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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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Village from the Roman period discovered in the Carpathians

Pottery kiln from the 3rd century AD discovered by archaeologists from the Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno in the village Lipnica Dolna, commune Brzyska in Subcarpathia. Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz 03.09.2014

Village from the Roman period, dating from 3rd-4th century AD, has been discovered in Lipnica Dolna near Jasło (Subcarpathia). Among approx. one thousand archaeological objects there is a large pottery kiln, in which ceramics were fired.
"The kiln is two meters in length and the same in width. It stands on a small tip in the Wisłoka valley. Its location shows that the wind blowing from the river was used to maintain the temperature during the firing cycle" - said Tomasz Leszczyński, archaeologist from the Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno.

He added that "such kilns are extremely rare in the Carpathians". "So far two similar structures have been found, in Krosno and Sanok" - he emphasised.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long lost Roman fort discovered in Germany


In the course of an educational dig in Gernsheim in the Hessian Ried, archaeologists from Frankfurt University have discovered a long lost Roman fort: A troop unit made up out of approximately 500 soldiers (known as a cohort) was stationed there between 70/80 and 110/120 AD. Over the past weeks, the archaeologists found two V-shaped ditches, typical of this type of fort, and the post holes of a wooden defensive tower as well as other evidence from the time after the fort was abandoned. 


The excavation site in Gernsheim [Credit: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main] 

An unusually large number of finds were made. This is because the Roman troops dismantled the fort and filled in the ditches when they left. In the process they disposed of a lot of waste, especially in the inner ditch. 

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kingsmead Quarry – Roman Burial Discovered with Bronze Rings


One of the discoveries from this year’s excavation at the CEMEX Kingsmead Quarry is a human burial with bronze ear or hair rings. As with other skeletons at the Quarry, the bone is poorly preserved. In this case some of the bone, including the skull was block lifted for excavation in the lab by WA staff  – osteoarchaeologist Kirsten Dinwiddy and conservator Lynn Wootten. X-rays of the soil block discovered objects of bronze on either side of what remained of the skull including a set of three fine bronze rings and a single ring made from a twisted strip of probable bronze.
 
The soil blocks will now be carefully excavated to record the position of the rings relative to the remains of the skull to try and determine whether they are hair or ear rings. Provisional examination of the form and style of the rings suggest that the burial could be of Late Iron Age or Roman date and may well be an inhabitant of the nearby settlement that was found during previous work.

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Hitting the jackpot on a dig in Gernsheim: Long lost Roman fort discovered

Legion surnamed " Primigenia Pia Fidelis ". This Roman elite unit was from the late 1st century. Chr. Kästrich in Mainz (Mogontiacum) formed the strategic backbone of the Roman frontier defense in the province of Upper Germany.
Credit: Image courtesy of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

In the course of an educational dig in Gernsheim in the Hessian Ried, archaeologists from Frankfurt University have discovered a long lost Roman fort: A troop unit made up out of approximately 500 soldiers (known as a cohort) was stationed there between 70/80 and 110/120 AD. Over the past weeks, the archaeologists found two V-shaped ditches, typical of this type of fort, and the post holes of a wooden defensive tower as well as other evidence from the time after the fort was abandoned.
An unusually large number of finds were made. This is because the Roman troops dismantled the fort and filled in the ditches when they left. In the process they disposed of a lot of waste, especially in the inner ditch. "A bonanza for us," according to Prof. Dr. Hans-Markus von Kaenel from the Goethe University Institute of Archaeology. "We filled box after box with shards of fine, coarse and transport ceramics; dating them will allow us to determine when the fort was abandoned with greater accuracy than was possible before."
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