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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