Restorer finds 18th c. decorations in Damascus home

French engineer and avid restorer Jacques Montlucon bought a small but lovely classic courtyard home in Old Damascus six years ago. These old aristocratic homes are fading fast in the Syrian capital, and Montlucon has a yen to save as many as he can. This particular property caught his eye because of its beautiful fountain …

Polaroid Collection bankruptcy sale

When the rise of digital photography and a Ponzi scheme at its parent company killed the Polaroid star, a north Minnesota bankruptcy court hearing the case ordered the Polaroid Corporation’s extensive and venerable photography collection to go under the hammer, with all proceeds used to pay creditors. Sotheby’s is thrilled to the tips of its …

Gigantic looted sarcophagus returned to China

The enormous Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.) stone sarcophagus of Empress Wu Huifei (699-737 A.D.), looted from her tomb four years ago and smuggled to a buyer in the United States, has been returned to China. The handsomely decorated sarcophagus was stolen from Wu’s tomb in southern Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, in …

Caravaggio’s bones may have been found

A team of forensic anthropologists who have been examining bones from a Porto Ercole crypt for 6 months think they’ve located Caravaggio’s. They can’t be absolutely sure, but all tests consistently point to Caravaggio’s vital statistics so they’re comfortable enough to say there’s an 85% probability that the bones in question belonged to one Michelangelo …

Louvre gives Veronese lady two bad nose jobs

Art experts are accusing the Louvre museum of having badly botched the restoration of Veronese’s Supper at Emmaus, giving a key female figure not one but two hideous nose jobs. The first time they made the classic mistake you see so often in cosmetic surgeries today: turning an unusual down-turned nose tip into a pert, …

Vladivostok roadworkers find Stalin-era mass grave

Workers building a road outside of Vladivostok, Russia, have found at least 495 skeletons buried in what is believed to be a Stalin-era mass grave. They haven’t finished excavating the area yet, but so far they’ve uncovered 3.5 tons of bones. Millions of Soviet citizens were executed or died in labor camps during Stalin’s rule …

Sticky rice mortar key to Chinese buildings’ strength

Archaeologists have known for a long time that sticky rice was mixed with lime to make a strong, long-lasting mortar during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) because it was mentioned in a Ming-era construction techniques book. Archeological investigations indicate that it was in use long before then, that in fact it was a mature technology during …

Thousands of mint condition toys up for auction

Michael O’Hearn is a retired architect and restorer of Victorian homes who has spent 28 years collecting toys in the best possible condition. He never sold a single piece over those three decades. He just bought, so his immense collection was virtually unknown even by experts. There are over 4,000 toys in his collection, from …

Rare picture of slave children (EDIT: OR NOT) found in attic

EDIT: It turns out that the AP story, Keya Morgan and the other experts cited in this article were totally wrong. It’s not a Brady print; it’s not of slave children and it’s not even rare. Here’s a copy in the New York Public Library where you can see the photographer was Jerome Nelson, the …