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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2003 12:45 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Avete Romani,

I have created this thread for anybody who whishes to post something about an archeological discovery.

Sunken Treasure

Many ships were lost in the Greek seas, everybody knows that. But what not everybody knows is where al the wrecks of the ships are located. Now, thanks to new and advanced machines, scientist have been able to locate the over thousand shipswrecks.

They also found traces of sunken cities and habours. These archeological treasures are located in the Egeïsche Sea, the Ionische Sea and the Libian Sea. To prevent that treasure hunters plunder the archeological site, only a few people have seen the map where the location of the ships and cities is marked. In some places in Greece, it is even forbidden to dive.

Roman Restaurant

Not really archeological news, but I think that trivia like this is also allowed in this thread.

Next month a restaurant will be opened in Antwerp where you can eat like the Romans: lying on a bed. I don't know if you can eat the Roman "delicasies" there, but I doubt it.

Similar restaurants have already been opened in Amsterdam, Londen, Rome and Miami and according to the managers, it is a huge succes. Maybe an idea for an SVR meeting? :)

Valete bene,

Tiberius Dionysius Draco

[source: Kits]


PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2003 3:56 pm
by Primus Aurelius Timavus
Salve Drace,

Do you know the name of the restaurants?

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2003 4:24 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Ave Tergeste,

sadly, my source does not mention the name of the restaurant :(
But I will search the internet to see if I can find the name and then I'll post it.

Vale bene,

Tiberius Dionysius Draco

Roman' to America

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 1:56 am
by Aldus Marius
Avete, gourmandi![sic] >({|;-)

On the US side of the Atlantic, the Caesar's Palace casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City also claim to put on a Roman banquet. Dunno how authentic it is; probably more showmanship than scholarship goes into it...but if anyone happens out that way, could they maybe partake of the fun and post a report?

In amicitia,

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 6:08 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Avete Romani,

Roman stadium found in Tiberias

The Jerusalem Post reports that remnants of a monumental public building have been found during a dig on the grounds of the Galei Kinneret Hotel in Tiberias.

The form of the building, its hewn stone construction, and round southern end date it from the Roman period, when it served an important public function. Moshe Hartal, an archeologist with the Antiquities Authority, said it is possible the building is the stadium mentioned in the writings of Josephus.

"The stadium was used for athletic competitions, for horse races, and as a place to assemble the populace on special occasions," he said. "After the sea battle between the Jews and the Romans off Migdal, thousands of Roman captives were taken to the stadium. Some of them were killed and the others sold into slavery."

Hartal said in ancient times, the building - the remains so far uncovered occupy a diameter of 39 meters - occupied an area of hundreds of square meters. It was uncovered when a 10-meter-long, three-meter deep trench was dug.

He said remains of mud found in the building's interior indicate it may have been used for water sports at a later date.

Other buildings from various periods, including the Byzantine, early Arab, and Fatimid, have also been uncovered.

The dig also provides evidence of two geological events that caused the collapse of the western side of the structure. As a result of the disturbances, walls collapsed or were uprooted. The events were probably the earthquake of 749 CE that caused the destruction of many settlements in the country, among them Beit She'an and Susita.

The Antiquities Authority is working to preserve the site and integrate it with the hotel.

Mass grave in Athens

A unique mass grave and nearly 1,000 tombs from the fifth and fourth century B.C. were recovered during excavations prior to construction of a subway station just outside Athens' ancient Kerameikos cemetery. Both the mass grave and the tombs were destroyed after rescue excavations.

Located near the surface, the mass grave was excavated during 1994-95 by Efi Baziotopoulou-Valavani of the Third Ephoreia (Directorate) of Antiquities. Inside a shaft were some 90 skeletons, ten belonging to children. Baziotopoulou thinks a tumulus crowning the shaft may have contained 150 people. Skeletons in the graves were placed helter-skelter with no soil between them. It was bordered by a low wall that seems to have protected the cemetery from a marsh. Along with the skeletons, various ceramic burial offerings were found, far fewer than excavators expected.

"The mass grave," Baziotopoulou-Valavani says, "did not have a monumental character. The offerings we found consisted of common, even cheap, burial vessels; black-finished ones, some small red-figured, as well as white lekythoi (oil flasks) of the second half of the fifth century B.C. The bodies were placed in the pit within a day or two. These [factors] point to a mass burial in a state of panic, quite possibly due to a plague."

The fifth-century B.C. Greek historian Thucydides detailed the panic caused by the plague, which struck Athens and Sparta in 430 and lasted two years, killing nearly a third of the population. He wrote that bodies were abandoned in temples and streets, where they were collected and hastily buried. The disease reappeared in the winter of 427 B.C. Baziotopoulou has dated the grave to between 430 and 426 B.C.

Pressed by the state-owned subway construction company and its private contractors, Greek archaeologists were forced to work quickly. Bulldozers followed in their wake, destroying both the tombs and the mass grave. Ironically, construction of the subway station and a proposed subway tunnel underneath the cemetery was canceled last December by the Greek government. Neither government ministers or officials, nor the director of the state-owned company that oversees the building of the Athens subway, nor the contractors have offered an apology for destroying the site. A multistory parking lot is planned for the huge hole that remains.


Tiberius Dionysius Draco

[source 1:]
[source 2:]

p.s: I've e-mailed the newspaper regarding the name of restaurant, but so far, they haven't replied yet.

Cyclops found?

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2003 5:59 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Avete Romani,

Cyclops myth spurred by "one-eyed" fossils?

The tusk, several teeth, and some bones of a Deinotherium giganteum, which, loosely translated means really huge terrible beast, have been found on the Greek island Crete. A distant relative to today's elephants, the giant mammal stood 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall at the shoulder, and had tusks that were 4.5 feet (1.3 meters) long. It was one of the largest mammals ever to walk the face of the Earth.

Skulls of Deinotherium giganteum found at other sites show it to be more primitive, and the bulk a lot more vast, than today's elephant, with an extremely large nasal opening in the center of the skull.

To paleontologists today, the large hole in the center of the skull suggests a pronounced trunk. To the ancient Greeks, Deinotherium skulls could well be the foundation for their tales of the fearsome one-eyed Cyclops.

"The idea that mythology explains the natural world is an old idea," said Thomas Strasser, an archaeologist at California State University, Sacramento, who has done extensive work in Crete. "The ancient Greeks were farmers and would certainly come across fossil bones like this and try to explain them. With no concept of evolution, it makes sense that they would reconstruct them in their minds as giants, monsters, sphinxes, and so on," he said.

A myth holds that the Cyclops are the sons of Gaia (earth) and Uranus (sky). The three brothers became the blacksmiths of the Olympian gods, creating Zeus' thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident.

"My colleague makes a convincing case that the places where a lot of these myths originate occur in places where there are a lot of fossil beds," said Strasser. "She also points out that in some myths monsters emerge from the ground after big storms, which is just one of those things I had never thought about, but it makes sense, that after a storm the soil has eroded and these bones appear."

The fossils were uncovered when land was being cleared for an olive orchard; archeologists are encouraging farmers to be on the lookout for more.

Valete bene,

Tiberius Dionysius Draco


PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2003 10:49 pm
by Marcus Pomponius Lupus

The fossils were uncovered when land was being cleared for an olive orchard

Where else would land be cleared for an olive orchard and not the other way around ! Long live Greece ! ;-)


Roman street uncovered

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2003 9:17 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salvete Romani,

Roman street uncovered

A Roman high street, complete with a pedestrian walkway, shops and a roadside shrine where weary travellers could refresh their spirits and curse their enemies, has been unearthed by archaeologists.

The 200-yard stretch of Roman village life was uncovered in farmland destined for a housing estate in Northamptonshire (Great Britain). The site is so large, and the finds so plentiful, that archaeologists have yet to uncover many of its secrets.

But because the street and foundations are so well preserved, researchers say it will offer an exceptional glimpse into life in a typical Roman roadside settlement.

The remains were found to the north of Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

Archaeologists, funded by English Heritage and the landowners, the Duchy of Lancaster, have been recording and retrieving as much as they can from the five-acre site before the bulldozers move in.

Dr Alex Smith of Oxford Archaeology, who carried out the dig, said: "It's an unusual site. It is exceptionally well preserved, which is giving us a picture of a normal roadside settlement in this period."

The archaeologists believe around half the village has been exposed. The rest lies below a 1950s housing estate to the south-east.

On one side of the road they found foundations of at least 18 buildings - possibly homes, shops and workshops. On the other side, they uncovered the remains from two shrines.

Dr Smith said: "The two most important areas are the shrines. One is surrounded by walls. Hundreds of items were found in this area, including brooches, pins and other offerings. A lot had been ritually broken and deposited in the shrine and were arranged around a clearance in the centre."

Along with fragments of pottery, bone and metalwork, the team found slabs of lead which resemble "curse tablets" found at a shrine in Bath. These have yet to be deciphered and may reveal the names of the gods being worshipped.

The shrine would have been used by locals and travellers. A later shrine and temple, in the middle of a "village green", have also been found. From records and finds elsewhere, the archaeologists believe that buildings were stone-built with steeply pitched thatched roofs.

They had no chimneys - the smoke from the central hearths seeped through the thatch. The windows were probably simple squares with wooden frames and shutters but no glass.

The discovery of tweezers, brooches and hairpins, all made from bone, across the site suggest many were homes.

Coins and iron weighing scales are clues that they were used as shops, while needles, chisels and pruning hooks indicate that some could have been workshops.

The village was probably settled in the second century AD when a collection of round stone buildings was built next to a road running along the high ground bordering the Nene Valley.

The dig has also shown something about how the dead were treated in Roman Britain. Dr Smith said: "There are two main cemetery groups with a mixture of cremations and burials."

Some heads had been removed and placed between the legs - a practice the Romans believed speeded up the passage into the afterlife.

There are no clues to why the village became deserted. People stopped living there around the end of the fourth century or start of the fifth as the Saxons arrived.

There are some Saxon buildings in the village, but most of the Roman homes appear to have be unused and so fell into ruin, Dr Smith said.

Valete bene,

Tiberius Dionysius Draco


PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 10:25 pm
by Marcus Pomponius Lupus
Just a short newsflash : I heard that the Villa dei Papyri near Herculaneum is once again open for public, I believe it was closed for a while because they had found a new library and they obviously wanted to recover what they could without a bunch of tourists around....but it's open again now, so for everyone who's in the neighbourhood, stop by ! The rest of us will sit here behind our computers and envy you ;-)


PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 2:30 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Salve mi Lupe,


I secretly hope that the papyri found will be illegible. Think of the horror that awaits new Latin students if they discover more writings of Ennius, an extra book of Xenophon or other such pleasantries which make a Chinese water torture seem like a visit to the zoo.

Perhaps we should try and destroy them to save future generations of students ;).

Vale bene,


PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 1:14 am
by Aldus Marius
More humor...(but, coming from Marius, you kinda factored that in, didn't ya?) >({|;-)

Keep the papyri; I want the house! I've always dreamed of buying me a little fixer-upper in Pompeii or Herculaneum...[sighs wistfully]

In amicitia, if not always in his right mind,

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 5:31 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Now that would be a real estate investment!!

On the other hand, what if the Vesuvius decided to give it another go and became active again? Hmm but perhaps your descendants could claim the domus then, no? :lol:


(This is getting *so* OT...but it's fun)

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 1:55 am
by Aldus Marius
My descendents, Draco...? Come now, you know all of my 'offspring' have tails, and that's the way I aim to keep it...

Dogs are better than kids because:
~ They're more interesting to watch
~ They don't make as big a mess
~ Their "Terrible Twos" only last 30 days
~ They're only teenagers for four months
~ They will never go to the shrink and blame everything on you
~ They will never sue you for parental malpractice
~ It doesn't take them 21 years to figure out that they love you back.

So I think a descendent of a friendly non-relative will have to claim the Domus; that, or I'll keep it in perpetual trust with a very solemn maintenance contract. >({|:-)

In fide,

Roman Virtual Reality

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 10:43 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salvete Romani,

Roman "virtual reality"

The Romans invented many things but it may come as a surprise to some that they could also be responsible for a rudimentary version of virtual reality.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have uncovered 3D paintings in the ancient villas of Pompeii which used tricks similar to virtual reality to impress guests.

The researchers have recreated the extravagant 3D wall paintings of theatre scenes to allow 21st century viewers to tread the boards of the long-lost Roman theatres.

The project, carried out by the University of Warwick's e-lab in conjunction with the School of Theatre Studies, combines the Roman wall paintings with state-of-the-art computer modelling to study the paintings in detail.

It has emerged that the frescoes used a technique called perspective scenic painting to suggest 3D architectural structures on 2D surfaces.

Used first in 5th century BC Greek theatre, the technique was later taken up by the Romans to decorate their lavish homes.

Valete bene,

Tiberius Dionysius Draco


PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 9:17 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salvete Romani,

Riddle of Colossal flooding solved

The mystery of the flooded amphitheatre has puzzled historians and scientists for almost 2000 years. But now an Edinburgh engineer has come up with a theory for how Emperor Titus flooded the Colosseum in Rome at its opening in 80AD.

A crowd of 87,000 cheering citizens and slaves had watched gladiators battle to the death in the arena that stood at the heart of the Roman empire. More than 5000 animals had been killed for sport.

But the highlight of the 100-day inauguration was a series of naval battles re-enacted in the Colosseum, according to Cassius Dio, chronicler of ancient Rome, who said: "Titus suddenly filled this same theatre with water and brought in horses and bulls and other domesticated animals that had been taught to behave in the liquid element just as on land. He also brought in people on ships, who engaged in a sea-fight there, impersonating the Corcyreans and Corinthians."

His account left historians with a colossal question, only now answered by Martin Crapper, lecturer in civil and environmental engineering at Edinburgh University : Was the giant arena flooded to stage the mock sea battles - known as naumachiae -or were the naval re-enactments actually staged elsewhere in Rome?

Academics have long argued that holding sea battles at the Colosseum was impossible due to the underground tunnels used to spirit wild animals, slaves and gladiators to different parts of the arena.

Tales of thousands of slaves and convicts drowning in the sea battles with ships built to scale were told by Latin poets such as Martial, but were dismissed as sycophantic works of fantasy written to enhance the reputation of the emperor.

However, Dr Crapper believes he has solved the puzzle of the flooded Colosseum.

His theories have been tested by a team of experts assembled by the American ABC Discovery Channel.

Programme makers and archaeologists from the University of California spent a year creating a virtual reality simulation Colosseum to assess the logistical problems involved.

Dr Crapper said the first challenge was to determine if it was possible to blast the millions of gallons of water needed for the sea battles into the Colosseum.

"It's purely speculation but I believe a timber structure could have been used to transport water from the main aqueduct. However, the real constraints were not moving the water but ensuring it could flow through a series of inlet wells and concentric pipes beneath the seating area to actually reach the arena," he said.

After detailed research, Dr Crapper was able to prove it was possible for the sluice gates to be closed off and for water pressure to reach the correct level for the arena to be flooded by four million gallons of water to a depth of five feet within seven hours.

Other members of the research team used X-ray imaging to prove waterproof material had been used in some parts of the underground structure. Further work uncovered 18 sunken blocks used to hold wooden props which held up the arena's floor and which could be removed to allow the area to be used for both gladiatorial battles and naumachiae.


Meteor responsible for Roman conversion to Christianity

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:08 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salvete Romani,

Christianity came from Outer Space

Christianity may have spread from outer space, according to a report on an impact crater published in this week's New Scientist.

Created in the fourth or fifth centuries by an asteroid exploding "like a nuclear blast" in the Italian Apennine mountains, the hole could explain the legend of a falling star and the consequent conversion of Roman emperor Constantine to Christianity.

It is said that Constantine (288-337 A.D.) converted in 312, alerted by an amazing vision in the sky. Right after, under the sign of the cross, Constantine won a crushing victory against the joint emperor Maxentius, who challenged his authority.

As a result, all the western empire fell into Constantine's hands, a conversion to Christianity followed, and anti-Christian fervor ended.

Lying in the Sirente Velino Regional Park, just 60 miles east of Rome, the crater was discovered by chance, as Swedish geologist Jens Ormo spotted a photograph of an unusually round lake.

An expedition to the site confirmed that what local guidebooks labelled as a small seasonal lake was indeed an impact crater 115 by 140 meters. It had a well-developed, saddle-shaped rim rising about two meters above the surrounding plain.

Confirmation of the impact origin came from 17 small craters scattered around the Sirente plain, produced by the meteorite's fragments.

Analysis of the soil revealed a magnetic signature indicating an iron or stony-iron object, while radiocarbon analysis of a drill core indicated that the crater was formed between 370 and 450 A.D.

"The morphology of the main crater and its relation to a crater field strongly supports a meteoritic impact origin. The research is now focused on finding geochemical traces of the meteorite, which would provide unequivocal evidence for a meteoritic impact," Ormo and colleagues wrote in a recent report of their discovery.

From the crater size, he estimated that the impact had an explosive force of a kiloton — equivalent to a very small nuclear weapon.

Indeed, it would have been a phenomenal sight from Rome.

"It is possible that it was the Sirente event that Constantine saw, if he really saw anything ... . A meteorite impact of the size of the Sirente event would be spectacular also at the location where Constantine is said to have seen his vision. What one can see at that distance is a fireball passing through the atmosphere leaving a dust trail. It can also make a great noise," Ormo told Discovery News.

But Timothy D. Barnes, professor of Classics at the University of Toronto, Canada, author of several books on Constantine, totally disagrees.

"This is nonsense. What Constantine and his army saw was a solar halo phenomenon and they saw it in Gaul in 310 A.D.," he told Discovery News.


Temple of Zeus discovered at foot of the Olympus

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 3:00 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salvete Romani,

Temple of Zeus discovered at foot of the Olympus

While conducting works near the river Vaphyras, workers dicovered a temple dedicated to Zeus at the foot of the Olympus. Apart from the foundation of the temple itself, archeologists have discovered stones in which eagles (the symbol of Zeus) were carved and a marble statue of Zeus. It is the first time that a temple dedicated to the god Zeus has been found.


[source: De Gentenaar]

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 6:15 pm
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Salve Tiberii
I have spoken with a Greek who told me about this finding and said that this temple was dedicated to Ypsistos Zeus. Anyway i will copy and past what he told me here: <<It seems that Ypsistos
Zeus used as messengers or as angels his eagles..The worshipers of
this temple used to dedicate stone tablets with represantations of
eagles to the God,as the findings indicate...Archaelogists say that
Ypsistos(Highest) Zeus is the next level of Olympios Zeus,this means
that Zeus from father of the Gods becomes the one and only God
master of the Kosmos...This belief started from the Macedonian kings
of northern Greece,where the ancient site of Dion is..It is a matter
of time for proof to be found that this monotheistic religion
axpanded to whole of Greece...This discovery gives new data and sets
new issues to the table..First of all it show that a monotheistic
religion,with one God whose word is carried through messenger-angels
(eagles),was established in the region hundreds of years before
christianity..Second it is one more proof that the Macedonian kings
spoke Greek and only Greek since all the writings found are in the
ancient Greek language and that they worshipped the same Gods as the
rest of the Greeks..
The findings of the temple,the temple it self and the magnificent
statue of Ypsistos Zeus Enthroned will be on public display from
this October...>>
So it might seem that this Zeus was a step closer to monotheism than we might assume. Ofcourse i'm more waiting on proof to be found to confirm this theory. If it was the case, that this was a repeat of what happened in ancient Persia where the dualistic polytheistic religion transformed into a dualistic monotheistic religion with one supreme deity. The only differen is here is that Greece didn't knew any dualistic religious belief. The Greeks naturally assumed that good and evil were part of nature.
vale optime

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:20 pm
by Tiberius Dionysius Draco
Salvete Romani,

Britain's oldest exam certificate found

As students across the country prepare for their A-level results this week, archaeologists have uncovered the earliest examination certificate ever found in Britain.

Fragments of two bronze sheets, which had been threaded together, were unearthed by metal detector enthusiasts in Norfolk.

The diploma was awarded in AD98 to a garrison soldier whose name has not survived but who was recruited in the imperial province of Pannonia, now the Balkans. Lettering inscribed on the eroded metal shows that he served in the legions from AD73, most of the time in Britain.

His certificate acknowledges lessons learned during 25 years in the Roman army, lessons which became as subject to controversy and allegations of cheating as any modern exam.

As the empire declined, the diplomas were traded on an illegal market for their value as proof of citizenship, which carried privileges and exemptions.

A small number of other 25-year diplomas have been found in Britain but the Norfolk find is the earliest, dating from the reign of the Emperor Trajan.

The site, a Roman settlement whose size was underestimated for decades, is being kept secret because of the wealth of material thought to remain unexcavated. The find will be revealed tomorrow in the magazine British Archaeology, which describes it as "intriguing and among the cream of the crop of recent discoveries".

Adrian Marsden, archaeological finds liaison officer for Norfolk, said its safekeeping was another tribute to the effectiveness of the voluntary reporting scheme, under which 6,000 artefacts a year are handed in by the public.

The finders are among a group of archaeological enthusiasts who are carefully searching the site and are optimistic about discovering the missing pieces of the diploma, which has been donated to the Castle Museum at Norwich.

A prayer to the cockerel-headed Roman deity Abrasax inscribed on a sheet of gold has also been passed to the county archaeologists.

Valete bene


Digging for the truth about Caligula...

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 6:30 pm
by Publius Dionysius Mus
Roman dig backs ancient writers' portrait of megalomaniac Caligula

Ruins reveal ruler extended palace into Forum temple

British and American archaeologists digging in the Roman Forum said yesterday they had uncovered evidence to suggest that the emperor Caligula really was a self-deifying megalomaniac, and not the misunderstood, if eccentric, ruler that modern scholars have striven to create.


more on:,3858,4728853,00.html

And for the Belgian citizens: De Standaard also gives some coverage on this item.

Optamo vobis bene valere