Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[Web : Vesti] Intact 5th century merchant ship found near Istanbul

During the continuing archaeological excavations at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site in Istanbul, the world’s best preserved shipwreck, a merchant vessel whose contents and wooden parts are in exceptionally good condition, was revealed.
Archaeologists believe the ship dates to the fourth or fifth century CE and that it sank in a storm, but remarkably most of the amphorae on the ship are still in perfect condition.
The excavations started in 2004 at the  construction site and reached back 8,500 years into the history of İstanbul. Skeletons, the remains of an early chapel and even  footprints, in addition to 35 shipwrecks, have been uncovered by archaeologists so far.
The ship was loaded with pickled fry (a type of small fish) and almonds, walnuts, hazels, muskmelon seeds, olives, peaches and pine cones
The 15 to 16-metre-long, six-metre-wide shipwreck loaded with dozens of amphorae found last May brings new historical data to life. The amphorae differ from previous finds. It is assumed that the ship was completely buried in mud and this oxygen-free atmosphere protected it and its contents from further damage. The ship was loaded with pickled fry (a type of small fish) and almonds, walnuts, hazels, muskmelon seeds, olives, peaches and pine cones were also found on the wreck in incredible condition.
One of the shipwrecks of a fully laden merchant vessel. Image: Yenikapı excavations
One of the shipwrecks of a fully laden merchant vessel. Image: Yenikapı excavations
Songül Çoban, an archaeologist on the excavation, says they need a further two months to completely uncover the shipwreck, which was found four-five metres below sea level, adding that they were working eight hours a day and that such a detailed excavation was incredibly demanding.
The Yenikapı vessel is one of the best examples of a shipwreck in the world in terms of both the actual structure and the cargo. When the wreck was first discovered, the mud above it was cleared away and the damaged upper layer of amphorae was removed piece by piece, after which the team began removing the undamaged amphorae below them. Once all of the artefacts have been retrieved, the hull of the ship will be given to İstanbul University.
It is thought that bronze nails were used in ship construction starting in the fourth or fifth century, prior to which they only used wooden pegs
The bronze nails found on the ship give clues about the age of the vessel and makes it an outstanding sample. It is thought that bronze nails were used in ship construction starting in the fourth or fifth century, prior to which they only used wooden pegs. Information about the destination of the ship and perhaps even it’s home port will be inferred by means of the artefacts found onboard.

The Port of Theodosius

The archaeological excavations of the fourth century port of Theodosius at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site started back in 2004 and since then, 40,000 artefacts have been registered, while over 150,000 pieces are still being being studied.
To date, 35 wrecked ships that sank between the fifth and 11th centuries CE have been uncovered, 30 are merchant vessels equipped with sails, while the rest are oared galleys. The dig at Yenikapı features the largest number of shipwrecks  discovered in any one location anywhere in the world, with a team of 45 archaeologists and a further 265 staff members, consisting of architects and art historians still working at the excavation site.

Read more >> http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/08/2011/intact-5th-century-merchant-ship-found-in-istanbul#ixzz1WVQREe7n 
Read the Archaeology News - then buy the Trowel at Past Horizons Tools

[Web : Vesti] Holey Roman pot likely held delicate mousey morsels

By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News August 29, 2011

An 1,800-year-old clay vessel, believed to have come from the Roman Empire, thatís been put back together after being found smashed into nearly 200 pieces.

An 1,800-year-old clay vessel, believed to have come from the Roman Empire, thatís been put back together after being found smashed into nearly 200 pieces.

Photograph by: Handout photo, Museum of Ontario Archaeology

A Canadian museum is seeking help from archeologists around the world to solve the mystery surrounding a bizarre, 1,800-year-old clay vessel — believed to have come from the Roman Empire — that was put back together this year after being found smashed into nearly 200 pieces at a dig site in Britain.

The painstaking reconstruction, performed by experts at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in London, Ont., has revealed a large urn intriguingly riddled with precisely spaced, dime-sized holes.

And chief among the theories about the object's strange design is that it served as a kind of cookie jar for Romans snacking between meals — except that the treats stored inside were likely small rodents.

The vessel, which has a somewhat murky provenance, is presumed to have been excavated in the 1940s at a site dating from Roman-occupied Britain and sent as a gift — still in fragments — to the Canadian museum, which is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

Katie Urban, an archeologist with the MOA, spent two months earlier this year piecing the metre-wide jar together after it was rediscovered as a box of pottery shards on a museum storage shelf.

"We thought originally it was part of a drain," Urban told Postmedia News. "But when we put it together, it was in the shape of a pot. It's one of those really good examples of why archeologists put pottery back together."

Her glue job revealed a startlingly complete and well-crafted clay container, similar in design to hundreds of vessels documented from ancient Rome — but rare for its holey construction, and rarer still for its unusual interior features.

It was initially thought the 30-kilogram jar might have served as a type of lamp, with light emitted from the several dozen holes punched into the body of the vessel. There's also a possibility Romans stored food items such as onions or garlic in perforated vessels, said Urban.

Yet it more closely resembles other excavated "gliraria" — Roman-era containers used to keep live dormice, which Urban said were considered a tasty delicacy among the ancient empire's upper classes.

"They would keep a bunch of little dormice, feeding them nuts and things like that to fatten them up before they would stuff them and cook them and eat them," she said. "There's a couple of different recipes known from Roman texts. It would have been a luxury item."

However, the museum's possible example of a dormouse jar lacks the usual interior ramp-like structure that allowed the little rodents to climb around in their cage while waiting to be gobbled, say, by a hungry senator or centurion.

"There's not a lot of good examples of them, but all of the ones we've seen have a kind of built-in ramp that spirals up the pot so that the mice can run up and around," she said. "Otherwise all the mice would be stuck at the bottom. If ours was like that, it must have had a secondary — possibly wooden — platform inside."
And if so, she said, the climbing structure must have disintegrated in the elements after the buried jar was reduced to rubble untold centuries ago — or more recently as the result of a Second World War bomb blast.
Incomplete records indicating how the vessel came to Canada have complicated its identification. But Urban believes the jar was included with a collection of artifacts dug up in postwar London, England — possibly from a bomb crater made during the Blitz — and shipped to Canada as part of a scholarly exchange of research material.

To pin down the vessel's identification as a dormouse container, said Urban, "we need to find something that's very similar to it, which we have not been able to find."

So the museum, best known for its archeological holdings from prehistoric First Nations communities in Canada, has highlighted the mysterious jar as part of a new exhibition showcasing the MOA's relatively small collection of Old World artifacts.

The hope, said Urban, is that stoking public and scholarly interest in the hole-filled vessel will lead to a more certain understanding of its origins, purpose and design.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/Holey+Roman+likely+held+delicate+mousey+morsels/5323628/story.html#ixzz1WVNtzEcP

Friday, August 26, 2011


American and Albanian archaeologists have discovered a well preserved Roman shipwreck full of wine jars off the coast of Albania.

Dating to the 1st century B.C., the 98 foot-long cargo ship was found about 130 feet deep near the port city of Vlora.
Most of the of the jars, or amphoras, lay unbroken on the sea floor. Unfortunately, they were empty, since their stoppers had gone.
"The ship is one among five ancient wrecks we discovered last month.The other four were just north in Montenegro," archaeologist Jeff Royal, of the RPM Nautical Foundation, told Discovery News.
The coasts of both Albania and Montenegro remained unexplored until 2007, when Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation initiated a coastal survey aimed at identifying submerged archaeological artifacts in both countries.
"Thus far nine ancient wrecks have been discovered in Montenegro and eight in Albania that span the period of the 6th century B.C. through the 4th century A.D.," said Royal.
According to Royal, three of the shipwrecks discovered this season are associated with a flourishing wine trade industry in what is now central Croatia.

The trade developed shortly after the Roman entry into ancient Illyria, a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula which included present-day Albania.
"Large cargoes of these amphoras were shipped down the eastern Adriatic coast from Croatia, along the modern Montenegrin and Albanian coasts to about Vlore where most traversed westward and rounded Italy into the western Mediterranean," said Royal.
The sites will be left unexplored, and the retrieved jars restored to the wrecks, until local archaeologists will be in a position to carry the excavations.
"These finds provide each country's government the opportunities to protect their cultural heritage, train their first maritime archaeologists, and collaborate with established institutions in further study," Royal said.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

[Web : Vesti] Rare statue of Hercules discovered in Northern Israel

A rare statue depicting the Roman god Hercules has been discovered during an excavation in the Jezeel Valley in the north of Israel. 

By Phoebe Greenwood in Tel Aviv

16 August 2011

The white marble figure stands at 0.5 metres and is thought to have originally decorated an alcove in a Roman bathhouse. It has been dated to the second century AD and is said to be of exceptional quality.

Dr Walid Atrash of the Israel Antiquities Authority said: "This statue is unusual because it is small. Most statues of gods from this period were life-size. This is something special."

The demigod is depicted leaning on a club, draped with the skin of the Nemean lion that he slew in the first of his twelve labours.

The son of Zeus and the mortal Alcemene, Hercules was ordered to undertake twelve superhuman feats, known as 'The Labours of Hercules', by the Mycenaean King Eurystheus to atone for the murder of his wife and three children in a fit of mad rage.

The statue was discovered in Hovrat Tarbenet during work on the new Valley Rail line, which will run through the Jezreel Valley connecting the northern port of Haifa with Bet She'an on the Jordan border. Excavations have only recently begun on this site and Dr Atrash believes this may be the first of many archaeological discoveries.

The Jezreel valley was an important stop along the Roman Via Maris, an ancient trade route connecting Egypt to Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq.


[Web: Vesti] Hellenistic theatre uncovered in SW Turkey

Archaeologists in Bodrum town of south-western province of Mugla have discovered an ancient theatre that was constructed in 400 B.C.. 

Dr. Derya Sahin, a faculty member of the Uludag University's Archaeology Department, said Monday that the 2,500-year-old ancient theatre was discovered during excavations in ancient Greek city Myndos in Bodrum. 

The theatre belongs to the Hellenistic period. We can say that it is a huge theatre, Dr. Sahin said. 

How big the ancient theatre is really will be known at the end of excavations in Myndos, said the archaeologists on site.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi

A sword used by a Roman soldier during the brutal pacification of the Jews and the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, has emerged from an ancient drainage tunnel beneath the city, Israeli authorities announced this week.
Excavated since 2007, the tunnel, which was used by Jewish rebels as a hiding place from the Romans, has also yielded a stone object adorned with a rare engraving of a menorah, the seven-branched temple candelabra that was the symbol of ancient Judaism.
The 60-centimetre (23.6-inches) long weapon, still in its leather scabbard, is the third Roman sword found in Jerusalem.
What makes the finding unique is the fine state of preservation, said the excavation directors Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa.
"It seems that the sword belonged to an infantryman of the Roman garrison stationed in Israel at the outbreak of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66 AD," the researchers said in a statement.
At that time, the Jewish people revolted against the tyranny of Rome, but despite a remarkable resistance, they were ultimately crushed.
The Romans also destroyed the second Temple, which, according to Jewish tradition, was built by King Herod the Great on the site of King Solomon’s temple. This was razed by the Babylonians around 587 BC.
In 70 AD, the Romans under Titus plundered tons of gold, silver trumpets and gold candelabra from Herod’s magnificent white-and-gold temple. Then they paraded the treasure, which also helped finance the building of the Colosseum, through the streets of Rome in triumph.
The stone engraved with the image of the menorah. Courtesy of Vladimir Naykhi
The moment was captured in a frieze carved into the Arch of Titus, which clearly shows the menorah, the seven-branched temple candelabra, being exposed through the streets.
The menorah was also recorded in a stone object unearthed near the Temple Mount.
"Interestingly, even though we are dealing with a depiction of the seven-branched candelabrum, only five branches appear here. The portrayal of the menorah’s base is extremely important because it clarifies what the base of the original menorah looked like, which was apparently tripod shaped," the researchers said.
The fact that the stone object was found near the Temple Mount would suggest that it belonged to a passerby who saw the menorah with his own eyes.
"Amazed by its beauty, he incised his impressions on a stone and afterwards tossed his scrawling to the side of the road, without imagining that his creation would be found 2,000 years later," the researchers said


[Web : clanak] Lampe – otisak rimskog uma, Politika

Izložba antičkih svetiljki u Konaku kneginje Ljubice otkriva koliko je svetlost bila važna za svakodnevni život Singidunuma i kako su Rimljani od njih napravili umetnost, ali i unosan posao

Bez svetlosti lampi nije bilo smrti, umiranja ni sahranjivanja. Nije bilo molitve, hramova ni bazilika. Zato su Rimljani morali da postanu majstori za njihovu izradu. Svetlost lampi dopirala je do svih krajeva gde su stizale rimske legije.
O širenju kulture Rima i kulta svetlosti svedoče i lampe iz Singidunuma, sada predstavljene na izložbi „Dobro svetlim – antičke svetiljke iz Muzeja grada Beograda”.
Autorka postavke u Konaku kneginje Ljubice dr Slavica Krunić izabrala je najlepše primerke pronađene, u najvećem broju slučajeva, u prvom veku u starom Beogradu.
– Prve lampe su starije, helenističke, iz četvrtog veka p. n. e. Rimljani su ih nasledili, oslikavali i usavršavali – ističe dr Krunić.
Konak će do 30. septembra biti dom za tri helenističke, 28 rimskih keramičkih, sedam bronzanih, sedam kasnoantičkih i jednu staklenu lampu. Ima ih više vrsta: serijske, ali i one posebne, sa erotskim motivima, predstavama Meduze, Dionisa, religijskog obreda, građanina, ljudske glave, lava, pantera, zeca, delfina. Tu su i firma-lampe sa žigom radionice koja ih je napravila, one sa više fitilja koje su bacale jaču svetlost, kao i prstenaste lampe za plafon trpezarije.
– Lampe su koristile skupa goriva: maslinovo, orahovo, laneno i ricinusovo ulje. Prve svetiljke su bile otvorene i iz njih se prosipala dragocena tečnost, tako da su ih ubrzo zatvorili.
Izložene su i amfore za prenos ulja, pincete za vađenje fitilja i kalupi.
– Imamo i figuralne lampe u obliku šišarke, Amora ili rimske sandale, koja je korišćena zbog simbolike tvrdog đona – on štiti na putu u zagrobni život. One su bile skuplje jer se kalup razbijao posle jedne izrađene svetiljke, za razliku od serijskih kod kojih je kalup dugo trajao.
Vrednije lampe privlačile su bogatije kupce koji su često kupovali i bronzane svetiljke, za razliku od siromašnijih stanovnika Singidunuma koji su nabavljali keramičke.
I najsiromašniji, koji su se oslanjali na svetlost sunca i ognjišta, posedovali su makar jednu svetiljku koja im je služila za molitvu i sahranjivanje.
– Porodica pokojnika stavljala je lampu na prag i tako obaveštavala rođake i komšije o smrti u svojoj kući. Telo na odru okruživale su četiri velike sveće. Svetiljke su ostavljene i u grob da bi umrlom osvetljavale put.
Značaj beogradske zbirke je i u tome što ona krije lampu sa natpisom. Svetiljke sa kratkom pričom su retke i pronađeno ih je samo šest u zemljama Rima. Na njoj piše „dobro svetlim”, što je autorka izložbe pozajmila za ime postavke.
Recenzent monografije koja prati izložbu dr Ivana Popović ističe da se na primeru ovog natpisa i lampi uopšte primećuje praktičnost rimskog uma.
– Serijski pravljene lampe počeci su masovne proizvodnje. Mnogo ih je pravljeno pa je sve trebalo i prodati. Zato su Rimljani posegli za marketingom. Oni su izmislili reklamu kao što to pokazuje natpis „dobro svetlim” – kaže dr Popović.
Ona kaže da su Rimljani prvi počeli i sa brendiranjem jer se samo tako i može shvatiti to što su radionice na dnu lampi utiskivale svoj žig.
– To su mali predmeti za svakodnevnu upotrebu, ali mnogo otkrivaju o širenju uticaja Rima u Singidunumu, kao i o tome kako su Rimljani činili život lakšim i lepšim.
Seljenje proizvodnje – rimski izum
Rimljani su bili preteče ne samo reklame i brendiranja, već i preseljenja proizvodnje zarad veće dobiti. Kako objašnjava dr Slavica Krunić, Singidunum je obilovao ne samo lampama iz Italije, već i svetiljkama napravljenim na sopstvenom tlu.
– Rimljani su shvatili da im je jeftinije da robove presele u Singidunum gde bi im otvarali radionice, nego da transportuju lomljive lampe iz Italije. Sve je funkcionisalo. Preneli bi kalupe, uposlili robove i ubirali zaradu. Slična je današnja logika preseljenja proizvodnje u Kinu.
J. Stevanović
objavljeno: 12.08.2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011

[Web : Upcoming Movies]The Immortals [november 2011]

IMDb : Eons after the Gods won their mythic struggle against the Titans, a new evil threatens the land. Mad with power, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has declared war against humanity. Amassing a bloodthirsty army of soldiers disfigured by his own hand, Hyperion has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens by Ares. Only he who possesses this bow can unleash the Titans, who have been imprisoned deep within the walls of Mount Tartaros since the dawn of time and thirst for revenge. In the king's hands, the bow would rain destruction upon mankind and annihilate the Gods. But ancient law dictates the Gods must not intervene in man's conflict. They remain powerless to stop Hyperion...until a peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill) comes forth as their only hope. Secretly chosen by Zeus, Theseus must save his people from Hyperion and his hordes...

Director: Tarsem Singh
Writers: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Stars:Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans ...


Saturday, August 6, 2011

[Web:Vesti] Remains of Ancient Palace Discovered

Only a small portion of the structure, possibly an ancient palace, has been excavated so far (part of it can be seen in the photo's bottom foreground) in central Sudan beneath another ancient palace. The structure is the oldest building ever found in the ancient city of Meroë.
CREDIT: Photo copyright Royal Ontario Museum

Hidden beneath an ancient palace in what is now central Sudan, archaeologists have discovered the oldest building in the city of Meroë, a structure that also may have housed royalty.

The capital of a vast empire that flourished around 2,000 years ago, Meroë was centered on the Nile River. At its height, the city was controlled by a dynasty of kings who ruled about 900 miles (1,500 kilometers) of territory that stretched from southern Egypt to areas south of modern-day Khartoum.
People of Meroë built palaces and small pyramids, and developed a writing system thatscholars still can't fully translate today. Although Meroë has been excavated off and on for more than 150 years, archaeologists are not yet clear on how it came to be. The city seems to have emerged out of nowhere.  [Image Gallery: Ancient Rock Art of Sudan]

Search for an early temple
In the years leading up to World War I, John Garstang, a British archaeologist, discovered Meroë, uncovering an area filled with palaces and temples that he called the "royal city."

Many of his finds were never published, and over the past two decades, archaeologists have been going over Garstang's notes, publishing them and looking for clues as to Meroë’s origins.

"Architectural elements from what may have been an early Amun temple dating back to at least the seventh century were found during Garstang's excavations in areas later occupied by the Meroitic Royal City," writes David Edwards, of the University of Leicester, in his book "The Nubian Past: An Archaeology of Sudan" (Routledge, 2004). 

Amun was an Egyptian god that the people of Meroë held in high regard.

If the temple exists, Grzymski said it would be the oldest temple in the city, a find that would offer clues to the religion of the civilization's first people. His team tried to find the structure using magnetometry, a technique that can detect archaeological remains by searching for anomalies in the magnetic field. The attempt was unsuccessful so in January 2012, they plan to launch a major dig to search for it. "The only way to search for this early Amun temple will be by excavating," said Grzymski.

It won't be a quick discovery; Grzymski said that he will take a yearlong sabbatical from the museum to search for the temple.

The research was presented in April at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE).

[Web : Vesti] England's western-most Roman town uncovered

A chance discovery of coins has led to the bigger find of a Roman town, further west than it was previously thought Romans had settled in England.

The town was found under fields a number of miles west of Exeter, Devon.

Nearly 100 Roman coins were initially uncovered there by two amateur archaeological enthusiasts.
It had been thought that fierce resistance from local tribes to Roman culture stopped the Romans from moving so far into the county.

Sam Moorhead, national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, said it was one of the most significant Roman discoveries in the country for many decades.

"It is the beginning of a process that promises to transform our understanding of the Roman invasion and occupation of Devon," he explained.

After the coins were unearthed by the local men out using metal detectors, Danielle Wootton, the University of Exeter's liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), which looks after antiquities found by the public, was tasked with investigating further.

After carrying out a geophysical survey last summer, she said she was astonished to find evidence of a huge landscape, including at least 13 round-houses, quarry pits and track-ways covering at least 13 fields, the first of its kind for the county.

"You just don't find Roman stuff on this scale in Devon," said Ms Wootton. 

She carried out a trial excavation on the site, and has already uncovered evidence of extensive trade with Europe, a road possibly linking to the major settlement at Exeter, and some intriguing structures, as well as many more coins.

"This was a really exciting discovery," said Ms Wootton. But she said most exciting of all was that her team had stumbled across two burial plots that seem to be located alongside the settlement's main road.

"It is early days, but this could be the first signs of a Roman cemetery and the first glimpse of the people that lived in this community," she explained.
Romans in Devon
Not enough excavation has been done yet to date the main occupation phase of the site, but the coins that were found range from slightly before the start of the Roman invasion up until the last in 378AD.
The Romans reached Exeter during the invasion of Britain in AD 50-55, and a legion commanded by Vespasian built a fortress on a spur overlooking the River Exe. This legion stayed for the next 20 years before moving to Wales.

A few years after the army left, Exeter was converted into a bustling Romano-British civilian settlement known as Isca Dumnoniorum with all the usual Roman public buildings, baths and forum.

It was also the principal town for the Dumnonii tribe, a native British tribe who inhabited Devon and Cornwall. It was thought that their resistance to Roman rule and influence, and any form of 'Romanisation' stopped the Roman's settling far into the south west.

For a very long time, it was thought that Exeter was the limit of Roman settlement in Britain in the south west, with the rest being inhabited by local unfriendly tribes.

Some evidence of Roman military occupation has been found in Cornwall and Dartmoor, thought to be protecting supply routes for resources such as tin.

Devon fields  
Could more settlements be found under fields in Devon in the next few years?
However on this site, more than just the coins are Roman. Pottery and amphora fragments recovered suggest the town embraced trading opportunities in Europe that came with Roman rule, and a fragment of a Roman roof tile has also been found.

Danielle Wootton received some funding from the British Museum, the Roman Research Trust and Devon County Council in June to carry out the trial excavation but said more money was needed as they still had not reached its outer limits.

"We are just at the beginning really, there's so much to do and so much that we still don't know about this site.
"I'm hoping that we can turn this into a community excavation for everyone to be involved in, including the metal detectorists," she explained.

Sam Moorhead said he believed more Roman settlements may be found in the area in the next few years.

The excavation of this unique site will feature in the forthcoming BBC Two series Digging For Britain.

[Web : Vesti] Earliest Image of Egyptian Ruler Wearing 'White Crown' of Royalty Brought to Light

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) — The earliest known image of an Egyptian ruler wearing the "White Crown" associated with Egyptian dynastic power has been brought to light by an international team of archaeologists led by Egyptologists from Yale University.

Carved around 3200 BCE, this unique record of a royal celebration at the dawn of the Egyptian dynastic period was found at a site discovered almost a half-century ago by Egyptologist Labib Habachi at Nag el-Hamdulab, on the West Bank of the Nile to the north of Aswan.

The site had been partially damaged in recent years, and the Yale-led team -- which also included Egyptologists from the University of Bologna, Italy and the Provinciale Hogeschool of Limburg, Belgium -- relied on Habachi's photos (now stored with the Epigraphic Survey in Luxor) and cutting-edge digital methodology to reconstruct and analyze the images and hieroglyphic text inscribed in several areas within the larger site.

According to Maria Carmela Gatto, director of the project, the group of images and the short inscription represent the earliest depiction of a royal Jubilee, complete with all the identifying elements of the Early Dynastic period known from later documents, such as the so-called Palermo Stone (Egyptian royal annals from the First through the Fifth Dynasties): an Egyptian ruler wearing a recognizable Egyptian crown, and an inscription alluding to "the Following of Horus," i.e., the royal court.
John Coleman Darnell, director of the Yale Egyptological Institute in Egypt, professor of Egyptology, and chair of the Near Eastern Languages and Civilization Department, whose important discovery of a Middle Kingdom city in the Egyptian Western Desert was reported a year ago, says: "The Nag el-Hamdulab scenes are unique, and bridge the world of the ritual Predynastic Jubilee in which images of power -- predominately boats and animals -- are the chief elements, and the world of the royal pharaonic Jubilee, in which the image of the human ruler dominates the events. The Nag el-Hamdulab cycle of images reveal the emergence of the ruler as supreme human priest and incarnate manifestation of human and divine power.

Furthermore, he notes, "The Nag el-Hamdulab cycle is the last of the old nautical Jubilee cycles of the Predyanstic Period, and the first of the pharaonic cycles over which the king, wearing the regalia of kingship -- here the oldest form of the White Crown -- presides. The Nag el-Hamdulab cycle is also the first of such images with a hieroglyphic annotation."

Darnell translated the text, in which a reference to a vessel of the "Following" (from the "Following of Horus") leads him to speculate that the inscription is the earliest record of Egyptian tax collection and the first expression of royal economic control over Egypt and "perhaps at least some portion of northern Nubia."
Darnell, Stan Hendrickx of Belgium and Gatto date the Nag el-Hamdulab cycle of images to the late Naqada period, around 3200 BCE, the time between the beginning of Dynasty 0 and Narmer, first ruler of Dynasty 1. Darnell, who has considerable experience with early Egyptian rock inscriptions, said the latest finding from Nag el-Hamdulab is so important that it already figures in a new documentary series from Germany, which will soon be available worldwide.

The Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project -- AKAP -- is a joint venture between Yale and the University of Bologna, led by Gatto and Antonio Curci, with an international research team from Europe, America and Egypt that includes Hendrickx and Darnell. Now in its seventh season, the project aims to survey and rescue the archaeology of the region between Aswan and Kom Ombo, in the southern part of Upper Egypt.

[Web : Vesti] Rome's Pantheon may have been built as a massive sundial researchers reveal , The Telegraph

It is one of the best preserved buildings from the Roman world, a 2,000-year-old testament to the immense power and wealth of the empire. 

But mystery has always surrounded what lies behind the unusual design of the Pantheon, a giant temple in the heart of Rome that was built by the Emperor Hadrian.
Now experts have come up with an intriguing theory – that the temple acted as a colossal sun dial, with a beam of light illuminating its enormous entrance at the precise moment that the emperor entered the building.
Constructed on Hadrian's orders and completed in AD128, the Pantheon's hemispherical dome is punctured by a 30ft-wide circular hole known as the 'oculus'.
It provides the interior of the building with its only source of natural light and allows in rain and – on rare occasions – snow.
Giulio Magli, a historian of ancient architecture from Milan Polytechnic, Italy, and Robert Hannah, a classics scholar from the University of Otago in New Zealand, have discovered that at precisely midday during the March equinox, a circular shaft of light shines through the oculus and illuminates the Pantheon's imposing entrance.

They have been working on the theory since 2009 but recently brought together all their latest research in a paper published in a scholarly journal, Numen.
The precise calculations made in the positioning and construction of the Pantheon mean that the size and shape of the beam perfectly matches, down to the last inch, a semicircular stone arch above the doorway.
A similar effect is seen on April 21, which the Romans celebrated as the founding date of their city, when at midday the sun beam strikes a metal grille above the doorway, flooding the colonnaded courtyard outside with light.
The dramatic displays would have been seen by the Romans as elevating an emperor into the realm of the gods – a cosmological affirmation of his divine power as he entered the building, which was used as an audience hall as well as a place of worship.
He was in effect being "invited" by the sun to enter the Pantheon, which as its name suggests was dedicated to the most important deities of the Roman world.
"The emperor would have been illuminated as if by film studio lights," said Professor Magli. "The Romans believed the relationship between the emperor and the heavens was at its closest during the equinoxes.
It would have been a glorification of the power of the emperor, and of Rome itself." The sun had a special significance for the Romans, as it did for the ancient Egyptians. The god Apollo was associated with the sun, and the emperor Nero was depicted as the Greek sun god Helios in a giant statue called the Colossus, which gave its name to the Colosseum.
One of antiquity's most remarkable examples of engineering, the Pantheon's fine state of preservation is thanks to the fact that it was converted into a church in the seventh century, when it was presented to the Pope by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas.
It retains its original bronze doors and marble columns, some of which were quarried in the Egyptian desert and transported by the ship down the Nile and across the Mediterranean to Rome at huge expense.
The building now contains the tombs of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of united Italy, and the Renaissance artist Raphael.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Niz novih otkrića u Viminacijumu

Milena Marjanović | 31. 07. 2011.

Iskopavanje amfiteatra u Viminacijumu, legijskom logoru kod Kostolca, ovih dana je donelo veliko iznenađenje arheolozima: na zidovima su otkrili freske. Nekoliko stotina metara dalje, majstori završavaju gradnju Naučnoistraživačkog centra, u kojem su već postavljene u bronzi izlivene glave šest rimskih imperatora (od ukupno 18 rođenih na tlu današnje Srbije), pripremljene za veliku izložbu 2013. godine.

U budućem muzeju centra pak ekipu „Blica“ sačekuju dr Snežana Golubović i dr Miomir Korać s pravom malom postavkom najnovijih nalaza. Među njima su male glave božanstava ili maske (još se dvoume), zlatne minđuše, kantar, staklena „merkur“ boca (četvorougaona s listolikom drškom), kapsule za pečatiranje paketa, medaljon s prizorom bahanalija, brusilica za metal, posude s metalnim premazom, amfore, pehari.

Naučnoistraživački centar (od 5.000 m2), zvani „Domus“, koji je, zapravo, kopija vile rustike (kuće bogatog patricija), već je dobio biblioteku, laboratoriju, muzej, dvoranu, atrijum, sobe za goste i naučnike, uskoro će i lift. Dok teku radovi na vili, arheolozi uveliko prave planove i za veliku izložbu „Putevima rimskih imperatora“, kojom će početkom 2013. biti obeleženo 1.700 godina od Milanskog edikta - akta kojim je car Konstantin ozvaničio hrišćanstvo kao držanu religiju.

- Amfiteatar je trenutno jedan od najzanimljivijih objekata za svet, i jedini sačuvan sa 12.000 stojećih i 7.500 sedećih mesta. Malo nam se, doduše, posao komplikuje jer smo na zidovima amfiteatra naišli na freske (sada su pod flasterima), čije boje moramo najpre ispitati da bismo ih sačuvali... Retkost je da amfiteatar bude oslikan, pa je i po tome Viminacijum jedinstven - ističe Miomir Korać, direktor Arheološkog parka.
Dr Miomir Korać u „Domusu“

Rimski vojnički logor - Viminacijum - koji se prostire na 450 hektara, bio je zapravo pravi grad s hramovima, pozorištem, trgovima, kupatilima, hipodromom, nekropolama. Danas je to zlatni rudnik za arheologe, jer gotovo da nema dana da ne pronađu neki novi stari predmet ili zemne ostatke legionara.

- Upravo radi detaljne analize lobanja i kostiju onih koji su ovde pokopani, u Naučnom centru smo opremili laboratoriju. Trenutno ovde boravi prof. Mihaela Harbek sa Instituta za antropolgiju u Minhenu, koja analizom stroncijuma i DNK utvrđuje odakle su bili vojnici. Geofizičkom metodom snimamo prostor tako da unapred znamo koji nas objekat i na kojoj dubini čeka. Zato su u našem timu, pored arheologa, matematičari, inženjeri... Već smo detektovali 14.000 grobova i našli 40.000 predmeta, od kojih je 700 zlatnih - navodi Korać, ponosan na ovu balkansku Pompeju, kako još zovu Viminacijum.

Jedino čega ovde nema je oružje!
- Nema, jer ga Rimljani nisu polagali s pokojnikom u grob, već vraćali nazad - u prestonicu imperije. U nekropolama smo, međutim, našli vojničke bronzane pločice koje su rimskim ratnicima davane nakon služenja vojske dugog deceniju i po. Tako su vojnici iz Sirije, Trakije, Makedonije... postajali rimski građani sa svim građanskim pravima koja su se prenosila na potomstvo stvarano i u tuđini (u konkubinatima) - objašnjava Korać.
Glava božanstava ili patricija (još se ne zna)

Vojničkih pločica nekada je na ovom lokalitetu moralo biti više, pretpostavlja naš sagovornik. Nažalost, devedesetih godina, antikvitete koje bi ovde iskopali divlji arheolozi su najpre papirološki „prali“ u ženevskim agencijama koje su im izdavale sertifikate da su nasleđeni u porodici, a potom ih prodavali u Beču, Minhenu i Londonu.

- Nedavno, listajući nekoliko centimetara debeli evropski registar antikviteta, saznao sam da većina njih potiče upravo s Viminacijuma. Kolika je danas za nas, arheologe, prednost što je Viminacijuma jedini legijski logor koji nije zakopan ispod savremenog grada, toliko je nekada to bila njegova mana - kaže naš sagovornik.

Da bi se sprečilo dalje pustošenje Viminacijuma, sada je u Arheološkom parku postavljeno 26 spidon-kamera.

Glave rimskih imperatora
U „Domusu“ je u toku izrada bista svih 18 rimskih careva rođenih na tlu današnje Srbije, za veliku izložbu povodom jubileja Milanskog edikta.

- Na izložbi „Putevima rimskih imperatora“, koju planiramo povodom jubileja Milanskog edikta, pokazaćemo pored naših najznačajnijih nalaza iz Sirmijuma, Šarkamena, Medijane, Romulijane, Kale Krševice, Justinijane prime, i glave svih „naših“ imperatora. Vajaju ih Sonja Petrović i Vuk Đuričković - otkriva Korać, s ponosom nam pokazujući šest već izrađenih: Konstancija II, Aurelijana, Proba, Maksimina Herkulija i Maksimina Daja. - Izložba će najpre obići Srbiju, a onda planiramo da je prenesemo u pariski Luvr i Ujedinjenje nacije, u Njujork. Kad već imamo sreću da je car Konstantin, koji je čuvenim ediktom hrišćanstvo proglasio za državnu religiju, rođen na tlu današnje Srbije (u Nišu), zašto da povodom velikog jubileja mi sami ne priredimo za svet važnu izložbu. Vazda naše eksponate pozajmljujemo drugima - uočava Korać.