Ancient History News Archive August 2011

August 2011

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Roman Coins & Palmyrene Style

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published on 29 August 2011
This past weekend, the Wall Street Journal had two articles which might be of interest to our readers. In one, Christian C. Sahner, a doctoral candidate of history at Princeton University, analyzes the style, usage, and history of the Temple of Bel located the fabled city of Palmyra. In the other, Ellen Gamerman demonstrates just how valuable Roman coins... [continue reading]
Blog
Taking a slightly modern turn, this article appeared last month in Newsweek, detailing how Italy's wealthy are stepping up to save crumbling and endangered ancient monuments. This financial assistance cannot come soon enough--neglect and staggering cuts to the Italian budget have endangered even the most preserved sites like Pompeii.
Blog
If you find yourself in Paris in the near future and are interested in Mayan civilization, you must head to the Quai Branly. Maya: From Dawn to Dusk presents and features the most tantalizing objects unearthed in Guatemala--many of which are exquisitely detailed in gold. In Europe for the first time, this exhibition of over 160 items traces the spectacular... [continue reading]
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Excavations in Catalonia

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published on 24 August 2011
The Cathedral of Tarragona is a microcosm of the Spain's turbulent but colorful past--Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Jews, and Catalans have all called the area home. However, recent excavations reveal that long before the conversion of Spain to Christianity, there was a shrine of tremendous size dedicated to the Emperor Augustus (63 BCE - 14 CE) and in use until... [continue reading]
Blog

Fashion Crazes in the Roman Empire?

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published on 24 August 2011
Clothes make the man, and they made the man "Roman" as well. In this provocative article by Der Spiegel, textile researchers and archaeologists are discovering that many of our preconceived notions of "Roman fashion" are incorrect or simply unsubstantiated. From fabric production, to color and design, new discoveries and research demonstrate that the Romans... [continue reading]
Blog

"Ancient Palace" Unearthed in Germany

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published on 24 August 2011
Der Spiegel reports that scholars and archaeologists are puzzled but fascinated by a recent discovery near the German city of Weimar. Roughly 3,800 years old, a primitive palace compound has been unearthed revealing the wealth of an ancient prince. Archaeologists believe that the building might have been the largest in prehistoric Germany. Among the various... [continue reading]
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A sword recently found in an ancient drainage channel under Jerusalem (we reported two days ago) has been linked to the fall of Herod's Temple (also known as the Second Jewish Temple) in 70 AD. The Lebanon Daily Star quotes the Israel Antiquities Authority as saying that the drainage channel "served as a hiding refuge for the residents of Jerusalem from the... [continue reading]
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The Pergamonmuseum in Berlin is currently exhibiting statues found in Tell-Halaf that had been forgotten, left in a warehouse, damaged by bombs in World War II, and now restored and exhibited to the public. Hurry! The exhibition "The Tell-Halaf Adventure" is only open until 14 August 2011.
Blog

Jerusalem excavation finds ancient rebel cache

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published on 10 August 2011
The excavation of an ancient drainage tunnel beneath Jerusalem has yielded a sword, oil lamps, pots and coins abandoned during a war here 2,000 years ago, archaeologists said Monday, suggesting the finds were debris from a pivotal episode in the city's history when rebels hid from Roman soldiers crushing a Jewish revolt. Read the full story on Yahoo News.
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Naturenews has published a very interesting article on the state of current research into what modern human DNA owes to the Neanderthals and the extinct Siberian Denisova non-homo-sapiens population. According to DNA research, there has not only been interbreeding with Neanderthals, but also with Denisovans. Read the full story on the naturenews website.
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3000 year-old lion statue discovered in Turkey

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published on 10 August 2011
Archaeologists leading the University of Toronto's Tayinat Archeological Project in southeastern Turkey have unearthed the remains of a monumental gate complex adorned with stone sculptures, including a magnificently carved lion. The gate complex provided access to the citadel of Kunulua, capital of the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Patina (ca. 950-725 BCE) and... [continue reading]
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Oldest Building in Meroe Discovered

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published on 08 August 2011
A Canadian team of the Royal Ontario Museum has unearthed a previously undiscovered building at Meroe in modern-day Sudan. It has been radiocarbon-dated to 900 BC, which predates the previously-known time span of the Meroe civilization by 100 years. Read the entire article at Live Science.
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A treasure trove of Roman coins near Exeter (Devon) suggests that the Romans controlled more of south-western Britain than previously thought. Sam Moorhead, of the British Museum, said: 'It is the beginning of a process that promises to transform our understanding of the Roman invasion and occupation of Devon.' Read the full story on the Daily Mail website.
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Bronze Age Elderly might have been Leaders

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published on 05 August 2011
A recent study of two Bronze Age cemeteries in Austria has shown that over a 600-year time period the elderly had become leaders of society. While in the earlier period, old men were not buried any differently from young men, over time the older men were given status symbols into their graves, such as bronze axes, which is indicative of a leading role in society... [continue reading]
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Excavations underneath downtown Rome have revealed a mosaic depicting Apollo and the Muses from the times of Trajan. It has been hailed as an "exceptional archaeological discovery" by Umberto Broccoli, superintendent for the city's cultural heritage. See an image gallery with descriptions on the Discovery News website.
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Project: Online Map of Ancient Britain

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published on 02 August 2011
The School of Archaeology of Oxford University has just announced a new five-year project looking at the history of the English landscape from the middle Bronze Age to the Norman period. The results will be publicly available on a website to be called ‘A Portal to the Past’. The Portal to the Past website is expected to go live in 2014. Read the full Portal... [continue reading]
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Recent research shows that an ancient city at the site of Tell Qarqur in Syria surprisingly expanded during a severe drought period in around 2200 BC. During this period, several civilizations of the Ancient Near East declined or collapsed, including the Akkadian Empire and the Old Kingdom of Egypt. During the same period, Tell Quarqur grew in size, which recent... [continue reading]

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