Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nuntius 2013-01-15

Here are some roman news we found interesting:

Traces of Erotic Frescos Found in Colosseum
“We have found traces of erotic decorations in blue, red and green,” Rossella Rea, director of the 2000-year-old amphitheatre, said. The fragments “seem to depict the glory of the gladiator world, with laurels, arrows, victory wreaths and even erotic scenes,” the Repubblica newspaper said. The frescoes were found in a corridor currently closed to the public while archaeologists were working to restore an area between the second and third floor of the Colosseum, which has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

Statues from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” Found
An archaeological team from Rome has recently announced the discovery of seven statues believed to depict one of the myths from the poet, Ovid’s masterpiece Metamorphoses. The statues were found in the pool of a villa believed to have belonged to General Valerio Messala, Ovid’s wealthy patron. Elena Calendra, superintendent for archaeology of the Lazio region, said that archaeologists “had known for a while that there were traces in the area of Valerio Messala.” Prior to the full-scale excavations that unearthed the statues, each standing at around 2m in height, exploratory investigations were undertaken. The statues have been described as “exceptional” and the discovery of a lifetime.

Pompeii 'Wall Posts' Reveal Ancient Social Networks
Think of it as the earliest version of the Facebook wall post: Ancient Pompeii residents revealed their social networks through graffiti on actual walls. Now, a new analysis of some of these scribbled messages reveals the walls of the wealthy were highly sought after, especially for political candidates hoping to drum up votes. The findings suggest that Pompeii homeowners may have had some control over who got artistic on their walls, said study researcher Eeva-Maria Viitanen, an archaeologist at the University of Helsinki. "The current view is that any candidate could have chosen any location and have their ad painted on the wall. After looking at the contexts, this would not seem very likely," Viitanen told LiveScience. "The facades of the private houses and even the streetwalks in front of them were controlled and maintained by the owner of the house, and in that respect, the idea that the wall space could be appropriated by anyone who wanted to do it seems unlikely."

Frescos hacked-off walls of post Byzantine church
University professors, researchers, archaeologists, and scholars raise their voices against this vandalism act, that damaged another rare cultural monument of orthodox heritage in Albania. The Historical Heritage Forum in Albania organized a protest rally in front of the Ministry of Culture. However, the reactions do not refer to the religious aspect of the event, but only to its cultural significance. The vandalism acts took place on December 30, 2012 and on January 4, 2013. Despite the fact that police were immediately informed after the first theft, when the heads of five saints were removed, no measures were taken. The robbers came back and removed other parts of the icons. Talking to AMNA, the head of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, Gentian Stratoberdha, said that thefts, vandalisms and desecrations of orthodox churches in fact never stopped. In the last two years similar thefts occurred in 20 churches and monasteries, which are also important cultural monuments. Mr. Stratoberdha mentioned the areas of these thefts, which are Berati, Gjirokastër and Korçë, in other words the south of the land.

Oldest Roman Hairstyle Recreated for First Time
For the first time, the hairstyle of the Roman Vestal Virgins has been recreated on a modern head. The Vestals were priestesses who guarded the fire of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, among other sacred tasks. Chosen before puberty and sworn to celibacy, they were free from many of the social rules that limited women in the Roman era. Their braided hairstyle, the sini crenes, symbolized chastity and was known in ancient texts as the oldest hairstyle in Rome. “These were the six most important women in Rome with the possible exception of the emperor’s wife,” said Janet Stephens, the Baltimore hairdresser and amateur archaeologist who unraveled the secrets of the Vestals’ trademark braids.

Shoes Made the Man
Roman children living at the military outpost of Vindolanda were dressed to reflect their parents’ social status from very young ages, according to research presented by Elizabeth Greene of the University of Western Ontario at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. More than 4,000 shoes have been recovered from the Roman fort in northern Britain, and the children’s shoes resemble the adult shoes found in different parts of the site. Elaborate, formal shoes were uncovered in the home of the prefect of the Ninth cohort of Batavians, and simple shoes were found in the barracks. “Even the infant children of the prefect were held to the expectations of dress according to one’s class,” she explained.

Ancient Pills Found in Shipwreck Offer 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.”

2,000-Year-Old Treasure Discovered In Black Sea Fortress
Residents of a town under siege by the Roman army about 2,000 years ago buried two hoards of treasure in the town’s citadel — treasure recently excavated by archaeologists. More than 200 coins, mainly bronze, were found along with “various items of gold, silver and bronze jewelry and glass vessels” inside an ancient fortress within the Artezian settlement in the Crimea (in Ukraine), the researchers wrote in the most recent edition of the journal Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia. “The fortress had been besieged. Wealthy people from the settlement and the neighborhood had tried to hide there from the Romans. They had buried their hoards inside the citadel,” Nikolaï Vinokurov, a professor at Moscow State Pedagogical University, explained. [See Photos of the Buried Treasure]