Ancient History News Roundup: Jan 31 – Feb 6

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Here’s what was cool or interesting in history news this week!

Landslide from heavy rain in Pompeii collapses wall (link to article)

Pompeii’s been getting some pretty heavy weather lately and all that rain led to a landslide that partially collapsed a wall in the garden of the house of Severus. This site was already closed to the public as it’s being excavated by a joint EU-Italian team, so it sounds like nobody was around when it happened. On the plus side, sometimes these sort of natural disasters reveal more cool things hidden in behind — but I bet that is of no comfort to the archaeologists who have been working there. Hope the dig gets back on the go soon.

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Credit: Zita Project on the Archaeology, Anthropology and Ethnography of Southern Tunisia

Excavations in Tunisia resume this summer (link to article)

After a couple years of preliminary surveying and selective excavation, it sounds like the dig at Zita in Tunisia is starting some bigger work this summer. Areas of the Roman and Punic city have evidence of a Roman bathhouse, ceramic kilns, metallurgy, and a Punic tomb. This summer’s plans include mapping the area and target excavations, including the Roman Forum area. Interesting to see what they find!

Touring exhibit of Hellenistic bronze sculpture starts soon (link to article)

An international touring exhibit that includes about 50 ancient bronze statues is set to start its showings in March of this year. Going by the name of “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World”, this show will start in the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, then go to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, then to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There’s going to be work form the 4th century BC to 1st century AD. Very exciting!

Roman-era burial site in Poland being excavated (link to article)

A necropolis in the Karczyn, Kujawy area has been in the news as they reveal some of the unusual features of this site. The site, which existed continually over a period of 300 years (1st to 4th centuries AD) has been described as having two ‘princely’ graves, as well as burials for what look like soldiers, and some people with items identifying them from the Black Sea area. The funeral rites used are diverse and make for an interesting picture — this is the first tomb of its kind to be found in Poland.

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Image from gizmag.com

Roman-themed watch has tiny adorable bust of emperor (link to article)

Do you have $52,000 to spend on a watch? Are you sure? Because this one from Christophe Claret not only is entirely Roman themed, but has a tiny bust of Marcus Aurelius in the middle. It’s apparently modelled after a gold bust of the emperor found in 1939 in Switzerland. The tiny reproduction is just 3 mm high.

Marble bust of Hadrian found (link to article)

A bust of Hadrian, in excellent condition, was revealed to the public yesterday after being found at the Los Torrejones site in Spain. Dated approximately to 135 AD, this adds to the rather large collection of known depictions of Hadrian. The dig on the site is still ongoing. I’ll refer you to the post about it on a favourite blog of mine, Following Hadrian, not only because it’s excellent but they did the translating of the news release from Spanish, which I was waiting for on this article! Thanks!

Reconstructions of early Egyptian houses (link to article)

3D modelling has helped Kacek Karmowski, a PhD student at the Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, create his interpretation of Egyptian houses from around the Old Kingdom (2686 – 2181 BC). These houses were made will less durable materials such as wood and mud brick, and the recreations have had to rely somewhat on comparative modern constructions for elements such as the roofs, which are generally the most difficult part to estimate.

Egyptian mummies found floating in sewage (link to article)

Somehow, two Egyptian mummies wrapped in linens and still in their sarcophagi were found floating in a waterway near the city of MInya, south of Cairo. A third empty sarcophagus was also found. They’re dated anytime from the Greco-Roman era, and in pretty poor shape, with the sarcophagi not revealing too much about them. It’s suggested that they may have come to be there after illegal excavations.

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