Category Archives: ROMAN

Four 1,900-Year-Old Roman Swords Found in The Judean Desert

Four 1,900-Year-Old Roman Swords Found in The Judean Desert

Archaeologists report having discovered four incredibly well-preserved Roman swords in the Judean Desert. This very rare find was made in a small hidden cave located in an area of isolated and inaccessible cliffs north of ‘En Gedi, in the Judean Desert Nature Reserve, under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Authority.

Fifty years ago, a stalactite with a fragmentary ink inscription written in ancient Hebrew script, characteristic of the First Temple period, was found.

Recently, Dr. Asaf Gayer of the Department of the Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Ariel University, geologist Boaz Langford of the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Cave Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Shai Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority photographer, visited the cave.

Their aim was to photograph the Paleo-Hebrew inscription written on the stalactite with multispectral photography that might be able to decipher additional parts of the inscription not visible to the naked eye.

While on the upper level of the cave, Asaf Gayer spotted an extremely well-preserved, Roman pilum— a shafted weapon in a deep narrow crevice. He also found pieces of worked wood in an adjacent niche that turned out to be parts of the swords’ scabbards.

The researchers reported the discovery to the Israel Antiquities Authority Archaeological Survey Team, who are conducting a systematic scientific project in the Judean Desert caves.

As part of this survey, initiated by the Israel Antiquities Authority, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and the Archaeological Office for the Military Administration of Judea and Samaria, hundreds of caves have been investigated over six years, and 24 archaeological excavations have been carried out in selected caves, with the aim of saving the archaeological remains from the hands of looters.

The Judean Desert Cave Survey team, together with Asaf Gayer and Boaz Langford returned to the cave and carried out a meticulous survey of all the crevices in the rock, during which they were astonished to find the four Roman swords in an almost inaccessible crevice on the upper level of the cave.

Experts say the four swords are 1,900-year-old and most likely from the Bar Kochba revolt that lasted from 132 to 135 C.E. Also called the Second Jewish Revolt, it was a Jewish rebellion against Roman rule in Judea led by rebel leader Simon Bar Kochba.

The most plausible scenario is that the swords were hidden in the cave sometime during the revolt, as it was dangerous for Jews to be found with Roman weapons.

“Finding a single sword is rare—so four? It’s a dream! We rubbed our eyes to believe it,” say the researchers.

The swords were exceptionally well preserved, and three were found with the iron blade inside the wooden scabbards. Leather strips and wooden and metal finds belonging to the weapons were also found in the crevice.

The swords had well-fashioned handles made of wood or metal. The length of the blades of the three swords was 60–65 cm, their dimensions identifying them as Roman spatha swords, and the fourth one was shorter with c. 45 cm long blade, identified as a ring-pommel sword.

The swords were carefully removed from the crevice in the rock and transferred to the Israel Antiquities Authority climate-controlled laboratories for preservation and conservation.

The initial examination of the assemblage confirmed that these were standard swords employed by the Roman soldiers stationed in Judea in the Roman period.

“The hiding of the swords and the pilum in deep cracks in the isolated cave north of ‘En Gedi, hints that the weapons were taken as booty from Roman soldiers or from the battlefield and purposely hidden by the Judean rebels for reuse,” says Dr. Eitan Klein, one of the directors of the Judean Desert Survey Project.

“Obviously, the rebels did not want to be caught by the Roman authorities carrying these weapons. We are just beginning the research on the cave and the weapon cache discovered in it, aiming to try to find out who owned the swords, and where, when, and by whom they were manufactured.

We will try to pinpoint the historical event that led to the caching of these weapons in the cave and determine whether it was at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 132–135 CE.”

Following the discovery of the swords, an archaeological excavation was undertaken in the cave by the Israel Antiquities Authority, directed by Eitan Klein, Oriya Amichay, Hagay Hamer, and Amir Ganor.

The cave was excavated in its entirety, and artifacts dating to the Chalcolithic period (c. 6,000 years ago) and the Roman period (c. 2,000 years ago) were uncovered.

At the entrance to the cave, a Bar-Kokhba bronze coin from the time of the Revolt was found, possibly pointing to the time when the cave served for concealing the weapons.

Researchers Finish Separating World’s Largest Celtic Coin Hoard

Researchers Finish Separating World’s Largest Celtic Coin Hoard

Last Friday, conservators at Jersey Heritage finally completed separating and meticulously cleaning the largest hoard of Celtic coins and gold jewelry ever discovered. It took nearly three years of effort to go through the mass of treasure.

The Catillon II Hoard as it appeared before being separated
Some of the silver Celtic coins that made up the majority of the Catillon II Hoard
A piece of gold, believed to be a small ring, found in the Hoard
Some of the gold torcs, worn around the neck or as bracelets, discovered embedded inside the Catillon II Hoard
A gold torc found in the Catillon II Hoard

“This is a significant milestone for the team. It has been painstaking but thoroughly intriguing work, which has delivered some very unexpected and amazing finds along the way,” Neil Mahrer, who led the conservation effort says in a press release.

“There is still plenty to do and I am sure the Hoard will continue to surprise us as we clean and record the material.”

According to the BBC, the treasure was discovered in 2012 by amateur metal detector enthusiasts Reg Mead and Richard Miles. But it was no accidental discovery; the pair had been searching the area for 30 years looking for it.

They began their quest after a local woman told them that her father had discovered some silver Celtic coins in a pot in a field near her home in Jersey, a British island in the English Channel.

She did not recall the exact location, and the owner of the field only allowed the pair to search the area once a year after he harvested his crops.

Their patience paid off, and they did eventually find several coins in the field. “We then looked deeper into the ground to see if there was anything further.

We came down on a solid object and when Reg dug up a chunk of earth there was immediately five or six discs,” Miles tells the BBC. “We always said if we found anything significant it must remain in situ, it had to remain in its archaeological context so it could be studied.”

The hoard, dubbed Catillon II contained, at last count, at least 68,000 coins, approximately six times larger than any other Celtic hoard ever discovered, according to Jersey Heritage.

It also contained many gold neck torcs, glass beads, a leather purse and a bag with silver and gold decoration. Researchers estimate it was buried by French Celts known as the Coriosolitae around 30-50 B.C., around the time of Julius Caesar, likely as they fled a Roman invasion of the area.

According to the BBC, now that the contents of the hoard have been separated, the government of Jersey will vote on whether to pay to keep the treasure trove on the island or allow it to be sold off. At the time of its discovery, it was valued at 10 million pounds.

4,500-year-old ‘Stonehenge’ sanctuary discovered in the Netherlands

4,500-year-old ‘Stonehenge’ sanctuary discovered in the Netherlands

Archaeologists have discovered a 4,500-year-old sanctuary in the Netherlands that marks the solstices and equinoxes, and was also used as a burial ground.

An artist’s interpretation of the sanctuary’s layout for rituals in what is now the Netherlands.

Archaeologists in the Netherlands have unearthed a 4,500-year-old sanctuary whose earthen mounds align with the sun on solstices and equinoxes. And, just like Stonehenge, the sanctuary was also used for burials and rituals. 

People were buried at the sanctuary over a period of 800 years, according to a translated statement from the Municipality of Tiel, where the remnants of mounds, ditches, a flat burial field and a farm were discovered. 

The largest of the three mounds holds the remains of men, women and many children who died between about 2500 B.C. and 1200 B.C., the researchers said.

Excavators also discovered ancient burials surrounding the sanctuary, making the entire site about 9.4 acres (3.8 hectares), larger than seven American football fields.

More than 80 individuals were unearthed at the site; some were buried, and others were cremated, according to the statement, which noted that “these deceased must have played an important role in the rituals.”

The excavation site with the large burial mound highlighted with a virtual grass overlay.

Although the sanctuary doesn’t have stone boulders like Stonehenge does, it appears that the largest burial mound served as a calendar that helped people mark the sun’s movements, the researchers said in a translated statement.

For instance, precious artifacts, such as a bronze spearhead, were buried where the sun’s rays hit the ground through an opening at the sanctuary. 

Tracking the solstices and equinoxes was “important for religious festivals, for example, but also to calculate what the sowing and harvesting times [were],” according to the statement.

It’s likely these special solar days were celebrated, and a farm at the site might have served as a spot for festive gatherings, the archaeologists added.

Excavations at the ancient sanctuary in Tiel.

The team also discovered pits and the remains of poles and buckets. It appears that these pits held water, suggesting they were involved in cleansing rituals, according to the statement.

Researchers discovered the site at an industrial estate known as the Medel business park in late 2016 and spent the next year excavating it. During that time, they uncovered more than 1 million finds from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman Empire and Middle Ages, the team said in the statement.

It took six years to analyze and piece together the finds, which included artifacts of pottery, bone, loam (soil and clay), stone, flint and wood. 

A glass bead from Mesopotamia that archaeologists found in a woman’s burial at the site.

“Rarely do archaeologists get the chance to excavate so much terrain around burial mounds,” the researchers wrote in the statement. “Now it is clear how unique this find and this sanctuary” are.

In the oldest section of the burial field, archaeologists excavating a woman’s burial found a glass bead from Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). This bead, which is the oldest known glass bead in the Netherlands, reveals that people in the region 4,000 years ago had contact with cultures nearly 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) away.

Although the site is not open to the public, archaeologists have set up two exhibits showing artifacts from the sanctuary.

At the Flipje and Regional Museum, a selection of Bronze Age grave finds will be on display until October 2023, and the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden is showing finds from a group grave located about 660 feet (200 meters) south of the burial mounds.

2,500-Year-Old Tartessian Anthropomorphic Reliefs Revolutionize Thinking on Ancient Culture

2,500-Year-Old Tartessian Anthropomorphic Reliefs Revolutionize Thinking on Ancient Culture

The Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo in Spanish Extremadura, has been under excavation to examine the mythical pre-Roman civilization that occupied southwest Iberia between the 8th and 4th centuries BC.

Now, this vicinity of Guareña has yielded five beautiful anthropomorphic, figured reliefs from the 5th century BC belong to the Tartessian culture, found during excavation of the eastern sector of the deposit.

These are the first of their kind to be discovered in Tartessian culture , which had previously been thought of as an aniconic culture that represented divinity through animal or plant motifs or through betilos (sacred stones), reported the Spanish news agency EFE. 

In layman terms, the representations correspond to human faces, whereas by definition aniconic cultures are opposed to the use of idols or images.

The Building Tartessos Project: A Divine Goddess and a Warrior

The discovery was made during the V excavation campaign, which is part of the Building Tartessos project (known as Construyendo Tarteso in Spanish).

The project is focused on characterizing Tartessian material culture through the architectural analysis of large adobe buildings that have been excavated in recent decades.

The Construyendo Tarteso team began its first excavation campaign of the Tartessian site  in 2015, and the current campaign has received support from the General Secretary for Science, Technology, Innovation and University of the Junta de Extremadura, the Diputación de Badajoz and the Palarq Foundation.

The team from the Institute of Archaeology, a joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Junta de Extremadura, led by Esther Rodríguez González and Sebastián Celestino Pérez, confirmed that two of the figurative reliefs are almost complete and correspond to two female figures adorned with outstanding earrings, reported CSIC, a Spanish research council known as the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.

Figurative relief with earrings.

These represent typical techniques of Tartessian goldsmithing, and are evidence of a highly advanced culture. The reliefs are believed to represent female divinities from the Tartessian pantheon, but the researchers do not rule out the possibility that they may be prominent figures in Tartessian society.

In addition to the two female figures, other fragments of reliefs have been recovered, including one identified as a warrior due to a preserved part of the helmet.

The discovery of these figured reliefs is significant as it represents a profound paradigm shift in the interpretation of Tartessos. These human faces on the reliefs, along with the technical quality and artistic detail, suggest that the Tartessians may have had a more complex and diverse religious iconography than previously thought, reported Voz Populi .

Evidence of mass animal sacrifice has been unearthed at Casas del Turuñuelo in Extremadura.

Casas del Turuñuelo and the Tartessians

The Casas del Turuñuelo site remains in an excellent state of conservation. To date, it is the best-preserved building built on land in the western Mediterranean, and its two construction floors are still intact. Its excellent state of conservation makes it possible to document construction techniques and architectural solutions much ahead of their time.

Previously, the site has yielded a marble sculpture from Mount Pentelicus, of which only the feet are visible, and a set of glasses of Macedonian origin, next to the collection of Etruscan ivories.

The site is renowned for its mass sacrifice of animals, mainly horses – the largest sacrifice of animals documented till date in the western Mediterranean!

The Tartessian are believed to have been one of the earliest Western European civilizations that thrived in the Iberian Peninsula during the first millennium BC.

The Iberians, Celtiberians and the Phoenicians were all heavily influenced by the Tartessians, whose influence was centered in the region of modern-day Andalusia, along the Guadalquivir River.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Tartessian culture is their writing system, which is known as Tartessian script. This script is still not fully deciphered, and so we know relatively little about the Tartessian language and its literature. However, what we do know is that Tartessian script was used for inscriptions on pottery, metal objects and rock carvings.

The Tartessian religion was polytheistic, and their gods were associated with natural elements such as the sun, moon, and stars, as well as with animals such as bulls and horses.

They also believed in an afterlife and had a strong cult of the dead. One of the most famous Tartessian artifacts is the so-called “Lady of Elche,” a bust that is believed to represent a goddess or priestess of the Tartessian religion.

‘Liquid gypsum’ burial from Roman Britain scanned in 3D, revealing 1,700-year-old secrets

‘Liquid gypsum’ burial from Roman Britain scanned in 3D, revealing 1,700-year-old secrets

About 1,700 years ago, liquid gypsum was poured over the remains of an elite family in Roman Britain.

A researcher scans the negative cavity of a liquid gypsum burial from the Roman era.

About 1,700 years ago, a wealthy Roman family was buried with a bizarre material — liquid gypsum — poured over their corpses. Now, a noninvasive 3D scan of this burial has revealed the insides of their burial cocoon.

Gypsum is a mineral and key ingredient in cement and plaster that, on rare occasions, Roman-era people used in burials. Once the deceased were placed in lead or stone coffins, liquid gypsum was poured over the bodies, which then hardened into protective shells. After that, the coffins were buried in the ground

Most of the coffins’ contents eventually decayed, leaving behind plaster casts with cavities similar to those of the victims discovered at Pompeii. 

The scan’s finding is “unparalleled,” as these gypsum cavities are filled with details, preserving imprints of shrouds, clothes, footwear and even weaving patterns, according to a statement from the University of York in the U.K. 

The gypsum remains from the roughly 1,700-year-old burial of the two adults and infant from Roman Britain.

The burial examined, the multibody grave from York, is presumed to be that of a family who died simultaneously around 1,700 years ago. The scan revealed the contours of two adult bodies, as well as that of an infant who had been wrapped in cloth bands.

Even the small ties used to bind the burial shroud around one of the adults’ heads were visible from the scans.

The remains of a liquid gypsum burial from a long and narrow stone coffin. The gypsum cavity reveals that the body was once wrapped in cloth and that the poured gypsum did not cover the feet.

“The Roman family gypsum casing is particularly valuable because neither the skeletons, nor the coffin, were retained after their discovery in the 19th c[entury],” when there was a building boom in and around the city, project principal investigator Maureen Carroll, chair of Roman archaeology at the University of York, in an email. 

Remarkably, the casing reveals more than the skeletons could, she said. “We are very lucky to have this casing, as it shows the precise position of the bodies and their relationship to each other exactly at the moment when the liquid gypsum was poured over them and the lid of the coffin closed about 1700 years ago!”

However, it’s still a mystery why Romans poured gypsum into coffins. Grave goods indicate that gypsum burials were reserved for an elite social class.

Traces of aromatic resins from Arabia and the Mediterranean have been discovered in other gypsum burials from York. These resins were luxuries accessible only to the very wealthy.

Archaeologists have also discovered gypsum burials in Europe and North Africa, which were also occupied by the Roman Empire, but the burials are most common from the third and fourth centuries in Britain, with York and the surrounding region sporting about 50 of them — the highest concentration of gypsum burials discovered to date, Carroll said.

“3D scanning has never before been applied to the material in Britain or any of the other gypsum/plaster/chalk burials elsewhere,” Carroll noted.

Next, the team plans to scan all 16 gypsum burial cavities in the York museum, in hopes of identifying characteristics of those interred, such as their age, sex, health and region of origin, according to the statement.

The researchers presented their findings, which were done in partnership with the York Museums Trust and Heritage360, on June 3 at the York Festival of Ideas.

2,000-Years-Old Sapphire Ring Belonging to The Roman Emperor Caligula, Depicting his Wife Caesonia

2,000-Years-Old Sapphire Ring Belonging to The Roman Emperor Caligula, Depicting his Wife Caesonia

The Roman emperor Caligula, who had been governing for four years from AD 37 until his assassination, was said to own an exquisite 2,000-year-old ring of Sapphire.

Mysterious beautiful face engraved on a 2,000-year-old sapphire ring of the Roman emperor. The 2,000-year-old ring is believed to be from the Roman emperor Caligula.

The sky blue hololith, made from a single piece of the precious stone, is believed to have been owned by Caligula. The face engraved into the bezel is thought to be his fourth and last wife Caesonia, who was said to be so beautiful Caligula paraded her naked in front of his friends.

The reason for Caligula’s assassination could stem from the extravagance of spending, especially on precious stones, which depleted the Roman treasury.

There are even rumors that Caligula also incestuous relationships with sisters in the royal family and adultery with the wives of allies.

Worth mentioning, this ancient sapphire ring has a woman’s face engraved on it. According to the Daily Mail, this woman is Caesonia, Caligula’s fourth wife.

Caesonia possesses the beauty of tilting the water, tilting the city. Emperor Caligula even once naked his wife and march in front of friends for people to admire. However, “beautiful fate”, Caesonia was killed shortly after Emperor Caligula was assassinated.

The sapphire ring is said to have attracted attention during an exhibition of more than 100 gems held by jewelry company Wartski next week in London, England. Its value is about USD 7,000 – USD 750,000.

The auction became a major concern for gem collectors around the world. People from Japan even lined up outside Wartski’s premises days before the exhibition was first approved.

Mysterious beautiful face engraved on a 2,000-year-old sapphire ring of the Roman emperor. Close-up of the beautiful face engraved on the “Caligula ring”.

The “Caligula Ring” is in the Earl Marlund Gems “Marlborough Gems” from 1637 to 1762. This is a collection of 800 gems carved by George Spencer, the 4th earl of Marlborough, into the late 18th century, early 19th century.

They were sold in 1875 by John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Earl of Marlborough, to fund the repair of the Blenheim Palace.

“This ring is one of the precious pieces of the” Marlborough Gems “collection. It is made entirely of sapphire. Very few of these rings still exist and I bet this is the best one of you. find.

We believe it belongs to Emperor Caligula and the face that appears on the ring is his fourth wife, Caesonia, “said Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski.

A “Fast Food” Shop Is Uncovered In Pompeii, Depicting Some Of The Dishes They Would Eat

A “Fast Food” Shop Is Uncovered In Pompeii, Depicting Some Of The Dishes They Would Eat

The ancient world was much more lively and colorful than many of us give it credit for. Some discoveries also show just how similar we were to the people who lived thousands of years ago… from our love of snacks to our love of colorful and eye-catching art.

Archaeologists have made a stunning discovery in Pompeii: they uncovered a hot food and drinks shop that’s decorated with gorgeous and detailed frescoes. The shop, known as a thermopolium in Latin, served the equivalent of street food to Romans. And what I wouldn’t give for a bite and a drink.

Researchers discovered the shop in the Regio V site in the Pompeii archaeological park. You’ll remember Pompeii from history class, dear Pandas. It’s a city with a population of around 13,000 people that Mount Vesuvius covered in volcanic ash in the year 79 AD.

Bored Panda reached out to the team at the Pompeii Archaeological Park to learn more about the newest finds, what we know about Pompeian cuisine, and how the thermopolium remained in such great condition over the years. Read on for their educational insights, dear Pandas!

Archaeologists uncovered an ancient snack bar in the Regio V site in Pompeii

“From the preliminary analysis of the remains found during the emptying of the containers incorporated into the counter structure, we know of the presence of a slaughtered fragment of pork bone, a fragment of duck bone, and a herringbone,” the archaeological officer from the Park told Bored Panda.

They explained that we can draw information about the eating habits in the Vesuvian city mainly from the Latin writers Apicius, Columella, and Pliny who lived between the first century BC and the first century AD.

Some of the staples included pork and fish; but so far, a lot about the dishes served in the thermopolium is still guesswork. “We know that in the Pompeian cuisine, as in general on the Roman tables, pork was particularly appreciated which could be cooked fresh or preserved through smoking or salting procedures.

The consumption of fish was also particularly widespread. At the current state of research, we are not yet able to define exactly which dishes were served at the thermopolium: the work in progress on the containers could, however, reveal pleasant surprises and news in the near future.”

The bar is decorated with gorgeous frescoes of animals, some of which were served by the vendor (not the dog, obviously)

The archaeological officer explained to Bored Panda that Pompeii represents “an exceptional case of conservation” for the very same reasons that brought about its doom. “The violent eruptive phenomenon caused, in just 19 hours of activity, the death and burial of the entire city, originating, at the same time, a singular phenomenon of conservation of the buildings and the objects they contain.

In the early stages of the Plinian event [i.e. Vesuvian eruption], the eruptive materials, the pumice, falling on the city invaded and filled every free space; subsequently, the pyroclastic flow of cinerite sealed, like a large plug, the whole of Pompeii.”

All things considered, the frescoes are in wonderful condition

They continued: “Therefore, a condition of total absence of light, air, and humidity has been created under this cap which has significantly contributed to the conservation not only of the wall structures and furnishings, but above all of the surfaces characterized by the presence of decorative elements.

The pictorial films, in fact, are particularly damaged precisely by light, air, and humidity; the lack of these three elements, over the course of about two thousand years, has allowed us to discover the original colors of the paintings that emerged during the excavation of the thermopolium.”

The vendor would put their jars of food into the holes in the bar

However, there’s some sad news. The officer revealed that the excavation investigations in Regio V that brought us the delightful thermopolium environment and the frescoed counter will end in August of 2022. “No other [excavation] campaigns are planned, at least so far. excavation in this Regio V, which from 2022 to has reserved us many surprises.

However, it would be nice to be able to continue the excavations in the environments that develop around the thermopolium, partly already brought to light, in such a way as to be able to reconstruct this corner of insula 3.” So, we’re not losing hope just yet, but we can’t deny that we can’t wait to see what future excavations will bring to light.

Researchers made other recent discoveries in the Regio V site as well

They also discovered human bones

“This is an extraordinary find. It’s the first time we are excavating an entire thermopolium,” Massimo Ossana, the director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, told the media.

I personally spent a good 5 minutes looking at the frescoes in detail because they’re absolutely gorgeous. Especially the hen one. The details and colors there are stunning. I never knew an uncooked chicken could make me feel so happy.

Frescoes are usually painted on freshly applied plaster using water-based pigments. As the paint dries, it sets together with the plaster and becomes a permanent part of the surroundings.

Archaeologists found traces of food in the thermopolium’s terracotta jars, including beef, pork, fish, and snails. Vendors would lower the jars into the shop’s counter that had circular holes to hold them.

Meanwhile, the front of the counter was decorated with colorful frescoes (they really do catch the eye, don’t they?), some of which included animals that you’d find in the snacks.

What’s more, researchers discovered wine flasks, amphorae, jars for making soups and cooking stews, and a patera—a decorated bronze drinking bowl. You could get pretty much everything that you’d want here.

What did you think of the thermopolium, dear Readers? Would you love to wet your taste buds with whatever the ancient Romans were offering to buy at the time? Which of the frescoes did you enjoy looking at the most? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

2,000-Year-Old Iron Age and Roman Treasures Unearthed in Wales – Carvings of ‘True Beauty’

2,000-Year-Old Iron Age and Roman Treasures Unearthed in Wales – Carvings of ‘True Beauty’

In March 2019, a metal detectorist was searching for artifacts in a field in Wales, and stumbled upon a hoard of exceptionally preserved objects dating back 2,000 years to the Roman era and Iron Age!

Now officially declared treasure, these finds include a Roman pot and a Celtic bucket mount, which initially emerged as a bloc collection of buried treasures.

In total, eight objects, including two complete pieces, were unearthed from the field located in the scenic region of Llantrisant Fawr,  Monmouthshire.

Other Roman pottery were vessels also part of the booty, stumbled upon by detectorist Jon Mathews. Although he wasn’t initially certain about the significance of his discovery, he had a strong intuition that it might be something of great importance, reports  Wales Online 

The bucket mounts found at Llantrisant Fawr.

The Process of Uncovering: Digging Through Collaboration

Acting upon this hunch, he promptly contacted the local find liaison officer, who recognized the potential value of the artifacts. With careful precision, the archaeologists delicately excavated the findings which were then transported to Amgueddfa Cymru, the National Museum of Wales, for further examination and preservation.

Following these initial findings, Jon Matthews joined the museum’s excavation team at the site. Together, more artifacts were unearthed, including a captivating bowl adorned with an ox’s face!

Initially mistaken for a brooch, this particular discovery left Jon, an experienced detectorist of ten years, in awe, describing the experience as “surreal.”  

A Proper ‘Hoard’ of Finds: Indicative of a Roman Settlement?

The subsequent investigations conducted by experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme in  Wales (PAS Cymru) and Amgueddfa Cymru uncovered a total of two complete and six fragmentary  vessels.

Among the findings were remnants of two wooden tankards, an  Iron Age  bucket adorned with  copper alloy fittings, an Iron Age copper alloy bowl, cauldron, and strainer, as well as two Roman copper alloy saucepans.

These vessels are believed to have been buried as a group during the second half of the first century AD, a tumultuous historical period surrounding the end of the  Roman occupation of Britain .

The remarkable bowl with an ox head handle is a beautiful blue-green metal design and a wide-eyed ox with bowed horns. The lower lips or jaw extend outwards into the handle-like loop. The team has given this find the nickname of ‘Bovril’!

Alastair Willis, a senior curator at Amgueddfa Cymru, said, “The discovery of two coin hoards in the same field and in the general vicinity of the Roman town at  Caerwent, is exciting and significant.

The results of the geophysical survey undertaken suggest the presence of a previously unknown settlement or religious site where the  coin hoards  were buried. This sheds light on life in the rural hinterland around the Roman town of Venta Silurum.

The discoveries are also important for understanding events happening in south-east Wales around the time when the Romans left, at the beginning of the fifth century AD.”

A Roman trulleus (saucepan) handle found at Llantrisant Fawr.

Interestingly, other significant discoveries were made in a ploughed field in Caerwent by metal detectorists Colin Price and Rhys Cadwallader between 2014 and 2022.

Their findings consisted of a hoard of Roman coins dating from the late-third to late-fourth centuries AD. The proximity of these coin hoards to the  Roman town of Caerwent has led experts to believe that they might indicate the presence of an unknown settlement or religious site.

7,000-Year-Old Underwater Road Discovered In Adriatic Sea Off Korcula Island

7,000-Year-Old Underwater Road Discovered In Adriatic Sea Off Korcula Island

Visitors to the beautiful island of Korcula, the supposed birthplace of Marco Polo in Croatia, can admire wonderful dense pine forests,  beautiful buildings, small squares, and marvelous monuments in the medieval Old town. 

As the sixth-largest Adriatic island, Korcula is a popular tourist attraction, but the island has more to offer than modern sightseeing tours. The island of Korcula has a rich history going as far back as the Stone Age.

A local legend tells Prince Antenor of Troy founded the main settlement of Korcula. Archaeologists have previously found evidence of ancient Greek settlements on the island, and Korcula was also once part of the Roman Empire.

Now, underwater archaeologists have made an incredible find making the history of Korcula even more exciting.

Scientists from the Univerity of Zadar announced on Facebook they made a surprising discovery while conducting underwater archaeological research on the submerged Neolithic site of Soline on the island of Korcula.

The research is the result of the collaboration of several institutions and companies.

In addition to the leader Mata Parica from the University of Zadar, the group consisted of Domagoj Perkić (Museums of Dubrovnik), Ivan Šuta and Vedran Katavić (Museum of the City of Kaštela), Katarina Batur (University of Zadar), Marta Kalebota ( City Museum of Korčula), Eduard Visković (Kantharos), with the assistance of Dalibor Ćosović from the diving center Lumbard Blue.

At the same time, on the other side of the island of Korcula, archaeologists from the University of Zadar are conducting land research near Gradina Bay near Vela Luka. It was Igor Borzić, the head of the research, who noticed the strange structures in the sea of the bay.

The archaeological team diving at the Soline site inspected the central part of Gradina Bay.

To everyone’s delight, the existence of a settlement almost identical to the one at Soline was determined at a depth of 4 to 5 meters. Neolithic artifacts such as flint blades, stone axes, and fragments of millstones were found at the site.

A 1,600-year-old basilica re-emerged due to the withdrawal of waters from lake iznik

A 1,600-year-old basilica re-emerged due to the withdrawal of waters from lake iznik

The 1600-year-old basilica found under Lake Iznik in crystal clear water shows breathtaking aerial images. Archeologists and art historians believe that after an earthquake in 740, the religious structure collapsed during an earthquake in 740, before sinking further into the lake.

The underwater building lies between 1.5 and 2 meters below the sea and can be clearly seen for the first time, as the coronavirus lockdown has resulted in less water pollution.

The local authority recently flew a drone over the site to take stunning images, revealing the basilica’s walls and structure just below the lake’s surface.

In 2014, when it was first found by experts, the Archaeological Institute of America named the basilica one of the top 10 discoveries of the year. It was discovered while photographing the area from the air for an inventory of historic sites and cultural artifacts.

Five years ago the Doğan News Agency reported that the submerged structure was set to become an underwater museum. Experts believe it was built in AD 390, to honor St. Neophytos, who was among the saints and devout Christians martyred during the time of Roman emperors Diocletian and Galerius.

Neophytos was killed by Roman soldiers in A.D. 303, a decade before an official proclamation permanently established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire, they say.

I thought to myself, ‘How did nobody notice these ruins before?’ said Prof Mustafa Sahin

Uludag University Head of Archaeology Department Prof Mustafa Sahin told the agency in 2015 the church was built in tribute to him, at the place where he was killed.

He said: “We think that the church was built in the 4th century or a later date.

“It is interesting that we have engravings from the Middle Ages depicting this killing. We see Neophytos being killed on the lake coast.” Ancient resources show that Christians definitely stopped by Iznik in the Middle Ages while making their pilgrimage to visit the church.

“Rumour has it that people in Iznik were asking for help from the body of Neophytos when they were in difficulty,” Sahin said.

The researcher told Live Science that he had been carrying out field surveys in Iznik since 2006, and “I hadn’t discovered such a magnificent structure like that.

“When I first saw the images of the lake, I was quite surprised to see a church structure that clearly.”

He also told the Archaeological Institute of America: “I did not believe my eyes when I saw it under the helicopter.

“I thought to myself, ‘How did nobody notice these ruins before?’”


And, there might be a pagan temple beneath the church, reports The Weather Channel. Researchers have uncovered fragments of an ancient lamp and early coins from the reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius – indicating a more historic structure buried under the church.

Sahin said he believed the basilica could have been built on top of a temple to Apollo. The information shows there is a connection with the Roman emperor Commodus – to a similar temple at Iznik, then known as Nicea, outside the city walls.

Early coins found at the submerged basilica

“Could this temple have been underneath the basilica remains?” Sahin asked of the church, which is to be transformed into an underwater archaeological museum.

The early Byzantine-era basilica has architectural elements from the early period of Christianity and is situated 20 meters from the banks of Lake Iznik in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa.

Archaeological finds excavated since 2015 include the memorial stamp of the Scottish knights, who were believed to have been among the first foreign visitors to the basilica, reports Daily Sabah.