Monday, April 16, 2018

Unusual climate during Roman times plunged Eurasia into hunger and disease


UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI—A recent study published in an esteemed academic journal indicates that volcanic eruptions in the mid 500s resulted in an unusually gloomy and cold period. A joint research project of the Chronology Laboratory of the Finnish Museum of Natural History and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) suggests that the years 536 and 541-544 CE were very difficult for many people.

An extended period of little light may make it difficult for humans to survive. The level of production of plants is dependent on the amount of available sunlight. Food production, i.e, farming and animal husbandry, rely on the same solar energy. Humans, meanwhile, become more prone to disease if they are not exposed to enough sunlight to produce vitamin D.

“Our research shows that the climate anomaly, which covered all of the northern hemisphere, was the compound result of several volcanic eruptions,” says Markku Oinonen, director of the Chronology Laboratory.

The aerosols that were released into the atmosphere with the eruptions covered the sun for a long time.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Anglo-Saxon settlement and Roman army camp found in A14 bypass dig

An archaeologist excavates a skeleton in Cambridgeshire. Photograph: Highways 
England/MOLA Headland Infrastructure

It’s taken more than 700 years, but the medieval villagers of Houghton in Cambridgeshire have had the last laugh: the foundations of their houses and workshops have been exposed again, as roadworks carve up the landscape they were forced to abandon when their woodlands were walled off into a royal hunting forest.

Their lost village has been rediscovered in an epic excavation employing more than 200 archaeologists, working across scores of sites on a 21-mile stretch of flat Cambridgeshire countryside, the route of the upgraded A14 and the Huntingdon bypass.

Much of it is now flat and rather featureless farmland, but the excavations have revealed how densely populated it was in the past, with scores of village sites, burial mounds, henges, trackways, industrial sites including pottery kilns and a Roman distribution centre. The archaeologists also found an Anglo-Saxon tribal boundary site with huge ditches, a gated entrance and a beacon on a hill that still overlooks the whole region.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

New Pompeii excavations a revelation


ANSA) - Naples, March 23 - Major new finds have been unveiled for Friday's 270th anniversary of the discovery of the first remains of the ancient city of Pompeii buried by ash and rock following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

    The local archaeological authorities have marked the occasion by presenting major new excavations in the Regio V area launched under the auspices of the ongoing conservation project Great Pompeii. "Our aim was to resolve the instability of the excavation fronts in this area, which had a history of collapses," said special superintendent for Pompeii Massimo Osanna. "The work involved the reshaping of this part of the archaeological site. Then when we started digging we found remains of public and private areas, gardens and porticoes that we did not think we would find. It is the most important dig in the post-war period," he continued.

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LES FOUILLES DES JARDINS DE LA CATHÉDRALE DU MANS


Depuis septembre 2017, une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap fouille, sur prescription de l’Etat (Drac Pays de la Loire), les abords du chevet gothique de la cathédrale Saint-Julien, au Mans. En effet, l’aménagement des jardins, programmé par la mairie, est l’occasion d’ouvrir une fenêtre de plus de 2 000 m² sur le passé de la ville. Celle-ci révèle deux mille ans d’histoire débutant dès les premiers temps de Vindinum, chef-lieu de cité des Aulerques Cénomans et nom antique du Mans.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

This Roman ‘gate to hell’ killed its victims with a cloud of deadly carbon dioxide

The ancient city of Hierapolis, located in modern-day Turkey 

Is it possible to walk through the gates of hell and live? The Romans thought so, and they staged elaborate sacrifices at what they believed were entrances to the underworld scattered across the ancient Mediterranean. The sacrifices—healthy bulls led down to the gates of hell—died quickly without human intervention, but the castrated priests who accompanied them returned unharmed. Now, a new study of one ancient site suggests that these “miracles” may have a simple geological explanation.

Rediscovered just 7 years ago, the gate to hell at the ancient city of Hierapolis, in modern-day Turkey, is a stone doorway leading to a small cavelike grotto. The gate was built into one wall of a rectangular, open-aired arena, topped by a temple and surrounded by raised stone seating for visitors. The city itself sits in one of the region’s most geologically active areas; 2200 years ago, its thermal springs were believed to have great healing powers. But a deep fissure running beneath Hierapolis constantly emits volcanic carbon dioxide (CO2), which pours forth as a visible mist. The gate—also known as the Plutonium, for Pluto, the god of the underworld—is built directly above it. In 2011, archaeologists showed that the gate is still deadly: Birds that fly too close suffocate and die.

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The Archaeology of Wealth Inequality

Researchers trace the income gap back more than 11,000 years

When the last of the volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius settled over Pompeii in A.D. 79, it preserved a detailed portrait of life in the grand Roman city, from bristling military outposts to ingenious aqueducts. Now researchers say the eruption nearly 2,000 years ago also captured clues to one of today’s most pressing social problems.
Analyzing dwellings in Pompeii and 62 other archaeological sites dating back 11,200 years, a team of experts has ranked the distribution of wealth in those communities. Bottom line: economic disparities increased over the centuries and technology played a role. The findings add to our knowledge of history’s haves and have-nots, an urgent concern as the gulf between the 1 percent of ultra-rich and the rest of us continues to grow.
“We wanted to be able to look at the ancient world as a whole and draw connections to today,” says Michael E. Smith, an archaeologist at Arizona State University, who took part in the study. The research is being published this month in Ten Thousand Years of Inequality, a book edited by Smith and Timothy Kohler of Washington State University.
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Archaeologists have found the Roman Baths oldest mosaic

Dr Sarah Morton said the find will "continue to develop our understanding of the Roman Baths"
Archaeologists have made "a very exciting discovery" during excavations at an historic Roman baths site.

The oldest mosaic ever found at the site in Bath has been discovered by local volunteer Fiona Medland.

Ms Medland said she was "totally stunned" as this was her "first real find and a dream come true" after 10 years of volunteering with the Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS)

Historic England are in discussion with the team on the best way to uncover it.

Stephen Clews, manager of the Roman Baths, said: "So far, just a few of the small cubes of stone that make up the floor have been uncovered. They are a creamy buff colour and are made from local stone. They are small in size, about one centimetre square, and carefully laid.

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Roman boxing gloves unearthed by Vindolanda dig

The gloves were "skilfully made" about 2,000 years ago

Roman boxing gloves unearthed during an excavation near Hadrian's Wall have gone on public display.

Experts at Vindolanda, near Hexham, in Northumberland, believe they are "probably the only known surviving examples from the Roman period".

Dr Andrew Birley, Vindolanda Trust director of excavations, described the leather bands as an "astonishing" find.

The gloves were discovered last summer along with a hoard of writing tablets, swords, shoes and bath clogs.

Made of leather, they were designed to fit snugly over the knuckles and have the appearance of a protective guard.

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Remains of Roman road found in Northumberland

A drone shot looks down at the Devil's Causeway, in Northumberland 
[Credit: AAG Archaeology]

The road can be traced from Portgate on Hadrian’s Wall, near the Errington Arms, to the mouth of the River Tweed, but parts of it have remained uncovered.

A long feature crossing the site north of Matfen divided the opinion of experts, with some believing it to be the remains of the Devil’s Causeway and others suggesting it was merely an old dry stone wall.

In an attempt to put the question to bed, AAG Archaeologists cut several trenches to view a cross section of the remains, and found a defining characteristic of the Roman road.

The team discovered a stone spine, seen at excavations of the Devil’s Causeway near Netherwitton in 2001 and Shellbraes in 1937.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Second century AD Roman villa discovered in Warwick

It is thought the Roman villa was in use for about 200 years

The remains of a "second century" Roman villa including a building "the size of a medieval church" have been found.

The building - in Warwick - shows agricultural use with corn drying ovens and also a "suite of domestic rooms", where the Romans would sleep and eat.

Archaeologists said the estate of which it formed part would have been the largest in the region of its time and spread along the Avon's banks.

The county council said the find would be "preserved" under a new school.

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Rare Roman find unearthed at new school building site

The previously unknown Roman villa which has been unearthed in Warwick.

THE remains of a previously unknown Roman building – the largest ever seen in the region – have been discovered during building work on a new school.

Wall foundations for a large aisled structure the size of a medieval church have been unearthed on Banbury Road in Warwick, to where King’s High School is relocating.

Archaeologists say the building most likely forms a component of a large villa estate, which must have spread along the banks of the Avon and been connected to the Roman road system, and early indications suggest it developed in the 2nd century AD and probably went out of use in the 4th century.

Constructed of local sandstone, over 28m long by 14.5m wide, the villa would have been the largest building ever seen in the region.

Corn drying ovens, both inside and outside the structure, attest to an agricultural function, although internal wall divisions at the opposite end of the building probably indicate a suite of domestic rooms.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

FORTRESS TOWER OF ANCIENT ODESSOS FOUND BY CHANCE

Part of a U-shape fortress tower from the Late Antiquity fortress wall of ancient Odessos (Odessus) has been discovered in the cellar of a house in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna. 
Photo: Varna Museum of Archaeology

A Late Antiquity fortress wall tower from the Ancient Thracian, Greek, and Roman city of Odessos (Odessus) has been discovered by accident in the Black Sea city of Varna, with rescue archaeological excavations affirming data about the existence of Quaestura Exercitus, a peculiar administrative district in 6th century AD Byzantium (i.e. the Eastern Roman Empire), under Emperor Justinian I the Great, uniting much of today’s Northern Bulgaria with Cyprus, parts of Anatolia, and the Cyclades.

Parts of a U-shaped fortress tower have been discovered by accident in the cellar of a house at 13 Voden Street in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna, within the Odessos Archaeological Preserve.

Ensuing rescue excavations have explored the ruins of the tower, which has been found to be part of one of the known fortress walls of ancient Odessos, the Varna Museum of Archaeology has announced, as cited by local news site Varna24.

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Archaeologists Have Revealed That Game Dice Used to Be Totally Unfair


The game dice we use today are as fair as we can design them - but that wasn't always the case. And now researchers have analysed the history of dice to work out when things changed, and why people didn't care about these probabilities until a certain turning point in civilisation.
Researchers from UC Davis and the American Museum of Natural History have examined 110 cube-shaped dice dating back to the Roman era and found that their design didn't become "fair" until the Renaissance, when scientific thinking started to come to the fore.
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ARPAJON AUX CONFINS DE PLUSIEURS TERRITOIRES DE CITÉS DURANT L’ANTIQUITÉ


Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap mène actuellement une fouille de grande ampleur en plein cœur de la ville d’Arpajon, préalablement à la réalisation d’un projet immobilier initié par Les Nouveaux constructeurs. Une visite est organisée sur place par les archéologues, samedi 10 février 2018, pour permettre au public de découvrir les vestiges antiques mis au jour.

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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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