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.
At first, they came by sea, carrying cargoes of broken objects destined to be deposited at the world’s earliest known maritime sanctuary. Their destination was Keros, a small island in the heart of the Cyclades, which offered little in the way of natural resources to detain the voyagers after they had made their observances. But […]
Infancy and Earliest Childhood in the Roman World Maureen Carroll Oxford University Press, £75 ISBN 978-0199687633 Review by: Matthew Symonds It is received wisdom that Roman parents did not see infants as people, and so were unmoved by the death of newborns, insulating them from the high infant-mortality rate. This argument is seemingly borne out […]
The Science of Roman History: biology, climate, and the future of the past Walter Scheidel (ed.) Princeton University Press, £27 ISBN 978-0691162560 Review by: Hella Eckardt The study of the Roman past is often thought of as a conservative discipline, but this book demonstrates the enormous potential of historians and archaeologists engaging with new types […]
Materialising Roman Histories Astrid Van Oyen and Martin Pitts (eds) Oxbow Books, £40 ISBN 978-1785706769 Review by: Matthew Fittock Your possessions can tell people a lot about who you are, but this only makes up a small part of what objects do and mean: all have hidden stories that have quietly shaped lives in ways that […]
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?
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 […]
It sounds more like Hollywood than archaeology: thousands of life-size sculpted soldiers, brandishing real weapons and faithfully guarding an emperor’s tomb for millennia. Yet the terracotta warriors are no special effect. These soldiers are believed to have been individually crafted, capturing an army on the cusp of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The resources and […]
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 […]
Protecting the Roman Empire: fortlets, frontiers, and the quest for post-conquest security Matthew Symonds Cambridge University Press, £75 ISBN 978-1108421553 Review by: David J Breeze First, a declaration of interest: I read a draft of this book, and several of my illustrations appear in it. I do not think that either aspect will affect how […]
How did Romans drive around an ancient city? Was it just a free-for-all? Subtle traces worn into the streets of Pompeii by passing carts suggest not. What do they tell us about the city’s complex traffic systems?