Archaeologists Uncover 2,000-year-old Wooden Bridge Linking England and Wales

Archaeologists Uncover 2,000-year-old Wooden Bridge Linking England and Wales

In the historic town of Chepstow, often referred to as the “gateway to Wales,” a team of archaeologists recently made a remarkable discovery.

Nestled beneath the shadow of a 950-year-old Norman castle and hidden within the muddy banks of the River Wye, this discovery has unveiled a fascinating piece of history that uniquely connects England and Wales.

Chepstow, with its 12th-century Norman castle and rich history, is known for its strategic importance throughout various periods. The town’s historical significance goes beyond its medieval fortress, as archaeologists have previously uncovered evidence of prehistoric, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon fortifications within its borders.

However, the most recent revelation has taken historians and archaeologists by surprise. During an “extreme low tide event,” researchers stumbled upon a remarkably preserved wooden bridge, believed to have been constructed by the Romans around 2,000 years ago.

This ancient structure, hidden beneath layers of mud for centuries, served as a vital link between England and Wales long before the modern boundaries of these two countries existed.

Simon Maddison, a member of the Chepstow Archaeological Society (CAS), described the discovery, saying, “The team was able to locate upright timbers in a tidal pool on the location of the Roman crossing.

Until the results come back, we won’t know for sure the period of the structure. We are thrilled with what we were able to achieve and await dating results with keen anticipation.”

The wooden bridge’s existence suggests that it was a critical passageway for travelers between Wales and England for centuries, facilitating trade, communication, and cultural exchange during a time when modern transportation networks were nonexistent.

This discovery was made possible due to a fortuitous two-hour “extreme low tide event,” during which the upright timbers of the bridge became visible in a tidal pool just off the riverbed.

The excavation process involved exposing substantial timbers and intricate joints, likely part of the original pier and cutwater structure.

Researchers collected timber samples for dendrochronological and potential Carbon-14 dating, which will provide more precise information about the bridge’s age.

Assisting the CAS team during the excavation were members of the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), who played a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the researchers navigating the challenging and sticky mud of the riverbank.

Simon Maddison expressed gratitude for SARA’s assistance, stating, “The mud was very dense and very sticky, and we frequently got stuck in it. Without SARA, it would have been impossibly dangerous.”

This remarkable crossing, predating the existing Monmouth and Chepstow bridges, offers a unique glimpse into the region’s ancient past. Interestingly, it was first discovered and partially excavated back in 1911 by Dr. Orville Owen, an early pioneer in the field of archaeology.

Despite being recorded at the time and appearing on an old Ordnance Survey map, the bridge’s precise location remained a mystery, buried beneath layers of mud.

Chepstow’s rich history traces back to ancient times. Archaeological evidence indicates that the area was inhabited during the prehistoric period, featuring various ancient fortifications and settlements. During the Roman era, Chepstow was a significant settlement, serving as a key point along the Roman road network.

Subsequently, the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings left their mark on Chepstow before it was conquered by the Normans in the 11th century. The construction of Chepstow Castle by Norman lord William FitzOsbern marked the town’s transformation into a strategic stronghold, a legacy that endures to this day.

2,000-Year-Old Water Supply System Uncovered in Jerusalem

2,000-Year-Old Water Supply System Uncovered in Jerusalem

Part of an ancient aqueduct built more than 2,000 years ago to transport water into the city of Jerusalem was uncovered during a recent construction project, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

A section of the so-called Lower Aqueduct was discovered in the modern-day neighborhood of Umm Tuba, in East Jerusalem, during efforts to construct a new sewer line.

The Lower Aqueduct was originally built more than 2,000 years ago by kings in the Hasmonean dynasty, who ruled Judea and its surrounding regions from about 140 B.C. to 37 B.C., and preceded King Herod the Great.

The sprawling, 13-mile-long (21 kilometers) aqueduct carried water to the capital, and “operated intermittently until about 100 years ago,” Ya’akov Billig, director of the aqueduct excavation with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said in a statement. 

The Lower Aqueduct fed from the En Eitam spring, which is located near three ancient reservoirs known as Solomon’s Pools that are about 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Bethlehem.

As water passed through the channel, it flowed down a gentle slope to Jerusalem, passing through the modern-day neighborhoods of Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor, according to the IAA.

“At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel, and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water,” Billig said.

For nearly 2,000 years, the Lower Aqueduct remained one of Jerusalem’s principal sources of water, IAA officials said, which is why city rulers kept the structure so well preserved.

About 100 years ago, the channel was replaced by an electrically operated water-distribution system.

The Umm Tuba section of the aqueduct was uncovered by workers at Gihon Company Ltd., who are constructing the new sewer line.

Archaeologists at the IAA conducted an excavation of the site following its discovery, but the remains have since been covered up again to preserve the structure and prevent any damage, agency officials said.

Other sections of the extensive aqueduct have been uncovered in the past, including in the Armon Ha-Natziv tunnels in the City of David, on the Sherover promenade in southern Jerusalem and around the Sultan’s Pool along the west side of Mount Zion in Jerusalem, IAA officials said.

World’s Oldest Pet Cemetery Unearthed in Ancient Egypt

World’s Oldest Pet Cemetery Unearthed in Ancient Egypt

A dig near the famous ancient Egyptian port city of Berenice has turned up a mysterious animal cemetery dating to the 1st century AD.

It emerged in the dunes to the northwest of the important ancient Red Sea port of Berenice, which saw traffic from far and wide, with ships coming from East Africa, Europe, and India.

Ninety percent of the nearly 600 burial sites explored unearthed cats, though there were also dogs and macaque monkeys, a few of them definitely imported from outside Africa.

The find was published by a team led by Marta Osypinska, an archaeozoologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences, in the journal World Archaeology.

Several characteristics make this discovery uniquely mysterious. For one thing, none of the animals was mummified, as they are at other archaeological sites, such as temples. Here, too, there was a greater variety of species and funeral practices. Also, unlike at other burial sites, there were no humans among the beasts.

While the animals obviously had a special place in their society, the paper says, to think of them the way we think of pets today might not be quite right. These “companion animals,” as the researchers call them, probably played more of a utilitarian role than the pampered pets of today.

Still, the animals were definitely treated well in death.

They’re accompanied by craft objects like pottery that are thought to have protected them, and the creatures also have adornments like beaded necklaces made of stone, glass, and faience and shell. They were uniformly found in a sleep-like position.

Other experts second the conviction that the site is truly something new.

“It’s something completely different than what we see elsewhere,” Bea De Cupere, an archaeologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, who was not involved with the project, tells Atlas Obscura.

“I’ve seen thousands and thousands of bones in my career, and maybe 10 cats,” she says.

According to her research, the ships that came and went in these ports usually had cats aboard for pest control, suggesting that these may have been partly working animals.

Ancient Roman Shipwreck Marausa 2 Recovered Off Sicily Coast | Maritime Archaeology Discovery

Ancient Roman Shipwreck Marausa 2 Recovered Off Sicily Coast | Maritime Archaeology Discovery

A historical shipwreck has been successfully recovered from the seabed off the coast of Misiliscemi in the Trapani area, Sicily.

The 11-meter-long Roman commercial transport ship was discovered in July 2020 after a diver reported the presence of amphora fragments and wooden remains just 100 meters from the shore.

After an initial survey, which allowed scientists to understand the importance of the discovery, the Superintendence of the Sea took steps to secure the site by covering it with over 100 bags filled with sand.

Long and careful preparations were required before scientists could launch a project to recover the ancient ship from the waters.

In 1999, a similar ship was discovered at the same place. After being recovered, the find called “Marausa 1” was exhibited in the Baglio Anselmi Museum in Marsala.

Its cargo consisted of African amphorae closed by corks. These ancient jars transported dried fruits (pine nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, peaches, dried figs), olives, and, most likely wine and garum (fish sauce).

Considering its likeness and location, the current ship is thought to be its twin and was therefore given the name Marausa 2 by scientists.

“From the investigations carried out, the “Marausa 2” could be a cargo ship (used for the transport of goods) from the 4th century AD of great scientific interest, especially for the naval construction techniques of this particular historical period,” Regione Sicilia informs.

According to Finestre Sull Arte Marausa 2 is in excellent condition, almost intact. Even after 1,700 years, the preservation state has been described as “astonishing,” recovery operations, coordinated by the Sicilian Region’s Superintendence of the Sea were complex and required cutting-edge technology.

After an initial excavation phase and photographic documentation of the site, work began to secure the wreck, protected by nets and fabric. Next, a metal structure was erected around the hull, allowing the entire vessel to be raised in a unified manner.

Historians are confident that the findings will further illuminate information about trade between Rome and the North African provinces. The amphorae carried by the ship most likely contained wine, olive oil, and other foodstuffs.

“On the Marausa 1, it must be said that it represents one of Italy’s most important underwater finds.

The objects recovered and currently exhibited at the Pepoli Archaeological Museum in Trapani, particularly the ceramics, attest to the wreck’s function as an onerary ship, intended to transport foodstuffs, such as dried fruit, wine, and canned fish, contained in amphorae.

The co-presence of amphorae, both resin-coated and non-resin-coated, demonstrates the variety of goods transported (dated between the late 3rd and 4th centuries CE and predominantly North African production).

The presence of African table and kitchen pottery and the discovery of animal remains for the crew’s feeding constitute important evidence of life on board,” Finestre Sull Arte informs.

Both ships probably sank while maneuvering into the Birgi River.

Motya, Lilybaeum, and Drepanum, ports of reference at different ages in the Mediterranean routes, continue to reveal surprising archaeological discoveries that help researchers opportunity to “reconstruct fragments of our past, elements of the history of our Island, which has always been a crossroads of trade and cultures,” says the Councilor for Cultural Heritage, Francesco Paolo Scarpinato.

Raising the entire ship was possible because the timbers were still well-preserved. The cargo of amphorae and other artifacts are still intact and stored inside.

Almost 2,000 years old Ancient Metal books are the oldest written reference to Jesus Christ

Almost 2,000 years old Ancient Metal books are the oldest written reference to Jesus Christ

An ancient set of lead tablets showing the earliest portrait of Jesus Christ have proved to be around 2,000 years old, according to experts.

The metal ‘pages’, held together like a ring binder, were found in Jordan in around 2008 by an Jordanian Bedouin and make reference to Christ and his disciples.

The lead has been analysed and the words and symbols translated and experts say the tablets date from within a few years of Jesus’ ministry. And what they reveal could be enlightening not only for Christians, but also Jews and Muslims.

The tablets suggest that Christ was not starting his own religion, but restoring a thousand-year-old tradition from the time of King David. And the God he worshipped was both male and female.

Central to the books is the idea that Christ promoted worship in Solomon’s Temple where the very face of God was believed to be seen – and this is where the episode with the moneylenders in the Bible came from.

One of the books bears resemblance to how the Book of Revelations is described as it has seven seals. The books are known as codices – types of bound manuscripts distinct from scrolls – and among them is an image of Jesus himself.

Authors David and Jennifer Elkington have been campaigning since 2009 for the codices to be recognised and protected but say evangelical Christians are trying to brand them fakes.

The lead has been analysed and the words and symbols translated and experts say the tablets date from within a few years of Jesus’ ministry

They were apparently discovered by Hassan Saeda, an Israeli Bedouin, who according to some reports was given them by his grandfather, and by others that he discovered them in a flood.

The artefacts were found in a remote part of Jordan to which Christian refugees are known to have fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD.

David Elkington, 54, of Gloucestershire, says he is now trying to prevent the codices from being sold on the black market.

In 2011 Elkington announced their discovery on BBC News and the world’s press followed it up.  But a number of scholars came forward to brand them fakes, most without ever seeing the codices.

Now tests conducted by Professor Roger Webb and Professor Chris Jeynes at the University of Surrey’s Nodus Laboratory at the Ion Beam Centre, confirm that the tablet is compatible with a comparative sample of ancient Roman lead unearthed from an excavation site in Dorset.

The experts said that the codex they tested ‘does not show the radioactivity arising from polonium that is typically seen in modern lead samples, indicating that the lead of the codex was smelted over one hundred years ago’.  They went onto explain how the testing suggests that the artefacts are indeed 2,000 years old.

‘While there may be variations in decay and corrosion that depend upon the environmental conditions in which the objects were stored or hidden, there is a strong underlying theme of decay from within the metal,’ said the researchers in a press statement.

‘It is oxidising and breaking down at atomic level to revert to its natural state.  ‘This is not witnessed in lead objects that are several centuries old and is not possible to produce by artificial acceleration.

‘This provides very strong evidence that the objects are of great age, consistent with the studies of the text and designs that suggest an age of around 2000 years’. 

The codex was leant to the Elkingtons by the Department of Antiquities in Amman for testing. Further crystallisation analysis indicates that the codex is likely to be between 1800-2000 years old.

The tablets suggest that Christ was not starting his own religion, but restoring a thousand-year-old tradition from the time of King David
The books are known as codices – types of bound manuscripts distinct from scrolls – and among them is an image of Jesus himself

Although Christ is referred to outside of the Gospels, for example by the Roman writer Tacitus, these would be the earliest and only Hebrew-Christian documents in existence – and linguistic and metallurgical analysis now suggests they are.

The tablets, bound together like ring binders suggest that Christ was not starting his own religion, but restoring a thousand-year-old tradition from the time of King David
Authors David and Jennifer Elkington have been campaigning since 2009 for the codices to be recognised and protected but say evangelical Christians are trying to brand them fakes

Analysis of the script by scholars has confirmed that the language of the codices is Paleo-Hebrew.  The codices are covered in eight-pointed stars, symbolic of the coming of the messiah, and they mention the name of Jesus.  They also contain the names of apostles James, Peter and John.

According to the Elkingtons the books suggest Christ was part of a Hebrew sect dating back 1,000 years to King David, who worshipped in the Temple of Solomon and believed in a male-female God.

In the Bible Jesus is referred to as a ‘tekton’ which is usually translated as ‘carpenter’ but actually means a skilled craftsman and could refer to the skill of producing such works in metal. 

In traditional Christian icons he is often shown carrying a sealed book – a codex. Mr Elkington said: ‘Jesus was seeking to restore the Temple.  ‘To put back that which had been lost in the reforms that came before his time. 

‘Dr Hugh Schonfield, one of the most eminent authorities ever to work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, predicted that a metal book would be found: as he recognized that one had been described in a scroll called The Damascus Document – a description that fits precisely one of the codices.  ‘His conclusion was that Christianity was based within the Hebrew Temple.

‘Dr Schonfield, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, also described himself as a Jewish-Christian, a view that he held because of his work on the scrolls.

‘A part of the older tradition of the Temple was the Divine Feminine – known to Christians as the Holy Spirit. Jesus had women involved in his ministry.

‘At the height of his ministry, the gospels tell us that Jesus challenged the moneychangers in the temple. ‘The codices appear to reveal what happened afterwards – a chapter missing from the gospels. 

‘It would appear that Christianity was founded upon what Jesus did in the temple: a place where many Jews believed God actually resided. Jesus went into the Temple to renew a covenant with God.’

If the codices are genuine, as the metal and writing suggests they are, they provide new insight into the life of Christ. 

While the codices do not contradict any of the established narrative they place greater emphasis on the physical temple, of the belief in the divine feminine and in Christ’s role in protecting a lineage of Hebrews rather than being the founder of his own movement.

Previously, many experts have been wary of confirming the authenticity of the codices. 

In 2011, two samples were sent to a laboratory in England where they were examined by Peter Northover, head of the materials science-based archaeology group.

The verdict was inconclusive without more tests, but he said the composition was ‘consistent with a range of ancient lead.’

However, Philip Davies, emeritus professor of biblical studies at Sheffield University was convinced the codices were genuine after studying one.

He has told colleagues privately that he believed the find is unlikely to have been forged, reported the Sunday Times.  

This Ancient Underground City Was Big Enough to House 20,000 People

This Ancient Underground City Was Big Enough to House 20,000 People

Chicago, like a lot of other modern cities, has a hidden secret: It’s home to miles of passageways deep underground that allow commuters to get from one place to another without risking nasty weather.

Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and Dallas all have their own networks of underground tunnels, as well. But there’s a place in Eastern Europe that puts those forgotten passages to shame. Welcome to Derinkuyu — the underground city.

The Cappadocia landscape with its tuff towers.

A Subterranean Suburb

Picture this. It’s 1963, and you’re on a construction crew renovating a home. You bring your sledgehammer down on a soft stone wall, and it all crumbles away, revealing a large, snaking passageway so long that you can’t see where it ends.

This is the true story of how the undercity at Derinkuyu was (re-)discovered. While those workers knew they’d found something special, they couldn’t know just how massive their discovery had been.

Circular stones were used to seal access to passageways.

Stretching 250 feet (76 meters) underground with at least 18 distinct levels, Derinkuyu was a truly massive place to live. Yes, live. There was room for 20,000 people to stay here, complete with all of the necessities (and a few luxuries) — freshwater, stables, places of worship, and even wineries and oil presses.

It isn’t the only underground city in the area known as Cappadocia, but it’s the deepest one we know of, and for many years, it was believed to be the largest as well. (Another recently discovered location may have been home to even more people.)

Derinkuyu and the other 40-ish underground cities nearby are made possible thanks to the prevalence of tuff in the area, a kind of volcanic rock that solidifies into something soft and crumbly. That makes it relatively easy to carve enormous subterranean passages — but why would you want to? The answer lies in the cities’ origins.

Defense Against the Sword Arts

Derinkuyu isn’t exactly inhospitable on the surface level (after all, that’s where the people who found it were living). So why did ancient people decide to build their living quarters below the surface? Because they weren’t hiding from the broiling sun or annual meteor showers.

They were clearly hiding from invading forces, with massive, rolling stone doors to block off each floor should any armies breach the fortress. But who were the people of the caves, and who were they defending themselves against? The answer to the second question depends on the answer to the first.

The earliest known people to live in the area were the Hittites, who ruled the Turkish Peninsula from about the 17th to 13th centuries B.C.E. — well over three millennia ago.

A 55-meter (180-ft) shaft used a primary well at Derinkuyu.

Some scholars point to artifacts with Hittite cultural elements, such as a small statue of a lion, found in the underground caves. That suggests these ancient people would have been taking refuge from invading Thracians.

If they were, it didn’t work forever: A tribe of Thracians, the Phrygians, conquered the area next. It’s possible that the Hittites never lived underground, however; an alternate theory says that it was the Phrygians, not the Hittites, who spawned the subterranean city.

Since the construction of many of the large underground complexes is dated to some time between the 10th and 7th centuries B.C.E., and the Phrygians lived there until the 6th century B.C.E., they’re generally regarded to have created the first caves. In that case, they may have been hiding from the Persian host under Cyrus the Great who eventually did take over the region.

Lost and Found

The Persians would have used those caves as well, as would all of the people to came after. Eventually, according to some sources, early Christians around the 2nd century C.E. took root in the caves as they fled Roman persecution.

This pattern continued throughout the centuries and millennia to come — in fact, Greek Christians were still using the caves as late as 1923. It’s pretty incredible, then, that the caves would have been forgotten in the 40-odd years between their last residents and their “re-discovery.”

Archaeologist Found 1,500 Year Old Rare Painting Depicting Jesus Found in Negev Desert

Archaeologist Found 1,500 Year Old Rare Painting Depicting Jesus Found in Negev Desert

Archeologists have recently identified what is believed to be an extremely rare painting of Jesus Christ in an abandoned ruins church in the Israeli desert.

According to specialists, the painting is believed to date back at least 1,500 years.

The Picture previously considered an unknown piece of art was spotted at an ancient Byzantine Church in the Negev Desert.

The painting could date back to the 6th century and scholars argue the piece of art reveals Jesus Christ’s facial outline, revealing him as a young man with short hair.

The portrait, first spotted in the 1090s has now been studied using state-of-the-art techniques, which helped specialists to conclude it was a rare piece of art.

The rare painting was Found in the archeological ruins of Shivta, believed to be an old farming village and located in the Negev desert, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Be’er Sheva, the largest city in the Negev desert of southerm Israel.

Shivta is thought to have been founded during the 2nd century and flourished for more than 6 centuries after it was eventually abandoned during the early Islamic period.

The results of the discovery were published in a daily paper in the journal Antiquity, where experts say that the mere presence of Jesus Christ is important by itself.

“Christ’s face in this painting is an important discovery in itself,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

“It belongs to the iconographic scheme of a short-haired Jesus Christ, which was especially widespread in Egypt and Syria-Palestine, but gone from later Byzantine art.”

The discovery is of great importance mostly because of the fact that the painting of Christ predates the typical religious iconography used in the Orthodox Christian Church. 

“Thus far, it is the only in situ baptism-of-Christ scene to date confidently to the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land. 

Therefore, it can illuminate Byzantine Shivta’s Christian community and Early Christians art across the region,” experts wrote.

 The recent discovery is just one of the many Interesting finds that have recently been made in Isreal.

Earlier this year, experts confirmed the first full spelling of ‘Jerusalem+ in an ancient stone inscription found near Jerusalem’s Binyanei Ha’Uma International Convention Center.

Furthermore, in February of 2018, archaeologists Found a clay seal mark that is though to bear the signature of Biblical Prophet Isaiah.

Jesus’s portrait was first spotted in the 1920s and has now been reanalysed using modern techniques. Research claim in their paper, published in the journal Antiquity , that the mere presence of the messiah is important in itself.
The fragmented painting shows is thought to be from the sixth century and experts claim it reveals Christ’s facial outline and a youthful Jesus with short hair.
It was found in the ruins of Shivta, an old farming village in the heart of the Negev desert, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Be’er Sheva.

Holding Cell for Gladiators, Doomed Prisoners Found at Roman Amphitheater in England

Holding Cell for Gladiators, Doomed Prisoners Found at Roman Amphitheater in England

Archaeologists say that the amphitheater in Richborough, Kent, could hold up to 5,000 spectators who cheered on charging gladiators and roaring wild animals in epic fights.

Today, the Roman-era amphitheater in Richborough, Kent, blends into the landscape. But it was once the site of violent gladiatorial combat, and archaeologists with English Heritage have just come across a holding cell, called a “carcer,” where gladiators waited to fight.

“The discoveries we’ve made during the excavation at Richborough are startling and exciting, and dramatically transform our understanding of the structure of the amphitheater and the nature of adjacent settlement in the town,” said Paul Pattison, English Heritage senior properties historian.

Researchers have known about the amphitheatre since 1849 when Victorian archaeologists discovered it. But the most recent examination of the site revealed a cell within the arena.

With walls more than six feet tall, the cell once held “those who entered the arena to meet their fate, whether wild animals, criminals, or gladiators,” according to English Heritage.

Archaeologists have been aware of the amphitheater since 1849, but the holding cell for gladiators is a new discovery.

Though much is unknown about the amphitheater, its chalk and turf construction suggests it was built around the 1st century when Romans first invaded Britain. At its peak, it would have been an impressive sight: Archeologists found surprising traces of “vivid” red and blue paints on its interior walls.

“The evidence of painted decoration we have found on the arena wall, a unique find so far in amphitheaters in Britain, is remarkable, and a wonderful reminder that aspects of Roman culture abroad were also a feature of life in Roman Britain,” explained Tony Wilmott, senior archaeologist at Historic England.

Wilmott noted that the amphitheater could probably hold about 5,000 spectators, who — just like in Rome — descended to watch bloody gladiator fights. Sometimes, these fights pitted gladiators against each other. Other times, in especially violent battles called venationes, prisoners or gladiators fought against wild animals like lions and bears.

The mere existence of the amphitheater speaks to Richborough’s important place in the Roman Empire. Then called Rutupiae or Portus Ritupis, the settlement likely existed from the 1st to the 4th century, or as long as the Romans occupied Britain. It was said to be renowned throughout the empire for the quality of its oysters.

Richborough is now believed to have been occupied for almost the entire period of Roman rule in Britain

“As Richborough is coastal, it would have provided a connection between what was at the time called Britannia and the rest of the Roman Empire,” explained Pattison, noting that Richborough would have been unique and diverse.

“Because of that, all sorts of Romans who came from all corners of the Empire would have passed through and lived in the settlement.”

Alongside the carcer, archeologists found several artifacts that help paint a picture of life in Roman-era Richborough. They found coins, pottery, the bones of butchered animals, and jewelry.

Remarkably, archeologists also found the carefully buried skeleton of what appeared to be a pet cat.

Dubbed “Maxipus” by archeologists — after Russell Crowe’s character in The Gladiator — the cat was found buried just outside the amphitheater walls. It may have had nothing to do with the amphitheater itself but “appeared purposefully buried on the edge of a ditch,” according to English Heritage.

The skull of what appeared to be a carefully buried pet cat.

In addition, the most recent excavation also uncovered the puzzling remnants of two “badly burnt” and “bright orange” rectangular areas just outside the amphitheater.

“It is not yet known what function these buildings fulfilled,” noted English Heritage, “but it is possible they stood on each side of an entrance leading up to the seating bank of the arena.”

The fire that destroyed the structures, the organization said, “must have been dramatic.”

Now, Richborough’s amphitheater exists only as a circular field covered in grass. But, as the existence of the holding cell suggests, this part of the world once rang with thousands of screaming spectators, roaring animals, and charging gladiators.

English Heritage is hopeful to share it with the world. Following the end of their excavation, the on-site museum in Richborough will undergo a “major refurbishment and re-presentation.” It will open to the public in summer 2022.

Archaeologists Reveal the Face of Peru’s ‘Ice Maiden’ Mummy

Archaeologists Reveal the Face of Peru’s ‘Ice Maiden’ Mummy

In a remarkable unveiling, the potential true appearance of “Juanita,” Peru’s iconic mummy, a teenage Inca girl sacrificed over half a millennium ago on the lofty Andean peaks, has been revealed.

A life like sculpture revealing the potential living face of Peru’s most famous mummy, a teenage Inca girl sacrificed in a ritual over 500 years ago on the Andean peaks, has been unveiled.

The bust was unveiled at a ceremony at the Andean Sanctuaries Museum of the Catholic University of Santa Maria in Arequipa

The reconstructed mummy, known as “Juanita” or “The Ice Maiden”, is the result of collaborative efforts between a team of Polish and Peruvian scientists, in conjunction with Oscar Nilsson, a Swedish sculptor renowned for his expertise in facial reconstructions.

Johan Reinhard, the US anthropologist who found the mummy said he could not have imagined having a precise reconstruction of the mummy.

It took over 400 hours for Nilsson to reconstruct “Juanita,” from the research given by the Polish team.

Who was “The Ice Maiden”?

Reinhard and his Peruvian climbing partner, Miguel Zárate, discovered the mummy in 1995 at an altitude of more than 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) on the snow-capped Ampato volcano.

Juanita, the mummy, was almost entirely preserved in a frozen state, retaining her internal organs, hair, blood, skin, and even the contents of her stomach.

The mummy is known as “Juanita” and the “Inca Ice Maiden”

In addition to the mummy, they stumbled upon a multitude of items that had been left as offerings to the Inca gods.

These included llama bones, small figurines, and fragments of pottery, scattered across the mountain slope from which the body had tumbled down.

Anthropological research places the sacrificial date of Juanita between A.D. 1440 and 1450 when she was aged between 13 and 15.

The likely cause of her death was identified as a severe blow to the right occipital lobe, as determined by researchers at Johns Hopkins University who conducted a CT scan.

She is considered one of the best-preserved mummies in the Andes and her remains can currently be viewed at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa, Peru

Rare Tardigrade Fossil Found in 16-million-year-old Dominican Amber

Rare Tardigrade Fossil Found in 16-million-year-old Dominican Amber

The discovery of an incredibly rare fossil is helping scientists learn more about one of Earth’s ancient and most resilient inhabitants: the microscopic tardigrade.

Modern tardigrades are eight-legged micro-animals, also known as water bears or moss piglets. They’re almost completely missing from the fossil record despite their long evolutionary history and ability to survive extreme conditions, including space.

Now, scientists say they’ve discovered a new species of tardigrade suspended in 16 million-year-old amber — only the third clear tardigrade fossil ever found.

An artistic reconstruction of Paradoryphoribius chronocaribbeus in moss.

What they found

The researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Harvard University who discovered the fossil published their findings in Proceedings of the Royal Society B on Wednesday.

The tardigrade is trapped in fossilized amber mined from La Cumbre, a region of the Dominican Republic known for its amber deposits. The amber also trapped a flower and insects, including three ants.

The fossil is the first of a tardigrade found from the Cenozoic era, the Earth’s current geological era beginning 66 million years ago.

Phil Barden, the senior author of the study, called the discovery a “once-in-a-generation” event in a statement on the research.

“What is so remarkable is that tardigrades are a ubiquitous ancient lineage that has seen it all on Earth, from the fall of the dinosaurs to the rise of terrestrial colonization of plants,” Barden said. “Yet, they are like a ghost lineage for paleontologists with almost no fossil record.”

This Dominican amber contains Paradoryphoribius chronocaribbeus gen. et. sp. nov.(image amplified in a box), three ants, a beetle and a flower. A dime image was digitally added for size comparison.

Why it matters

The fossil is unique for its clarity, its age and how helpful it could be to evolutionary scientists’ future studies.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology said in a release that the discovery is the best-imaged fossil tardigrade ever. Scientists are able to observe micron-level details like the invertebrate’s mouthparts and its “needle-like claws 20-30 times finer than a human hair.”

The new fossil enabled scientists to identify this never-before-seen species of tardigrade, which they call Paradoryphoribius chronocaribbeus. Its name incorporates the Greek word for time, “Chrono,” and “caribbeus” in reference to the region where it was found.

The fossil will spend the next part of its life at the American Museum of Natural History.