Archive for September 2014

Viking Blacksmith’s Grave Uncovered in Norway

The spectacular remains of what appears to be a Viking grave, most likely belonging to a blacksmith, has been uncovered in Sogndalsdalen, Norway (as reported by NRK). The grave was found by Mr Leif Arne Norberg, under a series of stone slabs in his back garden. Mr Norberg had been carrying out landscaping works when he suddenly spotted a blacksmith’s tongs, followed soon afterwards by a bent sword. On closer examination it quickly became apparent that he had stumbled upon a remarkable Viking Age find.

Archaeologists from Bergen University and the County’s Cultural Department were called to the scene and the remains were subsequently excavated. The finds recovered from the grave suggest that it probably dates from the 8th or 9th century AD. They included various pieces of metalwork, a tongs, a sword and an axe, all of which will be conserved before being put on display at the University Museum of Bergen. Personally I can’t wait to find out more information about this exciting discovery.

via Viking Blacksmith’s Grave Uncovered in Norway | Irish Archaeology.

A rare & fascinating coin pertaining to the Oracle at Delphi

Triton XV, Lot: 1005. Estimate 0000. Sold for 0000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PHOKIS, Delphi. Circa 480-475 BC. AR Tridrachm (25mm, 18.31 g). Two drinking vessels (rhytons) in the form of rams heads; above them, two dolphins swimming toward each other; around, border of dots / Quadripartite incuse square in the form of a coffered ceiling; each coffer decorated with a dolphin and a spray of laurel leaves. Asyut 239 (this coin); BCD 376; Svoronos, Delphi pl. 25, 34 (Berlin) and 35 (Paris = Kraay & Hirmer 461). Extremely rare and of the greatest artistic, historical, and architectural importance. A superb example, probably the finest known. Extremely fine.

Purchased privately from the BCD collection in 2002. Ex Leu 54 (28 April 1992), 100 (illustrated on the front cover) and from the Asyut Hoard of 1968/9 (IGCH 1644).

The tridrachms of Delphi are among the most historically interesting of all Greek coins. Prior to the Asyut find they were only known from two coins in Paris and Berlin, as well as a fragment from the Zagazig Hoard of 1901 (IGCH 1645); now there are at least 11 examples, of which this may well be the best (of the seven from Asyut five have test cuts). The fact that almost all the known examples were found in Egypt suggests that the unusual weight standard might have been chosen specifically with Egyptian trade in mind. The obverse type is a direct reference to the Greek victory over the Persians at Plataea in 479, when a great deal of booty, including silver vessels, was taken by the Greeks. These two rhyta were certainly from that booty and must have been brought as a dedication to Apollo in Delphi (rams were sacred to Apollo, along with dolphins). The reverse of this coin is also very unusual: it is not a normal quadripartite incuse but, rather, clearly shows the stepped coffering that we know decorated ancient ceilings, especially those of prestigious buildings like that of the Temple of Apollo. The dolphins that ornament these coffers make the identification sure as they are a play on both the name of Delphi and on the fact that Apollo himself could appear in the form of a Dolphin.

via CNG: Printed Auction Triton XV. PHOKIS, Delphi. Circa 480-475 BC. AR Tridrachm (25mm, 18.31 g)..

& Archaic Wonder

DARPA to hunt for space and time vulnerabilities of software algorithms

In the endless chess game of cybersecurity, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to thinks a few moves ahead, with a new program that will search for revolutionary ways to deal with vulnerabilities inherent in software algorithms.

When defensive techniques close off one vulnerability, hackers inevitably move on to the next. They have exploited flawed implementations of algorithms for several years, the agency said, but as implementation defenses improve, hackers will move on to flaws in the algorithms themselves. So the agency’s Space/Time Analysis for Cybersecurity (STAC) program wants to identify vulnerabilities in software algorithms’ space and time resource usage, according to a presolicitation. These vulnerabilities, inherent to many types of software, can be used to carry out denial of service attacks or steal information.

For instance, hackers can deny service to users by inputing code that causes one part of a system to consume space and time to process that input—potentially disabling the entire system. Also, hackers indirectly observing the space and time characteristics of output could potentially deduce hidden information. Adversaries with adequate knowledge of these “side-channels” could then obtain secret information without direct observation.

The primary problem presented by these vulnerabilities is that they are inherent in algorithms themselves, DARPA said. Thus, they cannot be mitigated through traditional defensive techniques.

Instead, the STAC program is looking at new program analysis techniques that could allow analysts to find those vulnerabilities and predict where leaks and denial of service might be possible. These new techniques and tools would enable a methodical search for vulnerabilities in critical government, military and economic software.

via DARPA to hunt for space and time vulnerabilities of software algorithms — Defense Systems.