Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nuntius 2013-01-09

Here are the Roman news we found today:

Research unearths terrace farming at ancient desert city of Petra
A team of international archaeologists including Christian Cloke of the University of Cincinnati is providing new insights into successful and extensive water management and agricultural production in and around the ancient desert city of Petra, located in present-day Jordan. Ongoing investigations, of which Cloke is a part, are led by Professor Susan Alcock of the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project.


Baby Bones Found Scattered in Ancient Italian Village
SEATTLE — The death of an infant may not have been an occasion for mourning in ancient Italy, according to archaeologists who have found baby bones scattered on the floor of a workshop dating to the seventh century B.C. The grisly finds consist of bone fragments uncovered over years of excavation at Poggio Civitate, a settlement about 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the city of Siena in what is now Tuscany. The settlement dates back to at least the late eighth century B.C. Archaeologists excavating the site have found evidence of a lavish residential structure as well as an open-air pavilion that stretches an amazing 170 feet (52 meters) long. Residents used this pavilion was as a workshop, manufacturing goods such as terracotta roof tiles.


Roman theatre discovered in Kent
Remains of a huge, 2,000-year-old Roman theatre, thought to be the first of its kind in Britain, have been discovered in Kent. Paul Wilkinson, director of the nearby Kent Archaeological Field School, and his team uncovered the remains of a cockpit-style outdoor auditorium built into a hillside in Faversham. Around 150 such theatres have been discovered across northern Europe, according to Wilkinson, but the remains are the first to be found in the UK. In addition to the orchestra pit – in which choruses would have performed – the ruins also include a narrow stage, featuring holes that are thought to have allowed flooding for aquatic displays.


New Niobids - New Light on a Old Group
Very exciting news was announced today by Italian archaeologists, who have been digging a villa of Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus at Ciampino, now a suburb of Rome (and the location of its airport) - they've found statues from a new group representing The Niobids, which they believe securely date to the first century BC.


Ancient Pills Found in Shipwreck Offer Rare Insight Into Early Medicine
Archeologists investigating an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Tuscany report they have stumbled upon a rare find: a tightly closed tin container with well-preserved medicine dating back to about 140-130 B.C. A multi-disciplinary team analyzed fragments of the green-gray tablets to decipher their chemical, mineralogical and botanical composition. The results offer a peek into the complexity and sophistication of ancient therapeutics. “The research highlights the continuity from then until now in the use of some substances for the treatment of human diseases,” said archeologist and lead researcher Gianna Giachi, a chemist at the Archeological Heritage of Tuscany, in Florence, Italy. “The research also shows the care that was taken in choosing complex mixtures of products—olive oil, pine resin, starch—in order to get the desired therapeutic effect and to help in the preparation and application of medicine.”


So is Vercingetorix King Arthur?
It’s no doubt a big stretch to suggest Vercingetorix - or a descendant - was old King Cole, or the eventual genesis for Arthur of Camelot. But as I’ve previously covered, there are some surprising coincidences between real Romano-Gallic history, Gallic religious beliefs and Arthurian myth. Still, if circumstances allowed a stateless Arvernian ‘royal’ family to exist in Britain…then what were they?