06 JANVIER 2017 NEWS: Druce Farm - Metropolis - Shanxi - Xingan - Lavinium -
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WINTER TERM : JANUARY 2017
ROYAUME UNI – Druce Farm - A fine example of a Roman villa with well-preserved mosaics has been discovered in Dorset and excavated by a group of amateur archaeologists. Druce Farm lies four miles north-east of Dorchester in the valley of the River Piddle, near the village of Puddletown. The villa is some distance across fields from the farm. The villa is very close to what might be called a classic Roman villa: the main residence is a winged-corridor building, with a courtyard in front flanked by an aisled hall on one side and a workshop range on the other. One slightly unconventional feature of the winged-corridor villa is that it only has one wing, projecting into the courtyard on the western side – there is no wing to the east. Inside, the main villa is essentially a range of rooms with a corridor at the front. The well-preserved mosaic lies in the western end, forming part of the west wing, and there are several other mosaics in the rooms at the core of the villa. The west-wing mosaic was laid down around AD 350 in a ‘retro’ style, harking back to the black-and-white mosaics that were fashionable in the 1st and 2nd centuries, rather than the gaudy coloured versions that had become de rigueur in the 4th century. Its design was entirely geometric in form with a swastika – a good luck symbol back then – at the centre. This motif was surrounded by a border of diamond-shaped lozenges, with two rows evoking white ashlar blocks forming the outer surround. A couch or bed was probably standing on the west side of the pavement, and over time moving this loosened the individual squares or tesserae making up the mosaic. Eventually repairs were needed, but they were done very crudely, probably in the 5th or perhaps even beyond the ‘end’ of Roman Britain in the 6th century. Steve Cosh, who with David Neal had just completed his four-volume corpus of Romano-British mosaics, hurried down to draw this new mosaic, and said that he thought that it might have been designed by the Ilchester School of mosaicists, whose work is common in the Dorset area.
TURQUIE – Metropolis - An ancient glass furnace has been unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Metropolis in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Torbalı district. The finds in the furnace show that its ceramics were imported from Athens to the region. In a written statement, the head of the excavations, Associate Professor Serdar Aybek, said they found the glass furnace in a Roman bath. “We believe the furnace was used as a firepan for the bath where pools were heated. We also found traces of glass production in the other parts of the bath. So we thought the bath lost its function in the early Byzantine era and then was used as a glass furnace,” he said. Aybek said the location of the furnace was close to a church. “It made us think that the glass production center was established under the control of the church and it operated to meet the needs of the church. Lots of ceramics that were found in the Roman bath and the Zeus Krezimos sacred area were produced in Ephesus, Knidos, Parion and Athens. This shows us that the ceramics were imported by the people of Metropolis.” Aybek added that the ceramic finds also revealed that Metropolis and production centers in other regions interacted with each other. “We have been tracing history in Metropolis for the past 26 years. This season, we worked mainly in the lower Roman bath, the Palaestra [sports field], which covers an area of some 6,000 square meters and is the largest structure in the city. Mosaic floors, galleries, pools and eating and drinking places in Palaestra indicate that the people of the city gave importance to social life. The glass furnace and glass pieces that we found this season will provide us significant clues about the social, cultural and commercial relations of the era,” he said.
CHINE - Shanxi - Archaeologists have found murals dating back more than 900 years in a tomb in north China's Shanxi province. The tomb, from the Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234) is in Zhangzi county. The colorful murals are largely painted on a white background. The upper part features acts of filial piety, said Zhang Guanghui, a research fellow with Shanxi provincial archaeological research institute. Beneath, the murals depict people working and cooking. Flanking the gate of the tomb, there are images of herdsmen and cattle. The pictures are adorned with floral, animal and cloud motifs, Zhang said. "We have seen several tombs with murals from the Jin Dynasty, but such well-preserved ones are a rarity," he said. The tomb was found last April and reported as robbed. Artifacts and the bodies are missing, making it difficult for Zhang and his team to identify the original occupants. "Judging from the murals, however, we can deduce that the owners may have been aristocrats. They were certainly rich," he added.
CHINE – Xingan - Treasure hunting villagers ignored police to dig up over 500kg of Qing dynasty coins near a river in southeast China, according to local news reports. The antique coins were uncovered without permission by pensioners and children in a mass dig near Gan River in Xingan county, Jiangxi province. Villagers occupied a 30 square metre area of riverbank to dig for artefacts. Inscriptions on the coins suggest they date back to the 1700s, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty, an official is reported to have said. They are thought to be part of a Qing courtier's fortune, which was lost when a ship sank as he was travelling home to Jiangxi after his retirement.
ITALIE – Lavinium - The archaeological area of ancient Lavinium is set to open for the first time to the public on January 7. The ancient city, located near the seaside village of Pratica di Mare just south of Rome, was mythically founded by exiles from Troy and was cited in the work of ancient Roman orator Symmachus, ancient Greek historian Timaeus, and ancient Greek poet Lycrophron. Visitors will be able to tour both the Lavinium Archaeological Museum as well as the archaeological site unearthed in 1955 and 1956 by Roman topographer Ferdinando Castagnoli, then-director of the University of La Sapienza's Institute of Topography, and Roman archaeologist Lucos Cozza. There the pair discovered an ancient burial mound 18 metres in diameter surrounded by more than 60 precious objects including vases, weapons, and items made of silver, bronze and iron, all dating to the 7th century B.C. The ruins revealed that the area reached its peak expansion in the 6th century B.C. The burial mound, or "tumulus", has come to be known as the Heroon of Aeneas, after research attributed it to the mythological legend of Aeneas, the Trojan hero of Virgil's Aeneid. Today the Heroon of Aeneas, the Sanctuary of Lavinium and its thirteen altars is located inside the protected nature area owned by the Roman noble Borghese family. Superintendent Alfonsina Russo said visitors can see the 13 altars built out of tufa that were once red and were built between the 6th and the 4th century BC, as well as a ceremonial building and the remains of two kilns that produced votive objects.