Thursday, July 28, 2005

Excavations Reveal Via Egnatia equivalent of a modern day highway

The Hindu: "An excavation near the town of Komotini, some 270 km east of Thessaloniki, revealed the Romans' sophisticated road-building techniques.

Built between 146 and 120 B.C. under the supervision of the top Roman official in Macedonia, proconsul Gaius Egnatius, the highway ran from the Adriatic coast in what is now Albania to modern Turkey, giving Rome quick access to the eastern provinces of its empire.

A central partition of large stones protected charioteers from oncoming vehicles, with similar barriers on the verges. ``This prevented chariots, wagons and carts from skidding off the road,'' archaeologist Polyxeni Tsatsopoulou said.

She pointed out that drivers held the reins with their right hand and wielded their whip with the left, so the Romans made drivers stay on the left to avoid the lash of oncoming riders and keep road-rage incidents to a minimum.

There were inns every 50 to 64 km, and post stations, the Roman equivalent of gas stations, every 11 to 23 km. "These post stations had spare beasts, as well as ... vets, grooms and shoesmiths,'' Ms. Tsatsopoulou said.

Archaeologists also discovered ruins of military outposts, checkpoints and camps, with guard posts built near narrow passes to curb highway robbery."

Statue of Emperor Found Among Rome Ruins

Metromix : "A sewer might be no place for an emperor, but it is precisely from an ancient drainage system that archaeologists have dug-up a large marble sculpture of Constantine, one of Rome's greatest leaders.

Archaeologists found the 24-inch-tall head last week while clearing up a sewer in the Roman Forum, the center of public life in the ancient city, said Eugenio La Rocca, superintendent for Rome's monuments.

"We can't be sure of why it was put there," La Rocca said Thursday at a news conference during which authorities showed the bust to the media.

One possibility is that the sculpture of the man who reunited the Roman Empire in the early fourth century and ended years of persecutions against Christians was unceremoniously used later to clear a blocked sewer, he said.

La Rocca called the statue a rare find, saying that its insertion in the sewer probably saved it from the plundering the Forum suffered after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century.

"Many portraits have been found in Rome, but these days it's not easy to find one, especially of this size and so well preserved," he said.

Experts confirmed that the sculpture portrays Constantine by comparing it to coins and two other giant heads of the emperor that are kept in Rome's Capitoline Museums, La Rocca said. The Carrara marble head probably belonged to a statue of the emperor in full armor, and was erected in the part of the Forum built by the emperor Trajan after Constantine conquered Rome from a rival in A.D. 312.

The style and stern features used in all of Constantine's portraits also recall the traits of Trajan, who expanded the empire to its maximum size in the early second century.

"Trajan was the greatest emperor and Constantine considered him a model," La Rocca said."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ancient Jewelry Of Theodoric Discovered near Ancient Legion Camp in Bulgaria

Bulgarian Archaeologists Discover Ancient Jewelry: "Five golden jewelry pieces were found during excavations of the Necropolis, located outside ancient Roman legion camp near the Danube town Svishtov.

The jewelry weighting 82gram is dated back to the second half of the 5th century.

Pavlina Vladkova, an archaeologist from the team working near Svishtov, explained that the art pieces belonged to the people of the Goth King Theodoric.

There are at least 100 Goth's graves in the Necropolis near Svishtov and archaeologists claims that these people were from noble kin. One of the richest burials there was of a child. A massive golden rig was found there.

Roman legion camp Nove has been explored by Bulgarian-Polish expedition over the last 46 years."

Friday, July 08, 2005

Soloi Pompeipolis excavations to begin

Turkish Daily News: " Excavations in the ancient city of Soloi Pompeipolis, located 10 kilometers from Mersin in the district of Mezitli, will start next week, reported the Anatolia news agency.

The site was called Soloi, which means the sun. Persian rule in the region ended with the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. The Roman general, Pompeius, defeated the pirates in Soloi during the Roman era and the site was renamed Pompeipolis after him. The site was completely destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 527.

Today, a section of the colonnaded street and ruins of the ancient harbor, aqueduct and a bath as well as a mound are still visible at the site. Demirsoy said that they were conducting clean-up work in the ancient city and that excavation work would begin next week in collaboration with the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Mezitli municipality. The excavation team of 20 archeologists will be led by Associate Professor Remzi Yagci from Dokuz Eylul University, a lecturer at the Archeology department."