Classical Anthology Debuts!

If you’re a fan of the Classical Blogosphere posts which get put up early in the a.m. most days, you may have noticed that some recently come from something called “Classical Anthology”. This is a project of Stephen Jenken, of Classics Library fame … here’s his official announcement of the debut of the site from last week:

The Classical Anthology is  a new website which we hope will grow into a
collection of beautiful, inspiring and memorable passages from Greek and
Latin literature, each with a translation so that anyone can enjoy them and
share them. It includes anything written in Greek or Latin, from earliest
times to the present day.

A surprising number of people have studied Latin or even Greek at some point and even those who have not also have a great enthusiasm for the Classics. One of the aims of the anthology is to foster this enthusiasm by making the gems of Classical literature easily accessible to anyone and by encouraging anyone to suggest a passage.

The Classical Anthology also aims to celebrate and share the huge range of
experience and expertise among those teaching and studying Classics
worldwide. We hope that scholars and teachers will also contribute, either
to suggest a well-loved passage that many people will know and appreciate,
or to recommend a passage from a less well-known author that others would be delighted to discover.

The best length for passages is around 20-40 lines and please can you
recommend a translation too – a more literal one is better, to help with
reading the original. Your own translation would be great and would avoid
copyright problems, although the publishers approached so far have been very supportive. Lastly, a few introductory words explaining what you find
special about this passage will really help to make the anthology inspiring.
We will edit and upload the contributions but will consult you first if we
see the need for any significant alterations.

So please visit and send in your suggestions via the form there or via this link
Please also tell your friends. Lastly, we hope you enjoy using the website
yourself. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

As can be inferred, updates will be mentioned here at rogueclassicism …

Vindolanda Water System

Forgot to mention this one from the BBC last week:

An archaeologist in Northumberland has uncovered more of a Roman water system first found by his grandfather.

Dr Andrew Birley and a team of volunteers have been excavating land surrounding Vindolanda fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall.

The project to discover and record the pipework at the fort near Hexham was started 82 years ago.

The team has identified the spring-head and piping system used thousands of years ago.

During an excavation in 1930, led by Prof Eric Birley, an area of the Vindolanda site became flooded and not suitable for further investigation.
Spring water

Six months passed and as the water was not drying up the site was covered up and the results documented.

It was only with the use of modern pumps that Prof Birley’s work has finally been completed and the full extent of the Roman water distribution system uncovered.

Dr Birley, who preserved his grandfather’s original site notes, said: “We have found the main water tank and spring-head, and thousands of gallons a day are still bubbling through from the surrounding land and fields.

“They weren’t a great distance down, probably about six feet, and there is a small stream coming out of it.

“It is proper spring water, which is what the Romans preferred to use, as their other water, from the river, was used for waste.”

“We can now start a map of where the water has gone, right across the site, and start to work out how all the buildings at Vindolanda were supplied,” he added.

The current dig, which has been assisted by up to 500 volunteers, is scheduled to end at the end of August.

Dr Birley added: “They had to stop work back in the 1930s because of the heavy rain – the sort of rain we have been having this year.

“But to be honest, given the conditions and the amount of water that is there, without the modern pumps of today they wouldn’t have had a hope in hell of doing this back in the 1930s.”

Some of our recent Vindolanda coverage:

Roman Finds from Devon

From a University of Exeter news release:

Excavations are underway to unearth the mysteries of Devon’s newly discovered settlement dating back to Roman times.

Following the recent discovery of over 100 Roman coins in fields several miles west of Exeter, evidence of an extensive settlement including roundhouses, quarry pits and track ways was found from a geophysical survey. The site covers at least 13 fields and it the first of its kind in Devon which could force us to rewrite the history of the Romans in Britain.

Dr Ioana Oltean and Dr Martin Pitts, the University of Exeter’s Roman archaeology specialists, together with Danielle Wootton, Devon Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, and Bill Horner, County Archaeologist at Devon County Council are leading the archaeological research which is proving to show the influence of Roman culture to be greater than previously thought.

Dr Oltean explained: “It is not a Roman town, but a native village which may have been in existence before the Roman period. However, it traded actively with the Romans, shown by the initial collection of coins found and the ornate pottery, usually found near large cities and military camps and not in villages where most people would have used basic wooden bowls. The uniqueness of this Romano-British settlement is shown in the level of coins and types of pottery found, indicating that an exchange in goods and money was happening in the area, on a much larger scale than known in other villages in Britain at this period of time.”

The excavation uncovered the remains of a round house, which were types of houses lived in by native Britons during the Iron Age. They were typically round structures with, a thatched roof and the lower walls were made of stone or wattle and daub, and were unlike the Roman houses which were usually square in shape. The presence of Roman pottery indicates that the round house was still used after the Romans arrived.

Danielle Wootton said, “Previously there was little evidence of any Roman influence beyond the Roman city of Exeter. We are starting to see more evidence of Roman influence further into Devon and Cornwall, through new discoveries such as Calstock and now this large Romano-British settlement. What is interesting on the site is that, despite the presence of Roman pottery and coins, the inhabitants are still living in native roundhouses, as Britons had done for centuries before, so they are maintaining some traditional ways whilst adapting to the influence of the Roman empire. We hope to continue with future research in the area to uncover more information and piece together the jigsaw of the extent of Roman influence in the county. The project is providing the wider community and University of Exeter students with an exciting opportunity for fieldwork experience and training. Volunteers from international environmental charity Earthwatch have travelled from Australia, Canada, the USA, and the Caribbean, specifically to work on the largest known Romano-British settlement in Devon and Cornwall.”

The site was initially discovered by metal detectorists Dennis Hewings and Phillip (Jim) Wills, who recorded all their finds with archaeologist Danielle Wootton. She explained: “This is a great example of metal detectorists and archaeologists working together. Dennis and Jim have thoroughly detected the area over the years and recorded every scrap of metal. The villagers and landowners have been very supportive of our project, and the local history society has been actively involved. After over a year of planning, it is great to see the project up and running and to involve Jim and Dennis, local villagers, University of Exeter students, and volunteers from overseas.”

Dr Ioana Oltean added: “In addition, this is an excellent opportunity for our students to learn how to be field archaeologists and how to communicate their findings with the public, including local enthusiasts, international volunteers and internet audiences.”

Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, believes that this is one of the most significant Roman discoveries in the country for many decades. He said: “It is the beginning of a process that promises to transform our understanding of the Roman invasion and occupation of Devon.”

The excavation is being funded by the University of Exeter, The Portable Antiquities Scheme, Earthwatch Insitute, the British Museum and Devon County Council.

We first heard about this (and the associated coins)  last summer:

… read the comments on that one to remove my question mark.

Obsidian from Capri

This one’s more for my own write-this-down-because-it-might-lead-somewhere purposes … La Repubblica has a video report of a underwater find of a large quantity of obsidian off Capri:

… ANSA, via Napoli Today, has the report in print:

Ritrovamento di un carico navale di ossidiana risalente a alcune migliaia di anni addietro nel mare dell’isola di Capri. Autore della scoperta è Vasco Fronzoni, l’esperto subacqueo caprese che in una delle sue immersioni quotidiane si è trovato di fronte a un incredibile avvistamento.

Fronzoni, nel rendere pubblica oggi la notizia dopo aver depositato in Soprintendenza la denuncia e la relazione del rinvenimento, afferma che “il ritrovamento potrebbe aggiornare la storia dell’isola e scrivere nuove pagine sui commerci e sulle rotte dell’antichità”. Il carico, che secondo il sub “giace sui fondali dell’isola da oltre cinquemila anni”, è legato, dice Fronzoni, “alla presenza di un relitto navale di epoca neolitica che trasportava lungo le nostre coste un carico di ossidiana che nell’epoca preistorica veniva adoperata come materia prima per la fabbricazione di armi, utensili e altri manufatti ed era tra i più pregiati elementi prima dell’ avvento dei metalli”.

Annuncio promozionale

Probabilmente quello rinvenuto a Capri è uno dei più antichi carichi marittimi ritrovati nel bacino del Mediterraneo. Nel prossimo mese di settembre, mediante rilievi geodetici e geofisici, sarà individuata la sua precisa localizzazione e saranno raccolti tutti gli elementi per inquadrare da un punto di vista storico e archeologico il sito e i reperti da parte di un gruppo di lavoro di cui faranno parte il Centro Studi Subacquei Napoli e l’università Parthenope, con l’appoggio della Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli.

… as can be seen, they are postulating the existence of a Neolithic era shipwreck, which would be interesting in itself, but I’m noting this for the possibility of it coming from a much later shipwreck … back when I was pondering the Soros at Marathon (Marathon Musings) there was passing mention of finds of all sorts of obsidian points, which could not have come from Ethiopian archers (we are told) because the obsidian wasn’t African in origin. I haven’t seen any studies (other than Renfrew’s, which was mentioned in that post) where the obsidian from Marathon is actually matched with a source … hint hint …

Hairpins from Canakkale

We’ll start the week with this item from Hurriyet:

Archaeologists conducting excavations in the northwestern province of Çanakkale’s Ayvacık district have discovered hairpins thought to be over two millennia old, proving that ancient societies also had a pronounced desire to “look good,” according to researchers.

“The hairpins show us that there was a high demand for them in ancient times. Maybe their existence shows us that there was a small atelier for hair pin production here,” said Professor Nurettin Arslan of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, the head of the excavations, adding that women of the age placed great importance in being well-groomed and stylish.

Arslan said the hairpins had been found in many places in the ancient city but that the most were in the agora, which has been the site of the school’s ongoing dig.

Noting the unique designs on the hairpins, Arslan said, “They date back to the second century B.C. They are nearly 2,200 year old.”

The hairpins were made of various animal bones, the professor said. “Such a material was already a natural one that was used in the ancient era. It was used not only for hairpins but also for necklaces and small spoons. We have found some examples of them in previous excavations.”

Arslan said hairpins were the easiest way to differentiate between servants and free women in ancient Greek society.

“Dresses [for both sets of women] were the same, but we know that servants had short hair and free women had long hair. We also know that hair models were different in every century. When dating sculptures and coins, we sometimes look at their hair models. In this way, we have chance to make a dating,” he said.

… not sure we’ve ever had items from our period from Canakkale reported here before …