Vindolanda marks 1900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall with altar find

The excavation season hasn’t begun yet but the Vindolanda Roman fort has launched the 1900th anniversary year of Hadrian’s Wall with a surprise archaeological find: a stone altar. It wasn’t even at the excavation site. The altar was found in Vindolanda Stream next to the site’s museum when staff were cleaning a tree felled by …

Will reveals existence of Marco Polo’s daughter Agnese

Researchers at the State Archive of Venice have discovered that the explorer Marco Polo had a previously unknown daughter named Agnese. The sole surviving record of her existence is a fragment of her will. It is dated July 7th, 1319, and names as fideicommissarii (executors) her husband Nicoletto Calbo, her father Marco Polo and another …

Child mummy with mullet CT scanned

The latest episode of the British Museum’s excellent YouTube series Curator’s Corner looks at the museum’s use of a high-resolution CT scanner to study the mummies in its collection. There are still many things we don’t know about Egyptian mummification processes because almost no written material about it has survived (only three papyri are known), …

40 decapitated skeletons found in Roman cemetery

Archaeologists excavating the site of HS2 high speed rail construction in Fleet Marston, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, have unearthed the remains of a small but busy Roman town and associated cemetery that contains 425 bodies, more than 40 of them decapitated. As was typical in the late Roman period, the cemetery predominantly contained inhumation burials but …

One of the most ancient Buddhist temples found in Pakistan

One the most ancient Buddhist temples in the world has been discovered in the ancient city of Barikot, in Pakistan’s Swat valley. It has been securely dated to the second half of the 2nd century B.C., but there’s evidence that it might date back further to the 3rd century B.C. when the area was part …

18,000 ostraca documenting daily life found in Egypt

Archaeologists have unearthed more than 18,000 ostraca documenting the daily lives of Egyptians at the Ptolemaic city of Athribis 25 miles north of Cairo. It is the one of the largest finds of ostraca ever made in Egypt, comparable only to the great quantities discovered at Deir el-Medina (a planned town housing the workers of …

Three ladies dancing, two couples cuddling, one piper piping in ancient feast mosaic

A mosaic depicting an outdoor feast has been discovered in the ruins of a 6th century villa at the ancient Roman site of Germanicia Caesarea, modern-day KahramanmaraƟ, in southeastern Turkey. The ancient rager features three women dancing and playing on crotala (ancient Greek castanets) accompanied by a musician on a large pan flute, two couples …

Helmets from 6th c. B.C. battle found

Archaeologists have discovered arms and armature used in a seminal 6th century B.C. battle at the ancient city of Velia in the Campagnia region of southwestern Italy. Two bronze helmets in perfect condition and numerous fragments of weapons including a shield were discovered on the Acropolis of Velia in the deepest archaeological layer dating to …