Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Whistling Sling Bullets Were Roman Troops' Secret 'Terror Weapon'

Some of the Roman sling bullets found at the Burnswark Hill battle site in Scotland. The two smallest bullets, shown at the bottom of this image, are drilled with a hole that makes them whistle in flight.
Credit: John Reid/Trimontium Trust

Some 1,800 years ago, Roman troops used "whistling" sling bullets as a "terror weapon" against their barbarian foes, according to archaeologists who found the cast lead bullets at a site in Scotland.
Weighing about 1 ounce (30 grams), each of the bullets had been drilled with a 0.2-inch (5 millimeters) hole that the researchers think was designed to give the soaring bullets a sharp buzzing or whistling noise in flight.
The bullets were found recently at Burnswark Hill in southwestern Scotland, where a massive Roman attack against native defenders in a hilltop fort took place in the second century A.D. [See Photos of Roman Battle Site and Sling Bullets]
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Gaulcross Hoard Sheds Light On Northern Scotland During Roman Era


Major breakthroughs in our understanding of the Picts, the “lost” ancient people of Northern Scotland, and their possible interaction with the last Romans in Britain have followed the discovery of a hoard of Roman silver in Aberdeenshire.
The entire silver hoard (except for the three pieces discovered in 1838) on display 
[Credit: National Museums Scotland]

First uncovered in 1838 and again in 2014 and now known as the Gaulcross Hoard, the items discovered over the past 18 months now extend to more than 100 silver coins and objects.

What is exciting archaeologists and historians is that although the hoard is Pictish in origin, the metal itself is Roman and includes Hacksilber, fragments of cut and bent silver items that were often used as currency by the Romans.

The suggestion by the discoverers is that the Gaulcross Hoard was originally in high-status Roman hands and that the Picts acquired them either through looting, trade or military means.


Read the rest of this article...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Archaeology in the Round?


A new website providing links to archaeological photo spheres is now online.

The purpose of the site is to make these photo spheres easily available and also to encourage people to make archaeological photo spheres and publish them on the site.


You can find the site at: archosphere.eu

The day I stumbled on a Roman villa in my back garden


Luke Irwin at his home, next to the gate under which a Roman mosaic was found 
CREDIT: JAY WILLIAMS


When Luke Irwin discovered evidence of a palatial second century Roman villa in his quiet corner of Wiltshire, he wasn’t prepared for the world’s reaction. The chance nature of the find in his back garden, which was exposed last February when a stretch of vividly coloured mosaic was uncovered during wiring work, certainly made for an attention-grabbing story.

But what was less predictable was the speed at which it spread around the world after he went public with the news in April this year. Within a couple of days, the internet was agog with debate (“What are ancient Roman luxury villas going for nowadays?”) and Irwin’s video about the discovery and excavation of the site – previously a sheep field – had been watched by thousands of people. Things became truly surreal when Fox News introduced the villa to America as “the opulent home of a Roman-era 'Kardashian’ family”.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Red paint found at Roman Baths during excavations

Wall plaster with a red-painted finish has been found on an external wall

The building housing some of Britain's most famous Roman baths may have been painted red, archaeologists have said.
A dig at the site, in Bath, uncovered remnants of red paint on the outside wall - contradicting a widely-held assumption they were white in colour.
The discovery was made during a dig in an area of the world heritage site not currently open to the public.
Manager Stephen Clews said it would have helped the building to stand out to visitors.
"Our assumption was that it was white but it's turned out to be red," he said.

Read the rest of this article...

Discovery of Roman fort built after Boudican revolt


New research published by archaeologists from MOLA reveals a previously unknown Roman fort, built in AD63 as a direct response to the sacking of London by the native tribal Queen of the Iceni, Boudica. The revolt razed the early Roman town to the ground in AD60/61 but until now little was understood about the Roman’s response to this devastating uprising.

Excavations at Plantation Place for British Land on Fenchurch Street in the City of London exposed a section of a rectangular fort that covered 3.7acres. The timber and earthwork fort had 3metre high banks reinforced with interlacing timbers and faced with turves and a timber wall. Running atop the bank was a ‘fighting platform’ fronted by a colossal palisade, with towers positioned at the corners of the gateways. This formidable structure was enclosed by double ditches, 1.9 and 3m deep, forming an impressive obstacle for would be attackers.
Read the rest of this article...

How London became Britain's capital has been revealed for the first time


A Roman fort suggests the Romans chose London as their new British political headquarters after Boadicea's revolt in the mid 1st century AD

A brutal blood-soaked bid to wipe London off the map was a key factor that led to the city first emerging as Britain's capital.
New archaeological research is showing that London's elevated status stemmed partly from a Roman military and political reaction to Boadicea's violent destruction of London and other key cities in the mid 1st century AD.
The investigation, carried out by Museum of London Archaeology(Mola), suggests that the Romans shifted the capital of their British province from Colchester to London shortly after her revolt.
Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

'Hugely important' haul of Roman coins found in Spain


Construction workers have unearthed 600kg of Roman bronze coins, a unique and "hugely important" discovery according to experts.

Routine building work in southern Spain unearthed a very unexpected find this week, when over 600kg of Roman coins were discovered.
The find is "unique in Spain and perhaps the world" experts said of the coins, which were stored in 19 Roman amphoras or containers.
"We have a team looking into the discovery right now, We believe it is hugely important and will have more information very soon," said a spokesman at Andalucia's Ministry of Culture in Seville told The Local on Thursday.
Read the rest of this article...

Rare statue could help unearth secrets of Long Melford’s Roman past


A rare find unearthed in a garden in Long Melford could point to the village being the “missing link” in a chain of Roman forts, it has been claimed.

A six inch tall figurine dating from the first or second century, known as a ‘pseudo Venus’, was dug up by volunteer archaeologists while they were working on a test pit at a property in the south of the village.
According to a county council archaeologist, the statue would have had religious significance and is a very “unusual” find.
Local heritage centre volunteers John Broughton, Kenneth Dodd and John Nunn came across the statue while they were carrying out a rescue dig in a garden that was due to be landscaped.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Archaeologists have found a Roman child's stone coffin and a mosaic at a former villa site in Wiltshire

Rug designer Luke Irwin and Historic England Archaeologist Dr David Roberts on the incredible discovery of what could be one of the country's largest Roman villas near a house in Wiltshire



Rug designer Luke Irwin has discovered a Roman mosaic while laying electricity cables in Wiltshire.This stone coffin of a Roman child held geraniums until it was identified
© Jon Wilkes

Luke Irwin: “This is the most beautiful sort of unspoilt river valley and it’s sort of hidden away. On the hill which overlooks where we live there was a vast temple. Six miles away there was another vast temple.

We are a mile from a Roman road. You can see undulations in the landscape and the general guess would be that this is a medieval  building thing going on – until you find a mosaic. 

Read the rest of this article...

‘Be cheerful, live your life:’ Ancient mosaic ‘meme’ found in Turkey’s south


What could be considered an ancient motivational meme which reads “be cheerful, live your life” in ancient Greek has been discovered on a centuries-old mosaic found during excavation works in the southern province of Hatay.

Demet Kara, an archaeologist from the Hatay Archaeology Museum, said the mosaic, which was called the “skeleton mosaic,” belonged to the dining room of a house from the 3rd century B.C., as new findings have been unearthed in the ancient city of Antiocheia.

“There are three scenes on glass mosaics made of black tiles. Two things are very important among the elite class in the Roman period in terms of social activities: The first is the bath and the second is dinner. In the first scene, a black person throws fire. That symbolizes the bath. In the middle scene, there is a sundial and a young clothed man running towards it with a bare-headed butler behind. The sundial is between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. 9 p.m. is the bath time in the Roman period. 


Read the rest of this article...