Italy

Roman Mediterranean: Stamping Ground

As a schoolboy, Philip Kenrick was hooked by the fine red Samian ware he found amongst the coarse indigenous pottery at a site on the Watling Street in England. Otherwise known as terra sigillata, its more handsome precursor comes from Italy, and was traded throughout the Roman world. After enjoying great popularity, it suddenly fell from grace. Why?

1311

A tall tale

A 16- to 20-year-old Roman from the 3rd century AD represents the first complete skeleton of a person with gigantism known from Antiquity, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. At 2m (6ft 7in), he would have towered over contemporaries in imperial Rome, when men averaged around 1.7m (5ft 7in) […]

1307

Harbouring secrets

A team of French and Italian archaeologists have announced the discovery of the lost harbour of Ostia, once ancient Rome’s primary seaport. The commercial centre was founded beside the Tiber in c.620 BC to give Rome an outlet to the sea and guard against enemy fleets entering the river. According to contemporary writers such as […]

1286

Sicily: Selinunte

The Temple of Hera at Selinunte is testament to the grandeur of this great Classical settlement. But it is just one of many on this sanctuary site. Now, Clemente Marconi and his team have uncovered one of the finest examples of Greek cult architecture and, next to it, one of the earliest to be discovered so far West – dedicated, they believe, to Hera’s sister Demeter.

1247

Roman wreck resurfaces

The well-preserved wreck of a 2,000-year-old Roman merchant ship carrying hundreds of clay amphorae has been found off the coast of Italy. Following a tip-off by fishermen who reported finding pottery fragments in their trawler nets (see CWA 54 for more on the impact of commercial fishing on underwater heritage), researchers from the Genoan Police […]

1245

Roman town resurfaces

Archaeologists have mapped the entire streetplan of a lost Roman town, revealing that what was thought to be a sleepy backwater was in fact a thriving urban centre housing thousands of people. Interamna Lirenas was founded 50 miles south of Rome in the 4th century BC, but following its abandonment 1,500 years ago the colony […]

1252

Raising the roof

We are proud to share with you the first published photos of the House of the Telephus Relief at Herculaneum since archaeologists started their reconstruction of its wooden roof and completed studies of its decorated ceiling. The roof had been swept off by the force of the eruption when Vesuvius blew its top in AD […]

1214

Ancient curses deciphered

New research has deciphered two 1,600-year-old curses from the Late Roman Empire. Written in Latin and Greek on thin lead tablets, the inscriptions include drawings of their intended victims and a snake-haired figure thought to be Hekate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. The tablets were originally acquired by the Museo Archeologico Civico di Bologna in the […]

1233

Richard Hodges travels to: Rome

All roads seem to lead to Rome. I once lived here for seven years and now, by way of another capital, Philadelphia, I am back. What is the attraction? Well, few places are steeped in so much history – ancient, Medieval, and modern. Few places, too, mix such energy with history. Forget the problems of […]

1186

Oetzi: cold case

Researchers studying 5,300-year-old ‘Oetzi’ have found traces of blood, the oldest red blood cells ever recovered, showing he died shortly after his wound was inflicted. Tissue samples from his fatal arrow wound revealed the distinctive ‘doughnut’ shape of red blood cells, and fibrin, a protein associated with blood clotting. The traces of fibrin show the […]

Book Review

Book Review: Pompeii in the Public Imagination: from its rediscovery to today

Shelley Hales and Joanna Paul (eds) Oxford University Press, £80 Walter Scott called it a ‘City of the Dead’. To Goethe it was a ‘mummified town’. Part mausoleum, part museum, Pompeii’s timeless ruins have fascinated visitors since their rediscovery over 250 years ago, providing inspiration to students of Classical art who have sought to resurrect […]

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