Hellenistic Walls of Kerkenez Revealed

One that was languishing in my email box … from Today’s Zaman:

The excavation of the Kerkenez ruins in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat have revealed the original city walls dating back to the fourth century B.C.

The excavation was carried out due to support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Yozgat Museum Office. The excavation, which has been ongoing for 19 years, is being conducted by a team headed by Assistant Professor Abdülkadir Baran this year. Archaeologist Nil Dirlik stated that the Kerkenez ruins, located five kilometers away from the village of Şahmuratlı in the district of Sorgun, are among the most prominent ancient centers in Turkey.

She further stated that the excavation work will continue in the future, and next year they will host tourist groups, a move that is expected to make a big contribution to the economy of Yozgat as well as that of Turkey.

Residents of the village say they have a good relationship with the excavation team, which provides them with jobs and informs them about the importance of the excavation.

Zominthos Update

Despite ANSA‘s headline, this is a dig that has been going on for quite a few years:

An accidental meeting in 1982 between a well-known Greek archaeologist, Yannis Sakellarakis, and a shepherd from Crete has led to an archaeological discovery of great importance; Zominthos, a settlement from the Minoan era on the plain by the same name, 1.187 metres above the sea. The settlement is at the feet of the highest mountain in Crete, Mount Psiloritis, eight kilometres from the village of Anogia along the road which led from Knossos to Ideon Andron, the cave where Zeus was born according to Greek mythology.

The shepherd, who lived in Anogia, invited the archaeologist who was working at an excavation site nearby to visit the area of Zominthos. The name was enough for an expert like Sakellarakis to suspect that something could be found in that area. Once he travelled to Zominthos the following day, he realized he was standing in front of a settlement from the Minoan era hiding behind the thick vegetation. A year later, in the summer of 1983, Sakellaris with colleague and partner Efi Sapouna Sakellaraki started excavations until 1990. They resumed them in 2004 and they are ongoing.

In the past few years, the remains of an impressive and luxurious building from 3,500 years ago has seen the light. The building has two or three floors and some 80 rooms including workshops and storage rooms over a surface of 1,360 square metres and it is in excellent state. Sapouna-Sakellaraki told To Vima weekly that it is the first Minoan mountain settlement built in the same period as the Palace of Knossos. The archaeologist also said this is the largest summer residence found so far from the Minoan era.

The structure of the building shows that it was not a seasonal house for shepherds but a luxury residence for local leaders. The building was a great administrative centre and was built with large, elongated stones while walls had been painted in different colours as shown by the building’s remains. Experts believe the palace was destroyed by a violent earthquake.

Research so far has shown that three time periods emerge from the remains of the Palace of Zominthos – its first construction in 1900 BC, the second around 1600 BC at the height of its prosperity, when it was presumably destroyed by an earthquake and around 1400 BC when another building was built nearby.

Archaeological findings in Zominthos are several including signets with scorpions or birds and ornamental objects in copper and ivory. Two copper statues were also found, “among the most beautiful from the most prosperous Minoan period”, said the archaeologist, who believes these prove the area was also a place of worship. Excavations have in fact unearthed among other things a metallic cylinder with snakes which could have been the sceptre of a priest and a copper cup.

Of course, this dig is also the subject of one of Archaeology Magazine’s Interactive Digs … plenty of material there to occupy your time: Interactive Dig Crete: Zominthos Project

Mazotos Shipwreck

This is one which I tried to  report about a year ago (when it was originally discovered) but the link went kablooey on me … so technically this is an update of something which you might have seen in Explorator last year, but I couldn’t get it into rogueclassicism, so we have a bit of a lacuna in the reportage … in any event, from the Cyprus Mail:

LATEST underwater excavations on the 2,350-year-old Mazotos shipwreck have established that the keel, and at least 15 metres of the ancient vessel’s planking has been preserved, the Antiquities Department said yesterday.

“This is of prime importance, as it places this wreck among the very few in the Mediterranean that can provide information on shipbuilding during the Classical period,” an announcement said.

It also said that during this year’s excavations archaeologists were also able to shed some new light on trade in antiquity, another important domain of maritime archaeology.

“Together with the Chian wine amphorae, the ship’s main cargo, a secondary type was also transported on the Mazotos ship: wine jugs, which were stowed among the amphorae found in the aft part of the hold. Furthermore, small fine ware pottery was recovered from the stern cabin, which was also partly excavated,” the department said.

It added that the vessels must have belonged to the crew or the passengers. One of them bears two inscribed letters, most probably the initials of someone’s name, it said.

The Mazotos shipwreck, some 14 nautical miles southwest of Larnaca, is possibly the largest ancient commercial shipwreck located in open Cypriot waters. It sank in 350 BC en route from the Greek island of Chios carrying around 1,000 urns filled with wine said to have been the most expensive Greek wine of the Classical period. Today the wreck is buried 45 metres below sea level and is the oldest shipwreck found off the coast of the island to date. The Kyrenia II shipwreck, found 50 years ago, dates back to 300 BC.

Underwater excavations on the wreck began in November 2007 after the ship was discovered by divers a year earlier.

This year’s excavations were conducted by the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, under the direction of Dr Stella Demesticha, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and the THETIS Foundation.

All materials recovered were transported to the dedicated lab for underwater finds in the Archaeological Museum of Larnaca, where they will remain for desalination and conservation, both undertaken by the Department of Antiquities.

Fifteen graduate and postgraduate students from the University of Cyprus took part in the project, together with 45 maritime archaeologists and divers from Cyprus and 11 other countries: Greece, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Croatia, Finland, Australia and USA.

… despite my intro, for some background:

… and from us way back in 2008:

Nuntii Latini Graecique

From YLE (October 1):

Coetus Nationum Unitarum

Die Martis (25.9.) coetus generalis Nationum Unitarum in urbe New York sessionem inauguralem habuit. Hoc in conventu Barack Obama, praesidens Civitatum Americae Unitarum, orationem fecit, qua cum alias res attigit tum Iranianos hortatus est, ne armis nuclearibus fabricandis operam darent.

“Americani”, inquit, “ad omnia facienda parati sunt, ut prohibeant, ne Irania arma atomica sibi comparet. Idem praemonuit Iranianis spatium temporis infinitum non datum iri ad programma nucleare deponendum.”

… also from YLE on October 1: De comitiis Belorussiae …Populatio piscium deminuetur … De ballaenis captandis … Hispania viatoribus gaudet…Memoria Americi Vespucci … Brad de Veluwe equus victor

From YLE (October 5):

Alveus fluminis in Marte repertus

Vehiculum, quod mense Augusto in Martem descendit, glaream et lapides invenit, quae pristinum flumen in alveo suo portavit. Lapides rotundati ostendunt aquam e longinquo magna vi fluxisse. Photographemata illius alvei die quinto decimo mensis Septembris in Terram missa sunt.

Neque investigatoribus novum est, quod aqua in Marte olim exstitit, sed nullus fluminis alveus antea repertus est. Propositum maximi momenti est carbonem et signa de condicionibus vitae microbiorum opportunis quaerere, an in Marte umquam fuerint aut adhuc sint.

… more from YLE on October 5: Cubicularius Papae ante iudices … Impetus cardiaci frigore augentur … Inopia laboris in Eurozona maxima

… and on the Nuntii Graeci side:

Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews

  • 2012.10.09:  Heather Jackson, John Tidmarsh, Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates, volume 3: the pottery. Mediterranean archaeology supplement, 7.
  • 2012.10.08:  Michael Decker, Tilling the Hateful Earth: Agricultural Production and Trade in the Late Antique East. Oxford studies in Byzantium.
  • 2012.10.07:  Joseph Roisman, Ancient Greece from Homer to Alexander: the Evidence (translations by J. C. Yardley). Blackwell sourcebooks in ancient history.
  • 2012.10.06:  Enzo Lippolis, Giorgio Rocco, Archeologia greca: cultura, società, politica e produzione. Sintesi.
  • 2012.10.05:  Patrizia Arena, Feste e rituali a Roma: il principe incontra il popolo nel Circo Massimo. Documenti e studi, 45.
  • 2012.10.04:  Richmond Lattimore, Richard Martin, The Iliad of Homer (new introduction and notes by Richard Martin; first published 1951).
  • 2012.10.03:  Evan Hayes, Stephen Nimis, Plutarch’s Dialogue on Love: An Intermediate Greek Reader.
  • 2012.10.02:  Javier Martínez, Mundus vult decipi: estudios interdisciplinares sobre falsificación textual y literaria.
  • 2012.09.60:  Claudio De Stefani, Galeni, De differentiis febrium libri duo arabice conversi. Altera, 1.

Classical Words of the Day


This Day in Ancient History: nonas octobres

nonas octobres

  • rites in honour of Jupiter Fulgur — the deity who was responsible for daytime lightning was worshipped at a shrine in the Campus Martius
  • rites in honour of Juno Quiritis — a divinity possibly originally from Falerii and brought to Rome by evocatio in 241 B.C. was also worshipped at a shrine in the Campus Martius
  • ludi Augustales scaenici (day 3 — from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.)
  • ludi Augustales scaenici (day 5 — from 19-23 A.D.)
  • 15 B.C. — birth of Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus “Minor”), son of the future emperor Tiberius and Vipsania Agrippina
  • 1st century A.D. (?) — martyrdom of Sergius and Bacchus … and Apuleius