Roman Villa in Spain Threatened

From Euro Weekly:

A UNIQUE Roman villa dating back 17 centuries is threatened by the AVE High Speed Train in Barcelona.

Archaeologists and residents in La Sagrera are protesting in support of the only Roman villa found in Barcelona which was uncovered a month ago and could end up as little more than a reconstructed mosaic in a museum if plans for the AVE go ahead.

Some 1,000 metres of walls and paving have been found of a villa believed to have been a villa dedicated to farming, with an area for the noble residents from the ancient Barcino.

A mosaic has been found, which will be conserved and part of which has already been removed, but locals want the findings to remain in their original site. There were many villas around Barcino but most were covered by the district of Sant Andreu and La Meridiana.

Experts believe an in depth study should be carried out, but Barcelona City Hall claims the site has no value and has given the go-ahead for it to be taken to pieces. The opposition will propose that it be kept in its original location with the AVE tracks being completed on either side of it.

I don’t think we had any coverage of its initial discovery in rogueclassicism a few weeks ago … an excerpt of an item in English at Urban Habitat gives some details about the find:

[…] Building work on the access points to the AVE (new high-speed) railway station have led to the discovery of the remains of a Roman villa in the area of the Pont del Treball Digne, in the La Sagrera neighbourhood.

So far, an area of approximately 1,100 m2 has been identified, which extends beyond the limits of the work area and, from what has been discovered up to now, it appears to have been Roman villa with baths, divided into three large areas.

The northern section of the site reveals a series of rooms lined up one after the other and the southern area features another set of chambers, this time arranged in two perpendicular corridors,with an area for baths.

The area between these two blocks of rooms might have been an open space or atrium, around which the other buildings of the urban part of the villa would have been distributed.

Although no specific information can be given on the founding of the villa, some ceramic pieces from the high Imperial period have been recovered, indicating it might have been in use up to the 4th and 5th centuries at the least.

The excavations confirm the complex had gone through many alterations during its lifetime.

As regards the baths area, a cold water pool has been identified, and the hypocaust of what must have been the hot water pool.

The most interesting find in the Roman villa, its mosaics, will soon be removed from the ground and moved to the MUHBA’s archaeology laboratory, where they will be cleaned and treated for subsequent study. […]

… a video at El Periodico (and elsewhere) gives a really good idea of the size of this villa (it’s pretty large) …. can’t find any images of any mosaics therefrom.

Interview With Jonathan Shay

From the Ithacan:

Jonathan Shay, one of this year’s First-Year Experience featured speakers, linked classical literature and war during his campus lecture Sept. 21.

Shay discussed David Malouf’s novel “Ransom,” the First-Year Reading Initiative book, and Homer’s epic work, “The Iliad.”

Shay worked for 20 years in the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston as a staff psychiatrist. He retired in 2008 to devote his time to preventive psychiatry in the military.

He was awarded a $500,000 fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, nicknamed the “genius grant.” Shay has been a MacArthur Fellow since 2008.

Chief Copy Editor Marissa Smith spoke with Shay about his work and future endeavors.

Marissa Smith: Why is it important for students at Ithaca College to continue studying works such as the Iliad?

Jonathan Shay: It’s a general fact about fictions — what Aristotle would have called poetry — that fictions are experiments with the moral materials of a place and a time. And if the experiments are honestly done, we always learn something of value from them. Now Homer does not cook the books on the nature of war, especially in “The Iliad.” But the Iliad really tells the truth about war and what matters in the hearts of the people in it. And so as long as we collectively pursue this practice that we call war — and I tell every audience including uniformed audiences — the primary prevention of combat trauma is the elimination of the human practice of war.

MS: Did your works “Achilles in Vietnam” and “Odysseus in America” stem from mythology or psychology?

JS: Both books are really strongly about the social and ethical dimension of military forces and of being at war with a human enemy. The thing that makes the enemy so dangerous is that the enemy has all the same virtues that we have. They’re intelligent, they’re observant, they’re innovative, they’re courageous, they’re self-sacrificing, they’re loyal to their friends, they endure all kinds of privations. It’s all of those virtues that are the same ones that we applaud in ourselves. The most disastrous mistake that anybody can make is to regard the enemy as mere inanimate matter, like the rock that has to be blasted and pushed out of the way to get at a vein of copper ore.

MS: Were you surprised to be awarded the MacArthur Grant?

JS: Oh, of course I was surprised. For a bunch of years I have been with my tongue slightly in my cheek describing myself as an unlicensed philosopher. And it’s possible that they took that more seriously because the only demographic, the only category that they will give fellowships to in old age is philosophers. So I think they must have pulled my tongue out of my cheek long enough to decide that they wanted to do that. It’s terrific.

MS: What do you hope audiences walk away with from your speeches?

JS: That the thing that matters most in the heart of a soldier is the social and ethical characteristics of his own forces. Yet, the enemy matters, but in the end, the enemy can’t do as much harm to the mind and the spirit as his own forces. When I say my mission is the prevention of psychological and moral injury, that little twist at the end — moral injury, what is that? It’s what happens when there is a betrayal of what’s right and that’s squarely in the culture. A betrayal of what’s right by someone who holds legitimate authority.

I personally think Achilles in Vietnam is one of those books which is a ‘must read’ in conjunction with the Iliad — especially for those who ‘don’t get any connection’ with the modern world.

National Archaeology Day Coming Up

A letter from the AIA’s Lauren Fragoza:

National Archaeology Day Celebrations

22 October 2011- The Archaeological Institute of America and several leading archaeological organizations are hosting events in over 100 cities across the United States and Canada for people of all ages and interests as part of the first annual National Archaeology Day on October 22.

Whether it is a family-friendly archaeology fair, a guided tour of a local archaeological site, a simulated dig, a lecture, or a classroom visit from an archaeologist, interactive, hands-on programs will provide visitors with the chance to indulge their inner Indiana Jones.

Each year thousands of people learn about the latest archaeological discoveries and share in the excitement of uncovering and rewriting history through various AIA outreach activities, publications, and websites. National Archaeology Day is a chance for archaeology enthusiasts to celebrate these discoveries and it is an opportunity for archaeological organizations to promote resources and events to ensure that people stay informed and connected throughout the year

The AIA, a nonprofit group founded in 1879, is North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. It has nearly 250,000 members from all walks of life, and this diverse group is united by a shared passion for archaeology and its role in furthering human knowledge.

Check out the calendar of events to find a program near you and keep an eye on our blog to learn about new developments and for special updates in anticipation of this exciting event. For more information you can visit the AIA website at, or contact the AIA at 617-353-9361 or

Thank you,

Lauren Fragoza
Education Assistant
Archaeological Institute of America

A quick glance at the links to branches of the AIA in a 100 or so km radius of me shows plenty of lectures of Classical archaeology interest … worth a look!

Lost City in the Dardanelles?

This one is really difficult to piece together as much seems to have been lost in translation and/or editing. Here are two versions of the same story (tip o’ the pileus to Explorator reader Richard Griffiths for these) … first, from National Turk:

A group of scientists and archeologists from Canakkale (Dardanelles) University have found traces of a lost city, older than famed Troy, now buried under the waters of Dardanelles strait.

Led by associate professor Rüstem Aslan, the archeology team made a surface survey in the vicinity of Erenkoy, Canakkale on the shore. The team has found ceramics and pottery, what led them to ponder a mound could be nearby. A research on The found pottery showed that the items belonged to an 7000 years old ancient city. The team has intensified the research and discovered first signs of the lost city under the waters of Dardanalles Strait.
Lost city found in Turkey: It is older than Troy

The lost city lies in the sea floor in the Aegean entrance of the strait on the shores of Europen side. The professor told”the pottery indicates the city is from around 5000 BC. We believe the civilizations on the shores of Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits had been buried under water. This latest mound discovered is also 90% under water and gives significant hints on the sea levels then.”

The latest discovery of the ancient city is as important as the funda in the ongoing digs in the Marmaray Project in Istanbul, the historians and scientists state.

… and from something called, which picks up an item from the Anatolia News Agency which I was unable to track down anywhere else:

A settlement area from the pre-historic period has been found in the Dardanelles, according to the head of Troy excavations, Associate Professor Rüstem Aslan.

“We have found a prehistoric settlement dating back to 5,000 B.C. But only 5 percent of the settlement exists,” said Aslan. The archaeology team examined the coast from the entrance of the Dardanelles to Çanakkale city center, he said. “The coastal excavations had been finished and we unearthed something unexpected around Bozköy.”

The settlement was 2,000 years older than Troy, Aslan said. “We know that almost all settlements older than 5,000 years ago were established on high plateaus.” The reason for the settlement pattern in high places has been questioned, he said. “This discovery gives us important clues that people settled deliberately because of the rise and fall of the sea,” he added.

Aslan said it was the first time that such a settlement was found in the Dardanelles and there is no information about this settlement in any map or document. “We can easily see remains of a 7,000-year-old lost settlement here,” he said. “We can call this place a lost city.”

I wonder if Robert Ballard had helped to point them to this: Catching Up With Robert Ballard