Roman Ring and Gemstone Find

This just in:

A GOLD ring and a gemstone found in a field near Upton Grey date back to Roman times, an inquest in Basingstoke heard.

The ring dates back to the third century, and the gemstone from the first or second century. They were found on January 18 last year by Martin Barker, a plumber and amateur treasure hunter from Middlesex, using a metal detector.

Sarah Whitby, deputy coroner for North East Hampshire, ruled at an inquest into the find, held at the Civic Offices, that the items were treasure.

They will now be valued by experts at the British Museum and are thought to be worth a few hundred pounds.

Ralph Jackson, curator at the British Museum’s department of prehistory and Europe, prepared a report for the inquest having studied the items.

The inquest was told he believes the carnelian gemstone bears a picture of a maenad – a female worshipper of Dionysus – the ancient Greek god of wine.

The gemstone would probably have sat inside the ring, which had a gold content of around 94 to 97 per cent, and the ring may have been part of a larger ornamental brooch, the inquest heard.

Angus Janaway, who owns the land on which the treasure was found, attended the inquest. He told The Gazette: “I have known Martin for a long time and this could be the find of a life time. When I first saw it, it was covered in mud so I did not know what it was.”

After valuation, the ring will be offered for sale to the Hampshire Museums Service. The money will then be shared between the Crown, Mr Barker and Mr Janaway.

Rob Webley, Finds Liaison Officer for the Hampshire Museums Service, said the items could together be worth around £300 to £500.

He said: “It’s a special piece and it is something that the museum service would hope to acquire. I would hope that it would go on display at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke.”

via Gems find from Roman times | Basingstoke Gazette.

A Roman Chariot on the A24!

The incipit of a piece describing a discovery I’m very surprised we haven’t heard more about (this seems to be the only coverage!) … during highway construction, a number of burials — one of which apparently includes a Roman chariot — has been found near the Centocelle airport:

Un eccezionale ritrovamento archeologico è venuto alla luce nelle settimane scorse durante i lavori della complanare alla A-24 nel quartiere di La Rustica. Una biga romana, diversi siti funerari con tanto di monumenti, suppellettili e scheletri di cui uno probabilmente appartenente ad un nobile, poiché accanto è stato ritrovato uno scettro.

… not much detail after that, alas …

via Una biga romana sull’A24 – Abitare a Roma.

Snow Closes Sites in Rome

Chiusi per l’abbondante nevicata tutti i siti archeologici di Roma: Colosseo e area centrale dei Fori Imperiali, Foro Romano e Palatino, così come le Terme di Caracalla, le tombe sulla via Latina, fino all’Appia Antica con la Villa dei Quintili: “Abbiamo chiuso tutti i monumenti all’aperto in via preventiva – dichiara il soprintendente archeologico Angelo Bottini – prima che qualcuno possa farsi male. L’abbondante nevicata ha reso i percorsi molto scivolosi e rischiosi, così per l’incolumità pubblica abbiamo preferito chiudere in base alle segnalazioni dei rispettivi direttori delle aree. Ma la neve non ha creato nessun danno strutturale ai monumenti – continua Bottini – In base alle condizioni meteorologiche decideremo quando riaprirli. Se la neve smette, entro domani riapriremo”. Rimangono aperte nel frattempo tutte le sedi museali.


Here’s a photo from a slideshow in the Guardian:

from the Guardian

More: Snow in Rome | Guardian

CONF: Ontario Aegean Archaeology Day – Sat March 6th 2010 – Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Seen on Aegeanet (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):


The Archaeology Centre (University of Toronto) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) present a full day of lectures by nine archaeologists from Ontario universities, each presenting an illustrated lecture on the results of his/her recent field work in the Aegean.

Sponsored by the Hellenic Republic and the Greek Communities of Canada

Saturday March 6th 2010, 10:30-5:00
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre
FREE entrance with ROM membership or Museum admission

DIG: “Villa degli Antonini” Archaeological fieldschool, July 2010

Seen on Classics (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to take part in an archaeological fieldschool focusing on the remains of a large, 2nd century CE, probably imperial Roman villa in Genzano di Roma, about 20 miles south of the center of Rome next to the ancient Via Appia, July 4-31. The 2010 season aims to explore the bath complex of this structure, which has been only briefly studied to date. No previous archaeological experience is required. Students will experience all aspects of archaeological fieldwork and will receive 6 semester hours of credit through the Department of Classics & General Humanities at Montclair State University. Cost is $3,000 plus airfare and tuition, which varies depending on in-state or out-of-state status.

People who are interested may contact the Project Director, Dr. Deborah Chatr Aryamontri, aryamontrid AT, or me, rennert AT

Further information is available at

CONF: All Roads Lead From Rome

Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):

The Rutgers Classics Graduate Student Organization would like to invite you
to our conference, "All Roads Lead From Rome." It will be held on 9 April
2010 at the Busch Campus Center, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ. The
registration form is attached, and should be emailed in return to Liz Gloyn
(lizgloyn AT by March 12th. The conference is free, but we
would like an estimate for catering. People are welcome to attend without

Please visit our Facebook page:!/group.php?gid=147915551768&ref=ts

Registration begins at 9 AM, and the program is as follows:

Panel I (10:00-11:30 AM):
"The Iliad in the Original: Theorizing Classical Reception in Filmic and
Televisual Texts"
Vincent Tomasso, Stanford University

" ‘As You Wish’: The Reception of the Greek Romance in The Princess Bride"
Katharine Piller, University of California at Los Angeles

"The Hyper-Alexandrianism of Virgilian Centos and Girl Talk’s ‘Mashups’ "
Patrick Burns, Fordham University

Keynote Speaker (11:45-12:30 PM):
"Classics for Cool Kids: Popular and Unpopular Versions of Antiquity for
Sheila Murnaghan, University of Pennsylvania

Panel II (1:30-3:00 PM):
"Europa Barbarorum and the Rehabilitation of Historical Accuracy"
Michael Sullivan, Rutgers University

"Animaniacs and Ancient Greek Satyr Drama"
Sophie Klein, Boston University

"Transformation as Disease, Reincorporation as Cure: A Comparative
Case-Study of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses & C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy"
Midori E. Hartman, University of British Columbia

Panel III (3:15-4:45 PM):
"The Classics and the Pursuit of Legitimacy in Modern Medicine"
Jan Verstraete, University of Cincinnati, Montclair State University
Jorie Hofstra, Rutgers University

"Brought to You Live or in Living Color: The 1960′s Reinterpretation of a
1950′s Socrates Portrayed in Maxwell Anderson’s ‘Barefoot in Athens’ "
Charles Castle, Northwestern University

"Creating the Grotesque: Zombification in Lucan’s Bellum Civile, Shelley’s
Frankenstein, and Romero’s Day of the Dead"
Andrew McClellan, University of British Columbia

Hellenistic Tombs

Haven’t heard of any reports of this in any greater detail, alas:

Eight tombs dating to the Hellenist Period were partially revealed recently in the region of Gonous, Larissa prefecture, after flooding caused by heavy rainfall swept away a rural dirt road.

The Archaeological Service subsequently conducted an excavation, which brought to light the tombs which, according to initial assessment, date back to between the end of the 4th century BC and the beginning of the 3rd century BC.

Of the eight tombs, only one is intact.

via Hellenistic Period tombs unearthed by torrential rainfall | ANA.

On the Utility of Classics

Seen in the New York Times:

I couldn’t help noticing a theme running through the Book Review for Jan. 24. The lead review treated books by Garry Wills, whose primary academic training was in classics (Latin and Greek), and John Yoo, whose teachers at the Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania, where I teach Latin and Greek, remember him as a stellar high school Latin student. (He graduated the year before I arrived.) There was a letter to the editor from Ralph Hexter, the Hampshire College president, one of many classical scholars now running colleges or universities. Later in the issue, Steve Coates reviewed David Malouf’s “Ransom,” a novel about King Priam of Troy.

Can we draw the obvious conclusion? If you want to make legal arguments from the right, or analyze politics from the left, or lead a college, or simply find a good story, spending a little time with Latin and Greek can’t hurt.


via Letters – Ipso Facto –

Classics in Malta

Always nice to see this sort of thing, even if you thought one must have already existed:

A group of graduates and lecturers is planning to set up a Malta Classical Association with the aim of raising the profile of Classics in Malta.

The association will hold public lectures on aspects of the Classical world, offer basic courses in the Greek and Latin languages and hopes to produce plays from the great playwrights as well as recitations from selected poets. In fact, it is planned to launch the association this summer at an event comprising a play and a recital.

Its plans include launching a publication featuring essays and reflections by members of the public on the Classical world and its relevance today, as well as exercises in Latin and Greek prose and poetry. Another journal would be set up to offer academics a medium in which to publish their work.

The group is inviting anyone interested in the Classical world in joining the association to send an e-mail with their details to Joseph Anthony Debono at

No knowledge of Latin or Greek is necessary for membership.

via Reviving our roots | Times of Malta.

What’s (in) a Roman Urn?

Interesting find/followup:

THE Romans had something to declare at Exeter Airport – 2,000 years after they arrived in Devon.Passing through customs was a very old pot that the visitors had left behind during their stay in the county some time in the mid-70s AD.The black-burnished urn was dug up during an archaeological dig in Cullompton and since then everyone has been wondering what was in it.Rather than put a hand in and root about inside or hold it upside down and scatter the contents on the table, the pot was sent along to the airport which has a big X-ray machine usually devoted to ensuring airline passengers’ security.Staff from Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum – whose own X-ray gear was a bit small for the job – gathered round to see what would be revealed.And in the end it was a 2,000-year-old dead Roman. Or at least, the remains of a dead Roman, along with some strange curved objects that may or may not be pieces of jewellery or brooches.Jenny Durrant, the museum’s assistant curator of antiquities, said experts would now be sifting through the remains to learn more. “It was very unusual to find an urn like this intact. It could have been a Roman soldier or may be even a well-off local person.”The find is helping rewrite the history of Cullompton. A Roman fort at St Andrews Hill in the Mid-Devon town, which was abandoned around the mid-70s AD, was discovered in 1984.

via Urn X-ray picks up Roman remains | Western Morning News.