Thursday, July 18, 2019

Travel back in time with the 'Google Maps' of Ancient Rome


Summer is now well-underway across Europe and many of us are planning our holiday escape with travel comparison websites and web mapping services.

Low-cost air carriers, fast trains, and cross-national motorways have made travelling across the Old Continent a quick and often cheap affair. But let's imagine that cars, trains and planes haven't been invented yet and that your options are limited to ox or mule cart and ships.

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Researchers at Stanford University have used modern technology to answer by creating a web mapping version of Ancient Rome.

Their model, called ORBIS, consists of 632 sites spread across 10 million square kilometres of terrestrial and maritime space, covering most of modern Western Europe and the Mediterranean coast in North Africa and the Middle East.

The tool generates solutions for travel between any two sites depending on specific means and mode of transport and the months of the year, providing different options based on time and expense.

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Ancient Roman port history unveiled

A team of international researchers led by La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne have, for the first time worldwide, applied marine geology techniques at an ancient harbour archaeological site to uncover ancient harbour technologies of the first centuries AD  [Credit: La Trobe University]

Researchers successfully reconstructed anthropic influences on sedimentation, including dredging and canal gates use, in the ancient harbour of Portus - a complex of harbour basins and canals that formed the hub of commerce in the capital of the Roman Empire.

The findings suggest that the Romans were proactively managing their river systems from earlier than previously thought - as early as the 2nd century AD.

The history was reconstructed using a range of high-resolution sediment analysis including piston coring, x-ray scanning, radiocarbon dating, magnetic and physical properties and mineral composition of the ancient harbour sediments.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Roman coins 'may be linked to Boudiccan revolt'

 The coins dated between 153BC and AD61
Suffolk County Council

A hoard of Roman coins found in a field may have been hidden there during the Boudiccan revolt, an expert has said.

The trove of 60 denarii, dating between 153BC and AD60-61, was found in a field near Cookley, in Suffolk, by a metal detectorist.

Dr Anna Booth, who examined the find, said there "might be a link with the Boudiccan revolt" and the coins.

Queen Boudicca led the Iceni tribe against the Romans in AD61 which led to the destruction of Colchester.

Most of the coins dated from the Republic era, pre-27BC, but there were also denarii minted during the reigns of emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Nero.

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Deux sols de mosaïque antiques au cœur de Poitiers


Située au nord-ouest de l’église Notre-Dame-la-Grande, la fouille se situe dans un secteur particulièrement sensible du point de vue archéologique compte-tenu de la densité importante des vestiges reconnus, notamment pour l’Antiquité. La surface de 230 m²  présente une grande densité de vestiges enchevêtrés et mobilise sept archéologues pendant sept semaines (du 11 juin au 26 juillet). Prescrite par la Drac Nouvelle-Aquitaine, cette fouille est mise en œuvre par la Communauté urbaine de Grand-Poitiers.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Calstock Roman dig reveals 'unexpected' mine

Mine workings reveal the Romans were exploiting the mineral-rich area
UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

Archaeologists digging near a Roman fort in Cornwall have unearthed remains of a mine and a Roman road.

The discoveries were made during a new dig near a fort found at Calstock in 2007, one of only three such sites known in the county.

Experts will carry out further analysis of a previously-unknown series of deep pits, connected by arched tunnels.

Dig leader Dr Chris Smart, from the University of Exeter, said the mine was an "unexpected bonus".

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Roman road and possible mine discovered during Cornish dig

View of the possible mining pits looking north [Credit: University of Exeter]

Archaeologists have discovered a Roman road and possible ancient mine during excavations in Cornwall as they work to discover more about the history of the county.

Experts will carry out further analysis of the previously-unknown series of deep pits, which are connected by arched tunnels. It is likely to be yet another mine worked many hundreds of years ago when this area of South East Cornwall and West Devon was famed for having some of the richest mineral deposits in the world.

Archaeologists from the University of Exeter and local volunteers have been digging for the past month near to the site of a previously-found Roman fort at Calstock, in the Tamar Valley. This year’s excavation has focused on an area outside the fort’s west gate, which was at the front of the fort, originally facing hostile territory.

As well as the possible mine they have discovered a Roman road, which would have served regular military traffic in and out of the fort. The excavation has revealed a rare glimpse of timber-built Roman military buildings constructed outside of the fort, as well as a series of rubbish and cess pits, indicating that the Roman army was also active outside of the fort’s defences.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Archaeologists discover that Roman dockers ate surprisingly well – until the barbarians arrived

Built during the reign of Claudius in the 1st century AD at the mouth of the Tiber,
Portus was the epicentre of Roman trade for centuries. 
(Photo: Portus Project/Artas Media)

British-led study finds that all inhabitants of the town of Portus had a similar diet rich in meat and North African wine

Ancient Rome may have not have had much to offer its subjects by way of equality but when it came to the diet of its dockers at least it seems they dined something like emperors.

A British-led archaeological study of remains found in Portus, the maritime port which served Rome, has found that its labouring inhabitants benefited from the flow of goods through the town by having a diet entirely similar to that of its wealthy ruling citizens – at least until the “barbarians” arrived.
Exotic goods
The study, based on an analysis of food and human remains at locations around the manmade port to the west of Rome, found that dockers or “saccarii” benefited from their work unloading the flow of exotic goods – including bears and crocodiles – to the heart of the ancient empire with a diet rich in animal protein, imported wheat, olive oil and wine from North Africa.

Comparison with remains found at locations where rich and middle class inhabitants lived during the second to the fifth centuries AD found the same sort of diet, suggesting that Portus was unusual in the Roman world in that rich and poor ate similarly well.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Britain’s best places to see: Roman heritage sites

St. Mary in Castro, Dover Castle, Dover +Roman lighthouse © milo bostock (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What’s a medieval castle, founded only in the 11th century, got to do with the Romans? Being the British mainland’s closest point to Continental Europe, Dover has consistently been an important base for trade, travel and defence, and it is thought that the use of the site now occupying Dover Castle may have been utilised from as early as the Iron Age. What is known about the early origins of the site was that it was used by the Romans – evidenced by a rather unique structure in its grounds, adjacent to the St Mary in Castro church.

Constructed sometime during the 2nd century AD, when Dover was known as Dubris, this stone tower is a Roman pharos, or lighthouse, and is the most complete Roman structure standing in Britain. The 8-sided tower is something really rather special, with only three examples of Roman lighthouses existing anywhere in the world (another of which is also in Dover, though only a small section remains).

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Ancient DNA from Roman and medieval grape seeds reveal ancestry of wine making

Statue of Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine (stock image).
Credit: © Ruslan Gilmanshin / Adobe Stock

A grape variety still used in wine production in France today can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered.

With the help of an extensive genetic database of modern grapevines, researchers were able to test and compare 28 archaeological seeds from French sites dating back to the Iron Age, Roman era, and medieval period.

Utilising similar ancient DNA methods used in tracing human ancestors, a team of researchers from the UK, Denmark, France, Spain, and Germany, drew genetic connections between seeds from different archaeological sites, as well as links to modern-day grape varieties.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

ARCHAEOLOGISTS TO SEEK GRAVE OF FIRST ROMAN EMPEROR TO DIE IN BATTLE, TRAJAN DECIUS IN 251 BATTLE OF ABRITUS, NEAR BULGARIA’S RAZGRAD


A collage showing a bust of Roman Emperor Trajan Decius, with the ruins of the fortress walls of ancient Abritus near Bulgaria’s Razgrad in the background. 
Photo: Abritus Archaeological Preserve


An international archaeological expedition is seeking EU funding in order to search for the grave of Trajan Decius, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire to die in battle, namely, the 251 AD Battle of Abritus near today’s city of Razgrad in Northeast Bulgaria.

Both Roman Emperor Trajan Decius (r. 249-251 AD) and his co-emperor and son Herennius Etruscus (r. 251 AD) were killed in what was one of the greatest battles of the Late Antiquity when their forces tried to stop the barbarian invasion of the Goths near Abritus (today’s Razgrad), a major city and fortress in the Roman province of Moesia Inferior.

The precise site of the Battle of Abritus was identified only recently, in 2016, by Bulgarian archaeologists near today’s town of Dryanovets.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Ancient marble head of god Dionysus discovered under Rome

The head of Dionysus was found near the Roman Forum. Photos: 
Archeological Park of the Colosseum.

Archeologists in Rome have uncovered a large marble head from Rome’s imperial age that is believed to show Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, music and dance.

The white marble bust, believed to be 2,000 years old, was discoved in the heart of the city, near the Roman Forum, during excavations last week.

The head had been reused to form part of a medieval wall but experts say it is in excellent condition.

The head, with hollow eyes probably once filled with glass or precious stones, would have belonged to a large statue of the god created in the imperial age.

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