Thursday, July 20, 2006

Roman emperor Augustus' birthplace believed found

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "A team of archaeologists announced Wednesday they have uncovered part of what they believe is the birthplace of Rome's first emperor Augustus.

Leading archaeologist Clementina Panella said the team has dug up part of a corridor and other fragments under Rome's Palatine Hill, which she described as 'a very ancient aristocratic house.'

Panella said that she could not yet be certain that the house was where Augustus was born in 63 B.C., but added that historical cross-checks and other findings nearby have showed that the emperor was particularly fond of the area, she said.

Excavations on the Palatine in recent decades have turned up wonders such as another renewed Augustus' house, including two rooms with stunning frescoes of masked figures and pine branches."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dig unearths picture of ancient Norfolk

EDP24: "It has already provided a series of fascinating snapshots of early life in a Norfolk village.

And now an annual dig at Sedgeford, near Hunstanton, is providing more pieces of the jigsaw, as archaeologists slowly build up a complete picture of the life of the community.

The main focus of the 11th season of summer excavations by the award-winning Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) is the site of an Iron Age farm, which is thought to have been taken over by the Romans following their invasion.

The dig, which started earlier this month, has already uncovered plenty of Roman pottery and part of what is believed to be a fine drinking vessel, indicating that there was a domestic settlement in the area as well.

SHARP, based in a field known locally as Boneyard, began in 1996 and has grown to be the country's largest project for volunteer archaeologists from around the world.

Discoveries to date include more than 270 skeletons unearthed from a Saxon cemetery, a hoard of Iron Age coins concealed in a cow's leg bone and the long lost end of a torc."

Villa d'Este to go for Euro prize

Although I haven't personally seen many other spectacular European gardens, I can certainly vouch for the breathtaking beauty of Ville d'Este. As I said in my travel journal, if there is a heaven on earth, surely Ville d'Este must be it! - News in English - Villa d'Este to go for Euro prize: "Villa D'Este near Rome is set to vie with European rivals for the laurel of the continent's most beautiful garden .

The 16th-century gardens, grounds, fountains and fancy waterworks of this Renaissance jewel at Tivoli have beaten 100 other great Italian gardens to qualify for the competition .

'This is a tribute to the great work of the villa workers as well as the contribution art authorities have made to help us restore the site,' Tivoli cultural heritage superintendent Anna Maria Affanni said .

'We are very confident about the European competition, even though we know we'll have stiff competition from the great gardens of England, France and Germany,' she said .

The European Great Garden competition was launched this year .

Villa d'Este recently underwent a major facelift .

Its remarkable fountains had been only partially working due to the polluted state of the river Aniene, which provides the water .

The water system has now been purified and the fountains have been restored .

The spectacular fountain garden was created by the great architect and landscape gardener Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito II D'Este (1509-72), a rich Renaissance prince, collector and patron of the arts ."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Perthshire adventurer invites others to follow in Hannibal's footsteps for charity

News Scotland: "a Perthshire adventurer is looking for volunteers to help recreate one of the most famous journeys of all time.

David Fox-Pitt hopes to lead a small army over the Alps following in the footsteps of the warlord, Hannibal, and all in the name of charity.

More than 2,000 years ago, the legendary Hannibal led some50,000 men and dozens of elephants through the Alps to take on Rome, his mortal enemy.

From his home in Perthshire, David Fox-Pitt is planning to recreate that momentous journey.

But rather than an army or elephants David is looking for just 200 people to go with him and take on the challenge for charity.

He said: 'Hannibal had this amazing experience, taking 90,000 people over from Spain to attack the Romans. We're going to take 200 people out there. There will be three stages, bronze, siver, gold and platinum and the idea is to test people to see how far they can go.'"

You're not done Roman 'til you've cycled with Hadrian

Bike For All .: "He was the first Roman emperor to sport a beard and he ordered the construction of a stone frontier marker to sear the northern extent of the Roman Empire into the minds of the Picts. And now, as well as a wall named after him, there's a Sustrans cycleway.

100+ people will celebrate the opening of the 120-mile Hadrian's Cycleway between the Cumbrian Coast and the North Sea later this month. The trail opening ride on 19th to 22nd July is a sell-out but you can still join in the fun on day rides, see below.

Hadrian's Cycleway is on Route 72 of the National Cycle Network and takes in some of England's most wild and dramatic countryside, offering magnificent coastal views, breathtaking countryside, Roman forts and museums, and attractive market towns.

Hadrian's Cycleway has been developed by Sustrans, in partnership with local authorities including Northumberland and Cumbria County Councils, Hadrian's Wall Tourism Partnership, One NorthEast, Northumberland National Park Authority, the Countryside Agency and tourism organisations. The Hadrian's Cycleway map is available from Sustrans. The full 172-mile route will open in 2007. Right now there's a 120-mile signed route."