Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Found in Spain: traces of Hannibal's troops


Spanish archaeology students have discovered a 2,200-year-old moat in what is now the Catalan town of Valls, filled with objects providing evidence of the presence of troops of the Carthaginian general Hannibal in the area.

The moat, which surrounded the Iberian town of Vilar de Vals, contained coins and lead projectiles, researchers said in a statement.

It is estimated the moat could have had a width of 40 metres (131 feet), a depth of five metres, and a length of nearly half a kilometre.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Scientists use X-rays to decipher charred Vesuvius scrolls

David Blank, professor of Classics from University of California, left, uses his laptop computer as he studies an ancient papyrus at the Naples' National Library, Italy Photo: AP

The contents of hundreds of papyrus scrolls that were turned into charcoal during the eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD - one of the great natural disasters of antiquity - have long remained a mystery. That soon may change.
Scientists said on Tuesday a sophisticated form of X-ray technology has enabled them to decipher some of the writing in the charred scrolls from a library once housed in a sumptuous villa in ancient Herculaneum, a city that overlooked the Bay of Naples.
The library was part of what's called the Villa of the Papyri, which may have belonged to Julius Caesar's father-in-law. Other libraries from antiquity have been discovered but this is the only one that had its scrolls still present.
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X-ray technique reads burnt Vesuvius scroll


For the first time, words have been read from a burnt, rolled-up scroll buried by Mount Vesuvius in AD79.
The scrolls of Herculaneum, the only classical library still in existence, were blasted by volcanic gas hotter than 300C and are desperately fragile.
Deep inside one scroll, physicists distinguished the ink from the paper using a 3D X-ray imaging technique sometimes used in breast scans.
They believe that other scrolls could also be deciphered without unrolling.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Excavation plans for Exeter's Roman Baths


A set of "internationally significant" Roman Baths which lay hidden for almost 2,000 years could be opened to the public in a restoration project announced by Exeter Cathedral. 


The Roman Baths were discovered in 1971 after excavating  a Saxon burial ground [Credit: Exter Cathedral] 

The site was discovered in 1971 but due to a lack of funds was reburied under the cathedral green to protect it. 

A bid for £8.7m has now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

Roman archaeology specialist Dr Martin Pitts said the site "is of major significance". 

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Excavation plans for Exeter's Roman Baths

The Roman Baths were discovered in 1971 after excavating a Saxon burial ground

A set of "internationally significant" Roman Baths which lay hidden for almost 2,000 years could be opened to the public in a restoration project announced by Exeter Cathedral.
The site was discovered in 1971 but due to a lack of funds was reburied under the cathedral green to protect it.
A bid for £8.7m has now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Roman archaeology specialist Dr Martin Pitts said the site "is of major significance".
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Bronze figure of Silenus found on Danish island


A bronze figure representing the Greek figure Silenus, from the time of Rome's first emperor, Augustus, has been found on the south-eastern Danish island of Falster. 


The 4.5 cm tall Roman bronze figure represents Silenus, a mythological creature based  on the Greek figure of the same name. The bronze figure was found recently on the  island of Falster and can be dated back to the time of the Roman emperor. Augustus. It is unknown how the figure ended up on a Danish island  [Credit: National Museum of Denmark] 

This find suggests that there was close contact between the Roman empire and Scandinavia, before and after the emperor's reign. 

A Roman on Falster 

The tiny bronze figure represents an elderly, bearded, balding man with thick lips and a plump nose. The find, just 4.5 cm tall, was found using a metal detector.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Ancient Roman fort designed for celestial show


The gateways of an ancient Roman fort in Britain are roughly aligned with the light from the sun during the summer and winter solstices a design that would have resulted in a striking scene on the shortest and longest days of the year, a researcher says. 


The fort was constructed during the rule of Roman Emperor Hadrian (reign A.D. 117-138).  It was part of a system of fortifications that protected the frontier of Roman Britain  [Credit: PHB.cz (Richard Semik) | Shutterstock.com] 

The fort had four gateways facing one another. During the summer solstice, the sun would rise in alignment with the fort's northeastern and southwestern gates, and set in alignment with its northwestern and southeastern gates, the researcher reported in the new study. 

During the winter solstice, the sun would rise in line with the fort's southeastern and northwestern gates, and set in line with the fort's southwestern and northeastern gates.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Une nécropole antique dans le quartier périphérique occidental de la ville de Saintes : plusieurs individus entravés, dont un enfant


De septembre à novembre 2014, une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a mené, sur prescription de l’État (Drac Poitou-Charentes), une fouille préventive sur un terrain de 613 m2, dans le cadre de la construction d’une maison individuelle dans le quartier ouest de Saintes. Une première campagne de fouille réalisée en 2013 sur une parcelle contigüe avait mis en évidence la vocation funéraire de cet espace au cours de l’Antiquité. L’opération de cette année a permis la découverte d’une centaine de sépultures. 

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