27 JUIN 2024 NEWS







ESPAGNE – Glassurn Carmona - Hispana, Senicio and the other four inhabitants (two men and two women, their names unknown) of a Roman tomb in Carmona, discovered in 2019, probably never imagined that what for them was a funerary ritual would end up being momentous 2,000 years later, for an entirely different reason. As part of that ritual, the skeletal remains of one of the men were immersed in a liquid inside a glass funerary urn. This liquid, which over time has acquired a reddish hue, has been preserved since the first century AD, and a team with the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cordoba, led by Professor José Rafael Ruiz Arrebola, in collaboration with the City of Carmona, has identified it as the oldest wine ever discovered, thus topping the Speyer wine bottle discovered in 1867 and dated to the fourth century AD, preserved in the Historical Museum of Pfalz (Germany). “At first we were very surprised that liquid was preserved in one of the funerary urns,” explains the City of Carmona’s municipal archaeologist Juan Manuel Román. After all, 2,000 years had passed, but the tomb’s conservation conditions were extraordinary; fully intact and well-sealed ever since, the tomb allowed the wine to maintain its natural state, ruling out other causes such as floods, leaks inside the chamber, or condensation processes. The challenge was to dispel the research team’s suspicions and confirm that the reddish liquid really was wine rather than a liquid that was once wine but had lost many of its essential characteristics. To do this they ran a series of chemical analyses at the UCO’s Central Research Support Service (SCAI) and published them in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports*. They studied its pH, absence of organic matter, mineral salts, the presence of certain chemical compounds that could be related to the glass of the urn, or the bones of the deceased; and compared it to current Montilla-Moriles, Jerez and Sanlúcar wines. Thanks to all this they had their first evidence that the liquid was, in fact, wine. But the key to its identification hinged on polyphenols, biomarkers present in all wines. Thanks to a technique capable of identifying these compounds in very low quantities, the team found seven specific polyphenols also present in wines from Montilla-Moriles, Jerez and Sanlúcar. The absence of a specific polyphenol, syringic acid, served to identify the wine as white. Despite this, and the fact that this type of wine accords with bibliographic, archaeological and iconographic sources, the team clarifies that the fact that this acid is not present may be due to degradation over time. Most difficult to determine was the origin of the wine, as there are no samples from the same period with which to compare it. Even so, the mineral salts present in the tomb’s liquid are consistent with the white wines currently produced in the territory, which belonged to the former province of Betis, especially Montilla-Moriles wines. The fact that the man’s skeletal remains were immersed in the wine is no coincidence. Women in ancient Rome were long prohibited from drinking wine. It was a man’s drink. And the two glass urns in the Carmona tomb are elements illustrating Roman society’s gender divisions in its funerary rituals. While the bones of the man were immersed in wine, along with a gold ring and other bone remains from the funeral bed on which he had been cremated, the urn containing the remains of the woman did not contain a drop of wine, but rather three amber jewels, a bottle ofperfume with a patchouli scent, and the remains of fabrics, with initial analyses seeming to indicate that they were of silk. The wine, as well as the rings, the perfume and the other elements were part of a funerary trousseau that was to accompany the deceased in their voyage into the afterlife. In ancient Rome, as in other societies, death had a special meaning and people wanted to be remembered so as to remain alive in some way. This tomb, actually a circular mausoleum that probably housed a wealthy family, was located next to the important road that connected Carmo with Hispalis (Seville). It was formerly marked with a tower, which has since disappeared. Two thousand years later, and after a long time in oblivion, Hispana, Senicio and their four companions have not only been remembered, but have also shed a lot of light on the funerary rituals of ancient Rome while making it possible to identify the liquid in the glass urn as the oldest wine in the world.

The world’s oldest wine discovered – Popular Archeology (popular-archaeology.com)

ITALIE – Ancient sanctuary in pompeii 1024x683  Pompéi - In Pompeii’s Regio IX neighborhood, the area known as Insula 10 is still being excavated by archaeologists. Archaeologists are still excavating this area, and a recent discovery includes a gorgeous sky-blue sacrarium, a place for ritual and the preservation of holy artifacts—brilliant red lines the niches, where statues and other devotional iconography likely stood. The 8-square-meter room is decorated in the Fourth Style (c. 60–79 C.E.), an intricate aesthetic that was less ornamental than its predecessor but took a more narrative and architectural approach. Against the azure background, female figures pose gracefully, their garments blowing in the breeze. Four of the women represent the seasons. Two are allegories of agriculture and pastoralism, the former indicated by a plow, the latter by the pedum, a short staff used by shepherds. When Mount Vesuvius erupted, researchers think the room was being used for storage as part of a larger renovation. In addition to building supplies and a stack of empty oyster shells that were probably intended to be ground and added to plaster, the team discovered 15 amphorae, two jugs, and two lamps in the area. Pompeiians typically reserved blue for the most sacred of spaces, and neither the color nor the accompanying frescoes appear in a discovery nearby. Therefore, the team suggested that the room was used for pagan rituals and storing sacred objects as the blue color has only been found in places of great importance. As noted by the History Blog, archaeologists also excavated the servants’ quarters of the villa of Civita Giuliana, a stark contrast to the sacrarium. In the servants’ quarters of the villa of Civita Giuliana, another exceptional discovery of work tools and supplies shows how the other half lived. There are no glorious frescoes in this small space. The room contained a bed, work tools, a basket, rope, and wooden planks, the shapes of which were preserved by volcanic matter, and researchers were able to recreate their forms in plaster. Archaeologists explain: “As the ash solidified, forming a very solid layer known as “cinerite,” organic material such as human bodies, animals, or wooden objects decayed, leaving a void in the ground. These voids can be filled with plaster during excavation, to regain the original shape from the “negative” impression. A technique that led to extraordinary results in the villa of Civita Giuliana, from the casts of two victims and a horse to those of the modest beds in the servile quarter.”

New excavations in Regio IX - Pompeii Sites

TURQUIE – A ship found far off i 1 Dana - Associate Professor Hakan Öniz, who discovered the world’s largest and oldest shipyard dating back to the Bronze Age in 2015 in Mersin’s Silifke district off Dana Island in southern Türkiye, announced that they found new artifacts in the shipyard. Öniz, Akdeniz University (AÜ) Head of the Preservation and Restoration of Underwater Cultural Heritage Department and Director of Kemer Underwater Archaeology Research and Application Center said that they had so far found a total of 294 ancient boatyards during their studies. Noting that the shipyard could build 300 ships simultaneously, he also pointed to new findings indicating that smaller boats and dinghies were constructed behind where the larger ships were produced. Öniz’s findings were also published as an article in an international scientific journal. He said that these ramps were easily accessible from the sea and were used for either constructing new ships or for the maintenance of ships. Finding 100 ramps from archaeological periods is quite remarkable, he noted, adding: “We were very excited when we found them. We immediately reported it to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In 2016, with the permits from our ministry, we started working on these 100 ramps on Dana Island again, and in the years 2016-2017, we identified a total of 294 ship ramps in our studies. Having 294 ship ramps means being able to build 294 ships simultaneously, and we know that in ancient times, it took about six months to build a ship.” “So, in this context, the construction of 500-600 warships within a year was significant enough to change all balances in the Mediterranean,” he added. “A magnificent shipyard, large enough to produce approximately 300 ships, was unearthed with all its infrastructure, not only the boatyards but also workshops, prayer areas, security towers, a castle structure, and many similar archaeological infrastructures. Such a shipyard changed history in the Mediterranean 2500-3000 years ago and made great steps in maritime history. What is this? For example, the Salamis Naval Battles took place in the 5th century B.C. The battles that have been the subject of many Hollywood movies, such as the ‘300 Spartans’ movie, took place in Athens, in front of Piraeus. These were the wars between the Persian fleet and the Athenians, that is, the Greek fleet. We know that the Persians were a land-based society, while the Cilicians were a mariner society because they had no other choice. The majority of Persian ships were built on the Cilician coast. We think that this shipyard is where most of the Persian ships were built. Furthermore, we believe that the ships of Antony and Cleopatra were also built in this region” Öniz also said the famous Gen. Antigonus’s shipyard was in this area during the Hellenistic period and that many ships built on Dana Island were used in naval battles during this period. He further explained that famous Cilician pirates also held a strong influence in the area. “In the first century B.C., approximately 1,000 ships of Cilician pirates raided 500 settlements in Greece, and they even challenged the Roman Empire for a period. We can say that the majority of the ships of these Cilician pirates were built on Dana Island. We have archaeological evidence for this. “In our recently published article, we discussed that besides the large ships, there is evidence that the smaller boats and dinghies behind these ships were also constructed in a special design at another location behind the ships,” he said. Öniz also noted that their work on Dana Island dates back to the Paleolithic period. “In other words, we found stone tools on Dana that we know were used between 8,000 and 10,000 B.C. Of course, Dana Island was not a shipyard at that time. The stone tools were probably used by people who transitioned from a hunting society to an agricultural society. But archaeological evidence shows us that Dana Island served as a shipyard, especially since the Late Bronze Age. It is the largest and oldest untouched shipyard in the world,” he said. Öniz said that the cedar trees growing in the Taurus Mountains, just across from Dana Island, were used in ship construction. He said: “Cedar trees for this shipyard are just one to two hours away, so there are no raw material problems. We know that the shipyard is in a secure harbor area. Along a continuous 1.5-kilometer (0.93-mile) stretch, there are about 300 slipways side by side. The most important aspect of this is the availability of raw materials. Ships can easily dock from the sea without any problems. It’s secure; enemy forces cannot easily attack the shipyard on the island.”“That’s why it is recorded that in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., the Assyrians attacked Dana Island, as mentioned in the emperor’s memoirs. He says, ‘There is Dana Island rising like a mountain in the middle of the sea. Thousands of people resisted us there.’ Thousands of people can live on Dana Island. At the time, they were mainly soldiers, carpenters, and other workers of the shipyard,” he added.

New Discoveries Made in World's Oldest Ancient Shipyard - Arkeonews