Monday, August 6, 2018

'Spectacular' ancient public library discovered in Germany

‘Really incredible’ … the site of the second-century library discovered in Cologne. Photograph: Hi-flyFoto/Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne

The remains of the oldest public library in Germany, a building erected almost two millennia ago that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls, have been discovered in the middle of Cologne.

The walls were first uncovered in 2017, during an excavation on the grounds of a Protestant church in the centre of the city. Archaeologists knew they were of Roman origins, with Cologne being one of Germany’s oldest cities, founded by the Romans in 50 AD under the name Colonia. But the discovery of niches in the walls, measuring approximately 80cm by 50cm, was, initially, mystifying.

“It took us some time to match up the parallels – we could see the niches were too small to bear statues inside. But what they are are kind of cupboards for the scrolls,” said Dr Dirk Schmitz from the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne. “They are very particular to libraries – you can see the same ones in the library at Ephesus.”

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Ancient Roman Library Discovered Beneath German City

The excavation of the ancient library in Cologne, Germany.
Credit: Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne

Beneath the soil in Cologne, Germany, lies a bibliophile's dream: an ancient Roman library that once held up to 20,000 scrolls, according to news reports.

Archaeologists discovered the epic structure in 2017 while they were excavating the grounds of a Protestant church to build a new community center. Considering Cologne is one of Germany's oldest cities, founded in A.D. 50, it's no surprise that it still has structures dating back to Roman times.

However, archaeologists didn't figure out that the structure was a library until they found mysterious holes in the walls, each measuring about 31 inches by 20 inches (80 by 50 centimeters), The Guardian reported.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Archaeologists find remains of 'ancient church' on banks of Tiber in Rome


Archaeologists have been left at a loss by the discovery of some mysterious ruins in Rome, which could be the remains of one of the city's earliest churches.

The find was made at Ponte Milvio, a bridge along the River Tiber in the northern part of the city. And it came about completely by chance while electrical technicians, who were laying cables along the site, uncovered remains of buildings dating back to between the first and fourth century AD.

Rome's Archaeological Superintendency called the discovery "an archaeological enigma shrouded in mystery".

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Roman coins discovered at Apsaros in Georgia

The coins were discovered by a Polish-Georgian team of archaeologists conducting 
excavations in Apsaros [Credit: fb/Gonio - Apsaros Fortress]

Bronze and silver Roman coins have been discovered by a Polish-Georgian team of archaeologists conducting excavations in the Roman fort of Apsaros Georgia. According to the discoverers, this could be a small part of a larger treasure.

The oldest coins in the find were minted during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD); the youngest come from the last years of the reign of Septimius Severus (beginning of the 3rd century AD).

"All coins were found very close to each other in the Roman fort Apsaros", said Dr. Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, project leader from the Polish side. The Georgian side is led by Prof. Shota Mamuladze from the Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University and the Gonio-Apsaros Museum and Reserve.

Polish and Georgian researchers will search for more coins. The excavation season will continue until the end of July. According to the numismatics expert of the expedition, Dr. Piotr Jaworski from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, the coins might be a small part of a larger treasure. It could be scattered as a result of later earthworks and construction works in the fort. After the Romans, Byzantine, Ottoman and even Soviet garrisons were also stationed in the fort.

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Romans had whaling industry, archaeological excavation suggests

North Atlantic right whales, off Grand Manan Island in Canada. Photograph: Alamy

Ancient bones found around the Strait of Gibraltar suggest that the Romans might have had a thriving whaling industry, researchers have claimed.
The bones, dating to the first few centuries AD or earlier, belong to grey whales and North Atlantic right whales – coastal migratory species that are no longer found in European waters.
Researchers say this not only suggests these whales might have been common around the entrance to the Mediterranean in Roman times, but that Romans might have hunted them.
They add that Romans would not have had the technology to hunt whale species found in the region today - sperm or fin whales which live further out at sea - meaning evidence of whaling might not have been something archaeologists and historians were looking out for.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Lincoln Developers Stumble Across Roman Burials


Three perfectly-preserved Roman skeletons, believed to be part of the same burial ground where 23 skeletons were unearthed in a 2015 dig, have been discovered at the site of a new student accommodation development in Lincoln.

They were unearthed at the former site of the Taste Of Marrakesh restaurant in the city centre where a development of 400 student flats is to be built. Among the discoveries were some from the Medieval era - including cellars, wells and a bone ice skate.

Network Archaeology and city archaeologist Alastair Macintosh have spent a month on the dig in collaboration with developer Jackson & Jackson.

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Ancient Roman ‘hand of god’ discovered near Hadrian’s Wall sheds light on biggest combat operation ever in UK

It is likely that the hand was ritually buried by one of the Roman commanders who took part in the conflict (Vindolanda Trust)

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Roman “hand of god” – but the story it tells is tragically anything but heavenly.

The hand – unearthed near Hadrian’s Wall and made of 2.3 kilos of solid bronze – was almost certainly a gift to a military deity for giving the Romans victory in the largest military combat operation ever carried out in Britain, before or since.

The operation – a relatively little-known Roman invasion of Scotland in 209-210 AD – was also probably one of the bloodiest events in British history.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Archaeologists in Cambridgeshire find graves of two men with legs chopped off

‘Somebody really, really didn’t like these guys,’ says Jonathan House, archaeologist with the Mola Headland Infrastructure team. 
Photograph: Highways England, courtesy of Mola Headland Infrastructure

Exclusive: men believed to be from late Roman or early Saxon period were found in pit being used as rubbish dump

The graves of two men whose legs were chopped off at the knees and placed carefully by their shoulders before burial have been discovered by archaeologists working on a huge linear site in advance of roadworks in Cambridgeshire.

The best scenario the archaeologists can hope for is that the unfortunate men were dead when their legs were mutilated. It also appears their skulls were smashed in, although that could be later damage.

“Was it to keep them in their graves and stop them from running away?” said Kasia Gdaniec, the senior archaeologist with Cambridge county council. “Or had they tried to run away and was this a punishment – and a warning to everyone else not even to think of it?”

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Bedfordshire's first Roman town wall unearthed in Sandy

Items discovered by Les Capon and his team include the skeleton of a woman, a funeral pyre, Roman rubbish and a pottery kiln

Archaeologists excavating a former allotment site in a market town have made the "absolutely brilliant" find of a previously-unknown Roman wall.

The dig in Sandy, Bedfordshire, has uncovered about 200 items dating from the Iron Age in 500 BC to the Saxon period in 800 AD.

Among the finds is the remains of a Saxon house.

The site, in Stratford Road, is to be turned into a cemetery, car park and council depot.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Imperial Roman villa found near Milvian Bridge

Credit: ANSA

An Imperial Roman villa has been found along the banks of the Tiber near the Milvian Bridge, archaeologists said Tuesday.
Digs have uncovered a large floor area in 'opus sectile', decorated with "extraordinary" multicoloured marble floral motifs, they said.

The beauty of the floor has led experts to believe that the rest of the building was full of precious decorations.

The villa's setting so close to the river is unusual, archaeologists said.

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MISE AU JOUR D’UNE VILLA DE L’ANTIQUITÉ


À Vire (Calvados), l’Inrap conduit depuis la fin du mois de février 2018 une fouille d’envergure, sur prescription de l’Etat (Drac Normandie). Cette opération s’inscrit dans le cadre de l’extension du Parc d’activités La Papillonnière menée par la communauté de communes Intercom de la Vire au Noireau.

Les recherches d’une équipe d’archéologues ont permis de mettre au jour les vestiges d’une villa gallo-romaine occupée du Ier au IIIe siècle de notre ère. Ils témoignent de la richesse de son propriétaire. À l’ouest de la villa, le site livre également les vestiges d’une occupation plus tardive, entre les VIIe et Xe siècles.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How Jesus Died: Rare Evidence of Roman Crucifixion Found

This cross was erected inside the Roman Colosseum as a monument to the suffering of early Christians in Rome. The Christian Bible describes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as occurring in Jerusalem under Roman rule at the beginning of the Christian era.
Credit: Jared I. Lenz Photography/Getty

The body of a man buried in northern Italy 2,000 years ago shows signs that he died after being nailed to a wooden cross, the method used for the execution of Jesus described in the Christian Bible.
Although crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment for criminals and slaves in ancient Roman times, the new finding is only the second time that direct archaeological evidence of it has been found.
A new study of the skeletal remains of the man, found near Venice in 2007, reveals a lesion and unhealed fracture on one of the heel bones that suggests his feet had been nailed to a cross. 
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Roman Tomb Unearthed; to Everyone’s Surprise, It’s Intact

Some of the funerary wares found in a chamber tomb near Rome.CreditRomano D'Agostino, Special Superintendence for Rome

ROME — Sometimes the most extraordinary finds occur by sheer luck.
At least that was the case of a fourth century B.C. chamber tomb that came to light five weeks ago during the construction of an aqueduct in a Rome suburb, when an earthmover accidentally opened a hole in the side of the chamber.
“Had the machine dug just four inches to the left, we would have never found the tomb,” Francesco Prosperetti, Rome’s special superintendent with archaeological oversight, told reporters on Friday. The tomb contained the remains of four occupants — three men and a woman — and funerary wares.
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