Archaeology News for the Week of April 13th, 2014

April 13th, 2013


Roman Imperial Port Facilities Emerge Under Archaeological Investigation

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. (Popular Archaeology)


 Drones: Archaeology’s Newest Tool to Combat Looting

The scenes are haunting. A video camera strapped to the nose of a drone aircraft first shows only a spinning, sunlit horizon in the barrens of southern Jordan. Then the camera swoops, low and slow, over a hilltop whose surface recalls photographs of the lunar battlefields of World War I Europe. Crater after crater gouge the hill’s stony surface. It looks like the aftermath of a murderous artillery barrage. (National Geographic)

“Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” Shown to Be Authentic in Tests

A small scrap of brown papyrus paper, about the size of a business card, has ignited a red-hot argument that spans all of Christendom. The papyrus document, known as the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” was unveiled in 2012 and instantly set off a debate over its authenticity. Perhaps its most controversial elements are lines that suggest Jesus had a wife. (Scientific American)

Archaeologists to resume digging at Native American site where prehistoric building found

 Archaeologists will return to an ancient Native American site in eastern Oklahoma next month to resume excavation, after they discovered a prehistoric building there last October. Few artifacts have been discovered near the formation — which measures just about 12 feet across — at Spiro Mounds making it difficult for researchers to determine the time period of the building, said Scott Hammerstedt, a researcher at the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey. (TribTown)

 The Real Flood: Submerged Prehistory

As a specialist in prehistoric underwater archaeology, Dr Jonathan Benjamin looks at rising sea levels differently from most people and his fascination with this global phenomenon began when as a PhD candidate at Edinburgh University he came across the work of the Danish archaeologists Anders Fischer and Søren H Anderson. (PastHorizons)

Log boat dating back 4,500 years found in Lough Corrib

A 4,500-year-old log boat is among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft that have been located in Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes and other weapons.The vessels were discovered by marine surveyor Capt Trevor Northage while mapping the western lake to update British admiralty charts. (

Chichester remains: Tests on 4,000-year-old Racton Man

Tests will be carried out on a 4,000-year-old skeleton that was found on farmland in West Sussex 25 years ago. Experts believe the skeleton, which was found with an ornate dagger, could be from the Copper Age or Early Bronze Age – about 2,200-2,100 BC. Archaeologist James Kenny, who led the dig near Chichester in the 1980s, said there were then no funds for tests but a £10,000 project would now begin. (BBC News)