ROME — They have clothed the world’s wealthy fashionistas and bejeweled Hollywood stars. Now, Italy’s kings of fashion are poised to give this nation’s crumbling monuments a makeover to restore them to their former glory, something the cash-strapped Italian government cannot do.
But as Italy courts private cash to rescue some of the globe’s best-known relics of the ancient world, a debate is raging here over the commercialization of history. The Italians have been careful to avoid, say, the kind of U.S.-style rebranding that could lead to Prada’s Pompeii or the Leaning Tower of Gucci. But critics are already fretting about corporate exploitation of Italy’s national patrimony. Read more.
Archaeologists from the University of Bonn, working with restorers, are preserving and studying 4th-century tunics ascribed to St. Ambrose. In the course of examining these valuable silk garments, they have made surprising scholarly discoveries regarding the development of early relic worship. In a few days they will return to Milan with a mobile lab to continue the project at the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio.
Saint Ambrose is the patron saint of grocers, beekeepers, and gingerbread bakers. He is also the patron saint of study, which explains why his attributes include the book and the flagellum, in addition to the beehive. What is more, Ambrose (339-397) is also the patron saint of Milan, where his bones rest in the Basilica that bears his name, Sant’Ambrogio. Born in Trier, Germany, he began his career as a politician, becoming elected, in 374, the influential Bishop of the emperor’s residence of Milan. Read more.
Augustus, who died 2000 years ago, was the first emperor of Rome. He brought peace after the turmoil in the republic after the assassination of Julius Caesar when he defeated the forces of Antony and Cleopatra. But despite this, two millennia after he bestrode the world, his mausoleum lies in disrepair under piles of rubbish while his celebrated stables, only discovered five years ago, are to be reburied due to lack of funds.
There’s a rich agenda of special and extravagant events in Rome as it celebrates the 2000th anniversary of the death of Augustus. The city is packed with cultural events, from special exhibitions to the re-enactment of ancient Roman rites. But the restoration of these important monuments are a step too far – one that simply can’t be afforded. Read more.
ROME (AFP).- Archaeologists in Italy have uncovered a cemetery in the 2,700-year-old ancient port of Rome where they believe the variety of tombs found reflects the bustling town’s multi-cultural nature.
Ostia “was a town that was always very open, very dynamic,” said Paola Germoni, the director of the sprawling site — Italy’s third most visited after the Colosseum and Pompeii.”What is original is that there are different types of funeral rites: burials and cremations,” she said this week.
The contrasts are all the more startling as the tombs found are all from a single family — “in the Roman sense, in other words very extended”, Germoni said. Read more.
A sip of unpasteurized sheep or goat’s milk may have spelled doom for a medieval Italian man.
A new genetic analysis of bony nodules found in a 700-year-old skeleton from Italy reveal that the man had brucellosis, a bacterial infection caught from livestock, when he died. It’s not clear if the disease killed the man, but he likely would have suffered from symptoms such as chronic fatigue and recurring fevers, according to the researchers who analyzed the bones.
This medieval Italian man joins many other long-dead people in getting a postmortem diagnosis of brucellosis. Signs of the disease have been found in skeletons from the Bronze Age and earlier. In fact, the disease predates modern humans: In 2009, researchers reported possible signs of brucellosis in a specimen of the human ancestor Australopithecus africanus, who lived more than 2 million years ago. Read more.
If going gluten-free seems hard now, try doing it in ancient Rome. A well-heeled young woman with coeliac disease tried to adapt her diet in an unsuccessful effort to cope with gluten sensitivity, studies of her remains suggest.
The woman’s remains were buried in a 2,000-year-old tomb at the Cosa archaeological site on the Tuscan coast in Italy. The ancient Roman city’s economy depended on growing wheat and olives and was not particularly prosperous, yet archaeologists discovered gold and bronze jewellery entombed alongside the woman’s bones. They concluded that she was relatively wealthy and would have had access to plenty of food.
Yet the skeleton of the woman — who researchers estimate was 18–20 years old — bore signs of malnutrition and osteoporosis. Read more.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa hailed the return to his country of thousands of archaeological pieces from Italy, the European nation where he broadcast Saturday his traditional weekly activity report, which was retransmitted to this Andean country.
“Returning from Italy is the greatest return in history, more than 4,600 archaeological pieces,” Correa said, adding that the items being returned came largely from the Tolita culture.
The head of state said that these elements of national heritage were plundered from Ecuador because “there was no control,” so that “tens of thousands of archaeological pieces” were lost, but said that now, under his administration, “thousands of these pieces are coming back.” Read more.
Known as Vada Volaterrana, it has been identified as a key port system located in present-day Tuscany, Italy, used anciently by the Romans of the city of Volaterrae (today’s Volterra) for the import and export of trade goods throughout the Mediterranean. The main harbor was located north of the mouth of the Cecina river, at S. Gaetano di Vada. Here, the University of Pisa has been excavating, since the 1980s, a significant commercial quarter that has yielded major structures and numerous artifacts that have testified to a facility built during the Augustan age but lasting through to the sixth-seventh centuries, C.E.
Currently led by Simonetta Menchelli of the Laboratory of Ancient Topography of the University of Pisa and Stephano Genovesi of the Archaeological Superintendences of Tuscany, Liguria and Sardinia, the team has uncovered two thermal baths, a large warehouse (horreum) with about 36 cells, a large water tank, a monumental fountain, and a building with three large apses, decorated with remarkable wall paintings and surrounding an open squared courtyard. Read more.