Category Archives: ROMANIA

The oldest bottle of wine in the world remains unopened since the 4th Century

The oldest bottle of wine in the world remains unopened since the 4th Century

For a few years now, contemporary historians have been debating the future of the oldest bottle of wine in the world, known as the Speyer wine bottle, or “Römerwein.”

Historians have split opinions on whether the bottle should be opened or not. This extremely rare artifact is 1,650-years-old and it is placed in the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Germany.

The glass amphora has handled in the shape of dolphins and is sealed with wax.

The contents of the bottle are about one-third olive oil which in the past was used as a preservative that prevented the wine from oxidizing.

The Speyer bottle was found in the grave of a Roman nobleman in 1867, in the Rhineland-Palatine region of Germany and caused a real stir among historians and archaeologists at the time.

It’s been said that the noble owner, believed to be a high ranking Legionnaire, was buried with the bottle of wine, an ancient custom which represents the Romans’ beliefs in the after-life, that is, sending valuable objects with the body of the deceased so she or he can use them in the “hereafter.”

Reportedly, the tomb near the city of Speyer also contained the sarcophagi of his two spouses.

The Speyer wine bottle. 

The antique bottle, which represents thousands of years of human history and customs, was named after the city of Speyer.

In the glory days of Ancient Rome, wine and wine cults were diligently observed.

One of the inventions of Hero of Alexandria, an engineer who was centuries ahead of his time, was a delightful party centerpiece that seemingly turned one liquid into another.

Speyer, Germany

His trick jug incorporated two separate, sealed compartments and some clever pneumatics to make it seem that water added to the vessel was dispensed as wine. This is one of several similar devices that Hero describes in his Pneumatica.

During WWI, a chemist analyzed the Speyer bottle but never opened it so the wine was given to the Historical Museum of the Palatinate collection in Speyer. Over time, numerous scientists have hoped to obtain permission to analyze the bottle’s contents thoroughly, though nobody has been granted one yet.

Some scientists and microbiologists are adamant that the bottle shouldn’t be opened, among them Ludger Tekampe, the curator of the Folklore Wine Museum collection.

“We are not sure whether or not it could stand the shock to the air. It is still liquid and there are some who believe it should be subjected to new scientific analysis but we are not sure,” said Tekampe on the matter.

The world’s oldest known bottle of wine, 325 AD, Historical Museum of the Palatinate, Speyer, Germany. 

This rare artifact of the ancient world was created during the early days of the tradition of wine production and consumption, which was begun by the ancient Greeks.

The tradition was later embraced by the ancient Romans, who also took Dionysus, the Greek god of agriculture, wine, and fertility, and renamed him, Bacchus.

Contrary to the general notion and belief that the older the wine is, the better, the Speyer wine is presumed to be undrinkable.

According to the Daily Mail, Professor Monika Christmann said that although the Speyer wine might not be microbiologically spoiled, it “would not bring joy to the palate.”

The Most Beautiful Dead: Photographs of Europe’s Jeweled Skeletons

The Most Beautiful Dead: Jeweled Skeletons Unearthed From the Catacombs Of Rome!

A relic hunter dubbed ‘Indiana Bones’ has lifted the lid on a macabre collection of 400-year-old jewel-encrusted skeletons unearthed in churches across Europe.

Art historian Paul Koudounaris hunted down and photographed dozens of gruesome skeletons in some of the world’s most secretive religious establishments.

Incredibly, some of the skeletons, said to be the remains of early Christian martyrs, were even found hidden away in lock-ups and containers.

St Valerius in Weyarn: Art historian Paul Koudounaris hunted down and photographed dozens of gruesome skeletons in some of the world’s most secretive religious establishments
St Albertus and St Felix: Incredibly, some of the skeletons, said to be the remains of early Christian martyrs, were even found hidden away in lock-ups and containers

They are now the subject of a new book, which sheds light on the forgotten ornamented relics for the first time.

Thousands of skeletons were dug up from Roman catacombs in the 16th century and installed in towns around Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on the orders of the Vatican.

They were sent to Catholic churches and religious houses to replace the relics destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s.

St Deodatus in Rheinau, Switzerland. The skeletons were sent to Catholic churches and religious houses to replace the relics destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s
St Benedictus: Thousands of skeletons were dug up from Roman catacombs in the 16th century and installed in towns around Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on the orders of the Vatican

Mistaken for the remains of early Christian martyrs, the morbid relics, known as the Catacomb Saints, became shrines reminding of the spiritual treasures of the afterlife.

They were also symbols of the Catholic Church’s newly found strength in previously Protestant areas.

Each one was painstakingly decorated in thousands of pounds worth of gold, silver, and gems by devoted followers before being displayed in church niches. Some took up to five years to decorate.

St. Friedrich at the Benedictine abbey in Melk, Austria, is presented in a typical reclining pose and holds a laurel branch as a sign of victory.
The hand of St Valentin in Bad Schussenreid, By the 19th century they had become morbid reminders of an embarrassing past and many were stripped of their honors and discarded

They were renamed as saints, although none of them qualified for the title under the strict rules of the Catholic church which require saints to have been canonized.

But by the 19th century, they had become morbid reminders of an embarrassing past and many were stripped of their honours and discarded.

Mr. Koudounaris’ new book, Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, is the first time the skeletons have appeared in print.

Mr. Koudounaris, from Los Angeles, said: ‘I was working on another book looking into charnel houses when I came across the existence of these skeletons.

As I discovered more about them I had this feeling that it was my duty to tell they’re a fascinating story.

St. Luciana arrived at the convent in Heiligkreuztal, Germany, in the mid- 18th century and was prepared for display by the nuns in Ennetach.

After they were found in the Roman catacombs the Vatican authorities would sign certificates identifying them as martyrs then they put the bones in boxes and sent them northwards.

The skeletons would then be dressed and decorated in jewels, gold, and silver, mostly by nuns.

They had to be handled by those who had taken a sacred vow to the church – these were believed to be martyrs and they couldn’t have just anyone handling them. They were symbols of the faith triumphant and were made saints in the municipalities.

One of the reasons they were so important was not for their spiritual merit, which was pretty dubious, but for their social importance. They were thought to be miraculous and really solidified people’s bond with a town. This reaffirmed the prestige of the town itself.’

He added: ‘It’s impossible to put a modern-day value on the skeletons.’

Roman Senate Building Unearthed in Egypt

Remains of Graeco-Roman Senate Building Unearthed in Egypt

With a history as rich as Egypt’s, there’s really no limit to the type of discoveries that can be unearthed between Sinai to Siwa and down to Aswan.

North Sinai holds the remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Pelusium – an area now known as Tell Farama, which dates back to the Greek, Roman, and Ptolemaic ages.

Remains of a huge Graeco-Roman building, believed to have been the Roman Empire’s main senate, has been unearthed at the Pelusiam archaeological site near North Sinai.

The building was found by the Egyptian archaeological mission working on location in Tel al-Farma in cooperation with the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The 2,500 sqm building consists of bricks and limestone and contains three main amphitheaters covered with marble.

With the remains of three 60 cm-thick circular benches found at the third amphitheater made of red brick. 

“The building was most probably used as a headquarters for the Senate Council of Pelusium, one of the North Sinai’s old cities,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The initial studies conducted on architectural planning and the construction of the building indicated that it was used to hold meetings for the citizens’ representatives.

During the rule of the Ptolemies and Romans for taking important decisions about the public affairs of the city and its citizens, Waziri said.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said the 2,500-square-metre building shaped from outside as a rectangular, with circular terraces and the main gate located on the eastern side.

He pointed out that the interior design of the building consists of the remains of three 60 cm-thick circular benches which were built of red brick and covered with marble.

The mission also uncovered the main streets of Pelusium city, Ashmawy added.

He explained that during the fifth and sixth century AD, the building was used as a quarry where the stones, bricks, and columns were extracted from their original places for use in the construction of other buildings in the city.

Enormous Roman arcade found in Essex was once part of a magnificent temple: the 400ft-long arched structure is the largest of its kind found in the UK

Roman arcade found in England, the oldest building in the country

Although arcades are not around much anymore, they were once a major part of a child’s weekend. Arcades allowed friends to hang out and play endless games for hours on end.

Arcades have been around since the ancient Romans. Just recently, British archaeologists discovered a Roman arcade under an apartment block in Colchester, Essex.

Experts believe that the ancient walkway included more than 28 archways that were topped by a grand gateway. They also believe that it was once at the heart of the busy Roman town.

The ruins of the grand 393-foot structure have been used to create a computer model of what the arcade could have looked like over 1,800 years ago.

It is believed that it is on the same scale as the grand arcades of Rome. Some of the sections measure 26 feet tall.

Builders at the site stumbled across the Roman ruins 62 years ago, but now the Colchester Archaeological Trust has finally excavated parts of the arcade. The One Castle House apartment block was recently built on top of the arcade.

One of the archaeologists at the site said that the elaborately arched building would have provided a wonderful frontage to the Temple of Claudius that was built in 54 AD. Today, that temple actually forms the base of the town’s Norman Castle.

The Temple of Claudius was actually the only Roman temple dedicated to an imperial cult in Britain. Claudius had come to Camulodunum, which was the Iron Age precursor of Colchester during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD.

Dr. Phillip Crummy, the Colchester Archaeological trust director, said that the discovery of the monumental arcade was originally made in 1954, but for some reason, it was left untouched. He added that it is the biggest Roman structure of its kind to be discovered in Britain.

The closest rival in terms of size is in Northern France. The two buildings also share some of the same architecture. A similar-looking arcade is actually being investigated in a small town known as Point-Sainte Maxence, which is about 25 miles north of Paris.

Crummy added that the original arcade and its grand columns are similar to the ones that visitors can see in Bath at the Roman Baths. He also said that it is quite an extraordinary find, which shows the history of Colchester.

Entrance to the Temple of Claudius, Rome.

The remains of the ancient building will go on display for the public in the summer. They will be put under three glass panels which will allow visitors to see and learn about Britain’s oldest building on record in the town.

Experts believe the ancient covered walkway is the largest of its kind in the UK and included 28 archways topped by a grand gateway. A rendering of what it may have looked like is shown above. The history-steeped settlement of Colchester dates back almost 2,000 years

Crummy and his team will also have an exhibition that will go on display. They will have computer graphics showing visitors what the arcade would have looked like centuries ago. A large photo will be projected on a wall behind the original ruins.

Crummy explained that he and his team have managed to work out the final dimensions of the columns found at One Castle House in Roman feet. He said that the calculations have allowed them to design a digital reconstruction that they will put on a projector. With this, they can show visitors what it was like to live in a Roman arcade over 1,000 years ago.

Emperor Claudius.

Historians are taking a particular interest in the arcade and Temple of Claudius. They think a large religious procession, also known as a Pompa, took place there. The pompa would have included chariots and horses and would have traveled from the temple to the town’s Roman circus before the start of the chariot races.

They also said that the temple precinct would have resembled the Forum in Rome, a busy place with people going to and from the temple. It would have been an area for people to socialize and shop at the market stalls. The people would have entered through the archways of the arcade.

The precinct of the area is thought to have been standing at the time of the Norman invasion of England and was only demolished when the castle was built. The settlement of Colchester dates back to almost 2,000 years.

The Roman military chiefs established a fortress there, shortly after conquering Britain in 43 AD.

Romano-Saxon Site Found in England

Romano-Saxon Site Found in England

Roman finds include this jug and human remains, including six skeletons

Roundhouses of the Iron Age, Roman burials and Saxon pottery were found in a “hugely important and hitherto unknown settlement”.

In Warboys, Cambridgeshire, the seven-month dig also revealed “a rare example ” of “early Saxon occupation mixed with the recent Roman remains.”

Archaeologist Stephen Macaulay said: “We almost never find actual physical evidence of this.” The settlement reverted to agricultural use after the 7th Century.

The earliest find a date to the middle to late Iron Age – including several roundhouses
And three crouched human burials

“What makes this site really significant is we have evidence of early Saxon occupation mingled with the latest Roman remains,” said Mr. Macaulay, deputy regional manager for Oxford Archaeology East.

Saxon pottery, beads, worked antler and metalworking residues were uncovered.

He added: “This a rare example of the Roman to Saxon transition in the east of England.”

A later Roman or early Saxon child was found buried with a bead necklace and bone-carved hairpin in the shape of an ax

The earliest finds include eight roundhouses, some of which date back to about 100BC, three crouched human burials and 2,500-year-old pottery remains.

The 10-acre (four-hectare) site provided evidence of Roman rural industry, including a 15ft (4.6m) corn dryer and kilns.

Archaeologists uncovered human cremations and six burials.

They also “seem to have stumbled upon a shrine” and discovered cattle skulls and a largely intact horse skeleton, which they believe could be votive offerings.

Archaeologists believe the Romans deliberately buried this horse as an offering to the god.

The site was excavated ahead of a housing development by Bellway Homes.

An initial evaluation in May last year revealed extensive Roman remains, but the Iron Age settlement was not revealed until the main excavation began later that year.

Mr. Macauley said the dig has uncovered “a hugely important and a hitherto unknown settlement”.