Archaeology Weekly Roundup! 1-5-13

Archaeologists who have completed the excavation of a 900-seat arts center under one of Rome’s busiest roundabouts are calling it the most important Roman discovery in 80 years.

A temple and sacred vessels from Biblical times have been discovered at Tel Motza. The finds, dated to the early monarchic period and including pottery figurines of men and horses, provide rare testimony of a ritual cult in the Jerusalem region at the beginning of the period of the monarchy.

Some marine archaeologists think ancient artifacts resembling the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient bronze clockwork astronomical calculator, may rest amid the larger-than-expected Roman shipwreck that yielded the device in 1901. Continue reading

From History and Myth, Anatolians in Mycenaean Greece

By: Josh Cannon, University of Chicago

The Late Bronze Age (LBA) of Anatolia is a period that has been described to us through history and myth. The history of LBA Anatolia comes primarily from the Hittites, who actively created and maintained records. Written in cuneiform, these records provide us with a wealth of information ranging from sweeping royal military campaigns to the correspondence of local leaders discussing missing slaves. The myth comes predominantly from the Archaic and Classical Greeks who wrote about how their Bronze Age ancestors interacted with their Anatolian neighbors. The most famous story of this nature is Homer’s Iliad. If we carefully weave the historical knowledge together with the myth, we can use the two together to accomplish more than either can do alone. However, this is a delicate task. Both sources need to be treated with their shortcomings in mind. For instance, one issue with the historical record is that it is incomplete. This is due to several reasons, though time will allow us to improve some of them. With time, scholars will continue to translate the many Hittite tablets that have been uncovered. Also, additional Hittite tablets will come to light through archaeological excavations. What time cannot touch are the historical details that were never recorded by the Hittites, details that were left out because they were deemed insignificant or perhaps politically damaging. Continue reading