NICOSIA, CYPRUS—Archaeologists have fully unearthed a fourth-century A.D. Roman-era mosaic depicting a chariot race, reports the Cyprus Mail. Discovered outside the modern capital of Nicosia, the mosaic is some 85 feet long and depicts four chariots competing against one another. Each rider and team of horses is accompanied by two inscriptions, which may be the names of the charioteer and one of the horses. The mosaic also depicts a man on horseback and two standing figures, one bearing a whip and the other holding a water vessel. According to Marina Ieronymidou, the director of the country's Department of Antiquities, the mosaic is the only one found in Cyprus depicting a chariot race. Excavations at the site will continue, and a temporary structure will be erected over the mosaic to protect it from the elements. To see more ancient depictions of horses, go to “Sport and Spectacle.”
LUFTON, ENGLAND—Archaeologists excavating a Roman villa in Southwest England have unearthed a semi-circular room that was equipped with a heating system under its floor. According to SomsersetLive, researchers suspect the villa was used as a country retreat by several generations of officials from the nearby Roman town of Ilchester, who would have expected a certain level of comfort. Previous excavations showed the villa had a bath surrounded by elaborate mosaics, and revealed evidence that after the Roman period ended squatters probably lived there. The team currently working at the site, led by University of Newcastle archaeologist James Gerrard, hopes to discover another mosaic soon when they remove the fallen roof now lying atop one of the villa's rooms. To read about another discovery dating to Britain’s Roman era, go to “A Villa under the Garden.”
LIMA, PERU—Skeletal remains bundled up in a funerary blanket and thought to date back more than 6,000 years have been uncovered in the district of Los Olivos in northern Lima, according to a report in Living in Peru. The excavation on a hillside known as Cerro Pacifico, led by archaeologist Luis Angel Flores Blanco, has also revealed evidence of two terraced pyramids, suggesting that it was a center of the ancient Caral civilization. “This discovery is possibly the biggest indication that Los Olivos is a place full of history,” said the district’s mayor, Pedro del Rosario. Samples from the dig have been sent to museums for radiocarbon dating. To read about another recent discovery from ancient Peru, go to “A Life Story.”
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—The tip of a sword manufactured in France has been unearthed at the Alamo, according to a report in the Star-Telegram. Nesta Anderson, lead archaeologist of the excavation at the Alamo, said that the sword, known as a briquette, is of a type that was issued to non-commissioned officers in the Mexican infantry around 1835. “We’re really excited to have evidence of military action here at the south wall,” she said. Anderson also suggested that the sword may have been in use during the fortification of the south wall, or even during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. For more, go to "Artifact: Viking Sword."
WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that the excavation of two possible features at Durrington Walls has failed to uncover evidence of a stone “Superhenge.” A survey conducted last year with ground-penetrating radar detected underground anomalies thought to represent more than 100 buried stones lying on their sides. But the excavation team, led by National Trust archaeologist Nicola Snashall, uncovered two pits for wooden posts. “They have got ramps at the sides to lower posts into,” Snashall said. She thinks a timber monument may have been raised at the site, which is located about two miles away from Stonehenge, when the Neolithic settlement there went out of use. The timbers were eventually removed. “The top was then filled in with chalk rubble and then the giant henge bank was raised over the top,” she explained. For more, go to "Quarrying Stonehenge."