Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Popular Archaeology Magazine Launched

Popular Archaeology magazine is a 100% online periodical dedicated to participatory, or public, archaeology. Unlike most other major magazines related to archaeology, no paper copies will ever be produced and distributed, so it will always be "green", and it will always be less costly to produce and therefore far less costly to purchase by premium subscribers (although regular subscriptions are always free). Most of our writers and contributors are either professionals or top experts in their fields, or are individuals relating first-hand experiences; however, the magazine is unique among other archaeology-related magazines in that it makes it easy to invite and encourage members of the public (YOU) to submit pertinent articles, blogs, events, directory listings, and classified ads for publication. As a volunteer or student, do you have a fascinating story to tell about an archaeological experience? As a professional archaeologist, scholar, educator, or scientist, do you have a discovery, program or project that you think would be of interest to the world? Do you have an archaeology-related service or item for sale? Would you like to have your archaeology-related blog post featured on the front page? ( Ad and specially featured item prices are lower than what you will find in any other major archaeology magazine). Through Popular Archaeology, you can realize all of these things. Moreover, because the content is produced by a very broad spectrum of contributors, you will see more feature articles than what you would typically find in the major print publications, with the same content quality.

As a community of professionals, writers, students, and volunteers, we invite you to join us as subscribers in this adventure of archaeological discovery. It could open up a whole new world for you.

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Pictures: Ancient Roman Spa City Reburied in Turkey

The second-century Roman ruins at the city of Allianoi once stood tall under the blue Turkish sky, as seen in a file photo. But like the rest of the site's archaeological treasures, these structures are now covered back up with sand.

Discovered in 1998 and only partially excavated, the nearly 2,000-year-old city of Allianoi was home to baths and natural springs favored by the Romans for their health benefits. (See related pictures of King Herod's royal theater box, recently excavated in the West Bank.)

Today, however, the well-preserved ruins lie in the path of a proposed dam that would flood the region to create an artificial reservoir. The Yortanli Dam will provide water for thousands of acres of agricultural land, and farmers living near Turkey's Aegean coast strongly support the project.

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Mosaics found in SE Turkey lead to unearthing of ancient Roman city

The ancient city of Germenicia, which has been underground for 1,500 years, is being unearthed thanks to mosaics found during an illegal excavation in 2007 under a house in Southeast Turkey. Excavations are ongoing in the area, with authorities aiming to completely reveal the mosaics and the city, and then turn the site into an open-air museum

Mosaics found during an illegal excavation in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş have led to the unearthing of an ancient city called Germenicia, which remained underground for 1,500 years. The mosaics, found under a house in the Dulkadiroğulları neighborhood, are expected to shed light on the history of the city.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nine investigated over Pompeii collapses

Nine people are under investigation for two collapses in the famous ancient Roman city of Pompeii that shocked the culture world last month, judicial sources said on Thursday.

An ancient training centre for gladiators collapsed into rubble in Pompeii on November 6 and a wall protecting a home known as the House of the Moralist fell down on November 30, causing widespread international outrage.

Among the people under investigation by prosecutors in nearby Torre Annunziata are the former director of the site and the current head of excavations, ANSA news agency reported. The two declined to comment.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Frome is still cashing in on the Romans

Last April, a man who hated history at school unearthed the largest coin hoard ever found in Britain. But why had it been buried in a field in Somerset?

Dave Crisp found treasure on a soggy ridge outside the Somerset town of Frome last April, and helped rewrite history. On a bitter winter afternoon, as he walks the frosty field again, he recalls one of the most heart-stoppingly exciting moments of his life. The 63-year-old ex-army man had discovered a scattering of Roman silver coins in the field. He came back a few days later with his detector, bought secondhand on eBay, to round up any remaining broken pieces. The signals were faint and confusing.

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Turkish officials bury ancient city of Allianoi under sand

The ancient city of Allianoi, near Turkey’s Aegean coast, has been completely covered with sand in preparation for building a dam in the area, despite protests from activists and archaeologists.

Though officials say covering the Roman-era spa settlement with sand is the only way to protect the ruins while they are submerged under the waters of the new dam, experts disagree with that assessment.

“The method is obsolete and it will destroy, rather than protect, the ancient site,” İlker Ertuğrul, a member of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday.

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Canterbury council keeps museums open after re-think

Three visitor attractions in Kent have been saved from closure following a re-think by the city council.

The Roman Museum, Westgate Tower and Herne Bay Museum were among those at risk as Canterbury City Council looked at ways of saving £3m over two years.

The proposals sparked a public campaign to keep them open, with more than 2,000 people signing an online petition.

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Gladiator Stabbed, Tossed as Trash?

The bones of a Roman man, who was stabbed to death and left to rot with the rubbish, have revealed gruesome details of what appears to be a gladiator combat, according to British researchers who have examined the skeletal remains.

Unearthed in January only 12 inches under the grass the Yorkshire Museum’s gardens, in York, England, the bones show that the man, most likely a disgraced gladiator, met a violent and bloody death.

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Crumbling Pompeii sparks outrage

One of Italy’s most important archaeological sites is disintegrating, sparking concern that lack of government attention and money could be letting the country's cultural heritage fall into ruin. Tara Cleary reports.

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Pompeii skeletons reveal secrets of Roman family life

The remains of the Roman town of Pompeii destroyed by a volcanic eruption in AD79 continue to provide intriguing and unexpected insights into Roman life - from diet and health care to the gap between rich and poor.

The basement storeroom under a large agricultural depot in the little suburb of Oplontis was full of pomegranates. To many of the Pompeiians trying to find shelter from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, it must have seemed strong and safe.

About 50 people took cover there. We know they did because archaeologists in the 1980s found their skeletons, well preserved.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Roman Circus project in Colchester under threat

The people behind the Colchester’s Roman circus are having to work on an alternative plan to be able to move forward with the heritage centre envisioned for the site. The site was part of the British Army’s garrisons, which is based in Colchester.

Colchester Archaeological Trust the driving force behind the project has been seeking investors to help it buy the Sergeants mess which is the main building currently occupying the site. The plan is to convert into a tourist attraction and educational base for visitors to the ancient chariot-racing arena.

The plans for the site have are to create a three-dimensional display in the garden of the Sergeants' Mess using special viewing screens to help recreate what the gates would have looked like.

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Pompeii wall collapse damage inspected by Unesco team

After a series of wall collapses at Italy's ancient city of Pompeii, a team from UN cultural organisation Unesco has arrived to examine the site.

One wall gave way on Tuesday and two more the next day, three weeks after the House of Gladiators crumbled.

Officials blamed Wednesday's wall collapses on heavy rain but Unesco says concerns have been raised about Pompeii's state of preservation.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

More walls collapse at Italy's ancient city of Pompeii

Three walls have collapsed at the tourist spot in a month

Officials have blamed the collapse on heavy rain.

The Italian opposition accuses the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of letting the 2,000-year-old site fall into neglect.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More walls collapse at Italy's ancient city of Pompeii

Two walls have collapsed in Italy's ancient city of Pompeii, the second such incident this week and the third in a month.

Officials have blamed the collapse on heavy rain.

The Italian opposition accuses the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of letting the 2,000-year-old site fall into neglect.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who will pay for Pompeii?

As another disaster strikes the ancient city, Mary Beard argues that such sites are far too costly for any one country to maintain

The latest disaster to hit Pompeii was not a particularly serious one by the standards of that unfortunate city – battered by an earthquake in AD 62, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 and hammered by Allied bombing in 1943 (there were rumours that the enemy was camped out there). Last Saturday, a small building known as the House of the Gladiators on Pompeii’s main street collapsed. One of a series of recent collapses, it was followed by the usual lamentations from the world’s press – Pompeii is falling down thanks to the neglect or corruption of the Italian authorities; the very house where the town’s gladiators once passed their short lives is no more.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Please don't privatise Pompeii

These Italian ruins should be preserved, but not turned into a theme park

I went to Pompeii last month. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. The scale is staggering: an entire city frozen in time, at that moment in 79AD when Vesuvius called forth apocalypse on its fleeing inhabitants. I spent seven hours there and felt I'd barely scratched the surface.

I literally scratched the surface, too. I was so moved by the visit that I wanted to take a few small pieces of broken Roman wall away with me – this wasn't quite vandalism as they were already on the floor – so I put them in my pocket. Though concern about how I would explain them away at Naples airport meant I didn't in the end remove them from Pompeii. The news over the weekend that a house in the city, the so-called House of the Gladiators, had fallen down made me glad I hadn't.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Pompeii building collapse prompts calls for privatisation of city

Calls for Unesco world heritage site to be privatised after 2,000-year-old House of Gladiators collapses

Opposition politicians and commentators accused Italy's government of neglect and mismanagement today over the collapse of the 2,000-year-old House of the Gladiators in the ruins of ancient Pompeii.

Some commentators said the Unesco world heritage site should be privatised and removed from state control. La Stampa newspaper ran a story headlined "Pompeii – the collapse of shame," echoing national opinion over the cultural disaster.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Were the Romans more energy efficient than we are?

According to Eon, we could learn a lot from the Romans about energy efficiency. To coincide with the launch of their new website which apparently helps consumers measure and cut down on their energy use, they have teamed up with Prof Andrew Wilson from the Institute of Archaeology at Oxford University to come up with four ways in which the Romans were more efficient users of energy than us:

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House of the Gladiators collapses in Pompeii

A house in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii has collapsed, raising concerns about Italy's state support for its archaeological heritage.

The House of the Gladiators was found in ruins when curators came to open the site to visitors early on Saturday.

Partially rebuilt after it sustained damage during World War II, it had not been thought at risk of collapse.

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Pompeii ruin collapses amid claims site mismanaged

A 2,000-year-old ancient Roman house used by gladiators before fighting to the death has collapsed in the buried city of Pompeii, further fuelling claims the site is badly managed.

The stone house, known as Schola Armaturarum Juventus Pompeiani, crumbled into a pile of rubble and dust in the early hours of Saturday morning before visitors were allowed in.

Although the house is closed to the public, it was a popular site in the city – buried by an eruption from nearby Mt Vesuvius in AD79 – because of its beautiful gladiator frescoes painted on the outside walls.

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Pompeii collapse prompts charges of official neglect

Archaeologists, commentators and opposition politicians accused Italy's government of neglect and mismanagement on Sunday over the collapse of the 2,000-year-old "House of the Gladiators" in the ruins of ancient Pompeii.

Some commentators said the UNESCO World Heritage site should be privatized and removed from state control because the government had shown it was incapable of protecting it.

"Pompeii -- the collapse of shame," La Stampa newspaper headlined, echoing national opinion over the cultural disaster.

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Pompeiians Flash-Heated to Death—"No Time to Suffocate"

The famous lifelike poses of many victims at Pompeii—seated with face in hands, crawling, kneeling on a mother's lap—are helping to lead scientists toward a new interpretation of how these ancient Romans died in the A.D. 79 eruptions of Italy's Mount Vesuvius.

Until now it's been widely assumed that most of the victims were asphyxiated by volcanic ash and gas. But a recent study says most died instantly of extreme heat, with many casualties shocked into a sort of instant rigor mortis.

(Related: "Huge Vesuvius Eruption Buried Town 2,000 Years Before Pompeii.")

Volcanologist Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo and colleagues began by analyzing layers of buried volcanic ash and rock, then fed the data into a computer simulation of the Mount Vesuvius eruption.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eighty headless skeletons unearthed between 2004 and 2005 from an ancient English cemetery in the city of York or the then Roman capital Eboracum holds proof that they all lost their heads far away from home.

Archeologists say the burial ground was used by the Romans throughout the second and third centuries A.D. Almost all the bodies were of males with more than half of them had been decapitated, and many were buried with their detached heads.

Eboracum was the Roman Empire's northernmost provincial capital during that period.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Archeology digs at Roman sites

A new project has been launched this week to explore East Oxford’s Roman and medieval archaeological sites.

Led by the University’s Department for Continuing Education, the project has been made possible by a £330,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Academics on the project will spend the next three years working with Oxford residents on digs, excavations, and surveys at sites believed to include Roman settlements, a medieval leper hospital and Civil War siege works.

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York Archaeological Trust find Roman vase at Hungate dig in York

A RARE glimpse into the world of Roman funeral rituals is on offer to visitors to DIG in York.

Archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust, who are excavating the Hungate site, have unearthed a small Roman cemetery which has so far revealed 20 burials and six cremations. In two graves, which contained the remains of Roman citizens, was an assembly of rich grave goods.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ancient Shipwreck Points to Site of Major Roman Battle

The remains of a sunken warship recently found in the Mediterranean Sea may confirm the site of a major ancient battle in which Rome trounced Carthage.

The year was 241 B.C. and the players were the ascending Roman republic and the declining Carthaginian Empire, which was centered on the northernmost tip of Africa. The two powers were fighting for dominance in the Mediterranean in a series of conflicts called the Punic Wars.

Archaeologists think the newly discovered remnants of the warship date from the final battle of the first Punic War, which allowed Rome to expand farther into the Western Mediterranean.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Roman coins valued at £320,250

A stash of more than 50,000 Roman coins found in a field by a treasure hunter has been valued at £320,250.

The exact value of the hoard, which was uncovered in a field near Frome last April, was determined following several hours of debate including the differing opinions of three experts.

The coins, stashed in a large jar, include five particularly rare silver pieces made for the emperor Carausius, who ruled from 286 to 293AD.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Colosseum to open gladiator tunnels to public

The dark stone tunnels in which gladiators prepared to do battle in the Colosseum are being opened to the public for the first time.

But archeologists are concerned about the impact that millions of tourists will have on the subterranean maze of tunnels and galleries as they seek to experience their very own Gladiator moment, re-enacting scenes from the Ridley Scott blockbuster starring Russell Crowe.

From next week, visitors will be able to venture into the bowels of the amphitheatre, the largest ever built by the Romans, exploring the cells and passageways in which wild animals such as lions, tigers, bears and hyenas were corralled.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hungate dig to feature on Time Team

The Hungate excavation is the biggest ever archaeological dig in York city centre.

Highlights of the dig include uncovering part of a 1,700 year old Roman cemetery and learning more about Viking York.

The dig began in 2007 and is scheduled to take five years, at a cost of £3.3 million.

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Pictures: Rare Roman Helmet Sells for $3.6 Million

A rare Roman helmet dating to the late first to second century A.D. fetched nearly $3.6 million dollars at a London auction on October 7.

The bronze helmet and face mask, (seen above in an undated photo), was discovered in May 2010 by a treasure hunter using a metal detector in a field in Cumbria, a county in northwestern England.

(Related pictures: "Giant, Bulging-Eyed Roman Emperor Statue Found.")

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Exeter Roman fort finds on view to the public

HISTORIC remains of a Roman fort unearthed during excavations in Exeter will be on display to the public for the first time this weekend.

As the Echo revealed in the summer, the city's early history could soon be rewritten as a result of the extraordinary find on the former St Loyes Foundation site in Topsham Road.

And visitors will have the opportunity to explore the area at a open day on Saturday.

With Roman remains dating back to approximately AD50, the site owners Helical Bar PLC and Urban Renaissance Villages said they are keen for the general public to visit and gain a better understanding of how the city's history was shaped by the conquering Roman army.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Landowners fear flood of treasure hunters after £2.3 million Roman helmet sale

Landowners fear flood of treasure hunters after £2.3 million Roman helmet sale

The find is the latest in a series of high profile artifacts unearthed by amateurs armed with metal detectors.

However the Country Land and Business Association is warning that property owners can become embroiled in costly legal disputes if they fail to agree contracts with anyone searching on their land.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Ancient Roman helmet sells for 10 times estimated amount

A detailed and well-preserved Roman parade helmet -- complete with fine facial features on its face mask, tight curly hair, and a griffin-topped cap -- sold at auction Thursday for 10 times its estimated amount.

The helmet sold at Christie's auction house in London for 2.28 million pounds ($3.6 million). It had been estimated at 200,000 to 300,000 pounds (about $316,000 to $475,000).

The buyer of the helmet was not immediately known.

The Tullie House Museum in Carlisle, near where the helmet was found in May by a person with a metal detector, had launched a public fundraising appeal to try to procure the helmet as the centerpiece for a new Roman gallery.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Why the Roman spa town of Allianoi must be saved

We continue to believe that it is still not too late for Turkish political leaders to take necessary action to avoid such a cultural tragedy to take place. Allianoi need not be sacrificed

The most recent reports from Turkey about the Roman spa complex of Allianoi, sent by the local Allianoi Initiative led by the archaeologist professor Ahmet Yaras, says that now only the tops of excavated walls and columns poke through sand that workers employed by the Turkish State Waterworks are laying. This outstanding Roman archaeological site is being made ready to be submerged under water as work resumes on the controversial Yortanli dam. If the dam's construction goes ahead and the valley flooded to create a reservoir, ancient history will be lost by an irrigation scheme with an expected life-span of only 50 years.

Excavated by archaeologists only relatively recently, the ancient spa complex of Allianoi near Bergama in western Turkey has already revealed many historically rich monuments, including the thermal baths, bridges, streets and dwellings, and provided important scientific insights into Roman art, architecture, engineering, hydrology, medicine and pharmacology. Enlarged by the Emperor Hadrian, Allianoi dates mainly from the 2nd century AD, a time of emerging urban centers in Anatolia and of the construction of the famous Asklepion of nearby Pergamon.

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Berlin Researchers Crack the Ptolemy Code

A 2nd century map of Germania by the scholar Ptolemy has always stumped scholars, who were unable to relate the places depicted to known settlements. Now a team of researchers have cracked the code, revealing that half of Germany's cities are 1,000 years older than previously thought.

The founding of Rome has been pinpointed to the year 753. For the city of St. Petersburg, records even indicate the precise day the first foundation stone was laid.

Historians don't have access to this kind of precision when it comes to German cities like Hanover, Kiel or Bad Driburg. The early histories of nearly all the German cities east of the Rhine are obscure, and the places themselves are not mentioned in documents until the Middle Ages. So far, no one has been able to date the founding of these cities.

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Even the Romans recycled glass

The Romans weren't just dab hands at making beautiful vessels, ornaments and plates from glass; they were also good at recycling the stuff. A new study has found that towards the end of their rule in Britain, the Romans were recycling vast amounts of glass.
Roman glass

But the researchers behind the study think this probably had less to do with their concern for the environment, and more to do with the fact that glass became scarcer in the northern fringes of the Roman Empire during the last century of their rule.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Archaeologists believe they've found the sacred cave where, according to legend, a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome.

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Success in Roman helmet appeal

A magnanimous philanthropist has anonymously donated £50,000 to help galvanise the fundraising campaign to buy the rare Crosby Garrett Roman Cavalry Helmet, but time is running out.

The recently-discovered Crosby Garrett Roman Calvary Parade Helmet. (C) Christie's Images Ltd, 2010In a show of generosity the businessman has donated the funds on one condition, that the public match his donation pound for pound.

Carlisle's Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery is calling on those interested in Roman heritage to help trigger the benefactor's double-your-money offer with a Give a Quid to the Bid campaign as it races to raise the funds for the auction on 7 October 2010.

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Ancient sanctuary dedicated to Mithras discovered in France

Archaeologists excavating at Angers, France, have discovered the remains of a temple dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras. The small, rectangular chapel, in which worshippers gathered for banquets and sacrifices dedicated to the god, is dated to the third century AD.

At the sanctuary, a typical bas-relief of the god Mithras wearing his Phrygian cap shows him slaughtering a bull – the so-called tauroctony. The depiction of the god was intentionally damaged in ancient times, possibly by early Christians trying to suppress the pagan cult.

Among the artefacts discovered are oil lamps, fragments of a chandelier containing Nubian terracotta figures, a bronze 4th century crucifix fibula and about 200 coins. Large quantities of cockerel bones (a favoured dish at the cultic banquets) were found inside and around the ancient temple.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Roman circus uncovered at Outlane

Local archaeologists have discovered Huddersfield’s long-lost circus or sporting arena, built by the Romans in the village of Outlane nearly 2,000 years ago.

And they believe crowds of up to 2,000 would pack into the amphitheatre to watch horsemanship displays by the Roman cavalry.

The soldiers were based at the Slack Roman fort, built to protect the military road from Chester to York.

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Cambridge dig looking for Anglo-Saxon skeletons finds Roman settlement

A dig in search of Anglo-Saxon skeletons has instead unearthed signs of a sprawling Roman settlement. The discovery was made last week, on the grounds of Cambridge's Newnham College.

Evidence of a 16th or 17th century farmhouse that could date back to the reign of Henry VIII was unearthed at the site as well.

"We knew there was a Roman settlement here before but we had no idea of the size," said Dr Catherine Hills.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Online Courses in Archaeology with the University of Oxford

Cave paintings, castles and pyramids, Neanderthals, Romans and Vikings - archaeology is about the excitement of discovery, finding out about our ancestors, exploring landscape through time, piecing together puzzles of the past from material remains.

Our courses enable you to experience all this through online archaeological resources based on primary evidence from excavations and artefacts and from complex scientific processes and current thinking. Together with guided reading, discussion and activities you can experience how archaeologists work today to increase our knowledge of people and societies from the past.

View the courses available this term...

After dark tours at Rome's ancient baths

New night tours of Rome's spectacular Baths of Caracalla offer a rare chance to see the ancient ruins at their best, without the heat and the crowds

Few visitors to Rome get to see the Baths of Caracalla, the ruins of the third-century leisure complex that could hold up to 1,500 bathers. Even fewer visitors get to see them at night.

Which is a shame, because there may be no better time to see Rome's ruins, the baths included, than when the crowds have gone, the air is cool, and the silence that comes with abandonment – a silence that has accompanied the structures for most of their existence – returns.

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Bulgarian Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Roman Highway, Fortress

A team of archaeologists from the Bulgarian National History Museum has uncovered a highway dating back to the zenith of the Roman Empire.

The archaeologists led by Dr. Ivan Hristov have been excavating the fortress of Sostra, an Ancient Roman horse-changing station along the highway in question, since the beginning of September.

It is located near the village of Lomets, close to the town of Troyan in the Stara Planina mountain.

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Romanians seek halt to Canadian gold mine project

Opponents of a Canadian gold mine project in a Romanian village on Saturday called on the Romanian culture ministry to save a threatened ancient site in the area.

"The universal value of the Rosia Montana site and especially of the Roman mining tunnels of the Carnic mountains has been acknowledged by numerous specialists around the world," local NGO Alburnus Maior said.

"Issuing an archaeological discharge certificate would lead to the destruction of the site and would seriously alter this cultural heritage," the NGO added.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Shattered Marble Map Mystifies Puzzlers

Think that 800-piece clown puzzle in your basement might be missing a few pieces? You’ve got nothing on this ancient mystery, as Jane Doh describes.

An unintentional jigsaw puzzle made of marble, over two millennia old, and missing most of its pieces has defied scholars and puzzle-solvers for centuries. Measuring 60 x 43 feet and carved in the 3rd century CE, the Severan Marble Plan of Rome captured the groundplan of Roman architecture in minute detail, even down to staircases, but only 10 to 15 percent of the intricately carved map has been found. Excavations for Rome’s new subway line this year may soon unearth further pieces to the puzzle, according to an article from Discovery News.

Roughly on a scale of 1:240, the Severan Marble Plan consisted of 150 slabs mounted on what was once the interior wall of the Temple of Peace (now the exterior wall of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian). During the Middle Ages, the Plan was slowly destroyed, parts of it ground up and repurposed into building materials, pieces broken and re-broken over centuries. Some pieces just fell to the base of the wall and were buried by time. The holes where the slabs were once anchored to the wall are still visible.

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Caerleon dig sheds light on time when Romans left

ONE of the most significant archaeological digs ever to take place in Caerleon is expected to shed new light on what happened in the area during and immediately after the Roman occupation.

A team of 50 archaeologists from Cardiff University and University College London yesterday finished a six-week dig at the CADW-owned Priory Field.

During that time, they uncovered a set of Roman body armour - one of only four such discoveries ever in Britain.

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Carlisle museum raises £20,000 in four days to buy Crosby Garrett Roman helmet

Attempts to raise enough money to keep a unique Roman artefact in Cumbria have already drawn in more than £20,000.

Tullie House has launched an appeal to raise £80,000 to keep a beautifully preserved Roman cavalry parade helmet found by a metal detectorist in a field near Crosby Garrett in its new Roman gallery.

And by yesterday, just four days into the appeal, the campaign had already raised about £24,000 in its opening four days.

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Roman week in St Albans

SCHOOLCHILDREN from across the district will be exploring everyday life in Roman times at St Albans Abbey next week.

The cathedral has arranged a Roman festival, with a packed four-day programme of events which have been rapidly booked up by local schools.

The events include drama and hands on activities such as cooking Roman dishes and handling genuine 2,000 - year-old archaeological finds.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Appeal to save rare Roman helmet unearthed in Cumbria

An appeal to keep a rare Roman bronze helmet in Cumbria has so far raised about £20,000, museum officials said.

The helmet, complete with face mask, was found by a metal detector enthusiast in Crosby Garrett, near Kirkby Stephen, in May.

It is expected to fetch more than £300,000 when it comes up for auction at Christie's in London next month.

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Roman Helmet Appeal

A Roman helmet of national significance, found in Crosby Garrett, North Cumbria, will be auctioned on 7th October.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, Cumbria, has launched an urgent public and corporate appeal to help to secure this exceptionally rare Roman Cavalry Parade Helmet, dating from the end of the 1st to mid 3rd century AD, as a centrepiece for its new £1.5m Roman Frontier: stories beyond Hadrian’s Wall gallery, due to open summer 2011.

The helmet was found by a metal detector user earlier this year and was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary scheme that records archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales.

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New finds suggest Romans won big North Germany battle

New finds at a well-preserved ancient battlefield in the north of Germany are not only rewriting geo-political history, but also revealing some of the secrets of Rome's military success.

Until only two years ago, northern Germany was believed to have been a no-go area for Roman troops after three legions were wiped out by German tribesmen in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9.

The revelation that two centuries later a Roman force mounted a punitive raid deep inside the tribal areas in AD 235 has changed all that, suggesting that a soldier-emperor, Maximinus Thrax, seriously attempted to subjugate the north of Germany.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hadrian's Wall child murder: estimated time of death pre-367AD

The murderous reputation of one of Britain's best-known Roman towns has been raised by the discovery of a child's hastily buried skeleton under a barrack room floor.

Archaeologists at Vindolanda fort near Hadrian's Wall are preparing for a repeat of a celebrated coroner's inquest in the 1930s that concluded two other corpses unearthed near the site were "victims of murder by persons unknown shortly before 367AD".

The latest discovery at the frontier settlement in Northumberland is thought to be the remains of a girl aged between eight and 10 who may have been tied up before she died.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Roman cavalry helmet found with metal detector may go abroad at auction

A stunning Roman cavalry helmet, made to awe the spectators in a procession of wealth and power rather than for practical use in combat, has been found by a metal detector user near the village of Crosby Garrett in Cumbria.

However, the artefact is not certain to end up in a local museum as single items of bronze are not covered by the Treasure Act.

Instead the helmet, the best found in Britain in more than a century, is likely to make its finder rich at auction, with a guide price at Christie's of £300,000.

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Rare Roman suit of armour found at Caerleon dig

Archaeologists digging at a site in south Wales have uncovered an entire suit of Roman armour and some weapons.

The rare discovery was made during an excavation at the fortress of Caerleon in south Wales, one of Britain's best known Roman sites.

Dig leader Dr Peter Guest of Cardiff University said the suit was only the third or fourth to be found in the UK, and the first in Wales.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

West Cumbrian trust steps in to save Roman Maryport

THE Senhouse Roman Museum Trust is considering a £300,000 investment to save Roman Maryport.

The announcement comes after news that the £11 million Roman visitor centre, due to be completed next year, will now be put back until at least 2014.

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd is still confident that it will obtain the funding despite being told by the Northwest Development Agency that there was no money in the kitty.

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First Roman watermill discovered in West Cumbria

THE first Roman watermill to be discovered in Cumbria has been unearthed in an archaeological dig on the edge of Cockermouth.

The discovery, behind the Lakes Homecentre, signals that the River Derwent, on the banks of which it stood, was an important part of Romano-British life in Cockermouth.

The watermill, thought to date back to the first or second century, is the last and most exciting find of the project led by Grampus Heritage and Training, which finishes today.

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Rare Roman lantern found in farmer's field

An intact Roman lantern made of bronze, believed by experts to be the only one of its kind in Britain, has been unearthed in a field by a metal-detecting enthusiast.

The unique artefact which dates from between the 1st and 3rd century AD was discovered by 21-year-old Danny Mills at a detecting rally near Sudbury, Suffolk.

Mills reported the find to local archaeologists and the landowner later donated it to the regional museum.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lost Roman city opens up for public viewing

HUNDREDS of visitors saw how Roman history is being unearthed at a special open weekend in Caerleon.

The Argus reported at the beginning of this month how a lost Roman city was uncovered in the Priory Field site after researchers from Cardiff University found a huge complex of buildings.

Students detected walls below the ground in fields outside the fortress outlining a series of huge buildings between the amphitheatre and the River Usk, in an area experts thought was largely unoccupied during the Roman era.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Revealed: the Roman Ninth Legion's guilty secret

New research reveals that the so-called crack troops of Rome were in fact guilty of crimes against fashion

They have been the subject of innumerable romantic books and films, including the forthcoming epic, The Eagle of the Ninth, directed by Kevin Macdonald. But new evidence this week has revealed that life for a soldier in the Roman Ninth Legion had a more mundane side. A newly excavated site near Healam Bridge fort, North Yorkshire, a military outpost used by the Ninth, has shown soldiers there had their own industrial estate nearby to provide them with clothes, pottery and other equipment.

The Ninth was formed in 65BC and fought in Hispania and Gaul before taking part in Claudius's invasion of Britain in AD43. The legion then helped maintain the Roman empire's grip of Britain although it suffered a serious defeat during Boudicca's rebellion in AD61.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

24 August 410: the date it all went wrong for Rome?

Tuesday marks the 1,600th anniversary of one of the turning points of European history - the first sack of Imperial Rome by an army of Visigoths, northern European barbarian tribesmen, led by a general called Alaric.

It was the first time in 800 years that Rome had been successfully invaded. The event had reverberations around the Mediterranean.

Jerome, an early Christian Church Father, in a letter to a friend from Bethlehem - where he happened to be living - wrote that he burst into tears upon hearing the news.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Apollon's twin perhaps

GERMAN archaeologists are looking at a new find which could suggest a second temple close to the Temple of Apollo.

They have extended their excavations away from Apollon and have discovered a wall which they consider to be part of another temple – maybe that the Temple is for Artemis – the twin of Apollon.

Representative of Ministry of Culture and Tourism Ferhan Büyükyörük said: “An illegal dig was done in the area previously, which revealed the remains of a wall.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dig unearths insight into life before the Romans

THE third phase of the Big Dig at Brading Roman Villa may well have been one of the toughest excavations eminent archaeologist Sir Barry Cunliffe had ever undertaken but it has yielded some treasures and a greater understanding of Brading’s history up to its Roman occupation.

With the three-week dig ending yesterday (Friday), Sir Barry’s team has unearthed, over the past two weeks, numerous pottery remains, ranging from pieces of amphorae to a tray for sifting sea water to extract salt.

The discovery of a second century BC saucepan became the earliest evidence of occupation on the site, pushing its history back as much as two centuries.
Examples of early jewellery were also found, which included an example of a small mid-first century AD brooch inlaid with enamel.

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Archaeologists hail unique find in Albania

A marble bus of an athlete dating back to the Roman era, has been unearthed in the ancient city of Apollonia, 120 kms from Tirana. A team of French and Albanian archaeologists digging at the scene are studying how Apollonia evolved from a Greek colony founded in the 7th century BC to a Roman settlement in the 3rd century AD.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Time Team documentary to focus on Caistor St Edmund dig

The Roman town at Caistor St Edmund is the subject of a new archaeological dig, which will be featured in a Time Team documentary on Channel 4.

It is the first time anybody has dug inside the walls of the settlement, south of Norwich, for 75 years.

"What we really hope to discover is how the site started and when it started," said dig leader Dr Will Bowden from the University of Nottingham.

The dig starts on 21 August 2010 and is open for public viewing.

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Truth about Roman York

ONCE, when we all spoke Latin, Micklegate ran as straight as a Roman road should to the only bridge over the River Ouse, somewhere near today’s Guildhall.

Since then, it has gone wandering off course and now winds across the slope to end up further downstream at today’s Ouse Bridge. The question is, why doesn’t it go straight to the new bridge site – and what is it avoiding?

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Digging our Roman past and digging our roving presenter

As history programme presenters go, Dr Alice Roberts is a dream. She's your sweet and a little bit posh mate down the pub, who is so enthusiastic about her work, you can't help but be interested.

"We might be a small island, but we've got a big history," she says excitedly, in the opening credits of Digging for Britain (BBC Two, 9pm).

Like a teacher to the masses, Alice (and I know she wouldn't mind me calling her Alice) is making archaeology accessible, and pretty much understandable.

I think it's her gift of being able to smile and talk at the same time.

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Skeleton of 'dismembered' child discovered by Chiltern Arcaeologists

ARCHAEOLOGISTS investigating a mass burial of 97 infants were 'horrified' to find what they believe to be the skeleton of a dismembered child.

Chiltern Archaeologists suspect the site in Hambleden could have been a Roman brothel – where unwanted babies were systematically killed.

Dr Jill Eyers, who lives in Lane End, said the group has discovered cut marks on the bones of one of the babies.

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Ancient temple complex discovered near Le Mans

Excavations near the antique city of Vindunum (now Le Mans) have revealed a vast religious site dating from the first to the third centuries AD with remarkably well-preserved offerings.

Sometimes archaeology requires imagination. And you need it to conjure up the vast complex of temples that stood nearly 2,000 years ago on this flat two-hectare strip of land, in what is now Neuville-sur-Sarthe, 4km to the north of Le Mans.

"I have been an archaeologist for 30 years, and I've been lucky enough to work on some wonderful digs. But this is an exceptional discovery, the sort that all archaeologists dream of making once in their lives," said Gérard Guillier, who heads the team from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) that has been poring over this piece of land since June. The team has no time to lose because in the autumn this former Gallo-Roman sanctuary will be transformed into an "urban development zone".

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Roman city emerges from Sofia metro excavations

The architectural heart of ancient Serdica, the Roman Empire-era predecessor of Bulgaria's capital of Sofia, is emerging amid excavations for the construction of the city metro system.

In a couple of years, the finds will become part of an underground museum where visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of Constantine the Great (272-337 AD), the first Roman emperor to legalise Christianity and adopt it himself.

Modern Sofia lies on several archaeological layers left by the Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, medieval Bulgarians and Ottoman Turks.

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Ancient Roman Map Puzzle May Get New Pieces

Several pieces of the world's oldest and largest unsolved jigsaw puzzle, a 2,200-year-old map of Rome made of thousands of marble fragments, could be unearthed next year following construction work for a new metro line near Rome's majestic forum area.

“This is a unique occasion to excavate the Forum of Peace, where the map once stood,” Rossella Rea, director of the Colosseum, told the Italian financial daily “Il Sole 24 Ore.”

Carved into marble slabs around 210 A.D., during the rule of the emperor Septimius Severus, the map was originally hung on a wall in the Templum Pacis (Temple of Peace), which stood in the middle of an enclosure called Forum of Peace.

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British villa fit for an emperor: Experts finally solve puzzle of Roman ruins at Lullingstone

For 70 years, archaeologists have tried to unravel the secrets of one of the most remarkable Roman villas discovered in Britain.

The Lullingstone villa was uncovered in 1939 when a tree was blown down by high winds. Over the years, archaeologists found one of the first Christian chapels in Britain, the graves of a man and a woman, a pair of unique floor mosaics and two marble busts.

The owner of the villa in Kent has finally been identified as a former Emperor of Rome.

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Did Boudica live near Norwich?

Archaeologists are set to unearth further secrets of a Roman town on the outskirts of Norwich - and are hoping to discover evidence linking the settlemt to East Anglia's Iceni queen Boudica.

Channel 4's Time Team will be filming the excavations at Caistor St Edmund, which are the first within the Roman walls of the site for 75 years.

The Roman town of Venta Icenorum lies beneath the fields at the site but historians believe it might have been built on top of a previous Iceni settlement - perhaps even the home of the warrior queen Boudica.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Archaeologists Make Monumental Discovery At Caerleon

Archaeologists from Cardiff University have made a major new discovery that will change the way we think about how Britain was conquered and occupied by the Roman army almost 2,000 years ago.

A complex of monumental buildings has been located outside the Roman fortress at Caerleon in South Wales, which is likely to lead to a complete rethink of one of the country’s most important Roman sites.

The discovery was fortuitous - students from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion were learning how to use geophysical equipment in fields outside the fortress that were not thought to have been extensively occupied in the Roman period. 10 days later, the students and their tutors had revealed the outlines of a series of huge buildings squeezed into the ground between the amphitheatre and the River Usk.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Major buildings find at Roman fortress of Caerleon

Archaeologists have discovered several large buildings at the fortress of Caerleon in south Wales, one of Britain's best known Roman sites.

The major discovery was made by chance by students learning to use geophysical equipment.

Cardiff University's Peter Guest said the find was "totally unexpected" .

It is possible the buildings, which may include baths and temples, are first evidence of Roman plans to develop Caerleon into a major settlement.

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Rethink of Roman occupation after fortress find

THE village of Caerleon on the River Usk could have been the grand main base of the British Roman empire, groundbreaking discoveries have suggested.

A team of students has stumbled upon a huge area of ancient buildings, unique in terms of their massive scale and non-military function.

They were located in fields outside the Roman fortress at Caerleon, north of Newport, which is likely to lead to a complete rethink of one of the country’s most important Roman sites, as well as the way we think about how Britain was conquered and occupied by the Roman Army almost 2,000 years ago.

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Lost Roman city found in Caerleon

A LOST Roman city was uncovered in Newport yesterday, as researchers from Cardiff University found a huge complex of buildings in Caerleon.

Students detected walls below the ground in fields outside the fortress outlining a series of huge buildings between the amphitheatre and the River Usk, in an area experts thought was largely unoccupied during the Roman era.

The find is described as being of international importance, and is set to change the way experts think about Britain's Roman history.

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Roman fort unearthed in Monmouth

WORK on a gas main yesterday uncovered evidence of a Roman fort in Monmouth, older than its Caerleon counterpart and capable of holding 2,000 troops.

Steve Clarke of Monmouth Archaeology found evidence of a Roman fort in Monmouth, including hundreds of items including pottery and bones which confirms a fort, believed to be the oldest in Wales, existed in AD55. The find provides further evidence a fort covered most of the town centre.

Mr Clarke, 68, said: "We can now say it’s 25 years older than the Caerleon Fort and there were around 2,000 troops here."

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Romans finds are significant

IT’S not every day you report on a significant archaeological find.

So imagine our surprise when today we tell of two discoveries of huge importance in Gwent.

The first - described as of international importance - is at Caerleon, an area that is obviously no stranger to historic finds.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Dig discoveries ‘very encouraging’

DIGGERS at Brading Roman Villa have gone potty over a double discovery made during the opening few days of Big Dig 3.

A rare first century Vectis cooking pot and a copper coin, believed to be from the first or second century, were found to mark a successful start to the three-week dig.
The pot would have been for everyday use and it was made from Isle of Wight clay.

The coin is believed to be a Roman 'As’ with an image of a goddess on the front and it will be sent to the British Museum for formal identification.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Survey shows up Roman remains near Cockermouth and Papcastle

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL survey has revealed new evidence of a Romano-British settlement in Papcastle and Cockermouth.

A six-week survey of land alongside the River Derwent was carried out by Grampus Heritage after the floods revealed bits of Roman pottery. The survey started in June and was funded by Bassenthwaite Reflections.

Project manager Mark Graham said the geophysical survey had revealed that the settlement was much larger than previously thought and had unveiled one on the south side of the river which includes buildings, a road, ditched enclosure and an iron working site.

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Work to reveal Cumbrian Roman settlement

A west Cumbrian community stricken by last year’s floods is coming together to explore significant Roman remains unearthed as river torrents receded.

Early investigations alongside the River Derwent at Papcastle, near Cockermouth, have revealed signs of an important settlement, possibly dating back to the second century.

One of them includes a possible amphitheatre.

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410 - The Sack of Rome. The event, its context and its impact, Rome, November 4-6, 2010

The Visigothic sack of Rome in 410 A.D. has traditionally played a crucial role in narratives of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. From Augustine and Orosius to the modern age the sack has left an indelible mark in Western intellectual history, as a symbol of the decline of the Eternal City. However, scholars have recently revised the importance and magnitude of the sack, playing down its impact on the city of Rome and in late imperial history in general. At the same time, late antique history and archaeology have experienced important developments, and our knowledge of the city of Rome in the 5th century has been greatly expanded.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Funding fears for Caernarfon's Segontium Roman museum

The free entry policy that has boosted attendance at national museums could be having an adverse effect on smaller attractions.

Rhys Prytherch, who is involved with two small museums in Caernarfon, says they're suffering from the public's assumption that all museums should be free.

Segontium Roman Fort and Caernarfon Maritime Museum depend on admission charges and grants from the town council and they are struggling to stay open.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Remains of Roman villa near Aberystwyth discovered

Archaeologists have discovered a 4th Century Roman villa near Aberystwyth.

It is the most north-westerly villa found in Wales and has forced experts to reconsider the whole nature of Roman settlement across mid and north Wales.

Findings indicate Abermagwr had all the trappings of villas found further south, including a slate roof and glazed windows.

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Roman villa found in Welsh 'military zone'

The Roman control over Britain stretched even further than first thought, the discovery of a new villa suggests.

Archaeologists have discovered a 4th Century villa near Aberystwyth, the first time they have found evidence of Roman occupation of North and mid Wales.

Findings indicate Abermagwr had all the trappings of villas found further south, including a slate roof and glazed windows.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Roman neighborhood ruins uncovered in Lyon, France

A photo-illustrated look at the origins of Lyon, which was founded in 43 BC during the Roman Empire. Recent excavation work has uncovered a residential area in what was the center of the city.

Situated in what was Gaul – France - and conquered by Julius Caesar between 58 and 53 BC, Lyon was born with the name Lugdunum, after the Gaulish word ‘dunum’ which meant ‘hill fort’, in 43 BC on the summit of the Fourvière heights. The Romans were not the first people to live here, though, as there is evidence of pre-Gallic community activity which goes back as far as the Neolithic era. Lugdunum’s first inhabitants were members of a group of Roman refugees who had been forced to leave Vienne, a town 30km south.

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Römischen Hafen entdeckt?

Bei Grabungen im Vorfeld der Überbauung Wydenpark in Studen im Kanton Bern stiess der Archäologische Dienst des Kantons Bern auf Reste massiver Holzkonstruktionen. Diese bekräftigen die Vermutung, dass am alten Aarelauf ein römischer Hafen gewesen sein könnte.

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Detectorist Dave praised for Roman hoard find

Devizes metal detectorist Dave Crisp, secretary of the Trowbridge Metal Detecting Club, has been publicly commended for his actions after he found one of the biggest ever hoards of Roman coins.

Mr Crisp, 63, from Waylands, Devizes, uncovered the huge hoard of coins in a field near Frome, Somerset, in April this year.

He told east Somerset coroner Tony Williams at an inquest in Frome today that he often searched the fields round there with the permission of the farmers.

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Haul of Roman coins dug up in field to earn finder a fortune

A metal detector enthusiast could share a £1m payout after finding one of Britain's largest ever collections of Roman coins in a farmer's field, it emerged today.

Dave Crisp, an NHS chef, was celebrating after a coroner ruled the find of 52,000 coins was treasure. It becomes the property of the crown and is bound to end up in a museum, but Crisp and the landowner will be rewarded once the hoard has been valued by an independent panel.

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Brian still in town looking for more Roman treasures

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the discovery of Roman remains in the centre of Dover.

In the summer of 1970, work was under way on the York Street bypass and a team of experts was drafted in from the Roman fort at Reculver for an eight-week rapid excavation of the site before the road was built.

As they dug they discovered a Roman fort and one of the best-preserved examples of ancient interior design, the famous Roman Painted House, which has been open to tourists for more than 30 years. The archaeologists assumed theirs would be only a brief visit to the town, but incredibly one of their number is still working at the site four decades later.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Metal-detector enthusiast finds Roman coins

A metal-detector enthusiast who made one of the most important archaeological finds in Nottinghamshire has struck again.

Five years ago Maurice Richardson found the Iron Age Newark Torc. Now he's discovered a hoard of Roman coins.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Roman bones reveal brutal gladiator deaths

Gladiators in the arena based on the painting, Pollice Verso, by Jean-leon Gerome
One in three of the skeletons found had one arm at least 5cm longer than the other. This is consistent with the effect of one-sided work from an early age such as regular sword practice. The cleaned up bones on the left are from the skeleton on the right.

Six years ago archaeologists in York unearthed 80 skeletons. Of the 60 or so complete skeletons, many showed signs of a violent death. After years of research the York Archaeological Trust believes that they may have been gladiators.

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Discovery of Roman fort 'could rewrite history of Exeter'

A REMARKABLE Roman fort has been discovered by archaeologists in Exeter.

And the city's early history could soon be rewritten as a result of the extraordinary find on a development site off Topsham Road.

Although excavation of the site at the former St Loye's campus is in its early stages, the finds have already been described as extremely significant by leading city archaeologists.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Archaeologists discover late-Roman cemetery at site of derelict pub

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found what is thought to be a late-Roman cemetery in a county village.

So far, a total of 46 human remains have been excavated and archaeologists say they expect to have found more than 50 by the time they finish next week.

The discovery was made during a five-week dig taking place as part of the development of a derelict pub in Caistor, near Market Rasen.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

'Biggest canal ever built by Romans' discovered

One of the biggest canals ever built by the Romans in an ancient port as important as Carthage or Alexandria has been discovered by British archaeologists.

Scholars discovered the 100-yard-wide (90-metre-wide) canal at Portus, the ancient maritime port through which goods from all over the Empire were shipped to Rome for more than 400 years.

The archaeologists, from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton and the British School at Rome, believe the canal connected Portus, on the coast at the mouth of the Tiber, with the nearby river port of Ostia, two miles away

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Study: Archimedes Set Roman Ships Afire with Cannons

Greek inventor Archimedes is said to have used mirrors to burn ships of an attacking Roman fleet. But new research suggests he may have used steam cannons and fiery cannonballs instead.

A legend begun in the Medieval Ages tells of how Archimedes used mirrors to concentrate sunlight as a defensive weapon during the siege of Syracuse, then a Greek colony on the island of Sicily, from 214 to 212 B.C. No contemporary Roman or Greek accounts tell of such a mirror device, however.

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2000-year-old human skeleton found at Gloucestershire Roman villa dig

A 2,000-YEAR-OLD human skeleton has been unearthed alongside Iron Age artefacts near Tewkesbury.

Archaeologists uncovered signs of the ancient Roman villa in a field on the edge of Bredon's Norton. It is thought the finds could be of national importance.

Metal detector hunts in recent years had led historians to suspect an ancient community might be found there.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Roman Mystery Woman Discovered Near Hereford: Not a Female Gladiator

An unusual Roman burial has been uncovered at a site near Hereford. The female, buried in the first or second century AD, was unusually strong and is buried in a well made coffin.

Robin Jackson, senior project manager from Worcestershire council's Historic Environment and Archaeology Service, was excavating at the site. He said: “We've been working on the site for three months now and four burials have been found under a building. One of these is slightly unusual, in that it contains the remains of a woman who was very strongly built. She had obviously done hard physical work during her life, suggesting possibly a peasant labourer, but the anomaly is that she is buried in a slightly higher status coffin.”

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Roman Ships and Amphorae Found off Sardinia and Panarea

Roman ship-discovery season is in full flow, with several finds and explorations announced in the past week.

Yesterday Ansa ran a story about the discovery of a 25-metre merchant ship from the first century AD with its cargo of 500 amphorae containing fruit and vegetables still on board. The ship is said to be in perfect condition and was found south of Panarea, in the group of Aeolian/Lipari islands north of Sicily. The news agency reported that Italy's Maritime Superintendency and the Aurora Trust, an American foundation, were responsible for the find.

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The Gladiator Girl Found By Archaeologists

Archaeologists in Herefordshire have exposed the remnants of what could perhaps be a female gladiator. Amongst the verification of a Roman suburb in Credenhill, they have found the grave of a gigantic, muscular woman.

Toughened with iron straps and copper strips, she was found in an elaborate wooden coffin, which signified her importance.

Her remains were found in a squatted position, in what could be a hamlet of the close by Roman town of Kenchester.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

All roads lead to Vindolanda Roman Fort

The Birley family have toiled for 60 years to unearth Roman artefacts at Vindolanda Roman Fort in Northumbria, says Juliet Rix.

In a picturesque Northumbrian valley a mile south of Hadrian's Wall, Andrew Birley stands surrounded by a checkerboard of Roman remains. He is supervising a small crowd of volunteer excavators unearthing a 1,600-year-old flagstone road. They have just dug up a small stone altar with a potentially interesting inscription. Andrew is the third generation of his family to run the excavations here at Vindolanda Roman Fort. It's an unusual family business.

"I tried to put my children off," says Dr Robin Birley, 75, Andrew's father and head of research at Vindolanda. "But one of them didn't listen." Robin is sitting outside the site museum with his wife, Patricia, (Andrew's mother), director of the Vindolanda Trust and curator of the museum, and younger brother, Prof Anthony Birley (Tony),

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well-preserved Roman road found in southern Serbia

- Archaeologists have discovered the well-preserved remains of a Roman road dating back to the first century in south- eastern Serbia, Belgrade media reported Thursday.

The Roman military road, or Via militaris, near the town of Dimitrovgrad used to connect the western parts of the Roman empire with the eastern parts, archaeologists said.

'This road was one of the main roads of the Roman empire,' archaeologist Miroslav Lazic told the Novosti daily.

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Baby deaths link to Roman 'brothel' in Buckinghamshire

Archaeologists investigating a mass burial of 97 infants at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley believe it may have been a brothel.

Tests on the site at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire suggest all died at 40 weeks gestation, very soon after birth.

Archaeologists suspect local inhabitants may have been systematically killing unwanted babies.

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Discovery of babies' skeletons exposes the dark side of life in Roman Britain

One of Roman Britain's darkest secrets is close to being laid bare by modern science. Experts from English Heritage are examining dozens of infant skeletons buried 17 centuries ago in a quiet valley just north of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire.

The remains were unearthed almost 100 years ago by a local archaeologist – and modern specialists in Roman history had assumed that the bones had been reburied. Instead, while examining hundreds of boxes of archaeological material stored in Buckinghamshire's county museum in Aylesbury they rediscovered the remains of each tiny individual, neatly packed into old tobacco boxes and shotgun cartridge containers.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Dionysian ecstatic cults in early Rome

A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that, in contrast to traditional scholarly claims, Dionysian cultic activities may very well have occurred in archaic Rome in the decades around 500 BC.

A strong scholarly tradition rooted in the 19th century denies the presence of Dionysian ecstatic rites, cults, and satyr plays in Roman society. Although people in nearby societies evidently engaged in such behaviour around the same time in history, the Romans simply did not, according to early scholars. British scholars often stressed how much their people had in common with the Romans, not least as statesmen and colonists.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Visit a Roman village at road-dig exhibition

The focus will be on history this weekend (Jun 19-20) at the site of the East Kent Access road in Richborough, where people will see what archaeologists have discovered.

Experts from the Trust For Thanet Archaeology, the Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society and Kent Archaeological Society will be at the free event from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

The area became the gateway to England for the Romans, who landed nearby in 43AD and built a fortress.

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Spectacular Roman remains unveiled in Sofia

The remains of an ancient Roman town were on Thursday unveiled to the public in the centre of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Excavation of the site -- which currently includes a Roman palace, baths and burial sites, as well as a more recent 13th century church -- began several years ago.

It is hoped that the remains will be preserved as a major heritage site and tourist attraction.

Archaeologists believe the site -- which formed the intersection of the two major streets of the ancient Roman town Ulpia Sedica -- could prove even more extensive, with at least two more Roman palaces waiting to be uncovered.

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Roman dwelling find at Jersey church 'a first'

Ancient remains have been found in Jersey, which could be the first Roman dwellings found in the island.

Excavations were made at Grouville Church as part of work to extend the building, when archaeologists were called in to monitor the work.

The Reverend Mike Lange-Smith, rector of the church, said a post hole of a Roman period building was uncovered with pottery remains.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Channel 4 documentary investigates York's possible gladiatorial past

THE savagery of gladiatorial battles was depicted as Channel 4 investigated the discovery of 80 skeletons at a York archaeological dig.

As reported in The Press, the 80 skeletons, the majority of large, powerfully-built men dating from Roman times, were found at a dig in Driffield Terrace, Holgate.

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Mithraic Mysteries and the Cult of Empire

The proud Roman general stood with his commanders and retinue as the wild hillsmen, dressed in the ragged but still-flamboyant clothes of corsairs, fell before him in turn, begging for clemency. It was about 75 B.C. in the rugged hills near Coracesium in Cilicia, an untamed region along the coast of southwestern Asia Minor, and the Cilician pirates, possibly the most successful race of brigands the world has ever seen, were surrendering to the Roman general Pompey.

Pompeius Magnus, as he was afterwards styled, would go on to conquer the Levant and to challenge Julius Caesar for supremacy over the fledgling Roman Empire, but his lightning-swift campaign against the Cilician pirates was perhaps his finest moment. The pirates, taking advantage of Roman naval weakness during a span of decades that saw Rome wracked by civil war, had controlled much of the Mediterranean, as far west as the Balearic Islands.*

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Roman Maryport to lead the way in new Roman Frontier Narrative at Hadrian's Wall

One of the most significant but least researched sites along the Roman frontier in the north of England is to be transformed into a new visitor destination as part of the ongoing programme of renewal across the Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World HeritageSite.

Roman Maryport is to be the first in a string of linked attractions which stretch across the entire breadth of the country that will eventually provide visitors with what Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd are describing as a “cohesive Roman frontier narrative” threaded through sites along the Wall Corridor, with each destination centred on a specific theme.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Roman kiln to be returned to its home in Highgate Wood

A 2,000-year-old kiln is to be returned to its original home in Highgate Wood.

The Roman clay kiln, the only one of its kind in London, was discovered during excavations of Roman pottery across half a hectare of the northern end of the wood between 1966 and 1974 and has since been housed at Bruce Castle Museum in Haringey.

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More About the York Gladiators...

Here's a short bit of interview with NPR's Melissa Block and John Walker, the chief executive of the York Archaeological Trust.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Scars from lion bite suggest headless Romans found in York were gladiators

Evidence from tests on 80 skeletons of young men found in Yorkshire gardens points to world's best-preserved gladiator graveyard, archaeologists say

The haunting mystery of Britain's headless Romans may have been solved at last, thanks to scars from a lion's bite and hammer marks on decapitated skulls.

The results of forensic work, announced today, on more than 80 skeletons of well-built young men, gradually exhumed from the gardens of a York terrace over a decade, suggests that the world's best-preserved gladiator graveyard has been found.

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Lion bite helps solve riddle of York gladiator graveyard

THE HAUNTING mystery of Britain’s headless Romans may have been solved at last, thanks to scars from a lion’s bite and hammer marks on decapitated skulls.

The results of forensic work, announced today, on more than 80 skeletons of well-built young men, gradually exhumed from the gardens of a York terrace over a decade, suggest that the world’s best-preserved gladiator graveyard has been found.

Many of the 1,800-year-old remains indicate much stronger muscles in the right arm, a condition noted by Roman writers in slaves trained from their teens to fight in the arena. Advanced mineral testing of tooth enamel also links the men to a wide variety of Roman provinces, including North Africa, which was another feature of gladiator recruitment.

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Skeletons may be part of world’s only gladiator cemetery

THESE skeletons may be part of the world’s only well-preserved Roman gladiator cemetery, an archaeologist said yesterday.

Researchers discovered the remains, some of which feature marks that could reflect the violent manner in which some individuals died, during a continuing archaeological and forensic investigation in York.

Kurt Hunter-Mann, a field officer at York Archaeological Trust who is leading the investigation, said bite marks on one of the skeletons helped steer the team to their preliminary theory.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bulgaria: Archaeology Excavations at Sexaginta Prista Fortress Expand

The archaeological excavations of the Roman fortress Sexaginta Prista, located near the city of Ruse in north-central Bulgaria, will continue during the summer of 2010 into previously unexplored parts.

The archaeologists Varbin Varbanov and Deyan Dragoev this summer will study the area to the north of the temple of Apollo, which was discovered in 2006.

During last year’s excavation season, archaeologists found fragments of Celtic ceramics, which proved the Celtic presence in the region. Overall, in 2009, 25 square metres of the Sexaginta Prista Fortress were excavated.

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British archaeologists fight with Italian farmer to save ancient aqueduct

British archaeologists are battling with an Italian farmer to save the site of an ancient aqueduct which provided Rome with fresh water 1,900 years ago.

In January father and son team Edward and Michael O'Neill discovered the headwaters of the aqueduct, which was built by the Emperor Trajan, hidden beneath a crumbling 13th century church north of Rome.

A sophisticated example of Roman hydraulic engineering, the aqueduct, known as the Aqua Traiana, was inaugurated in 109AD and carried fresh water 35 miles to the imperial capital.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Home Away From Rome

Excavations of villas where Roman emperors escaped the office are giving archaeologists new insights into the imperial way of life

In A.D. 143 or 144, when he was in his early 20s, the future Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius set out for the country estate of his adoptive father, Emperor Antoninus Pius. The property, Villa Magna (Great Estate), boasted hundreds of acres of wheat, grapes and other crops, a grand mansion, baths and temples, as well as rooms for the emperor and his entourage to retreat from the world or curl up with a good book.

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2,000-Year-Old Shipwreck Creates Deep Sea Mystery

Although the 2,000-year-old shipwreck under the Gran Sasso mountain in central Italy may be a godsend for nuclear physicists, the “Ship of the Thousand Ingots” has been one big mystery for archaeologists.

Was the ship, which carried the largest lead shipment ever found, deliberately sunk on the orders of the captain? Was the vessel knocked over by a wave?

In this audio slide show, Donatella Salvi, director of the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, tells Discovery News what her team found when they recovered the ship's cargo.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Groundbreaking Roman Search: 24 to 28 May

A major investigation into Roman remains uncovered in the aftermath of Cockermouth's devastating floods is set to get underway this month.

Volunteers are needed for groundbreaking work on what is believed to be a settlement near the Papcastle Roman fort, surveyed by Channel 4's Time Team a decade ago but still not thoroughly excavated.

Forthcoming geophysical searches for buildings, roads and signs of occupation follow significant recent finds of possible foundations and a lot of pottery, unearthed by receding flood waters.

Organised by Bassenthwaite Reflections' Unlocking Hidden Heritage project, volunteers will be helping to piece together fascinating pieces of history in the first area study of its kind.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

West Cumbria floods uncover Roman finds prompting major probe

Roman finds uncovered by the floods of last November have excited archaeologists – and are set for a major investigation.
Roman finds photo

The remains of a Roman fort at Papcastle have been open for several years, but nobody has ever known the shape of local roads, the size of the civilian settlement attached to it, where the river Derwent ran and where it was crossed, or where the site’s cemetery was located.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slabs of plaster fall from ceiling of Colosseum

Slabs of ancient plaster have fallen from the ceiling of the Colosseum, leading experts to call for a £20 million restoration of Italy's most famous Roman monument.

The three chunks of mortar plummeted to the ground around dawn on Sunday, a few hours before thousands of tourists tramped through the gladiatorial arena.

They crashed through a wire protection net which was supposed to have prevented such accidents, but which is more than 30 years old.

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Chunks of mortar fall off Rome's Colosseum

Rome archaeology officials say three chunks of mortar have fallen off from the Colosseum but that no one was hurt and tourist visits will go on as normal.

The pieces, covering a total of about a square meter (about 10 square feet), occurred about 6 a.m. Sunday, hours before the ancient arena opens to the public.

Archaeology official Roberto Cecchi said the area involved was already scheduled for maintenance and will be further inspected on Monday.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Rare Roman box revealed at Maryport

A rare Roman seal box was just one of the treasures revealed at a Portable Antiquities event at the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport on Saturday.

Dot Boughton, a finds liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities scheme, visited the museum and said there were some interesting items brought in.

She said: “I have taken several items away to be photographed and catalogued. They will be returned to their owners but we will hold details of them on our database.”

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Dig for archaeological victory at new road site

KENT NEWS: Britain’s largest archaeological dig is now under way in Thanet and will last until work begins on a new road in June.

The big dig has already unearthed a multitude of artefacts and is expected to reveal even more secrets about Kent’s past.

And to ensure every step is covered, it is being captured on film for a BBC Two documentary.

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Mary Beard: A classicist in a class of her own

The delightful don, whose lively blog is read by thousands, is to host a TV series about Pompeii. And it's likely to inspire a new generation of Latin lovers

In all the noise following "Bigot-gate", there was one small corner of the blogosphere that could be trusted to offer the prime minister a unique sense of perspective. Mary Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge, and author of "A Don's Life", the web's most erudite gossip forum, was quickly online to suggest that Brown was not the first politician to be toasted.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Switch off TV and discover Carlisle's ancient soap opera

Tim Padley, keeper of archaeology at Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum enjoys talking about The Romans.

The Romans were like a soap opera, only a bit larger,” he says. So large, in fact, they’ve outgrown their current Tullie House home and there are now plans for a new Roman gallery to open at the museum next year which will showcase the immense Roman empire, its reaches and relevance to life today.

The gallery is, in part, inspired by the Millennium dig which began in 1999 in the grounds of Carlisle Castle, lasted three years, and uncovered a staggering 80,000 artefacts which were this week detailed in a 936-page report.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Rude Roman pots halt city revamp

WORK on the £11.6 million revamp of Canterbury's prestigious Beaney Institute has ground to a halt – because of Roman pornography.

Archaeologists are racing against time to recover lost evidence beneath the city's streets before the builders return.

Among the artefacts already uncovered are saucy carvings of couples having sex.

A spokesman confirmed: "We have found many personal effects and high-class pottery – known as samianware – depicting hunting and erotic scenes."

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Roman finds of ‘international importance’ from Carlisle dig

A 936-page report into the Millennium dig in the grounds of Carlisle castle in 1999 has now been published, detailing the 80,000 artefacts discovered and what they reveal about Roman life in the city.

Archaeologists dug five trenches on the Castle Green and Eastern Way and, over the following three years, unearthed a huge quantity of pottery, armour, weapons, and, unusually, wooden remains. They normally rot away but, because of the waterlogged soil, 2,000 large pieces of timber were discovered.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

HARLOW: Workers unearth Roman finds at Prentice Place playground

The tiles, pieces of pottery and bricks which were discovered on the Potter Street site have been investigated by a team from Wessex Archaeology. The team has found the materials to be that of a Roman tile kiln.

The re-used construction of the small building's walls using tegula and brick which are typical of a kiln structure, alongside analysis of the material spread comprising dark carbon rich soils containing some Roman second and third century pottery.

After discussion with English Heritage and Essex County Council's historic buildings advisor, the remains will be retained for posterity and protected in situ with a carefully laid series of aggregates. Once covered, work will then recommence on the playground.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Satellite photography helps uncover lost city of Altinum

The lagoon city of Altinum was one of the richest in the Roman Empire – a staging post for traders from across the ancient world. Around the middle of the 5th century, however, its residents fled for fear of marauding barbarians, leaving a ghost town of crumbling villas and basilicas. After much of the masonry was used to build a new settlement nearby – known as Venice – the city was buried in fertile floodplains. Historians knew it existed, but it was hidden from view.

Now, more than 1500 years on, Altinum has risen again. Using sophisticated aerial photography, a crack team of earth scientists and archaeologists at the University of Padua have created a picture of how Altinum looked when it was abandoned – a unique time capsule of a city in the final years of the Roman Empire. By revealing the moisture content of the plants growing there today, which varies according to the presence of man-made structures beneath the topsoil, near infrared photographs provide a relief map of a once great city.

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U.S. military community volunteers help uncover Roman history

WIESBADEN, Germany -- They came, they dug, and they sifted through thousands of years of European history.

With construction crews chomping at the bit to lay the foundations for a new $133 million U.S. Army housing area just outside Wiesbaden Army Airfield, time is running short for German archaeologists seeking to uncover remnants of past settlements.

After having spent several months in the fall and spring sifting through soil which revealed several Roman wells, the foundations of a villa rustica (Roman farm complex) and various artifacts, members of the Hessen archaeology team put out a call for volunteers in the U.S. community to join in the documentary project.

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Roman sculptures withdrawn from auction amid fears they are stolen

Bonhams auction house acts after claims that second century AD artefacts were taken during illegal excavations

Four Roman sculptures are to be withdrawn from auction tomorrow amid claims that they were stolen from archaeological sites overseas.

Photographs seized by police suggested that the sculptures – funerary busts and a marble statue of a youth from the second century AD – were illicitly excavated, archaeologists told the Guardian.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Excavations near Reading show evidence of Boudicca

Evidence found at the Roman site of Silchester could mean it was the site of one of Boudicca's battles.

Professor Michael Fulford said that 13 years of excavations at Calleva had revealed evidence of the first gridded Iron Age town in Britain.

The site also bears the scars of possible early Roman military occupation, and evidence of later, widespread burning and destruction.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Expeditions take you back in time

STEP through a window to the past on an Earthwatch expedition.

Volunteers are needed to help international environmental charity Earthwatch to unearth the past on two archaeological expeditions to the north of England and Tuscany.

Earthwatch teams have been mapping an extraordinary excavation site for more than a decade in South Shields. As a volunteer on the Earthwatch expedition Ancient Britain: Romans on the Tyne, you will help archaeologists to excavate the Roman fort of Arbeia and its surroundings, to better understand how ancient Romans and Europeans came into contact with each other. The South Shields Roman Fort is the site of a Roman military and civilian settlement and lies within the Unesco Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Priceless Roman sculpture excavated in Stobi

A well-preserved, priceless marble head of Octavius Augustus - part of a sculpture from the early Roman period - and a small torso were excavated Friday at Stobi archaeological site, which was visited by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski together with Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska and the director of the Department for Cultural Heritage Protection, Pasko Kuzman.

According to its features, the sculpture was intended to immortalize emperors and notable citizens from the first and second century A.D. It was housed in a temple, which was robbed soon after it was demolished in the classical era.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Remains in Southwell 'could be Roman temple'

Remains unearthed in Nottinghamshire could be an unknown Roman temple, archaeologists have claimed.

Excavations on the Minster C of E School site in Southwell between September 2008 and May 2009 revealed walls, ditches and ornate stones.

The team analysing the finds said the shape and quality of the remains suggest it could have been an important place of worship.

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Social Networks for Archaeology

The power and importance of social networks are growing all the time, not least in the field of archaeology.

I thought that it would be useful to compile a list of these sites for archaeology. The list as it stands at the moment can be found here….

Obviously, this list is very incomplete at the moment, so if you know of any archaeological social network site that should be added, please give details on the form here…

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lead from a Roman ship to be used for hunting neutrinos

Italy's National Institute of Nuclear Physics, at its laboratories in Gran Sasso, has received 120 lead bricks from an ancient Roman ship that sunk off of the coast of Sardinia 2,000 years ago. The ship's cargo was recovered 20 years ago, thanks to the contribution of the INFN, which at the time received 150 of these bricks. The INFN is now receiving additional bricks to complete the shield for the CUORE experiment, which is being conducted to study extremely rare events involving neutrinos. After 2,000 years under the sea, this lead will now be used to perform a task 1,400 metres under the Apennine mountain.

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