2,000-year-old Roman sewage system unearthed in southwestern Turkey

2,000-year-old Roman sewage system unearthed in southwestern Turkey

2,000-year-old Roman sewage system unearthed in southwestern Turkey
It reveals Roman architecture, engineering, head of excavation teams says

The Anadolu Agency reports that a Roman-era sewerage system was discovered in southwestern Turkey’s ancient city of Tripolis by a team of researchers led by Bahadir Duman of Pamukkale University. 

The excavation uncovered a 2,000-year-old sewage system in southwestern Turkey.

The Roman-era sewage system, 160 centimetres (5.2 feet) in height and 70 centimetres (2.3 feet) wide were discovered in the ancient city of Tripolis in the Buldan district of the Denizli province, said Bahadir Duman, head of the excavation team and a lecturer at the Archeology Department of the Pamukkale University.

“The gigantic sewage system has dimensions that a person can easily enter and walk in,” said Duman.

Noting that the sewerage system reveals the Roman architecture and engineering, he said: “The difference between the system in Tripolis and the others is that the sewers have been preserved until today.

The main sewage system is one of the rare examples. Thus, it’s important.”

Life-sized camel carvings in Northern Arabia date to the Neolithic period

Life-sized camel carvings in Northern Arabia date to the Neolithic period

This close-up image shows one of the camel carvings, revealing the body, legs and base of the neck of an adult camel with a possible young equid to the left.

A parade of life-size stone camel carvings in northern Arabia dates back to the Stone Age, new research finds. The 21 camels and horse-like figures were found in 2018 in the province of Al-Jouf in the northwestern Saudi desert. Researchers first believed that the carvings were about 2,000 years old, in part because they look similar to rock reliefs found in the famous stone city of Petra in Jordan. 

New dating efforts reveal that the carvings are much older: They date back 8,000 years. They were probably carved between 6000 B.C. and 5000 B.C. when the region was wetter and cooler.

At the time, the landscape was a grassland punctuated with lakes, where camels, horses and their relatives roamed wild, the researchers said. Humans herded flocks of cattle, sheep and goats — and apparently created great works of art. 

The carvings are chiselled into naturally occurring rocks at the site, and they often seem to meld with the natural grain of the rock. Their creation would have required tools made of a stone called chert, which would have come from at least 9 miles (15 kilometres) away.

Artists who took on the laborious job of carving each animal would have needed some sort of scaffolding and a couple of weeks’ time to complete, according to researchers from the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the Centre National de la recherche Scientifique in France and King Saud University.

Life-sized camel carvings in Northern Arabia date to the Neolithic period
At the Camel Site in northern Arabia, viewed from the northwest, researchers identified several large carvings or reliefs of camels and horses (red stars), small reliefs (white stars) and large fragments (stars with red outline).
Panel 1 showing the belly, thigh and upper tail of a camel. Tool marks can be seen on the lower abdomen and the upper thigh, as well as a series of deep grooves. Detail photographs are shown on the lower left and lower right.

“Neolithic communities repeatedly returned to the Camel Site, meaning its symbolism and function was maintained over many generations,” said Maria Guagnin, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for Science of Human History, who led the new research.

The study was published Wednesday (Sept. 15) in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports.

The carvings are quite eroded, meaning that dating them was difficult. The researchers used multiple lines of evidence to do so, ranging from the tool marks in the rock to the radiocarbon dating of bones found in related rock layers. (Radiocarbon dating uses the radioactive decay of certain carbon molecules to mark time, but it requires organic material for the analysis.) 

The researchers also measured the density of the desert varnish on the rocks using a technique called portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

Desert varnish is a mineral coating that forms on desert rocks over time.

Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry uses a handheld device to beam X-rays at a sample and non-destructively analyze the elements on its surface.

Finally, the team used luminescence dating of fragments that had fallen off the rock wall to determine when those fragments fell.

This method measures the amount of naturally occurring radiation in rocks and can reveal when rock was first exposed to sunlight or intense heat and how long it’s been acquiring radiation from the sun since that time. 

The new Neolithic, or Stone Age, date, puts the carvings in the context of other rock art made by pastoral people in northern Arabia, the researchers said in a statement.

These include large stone monuments called mustatil, which are made of sandstone walls surrounding a courtyard with a stone platform at one end. 

‘I don’t care: text shows modern poetry began much earlier than believed

‘I don’t care’: text shows modern poetry began much earlier than believed

New research into a little-known text written in ancient Greek shows that “stressed poetry,” the ancestor of all modern poetry and song, was already in use in the 2nd Century CE, 300 years earlier than previously thought. In its shortest version, the anonymous four-line poem reads “they say what they like; let them say it; I don’t care.” Other versions extend with “Go on, love me; it does you good.”

The poem inscribed on a cameo on a medallion of glass paste (2nd to 3rd century CE) found in a sarcophagus around the neck of a deceased young woman in what is now Hungary.

The experimental verse became popular across the Eastern Roman Empire and survives because, as well as presumably being shared orally, it has been found inscribed on twenty gemstones and as a graffito in Cartagena, Spain.

By comparing all of the known examples for the first time, Cambridge’s Professor Tim Whitmarsh (Faculty of Classics) noticed that the poem used a different form of meter to that usually found in ancient Greek poetry. As well as showing signs of the long and short syllables characteristic of traditional “quantitative” verse, this text employed stressed and unstressed syllables.

Until now, “stressed poetry” of this kind has been unknown before the fifth century when it began to be used in Byzantine Christian hymns.

Professor Whitmarsh says: “You didn’t need specialist poets to create this kind of musicalized language, and the diction is very simple, so this was a clearly a democratizing form of literature. We’re getting an exciting glimpse of a form of oral pop culture that lay under the surface of classical culture.”

The new study, published in The Cambridge Classical Journal, also suggests that this poem could represent a “missing link” between the lost world of ancient Mediterranean oral poetry and song, and the more modern forms that we know today.

The poem, unparalleled so far in the classical world, consists of lines of 4 syllables, with a strong accent on the first and a weaker on the third. This allows it to slot into the rhythms of numerous pop and rock songs, such as Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Whitmarsh says: “We’ve known for a long time that there was popular poetry in ancient Greek, but a lot of what survives takes a similar form to traditional high poetics. This poem, on the other hand, points to a distinct and thriving culture, primarily oral, which fortunately for us in this case also found its way onto a number of gemstones.”

Asked why the discovery hasn’t been made before, Whitmarsh says: “These artefacts have been studied in isolation. Gemstones are studied by one set of scholars, the inscriptions on them by another. They haven’t been seriously studied before as literature. People looking at these pieces are not usually looking for changes in metrical patterns.”

Whitmarsh hopes that scholars of the medieval period will be pleased: “It confirms what some medievalists had suspected, that the dominant form of Byzantine verse developed organically out of changes that came about in classical antiquity.”

In its written form (which shows some minor variation), the poem reads:

Λέγουσιν: They say

θέλουσινWhat they like

λεγέτωσαν: Let them say it

οὐ μέλι μοι: I don’t care

σὺ φίλι με: Go on, love me

συνφέρι σοι: It does you good

The gemstones on which the poem was inscribed were generally agate, onyx or sardonyx, all varieties of chalcedony, an abundant and relatively inexpensive mineral across the Mediterranean region.

‘I don’t care’: text shows modern poetry began much earlier than believed
The poem is preserved in a graffito from an upper-storey room in Cartagena Spain (2nd to 3rd century CE).

Archaeologists found the most beautiful and best-preserved example around the neck of a young woman buried in a sarcophagus in what is now Hungary. The gem is now held in Budapest’s Aquincum Museum.

Whitmarsh believes that these written accessories were mostly bought by people from the middle ranks of Roman society. He argues that the distribution of the gemstones from Spain to Mesopotamia sheds new light on an emerging culture of “mass individualism” characteristic of our own late-capitalist consumer culture.

The study points out that “they say what they like; let them say it; I don’t care” is almost infinitely adaptable, to suit practically any countercultural context. The first half of the poem would have resonated as a claim to philosophical independence: the validation of an individual perspective in contrast to popular belief. But most versions of the text carry an extra two lines which shift the poem from speaking abstractly about what “they” say to a more dramatic relationship between “you” and the “me.” The text avoids determining a specific scenario but the last lines strongly suggest something erotic.

The meaning could just be interpreted as “show me affection and you’ll benefit from it” but, Whitmarsh argues, the words that “they say” demand to be reread as an expression of society’s disapproval of an unconventional relationship. The poem allowed people to express a defiant individualism, differentiating them from trivial gossip, the study suggests. What mattered instead was the genuine intimacy shared between “you” and “me,” a sentiment which was malleable enough to suit practically any wearer.

Such claims to anticonformist individuality were, however, pre-scripted, firstly because the ‘careless’ rhetoric was borrowed from high literature and philosophy, suggesting that the owners of the poetic gems did, after all, care what the classical litterati said. And secondly, because the gemstones themselves were mass-produced by workshops and exported far and wide.

Whitmarsh says: “I think the poem appealed because it allowed people to escape local pigeon-holing, and claim participation in a network of sophisticates who ‘got’ this kind of playful, sexually-charged discourse.”

“The Roman Empire radically transformed the classical world by interconnecting it in all sorts of ways. This poem doesn’t speak to an imposed order from the Imperial elite but a bottom-up pop culture that sweeps across the entire empire. The same conditions enabled the spread of Christianity; and when Christians started writing hymns, they would have known that poems in this stressed form resonated with ordinary people.”

Whitmarsh made his discovery after coming across a version of the poem in a collection of inscriptions and tweeting that it looked a bit like a poem but not quite. A Cambridge colleague, Anna Lefteratou, a native Greek speaker, replied that it reminded her of some later medieval poetry.

Whitmarsh says: “That prompted me to dig under the surface and once I did that these links to Byzantine poetry became increasingly clear. It was a lockdown project really. I wasn’t doing the normal thing of flitting around having a million ideas in my head. I was stuck at home with a limited number of books and re-reading obsessively until I realized this was something really special.”

There is no global catalogue of ancient inscribed gemstones and Whitmarsh thinks there may be more examples of the poem in public and private collections, or waiting to be excavated.

Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Stomach of Huge Mississippi Alligator

Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Stomach of Huge Mississippi Alligator

What does a 750-pound alligator eat? Well, just about anything it wants, but items found in this particular Mississippi alligator’s stomach defy odds and date back thousands of years. Shane Smith, the owner of Red Antler Processing in Yazoo City, said he was examining the contents of a 13-foot, 5-inch alligator that weighed 750 pounds and discovered two unusual objects. One he couldn’t identify, but the other was clearly a broken stone arrowhead. 

The find was so unexpected, he almost didn’t let the news out.

“At first, I thought ‘I’m not posting this on Facebook,’ because no one will believe it,” Smith said.

Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Stomach of Huge Mississippi Alligator
It was inside of this giant Mississippi alligator, which was 13.4 feet (4.1 meters) long and weighed 750 pounds (340 kg), that the two ancient artefacts were found.

Then, he had second thoughts.

“This is too cool not to post on Facebook,” he said. “This has probably never happened before. We gotta post this.”

Dog tags in an alligator’s stomach

The story first began to unfold in April when a wild game processor in South Carolina reported opening the stomach of an alligator and finding unusual items. Smith read it and was sceptical.

“The curiosity struck me when I saw a post online about someone finding dog tags in an alligator’s stomach,” Smith said. “I’m one that doesn’t believe in fake news.”

To satisfy that curiosity, Smith decided to examine the contents of the larger alligators he processed. The first was a 13-foot, 2-inch, 787-pound gator taken by Ty Powell of Columbia.

“We found a bullet in it and it had not been fired from a gun,” Smith said. “I don’t know how it got in there.”

The second alligator he opened, which was harvested at Eagle Lake, contained many of the things the first did, including bones, hair, feathers and stones. Then, something else caught his eye.

The two artefacts found in the Mississippi alligator’s stomach: the 6,000-BC atlatl dart point (top), and the black plummet stone from 1,700 BC (bottom).

A find like no other

“Everybody was standing around like I was opening a Christmas present,” Smith said. “We kind of put it all in a bin. 

“I looked over and saw a rock with a different tint to it. It was the arrowhead.”

Smith said he was dumbfounded.

“It was just disbelief,” Smith said. “There’s just no way he had an arrowhead. Your first thought is it ate (a Native American) or (a Native American) shot it in the stomach.”

Smith knew that wasn’t the case, though.

“My best hypothesis is wherever he scooped up those other rocks, he got that Indian point,” Smith said. “We joked about it and said I’m probably the only person on Earth to pull an arrowhead out of an alligator’s stomach.”

Point dates back thousands of years

Photographs and radiographs of atlatl dart foreshafts and points.

James Starnes, Director of Surface Geology and Surface Mapping for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality examined a photograph of the point. He estimated it was made about 5000-6000 BC. That is the latter part of the Early Archaic and early part of the Middle Archaic (periods),” Starnes said. “How the base is made is real tell-tale in estimating the time period.” Starnes also noted the object is not an arrowhead. It’s a point used on an early weapon that launches a spear using a second piece of wood with a cup on one end which acts as a lever to increase velocity.

“That’s an atlatl dart point,” Starnes said. “People think all heads are arrowheads, but those (arrowheads) would be the little bitty points.”

As bizarre as the find was, it was about to get even stranger. Smith found a heavy, tear-shaped object roughly 1½ inches in length. Both he and the hunter who was permitted to harvested the alligator, John Hamilton of Raleigh, though it was something more modern — a lead weight used for fishing.

“It’s heavy as lead,” Hamilton said. “It looks like it’s got two holes in it, but they don’t go through it.

“It’s got a little hole and a bigger hole on top. I guess it goes in and comes back out.” Hamilton researched the object online but wasn’t successful in identifying it.

“I haven’t found anything the shape of it in fishing stuff,” Hamilton said.

What’s a plummet, and why would an alligator eat it?

Starnes said it’s known as a plummet and dates back to the Late Archaic Period, or about 1700 BC. The weight is accounted for because it’s made of hematite, an iron oxide traded between early groups and shines when polished. Starnes said what the purpose plummets served is unknown.

“The plummets, we really have no idea what they were used for,” Starnes said. “These things had some significance, but we have no idea. We can only guess.” 

So, how did these ancient objects get into the alligator’s belly? Ricky Flynt, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Alligator Program coordinator, explained very hard objects, typically stones, aid the reptiles indigestion.

“Alligators, like other animals such as birds and other reptiles, are known for ingesting grit and rocks to help with digestion,” Flynt said. “We know alligators and crocodiles do that.”

However, alligators differ from fowl such as chickens and ducks. Those animals have gizzards and the grit and sand are stored there to help grind seeds and grains they consume. Alligators don’t have gizzards and the stones go into the stomach.

“Sticks, wood; things they can’t digest get into their stomachs,” Flynt said. “I found a piece of cypress in an alligator’s stomach that was 15 inches long.”

Possible Prehistoric Campsite Uncovered in Northern Wyoming

Possible Prehistoric Campsite Uncovered in Northern Wyoming

Artefacts found this summer at Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site are slated for radiocarbon dating, which could tell researchers more about when the Crow, or Apsáalooke, people came to the area, according to the Wyoming State Archaeologist.

“This summer, we found Crow ceramics, as well a range of things, from thousands and thousands of flakes and 10 arrow points (or arrowheads), and preforms to make arrowheads, to animal bone from bison as well as bighorn sheep, as well as obsidian,” Wyoming State Archaeologist Spencer Pelton said.

“We really hoped to find Crow ceramics to radiocarbon date, to have a better idea of how old those ceramics are,” he said.

Sharon Peregoy, a member of the Montana House of Representatives who represents the Crow Agency, said that this type of work may help date, early people of the area, preserving — or recovering — a history that can otherwise be lost.

“It helps dispel the concept that the Crow, Apsáalooke, people were new transplants to the area,” she said, adding that in this context, “new” means the arrival of 500 years ago.

“The findings of these types of excavations and research correlates with our Crow oral history, which dates from time immemorial. … Prehistoric,” Peregoy said. “History is important to preserve a homeland for future generations.”

The Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist is currently doing a ceramics research project, and had hoped to find similar material at Medicine Lodge during its first-ever “public excavation” this summer, Pelton said. The area that is now Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site has been continuously occupied for more than 10,000 years, according to Wyoming State Parks. In the 1880s it was a working cattle ranch. In 1972, it was purchased by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, which created the 12,000-acre Medicine Lodge Wildlife Habitat Management Area.

In 1973, a portion of the habitat management area was developed into Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site. Today, visitors can camp along Medicine Lodge Creek, which flows through a canyon that offers respite in the summer from the hot, dry desert, and warmth and shelter in the winter.

“This spot was undoubtedly a campsite for a long time,” Pelton said. “It’s such an oasis down there, with fresh water. It probably stays fairly warm in the winter from the heat radiating off of the cliffs, and then relatively cool in the summer.

“I know it stays relatively cool in the summer because the moment you climb out of that canyon the temperature increases by 15 degrees,” he said of his experience at the excavation this summer. Because Medicine Lodge is a high-traffic area, and one accessible to the public, it was the ideal place to engage the public with the research.

“We encouraged people to stop by and take a look at what we were doing, maybe screen some dirt,” he said, adding that around 600 people stopped over the summer.

“It turned out really great, and in the process we got some legitimate research done as well,” Pelton said.

The rock art in the valley dates back 10,000 years, and includes petroglyphs and painted rock-art images, or pictographs. The rock art covers the face of a 750-foot-long sandstone bluff, which shelters the area at its base from the wind.

Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site is home to Native American petroglyphs and pictographs dating back more than 10,000 years.
Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site is home to Native American petroglyphs and pictographs dating back more than 10,000 years.

“The rock art certainly includes Crow art,” Pelton said. “When you look at modern Crow art, and look at Crow mythology, you can see a lot of the same motifs on the rock art and cliffs from around A.D. 1400, 1600. A lot of those traditions are still around today.”

Other rock art at Medicine Lodge likely predates the Crow people, he said.

“That is the amazing thing about Medicine Lodge. People probably came and made rock art there for thousands and thousands of years, and we still see the last couple thousand years of it today,” Pelton said. “People were making images on top of each other over and over again.”

Previous excavations done in the 1970s revealed an early presence in the valley.

“It was thought to be an archaeological site created by the ancestors of the Crow,” Pelton said. “(Early researchers) knew that from portions of a ceramic vessel they found there, the rim of a pot.”

Finding ceramics like that is rare in Wyoming, but also valuable as one of the best artefacts for determining ancestry.

“These things are really distinct, and you can track them across time and space to see how those different finds change through time,” Pelton explained. “Our first research priority is getting some radiocarbon dates on some charcoal, and maybe animal bone, with some of those ceramics.”

Another thing found this summer during the public excavation was obsidian, which almost certainly came from the Crow component at Medicine Lodge.

“Obsidian is distinct from all the preceding 12,000 years of prehistory at Medicine Lodge Creek,” he said. “The great thing about obsidian is that you can source it precisely to specific outcrops, so we will know now where these people carrying Crow-style pottery into Medicine Lodge Creek came from. It is probably somewhere in Yellowstone, it could be Teton Pass or it could be all the way over in Idaho.”

Pelton said his office will likely do another public excavation in the summer of 2022. The key is finding a site that is accessible to the public and safe for people to gather.

“The tricky part is finding that perfect confluence of places that are publicly accessible that also have a cool archaeological site buried underneath it,” Pelton said, adding that the tentative plan is to do a similar event at Edness Kimball Wilkins Park in Natrona County. He hopes to reach people there who may not otherwise know about Wyoming’s archaeological past.

“There are some really well-known, easily accessible archaeological sites in that park, and that place gets a lot of visitation,” Pelton said. “We can start reaching a whole other demographic of people who are not normally exposed to this kind of thing, and expand our education and outreach opportunities.”

Gigantic Hand of Hercules could be From the Tallest Marble Statue Ever Made

Gigantic Hand of Hercules could be From the Tallest Marble Statue Ever Made

One glance at the giant hand is enough to recognize it was once part of a true masterpiece created by ancient builders. The hand belonged most likely to a massive statue of Hercules himself.

How and why the giant statue of Hercules was destroyed is unclear, but we can assume it was due to the region’s periodic catastrophic earthquakes.

There are many stories of Hercules, the Greek hero who was the son of Zeus. Whether he existed or not is unknown, but since he was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome, one can suspect he was a real being.

Gigantic Hand of Hercules could be From the Tallest Marble Statue Ever Made
Partial view of the giant hand of Herkules.

The Temple Of Hercules, situated in the Forum Boarium on the eastern bank of the Tiber, is one of the oldest extant buildings in Rome, Italy.

Constructed between 162-166 CE during Marcus Aurelius’ Roman occupation of Amman’s Citadel, the temple is purported to be the work of the Greek architect Hermodoros of Salamina, who engineered a circular layout of 20 Corinthian columns orbiting around a central cylindrical stone block.

In ancient times, it was a huge place of worship. The great temple is larger than any in Rome itself.

Its portico faces east and is surrounded by six 33-foot-tall columns. Measuring 100-feet-long by 85-feet-wide with an outer sanctum of 400-by-236-feet, the fact that the rest of the temple remained unadorned by columns suggests to scholars that the structure was never completed, for reasons history has yet to reveal.

When archaeologists excavated the site, they discovered very few clues that could shed more light on why the mysterious and giant Temple of Hercules and the massive statue were destroyed. This abandoned place was once of great importance, but very little is known about its past.

Ruins of the Temple of Hercules in Amman

The three gigantic fingers, one elbow, and some scattered coins have led archaeologists to conclude that these marble body parts belonged to Hercules himself a massive statue of Hercules himself. It is, therefore, logical to assume that the temple was also dedicated to him.

If the remarkable statue had survived, it would have measured upwards of 40-feet high, which would have placed it among the largest known marble statues to have ever existed.

The mighty statue of Hercules is gone, but the marble components of the Temple of Hercules have endured considerable deterioration over the two millennia.

A model of the temple of Hercules.

In 1996, the Temple of Hercules was placed on the World Monuments Watch.

A Knights Templar’s secret tunnel has been hidden for 700 years

A Knights Templar’s secret tunnel has been hidden for 700 years

Crusaders from the Latin West left an unmistakable imprint on the cities of the Near East throughout the Middle Ages, building castles and fortresses that could resist waves of conquest.

Many of these castles still stand today, and in some cases, remain in use. Krak des Chevaliers, perhaps the most iconic crusader castle, was even occupied and used as a military base in the recent Syrian conflict.

However, many of these impressive structures have yet to give up all of their secrets. Even in the late 20th century, crusader structures were still being discovered in the Levant, the most notable of which was the 350 meters (985 feet) “Templar tunnel” running underneath the modern city of Acre. These discoveries continue to shed light on this fascinating period of Middle Eastern history.

Remains of the Crusader-period Pisan Harbour.

The Templars were a military religious order, originally founded to ensure the safety of the regular stream of pilgrims that made the arduous and dangerous journey from Western Europe to the Holy Land.

According to historian Dan Jones, they were so named because their original headquarters stood next to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, and in the 12th and 13th century they played an important role in defining the political and military successes (and failures) of the crusader states in the Levant.

In 1187, however, the city of Jerusalem was lost after a decisive victory by the Ayyubid leader Salah ad-Din (otherwise known as Saladin) at Hattin.

The crusader states had lost their capital, and their shock defeat at the hands of a powerful Muslim army launched what would later be known as the Third Crusade.

According to Jones, several large armies set out from England and France to provide aid to the beleaguered crusader kingdoms, with the goal of reconquering Jerusalem.

This was a vain hope, and the armies of the Third Crusade, led (amongst others) by Richard the Lionheart, would eventually leave without reclaiming Jerusalem. However, they did manage to recover the important port city of Acre.

Following a long siege led by the king of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan, the Muslim inhabitants of the city surrendered, and Acre became the new capital of the crusader states.

Portrait of Guy de Lusignan.

Ever fearful of a renewed attack by Saladin and his successors, the Templars set about constructing an impressive fortress at Acre. The settlement was already well protected by high walls and the surrounding sea, but the new Christian occupants proceeded to construct seemingly impenetrable defences.

According to Jones, Acre was a strategically significant Mediterranean port and controlling it was key to controlling access to the rest of the region. However, this meant that it was constantly under threat, both from enemies outside its walls and from infighting amongst those within.

This may explain why the Templars decided to construct a secret underground tunnel, leading from the fortress to the port. This would ensure a quick, easy escape for any inhabitants in case the city was overthrown and could provide a useful, secret channel for supplies if the city was besieged.

Underground Knights Templar citadel of Acre, Israel.

However, in 1291, disaster struck. Acre was attacked and taken by the Mamluk ruler of Egypt, Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil, and he ordered that the city be razed to the ground to prevent further Christian reoccupation. This once-pivotal, strategic port fell into insignificance.

However, in 1994, over 700 years after the fall of the fortress, a startling discovery was made by a woman living in the modern city of Acre.

When she sent a local plumber to investigate the cause of her blocked drains, he stumbled into a medieval tunnel running right underneath her house.

Further excavations revealed that the tunnel had been constructed in the Crusader period, and ran all the way from the fortress to the port. This was an extremely significant discovery, as it’s one of the rare pieces of Crusader architecture in Acre to have survived the invasion of the Mamluks.

Today, it’s even possible to visit the tunnel, which has been fully restored, cleaned and drained. Although the Templar fortress may be long gone, modern tourists can still walk in the footsteps of these crusading knights, 700 years after their deaths.

Turkey: Statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian found in southwestern Aydin province

Turkey: Statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian found in southwestern Aydin province

The news was released today that an ancient statue of the famous Roman emperor Hadrian was found in the southwestern Aydin province of Turkey, where the ancient city Alabanda once stood. It has been dated to the 2nd century CE, some 1900 years ago.

This discovery is being placed among the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Turkey.

The statue is fragmented but the head has survived to our present-day and the original is believed to have been about 2.5 meters tall (8.2 feet).

“The statue, which we found in six pieces, will be one of the most important works in the museum. … For more detailed information about the statue, we are working to find inscriptions containing honorifics.”
Ali Yalcin Tavukcu,

lecturer in the Department of Classical Archaeology at Ataturk University.

Hadrian is commonly believed to have ruled from 117 CE until his death in 138 CE.

Ali Yalcin Tavukcu reported that Hadrian visited the city in 120 CE and that this statue was likely created for the occasion.

The culture and tourism director for Aydin, Umut Tuncer, expressed his hope that this discovery will increase the amount of tourism in the area.

The Romans had taken control of the region around the turn of the first millennium CE and their successors maintained control until the Ottomans seized Constantinople in 1453.

Hadrian might be most popularly known today for the wall he is credited with building in Britain, known as Hadrian’s Wall. He built this as a divider and defence against the northerners that he saw as barbarians.

As of now, I have not seen any reports of forensic sciences being applied to the statue to confirm the 2nd century CE date.

Any mentions of dating methods, as well as why they think it’s Hadrian, has been absent from the reports I’ve seen.

More information is sure to be released about this discovery so stay tuned.

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