Dazzling jewels from an Ethiopian grave reveal 2,000-year-old link to Rome

“Dazzling jewels from an Ethiopian grave reveal 2,000-year-old link to Rome”

by Dalya Alberge via “The Guardian

British archaeology team uncovers stunning Aksumite and Roman artefacts
Grave in Ethiopia
The grave in Ethiopia where the woman dubbed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was discovered. Photograph: Graeme Laidlaw

Spectacular 2,000-year-old treasures from the Roman empire and the Aksumite kingdom, which ruled parts of north-east Africa for several centuries before 940AD, have been discovered by British archaeologists in northern Ethiopia.

Louise Schofield, a former British Museum curator, headed a major six-week excavation of the ancient city of Aksum where her team of 11 uncovered graves with “extraordinary” artefacts dating from the first and second centuries. They offer evidence that the Romans were trading there hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.

Schofield told the Observer: “Every day we had shed-loads of treasure coming out of all the graves. I was blown away: I’d been confident we’d find something, but not on this scale.”

She was particularly excited about the grave of a woman she has named “Sleeping Beauty”. The way the body and its grave goods had been positioned suggest that she had been beautiful and much-loved.

Perfume flask found at the site.
Perfume flask found at the site.

Schofield said: “She was curled up on her side, with her chin resting on her hand, wearing a beautiful bronze ring. She was buried gazing into an extraordinary Roman bronze mirror. She had next to her a beautiful and incredibly ornate bronze cosmetics spoon with a lump of kohl eyeliner.”

The woman was also wearing a necklace of thousands of tiny beads, and a beaded belt. The quality of the jewellery suggests that she was a person of very high status, able to command the very best luxurious goods. Other artefacts with her include Roman glass vessels – two perfectly preserved drinking beakers and a flask to catch the tears of the dead.

There was also a clay jug. Schofield hopes that its contents can be analysed. She believes it would have contained food and drink for the afterlife.

Although “Sleeping Beauty” was covered only with soil, her grave was cut into a rock overhang, which is why the finds survived intact.

The team also found buried warriors, with each skeleton wearing large iron bangles. They may have been killed in nearby battlefields. . . . .


Archaeologists Unearth New Areas Of Ancient Roman City

“Archaeologists Unearth New Areas Of Ancient Roman City”

by Emily Thomas via “Huffington Post

ostia antica

“Archaeologists in Rome have unearthed a massive section of the ancient port city of Ostia, shedding new light on the city’s historical significance.

Researchers for the Portus Project — an archaeology initiative led by Britain’s Southampton University and Cambridge University — working in collaboration with the British School at Rome and top Roman archaeologists discovered a new boundary wall that greatly extends the Ostia city limits. In the new geophysical survey, archaeologists also found massive warehouses the size of footballs fields which most likely held imported goods before they were sent on to Rome.

”Our results are of major importance for our understanding of Roman Ostia and the discoveries will lead to a major rethink of the topography of one of the iconic Roman cities in the Mediterranean,” Professor Simon Keay, director of the Portus Project, told The Telegraph.

The new findings counter a previously held belief that the Tiber River, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea, was Ostia’s northern border. The recent excavation, however, shows that Ostia’s land continued on the other side of the river. This new area was referred to in antiquity as Isola Sacra, or Sacred Island. . . . . ”



“Walking Among the Etruscans”

“Walking Among the Etruscans”

by Michael Bleibtreu Neeman via “Epoch Times

“Now disappeared, the Etruscans have left a cultural legacy, which influenced ancient Rome. The Etruscan people, composed of merchants and traders, settled on a fertile land rich in resources; they established their power not by force, but through social and economic means.

In a new exhibition, the Musée Maillol (Maillol Museum) in Paris presents the daily life of the Etruscans, unveiling a cosmopolitan and culturally rich civilization in which women played a role as important as men’s, which is an exception among ancient civilizations.

Because its origins remained an enigma, and has only been known for its funerary culture, the richness of the Etruscan culture was long ignored. However, archaeological excavations of the last few decades reveal new surprising aspects of this mysterious people coming from the Middle East.

The Maillol Museum traces the history of the Etruscans from their settlement in the Italian Peninsula in the ninth century B.C. with 250 objects coming from European museums and institutions, in particular from those in Italy. . . . .”