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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