Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Anatolia's largest Roman bath waiting to be excavated

"The Herodes Atticus Hamam, situated in the ancient ruins of Alexandria Troas, is believed to be the largest bath from the Roman era in Anatolia and is just waiting to be unearthed," excavation team leader and German archaeologist Professor Elmar Schwertheim told the Anatolian Press. "Up until 1809 the major part of the structure was standing, but after an earthquake only the visible part of the arches remains."

The ancient city of Antigoneia was built by Antigonos Monoftalmos (one-eyed Antigonos) at the end of the fourth century B.C. It was rebuilt by Lysimakos at the beginning of the third century B.C. and renamed Alexandria Troas in honor of Alexander the Great.

It is believed this area was used as an area of settlement during the Hellenistic period since it was built on the coast.

Greeks from the cities of Gargara, Hamaxitos, Neandria, Kolonai, Larisa, Kebren and Skepsis settled down here to make it the biggest settlement in Anatolia at the time. Based on Roman texts, Alexandria Troas was visited by Julius Cesar and deemed important enough to be declared a capital city.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ancient burial site dating back to Roman period unearthed

Arabic "A group archeological burial site dating back to the Roman period was unearthed 800 meters northwest of Sheizer village, Hama Governorate, as a statue of a goddess was also discovered in a nearby place.

Director of Hama Ruins Department, Majd Hijazi told SANA that the statue depicted a naked woman believed to be goddess Venus. The statue was broken in two haves and relies on a 40-cm base.

He added that one of the tombs unearthed was uncovered and included a skeleton, three golden rings, various earrings, little funeral clay pots and rotten metal nails.

Hijazi said several items were found in another tomb, including a clay pot, some copper flat and circular pieces, glass bracelet, fractions of earrings and some very old coins. He said all the tombs were documented while the findings were sent to the laboratory of Hama Museum."

Dig finds remains of 2,000-year-old farm near Cambridge

CEN News : "GLOBAL positioning systems and digital aerial photographs are helping to uncover the 2,000-yearold secrets of Cambridgeshire's farmers.

The county's biggest archaeological dig is taking place at a 60-acre site and its findings are unearthing how the countryside developed over the course of two millennia.

On Monday, history enthusiasts, families and curious members of the public will be able to visit a display and tour the site at Love's Farm, near St Neots, which is soon to be developed for housing.

Archaeologists from Cambridgeshire County Council are half-way through excavating the remains of a derelict farmstead.

The dig began in February and before it finishes, 30 acres of soil will have been removed and searched for clues to the past.

The site has revealed traces of farming communities from the Iron Age and Roman era to Saxon times - about 100BC to 400AD.

Evidence of wells, paddocks and animal enclosures, together with bones and pottery has been uncovered, all of which point to the site being used as a farmstead 2,000 years ago."

Roman mosaic unearthed 25 miles from the Suez Canal

The Egyptian State Information Service: "An Egyptian-Polish excavation team working in Sinai has unearthed a multi-coloured mosaic floor 25km east of the Suez Canal, announced Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary-General Zahi Hawass yesterday.

Hawass said that the 9x15m discovery, constructed of glass, pottery, limestone and marble,dates to the second century, C.E. He added that multi-national team is now working on the mosaic in order to move it to el-Arish National Museum where it will be displayed alongside other antiquities discovered in the area.

The site is already famous for the "Blosium" Roman theatre discovered there, noted Hawas; it is the biggest Roman theatre in Egypt with a 110m long stage."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Rome's Greatest Brickmakers Identified

Discovery Channel: "Two brothers are behind Rome's greatest monuments, according to Italian archaeologists who have discovered two furnaces that provided the bricks for buildings such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

Found in Mugnano in Teverina, a tiny village some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Rome, the furnaces belonged to Tullus and Lucanus, brothers of the Domitii family, as an inscription found on the road leading to the brickfield confirms: 'iter privatum duorum Domitiorum' (private road of the two Domitii).

The furnaces provided bricks for grandiose buildings such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Market of Trajan and the Diocletian and Caracalla Baths, said archaeologist Tiziano Gasperoni, who discovered the furnaces.

Besides bricks and tiles, the Domitii furnaces were also specialized in the production of doli, big containers in terracotta which were buried up to their necks to preserve wine and olive oil, and mortars to grind seeds, herbs and nuts into meal." - News in English - Ancient Roman temple found "An ancient Roman temple dating to the first or second century AD has been unearthed by archaeologists in the southern island of Pantelleria .

They have already dug up a three-metre portion of one of the walls of the temple, situated on a hill known as Cossyria .

Pantelleria is a volcanic island southwest of Sicily, nearer to the African coast than to Sicily. It may have been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, as suggested by traces of a village and fortifications in the district of Mursia. The historical period shows the presence first of the Phoenicians and then of the Punics; the Carthaginian presence unquestionably lasted from the fourth to the second century BC. Pseudo-Skylax informs us that Kossyra was the gateway to Lilybaeum as early as the fourth century. Also, Cossura must have been a city frequented and fortified also by the Romans throughout the first century AD, if Pliny the Elder (Nat. Hist., V, 7) defined it "Cossura cum oppido."

Today, however, we possess new data regarding the Roman occupation.
But before proceeding any further, we must recall the initial studies of Paolo Orsi (1889), and the later studies of Verger (1966), Tozzi (1968), and Bisi (1970). Since the summer of 2000, thanks first to the University of Greifswald and then to the University of Tübingen, the Università degli Studi della Basilicata, and the Archaeological Heritage branch of the Environment and Cultural Heritage Department of Trapani Town Council, there has been a systematic archaeological investigation of the hegemonic centre of the ancient Hellenistic-Roman island of Cossyra.

Recent digs would appear to show that a large part of the hill was used essentially for residential purposes. A series of buildings, made by terracing the slope of the hill with elegant signinum paving, belongs to the urban redefinition following the Roman occupation of the city. Among the monumental structures that must have been in this area, there is a temple datable to the 2nd century BC, significant traces of which have been found inside the cisterns.

Other than the numerous fragments of inlaid marble that have been discovered, the numerous fragments of marble sculptures and the now famous imperial portraits indicate that the hill was much frequented in the Imperial Age. Also, three interesting sculptures portraying the same figures as portraits of well-known figures in Roman history, between the end of the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, were found inside two of the cisterns in the acropolis. The contextual environment of the discoveries was not homogeneous. The first two portraits found together in the cistern are in Parian marble, and they portray Julius Caesar and a lady of the Julio-Claudian family, probably Antonia Minor or Agrippina Major.

See also: Special Archaeological Exhibit

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Volubilis, Morocco Offers a Wealth of Mosaics

Volubilis, Morocco: Mosaics: "Volubilis a Roman settlement constructed on what was probably a Carthaginian city dating from 3rd century BC, was a central administrative city for this part of Roman Africa. It was responsible for the grain production in this fertile region, and exports to Rome. Volubilis was also administering contacts with the Berber tribes which the Romans never managed to suppress cooperated with the Romans for mutual benefits.

Unlike so many other Roman cities, Volubilis was not abandoned after the Romans lost their foothold in this part of Africa in the 3rd century. Even the Latin language survived for centuries, and was not replaced before the Arabs conquered North Africa in the late 7th century.

Volubilis is definitely an ancient Roman city where you should be careful about keeping a good eye with the ground. There are many mosaics here and an impressive quantity of them are in excellent conditions.

There are mainly three houses that you should stop by: House of the Euphebus right next to the triumphal arch; the House of Orpheus to the south near the olive oil presses; and the house of Dionysus near the Decumanus Maximus."