Greek ‘Villas’ in Southern Russia?

From Greek Reporter:

Borysthenes and other Greek colonies along the...
Borysthenes and other Greek colonies along the north coast of the Black Sea in the 5th century BCE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During archeological excavations next to the Russkaya gas compressor station, near Anapa in Southern Russia, the foundations of three Ancient Greek villas that scientists said date from the 2nd and 3d centuries B.C., have been uncovered.

Archeologists found clay pots, fragments of a weaving loom, a pair of scissors and several coins. The villas were part of Gorgippia, a prospering antique city of the Bosporan Kingdom.

The coins minted in another ancient city, Panticapaeum, modern Kerch, enabled to determine the age of the artifacts.

“We have looked in some detail, recorded and photographed the ruins of one of the villas and all the objects found during excavations,” said the General Director of the Archaeology Mission to Rostov, Vladislav Vereshchagin. “We took anything of value with us, for further processing. In the future, these items will be donated to the museum.”

Russkaya is the starting point of the future South Stream pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria. South Stream is scheduled to become operational in 2013. The 900-kilometre-long undersea section of the pipeline will run from the gas compressor facility at Beregovaya, on Russia’s Black Sea coast, near Arkhipo-Osipovka, towards the city of Burgas, in Bulgaria. The sea’s maximum depth on this route is 2,000 meters.

LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hadrian’s Wall

Pardon the groaner in that headline … this is actually hype for a television programme on the BBC but it looks rather interesting:

Hundreds of miles away from Hadrian’s Wall, a man surfing the internet from the comfort of his home stumbled across something that astonished the professionals.

Bryn Gethin’s discovery on his computer in Warwickshire, was one of a number, based on aerial photography and imaging techniques, that are rewriting a whole era of Roman history.

He spotted something while browsing old LIDAR (light detection and ranging) images, which show remains even if covered by trees or buildings.

Experts say he had potentially discovered the camp of the men who actually built the wall that runs across the country from Tyneside to Cumbria.

Surveyor Humphrey Welfare, currently investigating the site, said the camp would not have been seen without aerial images.

“It gives us another little insight, a little window into what happened during the construction of the wall,” he said.

“And that’s how archaeology builds up, piece by piece.”

It was known the wall supported civilian communities which provided goods and services in a local economy that benefitted both occupiers and natives.

But it seems there were Iron Age settlements hundreds of years before the arrival of the Romans who, rather than being an aggressive conquering force, forged working relationships with the resident population.

‘Whole new world’

“What we thought we saw was a very militaristic landscape, very sparsely populated and all we saw was what survived at the surface,” said Dr David Woolliscroft from Liverpool University.

“Then suddenly, when we started to fly, a whole new world emerged. Huge numbers – tens of thousands – of isolated farms, completely undefended.

“You can only have a landscape like that when people are so used to peace that they take it for granted.

“And that utterly changes the story of how we see the Romans.”

There is also evidence, discovered from the air, that throws into doubt the accepted belief that the wall was a barrier between the empire and the barbarian north.

Aerial pictures of a Roman aqueduct show it built north of the wall and right next to a native settlement.

“That shows a comfort in their own security and power, in that they’re happy for something as important as a water resource to be placed north of the frontier,” Dave Macleod, from English Heritage aerial survey team, said.

Aerial archaeologist Ben Robinson uncovers new revelations about life on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland

“You don’t put your water supply into enemy hands,” Dr Woolliscroft agreed. “Clearly they were very confident that this was an area that was theirs, even though it was beyond the wall.”

The area around Hadrian’s Wall has been mapped from the air by English Heritage but amateur research has also thrown up some surprising findings.

Ancient camps, ovens, rubbish pits and ditches show up from the air as crop marks, where plants grow differently – often invisible from the ground.

Work on Emperor Hadrian’s wall began in 122AD.

Archaeologists believed soldiers had settled in a nearby fort – Vindolanda – from about 85AD.

But another photograph shows something Dr Andrew Birley from the Vindolanda Trust believes is a fort built ten years earlier, 50 years before the wall.

“As we started excavating the ditches we were getting more and more evidence to suggest that this actually could pre-date anything on this part of the site that we’d previously known about,” he said.

If they find the timber fort gates – and it might take years – the rings on the wood could lead conclusively to a construction date.

It might prove the Romans established their frontier long before the history books currently say.

… the original article includes some photos and some Flash media which I couldn’t get to work because Flash seem to be doing weird things these past couple of days.

Hamas Threat to Roman Temple?

I’m never certain about stories such as this from this part of the world … from Arutz Sheva:

Israeli news outlets have ignored the imminent razing of an ancient Roman archaeological site by Hamas in Gaza, according to Israel Media Watch (IMW).

The terror group is building a military training site for terrorist purposes. To this end, it is partially destroying the ancient Anthedon Harbor—which includes the ruins of a Roman temple and archaeological remains from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras, and has been nominated as a World Heritage site.

UN Watch has protested the silence of UNESCO on the matter, and IMW is asking why Israeli media is silent, too.

No Hebrew language Israeli news outlet reported the item at all, said IMW.

IMW explained that the news has ramifications for the security of Israel’s southern border, but also has value-related and cultural ramifications relating to Hamas’ global image and status.

It estimates that giving the story publicity, addressing questions to the Israeli government and a loud public protest could have stopped Hamas’s move.

“By remaining silent, Israeli media is guilty of journalistic malfeasance and becomes a de facto partner in the destruction by Hamas, and the threat the base poses to Israel.

UN Watch, an independent Geneva-based monitoring group, has sent a letter to UNESCO, calling on the international body to take immediate action to stop Hamas from bulldozing the harbor.

… not sure why Israeli media should be singled out on this if it is true; shouldn’t all media should be all over this? In any event, here’s UNESCO’s description of the site