AAPBL Blog

11Nov

Mosaic floorPotential Birthplace of Augustus Discovered on the Palatine Hill

Dana Parker

Archaeologists in Rome today announced the discovery of a home on the Palatine Hill they believe may have belonged to Gaius Octavius, the birth father of Augustus Caesar. The team, lead by University of Rome La Sapienza professor Clementina
Panella, has been working at the site for 10 years and first discovered the house
in 2006.

The house is located near the Arch of Titus, and has “beautiful mosaic floors and
frescoed walls”, according to Panella. The significance of the find comes not only
from the conditions of the site and the findings within, but the potential
historical significance. Suetonius indicated in his writings that Augustus was
born in the Curiae Veteres area of Rome. Items discovered at the house, including
a sanctuary found behind a tufa wall, helped Panella and her team reach their
conclusion that the house lies a part of Rome they believe to be the Curiae
Veteres.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   11 November 2011 - 21:40:37

29Oct
 
Final Link in Roman’s German Defenses Uncovered
Dana Parker
 
Archaeologists in Germany believe they have finally uncovered the final link in Ancient Rome’s border defense system. The camp, located on the banks of the river Lippe, served as a major base for the over 1,000 legionaries who served under General Nero Claudius Drusus, the stepson of Augustus Caesar. The base was operational from approximately 11 BC to 7 BC and may have served as a important border control station for the Roman army, as well as a supply depot. 
 
The Lippe area first came to the attention of archaeologists 100 years ago with the discovery of a bronze helmet near the town of Olfen. The camp has remained undisturbed for over 2,000 years, and excavators have already uncovered coins, pottery, and defense systems, and aerial photography has provided a clear image of the mote which used to surround the camp.

 

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   29 October 2011 - 14:13:45

26Sep

School for Gladiators Discovered in Vienna
Cathyrn Cobbe
 
A massive school for gladiators has been found in Vienna, Austria. The school - or ludus - is thought to have been built at the same time as the nearby amphitheater, near the River Danube settlement of Carnuntum. Commodus Aurellius – his name made widely known by the modern movie Gladiator – is thought to have seen his first gladiator matches in the amphitheater in Carnuntum.
 
Archaeologists determined the huge structure to be a school after finding such features as a wooden training dummy and a mini-amphitheater, where it is thought that the gladiators may have practiced their moves; or, where buyers may have watched their performance. Next to the training complex stood a paddock or walled compound where archaeologists posit that wild animals may have been kept for combat or that horses may have been trained. It has been noted that this is a feature that has never appeared at any previously-discovered ludus.
 

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   26 September 2011 - 21:03:21

18Sep
 
The Big Cats of Chalcatzingo
Hillary Smith
A rock carving depicting three big cats, likely jaguars, has recently been unearthed in Chalcatzingo, Mexico. The site is located in central Mexico, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Mexico City. The stone monolith, called the “Triad of Felines” by the archeological community, dates to c. 700 BCE. It stands 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall and 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) wide. Since 1935, nearly 40 large stone carvings have been found at the Chalcatzingo site. Like this discovery, many of the Chalcatzingo carvings portray cats.
The style of depiction clearly shows the influence of the Olmec civilization, which existed in south-central Mexico from c. 1500 to 400 BCE. In the “Triad of Felines”, the cats are show as sitting, an unusual composition in Olmec-style art. However, the stylized facial features of the cats are evocative of traditional Olmec masks. Other aspects of the frieze also recall traditional Olmec figuration.
While the Chalcatzingo peoples were not part of the Olmec culture, they likely traded with the Olmec. Through this interaction, the Chalcatzingo peoples adopted and augmented aspects of Olmec artistry. The Olmec often produced sculpture in the round where as the Chalcatzingo peoples often produced reliefs, such as the “Triad of Felines”.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   18 September 2011 - 19:28:13

18Aug

Ancient Nok Culture of West Africa 
Hillary Smith

Archeologists Peter Breunig and Nicole Rupp of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany are leading a team of German and Nigerian students, researchers, and former looters, continuing the excavation of Nok sites after a forty-year hiatus.

In the 1940s, British archeologist Bernard Fagg first discovered evidence of the previously unknown ancient African civilization that he later named the Nok. A terracotta head was brought to the archeologist’s attention in 1943 that resembled a terracotta monkey that Fagg had seen some years before. Neither piece fit the canon of any known ancient African civilization. Fagg began the search for similar artifacts, setting up camp outside the modern day Nigerian village of Nok. Fagg soon acquired close to 200 terracotta pieces. Using radiocarbon dating, a new technology at the time, vegetal matter found on the terracotta figures was dated to between 440 B.C. and A.D. 200. The terracotta head, which instigated Fagg’s search, was later dated by thermoluminescence, a process that determines the time since the clay was fired, to around 500 B.C. Near the Nigerian village of Taruga, Fagg discovered thirteen iron furnaces. Carbon dating of charcoal found in the furnaces date as far back as 280 B.C. Nok terracotta figures were found in close proximity to the iron furnaces. Both the figurines and evidence of iron smelting, along with indications of a densely settled population in these areas suggest an advanced and complex civilization had developed in West Africa much earlier than previously thought.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   18 August 2011 - 20:09:42

3Jul

Asisium, a prosperous Roman commercial town, founded in the third-century B.C. is the ancient name of the modern Italian town of Assisi, located in the province of Umbria in central Italy. Although archeologists have known of Asisium for some time, little evidence had been found to tell a more in depth history of the ancient town.

An earthquake that shook Assisi on September 26, 1997 damaged many of the town’s medieval buildings and the frescoes decorating the Basilica of Saint Frances. The shattered frescoes of the basilica included thirteenth-century works by Renaissance masters, Giotto and Cimabue, among others. While the frescoes have since been restored, the event encouraged the town to begin a program of stabilization and modernization of Assisi’s oldest buildings, as a preventative measure.
 

 

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   3 July 2011 - 12:03:31

27Jun
Archeologists studying a second century Roman shipwreck believe that an on-board fish tank was used to carry a cargo of live fish across the Mediterranean Sea. The shipwreck, discovered off the coast of Grado, Italy, was a small trading vessel, 55 feet long and 19 feet wide. Despite the ship’s small size, it is believed the on-deck, aft area, fish tank could have held 440 pounds of live fish, in addition to the 600 amphorae of processed fish found on-board.
           
Evidence for the fish tank comes from a lead tube discovered near the stern that leads to a hole in the hull. The lead pipe is 51 inches in length with a varying diameter of about 3 inches. It is believed that the tube must have been connected to a hand-operated piston pump as a means of moving water through the ship, however such a pump has not been found. While some suppose the pipe and pump would have been used to remove water from the bottom of the vessel, others find the placement of the hole in the ship’s keel incompatible with this theory. Others believe the pump would have been used for bringing in water to wash decks or extinguish on-board fires, however the small size of the ship would make this unnecessary.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   27 June 2011 - 12:00:43

30Apr

While there is much evidence for metallurgy in Iron Age Israel, a workshop had never been found until recently. A crucible was discovered at Tell es-Safi/Gath, a tenth century BC Philistine city in southern Israel, by the help of a new method in field archeology called microarcheology. This new approach uses instruments typically found in a laboratory onsite, giving archeologists a chance to restrategize their excavation based on up to date information. The use of special instruments, such as infrared spectrometers and X-ray fluorescence analyzers, allow archeologists to see deeper into the archeological record than is possible with the naked eye. More excavators are taking this approach because of the portability, preciseness and lowered prices of these instruments.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   30 April 2011 - 11:57:05

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