New issue of Pomerium!

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

salve ,

ti informiamo che è on-line il nuovo numero di Pomerivm, il notiziario trimestrale dell’Associazione culturale Pomerium.

Lo trovi all’indirizzo Internet

In questo numero:

– Roma, “la pittura di un impero” alle scuderie del Quirinale

Riflessioni intorno alla straordinaria eredità della pittura antica, di Anna Maria Cavanna

– La medicina a Roma di Marco Colombelli

– Medea greca VS Medea romana

Variazioni sul finale, di Carolina Patierno

… e, come sempre, rubriche, calendario delle mostre, news, ecc.

Buona lettura!

Associazione Pomerium

Medusa from Caesarea

A unique archaeological exhibition has opened in Caesarea harbor: for the first time the general public can see an extraordinary 1,700 year old sarcophagus cover that is one of the most impressive ever discovered in Caesarea.

The cover, which weighs more than 4 tons, is decorated with snake-haired medusa heads and joyful and sad-faced masks. These were taken from the world of the ancient theater where two kinds of plays were customarily presented: comedy and tragedy. The meaning of the Greek word medusa is “guard or sentry”; whoever looked directly at the mythological medusa would be turned to stone immediately. In antiquity they used to produce medusa reliefs on, among other things, tombs and various shields, in the hope that this would ward off the threat.

Interment in large stone coffins (sarcophagi) was widespread in the Mediterranean basin in the second to fifth centuries CE. This funerary custom was first practiced among pagans and was later also adopted by Jews, Christians and Samaritans. The word sarcophagus is Greek in origin, meaning “flesh-eating”. The sarcophagus has two parts: a rectangular chest-like receptacle in which the deceased was placed and a lid. The sarcophagi were interred inside burial structures (mausoleum; pl. mausolea) or in rock-hewn burial caves. The residents of ancient Caesarea were buried in cemeteries that were located in regions outside the built-up area of the city.

The impressive sarcophagus cover, which was probably used in the burial of one of Caesarea’s wealthiest denizens in the Roman period, is one of an assortment of unique stone items that were exposed in archaeological excavations and by other means in Caesarea. The items constitute living and tangible evidence of the lives of the rich in Caesarea, at a time when the city was a vibrant Roman provincial capital.

More:  Medusas in Caesarea Harbor. (likely won’t last long; some photos in a zip file available there too)

A Roman Burial From Weston

From the BBC … I don’t think we mentioned its original discovery:

A Roman skeleton, which was found in Weston-super-Mare last autumn, has been dated by archaeological experts.

The find at Weston College is described as an adult male of slender build, aged between 36 and 45 and of “smaller stature than the Roman average”.

It was also revealed that the skeleton was complete and well-preserved for a set of 1,800-year-old bones.

Results also indicate the life of this particular Roman inhabitant of Weston was defined by disease and hard labour.

Dr Malin Holst who conducted the analysis said: “The skeleton showed evidence of a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions, some of which are rarely observed in archaeological skeletons.

“There were congenital anomalies relating to early foetal development including an additional vertebra, unusually shaped vertebrae, additional ribs and shortened femoral necks.

“Findings also confirmed the man also suffered from ill health during later adulthood – ailments included gallstones, chronic sinusitis, dental decay and severe abscesses and periodontal disease.”

‘Tough life’

The man clearly had a very tough life of hard labour with the analysis also revealing degeneration of the spinal and hips joints, osteoarthritis, spinal lesions and inflammation of the shins amongst others.

In addition to the skeleton, pottery, animal bone, shellfish, coins and metal objects were also found last September.

Analysis of these confirm that the building was used as a dwelling and occupied for a considerable period of time between the 2nd to 4th Centuries AD.

All of the objects were unearthed at the site of the proposed extension to the college’s Hans Price building during an archaeological dig by the Avon Archaeological Unit.

A full publication of the excavation results is expected in 2011.

via Weston skeleton gives up secrets | BBC.

… accounts of the original discovery: