People of numerous pre-Columbian civilizations in northern Chile, including the Incas and the Chinchorro culture, suffered from chronic arsenic poisoning due to their consumption of contaminated water, new research suggests.
Previous analyses showed high concentrations of arsenic in the hair samples of mummies from both highland and coastal cultures in the region. However, researchers weren’t able to determine whether the people had ingested arsenic or if the toxic element in the soil had diffused into the mummies’ hair after they were buried.
In the new study, scientists used a range of high-tech methods to analyze hair samples from a 1,000- to 1,500-year-old mummy from the Tarapacá Valley in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Read more.
Located in south central Bulgaria, the city of Plovdiv, known to many as the “Eternal City of Bulgaria”, is among the oldest cities in Europe, with evidence of human settlement going back 6,000 years. Established first as the Thracian settlement of Eumolpia, today its ancient remains near the city center are most often identified with the name Philippopolis by archaeologists. That was the name given to the city after it was Hellenized within the Macedonian Empire under Philip II during the 4th century, B.C.E.
But its most visible ancient remains took shape when the city was absorbed into the orbit of ancient Rome during the 1st century B.C.E. - 1st century C.E., the time period of Augustus. It was during this time when the great monumental structures, such as the Theater, Stadium, Treasury, Thermae, Odeon, and other associated structures of its central Forum, were built. Read more.
One of the oldest surviving complete Roman mosaics dating from 1,700 years ago, a spectacular discovery made in Lod in Israel, will go on show at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK. The exhibition Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel is presented in association with the Israel Antiquities Authority and in collaboration with the British Museum, from 5 June – 2 November 2014.
Measuring eight metres long and four metres wide, and in exceptional condition, the Lod mosaic depicts a paradise of birds, animals, shells and fishes, including one of the earliest images of a rhinoceros and a giraffe, richly decorated with geometric patterns and set in lush landscapes. Read more.
Florence, April 14 - Archaeologists digging up the remains of an ancient Roman theatre discovered under the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence have found a “vomitorium” or corridor used by as many as 15,000 theatre goers in the first and second centuries A.D., city officials say.
The latest find at the site in the centre of the Tuscan capital includes the original painted stone pavements along which spectators used to walk from the outer circle of the theatre to the orchestra pit, which already had been excavated during previous digs. Also discovered were well shafts going as deep as more than 10 metres below the current surface of Florence, providing water and waste disposal for the theatre, as well as remains of the foundations of the walls used to build the Salone dei Cinquecento. Read more.
Lamia al-Gailani pulls a folder of crumbling letters from a battered metal cabinet – part of what she considers the secret treasures of the Iraq Museum.
The cabinets hold archives from the beginnings of the venerable institution, established after World War I by Gertrude Bell, the famed British administrator, writer, and explorer. Hundreds of thousands of documents and photographs, neglected until now, hold the untold story of an emerging nation whose borders “Miss Bell” helped to draw.
“Wonderful isn’t it?” says Ms. Gailani, an archaeologist. She pulls out photographs of the Iraq pavilion at the 1938 Paris Expo and a yellowing, typewritten letter from 1921 confirming the appointment of Bell as honorary museum director. “People probably thought these archives don’t exist. These are treasures that no one knows about.” Read more.
In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I’s government came up with a series of measures to deter “divers evil persons” from damaging the reputation of English coinage and, with it, the good name of the nation.
The Royal Mint announced last month that in 2017 it will introduce a new £1 coin, said to be the “most secure coin in the world”. The reason behind the decision, which could cost businesses as much as £20 million, is the surge in counterfeiting. It is estimated that around 3% of £1 coins are fakes with an estimated 45 million forgeries in circulation.
Four and a half centuries ago, Elizabeth I made the reform of currency one of her government’s top priorities. Invested as queen in 1558, she inherited a coinage which was fraught with problems. Read more.
Since a major archaeological investigation was launched in May 2011, Roman Maryport, on the western edge of Hadrian’s Wall has yielded many important finds.
Perhaps most dramatic were the fragments of altar stones, which have added greatly to knowledge about the collection of famous altar stones unearthed in the eighteenth century and displayed at nearby Senhouse Roman Museum.
Now the archaeologists and volunteers who have been making some of these important finds are returning to the Roman settlement to investigate the remains of a house, which was discovered in 2013 together with a Roman road. Read more.
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now.
Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year 753BC.
But on Sunday it was reported that evidence of infrastructure building had been found, dating from more than 100 years earlier. The daily Il Messagero quoted Patrizia Fortini, the archaeologist responsible for the Forum, as saying that a wall constructed well before the city’s traditional founding date had been unearthed.
The wall, made from blocks of volcanic tuff, appeared to have been built to channel water from an aquifer under the Capitoline hill that flows into the river Spino, a tributary of the Tiber. Read more.