New Project - Caesar Miniatures 1:72 Conquistadors  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , , , ,

I know, I haven’t updated this blog in a bit.. I started a new project so hopefully I can get enough steam behind this one to actually finish it in its entirety. I started painting 1:72 model figures again. After I got all of those Eastern Friendly Indians painted I never got around to making them a diorama so they’re still sitting in a box somewhere. Over the weekend at my parents my Dad gave me a nice big wooden box, the kind that really nice sets of silverware come in and I decided that this would be the perfect thing to create my diorama in since I can shut the lid and put it away so I don’t have to have this thing displayed anywhere, I can just pull it out and show it to people and look at it then close it up and put it back.

So I decided instead of using the Indians for this project I wanted to do the Spanish Conquistadors invading the Aztecs so I went on my favorite hobby website and bought the two kits. I picked up the Caesar Miniatures 1:72 Conquistadors set and the Aztec set.

Currently working on the Conquistadors.. I painted 20 of the figures last night, all the clothing is done on them, just gotta go back in and do fine detail work and some shadowing. After I get these 20 painted in their entirety I’ll finish up the rest of them before I start on the Aztecs. Here’s the set I’m working on, sometime this weekend I’ll take a picture of the ones I've done so I can post on here.

Drew Versak - Caesar Miniatures 1:72 Conquistadors

Drew Versak(semi)creative  genius

Ancient Tribal Meeting Ground Found in Australia  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , ,


The site of the 40,000-year-old tribal meeting ground has been hailed by
one archaeologist as "Tasmania's Valley of the Kings."


  • An archaeology survey conducted ahead of roadwork has found an ancient, Aboriginal meeting ground.
  • Up to three million artifacts were believed to be buried in the area.
  • Only around 470,000 of Australia's original inhabitants are still alive today.
Australian archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the world's southernmost site of early human life, a 40,000-year-old tribal meeting ground, an Aboriginal leader said Wednesday.

The site appears to have been the last place of refuge for Aboriginal tribes from the cannon fire of Australia's first white settlers, said Michael Mansell of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

The find came during an archaeological survey ahead of roadwork near Tasmania's Derwent River and soil dating had established the age of the artifacts found there.

"When the archaeological report came out it showed that (life there) had gone back longer than any other recorded place anywhere else in Tasmania, dating back to 40,000 years," Mansell told AFP.

Up to three million artifacts, including stone tools, shellfish fragments and food scraps, were believed to be buried in the area, which appeared to have been a meeting ground for three local tribes.

They died out after white settlers arrived in the late 18th century.

"They (settlers) hunted people here to this place and shot them just so they could get the land," said Mansell. "Many others were imprisoned until they died."

"In terms of culture and history this region now represents Tasmania's Valley of the Kings," he added, referring to the world heritage listed Egyptian tombs on the west bank of the Nile.

"When you get something like this that evokes memory of what your people did before we were born and evokes a memory about the legacy that they left us ... it makes the place irreplaceable."

The survey was finished last week and chief archaeologist Rob Paton said he had been surprised at the age of the items found.

"We haven't even done a reading on the bottom sample yet, I was expecting 17,000 (years) for the base of the trench and about four or 5,000 (years) for the top," Paton told state radio.

Paton said luminescence readings -- measuring the age of the artefacts based on how much exposure they had received to sunlight -- had been "nice and statistically tight".

"That suggests to me that they're probably correct, giving us a top reading of 28,000 (years old) and certainly seeming to go back another 10,000 (years) at least beyond that," he said.

The readings indicated that "we do have the oldest, most southern site anywhere in the world", said Paton, making it "an important site for anyone and quite exciting for us".

"I think the thing to stress is no matter what the age of the site it's important anyway," he added.

Mansell said the tribes were famous for their defiant stand against the settlers, and so frustrated the authorities they ultimately issued an order that any Aborigine in the area be shot on sight.

He said the dig's findings were merely the "tip of the iceberg" and called for plans to build a bridge over the site to be scrapped.

"The Tasmanian government must immediately declare it a protected site, not just for Aboriginal people but for peoples of the world," said Mansell.

Australia's original inhabitants, with cultures stretching back tens of thousands of years, are believed to have numbered around one million at the time of white settlement.

There are now just 470,000 out of a population of 21 million and Australia's most impoverished minority.

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

photos for sale that I could never afford  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , , ,

News broke last week that Polaroid has to sell off a huge chunk of their photo collection to pay off creditors, including my allll time favorite photo, Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother". MAN I wish I had enough money to buy this image.

Drew Versak - Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

Soooo this got me thinking about other photographs that I love and that I could afford and although its not the original print I'll settle for the 1985 June issue of National Geographic featuring the Steve McCurry photo of the "Afghan Girl", another photograph that I've always loved. So for $25 I'll get to enjoy this image whenever I like.. =)

Drew Versak - Steve McCurry - The Afghan Girl

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

Ancient Tree Carving Points to the Stars  

Posted by Drew Versak in , ,


On the trunk of a gnarled, centuries-old oak tree, about 90 miles southwest of Phoenix, Ariz., are odd carvings of six-legged, lizard-like beings.

The tree is located at Painted Rock, an archaeological site peppered with hundreds of ancient petroglyphs, images created upon rock surfaces.

Known as the "scorpion tree," locals had long believed that cowboys were behind the tree carving (the technical term is "arborglyph"). But paleontologist Rex Saint Onge knew it dated to long before then.

His analysis offers a glimpse not only into the cultural history of the Chumash people, the Native American tribe that once inhabited the region; it also provides unique insights into their scientific expertise.

Although Saint Onge is uncertain how old the tree carving is, he believes that nearby Chumash residents may have maintained it until the early 20th century.

The images at Painted Rock were originally written off by past researchers as "the work of wild-eyed, drug-induced shamans." However, the arborglyph led Saint Onge to connect the symbols within the carving with the stars in the sky.

More from Time's Matt Kettmann:

After spending more time at the site, Saint Onge realized that the carved crown and its relation to one of the spheres was strikingly similar to the way the constellation Ursa Major -- which includes the Big Dipper -- related to the position of Polaris, the North Star.


He quickly learned that the constellation rotates around the North Star every 24 hours, that its placement during sunset could be used to tell the seasons and that the Chumash people also revered this astronomical relationship in their language and cosmology.

Although the Chumash had long been characterized as a kind of primitive society, Saint Onge's findings indicate that they were in fact so much more.

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

Africa Slideshow  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , ,

It's been over a month since I got back and I'm just now posting pictures, better quality ones to come later, just wanted to get the bulk of them uploaded. Enjoy!

Here are the direct links to the albums:

Album 1 -

Album 2 -

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

Apple Head Update!  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , ,

The glass eyes I ordered came in yesterday so you know what that means?!!?..... Craft Update!
Pics below of the dried apple heads with their new snazzy glass eyes inserted. These are 7mm glass eyes and I was thinking that the whole eye itself would be 7mm but I guess they judge sizes by pupil size? The pupil looks to be around 7mm but the whole eye is a bit larger. At first I was kinda bummed that they weren't the right size for the eye slots I carved out but I just ended up widening the slots and I think they came out pretty neat.. Next up is paint and i already bought 2 mohair wigs to put on them. One in long light brown and another in a long greenish gray. Stay tuned for that update..

Drew Versak - Apple Head DollsDrew Versak - Apple Head DollsDrew Versak - Apple Head DollsDrew Versak - Apple Head Dolls

Drew Versak - Apple Head Dolls Group Shot

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

King Tut tomb to get makeover  

Posted by Drew Versak in , ,

Mysterious brown spots in the Tomb of Tutankhamun will be fully investigated during a five-year project to restore the burial of the boy King, Egypt's antiquities department announced today.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) has partnered with the California-based Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) to work on the conservation and management of the more than 3,000-year-old tomb.

"I am happy that Getty will look at the tomb and preserve its beautiful scenes," Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) said in a statement.

Located in the Valley of the Kings, the tomb of Tutankhamen is among the most heavily visited sites in the Theban necropolis. The five-year conservation project follows concern that the large number of people visiting the pharaoh's resting place may be contributing to its physical deterioration.

Discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter with almost all of its contents intact, Tutankhamen's is the smallest of the 26 royal tombs discovered in the Valley of the Kings.

Of the tomb's four rooms, only the walls of the burial chamber are decorated.

However, the wall paintings in this chamber, as well as some of the tomb's other surfaces, are marred by disfiguring brown spots, which were first noted by Howard Carter when he discovered the treasure-packed burial.

The nature and origin of the spots have never been fully ascertained, and they are among the technical conservation challenges presented by the tomb.

"I always see the tomb of King Tut and wonder about those spots, which no scientist has been able to explain. I have worried about these, and have asked experts to examine the scenes," Dr. Zahi Hawass said.

The conservation plan will involve a two-year research period to determine the causes of deterioration, followed by a three-year implementation plan.

"The SCA-GCI project will include scientific analysis of the problems afflicting the wall paintings," said Tim Whalen, director of the GCI. "But that is only one aspect of the project. The ultimate goal of our work with our Egyptian colleagues is to develop a long-term conservation and maintenance plan for this tomb that can serve as a model for preservation of similar sites."

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

Maya Murals Give Rare View of Everyday Life  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , ,

Recently excavated Mayan murals are giving archaeologists a rare look into the lives of ordinary ancient Maya.

The murals were uncovered during the excavation of a pyramid mound structure at the ancient Maya site of Calakmul, Mexico (near the border with Guatemala) and are described in the Nov. 9 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The find "was a total shock," said Simon Martin of the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, who studied the paintings and hieroglyphs depicted in the murals.

The Maya have been studied for more than a century, but "this is the first time that we've seen anything like this," Martin said.

The Maya, like many other societies, left more traces and accounts of the lives of the ruling classes - the royalty, religious orders and artisans - than of the lower orders of society that made up the bulk of such civilizations.

"We almost never get a view of what other layers of society are doing or what they look like, so this is one of the things that makes [the murals] so special," Martin told LiveScience.

The murals were found on the walls of one layer of the mound structure - Maya built over the top of older structures, creating buildings in layers like onions, Martin explained. While other layers were scraped up and destroyed in the effort to build over them, the layer with the murals appears to have been carefully preserved, with a layer of clay put over the murals, ostensibly to protect them.

This careful preservation "might suggest that it was something pretty special," Martin said.

The images on the mural show people engaged in mundane activities, such as preparing food. Hieroglyphic captions accompany each image, labeling each individual. In each case the term "aj," meaning "person," is used and followed by the word for a foodstuff or material. For example, the terms "aj ul" ("maize-gruel person") shows a man with a large pot, dish and spoon with another man drinking from a bowl, and the term "aj mahy" (tobacco person) depicts two men, one holding a spatula and the other a pot that likely holds a form of the tobacco leaf.

Such scenes have never been seen in surviving Mayan paintings before, though some parts of quotidian Mayan culture have survived through the ages with the remaining Mayan populations) and the hieroglyphs for some words (such as "tobacco" and "maize-gruel") were already known. Other hieroglyphs, though, were new to researchers - of particular importance were finding the words for maize itself and salt, which were known to be key staples of the Mayan diet.

Whether or not any other such murals are hidden in mounds in the jungles of Central America isn't known, but Martin and other archaeologists say that, chances are, any such paintings that did exist are likely long one.

"Tremendous amounts of Maya culture and writing have just perished," Martin said. "It's not like Egypt, where even bits of paper in the sand can survive 5,000 years; this is an extremely hostile environment, it's extremely humid."

Martin and his colleagues are not yet sure what the structure was or why the mural was painted and preserved. But they hope to learn more as they continue to excavate more layers of the pyramid and uncover more of the mural.

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

Vanished Persian Army Said Found in Desert  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , ,

cambyses army bones

The remains of a mighty Persian army said to have drowned in the sands of the western Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago might have been finally located, solving one of archaeology's biggest outstanding mysteries, according to Italian researchers.

Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.

"We have found the first archaeological evidence of a story reported by the Greek historian Herodotus," Dario Del Bufalo, a member of the expedition from the University of Lecce, told Discovery News.

According to Herodotus (484-425 B.C.), Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, sent 50,000 soldiers from Thebes to attack the Oasis of Siwa and destroy the oracle at the Temple of Amun after the priests there refused to legitimize his claim to Egypt.

After walking for seven days in the desert, the army got to an "oasis," which historians believe was El-Kharga. After they left, they were never seen again.

"A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear," wrote Herodotus.

A century after Herodotus wrote his account, Alexander the Great made his own pilgrimage to the oracle of Amun, and in 332 B.C. he won the oracle's confirmation that he was the divine son of Zeus, the Greek god equated with Amun.

The tale of Cambyses' lost army, however, faded into antiquity. As no trace of the hapless warriors was ever found, scholars began to dismiss the story as a fanciful tale.

Now, two top Italian archaeologists claim to have found striking evidence that the Persian army was indeed swallowed in a sandstorm. Twin brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni are already famous for their discovery 20 years ago of the ancient Egyptian "city of gold" Berenike Panchrysos.

Presented recently at the archaeological film festival of Rovereto, the discovery is the result of 13 years of research and five expeditions to the desert.

"It all started in 1996, during an expedition aimed at investigating the presence of iron meteorites near Bahrin, one small oasis not far from Siwa," Alfredo Castiglioni, director of the Eastern Desert Research Center (CeRDO)in Varese, told Discovery News.

While working in the area, the researchers noticed a half-buried pot and some human remains. Then the brothers spotted something really intriguing -- what could have been a natural shelter.

It was a rock about 35 meters (114.8 feet) long, 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in height and 3 meters (9.8 feet) deep. Such natural formations occur in the desert, but this large rock was the only one in a large area.

"Its size and shape made it the perfect refuge in a sandstorm," Castiglioni said.

Right there, the metal detector of Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat of Cairo University located relics of ancient warfare: a bronze dagger and several arrow tips.

"We are talking of small items, but they are extremely important as they are the first Achaemenid objects, thus dating to Cambyses' time, which have emerged from the desert sands in a location quite close to Siwa," Castiglioni said.

About a quarter mile from the natural shelter, the Castiglioni team found a silver bracelet, an earring and few spheres which were likely part of a necklace.

"An analysis of the earring, based on photographs, indicate that it certainly dates to the Achaemenid period. Both the earring and the spheres appear to be made of silver. Indeed a very similar earring, dating to the fifth century B.C., has been found in a dig in Turkey," Andrea Cagnetti, a leading expert of ancient jewelry, told Discovery News.

In the following years, the Castiglioni brothers studied ancient maps and came to the conclusion that Cambyses' army did not take the widely believed caravan route via the Dakhla Oasis and Farafra Oasis.

"Since the 19th century, many archaeologists and explorers have searched for the lost army along that route. They found nothing. We hypothesized a different itinerary, coming from south. Indeed we found that such a route already existed in the 18th Dynasty," Castiglioni said.

According to Castiglioni, from El Kargha the army took a westerly route to Gilf El Kebir, passing through the Wadi Abd el Melik, then headed north toward Siwa.

"This route had the advantage of taking the enemy aback. Moreover, the army could march undisturbed. On the contrary, since the oasis on the other route were controlled by the Egyptians, the army would have had to fight at each oasis," Castiglioni said.

To test their hypothesis, the Castiglioni brothers did geological surveys along that alternative route. They found desiccated water sources and artificial wells made of hundreds of water pots buried in the sand. Such water sources could have made a march in the desert possible.

"Termoluminescence has dated the pottery to 2,500 years ago, which is in line with Cambyses' time," Castiglioni said.

In their last expedition in 2002, the Castiglioni brothers returned to the location of their initial discovery. Right there, some 100 km (62 miles) south of Siwa, ancient maps had erroneously located the temple of Amun.

The soldiers believed they had reached their destination, but instead they found the khamsin -- the hot, strong, unpredictable southeasterly wind that blows from the Sahara desert over Egypt.

"Some soldiers found refuge under that natural shelter, other dispersed in various directions. Some might have reached the lake of Sitra, thus surviving," Castiglioni said.

At the end of their expedition, the team decided to investigate Bedouin stories about thousands of white bones that would have emerged decades ago during particular wind conditions in a nearby area.

Indeed, they found a mass grave with hundreds of bleached bones and skulls.

"We learned that the remains had been exposed by tomb robbers and that a beautiful sword which was found among the bones was sold to American tourists," Castiglioni said.

Among the bones, a number of Persian arrow heads and a horse bit, identical to one appearing in a depiction of an ancient Persian horse, emerged.

"In the desolate wilderness of the desert, we have found the most precise location where the tragedy occurred," Del Bufalo said.

The team communicated their finding to the Geological Survey of Egypt and gave the recovered objects to the Egyptian authorities.

"We never heard back. I'm sure that the lost army is buried somewhere around the area we surveyed, perhaps under five meters (16.4 feet) of sand."

Piero Pruneti, editor of Archeologia Viva, Italy's most important archaeology magazine, is impressed by the team's work.

"Judging from their documentary, their hypothesis of an alternative route is very plausible," Prunetic told Discovery News. "Indeed, the Castiglioni's expeditions are all based on a careful study of the landscape...An in-depth exploration of the area is certainly needed!"

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

craft updates, apple head dolls & africa!  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , , ,

I haven't really been working on anything lately, the headdress is still at a stall, I know what beads I'm buying to replace the Indian glass beads so whenever I feel like spending the money for them I'll resume the headdress craft. I made up a bunch of apple head dolls a few weeks ago and they're at the very last stages of drying so I'll get some of those pictures uploaded soon. Here they are when they were freshly carved and a couple photos of them after a week of drying. They look even better now and I’ll take pictures with my good camera so you can see all the details.

But the BIG news I have is… I’m going to Africa!!!!! I’m going to Johannesburg to visit my sister and her family for Christmas this year so I leave December 9th and I don’t come home till December 29th.. And the best part is my parents are also flying out there the 11th and they’re staying a whole month so we all get to hangout together. So the first week there we’re going on a week long safari at Kruger National Park and the last week I’m there we’ll be taking side trips in and around Joburg. I’m SOOOO excited and can’t WAIT to show you all the photos I’ll be taking.

Here's some shots of the apple heads in various states of drying:

i heart mushrooms - new craft  

Posted by Drew Versak in , ,

Some photos of my little mushroom table sculptures.. in the beginning stages mind you, I'm planning on making a ton more in different styles, sizes, etc.. made from tree branch slices, twigs, and acorn caps... oh and I'm planning on making a full table and chairs set as well. the first photo started out as the table I was going to use but I want to make one with the bark still attached to the sides like the 2nd photo.

Roman Statues Found in Blue Grotto Cave  

Posted by Drew Versak in , ,


Sept. 28, 2009 -- A number of ancient Roman statues might lie beneath the turquoise waters of the Blue Grotto on the island of Capri in southern Italy, according to an underwater survey of the sea cave.

Dating to the 1st century A.D., the cave was used as a swimming pool by the Emperor Tiberius (42 B.C. - 37 A.D.), and the statues are probably depictions of sea gods.

"A preliminary underwater investigation has revealed several statue bases which might possibly hint to sculptures lying nearby," Rosalba Giugni, president of the environmentalist association, Marevivo, told Discovery News.

Carried out in collaboration with the archaeological superintendency of Pompeii, the Marevivo project aims at returning the Blue Grotto to its ancient glory by placing identical copies of Tiberius' statues where they originally stood.

Celebrated for the almost phosphorescent blue tones of the water and the mysterious silvery light flowing through fissures in the rocks, the Grotta Azzurra, as the cave is called in Italian, is one of the top attractions in Capri.

The island was the capital of the Roman empire between 27 and 37 A. D., when Tiberius made a permanent home there to take advantage of the mild climate and its seclusion.

Dividing his time among 12 villas and orgiastic feasts, the emperor used to bath in the almost hallucinogenic blue light of the cave, swimming among naked boys and girls.

The story goes that those who displeased him were thrown into the sea from a rock near his Villa Jovis. Perched 1,000 feet above the sea with Mount Vesuvius's cone in the distance, this was the most magnificent of his residences on the island.

The Blue Grotto might have been equally amazing. In 1964, archaeologists recovered three statues from the sea bottom. One sculpture depicts the sea good Neptune, while the other two statues each represented the Greek god Triton, who was the son of Poseidon (Neptune, for the Romans).

According to the archaeologists, the position of the Tritons' shoulders (the arms are missing) would suggest that the marine creatures were blowing into large seashells as if they were trumpets.

Triton was known to carry a twisted conch shell, on which he blew to calm or raise the waves.

The recovered sculptures confirmed an account by Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23 A.D. - 79 A.D.), who described the sea cave as populated by a Triton "playing on a shell."

Now on display at a museum in Anacapri, the three statues have provided a glimpse of the original setting of the Blue Grotto.

Magical Blue Waters
Magical Blue Waters

According to the reconstruction, a swarm of Tritons headed by Neptune might have lined the rocky walls of the cave. Bathed in the magic light of the grotto, the statues stood with waters at their knees.

During the Marevivo survey, aimed at finding the original bases of the three statues, divers found a total of seven bases at a depth of 150 meters (492 feet). This suggests that at least four other statues lie on the cave's sandy bottom.

"The sculptures were all placed at the same level. It is likely that other statues will come to light as the project continues with new underwater investigations," diver Vasco Fronzoni told Discovery News.

The Grotta Azzurra's reputation as a natural paradise was seriously threatened last month. The cave was closed twice due to fears that its waters had been contaminated by raw sewage.

Aimed at returning the grotto to its full ancient glory, the Marevivo project is also expected to pave the way to a more strict controls to preserve the natural wonder.

"By next summer, tourists to the Grotta Azzurra will enjoy a really unique experience," Giugni said.

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

Treasure Trove Found in Farmer's Field  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , ,


Sept. 25, 2009 -- It's an unprecedented find that could revolutionize ideas about medieval England's Germanic rulers: An amateur treasure-hunter searching a farmer's field with a metal detector unearthed a huge collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts.

The discovery sent a thrill through Britain's archaeological community, which said Thursday that it offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons, who ruled England from the fifth century until the 1066 Norman invasion and whose cultural influence is still felt throughout the English-speaking world.

"This is just a fantastic find completely out of the blue," Roger Bland, who managed the cache's excavation, told The Associated Press. "It will make us rethink the Dark Ages."

The treasure trove includes intricately designed helmet crests embossed with a frieze of running animals, enamel-studded sword fittings and a checkerboard piece inlaid with garnets and gold. One gold band bore a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer's enemies.

The Anglo-Saxons were a group of Germanic tribes who invaded England starting in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Their artisans made striking objects out of gold and enamel, and their language, Old English, is a precursor of modern English.

The cache of gold and silver pieces was discovered in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and is thought to date to between 675 and 725.

For Terry Herbert, the unemployed metal-detecting enthusiast who made the discovery on July 5 while scouring a friend's farm in the western region of Staffordshire, it was "more fun than winning the lottery."

The 55-year-old spent five days searching the field alone before he realized he needed help and notified authorities. Professional archaeologists then took over the find.

"I was going to bed and in my sleep I was seeing gold items," Herbert said of the experience.

The gold alone in the collection weighs 11 pounds and suggests that early medieval England was a far wealthier place than previously believed, according to Leslie Webster, the former curator of Anglo-Saxon archaeology at the British Museum.

She said the crosses and other religious artifacts mixed in with the military items might shed new light on the relationship between Christianity and warfare among the Anglo-Saxons -- in particular a large cross she said may have been carried into battle.

The hoard was officially declared treasure by a coroner on Thursday, which means it will be valued by experts and offered up for sale to a museum in Britain. Proceeds will be split 50-50 between Herbert and his farmer friend, who has not been identified. The find's exact location is being kept secret to deter looters.

Bland said he could not give a precise figure for the value of the collection, but said the two could each be in line for a "seven-figure sum."

Kevin Leahy, the archaeologist who catalogued the find, said the stash includes dozens of pommel caps -- decorative elements attached to the knobs of swords -- and appeared to be war loot. He noted that "Beowulf," the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, contains a reference to warriors stripping the pommels of their enemies' weapons as mementoes.

"It looks like a collection of trophies, but it is impossible to say if the hoard was the spoils from a single battle or a long and highly successful military career," he said.

"We also cannot say who the original, or the final, owners were, who took it from them, why they buried it or when? It will be debated for decades."

Experts said they've so far examined a total of 1,345 items. But they've also recovered 56 pieces of earth that X-ray analysis suggests contain more artifacts -- meaning the total could rise to about 1,500.


The craftsmanship was some of the highest-quality ever seen in finds of this kind, Leahy said, and many British archaeologists clearly shared his enthusiasm.

Bland, who has documented discoveries across Britain, called it "completely unique." Martin Welch, a specialist in Anglo-Saxon archaeology at University College London, said no one had found "anything like this in this country before."

Herbert said one expert likened his discovery to finding Egyptian Pharoah Tutankhamen's tomb, adding: "I just flushed all over when he said that. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up."

The collection is in storage at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where some of the items are to go on display starting Friday.

It's unclear how the gold ended up in the field, although archaeologists suggested it may have been buried to hide the loot from roving enemies, a common practice at the time. The site's location is unusual as well -- Anglo-Saxon remains have tended to cluster in the country's south and east, while the so-called "Staffordshire hoard" was found in the west.

In the meantime, archaeologists say they're likely to be busy for years puzzling out the meaning of some of the collection's more unusual pieces -- like five enigmatic gold snakes or a strip of gold bearing a crudely written and misspelled Biblical inscription in Latin.

"Rise up, O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face," reads the inscription, believed to be from the Book of Numbers.

Also of interest is the largest of the crosses, which experts say may have been an altar or processional piece. It had been folded, possibly to make it fit into a small space prior to burial, and the apparent lack of respect shown to such a Christian symbol may point to the hoard being buried by pagans.

"The things that we can't identify are the ones that are going to teach us something new," Leahy said.

For England, a country at the edge of Europe whose history owes an enormous debt to the Anglo-Saxons, the find has the potential to become one of its top national treasures, according to Webster.

Caroline Barton, assistant treasure registrar at the British Museum, said objects over 300 years old and made up of more that 10 percent precious metal are only offered for sale to accredited museums in Britain, so the collection will not be leaving the country.

From the source.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius

umm yea...  

Posted by Drew Versak in , ,

After looking at the picture of the original and what I made I'm DEFINITELY finding something else to use for the beads. Plus I have the spacing all wrong on this piece and I can't let it go.. haha..

I'm going with these:
4mm Sodalite stone beads, they're small, they're stone, and I feel like it will give the pieces the look I want. The red stone beads they have are a little too vibrant for what I'm thinking so I might have to find another source for them...

Pu'abi's Headdress Update  

Posted by Drew Versak in , , , ,

Sometimes I hate what a perfectionist I am. I worked on one of the components of the headdress last night but I feel like the Indian Glass beads I used look cheap and like a child made it. I'm not sure if I should find some other kind of bead to use or just stick with what I have? I need to decide soon so I don't waste time with the other 2 parts that make up the headdress. Maybe I'll head to AC Moore this weekend to see if they have anything a little more closer to the original.

So anyways, this is how the first part of the headdress looks. This is the 12 leaf piece, the 24 overlapping leaf piece will sit under this piece, and the 12 "willow" leaf piece will sit on top of the bottom two. And I'm getting tired of staring at her bald head so I decided she needs a wig badly. I'm going to mix up something to put in her hair so I can style it and it will harden so it will look more like its sculpted then just a wig... I'm going to cut out and paint the remaining leaves I need for the 24 leaf piece tonight and after the trip to AC Moore this weekend I'll start stringing up the rest of it.

Drew Versak(semi)creative genius