Roman Wall in Bath (maybe)

The incipit of an item in the Bath Chronicle:

Engineers have uncovered part of what could be a Roman wall while carrying out emergency sewer repairs in Bath city centre.

Wessex Water was carrying out work to repair a sewer in Burton Street last week when a large Bath stone block was discovered, nearly three feet below the pavement.

Further investigations by the Bath-based company and archaeologists from specialist firm Context One revealed that the block was part of a stone wall which dates back to the fourth century.

The wall, which was built as a defensive structure, consists of five blocks of Bath stone and is thought to form part of the buttress of the original city wall.

While no dating evidence has been recovered, toolmarks on the stone suggest it was originally worked in Roman times. […]

CFP: Practicing Pantomime Project

An interesting project call seen on the Classicists list:


for practice-based study of ancient dance

University of Oxford

We are looking for individuals with a background in classics or ancient history to participate in a research project involving the reconstruction of Roman tragic pantomime.

We are giving professional dancers 3 hours to create a dance piece based on a selection of source materials (images, text, music, and costume items) which will be provided. You will be working with a dancer to interpret the material and offer basic explanations of terms, themes, or characters in the piece. No specific knowledge of ancient dance is required. You will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about your experience at the end of the workshop.

You will be reimbursed for your time (£30) and travel expenses (up to £20).

This is an exciting opportunity to work creatively with dance practitioners on a collaboration between the Classics and Anthropology faculties. Please visit for more details (*website goes live from May 1).

At this stage, workshop sessions are scheduled for May 14, May 17, May 27 & June 15, and there may also be additional future sessions. If you are interested in participating in the study or would like more information, please contact a member of the research team:

helen.slaney AT

sophie.bocksberger AT

d.m. Peter Walsh

From the Telegraph:

Peter Walsh, who has died aged 89, was a classicist and helped to change the way scholars look at some of the great Latin texts.

He made his name in 1961 with Livy: His historical aims and methods, a book which rescued the reputation of the great Roman historian from the academic doldrums. In 1970 The Roman Novel showed the connection between the Satyricon of Petronius and the Metamorphoses (or Golden Ass) of Apuleius and other forms of fiction being written in the Roman world before 200AD, and explored how they had influenced the mainstream of European picaresque literature over the centuries.

Later on in his career Walsh turned his attention to medieval Latin, ranging from the sacred to the profane. He published editions of The Art of Courtly Love and the earthy lyrics of Carmina Burana, while his work on the early Church fathers (including Saints Paulinus and Thomas Aquinas) led to his appointment as a papal Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory.

One of nine children, Patrick Gerard Walsh was born on August 16 1923 at Accrington, Lancashire, where he and his siblings were brought up in poverty in a two-bedroom terraced house with an outside privy. His decision, in childhood, to adopt the name Peter was not entirely popular with other members of the family since his brother and father both had the same name.

Peter’s father, a factory labourer, was a first generation Irish immigrant who had experienced a profound conversion to Catholicism as a result of traumatic wounds sustained at the Battle of the Somme, and he subjected his young family to a rigorous programme of religious training and ritual, both in the home and at the local Jesuit church. Of Peter’s eight brothers and sisters, three became nuns and two priests.

Walsh won scholarships to Preston Catholic College and then to Liverpool University, where he took a first in Classics. During the war, having failed to make the grade in the RAF due to poor practical skills, he served in Italy and Palestine with the Intelligence Corps, although the only training he could recall involved solving crossword puzzles.

After the war he began his academic career at University College, Dublin, moving in 1960 to Edinburgh University, where he was awarded a personal chair in 1971. The following year he succeeded CJ Fordyce as Professor of Humanity at Glasgow University, where he turned his attention largely to medieval Latin and also sought to address the decline of Classics in Scottish schools by organising residential courses for schoolchildren.

After his retirement in 1993 he continued to work, making new translations of Petronius, Apuleius, Boethius and Cicero for Oxford World’s Classics.

At the time of his death, despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he was attempting to complete a translation of St Augustine’s The City of God, and had reached the 16th of its 22 books.

A few weeks before he died he was delighted when Harvard University Press published a handsome anthology of his translations of Latin hymns.

He married, in 1953, Eileen Quin, who survives him with their daughter and four sons.

via: Peter Walsh  (Telegraph)

Earthquakes and the Myceneans?

An excerpt in medias res from Live Science (with one of those annoying, all-too-general headlines):

[…] Tiryns was one of the great Mycenaean cities. Atop a limestone hill, the city-state’s king built a palace with walls so thick they were called Cyclopean, because only the one-eyed monster could have carried the massive limestone blocks. The walls were about 30 feet (10 meters) high and 26 feet (8 m) wide, with blocks weighing 13 tons, said Klaus-G. Hinzen, a seismologist at the University of Cologne in Germany and project leader. He presented his team’s preliminary results April 19 at the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City.

Hinzen and his colleagues have created a 3D model of Tiryns based on laser scans of the remaining structures. Their goal is to determine if the walls’ collapse could only have been caused by an earthquake. Geophysical scanning of the sediment and rock layers beneath the surface will provide information for engineering studies on how the ground would shake in a temblor.

The work is complex, because many blocks were moved by amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1884 and later 20th-century restorations, Hinzen said. By combing through historic photos, the team found unaltered wall sections to test. They also hope to use a technique called optical luminescence dating on soil under the blocks, which could reveal whether the walls toppled all at the same time, as during an earthquake.

“This is really a challenge because of the alterations. We want to take a careful look at the original conditions,” Hinzen told OurAmazingPlanet.

Another hurdle: finding the killer quake. There are no written records from the Mycenaean decline that describe a major earthquake, nor oral folklore. Hinzen also said compared with other areas of Greece, the region has relatively few active faults nearby. “There is no evidence for an earthquake at this time, but there was strong activity at the subduction zone nearby,” he said. […]

Hinzen (et al) are the folks behind that study of earthquake effects on a Roman mausoleum in Pinara a month or so ago (Earthquakes and a Roman Mausoleum) … by the way, I’m sure the line between ‘pioneer’ and ‘amateur’ is fuzzy, but I’m not sure I’d call Schliemann an “amateur”.