Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stretch of Roman road unveiled beneath McDonald's restaurant


Customers in search of a little cultural heritage along with their Big Macs and fries can descend underground and view the Roman road, as well as three ancient skeletons that were found buried in the culverts either side of it. CREDIT: MAURO CONSILVIO

Two thousand years after legionaries tramped along its well-worn paving stones, an exceptionally well-preserved stretch of Roman road has been opened to the public – beneath a McDonald’s restaurant.

In what the American burger chain says is its first museum-cum-restaurant anywhere in the world, the 150ft-long stretch of basalt road has been cleared, cleaned and made into a permanent attraction at Frattocchie, south of Rome.

Customers in search of a little cultural heritage along with their Big Macs and fries can descend underground and view the Roman road, as well as three ancient skeletons that were found buried in the culverts either side of it.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Transport back in time to ancient Roman sites with virtual reality


Cutting-edge technology is helping bring ancient Rome back to life.
Visitors at historic sites thousands of years old can now use virtual reality headsets to see what they once looked like. Digital artists used Renaissance-era artists’ depictions to help re-envision the relics. CBS News correspondent Seth Doane went inside the ancient underground ruins in Rome, where tourists can see what’s no longer there.
The cavernous space was once above ground, the grand home of Emperor Nero, and considered one of the most magnificent palaces ever built. Its name, “Domus Aurea,” means “golden house.” It’s hard to believe it was once colorful and flooded with light. But now, modern technology is letting tourists peek into the past.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pompeii Wall Collapses


Superintendency experts and Carabinieri police are on the scene.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

To understand Trump, we should look to the tyrants of ancient Rome

Bust of the emperor Commodus dressed as Hercules, in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. 
Photograph: Alinari via Getty Images

He looks like a strong man – the strongest. Holding a huge club to beat his enemies with, the Roman emperor Commodus wears a lion skin over his bearded, empty-looking face in a marble portrait bust made in the second century AD, which is one of the treasures of Rome’s Capitoline Museum. He is posing as the mythic hero Hercules, whose muscular might made him victorious in one spectacular fight after another. The portrait literally equates the strength of Hercules with the power of the emperor.

This is an idea Donald Trump might like. He surrounds himself with gold as lavishly as any tyrant. Why not commission a portrait of himself as Hercules for the Oval Office instead of just moving around busts of Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King?

The way the worst Roman emperors are portrayed in art can help us to see Trump more clearly. When we look at the face of Commodus in this eerie portrait, we are staring into the eyes of unhinged, utterly perverse tyranny. When this son of the respected emperor Marcus Aurelius took control of the vast Roman empire in AD161 he embarked on a career of bizarre folly and monstrous cruelty. As well as executing his enemies and perceived enemies, he liked to fight in the arena, killing gladiators with his own hands in a spectacle that educated Romans found shameful and disturbing.

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Foundations of three Roman houses found under Chichester park


Large properties just inside city walls, identified using radar, would have been equivalent to homes worth millions today



Foundations of three large Roman houses preserved for almost 2,000 years have been discovered in a park in the centre of Chichester.
James Kenny, an archaeologist at Chichester district council, believes that when fully excavated they will prove to be some of the best Roman houses found in a city centre in Britain.
“To find what appear to be well-preserved Roman remains in one of the few stretches of open ground in a city which has been continuously built and rebuilt ever since the days of Alfred the Great is really exciting,” Kenny said. “Particularly since this city had no mains drains until so late – not until the 1880s – it is absolutely pockmarked with centuries of cesspits and rubbish dumps, so very little undisturbed Roman material remains.”
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Chichester Roman houses found under Priory Park


Ground-penetrating scans of a park have revealed three near-complete Roman buildings in Chichester.
Archaeologists, who were left stunned by the degree of preservation, have said the only reason they survived was because Priory Park was never built on.
Two houses and a third building were found. Moving images from a scan show the shapes of two buildings emerge.
It is thought the houses in Noviomagus Reginorum - the Roman name for the town - were owned by people of importance.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Large Roman settlement remains found near Cambridge

Artefacts discovered during the excavation of land off Tunbridge Lane in Bottisham, where Bloor Homes is building its De Havilland Orchard development

"Absolutely fascinating" archaeological remains from a large Roman settlement have been uncovered on the site of a new housing development in Bottisham.
The discovery was made during an excavation of the site off Tunbridge Lane before Bloor Homes began work on the 24-home De Havilland Orchard development.
The three-month excavation, carried out by Pre-Construct Archaeology under the direction of CgMs Consulting, was commissioned by the developer due to the archaeological significance of previous finds made in the area.
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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Digging Deeper

Artist's rendition of the Colchester Roman circus. Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons

Colchester, in the county of Essex, England, is perhaps best known as Britain’s oldest recorded town. The earliest record of Colchester’s existence is a reference by the Roman writer, Pliny the Elder in AD 77. In describing the island ofAnglesey, a large island off the northwest coast of present-day Wales, he wrote that ‘it is about 200 miles from Camulodunum, a town in Britain’. Camulodunum was the pre-Roman name for Colchester, the first known reference to any named settlement in this country.” It was a settlement that featured, among other things, a Roman circus.
The site of the Roman circus was identified in 2004 by the Colchester Archeological Trust, and it represents the only known Roman circus in Britain. The once monumental structure, at 400m long and 80m wide, is thought to have seated up to 8,000 spectators, and would have been used as a venue for various spectator sports, including chariot-racing. The circus is sited on the former army garrison site about 500 metres south of the southern Roman wall of Colchester. Rather poetically, part of the circus resides under the former garrison stables.
The circus starting gates were found first in the garden of the Sergeants’ Mess in Le Cateau Road. In 2005 the TV programme ‘Time Team’ subsequently located the starting gates, some of the wall, and the spina, the centre wall in the circus which acted as a barrier for chariot racing. 
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Researchers find overwhelming evidence of malaria's existence 2,000 years ago


MCMASTER UNIVERSITY—HAMILTON, Dec. 5, 2016 - An analysis of 2,000-year-old human remains from several regions across the Italian peninsula has confirmed the presence of malaria during the Roman Empire, addressing a longstanding debate about its pervasiveness in this ancient civilization.
The answer is in mitochondrial genomic evidence of malaria, coaxed from the teeth of bodies buried in three Italian cemeteries, dating back to the Imperial period of the 1st to 3rd centuries Common Era.
The genomic data is important, say researchers, because it serves as a key reference point for when and where the parasite existed in humans, and provides more information about the evolution of human disease.
"Malaria was likely a significant historical pathogen that caused widespread death in ancient Rome," says evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar, director of McMaster's Ancient DNA Centre where the work was conducted.
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