Saturday, July 28, 2012

'Perplexing' find at Alderney Roman dig

Archaeologists have found something "interesting" and "perplexing" at a Roman dig in Alderney.

A team from the island, the UK and Guernsey are excavating land at the fort of the nunnery at Longy Common.

The dig is focusing on a gateway and wall but the team said they were "not expecting" the way it was laid out.

Dr Jason Monaghan said: "We've found something interesting, but we don't actually know what it is until we take a bit more dirt out." 

Dr Monaghan, Director of Guernsey Museums, said the team had dug a trench to examine the gateway.
"It's a bit perplexing, the nunnery always throws little surprises at us and the wall has changed below the ground level and we weren't expecting that to happen so we need to know why it's changed," he said.

Christian burial ground unearthed in West Cumbria

When excavation work started on Camp Farm adjacent to the Senhouse Museum archaeologists believed they were looking at late Roman buildings. Their recent find of four graves and what appears to be a church shows how life evolved after the fall of the Roman Empire. 

Site director Tony Wilmott said the find uncovered 'Maryport's missing centuries' and is of national significance.

The graves are believed to have been from the 5th or 6th century. The team to be able use the fragments of teeth and bone found buried to accurately date the site using carbon dating. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

House of the Telephus Relief: raising the roof on Roman real estate

Buried by Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, archaeologists at Herculaneum have excavated and carried out the first-ever full reconstruction of the timber roof of a Roman villa

 With several dozen rooms, the House of the Telephus Relief was 'top-level Roman real estate'. Photograph: Art Archive/Alamy

For almost two millennia, the piles of wood lay undisturbed and largely intact under layers of hardened volcanic material. Now, after three years of painstaking work, archaeologists at Herculaneum have not only excavated and preserved the pieces, but worked out how they fitted together, achieving the first-ever full reconstruction of the timberwork of a Roman roof.

With several dozen rooms, the House of the Telephus Relief was "top-level Roman real estate", said Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, the director of the Herculaneum Conservation Project (HCP). It was more of a palace or mansion, thought to have been built for Marcus Nonius Balbus, the Roman governor of Crete and part of modern-day Libya, whose ostentatious tomb was found nearby.

The most lavishly decorated part of the immense residence was a three-storey tower. On the top floor was a nine-metre high dining room with a coloured marble floor and walls, a suspended ceiling and a wrap-around terrace. It offered the owners and their dinner guests a heart-stopping view across the silver-blue Bay of Naples to the islands of Ischia and Capri.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Archaeology: Golden medallions from Roman era found in village near Bulgaria’s Bourgas

Golden medallions featuring inscriptions and images found in a gravesite dating to the Roman era in Debelt, a village in the region of Bourgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, have been identified by archaeologists as being from the second century CE.
According to archaeologists, the graves are those of veterans of the eighth legion of Augustus. They are in the western part of the ancient Roman colony of Deultum, according to a report on July 17 2012 by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.
Today the gravesite is next to a street in the latter-day village of Debelt. Deultum, in its time, was known as “Little Rome in Thrace”, the report said.
The find was made by accident while people were pouring concrete for construction. The vibration of the concrete mixer caused the surface to crack and a tomb was found.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Archaeology team search for Roman cemetery in Middlewich

AN archaeological dig is currently taking place in Middlewich in a bid to find a Roman cemetery.

Experts from Oxford Archaeology North are excavating land in King Street industrial estate and are expected to stay on site until late August.

They are also hoping to make discoveries relating to Roman industry.

It follows tests on the site in 2008 which revealed evidence of cremation urns.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists unearth Ewell's Roman past

Amateur archaeologists are painstakingly unearthing Ewell’s Roman past before the site is turned into a graveyard. 

Since the start of the month members of the Epsom and Ewell History and Archaeology, and Surrey Archaeological Societies have continued work to uncover evidence of Roman life in Church Field, opposite the ancient site of St Mary’s Church in Church Street, Ewell. 

The church is likely to extend its cemetery into the field in the future and the excavation is being conducted to clear the land and rescue any historical items buried there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

From turbines to Tetricus: engineering technology reveals secrets of Roman coins

Archaeologists and engineers from the University of Southampton are collaborating with the British Museum to examine buried Roman coins using the latest X-ray imaging technology.
Originally designed for the analysis of substantial engineering parts, such as jet turbine blades, the powerful scanning equipment at Southampton’s µ-VIS Centre for Computed Tomography is being used to examine Roman coins buried in three archaeological artefacts from three UK hoards.

The centre’s equipment can scan inside objects – rotating 360 degrees whilst taking thousands of 2D images, which are then used to build detailed 3D images. In the case of the coins, the exceptionally high energy/high resolution combination of the Southampton facilities allows them to be examined in intricate detail without the need for physical excavation or cleaning. For those recently scanned at Southampton, it has been possible to use 3D computer visualisation capabilities to read inscriptions and identify depictions of emperors on the faces of the coins – for example on some, the heads of Claudius II and Tetricus I have been revealed.

Celtic coins unearthed in Jersy belong to Julius Caesar army

The hoard of Iron Age silver and gold coins excavated in the British most southerly Island of Jersy have been identified to date back to Julius Caesar's invading army.

Neil Mahrer, an expert from Jersey Heritage, said Europe's largest hoard of Iron Age coins unearthed in Jersey last week is a 1st Century BCE treasure.

According to the examining research, the coins are believed to date back to the year 50 BCE when the armies of Julius Caesar were advancing north-westwards through France, driving the tribal communities towards the coast.

To find a safe place away from Caesar's campaigns, some of them would have crossed the sea toward Jersey and stored their wealth by hiding it in a secret place.

Roman fort digs gets £400,000 boost

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are going to be digging deep at a historic site in South Tyneside fort, thanks to a £400,000 award.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted the cash to Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums for its Hadrian’s Wall and its Legacy on Tyneside venture.

Part of the project will be new excavations at Arbeia Roman Fort in Baring Street, South Shields, which was the supply base for the Wall for many years.

The project, which will begin in the autumn, aims to uncover more about the history of Hadrian’s Wall, from urban Tyneside to the Tyne Valley in Northumberland.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this important project.

Climate in Northern Europe Reconstructed for the Past 2,000 Years: Cooling Trend Calculated Precisely for the First Time

An international team that includes scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Professor Dr. Jan Esper's group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.

"We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low," says Esper. "Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today's climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods." The new study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Was the climate during Roman and Medieval times warmer than today? And why are these earlier warm periods important when assessing the global climate changes we are experiencing today? The discipline of paleoclimatology attempts to answer such questions.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Roman coins animation - video

An animation created from 3D images of the Selby hoard of Roman coins by the University of Southampton

New technique could dramatically speed up assessing the significance of archaeological finds

Roman fertility eagle dug up in Scotland

A Roman symbol of fertility found near Selkirk, shaped like an eagle emerging from a flower with a berry in its mouth, highlights the discoveries made in Scotland in this year’s Treasure Trove Report. 

"A copper alloy mount cast in the shape of an eagle head, the sacred bird of Juno. The eagle is depicted emerging from a flower with a berry held in the beak and was intended as a symbol of good luck or fertility. Mounts of this type were used on the supporting frames of Roman wagons and this is the first such mount from Scotland, with only a small number known from Britain" [Credit: Selkirk Weekend Advertiser]
The talisman, excavated in 2010 by a local metal detectorist between Selkirk and Galashiels, is believed to have adorned a Roman wagon or chariot, and is the first relic of its kind to be found north of the border. 

The report described the artifact as: “A copper alloy mount in the shape of an eagle head, the sacred bird of Juno, found near Selkirk. The eagle is depicted emerging from a flower with a berry held in the beak and was intended as a symbol of good luck or fertility. Mounts of this type were used on the supporting frames of Roman wagons and this is the first such mount from Scotland, with only a small number known from Britain.”

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sea surrenders pristine Roman sarcophagus

A Turkish press report describes the sarcophagus discovery
Diving school trainer Hakan Gulec came across more than fish and flotsam during a recent trip to the bottom of the ocean near Antalya off the coast of southern Turkey. An object protruding through the sand on the sea bed caught Gulec's attention, prompting the intrepid explorer to dislodge and photograph the mystery find. According to Hürriyet Daily News, he then showed his images to officials at Alanya museum who were taken aback by the discovery: a striking, well-preserved sarcophagus adorned with Medusa heads, cupids holding up garlands and dancing women at the corners.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Large Roman cemetery discovered in Norfolk

Archaeologists have discovered 85 Roman graves in what has been hailed as the largest and best preserved cemetery of that period found in Norfolk.

The site at Great Ellingham, near Attleborough, has been excavated over the last four months and the findings have now been revealed.

Among the skeletons, which have been exhumed for further study, there were some which were beheaded after death.

The cemetery is thought to date from the 3rd/4th Century.

Work begins to uncover Roman mosaics at Chedworth villa

Archaeologists have begun to excavate a mosaic beneath a corridor at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire. 

At 35m (115ft) long, it is considered to be one of the longest in-situ corridor mosaics in the country.

Visitors to the villa near Cirencester are able to watch archaeologists at work from suspended walkways which have been installed overlooking the mosaics.

National Trust archaeologist Martin Papworth said: "Hopefully we'll find some exciting things."
Victorian archaeologists uncovered and then reburied the mosaics about 150 years ago.