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," Agn├Ęs 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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