Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The battle was likely fought around 15 B.C.E. between Roman troops and local Suanetes fighters, who lost the bout.

Archaeologists at work uncovering evidence of a battle that was fought in the Julier Valley around 15 B.C.E. image: Archaeological Service Graubünden

oday, the Julier Valley in Switzerland is an idyllic place with majestic mountains and wide, green fields. But some 2,000 years ago, archaeologists now believe that it was the site of a fierce battle between Roman soldiers and local warriors, one which changed the course of history and helped lead to the Roman occupation of modern-day Switzerland.

During the examination of the site, which is located in the Crap-Ses gorge between the towns of Tiefencastel and Cunter, archaeologists have found thousands of objects that allude to the valley’s violent past. These include swords, slingshot bullets, brooches, coins, fragments of shields, and thousands upon thousands of Roman hobnails, which were hammered into the soles of leather boots and shoes.

There is so much at the site, in fact, that archaeologists uncovered an average of 250 to 300 objects per day during a three-week period in the autumn.

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Was Honorius’ Letter Really Sent to Britain?

The Romans ruled Britain for nearly four centuries, from 43 CE until the beginning of the fifth century. Most commentators agree that the actions of Magnus Maximus can be viewed as the beginning of the end of Roman rule over Britain. He withdrew a large portion of Roman troops when he proclaimed himself emperor and set off to attack Emperor Gratian on the continent. This was in 383, quite some time before the fifth century. But while acknowledging that it was a gradual process, many modern sources claim that one specific year can be cited as the final end. In 410 Emperor Honorius wrote a letter telling the recipients that the Romans could no longer protect them. But was it really sent to Britain?

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Archaeologists unearth ‘most shocking example of Roman slavery’ at Pompeii

A bakery where enslaved people were imprisoned and exploited to produce bread has been discovered in the ruins of Pompeii in what has been described as the most shocking example of slavery in the ancient Roman city.

The cramped bakery with small windows barred with iron was part of a home that emerged during excavations in the Regio IX area of the Pompeii archaeological park in southern Italy.

The discovery provides more evidence on the daily life of Pompeii’s enslaved people, often forgotten about by historical sources but who made up most of the population and whose hard labour propped up the city’s economy as well as the culture and fabric of Roman civilisation.

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Pompeii Bakery Yields Evidence of Enslaved Workers

(Pompeii Archaeological Park)

ROME, ITALY—The Guardian reports that a small bakery equipped with windows blocked by iron bars has been uncovered in the Regio IX area of Pompeii. The remains of three people have been recovered from the structure, which may have been undergoing renovations when it was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Markings on the floor of the bakery are thought to have directed the movement of enslaved workers and animals that were likely blindfolded while grinding grain and baking bread in the space. The bakery’s only exit led to the main hall of the luxurious residential section of the structure. 

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‘Shocking Side Of Ancient Slavery’: Prison Bakery Where Enslaved People Toiled Unearthed In Pompeii

The “prison bakery” in Pompeii is just one of the latest archaeological discoveries in the doomed town.

There have been some astounding discoveries in Pompeii in recent years, including a ceremonial chariot, the ancient Roman version of a “fast food stand,” and erotic frescoes. But the latest discovery sheds light on an often overlooked part of Pompeii society: slavery.

Archaeologists excavating the doomed city, which was destroyed with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E., recently announced the discovery of a “prison bakery” where humans and animals toiled under brutal conditions to make bread. According to a statement from the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, the cramped room had no view of the outside world and only a few high, barred windows. Indentations in the floor showed where blindfolded donkeys were forced to walk for hours in order to grind grain for bread.

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Roman-Era Winery Uncovered in Southern France

LAVEYRON, FRANCE—According to a Miami Herald report, researchers from France’s National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) discovered remnants of a 1,900-year-old winery during an investigation conducted ahead of a construction project near the Rhône River in southern France. The wine was likely consumed by Romans, who conquered the region in 53 B.C. Grapes would have been pressed on the site’s central platform. Basins on either site of it would have collected the grape juice, then drained it into cellars made of rectangular bricks. 

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Roman 'backwater' bucked Empire's decline, archaeologists reveal

View of the Interamna Lirenas excavation from above and from the North. Photograph taken in September 2023. The remains of the theater can be seen in the center, with the remains of the basilica behind it. Credit: Alessandro Launaro
A rare roofed theater, markets, warehouses, a river port and other startling discoveries made by a Cambridge-led team of archaeologists challenge major assumptions about the decline of Roman Italy.

New findings from Interamna Lirenas, traditionally written off as a failed backwater in Central Italy, change our understanding of Roman history, its excavators believe.

Their thirteen-year study—published today in the edited volume "Roman Urbanism in Italy"—shows that the town in Southern Lazio continued to thrive well into the 3rd century A.D., bucking what is normally considered Italy's general state of decline in this period.

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Thursday, December 7, 2023

World's only intact Roman shield and body armour unearthed on a battlefield where Germanic tribesmen wiped out three legions in AD9 to go on display at the British Museum

The shield, on loan from Yale University, was found in Syria in the 1930s
The body armour was discovered in 2018 in Kalkriese, north-west Germany

The world's only intact Roman shield and body armour that was found in a German field after being buried for more than 2,000 years are set to go on display in a new exhibition at the British Museum.

The shield, which is on its maiden transatlantic loan from Yale University in the US, was found in Syria in the 1930s.

Although discovered in pieces, it was restored to its former glory by experts and will be seen by the British public for the first time in the Legion: life in the Roman army exhibition, which opens on February 1 next year. 

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

1,000-year-old skeleton of noblewoman with hollowed-out skull found buried next to 'husband' in Germany

The 1,000-year-old noblewoman’s skeleton was found without a face.
(Image credit: Jan Woitas/dpa)

The skeletal remains of a man and a woman buried in Germany caught archaeologists off guard when they discovered that the skull of one of the skeletons was completely hollowed out.

Archaeologists made the unusual finding during ongoing excavations near a 1,000-year-old former royal palace built by Roman Emperor Otto the Great (also known as Otto I) in Helfta, a village in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The two skeletons were buried directly next to each other, suggesting that they were "possibly a married couple," Oliver Dietrich, an archaeologist with the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin who worked on the excavation, told Live Science in an email.

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More Than 100 Cultural Landmarks Have Been Destroyed During Gaza Airstrikes, Report Says

Israel’s repeated airstrikes on Gaza have destroyed more than 100 cultural landmarks and historic sites according to a preliminary report by the Catalonian NGO Heritage for Peace that was released earlier this month.

The airstrikes, which took place after the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,400 Israelis and involved the taking of 240 hostages, have “destroyed or damaged” roughly 45 percent of housing in Gaza, leading to what the United Nations has called a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Historic religious sites, museums, and archaeological sites have been destroyed, the report says, noting that Gaza has been a cultural hub for every civilization that has conquered the region, from Egypt in the early 15th century BCE, to the Greeks under Alexander the Great, to the Roman and Byzantine Empires.

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Sunday, November 26, 2023

New guide aims to highlight Newcastle's rich Roman Wall heritage

Lesser know sections and parts of Hadrian's Wall. Denton West, a section next to the busy A69 at West Denton.

A new guide aims to ensure that visitors to Newcastle don’t miss the Roman heritage under its streets.

The conviction that Newcastle was missing a trick in highlighting its rich heritage had for some time for some time occupied an organisation based in the city’s West End, where there are several examples of visible remains of Hadrian’s Wall. The route of the Wall threads through the main thoroughfares of Newcastle, but the Hadrian’s Wall national path, opened in 2003, diverges from that line and instead skirts the city via a riverside route.

The national trail leaves the line of the world heritage monument at Heddon-on-the Wall and does not rejoin it for another 12 miles until they meet at Segedunum fort in Wallsend. The argument is that visitors are both not following the Wall and are also missing many other nearby historical features from across centuries of Newcastle’s history.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Roman Fort Of Apsaros Reveal Some Of Its Archaeological Secrets


Credit: Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw

This autumn, the Polish-Georgian Gonio-Apsaros expedition completed the 10th season of excavations at the Roman fort of Apsaros, south of Batumi on the Black Sea coast of Georgia. The fieldwork of the team headed by Dr. Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski (Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw) and Prof. Shota Mamuladze (Gonio-Apsaros Archaeological and Architectural Site) has delivered several interesting discoveries.

Based on this observation, Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski suggested that the material required for making official inscriptions and other complex stonework, such as marble, or high-quality limestone, was brought to Apsaros from afar. Fragments of these stone varieties are rare at the site. Their scarcity is certainly the result of their use in later periods as valued raw materials for the production of lime needed for construction purposes.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Roman grave found at water pipeline construction site

A 2,000-year-old coin was found during excavations

Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman grave and a 2,000-year-old coin on the route of a planned water pipeline.

The discoveries were made at the proposed Southern Water site in Hampshire.

Members of Wessex Archaeology have been carrying out the excavations before pipelines are installed between Andover, Otterbourne and Portsmouth.

The scheme is linked to plans for a new reservoir at Havant Thicket, the first to be built in England for 25 years.

Dr Nicola Meakins of Southern Water said: "Roman graves are not uncommon - when the Romans built roads, legionnaires who died were simply buried by the side of the road.

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Thursday, October 5, 2023

In France, an ancient sarcophagus has been discovered. It remained unopened for 1800 years.

Although sarcophagi are commonly associated with Egypt and Egyptian mummies, this type of coffin was also popular in ancient Rome. From the 3rd to the 1st century BCE, terracotta, stone, or metal sarcophagi were crafted. They took the form of a chest with a lid, often adorned with reliefs depicting mythological or genre scenes. From the 2nd century CE, depictions of the deceased and their portraits sometimes appeared on the panels.

Ancient Roman City in Gaul
Burial sites usually serve as valuable subjects for archaeological studies. They provide insights not only into the specific individual but sometimes shed light on ancient cultures, their customs, practices, and traditions.

Archaeologists from the French Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (INRAP) conducted excavations in Reims, northeastern France. In antiquity, this location was the city of Durocortorum and was the second-largest city in Roman Gaul after being conquered by Julius Caesar’s forces. It is estimated that up to 100,000 people may have lived here.

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Kilns used to make bricks for Colchester's Roman wall found

The recently unearthed kilns were likely to have manufactured bricks and tiles used in Roman Colchester, including for its ancient wall 

Roman kilns which created the bricks used to build Britain's oldest town wall have been found during a dig.

The excavation took place at Cymbeline Meadows, Colchester, Essex, ahead of the city council's plans to transform the site into a nature reserve.

Archaeologist Philip Crummy said it is "unusual" to find a collection of Romano-British kilns in one area.

The town wall was built following Boudicca's revolt and dates to about 60 to 80 AD.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Large Roman Public Latrine With 60 Wooden Seats Discovered In Bet Shean, Israel

Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeological excavations have revealed large Roman latrines located in Bet Shean, Israel. These latrines are the largest in the country, with 60 wooden seats available to the public. Being built in an open communal area, many people obviously used the latrines.

“In each of the four Roman and Byzantine-period public latrines that we excavated on the site, about 60 wooden seats were installed in one open communal area!” Dr. Walid Atrash, Israel Antiquities Authority excavator of ancient Bet Shean and author of a new book, Back to Bet Shean: Nysa-Scythopolis said in an interview.

The Roman latrine, partially preserved at the site, was a well-built structure, featuring wall paintings and ornate stairs with a railing. In the middle of the public building, there was a courtyard paved with mosaics and adorned with columns bearing capitals, and three rows of wooden seats with natural asphalt intervening blocks were arranged around three walls.

“The structure was partially roofed, and the central courtyard was left uncovered,” says Atrash.

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Intact 1,800-Year-Old Roman Sarcophagus With Unexpected Treasures Found In France


It does not happen often archaeologists find an ancient unlooted Roman sarcophagus. When it happens, like it just did in France, it is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the past.

"It's quite exceptional, it's the first time that we have found a tomb intact and which has not been looted. It was sealed by eight iron staples, and we were the first to explore it," Agnès Balmelle, deputy scientific and technical director at Inrap Grand Est, told local news Le Parisien.

The 1,800-year-old sarcophagus was unearthed by a team of archaeologists from INRAP (France's National Institute for Preventive Archaeology) excavating in the vast ancient necropolis at Rue Soussillon. The ancient Durocortorum (Reims) was the capital of the province of Gaul Belgium, and one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire.

Scientists have excavated 1,200 m² on Rue Soussillon, which represents only a portion of a vast ancient necropolis. The high density of tombs is particularly interesting in this part of the city since it has long been considered a swampy area unsuitable for any settlement.

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British Museum asks public and experts to help recover stolen artefacts

The British Museum has asked the public to help identify and recover ancient artefacts that have gone missing from its collection.

Last month a member of staff was sacked and police launched an investigation after around 2,000 treasures were reported "missing, stolen or damaged" over a "significant" period of time.

The museum has now said most are Greek and Roman gems and jewellery, and shared pictures of similar items.

Sixty objects have been returned.

In a statement, the museum added that 300 more had been "identified and [are] due to be returned imminently".

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Monday, August 28, 2023

Reconstructed Roman Gateway Tells The Story Of Britain’s Invasion


Richborough Roman Fort with the newly reconstructed gateway. Courtesy of English Heritage

The soil from these ditches would have been mounded up to create an earth rampart. These would have been a formidable defensive obstacle and typical of Roman military engineering of the first century AD.

Roman military defences normally enclosed a rectangular area for a camp or fort. The Richborough defences are odd in that they do not do that, but instead cut off a long stretch of land along the shore on the eastern side of the site.

Their full length to the north and south is unknown and much land to their east has undoubtedly been lost to erosion and the construction of the railway.

What was the purpose of the gateway and defences?
The defences look to be designed to secure a length of shoreline, leading historians to suggest that they were temporary defences for a beachhead.

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Friday, April 28, 2023

Burnt graves full of ancient Roman artifacts uncovered during construction in Belgium

Experts said they were surprised by their findings. Gemeente Zemst

What started as a pre-construction archaeological project in Belgium has evolved into a sprawling excavation uncovering a trove of Roman-era artifacts and ruins, government officials say. Ahead of refurbishing Sportpark Hubert Van Innis, archaeologists launched an investigation into the area given its location in Elewijt — which was under Roman rule thousands of years ago. Experts expected to find remains, but the extent of their discoveries was surprising, according to an April 25 news release from the Zemst government. First, as expected, archaeologists unearthed a building and well dating to the Middle Ages, according to officials. They also discovered several burial mounds.

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Archaeologists Find Evidence of ‘Lost’ Ancient Roman Campaign in Arabia

The Romans tell that their conquest of the Nabateans was peaceful, but is that a tall tale of the victor? Or did they erase the memory of a fiasco in Arabia?

In the year 106, the Romans annexed the Nabatean kingdom and renamed it Arabia Petraea. The question is how exactly that was achieved.

Roman historians described this as a nonviolent process following the demise of the last Nabatean king, Rabbel II Soter. But now, in the barren desert of northern Arabia, archaeologists have detected what they believe were three Roman army camps. They're situated in a straight line between the Bayir oasis near the Nabatean capital of Petra and Dûmat al-Jandal in what is now northern Saudi Arabia.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Archaeologists found a lost Roman fortlet in Scotland

An artist's impression of Watling Lodge fortlet, which also once stood along the Antonine Wall, and would have been similar to the fortlet discovered near Carleith Farm. Historic Environment Scotland

Archaeologists in western Scotland have found the foundations of a Roman fortlet dating back to the Second Century CE. According to the government-run historic preservation commission Historic Environment Scotland, this fort was one of 41 defensive structures that was built near the Antonine Wall, one of Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This fortified wall made of mostly wood ran for roughly 40 miles across Scotland as part of the Roman Empire’s unsuccessful attempt to extend its control throughout Britain from roughly 410 to 43 CE. The Antonine Wall was defended as the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. Emperor Antoninus Pius ordered the building of the wall in 142 CE as a one-up to his predecessor Hadrian. The famed Hadrian’s Wall was built in the 120s CE about 100 miles south of the Antonine Wall.

The Romans called the people living in Scotland “Caledonians”, and later named them  the Picts after a Latin word meaning “painted people,” in reference to their body paintings or tattoos. The Romans retreated to the Hadrian Wall in 162 CE after 20 years of trying to hold a new northern line at the Antonine Wall.

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Monday, April 24, 2023

Roman burial site discovered on Nuneaton land set for giant new housing estate

Before and after - the land at Top Farm, left, and the masterplan for its future use - including 1,700 homes. Now works are to be undertaken to investigate areas of archaeological interest

Roman archaeology has been discovered on Nuneaton land where a giant new housing estate is set to be built. Planning permission was given the go-ahead last year for the 1,700 home development with secondary school and leisure centre land on Top Farm.

It is already known that there is an animal foot and mouth burial pit on the sprawling site and a report has also revealed that a probable Roman cremation burial area was unearthed on the site. This was during an archaeological survey undertaken last year.

Further investigation work is now set to take place. It will be ahead of the first phase of the works starting on the site, which are pencilled in to start in late summer this year.

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1,600-year-old temple to mysterious Roman god unearthed in Germany. Take a look

Lord Mayor Wolfram Leibe and Minister of the Interior Michael Ebling
at the excavations in Trier.

Torch lights flicker in the underground space, illuminating the stone statues and casting shadows on the gathering. Military men sit on brick benches and look at the stone carving. Looking back at them through the lantern light is their god — a figure simultaneously well-known and mysterious.

The cult scene feels part ominous, part reverent and entirely like part of a Netflix documentary. In reality, these shadowy gatherings took place across the ancient Roman world.

Archaeologists in Trier, Germany, recently uncovered a 1,600-year-old temple where this Roman cult gathered, according to an April 12 news release from the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Rhineland-Palatinate.

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Sunday, April 23, 2023

Roman Temple Uncovered in Northwestern France

(© Emmanuelle Collado, Inrap)

BRITTANY, FRANCE—Live Science reports that a structure thought to have been a temple dedicated to Mars, the Roman war god, has been uncovered in northwestern France at the site of La Chapelle-des-Fougeretz. Françoise Labaune-Jean of France’s National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) said that the large sanctuary with a view of the Roman city of Condate was probably an important one. It is thought to have been established shortly after the region was conquered by Julius Caesar in 56 B.C., and occupied into the fifth century A.D. and the collapse of the western Roman Empire. Although no inscriptions have been found to date, a bronze statuette of Mars has been found at the site, in addition to iron weapons that had been deposited in a ditch around the sanctuary. Terracotta figurines that may represent Venus and mother goddesses were also recovered from a nearby pit. To read about another Roman city in France, go to "Gaul's University Town."

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Monday, April 17, 2023

Lavish ancient Roman winery found at ruins of Villa of the Quintilii near Rome

View of the excavated winery from the northern dining hall of the Villa of the Quintilii outside Rome. Photograph: Stefano Castellani

Excavation shows facility included luxurious dining rooms with views of fountains that gushed with wine

Of all the Roman ruins that populate what is now a pleasant landscape of pine trees and meadows, under the distant gaze of the Alban Hills, the Villa of the Quintilii is perhaps the most impressive – almost a city in miniature, covering up to 24 hectares.

Lying on the ancient Appian Way as it runs south-east from Rome, the villa had its own theatre, an arena for chariot races and a baths complex with walls and floors lined in sumptuous marble.

But the story of the villa, whose origins lie in the second century AD, has just become even more remarkable, with the discovery of an elaborate winery unparalleled in the Roman world for lavishness.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest: Give Me Back My Legions!

During the reign of Emperor Augustus, in the deep, dark forests across the Rhine, three Roman legions marched in order, seeking to resolve the issue of pacifying the disparate but problematic Germanic tribes resisting Roman rule.

With their expertise and superior military, the Romans were confident they would achieve an easy victory, expand the Roman sphere of influence, and put an end to the rebelliousness of the Germanic tribes in the area. But the trees of the forest hid a power much greater than they had anticipated. What happened that Autumn day in 9 CE would send shockwaves all the way back to Rome. This was the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

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The ‘Barbarians’ Who Saved & Destroyed the Late Roman Empire

A look at how the traditional enemies of the Roman Empire came to save and, ultimately, destroy it.

When one pictures the Roman Empire, it can be quite easy to conjure up images of its glorious and all-conquering heydays. Visions of Caesar’s conquests, the civil war, Augustus, or the golden age of the Antonines. Throughout these portrayals, the primary enemy of the civilized Roman was the ‘barbarian,’ usually a Gaul, Scythian, or German.

However, while these periods make for good cinema or television, there exists an era infinitely more dramatic and turbulent, just under the radar of modern media’s glare. Between the late 4th and 5th centuries, the Roman emperors were often weak and incompetent puppets. Instead, the empire’s lifespan was extended and ultimately extinguished by a succession of ‘barbarian’ generals from beyond the imperial frontiers. This article tells the tale of how these ‘barbarians’ came to rule the fate of the Late Roman Empire.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Advertisement home page Ancient Roman vase is 1st evidence of gladiator battles on English soil

The Colchester Vase depicting a gladitorial battle circa 2nd century CE.
(Wikimedia/Carole Raddato, CC BY-SA 2.0)

New research on an ancient vase discovered in England in 1853 suggests, for the first time, that gladiator battles took place in Roman Britain.

Gladiator battles were a form of Roman entertainment featuring armed combatants facing off against each other, wild animals or even condemned criminals, and have been popularized in modern culture via movies such as “Spartacus” and “Gladiator.”

The late 2nd-century CE vase discovered in 1853 in the southeastern English town of Colchester — known to the Romans as Camulodunum — which features an inscription bearing the names of two known gladiators, was previously thought to have had the names inscribed on it after the vase was fired, meaning that they were thought to be a later addition.

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Monday, February 27, 2023

The end of Roman Britain | HistoryExtra podcast series

The end of Roman Britain: introduction, and a mystery mosaic

Join us for episode one in our series examining what happened in Britain as Roman influence waned…

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Thursday, February 23, 2023

When in Rome: Archaeologists discover ancient wooden phallus that may be exactly what it looks like

HEXHAM, United Kingdom — Vindolanda served as an ancient Roman auxiliary fort in the north of what is now the United Kingdom for nearly 300 years (roughly 85 AD -370 AD). Now, a new analysis has identified what looks to be the first ever known example of a disembodied phallus made of wood recovered anywhere in the Ancient Roman world.

Phalli were actually quite ubiquitous at the time across the Roman Empire, as they were believed to help promote good luck and ward off bad fortune. People would wear necklaces featuring phallic pendants, and phallic images were often seen in painted frescoes and mosaics. They even formed part of the decoration of other objects such as knife handles or pottery.

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Interview: Ave Caesar! Romans, Gauls and Germanic tribes on the Banks of the Rhine

JBW: Many thanks for speaking with me yet again, Dr. Esaù Dozio. For thousands of
years, people have viewed the Rhine River as a boundary of sorts, dividing northern and
southern Europe. The Rhine River was a conduit of wealth and exchange. Nonetheless, I am curious to know why you and your fellow curators chose the Rhine River as the focus of the Antikenmuseum’s latest exhibition. I would suspect that Basel’s location, sitting astride the Rhine, had some role in this.

ED: Between fall 2022 and summer 2023, the Netzwerk Museen is dedicating an international exhibition series to the Rhine. Thirty-eight museums from Germany, France, and Switzerland highlight the importance of this river for our region from different perspectives. For the Antikenmuseum, it was a fitting occasion to present the ancient history of the Rhine. In this context, Basel and the surrounding region have a special role to play, especially since the Celtic settlement of Basel-Gasfabrik, the fortified oppidum on the local Münsterhügel and the nearby Roman colony of Augusta Raurica provide outstanding conditions for such a project.

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Roman city uncovered by archeologists in Luxor


Luxor, which translates as “The Palaces” in Arabic, was formerly known as “The City of Hundred Doors” in ancient times. It is regarded by many as the world’s largest open-air museum due to the presence of some of the most majestic temples on a 417 sq km (161 sq mi) area, including the Valley of the Kings, the Karnak Temple, Queen Hatshepsut Temple, and the Luxor Temple, which houses some of the most extraordinary ruins and artifacts. Luxor is a portion of the ancient city of Thebes and is situated in the southern region of Upper Egypt on the east bank of the Nile River. Luxor served as both the nation’s capital under the New Kingdom and was regarded as a very significant city in ancient Egypt.

Millions of tourists come to the city from around the world to see this amazing beauty. Over 500,000 people still live in the city in an active population who are almost exclusively reliant on tourism. Luxor experiences an extremely hot and sunny environment, with summertime highs of 40 C (104 F) and wintertime lows of 22 C (71.6 F).

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Welcome to Roman Times!

Roman Times is a new organization dedicated to exploring life in the ancient Roman Empire. Our mission is to foster and perpetuate an appreciation and knowledge of the history, culture, and greatness of the ancient Roman Empire; educating both members and the public through living history events, workshops and research into the daily lives and material culture of the soldiers and civilians of ancient Rome and the cultures with which they interacted. History does not have to be boring, especially when it is interactive. Much has been written and shown in movies (often more fiction than fact) and media series about the people of ancient Rome. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in ancient Rome; then this experience is for you. Roman Times provides the opportunity for history to come alive. An opportunity for you to wear the clothes, the armor, or use the tools used by ancient Romans. Our immersion events allow you to do all of this while learning about the life of Roman soldiers, citizens, those who became Roman citizens, or opposed Roman rule.

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Monday, February 13, 2023

Fishbourne Roman Palace starts brush-up for 2,000-year-old mosaics

Mosaic of Cupid riding on a dolphin, which was first laid in AD150, at Fishbourne Roman Palace in Chichester. (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

The world-renowned mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace are getting a spruce-up ahead of the heritage site reopening on Saturday.

The site, near Chichester, West Sussex, is home to the largest collection of in-situ Roman mosaics in the country.

With the attraction due to reopen to the public on February 11, a team of conservators has been delicately cleaning the 2,000-year-old decorative floors.

Each of the 29 mosaics takes up to 10 hours to clean as a small fine brush is used to sweep the dust away, charity Sussex Past, which owns the site, said.

Fishbourne Roman Palace curator Dr Rob Symmons said: “We’re proud to be the guardians of probably the finest collection of in-situ mosaics in the country.

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What Was the Role of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople?

The Theodosian Walls of Constantinople were one of the most powerful defensive structures from ancient and medieval times. Built in the early fifth century AD, during the reign of emperor Theodosius II (thus the name), the Theodosian Walls fulfilled their primary task for a thousand years. They protected the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Medieval Roman Empire, better known as the Byzantine Empire. However, the Theodosian Walls were more than a defensive bulwark. Their mighty appearance marked the boundaries of the “Queen of the Cities” – Constantinople.

The walls also had a ceremonial role in the imperial, military and religious processions that passed throughout the city. Lastly, the Theodosian walls symbolized the power and endurance of the Empire. In their long history, only once did the enemy breach the walls. When that occurred in 1453, the Roman Empire fell with them.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

What Was Justinian’s “Reconquest”?

Detail of the mosaic showing the emperor Justinian I, 6th century CE, Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna

The Wars That Made Justinian’s Reconquest Possible

Since the mid-fifth century CE, and the fall of Rome, the emperors in Constantinople dreamed of the reconquest of the former Roman territories lost to the barbarian kingdoms. However, the constant threat from Sassanid Persia in the East and the barbarian incursions at the Danubian frontier tied down most of the troops. All that changed during the reign of emperor Justinian I. His predecessors left Justinian with a full treasury, a stable government, and a disciplined, professional army. Justinian also inherited the war against Persia, a traditional rival of the Roman Empire since the times of Crassus. However, the Roman victories at Dara and Satala led to the “Eternal Peace” with Persia in 532 CE. Justinian could finally focus on his lifelong aim – the reconquest of the Roman West.

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Monday, January 23, 2023

The History of Rome With Mary Beard

The Odyssey YouTube channel is a trove of documentaries about the ancient world, “from the dawn of Mesopotamia to the fall of Rome”. Several of their videos about Rome are presented by classicist Mary Beard, perhaps the best-known Roman scholar in the world and the author of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, which you couldn’t enter a bookstore in the late 2010s without seeing. I’ve embedded her videos on The Ancient Origins Of The Roman Empire and Why Did The Roman Empire Collapse above and you can head to YouTube to watch several more hours of Beard explaining Rome: Who Were The Citizens Of Ancient Rome?, How Did The Ancient Roman World Work?, The Meteoric Rise And Fall Of Julius Caesar, What Was Normal Life Like In Pompeii Before Its Destruction?, and Caligula And Corruption In Imperial Rome. (via 3 quarks daily)

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Archaeological Treasures Hidden Beneath the Colosseum

(Credit: astudio/Shutterstock)

Gladiator fights, exotic animals, rowdy, toga-wearing spectators. These are some of the images Rome’s Colosseum may conjure in your mind.

But last year, archaeologists took to the sewer networks beneath the infamous amphitheater to learn more about what a day there really looked like.

Colosseum Background

Construction work on the Colosseum began between A.D. 70 and 72, under the rule of Emperor Vespasian, and the Flavians completed it around A.D. 80. (This is where the world wonder gets its alternative name: the Flavian Amphitheatre.) It is said to have opened with 100 days of games.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Found the world's oldest rune stone

Photo: Alexis Pantos/KHM, UiO.

During the first few centuries of the Common Era, during the period that archaeologists call the Roman Iron Age, Scandinavians came into contact with Roman society by trading goods and through their encounters with the Roman army. Archaeological material testifies to the fact that this is how they acquired knowledge about new customs and forms of organisation, and not least a written culture. 

Inspired by the classical alphabets, such as the Roman alphabet, the Germanic peoples created their own characters – runes. But exactly how old is the runic alphabet, and when were the first rune stones made? These are questions that researchers have been seeking to answer for many years. 

A new archaeological find is attracting international attention among runic scholars and archaeologists: the world's oldest dated rune stone was discovered during the autumn of 2021 when archaeologists at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, investigated a grave field in Hole near Tyrifjorden, Eastern Norway. Radiocarbon dates show that the age of the grave and thus the inscriptions on the stone probably date back to 1-250 CE. This rune stone is thus one of the very earliest examples of words recorded in writing in Scandinavia, and the inscriptions provide new insights into the development and use of runic writing during the early Iron Age. 

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Norway reveals stone tablet providing clues to origins of Western writing

The ancient rune stone found by Norwegian researchers is believed to be between 1,800 and 2,000 years old. It was found buried beneath a later grave.
Photo courtesy of Museum of Cultural History

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Norway is set to unveil an ancient rune stone found in the east of the country dating back as much as 2,000 years that is providing the missing pieces to the puzzle of the origins of writing in northern Europe.

Researchers from the University of Oslo's Museum of Cultural History found the block of sandstone on an Iron Age grave site dig near Tyrifjorden, northwest of Oslo, in late 2021. They now believe it is the world's oldest rune stone and that the characters on the stone are one of the earliest examples of writing in Scandinavia because radiocarbon dating shows the grave dates back to 1-250 CE.

The stone, which is creating a stir internationally among runologists and archaeologists, is going on display to the public as the centerpiece of a new exhibition opening on Saturday at the Historical Museum in Oslo.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable?

The ancient Romans were masters of engineering, constructing vast networks of roads, aqueducts, ports, and massive buildings, whose remains have survived for two millennia. Many of these structures were built with concrete: Rome’s famed Pantheon, which has the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome and was dedicated in A.D. 128, is still intact, and some ancient Roman aqueducts still deliver water to Rome today. Meanwhile, many modern concrete structures have crumbled after a few decades.

Researchers have spent decades trying to figure out the secret of this ultradurable ancient construction material, particularly in structures that endured especially harsh conditions, such as docks, sewers, and seawalls, or those constructed in seismically active locations.

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