Unlooted Tomb from Aigai/Vergina

I was hoping we’d hear more about this find … from eKathimerini:

An ancient tomb along with burial offerings, allegedly belonging to a man who died around the time of Alexander the Great, has been unearthed at the ancient city of Aigai, in northern Greece.

The archaeologist in charge of the excavation at Aigai, Aggeliki Kottaridi, reported the discovery with a message on her Facebook page. She said that the box-shaped Macedonian tomb had not been looted.

“[This is] a pleasant exception since the Aigai necropolis was brutally looted by Gallic mercenaries of Pyrrhus in 276 BC and we rarely have the chance to find undisturbed burials,” she said.

Kottaridi also posted two images from the tomb, one of them depicting a decorated vessel used to mix wine and water at the symposia.

The photo that accompanies the piece (and is also on a Greek Reporter version) is somewhat curious:

Aggeliki Kottaridi photo (?)

Aggeliki Kottaridi photo (?)

There was some discussion on the Classics list — I’m not sure how serious — that this was a helmet (presumably some sort of pilos type) but this seems to be the gold-plated vessel referred to in the article (that would be an awfully uncomfortable chin strap!). But why is it laying on the floor like this (if unlooted)?

‘Antique’ Roman Glass (and Persian Items) in a Fifth Century Japanese Tomb!

Very interesting item from Asahi Shimbun:

A glass dish unearthed from a burial mound here is the first of its kind confirmed to have come to Japan from the Roman Empire, a research team said.

A round cut glass bowl, discovered with the glass plate, was found to have originated in Sassanid Persia (226-651), the researchers said.

The dish and bowl were retrieved together from the No. 126 tumulus of the Niizawa Senzuka cluster of ancient graves, a national historic site. The No. 126 tumulus dates back to the late fifth century.

The researchers’ scientific studies show that fifth-century Japan imported glasswork, and that there was a wide range of trade between the East and the West.

“The dish was likely produced around the Mediterranean Sea and then transferred to Sassanid Persia,” said team leader Yoshinari Abe, an assistant professor of analytical chemistry at the Tokyo University of Science. “After it was painted there, the plate was probably taken to Japan.”

According to the team’s analysis, the chemical composition of the clear dark blue dish is almost identical to glasswork unearthed in the area of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 395).

Measuring 14.1 to 14.5 centimeters in diameter, the flat, raised dish is believed to have been created in the second century at the latest.

The dish has been designated a national important cultural property and is currently owned by the Tokyo National Museum.

The scientists used a special fluorescence X-ray device to analyze chemical elements in glass powder from the dish.

The chemical compositions of natron, a type of sodium mineral, as well as sand made of silica and lime, resemble those typically found in Mediterranean glasswork produced in the Roman Empire and the following Eastern Roman Empire period.

The team also conducted a fluorescence X-ray test on the dish using a high-energy radiation beam at the Spring 8 large synchrotron radiation facility in Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture. The test revealed antimony, a metallic element believed to be used in Rome until the second century.

The results mean that it took centuries for the dish to arrive in Japan and be buried in the grave after it was produced in Rome.

Abe and his colleagues also revealed that the chemical composition of the cut glass bowl is the same as that of glass fragments unearthed from the remains of a palace in the ancient Persian capital of Ctesiphon. The bowl is 8 cm in diameter, 7 cm tall and narrower in the upper part.

“Japan aggressively traded with other countries in the fifth century, and (the latest findings) show various elements were entering Japan at the time,” said Takashi Taniichi, a Silk Road archaeology professor at Sanyo Gakuen University. “Because the glass dish may have been transported via Central Asia, it is no wonder that there was a time lag (between its production and arrival in Japan).”

The team’s research results will be presented at a conference of the Association for Glass Art Studies, Japan, scheduled for Nov. 15 at the Tokyo University of Science in Shinjuku Ward.

The dish and bowl are on display at the Tokyo National Museum until Dec. 7.

Mycenean Finds from Bodrum

From Hurriyet:

New artifacts have been found during excavations in Bodrum’s Ortakent and Gümüşlük neighborhoods. The artifacts will shed light on the history of Bodrum Peninsula, according to officials.

The Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum Director Emel Özkan said that they had discovered 49 artifacts from the Mycenean era.

“The number of Mycenean artifacts increased to 248 with these ones. This made our museum the richest one in terms of Mycenean artifacts among the Turkish museums,” she said.

Özkan said that the artifacts, which date back to 3,500 years ago, were very important for Anatolian history, adding, “The amphora and gifts found in this excavation show us that the necropolis area dates back to early bronze age. It was one the early era settlements in the western Anatolian.”

Özkan said skeletons found in the excavations were being examined by anthropologists and the artifacts would be displayed.

The photo that accompanies the piece … I can’t decide if that thing in the middle is a hedgehog or a boar:

 

Hurriyet Photo

Hurriyet Photo

Interesting ‘Unknown Divinity’ from Turkey

From a WWU Münster press release:

Münster archaeologists excavated a unique Roman relief depicting an unknown god in an ancient sanctuary in Turkey. According to a first assessment, the one and a half metre (five feet) high basalt stele which was used as a buttress in the wall of a monastery shows a fertility or vegetation god, as classical scholar and excavation director Prof. Dr. Engelbert Winter and archaeologist Dr. Michael Blömer of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” said after their return from the sacred site of the god Jupiter Dolichenus close to the ancient city of Doliche in Southeast Turkey. “The image is remarkably well preserved. It provides valuable insights into the beliefs of the Romans and into the continued existence of ancient Near Eastern traditions. However, extensive research is necessary before we will be able to accurately identify the deity.”

In the field season 2014, the 60-strong excavation team uncovered finds from all periods of the 2,000-year history of the cult site, such as the thick enclosing wall of the first Iron Age sanctuary or the foundations of the main Roman temple of the god Jupiter Dolichenus, who became one of the most important deities of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century A.D. His sanctuary is situated close to the town of Gaziantep on the 1,200 metres (3,900 feet) high mountain of Dülük Baba Tepesi. The archaeologists found the stele in the remains of the Christian monastery, which was erected on the site of the ancient sanctuary in the Early Middle Ages.

Archaeologist Blömer described the depiction: “The basalt stele shows a deity growing from a chalice of leaves. Its long stem rises from a cone that is ornamented with astral symbols. From the sides of the cone grow a long horn and a tree, which the deity clasps with his right hand. The pictorial elements suggest that a fertility god is depicted.” There are striking iconographic details such as the composition of the beard or the posture of the arms, which point to Iron Age depictions from the early 1st millennium B.C.

The new find, thus, provides information about a key question of the Cluster of Excellence’s research project B2-20, the question of the continuity of local religious beliefs. According to Prof. Winter, “The stele provides information on how ancient oriental traditions survived the epochs from the Iron Age to the age of the Romans.”

[…]

Here’s a photo:

Peter Jülich for WWUM

Peter Jülich for WWUM

RepiTitiationes ~ 11/11-12/14

RepiTitiationes ~ 11/10/14

RepiTitiationes 11/09/14