Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vases in Pompeii Reveal Panic Before Eruption


French and Italian archaeologists digging out a pottery workshop in Pompeii have brought to light 10 raw clay vases, revealing a frozen-in-time picture of the exact moment panicked potters realized they were facing an impending catastrophe.
The vases were found sealed under a layer of ash and pumice from Mount Vesuvius' devastating eruption of 79 A.D. and it appears they were just ready to be fired.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Magnificent Ancient Roman Silver Treasure Revealed


Accidentally discovered by a French farmer plowing his field near the village of Berthouville in rural Normandy in 1830, the spectacular hoard of gilt-silver statuettes and vessels known as the Berthouville Treasure was an ancient offering to the Gallo-Roman god Mercury. Following four years of meticulous conservation and research in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Antiquities Conservation Department, the exhibition Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville, on view at the Getty Villa November 19, 2014, to August 17, 2015, will present this unique collection of ancient silver in its full splendor and offer new insights about ancient art, technology, religion, and cultural interaction.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Archaeologists find fertility genius, godheads and oil lamps in Roman Cumbria


A fertility genius in “amazing” condition, believed to be a local deity thousands of years ago, and the carved heads of male and female Roman gods have been found by archaeologists digging at a village in Cumbria.

The vague outline of an altar can be seen below the hand of the genius, unearthed in a 2,500-square metre area at Papcastle, where the 2009 floods gave excavators the first glimpses of Roman remains.

A cap worn by the male statue comes from thePhrygian kingdom in modern-day Turkey, meaning the figure could be Mithras, who was worshipped in the north between the 1st and 4th centuries AD. Archaeologists are also speculating that he could be the Greek god Attis, which would be likely to identify the female head asCybele – Phrygia's only known goddess.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Roman Gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank a tonic of ashes after training



Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank ashes after training as a tonic. These are the findings of anthropological investigations carried out on bones of warriors found during excavations in the ancient city of Ephesos.
Historic sources report that gladiators had their own diet. This comprised beans and grains. Contemporary reports referred to them as "hordearii" ("barley eaters").
In a study by the Department of Forensic Medicine at the MedUni Vienna in cooperation with the Department of Anthropology at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern, bones were examined from a gladiator cemetery uncovered in 1993 which dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century BC in the then Roman city of Ephesos (now in modern-day Turkey). At the time, Ephesos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia and had over 200,000 inhabitants.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Roman 20,000 coins hoard 'among largest'

The coins are remarkably well preserved for those found in Devon where acidic soils can corrode metal

A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed near Seaton in east Devon.
The Seaton Down Hoard is believed to be one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have been found in Britain.
They were discovered last year by builder Laurence Egerton, 51, using a metal detector.
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is launching an appeal to buy the coins so they can be put on display in the city.
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Numerous finds in a Roman camp


More than 300 coins from the I-VI century AD and further hundreds of objects made of bronze, glass, bone and antlers discovered archaeologists from the Centre for the Study of Antiquity of Southeastern Europe of the University of Warsaw during the excavations in Novae near Svishtov in Bulgaria.
"August campaign has brought a very rich archaeological crop in the form of luxury items used by Roman legionnaires. Curiosities include dagger handles made of ivory" - told PAP Prof. Piotr Dyczek, head of research.

The work also yielded important findings concerning the architectural solutions. Scientists have identified a fragment of a wooden barrack of the 1st cohort of the Eighth Augustan Legion, stationed at Novae from the mid-1st century. His remains are preserved only in the form of more than 200 holes remaining after the wooden pillars that held the structure, and relics of walls made of wicker and clay.

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Roman camp in Bulgaria yields numerous artefacts


More than 300 coins from the first to sixth centuries AD and hundreds of objects made of bronze, glass, bone and antlers have been unearthed by archaeologists during the excavations in Novae near Svishtov in Bulgaria. 


Three unique, finely crafted bronze figurines found found at the dig site [Credit: J. Recław] 

"The August campaign has brought a very rich archaeological crop in the form of luxury items used by Roman legionnaires. Curiosities include dagger handles made of ivory",  said Prof. Piotr Dyczek, head of research. 

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The Seaton Down Hoard: Amateur metal detector uncovers 22,000 Roman coins


An East Devon metal detector enthusiast has stumbled upon one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain, prompting a local museum to launch a campaign to buy the “remarkable” collection for the nation.

The British Museum announced the discovery of the Seaton Down Hoard today. Comprising of about 22,000 coins dating back more than 1,700 years, it is the fifth largest find of Roman coins in Britain.

Laurence Egerton, 51, a semi-retired builder from East Devon, discovered two ancient coins “the size of a thumbnail” buried near the surface of a field with his metal detector in November last year.

After digging deeper, his shovel came up full of the copper-alloy coins. “They just spilled out all over the field,” he said. “It was an exciting moment. I had found one or two Roman coins before but never so many together.”

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Treasure hunter discovers 22,000 Roman coins


A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed on land near Seaton in East Devon. The “Seaton Down Hoard” of copper-alloy Roman coins is one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have ever been found in Britain. 


The Seaton Down hoard of treasure during excavation [Credit: APEX] 

The hoard was declared Treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest on 12th September 2014 which means it will be eligible for acquisition by a museum after valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee, a group of independent experts who advise the Secretary of State. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, which already houses a large collection of local Romano-British objects, has launched a fund-raising campaign.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Roman Emperor Augustus' frescoed rooms unveiled for first time after years of restoration

A security man stands inside a room at the House of Augustus on the Palatine hill in Rome on September 17, 2014. The house of Emperor Augustus opened its doors to the public on September 18 after years of restorations. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE. 

Lavishly frescoed rooms in the houses of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia are opening for the first time to the public Thursday, after years of painstaking restoration. 

The houses on Rome's Palatine hill where the emperor lived with his family are re-opening after a 2.5 million euro ($3.22 million) restoration to mark the 2,000 anniversary of Augustus's death -- with previously off-limit chambers on show for the first time. 

From garlands of flowers on Pompeian red backgrounds to majestic temples and scenes of rural bliss, the rooms are adorned with vividly coloured frescoes, many in an exceptional condition. 

Restorers said their task had been a complex one, with bad weather during excavation threating the prized relics of a golden era in the Eternal City. 

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Temple of Mithras: How do you put London's Roman shrine back together?


Sixty years ago, a Roman God was uncovered at a London building site. The excavations for the Temple of Mithras moved around but are now going back to the original site - how do you reconstruct a Roman temple, asks Tom de Castella.
The muddy find in September 1954 provoked urgent debate. Winston Churchill's cabinet discussed it three times. A huge new office block - for insurance firm Legal & General - was being built on the site of the Temple of Mithras, described as the Roman discovery of the century. Building work was stopped. People would be able to see it for two weeks before the remains were packed up and moved. A few hundred visitors were expected on day one. Instead about 35,000 queued round the block. Advertisers piled in: "In Londinium they believed in Mithras. In London they believe in Shell." Roughly 400,000 people saw it in all. Then the ruins began a peripatetic existence, including a stay at a builders yard in New Malden, before ending up being exhibited in the City 100 metres from where it had been found.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Dig near Dumfries unearths Roman Army artefacts


Archaeological investigations near Dumfries have unearthed artefacts relating to the Roman Army's occupation of southern Scotland. 



A javelin head was among the items discovered  [Credit: Guard Archaeology] 


The discoveries include an iron javelin head, the remains of a Roman boot, samian pottery and tile fragments. 

They were found at Wellington Bridge near Kirkton during Scottish Water works to lay a new mains in the area. 

Simon Brassey, of its environmental engineering team, said the items dated back more than 1,850 years. 

"It is fascinating for everyone involved to make this kind of discovery when working on a project such as the laying of new pipes," he added.

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