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 […]
Around 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses were created in battle formation to protect the burial place of China’s first emperor. But what can modern technology reveal about these faithful soldiers?
Before September, the people in this picture had never picked up a chisel. Now, only a few months into World Monument Fund’s conservation stonemasonry training programme, they can carve arabesques for zakhrafa jambs, prepare rectangular billet mouldings, or work an ovolo return. Not yet perfect maybe, but still astonishing progress, made more remarkable still given […]
Richard Hodges traces different journeys in the 8th century AD Berlin seems an unlikely place to discuss the 8th century AD in Europe. Yet a galaxy of scholars has been drawn to the stolid Bode Museum on Museum Island in the heart of the German capital to do just this. Today, the city boasts renowned […]
Caitlin McCall explores Roman remains in the land of Dido, Hannibal, and Caesar. Tunisia, with its glorious sandy beaches wedged between Algeria and Libya on the north coast of Africa, covers an area roughly two-thirds the size of the UK, but with just one-sixth its population. Such a ratio of land to people means that, […]
David J Breeze visits Aquincum in Hungary to celebrate its connection to a famous emperor. The 1,900th anniversary of Hadrian’s accession as emperor on 11 August 117 has been celebrated in style all year in Aquincum, the Roman town and military base next to Budapest, Hungary. A special exhibition was mounted in the museum, dedicated […]
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 […]
We travel down the spectacular long and winding Siq that leads to Petra. There, the Nabataeans founded one of the most beautiful, and perhaps also unlikely, cities in the ancient world. What persuaded these nomads to turn their hand to urbanism, and how did they find wealth in the wilderness?
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 […]