Oliver Gilkes explores a recently refurbished Sicilian museum. Sicily plays host to an unprecedented variety of archaeological sites and monuments, set in an extraordinary medley of landscapes. Combine this with Sicilian panache at cookery (very different from mainland Italy) and its wines, and a visit is a must for enthusiasts of Mediterranean archaeology. Superb museums […]
Driving past Monte Cassino many years ago with the late Mark Pluciennik, professor at Leicester University and one of the most cerebral archaeologists I have known, I pointed out the Benedictine monastery. Mark replied with words I’ve never forgotten: My father was with the Poles who captured the monastery, and my uncle, his brother, as […]
A fresh perspective on Pompeii and Herculaneum In the wake of the highly successful Expanded Interiors exhibition at Pompeii and Herculaneum, Catrin Huber and Ian Haynes reflect on what contemporary fine-art practice can reveal about Roman decoration. For many visitors, a trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum is all about the art. Countless ancient cities were […]
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 […]