An enduring mystery of archaeology involving a well-known historical site in ancient Rome is being quietly unraveled in Indiana, thanks to a sophisticated computer simulation created by Ball State University digital artists.
The simulation, crafted by the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA) and commissioned by Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, re-creates the Campus of Mars. The site was built around 9 B.C.E. for the Emperor Augustus just outside the city walls of ancient Rome.
By integrating precise NASA historical data on the movements of the sun and moon with archaeological surveys of the site, researchers can examine suspected solar alignments involving structures that were part of the campus. Read more.
NASA data, simulations used to connect Egyptian obelisk, Augustus’ ‘Altar of Peace’
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — An Indiana University archaeo-informaticist has used virtual simulations to flip the calendar back thousands of years and show for the first time the historical significance of the unique alignment of the sun with two monuments tied to the founder of the Roman Empire.
For nearly a half-century, scholars had associated the relationship between the Ara Pacis, the “Altar of Peace” dedicated in 9 BC to then-emperor Augustus, and the Obelisk of Montecitorio — a 71-foot-high granite obelisk Augustus brought to Rome from Egypt — with Augustus’ Sept. 23 birthday.
Prevailing research had found that on this day, the shadow of the obelisk — serving as the pointer, or gnomon, of a giant sundial on the plaza floor — would point toward the middle of the Ara Pacis, which the Roman Senate had commissioned to recognize the peace brought to the Roman Empire through Augustus’ military victories. Read more.
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)