Millions of silver coins may have been stored in the attic of the Parthenon,one of the most famous structures from the ancient world, a research team says.

The attic of the Parthenon is now destroyed and the coins would have been spent in ancient times. The researchers made the discovery by reconstructing the size of the attic, analyzing ancient records to extrapolate how large the reserves may have been and re-examining archaeological work carried out decades ago.

Their evidence suggests that millions of coins made up the cash reserves of the city-state of Athens and much of this hoard was stored in the attic of the Parthenon. During the fifth century B.C., when the Parthenon was built, Athens was a wealthy city-state whose people erected fantastic buildings and fought a series of devastating wars against their rival Sparta. This vast reserve of coins would have helped fund those endeavors. [In Photos: Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World]

While the Parthenon’s attic is now destroyed, researchers estimate its floor would have spanned an area more than three times that of a tennis court, with dimensions of 62 feet wide by 164 feet long (19 by 50 meters) and about 10 feet (3 m) high at the center. The coin reserves were likely placed there around 434 B.C., when the Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.

Incredible riches

In the fifth century B.C., Athens was one of the richest and most powerful city-states in Greece. Boasting a large navy, it exacted tribute from other Greek cities in exchange for military protection. Ancient writers say the Athenians kept vast coin reserves on the Acropolis, but don’t say exactly where.

For instance, one decree dated to around 433 B.C. refers to “3,000 talents” being transferred to the Acropolis for safekeeping, a colossal sum of money, researchers say. The highest-denomination coin minted in Athens at the time was a silver tetradrachm, and it took 1,500 tetradrachms to make one talent, the researchers noted. This means the “3,000 talents” mentioned in the decree would be worth 4.5 million tetradrachms. Such a huge number of coins would have weighed about 78 metric tons, or nearly 172,000 lbs., researchers say. To put that in perspective, that’s heavier than the M1 Abrams battle tank used today by American soldiers.

Remarkably, ancient writers said the Athenian reserves could, at times, reach up to 10,000 talents (potentially 260 metric tons).

Researchers caution that Athens may have minted some of its coins in gold (which was worth about 14 times more than silver). If that were the case, the number of coins (and the overall weight of the reserves) would be somewhat less, since it takes fewer gold coins to form one talent.

“Gold coinage was always minimal in Athens, in part because Athens mined silver locally,” study researcher Spencer Pope, a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, told Live Science in an email. As such, the ancient writer Aeschylus called Athens and its nearby area a “fountain of silver,” Pope added.

The ultimate money stash

Ancient records mention nothing about where on the Acropolis the coins were stored, nor do they reveal the purpose of the Parthenon’s attic. “The sources are silent on the use of this space,” said Pope at a presentation recently in Toronto during the annual meeting of the Classical Association of Canada.

However, there are several reasons why researchers believe the attic was used to store most of Athens’ immense coin wealth. [Photos: Mysterious Tomb from Ancient Greece]

While the attic is now virtually destroyed, the remains of a staircase that would’ve led up to the attic still survive. This staircase appears to have had a utilitarian rather than a ceremonial use, suggesting it could have been used to bring coins to and from the attic.

Additionally, the sheer floor size of the attic not only would have provided room to store the coins, but also would have meant the coins’ weight could be spread over a wide area. Assuming the attic was floored with thick cypress wood beams, it would have been able to support the weight of the coins, the researchers say.

Because the Parthenon was located centrally, people would’ve had an easier time securing and accessing the money there. And criminals would be less likely to steal the coins, as the Parthenon was a temple for Athena — meaning any theft from it would be considered a crime against the goddess.

“The attic of the Parthenon is the only suitable space large enough to hold all of the coins in the Treasury,” Pope said in an email. “While we cannot rule out the possibility that coins were distributed across numerous buildings, we should recall that the attic is the most secure space.”

Researchers say that the coins may have been stored in boxes whose dimensions could be standardized to make counting easier.

Pope co-wrote the scientific paper with Peter Schultz, a professor at Concordia College at Minnesota, and David Scahill, a researcher at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Original Article 

Main Street Still Bearish On Gold, Wall Street Uncertain

For the fourth consecutive week, the Kitco News Wall Street vs Main Street Weekly Gold Survey shows most retail investors remain bearish on the gold market, as prices end the week in negative territory, after it was unable to break through the key psychological barrier at $1,200 an ounce.

However, market professionals are caught in a statistical three-way tie with a slightly bullish bias, with some expecting prices to bounce higher but still remain contained within their current range.

This week, 292 people participated in Kitco’s online survey. Of those 140 participants, or 48%, are bearish on gold next week; 115 people, or 39%, are bullish on gold and 37 people, or 13%, are neutral.

The results of the professional survey was considerably closer. Out of 33 market experts contacted, 19 responded; of those, seven participants, or 37%, are bullish on gold next week. Six experts, or 31%, see lower prices and six people, are also neutral. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical-chart analysts.

Last week, retail investors proved to be the most accurate as the previous results showed that 52% of those survived expected to see lower prices.

Growing pessimism in the marketplace appears to be weighing on the market as even optimistic market professionals are tempering their short-term forecast.

Richard Baker, editor of the Eureka Miner Report, said that he could see gold prices testing a high of $1,190.

He said that he is bullish on gold next week as falling Chinese equity prices spook investors back into gold but adds that will be balanced against a last-minute resolution for the latest Greek funding crisis.

“I’ll place my bet on worsening conditions in China and last minute resolution in Europe with a gold bounce stalling at $1,190 per ounce,” he said.

Bob Tebbutt, of Armour Risk Asset Management, said that he is bullish on gold but admits that there has been little to “induce the gold market out of its $60 range.”

“So I will continue to see the trading range continue and since Gold is trading near the bottom of the range, I will look for a rise over the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Other analysts are negative on the gold market as economic data next week is expected to support the view that the Federal Reserve will be able to raise interest rates in September, strengthening the U.S. dollar.

Kitco Gold Survey
Wall Street
Bullish 37%
Bearish 31%
Neutral 31%
VS
Main Street
Bullish 39%
Bearish 48%
Neutral 13%
By Neils Christensen of Kitco News; nchristensen@kitco.com
Follow Neils Christensen @neils_C

A data-filled shortened trading week could help gold break out of its four-month range; however, with a market bias for the Federal Reserve to hike rates sooner rather than later, the break could be on the downside, according to some analysts.

Although Greece remains a wild-card in the marketplace, most analysts agree that the focus next week will be on U.S. economic data, with the main event Thursday as markets will receive June’s nonfarm payrolls report a day earlier because of U.S. Independence Day.

After being unable to push above the key psychological level of $1,200 an ounce, Monday, August Comex gold futures are ending the week in solidly negative territory. August gold futures settled Friday at $1,173.20 an ounce, down more than 2% since Monday, wiping out most of the gains made in the last two weeks.

The silver market also continued it’s down trend, retracing all of the previous week’s gains. Friday, Comex July silver futures ended the session at $15.735 an ounce, also down more than 2% since Monday.

According to the Kitco News Wall Street vs Main Street Weekly Gold Survey, most retail investors remain bearish on the yellow metal, while the market professionals are undecided, caught in a statistical tie. This week, 292 people participated in Kitco’s online survey. Of those 140 participants, or 48%, are bearish on gold next week; 115 people, or 39%, are bullish on gold and 37 people, or 13%, are neutral.

The results of the professional survey was considerably closer. Out of 33 market experts contacted, 19 responded; of those, seven participants, or 37%, are bullish on gold next week. Six experts, or 31%, see lower prices and six people, are also neutral. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical-chart analysts.

Colin Cieszynski, senior market strategist at CMC Markets, said that he is bearish on gold next week as the data, in particular if Thursday’s nonfarm payrolls report shows the labor market is gaining strength. Positive data will provide the Fed the reason they need to raise interest rates in September, he explained.

Cieszynski also noted that gold’s technical picture also looks week as chances are growing that gold test recent lows.

“Technically, gold is positively awful and it looks like it wants to break $1,170 and retest the $1,140 double bottom,” he said.

Ken Morrison, editor of the newsletter Morrison on the Markets, agreed that technically, gold looks weak in the near term.

“I expect support at $1150 to be tested over the next week as the downtrend continues,” he said.

As for Greece, although market participants will be keeping an eye on negotiations over the week end as a default looms closer, Cieszynski said that it is become a nonissue.

“If people were really worried of a big contagion effect from a Greece default then gold would already be higher,” he said.

Chris Beauchamp, market strategist at IG Markets, agreed that Greece’s funding crisis won’t help gold as a last-minute short-term agreement will be made to avoid a default and push an ultimate resolution further down the road.

“Right now the balance of probability is that they will come to some sort of ‘face-saving’ agreement,” he said.

Beauchamp said that he is negative on the gold market because of the strength of the U.S. dollar. He added the greenback should strength this week on positive employment numbers.

“There is still a continuous desire to buy U.S. dollars on any kind of dips,” he said. “The Federal Reserve is the only central bank that is in a position to rate interest rates and that will continue to make the U.S. dollar an attractive investment.

Beauchamp added that Thursday’s nonfarm payrolls data would have to be “spectacularly” bad to change the current market bias and support gold.

However, not all market participants are bearish on gold Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management, said that gold’s selloff is an overreaction to optimism of a potential funding deal made between Greece and its creditors as well as to expected interest rate hikes.

He added that he is bullish in the near-term as the market adjusts from over-sold levels.

He noted that the U.S. economy continues to only stumble along with no real sign of economic growth, and according to the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which was deemed by the marketplace to be dovish, is proof the central bank is extremely reluctant to hike interest rates.

“I expect a token minimum rate increase by the end of the year in an attempt by the Fed to retain some credibility, but no meaningful tightening any time soon,” he said.

Although all eyes will be on Thursday’s employment report, other market-impacting data next week will include May’s pending home sales report on Monday, June consumer confidence data on Tuesday, private employment and national manufacturing data both for June on Wednesday.

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Gold prices ended the U.S. day session near steady Thursday. There is not much new in the market place this week, which is allowing the chart-based traders to control gold and silver—and the charts are bearish. August Comex gold was last down $0.80 at $1,172.10 an ounce. September Comex silver was last down $0.05 at $15.84 an ounce.

With not much happening in the market place this week, the Greece-European Union debt restructuring/bailout talks are the topic of discussion by default. The talks are down to the 11th hour (again). Reports said Greece and its lenders are submitting two drafts to a summit of EU leaders in Brussels taking place Thursday and Friday. The prospects for a deal have dimmed late this week after some hope earlier this week a deal would soon be reached. A Wall Street Journal report Wednesday said there is still a wide gap between the two sides. Germany is the most vocal critic of Greece’s proposals, saying they don’t go far enough on austerity measures. Greece’s present arrangement with its EU/IMF creditors expires on June 30—at which time Greece could run out of cash and be in default on its loans.

China’s central bank injected liquidity into its financial system Thursday, for the first time in over two months. The move is meant to lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses. Some are reading this modest move by China’s central bank as suggesting further, more aggressive monetary policy easing may not occur. Markets paid little attention to the news.

The London P.M. gold fix is $1,172.65 versus the previous A.M. fix of $1,174.60.

Technically, August gold futures prices closed nearer the session low and closed at a three-week low close today. Gold bears have the firm overall near-term technical advantage and are gaining downside momentum this week. Bulls’ next upside near-term price breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,190.00. Bears’ next near-term downside price breakout objective is closing prices below solid technical support at the June low of $1,162.10. First resistance is seen at today’s high of $1,177.30 and then at $1,180.00. First support is seen at this week’s low of $1,168.10 and then at $1,162.10. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 2.0

September silver futures prices closed near mid-range. Silver bears have the firm overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a six-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at last week’s high of $16.46 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at the March low of $15.38. First resistance is seen at $16.00 and then at this week’s high of $16.26. Next support is seen at this week’s low of $15.70 and then at the April low of $15.655. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 2.0.

September N.Y. copper closed down 75 points at 261.75 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session high today. Copper bears have the firm near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a six-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls’ next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at the June high of 276.90 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the March low of 255.75 cents. First resistance is seen at today’s high of 263.00 cents and then at this week’s high of 265.10 cents. First support is seen at 260.00 cents and then at this week’s low of 256.50 cents. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 3.0.

Original Article

Ron Paul, former congressman for Texas, laid plain the absurdity of central policy towards the markets in a recent interview with Amanda Diaz on CNBC. He believes a day of reckoning is in the cards because the central banks “can’t print money forever.”

Dr. Paul blasted the role of the Federal Reserve in markets where superficial pronouncements herd speculators to and fro: “I am utterly amazed at how these Federal Reserve Chairman reports can play havoc with the market: one word – what they say and what they don’t say and who’s going to interpret i

Gold in U.S. Dollars - 5 Yearst,” he said.

He believes this manipulation of markets by the Fed is having very negative consequences for the economy. Speculators are chasing Fed-induced momentum rather than making investment decisions based on analysis of what is happening in the real world. Savings, once the bedrock of American capitalism, have been replaced by easy credit leading to “a lot of malinvestment and a pyramiding of gigantic debt”, adding, “People don’t depend on savings for their capital – they depend on the Fed!”

He states that at some point the financial elites are going to have to admit that Greece’s debt is unpayable and will have to be liquidated. He sees the same thing eventually unfolding in the U.S. also, saying, “there will be an unwinding of this pyramiding of debt and all this malinvestment that has occurred for a good many years.”

The interviewer – abandoning any pretence that the markets are in anyway independent – states, “This is a Fed that has held this market up for quite some time now” and then asks Dr. Paul to indicate when he thinks the crisis will unfold.

He states that it could happen any time – maybe tomorrow, maybe two years from now. “It all depends on a psychological acceptance of this system. So, a lot of people who are still making a lot of money know that it is not going to last but they figure ‘well, everybody else thinks it’s going to last…’ and they just keep owning bonds and buying stocks.”

He therefore believes that it is impossible to gauge when the day of reckoning will come.

“So no, I don’t think there is anyway to know what the time is but after thirty five years of a gigantic bull market in bonds: believe me, they cannot reverse history and you cannot print money forever and deceive the markets forever. Eventually, the markets will rule and that’s only a question of when that will happen and of course I’m running a little bit scared because I think there will be a day of reckoning.”

In the event of currency devaluations, physical gold and silver – which cannot be printed and devalued by central banks with reckless abandon – will not only survive but thrive.

Must Read Guide: 7 Key Gold Must Haves

MARKET UPDATE

Today’s AM LBMA Gold Price was USD 1,174.60, EUR 1,052.51 and GBP 748.80 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM LBMA Gold Price was USD 1,175.75, EUR 1,048.93 and GBP 744.71 per ounce.

Gold fell $3.20 or 0.27 percent yesterday to $1,174.40 an ounce. Silver climbed $0.07 or 0.44% percent to $15.90 an ounce.

Gold in U.S. Dollars – 5 Years
Gold in U.S. Dollars – 5 Years
Gold in Singapore for immediate delivery was up 0.2 percent to $1,176.80 an ounce.

Gold’s move lower is counter intuitive as the poor GDP number, while expected, allied to lower stock markets on continuing Greek concerns should have provided a boost to gold.

It suggests that the gold market is still largely controlled by speculative, fast trading money going long and short and trading the range between $1,150 per ounce and $1,225 per ounce. Passive allocations to physical gold and global physical demand is not impacting prices at this time.

Even the introduction of a gold dinar as currency by the ISIS fanatics has been greeted with a huge yawn as traders hold sway for now.

Gold in U.S. Dollars – 5 Years
Gold in U.S. Dollars – 5 Years
China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is making a move to be part of the London gold price benchmarking process, the bank said during the LBMA bullion market forum.

Only last week, the Bank of China (BOC) became the first Chinese bank to participate in the LBMA Gold Price, which formally replaced the 100 year old London Gold Fix on March 20th.

Standard Chartered and Morgan Stanley will join present members JPMorgan Chase Bank, Scotiabank, HSBC, Société Générale, UBS, Barclays and Goldman Sachs including the two Chinese banks.

The ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), was established in April 2013 to administer benchmarks, and currently provides the price platform, methodology and overall administration and governance for the LBMA gold price after a price fixing scandal.

Chinese banks are ramping up their commodities business while some western banks are exiting them.

In late morning European trading gold is U.S. dollars is down 0.01 percent at $1,175.23 an ounce. Silver is down 0.30 percent at $15.85 an ounce and platinum is up 0.21 percent at $1,076.44 an ounce.