Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Large Roman coin cache found in Surrey

Large Roman coin cache found in Surrey: "One of the biggest finds of Roman coins ever discovered in Surrey has been unearthed on a farm at Leigh.

Almost 60 silver denarii dating back to 30BC were located after Martin Adams, a metal detecting enthusiast, received a signal on his machine.

"There are coins from about half a dozen Roman rulers. This is the first Roman find in the area for some 30 years and now we know that there must have been a settlement.

"These areas on the edge of the weald were not intensively occupied. We are talking about a small farm - similar to that recently discovered at Meath Green, Horley, which is Roman or earlier, and points to a surprising amount of ancient activity.

"The settlement at Leigh would probably have been an early type of farm with a non-tiled dwelling made from wattle and daub - a network of twigs and rods plastered with mud or clay used as a building material. In other words a primitive cement. "

Dispute over Roman bones halts underpass

Dispute over Roman bones halts underpass: "The contractors of Yefe Nof construction company received a direct order from Transport Ministry director-general Bentzi Salman to stop building a two level underpass at the eastern entrance to Acre-Safed. The stoppage was the result of heavy political pressure from the ultra-Orthodox community following the discovery of ancient graves.

A salvage dig was begun on the site in coordination with the construction company. The archaeologist in charge of the excavations, Yotam Tepper determined that the human remains were of Roman soldiers. This was based on artifacts, including pagan altars, a hoard of coins that was apparently a soldier's salary, and the fact that the bones were burned, which was not in keeping with Jewish tradition."

6th century Byzantine style chosen for new orthodox church

Immortality, for a Price: "A small Orthodox Christian congregation is finishing plans to build the first Byzantine-style church in Northern Virginia, modeled after a 6th-century Italian architectural masterpiece, the Church of St. Vitale in Ravenna. To help pay for the project, which could cost up to $2.4 million, the church plans to paint portraits of its most generous donors on an interior wall in spots historically reserved for saints, religious icons or an occasional emperor.

St. Vitale is famed for its octagonal architecture and its mosaics, which depict Emperor Justinian, who ruled the Roman Empire during the sixth century, and his wife, Theodora.

"From a symbolic standpoint, [the dome] represents eternity and heaven," said Christos J. Kamages, principal architect for CJK Design Group. "From a physical standpoint, it takes light that God provides and brings it into the church at a 360-degree angle.""

Roman Bridge Excavation Ending

"A MAJOR archaeological rescue dig revealing the largest stone bridge in Roman Britain is nearing its end.

Experts working on the summer excavation on the River Tyne, in Corbridge, have uncovered the most completely preserved construction of its type in the country.

The dig, carried out by archaeologists from Tyne and Wear Museums, revealed huge stone blocks, up to a ton in weight, and carved masonry, showing the scale and decoration of the bridge.

The bridge, which carried the main Roman road from London to Scotland, was built to proclaim the power of the Roman Empire and particularly the Imperial House.

A massive ramp, almost 12 metres wide, which would have carried the Roman Great North Road onto the bridge, was uncovered, as well as a 19 metre long retaining wall to protect the south-east side.

Fallen from the bridge superstructure is a huge decorated octagonal stone, thought to be the capital from a pillar or monumental feature which once marked the point where the road rose onto the bridge."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Was Herodian palace in Ramat Hanadiv Captured or Surrendered?

The Jewish millionaire who surrendered to the Romans: "Dozens of coins from the tenth Roman Legion, uncovered during the last excavation season at the Herodian palace in Ramat Hanadiv, offer some insight on the demise of the glamorous palace. Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, a Hebrew University archeologist who has been managing the excavations at the site since the 1980s, says that it is possible to learn from the presence of the coins that that the palace was abandoned during the Great Rebellion that started in 66 CE not far away from there, in Caesarea.
The findings at the site do not make it possible to determine whether the palace was captured by force or abandoned and then fell into Roman hands, says Hirschfeld. But they do say something about the haste of the residents as they left. Among other things found at the site were a gold earring and a gold clasp - jewels that even a person of means does not leave behind during a leisurely moving to another place."

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Ancient Mosaic Uncovered In Hertfordshire

Ancient Mosaic Uncovered In Hertfordshire: "The field archaeology unit at St Albans Museums was digging a trench for a new electricity cable when Jack Couch made the new find of a chequered mosaic.

Probably not seen for nearly 2,000 years, the mosaic is made up of red or brown tessera in a grid of grey Purbeck marble. It may be from the corridor of a town house built close to the hypocaust.

In Roman times hot air, stoked from a pit in a smaller adjoining room, was drawn underneath the floor of the hypocaust building, once part of a large house with up to 35 rooms.

Keeper of archaeology at St Albans Museums Dave Thorold said: 'A new mosaic is always an interesting find. This type of mosaic would have been found in a high quality town house with between 20 to 30 rooms."

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Recreation of Etruscan Matron Points to Change in Ancient Art

"In her late teens, Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa had a nasty fall from a horse. No bones were broken but, as a result of the accident, she lost many of her teeth. Damage to her right hip and jaw set the stage for debilitating and painful osteoarthritis, as well as a twisted spine. Although she married and bore children, the once agile horsewoman gained weight from lack of exercise and was eventually reduced to porridge and complaints.

According to British archeologist John Prag, the re-creation of Seianti's life and looks solves a mystery that has long baffled archeologists and art historians: when and where in the ancient world did people make the psychological and artistic step from the general to the specific in the depiction of individual people.

In Prag's view, the when is about the 6th century BC and the where is Etruscan Italy."

Mildenhall treasure of Roman silver featured in British Museum traveling exhibit

"The first major national exhibition of British archaeology in over 20 years, Buried treasure: Finding our past will show how much chance archaeological discoveries have revolutionised the understanding of our past. We also celebrate the role of the general public in discovering treasures over the centuries, from farmers ploughing fields to metal detector users. Major treasures on display include the Mildenhall treasure of Roman silver, the Ringlemere gold cup, the Winchester gold, the Amesbury Archer and the Fishpool hoard. Many treasures will be on view for the first time."

It's next appearance will be the Manchester Museum beginning October 4, 2004.

Roman Basilica Target of New Dig in Tiberias

The next scheduled excavation session at the ancient site of Tiberias will be devoted to the exposure of the Roman basilica and auxiliary buildings in use between the 2nd and 10th centuries CE. In contrast to the basilical plans of the church on top of Mount Berenice and the synagogue of Hammat Tiberias, this basilica was not used for sacral purposes. The excavation is planned between October 31-November 25, 2004.

See also: Digging Up Ancient Tiberias

and: Rediscovering Tiberias

Roman Zeugma inspiration for new fashions

"The Turkish designer, Atil Kutoglu took inspiration from the ancient Roman city of Zeugma, founded in 300 BC, for a collection of robes, cloaks and fresco-printed tunics, worn with flat 'centurion' sandals.

Atil Kutoglu drapes his models in clothes inspired by ancient Rome

Princess Michael of Kent was a surprise front row guest as Naomi Campbell opened Kutoglu's show in a modest, grey silk, pleated toga-dress, which enveloped her from neck to over-the-knee.

Other models appeared in long, silk kaftans, in wide, multi-coloured bands of rose, olive and pink; tunics gilt-printed with details of Romanesque frescoes over raw-hem sarong skirts; hooded cloaks in glittering brocades and floor-sweeping gowns suspended from gold breastplate-necklaces.

The collection was graceful and womanly, evocative of a Cecil B de Mille biblical epic.."

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Torlonia Roman Sculptures to Go On Display

"The Torlonia Statues, regarded as one of the world's greatest private collections of ancient Roman sculpture, will go on display again after 40 years in storage, Italy's Culture Ministry says.

Named after the aristocratic family which formed it over centuries, the Torlonia collection includes 620 marble and alabaster statues and sarcophagi from the Roman empire.

Among the works are busts of Julius Caesar, sculptures of ancient gods and masterful Roman copies of Greek statues.

A ministry spokesman on Wednesday confirmed comments by Culture Minister Carlo Urbani, who in excerpts of a new book published in the Corriere della Sera newspaper, said an agreement had been reached with the family and a Rome bank to show the works at Palazzo Sciara in central Rome. He gave no precise date."