Ancient Roman Discoveries

Hidden history of Rome revealed under world's first cathedral   Heritage Daily - November 27, 2018
Research beneath the Archbasilica of St John Lateran reveals appearance of worldŐs first cathedral and the remarkable transformations that preceded its construction.

2,000-year-old ruins of a Roman military chief's luxury villa with 14 rooms, marble floors and ornate mosaics are unearthed by subway construction workers in Rome   Daily Mail - March 8, 2018
Sprawling ruins of the 2,000-year-old luxury villa of a Roman military commander have been unearthed during work to expand the Italian capital's subway system. Archaeologists working on Rome's Metro C line uncovered the second century AD residence, or domus, adjoining a military barracks excavated in 2016. The richly decorated dwelling is complete with a well-preserved geometric design mosaic, marble floors and frescoed walls.

Archaeologists uncover rare 2,000-year-old sundial during Roman theatre excavation   PhysOrg - November 8, 2017
A 2,000-year-old intact and inscribed sundial - one of only a handful known to have survived - has been recovered during the excavation of a roofed theatre in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino, in Italy. Not only has the sundial survived largely undamaged for more than two millennia, but the presence of two Latin texts means researchers from the University of Cambridge have been able to glean precise information about the man who commissioned it.

  Ancient Stone Found at Underwater Site Reveals Historical Information   Epoch Times - December 20, 2016
Researchers in Israel have discovered an engraved stone that identifies Gargilius Antiquus as Judea's Roman governor at the time of the Bar Kochba Revolt. Though it is well known that the Bar Kochba revolt, a failed attempt to overthrow Roman rule in the area, occurred in the early half of the 2nd century A.D., there has been less certainty about the identity of the Roman charged with overseeing the area during that period. The name Gargilius Antiquus did come up in a previous research endeavor, but was not linked to a specific place. As a result, there was great debate concerning whether he was a ruler of Syria or Judea.

Immense 1,900-Year-Old Slab Found Underwater Names Forgotten Roman Ruler During Bloody Jewish Revolt   Ancient Origins - December 23, 2016
A team of researchers from the University of Haifa have recently discovered a rare inscription from the period prior to the Bar Kochba revolt. The enlightening discovery allows historians to finally identify Gargilius Antiquus as the Roman governor of Judea at that time. This huge stone slab was discovered underwater off the coast of Israel in an area rich with important artifacts. One of the Most Important Moments in Jewish History: The Bar Kokhba Revolt The Bar Kokhba (Kochba) revolt was a rebellion created by the Jews of the Roman province of Judea against the Roman Empire. It took place around 132-136 AD and was the last of three major Jewish-Roman wars. Around that time, the Jewish rebels were hiding in caves in order to be able to perform their mitzvahs. When they were discovered by Roman authorities they usually resisted, but they were not always successful.

Lead found in ink used to write scrolls buried by eruption of Mount Vesuvius   PhysOrg - March 22, 2016
For several hundred years, before the dangers of lead were known, lead and other metals were added to ink to aid in color improvement, binding and consistency. But until now, it was believed this practice didn't start until approximately the fourth or fifth centuries AD - prior to then, inks were primarily carbon based. In this new effort, the researchers were studying scrolls that were charred and then covered when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, burying the town, and of course nearby Pompeii as well.

Ancient scrolls give up their secrets   BBC - March 21, 2016
Metallic ink was used to inscribe scrolls regarded as an archaeological wonder, according to scientists. The discovery pushes back the date for the first use of metallic ink by several centuries. The Herculaneum scrolls were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 and are charred and fragile. Previous efforts to read them, over many centuries, has damaged or destroyed some of the scrolls. The task of reading the surviving scrolls has fallen to scientists using technology such as the European synchrotron, which produces X-rays 100 billion times brighter than the X-rays used in hospitals. Last year, physicists used the 3D X-ray imaging technique to decipher writing in the scrolls. The scrolls are the only library known to have survived from classical times

  Ancient Romans of Pompeii Had Surprisingly Good Dental Health   Epoch Times - October 6, 2015
Don't expect to find a dentist's office if you ever visit the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The inhabitants most likely had no need for them. Elisa Vanacore, a dental expert and orthodontist currently studying Pompeiian bodies, said, The inhabitants of Pompeii ate a lot of fruit and vegetables but very little sugar. They ate better than we did and have really good teeth. Studying their teeth could reveal a lot more about their lives. But it likely wasn't diet alone that gave Pompeiians their good dental health.

Old Money: Rare Roman 'Nero' Coin Unearthed in England   Live Science - June 23, 2014
A rare gold coin from the Roman Empire has been unearthed in England. Archaeologists found the valuable coin, which is embossed with the image of the hated Emperor Nero and dates to between A.D. 64 and 65, at a site in Northern England. The archaeological site, called Vindolanda, was once a Roman fort near Hadrian's Wall.

Secret 'Slave' Tunnels Discovered Under Roman Emperor's Villa   Live Science - September 6, 2013
Amateur archaeologists have uncovered a massive network of tunnels under the Roman Emperor Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy. The underground passageways likely allowed thousands of slaves and merchants to keep the estate running without creating any distraction at the street level. Though similar tunnels have been discovered at the complex before, the new discovery is exciting because the passageways were not mentioned in any ancient plans of the grounds.

Goblet tricks suggests ancient Romans were first to use nanotechnology   PhysOrg - August 27, 2013
Recent evidence suggests that the Roman craftsmen who created the Lycurgus Cup, a glass drinking goblet, used nanotechnology to cause the goblet to change color under different lighting. The cup's unique properties were first noted when it was brought to a museum in the 1950s - it wasn't until 1990, however, that researchers figured out how the color changers were brought about.

Sicilian Mummies Bring Centuries to Life   National Geographic - January 29, 2013
Arrayed in crypts and churches, with leering skulls and parchment skin, the desiccated dead of Sicily have long kept mute vigil. But now, centuries later, these creepy cadavers have plenty to say. Five years into the Sicily Mummy Project, six macabre collections are offering scientists a fresh look at life and death on the Mediterranean island from the late 16th century to the mid-20th. Led by anthropologist Dario Piombino-Mascali of the Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity in Palermo (map), the ongoing investigation is revealing how religious men and their wealthy supporters ate, interacted, dealt with disease, and disposed of their dead. These mummies are a unique treasure in terms of both biology and history,

What Does First-century Roman Graffiti Say?   National Geographic - January 29, 2013
A facelift of the Colosseum in Rome that began last fall has revealed centuries of graffiti. Removing the accumulated grime and calcification, experts discovered layers of inscriptions on the section of a wall seen here - designs in red and faded gray from antiquity, and lettering in black left by visitors in modern times. Built in the first century, the Colosseum may have held crowds as large as 50,000 people. Its numbered entrances and covered passages were designed to get spectators in and out quickly and to separate the high and mighty from the hoi polloi.

Down the Drain: Lost Items Reveal Roman Bath Activities   Live Science - January 11, 2013
Ever go swimming with rings on your fingers or hoops in your ears only to find your jewelry had vanished after your dip? If so, you've got something in common with ancient Romans. A new study of objects lost down the drains in the bathhouses from the Roman Empire reveals that people got up to all sorts of things in these gathering places. They bathed, of course, but they also adorned themselves with trinkets, snacked on finger foods and even did needlework.