A Roman village in Germany and other news

Let’s begin with some older, but interesting news, which you might have missed. Near Gernsheim, Germany, a Roman village has been found. The village is dated to the first centuries AD and was built around the local Roman fort, run by a cohort. It dates to between AD 70/80 and 110/120. The village was built on top of the fort after the soldiers were transferred to the borders during the Pax Romana, when made their presence at the fort was no longer required.

Roman finds have been made earlier at the site, but the actual settlement has come to light only with the latest excavations, which have unearthed the foundations of a stone building, fire pits, at least two wells, some cellar pits and a lot of pottery. Small finds from the village include garment clasps, pearls, a hairpin of bone decorated with a female bust, as well as dice and playing pieces from board games.

The village was probably inhabited by relatives of the soldiers and tradesmen, mostly people of Gallic-Germanic origins and Roman citizens from other provinces like Bithynia, based on specimens of clothing and some coins. The village, as the fort before it, occupied an important place in the networks of communication and trade in Germany. An image gallery with interesting pictures from the archaeological research is available on the LiveScience website.

Going next to Britain, it seems that mummification was a practice used also in the UK during the Bronze Age. New microanalyses of 34 skeletons from European sites dated to the Bronze Age have shown that they bear signs of bacterial bio-erosion, which is typical of tissue from mummified bodies. The environment in the UK is generally not conducive for the preservation of flesh, so the analysis had to be conducted on the skeletal remains only.

The well-known Antikythera shipwreck has yielded more discoveries in this year’s excavations, which used 3D maps and metal detection during exploration of the area.  More than 50 artefacts were recovered, including a bronze armrest (probably from a throne), fragments from a bone flute, glassware, fine ceramics, parts from an ancient board game, and the chiselled rectangular base of a statuette with twelve holes. The objects are being analyzed to identify the substances contained in the pottery vessels and to determine the provenance of the lead.

At Pompeii a Samnite tomb has been unearthed at the Herculaneaum Gate. It contained vessels and amphorae, which shed some more light on the burial customs of the inhabitants of the site during the pre-Roman era.

And finally, CT scans on what seems to be the Egyptian mummy of a crocodile have shown that it is actually made of the skulls of no less than eight crocodiles. The scans have been conducted as part of the Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank Project, conducted by the University of Manchester.

Picture credit: thumbnail for this post taken from the article on the Roman village.

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