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.

Cashing in on Tios’ Theatre?

Location map for Zonguldak.
Image via Wikipedia

[We’re testing the utility of Zemanta with this post]

An ancient theater, uncovered through archeological excavations in the Black Sea region’s Zonguldak province, is hoped to increase tourism to the area.

Turkey’s Black Sea region is home to various shades and tones of the color green and attracts travelers with its archeological wonders.

However, it has only one ancient theater in the ancient city of Tios in the northern province of Zonguldak. The ancient city of Tios, located in Filyos, in Zonguldak’s Çaycuma district, is believed to have been founded by Miletians in the seventh century B.C.

Many historians believe the ancient site was named after a priest named Tios. However, Strabon indicates that this city was inhabited by a tribe named Kaukan and was called Tieion. The region was inhabited throughout the centuries by Persians, Romans, the Genoese and the Ottomans.There is little information about the archaeological history of the city both in ancient records and in the contemporary body of archaeological research. The visible remains of the city are the coastal defense walls, the aqueduct, the amphitheater, the defense tower and the port with its breakwater.

Archeologist Sümer Atasoy said an ancient theater in Filyos will be uncovered as a result of archeological excavation. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Atasoy noted that an excavation team comprising six faculty members, three restoration architects, two ceramics experts, two epigraphy experts, two geophysicists and 20 students from Trakya University’s department of archeology, directed by Professor Atasoy, is carrying out the archeological studies in Tios. The excavation is being undertaken by Atasoy at the request of Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay. Following a survey of the area and geo-radar and geo-electric studies, this year’s excavations will focus on the castle, amphitheater and bath with an eye to reveal the architectural components of the temple and bath.

After the team completes its excavation, the ancient theater will be restored, said Atasoy, who is also a lecturer in Trakya University’s department of archeology.

Furthermore, an old health center in the town will be transformed into a small house where the excavation team will stay, hold meetings and carry out its work. “When we conduct our excavation at the ancient theater, some 25 students and 30 others will have many responsibilities. In earlier times, we generally had to rent a building, which was very expensive for us. We expect to carry out more excavations, involving many archeologists, in the years to come. Therefore, building a house will be to our advantage,” Atasoy said.

The first archaeological excavation in Tios began in 2006. Shreds of pottery recovered from the excavation site which dates back to the seventh century B.C. will be displayed in a museum in Ereğli once the scientific studies involving them are concluded.

The acropolis of the ancient city is located immediately to the east of the present day Filyos on a hill with a steep slope. The original architectural form of the defensive wall located on the acropolis will be revealed after research on its foundation is completed. Another ruin in the acropolis is a partially destroyed stone building.

Excavations in the ancient city of Tios has been continuing and hope to illuminate the history of the Black Sea region and Asia.

via Black Sea’s single ancient theater to draw in tourism | Today’s Zaman.

Pondering Marathon Origins

The incipit:

If Monday’s famed 26.2-mile Boston Marathon seems brutal, consider the true plight of Pheidippides, the legendary messenger whose reputed exploits and legacy have been traced from the plains of Greece to Hopkinton’s Town Common.

Entering the popular imagination centuries afterward through a series of accounts, Pheidippides supposedly ran roughly 25 miles to spread word of a historic and decisive Athenian upset of Persian forces in 490 B.C., collapsing and dying in the fledgling city-state after delivering his message.

But drawing on the work of the chronicler Herodotus, who interviewed surviving Battle of Marathon soldiers and their sons and never mentioned the messenger run, Columbia University professor Richard Billows believes Pheidippides really ran 140 miles over two days to request pre-battle Spartan help, then ran back.

“He was not the kind of guy who would keel over after a mere 26 miles,” said Billows, who straightens students out each fall in his class on ancient Greece. “What actually happened is much more impressive.”

But for whatever reason an inadvertent conflation of events, a deliberate romanticizing of history the image of Pheidippides’ noble victory run has become inextricably intertwined with marathoning and with a battle that had nothing less at stake than the future of Western civilization.

Still outmatched two-to-one after Persian leaders split their forces, the bronze-clad Greeks used a combination of superior equipment, timing and strategy to defeat their foes.

After the Athenians won at Marathon, they quickly marched 25 miles to protect Athens itself from a separate Persian invasion from the sea. The Persians took one look and never bothered to land.

The Persians had not suffered a serious loss leading up to the fight, emptying villages of vanquished enemies and resettling them within the empire. In his coming book, “Marathon: How One Battle Changed Western Civilization,” Billows describes the consequences had that record remained intact. […]

via The original marathon and its connection to Hopkinton | The MetroWest Daily News.

For those of you wondering, there is definitely some confusion of sources going on, it seems … ages ago we had a discussion on the Classics list on this very matter

Also Seen: Ancient Facebook?

The incipit of an item in the Courier Mail:

FACEBOOK and Twitter may have a healing power once harnessed by ancient Greek philosophers, according to a new Queensland study.

PhD student Theresa Sauter, from the Queensland University of Technology, is examining how social-networking websites help people form their own identity.

“Social-networking sites, blogs, online discussion forums and online journals represent modern arenas for individuals to write themselves into being,” Ms Sauter said.

“A lot of people see social networking as a new way for people to interact but I’m interested in examining it as a way to form an identity and understand ourselves.”

Ms Sauter’s research will focus on the history and benefits of writing about oneself.

“The ancient Greek philosophers used a reflective notebook to write down what they had read and their thoughts on it,” she said.

via Facebook a new-age take on ancient lore | Courier Mail.

Really? Can’t recall a mention of a ‘reflective notebook’ myself …