Ancient ... but not a coin! Artifacts thread! Post 'em!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    Here's a new one I just got: A bronze Medusa mount/attachment. I assume it would have been inset into furniture or a box. It's 17.5mm wide, and extremely thin, with no visible mount attachment.

    Medusa Mount.png
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  3. ancientcoinguru

    ancientcoinguru Supporter! Supporter

    I was so impressed by @Alegandron's Hittite steatite amulet that I decided I wanted a Hittite artifact too. Here's a Hittite bullet seal that I purchased last weekend at Summer FUN. It is made of marble and measures 14x20 mm

    Hittitle bullet seal.png
    1800-1180 BC
    Hittite bullet seal with a radiant sun on the base
  4. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Returning from the mountain, I just scanned those 2 acquisitions which I brought ten days ago. The first is a fossil that shows a shrimp or a crayfish ? The second is a lot of 3 lamps which seem to be of the same source or place, one of them (to the left)reveals a palm tree suggesting they'e Judean.
    Fosshrimp 001.jpg ThreeLamp 001.jpg
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  5. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    I picked this up recently, a nice Han Dynasty green glazed Hu jar, 2nd Century BC - 2nd Century AD. I have a fair number of simple grey-ware examples but this was my first glazed piece.

    Untitled 2.jpg
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  6. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Been a lurker for some time, my ancient coin collection is generally unremarkable but European/Classical Antiquities are my primary interest, so I figured I'd join the fun and share some with y'all!

    Sling Bullets, some with Greek inscriptions or embossed images:

    Rare Cypriot bladed-bullets, the "cutting edge" of sling projectile technology! The bi-metallic bullets with bronze blades and a lead body cast around the bronze bladed core are truly exceptional. Not much hard info on these rarities but I believe they are 5th-4th century BC

    Middle Bronze age riveted dagger found in the boggy muck excavated from a construction project on The Rukin in Amsterdam, and presumably a Late Bronze Age knife, found in a moist wooded area near The Danube in Bulgaria. Very rare with original bone handles

    3rd -7th Century A.D. Lead medicine ampules, the one i've managed to identify so far being on the left, which reads ΜΑΡΚE-ΛIΟΝ / YΓΕΙ-ΝΟΝ or loosely "Markelinian medicine", perhaps named after the famous 2nd century physician Markellos (Marcellus) of Side in Roman Asia Minor.
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  7. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    Neat bullets! What do they say? I can read Λρομας on one.
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  8. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Thanks Milesofwho, I believe the bullet you're referring to is 1 of 2 pictured from apparently the same mold, reading ΔΡΟΜΑΣ (Dromas) and in my generally uneducated opinion is an example of classical sarcasm, i.e. "Here's a camel's hump for ya!":

    Aside from some Latin I have no training in the classics or Ancient Greek, with the prospect of deciphering items like this being the primary motivation for learning enough to be useful. I could be way-off and perhaps it is the name of some town or military commander, so any thoughts would be welcome.

    Here's a side view of one of the bladed bullets, (man I love these things):


    And here's one of my more unusual and interesting examples, embossed with the helmeted head of a soldier. I haven't seen anything like it so I assume depictions of people on the bullets wasn't common:

    DSCN3601 (2).JPG

    Attached Files:

  9. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    I like the sarcastic interpretation, and δρομὰς, as an ellipsis of δρομὰς κάμηλος, can indeed mean "dromedary". Yet, if I may, I'd like to propose an alternative reading of the inscription: δρομὰς derives from δρόμος ("to run, to race"), and can thus be translated as 'running, racing'. Liddel's dictionary (see here) also translates the lexeme as 'whirling' or 'wildly roaming, frantic'.

    Could the inscription thus be a reference to the high speed of the projectile?
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  10. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Orielensis, thank you greatly for your thoughts! The modern/lower case Greek is still unintelligible to me, and having never been particularly skilled with the analytical dissection of the English language let alone others I possess no expertise to draw from here.

    More broadly, the bullets would generally be inscribed with direct information denoting the origin or allegiance of the forces, their commanders (Alexander, Kassander, Lysimachus etc.), images with sarcastic implications (snakes to bite you, bees or scorpions to sting, spears to pierce, thunderbolts to strike, etc.) or written sarcastic jibes at the enemy.

    Lacking the language skills I can't say whether or not it is a self-referential statement about the 250+fps speeds of the bullet, but since the speed of the projectiles would have been entirely familiar and painfully evident to the militaries of the Hellenistic era (thus such an inscription would have been unnecessarily redundant), do you think it's possible that it was a sarcastic/derisive recommendation to the enemy that they themselves ought to run away at high speed? Honestly I've never tapped-into such a superb collective of expertise in this realm so any thoughts or criticisms are greatly welcome.

    Here's a bullet with an awesome embossed Triskelion, a symbol common in the ancient world but apparently used as the city symbol for Aspendos among others. Shown is a mediocre Selge stater of the same style with the slinger and triskelion, so my hopes are that the renowned slinger-mercenaries of that region of anatolia used such bullets to warn the enemy that their day was going to get much much worse.
    DSCN3024 (2).JPG
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  11. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    @Plumbata , thank you for the nice words and for the great bullet/stater-picture! I had not known that there is a coin depicting a slinger, and now I will definitely keep my eyes open for one.

    As for your question whether the inscription might be a derisive comment, I guess that might be a possibility. In order to explain why, I need to get a bit grammatical, but I promise to keep it short (and use Latin characters):

    The Grek word dromas can be dissected into two parts carrying independent meaning (linguists call these "morphemes"): drom- and -as. The first part, drom-, is what is called a root, that is a meaningful, standalone morpheme which cannot be reduced into smaller units. Drom- can be translated into English as run- (as in run-ner, run-ning, she run-s, etc.).

    With the second part, -as, it gets slightly complicated: -as is not a root, but a grammatical suffix, that is a bound morpheme indicating, in this case, the type of word, grammatical case and number of drom-. I will no go into detail here, but to imagine it in English, think of the word run-ning: the -as works a bit like the -ing. Since a stylistic device called ellipsis (omission of words) is abundantly common in Greek, dromas can also mean "something or somebody who is running" or, in free translation, "runner." To make it even more fun, the word dromas can also be two different cases: nominative singular (like in he/she/it is running) and vocative singular (like in you are somebody who is running away/a runner!).

    Therefore, the inscription dromas it might be read in three ways: first, the slinger could read it as "This bullet is racing/swift/fast". Secondly, the enemy could understand dromas as an insult in the sense of "You are a runner" or "You coward!". Finally, it can also just mean "dromedary," as you supposed. Likely, the inscription is a wordplay with these possibilities – the ancient Greeks loved this type of intentional ambiguity.

    (Full disclaimer: I have some philological training but absolutely no expertise in either ancient military technology, epigraphy, or archeology. If someone chimes in who knows more about these things, they are probably right.)
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
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  12. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    Neat bullet! It's interesting to read the run theory. I accept either the first or second one. The only inscribed bullet I remember with a clean insult is one inscribed "ΔΕΞΑΙ", or "Catch!"
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  13. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    My recent acquisitions are these 2 original lamps. The first is placed on a small plate. It seems to be made of terra cota and plated with blue glass. The second lamp has a lot of engraving on obverse, and some on reverse. I wish anyone could tell me the nationality or approximate date of these 2 items. Thanks.. BluPlated.JPG LamInsc O.JPG Laminsr R.JPG
  14. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Here's another lamp which seems to be engraved with birds on right field, and possibly crocodiles on left field. I also posted 2 bronze cups which have exactly the same engravings. Have a look.. Lampanim O.JPG Lampan R.JPG Brzcups.JPG Brcuppy.JPG
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  15. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

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  16. britannia40

    britannia40 Well-Known Member

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  17. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    It took a while but I see the bird and croc, nice acquisition!

    I'm wondering about the "bronze cups" though, it looks like an East Asian/Indian incense burner with lid? Probably not as old or culturally associated with the oil lamps, but I could be way off.
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  18. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

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  19. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    I've made some nice new additions to the artifact collection recently, here is a set of bronze sling bullets and arrowheads found within 1 kilometer of the ancient city of Paphos, situated on the western side of the southern coast of Cyprus (one was posted before).

    The city was attacked and besieged by the Persians in ~497 BC, and excavations have shown that the defenders used slings in their ultimately unsuccessful defense of the city, while the Persians rained arrows on the defenders. The long tanged arrowhead may be unrelated (not too sure about them but the style seems endemic to Cyprus and rather common there), but the small triangular point is almost certainly Persian, and the 2 wicked bladed and 1 normal bronze sling bullets are almost certainly projectiles launched by the Cypriot defenders. It's rare that one can get such solid provenance for artifacts that they can be linked with recorded historical events, which makes this little collection rather special, above and beyond the rarity of the items themselves.

    Top arrowhead is 8.53g, 65mm. Persian arrowhead is 2.52g, 18mm. Left normal bronze bullet is 51.82g, 40mm. Classy bladed bullet in center is 43.83g, 46mm, right bladed bullet is 39.75g, 38mm.


    I also added a nifty Carthaginian molded-clay pottery sling bullet, found in Iberia so likely associated with the Punic Wars. Note the somewhat "hamburger-like" mold seam. 51.52g, 48mm. They were quite bulky compared to the Lead or Bronze bullets, but certainly more economical. It seems that they were rather highly standardized and their shape and size doesn't vary much between examples, which probably made their slingers quite efficient.


  20. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Here is a fun one: Can anyone identify this?
    (yes, I know what it is...)

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  21. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Brushes to keep dust off magnetic tape as it's being fed through?
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