The Cyprus Antiquities Department, supported by members of the Defence Archaeological Group, have been excavating a 7th century Basilica in the area of RAF Akrotiri recently.
The excavation, which is now in sixth year, is a significant discovery and as experts continue to unearth more of the ancient ruin, there is enough evidence to suggest it was a building of enormous importance.
The huge site, estimated to have been the size of Westminster Abbey, which the Antiquities Department dates back to approximately 616, is believed to have been a holding area for holy relics brought over from Jerusalem and boasts an incredible wealth of stunning mosaics – now protected with special gravel – marble, gold leaf trimmings, bronze and statues.
And according to Eleni Procopiou, an area officer for the Antiquities Department, its discovery should not be underestimated.
She gushed: “This literally helps us understand and re-write the history of the 7th century in Cyprus. We estimate that after its construction, it had a very short life-span of approximately 30 years before it was abandoned and destroyed. This was a very important place and housed the relics of some very important people.
“We have made some hugely significant findings during the excavation, it is very exciting.”
Given the discovery was made within the SBAs it comes as no surprise that there is involvement from Forces personnel, through Operation Nightingale, a scheme set up to help injured servicemen and women, which as trooper Danny Simpson explained, is an excellent opportunity to help him start enjoying life again.
“I was injured during training and was medically discharged,” he explained. “I think it is pretty awesome to be honest (the excavation). I actually can’t wait to start university. This is probably the happiest I have been since because it is something that is 1,400 years old and I am the first person to see that.”
One supporter of the scheme is somewhat of a household name in the UK, Phil Harding, a British archaeologist, who works on Channel 4’s highly-popular Time Team show.
Speaking to Carla Prater from BFBS TV, he explained how much he enjoyed sharing his passion for archaeology: “It is through something like Operation Nightingale that I can actually share that passion with somebody else. People who have never done it before and actually feel it is beneficial, not just for the archaeology but for actual people’s lives for what they are doing and for their future wellbeing and when you look at it like that it is actually quite humbling.”
The Cyprus Department of Antiquities dedicated seven members of its team to the excavation and they were supported by 10 British university students, on top of those from Operation Nightingale.
b)Swedish woman finds 2,000-year-old gold ring
A woman was left gobsmacked when she learned the gold ring she stumbled across in a field was 2,000 years old.
The ring is made of Roman gold [Credit: Camilla Lundin]
“I walk through that field several times a week. At first I thought it was one of the little rings we put around the chickens’ feet,” Camilla Lundin, 51, told The Local. “I thought it was strange that it was so far away from home.”
Lundin took the ring home and showed her husband, who also didn’t believe it was anything special. But Lundin took a picture which she sent to her brother, who immediately told her it was a treasure.
“When he told me it was an ancient gold ring, it felt like a gift from the underworld,” Lundin told The Local. “It was my magnificent ring. I didn’t want to give it up.”
Swedish law states that archaeological finds more than 100 years old belong to the finder. However, if the item is made of alloy such as gold, silver, or bronze, the finder must allow the state to examine and potentially purchase the item.
Lundin reluctantly called the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) and gave up the ring for examination. The Board determined that the golden spiral-shaped ring was made in the Roman Iron Age more than 2,000 years ago.
The Board wanted to search the farm where Lundin found the ring, in the tiny town of Gudhem located halfway between Gothenburg and Linköping. Lundin discovered the trinket in June 2011, but due to planting seasons the Board was unable to investigate the field until autumn. The research and paperwork took more than two years, but for Lundin it all paid off. After searching the farm for similar artefacts on two separate occasions, the state offered Lundin 11,000 kronor ($1,672) for the ring.
“I guess I knew right away it was special, but I had no idea just how valuable it was,” said Lundin, who confessed she still felt slightly disappointed to lose the ring. “I haven’t decided what to do with the money yet, but it will definitely be something special. Maybe I’ll travel somewhere.”
The Roman Iron Age is the period of history in Northern Europe when the Roman Empire’s influence reached the Germanic tribes. During this time many coins, buckles, and other bronze items were imported to Scandinavia.
It’s not the first time valuable rings have popped out of Swedish soil – two years ago a woman pulled up a carrot which had grown through her wedding ring, lost six years before.
Source: The Local [November 22, 2013]
C)Epigraphical database: The Ancient Graffiti Project
Strangely enough, wandering on in the Internet I casually found this promising project lead by Rebecca Benefiel: The Ancient Graffiti Project
“The website provides a search engine for locating and studying graffiti of the early Roman empire from the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Ancient graffiti, inscriptions that have been incised or scratched into wall-plaster, comprise a special branch of epigraphy. They differ from inscriptions on stone in several respects. An inscription on stone may be commemorative, dedicatory, sacred (to name just a few classes of inscription), but in almost all cases forethought has gone into the preparation of the text and the inscribed monument. Graffiti, by contrast, are more often the result of spontaneous composition and are the handwritten creation of the “man on the street.” Since graffiti are scratched into friable wall-plaster, they are more easily perishable, but when they do survive they are almost always found in-situ, unlike many stone inscriptions that have survived to the present day through re-use”.