Thursday, March 26, 2015

Row over plans to use ancient Spanish amphitheatre as tennis court

Critics say padel tennis tournament will damage monument in Mérida while official insists plans pose no risk to roman structure

In Mérida’s roman amphitheatre, built about 8BC, one cannot smoke or wear a rucksack larger than 40cm.
But in early May, the Unesco world heritage site will be transformed into a padel tennis court, hosting competitors during the World Padel Tour as they volley balls at each other at breakneck speeds. The goal is to combine padel tennis, one of Spain’s most popular outdoor sports, with the rich roman history of Mérida,in the Spanish region of Extremadura. But the idea has provoked widespread opposition.
Nearly 100,000 people have signed an online petition attacking the idea. Authorities insist the project poses no risk to the monument, said Joaquin Paredes, the creator of the petition. “How can it be that the transfer and installation of courts and bleachers as well as allowing access to thousands of people won’t have any effect on a monument that’s more than 2,000 years old?”
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Romano-British roundhouse unearthed in Devon field

After a dig launched to culminate years of theorising by Howard Jones, a local archaeologist and former Royal Marine whose suspicions were strengthened by Google Maps, archaeologists are about to compile their findings from a set of four riverside fields near Plymouth which could have been part of one of Devon’s oldest settlements. 

A drone image of the roundhouse - shown by a ditch curving round - and several  internal post-holes in Spriddlestone [Credit: © One Plymouth Media] 

A wealth of artefacts from the Roman and medieval periods have already been identified since the two-week initial phase of the dig ended last weekend. Having made his way across the fields in pursuit of convincing preparatory evidence, Jones found receptive allies in the form of rugby club hosts, volunteers from local history and archaeology societies and local newspaper the Western Morning News.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pompeii's Villa of the Mysteries reopens

Pompeii's biggest house, the Villa of the Mysteries, is set to reopen in its entirety on March 20, following nearly two years of restoration work that began in May 2013. 

Aerial view of the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii [Credit: AD 79 Eruption] 

The restoration was funded by the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii (SANP) and was conducted in lots so that parts of the Villa were still open to the public throughout the restoration process. 

The Villa was first discovered in excavations in 1909 and was exceptionally well-preserved despite the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., which covered it in a layer of over 30 feet of volcanic ash. 

The recent restoration work, which involved 70 rooms of the Villa, corrected some of the damage inflicted by previous restoration techniques that were found to be harmful to the Villa's frescoes over the years.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

EMAS Study Tour to Southern Bavaria

EMAS Study Tour to Southern Bavaria

Guide David Beard MA, FSA

30 May - 6 June 2015

This year's spring study tour is to Southern Bavaria. An important part of the area is the 'Roman Limes' - the frontier of the Roman Empire. Today the Limes consist of remains of walls, ditches, forts, fortresses, watchtowers and civilian settlements. Some sections of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed and, sadly, a few destroyed. The two sections of the Limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east. What remains is a now a designated World Heritage Site.

It is not just Roman archaeology that is on the itinerary. Regensburg and Weißenburg both have many impressive medieval buildings. Indeed, Regensburg has been described as Germany's best-preserved medieval town, and is a World Heritage Site in its own right.

Further details...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rufford Abbey 'photo tripod stone' is Roman artefact

A stone stump used as a photo tripod by country park visitors is an ancient Roman artefact, it has been revealed.
Archaeologists said the 4ft (1.2m) granite stone at Rufford Abbey, near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, dates back to about 150AD.
It formed part of a column at Roman emperor Antoninus Pius' villa, excavated and brought back by 19th Century archaeologist Lord John Savile.
Visitors to the park had also used the column as a bird feeder.
Nottinghamshire County Council archaeologist Emily Gillot - who has worked at the 210-acre (85-hectare) country park for 11 years - said it was an exciting discovery.
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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 ( 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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