Category Archives: News in English

the Venus from Savignano

per sito

For most people, especially those who live outside of Italy, the northern Italian town of Savignano sul Panaro might not ring any bells, but archaeologists, art historians and “archaeophiles” in general will certainly associate the name of this town with the small Palaeolithic Venus that was found here in 1925.

The curious circumstances surrounding the finding have already been discussed in our previous post, as well as the reasons why the little statue ended up in a museum in Rome. In this second post, however, we will show our reader around the exhibition that showcases the artefact, which, after 90 years, has come back home for a “2 month holiday”. Archeofila interviewed the archaeologist Margherita Mussi, Professor of Archaeology at La Sapienza University in Rome on the day of the opening of the exhibition. With her help we may be able to understand a little more about this fascinating object.

After almost 90 years, the ‘Beauty of the River Panaro’ is back home




(Click here to read the article in Italian)

Exhibition : La venere a Savignano (The Venus in Savignano)
Date: 5 April – 4 May 2014
Place: Savignano sul Panaro (Mo) Italy

The “Beauty of the River Panaro”, is how Benedetto Benedetti, famous archaeologist and curator of the Museo Civico in Modena, called the iconic prehistoric figurine  known as the “Venus from Savignano” in a letter he wrote in the 1960s to the museum in Rome which possessed the statue. In this letter he was once again trying to persuade the Pigorini museum to transfer the precious artefact to his collection so that it would stay near its “home town”. All he managed to obtain though was a temporary loan of the Venus, which did, however, help him to get his own museum going again.

Several Etruscan caves found beneath the Italian town of Orvieto

A passage connecting two of the Etruscan caves under the town of Urbino


     Anyone keeping up with archaeology news in the media will certainly have stumbled upon the juicy news of the discovery of “Etruscan pyramids” in Orvieto, Italy. Many sites in fact have hailed this as one of the most important Etruscan finds in recent decades. Today Archeofilia takes its readers along the tunnels beneath this town in Umbria to meet virtually with one of the lead archaeologists  working on the  excavations. With his help we will find out more about this amazing discovery.

“I was once an Emperor”

Sir William Quiller Orchardson,   Napoleon on board the Bellerophon, 1880  Tate Gallery, London

Sir William Quiller Orchardson,
Napoleon on board the Bellerophon, 1880
Tate Gallery, London 


With this post Archeofilia is beginning a new section dedicated to historical documents that have recently been found or brought to our attention by our readers. The words and thoughts of people who actively took part in or simply witnessed actual events will allow us to explore history from the  point of view of contemporaries.

   The first document reproduced here is a letter written by Sir William Henry Lyttelton, member of the British Parliament, to Lord Torpichen, his father-in-law, on August 4th, 1815, in which Lord Lyttelton tells him about the moment when Napoleon received the news of his exile to the island of St.Helena.

Italy: extraordinary find of a Bronze Age golden cup


montecchio 1 montecchio 2 montecchio 3

Some close-up shots of the golden cup found in Montecchio (Italy)


    Last March, during an archaeological survey of a gravel pit in Montecchio Emilia (in the Northern Italian province of Reggio Emilia), archaeologists unearthed a golden vessel which probably dates back to the Early Bronze Age (between 3800 and 3700 years ago). The vessel is 12 cm high, weighs 1/5 kg and was made of  1.5 mm thick gold foil. When it was found it had been damaged by ploughing, the handle was broken off, and  some of parts of it were missing . It is also badly crushed, but archaeologists think that this might be due to its original use as a ritual cup.

John Franklin on Project Hougoumont

The opening of the gates at
Hougoumont Today

On 18 June 1815, about 10 kilometres from Bruxelles, in the Belgian countryside, one of the most sanguinary battles of the century took place. It was a battle that in 8 hours caused the death of about 48,000 people, changing the course of history and laying the foundations for  Modern Europe. In Waterloo, that day, the Seventh coalition’s army led by the Duke of Wellington, together with a Prussian army commanded by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, defeated Napoleon Bonaparte once and for all.

The Norwich well case: a BBC documentary reveals the results of the investigation

The bodies as they were found in the Nowrich well. (Photo BBC)

The bodies as they were found
in the Nowrich well.
(Photo BBC)

On 31st January, 2011 for the series “Interview with History”, Archeofilia published an interview with the English Archaeologist Giles Emery, who found a medieval well containing the remains of 17 people during the course of some excavations in Norwich. Of these people, whose bones have been dated back to the 12th or 13th Centuries, 6 were adults and shockingly enough 11 were children aged between two and 15.

Modena: Novi Sad Park, archaeology in an urban area

A view of the roman road at the Novi Sad  Parkin Modena.

A view of the roman road at the Novi Sad Park in Modena.

An Archeofilia correspondent took part as a volunteer in the excavation of a roman dumping ground that was unearthed during the works for an underground car park. The works were being carried out at the Park named after the Serbian city of Novi Sad in the Northern Italian town of Modena.  

Giles Emery, the archaeologist who turned detective

Giles Emery at work

Giles Emery at work

As a popular TV series has taught us, with the term “cold cases” we normally refer to unresolved police cases which are reconsidered once new information about them emerges. Well, the person we are meeting today is involved in a “very cold” case.  In 2004 when Giles Emery, a freelance archaeologist from Norfolk (, was commissioned to remove some medieval skeletons from the bottom of a well on the site where a new Shopping Centre would be built, he couldn’t have imagined the effect the job would have on him. The remains turned out to be from 17 individuals, 11 of which were children, and since that very moment the mystery of those deaths has been at the forefront of his mind, as he admits himself. Recently, the BBC show ‘History Cold Case’ has given Giles the opportunity to uncover more evidence which may help him to find out why these people met with such an extraordinary fate. Now over to him, to hear his version of the facts.