Friday, July 21, 2017

Extremely rare Roman sarcophagus lifted from ancient Southwark burial site

rchaeologists prepare to lift the lid of Roman sarcophagus found in Southwark, London 
[Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire]

This is an exceptional find for London, where only two similar late Roman sarcophagi have been discovered in their original place of burial in recent years: one from St Martin-in-the Fields near Trafalgar Square (2006) and one from Spitalfields in 1999.

The excavation, which began in January this year, revealed a large robber trench around the coffin and found that the lid had been moved, suggesting that the coffin was discovered and robbed in the past. However, it is possible that only the precious items were removed, and the less valuable artefacts, such as the body itself, still remain within the stone sarcophagus.

Southwark and the City of London are remarkable in being the only two London Boroughs that have their own, in-house, dedicated archaeologist. Southwark Council champions archaeology and has dedicated planning policies to ensure that the borough’s ancient history is identified, protected and managed for future generations. The Harper Road excavation is just one of the many archaeological projects that are currently running across Southwark.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More extraordinary Roman writing tablets found at Vindolanda Roman Fort


More ‘Vindolanda writing tablets’ full of visible cursive Latin text have been unearthed at Vindolanda Roman Fort, on Hadrian’s Wall

Archaeologists at Vindolanda Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall have discovered a new hoard of around 25 Roman ink documents, known as the Vindolanda writing tablets, as part of an extraordinary excavation season at the archaeological site.

Found during the latest dig at the former Roman Army encampment, the tablets containing letters, lists and personal correspondence were discovered lying in the damp and anaerobic earth where they had been discarded towards the end of the 1st century AD.

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Roman 'domus' with mosaic floors unearthed in Auch, France


Excavation of Roman Imperial-era domus in Auch, France 
[Credit: © Jean-Louis Bellurget, Inrap]

Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a luxurious 5th-century Roman palace in Auch in the Gers – and they face a race against time to excavate it. 

Abandoned some 16 centuries ago, this aristocratic ‘domus’ possessed private baths and splendid mosaics on the ground. It was close to the centre of the ancient Roman city of Augusta Auscorum, which was the capital of the province of Novempopulanie - and near the centre of the modern town of Auch.

Originally found by the landowner digging foundations to build a house, just 50cm below the surface the impressive 2-metre-deep ruins have been revealed. Since the end of April, l’Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (Inrap) has been bringing to light a part of what was once a vast aristocratic home.

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Ancient roman sarcophagus found at London building site


An ancient Roman sarcophagus has been excavated from a building site in central London.
The 1,600-year-old coffin found near Borough Market is thought to contain the remains of a member of nobility.
Archaeologists have been unable to identify the body as the stone coffin has been left filled with soil after being robbed, experts believe.
The sarcophagus will now be taken to the Museum of London's archive for analysis.
The coffin was found several metres underground with its lid slid open, which indicates it was plundered by 18th century thieves.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Roman coin find in Orkney thrills archaeologists

The coin was uncovered in a dig on Rousay in Orkney

Archaeologists are thrilled by the discovery of a Roman coin during the excavation of an archaeological site in Orkney.
The copper alloy coin was found at the Knowe of Swandro, the location of a Neolithic chambered tomb, Iron Age roundhouses and Pictish buildings.
The archaeological site is at risk from coastal erosion.
Roman finds have been made before in Orkney, and other Scottish islands including the Western Isles.
The coin found in the Knowe of Swandro dig on Rousay is believed to date from the mid 4th Century AD.
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Roman oil and wine pottery found at Ipplepen dig site

Archaeologists washing evidence of the iron works and pottery

Archaeologists say pre-Roman Britons who lived in a rural location since the 4th Century BC may have enjoyed Mediterranean oil and wine.

Radiocarbon analysis of a dig site showed there was a settlement at Ipplepen, Devon, for about 1200 years longer than previously thought.

The discovery of Roman pottery suggests there was a community trading widely with the Roman world.

University of Exeter archaeologists are digging at the site this month.

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Rome Metro Excavations Unearth 3rd Century 'Pompeii-Like Scene'

Digging for Rome's new subway has unearthed the charred ruins of an early 3rd-century building and the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a crouching dog that apparently perished in the same blaze that collapsed the structure.

A significant discovery was made under Rome’s metro system [Credit: Getty]

Archaeologists on Monday said they made the discovery on May 23 while examining a 10-meter (33-foot) -deep hole bored near the ancient Aurelian Walls as part of construction work for the Metro C line.

"A Pompeii-like scene" was how the Culture Ministry described the findings that evoked comparisons to the inhabitants trapped by the 79 A.D. Vesuvius volcanic explosion and preserved for centuries in the ruins of Pompeii.

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UN ATELIER DE POTIER DU IER SIÈCLE DE NOTRE ÈRE À THONON-LES-BAINS


À Thonon-les-Bains, en Haute-Savoie, une équipe de l’Inrap étudie, sur une surface de 1 400 m²,  un atelier de potier de la seconde moitié du Ier siècle de notre ère qui s’insère dans un quartier artisanal situé au sud-est de l’agglomération antique de Thonon.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Cyprus reveals rare Roman horse race mosaic in Akaki


Scenes from a chariot race are depicted in a rare Roman mosaic found in rural Cyprus.
Dating from the 4th Century AD, it lies in Akaki, a village not far from Nicosia.
Only nine similar mosaics - showing a hippodrome race - have been found at ancient Roman sites.
The ornate 26-metre-long (85ft) mosaic was probably part of a wealthy man's villa. The excavation is led by archaeologist Fryni Hadjichristofi.

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Ancient skulls shed light on migration in the Roman empire

A student uses a digitizer to record geometric morphometric sites on a skull.
Credit: NC State University

Skeletal evidence shows that, hundreds of years after the Roman Republic conquered most of the Mediterranean world, coastal communities in what is now south and central Italy still bore distinct physical differences to one another -- though the same could not be said of the area around Rome itself.

Using state-of-the-art forensic techniques, anthropologists from North Carolina State University and California State University, Sacramento examined skulls from three imperial Roman cemeteries: 27 skulls from Isola Sacra, on the coast of central Italy; 26 from Velia, on the coast of southern Italy; and 20 from Castel Malnome, on the outskirts of the city of Rome.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Roman Bath House Found In Carlisle

Roman ruins described as a "once-in-a-lifetime find" have been discovered during work to rebuild a cricket pavilion in Carlisle.


The site at Edenside [Credit: Stuart Walker, The Cumberland News]

The remains of a Roman Bath House were uncovered as part of work to move Carlisle Cricket Club's pavilion, which was damaged during Storm Desmond.

The site is thought to be about 1,600 years old and has already unearthed weapons, pottery and coins. The find is close to the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage site.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Oldest working Roman arch in Britain damaged by lorry driver who got stuck following his sat nav

Experts are assessing damage to the oldest Roman arch in the UK still used by traffic after a lorry driver got stuck following his sat nav CREDIT: RICHARD VAMPLEW/MEDIA LINCS

The oldest Roman arch in Britain which is still used by traffic has been damaged after a lorry driver who was following his sat nav became wedged underneath it. 

Police were called to the third century Newport Arch in Lincoln after a distribution lorry became lodged under the Grade I listed edifice at 1pm on Thursday. 

Fragments of stone from the monument could be clearly seen on the ground after it took over half an hour to free the HGV.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

More ancient ruins found at Verulamium after gas pipe gives archaeologists chance to dig deeper

Area being dug through by archaeologists

More of an ancient Roman city have been discovered by archaeologists.

The burnt remains of a 1,800-year-old kiln, use to create pottery, have been unearthed at Verulamium after essential work began to re-lay a gas pipe, giving archaeologists the opportunity to dig deep underground.

The team has also redrawn the map of the Roman city after making a series of discoveries including evidence of an expensive townhouse and the absence of a tower which would have sat in the corner of the city walls.

Simon West, District Archaeologist for St Albans City and District Council’s Museums team, said: “The pottery kiln is another exciting discovery that gives us a greater understanding of how Verulamium was set up.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Rome unveils 'museum' metro station packed with hundreds of ancient artefacts found during construction


Ancient Roman amphorae on display in Rome's newest underground metro station, San Giovanni. CREDIT: ANDREW MEDICHINI/AP

For Romans, the daily commute will never be the same again.  The city on Friday unveiled a brand new underground station that boasts a trove of archeological treasures that were found during its construction.

They range from iron spearheads and gold coins decorated with emperors’ heads to a delicate perfume bottle made from turquoise glass and marble statues of scantily-clad nymphs.

There are giant amphorae, bronze fish hooks from an ancient Roman fish farm, the remains of a first century BC woven basket and even a collection of 2,000 year old peach stones, from when the area was a rich farming estate providing food for the imperial elite.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Last resting place of Rome's emperors to be restored and opened to tourists in £5 million project

The restoration of the mausoleum will take two years. The monument will be opened to tourists in 2019. CREDIT: EPA

The largest funerary monument in the world after the pyramids of Egypt, it echoes with the ghosts of emperors and the splendour that once was Rome.

Now, after decades of being neglected, the Mausoleum of Augustus, a hulking stone building on the banks of the River Tiber, is to be restored and opened to tourists.

Visitors will be able to venture into its cavernous interior, where the cremated remains of the Emperor Augustus were later joined by other emperors, including Tiberius, Claudius, Vespasian and the psychotic, scheming Caligula.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Divers search lake for Roman Emperor Caligula's pleasure barge, site of wild orgies

Today, the serene waters of Lake Nemi make it a quaint getaway, one that is best known for its peaceful landscapes and the area's delicious wild strawberries.
But in ancient Roman times, the volcanic lake southeast of Rome was the anchor point for Emperor Caligula's pleasure ships - massive and ornate barges that were rumored to be the sites of wild orgies and other excessive indulgences.
For nearly 2,000 years, the sunken remains of Caligula's pleasure ships tantalized divers, who launched expeditions to recover them, with little success.
It wasn't until 1927, when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered Lake Nemi drained, that two of the ships began to be fully revealed. Measuring 230 and 240 feet long, the "Nemi ships" recovered over the next several years astounded researchers with their advanced technology.
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A Lost Roman City Has Been Discovered in Southern France


For the first time in over a thousand years, archeologists have laid eyes on the ancient Roman town of Ucetia, which is decked out with some surprisingly well-preserved mosaics.

The discovery by the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) was made near modern-day Uzès in the south of France during the construction of a school. The 4,000-square-meter (43,056-square-foot) site contains artifacts ranging from the Roman Republic era (1st century BCE) to the late antiquity (7th century), right through to the Middle Ages.

The town’s existence was first hinted at when researchers found an inscription saying Ucetia on a stone slab in nearby Nîmes. A few isolated fragments and mosaic pieces suggested the site of the mysterious Roman town, but it remained hidden until INRAP started to dig beneath the surface.

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Rome Metro workers accidentally discovered an ancient aqueduct

The aqueduct. Photo: Archaeological Superintendency Rome
A 2,300-year-old aqueduct uncovered by workers on Rome's new Metro line has been hailed as "a sensational discovery of enormous importance" by the city's Superintendency for Archaeology.
Archaeologists first stumbled across the impressive ruin at the end of 2016, though it was not publicly announced until Sunday. On Wednesday, the team presented the results of analysis of the structure, along with that of other recent finds, at a conference hosted by Rome's Sapienza university.

Simona Morretta, who led the team of archaeologists, said the 32-metre stretch was likely part of the Aqua Appia - the oldest known Roman aqueduct, which dates back to 312 BC.
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DÉCOUVERTE D’UN SANCTUAIRE GALLO-ROMAIN À MURVIEL-LÈS-MONTPELLIER


Cette fouille a donné lieu à la découverte des vestiges d’un sanctuaire gallo-romain. Dimanche 9 avril 2017, les archéologues présenteront leurs découvertes au  public, lors de visites guidées.

Àl’occasion de l’aménagement d’un lotissement par Rambier Aménagement à Murviel-lès-Montpellier, une fouille préventive prescrite par l’État (Drac Occitanie) a donné lieu à la découverte des vestiges d’un sanctuaire gallo-romain. Les archéologues de l’Inrap, en partenariat avec le service Archéologie et Patrimoine de la Communauté d’agglomération du Bassin de Thau (CABT) enrichissent ainsi la  connaissance de l’agglomération antique fouillée sur la commune depuis de nombreuses années.  

Dimanche 9 avril, les archéologues présenteront leurs découvertes au  public, lors de visites guidées proposées toute la journée. 

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Rich Roman haul surprises Dutch archaeologists

A Roman ring, found at the dig. Photo: William Hoogteyling via HH 

Archeologists digging at a site in Tiel in the province of Gelderland, have found a rich haul of Roman artefacts, among which a statue of the god Jupiter, a grave stone inscribed DEAE (to the goddess), 2,500 bronze objects and a unique ointment pot. 

The dig is one of a number of archaeological activities taking place on an 80 hectare site which is projected to become part of the adjacent Medel industrial estate. As with any major construction work, archaeologists are invited to investigate what is in the ground before any building is done. 

The area has yielded treasure before. In November last year archaeologists found numerous artefacts dating back some 6,000 years, and a Roman funerary urn with a small glass bottle inside it.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Massive Coin Hoard Found At Wealthy Roman House In Northern Italy

An extensive Roman building has been unearthed during archaeological excavations in via Virgilio in the town of Merano located in the province of Bolzano in Trentino- Alto Adige region, Northern Italy. 


The finds, including finely decorated fibulae (pins for clothing), which are now being analyzed, clearly show that the Roman house "was inhabited by a rich family”, says to Catrin Marzoli, director of the local provincial Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape.

“A hoard of coins was buried in the ground and hidden under a millstone of the kitchen of the house – a treasure which was buried and never recovered", explains Catrin Marzoli.

"In total 3187 coins dating from the late third/early fourth century AD were recovered. The coins are in fact from the period of the Tetrarchy, when Emperor Diocletian, to stem the crisis of the Roman Empire, divided it into two parts - a western and an eastern - ruled by two senior emperors with the title of Augustus and two younger emperors with the title of Caesar. On the coins we found at Maia Alta in Merano, Maximianus Augustus, Constantius Clorus Caesar, Diocletianus Augustus and Galerius Caesar are immortalized."

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Exhibition reveals hidden history of Colosseum after the fall of Rome, from medieval fortresses to slaughterhouses

An artist's impression of the timber walkway used by soldiers guarding the medieval fortress that was built into the side of the Colosseum CREDIT: COLOSSEUM EXHIBITION

Archaeologists in Rome have discovered the remains of a timber walkway used by soldiers guarding a fortress built into the remains of the Colosseum during the Middle Ages.
Gladiatorial contests and other spectacles held in the massive amphitheatre ground to a halt by the sixth century AD with the collapse of the Roman Empire and the arena was gradually appropriated for other uses in succeeding centuries. 
By the 12th century a powerful baronial family, the Frangipane, had commandeered the Colosseum and built a formidable fortress into its southern flank. The walkway was built on the top tier of the amphitheatre, enabling the clan’s soldiers to watch out for enemy forces.  The Frangipane were at war with another family of Roman nobles, the Annibaldi.
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Monday, March 6, 2017

Archaeologists Uncover Vast Ancient Roman Mining Operation in Spain


Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Munigua in southern Spain have found a vast Roman copper mining operation built on an older mine dating back thousands of years.

Exploitation of ore at Munigua apparently began by the Turdetani, the original inhabitants of the region, over  4,000 years ago. Now the excavators have discovered an elaborate system of ventilated underground galleries connected by tunnels dating to the Roman era.

They also found shafts connecting at various heights forming floors that let the miners extract metal deeper than had been believed possible at the time. Happily for the miners, the ancient Romans were on to the secret of ventilation.

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LE DIEU MITHRA DÉCOUVERT EN CORSE



Une équipe de l’Inrap vient de mettre au jour un sanctuaire dédié au dieu Mithra sur le site de Mariana, à Lucciana (Haute-Corse). L’opération, autorisée par  le préfet de Corse, est placée sous le contrôle scientifique de la Drac de Corse (service déconcentré du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication) en liaison avec la commission territoriale de la recherche archéologique sud-est.

D’après Sénèque et Pline, Mariana est une colonie de citoyens romains, fondée vers 100 avant notre ère par Caius Marius, général, consul et grand réformateur de l’armée romaine, après sa retentissante victoire sur les peuples Cimbres et Teutons. Elle s’inscrit dans une stratégie militaire à l’échelle de la mer tyrrhénienne. À son apogée, vers le IIIe ou le IVe siècle, Mariana, une petite agglomération ne dépassant guère dix hectares, est organisée en une vingtaine d’îlots. Son port participe activement aux échanges commerciaux en Méditerranée. La fouille archéologique met au jour un quartier périphérique de la Mariana antique.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stretch of Roman road unveiled beneath McDonald's restaurant


Customers in search of a little cultural heritage along with their Big Macs and fries can descend underground and view the Roman road, as well as three ancient skeletons that were found buried in the culverts either side of it. CREDIT: MAURO CONSILVIO

Two thousand years after legionaries tramped along its well-worn paving stones, an exceptionally well-preserved stretch of Roman road has been opened to the public – beneath a McDonald’s restaurant.

In what the American burger chain says is its first museum-cum-restaurant anywhere in the world, the 150ft-long stretch of basalt road has been cleared, cleaned and made into a permanent attraction at Frattocchie, south of Rome.

Customers in search of a little cultural heritage along with their Big Macs and fries can descend underground and view the Roman road, as well as three ancient skeletons that were found buried in the culverts either side of it.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Transport back in time to ancient Roman sites with virtual reality


Cutting-edge technology is helping bring ancient Rome back to life.
Visitors at historic sites thousands of years old can now use virtual reality headsets to see what they once looked like. Digital artists used Renaissance-era artists’ depictions to help re-envision the relics. CBS News correspondent Seth Doane went inside the ancient underground ruins in Rome, where tourists can see what’s no longer there.
The cavernous space was once above ground, the grand home of Emperor Nero, and considered one of the most magnificent palaces ever built. Its name, “Domus Aurea,” means “golden house.” It’s hard to believe it was once colorful and flooded with light. But now, modern technology is letting tourists peek into the past.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pompeii Wall Collapses


Superintendency experts and Carabinieri police are on the scene.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

To understand Trump, we should look to the tyrants of ancient Rome

Bust of the emperor Commodus dressed as Hercules, in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. 
Photograph: Alinari via Getty Images

He looks like a strong man – the strongest. Holding a huge club to beat his enemies with, the Roman emperor Commodus wears a lion skin over his bearded, empty-looking face in a marble portrait bust made in the second century AD, which is one of the treasures of Rome’s Capitoline Museum. He is posing as the mythic hero Hercules, whose muscular might made him victorious in one spectacular fight after another. The portrait literally equates the strength of Hercules with the power of the emperor.

This is an idea Donald Trump might like. He surrounds himself with gold as lavishly as any tyrant. Why not commission a portrait of himself as Hercules for the Oval Office instead of just moving around busts of Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King?

The way the worst Roman emperors are portrayed in art can help us to see Trump more clearly. When we look at the face of Commodus in this eerie portrait, we are staring into the eyes of unhinged, utterly perverse tyranny. When this son of the respected emperor Marcus Aurelius took control of the vast Roman empire in AD161 he embarked on a career of bizarre folly and monstrous cruelty. As well as executing his enemies and perceived enemies, he liked to fight in the arena, killing gladiators with his own hands in a spectacle that educated Romans found shameful and disturbing.

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Foundations of three Roman houses found under Chichester park


Large properties just inside city walls, identified using radar, would have been equivalent to homes worth millions today



Foundations of three large Roman houses preserved for almost 2,000 years have been discovered in a park in the centre of Chichester.
James Kenny, an archaeologist at Chichester district council, believes that when fully excavated they will prove to be some of the best Roman houses found in a city centre in Britain.
“To find what appear to be well-preserved Roman remains in one of the few stretches of open ground in a city which has been continuously built and rebuilt ever since the days of Alfred the Great is really exciting,” Kenny said. “Particularly since this city had no mains drains until so late – not until the 1880s – it is absolutely pockmarked with centuries of cesspits and rubbish dumps, so very little undisturbed Roman material remains.”
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Chichester Roman houses found under Priory Park


Ground-penetrating scans of a park have revealed three near-complete Roman buildings in Chichester.
Archaeologists, who were left stunned by the degree of preservation, have said the only reason they survived was because Priory Park was never built on.
Two houses and a third building were found. Moving images from a scan show the shapes of two buildings emerge.
It is thought the houses in Noviomagus Reginorum - the Roman name for the town - were owned by people of importance.

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