Today, a network of subterranean passages spreads out from under the world’s first cathedral, in Rome. Within the tunnels are remnants of Roman buildings dating from the Republic to the 4th century AD. The challenges associated with piecing together this remarkable jigsaw puzzle mean that the remains have never been studied as a group – until now.
There are dowsers, whose hazel wands will tremble, not only for water, but also for gold and bronze and iron, even for bones or an urn-full of human dust. Archaeologists have used these mysteriously gifted persons as the truffle-hunter uses his dog or his learned sow, to nose out the buried treasures of ancient cemeteries… […]
Excavating Regio V and Civita Giuliana Discoveries continue at Pompeii as more electoral inscriptions, fine frescoes, and victims of the eruption of Vesuvius are unearthed, offering snapshots of public and private life in the Roman city. We take a look at some of the finds so far. In Pompeii’s Regio V, a large-scale excavation is […]
Richard Hodges investigates pestilence and climate chaos in the eternal city The trams rumbling along the Viale Trastevere wake me. The bell announcing morning prayers at San Crisogono tolls a little later. From my terrace, I can see the Ponte Garibaldi and the many roofs stretching away to the distant onion dome of Sant’Andrea della […]
Few villas have been excavated in Sicily, but recent work at Gerace has revealed the name of the landowner from c.AD 350 to 400, one Philippianus. How much can archaeology tell us about him?
In 1640, a bronze tablet was discovered during construction work on a palace in Tiriolo, southern Italy. Dating from 186 BC, it records a decree issued by the Roman senate strictly regulating the cult of Bacchus, which it seems had gotten too big for its boots. But despite its ostensible threat to authority, worship of […]
Fifty years ago, in June 1968, archaeologist Mario Napoli uncovered a beautifully painted tomb in a small necropolis just south of Paestum, the ancient Greek colony Poseidonia in southern Italy. It is known as the Tomb of the Diver thanks to the unique depiction on its plaster and limestone lid of a solitary young man, […]
What is it? This is a Roman stone sundial, a timekeeping device that had become quite common in the Roman world from the 2nd century BC onwards. Carved out of a limestone block (54cm × 35cm × 25cm), the sundial is engraved with 11 hour-lines (demarcating the 12 horae of daylight) intersecting three day-curves (giving […]
Stretching down from France between the sea and the mountains, the Italian region of Liguria is home to a wide variety of historic sites. At one villa, in Pegli on the outskirts of Genoa, the recently renovated Museum of Ligurian Archaeology explores ancient activity in the area, from the first inhabitants to the Romans. A […]
Why was a victory monument erected 20km from Rome? David J Breeze explores the extraordinary circumstances that led to an unsung triumphal arch at Malborghetto. For the last 30 years I have visited Rome roughly every other year, taking my sons and now my grandchildren to see this marvellous city, usually staying in the comfortable […]
Searching for Samnites in the ‘Region of Little Cities’ Surprisingly few people have heard of Molise. Yet this is one of the most beautiful and the most historically engaging areas of Italy. Emerging from the road-tunnel that leads into the region, you get the impression you are entering a forgotten world – and in […]
Richard Hodges tours the island’s Greek temples. Sicily in February. Cheating winter with the smell of new grass and the first flowers and blossom, I promised two friends that in three days we would chase down the ancient Greeks and their Mediterranean setting. To get into the mood, I watched Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Now […]