Archive for the 'Ancient Wonders' Category

Rome’s new subway unearths artifacts from the Paleolithic

“With its subway lines traveling at nearly 100 feet below ground, Line C has given archaeologists access to artifacts dating as far back as the Paleolithic era.”

 

 

From the New York Times,

 

Unearthed in Rome’s New Subway: Extinct Elephants and Persian Peach Pits

By Elisabetta Povoledo

 

“ROME — The ancient Romans were celebrated for their engineering feats: roads that helped expand an empire; aqueducts that quenched throngs and supplied lavish fountains; monumental bridges, some of which are still in use today.

 

So it seems apt that a modern engineering achievement — the construction of a new subway line in the city — has given archaeologists a unique opportunity to study this ancient world in extraordinary detail.

 

“This subway has provided a wealth of knowledge about the city that no other operation could have duplicated,” said Rossella Rea, the archaeologist who has overseen the project since planning for the subway line began in the 1990s.

 

The new route, Line C, will link the city center to an area to the east of Rome, beyond the city limits, connecting a series of fairly recently developed and heavily populated suburbs. The hope is that the line, whose first 13 stations were opened in 2014, will alleviate some of Rome’s famously chronic traffic chaos.

 

In living cities, archaeologists typically get to muck around underground during the construction of parking lots, with digs up to 26 feet below ground. With its subway lines traveling at nearly 100 feet below ground, Line C has given archaeologists access to artifacts dating as far back as the Paleolithic era.

 

“We haven’t done anything so extensive or gone so deeply” for years, Ms. Rea said.

 

As tens of thousands of cubic meters of earth has been moved during the line’s decade-long construction, each unearthed artifact — marble capitals and mosaics, and even remains of long-ago leftover meals and the ruins of 19th-century villas — has been painstakingly documented, cataloged and extracted. Some will go on show once a proper exhibition space is found. Some more monumental finds will be recomposed to be admired in situ…”

 

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CGI Reveals the Faces of Historical Figures…

Forensic facial reconstruction on historical figures! Let’s start with our favorite: King Tut himself…

 

 

From Ranker.com,

Groundbreaking CGI Programing Shows What Historical Figures Actually Looked Like  

by Stephan Roget

 

“Many a Social Studies teacher has promised to “bring history to life,” but the art of 3D facial reconstruction actually pulls it off by showing the people of today what famous figures looked like when they were still among the living. The technique, more properly referred to as a component of forensic anthropology, has helped modern historians, professional and amateur alike, finally come face-to-face with some of the most important individuals in human history.

 

Forensic facial reconstruction isn’t easy, especially when it’s being performed on people that have been dead for centuries. Originally used to help identify extremely decayed human remains for the purposes of criminal investigation, facial reconstruction has advanced far enough that it can be used for more academic pursuits. Although some historical figures had plaster “death masks” made that provide an easy starting point for modern scientists, facial reconstruction usually involves using the human skull as a base, and extrapolating outward from there to map out probable soft tissue placement until a discernable face appears. The technique relies on natural marks on the skull that indicate approximate soft tissue depth, telling reconstructors how much tissue to layer on. In the days before computers, facial reconstructions were done painstakingly by hand, but new technology has made the process much more efficient and accurate. It’s not a perfect process, but it’s as close as any modern person is going to get to looking King Tut in the face…”

 

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13th Century Stained Glass Found In Westminster Abbey’s Attics

Treasure can be found in unlikely places…

 

 

From The Guardian,

 

Westminster Abbey’s attics yield a treasure trove of stained glass
Archaeologists clearing attics to create new museum space find 30,000 stained glass shards, some dating back to 13th century

 

“When the archaeologist Warwick Rodwell scooped up a handful of dust from the attics of Westminster Abbey and saw dozens of tiny fragments of glass glittering in the grime, he realised they were dealing with excavation, not house clearance.

 

The salvaged glass – some dating back to the 13th century, including stars, flowers and sun rays, fierce little mythical animals and beautiful medieval faces – is being recycled into dazzling new windows being made for the abbey at the stained glass studio at Canterbury Cathedral, where some of the original medieval glass artists may have worked.

 

The Westminster attics, the triforium, were being cleared out to create a museum space opening next year. It will be the first time the general public has been admitted to the spectacular space.

 

Until the new tower, which will be lit by the new windows, was built outside the walls of Poets’ Corner, the only access was by a perilous, narrow spiral staircase used by centuries of workmen, and occasionally guests, and in the 20th century journalists, for great state occasions including coronations, royal weddings and funerals.

 

Rodwell said: “Once I saw the glass, the penny dropped. I realised this was treasure, not rubbish, and we would have to go through every inch of it. The workmen thought I was mad.”

 

The attics became one of the most unusual excavations anywhere: the diggers were working in pits up to 1.5 metres (5ft) deep, heavily masked to protect them from asbestos and lead dust, almost 30 metres above the floor of the abbey…”

 

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