Marine archeologists with the American Museum of Natural History are planning to explore the ancient Greek Antikythera wreck in the Agean Sea, using an exosuit developed by Nuytco Research—originally for use in helping workers in New York’s water treatment facilities. The iron-man looking exosuit allows a diver to descend to 1000 feet for hours at a time without need for decompressing upon returning to the surface.
The Antikythera was discovered by divers in 1900—attempts to explore the wreck resulted in recovery of many artifacts, mostly famously, one that is known as the Antikythera mechanism—now referred to as the world’s oldest computer. But it also led to injury and death due to the extreme depth (120 meters). Subsequent attempts more recently have led to more discoveries, but time constraints have prevented a thorough study of the wreck. Read more.
It was in July 1984 when rescue excavations conducted by Dr. Elena Korka, now Director of the Ephorate of Private Archaeological Collections and Antiquity Shops, turned up an ancient sarcophagus of the Greek early archaic period near the town of Chiliomodi in Greece. The sarcophagus contained a female skeleton along with offerings. The interior of the sarcophagus slab was adorned with a composition consisting of two lions of monumental character. It was a remarkable find.
But this was not altogether surprising, as archaeologists and historians believed that somewhere in the area the central structural remains of the city of Tenea likely existed. Read more.
Who says only modern-day pro wrestling is fake?
Researchers have deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed. The document, which has a date on it that corresponds to the year A.D. 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final bout of a prestigious series of games in Egypt.
This is the first time that a written contract between two athletes to fix a match has been found from the ancient world.
In the contract, the father of a wrestler named Nicantinous agrees to pay a bribe to the guarantors (likely the trainers) of another wrestler named Demetrius. Both wrestlers were set to compete in the final wrestling match of the 138th Great Antinoeia, an important series of regional games held along with a religious festival in Antinopolis, in Egypt. They were in the boys’ division, which was generally reserved for teenagers. Read more.
An ancient labor contract by a guard hired to protect a vineyard in ancient Egypt has been deciphered. Scrawled in Greek on a piece of dark brown papyrus, the document dates back to the 4th century A.D., a new research paper claims.
Guarding vineyards in Egypt more than 1,600 years ago was no easy task. Other ancient sources describe grape-seeking thieves who violently beat watchmen in pursuit of the fruits ripe for winemaking. Crime could be especially high from July to September, the time of the harvest, writes Kyle Helms, a classics doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati.
Grape thefts even found their way into poetry. A verse by the Roman poet Catullus says a married woman “must be watched more carefully than the darkest grapes.” Read more.
Emotional expressions on Greek tombstones from the Hellenistic period (323-31 B.C.) help increase our understanding of social communication and cultural values. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Gothenburg.
Doctoral student Sandra Karlsson has studied ancient grave reliefs from the Greek city-states Smyrna and Kyzikos in present Turkey. The reliefs display both figurative motifs and inscriptions.
'This source material provides important information about funerary rituals, demographics, family structures and ideas about life after death,' says Karlsson, who chose to focus on expressions of emotions, but also conceptions of death. Read more.
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.