Monday, November 28, 2011

Alderney ruin found to be Roman fort

An overgrown site on Alderney has been found to be one of the best-preserved Roman military structures in the world.

Island tradition had long suggested the site, known as the Nunnery, dated back to Roman times, although excavations since the 1930s had always proved inconclusive.

A joint project between Guernsey Museums and the Alderney Society was set up in 2008 to find the answers.

Over four August bank holiday weekends, a team of a dozen volunteers undertook various excavations to determine the history of the site.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Temple of Mithras prepares for facelift

Plans to dismantle and move the reconstructed Roman Temple of Mithras to temporary storage, ahead of a more faithful reconstruction, will begin on the 21 November 2011 by Museum of London Archaeology.

The temple, which is located at Walbrook Square, was discovered by chance in 1952 by archaeologist WF Grimes as the site was being prepared for redevelopment. On the last day of excavation, 18 September 1954, the marble head of the god of Mithras was unearthed. Several more amazing artefacts, including several sculptures, were later found - these are now on display in the Museum of London’s Roman gallery.

The temple was dismantled at that time and the Roman building material put into storage. In 1962, the temple was reconstructed on a podium adjacent to Queen Victoria Street, 90 metres from its original site, nine metres above its original level and set in modern cement mortar.

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When Roman empire was ruled from South Shields

THE moment in history when the entire Roman Empire may have been ruled from a Tyneside town will be relived today.

Finds from digs at Arbeia Roman fort in South Shields have offered convincing evidence that the Emperor Severus and his sons Caracalla and Geta were at the base as they prepared for a campaign into Scotland.

Because the imperial family and court were present, that would have effectively meant that the empire would have been governed from South Shields.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cirencester Roman dig is 'history changing'

Excavations in Cirencester have unearthed one of the earliest burial sites ever found in Roman Britain.

The dig at the former Bridges Garage on Tetbury Road has uncovered over 40 burials and four cremations.
Experts say it is the largest archaeological find in the town since the 1970s.

Neil Holbrook, chief executive at Cotswold Archaeology, said he could not "underestimate the potential significance" of the discovery.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

1,800-year-old Roman well unveiled in Bingham

AN 1,800-year-old Roman well was today being unveiled to the public.

The well, which dates back to about 160AD, was found in 2009 by a group of archeologists.

But it was in the route of the A46 road-widening scheme, and had to be dug up and moved stone by stone.

From today it will be available for public viewing at the Bingham Cemetery, in The Banks, a few miles from where it was found.

Pete Allen, chairman of community group The Bingham Heritage Trail Association, which campaigned for the well's restoration, said: "It is a piece of history that deserves to be kept for the enjoyment of the public."

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Roman treasure displayed to public

THE largest hoard of early Roman coins found in the West Midlands are on display at Banbury Museum.

More than 1,000 silver denarii were found in a small pot at Edgehill in 2008 and went on show yesterday (Wednesday) in an exhibition running until December 10.

Cllr James Macnamara, Cherwell District Council’s lead member for the environment, said: “We’ll never know why someone decided to hide these coins. This was a tidy sum of money in the First Century – equal to a year’s pay for five Roman soldiers.

“Whether the people that buried the coins intended to come back for them or not, they remained in a pot underground for nearly 2,000 years.”

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Who were the 99% of ancient Rome?

From Gibbon to "Gladiator," it might seem like we know a lot about Ancient Rome, but our view of this civilization is a skewed one. The Romans lived in one of the most stratified societies in history. Around 1.5% of the population controlled the government, military, economy and religion. Through the writings and possessions they left behind, these rich, upper-class men are also responsible for most of our information about Roman life.

The remaining people – commoners, slaves and others – are largely silent. They could not afford tombstones to record their names, and they were buried with little in the way of fancy pottery or jewellery. Their lives were documented by the elites, but they left few documents of their own.

Now, Kristina Killgrove, an archaeologist from Vanderbilt University, wants to tell their story by sequencing their DNA, and she is raising donations to do it. “Their DNA will tell me where these people, who aren’t in histories, were coming from,” she says. “They were quite literally the 99% of Rome.”

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did the Romans leave London because of the miserable British weather?

Forensic tests on skeletons show settlers suffered from malnourishment and poor health due to lack of sunlight

Researchers at the Museum Of London are carrying out forensic tests on some of their 22,000 carefully-preserved skeletons of Londoners through the ages.

Lead scientist Dr Jelena Bekvalac said her team is focusing on the declining health of settlers during the 400 years of the Roman occupation.

She told the Times: 'You'd think in civilised Roman society, there would be buffers to aid you, but the climate is still going to have an effect and we see some signs of that.

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Bredon Hill hoard among county finds at Worcester event

THE Bredon Hill coin hoard will be among other archaeological discoveries discussed at a special event at the University of Worcester's St John's campus this Saturday (12).

Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology is holding an event to showcase the latest archaeological discoveries from Worcestershire, from 9.45am to 5.30pm.

A highlight of the day will be a presentation on the discovery and significance of the Bredon Hill Roman coin hoard which is currently on display at Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery.

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UA scientists find evidence of Roman period megadrought

A new study at the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research has revealed a previously unknown multi-decade drought period in the second century A.D.

Almost nine hundred years ago, in the mid-12th century, the southwestern U.S. was in the middle of a multi-decade megadrought. It was the most recent extended period of severe drought known for this region. But it was not the first.

The second century A.D. saw an extended dry period of more than 100 years characterized by a multi-decade drought lasting nearly 50 years, says a new study from scientists at the University of Arizona.

UA geoscientists Cody Routson, Connie Woodhouse and Jonathan Overpeck conducted a study of the southern San Juan Mountains in south-central Colorado. The region serves as a primary drainage site for the Rio Grande and San Juan rivers.

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