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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Friday, April 16, 2010

Ancient skeleton found on beach

A COUPLE walking their dogs on a beach at Bradwell were stunned to find a complete skeleton uncovered by the ravages of the sea.

The human bones and skull, which are thought to be centuries old, possibly even Roman, were revealed by the worst winter battering of the coast in decades.

Kim Young, 50, said: "I just saw some teeth. As I bent down I realised I was looking at a skull.

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Roman ingots to shield particle detector

Lead from ancient shipwreck will line Italian neutrino experiment.

Around four tonnes of ancient Roman lead was yesterday transferred from a museum on the Italian island of Sardinia to the country's national particle physics laboratory at Gran Sasso on the mainland. Once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers' slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos.

The 120 lead ingots, each weighing about 33 kilograms, come from a larger load recovered 20 years ago from a Roman shipwreck, the remains of a vessel that sank between 80 B.C. and 50 B.C. off the coast of Sardinia. As a testimony to the extent of ancient Rome's manufacturing and trading capacities, the ingots are of great value to archaeologists, who have been preserving and studying them at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, southern Sardinia. What makes the ingots equally valuable to physicists is the fact that over the past 2,000 years their lead has almost completely lost its natural radioactivity.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hundreds of rare Roman pots discovered by accident off Italy's coast by British research ship

A British underwater research team has discovered hundreds of rare Roman pots by accident, while trawling the wreckages of ships on the sea bed.

The team had been using remote operated vehicles (ROVs) to scour modern wrecks for radioactive materials.

They were amazed to come across the remains of a Roman galley which sank off the coast of Italy thousands of years ago.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

UK accused over sale of 'looted' Italian treasures to pay tax bill

Rome wants back the 3,000-year-old Etruscan artefacts that came into the hands of a dealer – but ministers aim to sell them

Ministers have been condemned for forcing through the sale of up to 1,000 antiquities allegedly stolen from Italy, in order to pay the debts of a bankrupt private collector.

The Home Office has sparked outrage by allowing Roman bronzes, Etruscan gold and other treasures to be placed on the market by liquidators acting for the government in an attempt to recover unpaid taxes from the former owner, Robin Symes, a dealer with alleged links to the smuggling trade and a UK prison record.

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Roman Circus success is moving closer

CAMPAIGNERS are now another step closer to saving Colchester’s Roman chariot racing circus.

Colchester Archaeological Trust has joined forces with tourism and regeneration group Destination Colchester to buy the sergeants’ mess building and its garden, beneath which the foundations of eight Roman starting gates are buried.

The Save Our Circus campaign, backed by the Gazette, raised £200,000 – the first step towards buying the building from developers Taylor Wimpey The campaigners’ mortgage application for the rest of the cash needed to buy the site has now been provisionally approved by the Charity Bank, with confirmation expected by the end of April.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Further excavation work at Hadrian's Wall site

More archaeological excavation work has started at Hadrian’s Wall’s historic Vindolanda site.

An unprecedented number of volunteers applied to join this year’s dig and more than 90 per cent of the 550 places were booked within the first two weeks.

In the past they have travelled from all over the UK and Europe to take part.

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Warriors on the march during Roman festival weekend in Malton

ROMANS will be marching in Malton for the first time in 1,600 years this May bank holiday.

Legionaries, gladiators and auxiliary soldiers will be battling with Celtic warriors, parading Roman fashion and crafting their wares in a two-day festival.

Graham Harris, the day’s organiser for the Malton events committee, said: “The excitement is definitely mounting around town as so many are involved.

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Archeological survey to resume on massive Roman mosaic in Kemble

ARCHAEOLOGICAL work to determine the full extent of a massive Roman mosaic uncovered in a Cotswold field will resume shortly.

Metal detector enthusiasts Paul Ballinger and John Carter uncovered a section of the ancient mosaic in January last year in a field near Kemble.

It is believed to date back to the 4th Century and could be up to 40-foot in diameter which would make it the biggest Roman mosaic in north west Europe.

Archaeologists from Gloucestershire County Council say they will be performing further testing on the site, which is an agricultural field, throughout the summer with the permission of the landowner.

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Ruins in airpark site date from late Roman period

Archaeological ruins found at the site of the new Medavia hangar in Safi were found to be of the late Roman period and work to protect and preserve them started yesterday.

The ruins were unearthed during excavations on the site of the Medavia hangar last week and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage was alerted.

Malta Industrial Parks Ltd said the site had been fully cleared and surveyed, with a roofing structure capable of handling 40 tons at one pressure point having been designed to go over the ruins.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Graffiti yob sprays tag on Roman wall in Colchester

A GRAFFITI artist has provoked fury by using a piece of Colchester’s Roman heritage as a canvas.

A stretch of Roman wall, on Balkerne Hill, has been tagged by a vandal using white spraypaint.

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Further work at Roman Wall site

MORE archeological excavation work has started at Hadrian’s Wall’s historic Vindolanda site.

An unprecedented number of volunteers applied to join this year’s dig and more than 90 per cent of the 550 places were booked within the first two weeks.

In the past they have travelled from all over the UK and Europe to take part.

Read the rest of this article...