Two penises engraved on a 2,000 year old stone may shed light on the foundation of the city of Aosta in northern Italy, revealing its deep connection with the Roman emperor Augustus.
Named Augusta Praetoria Salassorum by the Romans — who captured it from the local Salassi people in 25 B.C. to control strategic mountain passes — Aosta boasts several monuments dedicated to Augustus.
"But the newly discovered stone tells even more about Aosta’s connection with the Roman emperor. It reveals the city was built under Augustus’ sign during the winter solstice," Giulio Magli, professor of archaeoastronomy at Milan’s Polytechnic University, told Discovery News. Read more.
To the east of the famous Isis temple on the island of Philae in Upper Egypt, workers and archaeologists are busy at work. They are cleaning and restoring the massive stone blocks that once formed the temple of Hathor, which is being rebuilt and restored in order to be officially inaugurated next month.
Time has since taken its toll on the temple, which was built by King Ptolemy VI and extended during the reigns of Ptolemy VII and Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Many of the temple’s stone blocks have deteriorated; its walls, meanwhile, are riddled with cracks.
According to antiquities ministry officials, the temple’s deteriorated blocks have been replaced with new ones, while fallen blocks have been returned to their original positions. Poor restoration work undertaken previously, meanwhile, has been corrected.
The temple consists of a colonnaded kiosk bearing 14 Hathor-headed pillars, a pronaos (vestibule) and a cult terrace facing the Nile River. Among the temple’s most impressive reliefs is one depicting a group of musicians performing before an assembly of ancient Egyptian deities. (source)