‘Unique’ Roman tombstone found in Cirencester

From the BBC website:

“A “unique” Roman headstone is the first of its kind unearthed in the UK, experts believe.

The tombstone was found near skeletal remains thought to belong to the person named on its inscription, making the discovery unique.

Archaeologists behind the dig in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said they believed it marked the grave of a 27-year-old woman called Bodica.

The bodies of three children were also found in the “family burial plot”.

Neil Holbrook, of Cotswold Archaeology, translated the Roman inscription on the tombstone, which reads: “To the spirit of the departed Bodica [or Bodicaca], wife, lived for 27 years.”

Mr Holbrook said: “The unique aspect is that you can put a name to the person who lies beneath the tombstone.””

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“What’s weird is that the inscription only fills half of the panel, so there’s a space left below it.

“You can see horizontal marking-out lines, so I guess what they were going to do was come back later when her husband died and add his name to the inscription,” Mr Holbrook added.

Read the full story and watch footage of the moment the headstone was turned over here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-31610266?

Red Seat Numbers Found on Rome’s Colosseum

From Discovery News:

Traces of red painted numbers have been found on the arches of Rome’s Colosseum during the ongoing $33 million restoration work aimed at repairing damage suffered by the 2,000-year-old monument since the Middle Ages.

Similar to today’s stadium seating systems, the numbers — written according to the system used in ancient Rome, using letters of the Latin alphabet such as X, L, V, I — stood on the entrance gate arches, allowing an easier access to the seats.

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Traces of red color in the Roman number X (10). Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma.

First carved in the travertine stones, the numbers were then painted in red, so that people could easily see them from a distance.

There were 76 public numbered entrances, plus four special un-numbered gates. Two were reserved to the emperor, senators, magistrates, wealthy patricians, and the Vestal Virgins, priestesses responsible for maintaining the sacred fire within the Temple of Vesta. A gate was used for the dead — gladiators and wild beasts — while another was used by gladiators parading prior to the beginning of the combats…….

Read the rest of the report and watch the video here:

http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/red-seat-numbers-found-on-romes-colosseum-150123.htm

Rome’s military women have been hiding in plain sight

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What lovely, long hair you have (Image: Beth Greene)

Check out this report from NewScientist about the growing evidence for women being in greater prominence in military contexts than previously thought.  For one who has excavated at Vindolanda, the evidence coming out of this Northern Frontier fort is particularly interesting.

“TALK about hiding in plain sight. Women are thought to have had no official role in Roman army activities. But now a monument that’s been sitting in the centre of Rome for almost 2000 years is adding to the evidence that soldiers ignored a ban on marriage, and that the wives or daughters of commanders might have taken part in triumphal ceremonies.

Archaeologist Elizabeth Greene told the 8-11 January annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in New Orleans about six females depicted on the iconic Trajan’s column in Rome, Italy, a triumphal monument to a military victory………..”

Read the full article here:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530044.800-romes-military-women-have-been-hiding-in-plain-sight.html#.VLgjw0ffWK1

ARLT Refresher Day March 2015 at The Grammar School at Leeds

Saturday 7th March 2015, 10.00am – 4.00pm

At The Grammar School at Leeds, Harrogate Road, Leeds LS17 8GS

How to find GSAL
Programme and booking form
Option groups

Check the ARLT website

Dr Danielle Frisby, University of Manchester, on animals in epic

Professor Malcolm Heath, University of Leeds on Sophocles’ Antigone

3 Option sessions,  wide range of teaching topics
Hellenic Bookservice

Cost £30, includes refreshments and lunch
Director: Helen Morrison hjm@gsal.org.uk

Solstice Sun Aligned With Rome’s Hardknott Castle

According to Archaeology, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, the ruins of a Roman fort in England have been analyzed by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna of the Polytechnic University of Turin. One of the strongholds built by Emperor Hadrian to guard the Roman frontier, the fort sits near Hardknott Pass and offers a view of the Eskdale Valley. Cumbria-Roman-fortLive Science reports that Sparavigna used online software and satellite imagery to calculate the angles at which the solstice sun rises and sets at the fort. She found that during the summer solstice,….

read the story here

Now We Are Rome – Ancient Roman torture on film, and modern American torture in the news.

“The torturer controls all proceedings. Arbitrary fallacies distort. Hope is corrupted. Fear debilitates. And with all of the constraints these things force upon the proceedings, there is no place left for the truth.” –Cicero

tortureHollywood has a long history of using the Romans to comment, often simplistically, about America. Traditionally, one aspect that has been presented in film as incompatible with American ideals is torture. It was always the purview of the brute, barbarian, and tyrant– the activity of a cruel, pre-Christian era. When characters from antiquity resorted to torture, the film makers consistently made the point that coercive violence was historically irreconcilable with a modern, enlightened democracy.

Read the full article by Gary Devore

Latrines, sewers show varied ancient Roman diet

Having myself worked with archaeologists, I know just how excited they get whenever a latrine turns up. Excitement assured, then, with this headline.

— Archaeologists picking through latrines, sewers, cesspits and trash dumps at Pompeii and Herculaneum have found tantalizing clues to an apparently varied diet there before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed those Roman cities in 79 A.D.

Much of what residents didn’t digest or left on their plates went down into latrine holes, became remnants in cesspits built up over the centuries or was thrown away in local dumps. At a three-day conference ending Friday in Rome, archaeologists discussed their discoveries, including gnawed-on fish bones and goose eggshells that were possibly ancient delicacies for the elite……………..

latrine

a latrine entry shaft into a sewer with calcium phosphate build-up on the side.

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