The Roundup #67

We’re having what’s affectionately called “unsettled weather” to start off the long weekend in Toronto, so in between bouts of laundry and cleaning the house and getting groceries, here is this week’s roundup! Enjoy!

From The Guardian:

A Roman neighbourhood discovered in Vienne in the south of France is being hailed as a “little Pompeii” by archaeologists excavating now until the end of the year.

A two-meter high statue has been discovered in Angkor Wat, and is likely to be a symbolic guardian of the hospital from the medieval site.


A baptismal font has been discovered at the site of an early Christian basilica in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

A small brass crucifix has been discovered at a major fur trade hub near the Straits of Machinac in Michigan.

Excavations at a Groswater peoples site in Newfoundland has yielded tools that archaeologists believe made this a processing centre for sealskins.

High resolution satellite imagery has been used to identify hominid sites near ancient lakes in Saudi Arabia.

Analysis of DNA from ancient Minoan and Mycenaean sites compared with nearly 300 other peoples, including modern Greeks, suggests that there wasn’t a lot of sharing of genetic material, to put it euphemistically, despite the fact that the Ancient Mediterranean was a crossroads of trade and cultural interaction.

And a skull of the Ainu peoples of Japan has recently been repatriated when it was handed over to the Japanese Embassy in Berlin.


The Roundup #66

In the week since I last posted an archaeology roundup, it feels like seven years instead of seven days has passed in the absurdity of the Trump White House. Spicer out; Scaramucci in. Then Priebus out; Kelly in. Then Scaramucci (Mrs.) out. Trumpcare out; Obamacare in. McCain out; McCain in. Etc, etc, etc. ad nauseam. It’s a good thing that one of the tenets of archaeological study is care and consideration, and so news of this sort is released with a certain degree of stability.

And so, without further ado, here is this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From The Guardian:

A 1,300 year old wooden coffin – considered the most important wooden object in England from before the Norman invasion – is going on display in Durham, where St. Cuthbert’s body was interred following his death in the 7th century.


A 16th century musical score has been recreated with the help of Ad Lib.

Dafna Langgut, an archaeobotanist, has tracked the introduction of citrus fruit from Southeast Asia to the Ancient Mediterranean.

A monumental tomb, referencing a famous brawl after a gladiatorial match in 59 AD, has been discovered in Pompeii.

The Roundup #47

It’s been an interesting week in archaeological news (to the public; not the archaeologists themselves, who’ve been working at these sites for months if not years). The big highlight has to be the discovery of ruins outside of the already ruined castle of Tintagel where archaeologists believe Arthur may have been born.

Here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


Possibly my favourite bit of news from this week, archaeologists have recreated a kitchen in a launderette at Pompeii.

The question over whether a burial site where the skeletons of men were found decapitated remains, as scholars dispute the idea that it could have been a mass grave for either gladiators or criminals.

Technology adds new dimensions to archaeological work as the footprints originally discovered by Mary Leakey in the Laetoli area of Tanzania and dated to over 3 millions years ago are analyzed by DigTrace software.

Evidence to support the mythical founding of China’s empire have been found: sediment from a massive flooding of the Yellow River nearly 4,000 years ago at a site called Lajia.

And a lavish burial for a woman has been discovered near Aspero in Peru.

From the CBC:

A huge mass burial site has been uncovered near Piraeus in Greece dating from the 8th to the 5th century BCE.

From the National Post:

Specialists have used a particle accelerator to determine that an old and much despised Degas held in Australia contains another portrait underneath, of one of Degas’ models, Emma Dobigny.

From The Guardian:

A massive, ornate Mayan tomb from the historical snake dynasty has been discovered in Belize.

The Roundup #45

This week brought to light (for me at least) some rather interesting notes on projects ongoing around the world. The first, and of course my favourite, is this piece from the Smithsonian about Wolfgang Neubauer’s non-invasive archaeological work on Carnuntum in Austria, particularly the ludus or gladiator school near the amphitheatre there. The second, which I stumbled on quite by accident after deciding to check out for the first time in ages, about the search for the provenance of a Gospel purportedly to be of Jesus’s wife.

So how ’bout them apples?

And, with that, here’s the rest of this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


The remains of four people found in the back of a shop in Pompeii were discovered with jewellery and money, despite evidence of looting at the site.

Evidence of bitumen collection from Russia has been identified in the molecular remains inside an amphora.

Archaeological reconstruction of funeral rites for a shaman in Israel from 12,000 years ago yields all kinds of new information.

Evidence of what could prove to be a remarkable cooling system for working men and animals in Carthage’s circus.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria is not a new thing, as evidence from mummies from Peru and Italy suggest.

From the Atlantic:

A short and delightful video on new techniques designed to non-invasively read papyrus scrolls from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The Roundup #26

Again, I’ve been remiss and did not post my weekly roundup last weekend. Partly due to my mother’s birthday at the end of the month and partly due to the appalling regularity with which I’m suffering migraines this winter in Toronto, I was nowhere near my computer.

So here – yet again – is a consolidated list from the past two weeks of all the interesting bits of news from the archaeological world.


A tomb has been discovered in Pompeii that dates to before the Roman people took over the town from the Samnites and includes grave goods for a middle-aged woman including beautiful – and intact – vases.

A study of cat remains in China from the fourth millenium BC suggests that the animals were domesticated there much earlier than originally believed.

A specific type of clay from British Columbia in Canada – and long used for medicinal purposes among the area’s indigenous peoples – has been found to counteract otherwise antibiotic-resistant infections.

A 60-foot-long boat has been discovered in the necropolis at Abusir in Egypt by members of the Czech Institute for Archaeology.

Research into the socio-cultural practices of homo heidelbergensis show that these hominid groups existed in close family groups and were able to construct tools considered much more complex than previously thought.

A nearly intact section of Roman painted wall panelling has been discovered near Lime Street in London by archaeologists from the Museum of London. The Smithsonian has also reported on this here.

An Egyptian seal has been discovered by a hiker near the Lower Galilee region of Israel.

And excavations have revealed an underground church in Cappadoccia in Turkey containing some beautiful and very unique frescoes. Work will continue in the spring after the seasonal humidity returns to acceptable levels.

From the New York Times:

A light show intended to demonstrate the colours used to paint the Temple of Dendur is currently on at the Met in New York.

From ASI:

A great read: the archaeological history of the Wendat to 1651.

From the Smithsonian:

A summary of the appalling, botched repair job of the death mask of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

The (appallingly belated) Roundup #15

I’ve managed to get well behind in my own self-imposed schedule of posting every weekend, so apologies if anyone was hoping for their fix this weekend. In my defence, I was distracted by the rugby… and the fact that Professor Mary Beard, yes THE Mary Beard, tweeted me back in response to my comment on her article in The Guardian last week. I admit I was a bit of a giggling idiot for a few moments. Her work is really quite brilliant, and such a joy to read.

Right. Enough of excuses. Here’s last week’s roundup.


There’s murder in the air, or there was, in northern Spain about 400,000 years ago, as evidence of the first known murder comes to light out of a cave containing a shaft full of bones.

We all know about Fiorelli’s plaster casting technique to reveal the victims of the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. Now archaeologist are using CT scanning technology to explore the teeth and bones permanently hidden by the plaster to learn more about these people.

There was a time when newsprint got everywhere, so gods help you if you were wearing white gloves while reading the “hatches, matches, and dispatches”. The same thing appears to have happened in the ancient world, leaving a Greek poem in negative on the bottom of a balsamarium from Bulgaria that was wrapped in parchment where the poem had been written.

Archaeologists have announced that the tomb recently discovered in Amphipolis was intended as a funerary monument to Hephaestion, friend and consort of Alexander the Great.

The Neolithic peoples of Scotland were keen to keep out the cold too, as evidence of a large building capable of creating sauna-like conditions has been unearthed on Orkney.

From the British Film Institute:

I’m apparently not able to watch this content in Canada, but in case you’re able to watch it (wherever it’s able to be watched), there is some footage of Stonehenge from the early part of the 20th century here.

From the Smithsonian:

So apparently cheese is the Honda Civic of the world of fromagerie, the most stolen food on the planet, and authorities have recently apprehended a group of thieves who have stolen approximately $875,000 worth of the famous Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese. It’s so valuable, some banks will accept a wheel of cheese as collateral.

A video detailing the art stolen by the Nazis during World War II and stored in the salt mines at Altaussee sheds light on the fascinating and nearly catastrophic looting of art from throughout Europe discovered after the war by the Monuments Men.

From Blouin Art:

A full length portrait of the Imperial consort Chunhui by Guiseppe Castiglione has sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for a record $17.6 million. What I found most fascinating about this portrait is that there is an inscription of Chunhui’s posthumous title by the Emperor himself. Kind of endearing.

The Roundup #14

The Rugby World Cup continues apace. Japan, Canada, and Georgia look to be the teams to make a tournament out of this show, fighting like mighty workhorses for every inch of the pitch. Go Canada Go!

In the meantime, the archaeological world seems unusually quiet this week. Here’s the latest roundup.


An intact Samnite tomb has been discovered in Pompeii, surviving a volcano, several wars, and 19th century archaeological methods.

This week’s bit of cuteness goes to a bronze owl brooch discovered in Denmark.

Egyptian authorities have approved the use of non-invasive techniques to scan for a hidden chamber behind the burial tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamum, possibly a major step in identifying what many now believe could be the tomb of the mesmerizingly beautiful Queen Nefertiti.

A research team in Florence claims to have discovered the burial place of the woman who inspired Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Lisa Gherardini, who died in the 16th century at the age of 63. Unfortunately, because no skull has been found with the very fragmented bones, an incontrovertible identification is tricky.

Excavations at the site of the Antikythera shipwreck are showing the site to be archaeologically very rich.

And archaeologists in Moscow believe they have uncovered the remains of the 12th century Velikaya, the oldest road in the city that once connected the Kremlin with the docks.

From the Smithsonian:

A great wee story on St Helena, the island in the southern Atlantic Ocean where Napoleon was exiled in 1815 and died in 1821. My high school history teacher likened St Helena to a speck of dust on the (admittedly very dusty) world map in the classroom. Guess the English wanted to make sure this time, because it currently still takes five days on a mail ship to get there.

From the Long Now:

Venture capitalism isn’t as new as some would like to think. Evidence from tablets from the ancient city of Kanesh demonstrate a complex trade system existed there, more complex than had been previously guessed at.

And from Biblical Archaeology:

The tomb of the Maccabees may have been discovered near the Israeli city of Modi’in.