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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