601 CE and Earlier

Happy birthday, Asterix!

On October 29, 2009, Gaul's most famous denizon, Asterix, celebrated his Lth birthday. (That would be 50 to the Roman-numerically-challenged.) The comic book character was created in 1959 by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.

Beowulf-era ceremonial hall discovered in Denmark

Archaeologists in Denmark are puzzled over the discovery of a large building "littered with bits and pieces of exquisite golden jewellery, glass and bronze broaches, high quality artifacts, such as drinking glasses and ceramics, which all seem to have been deliberately smashed in some ritual."

Hear the Oxyrhynchus Hymn

Gregorio Paniagua and the Atrium Musicae de Madrid has recorded The Oxyrhynchus Hymn, "the earliest known manuscript of a Christian hymn - dating from the 3rd century AD - to contain both lyrics and musical notation." The re-creation has been posted on YouTube.

Byzantine grave site found in Syria

A joint team of Syrian and Japanese archaeologists have discovered the graves of children dating to the 6th century in the ancient city of Palmyra. A wealthy city along the caravan route, Palmyra was known as the Bride of the Desert.

Great Wall longer than previously believed

A newly-discovered section of China's Great Wall shows that the structure was actually at least 11 kilometers longer than previously believed. The new section was found in the northeastern Jilin province.

"High status" Saxon brooch found in South Oxfordshire

Metal detectorists at a rally in South Oxfordshire have discovered a 6th century Saxon grave yielding a skull and a garnet brooch belonging to some of "high status."

Tournament of the Phoenix to draw international jousters

For the third straight year, jousters from around the world will gather for the Tournament of the Phoenix, a weekend-long event to be held October 23-25, 2009 in Poway California. The event is being held in conjunction with the Festival of History, a living history event featuring re-enactors from Roman times to the Renaissance.

Roman skeleton really Goth

The 5th century skeleton of a man, discovered in 1972 in Gloucester, England, has been identified as a Goth, originating from east of the Danube River. Experts feel that the man was most likely a Roman soldier.

US Army construction site unearths Roman settlement

A team of archaeologists from Mainz University have discovered what they believe is a 3rd century Roman settlement near Wiesbaden, Germany. The site was found during excavations for a new US$133 million Army Corps of Engineers housing project.

Bones of unidentified saint found in Bulgarian cathedral

Archaeologists working at the site of a medieval church, part of the fortress of Perperikon in Bulgaria, have discovered a bronze cross bearing remains dating to the 5th-7th centuries C.E. "These are broken and decayed bones, most definitely of a saint," Professor Ovcharov said.

Murder or execution in Venta Icenorum?

"This is an abnormal burial," said archaeologist Will Bowden of the University of Nottingham, about the discovery of a male skeleton, buried with his hands tied behind his back. "It could be that the person was murdered or executed, although this is still a matter of speculation." (photo)

Roman military camps found on Austrian amber road

The discovery of three Roman military camps "will rewrite the history of the Romans in Austria," said Stefan Groh, the leader of the Austrian Archeological Institute team which discovered the camps near Strebersdorf. The sites were found on the amber road, the ancient trading route which runs through the country.

Hadrian's wall cemetery to be excavated

Excavation has begun on "the first systematic excavation of a cemetery on Hadrian's Wall," a Roman cremation cemetery which is part of the World Heritage Site at Birdoswald Fort, Cumbri.

3D footprint of Colchester Circus proposed

Philip Crummy, director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust, which in 2004 discovered the location of the Colchester, England Roman Circus, reports that a proposal has been created to mark the dimensions of the site with a "three dimensional representation on the site of the circus footprint."

Festival of Ancient Heritage celebrated in Bulgaria

An international gathering of Roman re-enactors met recently in Svishtov, Bulgaria to celebrate the Festival of Ancient Heritage with re-creations of Roman military life and battles. (photo gallery)

Gajalakshmi statue found in Kashmir

A small statue of the Hindu goddess of wealth Gajalakshmi has been discovered at Nagbal Lesser village in Jammu and Kashmir. The stone carving dates to the 6th or 7th century C.E.

The treasures of Greek Istanbul

Many of the treasures of historic Istanbul, Turkey find their origins in their Greek past. Kristian Kamp of Today's Zaman looks at the Greek and Byzantine heritage of the city on the Bosporus, from its earliest days as the town of Chalcedon to its heyday as the Byzantine center of the Christian church.

"Presenting the Roman Frontiers – Communicating the Evidence" at Newcastle University

A group of over 300 international specialists on Roman archaeology met recently at Newcastle University to discuss Roman frontier heritage sites and how they are presented to the public.

Hadrian's Wall - a hike worth taking.

When he decided to walk the 84 miles of Hadrian's Wall across northern England, reporter Len Barcousky of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wasn't sure what he was letting himself in for, but the experience left him feeling like a "king of the world."

Reporter searches for allure of archaeology in Clunia, Spain

According to Mark Piesing of The Guardian, volunteering on the late Roman archaeological site in Clunia, Spain leaves one feeling more like Gil Grissom than Indiana Jones, yet volunteering for digs is more popular than ever. Piesing set off to find out why.

Amateur archaeologists drawn to Vindolanda

For over 200 years, archaeologists have been digging at Vindolanda, the 3rd-4th century Roman fort in the north of England. Now volunteers can try their hand at archaeology -- and still find artifacts. (audio)

5th century Byzantine cathedral and human remains found in Syria

An early Byzantine cathedral, complete with columns and stairs, has been discovered by the excavation team in Tal Al-Hasaka site in north eastern Syria. Also found was the "skeleton of a human who died of torture."

The things you find in bogs!

In an article for Wired Science, reporter Alexis Madriga ponders the sorts of things that have been found in peat bogs, including canoes, bodies, murder weapons and barrels of butter. (photos)

First known Jewish temple found in Lycia

Archaeologists excavating the ancient port city of Andriake in Lycia have discovered what they believe is the "first archaeological trace of Jewish culture" found in the area. They believe the temple was one of the earliest built after a 212 C.E. law allowed Jews to become Roman citizen.

Orkney neolithic cathedral "built to impress"

A 65 ft. (21 meter) long structure dating back 5,000 years has been discovered at the Ness of Brodgar in Scotland's Orkney Islands. The walls of the structure, which would have been 16ft (5 meters) thick and surrounding a cross-shaped inner sanctum, still stand.

Wooden structure precursor of Hadrian's Wall

According to archaeologist Geoff Carter, the stone structure of Hadrian's Wall may not have been the first to cross northern England. Carter believes a wooden wall, spanning 117 km, was built first.

New excavations at Black Sea fortress

After a 6th century earthquake destroyed the town of Dionisopolis, Byzantine emperors built a stronghold at Balchik, overlooking the Black Sea. Now a new team of experts hope to reveal more secrets of the site.

High-res survey reveals Roman farming community

Recent high-resolution geophysical surveys of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum in Norfolk, England, show that the town may have included agricultural areas, a discovery that contradicts earlier theories of the town's dense population. (graphic)

Site of large Roman hospital found in Moravia

Once a part of a fortified complex, a Roman hospital, "described as the largest preserved site of its kind north of the Danube," has been found in South Moravia. The site dates to the 2nd century.

Roman streets uncovered in Plovdiv

Archaeologists working on a large Roman site in Plovdiv, Bulgaria have discovered two Roman-era streets and the home of a Roman nobleman.