In the wake of the civil unrest in the Libya, the state of its antiquities has been cause for concern for scholars and archaeologists. Due to the current political state, independent reporters and UNESCO investigators cannot travel to the state to verify their status.
Libya has a wealth of historical material, prehistory, Carthaginian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, and more modern amenities. Such sites are often of little to no concern during bloody coups when people are most concerned about basic survival.
We know that artifacts have already been stolen, and UNESCO has issued statements to auctions houses warning them to be on high alert for looted antiquities (see the article on BBC). Native archaeologists have already begun to petition the provisional government to take special efforts to preserve sites and artifacts. CNN has issued a special report on Libya’s “other wealth” and you can read more about here.
Archaeologists have published more information on their findings of the school. The school remains buried, but has been mapped out by radar. Archaeologists argue that this finding rivals the great ludus outside of the Colosseum in Rome.
“(This is) a world sensation, in the true meaning of the word,” said Lower Austrian provincial Governor Erwin Proell.
Archaeologists have recently uncovered an amphitheater used to train Gladiators outside of Vienna in Austria. They are describing the find at “sensational” and state that it rivals inside the Ludus Magnus (the “Great School”) of the Colosseum, the largest identified Gladiatorial School in the Roman Empire.
In spite of a spiking interest in Roman Britain, very little has been explored about Roman Wales. Archaeologists at Cardiff University have recently discovered a port outside of the Roman fortress of Caerion (Isca). Scholars hope that this new finding will shed more light on role of Roman Wales in the Empire and later development of Britain.
To read more about the discovery, see this article in the BBC.
An ancient clay vessel reconstructed from pieces discovered at a Canadian museum is riddled with tiny holes, leaving archaeologists baffled over what it was used for.
The jar, just 16 inches (40 centimeters) tall and dating back about 1,800 years, was found shattered into an unrecognizable 180 pieces in a storage room at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. But even after it was restored, the scientists were faced with a mystery. So far no one has been able to identify another artifact like it from the Roman world.
“Everyone’s stumped by it,” Katie Urban, one of the researchers at the London, Ontario, museum, told LiveScience. “We’ve been sending it around to all sorts of Roman pottery experts and other pottery experts, and no one seems to be able to come up with an example.”
The jar may have held rodent snacks for ancient Romans, or even served as a lamp, the researchers speculate, though no theory definitively holds water.
Where did the jar come from? Archival research indicates the jar was among artifacts from Roman Britain (the part of Great Britain under Roman control from about A.D. 43 to 410) that were given to the museum in the 1950s by William Francis Grimes… read more at MSNBC.
From the Dorset Echo: THE buried remains of a Roman child have been uncovered during the construction of the Charles Street development in Dorchester. Stone foundations of Roman houses, painted wall plaster and coins have also been found. Cowlin Construction, working for developers Simons Group, has put up posters on the sites boundary hoardings detailing any new finds. Viewing holes have also been provided allowing the public to view any on-site … Read More
The History Channel has posted an amazing video deconstructing the Colosseum. It’s a very short, less than 2 minute video. If you have any interest in the inner-workings of the Colosseum, check out the video at this link.
In this month’s Numen, a journal of history and religions, recently published the findings of historians who have theorized that the famed Pantheon of Ancient Rome served the purpose of ancient time-keeper.
The structure, first built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in the first century, was rebuilt in the 2nd century by the Emperor Hadrian. The coffered, concrete dome (the distinguishing feature of the building) contains a central opening – termed the “oculus” (Latin for “eye”).
Panini Painting of the Pantheon Interior
Historians have noted several solar events aligning with the Pantheon’s oculus on the March equinox and on April 21 (the traditional founding date of the city of Rome).
The Hagia Sophia (in Greek Ἁγία Σοφία) is one of the most famous churches in all of Christendom. Prior to the building of Saint Peters in Rome, it was the Christian church. The current iteration built by the Emperor Justinian in the 7th century served as the center for Christendom until its fall to the Muslim Turks in the 15th century. For 500 years, it served as a mosque until Atatürk turned it into a state museum.
The Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest landmarks in history and merits an extensive visit. In fact, I spent 24 hours on a train from Romania to Istanbul just for the opportunity to walk through its halls and visit its famed dome. However, travel is a bit extensive. Here is an exceptional 3D, interactive tour of the Hagia Sophia. Don’t worry about the Greek on the website (unless you happen to know modern Greek). The information in the tour itself is actually english. You can pan, zoom, turn, examine close-ups, etc. It takes a minute to load, so be patient! If you really enjoy Byzantine history, I highly recommend that you follow @Byzantinephil on Twitter
A statue of the Roman Emperor Caligula was recently uncovered at an illegal dig in Italy. There are fewer statues of the Roman Emperor as he suffered a damnatio memoriae (erasure of his name from history) by the Senate shortly after his assassination.
The site is located at Nemi, south of the city of Rome, where Caligula was known to have luxurious retreat. Archaeologists recovered the statue in January after the Italian government stopped an illegal dig at the location. You can read more about the statue and the excavation in this Discovery News article.