Apahida necropolis

The Apahida necropolis is an archeological site in Apahida, Romania. Two graves have been discovered here, a third one may have existed. One of the graves was discovered in 1889, its artifacts are in Budapest; the second was unearthed in 1968, 300 m from the first, during an excavation for the installation of concrete poles. Its grave goods are now on display in the National Museum of Romanian History; the second grave dates to c. 475 and was the tomb of a Gepid king, based on the inscription on a gold ring called Omharus. At Apahida, near Cluj-Napoca, three princely tombs attributed to Gepids were found in 1889, 1968 and 1979 respectively. Located on the right bank of the Someșul Mic River and near the former Roman road that ran between Napoca and camps on Someș River, the tombs occupy an area no greater than 500 m2; the discovery of the first tomb in 1889 was made while taking gravel from a neighbouring area of Apahida. Some of the artifacts were recovered for the Transylvanian Museum by H. Finály, another two pieces were purchased by the Hungarian National Museum on the antiquities market in 1897.

From the inventory of the tomb were preserved many objects of gold, a cruciform brooch with onion-shaped cufflinks, a bracelet with thickened ends, three rings, a belt buckle and a second smaller buckle, five pendants with bells, two silver mugs, a gold band and several appliques used to decorate or repair vessels. The second tomb discovery was made by chance, in October 1968, by workers digging the foundation for a transmission tower. Gold pieces with a total weight of approx. 900 g were found. During the excavations the upper part of the tomb was destroyed, leaving only the lower part thereof to be studied by archaeologists; the artifacts recovered by the Transylvanian History Museum in Cluj-Napoca were transferred to Bucharest, during the establishment in 1971 of the National Museum of History. In 1979, a 6-year-old child discovered a large gold buckle in the earth excavated during the construction of the local post; the buckle is the only piece preserved from a third tomb. The piece was taken over in 1980 by the National Bank of Romania, in 2002 was transferred to the National Museum of History.

Romania in the Early Middle Ages Kingdom of the Gepids


Cladoselache is a genus of extinct shark. It appeared in the Devonian period; this primitive shark roamed the oceans of North America. It is known to have been a fast-moving and agile predator due to its streamlined body and forked tail. Cladoselache is one of the best known of the early sharks in part due to the well preserved fossils that were discovered in the Cleveland Shale on the south shore of Lake Erie. In addition to the skeleton, the fossils were so well preserved that they included traces of skin, muscle fibers, internal organs, such as the kidneys. Cladoselache exhibited a combination of ancestral characteristics, it had anatomical features similar to the current mackerel sharks of the family Lamnidae due to similarities in ecology. It had a streamlined body, from five to seven gill slits, a short, rounded snout that had a terminal mouth opening at the front of the skull, it had a weak jaw joint compared with modern-day sharks, but it compensated for that with strong jaw-closing muscles.

Its teeth were multi-cusped and smooth-edged, making them suitable for grasping, but not tearing or chewing. Cladoselache therefore seized prey by the tail and swallowed it whole, its sturdy but light-weight fin spines were composed of enamel. Cladoselache had a blade-like structure, positioned in front of the dorsal fins; these anatomical features made swimming faster. Unlike most sharks, Cladoselache was entirely devoid of scales with the exception of small cusped scales on the edges of the fins and around the eyes, it had powerful keels that extended onto the side of the tail stalk and a semi-lunate tail fin, with the superior lobe about the same size as the inferior. This combination helped with its speed and agility, useful when trying to outswim its probable predator, the armored 6 metres long placoderm fish Dunkleosteus. Members of the genus Cladoselache were predatory sharks, the well-preserved fossils found in the Cleveland Shale revealed a significant amount regarding their eating habits.

Within the gut of most Cladoselache fossils were remnants of their stomach contents. These remains included small ray-finned bony fishes, as well as shrimp-like arthropods and hagfish-like proto-vertebrates; some of the fish remains were found tail first within the stomach, indicating that Cladoselache was a fast and agile hunter. A mystery that has yet to be resolved is its method of reproduction. Cladoselache lacked claspers, organs found in modern sharks that are responsible for the transfer of sperm during reproduction; this is peculiar given. While they may have used internal fertilization, this has yet to be demonstrated. Ferrari, Andrea. Sharks. Buffalo: Firefly Books. Maisey, John. G.. "Voracious Evolution". Natural History. 107: 38–41. Cladoselache ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research. Retrieved 10 February 2012. Monastersky, Richard The first shark: to bite or not to bite Science News, 149: 101; the Evolution of Sharks

8.8 cm Flak 18 (Sfl.) auf schwere Zugkraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz 8)

The 8.8 cm Flak 18 auf Zugkraftwagen 12t known as the Bunkerflak or Bufla, was a German Wehrmacht self-propelled gun developed before World War II and used in the first half of the war. It was used during the Invasion of Poland but is best known for its use during the Battle of France, where it was the only German self-propelled gun capable of destroying the heavier Allied tanks such as the French Char B1 and the British Matilda II. Remaining vehicles were used on the Eastern Front; the last Bufla was destroyed in 1943. The 8.8 cm Flak 18 auf Zugkraftwagen 12t consisted of a 8.8cm Flak 18 gun mounted on a pedestal in the rear of a Sd. Kfz. 8 half-track heavy artillery tractor. A gun shield was provided for the 88; the driver's cab was replaced by a lower, armored cupola and the engine compartment was armored. The upper body had a crew compartment with three bench seats, one for the driver and his assistant, two others for the gun crew; the gun was mounted behind the crew compartment. It could fire directly ahead without any problem, but traverse was limited to 151° to each side by the gun shield.

Elevation was between -3° and +15°. The windshield could fold forward and was removable. In the mid-1930s, most modern armies had standardized on anti-tank guns ranging from 37 mm to 45 mm. While adequate to knock out the tanks of the period, their small, high-velocity rounds were ineffective against fortifications when high explosive ammunition was available for them; when planning for a war with Czechoslovakia, the German army needed a vehicle that could reduce armored gun turrets and concrete bunkers. Experience with the Flak 18 during the Spanish Civil War showed that it was effective against land targets such as bunkers and vehicles as well as against aircraft. For this reason, the Army Weapons Office asked for a more mobile version of Rheinmetall's 8.8 cm anti-aircraft gun. Daimler-Benz combined the best of both designs in the DB s7 prototype which appeared in 1934, it used the same engine as the ZD.5, but otherwise bore little resemblance to the older model other than an upper body that had two bench seats for the crew behind the driver's seat.

This upper body remained the same over the life of the Sd. Kfz. 8. It could pull loads of 12 tonnes. An improved version was introduced in 1936 as the DB s8; the heavier DB 9 model appeared in 1938. It used the Maybach HL 85 TUKRM engine, could carry an 800 kilograms payload and could tow a 14 tonnes load. Daimler-Benz tried unsuccessfully to use their diesel OM 48/1 engine, but it was rejected by the Army Weapons Office. All ten vehicles were assigned to the first company of the anti-tank battalion Panzerjäger-Abteilung 8 which participated in the Invasion of Poland in 1939, the Battle of France in 1940 and Operation Barbarossa in 1941; the company was redesignated as Panzerjäger-Kompanie 601 in January 1942 and as the third company of Anti-Tank Battalion 559 the following April. It reported that the last three vehicles had been lost by March 1943. Chamberlain and Hilary L. Doyle. Thomas L. Jentz. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two: A Complete Illustrated Directory of German Battle Tanks, Armoured Cars, Self-propelled Guns, Semi-tracked Vehicles, 1933–1945.

London: Arms and Armour Press, 1978. ISBN 1-85409-214-6 Spielberger, Walter J. Halftracked Vehicles of the German Army 1909–1945. Atlgen, PA: Schiffer, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7643-2942-5