Monday, February 23, 2015

Hadrian’s Wall Monuments – 3D Scan No.4


Today’s blog on the 3D scans of Roman monuments associated with Hadrian’s Wall, products of our recent collaboration with University of Newcastle as part the NU Digital Heritage project (http://www.nu-digitalheritage.com). One of the planned uses of these digital models will be for use as a teaching resource for initiatives such as their free online Massive Online Open Course Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier. Follow the links to see part onepart two and part three of our blog series. 
 
Today’s blog is a little bit early as we wanted to put something out on Terminalia, which was celebrated by the Ancient Romans on the 23rd of February in honour of the god Terminus. Terminus was the god of boundaries and Hadrian’s Wall is certainly one of the most significant boundaries in the whole of the Roman Empire! Terminus’ statue was merely a stone or post stuck in the ground to distinguish between properties. To celebrate Terminali the two owners of adjacent properties would crown the ‘statue’ with garlands and raise an altar, on which they offered up some corn, honeycombs, and wine, and sacrificed a lamb or a sucking pig. 

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Roman cemetery: Fifteen skeletons found at Ipplepen dig


A "major" Roman cemetery has been discovered during an archaeological dig in Devon.
Experts found 15 skeletons during the excavation of a Roman road at Ipplepen, near Exeter.
Tests on one of the skeletons showed the settlement was in use up to 350 years after the Roman period ended, which has surprised experts.
Archaeologists said the discoveries were both nationally and regionally important.
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Monday, February 2, 2015

2,200 year old Iberian moat found in Valls


Students of the bachelor's degree in Archaeology at the University of Barcelona (UB) have discovered the remains of an Iberian construction during the fieldwork of the subject Archaeological Methodology I. On 28 and 29 October, students found a 2,200-year-old moat that defended the Iberian town of Vilar de Valls, the ancient city of Valls, in Tarragona. 


UB students of Archaeology on a practical sessions developed in the site  [Credit: Universitat de Barcelona] 

According to the directors of the archaeological excavation, Jaume Noguera, researcher in the Department of Prehistory, Ancient History and Archaeology of the UB, and Jordi López, expert from the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology, the site might have been destroyed by Romans during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC) that pitted Roma against Cartago for the hegemony of the Mediterranean. 

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Herculaneum scrolls unlocked using photon beams


A scientific breakthrough could make it possible to read papers from the only library to have survived from the times of ancient Rome.
The library was in Herculaneum which, like Pompeii, was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Hundreds of charred scrolls were found there but it has been impossible to read them.
Now scientists in France have found a way to peer inside the charred scrolls, seeing letters and words for the first time in almost 2000 years.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Large Roman necropolis in Poland to be studied


The largest necropolis from the Roman period in Karczyn in Kujawy is the object of detailed scientific research. Funds received from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage will allow to complete the analyses, that will determine the diet, kinship and origin of the dead buried in the cemetery. 


Tomb of a warrior [Credit: Adriana Romańska] 

Excavations in Karczyn were conducted in 2002-2010 by the Archaeological Expedition of the Institute of Prehistory, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. From the very beginning, scientists understood that they were dealing with a unique place. 

"It turned out that the necropolis existed continuously for over 300 years, from the first to the fourth century AD - told PAP says Adriana Romańska, head of the excavation. - We have found more than 120 burials with very diverse rites".

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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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