Category Archives: WORLD

2,000-Year-Old Sundial Unearthed in Roman Town

2,000-Year-Old Sundial Unearthed in Roman Town

The sundial is carved out of a limestone block

A rare and intact 2,000-year-old Roman sundial was discovered in central Italy, engraved with the name of the man who commissioned it.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge made the find during an excavation in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino.

Inscribed on the sundial is the name Marcus Novius Tubula, an unknown plebeian tribune to Rome, in Latin.

It is claimed this sheds new light on Rome’s relationship with other regions. Interamna Lirenas, founded in 312 BC and abandoned in 6th Century AD, was about 130 km (81 miles) from Rome.

The sundial was discovered in a roofed theatre in the ancient town of Interamna Lirenas
The sundial was discovered in a roofed theatre in the ancient town of Interamna Lirenas

The name and lettering style place the sundial’s inscription at about 1st Century BC, when citizens were granted full Roman citizenship.

Dr Alessandro Launaro, lecturer at the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge, said the ancient town was “not a town of remarkable prestige or notable influence”.

Therefore, he said, the discovery showed “the level of involvement in Rome’s own affairs that individuals hailing from this and other relatively secondary communities could aspire to”.

The limestone sundial, found in a roofed theatre, is thought to have represented a celebration of Marcus Novius Tubula’s election to the political office of the plebeian tribune.

The concaved face is engraved with 11 hour lines intersecting three day curves, which indicate the season with respect to the time of the winter solstice, equinox and summer solstice.

The needle which cast a shadow to show the time “is essentially lost” but part is preserved under a lead fixing.

It is believed the sundial was left behind at a time when the theatre and town were being scavenged for building materials during the Medieval to the post-Medieval period.

Oldest Pictish Fort Uncovered in Scotland

Oldest Pictish Fort Uncovered in Scotland

Archaeologists working at the site of Scotland’s largest Pictish fort have made an “incredible” discovery after unearthing part of the power center’s defensive wall.

The discovery has been made at Burghead in Moray, the largest known fort of its kind in northern Britain which is believed to have been occupied by the elite of Pictish society more than 1,000 years ago.

The stretch of defensive wall discovered by archaeologists at the site in Burghead
The stretch of defensive wall discovered by archaeologists at the site in Burghead

Around 10 feet of rampart wall has been unearthed with preserved pieces of timber lacing, which strengthens the structure, also found. It is now known that the wall dates to the 8th Century – putting it right at the heart of the Pictish period.

Dr. Gordon Noble, head of archaeology at Aberdeen University, who is leading the work at Burghead said it was an “incredible” find. He added: “What a sight to see the rampart revealed for the first time in over 1000 years.“It’s very impressive.

Probably one of the best-preserved ramparts of this type.“It really reinforces the huge investment in resources that was undertaken to construct the fort at Burghead.

The timber lacing is one of the best preserved in Europe.“Unfortunately, it is also under huge threat from coastal erosion with meters lost to the sea in the last few decades.

The Wallface now stands around a meter from an active erosion face.“Historic Environment Scotland is providing funding to help record as much as we can before the erosion gets worse.”

It is believed the site at Burghead may been one of the most important elite settlements of the Kingdom of Fortriu which was the Pictish overkingship from the 7th century onwards.

Dr. Noble, who has led excavations at Burghead since 2015, said the picture of life at the fort and village was “getting clearer” but that a lot of work still needed to be done.“We now know a little about the architecture of the buildings inside, but not how many there were and need to know more about the phasing of the site,” he added.

The stretch of the wall now unearthed at Burghead contains several beam slots that supported the wooden structure of the fort.Dr. Noble said “abundant charcoal” had been recovered during the excavation indicating that the fort was destroyed by fire.

It has long been thought the fort was razed to the ground around the time Vikings were launching raids along the Moray coast. However, the act of destruction has actually preserved some of the wooden remains with charcoal deposits helping to date the structure more accurately.

Important finds made at the site include the Burghead Bull carvings and an underground well, both which were found in the 1800sIt was thought that much of the site was destroyed when a new town was built on the site of the fort in the 19th Century but Dr. Noble and colleagues have since found remains of a Pictish longhouse, coins, and pottery.

Archeologists believe Norway find is rare Viking ship burial

Archeologists believe Norway find is rare Viking ship burial

This handout picture released on March 25, 2019 by Vestfold Fylkeskommune shows Funnplass, where a ship's grave probably originated from the Viking Age has been discovered on a plain among the burial mounds in Borreparken in Vestfold, eastern Norway
This handout picture released on March 25, 2019 by Vestfold Fylkeskommune shows Funnplass, where a ship’s grave probably originated from the Viking Age has been discovered on a plain among the burial mounds in Borreparken in Vestfold, eastern Norway

Archeologists believe they have found a rare Viking ship burial site in a region of Norway known for its Viking-era treasures, Norwegian officials said Monday.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), experts found a ship-shaped anomaly near other Viking burial mounds in the Borre Park in Vestfold county, southeast of Oslo.”

The GPR data clearly show the shape of a ship, and we can see weak traces of a circular depression around the vessel.

This could point to the existence of a mound that was later removed,” Terje Gansum, leader of the department for cultural heritage management in Vestfold county, said in a statement.

He said researchers would carry out further investigations to try and assess the size of the preserved find.

There are only seven ship burials dating from the Viking Age (800-1050) in Europe, including three located in Vestfold county.

Another Viking ship burial was believed to have been found in Jellestad in southeastern Norway last year.

During the Viking era, when Norse seafarers raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, high-ranking officials were sometimes buried in a ship on land, along with decorative goods and even oxen or horse remains, then covered with a mound of dirt.”

The discovery of a new Viking ship in Vestfold is a historic event that will attract international attention,” Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen said.

This handout picture released March 25, 2019 by Vestfold Fylkeskommune shows Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen posing at the place where a ship's grave probably originated from the Viking Age has been discovered
This handout picture released March 25, 2019 by Vestfold Fylkeskommune shows Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen posing at the place where a ship’s grave probably originated from the Viking Age has been discovered

Greco-Roman Era Tomb Found in Upper Egypt

Greco-Roman Era Tomb Found in Upper Egypt

A rock-cut tomb dating back to the late Pharaonic Graeco-Roman period has been discovered by Egyptian-Italian archeological mission working in the Aga Khan Mausoleum area in Aswan.

Mostafa Waziri, the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explains that the mission found inside the tomb parts of a painted wooden coffin.

Also discovered were fragments of another coffin adorned with a complete text that includes the name of the owner, identified as Tjt, and an invocation to the gods of the First Cataract; Khnum, Satet and Anuket, as well as Hapy, the Nile god.

Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the antiquities ministry’s ancient Egypt  department, told Ahram Online that the tomb consists of a stairway partly flanked by sculpted blocks leading to the funerary chambers.

The entrance was sealed by a stone wall found in its original place over the stairway.

Patrizia Piacentini, the head of the mission, said that the mission also found many amphorae and offering vases, as well as a funerary structure containing 4 mummies and food vessels.

Also found were 2 mummies, likely of a mother and her child, still covered by painted cartonnage.

A round-topped coffin was excavated from the rock floor. In the main room were around 30 mummies, including young children who were deposited in a long lateral niche.“

Leaning against the north wall of the room was an amazing intact stretcher made of palm wood and linen strips, used by the people who deposited the mummies in the tomb,” Piacentini told Ahram Online .

At the entrance of the room were vessels containing bitumen for mummification, white cartonnage ready to be painted and a lamp.

On the right and left sides of the door, many beautiful colored and gilded cartonnages, fragments of funerary masks painted with gold and a well preserved statuette of the Ba-bird, representing the soul of the deceased, still presenting all the details of the decoration have been found.

The mission has mapped around 300 tombs dating from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, located in the area surrounding the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, on the west bank of the Nile in Aswan.

Scientists Spot Merchant Vessel Sunk During World War II

Long-lost shipwreck found off Victorian coast, 77 years after being torpedoed by Japanese submarine in WWII

The wreckage of an Australian freight ship sunk by a Japanese submarine during World War II has been uncovered by archaeologists off the coast of Victoria.

The ore freighter SS Iron Crown sank within 60 seconds in June 1942 after it was hit by a torpedo while travelling through Bass Strait, killing 38 people.

The shipwreck was discovered by marine archaeologists aboard CSIRO research vessel Investigator, using sonar equipment and a special drop camera.

Maritime archaeologist at Heritage Victoria Peter Harvey said he hoped the discovery would bring closure to the families of the seamen who died.”The ship is in a really good state of preservation, although I’m pretty sure the stern of it, where it was hit by the torpedo, was pretty broken up,” he said.”

The archaeology of these sites enables us to finally find out what happened and why it happened.”

It tells us the human story of the wreck.”SS Iron Crown was a 100-metre-long freighter that was chartered by BHP to transport ore from Whyalla in South Australia to Newcastle in New South Wales.

There were 43 crew from the Australian Merchant Navy on board, but only five sailors survived.

According to the Heritage Council of Victoria, the survivors managed to grab lifejackets, jump clear of the ship and cling to wreckage until they were rescued by SS Mulbera.”

There were roughly 13 Japanese submarines operating on the Australian coast around that time that resulted in quite a number of casualties that nobody really knew about until well after the war,” Mr Harvey said.”

“The loss of 40 lives is a terrible thing in any measure, but I think if it had been common knowledge at the time, I think Australians would’ve been quite alarmed.

I don’t think the majority of the population was aware that there was so much enemy activity off the coast of south-eastern Australia.”

Chief Scientist at the Australian Maritime Museum, Emily Jateff
Chief Scientist at the Australian Maritime Museum, Emily Jateff

Voyage chief scientist Emily Jateff from the Australian National Maritime Museum said the shipwreck was found 100 kilometres off the Victorian coastline.”The wreck of Iron Crown appears to be relatively intact and the ship is sitting upright on the seafloor in about 700 metres of water,” she said.”

We have mapped the site and surrounding sea floor using sonar, but have also taken a lot of close-up vision of the ship structure using a drop camera.”

Ms Jateff said it was an important discovery.

“The fact that so many lives were lost … was something that hit home with all crew working onboard Investigator.”

The finding has been reported to the Australian Government and a memorial service will be planned for the site.

One of the saddest’ parts of seaman’s life

Tasmanian man George Fisher worked on the Iron Crown as a deck boy when he was 18 and was one of the five survivors.

George Fisher was a deck boy on the SS Iron Crown when he was 18.
George Fisher was a deck boy on the SS Iron Crown when he was 18.

He was the last surviving crew member before his death in 2012. In an interview with the Australians at War Film Archive in 2003, Mr. Fisher was asked whether the sinking of the Iron Crown haunted him.”

No, not really,” he said.

“At times I get sort of upset when I sort of think of it.

That’s a very sad part of my life, perhaps. One of the saddest.”His partner Lorraine Silvester said she was emotional when she heard about the discovery.”George was so passionate about having his shipmates remembered,” she said.”

It’s a pity it wasn’t found before he died.”Ms Silvester said Mr Fisher had been coming up from below deck when he heard a terrible explosion.”

He grabbed the life jacket and he was calling to all the others to get out, get out,” she said.”They knew the ship was going down. He jumped overboard, and it was the life jacket that saved him.”Mr Fisher kept in touch with the other survivors, including his close friend Bruce Miel from Adelaide.

Before Mr. Fisher died, he organized a plaque to be placed near the cenotaph in Mallacoota in Victoria to honor his shipmates.