Category Archives: WORLD

2,200-Year-Old Stunning Mosaic In Ancient Greek City Of Zeugma

2,200-Year-Old Stunning Mosaic In Ancient Greek City Of Zeugma

In the ancient Greek town of Zeugma, it actually located in Turkey, three new mosaics have been discovered.

The mosaics dating from the 2nd century BC are exceptionally well preserved, but they’re still as beautiful as the first day.

In addition, in Dacia (presumably today’s Romania) there are two ancient cities named Zeugma and one in modern Gaziantep province of Turkey.

It was considered one of the largest trading centers in the Eastern Roman Empire in Turkey and prospered till the third century when it was completely destroyed and then struck by an earthquake by a Sassanid king

However, to this day, Zeugma yields a trove of archaeological wonders with 2000-3000 houses in remarkably good condition. Excavations started in 2007 and have continued to this day.

The fact that the city was destroyed and then also hit by rubble created a sort of rubble barrier, which protected it from future treasure hunters or building material scavengers.

2,200-Year-Old Stunning Mosaic In Ancient Greek City Of Zeugma

To make things even more interesting, Zeugma was completely underwater until recently, when a project to excavate the area received funding from a number of sources, and the past could finally be uncovered.

There are still many things left to be found in Zeugma, but for now, these mosaics look simply superb. Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin and the head of the excavations, Professor Kutalmış Görkay uncovered them at a press conference.

“There are still unexcavated areas. There are rock-carved houses here. We have reached one of these houses and the house includes six spaces. We have also unearthed three new mosaics in this year’s excavations,” he said.

Görkay emphasizes that now, the project will reach its most important stage – conservation. Indeed, modern archaeology is not about finding things, it’s about preserving them for the future, and understanding the different aspects of ancient life.

“From now on, we will work on restoration and conservation. We plan to establish a temporary roof for long-term protection. We estimate that the ancient city has 2,000-3,000 houses. Twenty-five of them remain underwater.

Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin visited the site of some 2,000-year-old mosaics on Sunday in the ancient city of Zeugma in southeast Turkey and walked on them in high-heeled shoes.

However, while they are talking about preservation, the mayor and chief archaeologist don’t seem to really care about it that much.

They displayed extreme carelessness as mayor of Gaziantep and her staff amounted to 13 people who stepped on the 2,000-year-old mosaics that measure up to 10 square meters in size.

That’s right, while they are talking about the importance of preserving these finds, they are actually walking on 2,200-year-old mosaics.

Mayor Şahin spoke at the ceremony, saying:

“Cultural heritage is the most important and rich treasure there is; therefore, we are very rich. We are the grandchildren of a magnificent civilization of the past.”

1,700-Year-Old Sock Spins Yarn About Ancient Egyptian Fashion

1,700-Year-Old Sock Reveals The Height Of Fashion In The Days Of Ancient Egypt

All know how hard it is to try to find the lost sock. Just think about discovering a 1,700 years later. This is precisely what happened when this ancient Egyptian sock was first plucked in the early 1900s out of the trash dump.

The sock today helps researchers to learn about the mysteries of Egyptian fashion, development, and trade during the Late Antique period. How fitting that its match is still at large.

The colorful, vibrant sock dates from 300 A.D. And it is thought that it was meant for the left foot of a child.

It features the traditional Egyptian style of one compartment for the big toe and a larger one for the other four, which allowed the ancient Egyptians to wear their socks with their sandals.

The sock was first discovered in the 1913-1914 excavation of a landfill in the Egyptian city of Antinooupolis.

It is now in the hands of researchers at the British Museum of London where with the help of new, non-invasive technology, they can better unravel the sock’s history.

The researchers, who published their findings in PLOS One, used multispectral imaging (MSI), a technique which scans artifacts and detects small hints of colors, to analyze the sock.

MSI allowed the team to discover that the colorful, striped sock was created using only three dyes: madder (red), woad (blue), and weld (yellow).

One of the multispectral images of the sock.

Because the sock was only created with a few dyes, the scientists could determine just how innovative the ancient Egyptians were with their scarce resources and weaving processes.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the research is that it could be done so non-invasively, and consequently better preserve the delicate find.

“Previously, you would have to take a small piece of the material, from different areas,” Dr. Joanne Dyer, a scientist at the British Museum and lead author of the PLOS One study, reported.

“And this sock is from 300 A.D. It’s tiny, it’s fragile, and you would have to physically destroy part of this object. Whereas with both the [multispectral] imaging and other techniques, you have a very good preliminary indication of what these could be.”

Beyond the insight into Egyptian trends, the sock also told scientists about Egypt during the Late Antique period which lasted from 250 A.D. to 800 A.D and saw such events as the Arab conquest of the country.

“These events affect the economy, trade, access to materials, which is all reflected in the technical makeup of what people were wearing and how they were making these objects,” Dyer said.

It seems our fashion choices of old could tell us more than just the personal tastes of the wearer, but also about the everyday life of an ancient civilization.

This discovery perhaps also marks the first time in history when someone was happy to find just a single sock.

Archaeologists discovered 1,700-year-old Roman eggs

Archaeologists discovered 1,700-year-old Roman eggs

In England, archeologists found a very rare discovery, but one that is very interesting. They found an approximately 1,700 years old unbroken egg dating back to the Roman Empire.

This remarkable finding is of importance as it provides insights into the beliefs and ritualist practices of Romans and Britons. It is the only complete egg ever discovered in the British Isles.

The discovery was found in the area of Berryfields housing and community development near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, by Oxford Archeology. The search was carried out for nine years.

Here they found “a middle Iron Age settlement and the agricultural hinterland of the putative nucleated Roman settlement of Fleet Marston” according to Oxford Archaeology.

This was situated on a major thoroughfare and was once an important trading, administrative, and agricultural center.

Down the years the archaeologists have uncovered many remarkable artifacts, dating from between the 1st century AD and the 4th century AD when the site was abandoned.

Among the items found were coins, pottery, and metal items. The Daily Mail reports that they all throw light on “Roman Fleet Marston which had previously only been understood from incidental finds”.

Archaeologists were working in the area, which is very waterlogged when they came across an unusual number of deposits in a pit. These were largely items that were organic in nature and they would typically have disintegrated over time.

Among the items that were recovered were leather shoes, wooden tools, and a wicker basket, which may have once held the bread.

The remains of an oak tree and wooden piles from a bridge were also unearthed from the waterlogged earth. Edward Biddulph, of Oxford Archaeology, stated that “the pit was still waterlogged, and this has preserved a remarkable collection of organic objects” according to the BBC.

The egg was discovered at the water-logged ancient Roman site.

Among the organic items found were four eggs, that turned out to be chicken eggs. They were all found intact but as they were being moved, three of them broke, as they were so fragile.

The broken eggs emitted a very powerful and unpleasant smell, this was not a surprise as they were centuries old, after all.

However, one of the eggs was extracted intact from the muddy ground, after some painstaking work. This was astonishing as only fragments of eggshells had been found, previously in Britain, mainly from Roman-era graves.

Archaeologists endeavored to prevent breaking the egg as they removed it.

The archaeologist had found the only complete chicken egg from Roman Britain. To find any intact egg from the past is very rare but to find one from 1,700 years ago is astonishing. The BBC reports that Mr. Biddulph said the discovery of the complete egg and other organic items “was more than could be foreseen”.

To understand why there were eggs and other items simply left in the ground we need to understand the area where they were found. It appears that the site was once a waterlogged pit, which was possibly used in a similar way to a wishing well.

People would toss objects into the pit for good luck. A Roman mirror and some pots had also been discovered in the location with the organic items.

It is also possible that the eggs and the basket, were offerings of food to the dead, possibly after a burial. This was very common in funerary customs in the classical era. Eggs were highly symbolic, for many ancient peoples and “In Roman society, eggs symbolized fertility and rebirth” according to the Daily Mail.

The remains of an oak and willow basket were also discovered at the same site as the ancient egg.

They were associated in particular with the Roman gods Mercury and Mithras, a deity of Persian origin. The eggs may have been placed in the pit to win the favor of one of these gods.

The excavation was financed by the construction company, Berryfields Consortium. The dig finished in 2016 and for the past three years, researchers have been carefully analyzing the numerous finds.

A monograph that “describes the results of the fieldwork and analysis of an exceptional range of the artifactual and environmental evidence” reports Oxford Archaeology was published this year.

Archaeologists at work in the waterlogged pit.

Tests Suggest Ancient Romans Imported Wood from France

Tests Suggest Ancient Romans Imported Wood from France

The blocks of trees that went over a thousand meters from the French woods, where they grew, were buried at the foundations of an ancient Roman villa, a journey that probably involved floating along rivers and being transported across the sea.

Such new findings demonstrate how long-haul trade has helped build the Roman Empire.

Although the Roman Empire is now famous for monuments like the Colosseum and the Pantheon, for the most part, the ancient Romans largely built their empire using timber.

Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma, Italy

The distinction in Latin between firewood (lignum) and construction timber (material) suggests the critical role timber had for the ancient Romans — timber was so important that the ancient Romans considered it as signifying matter or substance in the modern English sense of the word “material,” said study lead author Mauro Bernabei, a dendrochronologist (he studies tree rings) at Italy’s National Research Council’s Institute for BioEconomy.

The demand for wood for construction, shipbuilding, and fire led to the rapid depletion of the woodlands surrounding Rome and in much of the Apennine Mountains running up the length of Italy.

As such, Rome grew to rely on wood from abroad, but researchers have been unable to find many timber samples from the area that have survived the intervening millennia. “The finding of wood in archaeological excavations in Rome, and in Italy in general, is very, very rare,” Bernabei said.

However, scientists investigated 24 unusually well-preserved oak timber planks excavated from 2014 to 2016 during the construction of an underground railway line in central Rome.

These boards had been part of the foundations of a lavishly decorated portico that was part of a vast, wealthy patrician villa, they said.

The planks survived because they came from waterlogged earth. Wood is best preserved in conditions where destructive fungi do not grow well, such as when the wood is kept either very dry or, conversely, completely immersed in water, Bernabei explained. “The area where the samples were found was completely submerged by the wet mud of the Tiber River,” he said.

The researchers focused on growth rings in the planks. If you cut into the trunk of a tree, you can see that it is divided into rings that each represent a tree’s growth in a given year.

The researchers found that four of the planks came from trees that were more than 250 years old when they were cut down.

Growth rings reflect the environmental conditions a tree experiences over time in an area, so one can pinpoint where wood comes from by looking for trees with matching growth ring patterns.

The researchers measured the widths of the tree rings for each of their planks with an accuracy of 0.01 millimeters, and by comparing the planks with records of Mediterranean and central European oak growth rings, they found their planks likely came from the Jura mountains in northeastern France, more than 1,055 miles (1,700 kilometers) away from where they ultimately ended up.

“This is the first evidence of long-distance timber trading in the Roman Empire,” said Paolo Cherubini, a dendrochronologist and forest ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, who did not participate in this study.

The scientists also found that some of the planks included sapwood, the part of living wood where sap flows. By comparing the rings within the sapwood with rings from trees with known histories, they could determine that the trees the planks came from were probably felled between A.D. 40 and 60.

These findings shed new light on the “huge, impressive logistic machine” the ancient Romans were capable of, Bernabei said. “Just think — planks, around 4 meters long, were transported across Europe just to be placed underground in the foundations” of this portico, he said.

Given the length of the planks and the great distances they traveled, the researchers suggested that ancient Romans or those they traded with likely floated the timber down the Saône and Rhône rivers to what is now the city of Lyon in present-day France. It was then likely transported on ships across the Mediterranean Sea and then up the Tiber River to Rome.

“This research opens up a new view of the wooden material found in archaeological excavations,” Bernabei said. “The timber found in other important sites — Pompeii, Herculaneum — may be of foreign origin.”

Eroding World War II-Era Graffiti in England Recorded

Eroding World War II-Era Graffiti in England Recorded

Researchers have discovered the identities of over 30 United States soldiers graffitiing a wall 75 years ago during World War Two.

On the Western Esplanade in Southampton the 62 ft (19 m) ‘ D-Day Wall ‘ has more than 70 names grafted by soldiers who are waiting for the day D to embark on Normandy.

The naval archeology Trust has documented their war records and lives back in the US. Many took part in the Battle of the Bulge from the end of 1944.

The trust began a project to digitally record the wall after historians warned the names were in danger of wearing away.

The wall enclosed the old town mortuary and soldiers queued alongside it as they waited to board ships at what is the current-day Red Funnel ferry dock.

Volunteers used specialist photography to decipher the names before using online genealogy sources and US military records to identify the soldiers and learn more about their stories.

The soldiers are believed to have belonged to the 99th and 106th Infantry Divisions and were among the two million Americans who transited through Southampton to mainland Europe.

One of the soldiers identified, Glenn Bunker, served with the 88th Engineers Heavy Pontoon Battalion

Many fought in the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 – the last major German offensive faced by the allies as they fought their way towards Berlin.

Helen Wallbridge from the trust said finding the military record of Curt Hodges from Chicago proved a “breakthrough”, as it allowed the names of fellow members of his unit to be confirmed.

“Looking at the spacing of the inscriptions, it seems plausible that the men stood in a line and carved their names together.”

“It’s detective work and a jigsaw so it’s great when you get the pieces to fit and you get a name,” she added.

The researchers traced the name William Paul Urban and found he came from Chicago and reached the rank of sergeant before he was killed in action aged 29 in March 1945.

Two of the men named – Robert Golden and William Knight – were found to have been captured and spent the remainder of the war as POWs.

An aerial view of Southampton taken in 1948 shows the wall close to the town’s docks
The name “WM Mueller New York” is among 100 etched on the wall by US servicemen

Among others who survived the war, William Mueller from New York went on to become an aeronautical engineer. Twenty-two-year-old Ralph Odom went to work in construction before his death in 2008.

The trust has attempted to contact family members of the veterans, providing them with an unexpected memorial to their departed loved ones.

The daughter of one said: “My gratitude and appreciation are emotions words can’t reach.”

The 19m (62ft) long wall is already a listed war memorial although the names are expected to erode further in the coming years.

Anglo-Saxon gold pendant found in Norfolk declared treasure

Student’s Lucky Find Worth £145,000 Is Rewriting Anglo-Saxon History

A student in Norfolk certainly never dreamed that he could rewrite Anglo Saxon history with a finding of a female skeleton wearing a pendant – but experts say that the “exquisite” gold piece is doing just that.

“A discovery of a female skeleton bearing a gold pendant imported from Sri Lanka with coins bearing the marks of a continental king is prompting a fundamental reassessment of the seats of power in Anglo Saxon England.”  Stated by the Telegraph.

The items are known as the Winfarthing Woman’s treasure An examination of grave objects, i.e. two inscribed coins, suggests that the grave’s owner was buried between 650 to 675 AD and was an elite member of society, possibly even royalty.

One of the large gold pendants found on the skeleton is inlaid with hundreds of tiny garnets. That artifact alone has been valued at £145,000 (almost $190,000).

A delicate gold filigree cross found in the burial suggests that the woman may have been one of the earliest Anglo Saxon converts to Christianity. Other items found in the grave included two identical Merovingian gold coins which had been made into pendants and two gold beads.

Senior Curator of the Norwich Castle Museum Dr. Tim Pestell said the craftsmanship of these objects is “equal” to the famous Staffordshire Hoard.

The Anglo-Saxon pendant found at the rich grave in Winfarthing, Norfolk.

In an amusing turn of events, the discovery was made at a site that has been overlooked by archaeologists over the years due to the poor soil.

But Thomas Lucking, who found the site in 2015 decided that the location was worth an examination. “We could hear this large signal.

We knew there was something large but couldn’t predict it would be like that,” he said, “When it came out the atmosphere changed.”

The Guardian reports the first artifact unearthed was a bronze bowl placed at the feet of the skeleton when the human remains were noted Lucking paused the dig to call the county archaeology unit in.

Excavating the Anglo-Saxon grave in Winfarthing, Norfolk.

Work continues at the site first identified by Lucking as it has been identified as a cemetery, possibly with a settlement located nearby as well. Mr. Lucking now works as a full-time archaeologist.

Two other interesting discoveries described at the launch of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure annual reports at the British Museum include two Bronze Age hoards and a Roman coin collection.

One of the Bronze Age hoards consisted of 158 axes and ingots while the other consisted of 27 axes and ingots. Both were found in Driffield, East Yorkshire, and date to around 950-850 BC.

The Roman coins numbered more than 2,000 and were discovered inside a pottery vessel in Piddletrenthide, Dorset.

Some of the artifacts found in the Driffield hoard.

Unusual Greek Baby Burial Unearthed in Sicily

Unusual Greek Baby Burial Unearthed in Sicily

In the Sicilian town of Gela, workers who installed cables under a road have uncovered part of the ancient Greek burial.

This month’s people in Gela, Sicily, in Via Di Bartolo, expected road work disruption because of workers installing street-side fiber optic cables.

But instead, they ended up getting an archeological dig outside their front gate after an old necropolis dating back to the 7th century BC was found by the Open Fiber cabling company

Example of an (ornate) 4 th century BC Greek hydria.
Example of an (ornate) 4 th century BC Greek hydria.

The ceramic water jug containing bones of a newborn child and parts of a large animal skeleton according to local authorities has so far been found along the small  strip of the road.

The finds were reportedly made by Open Fiber’s in-house archaeologist, Gianluca Calà, who had been on call during the installation work in case of such discoveries, which are not that unusual in Sicily.

Screenshot: Google Maps

A sarcophagus containing an intact skeleton thought to be from the same period was discovered earlier this month in Gela.”

Two weeks after the last important discovery, in what is certainly a Greek necropolis, Gela gives us other extraordinary testimonies of the past” the Sicilian regional government stated in a press release.

The area where the discoveries were made is believed to be part of a necropolis first excavated at the beginning of the twentieth century by Paolo Orsi, according to the La Sicilia newspaper.

“Once again Gela is confirmed to be a part of Sicily that can tell us an important part of our ancient history.

Two important archaeological finds, a short distance from each other, show that great attention is paid to the Gela area, which I believe to be a precious treasure chest,” said local

Open Fiber said it would be willing to enlarge the excavation area to help historians and archaeologists uncover more ancient finds in Gela, La Sicilia wrote.

Gela is believed to be the site of one of the earliest settlements of Greeks, from Rhodes and Crete.

“The newly-uncovered graves are seen as particularly important by historians,” the Sicilian regional government stated, “as they’re thought to hold the remains of the first settlers along with examples of the fine ceramics they brought with them.”

Over 130 Roman Inscriptions Uncovered At Ancient Site Of Mustis In Northern Tunisia

Over 130 Roman Inscriptions Uncovered At Ancient Site Of Mustis In Northern Tunisia

Inscriptions have played a very important role in deciphering the secrets of the past. Archaeologists have uncovered over 130 inscriptions at an important ancient site in Tunisia.

Experts discovered a series of inscriptions at the abandoned city of Mustis. They are expected to provide numerous insights into the history and development of this important ancient metropolis.

A team from the Warsaw University’s Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, in cooperation with Tunisian National Heritage Institute, was surveying the ancient city of Mustis, near Thugga, Tunisia. A number of epigraphic experts were involved in the project.

The mission was led by Professor Tomasz Waliszewski and it finished its work, only recently. During the survey, they found a large number of inscriptions.

During their investigations of the ancient ruins, the team found over 100 inscriptions. They all date to the era when this area was part of the Roman province of Africa. Waliszewski stated that “Our epigraphic team has already inventoried over 130 Latin inscriptions from Roman times” reported The BBC.

The epigraphers found a large number of texts that had been engraved onto buildings and tombstones. Those found on buildings tell the story of Mustis’ development, including the construction of public buildings and temples.

The headstones provide the names of citizens and “other everyday matters of the bustling city’s inhabitants” according to The BBC . The inscriptions are important because they tell us what was important to the citizens and they are a treasure trove for historians.

Roman inscriptions found on headstones.

Moreover, the inscriptions are providing evidence with regard to the political history of the city. Mustis was “a municipium (a town with self-government bodies) at the time of Emperor Augustus” according to the Roman Art Lover. The inscriptions can tell researchers a great deal about the government and institutions of the metropolis. Roman Africa was renowned for its many cities and the texts can also tell us much about the process of urbanization in this part of the empire.

This is not the first time that inscriptions have been found in the area. Waliszewski, estimates “that there are over 500 Latin inscriptions in the Mustis area and nearby” reports The BBC. Some of these celebrate the achievements of emperors such as the North African Septimius Severus.

Mission leader Professor Tomasz Waliszewski points out one of the Roman inscriptions.

‘Mustis, or Musti, was first established by Numidians who had created a strong kingdom in the area. This realm was conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC after they defeated its king Jugurtha, and it was turned into a proconsular province.

Mustis was turned into a colony, by the conquerors. The famed general Marius “settled some of his veterans at Mustis which was redesigned according to usual Roman patterns” according to the Roman Art Lover.

The colony soon thrived because of its location on key trade routes and was probably a cosmopolitan society. Its economy was mainly dependent on agriculture.

Mustis, where the inscriptions were found, was an ancient Roman metropolis with rural suburbs.

Archaeologists have unearthed several temples, dedicated to Roman gods , such as Ceres, the Roman goddess of farming and cereals. Many villas have also been unearthed in the city that once belonged to the elite. An arch dedicated to the Roman emperor Gordian I was also built in the eastern entrance to Mustis and it can still be seen. Mustis went into decline in the 5th century as the Vandals, first raided and then conquered North Africa.

The Byzantines reconquered the city in the mid-6th century, but it never recovered its former glory. They turned the city into a small fortress, although the remains of a Christian basilica have been found in the ruins of the city.

It also appears that Mustis was a bishopric. The city declined after the Arab conquests and the “last excavated objects found in the city come from 12th century” suggesting that it was abandoned, sometime after that date, according to the BBC.

The ruined city was largely left intact down the centuries and it was re-discovered in the 19th century. In the 1960s many of the remains were restored, such as the Eastern Arch.

It is now part of an archaeological park but the remains in the area have been neglected for years. It is hoped that further research will be undertaken on the site and it is expected that more inscriptions will be found, revealing more about life in ancient Roman Africa.

Apart from the numerous Latin inscriptions, the excavations shed new life on the Roman urbanization of the region.