Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Mosaics of Pompeii

Pompeii has provided valuable insight to the Roman world and most agree it is the richest archaeological site in the world. Fine mosaics were a common feature in the villas of the town and depicted scenes from mythology, the owner’s business interests or animal scenes.

They are of the highest artistic merit.

Plato's Academy Circle
Detail of Musician with tympanon, Villa del Cicerone
House of Neptune

Detail Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus

Head of Medusa

Detail Satyr and nymph

Casa dell Orso Ferito - Bear Mosaic

Monday, 28 December 2020

Archaeology intern unearths spectacular Roman dagger


Nico Calman had a good internship. The 19-year-old unearthed a 2,000-year-old silver dagger this spring that likely helped the Romans wage war against a Germanic tribe in the first century A.D.

Discovered in its sheath in the grave of a soldier at Haltern am See (Haltern at the Lake), the weapon needed nine months of meticulous work to reveal a spectacularly ornamented 13-inch-long blade and sheath that once hung from a leather belt.

Dating to the Augustan period from 37 B.C. to 14 A.D., the blade had a front row seat to some of the most humiliating defeats in Roman history. At that time, Haltern, which sat on the fringes of the vast Roman empire, housed a military base for soldiers.

Up to 20,000 Roman soldiers were slaughtered when Germanic tribes swept through the region in 9 A.D. Though thousands of Roman soldiers were stationed in Haltern over almost 15 years or more, there are few finds of weapons, attesting to their great value.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

11th century Hoard found in Sluszkow

About 6,500 silver coins dated to the 11th and 12th centuries AD were found in the village of Sluszkow in central Poland. The hoard was buried alongside golden wedding bands, rings and bits of silver and lead.
One of the rings bears an inscription in Cyrillic, which reads: "Lord, help your maid Maria." The woman may have been a Ruthenian princess. The wife of King Bolesław Wrymouth was a Ruthenian princess named Zbysława. Her sister was named Maria, who was married to Piotr Włostowic.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Termopolium revealed at Pompeii

A termopolium, Latin for hot drinks counter, was discovered in the Regio V site, which is not open the public. The frescoed hot food and drinks shop served up the ancient equivalent of fast food to Roman passerby. The front of the counter was decorated with brightly colored frescoes, some depicting animals that were part of the menu.
Archaeologists found a decorated bronze drinking bowl known as a patera, ceramic jars used for cooking stews and soups, wine flasks and amphora. Traces of food were found in some of the deep terra cotta jars. It is the first time such a stand has been entirely uncovered.

Friday, 25 December 2020

Largest Celtic stater hoard found in UK

The UK's biggest hoard of Celtic gold coins, worth £800,000, was unearthed by a birdwatcher. He saw a glint in a ploughed field while watching a buzzard, rubbed off the mud and found it was a 2,000-year-old gold “stater”. He fetched his metal detector and hours later had uncovered 1,300 coins dating from 40-50AD in east England.

During the middle of the first century the Celtic warrior Boudicca was at war with the occupying Roman forces.
The coins may have been a 'deposit' from her war chest for her eastern campaigns.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

The Spanish galleon San José

The San José was a 60-gun galleon of the Spanish Navy. The ship is considered the holy grail of Spanish colonial shipwrecks. It was sunk off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia in 1708.

Colombia and Spain have disputed ownership of the Galleon San Jose for years. Built in 1698, the ship was sunk after a battle with a British squad commanded by Captain Charles Wagner.
The San José was part of a Treasure fleet during the War of the Spanish Succession, under General José Fernández Santillán.

On 8 June 1708, the fleet encountered a British squadron near Barú. During the battle, the powder magazines of San José detonated, sending the ship to the bottom.
All but 11 of the 600 people on board perished, either incinerated in the explosion or drowned at sea. The San José was located by an international team led by Colombia’s Institute of Anthropology and History on Nov. 27, 2015 nearly 1,000 feet deep about 16 miles from Cartagena.

Speculation says it likely had 7 to 10 million Spanish pesos on board at the time of its sinking, similar to its surviving sister ship, the San Joaquín.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announces the discovery of the remains of the Galleon San Jose
The San Jose was carrying one of the largest gold and silver hoards ever lost at sea. Estimates place the value of the cargo to at least $1bn.


A seafloor image of the shipwreck identified as the San Jose. The wreck has yet to undergo exploration, leaving questions about what riches might be found. The type and number of bronze cannons found at the site leaves no doubt that the ship is the San Jose.