Best of 2017 Roundup

There’s been a lot in the news this year – not all of it great (mostly the gameshow antics coming out of the US) – but there have been some great discoveries this year that will reinforce your love of the world and all the history in it. One thing I noticed while going back over my posts from this year is that I apparently only started regular weekly roundups in July. The routine has turned out to be a good one, and there’s lots to look back on and enjoy again.

This “Best of” list has nothing to do with clicks, likes, celebrity, or star-power. Rather it’s a selection of the stories from this past year that I found particularly endearing. Enjoy!

THE CONSTRUCTIVE:

My ongoing love of very old votive objects – particularly Venus figurines – was well fed this year with this discovery from Turkey.

The seat of the ancient kingdom of Rheged has been identified in Scotland.

The ongoing construction of Metro Line C in Rome has yielded some fantastic finds, including the barracks of the Praetorian Guard.

New evidence suggests that Greek theatres had moveable sets.

Evidence that Phoenicians manufactured disposable figures of gods makes for an all new dimension to this commercial, seafaring people.

What is being called “Little Pompeii” has been discovered near Lyon in France.

The USS Indianapolis has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Philippines.

Connections between the Viking and Arab worlds are becoming more clear following the identification of Arab text on Viking silk.

A possible inscription by the mysterious Sea Peoples is being translated from Luwian.

One of many stories of repatriation this year, marble from the Nemi ships is being returned to Italy.

Previously classified documents regarding President John F. Kennedy have been released and are being reviewed.

Better late than never, Ovid’s exile has been overturned.

Excavations have identified Caesar’s original landing site in Britain.

Archaeologists are releasing images of the items discovered in the Griffin Warrior tomb at Pylos.

And my person favourite of the year: wolves have been seen around Rome again for the first time in decades.

THE DESTRUCTIVE:

It seems like a long time ago, but ISIS/ISIL/Daesh destroyed much of the ancient site of Palmyra, including the famous Tetrapylon back in January.

Also from January is a rather appalling story of plans to build a freeway under Stonehenge. Paving paradise and putting up a parking lot seems positively ideal in comparison.

A live cannon ball discovered in Quebec City during routine construction dates back to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the 1700s.

THE WEIRD:

The history of citrus fruit is ever changing, most recently due to the work of archaeobotanist Dafna Langgut.

A watercolour painting of a bird has been discovered in Antarctica.

A triceratops was discovered during construction work in Denver, Colorado.

What appears to be a figure with a feathered headdress was unearthed in Siberia.

Possibly the oldest original manuscript of the 100 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade has been saved from auction after France declared it a national treasure.

The oldest known compound eye has been identified from a fossil more than 500 million years old.

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The Roundup #61

As America marches slowly towards its demise, I would compare it to the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940, but that would be rude. Although, one could say that neither group really knew what they were getting in to until they got there and realized that they’re fucked.

But the archaeological world continues to trudge along, hunting for grant funding, and work permits in countries where most people are worried about getting shot. So here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

A toy discovered in 1890 is helping archaeologists understand how chariots were designed in the Roman world.

A cistern used as a food storage facility has been discovered during construction in London, England.

Evidence of long-distance trade has been identified from stone tools and flint unearthed during construction work in St. Andrews, Scotland.

The earliest evidence of silk production yet discovered has been identified in Henan province, China.

Delays in studying the site at Oahu where the Attack on Pearl Harbor occurred continue to generate questions about the events and the site itself.

From the Guardian:

Plans are in place to dig a traffic tunnel underneath Stonehenge, ostensibly to relieve traffic congestion around the site, while archaeologists and historians are decrying the vandalization of the remarkable site.

And a curator of the Folger Shakespeare Library has found definitive proof among research on the Elizabethan College of Heralds that Shakespeare the player is also Shakespeare from Stratford who tried to apply for a coat of arms through the College in the 16th century.

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.

From Archaeology.org:

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┬áto 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.