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Talisman for warding off evil spirits in Middle Ages found in Norfolk

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A  silver gilt cross with size 14mm by 12mm (0.5in by 0.4in) from the 15th Century was recently found by a metal detectorist near Wramplingham in Norfolk.

During the Middle Ages, a feared disease named  St Anthony's Fire, affecting both humans and livestock, which caused dreadful symptoms developed in Europe and soon became
widespread.
It was initially believed to be the cause of bewitchment, therefore supersticious people would wear a talisman in the form of a cross in an attempt to ward off the evil spirits.

Norfolk's finds liaison officer for the county's Historic Environment Service, Julie Shoemark said that the symptoms were, amongst others, mania, convulsions, skin lesions and in
the progressive stage, gangrene.

The name St.Anthony's Fire came about after the disease broke out in France and hospitals were specially erected to treat victims. Gaston de la Valloire a nobleman of the Dauphiné,
was the founder of these hospitals and dedicated them to Saint Anthony (c…

New discovery from the Benešov Superbolide found 20 years later

Three of the meteorite fragments found by mr. Spurný and his team.

Meteorite fragments from a famous Superbolide named Benešov, which occured more than 20 years ago in the skies of the Czech Republic, has been discovered. These spectacular events are relatively rare and due to the force of the impact causing displacement during the collusion and other natural causes like wind speed at the time the fragments enter the atmosphere, makes it difficult to pin point the exact location where they have fallen on Earth.The Benešov Superbolide was recorded by the European Fireball Network during systematic photographic observations and certainly produced multiple meteorite fall with thousands of fragments, but despite many attempts, none were found even years after the fall.The recent discovery was made possible when mr. Pavel Spurný of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and his colleagues used improved methods to analyze the records of the data of the event. With revised trajectory they pin pointed a new impact location which was moved approximately 330 meters from the previous inaccurately generated data.

The revised projectory pin pointed the accurate impact location

The location where any meteorite remains is calculated to have fallen lies in an agricultural field which has been ploughed multiple times since the event, and is subjected to winter frosts reaching a depth of 30 cm. It is likely that any meteorite fragments will have been buried at depth of 30-40 cm.Such conditions are far from ideal for searching for the meteorite remains, however spectrographic analysis suggested that it was chondritic in nature, and likely to have a very high iron content, resulting in metal detectors forming an important role in the locating of meteorites laying undiscovered buried in the Earth. Spurný therefore assembled a team of about 20 searchers equipped with metal detectors following the gain of permission from the landowner and made a series of transverse scans of the field a few hundred meters long and about fifteen meters wide, centered on the calculated line of highest probability for meteorite finds.

View of the Benešov Superbolide when it occurred more than 20 years ago.

The team found four small, highly-weathered meteorites that are of three different mineralogical types. The probability that these four fragments come from different meteoroids and were found by chance at the same place is estimated to be 1 in 100,000 or less which provided important information about the Benešov meteoroid and lead to the discovery that it was heterogeneous. After the Almahata Sitta fall, this is the second occurance of heterogeneous composition that has been found. It raises the possibility that a significant fraction of all asteroids are heterogeneous and that they are strongly reprocessed by collisions with other asteroids in the main belt.Hunting for meteorite fragments is highly profitable. Because of their scarcity, they are priced and sold by the gram. Availability, size of the specimen, and the amount and quality of preparation that went into the piece also affects the price.  One small piece can cost as much as £6,500.

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