Roman pots found off Italy’s coast

Not sure how you stumble underwater but …

Researchers have stumbled upon a collection of rare Roman pots while scouring ship wrecks off the Italian coast of Capo Palinuro, near Policastro.

The British team from the Aberdeen-based Hallin Marine International energy company found hundreds of ancient pots 1,640ft under the sea while trawling modern wrecks for radioactive materials.

Five of the 2,000 year-old vessels were recovered intact and taken to an archaeology museum in the northern Italian city of Paestum, mailonline reported.

“They would have probably been loaded on some kind of merchant ship which sank all those years ago,” said team supervisor Dougie Combe.

“It was a big surprise when we came across the pots as we were looking for modern wrecks from the last 20 years or so,” he added.

“We managed to get five up altogether, but there must have been hundreds of them there.”

via Roman pots found off Italy’s coast | Press TV.

More Coverage:

Harpocrates in ‘Devotion and Ritual’ Exhibition

Statuette en argent représentant Harpocrate, é...
Image via Wikipedia

Nice little feature, but lacking a photo (the one accompanying this post is not the one mentioned in the article):

Today, the Keith and Zara Joseph Collection goes on public display for the first time in the Potter Museum’s classic and archaeology gallery as part of an exhibition called Devotion and Ritual.

Before the exhibition’s opening its curator, Andrew Jamieson, showed some of the works that were, at that point, still stacked away in storage. He donned white gloves, opened the lid of an ordinary-looking box and from it gently removed a bronze statuette of Harpocrates from Alexandria, dated from around the 1st century BC.

“For me this is magnificent,” says Jamieson, “a wonderful example of a Roman bronze miniature statuette. It all comes together in a powerful way to make this a real standout example of Roman culture.

“It portrays all the hallmarks of Roman civilisation.”

Harpocrates was the Greek and Roman god of silence and secrecy but he originated with the Egyptians. After the Greeks conquered Egypt under Alexander the Great, the Greeks merged the Egyptian sun god Horus into their own god, who became known as Harpocrates.

Statuettes of Harpocrates were in demand throughout the Roman Empire when mystery cults and oriental religions became increasingly popular. Because of this popularity, images of Harpocrates were manufactured and mass produced. They were made either from inexpensive mould-made terracotta, suitable for house shrines, or from bronze, becoming in-demand cabinet pieces for wealthy connoisseurs.

“Unlike terracotta, works in bronze were considered luxury arts and they would have been treasured by their wealthy owners,” says Jamieson. “The small bronze statuette of Harpocrates was probably intended for personal use. Very high prices were paid for good specimens, especially when they were the work of well-known craftsmen. The fact precious objects were hoarded by the Roman elite accounts for their survival, in something like their original condition.”

According to Jamieson, in Egyptian representations of Harpocrates the god is often presented as a naked boy with his finger on or near his mouth, which indicates childhood. But the Greeks and Romans misunderstood this gesture and made Harpocrates the god of silence and secrecy.

Jamieson points out that Harpocrates is depicted as the child of the Egyptian gods Isis and Horus. Harpocrates is wearing a crown: the crown of the unification of upper and lower Egypt. In his left hand is a cornucopia, a symbol of abundance and plenty. His right hand is raised, with the finger pointing towards his cheek or lips.

“During the classical period and into ancient Rome, the deity of Harpocrates enjoyed a resurgence of interest, along with the cult of Isis,” says Jamieson. “So this is a really wonderful work in that we can learn so much about that time from the one figure.”

via Public Works: Bronze statuette of Harpocrates | The Australian.

Walkers Damaging Hadrian’s Wall

The incipit of an item at the BBC:

National Trails, which manages the 84-mile walking route that follows the Roman wall, has raised concerns about damage to the World Heritage Site.

The organisation said too many people were walking on the wall while some had broken off masonry as souvenirs.

However, it stressed that the majority of visitors treated the wall with respect.

David McGlade, Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trial Manager, said people should enjoy their visit, but also help look after the site.

He said: “Unfortunately there are still people who want to walk on top of the wall.

“They’re probably thinking in their own mind that they are walking in the steps of the Romans, but we would prefer they didn’t do that.”

A few people have been seen breaking pieces of the wall, he added.

“That’s really strictly against the law. It’s Hadrian’s Wall – it’s a scheduled ancient monument and that is a reportable offence.”

via BBC News – Walkers urged not to damage Hadrian’s Wall.

Citanda: Attendance at Greek Museums Way UP

An excerpt:

Here is the list of the 10 most visited sites in Greece in 2009:

1. Athens Acropolis 1,087,889 visitors +1.6%

2. Knossos (Crete) 588,996 -3.5%

3. Lindos Acropolis 444,921 -2.5%

4. Olympia (Peloponnese) 328,697 -7.6%

5. Epidaurus (Peloponnese) 263,000 -9.3%

6. Mycenae (Peloponnese) 238,615 -17.6%

7. Delphi (central Greece) 157,270 -23.6%

8. Sounion (Attica) 144,101 -6%

9. Camiros (Rhodes) 126,400 -1.9%

10. Corinth (Peloponnese) 113,602 -3.8%

Greece museum visitors increase by 40 percent | AFP.