Wednesday, December 6, 2017

'Santa's bone' proved to be correct age


A fragment of bone claimed to be from St Nicholas - the 4th-Century saintly inspiration for Father Christmas - has been radio carbon tested by the University of Oxford.

The test has found that the relic does date from the time of St Nicholas, who is believed to have died about 343AD.

While not providing proof that this is from the saint, it has been confirmed as authentically from that era.

The Oxford team says these are the first tests carried out on the bones.

Relics of St Nicholas, who died in modern-day Turkey, have been kept in the crypt of a church in Bari in Italy since the 11th Century.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Third Roman Temple In Silchester May Have Been Part Of Nero's Vanity Project

Aerial view of the temple site in Silchester [Credit: Dr Kevin White, University of Reading]

The temple remains were found within the grounds of the Old Manor House in the Roman town at Silchester, along with rare tiles stamped with the name of the emperor, who ruled AD54-68.

The temple joined two others to make a group of three when it was investigated in Silchester in autumn 2017, and is the first to be identified in the town for more than 100 years. The three temples are located in a walled sanctuary, numbered Insula XXX by Victorian archaeologists. It would have been a striking gateway to the city for travellers from London.

Four fragments of tiles stamped in Nero's name were found in a ritual pit within the temple site – the largest concentration ever found in the town – along with another three at the kiln site which made the tiles in nearby Little London. These provide further evidence that the temples could all have been part of a Nero-sponsored building project in Silchester.

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Caesar's invasion of Britain began from Pegwell Bay in Kent, say archaeologists


Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain was launched from the sandy shores of Pegwell Bay on the most easterly tip of Kent, according to fresh evidence unearthed by archaeologists.

Researchers named the wide, shallow bay the most likely landing spot for the Roman fleet after excavators found the remains of a defensive base dating to the first century BC in the nearby hamlet of Ebbsfleet, near Ramsgate.
The ancient base covered more than 20 hectares and would have been ideally placed to protect the 800 ships the Roman army had to haul ashore when they were battered by a storm soon after they arrived from France in 54BC.

“This is the first archaeological evidence we have for Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain,” said Andrew Fitzpatrick, a researcher at the University of Leicester. “It’s a large defended site that dates to the first century BC.”

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Julius Caesar's Britain invasion site 'found by archaeologists'

Archaeologists from the University ofLeicester believe the ditch was part of a large fort in Kent

Archaeologists believe they may have uncovered the first evidence of Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain in 54BC.

The discovery of a defensive ditch and weapons led them to identify Pegwell Bay in Thanet, Kent, as the place they believe the Romans landed.

The ditch, in the nearby hamlet of Ebbsfleet, was part of a large fort, the University of Leicester team says.

Its location was consistent with clues provided by Caesar's own account of the invasion, the team said.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Silver Treasure Found near Bulgaria’s Mezdra


A treasure of 187 silver Roman imperial coins was discovered during excavation works in the town of Mezdra, North-West Bulgaria. It has a great cultural-historical and numismatic value, experts say.

The silver treasure was in a clay pot and was found under the roots of an old tree. Historians define the coins as Roman imperial denarii and antonianians, which were minted for a period of two hundred years. They depict the faces of emperors and their wives who lived from the first half of the first century to the middle of the third century.

Archaeologists, however, argue that the find which is now in the museum in the city of Vratsa, is only a small part of the real treasure. It confirms again that in the place of today's Mezdra there was a rich central town with thousands of years of history.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

How the Romans fed their legions thousands of miles from home

Conquering Romans relied on resources from near and far to sustain their forces against the native tribes in Wales, according to new research by Cardiff University archaeologists.


In a study published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Dr Peter Guest and Dr Richard Madgwick of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, used biochemical techniques of animal remains to reveal the origin of livestock supplied to the legionary fortress at Caerleon.

Prior to the study, leading theories argued that locally produced agricultural resources must have been vital in feeding and maintaining the substantial occupying army, though this idea was based on very limited evidence.

Using strontium isotope analysis to analyse the bones of domestic animals from the fortress, the researchers identified a mix of sources. Significantly, the diverse pattern of results does not suggest a centralised supply chain from near or far – results that challenge existing theories.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

A part of Hadrian's Wall has been found in Newcastle city centre, shedding new light on its route


Hadrians’s Wall has been uncovered during site investigations as part of a scheme to revive a historic building in Newcastle city centre.
The section of the wall has been revealed outside the Mining Institute on Westgate Road.
It was reportedly last seen during an excavation on the site in 1952.
But Simon Brooks, acting general manager of the Mining Institute, said: “There was some controversy about whether the Wall had been found. A lot of people were sceptical but now we have proof positive and we are delighted.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rare tiles found near Basingstoke shed insight on Roman history


Evidence of one of the Roman Empire’s best-known rulers has been discovered near Basingstoke.
A team of archaeologists from the University of Reading has found three tiles bearing the stamp of Emperor Nero at a site in Little London.
The tiles date back almost 2,000 years, and were found earlier this month at the Roman Tile Kiln site.
Only 14 such tiles have ever been found in the UK, including another found at Little London back in 1925 and four discovered within a ritual put at a temple in nearby Silchester.
The University of Reading team is currently excavating a series of Roman kiln structures at the Little London site, which includes some huge brick and tile production facilities.
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Unearthed near Hadrian’s Wall: lost secrets of first Roman soldiers to fight the barbarians

Dig team stumble across thousands of pristine artefacts at ancient Vindolanda garrison site in Northumberland


Dig volunteer Sarah Baker with one of the rare cavalry swords. 
Photograph: Sonya Galloway

Archaeologists are likening the discovery to winning the lottery. A Roman cavalry barracks has been unearthed near Hadrian’s Wall, complete with extraordinary military and personal possessions left behind by soldiers and their families almost 2,000 years ago. A treasure trove of thousands of artefacts dating from the early second century has been excavated over the past fortnight.

The find is significant not just because of its size and pristine state, but also for its contribution to the history of Hadrian’s Wall, showing the military build-up that led to its construction in AD122. The barracks pre-dates the wall: the Romans already had a huge military presence in the area, keeping the local population under control.

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Cache of Roman cavalry weapons found at Vindolanda

Swords, arrow heads and ballista bolts amongst a cache of artefacts discovered during cavalry barrack excavations at Roman Vindolanda.


Aerial view of remains of 4th century stone fort at Vindolanda 
[Credit: Sonya Galloway, Vindolanda Trust]

During the past few weeks archaeologists at the Roman fort of Vindolanda have made one remarkable discovery after another in what has been an exceptional year for the research excavations.

Test pit excavations, below the stone foundations of the last stone fortress revealed a layer of black, sweet smelling and perfectly preserved anaerobic, oxygen free, soils in an area where they were completely unexpected. Hidden in this soil were the timber walls and floors, fences, pottery and animal bones, from the abandonment of a Roman cavalry barrack. The excavated rooms included stables for horses, living accommodation, ovens and fireplaces.

While excavating the material from the corner of one of the living rooms a volunteer excavator made an outstanding discovery.

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UN VASTE DOMAINE ANTIQUE À CESSON-SÉVIGNÉ


À Cesson-Sévigné (Ille-et-Vilaine), en amont de l’aménagement des ZAC Atalante ViaSilva et Les Pierrins, une prescription de l’État (Drac Bretagne) conduit une équipe de l’Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives à réaliser une fouille sur une surface de près de 7 hectares.

Cette intervention, démarrée le 26 juin 2017, a actuellement permis de mettre au jour une partie d’un vaste domaine rural gallo-romain, de type villa, ainsi qu’une portion du fossé ceinturant une motte castrale du Moyen Âge. Ces occupations anciennes s’inscrivent dans un espace traversé par un faisceau de voies, depuis la ville antique de Rennes et desservant Avranches, Jublains et Angers.

L’emprise de la fouille permet d’étudier la quasi-intégralité du domaine foncier antique et son insertion dans son environnement naturel. Ces découvertes contribueront ainsi à la compréhension de l’organisation des campagnes à l’époque gallo-romaine et leur mutation durant la période médiévale.

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