A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.
In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request leave to make the long journey home to see them.
Addressed to his mother (a bread seller), sister and brother, part of it reads: “I pray that you are in good health night and day, and I always make obeisance before all the gods on your behalf. I do not cease writing to you, but you do not have me in mind,” it reads. Read more.
Archaeologists working in the western desert of Egypt have discovered a school dating back about 1,700 years that contains ancient Greek writings on its walls, including a text about ancient drug use that references Homer’s “The Odyssey.”
The school — which contains benches that students could sit on to read, or stand on and write on the walls — dates back to a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, and Greek was widely spoken.
In use for less than 20 years, the school structure eventually became part of a large house that contained colorful art, including images of the Olympian gods, the researchers said. Read more.
An ancient site in eastern Crete may now be providing some answers to the questions of how and why the earliest Archaic city-states on this important Greek island of the Aegean developed and emerged more than 2,500 years ago.
Led by Project Director and archaeologist Donald Haggis of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Field Director Margaret Mook of Iowa State University, a research and excavation team will return to the location of Azoria, an archaeological site situated on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Mirabello in northeastern Crete. Initially explored by the American archaeologist Harriet Boyd-Hawes in 1900, the site has since yielded evidence of human occupation from Final Neolithic times until shortly after 200 B.C.E. Read more.
The Terracotta Warriors, along with other life-size sculptures built for the First Emperor of China, were inspired by Greek art, new research indicates.
About 8,000 Terracotta Warriors, which are life-size statues of infantryman, cavalry, archers, charioteers and generals, were buried in three pits less than a mile to the northeast of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor. He unified the country through conquest more than 2,200 years ago. Pits containing sculptures of acrobats, strongmen, dancers and civil servants have also been found near the mausoleum.
Now, new research points to ancient Greek sculpture as the inspiration for the emperor’s afterlife army. Read more.
When a brand-new subway system hits an ancient road, surely something has to give. But in one northern Greek city, archaeologists are fighting to combine the two, against government plans to remove and display elsewhere a large section of an ancient Roman thoroughfare found on a planned subway station.
Some 200 people, including many state-employed archaeologists, on Monday formed a chain round the central Thessaloniki site, beating drums and holding a banner reading “Culture is not business.”
The protest was organized by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, which wants the metro station re-designed to incorporate the ancient remains and has raised more than 12,000 signatures in an online petition to preserve the road. Read more.
The ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya will finally open to visitors by the end of summer following excavations that have revealed a façade, according to a written statement made by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Thirty-nine workers, seven archaeologists and three restoration experts are working in Perge, which was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia and the capital of Pamphylia. Archaeological work in the ancient city has been continuing for 65 years, and many columns along the city’s streets have been successfully restored during this process.
The Perge excavations are the longest-running in Turkey. Over 65 years, archaeologists have unearthed 20 to 25 percent of the ancient city. Read more.
Keros Island. It is known for the famous assemblage of fragmentary Cycladic marble figurines popularly known as the “Keros Hoard”, a collection of artifacts purportedly found by looters at the site of Kavos on the west coast of this now uninhabited Greek island in the Cyclades, southeast of Naxos in the Mediterranean. Many of the figurines, traded on the antiquities market, ended up in the Erlenmeyer Collection in Basel, Switzerland, with the rest dispersed among various museums and private collections. The figurines were said to have inspired the work of Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore.
Now, archaeologists will be returning to the island to conduct a survey that will, they hope, shed additional light on the settlement and civilization that constituted the famous hoard’s context, with an eye toward further targeted excavations. Read more.
Archaeological sites and museums across Greece have shut down for 24 hours due to a strike by Culture Ministry employees protesting planned reforms that aim to streamline the ministry’s operations.
Tourists arriving at the country’s most famous monument, the Acropolis, on Friday morning found the gates padlocked and a sign saying the site would be closed for the day.
Workers are objecting to organizational reforms that they say could endanger some jobs and “constitute a tombstone for the Culture Ministry.”
Gripped by a severe financial crisis since late 2009, Greece has been dependent on billions of euros in international rescue loans to remain solvent. In return, it has imposed structural reforms, deep spending cuts and tax hikes that have seen incomes slashed and unemployment spiraling to above 26 percent. (source)