Board Game Pieces Found in Roman Settlement Site

The remnants of ancient water wells, pearls and hairpins are proof that a group of villagers set up a settlement on top of a military fort in ancient Roman times.

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About 1,900 years ago, a group of Roman soldiers lived in a fort in what is now Gernsheim, a German town located on the Rhine River about 31 miles (50 kilometers) south of Frankfurt. Shortly after the soldiers left the fort in about A.D. 120, another group of people moved in and built a village literally on top of the settlement, researchers found.

Dice design has changed very little since Roman times. Researchers found a gaming piece and die during excavations of the Roman settlement.

Read the full  story here

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Ancient Roman statues emerge from British ambassador’s garden in Rome

prentice_statues_3134114bA collection of 350 ancient Roman statues and marble friezes are rediscovered after three-year restoration of overgrown garden belonging to the British ambassador’s residence.

For decades they were hidden beneath a jungle of overgrown vegetation, coated in lichen and moss, but now hundreds of delicate Roman statues and other marble artefacts have emerged from a painstaking restoration of the garden of the British ambassador’s residence in Rome.

The Telegraph’s Nick Squires  has the story:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11285587/Ancient-Roman-statues-emerge-from-British-ambassadors-garden-in-Rome.html

Sex slaves, public executions – yet

glorious art like this: A majestic Roman eagle, newly unearthed in London, believed to be the best-preserved ever in London

and a gripping account of life in AD100

At a cemetery on the eastern fringes of Roman London in AD100, a sombre, yet grand ceremony was taking place.

A prosperous citizen was being buried just outside the city boundaries – no Roman, however rich, could be buried within the city walls to prevent the spread of disease.

Mourners muttered prayers to the sun god, Mithras, as the body was laid to rest in its dark mausoleum.

Overlooking the body, at the far end of the tomb, loomed a majestic stone sculpture of a Roman eagle clutching a writhing snake in its beak. This noble eagle would guarantee the protection of Jupiter, king of the gods, in the afterlife. ……

Read more from Harry Mount

Archaeology a burden on debt-stricken Greece

When the news bulletin in February announced that over 70 objects of inestimable value had been looted from the Olympia Museum, we might have thought that this was a regrettable but isolated occurrence. Apparently not. According to the Daily Star of Lebanon, Greece is struggling to preserve and protect the archaeological remains it has, let alone sanction any new archaeological digs. In consequence, illegal digs are beginning to flourish.

“Let us leave our antiquities in the soil,” Michalis Tiverios, a professor of archaeology at Thessaloniki’s Aristotelio University, told Ta Nea daily, “to be found by archaeologists in 10,000 A.D., when Greeks and their politicians will perhaps show more respect to their history.”

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Art/2012/Apr-07/169494-archaeology-a-burden-on-debt-stricken-greece.ashx#ixzz1reuOubhy
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

SPQR re-enactment

Global Post

ROME — Recently, residents and tourists around the Coliseum watched in awe as a legion of Roman soldiers marched in unison down Rome’s Imperial Avenue.

“Caesar!” called out the commander in Latin as the legion came to a stop. “I, Centurion Lucius Valerius Seianus, have brought your favorite legion here to return the scepter of command to your hands!”

A horn blared as the Centurion placed a large laurel crown on the pedestal of the statue of Julius Caesar, the great Roman general who was stabbed to death in the Forum 2,053 years that day — March 15, or the “Ides of March.”

As an excited crowd of tourists snapped their cameras, the legion made its way to the Roman Forum.

“It’s our way of exporting Rome’s history without being boring,” said the Centurion, whose real name is Giorgio Franchetti. He is president of the historical reenactment group, called “SPQR.”

The name is an acronym in Latin from ancient Rome, Senatus Populus Que Romanus — meaning the Senate and the People of Rome. With 35 active members of all ages, “SPQR” is one of several non-profit associations in Rome devoted to experimental archeology.

“Experimental archeology means putting yourself in the shoes of ancient characters who can no longer tell you how they lived,” Franchetti said, “to experience their struggles in first person.”

Members of the group are not actors. They are passionate Romans who believe their approach to archeology helps keep ancient Rome alive, much as Civil War reenactors in the U.S. discover history by portraying period characters and recreating scenes from another era.

In addition to studying archeological findings, such as jewels, weapons and military equipment, these enthusiasts re-create an entire living environment by organizing Roman encampments, gladiator trainings and religious rituals.

Their devotion to the study and practice of the Roman Empire has turned them into a subculture of purists.

Last summer, when rumors circulated about an idea to build a theme park inspired by the Roman Empire, SPQR President Giorgio Franchetti went on alert. He feared the plan would provide a superficial rendition of Roman life with one goal in mind: making a profit.

ROME — Recently, residents and tourists around the Coliseum watched in awe as a legion of Roman soldiers marched in unison down Rome’s Imperial Avenue.

“Caesar!” called out the commander in Latin as the legion came to a stop. “I, Centurion Lucius Valerius Seianus, have brought your favorite legion here to return the scepter of command to your hands!”

A horn blared as the Centurion placed a large laurel crown on the pedestal of the statue of Julius Caesar, the great Roman general who was stabbed to death in the Forum 2,053 years that day — March 15, or the “Ides of March.”

As an excited crowd of tourists snapped their cameras, the legion made its way to the Roman Forum.

“It’s our way of exporting Rome’s history without being boring,” said the Centurion, whose real name is Giorgio Franchetti. He is president of the historical reenactment group, called “SPQR.”

The name is an acronym in Latin from ancient Rome, Senatus Populus Que Romanus — meaning the Senate and the People of Rome. With 35 active members of all ages, “SPQR” is one of several non-profit associations in Rome devoted to experimental archeology.

“Experimental archeology means putting yourself in the shoes of ancient characters who can no longer tell you how they lived,” Franchetti said, “to experience their struggles in first person.”

Members of the group are not actors. They are passionate Romans who believe their approach to archeology helps keep ancient Rome alive, much as Civil War reenactors in the U.S. discover history by portraying period characters and recreating scenes from another era.

In addition to studying archeological findings, such as jewels, weapons and military equipment, these enthusiasts re-create an entire living environment by organizing Roman encampments, gladiator trainings and religious rituals.

Their devotion to the study and practice of the Roman Empire has turned them into a subculture of purists.

Last summer, when rumors circulated about an idea to build a theme park inspired by the Roman Empire, SPQR President Giorgio Franchetti went on alert. He feared the plan would provide a superficial rendition of Roman life with one goal in mind: making a profit.

Albania dusts off ancient treasures

When I visited some of the rich Roman remains in Hungary in the early 90s I was impressed by the way they had been preserved and presented by the Communists, and wondered how long they would last under free enterprise. I still wonder what happened there, but this news item about Albania shows that all is not doom and gloom.

BBC

Just 20 years ago, when communism was starting to crumble across Eastern Europe, the idea of isolated, totalitarian Albania embracing Western project management would have been fanciful.

But it has happened – at Butrint, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Just 5km (three miles) from the vibrant Greek holiday island of Corfu, Butrint preserves the tranquil, classical atmosphere beloved of 19th Century tourists such as Lord Byron.

Ancient ruins are lapped by water and shrouded by foliage. Massive Hellenistic walls share the site with precise Roman structures, Byzantine mosaics and two Venetian castles. The local ferry is still a raft, the views are sublime and the sunsets magical.

How has Albania managed to safeguard Butrint, when so much of its recent history has been turbulent, with communist dictatorship giving way to freewheeling capitalism?

The answer lies in partnership between local, national and international bodies, and the careful nurturing of systems new to the country.

The creation of a national park, and modern legislation to control it, led to a protected zone, which is now backed by international bodies including the World Bank.

A UK-based charity, the Butrint Foundation, is working with Albanian officials to develop the heritage site in a way that is sustainable and attractive to tourists. Archaeology, conservation and museum management are all areas where Albania is benefiting from Western expertise.

Pioneering project

Diana Ndrenika, director of Albanian heritage, says the national park “is not only a story of success in its own right, but it has set the pace within the Albanian context of how such a resource should be run”.

She says it has had a big impact on other sites in Albania and has become “the model, the standard to which everyone working in this sector refers”.

Ancient ruins are lapped by water and shrouded by foliage. Massive Hellenistic walls share the site with precise Roman structures, Byzantine mosaics and two Venetian castles. The local ferry is still a raft, the views are sublime and the sunsets magical.

How has Albania managed to safeguard Butrint, when so much of its recent history has been turbulent, with communist dictatorship giving way to freewheeling capitalism?

The answer lies in partnership between local, national and international bodies, and the careful nurturing of systems new to the country.

The creation of a national park, and modern legislation to control it, led to a protected zone, which is now backed by international bodies including the World Bank.

A UK-based charity, the Butrint Foundation, is working with Albanian officials to develop the heritage site in a way that is sustainable and attractive to tourists. Archaeology, conservation and museum management are all areas where Albania is benefiting from Western expertise.

Pioneering project

Diana Ndrenika, director of Albanian heritage, says the national park “is not only a story of success in its own right, but it has set the pace within the Albanian context of how such a resource should be run”.

The site occupies a low wooded hill, with vistas of the Ionian Sea to one side and the expanse of Lake Butrint to the other.

Its mythical foundation was by refugee Trojans, with archaeology indicating that Butrint has been occupied since at least the 8th Century BC.

It was a local tribal centre by the 4th Century BC, part of the Kingdom of Pyrrhus, the inveterate enemy of the Romans. Then it was a Roman colony founded by Emperor Augustus a few years after his great victory over Anthony and Cleopatra, which occurred at Actium, only a few miles to the south.

Butrint’s later history was turbulent, amid power struggles between Byzantium and its Western enemies – Normans led by Robert Guiscard, Angevin French under their dour King Charles of Anjou, scheming Venetian politicians and the banner of Islam borne by the victorious Ottoman Empire. Since 1912 it has been part of independent Albania.

Continuing challenges

The collapse of communism in 1992 caused much damage. Then civil unrest in 1997 led to looting of the museum at Butrint, though many artefacts have now been returned thanks to international co-operation.

The breakdown of old organisational structures has inevitably brought problems as well as opportunities for Albania, impacting on Butrint. Development pressure, often illegal, remains an issue.

There remains much to do at the site itself. Car parking, given rising visitor numbers, is inadequate, toilet facilities need considerable improvement, conservation of both the natural and historic environment is an ongoing challenge, and rising water levels threaten mosaics and walls. But investment in the local community should help tackle these issues.

International donations are paying for the training of young Albanian professionals. Some are already working in other parts of the country. The projects include an archaeological training school at Butrint, run by Albanian archaeologists for both domestic and foreign students.

Medieval recycling – or robbing Roman walls

Medieval News

Archaeologists in Gloucester have unearthed evidence that recycling is not just a twenty-first century idea. An archaeological investigation in the centre of the city has discovered that medieval settlers used parts of a Roman wall to construct buildings.

Gloucestershire County Council’s archaeology team is exploring the area where Kimbrose Triangle meets Southgate Street before work begins in the summer to connect the Quays to the city centre. But they were frustrated in their search for the line of the old Roman wall.

Gloucestershire County Council project officer Paul Nichols said: “We found Roman deposits about one metre below the pavement level. The earliest deposits were soil layers containing shards of Roman pottery and fragments of wall plaster. Above that was a mortar floor surface, which we believe was the internal floor of a Roman building.

“We didn’t find any evidence for the Roman wall, suggesting that we were just inside the line, but it’s also possible that parts of it may have been recycled and used to build later buildings. It was certainly a worthwhile exercise and we will be providing a full report that will be of benefit to city planners.”

The nearest remains of the wall are inside Gloucestershire Furniture Exhibition Centre on the corner of Southgate Street and Parliament Street, and Blackfriars. Henry Hurst uncovered the wall at Bearland in 1969. It runs under Berkeley Street, to the nearest corner of the Cathedral, to St Aldate Street, through King’s Walk, Brunswick Road, and Parliament Street.

“They could have been just inside the city wall, if the wall is there,” said Gloucester Civic Trust’s Nigel Spry. “It may be that it’s been taken away during later periods to use in other buildings.”