The Roundup #64

In this week’s roundup, there’s a lot outside my usual fare – more New World than Old. But I’m glad to see that archaeological work carries on in the face of the Trump-Russia-GOP-HealthcareBill stressors. Enjoy!

From the CBC and Le Devoir:

A live cannon ball has been discovered in Quebec City during routine construction work. Neither the construction workers nor the archaeologist called in to remove it realized it still had a charge right away, and then munitions experts from CFB Valcartier were called in to safe it.

From the CBC:

Unmanned submersibles will be sent into Lake Ontario to find the models of the Avro CF-105, the “Arrow”, that were shot into the late in the 1950s following the closure of the Avro interceptor program. Not the prototypes, mind, but models of them.

From Archaeology News Network:

Ahh, the joys of pre-industrial recycling programs! Some of the writings of Hippocrates have been discovered in a palimpsest manuscript with Biblical text in a monastery in Egypt.

From the Smithsonian:

Hiding in plain sight, figures supposedly painted by Raphael shortly before his death in 1520 have been identified in the frescoes in the Hall of Constantine in the Vatican.


Excavations continue at Tintagel in Cornwall as archaeologists learn more about the locals who lived around the castle.

A Neolithic burial mound has been identified in England between Avesbury and Stonehenge.

A Roman mosaic floor – with a unique herringbone design, also called opus spicatum – has been discovered in a residential part of Alexandria.

Researchers from the Kumamoto University have announced a new theory about moveable set design in Greek theatres.

More evidence of Denisovan culture existing longer than previously thought as a well-worn baby tooth has been discovered that is 50,000 to 100,000 years older than previously identified fossils.

And the ritual sacrifice and burial of a wolf has been identified in Mexico, part of ongoing work into the Aztec culture that existed there before the arrival of the Spanish.


The Roundup #48

The 2016 Olympics in Rio are well underway and people are discovering all kinds of sports they didn’t know they enjoyed watching, like rugby sevens apparently. And, in spite of the volcanic heat in Toronto, things are happening all over the world. My favourite of the week  has to be this note in the Washington Post about a massive mosaic depicting chariot racing discovered in Cyprus.

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


Massive structures have been found near Risan, Montenegro dating to the third century BCE. Risan is the capital of ancient Illyria.

Healthy living isn’t a new fad, as the discovery of a plunge pool built in the 19th century inside a 12th century abbey proves.

Evidence from horses that died in the Middle Ages suggests that the elusive ‘ambling’ gait originated in Medieval England.

Fragments of Roman fresco discovered in Israel may have been part of a public building constructed in the second century CE.

Ongoing archaeological work around the site of Tintagel in Cornwall is providing new information on the date of the first settlements there.

From the Smithsonian:

The oldest known processed gold has been discovered in Bulgaria.

Evidence of the mysterious snake-head dynasty have been discovered in Belize.

From the Independent:

At first blush, the news that a Portuguese sailing ship has been discovered in a Namibian desert might sound outlandish (sorry, bad pun), but this is apparently not that unusual: the latest is the Bom Jesus, that set sail in 1533 and vanished with its crew and cargo on its way to India.

From the Guardian:

A unique find during the excavation of a burial site in Serbia: magic spells inscribed on gold leaf found with skeletons as amulets.

From History Today:

A feature on the largest pyramid in the world – and it’s not in Egypt, but in Mexico: the Great Pyramid of Cholula.

The Roundup #37

It’s been a crazy month, but it looks like spring has finally (FINALLY!) sprung in Toronto. Hard to stay inside when the sun’s out and the sky’s blue, but there’s lots going on in the world of archaeology, so here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From the Manchester Evening News:

On the site of a new tower block in Manchester, archaeologists have found the remnants of a pub – the Astley Arms – from 1821, including a few bottles of unopened brandy.

From the New York Times:

Perhaps one of the most spectacular finds in England in the last decade, a lavish Roman villa from the 2nd or 3rd century AD was discovered when a local homeowner decided to run cabling from his house to a shed at the back of his property so his son could have light to play table tennis.

From the Smithsonian:

An extremely well preserved dress from the 17th century has been found in a shipwreck off the coast of the Netherlands.


A remarkably well preserved Roman wall has been discovered in Bulgaria.

Cheese making may be older than originally thought, following the discovery of clay pots in the Swiss Alps showing that they were used to heat milk.

Climate change may have impacted the weather – and therefore also the growing seasons – in the Northern Hemisphere in the 6th century AD.

The Roundup #31

This week’s news has come almost exclusively from (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.


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 #30

This time I’m getting a jump-start on my weekend post, so I’m not so badly delayed in posting it as I was with the previous roundup.

Lots going on this week, so here we go!


A winery nearly two thousand years old has been discovered outside the old city walls of Jerusalem.

Monumental tomb mounds – hailed as Polish Pyramids – have been identified by archaeologists from the University of Szczesin.

The Nubian-Egyptian divide grows ever less clear with the discovery of this tomb of a Nubian woman buried with Egyptian-style attributes in Sudan.

There is evidence that the wall paintings from Egypt’s Western Desert were not in fact made by humans, or even primates, but possibly by reptiles such as desert monitor lizards.

A Japanese sword from the second century BCE has been found to have the engraving of a shark on its blade.

A Bronze Age burial site near Bethlehem and now called Khalet al-Jam’a has been discovered with more than 100 tombs, 30 of which appear to be intact.

Lake Baikal seems to be in the news a lot lately, not least because of its archaeological wealth, such as this dog burial for example.

An absolutely gorgeous Roman ring, with Cupid and (the suggestion of) Psyche has been discovered in England by a metal detectorist.

And art knows no bounds, according to archaeologists researching a fresco in Hungary that they believe was sketched on one from the old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

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 Roundup #4

What a week this has been. We lost Omar Sharif and Roger Rees, the 2015 PanAm Games got underway in Toronto, Champagne was made part of UNESCO World Heritage, and we received the best pictures yet from the New Horizons satellite on its way to Pluto. Here’s all the things that happened before that we’re just finding out about again:


A beautiful series of fresco fragments have been discovered in Arles, France, the first such pieces to be found outside Italy.

The bones of 27 US Marines will finally be laid to rest more than 70 years after they died during the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific during World War II.

The dates for prehistoric man in Scotland have been extended back to 8,000 years, approximately a thousand years earlier than previous evidence had suggested.

A Viking longhouse has been found in Reikjavic, Iceland, to the excitement of archaeologists everywhere.

A new theory about the attic of the Parthenon in Athens has been released, suggesting that the wealth of nations was once stored there.

Analysis of ice core samples from Greenland and Antarctica suggest that a pair of volcanic eruptions may have been responsible for widespread disease and famine in the sixth century, rewriting climate history in Europe for this period. This has also been covered by the Smithsonian.

Archaeologists have unearthed gold spirals in Zealand (in Denmark, not in the Pacific), which had multiple uses and are generally quite lovely to look at.

At the site of Oinoanda in Turkey, a massive stone inscription by Diogenes, who was a student of the Epicurean school of philosophical thought, was discovered towards the end of the 19th century and is part of a new study of the area. Included in the text is the following excerpt:

Not least for those who are called foreigners, for they are not foreigners. For, while the various segments of the Earth give different people a different country, the whole compass of this world gives all people a single country, the entire Earth, and a single home, the world.  

And excavations of the permanent HQ of the Sixth Legion are underway in Israel.

From Biblical Archaeology:

Yet more discussion on whether or not Carthaginians practiced human sacrifice of infants.

The discussion also continues on who built the Cardo in Jerusalem, the two main suspects being the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Justinian I.

And an oil lamp workshop has been discovered in the Galilee.

In Popular Archaeology:

A Roman legionary’s bootprint has been discovered, also in the Galilee in Israel.

And from JSTOR Daily:

New evidence about the colour of dinosaur eggs.