Thursday, June 30, 2011

Capita consultant on Cumbrian Roman visitor centre

Firm is lead consultant and architect on the £10.7m Roman Maryport Development

Capita Symonds is the lead consultant and architect for a Roman visitor attraction centre in Cumbria. The £10.7m Roman Maryport development is at Camp Farm, a Victorian model farm that includes a Roman fort and civilian settlement in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site is owned by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage and plans have been submitted to Allerdale Borough Council.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gloucestershire's oldest coin discovered in field

A Roman coin more than 2,000 years old has been discovered near Huntley, and a dog walker has been puzzled by finds of iron ore in the same village.

David Hutton, from Taynton, discovered the Roman coin earlier this month and has since had it confirmed that the coin is the oldest in the county.

"It's dated 147BC but the Romans didn't invade Britain until 43AD," said David, 58, who has been scouring the area with farmer Don Sherratt since they found a Roman hoard of coins in 1996.

"It's sparked a bit of a debate. It could mean the Romans were trading with a local Iron Age tribe, or it could just be that it was an old coin that came over when they invaded."

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Mildenhall: Historic silver Mildenhall Treasure to return to Suffolk

The Great Dish is the most famous object from the Mildenhall treasure which was discovered near the town in 1942.

Because of its international importance, the collection of late-Roman silver tableware has been housed at the British Museum in London.

However, the museum is now planning to return the fourth century dish to Suffolk as part of its Spotlights Tour.

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1,400-year-old St Paul fresco discovered in ancient Roman catacomb

The fresco was found during restoration work at the Catacombs of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius) in the southern port city of Naples by experts from the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Art.

The announcement was made on the feast day of St Peter and Paul which is traditionally a bank holiday in Rome and details of the discovery were disclosed in the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

A photograph released by the Vatican shows the apostle, famous for his conversion to Christianity from Judaism, with a long neck, a slightly pink complexion, thinning hair, a beard and big eyes that give his face a "spiritual air."

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Plans revealed for £11 million Roman centre in west Cumbria

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd has submitted an application to build the world-class tourist attraction at Maryport to Allerdale Council.

It aims to build on the area’s strong Roman heritage and recent archeological finds across the local area.

Artists’ impressions have now been unveiled for the development at Camp Farm – a Victorian model farm including a Roman fort and civilian settlement – where many discoveries have been made.

The plans are now available to view online and Michael Baker, director of sustainable development for Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, is urging local people to give their views.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Roman baths are uncovered in York

The remains of a Roman bath complex have been uncovered in York.

The baths, which date from the second and third centuries AD, were discovered during construction of a new council headquarters building.

The edge of the complex was first discovered in the 1840s when the original railway station in the city was built on the site.

This is the first time archaeologists have been able to investigate the site since the 19th Century.

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Roman Fort Project needs your support

The Roman Fort Project is an opportunity to enable people of all ages and abilities to engage with the past. For this dream to become a reality your help is needed.

Paul Harston of Roman Tours previously built a temporary camp at Chester in 2008. Then along with Dean Paton of Archaeology for Schools, the pair decided to re-visit and re-work the idea. As part of their vision, visitors will be able to watch the construction of a fort in real-time and learn about the evolution of the site as the building work continues – all set within a historically accurate reconstructed landscape.

The project represents an opportunity to bring together period re-enactment, mainstream education and academically-focussed archaeology.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Herculaneum sewer sheds light on secrets of Roman life

Archaeologists have been discovering how Romans lived 2,000 years ago, by studying what they left behind in their sewers.

A team of experts has been sifting through hundreds of sacks of human excrement.

They found a variety of details about their diet and their illnesses.

This unconventional journey into the past took the team down into an ancient sewer below the town of Herculaneum.

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Shock and awe: Nijmegen helmet gives Carlisle museum a boost

Tullie House – which missed out on Crosby Garrett helmet – says saga has helped secure display items

The beautiful face with lips slightly parted and a shimmering androgynous appearance is eerily familiar. It could be the cousin of the world-famous Crosby Garrett helmet, which a small museum in Cumbria raised an astonishing £1.7m for last year, only to be outbid at auction, sparking a continuing controversy over protection for major archaeological finds in Britain.

Tullie House museum in Carlisle is being loaned the Nijmegen helmet for the opening of its new Roman gallery next week. It is one of the treasures of the Valkhof museum, at Nijmegen in the Netherlands where it was excavated, but they agreed the loan without hesitation. Other loans are coming to the gallery from the British Museum, and private collectors.

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With Roman Ruins Under Threat, Libya's Ancient Past Presses Against Its Present

According to a report on, NATO officials overseeing the aerial bombing campaign against the forces of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya could target positions nestled within an ancient complex of Roman ruins. Rebel sources claim that Gaddafi troops have stashed rocket launchers and other military equipment at the site of the ancient city of Leptis Magna, a remarkably well-preserved relic of Roman antiquity halfway down the road between Tripoli and the besieged rebel-held port of Misratah. With NATO having escalated its efforts to topple the Gaddafi regime, no archaeological treasure — not even a UNESCO heritage site such as Leptis Magna — may be entirely safe.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dormice, sea urchins and fresh figs: the Roman diet revealed

Dormice, sea urchins and fresh figs were among the delicacies enjoyed by ordinary Romans, British archaeologists have revealed after discovering a giant septic tank at one of the ancient cities destroyed by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius.

Archaeologists found a treasure trove of everyday artefacts after digging up nearly 800 sacks of compacted human waste from the tank, which lies beneath the remains of a Roman apartment block in Herculaneum, destroyed after it was buried by ash from the volcano in AD79.

The British team has found hundreds of objects, including bronze coins, precious stones, bone hair pins and an exquisite gold ring decorated with a tiny figure of the god Mercury.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

First find in Senhouse Roman Museum dig at Maryport hints at new altar discoveries

Nothing gets the hearts of history fans racing like a good old-fashioned archaeological dig. The surface-scraping going on at Maryport, the Cumbrian site once roamed by the Romans, holds an almost limitless potential for new discoveries.

Days into the dig, Eric Waters – one of the lucky squad from Newcastle University charged with getting their hands dirty in the tantalising terrain – has found the first of them, a carved red sandstone fragment of a Roman altar stone with a small scroll.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roman skeleton unearthed in Dr Jenner's garden

A SKELETON which could date back to Roman times has been discovered by celebrity archaeologists.

Professor Mark Horton and Dr Stuart Prior, from televison's Time Team, have unearthed the ancient bones in the garden of Dr Edward Jenner's museum at Berkeley.

"This is an extremely rare find of great historical significance," said Sarah Parker, director of the Jenner museum.

A dig team from the University of Bristol has been working at the site every summer since 2007. And they believe the skeleton may date back to Roman or even sub-Roman times. It was found underneath the sealed remains of part of the Anglo-Saxon Mynster, founded in the 8th Century.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

People in Bath urged to vote for Roman Baths

Civic leaders have urged people to take part in a vote to help the Roman Baths win a £100,000 prize.

The council-run complex is currently lagging behind a museum in Scotland in the public vote connected to the Art Prize Fund - a £100,000 grant for the museum judged best in the country.

The final decision on which of four attractions will get the money is down a panel of judges headed by former minister Michael Portillo, with a decision due on June 15.

But they will be swayed by the results of an online poll whose purpose is to establish the level of public support for each contender.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ancient gold jewellery returns to Rhayader Museum

Two rare troves of ancient gold are being displayed together for the first time in a new exhibition.

The treasures were found 55 years apart in fields in Rhayader, Powys, but have been kept at the British Museum and the National Museum of Wales.

The Bronze Age bracelets and Roman jewellery are on loan to the CARAD Rhayader Museum and Gallery.

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Segontium Museum closes for summer amid Cadw takeover

Welsh heritage body Cadw will take over the management of the Segontium Museum and Roman fort in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

The financially-troubled museum will remain closed this summer, although the external areas of the fort will continue to be open to the public.

Cadw will take over from from Segontium Cyf, a company run by local people.

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Roman jewels return to Rhayader

Roman jewels found on a Powys hillside over a century ago have returned home to be exhibited there for the first time.

The gold is normally kept at the British Museum in London.

A second hoard of treasure discovered in the Rhayader area half a century later will also be part of the exhibition.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Decision due on Segontium Museum's future, Caernarfon

Talks are due to be held to decide the future of a museum and Roman fort which has closed amid financial problems.

Segontium Museum in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, is shut until further notice and its board says it has suffered since many museum fees were dropped.

It relies on admission fees and grants from the town council.

Last month, it was claimed tourists could also be put off by litter allegedly caused by drunken youths gathering at the fort.

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Excavation at site of Roman altars find in Maryport

Experts from Newcastle University are to begin excavating an internationally important Roman site in Cumbria.

The archaeological team is focusing on the site of a major discovery of Roman altars 141 years ago.

The site where the 17 altars were found now forms part of the Roman Maryport site at Camp Farm, which is owned by Hadrian's Wall Heritage.

It is hoped the dig, which will continue into July, will shed light on the nature of religion at the time.

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Roman ship had on-board fish tank

Hand-operated pump would have kept catch alive during long trips.

A Roman ship found with a lead pipe piercing its hull has mystified archaeologists. Italian researchers now suggest that the pipe was part of an ingenious pumping system, designed to feed on-board fish tanks with a continuous supply of oxygenated water. Their analysis has been published online in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology1.

Historians have assumed that in ancient times fresh fish were eaten close to where they were caught, because without refrigeration they would have rotted during transportation. But if the latest theory is correct, Roman ships could have carried live fish to buyers across the Mediterranean Sea.

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