Secret sealed room found in India’s National Library

Restorers working on the 18th century Belvedere House in Kolkata, home to the National Library of India, have found a large hidden room they had no idea was there. By found I mean they discovered that it existed, not that they’ve actually gone inside because there is no visible means of entrance or egress. The …

Michelangelo’s David on the Duomo roof

Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture of David now stands in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, but that’s not where it was originally supposed to go. Before it was moved to the Accademia in 1873, it stood guard outside the Palazzo della Signoria, Florence’s city hall, for 370 years, but even that wasn’t where it was first meant …

New sphinx-lined road found in Luxor

Archaeologists excavating near the Temple of Karnak in Luxor have unearthed a road lined with 12 sphinxes dating to the reign of the King Nectanebo I, (380-363 B.C.), the last pharaoh of the last pharaonic dynasty. The 65-foot section is the last part of a 1.7-mile ceremonial route known as the Avenue of the Sphinxes …

Oldest drinkable champagne gets drunk

Two bottles of 200-year-old champagne recovered from a Baltic shipwreck this summer were opened and offered to 100 journalists and experts for a wine tasting. It wasn’t until they opened and recorked them yesterday that experts were able to confirm that there are 2 different labels of champagne: Veuve Clicquot and Juglar, a house that …

Relics from tomb of Richard II found at NPG

An archivist working on a six-month cataloguing program at the National Portrait Gallery uncovered pieces of wood, leather and fabric from the tomb of King Richard II in a cigarette box marked “August 31, 1871, Westminster Abbey, GS.” The GS stands for Sir George Scharf, the National Portrait Gallery’s first director, who was at Westminster …

Rare pistol found in 18th c. St. Augustine shipwreck

Archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) in St. Augustine, Florida, brought a couple dozen artifacts recovered from an unidentified shipwreck to the Flagler Hospital Imaging Center for CAT scans. The objects are heavily concreted — surrounded by a hard mass that grows around metallic objects rusting for long periods underwater — so archaeologists …

Richly illuminated collection of Arthur tales for sale

The Rochefoucauld Grail is a beautifully illuminated three-volume compendium of English and French Arthurian legends that was commissioned in the 14th century by the Baron de Rouchefoucauld, just a few decades after the first collections of those Camelot stories were compiled. Unlike its earlier brethren, however, this magnificent manuscript was not read until it fell …

Chinese fish vase sells for world record $85 million

An 18th century Qianlong porcelain vase sold at a Bainbridges Auction House for a world record $85 million. It’s the highest price ever paid at auction for a Chinese work of art. Nobody saw it coming, certainly not the sellers — a brother and sister who found the vase when cleaning out their parents’ house …

Sansovino terracotta taken apart and put back together

A life-sized terracotta Madonna and Child by Renaissance sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino has been pieced back together by the experts at Florenceā€™s Opificio delle Pietre Dure after centuries of damage and atrocious restorations. The restoration took 3 years. It started with X-rays and CAT scans taken in Bologna to provided a detailed roadmap of …