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 Laser precision: NASA flights, satellite align over sea ice
04.10.2019 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht A fortress of ice and snow
04.10.2019 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

Im Focus: How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.

How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

Im Focus: Liquifying a rocky exoplanet

A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What...

Im Focus: Axion particle spotted in solid-state crystal

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics.

The team found signatures of axion particles composed of Weyl-type electrons (Weyl fermions) in the correlated Weyl semimetal (TaSe₄)₂I. At room temperature,...

Im Focus: A cosmic pretzel

Twin baby stars grow amongst a twisting network of gas and dust

The two baby stars were found in the [BHB2007] 11 system - the youngest member of a small stellar cluster in the Barnard 59 dark nebula, which is part of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New method for quicker and simpler production of lipidated proteins

14.10.2019 | Life Sciences

3D-printed optics for individualized mass production

14.10.2019 | Materials Sciences

New design strategy can help improve layered superconducting materials

14.10.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>