Roman Britain: New Findings & Discoveries

Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#1
Roman "Curse Tablet" Discovered in England
Kate Ravilious
for National Geographic News

December 5, 2006
Archaeologists in Leicester, England, have recently uncovered a treasure trove of Roman and medieval artifacts, including a 1,700-year-old Roman "curse tablet."

Curse tablets were metal scrolls on which ancient Romans wrote spells to exact revenge for misdeeds, often thefts of money, clothing, or animals.



Such tablets have been discovered previously in Britain, often near ancient Roman temple sites, but this is the first one to be found in Leicester (see United Kingdom map).

The Leicester tablet, which was uncovered near the ruins of a large Roman townhouse dating from the second century A.D., was found unrolled. Curse tablets were typically rolled up and nailed to posts inside temples or shrines.

The newfound tablet appears to have been written by, or on behalf of, a man named Servandus, whose cloak had been stolen.

The writer inscribed a curse into a sheet of lead, asking the god Maglus to destroy the thief.

Measuring around 8 inches (20 centimeters) long and 3 inches (7 centimeters) wide, the tablet reads:

"To the god Maglus, I give the wrongdoer who stole the cloak of Servandus. Silvester, Roimandus … that he destroy him before the ninth day, the person who stole the cloak of Servandus …" A list of the names of 18 or 19 suspects follows.

Richard Buckley, co-director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, which is conducting the excavation, said the discovery provides crucial clues about life in Roman Britain. The names on the lead sheet are of particular interest, he noted.

"Some of [the names] are Celtic, and some are Roman. It helps us to understand the cultural makeup of the population," he said.

The tablets are thought to have been issued by ordinary people, rather than the wealthy, Buckley added, which helps explain why a missing garment called for action from the gods.

"If a cloak is all that you have, then it is pretty important," he said.
The excavations are part of a major dig involving a team of 60 archaeologists from the University of Leicester.




Over the last three years nearly 10 percent of the city center has been excavated prior to the construction of new commercial and residential development.

The dig has produced a wealth of artifacts from the period when the Roman Empire ruled Britain, from about A.D. 43 to 410.

In addition to Servandus' curse tablet, the Roman townhouse excavation has produced another curse tablet that has yet to be translated, along with thousands of shards of pottery, Roman weighing scales, coins, brooches, gaming pieces, animal bone, and hairpins.

At other sites in the city the archaeologists have uncovered medieval churches dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries, as well as graveyards with more than 1,600 burial sites.

The archaeologists also found a medieval street frontage of four properties, one of which had evidence of a brewery in its backyard.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... curse.html
 

synchronicity

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
171
Likes
1
Points
34
#2
Thanks for posting this, it's fascinating!

But who--or what--is Maglus??? :confused: I know that the Romans and other pagans worshipped a large number of gods and goddesses, but Maglus is a new name for me! :shock:

I wonder if Maglus is perhaps a Celtic god (or goddess)?

Anyone got any ideas who this Maglus character is?

And I'm miffed at a few people at present--do you suppose if I "offered" them to Maglus that he could settle a few scores for me?? :mrgreen:
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#3
Lost roman settlements found

Roman and Iron age settlements have been discovered by chance during developments on a major road in North Yorkshire. Archaeologists, called to the site at the A66, found the remains of a Roundhouse together with square buildings, ditches and pits near the Melsonby crosrsroads. The A66 follows the route of a Roman road dating to the first century AD. It is thought that these finds might be related to a larger settlement on the other side of the road. "It's fantastic that we've been able to uncover all these settlements and artefacts ahead of these schemes.” Said Highways Agency project manager Lynne Biddles “We can now piece together the history of this area and preserve it for the wider community to enjoy."

(January 31st)
Charlie Cottrell

http://www.historytoday.com/dt_article_ ... ?gid=30039
 

bazizmaduno

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Feb 12, 2003
Messages
281
Likes
4
Points
49
#4
synchronicity wrote:
wonder if Maglus is perhaps a Celtic god (or goddess)?

Anyone got any ideas who this Maglus character is?
Interesting, this one!

From here
http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/manxnb/v10p061.htm

...What remains of the inscription reads Cunuamagli ma ... , thus:-

[pic of cuniform representation of Cunamaglima]

The letters ma are followed by parts of two of the digits for q, and the whole word was, doubtless, maqi, the ancient genitive of the word for 'son,' and this, in its turn, was followed by the name of the father or the mother of the person whose grave the stone served to mark. Now Cunamagli is easy to identify: I mean the name. not the person bearing it, for I have no notion who he was. Cunamagli, then, as a name is a genitive of the second declension, if I may be allowed to borrow an old-fashioned term of Latin grammar; and if it occurred in Roman capitals in Wales or Cornwall, it would be found written Cunomagli. The genitive actually occurs in the somewhat later form Conomagli, in the life of a Breton Saint, which mentions a man called Maglus Conomagli filius.-* Then we have the still later form Conmægl, given in the Saxon Chronicle, as the name of one of the Welch kings vanquished by Ceawlin, at the battle of Deorham, in the year 577. In modern Welch the name is reduced to Cynfael, and sometimes to Cynfal. Its corresponding late Irish forms are Conmal and Coitmhal: Etymologically it was entitled to have its a marked long (written á ) in compensation for the elided guttural. Similarly the simple Maglus is represented in Irish by Mál, which is said to have meant a prince or hero.
When on considers
...The inscription is currently being translated by a specialist at the University of Oxford. He notes that the Latin of the script reflects the spoken language in several ways. There are 18 or 19 names, a mixture of commonplace Roman (like Silvester and Germanus), Celtic (like Riomandus and Cunovendus), and 'Roman' names found in Celtic-speaking provinces (like Regalis). The god's name might be a title - 'prince' in Celtic.
I think 'Maglus' is a regional (dialectical, if you will) form for the newish 'God', Jesus Christ - or maybe Magdalen even :?:

on another point

Proto-IE: *meg'a- (/ *meg'ha-)

Nostratic etymology:

Meaning: big, great

...

Celtic: Gaul Magio-rīx, Are-magios, etc., dat. sg. Magalu (Göttername), Magalus PN, dat. sg. Maglo (Götter- und Personnenname); OIr sup. maissiu `maximus'; MIr maignech `gross' (?); maige `gross' (?), Poimp Maige `Pompeius Magnus'; mag-lord `Keule' < *mago-lorgā `grosser Knüttel', māl `Edler, Vornehmer, Fürst, König', mass `stattlich' (< *maksos); Cymr Macl-gwn, OBret Maglo-cune, Cono-maglus
from http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/et...=/data/ie/germet&text_number=+500&root=config

Maybe 'Maglus' was just some local big fat bloke who liked giving people a smack.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#5
Coin shows Cleopatra's ugly truth

The images of Antony and Cleopatra are less than flattering
Antony and Cleopatra, one of history's most romantic couples, were not the great beauties that Hollywood would have us believe, academics have said.
A study of a 2,000-year-old silver coin found the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, had a pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose.

Her Roman lover, played by Richard Burton, had bulging eyes, thick neck and a hook nose.

The tiny coin was studied by experts at Newcastle University.

The size of a modern 5p piece, the artefact from 32BC was in a collection belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, which is being researched in preparation for the opening of a new Great North Museum.

The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image

Lindsay Allason-Jones, Newcastle University

Clare Pickersgill, the university's assistant director of archaeological museums, said: "The popular image we have of Cleopatra is that of a beautiful queen who was adored by Roman politicians and generals.

"Recent research would seem to disagree with this portrayal, however."

The university's director of archaeological museums, Lindsay Allason-Jones, said: "The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

"Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty.


The Hollywood couple may have perpetrated a Hollywood myth

"The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image."

The silver denarius coin would have been issued by the mint of Mark Antony.

On one side is the head of Mark Antony, bearing the caption "Antoni Armenia devicta" meaning "For Antony, Armenia having been vanquished".

Cleopatra appears on the reverse of the coin with the inscription "Cleopatra Reginae regum filiorumque regum", meaning "For Cleopatra, Queen of kings and of the children of kings".

The university hopes more forgotten treasures will come to light before the Great North Museum opens in 2009.

The Roman coin is on display in Newcastle University's Shefton Museum from 14 February.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 357311.stm
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
27,920
Likes
12,767
Points
284
#6
They had a great sense of humour, though.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#7
Recycling in medieval times


One of the star exhibits at the British Museum has offered up clues to the recycling practices of medieval craftsmen. Investigations on the thirteenth century reliquary of St Eustace have revealed that the majority of gems decorating the artefact were carved from re-used pieces of Roman glass.

Louise Joyner and Ian Freestone of Cardiff University’s School of History and Archaeology used Raman microspectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to examine the ancient stones without causing them any damage or removing them from their settings. Their investigation showed that five of the gems decorating the reliquary, (a container constructed to hold holy relics) could be dated to the Roman period whilst two further gems appeared to be recycled from a different period. Only one glass stone was found to have medieval glass composition.

Together with British Museum curator James Robinson, Joyner and Freestone found that coloured glass gemstones were used widely in place of natural gemstones. “The glass used for these gemstones was found to be mainly of a Roman composition indicating that glass about 1000 years old was reused to make these coloured glass gems.” Said Dr Joyner. The reliquary is formed of two parts; a wooden carving in the shape of a man’s head in which fragments of a skull, thought to be that of St Eustace, were kept.

The second part is a metal crown of silver gilt onto which the colourful gemstones are set. St Eustace was a general under the Roman Emperor Trajan who converted to Christianity after seeing a vision of a stag with a luminous crucifix between its antlers whilst out hunting on Good Friday. The report Crowning glory: the identification of gems on the head reliquary of St Eustace from the Basle Cathedral Treasury is published in the latest issue of Journal of Gemmology. (February 26th)

Charlie Cottrell

Roman
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,246
Likes
8,963
Points
284
#8
Roman settlement found next to 'devil's hill'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 1:55am GMT 10/03/2007

Evidence of a Roman sacred site has been discovered at the foot of a man-made hill created thousands of years before the Romans arrived in Britain, it was announced yesterday.

English Heritage called the uncovering of the settlement a "startling discovery", and all the more so because it lies next to 5,000-year-old Silbury hill, which at 130ft is Europe's largest man-made prehistoric monument.

The original purpose and use of the Neolithic hill, which took an estimated 20 million man hours to make, still mystifies archaeologists.

Yesterday's disclosure indicates that a Roman community was equally taken with the Wiltshire hill and established a sacred settlement in its shadow, some 3,000 years after it was created.

The discovery of a settlement the size of 24 football pitches is "quite unexpected" said Dr Amanda Chadburn, an English Heritage archaeologist and team leader. "Although there were hints - the odd Roman coin kicking around - that the Romans were doing something around there we did not know what. This is an important Roman settlement."

The site straddled the Roman road from London to Bath where it crossed the Winterbourne River.

But it was more than just a way station for weary travellers. The Romans were as intrigued by Silbury as people are today, and there is even a tantalising hint of a temple.

"There are a lot of legends about it being built by the devil and you wonder what the Romans thought about it," said Dr Chadburn.
http://tinyurl.com/2kafzn
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#9
Roman York skeleton could be early TB victim

The skeleton of a man discovered by archaeologists in a shallow grave on the site of the University of York's campus expansion could be that of one of Britain's earliest victims of tuberculosis. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the man died in the fourth century. He was interred in a shallow scoop in a flexed position, on his left side.


The man, aged 26-35 years, suffered from iron deficiency anaemia during childhood and at 162 centimetres (5ft 4in), was a shorter height than average for Roman males.

The first known case of TB in Britain is from the Iron Age (300 BC) but cases in the Roman period are fairly rare, and largely confined to the southern half of England. TB is most frequent from the 12th century AD in England when people were living in urban environments. So the skeleton may provide crucial evidence for the origin and development of the disease in this country.

The remains were discovered during archaeological investigations on the site of the University's £500 million expansion at Heslington East. Archaeologists unearthed the skeleton close to the perimeter of the remains of a late-Roman masonry building discovered on the site, close to the route of an old Roman road between York and Barton-on-Humber.

The burial site is on part of the campus that will not be built on. The University is developing plans for community archaeology and education visits once the investigations are complete.

Detailed analysis of the skeleton by Malin Holst, of York Osteoarchaeology Ltd, revealed that a likely cause of death was tuberculosis which affected the man's spine and pelvis. She says that it is possible that he contracted the disease as a child from infected meat or milk from cattle, but equally the infection could have been inhaled into the lungs. The disease then lay dormant until adulthood when the secondary phase of the disease took its toll.

Heslington East Fieldwork Officer Cath Neal, of the University's Department of Archaeology, said: "This was a remarkable find and detailed study of this skeleton will provide us with important clues about the emergence of tuberculosis in late-Roman Britain, but also information about what life was like in York more than 1,500 years ago.

"A burial such as this, close to living quarters, is unusual for this period when most burials were in formal cemeteries. It is possible that the man was buried here because the tuberculosis infection was so rare at the time, and people were reluctant to transport the body any distance."

Malin Holst added: "There were signs of muscular trauma and strong muscle attachments indicating that the individual undertook repeated physical activity while he was in good health. There was some intensive wear and chipping on his front teeth which may have been the result of repeated or habitual activity. There was evidence for infection of the bone in both lower limbs but this appeared to be healing at death."

Investigation of the remains is continuing -- Professor Charlotte Roberts, of Durham University, with Professor Terry Brown at Manchester University, is now studying DNA from the skeleton as part of National Environmental Research Council funded research into the origin, evolution and spread of the bacteria that causes TB in Britain and parts of Europe.

Source: University of York

http://www.physorg.com/printnews.php?newsid=140777345
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#10
'Exceptional' Roman coins hoard

One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever recorded in Wales, has been declared treasure trove.

Nearly 6,000 copper alloy coins were found buried in two pots in a field at Sully, Vale of Glamorgan by a local metal detector enthusiast in April.

After the ruling by the Cardiff coroner, a reward is likely to be paid to the finder and landowner.

It is hoped the coins will be donated to National Museum Wales, which has called the find "exceptional".

Two separate hoards were found by the metal detectorist on successive days, one involving 2,366 coins and the other 3,547 coins, 3m away.

The 1,700-year-old coins dated from the reigns of numerous emperors, notably Constantine I (the Great, AD 307-37), during whose time Christianity was first recognised as a state religion.

Edward Besly, the museum's coin specialist called it an "exceptional find".

He said: "The coins provide further evidence for local wealth at the time. They also reflect the complex imperial politics of the early fourth century."

'Time of danger'

It is thought the two hoards were buried by the same person, possibly two years apart. A similar find was uncovered in the area in 1899.

"There was quite a bit of Roman activity in the area at the time, southwards from Cardiff Castle, where there was a Roman fort, to the Knap at Barry where there was an administrative building and there were farms in the Sully area," said Mr Besly.

"There's a human story there somewhere but it's intangible, we can't really get to it but certainly somebody buried two pots of coins."

"It could have been they were buried for safe keeping, possibly at a time of danger."

It is hoped the coins will be given over to the museum for further study and to go on public display.

Also declared treasure by the coroner were two bronze axes from Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan.

Discovered in June 2008, they were buried together as a small hoard. The two complete bronze socketed axes have ribbed decoration and are examples of the south Wales type, dating to the late bronze age (1000-800 BC).

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/u ... 699953.stm
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#11
Skeleton found at Roman town dig
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 256420.stm

The male skeleton was found lying on its back with its hand tied behind its back
A complete skeleton dating from the 4th Century has been unearthed by archaeologists in Norfolk.

The buried Roman town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund is being excavated to find out whether there is a much older settlement on the site.

The male skeleton was found in a pit lying on its side with its hands tied behind its back and the legs folded so the body could fit in the space.

The skeleton has been removed for tests on the bones to be carried out.

Questions answered

Professor Will Bowden, who is leading the dig, said finding the bones would give them an indication of the status and social class of the inhabitants of the area.

"Once we begin to look at the bones and start to analyse them, we'll be able to start answering questions about the diet of this person, where they actually came from... what they were eating and what sort of lifestyle they actually had."

Excavations at the buried town were first carried out in 1929, after the site was found by aerial photographs.

A geophysical survey was carried out two years ago, which showed possible prehistoric features beneath the town.

Archaeologists believe the town was built on top of a settlement from the Iceni tribe.

The excavations are open to the public, free of charge, until 19 September.

The site is owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and managed by South Norfolk Council.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#12
Hoard of 10,000 Roman coins found
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 258349.stm

The coins were found in a large storage jar
At least 10,000 coins believed to be from the Roman era have been uncovered in Shropshire.

Officials from Shropshire Council's Museum Service said the coins, thought to be from 320 AD to 340 AD, were found in a large storage jar.

They said the haul, found by an amateur treasure hunter, had been sent to experts in London to examine.

Councillor Stephen Charmley said it was the largest coin hoard to be found in the county in modern times.

The coins, which weigh more than 70lb (32kg), are thought to have been produced during the reign of Emperor Constantine.

They are all bronze and some have been silver washed.

Council chiefs said it was difficult to estimate the coins' value as they said there had been no comparable finds of that size.

A full report on the find will be compiled after the coins are examined by the experts.

Mr Charmley said he hoped the museum service would acquire the coins and put them on display in the new Shrewsbury Museum.

The council has not revealed where in the county the coins were found.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#13
UK dig finds Roman amphitheatre
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8283195.stm



British archaeologists have unearthed an amphitheatre at a ancient port outside Rome which may have played host to emperors such as Hadrian and Trajan.

The team, led by the University of Southampton, say the arena could have held up to 2,000 people and been used for gladiator games or animal baiting.

It was found inside a gigantic imperial-style palace within the well-preserved old harbour of Portus.

Experts said the entire site deserved greater recognition.

The excavation team, which also included archaeologists from Cambridge University, has spent two years at Portus, about 20 miles (32km) from the Italian capital.

They worked in collaboration with the British School at Rome on the first large-scale dig at Portus.

The ancient gateway to the Mediterranean Sea, which is twice the size of the port of Southampton, supplied the centre of the Roman Empire with food, slaves, wild animals and building materials for hundreds of years.

It is now two miles inland and next to Fiumicino Airport's runway.

'Strictly private'

The project concentrated on the banks of a hexagonal-shaped man-made lake which formed part of the 2nd Century harbour.

This area was first excavated in the 1860s and what might have been a theatre was discovered and marked on plans, but no trace of the building could subsequently be found.


The site has been known about since the 16th century but it has never ever been given the importance it deserves

Prof Simon Keay
The British team has now discovered an oval-shaped theatre - similar in size to the Pantheon in Rome.

Professor Simon Keay, director of the Portus Project, said the theatre was tucked away at the eastern end of the palace.

"Its design, using luxurious materials and substantial colonnades, suggests it was used by a high status official, possibly even the emperor himself, and the activities that took place there were strictly private," he said.

"It could have been games or gladiatorial combat, wild beast baiting or the staging of mock sea battles but we really do not know.

"What we do know is it's unusual to find this type of building with elements of imperial architecture so close to a harbour."

'Wonder of the world'

In addition to the amphitheatre and 295ft (90m) canal, the archaeologists have made thousands of smaller finds.

The project aims to answer a number of questions about the development of Portus and its relationship to the nearby but better known Ostia, the ancient port of Rome built on the banks of the River Tiber.

"It's going to generate a lot of rethinking about how ports were used and that will change the way we think about Rome's relationship with the Mediterranean," said Prof Keay.

"The site has been known about since the 16th century but it has never been given the importance it deserves. It has been grossly understudied."

He claims it is "one of the most important archaeological sites in the world" and should be rated alongside "such wonders as "Stonehenge and Angkor Wat in Cambodia".
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#14
Hallaton Roman coin is 'oldest found in Britain'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 487870.stm

Roman silver coin dating from 211 BC and found near the Leicestershire village of Hallaton
The coin may be evidence of early trade links

A silver coin dug up as part of a hoard is the oldest piece of Roman money found in Britain, experts believe.

The coin, which has been dated to 221BC, was found near Hallaton in Leicestershire with 5,000 other coins, a helmet and decorated bowl.

Uncovered by archaeologists in 2000, the coin's significance has just been recognised, the county council said.

It said the coin, which has the Goddess Roma on one side, was "something very special".

The other side depicts mythical twins Castor and Pollux sat on galloping horses.

Iron Age shrine

David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: "Leicestershire boasts the largest number of Iron Age coins ever professionally excavated in Britain in the Hallaton Treasure.

"To also have the oldest Roman coin ever found is something very special."

The Hallaton coin is on display at Harborough Museum, Market Harborough, alongside other coins that were excavated at a late Iron Age shrine of the Corieltavi tribe dating to the first century AD.


It was minted in Rome at the time of the Hannibalic wars and here it is turning up after what must have been quite a long journey
Professor David Mattingly

Museum staff said it was a mystery as to how this coin came into the possession of the local Corieltavi tribe.

Some archaeologists have however speculated that such Roman Republican coins found their way into Britain before the Roman conquest in 43 AD and were evidence of exchange through trade or diplomacy.

Professor David Mattingly of the University of Leicester's School of Archaeology and Ancient History said: "This hoard has changed our view of just how significant the East Midlands were in this period and this coin is a good example.

"It indicates there was contact between this region and the Roman Empire despite the distance between the East Midlands and the parts of Britain the Romans arrived in, like Colchester and Chichester."

He added: "It was minted in Rome at the time of the Hannibalic wars and here it is turning up after what must have been quite a long journey."
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#16
Roman era York may have been more diverse than today
http://www.physorg.com/news186653530.html
March 1st, 2010

A computerised reconstruction of how the Ivory Bangle Lady could have looked. Image credit: Dr Hella Eckardt/University of Reading

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new archaeological study in Britain has shown that its multi-cultural nature is not a new phenomenon, but that even in Roman times there was a strong African influence, with North Africans moving in high social circles.

The study, led by Dr Hella Eckardt of the Department of Archaeology at Reading University, used pioneering forensic techniques to study fourth century artifacts and bones in the Yorkshire Museum’s collections in York. The researchers used isotope analysis and forensic ancestry assessment to analyze the items, which included the “Ivory Bangle Lady” skeleton and goods buried with her.

The Ivory Bangle Lady remains were found in August 1901 in a stone coffin unearthed in Bootham, where a group of graves were found. The grave has been dated to the latter half of the fourth century. Items buried with the Lady included expensive luxury items such African elephant ivory bracelets, beads, pendants and other jewelry, a blue glass jug, a glass mirror, and Yorkshire jet. A rectangular bone mount, possibly for a wooden coffin, was also found in the grave. An inscription on the bone, “Hail sister, may you live in God,” suggests the woman held religious beliefs and may have been Christian. She is believed to have been one of the richest inhabitants of the city.

The researchers analyzed and measured the Lady’s skull and facial features, and looked at the chemical signatures of her diet. They also examined the burial site to build a picture of her social status and ancestry.

Dr Eckardt said the results showed the Ivory Bangle Lady was of mixed ancestry, and the isotope analysis suggested she may have migrated to Britain from a warmer climate. This evidence, along with the goods found in the ground, and the fact the burial rite was unusual, all point to the her having been of North African descent, arriving in Britain possibly via the Mediterranean, and she was of high social status.

Roman era York may have been more diverse than today

Enlarge

The analysis of the Lady and other skeletons and artifacts contradicts the popular assumption about Britain in Roman times that African immigrants were usually males, of low status, and most were slaves, and shows that high status women from Africa were also present in the society. Dr Eckardt said the research on the Lady and other skeletons suggest the society was as diverse, and possibly more diverse than it is today.

The Roman Empire extended into the Near and Middle East, North Africa, and included Europe, and there were great movements of people throughout the Empire, both voluntary and involuntary. York (or Eboracum, as it was then known) was an important city of the period and eventually was named capital of “Britannia Inferior.” Emperor Septimius Severus, who was born in North Africa, was one of two Roman Emperors who visited Eboracum, and died there.

The paper is published in this month’s edition of the journal Antiquity. The skeleton and artifacts will be displayed in August as part of the Yorkshire Museum’s exhibition: Roman York — Meet the People of the Empire. Roman era York may have been more diverse than today

More information: A Lady of York: migration, ethnicity and identity in Roman Britain, Antiquity, Volume: 84 Number: 323 Page: 131-145. http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/084/ant0840131.htm
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,675
Likes
20,631
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#17
Roman altar stones unearthed at Scottish cricket ground
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8640741.stm

Inscriptions may reveal information about life in Roman times
Roman altar stones dating back almost 2000 years have been found at a cricket pavilion in Musselburgh, East Lothian.

The stones have been described as the most significant find of their kind in the past 100 years.

Renovations were planned at the pavilion but archaeologists had to survey the protected building before work could begin.

Their unearthing of the stones and other artefacts has postponed the planned developments on the pavilion.

George Findlater, senior inspector of ancient monuments at Historic Scotland, said: "The stones have carvings and quite possibly inscriptions which can have a wealth of information on them, a lot of data about the people and their religion at that time."

This helps with the emerging picture of life in and around the Roman fort at Inveresk during the second century

Councillor Paul McLennan
At least one of the altars is from the 2nd Century and is dedicated to the Roman God Jupiter.

Councillor Paul McLennan, cabinet member for community wellbeing at East Lothian Council, said: "The discovery of these remains is particularly exciting as it is not often that Roman altar stones are discovered during an archaeological excavation in Scotland.

"This helps with the emerging picture of life in and around the Roman fort at Inveresk during the second century."
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,246
Likes
8,963
Points
284
#18
'Gladiator burial ground' discovered in York
The world's best-preserved gladiator burial ground - the final resting place of warriors who battled wild beasts and each other before being dispatched with a hammer blow to the skull - may have been discovered in York.
By Matthew Moore
Published: 6:30AM BST 07 Jun 2010

Dozens of skeletons found beneath the garden of a former 18th Century mansion are probably those of professional fighters who fought, and died, for the entertainment of the ruling Romans.

The remains of around 80 people were discovered during building work at a site to the west of the city centre in 2004, but their likely origins are only now being revealed thanks to extensive forensic analysis.

Almost all the corpses are of robust young males, many of whom met their death by decapitation between the late first and fourth centuries AD.

Archaeologists initially suspected that they were Roman soldiers loyal to Emperor Severus who were executed in the bloody aftermath of his traitorous son Caracalla's coup in 211 AD.

But researchers from the York Archaeological Trust, which is leading the investigation, have now discovered tantalising evidence that the men were actually Gladiators brought to Britain from across the Mediterranean to fight at an as-yet-undiscovered amphitheatre.

Kurt Hunter-Mann, a field officer at the trust, said: "One of the most significant items of evidence is a large carnivore bite mark - probably inflicted by a lion, tiger or bear - an injury which must have been sustained in an arena context."

The majority of the men had sustained brutal weapon injuries consistent with gladiatorial combat. Close scrutiny of the skeletons also showed that many of the dead had one arm that was stronger than the other - an indication that they had been trained to use large weapons from a young age.

Furthermore, damage sustained by their skulls suggested that some of the men had been killed by a hammer blow to the head, a gladiatorial "coup de grace" for which evidence has also been uncovered at a major Roman graveyard in Ephesus, Turkey.

The researchers have made clear that the gladiator explanation is just their "lead theory" and that more study is required. But academics have said that the find could put Britain at the forefront of Roman Empire archaeology.

Dr Michael Wysocki, senior lecturer in forensic anthropology and archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire, which helped analyse the bones, said: "These are internationally important discoveries. We don't have any other potential gladiator cemeteries with this level of preservation anywhere else in the world."

Amphitheatres have been discovered at several old Roman settlements across England, including Chester and Cirencester, although not in York.

Some Roman amphitheatres were made from wood, meaning their locations may never be identified.

Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and an expert in ancient history, cautioned that alternative explanations for the identities of the York bodies deserved further investigation, but said that the find was "very exciting stuff".

He said: "If you have decapitations there's something pretty remarkable about the burials. These are not ordinary people who have had ordinary deaths."

Prof Wallace-Hadrill added that advances in modern pathology were throwing new light on historical remains.

"Skeletons can be incredibly eloquent," he said. "We can now learn so much about the living person from their skeleton - far more than just age and sex."

Gladiators: Back From The Dead will be shown on Channel 4 on Monday June 14 at 9pm.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... -York.html
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,276
Likes
1,228
Points
169
#19
My brother just rang me to tell me about this; he lives in the Seychelles. He must've picked it up off the BBC. I didn't know anything about it till he rang me.

No-one knows where the amphitheatre was in York, or even if it existed. But I suppose that if they had gladiators they must have had a circus of some sort.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,246
Likes
8,963
Points
284
#20
Roman fort found in Cornwall 'rewrites history'
Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Tuesday, 22 June 2010 13:38 UK

A Roman fort which has been discovered in Cornwall is challenging previous historical views about the South West.

Pottery and pieces of slag have been found at the undisclosed location near St Austell, suggesting an ironworks.

Experts said the discovery challenges previous thinking about the region's history as it had been thought Romans did not settle much beyond Exeter.

John Smith, from Cornwall Historic Environment Service, said: "This is a major discovery, no question about it."

Mr Smith said: "For Roman Britain it's an important and quite crucial discovery because it tells us a lot about Roman occupation in the South West that was hitherto completely unexpected.

"The other Roman sites we know about [in Cornwall] have occupation in the 1st Century AD, of about 50 AD to 80 AD, and that fits in with what we know about Exeter.

"In finding the pottery and glass, it's saying the occupation is much longer and goes from 60 AD up to about 250 AD, which turns the whole thing on its head.

Mr Clemes discovered Roman pottery and glass at the site "It certainly means a rewrite of history in the South West."

The site had previously been regarded as an Iron Age settlement, but the recent discovery of pottery and glass was found to be of Roman origin.

Archaeological enthusiast Jonathan Clemes discovered various artefacts by studying the earth after it had been ploughed.

He said: "You've got to know your pottery.

"If you come across a bit of pottery and you know what it is, it can tell you a great deal about the activity that went on in that area."

Following the discovery of the artefacts a geophysical survey of the site was conducted, which uncovered a fort, marching camp and various annexes.

Mr Smith said that prior to this discovery, it was believed that Roman forts had only been positioned close to the Devon border, because after settling for about 30 years, the Roman's left the region for south Wales.

It will now be considered whether to excavate the area, or to leave it for a future excavation when techniques have advanced.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/corn ... 372659.stm
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,246
Likes
8,963
Points
284
#22
Bigfoot73 said:
Very interesting. Any idea whereabouts it is Rynner?
An "undisclosed location near St Austell"... 8)

I'm about 2 hours away by bus from St Austell, so I'm not party to any local gossip. If I come across anything else in the local press I'll report it here.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,246
Likes
8,963
Points
284
#24
A quick look at the OS mapping shows a 'settlement' and 'Trethullan Castle' to the SW, and a few more earthworks to the NW which also might be Iron Age, all within a few miles of town. But SE is mainly sea, and NE has been chewed up by China Clay workings.

Then again the site could be many miles from St Austell, as the next place of any size is Truro, about 12 miles away.
 

Bigfoot73

Justified & Ancient
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
1,114
Likes
8
Points
44
#26
Don't remember Trethullan Castle. Mum Lives near the Tristan Stone, slightly nearer than she used to actually since they moved it to make way for a mini roundabout. I shall consult her.
The part of the inscription with Iseult's parents' names on it was knocked off and lost when the stone was moved in the 1800s, but the details are recorded and it definitely is their gravestone. Don't recall anybody having dug there though.
 

Bigfoot73

Justified & Ancient
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
1,114
Likes
8
Points
44
#27
Apparently it's near Braddock, which is near West Taphouse, which are the other side of Lostwithiel from St Austell.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,246
Likes
8,963
Points
284
#28
Baby deaths link to Roman 'brothel' in Buckinghamshire
Page last updated at 05:00 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 06:00 UK

Archaeologists investigating a mass burial of 97 infants at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley believe it may have been a brothel.

Tests on the site at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire suggest all died at 40 weeks gestation, very soon after birth.

Archaeologists suspect local inhabitants may have been systematically killing unwanted babies.

Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers said: "The only explanation you keep coming back to is that it's got to be a brothel".

With little or no effective contraception, unwanted pregnancies could have been common at Roman brothels, explained Dr Eyers, who works for Chiltern Archaeology.

And infanticide may not have been as shocking in Roman times as it is today.

Archaeological records suggest infants were not considered to be "full" human beings until about the age of two, said Dr Eyers.

Children any younger than that age were not buried in cemeteries. As a result, infant burials tended to be at domestic sites in the Roman era.

Even so, say experts, the number at the Yewden villa at Hambleden is extraordinary.

"There is no other site that would yield anything like the 97 infant burials," said Dr Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist at English Heritage's Centre for Archaeology, who has been investigating the finds.

The ages of the babies were estimated by measuring the length of the bones. The researchers found these were all of similar size.

Dr Mays believes that this points to systematic infanticide at birth rather than death from natural causes, which would have struck infants at different ages.

The Hambleden site, close to the River Thames, was excavated 100 years ago and identified as a high status Roman villa.

The dig was on a massive scale but is now buried under a wheat field.

But meticulous records were left by a naturalist and archaeologist called Alfred Heneage Cocks.

More than 300 boxes full of artefacts, pottery and bones were recently re-discovered at Buckinghamshire County Museum along with Cocks' original report published in 1921, and a small photo archive.

The records give precise locations for the infant bodies, which were hidden under walls or buried under courtyards close to each other.

Cocks' original report paid little attention to these remains, which are now being tested for the first time by English Heritage.

The team plans to carry out DNA tests on the skeletons in a bid to establish their sex and possible relationship to each other.

They are also trying to uncover any other information which might suggest a motive for the practice.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_ ... 384460.stm
 

staticgirl

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Messages
590
Likes
149
Points
74
#30
There I was being all sorry for the babies and then I read the next message and start sniggering. Hurray for double entendres and nominative determinism!!
 
Top