Monthly Archives: February 2014

California Couple Finds $10M Buried Treasure in Back Yard…….


A California couple spotted the edge of an old can on a path they had hiked many times before. Poking at the can was the first step in uncovering a buried treasure of rare coins estimated to be worth $10 million.

“It was like finding a hot potato,” the couple told coin expert Dr. Don Kagan from Kagin’s, Inc. The couple hired the president of Kagin’s, Inc. and Holabird-Kagin Americana, a western Americana dealer and auctioneer, to represent them.

“Since 1981, people have been coming to us with one or two coins they find worth a few thousand dollars, but this is the first time we get someone with a whole cache of buried coins… It is a million to one chance, even harder than winning the lottery,” Kagan told ABCNews.com.

The couple is trying to remain anonymous after finding the five cans of coins last spring on their Tiburon property in northern California and conducted an interview with Kagin.

“I never would have thought we would have found something like this. However, in a weird way I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for it,” the couple said.

“I saw an old can sticking out of the ground on a trail that we had walked almost every day for many, many years. I was looking down in the right spot and saw the side of the can. I bent over to scrape some moss off and noticed that it had both ends on it,” they said.

It was the first of five cans to be unearthed, each packed with gold coins.

“Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition,” said Kagan told ABCNews.com.

He said Tuesday that the couple plan to sell most of the coins, but before they do, they are “loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta.”

“Some of the rarest coins could fetch as much as $1 million apiece,” said Kagan. He also said that they wish to sell 90 percent of the collection through Amazon.com and on the company’s website.

“We’d like to help other people with some of this money. There are people in our community who are hungry and don’t have enough to eat. We’ll also donate to the arts and other overlooked causes. In a way it has been good to have time between finding the coins and being able to sell them in order to prepare and adjust. It’s given us an opportunity to think about how to give back,” said the couple.

Kagan and his colleague David McCarthy, senior numismatist and researcher at Kagin’s, met with the couple last April, two months after the hoard was found.

When McCarthy and Kagan told the couple that their bonanza will be in the annals of numismatic stories for quite some time, the couple said, “It would have been quite a pity not to share the magnitude of our find. We want to keep the story of these coins intact for posterity.”

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JPAC considers dig at Koh Tang site to find missing from Vietnam War…..


SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has potentially found evidence related to Americans still missing from the final battle of the Vietnam War and may head back to Koh Tang island for an excavation in the near future, officials said.

A seven-member investigation team spent a week on the island off the coast of Cambodia in September, where it investigated two sites located in areas where the heaviest fighting occurred, JPAC officials said last month.

JPAC officials declined to provide specifics on the sites, what was found or any potential correlation to a particular missing servicemember, but they said they did find enough evidence to bring one site before the administrative body that decides whether to allocate funds for a dig.

Since only concrete cases are brought before the board, the revelation has given hope to the families of the missing.

“My brother was very dear to my heart,” said Daphne Loney, sister of unaccounted for Marine Lance Cpl. Ashton Loney, who was killed in an ambush during the battle. “After all these years knowing the others were found, I hope it’s a possibility he will finally come home. I thought no one really cared about Ashton.”

While on the island, JPAC investigators inspected one site on the island’s east beach and one on its west beach, according to spokesman Army Maj. Jamie Dobson. JPAC officials said they interviewed witnesses from the May 15, 1975 battle between U.S. Marines and Cambodian Khmer Rouge soldiers to help identify potential sites.

The case will now go before JPAC’s excavation decision board, which meets monthly to decide whether a more costly excavation is warranted at a particular site. For that to occur, there needs to be compelling evidence that American remains will be recovered.

“Typically an analyst will submit a case to the excavation decision board if he or she believes there is enough evidence to warrant a recovery operation,” Dobson said. “Some considerations include finding material evidence linking the site to an individual’s case or the corroboration of circumstantial evidence supporting the location as a potential site.

If the site is approved for excavation, it will then be added to the master excavation list.

Some families of the missing have complained that correlated sites can languish on the list for years. Dobson did not say when the decision board would convene to hear the case or when it might launch an excavation.

Developers have announced plans to turn the small island, less than 50 miles off the coast of Cambodia, into a resort. It’s unclear how those construction plans might affect any JPAC decision.

Loney was only 20 when he and approximately 200 other Marines, Navy corpsmen and Air Force pilots fought for their lives on Koh Tang, an isolated scrap in the Gulf of Thailand. Their mission was to rescue the hostage crew of an American merchant vessel, the SS Mayaguez.

The grueling 14-hour battle, often referred to as the “Mayaguez Incident” and widely regarded as the last battle of the Vietnam War, claimed the lives of 15 servicemembers and an additional 23 Air Force personnel who died in a support force crash in Thailand. Three Marines were left behind and later reportedly killed by their captors.

Loney; Air Force Staff Sgt. Elwood Rumbaugh, who was reportedly lost at sea; and the three left behind — Pfc. Gary Hall, Lance Cpl. Joseph Hargrove and Pvt. Danny Marshall — are the only ones who have yet to be recovered.

Loney, a charismatic, jovial, family man, was gunned down while walking point during a foray into the jungle during the battle, survivors said.

“He was bigger than life,” said battle survivor Al Bailey, who was with him when he died. “He didn’t think he could be destroyed.”

Em Son, the Khmer Rouge commander of the island during the battle, told Stars and Stripes in 2012 that he found Loney’s body wrapped in a poncho on the beach after the Americans left and had him buried nearby.

Since that time, however, Son had been picked up by the Cambodian tribunal looking into Khmer Rouge atrocities, leading some to question the truthfulness of his information on the missing.

Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the U.N.-backed tribunal provided the following statement: “I am further limited on what I can make comments on by ECCC Internal Rule 56 which reads, ‘In order to preserve the rights and interests of the parties, judicial investigations shall not be conducted in public. All persons participating in the judicial investigation shall maintain confidentiality’,” Olsen said.

U.S. Embassy officials in Cambodia declined to comment.

Many survivors of the battle and families of the missing believe Son — who told Stars and Stripes he executed Hargrove and witnessed the burials of Hargrove, Hall, Marshall and Loney — has withheld the truth about the missing, including potential burial sites, possibly in fear of prosecution by the tribunal. Son insists he has shown JPAC the correct sites, and that American remains have been found.

Despite testimony of the alleged witness, attempts to locate the missing men have been hampered by poor record-keeping at JPAC labs. Documents provided to Stars and Stripes include allegations that JPAC investigators failed to fully record their work on the island during excavations, some of which potentially covered some of “the only evidence thus far related to the possible fate of one of those that was left behind.”

American remains were potentially found during an excavation on the island in 2008, according to former ambassador to Cambodia and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs Charles Ray.

Ray told Stars and Stripes last month that preliminary findings from the island indicated an unearthed set of remains were “probably Caucasian.”

But Dobson denied any American remains were found in the 2008 excavation.

“Comments made on site are preliminary,” Ray said. “But you know [JPAC’s] backlog is such I don’t recall [a subsequent] briefing on that particular recovery.”

Battle survivors and family members said they hold out hope that remains of the fallen will be found.

“I want his bones to come back to American soil,” Daphne Loney said. “It was the country he fought for.

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American Digger Magazine’s Relic Roundup…Radio Show


American Digger Magazine’s Relic Roundup
Recording artist and digger Whit Hill talks about her upcoming Detecting CD! Tonight, Monday, Feb. 24 on Relic Roundup!
You’ve seen Whit Hill’s finds in American Digger magazine, and you’ve heard her “I Dug It Up!” song on Relic Roundup, but tonight meet the woman behind the music and the detector! Call in (678 439-1863) to talk to live, join our chat room, or just sit back and listen. Tune in Feb 24, at 9 pm EST at www.relicroundup.blogspot.com/. The player is in the upper right hand corner, click on the green arrow to listen in.
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UK Floods Crisis: Unexploded Wartime Bombs Unearthed on British Beaches During Storms….


Storms that have battered the UK in recent months causing untold misery in flood hit regions, have now exposed a hidden danger.

Unexploded war-time bombs have been unearthed after the British coastline has been ravaged by the inclement weather.

Police reported the discovery of shells, buried on the beaches during the Second World War.

In the past six weeks, bomb disposal units have disabled six explosive wartime devices found in South West England and West Wales.

The Navy’s Southern Diving Group said it had received a 20 per cent increase in reports of unexploded bombs since January.

Surfers at Watwick Bay, Haverfordwest stumbled upon a 100lb Mk XIX Second World War British anti-submarine mine, while a rare First World War German mine surfaced on a beach near Newquay.

Two mortar shells were found in Poole Harbour, and mortars have emerged on the shore at Mountbatten Point, Plymouth, and Crow Point, North Devon and on a beach at Hemsby, Great Yarmouth.

With riverbanks on the Thames eroded, it’s feared that bombs dropped by the LuftWaffe may be exposed.

Walkers are being urged not to touch unidentified metal objects but to alert police instead.

Sergeant Lee Henderson of Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Ferocious seas and weather are thought to be responsible. The bombs may still be very dangerous and people should not touch them but call police officers immediately.”

Further storms and flooding are expected today as a new front moves in from the Atlantic. The Met Office has issued three severe rain warnings and gusts of wind are expected to reach 70mph.

The Environment Agency still has 48 severe flood warnings issued across the UK following what the Met Office has described as the wettest winter since records began in 1910.

 

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More Unusual “Activity” at Yellowstone Super Volcano!


Releasing Thousands More Times Of Helium Steam Than Anticipated.

 

February 19, 2014 — (TRN) — Some worrying developments are taking place at the Super Volcano located beneath Yellowstone National Park; the kind of developments that were seen shortly before other volcanoes erupted.  Not only was there a sudden rise in the elevation of the ground, and development of new cracks, but a gas called Helium-4, a very rare type of Helium, has begun coming out of the surface.  It is the presence of this gas that has scientists quite concerned.  If the Yellowstone Super Volcano were to erupt, it would be 2,000 times bigger than the eruption of Mount St. Helens in the 1980′s.  Everything within 500 miles would be dead or destroyed within minutes, 2/3rds of the entire United States would be covered in volcanic ash and the climate of the entire planet would cool within a month.  On top of that, just this past week, the largest earthquake in the US took place just a few miles from Yellowstone proving hot magma is on the move.  Here’s what has scientists concerned:

Since late summer 2013, the Yellowstone GPS network has tracked a small ” ground deformation episode” in north-central Yellowstone National Park.

During the past five months, the NRWY GPS station has recorded about 3.5 cm (1.4 in) of uplift (the ground is rising) and about 1 cm (0.4 in) of southeastward ground movement, relative to a stable reference station north of the Park.

Measurements from other GPS stations in northern Yellowstone show smaller displacements, forming a circular pattern of deformation (circular — as in the round mouth of a volcano) consistent with a minor pressurization (building-up underground), about 6 to 10 km (4-6 miles) deep, near Norris Junction.

What has scientists very concerned is that Yellowstone has suddenly begun emitting massive amounts of Helium-4.  Helium-4 seems to be the predictor of activity, as proved with other volcanos.

For instance, as the volcanic island of El Hierro, the smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands, rumbled and groaned over the course of seven months in 2011 and 2012, gases silently percolated up through the island’s soil and groundwater.

Eventually, a spectacular plume appeared off the southern coast of the island, a sign that El Hierro volcano, an underwater volcano just offshore, had finally erupted.

The team’s analyses show that, as the El Hierro volcano began to stir, the crust fractured and helium, mostly from the mantle, flowed to the surface. As the actual eruption began, gas flow at the surface increased dramatically, and gas pressure beneath the island dropped. Then as seismic activity at El Hierro picked up again, the crust fractured and deformed extensively, and helium-4 became a larger component of the total helium released on the island. 

Looking at the past ratios of helium at Yellowstone 1978:

Helium isotope ratios (³He/4He) in Lassen Park and Yellowstone Park volcanic gases show large ³He enrichments relative to atmospheric and crustal helium indicating the presence of a dominant mantle-helium component.

 

Study released today on Yellowstone helium:

The scientists who revealed today’s information report the quantity of helium-4 in Yellowstone’s gas emissions is hundreds to thousands of times greater than it should be — a sign that the crust is releasing its ancient stores of the rare isotope, the researchers said.”However, much of the helium emitted from this region is actually radiogenic helium-4 produced within the crust by decay of uranium and thorium. Today’s report shows by combining gas emission rates with chemistry and isotopic analyses, that crustal helium-4 emission rates from Yellowstone exceed (by orders of magnitude) any conceivable rate of generation within the crust.”  This means the Helium -4 is coming from very far beneath the ground, a clear signal that something big is happening that hasn’t happened in Yellowstone in our lifetime.

In areas where there is little groundwater or movement in Earth’s crust, helium-4 can remain trapped and build up over time. This is especially true at Yellowstone, where inactive rocks, or what geologists call “craton,” have been estimated to be 2.5 billion years old. (The park is located primarily in Wyoming.)   Things began to change roughly 2 million years ago, however, when hot magma intruded on the crustal system from below and triggered several enormous volcanic eruptions, the most recent about 640,000 years ago.

For scientists, there are important implications to the recent developments at Yellowstone. Helium and other noble gases are used to estimate groundwater residence times—for example, scientists assume that the more helium-4 present in water, the longer that water has been sitting in the rocks surrounding it.

But the study of helium at Yellowstone shows that some of these assumptions—specifically helium-4 produced by the steady decay of elements found only within the rocks and sediments of the local aquifer — aren’t quite right. Helium can suddenly come into a system from unexpected places—a pocket of ancient rock, for instance, or a  magma source — so the dates in past calculations, particularly those from aquifers in volcanic regions or near earthquake faults, might be way off because of that extra helium.  Scientists, though, are used to dealing with new data that changes long-held theories; that’s the nature of science, after all.

One of the largest earthquakes in the US this week, at just M3.6, occurred close to Yellowstone crater, on 11 February. The area, which overlies a hotspot (where hot magma from the mantle rises to the surface) is characterized by frequent earth tremors, which often occur in clusters (or ‘swarms’) such as those of 2004, 2009 and 2010.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS NEWS

1) The ground inside the gigantic mouth of the Yellowstone Super Volcano is rising and moving southeastward.

2) Helium -4,  not normally present, has suddenly appeared at Yellowstone  in unbelievably large amounts never seen before.

3) When Helium -4 was seen at other volcanoes, it appeared shortly before major eruptions of those volcanoes.

4) Prior to most volcanic eruptions, earthquakes occur near the volcano and just this past week, one of the largest earthquakes in the US  at just  M3.6, occurred close to Yellowstone crater, on 11 February.

Naysayers beware, the evidence is stacking up.  if you’re waiting for an mass-media announcement….it has now happened and wont get any more direct. These words don’t come lightly from experts who appreciate that such statements – if wrong – can undermine the jobs these scientists do.

We have previously (within the last week) been warned an eruption could occur suddenly with no warning….that was the warning!

All those living locally should not expect anything more but the evidence above!!

Tectonically speaking, Yellowstone lies to the east of most of the major earthquake zones which characterize western North America and the earthquake swarms around Yellowstone are related to movements of the magma which lies beneath.

Residents of the Yellowstone area, however, probably wish researchers would just hurry up and figure out whether or not the supervolcano that’s simmering below them and last erupted 640,000 years ago is going to blow again anytime soon.

 

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legendary Norse treasure worth more than £800,000?…..


Has a man with a metal detector really stumbled upon the legendary Norse treasure worth more than £800,000? Experts believe long-lost trove of gold and silver may be the real deal

A metal detector-wielding amateur archaeologist may have discovered the legendary hoard that inspired one of Richard Wagner’s most epic works of opera.

 

The trove unearthed in Rhineland Palatinate, western Germany, includes silver bowls, brooches, other jewellery from ceremonial robes and small statues that adorned a grand chair, said experts.

 

Amid speculation that it may be the legendary Nibelung hoard, they have valued the haul of gold and silver, which dates back to Roman times, at nearly £826,000.

‘In terms of timing and geography, the find fits in with the epoch of the Nibelung legend,’ Axel von Berg, the state’s chief archaeologist was quoted by German media as saying.

‘But we cannot say whether it actually belongs to the Nibelung treasure,’ he said, adding that whoever owned it had ‘lived well’ and could have been a prince.

 

The haul, which was found near Ruelzheim in the southern part of the state, is now at the state cultural department in Mainz, but officials suspect they may not have all of it.

Prosecutors have begun an inquiry into the man who found the treasure because they suspect he may have sold some of it, possibly to a buyer abroad, the department said.

‘The spot where the find was made was completely destroyed by the improper course of action,’ it said in a statement.

Whether the treasure is the famous ‘Rhinegold’ or not, it seems to have been buried in haste by its owner or by robbers in around 406-407 AD, when the Roman Empire was crumbling in the area along the Rhine, Mr von Berg said.

The Nibelung hoard features in Wagner’s epic opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Of The Nibelung), often referred to as the Ring Cycle, which follows the struggles of heroes, gods and monsters over a magic ring which grants the power to rule the world.

Modelled after ancient Greek dramas, it is a work of extraordinary scale – intended to be performed over four evenings with a total playing time of about 15 hours – that took Wagner 26 years to compose.

The cycle is based on the Germanic legend of Siegfried and the mythology surrounding the royal lineage of the Burgundians who settled in the early 5th century at Worms, one of Germany’s oldest cities.

According to the Nibelung legend, the warrior Hagen killed the dragon-slayer Siegfried and sank his treasure in the Rhine river.

The Rhine has shifted its course many times over the centuries, so the treasure need no longer be under water.

Rhineland Palatinate boasts the most famous stretch of the Rhine, dotted with castles and steeped in legend that has inspired German poets, painters and musicians.

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Sierra Leone unearths $6-million diamond……


Freetown (AFP) – Sierra Leone said on Saturday it had discovered a diamond worth $6.2 million, declaring it one of the most precious finds of the past decade.

The stone, dug up last week in the eastern district of Kono, was measured at 153 carats, making it significantly bigger than the largest find of 2013, a 125-carat diamond unearthed in the same area, the state-run National Minerals Agency said.

“This 153.44-carat diamond is one of the finest diamonds to be found in Sierra Leone in the last 10 years,” the agency said in a statement.

It was graded as D+ on the D-to-Z diamond colour scale, meaning that it has almost no yellow tint caused by nitrogen impurities, and the agency said it “could only be matched or surpassed by fancy diamonds such as blue or pink in terms of price”.

“The diamond is a cleavage in terms of shape and the clarity is of very high quality,” the statement added.

“In other words, this is a premium stone as a result of its colour and clarity, and had it been an octahedron-shaped stone, it could have almost doubled the price of $6 million.”

Sierra Leone remains one of the world’s poorest countries after a brutal 11-year civil war which ended in 2002 — a conflict that left the world with images of feared rebel leaders armed from the sale of “blood diamonds” recruiting drugged-up child soldiers and hacking the limbs off thousands of civilians.

But the country’s mineral riches — which include gold, bauxite, titanium ore and magnetite iron-ore, as well as diamonds — have attracted massive investments.

Small-scale artisanal mining has sustained the country’s eastern region since diamonds were discovered in 1930, and it was here that the 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone — the largest alluvial diamond ever found — was mined in 1972.

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A look at Friday’s three gun cases in front of the Supreme Court…..


The Supreme Court on Friday will vote behind closed doors to accept three Second Amendment cases that could further define how minors, and adults, are allowed to carry a gun outside of their own homes.

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Two of the cases involve the National Rifle Association, and they are NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms  and NRA v. McCraw.

 

The question posed by the NRA in the first case is, “Whether a nationwide, class-based, categorical ban on meaningful access to the quintessential means to exercise the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense can be reconciled with the Second Amendment, the equal protection guarantee, and this Court’s precedents.”

The main questions posed by the NRA in the second case are 1) if the Second Amendment right to bear arms includes the right to bear arms in public, 2) if responsible 18-to-20-year-olds can bear arms, and 3) if 18-to-20-year-olds can bear arms in public.

As Constitution Daily contributor Lyle Denniston wrote for us two weeks ago, in an analysis of the case basics, the “two cases [are] testing whether the federal government and the states can restrict the rights of minors to possess a gun outside the home.” But the NRA also wants a Court ruling on if  “the Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense in case of confrontation includes the right to bear arms in public.”

Denniston said that one of the reasons the Supreme Court could take the cases “is that, in both, the federal appeals court came very close to creating an entirely new category of individuals ineligible to ‘bear’ arms, merely because of their age.”

In both of the decisions at issue, the appeals court said it was “likely” that they were not protected at all under the Second Amendment, or under the separate parts of the Constitution that guarantee all individuals equal legal rights.

And a third case was added to the February 21 conference two weeks ago, Lane v. Holder, which is being mounted by the Second Amendment Foundation.

The question in the Lane case is, “Whether consumers have standing to challenge the constitutionality of laws regulating the sale of firearms.”

The Lane case confronts the issue of gun purchasers having a right to sue to challenge federal gun laws that restrict their options of buying guns from dealers in different states.

Since the Supreme Court issued its ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010, it hasn’t accepted new cases about the rights of gun owners. The McDonald case extended the decision in the 2008 Heller decisions to the states.

In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense and it struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home.

The Court’s acceptance of any of the three gun cases would be significant, and the cases probably wouldn’t be heard until its next term starts in October 2014. (The Court could say as soon as today or on Monday if it will grant the cases for arguments.)

It is request to the Court in the McCraw case, the NRA’s counsel claims that lower courts have deliberately stalled in following the Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald.

“This massive judicial resistance to implementing this Court’s Second Amendment decisions is particularly acute in challenges to laws restricting the right to carry a firearm in public,” the petition says. “This case presents a prime example of this de facto rejection of Heller and McDonald by lower courts.”

And same claim is made in the NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms case.

“Jurisdictions have engaged in massive resistance to the clear import of those landmark decisions, and the lower federal courts, long out of the habit of taking the Second Amendment seriously, have largely facilitated the resistance,” counsel claims in that petition

In the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Lane case, the Justice Department is arguing that a Supreme Court review isn’t warranted. The state of Texas also wants their case denied by the Court and it is questioning the NRA’s standing in the case.

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This Week in the Civil War…..


On a moonlight night 150 years ago this month in the Civil War, the hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sailed from its moorings on the South Carolina coast and into the history books. It was to become the first submarine ever to sink an enemy warship. On Feb. 17, 1864, the Hunley sank the Union ship Housatonic as the Confederates desperately tried to break the Civil War blockade then strangling Charleston. While the Housatonic sank, so did the Hunley. The combat saw the submarine crew set off a black powder charge at the end of a 200-pound spar, sinking the ship before the sub itself went down. The remains of the eight-member Hunley crew would be recovered more than a century later. In April of 2004, thousands of men in Confederate gray and Union blue — as well as women in black hoop skirts and veils — walked in a procession with the crew’s coffins from Charleston’s waterfront to a cemetery in what was called the last Confederate funeral.

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Silver Hoop Earrings Found Among Ancient Treasure in Biblical City….


A jug containing silver earrings and ingots has been discovered at the ancient biblical city of Abel Beth Maacah in Israel.

 Found to the north of a massive structure that may be a tower, the jug and its treasure appear to date back to about 3,200 years ago, long before minted coins were invented, archaeologists said. Curiously, they found no sign that the treasure was hidden, and no one appears to have gone back for it, they added.

“We found it in a small jug leaning against a wall, apparently on a dirt floor,” said researchers Robert Mullins, Nava Panitz-Cohen and Ruhama Bonfil in an email to Live Science. “It didn’t seem to have been deliberately hidden in a niche or any other hidey-hole.”

Panitz-Cohen and Mullins are co-directors of an excavation at the ancient city in Israel that found the treasure last summer, and Bonfil is the excavation surveyor and researcher. They published their initial findings recently in the journal Strata.

Why the treasure was not retrieved, and apparently not even hidden, is a mystery. “Perhaps the family needed to leave their home suddenly and hoped to return to retrieve this jug and its contents, but were unable to,” the researchers said. Afterward, “this area was covered by accumulating debris and earth over the centuries, [and] no one knew that the treasure was there,” they added.

The “massive structure,” as the researchers called it in their journal article, may be a tower that overlooked the Huleh Valley. At some point, the structure fell out of use, and the area to the north of it was used for homes. The treasure may date to that time.

The site, now called Tell Abil el-Qameh,was first identified as Abel Beth Maacah in the 19th century based on its location and historical accounts, although little excavation has been done there until now.

Silver treasure

When the treasure was discovered, the silver was bunched together in what looked like a big ball. After conservator Mimi Lavi, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, cleaned the ancient silver, the team saw that it consisted of five hoop earrings.

Silver Hoop Earrings Found Among Ancient Treasure in …

Archaeologists excavating the city of Abel Beth Maacah in northern Israel have discovered a silver t …

They also found an enigmatic silver object that looks like a twisted knot, as well as several ingots or scrap pieces of silver that would have been used for monetary transactions. At the time, the treasure was abandoned, minted coins had not been invented and the pieces of silver would have been used for trade.

The earrings could have been worn by men as well as women, the researchers noted. “We know from ancient iconography and from burials that men also wore jewelry, so it is possible that these were not just female ornaments,” the researchers said.

A period of collapse

The period around 3,200 years ago was a time when many cities were destroyed and some civilizations collapsed. Ancient records indicate an enigmatic group called the “Sea People” descended on the Middle East, leading to chaos in the region, although they do not appear to have settled in the area of Abel Beth Maacah.

Archaeologists are unsure how these events affected Abel Beth Maacah or if they have any bearing on the silver treasure.

“It seems most likely that Canaanites were ‘in charge’ — or at least were the main inhabitants” — of Abel Beth Maacah, the researchers said. If the city did suffer any destruction, it could have been abandoned for a time and perhaps repopulated by returning Canaanites or by Israelite tribes. “Hopefully, next season, we will be closer to some answers,” the researchers said of their forthcoming dig at the site.

Biblical city

The city was used for a long period of time after the silver treasure was abandoned and is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible.

According to scripture, a Benjaminite named Sheba ben Bichri, who was rebelling against King David, took refuge in the city. A man named Joab pursued him there and laid siege. A “wise woman,” as the text calls her, protested this action, saying Abel Beth Maacah is part of Israel.

“We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?” (From 2 Samuel 20:14-22, New International Version)

The siege ended when the city’s inhabitants killed the rebel and threw his head from the wall. Some scholars believe that King David would have lived about 3,000 years ago, roughly two centuries after the silver treasure was abandoned. While the biblical story doesn’t shed light on why the treasure was abandoned, it illustrates the importance of the city in the time to come.

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