Autore: Dario Dugo


ENGLISH VERSION | UN and NATO, two often confused organizations

The U.N. and the NATO are two entities that are easily confused because they both refer to international organizations. In a situation such as the current one it is certainly necessary to know the difference between the two and understand their respective peculiarities.

The League of Nations, “forerunner” of the U.N.

On the 28th of April 1919, after the First World War, the League of Nations (LON) was founded, an international organization headquartered in Geneva, aimed at peacefully solving conflicts, deleting every form of injustice and violence between populations. The objective of the organization, which was joined by several countries, was to seek peaceful solutions and negotiations. However, the L.O.N. was a very weak entity and it did not have enough power to prevent wars: it did not possess any practical means of intervention to preserve peace, other than applying economic sanctions to the member that did not respect the agreements and used war to resolve disputes. Moreover, due to the non-adherence of the USA, alongside the late or temporary membership of Germany, Japan and USSR, the LON was completely unprepared to face the international unrest of the Thirties which will lead, shortly after, to the Second World War.

League Of Nations Symbol


What is the U.N. and when was it born?

The United Nations (U.N.) was formally born the 26th of June 1945, on the base of a statute approved by 49 countries reunited at the San Francisco conference. Founded after the killings of the Second World War, the U.N. replaced the League of Nations and it swore to preserve peace, international safety, respect of the fundamental rights of man, promoting the economic, social and cultural development of all countries. The theme of human rights was very heartfelt, so much that, on the 10th December of 1948, a document about human freedom was presented during the General Assembly: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its first article says:


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

(Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art.1)          

Eleanor Roosevelt presents the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


The U.N.

The U.N. consisted of two entities: the General Assembly and the Security Council

  • General Assembly: Deliberative body to which all the countries took part equally. The Vatican participated as a “permanent observer”.
  • Security Council: Executive body, composed of five permanent members and 10 countries that took part in rotation. The permanent members were the allied countries during the war (US, USSR, Great Britain, France and China) and each of them had veto power: the Security Council could make binding decisions only if said members reached unanimity. The other ten members were chosen every two years (Italy has been elected 6 times, starting from 1959).
    UN Security Council session


What is the NATO and when was it born?

NATO refers to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is an intergovernmental military alliance with the objective to protect its members against a potential soviet attack. This entity lays its foundation on the Atlantic Alliance of 1949. On the 4th of April 1949, the United States, Canada and almost all the countries of western Europe, including Italy, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, which was considered as a sort of western response to the pressure that the USSR exerted on the countries of Eastern Europe. If the USSR had invaded even one of the signatory countries, the alliance would have taken action. Tensions between the two blocks were very high, also because of the nuclear arms race.

On the 29th of August 1949, the USSR experimented its first nuclear fission bomb.



Differences between UN and NATO
  • The UN is the organization of the United Nations, while NATO is the North Atlatinc Treaty Organization.
  • UN has to facilitate cooperation among its countries in several fields, the NATO is a military alliance.
  • UN was founded in 1945, the NATO was founded in 1949.
  • The UN is headquartered in New York while the NATO is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
  • As of today, the UN and the NATO consist of, respectively, 193 and 30 member states.

ENGLISH VERSION | Roman Necropolis unearthed in San Severino Marche

Preventive Excavations for the construction of a supermarket in San Severino Marche (MC), made between October 2021 and January 2022, have unearthed 14 roman graves that can be dated to the first two centuries of the empire.

sepolture san severino
) Burial with tiled covering (source ©ABAP Superintendency for the provinces of Ancona, Pesaro and Urbino)


The Discovery

The digging was led by the ArcheoLAB of Macerata under the scientific direction of Dr. Tommaso Casci Ceccacci of the Superintendency for the provinces of Ancona, Pesaro and Urbino.

The sepulchral area discovered in San Severino Marche (Macerata), is part of the wide necropolis of the roman town of Septempeda. It was identified close to the S.P. 361 and it has an east-west development, parallel to the roadway. The presence of a rectangular basement made of a casting against concrete and river rocks enhances the peri-urban nature of the necropolis. Unfortunately, the poor condition doesn’t allow to accurately understand the type of structure but it had to be a monumental funerary complex.

Direct and Indirect Cremation Burials

The tombs that were brought to light are 14, 3 of them characterized by the ground inhumation ritual, the others by the incineration ritual. The latter can be officiated both directly and indirectly. In the first case, the corpse was placed inside the designed grave for the combustion, which was also used for the burial of the ashes. In the case of the indirect cremation, the deceased’s remains were taken from the pyre and subsequently placed inside the final grave.

sepolture san severino
Inhumation (source: ©ABAP Superintendency for the provinces of Ancona, Pesaro and Urbino)


What was revealed from the San Severino tombs

The busta sepulcra, also known as direct cremation tombs, have returned large wooden pyres. Here, the deceased were placed and cremated, accompanied by grave goods, some of them burned alongside the body, others placed afterwards. Part of these graves have a sepulcrum, a funerary structure made of tiles, which is still intact. The indirect cremation burials have a simpler structure, made of a small box shaped like a triangle or a rectangle and formed by split tiles, within which the ashes and the funerary equipment were conserved. Also noteworthy is the condition of the burnt remains of the pyre, as well as the gurney and the wooden coffins, of which the original position of the nails has been preserved, allowing the reconstruction of the context.

sepolture san severino
Remians of a pyre
The funerary equipment

The artifacts that have been recovered from the graves have allowed a first (and partial) documentation of the wide procedure followed during the funeral rites. Most of the interments feature items that were placed and burned during the incineration, while others were added later after the rearrangement of the remains. Among the recovered objects, we can find a considerable quantity of glass ointment vases that have been deformed from the heat, coins, oil lamps and bronze artifacts, which include a splendid round mirror with a shaped grip. Moreover, there were items that were closely related to everyday life, such as sewing needles and spindles for the female burials or common work tools such as knives, razors and scrapers for the male ones.


Translation from NEWS | Scoperta una necropoli romana a San Severino Marche


ENGLISH VERSION | Graves resurface in San Martino Dell’Argine (MN)

After some works done by the Navarolo di Casalmaggiore Consortium of Reclamation, some graves have emerged in San Martino dell’Argine, in the province of Mantua.

Excavations and archeological discovery

The 11 tombs have been brought to light in a range of about 350 metres; three of them present a covering, made of gabled bricks, known as “cappuccina”; these tombs appear to be divided into 4 seemingly separated cores.

san martino graves
Tomb with “cappuccina” covering.

The inhumation burials have unearthed adults and a few children. The complete absence of a funerary equipment makes it complicated to have a precise chronological dating, but the employment of reused bricks, especially inside the more structured graves, suggests the early medieval age. This hypothesis is supported by the discovery of holes belonging to wooden buildings and to ancient canals, which contain ceramic fragments.

san martino graves
Inhumation burial.

Occasional traces of prehistoric presence in the area have emerged from the diggings as well, and they are confirmed by the existence of a drainage well that contains small ceramic mixture fragments, confirming the flint retrieval during the initial investigations of 2020. The findings will allow to improve the knowledge of the area history, which will be useful to better understand the population dynamics of the Mantuan area.

Mayor Alessio Renoldi’s words

“Seeing those tombs buried for about 1.500 years in San Martino was both a surprise and an emotion. They’re invaluable pieces of history which confirm very early settlements in our territory, and this cannot help but arouse curiosity about the origins of our country. Obviously, we will try to make the best out of these discoveries, and we will provide as many information as possible to the citizens. I also hope that further investigation may bring out more fragments of history and knowledge of the town.”

san martino graves
Mayor Alessio Renoldi

Translation from: NEWS | Riaffiorano sepolture a San Martino dall’Argine (Mn)


ENGLISH VERSION | Statue of Goddess Athena arrives in Sicily

On Wednesday 9th February, at 11:00 A.M, the statue of goddess Athena arrived in Sicily at the Antonio Salinas Archeological Regional Museum


Partnership between Greece and Sicily
Alberto Samonà, Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity

This statue will be given to the Salinas Museum for four years after a close cooperation agreement with the Greek authorities which was strongly desired by Alberto Samonà, Regional Councilor for Cultural Heritage and Sicilian identity.

Last month, the partnership between the sicilian museum and the Acropolis Museum of Athens had already allowed the return to Greece of a Parthenon frieze fragment (the so-called “Fagan Artifact”), which was conserved at the Salinas Museum. However, the arrival of this statue marks the first time that an artifact from the Athenian Museum comes to Sicily for a long-term exposure.

Return ceremony of the “Fagan artifact” at the Athens Acorpolis Museum, to which Councilor Alberto Samonà took part.

Accompanying the precious exhibit, which dates to the 5th century B.C., will be Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sport of Greece, and Nikolaos Stampolidis, director of the Athenese museum. They will entrust it to the Sicilian region, to the presence of Alberto Samonà and Caterina Greco, director of the Salinas Museum. For the important cultural occasion, senator Lucia Borgonzoni, Undersecretary of Culture, will also be present.


The Statue

This headless statue, made of pentelic marble, depicts the Goddess Athena: the 60 cm tall figure is dressed in a peplum, complete with a belt on the waist. The deity was probably adorned with a banner transversely placed on the chest which, likely during ancient times, was decorated in the center by a gorgon, which has been lost.

Statue of the Goddess Athena

The figure puts the body weight on the right leg, while using the left arm, in a sort of synchrony, to lean on what was supposed to be a spear. The whole thing is sinuous and smooth thanks to the skillful use of clothing, which is typical of the attic style of the last quarter of the 5th century B.C.


ENGLISH VERSION | Etruscan graves found in Tarquinia

In the heart of the Etruscan necropolis of Monterozzi, ten graves have emerged. They can be dated between the Villanovan and the archaic age, that is the period that saw the full affirmation of Tarquinia, to which the myths about the foundation of the Etruscan civilization are related. The discovery of this new burial group goes back to last fall. However, researchers have shown the artifacts to the public on the 14th of January.

Necropoli di Monterozzi, Tarquinia
Monterozzi Necropolis, Tarquinia
The excavations of Tarquinia

The necropolis of Monterozzi, the most important of Tarquinia and the most ancient one of Etruria, is located on the eponymous hill, about one kilometer from the city. The decision to start a digging campaign was made by the Archeological Superintendence, Fine Arts and Landscape for the province of Viterbo and southern Etruria and goes back to last fall, after ploughing works on a private land led to the opening of a series of cavities of archeological interest. During the excavations, a group of ten Etruscan tombs was brought to light. They can be dated between the Villanovian age and the archaic one and they’re located a few meters away from the Tomba Dei Tori and from the Auguri one. Unfortunately, in ancient times, the tombs were sacked by thieves who stole the precious metals, leaving ceramics and other grave goods in situ because they were considered of low value.


The Gemina grave

Early restoration works on the artifacts allow to fully comprehend the richness of the funerary equipment of the Gemina grave. This tomb aroused great interest from an architectural point of view. The monument consists of two flanked chambers facing south-west towards two open-air vestibules accessed through a staircase. The covering of both chambers is of the slit type. Nenfro plates were used to seal the doors. Alongside the left wall of both chambers, there is the carved bed on which the deceased was placed. The closing slabs, which were previously perforated by the first visitors, were accurately sealed again after the looting, as a sign of respect towards the deceased. However, over time, the maneuver led to the collapse of the northern chamber.

Carved bed from the Gemina grave



The equipment

The funerary equipment consists of vascular shapes made of splint-polished mixture with carved and configured decorations; several bucchero vases; pots painted in Etruscan-geometric style, including some attributed to the Palm Painter; euboian cups a chevrons: various wood fragments made of iron and gold, which suggest the presence of precious objects, and a female statuette.

Female statuette


The Dating

Daniele Federico Maras, an official working for the Superintendence of Tarquinia, suggested the first half of the 7th century B.C. as chronological frame, placing the tomb context in the decades preceding Tarquinius Priscus, who is traditionally known as the fifth king of Rome (between 616 and 579 B.C.).


ENGLISH VERSION | Experimental Archeology and Enology, the salted wine of Kos

Plinius the Elder, in his Naturalis Historiae, talks about 185 varieties of wine which all differ in sensory perceptions: white, red, rose, still, sparkling, dry, sweet, aromatized. Even Hippocrates, the most famous medic of the ancient times, makes a list based on their qualities and on the effects they produce on the body. But… have you ever heard of salted wine?


Salted wine: what does it mean?

There are four main flavors which can determine the taste of a wine and they can be perceived by the taste buds on the tongue: sweet, sour, bitter and salted. By definition, a salted wine should give a feeling of sapidity that is higher than other taste qualities. Usually, alcohol, sourness and volatile substances tend to cover this flavor, which becomes noticeable only in the case of unusual sapidity values. Some wines, especially if farmed on soil exposed to salty winds, can have a natural, salted taste. However, during the winemaking process, in order to correct the taste, increase the wine conservation, or to make it more “noble”, ancient sources suggest adding the most disparate ingredients: from honey to flower petals, from seawater to minced oysters, from wood splinters to resin, even chalk, clay and tar.

The salted wine of Kos

Cato The Elder, in his Liber de agri cultura, which was written during the second quarter of the 2nd century B.C., is one of the first to describe the production process of one of the most famous salted wines of the antiquity. In fact, the island of Kos boasted an important wine production in the ancient times, so much that a part of the wine purchases for the roman legions came from the Dodecanese islands. This wine, like the one of Rhodes and Chian, was preserved in particular amphorae, and it was so precious that some forged copies, which were passed off as Kos wine, have been discovered.

In order to prepare the famous Greek wine of Kos, according to the recipe of Cato, it is necessary to draw offshore seawater in a day of calm sea, about two months before the harvest. After having decanted it a couple of times in clean jars and excluding the bottom deposits, only the ripest berries will be added. Three days later, the grapes are taken, pressed and fermented.

The second terrace of the Asclepius sanctuary on the island of Kos
Experimental Archeology and enology

In these years, there have been several attempts to produce the wines by following the descriptions of the sources. Starting from the stories of Plinius the Elder and using a winemaking technique that is not too different from the Kos one, the wine of Chian has been replicated at the Elba Island. In this case, though, the berries of a particular white grape variety, the Ansonica, are placed inside handmade pots and immersed at sea for a few days. The seawater works on the berries, eliminating the bloom, a waxy substance that covers them, accelerating the dehydration of the grapes which leads to a perfect ripening. This process has also been documented in a short movie, “Vinum Insulae”, produced by Cosmomedia.

The handmade pots which contain the grape berries

ENGLISH VERSION | Roman-age bridge resurfaces on the Tiburtine

The Special Superintendence of Rome has discovered a roman bridge on the Tiburtine during road extension works.


The discovery

Documentation of historical maps of Renaissance age showed the existence of a bridge on the Ditch of Pratolungo. However, traces of the roman-age structure had not yet been brought to light; preventive archeology investigations related to road widening works made by the Municipality have revealed the presence of the structure, which has been found at the 12th kilometre of the Tiburtine.

The excavations, which are still in progress, are carried out with the scientific direction of Fabrizio Santi, archeologist of the Special Superintendence of Rome and by archeologists Mara Carcieri and Stefania Bavastro of Land S.r.l.

Ditch Of Pratolungo


Chronology and final works

The history of the structure makes the discovery extremely exceptional: the bridge, which allowed to cross the ditch of Pratolungo, dates to the 2nd century B.C., during the mid-republican age; the dating seems to be confirmed by some ceramic findings, which are yet to be systemically analyzed, and by the type of masonry, made of big tuff blocks.

The bridge will be covered at the end of the investigation, not before an accurate survey and mapping. This will allow, along with the analysis of the specimen, a detailed study and understanding of this important discovery.

Discovery of the roman-age bridge
The Special Superintendent’s words

“It’s a discovery of great archeological interest”, explains Daniela Porro, Special Superintendent of Rome, “as well as historical and topographical. The research will continue in the next days in order to obtain a complete knowledge of the structure and its stages of use. Once again, Rome gives us important evidence of its past, which will allow to better understand its ancient history”.

Daniela Porro, Special Superintendent of Rome

ENGLISH VERSION | Trophies from battle of Alalia found on the Acropolis of Velia

Some trophies, including two helmets, a Chalcidian one and one of the Negau type, both in great state of conservation, have been found at the Acropolis of Elea-Velia.

The archaeological investigation

On top of the ancient city, the excavations have brought to light the remains of a rectangular structure of remarkable size (18 x 7 meters of length). This building, which is made of mud bricks, is located under the temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena and it is what remains of the most ancient archaic religious place devoted to the deity. The results of the archaeological investigation, as the archaeologist Francesco Ullano Scalza states, have allowed to clarify the topography, the architecture, the intended use and the chronology of the various stages of the Acropolis.

“The structure of the most ancient temple dates back to 540-530 B.C., which is right after the years of the Battle of Alalia – notes Massimo Osanna, General Manager of the Museums and Avocant Director of the Archaeological Park of Paestum and Velia – while the most recent temple, which was thought to be of Hellenistic age, dates back at first glance to 480-450 B.C., and then it underwent a restructuring during the 4th century B.C. Therefore, it’s possible that the Phocaens on the run from Alalia might have erected it shortly after their arrival, as they were used to, after having acquired the necessary land from the locals in order to settle and resume the prosperous trades for which they were known. And to the relics that they offered to their goddess to propitiate her benevolence, they added the weapons they had taken from their enemies during that epic battle which had, in fact, changed the balance of power in the Mediterranean Sea.

velia acropoli
Stratigraphic Sequence
The Trophies

Several trophies, such as painted ceramics marked by the IRE engraving, which means “holy”, and various weapon fragments, have been found inside the temple: among these, we have the pieces of a big, decorated shield and two beautiful helmets, an Etruscan one of the “cap” type, also known as Negau (from the Slovenian area where it was found for the first time), and a Chalcidian one. These two helmets are now being studied in a laboratory, and inscriptions are sought within them that may help reconstruct their history.

“The archaeological findings at the acropolis of Elea-Velia suggest a religious use of the structure. Likely, in this place there were kept the relics that were offered to the goddess Athena after the battle of Alalia, the naval battle that was fought between the Greek refugees of Phocaea and an alliance of Carthaginians and Etruscans, around 541 and 535 B.C. just off the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Corse and Sardinia. Cleared from the earth just a few days ago, the two helmets have yet to be cleaned and studied in a laboratory. Inside them, there might be some inscriptions, which are quite frequent in ancient armors, and these could help us to accurately reconstruct their history, perhaps even the identity of the warriors that wore them. Of course, these are just initial considerations, but they clarify many unknown details of that Eleatic history which happened more than 2500 years ago” – declares Osanna.

velia acropoli
Negau-type helmet

Greek name of the ancient Velia, Elea was one of the richest Poleis of the Magna Graecia. It was an ally of Rome during the Punic Wars, and it became a Roman municipality in 88 B.C. Its decline started from this moment: Rome cut it out of the trade routes, forcing the city (known as Velia) to reduce itself until it became a small fishermen village. During the 9th century, Velia was definitively abandoned in order to avoid malaria and the raids of Saracen pirates, except for the acropolis where the population took refuge and built a strong fortification. This small, fortified town took the name of Castellammare della Bruca and survived until the end of 1600. The first to realize the cultural and historical importance of the place was the archaeologist François Lenormant: the existence of an archaic structure which was antecedent to the main temple of the Acropolis was speculated since the 1920s. Unfortunately, due to the excavations that started during the last century, the surviving settlement of medieval age has almost been destroyed.