Friday, February 28, 2003

Scottish conquest by Petilius Cerealis followed by peace and prosperity

Dr David Woolliscroft, the director of the Roman Gask Project, says their findings point to an earlier invasion of Scotland by Petilius Cerealis, probably the greatest general in the entire Roman Empire at the time, who he believes arrived fresh from putting down a bloody uprising in Holland. However, rather than the previously-held belief that a bloody conflict ensued, Dr Woolliscroft says, scientific evidence also points to a relatively easy conquest of Scotland. Organic remains in the native settlements show no sign of being destroyed, while farming appears to have flourished.

This is shown by the remains of pollen buried in the soil, which indicate that, soon after the Roman conquest, the numbers of weeds started to fall, suggesting cattle were grazing the land more intensely.

Dr Woolliscroft said: "You can tell from the number of weeds it was low-level grazing before the Romans arrived and afterwards more animals must have been raised, leading to more grazing. The surprise is how peaceful it all seems to be. Wherever weve looked, weve found peace, tranquillity and prosperity, which is not all what we were expecting.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Antonine Wall candidate for World Heritage Site

The Antonine Wall, built by Hadrians adopted son Antoninus Pius in 140 A.D. to keep Scottish warriors out of the Roman Empire, has been nominated for designation as a World Heritage Site. About 8,000 soldiers, recruited from Gaul, Britain, or Germany, patrolled its ramparts. Dr David Breeze, of Historic Scotland, explains, "These soldiers would not have been Romans from Italy. We have an inscription from a tombstone which reveals the fact that the soldier (whose tomb it was) was a member of one of the tribes of the Brigantes from the north of England."

"This is a very good example of the recruitment of the Roman Empire - most of the people in Britain would have been Britons, Gauls or Germans."

Goths not the only source of destruction for a crumbling Roman Empire

Around 410 A.D. Rome almost met its destruction even before the Goths sacked the eternal city. It has been discovered that a small metallic asteroid smashed into the Appenine Valley just 60 miles from Rome with the explosive force of 15 times that of the atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima in 1945.

Roman military camp unearthed near the Temple of Luxor

"We have already unearthed the remains of three limestone columns, a carved capital, a black granite crown of a Roman statue and a number of Pharaonic reliefs, amulets, scarabs and an Eye of Horus," said Atiya Radwan, head of the newly-organised administration for excavation.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Book warns time running out for Pompeii

By reading a beautiful new book, "The Lost World of Pompeii," by Colin Amery, director of the World Monuments Fund in Britain, and Brian Curran Jr., WMFs West Coast consultant headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit Pompeii without leaving home and learn of new efforts to conserve the endangered 164-acre site.

Ancient Northumbrians convert Roman coins to souvenirs for Roman troops

A hoard of Roman coins that had been transformed into brooches and necklaces by the ancient Northumbrians and apparently sold back to the legions for souvenirs have been discovered near Morpeth. Archaeologist Allason-Jones said "The hoard is very valuable in archaeological terms, because this glimpse of local recycling is evidence that there was a relationship between the native and the military population."

Discoveries at Portus Cosanus reflect Romes conversion from an agricultural based Republic to a maritime commercial superpower

Excavations at Portus Cosanus, an early Roman colony founded in 273 B.C. 145 km north of Rome, have revealed its changing role over the centuries from a colony, to a bustling marine export center for wine and fish products, to an import center for luxury goods required by the surrounding Imperial villas.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Cache of Gladiator Skeletons Discovered at Ephesus

Professor Klaus Grosschmidt of Vienna University is studying a cache of 2000-year-old gladiator skeletons found near Ephesus in Turkey. Analysis of the bones reveals that the fighters were rich, pampered professionals with groupies in tow. "This is the first time nutrition, training and fight injuries can be directly investigated from their bones," he said. "The medical attention they received was second to none. The most famous doctor of the times, Galenus, treated gladiators at Ephesus." He also pointed out that going to gladiator fights was considered a more intellectual pastime than going to the theatre--the fights promoted principles of honour, bravery and fearlessness in face of death, while plays were merely entertainment.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Dionysus Temple of Rhodope discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists

Bulgarian archaeologists discovered an oval ritual hall fitting the description that ancient historians gave to the Dionysus Temple in the Rhodope range famous for its splendor and mysteriousness in antique times and for the many failed attempts to determine its exact location in modernity. Herodotus wrote that the Rhodope range was inhabited by the Thracian tribe of the bessies. Herodotus also said that the bessies built the legendary Dionysus Temple that was equal to the ancient Greek Apollo sanctuary in Delphi. Like Delphi's temple, the Dionysus temple had an oracle that made great prophesies such as the foretell of the victorious march of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Later on, in the Roman age the oracle predicted that Octavius Augustus would create the Roman Empire.

Chariots of Fire

Archaeologists in north-eastern Greece have discovered a remarkable 2000-year-old Roman burial site with well-preserved remains of chariots and horses which were most probably used to take the dead to be cremated. The chariots, bearing silver-plated and bronze decorations, were buried with the ashes of the dead Romans and their horses, apparently killed for the ceremony.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Modern day mining project threatens archaeological treasures of Rosia Montana

Gold has been mined at Rosia Montana, in the Apuseni mountains of West-Central Romania, since pre-historic times. The areas riches attracted several foreign powers including the Romans. These powers carried off the precious metals to Rome, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin but left behind what has become an historical and archaeological treasure of world class.

Aerial Archaeology Opens Windows Into Past Communities and Events

To see below you the unmistakable shape of an unknown Roman camp, emerging in outline under rows of sugar beet, or to pick out subtle earthworks highlighted by the play of light and shadow of the low winter sun, can be an unforgettable experience.

Wooden cart and team found in Roman grave

A team working under archaeologist Diamantis Triandafyllos uncovered the four-wheeled cart, which was decorated with bronze ornaments and buried along with the two horses that drew it, in a large tumulus near the village of Mikri Doxipara, some 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of Orestias and close to the Bulgarian border.

A Study of the Christianization of Space Along The Via Appia

This article examines the changes caused by the Christianization of the area along the Via Appia between the third and seventh century and its implications for our knowledge and understanding of the evolution of the suburban landscape in the Late Antique city.

Fifth-century finds of unique beauty discovered at Oraiokastro

A building complex found during recent excavation work at Palaiokastro in Oraiokastro presents a picture of the social and cultural life of rich people from Thessaloniki during early Christian times. Its superb, elaborately decorated mosaic floors are in exceptional condition, as are the murals painted by artists from studios in Thessaloniki.

Exploding the Boudica Myth

Was Boadicea really the flame-haired Warrior Queen who drove the Romans from Britain?

Dig in North Devon unearths remains of Roman iron production

An archaeological dig could reveal how the Romans used north Devon iron to maintain their world-wide empire 2,000 years ago.

Roman fort reconstructed near the Dutch town of Nijmegen

From its early beginnings as a rudimentary base-camp, the fort at Hunerberg grew to become the headquarters of the Tenth Roman Legion. By the turn of the 1st century, it was a colossal stone structure complete with massive hall, treasury and central square as well as offices, meeting-rooms and barracks for some 6000 men.