Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pioneering archaeological research charts African links with the Roman world

24.05.2004


University of Southampton archaeologists Professor David Peacock and Dr Lucy Blue have just returned from a pioneering expedition investigating Roman sites in the East African country of Eritrea alongside colleagues from the University of Asmara. The University group is the first from the UK to work in the country since it won its independence more than a decade ago. They are already planning to return to this remote area on the shores of the Red Sea, previously part of Ethiopia.



Investigations centre on the ancient settlement of Adulis, which was known in Roman times as a fair sized settlement and mentioned in ancient chronicles as a key port in trade with India.

The researchers also believe they have found the site of the 6th century harbour of Adulis, known as Gabaza and a mausoleum called Samidi, both hitherto only known from documentary sources.


‘These exciting discoveries are of greatest significance and it is quite remarkable that we were led to them by a map drawn in the 6th century,’ said Professor Peacock. The map appears in a Christian topographical text written in the 6th century by a trader turned monk, to promote his belief that the earth was flat, not spherical.

Professor Peacock’s colleague, maritime archaeologist Dr Blue added, ‘It is most exciting to have discovered a major ancient Red Sea port and we look forward to investigating it further next year. We will begin by trying to understand how and why sediments accumulated and so completely buried the harbour.’

British involvement in the area has a long history. In 1868 General Napier landed his troops near Adulis in a daring bid to rescue British hostages held by Emperor Theodore at his fortress of Magdala, now in Ethiopia. Napier built a landing stage and a railway to transport troops and equipment to the interior, and traces still survive on the coast 6 km to the east of Adulis. Archaeologists from the British Museum, who accompanied the army, excavated a church at Adulis, which can still be seen in a ruinous state.

The team from Southampton and Asmara surveyed the site using up-to-date topographic and geophysical methods. A satellite image of the region provided useful information about land-use and permitted the ancient coastline to be re-constructed. However, minefields from the recent war with Ethiopia and the effects of heat posed a significant challenge to researchers.

‘It was a hard but very rewarding season of work,’ said Professor Peacock, ‘We achieved a great deal but much remains to be done and we look forward to returning next year. The research would not have been possible without help and guidance from colleagues from Asmara University and the National Museum, with whom this is a collaborative project, nor without the financial support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board and of the British Institute in East Africa.’

More work is scheduled for February 2005 when, it is hoped, students from the University of Asmara will be part of the team and training will become an important element.

Next year it is proposed to begin work on a visitors’ trail and signboards which will explain what to the layman might appear to be incomprehensible mounds and wall traces. Professor Peacock said, ‘It seems that Adulis met an untimely end: in 640 AD the Arabs mounted reprisals for attacks on Jeddah and other Arabian coastal settlements, and in consequence the town was destroyed utterly and totally, never to rise again.’

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>