LATEST ARTICLES IN STUDIA ANTIQUA ET ARCHAEOLOGICA

The votive relief to Pluto from Nicopolis ad Nestum

Although found more than 130 years ago and thought to be lost in the Bulgarian science, this votive monument from Nicopolis ad Nestum was “re-discovered” by the author in the exposition of the museum in Drama, Greece. The votive with the represented on it gods from the Graeco-Roman Pantheon is devoted to Pluto. The iconography of the monument is of the type Pluto on the throne. According to the inscription, Pluto is not only a chthonic deity of the Underworld, but also as “Πλούτος”–“Plutos” is the god of fertility, abundance and richness. Hermes is also depicted as “Ploutodotes“/“Κερδώος”, while Asclepius is represented as healer, giving strength and restoring, also of possibility of abundance and richness. The dedicators of the votive descent from a rich Thracian family and probably are part of the elite of Nicopolis ad Nestum. Their names reveal that these people have received Roman citizenship with the Constitutio Antoniniana after 212. The votive relief is made of a local marble, and is a work of the local masters, knowing well the iconography of the Graeco-Roman deities and the one of the imperial portraits of Julia Domna and Caracalla from the Severan dynasty.

Swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations (Almgren 232) from the Roman period in Dobrudja (Moesia Inferior)

Discovered in a large number in the Balkan-Danubian provinces of the Roman Empire, the swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations are in most cases attributed to the military. The iconographic motive and form are the artistic expression of Thracian traditions specific in the Lower Danube regions. The precursors of this type of brooches are the silver brackets found in Thracians princely graves discovered in Romania and Bulgaria dated in the 4th century BC. Chronologically framed in the 2nd–4th centuries AD, the roman fibulae are discovered mainly in military environments. On the territory of Dobroudja (Moesia Inferior), four brooches of this type are known, one at Ulmetum and three in the civil settlement near the camp of Durostum, at Ostrov-Ferma 4.

ESB in Western Black Sea

The commercial and cultural links between the West-Pontic region and the Aegean basin date well before the appearance of ESB tableware. In this article is analysed the presence of this type of pottery in the Western Black Sea. In the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, in this region was recorded 14 forms specific of workshops from Western Asia Minor. In archaeological sites from the Black Sea coast this type of ceramics is encountered in a larger proportion than in the inland settlements. Troesmis on the Danube line is a settlement where a significant amount of ESB has been discovered.

The conservation of the byzantine icon from Georgios Church, Jordan

The paper presents the physical, chemical and biological investigations, as well as a detail the process of restoration of a byzantine icon from Church of Saint Georgios in Ajloun, Jordan. Before establishing any treatment or maintenance procedures, it was necessary to obtain complete information about the components of the icon and its condition. Keeping in mind the original aesthetic aspect of the icon. In this effort an integrated analytical approach was used. In order to evaluate the icon’s components and degree of degradation, surface and bulk techniques were used. X-ray fluorescence using a Philips Minipal PW4025 spectrometer was used to identify the elemental composition of the preparation layer and background. For the chemical analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD) was investigation was performed. The FTIR technique was also used to identify the media used in the application of the icon layers, as well as the type of varnish used to insulate the icon. The cleaning process is a key point in the conservation process although it is one of the most important aspects for an artwork and is considering a series of deteriorations and degradations. XRF results of the preparation layer sample revealed it consisted of Gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), since it contains calcium (Ca) and Sulphate, analysis of red pigments showed that it was comprised of red-lead (Pb3O4). The overall efficiency of all conservation process including cleaning seems to be effective.

The medieval church of San Biagio in Cittiglio (Varese, Northern Italy). Archaeological and anthropological investigations of the cemeterial area

The old medieval church of San Biagio in Cittiglio (Varese, Northern Italy) is one of the oldest religious buildings of Valcuvia. Since 2006, the interior of the church has been under investigation to acquire historical data and to reconstruct the archaeological site. These excavations yielded a series of discoveries, such as a significant number of tombs and pictorial elements. During our first field season, we exposed several architectural phases of the church, from the 9th to the 15th century. Inside the church, a funerary atrium was discovered and it was fascinating to find several tombs placed on different chronological layers. In particular, two of these tombs are remarkable. A tomb containing the skeletal remains of a young male showed three perimortem cuts on the skull. The other one kept the bones of a woman with a spearhead at the level of the ribs. We also observed another aspect, the conspicuous presence of childhood graves. In order to better investigate the paleodemography, we needed more osteoarchaeological data. Therefore, we focused our attention on the funerary area (7.5 m North–South × 18 m East–West) immediately outside the church. The archaeological excavation, which started in March 2016, brought to light several burials. During this phase, we discovered five overlapping archaeological layers, which testified an important funerary context. In the superficial layer, we recovered fragmented human bones, coins and numerous metallic artefacts. In the underling layer, we found tombs with coins, which allowed us to date it back to the Renaissance period. Square stones of different dimensions delimited the tombs of adults, while dead infants and foetuses were buried inside shingles. In the same layer, we also recovered archaeological findings such as an iron key, an iron knife, bronze buckles and bronze rings. The anthropological data for this cemeterial phase also documented the high infant mortality together with findings of pathological indicators such as arthrosis, dental diseases and traumatic injuries.

A study on the Seleucid and Parthian seals of the Semnan Museum, Iran

Seals and clay sealings are the most valuable evidence for studying the economic, political and cultural structures of the different past societies. Due to the lack of resources to explain the various characteristics of Seleucid and Parthian material culture, studying the seals of these periods can reveal not only the artistic sides of glyptic material but to clarify the roles played by sealings in the social and economic contexts of the Seleucid and Parthian societies. Seven seals which are currently being preserved in the Semnan Museum are described and studied in the present paper. These seals have been discovered through illegal excavations. Their patterns and styles are usually influenced by Greek art elements, including animal motifs, the Greek goddess Athena and human illustrations in the majority, which is probably because of the greater attention to human and humanist perspectives among the Greek artists. The present study aims at analysing the motifs of the seals, as well as making comparisons to identify similarities with other cases found in different sites such as Tel Kedesh (Israel), Nisa (Turkmenistan) and Dura-Europos (Syria) in order to suggest a more precise dating for the mentioned seals.

A multilingual Romance-language lexicon for manufactured objects

In multidisciplinary communication, putting standardised lexicons into practice is essential in order to avoid problems such as terminological misinterpretations and ambiguity. Most standardised lexicons take English as a basis; however, in many cases Romance languages are not taken into account. In this work, lexicons for manufactured objects are presented in the main Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Catalan) together with the seminal English lexicon. This multilingual lexicon is organised in the style of a traditional dictionary. It concerns either past or present, original or (contemporary or not) copied items, and is intended to help people active in any field in which manufactured objects may be involved, from museum pieces to factory-made items.

Sidonio Apollinare nella manualistica letteraria di età umanistica

In this contribution the author explored a moment of Sidonius’s fortune in the humanistic age, examining the works of three authors who endeavoured to produce the first organic systematization of the history of Latin literature; they considered the figure of Sidonius from different angles: as a bishop, a politician and as a writer, both in prose and in poetry. Evidently drawing from various sources, these treatises confirm a still scarce knowledge of his work in the humanistic period.

Examining the relation between the shape/manufacture technique and the function of the pottery used for salt-making (briquetages)

The archaeological excavations across the world provided over time abundant evidence about the exploitation of salt water (sea water or inland brine), transformed into solid salt by means of a forced evaporation process involving the use of fire and clay containers, known as briquetage type vessels. Quite strange at first sight, regardless of age or location of salt making sites in the world (Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Iron Age in Poland; Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in Romania; Bronze Age and Iron Age in France, Germany, England; Bronze Age and Iron Age in China and Japan; even modern times in some areas of Africa), there is an affinity for the quasi-conical shape of the ceramic vessels used to obtain salt units. This paper examines adaptive convergence in briquetage-making, cases in which functional constraints result in similar forms in independent lineages.

The role of salt sources in Transylvania in the process of neolithisation of Central and Southern Europe

The paper examines, through the richness of salt in Transylvania, the causes that led to the migrations from Anatolia to the southern Balkans and then to central Europe, especially in Transylvania. Among the factors that led to these migrations were firstly climate changes: warming in Holocene, favourable climate in Transylvania around 6000 BC, the salt riches here that provide salt for several millennia. The Holocene warming has led to desertification (the disappearance of forests in the lowlands of Anatolia), the settlements have a shorter timespan, and most of them have only one habitation level (after 6000 BC). These have led to migrations towards the Aegean Sea (Kirokitia) and through the islands or the coasts of Thrace to mainland Greece and from there through the Balkans to the Carpathian Zone, where important salt deposits can be found. Successive migrations have also determined a great cultural unity, observable especially in the evolution of ceramics in the Early Neolithic in the Balkans and southern Central Europe, situations analysed and presented with similar developments from those areas.

Technological issues of the shell-tempered ware from Gârcina (Neamț County, Romania)

Shell-tempered ware identified at Gârcina–Slatina Cozla II-III (Neamț County) was analysed in terms of microscopic, mineralogical and chemical characteristics for revealing its technological parameters. The site located near Piatra Neamț, on the Cozla hillside was used for the exploitation of salt-water resources by the Cucuteni communities and, later on, during the Early Bronze Age. Selected pottery samples were examined using optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Results show that the studied pottery samples although similar in the added temper have distinctive features in terms of raw material quality, processing and firing regime.