Roman Anchor Reconstruction

Roman Anchor Reconstruction


Genetic Study Reveals Exactly Who ‘The Romans’ Were

Scholars have been studying Rome for hundreds of years, but it still holds some secrets - for instance, relatively little is known about the ancestral origins of the city's denizens. Now, an international team led by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Vienna and Sapienza University of Rome is filling in the gaps with a genetic history that shows just how much the Eternal City's populace mirrored its sometimes tumultuous history.


Ancient Relics in the Sicilian Seas

Experts have preliminarily dated the anchor, and they believe that it could be from the 3 rd or 4 th century B.C., during the Hellenistic period. It was a time of transition among Mediterranean states as they grappled for power.

The period was from the death of the marauding Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the emergence of the Roman Empire around 31 B.C.

The site where the anchor was salvaged is known to have ancient relics. Sicilian diving centre's manager, Marcello Basile, found the anchor on the seabed, about 60 feet (19 meters) below the surface. Authorities organized a retrieval operation with the environmental and cultural organization, Soprintendenza del Mare, after receiving reports from Basile.

"Once again in our deep sea, important discoveries from bygone eras have been made. Since ancient times, cities on the Mediterranean coast have been sharing their life, history and trade with Sicily. Our archaeological heritage is a very important thing," said Sicilian President Nello Musumeci.

The anchor is brought to Palermo to conduct further analysis after it was successfully pulled out from the bottom of the sea.


American Civil War

Much of the Southern United States was destroyed during the Civil war. Farms and plantations were burned down and their crops destroyed. Also, many people had Confederate money which was now worthless and the local governments were in disarray. The South needed to be rebuilt.

The rebuilding of the South after the Civil War is called the Reconstruction. The Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877. The purpose of the Reconstruction was to help the South become a part of the Union again. Federal troops occupied much of the South during the Reconstruction to insure that laws were followed and that another uprising did not occur.


Broad Street Charleston, South Carolina
by Unknown

To Punish the South or Not

Many people wanted the South to be punished for trying to leave the Union. Other people, however, wanted to forgive the South and let the healing of the nation begin.

Lincoln's Plan for Reconstruction

Abraham Lincoln wanted to be lenient to the South and make it easy for southern states to rejoin the Union. He said that any southerner who took an oath to the Union would be given a pardon. He also said that if 10% of the voters in a state supported the Union, then a state could be readmitted. Under Lincoln's plan, any state that was readmitted must make slavery illegal as part of their constitution.

President Lincoln was assassinated at the end of the Civil War, however, and never had the chance to implement his Reconstruction plan. When Andrew Johnson became president, he was from the South and wanted to be even more lenient to the Confederate States than Lincoln. Congress, however, disagreed and began to pass harsher laws for the Southern states.

In an effort to get around laws passed by Congress, many southern states began to pass Black Codes. These were laws that prevented black people from voting, going to school, owning land, and even getting jobs. These laws caused a lot of conflict between the North and the South as they tried to reunite after the Civil War.

New Amendments to the Constitution

  • 13th Amendment - Outlawed slavery
  • 14th Amendment - Said that black people were citizens of the United States and that all people were protected equally by the law.
  • 15th Amendment - Gave all male citizens the right to vote regardless of race.

New governments were formed in the South starting in 1865. The first state to be readmitted to the Union was Tennessee in 1866. The last state was Georgia in 1870. As part of being readmitted to the Union, states had to ratify the new amendments to the Constitution.

The Union did a lot to help the South during the Reconstruction. They rebuilt roads, got farms running again, and built schools for poor and black children. Eventually the economy in the South began to recover.

Some northerners moved to the South during the Reconstruction to try and make money off of the rebuilding. They were often called carpetbaggers because they sometimes carried their belongings in luggage called carpetbags. The Southerners didn't like that the Northerners were moving in and trying to get rich off of their troubles.

The End of the Reconstruction

The Reconstruction officially ended under the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877. He removed the federal troops from the South and the state governments took over. Unfortunately, many of the changes to equal rights were immediately reversed.


Reconstruction Roman Lisbon

Like Roman London, the Portuguese city of Lisbon was founded by the Romans:

This reconstruction was made by a team of archaeologists working in Portugal. There is a documentary in Portuguese about it.

Jalidi

I'm afraid I don't know portuguese, though I have visited the country. Very beautiful, and Lisbon is worth spending a few days in.

It was called Olisipo in Roman times but I don't think the Romans founded it. It was already there in the late Republic and its people became allied with the Romans when they conquered western Hispania. They did develop it significantly from that point onwards and it eventually became a part of the Empire.

I know that this is a picture of the city in the 1st century CE because the Roman theater can be seen (roundish structure in the middle of town). It was built by Augustus and expanded to 5000 seats under Nero parts of it still exist though it's now a ruin with a museum, well worth visiting.

Very nice picture, gives a good idea of the layout of a typical Roman city, centered around the Forum (the long structure beside the theater) with rich (inside the walls) and poor areas (outside) and tons of farms and other means of subsistence.


Reconstruction of Wooden Ships

J. Richard Steffy developed a methodology to analyse and interpret shipwreck remains and proposed a 3D method to reconstruct the ship’s hulls. He carefully recorded all the timber components of a shipwreck, preferably at a 1:5 scale, developed a ship timber catalog, and then tried t reconstruct the ship’s shape using scale wooden models.

In the 1960s and 1970s George Bass, Fred van Doorninck and Donald Rosencrantz developed a number of tools to improve location, survey, excavation and recording of shipwrecks, and tried the first underwater photogrammetry recording at Yassiada.

Almost six decades later, the development digital photography and computing tools simplified the use of photogrammetry, both for the development of 3D meshes of points from sets of overlapping pictures, and of 3D curves from a small number of pictures.

Computer graphics applications to the study of the Pepper Wreck.

This page is intended as a space to discuss the use of 3D models to both understand and explain shipwreck sites.

Reconstructions from old pictures

As nautical archaeology evolved during the last half century, the questions that archaeologists ask changed, the means to measure and analyse data improved, and it is possible to use some computer vision and computer graphics’ tools to reanalyze old shipwrecks.

At the ShipLAB we have gathered some collections of pictures from shipwrecks, some truncated, some with insufficient overlapping, and have been trying to reconstruct 3D models based on them.

One strategy is to analyze a collection of pictures with single photography photogrammetry software, and the second is to use image-based 3D data acquisition software such as Photomodeler, using target points to reconstruct curves and surfaces from a small number of pictures.

Picture Collections

Yassada 4th Century (INA photogrammetric pairs from the 1960s)
Mombassa Shipwreck (INA pictures from the 1970s excavation)
Pepper Wreck (1990s excavation pictures)
IDM-003 (Arqueonautas SA salvage pictures, truncated)

Methodology

Reconstructing ships and boats from their archaeological remains is not always easy, and often all we can do is to develop a plausible, educated guess. About a decade and a half ago we proposed a methodology to evaluate the plausibility of our reconstructions based on well-tested tools and published it (Castro and Fonseca 2006).

But we have never published a concise and simple explanation of the six main steps to obtain a plausible reconstruction:

First: gather all the available information: images, drawings, notes, measurements and sketches.

The Pepper Wreck, 1995 (Photo: Francisco Alves).

Second: develop a 3D model of the archaeological remains in situ.

Pepper Wreck remains in situ (Model: Kevin Gnadinger).

Third: attempt a reconstruction of the surviving archaeological remains in their original position.

Pepper Wreck remains tentatively re-positioned (Model: Kevin Gnadinger).

Forth: develop a set of lines drawings as plausible as possible, based on the outer surfaces of the surviving frames.

Lines drawings of the Pepper Wreck hull remains (Filipe Castro). Tentative lines drawings of the Pepper Wreck reconstructed hull (Thomas Derryberry).

Fifth: develop a 3D model showing the surviving timbers in their original position together with the reconstructed lines drawings.

Hull remains and tentative lines drawings of the Pepper Wreck reconstructed hull (Kevin Gnadinger).

Sixth: develop a tentative 3D model of the original ship.

Tentative Pepper Wreck reconstruction (Audrey Wells).

The plausibility of the models developed can then be tested with modern ship stability software.

References

Castro, F. and Fonseca, N., 2006. “Sailing the Pepper Wreck: A Proposed Methodology to Understand an Early 17th-Century Portuguese Indiamen”, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 35.1:97-103.

Daniel E. Bishop, Reconstructing an Eighteenth-Century
Brig from Historical Photographs, Paper delivered at SHA 2019.


From Hispalis to Ishbiliyya: the ancient port of Seville, from the Roman empire to the end of the Islamic period

Carlos Cabrera Tejedor’s From Hispalis to Ishbiliyya is a welcome contribution to the study of ancient and Medieval Iberia, offering a diachronic and multi-disciplinary study of what was once one of the most important ports in the western Mediterranean. To achieve this, Cabrera has undertaken study of previously unpublished—and in some cases unknown—archaeological materials from past excavation projects in Seville alongside the results of existing studies into the paleoclimate and hydrogeography of Andalucía. The Plaza Nueva excavation, part of an aborted effort at building a subway system in the 1980s, provides the bulk of the archaeological material subjected to close analysis, and this material is supplemented with reports from other urban rescue projects.

The task of reconciling all the disparate sources of information assembled here and then reconstructing a history of the port facilities of Seville across thirteen centuries is an ambitious one. Seville’s Roman period port is buried under seven meters or more of strata, and, as is so often the case, centuries of successive occupation and urbanism leave most of the ancient city out of reach. To overcome some of these difficulties, the author relies on an extensive knowledge of the modern excavation history of Seville along with his own hands-on analysis of materials from previously-unpublished excavations at key points in the city.

The introductory section (Chapter 2) clearly lays out the methods to be followed and the sources of information used, highlighting the multi-disciplinary approach of the book and also setting out the three historical periods that are covered in the three chapters that make up the core of the book. It is also here that the reader learns that this study is not about the city of Seville and its ancient and Medieval history, but instead about its port and associated facilities and infrastructure. Readers looking for a synthetic approach to Seville’s history and archaeology will find much of interest, particularly in the list of references.[1] However, where discussion of the broader urban plan, architecture, and monuments does occur, this is incidental to the analysis of Seville’s port and the route of the Guadalquivir River’s channel along the western side of the urban core.

Because Seville’s Roman history is intimately tied to the production of agricultural surplus for export—mainly to Rome—Cabrera synthesizes a sizeable body of scholarship on the economic output of Roman Baetica in Chapter 3, which focuses on the Roman port(s) of Hispalis. The archaeological record for Baetica’s production of olive oil in particular is vast, both from the Guadalquivir River basin and from Monte Testaccio in Rome. From this evidence and a substantial body of previous scholarship, Cabrera estimates the volume of export which is then used to project the size of the fleet that serviced Seville’s Roman port. This allows for some very general comparisons with other better-known ports of the Roman world. Unfortunately, because hard archaeological evidence for the Roman port in Seville is virtually non-existent, it is difficult to assess the validity of these estimations and comparisons.

Cabrera’s reconstruction of the city’s port in Roman times is built mainly on indirect evidence, from which he draws some interesting and sometimes convincing inferences. For example, a masonry wall intersected at irregular distances by perpendicular walls of varying construction techniques (pp. 70-72) is plausibly interpreted as a series of adjustments to the city’s quays as the channel of the river gradually shifted to the west (pp. 83-86). Similarly, warehouse complexes on the western (riverward) side and on the southern end of the Roman city raise the possibility that there were port facilities near these areas (pp. 75-77). A number of wooden stakes or poles from different excavations at various points along what is generally considered the western edge of the Roman city may represent the piles upon which Roman period port structures—wharves, quays, etc.—were built. In order to link these and other disconnected pieces of evidence, Cabrera has sought to reconstruct the line of the Guadalquivir River in the Roman period, along with a series of changes across its later history. This is a crucial contribution of Cabrera’s book, and the discussion of the river’s historical changes takes up a sizeable portion of this chapter and, along with climatic data, the following two chapters. Although this sort of work is somewhat conjectural and not necessarily capable of offering firm conclusions, it is also essential if we hope to improve our understanding of the port and the city of Seville—and of many other cities of the Roman and post-Roman world. Because so much of the ancient city lies buried many meters below the core of a bustling urban metropolis, it will never be possible to get more than scattered snapshots of the Roman city. Studies like this one, which take a more holistic approach, in this case involving geomorphology, hydrology, paleoclimatology, etc., can help us to reconstruct a more compelling image of the city’s layout and evolution across many centuries of occupation.

Chapters 4 and 5 continue along similar lines. Scattered archaeological remains are pieced together to create a coherent interpretation of what may have comprised the port city in each stage, as at least one channel of the Guadalquivir River migrated westward from the 9 th century onward. Chapter 4 on the Late Antique city is (almost necessarily) the book’s weakest contribution, hampered as it is by an almost total lack of archaeological evidence relating to the city’s port installations. Here Cabrera is forced to rely on written sources that simply do not provide sufficient information to build even a conjectural reconstruction of the Late Antique port. That Seville was an important city during the Late Antique period is beyond all doubt. But Cabrera points out that most of the areas associated with port activity during the Roman period appear to have been converted for residential use in the course of the third century, so any Late Antique port installations must be sought elsewhere in the city. If Seville had a thriving sea trade, as seems likely from the large volume of imported materials revealed by archaeology over the years, any physical infrastructure associated with this activity has yet to be revealed. The identification of a 6 th /7 th century iron anchor from the Plaza Nueva excavation is a bright spot of Chapter 4. In addition to being fascinating in its own right, the anchor also appears to confirm that the river’s channel was still suitable for seagoing vessels at this point in the city’s history. Beyond that, current archaeological evidence is insufficient to allow for any kind of understanding of the city’s Late Antique port facilities.

Chapter 5, on “Seville after the Umayyad conquest,” benefits from a much richer archaeological record and a number of Arabic and later Spanish textual sources, all of which help to improve the picture that can be offered of the city’s port in this phase. One of the highlights of the book is the careful documentation of the highly fragmented and very poorly preserved wooden remains of a boat revealed during the Plaza Nueva excavation (pp. 143-162). Scientific analysis of the wood places the boat’s initial construction in the 10 th century, and ceramics collected from the strata that accumulated on top of the boat show that, by the 11 th century, this area was no longer a navigable channel of the river. A funerary epitaph found in this general area in the 19 th century appears to agree with the written sources pointing to a cemetery located in this area in the 11 th century, indicating that this was an extramural area at that time. Cabrera’s analysis suggests that the main channel of the river shifted to the west rather significantly in the Early Medieval period, as a result of frequent and sometimes catastrophic flooding events possibly linked to the Medieval Climate Anomaly (pp. 165-172). The river gradually developed a pronounced meander to the west of its old (Roman and Late Antique) channel in this period, and the Medieval city expanded westward to occupy the intervening space. This section highlights the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to the city’s history, as it builds on the full range of evidence and approaches laid out in Chapter 2.

The book is well-presented and reasonably cohesive, despite the broad chronological spread of the study and the diverse—and frequently incomplete—datasets under consideration. The text would perhaps have benefited from one more review of the proofs, as a few errors have managed to sneak through the process fortunately, none of these is significant enough to cause any confusion. The entire work is heavily illustrated with 170 detailed maps and photographs, many of them in color. A number of the maps were designed by the author, and these prove to be especially helpful in drawing the reader through the dense discussion of excavation evidence from specific areas of the city in Chapters 3 and 5. These maps point the way forward for future research into Seville’s port and urbanism, as they provide a sense of the kinds of evidence that archaeological interventions may encounter throughout the city for various points in its history. This is particularly valuable in the case of future rescue excavations, whose results can be so difficult to interpret due to the small size of the site and/or the fractional remains revealed.

In the end, the portraits of Seville’s ports—in the Roman, Late Antique, and Medieval periods—are necessarily incomplete and sometimes highly conjectural. There is simply not enough archaeological evidence to provide a definitive analysis at this time. As Cabrera himself concludes, however, this is not the point of the current book. Instead, the project is meant to “…constitute a solid foundation for additional studies on the ancient port of Seville…” (p. 191). It remains to be seen whether the hypotheses advanced here will stand up to the constant accumulation of further archaeological evidence. However, given the range of sources, approaches, and types of evidence mustered to build this study, From Hispalis to Ishbiliyya seems certain to become a standard point of reference for future studies of ancient and Medieval Seville—both the port and the city as a whole.

[1] Good starting points are J. Beltrán Fortes and O. Rodríguez Gutiérrez (eds.), Sevilla Arqueológica. La ciudad en Época Protohistórica, Antigua y Andalusí, Universidad de Sevilla, 2014 and D. González Acuña, Forma Urbis Hispalensis: el Urbanismo de la Ciudad Romana de Hispalis a Través de los Testimonios Arqueológicos, Universidad de Sevilla, Fundación Focus-Abengoa, 2011.


Roman Anchor Reconstruction - History

I've collected virtual Roman military daggers, pugii (the singular is pugio), for some time now whenever a museum allowed taking pictures. Here are some pretty ones found in Germany, dating from Augustean and Tiberian times.

For some reason, daggers are more frequently found than swords of the short gladius or the longer spatha type (though some gladius fragments have been found in Hedemünden). Maybe those have been recycled more often.

Legionary dagger, Hedemünden
The iron pugio was found in Hedemünden main camp (camp 1), and cleaned and conserved by the company of H. Biebler in Mühlhausen / Thuringia. What you find isn't such a shiny item, but some caked mix of metal, rust and dirt. It takes lot of experience to see there's something cool hiding in such a lump.

The photo was taken at the exhibition of the Hedemünden finds in Hannoversch-Münden, 2009.

Roman dagger, Oberammergau / Bavaria
This one is from the Imperium Exhibition in the Seelandhalle, Haltern. The notched exemplar to the left is an original found in Bavaria the right side one a reconstruction. The dagger has a burr along the middle of the blade the handle was fixed to the blade with five iron rivets. The weapon dates between 15 BC and the first half of the first century AD (a loan from the Landesmuseum Munich).

The item in the background that looks like the Roman version of a computer mouse is a catapult bolt with a bent pin that would have fixed it to the short wooden shaft.

Decorated pugio, found near the Hedemünden camp
The second Hedemünden dagger, found on the way between the main camp and the recently discovered smaller camp on the Kring hill. The find is interesting because it had been carefully deposited under a stone, and not simply lost. It may have been a sacrifice. (Displayed in the Imperium Exhibition 2009, together with some sandal nails.)

The pugio is damasced, with a middle burr and fullers running along both sides of it. The handle is layered. Around the iron nucleus - a continuation of the blade - there's a layer of bone and another iron one, held together with wire and rivets of non-ferrous metal. The iron-sheeted pommel has a wooden nucleus. A rather elaborately made and pretty weapon.

Decorated pugio, LWL Museum, Haltern
A local find from the Lippe river where the Romans had several forts and camps until the Varus disaster (and maybe even longer, as is now discussed). This pugio has a decorative pattern of silver and brass wire. Another beautiful weapon that may have been the possession of an officer, a centurion maybe. The higher ranking officers probably had even more expensive ones.


Reconstruction of Roman inland ship

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