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Six of the Best: A Run Down of Last Week’s Top Stories

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In last week’s top stories; features on the magic mushrooms of the Aztecs, and their devastating weapons arsenal, a very lucky 10-year-old, a tooled-up Roman mercenary, the world’s first known natural nuclear reactor, and a beautiful Bronze Age bracelet…

10-Year-Old Metal Detectorist Unearths Rare 13th Century Seal Matrix

George Henderson holding the priory seal matrix; close up of the seal; Butley Priory that the seal represents.  (Hansons Auctioneers)

George Henderson holding the priory seal matrix; close up of the seal; Butley Priory that the seal represents.  ( Hansons Auctioneers )

A 10-year-old boy from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire has joined the ranks of the United Kingdom’s most successful and well-known metal detectorists. While out searching in a field in Woodbridge, Suffolk with his father, George Henderson found a 13th century medieval priory seal matrix, a metallic artifact that would have been used to stamp and verify official documents.

George learned the art of metal detection from his dad Paul, who has been an avid practitioner of this fascinating hobby for the past 20 years. The two eager explorers were just 10 minutes into their Sutton-in-Ashfield hunt earlier this year, when the younger Mr. Henderson suddenly got a strong hit on his detector. George had to dig down about five inches (13 centimeters) to unearth the object, which he and his dad could tell was quite ancient based on its design and old-style  Latin inscription.

What they pulled out of the ground was a small, oval-shaped seal, which would have been used to make distinctive identifying imprints on important documents.

Read on…

Remains of Roman Mercenary and His Sword Unearthed in Wales

Skeletal Remains at Five Mile Lane near Barry in Wales. (Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd)

Skeletal Remains at Five Mile Lane near Barry in Wales. ( Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd )

Significant historical finds have been unearthed at Five Mile Lane in Wales that astonished the workers undertaking a road improvement project there – a Roman mercenary buried with his sword, Celtic farming tools from the Iron Age, ancient burial sites, and the remnants of a group of round houses, reports  Barry and District News UK  .

Unearthing a Roman Mercenary in Wales

Barry, a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, is located on the north coast of the Bristol Channel, in the southeast of  Wales. Roman presence here is not unsurprising because of previous discoveries, including several farmsteads on the site of Barry Castle and Biglis, and a magnificent 3rd century Roman 22-room building, with cellars, a central courtyard which was discovered in 1980. The find at Glan-y-mor was believed to be associated with naval activity, a supply depot perhaps.

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Aztec Weapons: The Horrifying Aztec Armory

Representational image of an Aztec warrior holding a double-ended spear. ( Warpedgalerie / Adobe Stock)

Representational image of an Aztec warrior holding a double-ended spear. (  Warpedgalerie / Adobe Stock)

The Aztecs were a native Mesoamerican culture that thrived in the forests, jungles, and plains of Central Mexico from 1300 until 1521, when their capital Tenochtitlan was seized by Hernán Cortés and his legion of Spanish conquistadors. Despite their technological handicaps, they were incredibly skilled at making a variety of murderous armaments that often competed with the steel-forged armories of their Spanish foes, whose conquest of the Aztecs and their lands represented a grisly and infamous chapter of early American history.

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Gabon: The Home of Ancient Nuclear Reactors

Oklo, Gabon has the world's first and only natural nuclear reactor. (WORLDKINGS)

Oklo, Gabon has the world's first and only natural nuclear reactor. ( WORLDKINGS)

Nuclear reactors, manmade machines designed to generate energy from nuclear fission, have been around since 1942. Some may be surprised to find out, however, that though manmade nuclear reactors were created nearly 80 years ago, natural nuclear reactors existed much before that. In fact, natural nuclear reactors existed for billions of years before manmade reactors in various regions of the globe. In particular, the country of Gabon in Central Africa was once home to 16 natural  nuclear reactors.  The Gabon nuclear reactors were able to generate approximately 100 kilowatts of energy, enough to light around 1000 lightbulbs at once.

Many wonder about how the Gabon nuclear reactors came to be, as well as how likely it may be for future natural nuclear reactors to form elsewhere on earth. Scientists and researchers are able to piece together some information about these reactors to give us a better picture of their functionality. By taking a look at how these natural nuclear reactors came to be, we can analyze the potential for more reactors to be formed in the future, and perhaps even learn a lesson or two about energy production from  Mother Nature  herself.

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Farmer Finds 3,300-year-old Rare Hittite Bracelet in Field in Turkey!

This is the rare 3,300-year-old Hittite bracelet that a Turkish farmer found in his field, which he turned in to the proper authorities. (Anadolu Agency)

This is the rare 3,300-year-old Hittite bracelet that a Turkish farmer found in his field, which he turned in to the proper authorities. ( Anadolu Agency )

While plowing his field, a farmer in Turkey’s central Çorum province came across something highly unusual. The plow of the farmer, from Çitli village in the Mecitözü district, had struck a bracelet that looked beautiful, old and precious. Realizing that it could have historical value, he took it to the Çorum Museum. Experts at the museum discovered that it was a rare Hittite bracelet from the late Bronze Age in Anatolian Turkey, reports the  Daily Sabah  .

“After initial evaluations, we realized that this piece is unprecedented and we’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Resul Ibiş, an archaeologist at the museum, to the Ihlas News Agency (IHA), according to the  Daily Sabah  .

The museum cleaned and restored the rare Hittite bracelet, which was deformed and had some parts missing when it was brought to them. After dating the Hittite bracelet to the 13th century BC, which is end of the Bronze Age, the bracelet was recorded in the museum’s inventory and added to its collection.

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Teotlnanácatl: In Search of the Aztec 'God's Flesh' Psychedelic Mushroom

The Mexican magic mushroom or Teotlnanácatl mushroom is believed to be one or a mixture of these two psilocybin mushrooms of Mexico: Psilocybe aztecorum and | or Psilocybe mexicana.  (alexander_volkov / Adobe Stock)

The Mexican magic mushroom or Teotlnanácatl mushroom is believed to be one or a mixture of these two psilocybin mushrooms of Mexico: Psilocybe aztecorum and | or Psilocybe mexicana.  ( alexander_volkov / Adobe Stock)

Magic mushrooms, Shrooms, and the ever-famous Liberty Cap are all familiar terms for the same groovy fungus. Popularized in the western world in the late 50s, psychedelic mushrooms have been used for centuries in a number of different cultures and religions. Psychedelic mushroom use can be traced back to over 6000 years ago, to rock art found near Villar del Humo in Spain. Selva Pascuala is a rock cave in eastern Spain that archaeologists have discovered contains several rock paintings of psychoactive mushrooms. Mushroom experts say that the paintings appear to illustrate a specific species of psychoactive mushroom:  Psilocybe hispanica  , the only psilocybin mushroom native to Spain.

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Top image: Composite of in-article images.

By Ancient Origins

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