Tag Archives: Greece and Rome

The Roundup #59

Further ensuing madness. The American Electoral College has spoken, and a fair number of people are huddling under blankets in their closets. Palmyra was lost (again) to ISIS, and Aleppo is getting wiped off the face of the earth (some more), and well, yeah. On the upside, I’m on holiday now until the New Year. That helps, right?

This week’s roundup was a nice distraction. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Banquo’s Walk may be less poltergeist and more practical, as it appears that the site was a clay mine rather than the site of the perambulations of one of literature’s most famous ghosts.

Facial reconstruction has offered us a glimpse of the visage of a man who lived in Jericho nearly 10,000 years ago.

What was previously thought to be a minor village appears instead to be a major settlement in northern Greece.

Excavations are ongoing at Abydos in Egypt, specifically a boat burial likely associated with Senusret III.

The remains of a beautiful wood panel have been discovered in an ancient road on Honshu in Japan.

From the Smithsonian:

A rare first edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica has sold for a record $3.7 million.

From The New York Times:

The restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece continues apace.

The Roundup #43

It’s been a crazy week in North America. A hate crime perpetrated in Orlando, Florida followed by a 15 hour long filibuster in the US Senate to demand better gun control laws; a suspected shooter at the University of Toronto St. George campus on the Monday morning following; the suspended disqualification of the Russian national football team at the UEFA championship; and the actual disqualification of the Russian track and field team from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

I bet everyone’s in the mood to read something else, anything else. So here’s this week’s roundup! Enjoy!

From History Today:

A feature on Aristotle by Edith Hall.

A piece on the Holy Lance, the source of the final mark of the stigmata, and another of those relics that inspire confidence at all costs.

From the Smithsonian:

Excavations are underway at Piraeus, the port of Athens, at the sites of the three military harbours that were active around the time of the Persian Wars in the early 5th century BC.

From Archaeology.org:

What is now being called the Gaulcross Hoard of silver artefacts has been discovered in a farmer’s field in Scotland where, nearly 200 years earlier, other silver artefacts had already been found.

The ongoing battle against illegal or illicit antiquities trading continues, this time in Israel with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

My love of neolithic figurines continues with the rediscovery of this little gem, the Skara Brae Buddo, first discovered in the 1860s in the Orkneys and lost to museum storage until recently.

A rather large hunk of butter has been unearthed from a bog in Ireland.

The paintings at the cave site in Chauvet appear to be older than originally believed, by a few thousand years.

The site of the Bear River Massacre has been identified in Idaho where, in 1863, Americans shot and killed hundreds of Northwestern Shoshone.

Some rather fascinating bronze arrows and quivers have been found at a site in Oman, and archaeologists suggest that they may have been offerings to a god of war.

Conservators have begun restoring the solar boat discovered in the Great Pyramid of Khufu in 1954.

And ongoing work in southern Russia has yielded remarkably finely crafted gold artefacts in what was originally thought to be a routine excavation of a kurgan.

The Roundup #35

And (mostly) on time no less! Here’s this week’s roundup of archaeological fascinations throughout the English-reporting world. Enjoy!

From The Guardian:

The Guardian has published a guide to the destruction suffered by the ancient city of Palmyra between last year when Daesh/ISIL/ISIS took it over and it’s return to the hands of Syrian forces this March.

The ongoing search for the route Hannibal took through the Alps in his assault on Italy in 218/217BCE continues, with researchers from York University analyzing mud for the remains of animal excrement that would identify at least whether the elephants were there. Archaeology.org has also reported on this.

From Archaeology.org:

Caesar may be a fascination of history, but we mustn’t forget that he was also a mass murder. Evidence uncovered by Dutch archaeologists point to one such massacre during Caesar’s time in Gaul in the 50s BCE.

Some extremely well preserved curse tablets from the Piraeus Museum are currently being studied.

From the Smithsonian:

Evidence from Israel suggests that neolithic peoples in the area were strip miners. There’s been a fair amount of archaeological work coming out of Israel about this time period of late.

And from Biblical Archaeology:

More on the study of the name Ba’al in Biblical literature and its disappearance in the 11th or 10th century BCE. Ba’al was a storm god of the Canaanites, Tyrians, and Carthaginians, and the name of our favourite general of the ancient world, Hannibal, means ‘beloved of Ba’al’.

The Roundup #31

This week’s news has come almost exclusively from Archaeology.org (either that or the Facebook algorithm has decided that’s all I want to see). Expect a more varied list next week but, in the meantime, here is this week’s roundup.

From Archaeology.org:

An underwater wreck in excellent condition may be a Confederate-era blockade runner, one of three ships known to have been lost in the area of Cape Fear River and Fort Caswell.

The winery at Tel Kabri shows evidence that wine was mixed with various plant extracts on site.

Here is a feature on Roman wall painting, some of the most exquisite ever found in France, are being studied at Arles.

A 2,500 year old tomb near Luoyang shows evidence of an ethnic minority group that came to dominate the region during the Warring States Period in the 5th to 3rd centuries BCE.

The repatriation of remains removed in the 1960s from Alaska will be completed by 2018.

An intact tomb from the Geometric Period has been discovered on Lesbos.

Road works in Scotland may have unearthed the Medieval village of Cazdow. Excavations are ongoing.

More fragments of the Severan Marble Plan, a huge marble map of the city of Rome, have been discovered. Only approximately 10% of this once 60 x 43 foot map has been reconstructed.

Evidence of the earliest alphabetic language, from approximately 1850-1700 BCE, is in evidence on this tiny ostracon.

From APTN:

Another tale of the sorry state of relations between municipal bodies and indigenous groups is featured in this piece on the Allandale Station lands in Barrie, Ontario. Included in this article is a link to the report completed by ASI.

From the BBC:

A feature on the watercolours of painters such as JMW Turner and Towne completed in the 19th century as young men went on their Grand Tours of Italy.

 

 

The Roundup #28

A day late, but certainly not a dollar short, here is this week’s roundup. Also, for the record, as of last week, this column is syndicated on the Facebook Page, Best Science Friends Forever (a name that we’re working on but, knowing us, may just stay that way forever).

My personal favourite from last week’s news has to be the discovery of this tavern in France, where Romans in Gaul would have gone for a cup o’ wine and a bite back in the day.

From Archaeology.org:

The oldest known woven dress has been conclusively dated to 3484 to 3102 BCE, nearly five thousand years ago. Yet more reason to love Egypt; this kind of thing would never have survived elsewhere.

One of the (admittedly few) joys of drone technology is finding things like the Khatt Shebib, a low wall discovered in Jordan that may have been used as a boundary or hunters’ blind but was certainly not for defensive purposes.

The oldest complete example of a Bronze Age wheel has been discovered at Must Farm in Cambridgeshire, England. The Guardian has also covered this discovery and their piece includes a video for your viewing pleasure.

A prehistoric village, nearly 12,000 years old, has been discovered in Jordan.

In a stunning feat of engineering, a medieval ship has been raised from the bottom of the Ijssel River in the Netherlands.

Ongoing studies of Roman funerary portraits from Egypt have identified specific workshops where they were made based on the pigments used.

From The Guardian:

The Iron Age hill fort said to be the birthplace of Queen Guinevere is at risk of being destroyed in favour of a housing development in Shropshire, England.

The remains of the woman who may have inspired Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles have been unearthed in Dorset.

From the Smithsonian:

A feature on Ernst Herzfeld, the man who rediscovered the tomb of Cyrus, the Persian King of Kings.

From the British Museum:

A feature on African rock art, something that fascinates me more every time I read about it or see photographs.

And from the Toronto Star:

A central part of the city’s black history has been rediscovered downtown near Osgoode Hall.

The Roundup #27

It’s been an exciting week in the world of archaeology. A Roman arcade has been discovered in Colchester near the Temple of Claudius. It was known to historians previously, having been built in the city in the wake of its destruction during Boudicca’s revolt in 60-61 AD, but it was while the city was replacing an old tower block that it finally came to light.

And, elsewhere in the world, for this week’s roundup…

From Archaeology.org:

The remains from two Roman burial sites may be of individuals from North Africa and Asia, yet another example of the ongoing migratory nature of humans throughout history.

What have the Romans ever done for us? Well, in Northern England, surveyors using systems designed to watch for flooding have discovered Roman roads built during the conquest of the northern part of the island.

First we have Canadians curling an injured animal off the ice (typical), and now we have a badger discovering a Bronze Age burial site near Stonehenge in England.

An in-depth study of ancient silver mines in Greece have brought to light the terrible conditions suffered by those who worked in the mines, most of whom were slaves.

And studies suggest that horses can intuit human emotion as a result of their early domestication.

From the Smithsonian:

Some of the oldest tea ever discovered has been found in the tomb of Han Emperor Jing Di over two thousand years ago.

And, if you’re looking for something to haunt your dreams, try this.

 

And finally, I’m partial to following the work done at Gezer because I had a peripheral role in collating and preparing the data from one dig season while working at the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Department at the University of Toronto.

 

The Roundup #24

Here’s my attempt to get back into the regular routine of posting once a week. So here’s this week’s roundup.

From Archaeology.org:

Westminster Abbey in London, England has an extensive and mighty history. In December, evidence of the removal of bones from the site before construction began are being catalogued and studied to give archaeologists a better idea of what life was like in the area around about the turn of the first millenium.

Paintings from the Chauvet-Pont-D’Arc caves in France have some scientists thinking that the ancient peoples who created these magnificent works of art also depicted the oldest known artistic representation of a volcanic eruption.

Scientists are creating 3-D images of rock art from the Italian Alps dating from the Iron Age and the early Neolithic period.

The 2012 discovery of a mammoth carcass in the Eurasian Arctic suggests that humans were hunting in that region 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.

While searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre have identified a 19th century shipwreck.

The burial site of Han Emperor Jing Di has revealed the oldest evidence for tea, and in China no less.

Italian and Russian archaeologists have identified Nubian inscriptions at a temple site in the Sudan, offering new information on the relations between these peoples and the ancient Egyptians in the area.

Archaeologists have discovered the best preserved Bronze Age village ever found in England. NPR has a feature on it here.

A 2,200 year old prosthetic has been discovered at a burial site in western China.

The only ninth-tenth century artefact found underwater in Poland has turned out to be a wicker fish trap, with the remains of over 4,000 fish in Lake Lednica.

 

From The Guardian:

The largest – and as yet unnamed – dinosaur ever found, part of a subset of sauropods called titanosaurs, is now on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

 

From Biblical Archaeology:

I may have already posted this but, here goes: archaeologists working in Turkey have discovered Pluto’s Gates at Hierapolis, said to be a gateway to the underworld.

The Roundup #22

So I vanished for a few weeks. Netflix released their new series Jessica Jones. What was I to do? Just ignore that fact and forge ahead? Nope.

Here’s a roundup from the last two weeks. It’s been relatively quiet… Like the archaeological world knew I’d be distracted by dark Marvel storytelling…

From Archaeology.org:

Uniqueness will always be celebrated, even when that celebration is a sacrifice and entombment, as has been discovered in northern China where a golden or palomino horse was buried with its owner.

Evidence of sewing machines from San Francisco’s chinatown destroyed in the earthquake of 1906 have revived research into the city’s 19th century past.

A massive Bronze Age settlement has been discovered in Scotland.

I feel like I’ve heard about this before, but aerial mapping of the site of Angkor Wat shows that the complex is much larger than originally thought.

A 12th century castle has been discovered under the exercise yard of Gloucester Prison which closed in 2013.

Sicily’s Valley of the Temples is being surveyed, showing that these large structures were aligned with major thoroughfares and constellations in the sky.

From The Guardian:

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the tomb of Suleiman The Magnificent, the longest ruling sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in Hungary.

The Roundup #21

And on the 21st of November, no less!

So, without further ado…

From Archaeology.org:

Excavations are underway at Al Zubarah, an 18th century centre for trade in Qatar, that was abandoned after the Sultan of Oman invaded in 1811 and left protected by desert sands until now.

The repatriation of a bronze Shiva from the Chola Period in India is in process, following its discovery by special operations units within US Homeland Security.

By studying teeth from two adult males separated by 60,000 years, scientists have a clearer picture of the extent of Denisovan culture throughout the Asian continent during the last 150,000 years.

A fortified Greek settlement has been discovered in the Ukraine. Archaeologists hope to being major excavations in the near future.

Gaming has been part of human culture for thousands of years, as this die recently discovered in China attests.

And, possibly the most thrilling thing for me this week, a series of beautifully preserved mosaics have been discovered at a 1,700 year old villa in Lod, Israel.

From the Smithsonian:

A feature on the history and culture of British pub signs.

From the Guardian:

A huge cache of Roman coins has been discovered in Switzerland.

And the president of the Louvre museum in Paris has put together a plan to combat conflict antiquities and the illegal trade.

The Roundup #11

Another slightly late post, due entirely to the fact that there was art to consider, people to meet, and beer to be drunk on a Saturday night in Toronto.

It was sad to be greeted this morning with news of the death of Dr. Oliver Sacks. This preeminent neurologist and writer seems to have been unique among men in that he took great joy in his life, in all aspects of it. Such delight will be missed, no doubt.

News also of the ongoing humanitarian crisis as people migrating to Europe from Syria, the Middle East, and Africa reminds me of the human migrations of the last two thousand years, particularly the migration across what is now Switzerland that offered Caesar an unmissable opportunity for political advancement.

My personal favourite from this week’s news has to be this beautiful, enigmatic mask from Alaska, a face with both human and walrus attributes.

And now, for this week’s roundup:

In History Online:

Helen Roche offers an interesting theory about the origins of the animosity between Germany and Greece.

From Archaeology.org:

The use of Egyptian blue paint has been discovered on Roman-era funerary portraits. More on what is considered the world’s oldest artificial pigment here.

All the modern amenities: specific sleeping areas and a hearth space that may have been used to heat water have been discovered for the first time at a Neanderthal site in Spain.

Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh is proposing that researchers develop a new morphology for classifying hominids.

A Polish Soviet World War II plane has been discovered in Bzura Lake following record heat and a lack of rainfall in the region. Attempts to identify the plane and its unfortunately pilot are ongoing.

More Linear B tablets from this remarkable find – a Mycenaean palace complex in Laconia.

And a mysterious collection of ice age lion and bear bones have been discovered in a cave in Russia.

From The Walrus:

Alexander Tesar takes us into the world of the Archaeological Services Inc based in Toronto and Burlington, Ontario.

From the office of the Mayor of Chicago:

Three Japanese sliding door panels have been rediscovered in a storage facility. Originally displayed during the 1893 World’s Fair, these panels will undergo conservation efforts while the local government determines their fate as part of Chicago’s rich heritage.

From Biblical Archaeology:

The House of Peter in Capernaum where Jesus lived during the early part of his ministrations may have been discovered under a Byzantine church.

And a feature on the great temple of Megiddo and urban culture in the Levant.