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Stolen da Vinci, ‘Book of the Dead,’ and More Unearthed Secrets


A roundup of Secrets in the News for January 2021.

Police recover 500-year-old stolen copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’

If you like this, you might like: Leonardo, The Man Who Saved Science

CNN: A 16th-century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” the world’s most expensive painting, has been recovered by Italian police after it was stolen from a museum in Naples. The artwork, which was likely painted by one of the Renaissance master’s students, was discovered at an apartment during a search in the Italian city, according to a police statement. The property’s 36-year-old owner was found nearby and taken into custody on suspicion of receiving stolen goods…[read more]


Giant ‘Book of The Dead’ Scroll Discovered in Ancient Egyptian Burial Shaft

Science Alert: A funerary temple belonging to Queen Nearit has been discovered in the ancient Egyptian burial ground Saqqara next to the pyramid of her husband, pharaoh Teti, who ruled Egypt from around 2323 BCE to 2291 BCE, the Egyptian antiquities ministry said in a statement. Made of stone, the temple has three mud-brick warehouses on its southeastern side that held offerings made to the queen and her husband…[read more]


Who Invented the Alphabet?

Smithsonian: Centuries before Moses wandered in the “great and terrible wilderness” of the Sinai Peninsula, this triangle of desert wedged between Africa and Asia attracted speculators, drawn by rich mineral deposits hidden in the rocks. And it was on one of these expeditions, around 4,000 years ago, that some mysterious person or group took a bold step that, in retrospect, was truly revolutionary. Scratched on the wall of a mine is the very first attempt at something we use every day: the alphabet…[read more]


An archaeological dig in urban Baltimore reveals a forgotten past

Marketplace: Behind a small brick row house in Druid Heights, one of the oldest Black neighborhoods in Baltimore, a bunch of students and volunteers were hard at work excavating the backyard. The group had painstakingly carved out a pair of trenches in a corner of the lot, searching for where the outhouse, or privy, would have been when the house was built in the late 1800s.“Because a privy, for most of the 19th century, is the place you put your trash,” said Adam Fracchia, a professor of archaeology at the University of Maryland, who was leading this urban dig…[read more]

The New York Times: The disk is small — just 12 inches in diameter — but it has loomed large in the minds of people across millenniums. Made of bronze, the artifact was inlaid in gold with an ancient vision of the cosmos by its crafters. Over generations, it was updated with new astronomical insights, until it was buried beneath land that would become the Federal Republic of Germany thousands of years later. This is the Nebra sky disk, and nothing else like it has been found in European archaeology…[read more]


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