Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate all'archeologia. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Friday, 14 October 2011

Mela, Pomponius

"Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera (Algeciras) and died c 45 CE. His short work (De situ orbis libri III.) occupies less than one hundred pages of ordinary print. It is laconic in style and deficient in method, but of pure Latinity, and occasionally relieved by pleasing word-pictures. Excepting the geographical parts of Pliny's Historia naturalis (where Mela is cited as an important authority) the De situ orbis is the only formal treatise on the subject in Classical Latin."


Munich Digitization Center
Digitised works/ Author: Mela, Pomponius

Thursday, 13 October 2011


"Sed praeter physicos Homerumque qui universum orbem mari circumfusum esse dixerunt, Cornelius Nepos ut recentior, auctoritate sic certior; testem autem rei Quintum Metellum Celerem adicit, eumque ita rettulisse commemorat: cum Galliae pro consule praeesset, Indos quosdam a rege Botorum (Boiorum) dono sibi datos; unde in eas terras devenissent requirendo cognosse, vi tempestatium ex Indicis aequoribus abreptos, emensosque quae intererant, tandem in Germaniae litora exisse. Restat ergo pelagus, sed reliqua lateris eiusdem adsiduo gelu durantur et ideo deserta sunt."
Pomponius Mela
De chorographia

"Mais à l'autorité des anciens philosophes et d'Homère, qui ont prétendu que la terre était de tous côtés environnée par la mer, on peut ajouter celle de Cornélius Nepos, qui, étant plus moderne, est par conséquent plus sûr. Or, cet auteur rapporte, à l'appui de cette opinion , le témoignage de Q. Metellus Celer, auquel il fait dire qu'étant proconsul dans la Gaule, le roi des Bètes lui fit présent de quelques Indiens , et que, s'étant informé d'où ils étaient venus, il apprit que, les tempêtes les ayant emportés loin de la mer des Indes, ils avaient été jetés, après un long trajet, sur les rivages de la Germanie. Le reste de la côte asiatique est donc baigné au nord par une mer sans bornes; mais cette partie est couverte de glaces éternelles, et par conséquent déserte.
Louis Baudet translation

To the ancient philosophers and Homer, who claimed that the land was surrounded on all sides by the sea, we may add Cornelius Nepos, who, being more modern, is therefore more reliable. However, this author reports in supporting this fact, the witness of Q. Metellus Celer: when he was proconsul in Gaul, the king of Botos made ​​him a present of a few Indians, and that, being informed of where they came from, he learned that the storms have swept away them of the Indian Ocean. They were thrown, after a long journey, on the shores of Germania. The rest of the northern Asian shores are surrounded by the sea, but this part is covered with eternal ice, and therefore deserted.

King Arthur's round table

According to Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8724183/King-Arthurs-round-table-may-have-been-found-by-archaeologists-in-Scotland.html, 26 Aug 2011, King Arthur's round table may have been found by archaeologists in Scotland. In fact, the archaeologists  have found a "circular feature" beneath the historic King's Knot in Stirling. The King's Knot is a geometrical earthwork in the gardens below Stirling Castle. The design of the Knot that we see today dates from the 1620s, but its central mound could  be much older. It seems that some writers going back more than six centuries have linked the landmark to  King Arthur. Archaeologists from Glasgow University, working with the local Archaeological Society, found that the round feature on the site pre-dates the visible earthworks.

How to measure the stair angle

Use a protractor (available at most hardware stores) to determine this angle.

Lay a straightedge across a minimum of 3 stair nosings. Put your universal protractor on the straightedge and measure the angle.  Note that the more stair nosings you have under the straightedge, the more accurate the angle will be. In the case that the run of stairs is very long, measure the stair angle at 2 or 3 places along the run to check that the angle remains constant along the full run.

I am proposing that Kha the architect at Deir El-Medina, Egypt, supervisor of the projects of three kings of the 18th Dynasty used his protractor to check the inclination of stairs for instance. You can see it at the Egyptian Museum of Torino. Read more at http://stretchingtheboundaries.blogspot.com/2011/08/khas-protractor.html

A modern universal protractor for building  is that shown in the following figure.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


Kha, the architect
Museo Egizio, Torino

Back to Kha's protractor

In the post "Kha's protractor", I have discussed an object found in the tomb of  an ancient egyptian architect, Kha.  It can be used to measure angles.Plums, levels, protractors , compasses and so on are instruments for surveying. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveying and the table http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Table_of_Surveying,_Cyclopaedia,_Volume_2.jpg
In this table there is the image of a compass rose. We can start from it and go back to the Kha's rose.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Romans in America?

From the paper "History Mystery: Ancients in America", by  Stephen Wagner, About.com Guide
"Many of us learned that rhyme, part of a longer history poem, when being taught in school that Christopher Columbus discovered America. Although nothing can be taken away from Columbus' daring voyage, he certainly was not the first to arrive on the shores of the Americas. For one thing, there were already people here - many Native American nations inhabited what later became known as North and South America and even the Caribbean islands where Columbus landed. Columbus probably wasn't even the first "white man" to make it here. It's fairly well documented that Icelander Leif Ericsson successfully sailed to North America in the year 1000 - almost 500 years prior to Columbus's voyage.
In fact, there's a growing amount of evidence suggesting that a lot of the familiar history of human exploration and "discovery" by our ancestors as we were taught it may be quite wrong. There is hard evidence of ancient civilizations making their mark in places where, according to traditionally accepted history, they just shouldn't be. Here's an overview of some of the most remarkable and fascinating cases."
read more