World News

More still to uncover at Pompeii

While investigations at Pompeii have been ongoing for centuries, much of the site remains unexplored, and new excavations have recently begun in one such previously unexamined section. This new project aims to uncover an area of around 3,200m2 – roughly the size of a whole block of the ancient city – in Insula 10 of Regio IX, along via di Nola.

Meanwhile, work in other areas of the site has revealed new finds, showing that previously investigated parts of Pompeii still have secrets to share, too. The recent re-excavation of the Stabian Baths, which were uncovered in the 1850s, have found the remains of a large house with an intricate mosaic floor. It appears that the house was abandoned after an earthquake in AD 62, and subsequently demolished to make room for an extension to the baths.

Large cave-art panel discovered in Spain

An 8m-long panel filled with more than 100 prehistoric engravings has been discovered in the Cova de la Vila cave in La Febró, Catalonia, Spain. While the complex was first discovered in the 1940s, it was quickly lost again, before being rediscovered in 2012 by researchers from IPHES (the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution). The small chamber, called the Sala dels Gravats, where this new cave art is located, however, was found independently by cavers in 2021.

Image: Arnau Pascual Monells/Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya

Preliminary analysis of the panel revealed that the engravings were organised into five lines, with little overlap and much stylistic similarity between them, leading archaeologists to suggest that this was a deliberate composition that was probably created at the same time, or at least over a short period of time. The motifs on the panel mainly comprise abstract symbols such as circles, zigzags, lines, and net-like patterns, as well as more representational images such as quadrupeds (possibly cows or horses) and stelliforms (suns and stars).

Submerged altars found in Italy

Two marble altars dating from the 1st century AD have been discovered by marine archaeologists off the coast of Pozzuoli, Italy. It is believed these altars were once part of a temple complex that was built by the Nabataeans – traders from the Arabian Peninsula – in the Roman port of Puteoli.

While it is known that the Nabataeans established a base at Puteoli in the early imperial period, and a few fragments of one of their temples (which was dedicated to the god Dusares) have been discovered since the 18th century, its exact location was unknown until researchers used precision topography to pinpoint its probable site.