Roman Empire

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Ancient Bullets Shed Light on Roman Raid in Scotland

Battlefield archaeologists map out 800 lead bullets using special metal detectors

(Newser) - Reading ancient battlefields is no easy task given they so often leave no trace behind—wood disintegrates, iron rusts, and stones aren't detectable. But lead is different, and a cache of hundreds of ancient sling bullets was readily detected thanks to specialized metal detectors in Burnswark Hill in southern... More »

Britain's Oldest Dated Document Is Found

It was written 2,000 years ago and preserved in mud

(Newser) - Archaeologists say they've discovered hundreds of writing tablets from Roman London—including the oldest handwritten document ever found in Britain—in a trove that provides insight into the city's earliest history as a busy commercial town, per the AP . Researchers from Museum of London Archaeology uncovered more than... More »

Man's Backyard Project Uncovers Rich Roman's Villa

The find is heralded as 'hugely valuable'

(Newser) - Start digging around in the backyard and you're liable to unearth rusted bottle caps, utility pipes, or maybe a long-forgotten toy. Luke Irwin, on the other hand, discovered the remains of a lavish Roman villa on his property in Wiltshire, England, the Independent reports. The residence, built nearly 2,... More »

Hiker Finds Incredibly Rare Ancient Coin

Laurie Rimon noticed it while hiking in Israel

(Newser) - Look twice next time you see a glimmer in the grass—it might be a bit of history. So Laurie Rimon learned when she spotted a gold coin while hiking in the Galilee area of northern Israel last week, NPR reports. Amazingly, the coin was minted by Roman Emperor Trajan... More »

How Popular Fish Sauce Sank an Ancient Ship

Romans poured fishy, salty garum on nearly every dish

(Newser) - A Roman ship apparently sank about 2,000 years ago while carrying a heavy load of ketchup—or at least the Roman version of ketchup. Italian archaeologists discovered the ship off the coast of Liguria in northern Italy, near Genoa, filled with clay jars containing a condiment once popular across... More »

Archaeologists Find Grave of 'Sleeping Beauty'

During a 6-week excavation of the ancient city of Aksum in Ethiopia

(Newser) - During a six-week excavation in northern Ethiopia, English archaeologists uncovered 11 graves that contained "extraordinary" items. But the inhabitant of one of the graves is herself particularly enthralling: a so-called "Sleeping Beauty," as Louise Schofield, who led the team, has dubbed her. The woman's positioning and... More »

Surprise Find: Seating Plan for Rome's Colosseum

Restorers uncover red paint that survived for centuries

(Newser) - Spectators who once flocked to Rome's Colosseum could find their seats with the help of red numbers painted over entrance archways. What's amazing is that hints of that paint still remain, Discovery reports. A team restoring the Colosseum has spotted remnants of it in Latin numerals carved high... More »

Ancient Shipwreck Dates to Time When Rome Still Ruled

Divers spend hours descending 400-plus feet in search of artifacts

(Newser) - Scientists in Italy are teaming up with highly skilled divers from Florida to carefully sift through an ancient shipwreck dating back thousands of years—to the second Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage from 218BC to 201BC. It could be one of the oldest shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, and is... More »

Oldest Roman Temple Unearthed ... for 3 Days

Likely dedicated to goddess Fortuna

(Newser) - Archaeologists digging in the heart of Rome unearthed what may be the oldest temple to be built in the Eternal City, but don't get your hopes up about visiting the ancient structure. Its foundation sits well below the water line and was only visible for three days. Archaeologists from... More »

London Romans Piled Skulls in Pits

Some may have been gladiators' remains

(Newser) - Slob Romans living in ancient London, it seems, just left decapitated heads lying around in open pits for years, a study suggests. "It is not a pretty picture," a researcher tells the Guardian . "At least one of the skulls shows evidence of being chewed at by dogs,... More »

Rome Unveils 'Biggest Find Since the Forum'

Hadrian's auditorium once hosted poetry readings and speeches

(Newser) - Archaeologists have finished excavating a once-glorious arts center in the heart of Rome that was only discovered because of an underground railway line, the Guardian reports. "Hadrian's auditorium is the biggest find in Rome since the Forum was uncovered in the 1920s," said Rossella Rea, the project'... More »

French Parking Lot Yields Roman Shipwreck

Ship sank in shallow water at ancient port

(Newser) - Archaeologists investigating the site of a proposed parking lot in the French Riviera have found a vessel that has been parked there for nearly 2,000 years. The Roman shipwreck is believed to have sunk just off the ancient port of Antipolis, in an area that gradually filled with sand.... More »

Ailing Colosseum Getting $30M Overhaul

Tod's founder bankrolling much-needed facelift, to begin in December

(Newser) - Italian cultural officials have announced that the $30 million restoration of the Colosseum financed by the founder of luxury leather good maker Tod's will begin in December. Officials said the work is expected to take two and a half years, during which time the monument will remain open to... More »

Romans' Beasts of Burden: Camels?

Archaeologists find animals' bones across northern Europe

(Newser) - The Roman Empire may have brought camels a long way from home to serve as its beasts of burden, archaeologists say. Researchers have found Roman-age camel bones at 22 sites across northern Europe, USA Today reports. What's more, "antique literature and iconographical sources inform us about the uses... More »

Gadhafi May Be Hiding Weapons at Historic Site

Development could endanger Roman ruins at Leptis Magna

(Newser) - Libyan rebels say Moammar Gadhafi is hiding weapons at a UNESCO World Heritage site—and if arms are there, NATO won’t "rule out" bombing it, CNN reports. "We will strike military vehicles, military forces, military equipment or military infrastructure that threaten Libyan civilians as necessary,” said... More »

The Dark Past of Valentine's Day

Roman festival involved voluntary beatings for fertility

(Newser) - Valentine's Day may seem awash in saccharine, wine, and roses, but its origins are darker than its modern-day Hallmark reality—they lie partially in the pagan Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival wherein bachelors sacrificed a goat and dog, ripped the skin off, and whipped women with them. Women... More »

Climate Change Linked to Fall of Rome

Climate shifts coincided with turmoil, say researchers

(Newser) - Changes in climate have played a huge role in European history, influencing or even causing events like the decline of Rome and the Black Death, according to researchers studying ancient tree growth. Tree-ring samples from nearly 9,000 of pieces of wood collected over 30 years reveal that a stable... More »

Get Ready for the New Middle Ages

Essay: The world's power structure will look much like the 12th century's

(Newser) - To get an idea of how the 21st century will play out, it might help to look back 1,000 years or so, writes Parag Khanna in the Financial Times . "The world we are moving into in 2011 is one not just with many more prominent nations, but one... More »

Treasure Hunter Unearths $460K Roman Helmet

Rare British find expected to fetch a fortune at auction

(Newser) - An amateur treasure hunter in Britain has unearthed a Roman helmet expected to fetch at least $460,000 at auction. The bronze helmet—only the third of its kind ever found in Britain—has a face mask and is topped with a griffin. Experts say the helmet, found in a... More »

Egyptian Oasis Yields Roman-Era Mummy

'Unique find' appears to be 3-foot-tall adult: archaeologists

(Newser) - Egyptian archaeologists have discovered an intricately carved plaster sarcophagus portraying a wide-eyed woman dressed in a tunic in a newly uncovered complex of tombs at a remote desert oasis, Egypt's antiquities department says. It is the first Roman-style mummy found in Bahariya Oasis some 186 miles southwest of Cairo, said... More »

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