Monday, April 30, 2012

Archaeological dig at Upton could find remains of a Roman suburb

ARCHAEOLOGISTS hope to uncover up to 1,000 years of Northampton’s history when they investigate a building site on the west of the town.

A dig on the latest phase of the Upton development is planned to take place next month.
Early examinations of the nine- acre site have suggested there could be both Iron Age and Roman finds beneath the ground.

Steve Parry, from Northamptonshire Archaeology, said: “The exciting thing about this project is that it gives us the opportunity to look at quite an extensive area.

Friday, April 27, 2012



Evidence of ancient smuggling activity has emerged from a Roman shipwreck, according to Italian archaeologists who have investigated the vessel's cargo.

Dating to the third century AD, the large sunken ship wasfully recovered six months ago at a depth of 7 feet near the shore of Marausa Lido, a beach resort near Trapani.

Her cargo, officially consisting of assorted jars once filled with walnuts, figs, olives, wine, oil and fish sauce, also contained many unusual tubular tiles.

Read the rest of this article...


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cirencester Roman amphitheatre plans unveiled

Plans to revamp Cirencester's Roman amphitheatre and surrounding area have been unveiled.

The town council, which has taken over management of part of the site from English Heritage, wants to improve access and erect new information signs.

Part of the scheme would see the restoration of the historic Chesterton Obelisk which is in woodland nearby.
Martin Conyers from the town council said it was an "exciting project" for Cirencester.

The earthworks, which still exist near to the centre of the town, are the remains of one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in Britain.

AA Gill, drop the cheap jibes about Mary Beard – and learn something

Three years ago I took a stand against ageism at the BBC. The tide is now turning against those who judge by appearances

Mary Beard sitting on Ostia latrines in Rome
Mary Beard, the presenter of Meet the Romans, pictured in the ancient Roman public latrines of Ostia. Photograph: Caterina Turroni/BBC/Lion TV
The Sunday Times TV critic AA Gill refers to his girlfriend as "The Blonde", nothing more. I have idly wondered in the past why he chooses to describe her like this in his columns. Perhaps, because in our society, and particularly in the world of male one-upmanship, "blonde" has connotations of beauty, sex appeal and desirability. By stating so often that he has a "blonde" on his arm, Gill probably feels others will admire, respect, even envy him for attracting such a golden-haired trophy.

I write this because in my view it explains everything about the way Gill evaluates women. In his Sunday Times column this week he started his critique of BBC2's Meet the Romans by saying the presenter, Professor Mary Beard, "really should be kept away from cameras altogether". Why? "Because she's this far from being the subject of a Channel 4 dating documentary." Gill was obviously referring to Channel 4's recent controversial series The Undateables, about people with disabilities and their quest for love: a programme he described in a recent review as a "mocking freak show of grotesques and embarrassments".

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Letzte Ruhe im Kochtopf

Archäologen des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) haben in einem Gräberfeld in Berghaltern (Kreis Recklinghausen) ein weiteres 2.000 Jahre altes römisches Grab entdeckt.
In dieser Urne - einem römischen Kochtopf - wurde akribisch vom Scheiterhaufen aufgesammelte Asche des Toten beigesetzt. (Foto: LWL/D. Jaszczurok)
In dieser Urne - einem römischen Kochtopf - wurde akribisch vom Scheiterhaufen aufgesammelte Asche des Toten beigesetzt. (Foto: LWL/D. Jaszczurok)

Ob hier ein Centurio oder ein anderer Soldat der römischen Armee seine letzte Ruhestätte fand, lässt sich nicht sagen. Sicher ist, dass die Asche des toten Römers im ersten Jahrzehnt nach Christus akkurat vom Scheiterhaufen aufgesammelt und im Hügelgrab in einer Urne bestattet wurde, die vorher als Kochtopf diente - eine damals übliche Praxis. 

Das Grabungsteam des LWL-Referates für Provinzialrömische Archäologie war seit März auf sieben Grabungsflächen und insgesamt 2.500 Quadratmetern auch dem Alltagsleben der Soldaten, ihrer Familien und den damaligen Bestattungsbräuchen auf der Spur. In dem künftigen Baugebiet zeichneten sich im freigebaggerten Boden die Fundamentgräben eines Grabhügels ab, den die Ausgräber bereits im Jahr 2005 angeschnitten hatten.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Planning to protect our Roman heritage

FIREFIGHTERS have drawn up new plans to protect South Shields’s historic Roman heritage.
 They have taken details of the layout of Arbeia fort and museum to help them should fire break out.

And a similar survey has also been done at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, in Ocean Road.

Ten other North East sites which store valuable objects have been specially scanned and surveyed in case of emergency.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Moles dig up buried treasure where human trowels are banned

English Heritage keeps a careful watch as volunteers sift through hundreds of molehills on a fortress site near the Roman wall

A mole
Eheu! Talpa sum! Atque aquilam legionis XI Hispana reperi... Photograph: David Cole/Alamy
Archaeologists find it hard agree about the relative merits of excavating the ancient past or leaving it undisturbed until we have the resources and technology to preserve its remains indefinitely above ground.

It can work both ways. If it wasn't for the enterprising Birley family at Vindolanda, we would not have the extraordinary writing tablets with details of the first and 2nd century AD social engagements of garrison wives and the like. Equally, the mosaic at Woodchester in Gloucestershire remains in a very fine state because it is so relatively seldom put on show.

Nothing of this debate is known, however, to the most famous of the creatures which live amidst all the underground treasure: the UK's moles. And they are in the northern news because they have been doing some excavation of their own.

Pompeii wall collapses, despite new conservation initiative

A 2,000-year old wall surrounding an ancient villa at Pompeii has collapsed – just two weeks after the Italian government launched a 105 million euro project (£86 million) to save the precious archaeological site. 

The crumbling wall around Pompeii Photo: AFP
The Special Archaeological Superintendent for Naples and Pompeii confirmed the collapse of the red-frescoed wall next to an unidentified villa in an area already closed to the public.
The collapse of the wall is particularly embarrassing for the government as it follows several other incidents at the world heritage site in the past two year .
There is growing concern Italy's ability to protect it from further degradation and the impact of the local Mafia or Camorra.
Giulia Rodano, cultural affairs spokesman for the centre-left Italy of Values party, said there was a need to restore state funding that had been eroded by government cutbacks.

Roman artefacts at Epiacum churned up by moles

EARTH burrowing moles are responsible for digging up some of Roman Britain’s deepest secrets in a remote corner of West Northumberland.

They may be the bane of farmers across the land, but some moles are doing the human race a huge historical favour.

Epiacum, an isolated Roman fort close to the Cumbrian border 12 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall, is a scheduled ancient monument and as such, any excavation is banned on site.

But humans has never yet introduced any law understood by Mr Mole – and scores of them are churning up Roman artefacts at Epiacum – or Whitley Castle – as they push out their molehills.

Pompeii wall collapses

A 2,000-year-old wall surrounding an ancient villa at Pompeii has collapsed, just two weeks after the Italian government launched $137-million project to save the precious archaeological site.

The special archaeological superintendent for Naples and Pompeii confirmed the collapse of the red-frescoed wall next to an unidentified villa in an area already closed to the public.

The collapse was particularly embarrassing for the government because it followed several similar incidents at the world heritage site in the past two years.

There is growing concern about Italy's ability to protect it from further deterioration, amid claims that restoration funds have been diverted to the local Mafia, or Camorra.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roman Baths shortlisted for the European Museum of the Year

Roman Baths
It's one of 46 venues across Europe nominated for the award Credit: ITV West
The Roman Baths have been shortlisted for the European Museum of the Year. It's one of 46 venues across Europe nominated for the award. Last year more than a million people visited the Heritage attraction. The winner will be announced on May the 19th.

Roman-age farm estate opens in West Hungary

The exterior of the Villa Romana Baláca (left) and a view of the large replica of a mosaic floor as it would have appeared in Roman times.

Central Europe's largest uncovered Roman-age farm estate with more than 20 buildings, including the remains of baths, a lapidary and a cemetery, opened its gates in Nemesvamos in western Hungary on Wednesday, a spokesperson of the Dezső Laczkó Museum in Veszprém said.

Although installation at Villa Romana Baláca is still under way to be fully ready for the summer, visitors can see museum experts making finishing touches, Mona Gaspar said. 

The site will be complete with a 700-thousand-piece replica of a mosaic floor and the addition of furniture to fully evoke Roman rural life 2,000 years ago in the Roman Empire's Pannonia province.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rare Ancient Statue Depicts Topless Female Gladiator

The newly identified bronze statue reveals what may be a female gladiator standing in a victory pose, while looking down at what is presumably her fallen opponent.
The newly identified bronze statue reveals what may be a female gladiator standing in a victory pose, while looking down at what is presumably her fallen opponent.
CREDIT: Photo by Alfonso Manas, University of Granada

A small bronze statue dating back nearly 2,000 years may be that of a female gladiator, a victorious one at that, suggests a new study.
If confirmed the statue would represent only the second depiction of a woman gladiator known to exist.

The gladiator statue shows a topless woman, wearing only a loincloth and a bandage around her left knee. Her hair is long, although neat, and in the air she raises what the researcher, Alfonso Manas of the University of Granada, believes is a sica, a short curved sword used by gladiators. The gesture she gives is a "salute to the people, to the crowd," Manas said, an action done by victorious gladiators at the end of a fight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 'pushy parent' syndrome in ancient Rome

Roman statues

What were the Romans really like? Different from us in many ways, but there is much that is familiar in Roman family life and in particular parenting.

In 94 AD young Quintus Sulpicius Maximus died.

A Roman lad who lived just 11 years, five months and 12 days, he had recently taken part in a grown-up poetry competition, a sort of Rome's Got Talent. He had composed and performed a long poem in Greek.
And, though he hadn't actually won, everyone agreed that he had done amazingly well for his age. The sad thing was that only a few months later he dropped down dead.

Ancient burial urns uncovered at St Albans King Harry Park site

Archaeologists have found an entrance to the Iron Age tribal capital of Verlamion, precursor to the Roman city of Verulamium, and five urns, several holding cremated remains, dating back 2,000 years.

The ancient items were discovered at former school playing fields on King Harry Lane, currently being transformed into 150 homes. 

One of the conditions of approval for the Linden Homes development was that archaeologists could investigate the site before it was built upon.

The urns have been dubbed King Harry one, two, three, four and five in honour of their burial location.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ridley Hall dig reveals Roman and Saxon finds

Archaeologists have found Roman and Saxon jewellery and tools in the grounds of a theological college in Cambridge.

The dig is in advance of the construction of a £9m extension at Ridley Hall. Archaeologists say animal bone and pottery suggest it was a settlement dating back to the Iron Age.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Treasure hunter finds rare Roman coins

A hoard of 33 rare Roman coins has been found in a field near Hebden. Colne man Mick Wilson, who had been metal detecting with his friend Colin Binns, of Skipton, made the startling discovery on May 29, 2011. 

The hoard of rare Roman coins [Credit: Craven Herald & Pioneer]
The 33 silver Roman dinari, dating from 30AD to 170AD, were found nine inches below the ground’s surface. 

Now Mr Wilson has been designated as the finder of the treasure by coroner Robert Turnbull during an inquest in Skipton.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Slideshow: Roman and Iron Age finds at college

Roman remains have been discovered at an archaeological dig at a Cambridge theological college which is planning a £9 million extension.

A major project to update and create state-of-the-art teaching and living space at Ridley Hall meant archaeologists were drafted in to carry out a survey.

After removing the topsoil the experts from Access Cambridge Archaeology discovered the “tantalising possibilities” of a Roman settlement, and even some remains dating back 3,000 years to the Iron Age.

Read the rest of the article...

Video: The Search for the Aqua Traiana

For the past several years, filmmakers Ted and Mike O'Neill have worked with archaeologists Rabun Taylor and Katherine Rinne to discover the remains of the Aqua Traiana, one of ancient Rome's greatest aqueducts. The short film here shows the team scouring the countryside north of Rome, discovering one of the aqueduct's spring houses, identifying construction materials and techniques unique to ancient Roman builders, exploring one of the aqueduct's channels, and pinpointing one of the locations where the remains of the Aqua Traiana were used to help build a Renaissance-era aqueduct that also fed the city's insatiable need for water.

Roman mosaic revealed at Blake Museum

The unveiling ceremony was attended by a variety of officials, groups, societies and Spaxton residents 
A FOURTH century Roman mosaic which sat in the storeroom of Bridgwater’s Blake Museum for 47 years has been restored and unveiled to the public.

Lady Gass, the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, revealed the mosaic at the museum’s Archaeology Gallery last week for the first time since the Spaxton Roman Villa was discovered nearly 50 years ago.

Honorary Museum Curator, Dr Peter Cattermole, said: “Volunteers have been working towards this day for many months.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Late Roman treasure found in Vinkovci

Luxurious antique silver utensils dating back to the 4th century AD have been found by archaeologists during recent archaeological excavations in the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci. 

Over 50 items of antique silver utensils including plates, saucers, bowls, jugs, cups and spoons, with a total weight of over 30 kilograms, dating back to the 4th century, have been found by archaeologists during recent archaeological excavations in the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci [Credit: Xinhua/Miso Lisanin]
Because of the value of the discovery, over 50 items, including plates, saucers, bowls, jugs, cups and spoons, with a total weight of over 30 kilograms, are being kept in an alarmed vault with 24-hour police surveillance in Vinkovci City Musuem.

Archeology: EU, Italy to spend 105 mln to save Pompeii

The European Union has given the green light to a plan to join forces with Italy to jointly spend 105 million euros to keep Pompeii from crumbling.

"We gave our approval to this important restoration work that is not only in the interest of Italy, but for all of Europe's historic patrimony," said European Union Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, on Thursday.

Hahn's commission and Italy from 2000 to 2006 together spent 7.7 million euros on 22 restoration projects at Pompeii. 

Highly-publicised collapses of ancient buildings at the UNESCO World Heritage site has prompted an outcry that Italy is neglecting the world's largest archeological site.