‘Little Pompeii’, the Roman neighbourhood discovered in France including a Bacchanalian House


French archaeologists have discovered a “little Pompeii” — the remarkably well preserved remains of an entire district of an ancient Roman town — in the east of the country.
Villas and public buildings have been unearthed in what Benjamin Clément, the archaeologist leading the dig, described as “undoubtedly the most exceptional excavation of a Roman site in 40 or 50 years.”
Many household objects are still where they were left by residents who fled fires. Some villas date from the 1st century AD and the district is believed to have inhabited for about 300 years until it was abandoned after a series of fires.
Like Pompeii, the ancient Roman site near Naples, much of it was buried under ash which helped to preserve it.
One villa has been dubbed the Bacchanalian House because its tiled floor depicts a procession of maenads, female followers of Bacchus – the Roman name for the god of wine known to the Ancient Greeks as Dionysus – and satyrs, male companions of the god with goat-like features.
Believed to have been the home of a wealthy merchant, it had marble tiling, extensive gardens and a water supply system.
“We’ll be able to restore this house from floor to ceiling,” Mr Clément said. “We’re incredibly lucky.”
In another villa, an exquisite mosaic shows a bare-bottomed Thalia, muse and patron of comedy, being abducted by lustful Pan, god of the satyrs.
The site is on the outskirts of the city of Vienne, less than 20 miles south of Lyon.
Located on the River Rhône, Vienne became a major urban centre under Julius Caesar and is known for its Roman theatre and temple.
Discovered on land where a housing complex is to be built, the excavation site covers an area of 75,000 square feet — an unusually large find in an urban area.

An article from The Telegraph by David Chazan


Organic wine really does taste better, study of 74,000 bottles shows


Organic wine has divided experts for decades, with some claiming the natural process damages taste while others argue grapes contain so many natural pesticides that it makes a mockery of the label.
But a new study shows it really is worth going natural.
Researchers from the University of California trawled through the expert reviews for more than 74,000 wines which appeared in the three of the world’s best wine-rating magazines.
They discovered that organic wines – which are labelled as ‘ecocertified’ in the US – scored an average of 4.1 points higher than their non-organic counterparts, our of a score of 100.

An article from The Telegraph by Sarah Knapton