Sunday, December 22, 2013

Virtual archaeology uncovers secrets of ancient Rome

An Indiana University archaeo-informaticist has used virtual simulations to flip the calendar back thousands of years and show for the first time the historical significance of the unique alignment of the sun with two monuments tied to the founder of the Roman Empire.

Virtual archaeology uncovers secrets of ancient Rome
Virtual simulation image of the sun atop the obelisk with the Altar of
Peace in the foreground [Credit : Indiana University]
For nearly a half-century, scholars had associated the relationship between the Ara Pacis, the “Altar of Peace” dedicated in 9 BC to then-emperor Augustus, and the Obelisk of Montecitorio -- a 71-foot-high granite obelisk Augustus brought to Rome from Egypt -- with Augustus’ Sept. 23 birthday.

Prevailing research had found that on this day, the shadow of the obelisk -- serving as the pointer, or gnomon, of a giant sundial on the plaza floor -- would point toward the middle of the Ara Pacis, which the Roman Senate had commissioned to recognize the peace brought to the Roman Empire through Augustus' military victories.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Unlocking the scrolls of Herculaneum

The British Museum's 2013 show of artefacts from the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried in ash during an explosive eruption of Mount Vesuvius, was a sell-out. But could even greater treasures - including lost works of classical literature - still lie underground?
For centuries scholars have been hunting for the lost works of ancient Greek and Latin literature. In the Renaissance, books were found in monastic libraries. In the late 19th Century papyrus scrolls were found in the sands of Egypt. But only in Herculaneum in southern Italy has an entire library from the ancient Mediterranean been discovered in situ.
On the eve of the catastrophe in 79 AD, Herculaneum was a chic resort town on the Bay of Naples, where many of Rome's top families went to rest and recuperate during the hot Italian summers.
Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Römische Säulenfragmente unter Neutronenbeschuss

Neutronenaktivierungsanalyse liefert charakteristischen chemischen Fingerabdruck von Gesteinsmaterial aus römischer Zeit
Im Rahmen einer deutsch-französischen Forschungskooperation haben Wissenschaftler zum ersten Mal eine Methode der Kernchemie zur Untersuchung von speziellem Gesteinsmaterial aus römischer Zeit verwendet.
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Roman settlement unearthed in Essex

Two first century pots, believed to have been “deliberately damaged” as part of an ancient ritual, have been found alongside three burning kilns, farming equipment and Roman materials on an £80 million housing development in Essex.

Roman settlement unearthed in Essex
Roman Rainham has revealed prehistoric pots
[Credit: © Pre-Construct Archaeology]
Excavators say the broken bases of the pots, found at Orchard Village in Rainham, point to a ceremony almost 2,000 years ago. A number of tower blocks are set to be demolished on the site, with the objects passed to the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre.

“The regeneration of Orchard Village has been all about looking forward to a bright and positive future for our residents,” said Dawn McKenzie, the Project Manager for a space where Roman remains were found during the original Mardyke Estate development of the late 1960s.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ancient skeleton found in North Yorkshire sewer trench

The discovery was made by contractors working on sewers under Sutton Street in Norton-on-Derwent

An ancient skeleton, thought to date back to Roman Britain, has been discovered in a sewer trench.
Contractors from Yorkshire Water were installing sewers in Norton near Malton when they made the discovery.
Chris Pole, of Northern Archaeological Associates, said the site was formerly a Roman cemetery.
The "remarkably intact" skeleton has been removed for tests to determine its age, sex, and, if possible, a cause of death.
Read the rest of this article...

Building is underway at The new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, The Salisbury Museum

Anglo-Saxon satchel mount c.700 AD. Gold and Silver foils with repoussé decoration. 
Found with the burial of an Anglo-Saxon ‘princess’ at Swallowcliffe, Salisbury.
Amesbury Archer Gold Hair Tresses - 2,300 BC. The oldest gold objects found in Britain, 
Copyright Ken Geiger/National Geographic.
Polished macehead made from gneiss found with a cremation burial at Stonehenge,  3,000 – 2,500 BC.

Building is underway at The new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, 
The Salisbury Museum

Building has begun on the new Wessex Gallery at the Salisbury Museum, which will make it clear for the first time exactly why Salisbury and it’s nearby World Heritage Sites hold a unique place in British history.

The new gallery will be of international importance, telling the story of Salisbury and the surrounding area from prehistoric times to the Norman Conquest. Realm Projects, the Nottinghamshire based builders who worked on the Hepworth Wakefield and The Jewish Museum, have been contracted to complete the works.

“By Christmas this year the major construction work will be complete,” said museum director Adrian Green with a gleam in his eye. “In roughly seven months, the new Wessex Gallery will be ready.”

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Swedish woman finds 2,000-year-old gold ring

A woman was left gobsmacked when she learned the gold ring she stumbled across in a field was 2,000 years old.

Swedish woman finds 2,000-year-old gold ring
The ring is made of Roman gold [Credit: Camilla Lundin]
 "I walk through that field several times a week. At first I thought it was one of the little rings we put around the chickens’ feet," Camilla Lundin, 51, told The Local. "I thought it was strange that it was so far away from home."

Lundin took the ring home and showed her husband, who also didn't believe it was anything special. But Lundin took a picture which she sent to her brother, who immediately told her it was a treasure.

"When he told me it was an ancient gold ring, it felt like a gift from the underworld," Lundin told The Local. "It was my magnificent ring. I didn’t want to give it up."

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Roman chamber tomb found in ancient Corinth

A well-preserved and ornately decorated underground Roman tomb, complete with vaults and wall paintings, was found in Corinth during works to extend the Corinth-Patras national road, archaeologists said on Wednesday. The find came to light a bit more than a year after the revealing of another ornate Roman tomb in the same location.

Roman chamber tomb found in ancient Corinth
The interior of the Roman chamber tomb from ancient Corinth
[Credit: Taxydromos]
Measuring 3.30m by 2.63m., the tomb has been initially dated to between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, but may be earlier. It was entered from the south through a staircase decorated on either side with two ceramic tiles in deep relief, one showing a quadriga (four-horse chariot), and the other depicting a chariot pulled by dolphins next to a sea creature.  Inside, there were vaults over niches where ash urns were placed, and three larnaces (terracotta coffins) containing bones, oil lamps, bronze coins and pottery shards. One of the coffins was painted to depict bed covers. The interior of the tomb also contained very well-preserved wall paintings, depicting garlants, fruit and three figures, two men and a woman.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roman child's coffin found in Leicestershire opened

Scientists have removed fragments of bone and a jet bead from inside a 1,700-year-old lead coffin. The experts have now opened and started examining the contents of the Roman casket, which was discovered beneath a field west of Hinckley by metal detectorists last month.

Roman child's coffin found in Leicestershire opened
Analysis of the coffin has shown that it was made from a single sheet
of lead and its corners had been sealed with molten lead
[Credit: Archaeology Warwickshire]
The casket, which is less than three feet long, is thought to contain the remains of the child of a rich Roman family.

The team of archaeologists and conservators from Archaeology Warwickshire and York University removed the damaged lid yesterday (MON) morning revealing a cavity filled with silt which had been washed into the coffin through cracks in the lining.

They then began the delicate task of removing layers of silt.

Read the rest of this article...

'Roman child's coffin' opened for first time

A coffin dating back more than 1,600 years has been opened by scientists in a bid to learn more about life and death in Roman Britain.
Tests being carried out are expected to confirm later this week that it contains the remains of a child.
Made of lead, the coffin was discovered last month in a field in Witherley, west Leicestershire.
Scientists said they hoped it would reveal more about the culture of Roman Britain and even Romans' diets.
They had previously used an endoscope to probe inside the coffin, but said it was "almost entirely full of clay silt".
Read the rest of this article...

Peterborough solar farm: Archaeologists unearth Roman finds

Roman pottery, evidence of a Roman settlement and "possibly Saxon" artefacts have been found at a proposed solar farm site near Peterborough.
The land at Newborough is being excavated ahead of a city council decision about the solar farm plan.
Richard O'Neill, from Wessex Archaeology, described the finds as "locally and regionally significant".
Work is expected to continue for three weeks, after which the council will consider the archaeologists' report.
Plans for the solar energy farm at three council-owned sites at Newborough, Morris Fen and America Farm were put on hold after English Heritage stepped in suggesting the area could be "nationally important".
Read the rest of this article...

Roman statue found at underwater palace near Naples

Italian archaeologists on Thursday said they have recovered an ancient Roman marble statue spotted by a diver in an imperial palace that is now under water in the Bay of Naples.
"The discovery is significant and quite important for us because of the quality of the marble and the excellent workmanship of the sculpture," said Paolo Caputo, a local heritage official.
The statue is of a woman and was discovered in October just off the shore near the town of Baia in what is already an underwater archaeological park.
Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Archeologists get multi-million pound grant for Roman excavations

Prof Simon Keay

RESEARCHERS at Southampton University will be at the forefront of unearthing Europe’s Roman ports after securing a multi-million pound grant.
The university has been awarded £2.1 million by the European Research Council to study a large network of ports stretching from Turkey to Spain.
The Southampton team will be based at the university’s faculty of humanities and will work with others from across Europe on the Roman Mediterranean Ports project, which will see archaeologists carry out fieldwork at eight of the 31 ports, including Ephesus, Pitane and Kane in Turkey, Gades and Tarraco in Spain and Portus and Putroli in Italy.
Read the rest of this article...

Pompeii workers say wall of ancient house crumbling

A portion of a wall in a house in the archaeological site at Pompeii is crumbling, a union said Monday.

Pompeii workers say wall of ancient house crumbling
Via dell'Abbondanza, Pompeii [Credit: Cameron Booth/flickr]
According to Antonio Pepe, CISL secretary at the excavation site, guards during a tour Monday morning in the area reported crumbling on the upper portion of a wall at a house in the via dell'Abbondanza.

A section about 80 centimetres, or 2.7 feet, long is involved, said Pepe.

Critics have complained that not enough is being done to preserve and protect the site, which has been plagued for decades by accusations of mismanagement and neglect.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Warwickshire archaeologists find Roman coffin in Witherley field, Leicestershire

A Warwickshire archaeology team has started the process of examining a suspected child coffin found in a field in the Leicestershire village of Witherley.

Metal detectorist, Chris Wright, pinpointed the coffin and immediately called in Leicestershire Country Council.

Senior planning archaeologist, Teresa Hawtin, approached Archaeology Warwickshire on behalf of Mr Wright, as specialist archaeological procedures were required. 

She was able to advise Mr Wright that the coffin could not be moved without Ministry of Justice approval.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Exceptionally rare Roman statue unearthed in City of London building site

An “exceptional” Roman sculpture thought to have adorned the tomb of a wealthy man in the 1st or 2nd century AD has been found in the City of London, as archaeologists proclaim it the finest of its kind in the world.
The statue, which shows an eagle clasping a serpent in its beak, was found on the building site of a boutique hotel near Aldgate tube station, and will now go on display in the Museum of London.
Experts have hailed it as being among the finest Roman pieces ever discovered in Britain, and the best-preserved example of the eagle and snake motif in the world.
This statue, made from limestone from the Cotswolds, is believed to symbolise the struggle between good and evil, and triumph over death.
Read the rest of this article...

Hi-tech explorers map Rome's ancient aqueduct

A speleo-archaeologist makes his way through a perfectly preserved tunnel section of the Acqua Claudia on the grounds of a Franciscan convent in Vicovaro 60km out of Rome. (Filippo Monteforte, AFP)

Vicovaro - Armed with laser rangefinders, GPS technology and remote control robots, a group of speleologists is completing the first ever mapping of the aqueducts of ancient Rome on archaeology's "final frontier".

They abseil down access wells and clamber through crevices to access the 11 aqueducts that supplied Rome, which still run for hundreds of kilometres underground and along stunning viaducts.

The mission of these "speleo-archaeologists" is to update the last above-ground map of the network compiled at the beginning of the 20th century by British Roman archaeologist Thomas Ashby.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

'Roman child's coffin' found in Leicestershire

A child's coffin believed to date back to the 3rd Century AD has been found beneath a Leicestershire field by metal detectorists.

'Roman child's coffin' found in Leicestershire
A 1,700-year-old lead coffin, thought to contain the remains of a Roman child, has been found by a metal detecting club in a field in Leicestershire. The exact location of the burial is being kept a secret to protect the rare coffin from grave robbers [Credit: Raymonds Press]
The Digging Up The Past club found the lead coffin and Roman coins at a farm in the west of the county.

Club spokesman David Hutchings said: "I knew it was something a bit special as soon as I saw it."

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Navenby dig: Another building found at Roman site

Project leader Ian Cox said the excavation would be filled in by volunteers when the digging is finished

Archaeologists believe they have found another Roman building at the site of a dig in a private garden in Lincolnshire.
The work in Navenby has already uncovered several buildings used as workshops in the 3rd Century.
Volunteers and specialists will continue to dig for another 11 days before the site is filled back in.
The project, which started in April, has also uncovered a portable altar and an offertory stone.
Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Roman villa found near Devizes

The villa was discovered on land next to Lay Wood near Devizes

The remains of what is believed to be a 2,000-year-old Roman villa have been discovered near Devizes in Wiltshire.
Archaeologists uncovered the remains on land near Lay Wood, between the Kennet and Avon Canal and Horton Road, as part of a survey ahead of a new housing development.
Wessex Archaeology is now examining what has been found.
Steve Melligan, from the Crown Estate, which manages the land, said it was an "exciting find".
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Slave Tunnels Found Under Hadrian’s Villa

Amateur cavers have discovered a network of tunnels underneath the Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) at Tivoli, near Rome. 

Experts suggest that the subterranean world of tunnels and roads was used to house slaves, oxen, carts and food supplies. The network includes streets wide enough to allow for the passage of carts in both directions as well as narrow passageways. Hadrian’s Villa covers approximately 618 acres but the extent of the underground network is not known yet and excavations are ongoing. 

The Roman Emperor Hadrian built the villa as a summer retreat between 38 AD and 118 AD. After his death in 138 AD, his successors used and enlarged the complex. A decade ago, experts realised that there were tunnels beneath the complex, and a team of Italian archaeo-speleologists led by amateur caver Marco Placidi mapped more than a mile of the vast network this year. 

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Roman bathhouse still in use after 2,000 years

Roman ruins are rarely boisterous places, full of noise, laughter and life. But Edward Lewis stumbled across one that is - a place to have a daily wash, and to enjoy the companionship of friends, just as it was for the Romans who built it.
Observing middle-aged men swathed in white foamy soapsuds is not something I would normally write home about and it certainly wasn't why I was in north-east Algeria.
I had come to look at the Roman baths in Khenchela and had overlooked the fact that for many of the local population the attraction was not the ancient architecture or remarkable state of preservation but the fact there was a free and plentiful supply of hot water - still feeding into two open air baths.
Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

UW archaeologists have discovered legion barracks in Bulgaria

The barracks occupied by the 8th Roman legion of Augustus in the middle of the 1st century AD have been discovered by a team of researchers from the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre, University of Warsaw, during the excavation in Novae near Svishtov, Bulgaria.
"The structure consisted of a series of segments of equal sizes. The segments consisted of one big and one small room, the dimensions of which underwent modifications in the subsequent phases of the settlement. The barrack was about 16 meters wide and 42 meters long" - explained Prof. Piotr Dyczek , head of the expedition.
The remains indicate that the support structure were large wooden poles, while smaller dowels sustained braid covered with soil. In the last phase, the exterior walls were covered with white plaster. The system of small dowels inside large rooms suggests, according to the researchers, that there could be bunk beds in the corners. There were wooden shelves in the vestibules.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Roman skulls washed down lost river

About 20 Roman skulls were dug up from an old river bed near Liverpool Street station in London

Archaeologists working with London's Crossrail project have uncovered 20 skulls believed to be from the Roman period.
It is likely the bones were washed from a nearby burial site along one of London's "lost" rivers - the Walbrook.
Since the Crossrail project began, about 10,000 Roman items have been discovered.
These latest finds could give new insights into the lives of Roman people.
Near-intact pottery artefacts were also found which likely travelled along the same route as the skulls. Other bone fragments would not have been washed as easily down the river.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Huge Chichester stone could be head of Roman Emperor Nero, say archaeologists

A 26-stone head found in a flower bed in a Hampshire vicarage garden could represent Nero, the rarely-glimpsed Emperor whose first century rule over the Roman Empire began when he was a 14-year-old.

Known as the Bosham Head, the spectacular cranium imposes itself within the Collections Discovery Centre at Fishbourne. Archaeologists have been using 3D scanning in a bid to determine whether it was carved seperately from its body.

“The Jupiter Stone found beneath the post office on West Street depicts the iconic image of the three graces, although only two women are shown,” says Anooshka Rawden, the Collections Officer at Chichester’s Novium museum.

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Left to right: Nigel Mills, Hadrian's Wall Trust, archaeologists Jeremy Bradley and Stephen Rowland, Oxford Archaeology North and Rachel Newman, Senhouse Museum Trust.

An eight week dig at the Roman settlement site at Maryport has revealed the remains of six buildings, including at least one shop, and a Roman road.
The dig has been commissioned by the Hadrian’s Wall Trust and funded by philanthropist Christian Levett.  Oxford Archaeology North, from Lancaster, have been carrying out the dig assisted by a team of volunteer and trainee excavators.

Shop with flagged floors

Stephen Rowland, project manager for Oxford Archaeology North said: “Previous detailed geophysical surveys of the site have shown lines of structures likely to be buildings either side of the main street running from the north east gate of the fort, so we had a good idea where to start digging and we’ve been able to confirm the survey results.
The building we’ve spent most time looking at this year might have been a shop at some point during its use. It is stone built and 5 metres wide by 20 metres long with several rooms, some with flagged floors.
Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Digging underway at the theatre on the site of the Roman town Iteramna Lirenas: Credit: N Sodeberg

rchitectural remains from a Roman theatre buried beneath the Italian countryside are providing new clues as to the importance of a town abandoned by civilisation 1,500 years ago.
The head of a lion and griffin, believed to be part of the decoration of the theatre, as well as stone blocks with steps carved into them, are helping to further revise historical understanding about the site of Interamna Lirenas, founded by the Romans in the late 4th century BCE.

Mapped by geophysical analysis and imaging

The town, which disappeared following its abandonment around 500 CE, was last year mapped by geophysical analysis and imaging undertaken by a team of researchers led by Cambridge archaeologists Dr Alessandro Launaro and Professor Martin Millett from the Faculty of Classics.
Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Discovery of sacred Roman well amazes archaeology team

IT’S the most significant archaeological discovery in the Portsmouth area for many years.
Buried a few feet under a garden in the centre of Havant, archaeologists stumbled upon a Roman well filled with coins and a bronze ring with a carving of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea.
Perhaps most intriguing was the discovery of eight dog skeletons at the bottom of the well.
Experts believe the dogs, which were worshipped in some ancient religions, may have been dropped down the ‘sacred well’ as a sacrifice to the gods.
The excavation was done at Homewell House, a Georgian property behind St Faith’s Church that is undergoing renovation.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Skeleton of ancient prince reveals Roman life

Italian archaeologists have unearthed a 2,600-year-old intact Etruscan tomb that promises to reveal new depths of one of the ancient worlds most fascinating and mysterious cultures. (ROSSELLA LORENZI)

The skeletonized body of an Etruscan prince, possibly a relative to Tarquinius Priscus, the legendary fifth king of Rome from 616 to 579 B.C., has been brought to light in an extraordinary finding that promises to reveal new insights on one of the ancient world’s most fascinating cultures.

Found in Tarquinia, a hill town about 50 miles northwest of Rome, famous for its Etruscan art treasures, the 2,600 year old intact burial site came complete with a full array of precious grave goods.

“It’s a unique discovery, as it is extremely rare to find an inviolate Etruscan tomb of an upper-class individual. It opens up huge study opportunities on the Etruscans,” Alessandro Mandolesi, of the University of Turin, told Discovery News. Mandolesi is leading the excavation in collaboration with the Archaeological Superintendency of Southern Etruria.

Read the rest of this article...

Her name was Amica (loved friend) and her name and footprint are embedded in a terra cotta tile along side her friend Detfri. The signed tile is a rare find, as Amica was a Roman slave and not only her name, but a tangible imprint of her life, in the form of her footprint survives to this day.
For the most part, the slaves of the well-preserved city of Pompeii still remain largely “invisible” in history, according to the University of Delaware’s Lauren Hackworth Petersen.

A hidden history

Petersen is exploring new approaches to bring the lives of Pompeii’s slaves out of the shadows by drawing on literature, law, art and other material evidence. The research is part of a forthcoming book she is co-authoring with Sandra Joshel, at the University of Washington.

Read the rest of this article...

Head of Aphrodite statue unearthed in Turkey

A group of archaeologists has discovered a life-sized marble head of Aphrodite while uncovering an ancient pool-side mosaic in southern Turkey.

Head of Aphrodite statue unearthed in Turkey
The head of an Aphrodite sculpture was discovered in southern Turkey during archaeological
excavations [Credit: Michael Hoff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln]
Buried under soil for hundreds of years, the goddess of love and beauty has some chipping on her nose and face. Researchers think her presence could shed light on the extent of the Roman Empire's wide cultural influence at the time of its peak.

Archaeologists found the sculpture while working at a site called Antiochia ad Cragum (Antioch on the cliffs), on the Mediterranean coast. The researchers believe the region, which is dotted with hidden inlets and coves, would have been a haven for Cilician pirates — the same group who kidnapped Julius Caesar and held him for ransom around 75 B.C.  

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Warrior grave found in excavation

Don Shimmin with some of the spears found in the warrior grave

A WARRIOR grave dating back 2,000 years has been discovered under the site of a new golf clubhouse.

Archaeologists have been investigating land at the Playgolf course in Bakers Lane, Colchester, before work starts on the new range.

And Philip Crummy, director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust, said evidence had been found of a warrior’s grave - complete with five spears.

Mr Crummy said the grave would have belonged to a member of the Catuvellauni tribe just before the Roman conquests of Britain.
Read the rest of this article...

Anti-mafia squad investigates Pompeii

Water is wreaking havoc on the red frescoes that characterise the Casa delle Pareti Rosse

Italy’s anti-mafia squad, the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia, is investigating conservation projects in Pompeii. The Naples-based agency is working closely with the ministry of culture and police to weed out the involvement of organised crime from the archaeological site, which has come under fire from Unesco for failing to address damage to the ancient city’s damaged buildings and frescoes.
The Great Pompeii Project has received a total of €105m of funding from the Italian government and the European Union. 

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pagan-era rock tombs unearthed in southeastern part of Turkey

The Pagan-era tombs were discovered during construction works that were being conducted to enlarge a road heading to a tent city erected for Syrian refugees.

Construction in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Midyat district has unearthed ancient rock tombs that are believed to date from the pagan era between the third and second centuries B.C. 

The tombs were discovered during construction works that were being conducted to enlarge a road heading to a tent city erected for Syrian refugees. 

A total of four rock tombs were initially discovered, but subsequent excavation work at Mor İbraham Church and other venues revealed an additional 11 tombs, some with human skeletons.

Read the rest of this article...


Large fragment of chain mail from Harzhorn found at Kalefeld near Göttingen. 
Credit: Clemens Fiedler

Archaeologists from Freie Universität Berlin made a spectacular discovery in their excavations of a Roman-Germanic battlefield at the Harzhorn in Lower Saxony. While exploring the area near Kalefeld in the Northeim district north of Göttingen, the researchers, headed by Prof. Dr. Michael Meyer, found the chain mail of a Roman soldier from the Third Century AD.
It was the first time that such a well-preserved piece of body armour was excavated on a Roman-Germanic battlefield. This find made it possible to reconstruct an individual story in the battle, a close-up image of the war, said Michael Meyer, a professor of prehistoric archaeology at Freie Universität Berlin.

Located on edge of battlefield

The chain mail, which was found in several fragments, consists of thousands of small chain links with a diameter of about six millimetres. The iron in the rings, however, is largely decomposed. Chain mail was worn in battle by Roman soldiers of various ranks. Germanic warriors usually waived this protection; however, in Germanic burial grounds, remains of those laboriously produced armour can often be found. In this case, not only the object itself was an unusual find, but also the position in which it was found. It was located directly on the edge of the battlefield with probably the most intense combat action that could be detected on the Harzhorn hill.
Read the rest of this article...

Hadrian's Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site in half million pound refurbishment

Visitors to Hadrian’s Wall have always been encouraged to treat the 73-mile long UNESCO World Heritage Site with care.

Nearly 2,000 years of erosion, not to mention pillaging by locals, have turned the site from formidable fortification into a broken series of forts and a low three foot wall.

Recent visitors to the Wall might, therefore, have been surprised to see archaeologists taking the wall apart.

Hadrian’s Wall is on many monument lists and registers but the most unfortunate is English Heritage's At Risk Register. In an effort to preserve the wall for future generations, the SITA Trust (an independent environmental funding body) has awarded the Hadrian’s Wall Trust a grant of £537,185 to rebuild parts of the wall, improve access in some areas and provide new signage and interpretation.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Roman period urn grave found in Poland

Crematory pit and urn grave from the 1st/2nd century AD have been discovered by archaeologists during excavations in the Roman period cemetery in Czelin (Zachodniopomorskie).

Roman period urn grave found in Poland
The urn grave discovered by archaeologists during excavations in the Roman
period cemetery in Czelin [Credit: Bartłomiej Rogalski]
Bartłomiej Rogalski from the National Museum in Szczecin , who conducts research, said in an interview with PAP that the form of the clay urn and the specific "toothed wheel" decorating technique are typical for the Elbe area, lying west of the Oder .

According to Rogalski, the ornament on the vessel is in turn typical for the Przeworsk culture , which at that time occupied territories of Wielkopolska and Silesia. "This conglomerate of various cultural trends is symptomatic of Lubusz group" - added Rogalski. In the second, pit burial, in addition to bone archaeologists have also found pieces of similarly ornamented pottery. In the immediate vicinity of the burials, archaeologists have discovered the complex of furnaces and setts.

Read the rest of this article...