Tag Archives: mosaics

The Roundup #55

It’s been one hell of a couple weeks. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Leonard Cohen died, and I now know what’s left of a body after it’s hit by a train. All fun stuff, you can imagine.

During the Mosul offensive in Iraq, it appears that ISIS/ISIL/Daesh have made efforts to destroy anything in their path as they retreat, including more of the ancient site of Nimrud in the north. Reuters has reported on it, as has the Smithsonian – specifically regarding the ziggurat destroyed there – and History Today offers a retrospective on the city for those hoping to learn more.

So, as a respite, here is the roundup from the last two weeks. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Otzi the Ice Man’s outfit was assembled from five different animal species, suggesting there was more going on than straight-up subsistence living.

Would you like a crocodile mummy? Why not 50 for the price of one? New evidence shows that a crocodile mummy actually contains the mummies of 47 hatchlings as well, folded into the wrappings of the larger animal.

Does anyone remember the scavenger-doctor character Tom Hanks played in Cloud Atlas? Hunting around for real teeth for dentures wasn’t made up, as these from Tuscany and suggest.

A possible site for the final resting place of the last emperor of the Inca may be on the table, after archaeologists began excavating at Maiqui-Machay in Ecuador.

An odd thing: a pot from a Roman camp site in Switzerland containing oil lamps with images of Luna, gladiators, peacocks, and other figures.

Archaeologists working at a site in Kazakhstan have unearthed stone structures containing a variety of treasures suggesting that the people living here were wealthy as well as originally nomadic.

Mosaic floors found in Turkey! Need I say more?

Hundreds of graves for monks have been discovered at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

A feature on an Islamic palace found near Jericho.

Petroglyphs in Hawaii were uncovered after shifting sand revealed them in July.

A burial causeway in Aswan dating to the 12th dynasty has been discovered in Egypt.

Evidence of a mythical flood that ushered in the Xia dynasty in China has been discovered.

Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre is currently being excavated in London. Of the many items discovered there are ticket boxes and parts of costumes.

And ongoing excavations at Tel Gezer in Israel are revealing some stunning finds.

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 #8

It’s been an eclectic week in terms of archaeological news about the ancient world (really, when is it not?). The most political of the news items that I saw was this: because of what the German Art Dealers Association calls their “special responsibility”, the German Minister of Culture is planning to put forward legislation to curb the smuggling of illegal antiquities from the Middle East, particularly those looted by ISIS. ISIS may be best known for the destruction wrought throughout Syria – against both people and antiquities – but it also funds its operations through the illegal sale of artefacts. Stopping or even hindering this is a huge step, as a group of academics are trying to do.

The Beeb reports that the British Museum is piloting a VR program for visitors to explore a Bronze Age roundhouse, with the potential to expand into a wide variety of other departments. I’ll look forward to see how this develops!

And with that, here’s this week’s roundup.

From Archaeology.org:

A mosaic floor depicting a menorah has been discovered in a Byzantine era synagogue at Horvat Kur in Israel.

Drinking with the fam’ has never been so apt as at this site in Tennessee where what was once a 1920s speakeasy has been revealed to be a Native American burial ground.

Discoveries on Jamestown Island continue with Irish pennies and the matchlock firing mechanisms from two muskets.

Remains of the monumental city gates of Gath in Tel Zafit National Park have been identified. The site, thought to be the Philistine city of Gath, the home of Goliath, was occupied in the 10th century BCE.

Petroglyphs discovered in Siberia may turn out to be the area’s oldest.

A series of pots and jars have been discovered at Edfu in Egypt, including some beautiful alabaster pieces.

And a mass grave in China may point to a prehistoric epidemic, forcing the people of the area to pile the bodies of victims in a house and burn it.

From the Smithsonian:

Scientists have developed a model to determine the nature of the earthquake that struck Nepal in April of this year. Their research has identified resonance waves in the basin around Kathmandu as the reason why taller buildings, which had survived previous earthquakes in the region, collapsed this time around.

Information has come to light about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery in 1990, which still remains unsolved. A $5 million reward is being offered for information leading to the recover of all 13 stolen pieces in good condition.

And the mystery surrounding an inscription on the blade of a medieval sword continues.

From Biblical Archaeology:

A neat review of the recent dig season at Tel Kabri, and the discovery of the oldest and largest wine cellar from the Ancient Near East.

And news about a new Iron Age settlement will be coming down the pipeline in due course. Stay tuned!

And from The Guardian:

A new exhibit in Paris will showcase artefacts recovered from a vast submerged site in Egypt. There are some stunning pieces here, so if you’re in Paris, I highly recommend going to see it!

The Roundup #7

What a find! The oldest known Roman fortifications, and the only ones ever discovered in Italy, have been identified near Trieste.

Archaeology Magazine does a slightly more in-depth piece on Carnuntum in Austria, a Roman fort along the Danube that became a thriving city until it was abandoned in the 5th century CE. Among other things, evidence of a gladiatorial school has been discovered there and archaeological work is ongoing.

And a bizarre site where excavators have found bison bones buried deep in the earth has University of Lethbridge archaeologists scratching their heads.

Here’s this week’s roundup, albeit a day later than usual:

In Archaeology.org:

Proof that, when it comes to archaeology, details are everything, archaeologists at Tel-Kabri are examining recently excavated jars, some of which used to contain an aromatic red wine.

The oldest known Pictish fort has been identified in Dunnicaer by archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Preliminary surveys of the site of the Great Synagogue of Vilna in Lithuania have led to discussion about excavations in coming seasons.

Potentially the oldest human remains yet found in France, a human tooth has been discovered during excavations in Arago Cave in the southwestern part of the country.

And your bit of cuteness for the week, cat paw prints have been discovered on Roman roof tiles from England.

From PastHorizons:

A Roman military bath complex has been discovered in Georgia, complete with decorative mosaics. Luxury flooring for army men? This is something I’ll keep tabs on…

From the Smithsonian:

The Jamestown Rediscovery has another medal for its mantlepiece: the identities of four of the senior members of the original 17th century colony.

From The Guardian:

A Russian submarine has been discovered off the coast of Sweden. Although it’s still unclear how old the sub actually is, one this is certain: we won’t find Sean Connery in it.

The Roundup #5

It’s been an exciting week! The New Horizons flyby of Pluto was (so far, at least) a complete success and the world is basking in the light of all the new images pouring in from the spacecraft’s downloads to NASA.

It’s also been a weird week, considering the recent theft from the grave of acclaimed director FW Murnau’s head. Murnau is probably most recognized (well, until someone stole his head anyway) for the film Nosferatu.

And we haven’t had anything related to Nazis recently, so here’s something new: a metal detectorist (apparently that’s a word) has discovered a cache of gold coins from the late 19th and early 20th century along with two seals bearing swastikas and the imperial eagle with the stamp “Reichsbank Berlin 244”.

Otherwise, here’s what the world decided to reveal to us this time around:

In Archaeology.org:

A Viking sword with a beautifully preserved gold and silver hilt has been discovered in Norway.

Beautiful mosaics are being unearthed in a synagogue near Huqoq currently being surveyed by archaeologists from UNC Chapel Hill. One in particular may depict the first non-Biblical story yet to be found in the synagogue.

One of the largest and possibly earliest open settlements (ie. not a hill fort) has been discovered in southern England.

Two Roman ballista stones have been returned to the Israel Antiquities Authority with a note: “…they have brought me nothing but trouble. Please do not steal antiquities!” We hear you, loud and clear, anonymous thief.

A marble slab with a Greek inscription referring to the Odrysian kings of Thrace has been discovered in Bulgaria near the ancient site of Aquae Calidae.

And the mummified body of a young boy is being examined after its discovery in the Zeleny Yar necropolis in Siberia. The Siberian Times article on the same discovery include some fantastic pictures of the birchbark coffin and goes into more detail about this mysterious medieval civilization.

In LiveScience:

More on the stunning mosaics at Huqoq and the overall richness of the site in the Galilee region of Israel means that archaeologists have a lot more work to do in the coming seasons.

From the Beeb:

The Staffordshire Hoard continues to delight as conservationists learn about ancient metallurgy techniques and make connections between this hoard, discovered in 2009, and that found at Sutton Hoo.

From the Smithsonian:

The updated UNESCO World Heritage list is out, with new additions like Ephesus in Turkey, the Alamo in Texas, the controversial ‘Battleship Island’ in Japan, the Champagne region in France, and the Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain in Mongolia.

From The Guardian:

The records and correspondence of the Slave Compensation Commission are being reviewed at the National Archives in the UK, containing the names of 46,000 slave owners and the compensation they received in 1833 for their recently emancipated ‘property’.

Tim Butcher talks about his new book ‘The Trigger’ and Gavrilo Princip, the man who shot Archduke Frans Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife in 1914, precipitating the First World War.

And from Popular Science:

Analyses of rock samples from Mars point to similarities between the Red Planet and our own Blue Marble.