Monday, June 29, 2009

Students dig Iron Age

TROWELS are at the ready for an annual dig that will uncover new information about an Iron Age settlement.

The annual Silchester dig on the site of Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum, near Silchester, begins on Monday for six weeks, until August 9.

The dig is organised by the Field School at Reading University’s Department of Archaeology as a research and training excavation which this year will involve about 70 first year archaeology students and 200 other people learning the ropes of excavation.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Important trade links unearthed

AN archaeological dig in the centre of Worcester has been hailed as the most important excavation of the Roman period in 20 years.

The excavation of The Butts, on the site of the future Worcester Library and History Centre site, has given local historians a major insight into the Roman town of Vigornia – which became Worcester.

Worcestershire County Council’s historic environment and archaeology team can now prove that Roman Worcester was a well-developed town with trade links across the empire.

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Scarborough's Roman coin find

METAL-detecting enthusiasts could soon be coining it in after discovering a hoard of silver Roman cash dating back 1,500 years.

The find of 75 silver coins and 10 bronze, dating back to the year 355, was made on farmland near Filey.

They were issued during the reign of several Roman emperors, including Julian, Valentinian and Valens.

The discovery was officially confirmed as treasure by Scarborough coroner Michael Oakley at a special inquest. That means the British Museum Trust has "first refusal" on the find.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Erstmals seit dem Ende der Antike: Zwei römische Schiffe treffen sich auf der Mosel

Das rekonstruierte Kriegsschiff "Victoria" kommt nach Trier

Römische Kriegsschiffe auf der Mosel? Hat es das seit den glorreichen Zeiten des Kaisers Konstantin jemals wieder gegeben? Die Verleihung des Ausonius-Preises an Prof. Dr. Rainer Wiegels, einen der führenden Varus-Forscher, am 26. Juni 2009 macht es erstmals möglich: Das rekonstruierte Kriegsschiff "Victoria" kommt im Rahmen der Ausstellung "Imperium Konflikt Mythos. 2000 Jahre Varus-Schlacht" nach Trier.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Showcasing the secrets of Caistor Roman Town

In December 2007 a team of experts, led by The University of Nottingham, unveiled an extraordinary set of high-resolution images that gave an insight into the plan of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk.

The new research demonstrated that Caistor is a site of international importance — and tomorrow there will be an event to showcase the work and to clarify some of the mysteries of this buried roman town and highlight the impact of the research in developing Caistor as a cultural resource for Norfolk.

The high-resolution geophysical survey used a Caesium Vapour magnetometer to map buried remains across the entire walled area of the Roman town. It produced the clearest plan of the town yet seen confirming the street plan, the town’s water supply system, and the series of public buildings including the baths, temples and forum, know from earlier excavations.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marble Head of Emperor Titus Found

Archaeologists have unearthed a hoard of ancient Roman treasures, including a marble head of the Roman emperor Titus, during an excavation outside the southern Italian city of Naples.

The long-term digging effort in Rione Terra, a cliff in the port town of Pozzuoli, has yielded remains of 12 ancient statues, columns and fragments bearing inscriptions from what appear to be monuments from the Republican and Imperial periods of ancient Roman history.

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Underground cave dating from the year 1 A.D. exposed in Jordan Valley

The cave was originally a large quarry during the Roman and Byzantine era and was one of its kind; various engravings were uncovered in the cave, including cross markings, and it is assumed that this could have been an early monastery

An artificial underground cave, the largest in Israel, has been exposed in the Jordan Valley in the course of a survey carried out by the University of Haifa's Department of Archaeology. Prof. Adam Zertal, who headed the excavating team, reckons that this cave was originally a large quarry during the Roman and Byzantine era and was one of its kind. Various engravings were uncovered in the cave, including cross markings, and it is assumed that this could have been an early monastery. "It is probably the site of "Galgala" from the historical Madaba Map," Prof. Zertal says.

The enormous and striking cave covers an area of approximately 1 acre: it is some 100 meters long and about 40 meters wide. The cave is located 4 km north of Jericho. The cave, which is the largest excavated by man to be discovered in Israel, was exposed in the course of an archaeological survey that the University of Haifa has been carrying out since 1978.

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Ancient Holy Land quarry uncovered, team says

Israeli archaeologists said on Sunday they had discovered the largest underground quarry in the Holy Land, dating back to the time of Jesus and containing Christian symbols etched into the walls.

The 4,000-square-meter (yard) cavern, buried 10 meters beneath the desert near the ancient West Bank city of Jericho, was dug about 2,000 years ago and was in use for about half a millennium, archaeologist Adam Zertal said.

The cave's main hall, about three meters tall, is supported by some 20 stone pillars and has a variety of symbols etched into the walls, including crosses dating back to about AD 350 and Roman legionary emblems.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Roman shipwreck find

A shipwreck believed to date back to Roman times was found at the bottom of Montenegro's Boka Kotorska bay, officials said on Tuesday.

"We believe we have found the wreckage of a ship that could have been used to transport goods," Montenegro's regional Cultural Heritage Preservation Institute said in a statement.

Officials refused to reveal the location of the shipwreck until the area was fully secured.

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Huge Roman-era cave found by Jericho

The largest cave ever found in Israel has been uncovered near the West Bank city of Jericho etched with Christian symbols, an Israeli archeologist said Sunday.

The immense cave, which spans more than four dunams and is buried 10 meters beneath the desert, was dug about 2,000 years ago, Haifa University archaeologist Prof. Adam Zertal said.

The site, which is located 4 km north of the ancient city of Jericho, was used as a large quarry in the Roman era and was probably used as a monastery and a hiding place for hundreds of years, he said.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Artefacts found at nature reserve

Human remains and Roman artefacts have been unearthed in an Iron Age ditch at a new nature reserve in Cambridgeshire.

Archaeologists made the discoveries at a former quarry at Cherry Hinton, near Cambridge, which is to open to visitors for the first time in 100 years.

East Pit has been transformed by the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust into a haven for wild flowers and birds.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blog for 'burial pit' relief road

A multimillion pound road development in Dorset has become the county council's first project to have its own online blog.

The Weymouth Relief Road site attracted much interest when archaeologists found an ancient burial pit last week.

The £87m road is being built to ease traffic between Dorchester and Weymouth and Portland, where the Olympic sailing events will be held in 2012.

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Roman village discovered near Varna

Village from the Roman era discovered archaeologists near Varna.

The short sample surveys in the region of Mentesheto near Varna have been concluded, informed from the Archaeological museum in Varna, informed radio Varna.
The resembling dolmen stone formation has been researched by Alexander Minchev and Teodor Rokov.

The research shows that it was created nearly 2000 ago with stone tables taken out from the existing nearby big water reservoir.

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Archaeologists Discovered Roman Settlement in North-Eastern Bulgaria

A previously unknown settlement from the Roman Era was recently discovered by archaeologists in the Mentesheto area near the town of Varna on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast.

The discovery was made by archaeologists Aleksadar Michev and Teodor Rokov, who were exploring a stone structure reminiscent of a ‘dolmen’ – a typical Thracian tomb from the Early Iron Age. The excavations show that the stone slabs on the earth’s surface were new, although four main periods of inhabitation of the place through the centuries were discovered under the ground, the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency wrote today.

The earliest testament of a human presence at the site dates to the second and third centuries. The archaeologists’ discovery linked to this period is the stone flooring, which probably constituted part of the courtyard of a large building or Roman villa, which was destroyed around the middle of the third century by a Gothic invasion.

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Italy: Archeological treasures found near Naples

Archaeologists have unearthed a number of ancient Roman treasures during excavation outside the southern Italian city of Naples. Twelve ancient statues, columns and fragments bearing inscriptions from what appear to be monuments from the Republican and Imperial periods of ancient Roman history have been uncovered.

A head of the Roman emperor Tiberius bearing a crown of laurel leaves, two other male heads and a fragment of a painting are among the objects from the late Republican period in the 3rd century BC discovered by a team of archeologists at the site in Rione Terra di Pozzuoli.

Two female heads were also uncovered. One may be the head of an Amazon warrior from the 2nd century AD, while the second is believed to be a Roman empress from the late Julio-Claudian dynasty.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dorset grave site reveals dark side of Romans

WITH their central heating, fancy flooring, hot and cold running water and drinkable wine, it’s not hard to see what the Romans did for us.

And 2,000 years on, as we unearth pots, jewellery and the footings of luxury villas, as well as continuing to use the roads and aqueducts they built for us, it seems their PR machine is still cranking out the good publicity.

But it wasn’t all mosaics, music and orgies because the Romans had their dark side. Before they started building cities, creating parks and installing decent lavvies, they first took time to butcher many of our ancestors.

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Executed Iron Age bodies from Roman battle found in pit on Olympic transport route

A 2,000-year-old mass grave full of dismembered bodies and skulls has been discovered at an ancient burial site being dug up to create a road for the 2012 Olympics.

Archaeologists excavating the Weymouth Relief Road, on Ridgeway Hill near Weymouth, believe the pit of corpses comprises Iron Age war casualties massacred by the Roman Army.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Archaeologists find skulls on route of new road

• Remains in Dorset burial pit may be 2,000 years old
• Theories include battle with Romans or epidemic

The skulls of scores of young men have been found in a burial pit on the route of a new road in Dorset.

So far 45 skulls, believed to be almost 2,000 years old, have been found, and more may be found as the pit is emptied. Archaeologists have called the discovery extraordinary, saying it could be evidence of a disaster, a mass execution, a battle or possibly an epidemic.

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Mass Roman war grave found by 2012 Olympic road builders

A mass "war grave" containing the skulls of 45 people dating back to Roman times has been uncovered as work begins on a new road being built to a 2012 Olympic venue.

Archaeologists made the discovery while carrying out a dig on the site of the new £87 million relief road to Weymouth, Dorset – the sailing venue for the forthcoming games which was visited by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on Thursday.

The burial pit on nearby Ridgeway Hill has been found to contain various skeleton pieces including 45 skulls.

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Roman ruins found on 2012 Olympics relief road

A mass "war grave" containing the skulls of 45 people dating back to Roman times has been uncovered as work begins on a new road being built to a 2012 Olympic venue.

Archaeologists made the discovery while carrying out a dig on the site of the new £87 million relief road to Weymouth, the Dorset sailing venue for the forthcoming Games.

The burial pit on nearby Ridgeway Hill has been found to contain various skeleton pieces including 45 skulls.

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Mass Roman grave reveals headless bodies

A 2,000-year-old mass grave containing at least 45 headless bodies has been uncovered by workers digging a new road for the Olympics.

The victims are thought to have been slaughtered by the invading Romans in about 43AD.

The 6m-wide (20ft) plot within the site of an £87million relief road near Weymouth in Dorset has now been sealed off while archaeologists examine the 'remarkable' discovery.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Italy: Ancient Roman wall in 'danger' of collapse

There are fears for the future of Rome's ancient Aurelian walls after chunks collapsed on Tuesday. A major street was closed in the Italian capital after bricks from the nearly 2000-year old wall fell down.

The city's archaeological authorities want to save the historic treasure, but they claim protection and restoration is limited due to poor financial resources, according to the Italian daily, Il Messaggero.

Authorities told the daily that whenever chunks of the walls collapse, the area is usually fenced off, but restoration work is almost never completed due to a lack of funds.

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Dig unearths Roman road at Tesco

One of the longest sections of Roman road ever found in Wales is being unearthed at the site of a new Tesco.

The highway was carved out of the Powys countryside in Newtown 2,000 years ago, and is thought to have linked two forts.

Archaeologists are excavating three separate sections of the road, and they expect to uncover a total of 300 metres.

The work will not delay the development of the supermarket.

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Allotment reveals its Roman past

Roman skeletons and artefacts have been found by people digging a pond in a set of Leicester allotments.

The group said they were shocked when they came across a skull and other bones just hours after starting work on the land.

A team from the University of Leicester used pottery to confirm the skeletons dated from the second century AD.

The allotment holders have been told their vegetable plots were probably once a Roman cemetery.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Domus Aurea work 'to take two years'

One of Rome's prime tourist attractions, the ruins of Nero's Domus Aurea, will reopen again in two years' time after work to make it completely safe for the public, officials said Wednesday.

The fabled 'Golden House' has been closed since 2005 after masonry fell from flaking walls and a high level of dangerous seepage was detected.

The work will begin in a month's time, officials said.

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Groundbreaking exhibit on historic German-Roman battle opens

The exhibition is spread over three sites in Detmold, Kalkriese and Haltern and organizers are expecting more than half a million visitors by fall.

The joint project is called "Imperium Conflict Myth" and the exhibits will take visitors back 2000 years, to when an alliance of Germanic tribes annihilated three elite Roman Legions in the famous so-called Battle of Teutoburg, or Varus Battle.

Battle prevented Germany's full romanization

This may seem too long ago to be of any significance today, but some historians say the defeat in 9 AD prevented a full romanization of Germany and arguably altered the course of Roman, German and European history.

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Bowl may offer Roman Britain clues

A bowl thought to be 1,700 years old has been discovered in London and may hold clues to life in ancient Roman Britain, researchers say.

Liz Goodman, archaeology conservator at the Museum of London, said the bowl called millefiori, which means "one thousand flowers," may represent the first of its kind to be discovered in what was once the western Roman Empire, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

"We occasionally get tiny fragments of millefiori, but the opportunity to work on a whole artifact of this nature is extraordinary," Goodman said.

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Roman glass dish found in grave

A rare Roman millefiori dish has been unearthed by archaeologists from the grave of a wealthy Londoner.

The dish, which has gone on display at the Museum of London in Docklands, was found during excavations in Prescot Street, in Aldgate, east London.

It was pieced together from its many fragments.

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German scientists find clues to Roman mass production

German scientists disclosed Friday new evidence that the ancient Romans used mass-production methods to make metalwares at lesser cost, just like modern factories do. A close study of a 28-centimetre-tall bronze figure of the god Mercury made in the 2nd century AD showed it was hollow - an indication of cost cutting - and that its legs were made separately, indicating some kind of assembly line to exploit economies of scale.

Technical University of Munich scientists at the FRM-II research nuclear reactor in Garching near Munich blasted the statue with neutrons to reveal metal joins that are invisible to X-rays.

Physicist Martin Mühlbauer said the neutron tomography study was done on a statue lent by Munich's Archaeological

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Archaeologists keen to trace origins of Roman skeleton

A ROMAN skeleton which was found in Kingsholm is being investigated by archeologists who are keen to trace his origins.

The male skeleton was discovered in 1972, north of Kingsholm Square and ever since experts have wondered where he came from. Now, the Gloucester City Museum has had funding for the analysis of the skeleton using new technology to work out where he originated. Member and former president of The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Carolyn Heighway, said: "We believe he was a special person in the late Roman period in Gloucester, judging by his grand belt and buckles and that sort of thing.

"Subsequently it was judged by academics that he could have been of eastern European origin and was probably part of the Roman army."

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Archaeologists show off rare Roman find

Archaeologists excavating a site in East London have made an "extremely rare and unprecedented" find -- a delicately detailed dish made of hundreds of pieces of tiny glass petals, the Museum of London Docklands announced Wednesday.

The "millefiori" dish (the name means "thousand flowers") was found buried in the grave of a Roman Londoner, the museum said.

Based on the other grave goods found at the site, archaeologists believe the person buried there was wealthy, the museum said.

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Hundreds to take part in Roman dig

Hundreds of Lincolnshire residents are set to take part in an archaeology dig starting this month.

Scores of Lincolnshire folk, including schoolchildren and members of the public, will be armed with trowels for the dig at Navenby.

The group has come together following an appeal in the Echo in March.

Organiser Pre-Construct Archaeology says the 28-day excavation starting on June 15 will centre on investigating the prehistoric forerunner to Roman Ermine Street

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Excavation at Roman Binchester

On Monday June 8th excavation will begin on the Roman fort at Binchester
(Co. Durham) as part of the Durham-Stanford Binchester Research Project;
this is a joint project being run by Durham County Council, Dept. of
Archaeology/Archaeological Services, Durham University and the Dept. of
Classics, Stanford University. This work is will be kicking off the
first of five seasons of fieldwork at the site exploring the fort and
its associated vicus and putting it into its wider landscape context.

You can follow events on our blog, which
will be updated daily once excavation starts and already has some
interesting material on it.

Roman wall escapes archaeologists' trowels

MEDIEVAL recyclers may have helped themselves to parts of Gloucester's Roman wall to build their own homes. That's one of the more unusual theories to come out of an archaeological investigation in the centre of Gloucester.

Gloucestershire County Council's archaeology team was given the chance to explore an area where the Kimbrose Triangle meets Southgate Street before work begins in the summer to connect the Docks to the city centre in a more defined way.

And although they made a number of significant discoveries, they were frustrated in their search for the line of the old Roman wall. The section between Parliament Street and Ladybellegate Street is the only piece of the city's Roman wall that has not been physically accounted for.

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Arbeia Roman Fort reconstructions win archaeological award

Archaeologists based at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields are celebrating after being recognised for the quality and importance of their archaeological excavations.

An award for Best Archaeological Research Project was made at the Current Archaeology Awards 2009 at Cardiff Castle on March 4 after a reader’s online vote, based on previous articles about Arbeia in the magazine.

The award-winning project, entitled South Shields: Rebuilding a Roman Fort, involved the full size reconstruction of the 3rd century AD Roman Centurion’s House at Arbeia, based in detail on excavated finds of the Roman original on the same site.

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Roman bones found in farm field

A skeleton dating back to Roman times has been unearthed in a farmer's field by a member of the public.

Now it's hoped the adult bones will shed some light on what life was like 2,000 years ago.

It took archaeologists a week to carefully dig up the 2m lead coffin from inside a stone chamber.

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Classic gags discovered in ancient Roman joke book

We may admire the satires of Horace and Lucilius, but the ancient Romans haven't hitherto been thought of as masters of the one-liner. This could be about to change, however, after the discovery of a classical joke book.

Celebrated classics professor Mary Beard has brought to light a volume more than 1,600 years old, which she says shows the Romans not to be the "pompous, bridge-building toga wearers" they're often seen as, but rather a race ready to laugh at themselves.

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Big Dig back on Roman trail

THE second phase of this year's Big Dig at Brading Roman Villa will hopefully unearth new and important finds to shed light on the origins and context of the site.
The dig programme, run jointly by the Oglander Roman Trust, which manages the villa, and its support group, the Friends of Brading Roman Villa, began the five-year project last summer, headed by leading archaeologist Prof Sir Barry Cunliffe.

Sir Barry, who is also interim chairman of English Heritage, will return to lead the next phase between August 2 and 22.

As with last year's excavation, phase two will involve an excavation of the south range, about which very little was recorded during the last big dig in 1880.

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ROV investigates 2,000 year-old Roman wreck

A Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV has been used to investigate the wreck of a Roman ship outside the Spanish harbour of Cartagena. The wreck is believed to be 2,200 years old. Its cargo included thousands of amphora of wine. The clay jars were still carefully packed in the hold.

The discovery was made by explorers working for the Aurora Trust, a not-for-profit oceanographic exploration, education and archaeological organisation based in Malta.

Working with the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Spain, the Aurora Trust has created a map of the submerged cultural heritage on the seabed outside the harbour, and have set about targeting various items of interest.

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Experts baffled by Malmesbury's Roman coins

A hoard of Roman coins now on display in Malmesbury has perplexed staff at the Athelstan Museum.

The stash was discovered in a field in Milbourne two years ago and has now been cleaned up and given to the museum.

Chairman of the Friends of Athelstan Museum, Roger Griffin, is puzzled as to the purpose of the collection.

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County’s Roman city due to be expanded

Shropshire’s Wroxeter Roman City is to be expanded after English Heritage bosses revealed only the “tip” of the iceberg can currently be seen.

The city is the fourth largest Roman site in the UK and attracts thousands of people every year.

Viroconium - the city’s Roman title - is thought to have spread over more than 200 acres of land and had two miles of walls.

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The ideal measurements of a pre-Roman model

Pre-Roman atrium houses exhibited a striking number of similarities as part of a long Italic building tradition. Dutch researcher Noor van Krimpen analysed the measurements of primary mansions in Pompeii. As buildings were constructed according to a standard model, the adaptations to that model, required by the economical, practical and social demands of any particular project, provide a lot of information about the social significance of the houses of Pompeii's elite.

Noor van Krimpen has added a new weapon to the archaeologist's arsenal; the metrological analysis. This was already used to find out more about the design aspects of historical constructions. Van Krimpen, however, has now also used the method to add to our knowledge of the social significance of the houses of Pompeii's elite. The main advantage of using metrological analysis is that it does not require further excavations and so the remains are kept intact.

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Archaeologist joins call to save unique Roman Villa

An archaeologist at The University of Nottingham has joined the fight to protect the site of a unique Roman villa. The site, until recently buried under the old Southwell Minster School, has planning permission for 13 new homes. But experts say at least part of the land earmarked for development should be protected because of the villa remains and its special relationship with Southwell Minster, the Cathedral Church of Nottinghamshire.

The University of Nottingham is custodian of a remarkable archive of photographs and lecture slides bequeathed to the Department of Archaeology after the death of Charles Daniels who led the very first major excavation of the site in 1959 — before the Minster Grammar School was built.

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Campaign to preserve Roman villa site

HISTORIANS and archaeologists are hoping to preserve a strip of land in Southwell believed to be part of a Roman complex.

A wall was uncovered on the land last year, dating back to 43AD.

The Southwell Community Archaeology Group wants the site protected from development to conduct more studies about its history and to enable more visitors to see it.

Dr Will Bowden, associate professor in Roman archaeology at the University of Nottingham, is trying to rally public support to protect the land.

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Engendering Roman Military Spaces

The research project 'Engendering Roman Military Spaces', investigates socio-spatial behaviour inside Roman military forts during the early Empire. It uses the distribution of artefacts found in forts in the German provinces to analyse the activities carried out within the various components of these forts. It then investigates the relationships between these spaces and the members of these communities - both soldier and non-soldier - who were likely to have been engaged in these activities. In so doing it develops better understandings of the complexity of the daily life within such military establishments. It focuses particularly on evidence for women and children and on their roles within these military domains.

The project challenges widely-held assumptions: that military communities in the early empire were essentially segregated soldier communities; that only senior officers' families and household were accommodated inside and any other camp-followers lived in the civilian settlements outside the fort walls; and that a ban on legal marriage for ordinary soldiers meant that they could not have had families with whom they could have co-habited before the end of the 2nd century AD.

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