New human remains found in Pompeii
Excavations in the House of the Chaste Lovers in Pompeii have discovered the remains of two individuals killed in AD 79, not by the pyroclastic flow or the pumice that rained from Mount Vesuvius during the eruption, but by the earthquake that preceded it. The skeletons of two men, both over 55 years old, were found inside a utility room where they had attempted to take cover, buried beneath walls that had collapsed during the earthquake. One individual had his arm raised in a futile attempt to protect himself from the falling masonry, and both have multiple injuries caused by the walls that crushed them. Excavations also revealed the remains of a fabric bundle associated with one of the individuals, inside which were five pieces of glass paste, probably beads of a necklace, as well as two silver denarii and four bronze coins.
AI identifies new Nasca lines
Artificial intelligence has been used to identify three new geoglyphs in the Nasca desert. Hundreds of these geoglyphs have been identified in the area since the 1920s, but a recent project led by researchers from Yamataga University is testing whether AI technology can help the search. The ‘deep learning’ technology, which identifies elements of possible geoglyphs in aerial photographs, previously detected a small ‘humanoid’ geoglyph in 2019 (CWA 99). Now it has discovered three more: a pair of legs, a bird, and a fish, which have been verified by archaeologists on the ground. This technology has the potential to identify possible geoglyphs 21 times faster than the human eye alone, and could significantly speed up the discovery and recording of other unidentified Nasca geoglyphs, many of which are at risk of erosion. The new research has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2023.105777).
Bronze sword from Bavaria
A spectacularly well-preserved bronze sword, still shining after more than 3,000 years, has been found in the Donau-Ries area of Bavaria, Germany. The discovery was made in a burial containing the remains of a man, a woman, and a child, and dates to the Middle Bronze Age, around the end of the 14th century BC. The sword has an ornately decorated octagonal hilt and bears no signs of use, suggesting that it was intended for ceremonial use or as a status symbol. However, it is weighted in a way that would also have made it an effective weapon, particularly for slashing movements. It is very rare to find intact burials with surviving grave goods in this area of Germany, as most were looted in the past. Further research is needed to understand more about this remarkable discovery.
Text: Amy Brunskill / Image Archäologie Büro Dr Woidich