Roman Archaeology (Miscellaneous)

ramonmercado

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Google Earth programme leads to remains of ancient villa.
Declan Butler

Using satellite images from Google Maps and Google Earth, an Italian computer programmer has stumbled upon the remains of an ancient villa. Luca Mori was studying maps of the region around his town of Sorbolo, near Parma, when he noticed a prominent, oval, shaded form more than 500 metres long. It was the meander of an ancient river, visible because former watercourses absorb different amounts of moisture from the air than their surroundings do.

His eye was caught by unusual 'rectangular shadows' nearby. Curious, he analysed the image further, and concluded that the lines must represent a buried structure of human origin. Eventually, he traced out what looked like the inner courtyards of a villa.

Mori, who describes the finding on his blog, Quellí Della Bassa, contacted archaeologists, including experts at the National Archaeological Museum of Parma. They confirmed the find. At first it was thought to be a Bronze Age village, but an inspection of the site turned up ceramic pieces that indicated it was a Roman villa.

"Mori's research is interesting in its approach," says Manuela Catarsi Dall'Aglio, an archaeologist at the National Archaeological Museum of Parma. He says the find may be similar to a villa the museum is currently excavating at Cannetolo di Fontanellato, which was found during the construction of a high-speed rail network. "Only a scientific, archeological dig will tell," he adds.

The local authorities will have to approve any archaeological digs before they can take place.

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050912/ ... 912-6.html
 

krobone

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That is totally awesome!
 

kilda

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re:

Indeed very interesting, archaeologists often use aerial photography in searching for buried structures. The cool thing about that guy is that he spotted it from Sat images, especially given the good light, weather and other such conditions usually needed.

There are a few web pages with examples, but i found one with a cropmark of a villa, probably very much like the one spotted.


http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/student ... chrs2.html


Kilda.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1789631,00.html

Newly found mosaic is optical illusion
John Hooper in Rome
Saturday June 3, 2006
The Guardian


Archaeologists studying an ancient mosaic found by workers laying cable south of Rome have been astonished to discover that it is an optical illusion.

Viewed one way up it is a bald old man with a beard, but turned the other way round it is a beardless youth.

Roberto Cereghino, a government archaeological official, told the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera that it was "a very beautiful work, of immense significance".

He said it appeared to be a depiction of Bacchus.

The double face is surrounded by objects that were used in Bacchanalian rites: an ancient musical instrument, the sistrum, a two-handed drinking bowl, and a priestly wand. The mosaic's optical trickery may be linked to the fact that Bacchus was the god of wine.

Mosaics containing optical illusions have been found in north Africa, but this is thought to be the first discovery of such a work in Italy.

The double head was unearthed last month in an industrial area near the town of Pomezia that was previously thought to have been thoroughly explored for archaeological remains.

The mosaic has since been removed from the site for restoration, and there are plans to put it on display in Rome later this year.
Pretty neat, huh? :)

Bacchus? Maybe, it's of Janus?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus_(mythology)
 

crunchy5

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Sounds ace, did you post a link to the pic I couldn't find it if you did?
 

ramonmercado

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Normandy grave hints at 300-year defiance of the Roman Empire
By John Lichfield in Evreux
Published: 27 January 2007

A macabre 1,700-year-old mass grave of people and horses, discovered in Normandy, poses perplexing new questions about the Roman conquest of France. Was there a small part of ancient Gaul which refused, Asterix-like, to surrender for 300 years?

The grave site, from the 3rd century, which was discovered by French state archaeologists at Evreux, appears to contain ritual arrangements of human and horse remains. In one, a human skull is clasped between two horse's skulls, like the two halves of a giant shell.

In Gaullish times, 300 years earlier, graves containing both horses and people were common. No such grave has ever been found from the Roman period, and even in the previous era, the remains were kept carefully apart.

In the recently discovered grave, about 50 miles west of Paris, the bones appear to have been intentionally mixed. The skeletons of 40 people and 100 horses have been found so far.

Was this a local - or maybe more widespread - survival of the Gaullish cult of Epona, the goddess of horses and warriors? Sylvie Pluton is leader of the dig for the |Institut National de Recherches Arcéologique Préventives (Inrap). She is also an expert on the Gallo-Roman period.

"With the Romans, you usually know what to expect," she said. "They were very organised. Their graves were very orderly. Not here. The bodies point in all directions ... Above all, there is extraordinary mingling of humans and horses. We could be looking at a cultural survival, previously unknown, such as a worship of the goddess Epona."

Roman graves often contained offerings of food, but Romans did not eat horse flesh. Nor can this have been a warriors' grave. Many of the human skeletons are those of children or women or old men.

Some Gaullish practices and beliefs did survive deep into Roman times, but there have been no previous finds as striking. One of the visitors to the site was Professor Christian Goudineau of the Collège de France, the foremost expert on the period. He said: "Personally, I am reluctant to believe in some kind of cultural survival, such as a cult of the goddess Epona. Why would it survive for so long? And here, on the edge of what we know was a large Roman town?

"Perhaps these were slaves and horses which died in an epidemic and were just thrown here in a hurry and became mixed up," he added.

The problem, as Professor Goudineau himself pointed out, is that some of the remains seem to have been carefully arranged. Further digging on the site in the next two months, before it is covered by a new bungalow, may help to unlock the mystery.

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2190045.ece
 

Mal_Adjusted

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I don't see a big problem with this.

The Romans tended to incorporate local deities rather than simply suppress them.

Also could it be a cemetery for an otherwise unrecorded auxiliary unit and their families?

Or a local burial ground for a less-than perfectly conformist gaulish tribe?

or even the short-lived Gallic Empire?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallic_Empire

Interesting. Wonder if there is any documentary evidence from that period relating to events thereabouts?
 

ramonmercado

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Full text at link.

Huge statue of Roman ruler found
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

Parts of a giant, exquisitely carved marble sculpture depicting the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius have been found at an archaeological site in Turkey.

Fragments of the statue were unearthed at the ancient city of Sagalassos.

So far the statue's head, right arm and lower legs have been discovered, high in the mountains of southern Turkey.

Marcus Aurelius was portrayed by Richard Harris in the Oscar-winning 2000 film Gladiator and was one of the so-called "Five Good Emperors".

He reigned from 161AD until his death in 180AD.

In addition to his deeds as emperor, Marcus Aurelius is remembered for his writings, and is considered one of the foremost Stoic philosophers.

The partial statue was unearthed in the largest room at Sagalassos's Roman baths.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7580745.stm
 

Twin_Star

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Stunning. wondrous.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7582165.stm

these photos are well worth a butchers, the sandal especially.

I got his meditations from the bookshop recently, and personally i prefer that copy (penguin great ideas) the translation is less thee and thou than the online snippet ive posted below, but this is a passage that sums up his devout stoic outlook. of course Russell is right, imo, when he said that stoicism could never offer enough to the masses, with all that Xtian "living in the sky with god" going around in the 2nd-3rd C. compared to "endure - and even then you may just end up as nothing". it is repetitive, and quite depressing in places, but i can really hear the voice of an emperor dead for millenia coming from the pages.

http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html

Take care that thou art not made into a Caesar, that thou art not dyed with this dye; for such things happen. Keep thyself then simple, good, pure, serious, free from affectation, a friend of justice, a worshipper of the gods, kind, affectionate, strenuous in all proper acts. Strive to continue to be such as philosophy wished to make thee. Reverence the gods, and help men. Short is life. There is only one fruit of this terrene life, a pious disposition and social acts. Do everything as a disciple of Antoninus. Remember his constancy in every act which was conformable to reason, and his evenness in all things, and his piety, and the serenity of his countenance, and his sweetness, and his disregard of empty fame, and his efforts to understand things; and how he would never let anything pass without having first most carefully examined it and clearly understood it; and how he bore with those who blamed him unjustly without blaming them in return; how he did nothing in a hurry; and how he listened not to calumnies, and how exact an examiner of manners and actions he was; and not given to reproach people, nor timid, nor suspicious, nor a sophist; and with how little he was satisfied, such as lodging, bed, dress, food, servants; and how laborious and patient; and how he was able on account of his sparing diet to hold out to the evening, not even requiring to relieve himself by any evacuations except at the usual hour; and his firmness and uniformity in his friendships; and how he tolerated freedom of speech in those who opposed his opinions; and the pleasure that he had when any man showed him anything better; and how religious he was without superstition. Imitate all this that thou mayest have as good a conscience, when thy last hour comes, as he had.

i guess it also ties into Boorman's project slated for 2010, Memoirs of Hadrian, with Daniel Craig:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467470/
 

ramonmercado

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Archaeological Dig Uncovers Roman Mystery
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 210144.htm

Archeologist Roger Wilson pulls out the clay amphora from its 1,500 year hiding place. (Credit: Photo courtesy of Roger Wilson)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 14, 2008) — University of British Columbia archaeologists have dug up a mystery worthy of Indiana Jones, one that includes a tomb, skeletons and burial rites with both Christian and pagan elements.

This summer, Prof. Roger Wilson led excavations at Kaukana, an ancient Roman village located near Punta Secca, a small town in the south-eastern province of Ragusa in Sicily.

Combing through the sand-buried site, the 15-member team made a series of startling discoveries. Central to the mystery was finding a tomb inside a room in a house dating from the sixth century AD.

Wilson explains that tombs during this period are normally found only in cemeteries outside the built-up area of a town, or around the apse of a church. And since the building was substantial with mortared walls and internal plaster, this would have been likely a tomb for the wealthy.

“It’s extremely unusual to find an elite burial set inside a house in the middle of a settlement, even as late as the sixth century,” says Wilson, who heads UBC’s Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies.

The UBC initiative -- in collaboration with Prof. Giovanni Di Stefano of the Superintendency for the Cultural Heritage of Ragusa -- is the first major exploration of this historic site since 1972.

Locals first stumbled upon the late Roman village during the 1960s when a bulldozer preparing for new houses uncovered the tops of some 24 ancient buildings. Only a few, among them a church, were explored at the time, by renowned Italian archaeologist Paola Pelagatti.

Wilson directed students from UBC and Sicily in their painstaking work, focusing on what proved to be an “exceptionally well-preserved” structure on the south side of Kaukana, only yards from the beach. The walls uncovered stand nearly six feet high.

Once the cover was lifted off the tomb, one team member spent 10 days sieving the contents with great care. Two skeletons were found. One was of a woman between the ages of 25 and 30, with teeth in excellent condition and no signs of arthritis.

“She was in pretty good nick, so we know this wasn’t a peasant working in the field,” says Wilson.

The other skeleton was a child of indeterminate sex between the ages of five and seven. The position of their bones showed that the woman had been laid to rest first. The tomb was then re-opened to bury the child and the woman’s spinal column was pushed to one side. A hole in the stone slab covering the tomb allowed visitors to pour libations for the dead.

“This shows that the long-established, originally pagan, rite of offering libations to the dead clearly continued into early Byzantine times,” observes Wilson.

Yet, the presence of a Christian cross on a lamp found in the room and on the underside of a grave slab suggests that the deceased were Christian. As well, the skeletons were wrapped in plaster, a practice believed to be Christian for preserving the body for resurrection.

“It is the first plaster burial recorded in Sicily, although the practice is known from Christian communities in North Africa,” says Wilson.

What also intrigued the archaeologists was learning that the tomb was opened one further time, an intrusion that disturbed the bones of the child and caused its skull to be placed upside down. Wilson says he wondered whether it was grave robbers in search of expensive jewelry or other loot.

“But the tomb was tidied up again afterwards.”

Around the tomb was plentiful evidence of periodic feasting in honour of the dead. The archaeologists found cooking pots, glass and several large clay containers (amphorae), of which one is virtually intact. These would have been used to carry oil and wine to the site. The team also found the remains of two hearths where meals had been prepared.

As well, the room was designed with niches along one wall. Wilson says a knife, seafood, and fragments of stemmed goblets and other glass vessels were left on these shelves, “as though placed there after the last party.”

UBC’s snapshot of late Roman and early Byzantine life has stirred considerable interest among the Italian media and historians worldwide. With support for three years of study from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Wilson says the team is eager to further unravel the skeins of history.

When they return to Kaukana next summer, they will attempt to solve the riddles encountered this first year. “Along with questions of when the house was built and whether it was still occupied when the tomb was inserted, we want to find out why the woman and child were buried in the tomb at all.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by University of British Columbia.
 

Tribble

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Anyone spot the nominative determinism/lexilink/amusing coincidence? A bloke digging a trench while wearing a T-shirt that says “SAP”?

maximus otter

Possibly deliberate. SAP (Società Archeologica) is an archeology company (trowel in the logo).

http://www.archeologica.it/

Sap comes from the Latin sappa :

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/sappa#Latin

There is another coincidence though - they're digging on a vineyard. Sapa is a reduction of grape juice.

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/sapa#Latin
 

maximus otter

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[Roman] soldier's payslip, reveals the [soldier] was left broke after military deducted his uniform and food

A payslip made from a sheet of papyrus shows a Roman soldier was left penniless 1,900 years ago after the military took out fees for certain items.

39038652-9237493-image-a-41_1612813780953.jpg


The document was made out to a Gaius Messius, who participated in the Siege of Masada, one of the last battles during the First Jewish-Roman War.

The receipt shows Messius received 50 denarii as his stipend, but fees for barley money, food and military equipment were taken out that totaled to the amount of his full pay.

Because part of the deductions taken were for fodder, food for livestock, experts believe he was a legionary cavalryman and had to feed his horse and mule.

It reads:

‘The fourth consulate of Imperator Vespasianus Augustus.’

‘Accounts, salary. Gaius Messius, son of Gaius, of the tribe Fabia, from Beirut.’

‘I received my stipendium of 50 denarii, out of which I have paid barley money 16 denarii. […]rnius: food expenses 20(?) denarii; boots 5 denarii; leather strappings 2 denarii; linen tunic 7 denarii.’


And the total of deductions is 50 denarii – Messius’ entire pay cheque.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/science...o-reveals-left-BROKE-military-deductions.html

maximus otter
 
Last edited:

Mythopoeika

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[Roman] soldier's payslip, reveals the [soldier] was left broke after military deducted his uniform and food

A payslip made from a sheet of papyrus shows a Roman soldier was left penniless 1,900 years ago after the military took out fees for certain items.

39038652-9237493-image-a-41_1612813780953.jpg


The document was made out to a Gaius Messius, who participated in the Siege of Masada, one of the last battles during the First Jewish-Roman War.

The receipt shows Messius received 50 denarii as his stipend, but fees for barley money, food and military equipment were taken out that totaled to the amount of his full pay.

Because part of the deductions taken were for fodder, food for livestock, experts believe he was a legionary cavalryman and had to feed his horse and mule.

It reads:

‘The fourth consulate of Imperator Vespasianus Augustus.’

‘Accounts, salary. Gaius Messius, son of Gaius, of the tribe Fabia, from Beirut.’

‘I received my stipendium of 50 denarii, out of which I have paid barley money 16 denarii. […]rnius: food expenses 20(?) denarii; boots 5 denarii; leather strappings 2 denarii; linen tunic 7 denarii.’


And the total of deductions is 50 denarii – Messius’ entire pay cheque.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/science...o-reveals-left-BROKE-military-deductions.html

maximus otter
That kind of practice continued for hundreds of years afterwards. AFAIK, it wasn't until the 19th or 20th century (I think) that soldiers no longer had to buy their uniforms.
 

JamesWhitehead

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That kind of practice continued for hundreds of years afterwards. AFAIK, it wasn't until the 19th or 20th century (I think) that soldiers no longer had to buy their uniforms.

I seem to recall that they found a letter addressed to a Roman soldier at Hadrian's Wall. They hoped he liked the socks, sent from home!

The details are vague but it subtly adjusts the image of those invaders. :points:
 

Nosmo King

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That kind of practice continued for hundreds of years afterwards. AFAIK, it wasn't until the 19th or 20th century (I think) that soldiers no longer had to buy their uniforms.
Still happens in the British armed forces:

Commissioned officers purchase their own uniforms and do not receive a clothing allowance. In addition to the minimum required uniform items, service members may choose to use their own money to purchase optional uniform items, like sweaters, jackets, mess dress (military version of a tux) and the like.
 

Aurora Newman

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That kind of practice continued for hundreds of years afterwards. AFAIK, it wasn't until the 19th or 20th century (I think) that soldiers no longer had to buy their uniforms.
Imagine what cost a Knight would be!!
 

hunck

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Coincidentally...

'Rare' Roman penis carving found in Cambridgeshire

During upgrade on the A14.

Broken millstone found between 2017/18 & only recently put back together.

Dr Ruth Shaffrey, from Oxford Archaeology, said: "As one of only four known examples of Romano-British millstones decorated this way, the A14 millstone is a highly significant find.

"It offers insights into the importance of the mill to the local community and to the protective properties bestowed upon the millstone and its produce - the flour - by the depiction of a phallus on its upper surface."

Dr Ruth Shaffrey with the millstone
 

EnolaGaia

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This apparently high-ranking Roman soldier - probably a mercenary - was buried in Thessaloniki with his sword blade folded. This is interesting because folding a sword blade was not a typical Roman burial practice.
'Folded' iron sword found in a Roman soldier's grave was part of a pagan ritual

Archaeologists in Greece have discovered a 1,600-year-old iron sword that was folded in a ritual "killing" before being interred in the grave of a soldier who served in the Roman imperial army.

The discovery of the folded sword was "astonishing," because the soldier was buried in an early church, but folded sword was part of a known pagan ritual, said project co-researcher Errikos Maniotis, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Byzantine Archaeology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

Although this soldier, who was likely a mercenary, may have "embraced the Roman way of life and the Christian religion, he hadn't abandoned his roots," Maniotis told Live Science ...

The soldier's burial is the latest finding at the site of a three-aisled paleochristian basilica dating from the fifth century. ...

[An] ... arch-shaped grave contained the remains of an individual who had been buried with weapons, including a bent spatha — a type of long, straight sword from the late Roman period (A.D. 250-450).

"Usually, these types of swords were used by the auxiliary cavalry forces of the Roman army," Maniotis said. "Thus, we may say that the deceased, taking also into consideration the importance of the burial location, was a high-ranking officer of the Roman army." ...

So far, the folded sword is the most revealing feature in the grave. "Such findings are extremely rare in an urban landscape," Maniotis said. "Folded swords are usually excavated in sites in Northern Europe," including in places used by the Celts, he said. This custom was also observed in ancient Greece and much later by the Vikings, but "it seems that Romans didn't practice it, let alone when the new religion, Christianity, dominated, due to the fact that this ritual [was] considered to be pagan," Maniotis said.

The bent sword is a clue that the soldier was a "Romanized Goth or from any other Germanic tribe who served as a mercenary (foederatus) in the imperial Roman forces," Maniotis wrote ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/roman-soldier-buried-with-folded-sword.html
 

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Archaeologist believe they have found the oldest pistachio nut ever found in Britain.

_119463693_51ae4e3d-5b06-4fc4-bbd3-0a822cb2b93a.jpg

"A 2,000-year-old pistachio nut, which experts say is the oldest found in Britain, has been discovered at the bottom of an ancient well.

The nut was found by archaeologists excavating a site during work to upgrade the A1 in North Yorkshire.

It is among thousands of finds unearthed around the Roman town of Cataractonium (now Catterick).

Archaeologists determined it had been picked between AD 24-128, and dropped into the well during that time."

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-57862964
 

Nosmo King

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A bronze key head has lead archeologists to believe lions were used in executions in Roman Britain.

_119864326_04ulasromankeyhandlephotostopdetail.jpg


"An unearthed bronze key handle suggests lions were used in executions in Roman Britain, archaeologists have said.

The handle, which shows a "Barbarian" grappling with a lion, was excavated from under a Roman town house, off Great Central Street in Leicester.

It also shows figures of four boys cowering in terror.

Excavation leader Dr Gavin Speed, from the University of Leicester said nothing quite like it had been found "anywhere in the Roman Empire before"."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-58144680
 
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