Monday, January 30, 2012

Find Roman history and Anglo Saxon remains under your feet

BUDDING archaeologists need to pick up a trowel and get digging in their back gardens.

A new project, funded by a £40,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been launched to uncover the history hidden underfoot in Kingsholm.

At the launch of History on Your Doorstep on Saturday, Jean Ashmead, of Dean's Way, said she barely has to scrape the surface of her garden to uncover Roman relics. She arrived at the event laden with Roman pottery and an unidentifiable animal's jaw.

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Le Port englouti de Constantinople

ARTE has a superb documentary about the excavations of the Theodosian port in Constantinople, discovered during the building of the Istanbul metro under the Bosphorus.

The documentary makes excellent use of augmented and virual reality.  Soundtrack is available in either French or German.

Watch the video...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Archaeology Courses at the Oxford Experience 2012

The Oxford Experience Summer School

1 July to 11 August 2012

The 2012 Oxford Experience Programme is now online.

The Oxford Experience is a residential summer school held at the college of Christ Church, University of Oxford.

The programme consists of 6 weeks of courses and participants attend for one or more weeks.
It offers a choice of twelve seminars each week over a period of five weeks. Participants do not need any formal qualifications to take part, just an interest in their chosen subject and a desire to meet like-minded people.

You can also find details of the various archaeology courses offered at Oxford Experience here...

Bones on Milton Keynes building site 'could be Roman'

A set of bones discovered on a building site in Milton Keynes could be Roman, said a council archaeologist.

The remains of more than one person have now been discovered at the Taylor Wimpey development in Oakridge Park.

The bones of one skeleton were first unearthed by workers on the site two weeks ago.

Forensic archaeologists established that the remains were not of recent origin and therefore not of police interest.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Latest building found at Roman town near Norwich looks like a spaceship

The Roman town of Venta Icenorum, meaning market of the Iceni people, was discovered during the 1929-35 excavations and has been a popular place of both local and national interest, with the BBC’s Time Team filming there in 2010.

The latest revelation, dating back to third century AD, was discovered by the Norfolk Archaeological Historical Research Society and has recently been unveiled in an academic journal.

The structure shows two angled wings, meeting on a central structure, and is described by Professor Will Bowden, who has been working on the project from the University of Nottingham, as “an unusual and adventurous building on a very interesting site”.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Y-shaped Roman structure discovered in UK

A recently discovered mysterious "winged" structure in England, which in the Roman period may have been used as a temple, presents a puzzle for archaeologists, who say the building has no known parallels. 

The archaeological team inside the postholes from the later Roman building. Decorated wall plaster was excavated from them [Credit: William Bowden]
Built around 1,800 years ago, the structure was discovered in Norfolk, in eastern England, just to the south of the ancient town of Venta Icenorum. The structure has two wings radiating out from a rectangular room that in turn leads to a central room.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Amateur archaeologist unearths 'Roman prostitute's pendant'

Bob Dix found the rarity in the back garden of his former home and, without any further thought, tucked it away for safe-keeping.

But he only realised the pendant could be special after a similar brothel token appeared in the press earlier this month.

Mr Dix’s raunchy Roman jewellery shows a man and woman engaged in a sex act.
He said: ‘I believe the piece I found is slightly different to the one in London - I think it was what the prostitutes would have worn round their necks and people would recognise what service they were willing to provide.’

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Roman remains spark delay concerns over flood protection

DETAILED research is under way for a revised scheme to protect one of Yorkshire’s worst flooding blackspots amid concerns archaeology dating from the Roman era could cause further delays.

A feasibility study has been commissioned on the flood defence scheme for Pickering after the original proposals were halted in June last year when it emerged the costs had almost tripled to £3.2m.

The study is expected to be published at the end of March before a decision is made on the exact design of earth embankments which are planned to hold back up to 17.5m gallons of water from Pickering Beck.

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Temple of Mithras comes home

One Saturday afternoon in September 1954, a handsome, faintly smiling god looked up from the London mud. His name was Mithras, and the rediscovered Roman temple to his cult became a sensation in a gloomy postwar capital pitted with bombsites and still recovering from rationing.

But the temple was also about to become Britain's most mobile Roman site. Fifty-seven years ago it was in the way of an office block development and had to be shifted. Now, almost 2,000 years after it was first built, it is on the move again to make way for the headquarters of Bloomberg.

In 1954, the temple was front-page news day after day, attracted half-mile queues and was watched across the nation on Movietone news. Its fate was anxiously discussed at cabinet meetings and watched with close interest by the prime minister, Winston Churchill.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Roman villa 'rare and important for Peterborough' says archaeologist

A "substantial, high-status" Roman villa discovered in Peterborough has shed new light on the city's occupants 2,000 years ago, archaeologists say.

Although the city - known as Durobrivae - was well-documented as a strategic area for the movement of Roman troops, there was little evidence of occupation - and no evidence of wealthy occupants in the east of the city.

Now Oxford Archaeology East and archaeologists from Peterborough City Council have discovered a 2nd Century villa and farm complex on the site of former allotments at Walton.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roman helmet's 'astounding' restoration

A Roman helmet which was buried in a Leicestershire field for around 2,000 years has been displayed at the British Museum.

It was in hundreds of pieces when it was found in Market Harborough, in 2000, and has since been put back together.

Ken Wallace said when he discovered the helmet the metal fragments looked like "crushed cornflakes".

Mr Wallace added that he was amazed by its restoration by experts at the British Museum.

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UK unveils rare Roman helmet mistaken for bucket

A rare Roman cavalry helmet dating from Emperor Claudius' invasion of Britain nearly 2,000 years ago was unveiled on Tuesday after painstaking restoration lasting nearly a decade.

The so-called Hallaton Helmet was found 10 years ago during the excavation of an Iron Age shrine at Hallaton in Leicestershire, central England.

At the time, archaeologists used to finding more instantly recognizable gold and silver coins joked that they had unearthed a fairly modern "rusty bucket."

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Plans to restore crumbling Colosseum cause rumblings in Rome

It sits in the ancient heart of Rome and is an emblem of the city's imperial history as well as an icon of Italy.

But plans to restore Rome's nearly 2,000-year-old Colosseum are causing rumblings among heritage workers and restorers, compounded by reports in December that small amounts of powdery rock had fallen off the monument.

The current $33 million (25 million euro) restoration plans to restore the Flavian amphitheater, which once hosted spectacular shows and gruesome gladiatorial battles, are being sponsored by Diego della Valle, of luxury Italian brand Tod's, in exchange for advertising rights.

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Mystery of Pompeii's Trashy Tombs Explained

The tombs of Pompeii, the Roman city buried by a volcanic eruption in A.D. 79, had a litter problem. Animal bones, charcoal, broken pottery and architectural material, such as bricks, were found piled inside and outside the tombs where the city's dead were laid to rest.

To explain the presence of so much garbage alongside the dead, archaeologists have theorized that 15 years before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, an earthquake left Pompeii in disrepair.

However, this theory is unlikely, according to an archaeologist who says the citizens of Pompeii may have just been messy, at least by modern, Western standards. [Images from Pompeii]

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Sicilian temple not for sale 'even for 40 bln'

The mayor of the Sicilian city of Agrigento said Thursday that he would not sell one of Italy's prime archaeological treasures even for 40 billion euros after it reportedly attracted the interest of Russian industrialist Mikhail Prokhorov.

The precious-metals billionaire, who plans to run in this year's presidential elections in Russia as an independent candidate, has set his sights on buying the ruins of the Temple of Zeus in Agrigento's famed Valley of the Temples, according to media reports.

But Agrigento Mayor Marco Zambuto has moved to nip the notion in the bud.

''I wouldn't sell the Temple of Zeus even for 40 billion euros, the figure Premier Mario Monti had to find to save Italy's finances,'' Zambuto said referring to the government's austerity package, which was actually nearer to 30 billion.

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Italy allows Unesco into Pompeii

The Roman city risks joining the World Heritage in Danger list
Pompeii is in crisis. A Unesco report has identified serious problems with the World Heritage Site, including structural damage to buildings, vandalism and a lack of qualified staff. Unesco’s director-general for culture, Francesco Bandarin, tells The Art Newspaper: “The state of conservation is a problem, because of a lack of maintenance of very fragile structures. Visitor services need a dramatic improvement.” 

The collapse of a column at Pompeii on 22 December raised further alarm. The column was in a pergola in the courtyard of the House of Loreio Tiburtino, whose adjacent rooms have very fine frescoes.

The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD killed Pompeii’s inhabitants but preserved their buildings. The city was covered with ash, and it was only after its rediscovery in 1748 that excavations began. In 1997, Unesco designated it a World Heritage Site. The Pompeii crisis came to a head with the collapse of the Schola Armaturarum, known as the House of the Gladiators, in November 2010, along with three further collapses later in the month. This was after extremely heavy rain.

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