Recent Discoveries 10/10/16

So this is a new series I want to do where I preview multiple recent discoveries that don’t need full articles but I want to cover anyway. So they may end up being a bit old but I’ll still try to fill it with interesting finds.

These will be the first ones and I hope you enjoy:

New Etruscan stele: Discovering the Etruscans

Scholars translating a 2,500 year old Etruscan stele (memorials to past events, think totem poles or obelisks for appearance) found in Poggio Colla have discovered the name Uni on it. Uni was the supreme goddess of Etruscan faith, representing fertility and may have been the main deity of this community. The archeological site, in central Italy, was an Etruscan city, a major civilization in Italy before the rise of Rome. Importantly it was found as part of the temple complex, implicating it directly in the cities religious life. While clearly important for this city it may give more pertinent information regarding Etruscan religious practices and possibly other aspects of their culture.

The Etruscan civilization is far less understood because of the lack of major sources regarding them. This find also had a longer inscription found than usual and it is hoped it will allow the discovery of new words and grammar rules within the language. The Etruscans did leave behind records but since so many were on cloth or wax the majority have been destroyed. Stone, however, is far more durable but unfortunately was used for graves mainly, leaving little room for discoveries on their culture. With this discovery there will hopefully be a large number of unknown ones still to find.

Aphrodite Statues in Petra

Two marble statues of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation, were found by archeologists. Cupid was also part of one of the statues, which were each around a meter high, in several large parts. These were found in the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, modern Jordan. Petra was a capital city of theirs and has seen countless excavations turning it into an important historical site. The Nabataeans were a civilization between Egypt and the Levant, existing for a few centuries before being absorbed by the Romans. The interesting part about the discovery was the site was thought to be an ordinary house until the discoveries showed it to be far more extravagant. Other finds included a sword, jewelry, several tombs and a bath house, a rarity due to the expense one takes to maintain in the ancient world.

Antikythera has a new find                           

A human skeleton was discovered in the Antikythera wreck site, dated to the first century BCE. A Roman era wreck in the southern Aegean Sea, it is notable for the massive amount of treasure found aboard including statues, coins, jewelry, glass and artwork. It is also notable for the Antikythera mechanism, a device believed to be an early computer used to calculate the positions of planets, starts and the times of eclipses necessary for the planning of religious events and important festivals.  If the skeleton still contains DNA it will be possible to determine where they came from and possibly tell us a little more about the story behind the ship and the people who were on it.

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