Marble torso found in Roman Forum dig

A large white marble torso has been found by archaeologists of the Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Heritage engaged in the archaeological excavation of Via Alessandrina, a 16th century road running through the Roman Forum.

Marble torso found in Roman Forum dig
Credit: Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali

The 1.5 metre tall torso is thought to belong to one of about 60-70 statues of Dacian warriors that once decorated the Forum of Trajan, dating from the beginning of the second century AD.

Marble torso found in Roman Forum dig
Credit: Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali

Marble torso found in Roman Forum dig
Credit: Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali

The archaeologists of the Capitoline Superintendence say that the statue was found among rubble in an area abandoned after a collapse dating back to the time of the medieval demolitions, presumably in the second half of the ninth century AD.

A head of a god, believed to be Dionysus, was found there earlier this month.

Source: Parco archeologico del Colosseo [July 19, 2019]

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1200-year-old mosque unearthed in southern Israel

Israeli archaeologists said Thursday they had unearthed the remains of a rare ancient rural mosque from the seventh and eighth centuries AD in the country’s south.

1200-year-old mosque unearthed in southern Israel
A very early mosque dating from circa the 7th to 8th centuries C.E. is being excavated near Rahat 
[Credit: Anat Rasiuk/Israel Antiquities Authority]

The remains were discovered during preparations to construct a new building in the Bedouin town of Rahat, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
It said the remains were of an open-air rectangular mosque with a mihrab, or prayer niche, facing Mecca. The authority called it one of the earliest known rural mosques worldwide.

1200-year-old mosque unearthed in southern Israel
Local youth participate in the excavation of a very early 7th-8th century mosque near Rahat ahead 
of a neighbourhood expansion [Credit: Anat Rasiuk/Israel Antiquities Authority]

«From this period there are large known mosques in Jerusalem and in Mecca, but here we have evidence of an ancient house of prayer, which seems to have served the farmers who lived in the area,» the authority said in a statement from the excavations’ directors, Jon Seligman and Shahar Zur.
It said no similar building had been found in the area where it was discovered. The authority was «examining possible ways in which this special finding can be integrated into the new neighbourhood,» it said.

Other finds in the area were a small settlement from the early Islamic period, the authority said. The Muslim conquest of the region occurred in the first half of the seventh century.

Source: AFP [July July 19, 2019]

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