Monday, June 27, 2005

New Roman finds could turn history on its head : "The conventional story of the landing, at Richborough, Kent, in AD43, of 40,000 Roman soldiers who then marched through the English countryside conquering all before them, is being questioned by Dr David Rudkin, a Roman expert.

Archaeologists believe that a series of military artefacts unearthed in Chichester, Sussex, and dated decades before the AD43 date will turn conventional Roman history on its head.

The experts also believe that when the Romans arrived in Chichester they were welcomed as liberators by ancient Britons who were delighted when the "invaders" overthrew a series of brutal tribal kings guilty of terrorising southern England."

I wonder if these could have been remains of the earlier invasion by Caesar that included the defeat of Cassivellaunus in Hertfordshire? The Discovery Channel has taught me to be very skeptical of "sensational" finds like this.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Excavation of Ancient Roman Halai Continues

CHELP: "'During the Late Roman/Early Byzantine period (350-650 AD) there seems to have been renewed activity at Halai. Evidence for this activity exists not only in the large volumes of Late Roman fill found around the site by the current expedition but also by the large church located at the peak of the acropolis and the references to Byzantine walls and levels noted by Hetty Goldman in both her field diaries and her published articles. Little survives to the present of Goldman's perfect network of Byzantine walls that everywhere covered the more ancient constructions, but the remains of the basilica-style church in Area G point to a settlement (whether at Halai itself or nearby is presently undetermined) capable of supporting a church complete with mosaic and fresco decoration.'

'During the 1992 season a test trench was dug in the eastern end of the nave and northern aisle in order to help clarify the chronology of the basilica church. This trench revealed a mosaic floor approximately 0.30 m below the modern ground surface. Later expansion of the trench showed that the mosaic also extended into the apse itself, but the northern boundary of the mosaic appears to be the colonnade wall (wall BS/BW) as no mosaic was found in the northern aisle. The full dimensions of the mosaic are not yet known, but it undoubtedly continues further into the nave and apse.'

'Study of the mosaic suggests that it can be dated stylistically to the 6th century AD. Clearly there was activity at the site around this time as Goldman records several Late Antique period artifacts, including coins of Arcadius (395-408) and Honorius (395-423) from the so-called bath complex, a coin of Justinian (527-565) found near Tower I, and many Late Roman lamps with the chi-rho symbol found in various trenches around the site and in Tomb VII. Goldman s excavations in the church also revealed a pebble and mortar pavement which may have served as the floor for the aisles or the nave.'"

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Roman midden uncovered in Croydon

Croydon Guardian: "Archaeologists say the Roman dumping ground unearthed during an excavation of a former car park in Lower Coombe Street could be an indication of an occupied settlement nearby, which may be hidden under houses or businesses.

A two-month excavation at the site in Lower Coombe Street, carried out by Pre-Construct Archaeology (PCA) and overseen by English Heritage, uncovered finds dating from the second to fourth centuries AD and is believed by experts to be a rubbish site.

During the dig, a thick layer of pottery and rubble was unearthed containing a small number of precious artefacts including a Roman dress pin and a copper alloy lion's head."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Spectacular Mosaic in Libya gains kudos

Times Online: "A SPECTACULAR Roman mosaic discovered in Libya has been hailed as one of the finest examples of the artform to have survived.

British scholars yesterday described the 2,000-year-old depiction of an exhausted gladiator as one of the finest examples of representational mosaic art they have seen ? a masterpiece comparable in quality with the Alexander mosaic in Pompeii.

Archaeologists from the University of Hamburg were working along the coast of Libya when they uncovered a 30-ft stretch of five multicoloured mosaics created during the 1st or 2nd century. The mosaics show with extraordinary clarity four young men wrestling a wild bull to the ground, a warrior in combat with a deer and a gladiator. The gladiator is shown in a state of fatigue, staring at his slain opponent.

The mosaics decorated the cold plunge pool of a bath house within a Roman villa at Wadi Lebda in Leptis Magna, one of the greatest cities of antiquity.

Although the discovery was initially made in 2000, by Dr Marliese Wendowski of the University of Hamburg, it has been kept secret until now, partly to ensure that the excavations were not disturbed by looters."

More about ancient Tiberias.