Sunday, June 25, 2017

Archaeologists have uncovered rare 5,000-year old tools in Moscow during the city’s ongoing construction project to renovate pedestrian zones, the mayor’s office said recently.

The scientists discovered a silicic cutter from the Neolithic era or New Stone Age (5,000-3,000 BC) on Sretenka Street and a fragment of a scraper of the Mesolithic era or Middle Stone Age (7,000 BC) on Pokrovsky Boulevard.

"This ancient finding is very important for archaeologists. It confirms our theory that these territories had been developed as far back as pre-historic times. We understand that this area was inhabited by ancient peoples long before any streets and houses were built here," Head of Moscow’s Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov said.

The scientists believe the artifacts could have penetrated the much older cultural layers 400 or 500 years ago during digging efforts. Now specialists are studying the finding, which may be later handed over to a museum to be featured in exhibitions devoted to Moscow’s archaeology.

GETTY MUSEUM WILL RETURN MARBLE STATUETTE OF 1ST CENTURY BCTO ITALY HAS TO TO DO WITH MARION TRUE PROBLEMS

he J. Paul Getty Museum announced its intention to voluntarily return to Italy a marble statuette dating to the 1st century BC.The “Statue of Zeus Enthroned” is a 29-inch-high piece thought to have been Greek in origin. Getty Museum Director Timothy Potts said the Italian government came into possession of a fragment that it believed joined the sculpture at the Getty. Italian officials tested their theory on a visit to the museum in 2014.

“The fragment gave every indication that it was a part of the sculpture we had,” Potts said in an interview. “It came from the general region of Naples, so it meant this object had come from there.” This, coupled with the fact that there was no documentation of export, led to the decision to repatriate the statuette.

The sculpture is thought to have originally been housed in the private shrine of a rich Greek or Roman home. It appears to have spent a good deal of time in the ocean, as it is partially covered with marine incrustations.

The Getty purchased “Zeus Enthroned” from Americans Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman in 1992. The Times’ 1997 obituary for Lawrence Fleischman noted that the couple agreed to donate the bulk of their collection, valued at $60 million, to the Getty in 1996. The museum agreed to purchase another portion of the collection.

At that time “Zeus Enthroned” was acquired, the museum’s senior antiquities curator was Marion True, who was later indicted by the Italian government for conspiracy to traffic in illegal antiquities. True resigned from the museum in 2005, and in 2007 then-director Michael Brand announced the museum would return a number of disputed objects to Italy. Dozens have been repatriated to Italy and Greece, while prosecutors did not pursue the case against True.

The Getty’s policy is that when a foreign government submits compelling evidence that an object in its collection was put on the antiquities market illegally, the museum will seek to return the object.


SAUDI ARABIA PLANNING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL FORUM


The SCTH will organize the three-day event in cooperation with the King Abdul Aziz Research Center (Darah), the ministries of municipal and rural affairs, culture and information, and education, and other government agencies. The forum will be under the umbrella of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Care of Cultural Heritage.SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman said the event comes in the framework of care given by the king to all efforts related to national heritage.

It will involve local and foreign archeologists, workshops, initiatives and projects related to antiquities, Prince Sultan added.
The forum aims to raise public awareness of the importance of antiquities, to familiarize attendees with Saudi history, civilization and documentation of archeological work, and to make antiquities a community responsibility.

Papers will be presented spanning the pre-historic era up to the end of the 20th century. Workshops will address topics such as modern technologies in dealing with antiquities, the role of the media in awareness campaigns, antiquity protection and counterfeiting. There will also be specialized books and documentaries on antiquities

NEANDERTHALS AND HOMO SAPIENS CROSSED PATHS 40,000 YEARS AGO IN THE MORAVIA REGION OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC

The International Business Times reports that Neanderthals and Homo sapiens may have crossed paths some 40,000 years ago in the Moravia region of the Czech Republic.

Duncan Wright of Australian National University said that he and his team recovered more than 20,000 artifacts from Pod Hradem Cave. The oldest layers of the cave, dating back to 50,000 years ago, contained artifacts made from local stone, but in the layer dating to about 40,000 years ago, they found a bead made from a mammal bone. Wright said the bead could signal the arrival of modern humans, who are thought to have entered Europe about 45,000 years ago.

Some of the artifacts in the cave dated to between 40,000 and 48,000 years ago were made of materials obtained more than 50 miles away. Could they have been crafted by Homo sapiens who had been exploring a new environment? Sediments from the cave will be tested for information about how the climate changed over time and for traces of Neanderthal and modern human DNA.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NEW FOSSILS DISCOVERED IN MOROCCO ARE OLDEST REMAINS OF HOMO SAPIENS



Fossils discovered in Morocco are the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens, scientists reported in early June, 2017, a finding that rewrites the story of mankind’s origins and suggests that our species evolved in multiple locations across the African continent.

“We did not evolve from a single ‘cradle of mankind’ somewhere in East Africa,” said Philipp Gunz, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author of two new studies on the fossils, published in the journal Nature. “We evolved on the African continent.” See the full story in Nature.

Until now, the oldest known fossils of our species dated back just 195,000 years. The Moroccan fossils, by contrast, are roughly 300,000 years old. Remarkably, they indicate that early Homo sapiens had faces much like our own, although their brains differed in fundamental ways.

Today, the closest living relatives to Homo sapiens are chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom we share a common ancestor that lived over six million years ago. After the split from this ancestor, our ancient forebears evolved into many different species, known as hominins.

In 1961, miners in Morocco dug up a few pieces of a skull at a site called Jebel Irhoud. Later digs revealed a few more bones, along with flint blades. Using crude techniques, researchers estimated the remains to be 40,000 years old. In the 1980s, however, a paleoanthropologist named Jean-Jacques Hublin took a closer look at one jawbone.

The teeth bore some resemblance to those of living humans, but the shape seemed strangely primitive. “It did not make sense,” Dr. Hublin, now at the Max Planck Institute, recalled in an interview.

Since 2004, Dr. Hublin and his colleagues have been working through layers of rocks on a desert hillside at Jebel Irhoud. They have found a wealth of fossils, including skull bones from five individuals who all died around the same time. Just as important, the scientists discovered flint blades in the same sedimentary layer as the skulls. The people of Jebel Irhoud most likely made them for many purposes, putting some on wooden handles to fashion spears. Many of the flint blades showed signs of having been burned. The people at Jebel Irhoud probably lit fires to cook food, heating discarded blades buried in the ground below. This accident of history made it possible to use the flints as historical clocks.

Dr. Hublin and his colleagues used a method called thermoluminescence to calculate how much time had passed since the blades were burned. They estimated that the blades were roughly 300,000 years old. The skulls, discovered in the same rock layer, must have been the same age.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

GUNMEN ATTACK NEAR ANCIENT ST CATHERINE'S MONASTERY IN SOUTHERN SINAI

There's been an attack by gunmen near a prominent religious tourism site in southern Sinai but Egyptian authorities say no tourists were involved. One security officer was killed and four others injured.

Egypt's interior ministry says a group of gunmen had been hiding in nearby mountains and opened fire on a checkpoint on the road near St. Catherine's Monastery.

The ancient monastery is built on the site where the Bible says Moses was given a sign from God in the form of a burning bush. It's one of Egypt's most important tourist sites and about 130 miles from the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.

The Islamic State group has issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. Egypt has been fighting the group in north Sinai province for several years but attacks in south Sinai are rare.

IRANIAN CITY OF 2,000 YEARS EXCAVATED

Iranian archaeologists have reportedly discovered the remains of an ancient underground city, close to the town of Samen, Hamadan province, some 400 kms from the capital, Tehran.

The excavation unearthed underground tunnels connecting at least 25 rooms where archaeologists found the remains of 60 people in nine rooms, and are still excavating in the rest of the site.

Ali Khaksar, head of Iran's Organization of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism in Hamadan province, told local Khabar News Agency that the underground settlement is believed to be around 2,000 years old.

The amazing discovery is one of several exciting findings by Iranian archaeologists in recent months. In March, they found underground living quarters carved into a mountain in central Iran dating back to the 12th century.

In February, an excavation in southern Iran led to the discovery of an ancient observatory which is believed to date back to the reign of the Sassanian dynasty from 224 to 651 AD.

EARLIEST KNOW DEPICTION OF AN ANIMAL FOUND ON A SLAB OF ROCK IN SOUTHWESTERN FRANCE VEZERE VALLEY IS 38,000 YEARS OLD

One of the world’s first nature pictures was a wild cow. A team of archaeologists found the earliest known depiction of an animal on a slab of rock in Southwestern France. According to a research paper published in the journal, Quaternary International, in January, the artifact was created by the Aurignacians, the first humans to migrate from Africa to Western Eurasia between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. This piece of ancient art, found at a rock shelter in the Vézère Valley, tells us that some of the earliest people on earth made time in their busy schedules to create art and incorporated it into their daily lives.

The engraving is of an aurochs, a wild cow that is the ancestor of all domestic cattle but is now extinct, according to livestock reporter and author Hannah Velten. New York University professor of anthropology Randall White, who led the expedition, says its hind and front legs were carved around lines of dots that were probably used to guide the artist or represent something abstract like the animal’s spirit.

The archaeologists confirmed that the well-preserved artifact is 38,000 years old—around 1,000 years older than any other known animal engravings. Unlike most Aurignacian art, which was created in a religious sanctuary set apart from living spaces, this artifact was found next to tools involved in making knives, butchering animals and drying skins. “It shows that art was a part of their daily life,” says Clark. “Not something restricted to one segment of the population or one group, but everyone had access to it.”

While the archaeologists are excited about the discovery, there is still much to learn about the Aurignacians. At least 20,000 years before the first domesticated animals, the Aurignacians were hunter-gatherers who lived in ice age Europe, and eventually supplanted Neanderthals. “Little evidence exists for art or symbolic behavior from the Neanderthals,” White says. “Occasionally, you’ll find a site with a shell in it or some sort of curiosity, but they were not systematic [in creating art] like the Aurignacians.”

While the Neanderthals were large human-like creatures with “craggy brow ridges” and a “stocky physique,” the Aurignacians were similar in appearance to the creatures you see lingering over their Facebook posts at Starbucks. “If one of them knocked on the door and came in and sat here you would not be at all shocked by their physique.” White says. “They’re us.”

These early humans were cave-dwellers with a “complex and sophisticated control of fire” says White, and “the beginning of architectural features.” They put fireplaces in key parts of their caves to better retain heat, and they gouged holes in cave walls to hang “driplines” for skins to dry.

The valleys and plateaus surrounding the Abri Blanchard excavation site made it an especially attractive site for Aurignacians. “They weren’t idiots,” says Sarah Ranlett, the associate director in charge of site logistics. “They picked a really good place to live, where they could have functional shelter with the least amount of effort.”

The site also indicates that the Aurignacians also connected to a much larger community. The different kinds of flint found around the site indicate that they were involved in long-range trade. Raw materials found at Abri Blanchard had come from sites around 50 miles away—or a three-to-four-day walk. Beads from around 250 miles and seashells from more than 350 miles away were also found among the early human’s artifacts.


Monday, March 06, 2017

OLDEST EXAMPLES OF ART IN EUROPE FOUND IN SOUTHWESTERN FRANCE (38,000 YEAR OLD)

In the summer of 2012, a group of archaeologists discovered what could be one of the oldest examples of art in Europe when they turned over a broken block of limestone on the floor of a rock shelter in southwestern France.

The slab comes from a partially collapsed rock shelter called Abri Blanchard. It reveals the image of an auroch and dozens of small dots, and was decorated by Aurignacians - the first Homo sapiens to arrive in Europe. The engraving is about 38,000 years old.

The 20 meter long shelter is near the small town of Sergeac, about 500 kilometers south-southwest of Paris, in a region famous for some of Europe's oldest examples of cave art. Several other carved slabs were discovered at Abri Blanchard a century ago.

New York University anthropologist Randall White, a co-author of the study who led recent excavations at the site, says the discovery sheds light on regional patterning of art and ornamentation at a time when humans were just starting to spread across the continent.
Many early artistic representations from this region have been interpreted as vulvas, but the artists at Abri Blanchard chose an array of artistic subjects, from horses and cats to geometric designs.

In addition to the auroch carving, the researchers found hundreds of stone tools and tool fragments, as well as animal bones, mostly from reindeer. They also found an ivory bead and a pierced fox tooth.

Aurignacian images of aurochs have been found at other sites, such as Chauvet Cave, about 350 kilometres east-southeast of Abri Blanchard. Aligned dots have also been seen before on Aurignacian objects such as mammoth-tooth plaques and ivory pendants, but researchers describe the combination of this design with an animal figure as "exceptional". The discovery fits into the patterns researchers usually see in the earliest European art: broad shared features, with some regional quirks.

White says: "This pattern fits well with social geography models that see art and personal ornamentation as markers of social identity at regional, group and individual levels."

Edited from LiveScience (30 January 2017)
http://tinyurl.com/hytbqnc
[1 image]

Sunday, December 11, 2016

AMAZING DISCOVERY OF PREHISTORIC ROCK ART IN AUSTRALIA

Sometimes a stroke of luck or an accidental event can lead to the most amazing discoveries. Giles Hamm of La Trobe University, Australia, had been surveying gorges in the Flinders Ranges in Southern Australia, in the company of local tribal elder, Clifford Coulthard. Clifford suddenly had to answer a call of nature and wandered out of sight, into a side gorge, which formed a type of rock shelter. It was there that he saw some amazing rock art.

On closer investigation they discovered evidence of well-crafted stone tools and the bones from a long extinct marsupial, with the name Diprotodon Optatum. When the artifacts were radio carbon dated they were astounded to discover that they dated from approximately 47,000 BCE, not long after it is believed that humans first arrived in Australia. In fact, this find pre-dates any similar find by approximately 10,000 years.

Hamm published his findings in the journey Nature and is intrigued by what he found: "The old idea is that people might have come from the East, from the Levant, out of Africa, and these modern humans may have come with a package of innovative technologies". He went on to say "But the development of these fine stone tools, the bone technology, we think that happened as a local innovation, due to a local culture evolution".

Not everyone, however, is convinced. The dating comes from analysis of burnt eggshells and the layer in which they were discovered. Huw Barton, bio archaeologist from the University of Leicester (UK) believes the fragments may have dropped lower and represents human occupation 10,000 years later, in line with other finds in the area. Further study is obviously needed.

Edited from The Guardian (2 November 2016)
http://tinyurl.com/h8lcfzw
[2 images]

HUGE BRONZE AGE GOLD TORC (COLLAR) FROM 3,000 YEARS UNEARTHED IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE

A gigantic gold torc, so big one expert thinks it may have been worn to protect a pregnant woman, has been found in a ploughed field in Cambridgeshire (England). It was made from 730 grams of almost pure gold more than 3,000 years ago.

The workmanship closely resembles one from nearby Grunty Fen, found in 1844 and now in the collection of the archaeology museum of Cambridge University. However, like many torcs that were apparently buried for ritual reasons, that one had been coiled up.
"There was a lot going on in Bronze Age East Anglia," said Neil Wilkin, the curator of Bronze Age Europe at the British Museum, "but it's been a while since we've had anything as hefty as this."


Torcs are usually described as collars, with the longer ones thought by some to have been worn as belts, but Wilkin said this torc was longer than even extra-large waist measurements of men's trousers. Wilkin said they were never found buried with the remains of the dead, and he wondered if it could have been loaned by the tribe to be worn as protection by a woman in late pregnancy. Alternatively, he thought it could have been a magnificent ornament to give extra value to an animal about to be sacrificed.

The site and the finder have remained anonymous, but the discovery was reported to Helen Fowler, the local finds liaison officer through the network of archaeologists recording such finds. She said she was 'gobsmacked' when it came out of the finder's briefcase. The last torc she had handled was bracelet sized, but this one was far too big to fit on her weighing scales.

Wilkin said the workmanship was astonishing: the torc was shaped from a square section bar of gold, and then twisted and burnished. "If you take callipers, and measure the gaps between the twists, they are absolutely spot on accurate." It is hoped Ely Museum will acquire the torc, with the reward shared between finder and landowner. The slightly shorter and lighter Corrard torc, found in Northern Ireland, was valued at up to £150,000 ( US$ 186,000) three years ago.

Edited from The Guardian (28 November 2016)
http://tinyurl.com/gmv8d94
[3 images

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

FIREFIGHTERS OF ROMAN TIMES

The vigiles (or cohortes vigilum) were formed during the reign of Augustus to act as ancient Rome's permanent firefighting service. Evolving from earlier slave teams, the vigiles were organized as an urban military unit and eventually recruits came from the Roman citizenry. The body, with a permanent camp of its own and equipment stations dotted around the city, patrolled the streets of Rome each night and also performed certain nocturnal policing duties to ensure public order.

The vigiles were created by Augustus in 6 CE to meet the high risk of fires in the capital presented by its high population density and widespread use of wooden housing and other buildings which had timber parts. It was not the first time such a force had been created for the avaricious Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of Rome's all-time richest men, had spotted the chance of making money by offering low prices for burning buildings and then having his team of slaves extinguish the fire so that it could be saved for redevelopment. If the property owner refused Crassus' offer, then the fire was left to rage on unabated.

Monday, December 05, 2016

ARTIFACTS FOUND ON SCHOOL GROUNDS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK THAT ARE OVER 3,000 YEARS OLD


During the rebuilding of its elementary school, officials from the Owego Apalachin Central School District brought in the Binghamton University Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) to help examine the school grounds. During the excavation, the BU team unearthed Native American artifacts that are over 3,000 years old. After the building was destroyed by flooding during Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, the BU PAF was hired by the district in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as they rebuilt the school.

According to the act, if construction is to be done on public land, a section of the area must first be examined to determine if it meets one of the criteria for a historic site. These criteria include the site having significance to the formation of the United States or native populations, importance to cultural foundations of the nation and the preservation of the area in a way that benefits the public’s understanding of history. In its excavation, the archaeological group found over 500 prehistoric artifacts, including multiple projectile points from spears or darts. The dating of the artifacts placed them around 1,500 B.C. before the invention of the bow and arrow. In addition, researchers were able to determine that the artifacts were likely left by a nomadic group during a nut collection based on hickory and butternut shells preserved in the area.

The funds and permits for the excavation were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which also provided assistance in the area following the tropical storm. The BU PAF was called in because of their prior relationship working with the school to put on different educational programs for elementary school students and their proximity to the site. According to Nina Versaggi, director of the PAF and an associate professor of anthropology, the facility moved through a three-phase process while in communication with both FEMA and district officials.

First, they determined if there was an archaeological site at the elementary school by examining the soil for artifacts. Next, the site was considered according to the guidelines put out in the National Historic Preservation Act to determine if it had historical significance to Native American tribes. After the excavation, FEMA communicated with Native American groups, from the Onondaga and Seneca Nations, so that their wishes for the preservation of the artifacts could be taken into account.

Among the requests from the Onondoga representative was to put on a program, with the PAF, for the children who attend Owego Apalachin Elementary School about the artifacts found beneath their school. Andrea Kozub, the project director and faunal analyst for the PAF, helped work on-site in the discovery of the artifacts. She felt that smaller archaeological sites had not been properly utilized in understanding prehistoric life. “In the past, the importance of smaller encampments the Owego Elementary School were overlooked or the sites were dismissed with little investigation, and yet we know that people were not living in big villages all the time,” Kozub wrote in an email. “They used the whole landscape in a variety of ways. So preserving the information about these sites before they are impacted by construction is essential to having a three dimensional understanding of how people lived.”

Versaggi hoped that the discovery of prehistoric artifacts locally could help remind people that even though they can feel very far from the prehistoric past, it is still an important part of human heritage.

OLDEST AXE EVER FOUND IN EUROPE UNCOVERED IN IRELAND'S EARLIEST RECORDED BURIAL


About 9,000 years ago, Mesolithic humans in Ireland buried someone important on the banks of the River Shannon in Hermitage, County Limerick. The burial, originally uncovered in 2001, is notable for several reasons. First, according to a press release, it is the earliest recorded burial in Ireland. Second, the remains were cremated, which was unusual since in most burials of this period bodies were covered intact. The site also had a large wooden post planted near it, marking the site, another unusual feature for burials in Europe.

But new analysis of a polish adze or axe head recovered from the grave is changing the story of Ireland’s early inhabitants even more. Laura Geggel at LiveScience reports that the axe, made of shale, appeared little used, meaning it was likely an object created to accompany the deceased. Researchers took a closer look at the axe and found that the axe was probably never used as a tool and that tip was intentionally blunted, perhaps as a funerary rite symbolizing the owner’s death. The research appears in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

“This type of insight into burial practices is incredibly rare for this part of the world,” Aimée Little, an archaeologist at the University of York and lead author of the study tells Geggel. “Nine thousand years ago, people in Ireland were making very high-quality artifacts specifically to be placed in graves.”

The polished axe is probably the oldest such axe ever found in Europe. According to the press release, it’s also something of an anachronism. “The adze is exceptional as we traditionally associate polished axes and adzes like this with the arrival of agriculture in Europe, around 3000 years later,” says Ben Elliott, an archeologist at York and co-author. “Although polished axes and adzes are known from pre-agricultural sites in Ireland and other parts of Europe, to find such a well-made, highly polished and securely dated example is unprecedented for this period of prehistory.”

Little tells Fiona Gartland at The Irish Times that the axe shows that people in Ireland at that time weren’t just hunter-gatherers eking out an existence. They had a well-developed culture that included taking care of the dead. “You have really, very complex behavior at play here, in terms of the making and treatment of the adze as part of the funerary rights,” says Little. “We make the argument it was probably commissioned for the burial and was probably used as part of the funerary rights, possibly to cut the wood for the pyre for the cremation, or to cut the tree used as the grave post marker.” The cremation too, which requires a fire between 645 and 1,200 degrees would have also required some know-how and experience, Little tells Gartland. In fact, she says whoever prepared the grave took painstaking effort to pick up every tiny fragment of bone to put in the burial.

While the axe may prove to be the oldest polished axe in Europe, it is by no means the oldest in the world. That distinction goes to a 49,000-year-old stone axe found in Australia in May.



Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/europes-oldest-polished-axe-found-ireland-180961043/#6UzHFbiXgvklyEbA.99
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ROME'S COLOSSEUM IS HAVING PROBLEMS STABILIZING THE CRACKS IN THE WALLS

A row over the future of Rome's metro is threatening to delay urgent work to stabilize the Colosseum, adding to fears for the ancient amphitheatre after Italy's recent earthquakes caused troubling cracks in its exterior walls. The 2,000-year-old, partly-ruined structure was allocated four million euros in 2014 to carry out reinforcements deemed necessary to offset the impact of tunneling for a new underground train line which will pass close by. But the money was never released and guardians of the city's architectural heritage now fear it never will be after new mayor Virginia Raggi announced she plans to dissolve the underground company, Roma Metropolitana.

"By liquidating Roma Metropolitana, the mayor has left us without anyone to deal with regarding the financing needed for the urgent strengthening of the Colosseum," a spokesman for the superintendent of the city's archaelogical treasures told AFP. The superintendent himself, Francesco Prosperetti, has warned that he will seek to block any further work on the still-unfinished metro extension if the funds are not released. "The Colosseum cannot wait any longer," Prosperetti told Italian media. "As a citizen I would not like to delay the metro but as the defender of this monument I may not have any choice."

Raggi has said work on the metro project will continue with new management progressively replacing Roma Metropolitana, an organization she has accused of overseeing the "shameful squandering of public funds." The new line is supposed to run from the city center to the eastern suburbs. Most of it opened last year but the final section, which will bring it into the Colosseum area and connect with the capital's two other metro lines, remains unfinished.

Started in 2007 with a budget of 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion), the work is now forecast to cost at least 3.7 billion and Raggi has put plans for a northern extension of the line on indefinite hold. Earthquakes in central Italy on August 24th, October 26th and October 30th were powerful enough in Rome to result in a number of new cracks appearing in the Colosseum's exterior walls. But Italy's top tourist attraction has remained open to the public. The landmark site has survived dozens of earthquakes over the centuries although it was a tremor that led to the collapse of its southern wall in 1703.

Prosperetti said work was most urgently required on interior walls in the top section of the structure, which is not open to the public.
The exterior of the Colosseum has recently been given a facelift thanks to a three-year clean-up financed by the upmarket fashion and footwear company Tod's.