An elaborate Roman helmet, after nine years of restoration, finally goes on display at the British Museum. The helmet dates to approximately 43 CE, around the time of the Roman invasion of Britain and supports the idea that the Romans were able to recruit local Celts to fight on their side.
“We normally think of the Roman conquest of Britain as Romans versus us. Here you probably have a situation where local Britons are fighting on the Roman side.”
After nine years of restoration, the Hallaton helmet will go on display and help archaeologists to further understand the complex relationship of the Romans and native Britons.
To read more about this discovery, see the article in the BBC News and at MSNBC.
In ancient Pompeii, it appears that for the Romans, trash and tombs went hand in hand. New discoveries have uncovered dedicated trash pits along side tombs. The ancients were never ones for adequate, effective, or health-conscience means of trash disposal.
Even so, this new discovery has surprised even some of the most tenured scholars. However, many modern archaeologists have recognized the ‘casual’ relationship Romans had with waste disposal and the lack of ‘reverence’ attributed to burials.
“In general, when a Roman was confronted with death, he or she was more concerned with memory than with the afterlife. Individuals wanted to be remembered, and the way to do that was a big tomb in a high-traffic area. In other words, these tombs and cemeteries were never meant to be places for quiet contemplation. Tombs were display — very much a part of every day life, definitely not set apart, clean or quiet. They were part of the ‘down and dirty’ in life.”
The recent uprisings and revolution in Libya has given archaeologists new hope for exploring and conserving the vast historical treasures within the country. Sites, such as the famed Leptis Magna, have largely been ignored and neglected by the Gaddafi regime in the last few decades. Budding nationalism and patriotism are expected to foster greater interest in the heritage of Libya. Still, the current instability of the nation provides dangers to those who would hope to preserve the archaeological treasures. Looting is rampant and unstabilized regions still pose a risk to those who wish to investigate.
“It is moments like these when big directions are taken by design or default, and those who care about heritage should aim for design,” William Brown, Brookings Institute
To learn more about the possibilities and dangers that face a new Libya, read this article in Nature.
Today, Smithsonian Magazine highlights the incredibly engineering know-how of Ancient Rome’s builders. The Romans invented architectural techniques such as the true arch and the dome as well as critical materials, like concrete. While Roman buildings materials are not nearly as strong as what we have today, their enduring power can be seen all over Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia.
The burial remains of a man and a woman from Roman times (more than 1,500 years ago) have been uncovered by archaeologists in Central Italy. The find has inspired romantics and archaeologists alike. The couple was buried holding hands and apparently looking towards one another:
“We believe that they were originally buried with their faces staring into each other.”
The find suggests that relationships between couples was considered an important element not only in life (where ‘love-matches’ were a rare event), but also in the after-life.
“Whoever buried these people likely felt that communicating their relationship was just as important in death as it was in life.”
Archaeologists working at a recently discovered Roman fort in Camelon Scotland have uncovered more than 120 leather shoes. The find is remarkable, not only for the fact that it is the best evidence for a Roman presence this far North, but the level of preservation.
In addition to the shoes, archaeologists have also found coins, jewelry, pottery, and animal bones. The fort was located along the Antonine Wall, the short lived earthen barrier built by the Romans in Northern Britain in their ill-fated attempt to further their presence in the ‘barrens’ of Scotland.
Archaeologists believe that they have uncovered and identified a large shipyard near the city of Rome. Originally thought to be a simple warehouse, re-examination of the building suggests that it was used to maintain ships.
If it in fact it is a shipyard, it is a significant find that could provide new insight into Roman shipping and trade.
“Few Roman Imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean.”