Help save earthquake-threatened Bernini masterpiece

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s marble bust of Francesco I d’Este, Duke of Modena, needs your help. This Baroque masterpiece is part of the permanent collection of the Galleria Estense in Modena which houses the internationally important art collection of the Dukes of Este who ruled Modena for more than 500 years (1288–1796). Modena was devastated by …

Oldest complete Torah found at Bologna University

The oldest complete Torah in the world has been discovered in the library of the University of Bologna. Known simply as “Scroll 2,” the sheepskin scroll is 118 feet long and 25 inches wide and had been erroneously dated to the 17th century by librarian Leonello Modona in 1889. Modona was the first to catalog …

Chinese teen’s graffiti on Egyptian temple cleaned

Two years ago, a Chinese teenager visiting Egypt with his parents etched his name on a sandstone relief of Alexander the Great in the temple of Amenhotep III in Luxor. On May 24th, Shen, a Chinese tourist visiting the temple posted a picture of the “Ding Jinhao was here” graffito defacing Alexander’s chest and lap …

Documents stolen by collector returned to museums

Some of the thousands of historical documents stolen by collector, historian and presidential inauguration expert Barry Landau and his accomplice Jason Savedoff are making their way home to the museums, libraries and historical societies from which they were pilfered. After Landau and Savedoff were caught in the act by a staffer at the Maryland Historical …

Golden phallus so popular museum to sell replicas

The Roman gold pendant in the shape of a phallus that was discovered in 2011 in Hillington, Norfolk, has become such a popular exhibit at the Lynn Museum that replicas will be sold at the gift shop. The small but proud gold member was unearthed by metal detectorist Kevin Hillier on January 30th, 2011, in …

Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral saved for the nation

John Constable’s masterpiece, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, has been secured for the British public for £23.1 million (almost $35 million) plus tax breaks. If you include the value of the tax concessions, the total sale price is equivalent to a market price of £40 million ($60 million). The collector who owned the monumental six-foot …

5,000 ancient cave paintings found in Mexico

Archaeologists have discovered 4,926 paintings left by pre-Hispanic hunter-gatherers on the walls of caves in Burgos in the San Carlos mountain range of Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico. There are three stages of paintings left by three different groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers at different periods in 11 caves. Their existence upturns a long-standing historical assumption that …

First paper on Richard III dig full of info about grave, site

The University of Leicester archaeological team that found the skeletal remains of King Richard III has published its first peer-reviewed paper on the discovery in the journal Antiquity which has generously made the entire thing available in pdf form here. Co-authored by lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, Mathew Morris, osteoarchaeology expert Jo Appleby, geneticist Turi King, …

NYPL original copy of Bill of Rights to go on display

The New York Public Library and the state of Pennsylvania announced Wednesday that they will both exhibit the library’s rarely-seen original copy of the Bill of Rights over the next six years. Beginning in the fall of 2014, the 225th anniversary of the drafting of the Bill of Rights, the document will spend equal time …

Potato Famine culprit identified from 166-year-old dried leaves

An international team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology have identified the strain of Phytophthora infestans that caused the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852. In the thick of blight, botanists classified it as a mildew-causing fungus of the Botryotinia genus. In the 20th century it was reclassified as Phytophthora but was …