News from the Roman and Roman-adjacent world for March... Strangely, no good pictures of bones this month.
Roman-Area Finds and Articles
- 24 February - Authorities to Seize a Roman Statue in Queens That They Say Was Stolen (NY Times). The illegally obtained life-size sarcophagus lid, which depicts Ariadne, may have been looted from a Swiss gallery in 2002.
- 3 March - New Discoveries at the Gallic Necropolis of Esvres-sur-Indre (Past Horizons). This Late Iron Age/Early Roman cemetery in central France contains the graves of at least 74 people. Several of these are new finds, even though the site of Esvres-sur-Indre has been known since the turn of the 20th century. Interestingly, most of the tombs contain children.
- 4 March - Sardis Dig Yields Enigmatic Trove: Ritual Egg in a Pot (PhysOrg). Found under a 1st century Roman house, this deposit containing an egg in pottery is really interesting. It's not bioarchaeology per se, but it reminds me of child burials in Rome where the kid was interred clutching an egg.
- 11 March - Discover the Ancient Port of Rome with Free Online Learning with the University of Southampton MOOC (U of Southampton). The cemetery associated with Portus, Isola Sacra, is fascinating and has yielded a ton of information from bioarchaeological analysis of it. I don't know if the MOOC will cover Isola Sacra, though.
|Mausoleum of Augustus, Rome|
- 29 March - Augustus Rules Again as Rome Acts to Restore Lost Mausoleum (Past Horizons). I am super jealous of all the people who got to see inside the mausoleum last weekend. Super jealous. (Augustus is my favorite emperor... I mean, the emperors weren't great people, but the amount of art, literature, and culture produced under Augustus is amazing.)
- 31 March - Two Thousand Year Old Ossuaries Containing Jewish Bones from the Second Temple Period Seized (Heritage Daily). A bunch of ossuaries (stone boxes containing bones) were looted recently from a cave in Jerusalem, but the perpetrators were quickly caught. These seem to date to the 2nd c BC to 1st c AD.
- February - "Tuberculosis and leprosy in Italy. New skeletal evidence." M. Rubini, P. Zaio, and C. Roberts. HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology 65(1):13-32. I haven't read this yet, admittedly, but I want to. I've been critical of Rubini's and Zaio's work before, but I have the utmost respect for Charlotte Roberts, so I have high hopes for this article.
A Bit Further Afield in Time/Place...
- 10 February - Human Sacrifices 3,000 Years Ago in Crete (ANSA). Both humans and animals were sacrificed to the gods, according to new evidence from the site of Cydonia dating to about 1280 BC. A broken female skull was found amid animal skills. It seems the woman died from blunt trauma to the head. I'll wait for the publication of this to make up my mind, though. Fragmentary human bones found amid other deposits does not necessarily mean sacrifice. (See: Baby Bones Were Trash to Romans.)
- 13 March - Ancient Greek Tombstones Served as Therapy (Discovery News). Drawing on the old idea that tombstones represent interaction between the living and the dead, a Swedish graduate student analyzed mourning iconography and showed that Greek tombstones were more personalized than previously assumed.
- 26 March - Diet and Journeys Take in Sahara Desert Thousands of Years Ago Analyzed through Bone (Heritage Daily). A neat new project seeks answers about populations that lived in the Sahara Desert over the last 8,000 years, including the Garamantes people, who were well-linked to the greater Roman world. This should prove to be a very interesting study, although I suspect it'll take years before we see academic publications. The 12-minute video at the site is really cool.