from 985 to 1035.
The cache also includes 14 silver pennies minted in Dublin under the Irish-Scandinavian king Sihtric Anlafsson, who ruled from 989 to 1036. Archaeologists say such Irish coins are rarely unearthed on the British mainland. Eight of these coins were dated 995 AD and six were thought to be from 1018.
Archaeologists carrying out excavations in the port of Birka, Sweden’s oldest town, unearthed a tiny dragon head once used on a Viking brooch or costume needle. The bronze relic matches the shape of a mold that was found back in 1870, but it is the first time researchers have found an actual object that came from it. The dragon is wearing a collar and has open jaws and curls of hair, a style which researchers have said is unique to the island on which it was found.
A forest ranger in east central Poland stumbled upon the find of a lifetime this year—he discovered a hidden treasure of thousands of silver coins in a wooded area near the village of Guzów. More than 6,000 silver coins were discovered contained within two clay pots. He turned the find over to the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder in Zielona Góra, where conservation experts are now attempting to restore the coins.
In total there were 5,370 smaller coins (denarii), and 787 larger ones (Prague groschen). The silver coins have been provisionally dated to the sixteenth and seventeenth century. They were recovered in fairly good condition, but were tarnished and stuck together in lumps. The area where the coins were found has been marked as an archaeological study location.
Archaeologists in China made a spectacular discovery at a construction site in Zhoukou City, Henan Province – a tomb complex containing 21 ancient tombs filled with treasures - including a 2,000-year-old bronze sword, which belonged to the tomb owner and was buried with him when he died. Other artifacts in the tombs include: jewelry, ceramics, utensils, tiles, and bronze wares.