Monday, April 23, 2018

Skeletons of first Copenhageners discovered under City Hall Square

Secret dig yields startling find (photo: Copenhagen Museum)

Since December, a team of archaeologists from the Museum of Copenhagen have secretly been excavating 20 skeletons discovered under City Hall Square.

The skeletons belong to men, women and children who are believed to have lived around 1,000 years ago, and which archaeologists believe were the first Copenhageners.

“It’s amazing. The graves with the skeletons in good condition are lying just a metre under the asphalt on the busiest square in Denmark,” Jane Jark Jensen, an archaeologist and curator with Copenhagen Museum, told Politiken newspaper.

The archaeologists believe that there are two additional layers of skeletons underneath the layer they are currently excavating.

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Archaeologists may have found Copenhagen’s oldest church

The City Hall Square excavation site has yielded some interesting results 
(photo: Museum of Copenhagen)

When it emerged in February that a team of archaeologists had been secretly excavating 20 skeletons under City Hall Square, it was believed they belonged to the first Copenhageners who lived some 1,000 years ago.

Now, the archaeologists have discovered the remains of a foundation that they think could stem from the first church in the Danish capital – a find that would help confirm that the Danish capital was an established city earlier than believed.

“If it is a church, it would further prove that Copenhagen was an established city at the start of the Middle Ages,” Lars Ewald Jensen, the archaeological head of the Museum of Copenhagen, told Videnskab.dk.

“You can have a burial site without an established city, because there needs to be more elements present before one can call it a city. But then again, you can’t have a city without having a church.”

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Neolithic Surgeons May Have Practiced on Animals


PARIS, FRANCE—Paleontologists Alain Froment and Fernando Ramirez Rozzi of the French National Center for Scientific Research suggest a hole in a cow skull uncovered at the Neolithic site of Champ-Durand in southwestern France could be evidence of a surgical procedure. According to a Gizmodo report, their analysis of the hole found no trace of fracturing or splintering, indicating it was not caused by goring from another cow, or a puncture from a powerful blow with a stone tool. 

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Colourful past of Scotland's Roman wall

THE HUNTERIAN/ UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
The Summerston distance stone from the Antonine Wall, which was found near Bearsden, was one artefact successfully tested for pigment

Parts of the Roman Empire's most north western frontier were likely to have been painted in bright colours, new research has found.

The Antonine Wall was built across central Scotland from Old Kilpatrick in the west to Bridgeness in the east.

Now an expert at Glasgow University has used cutting edge technology to examine the remnants of the structure.

And archaeologist Louisa Campbell has found that "distance stones" were painted vibrant red and yellow.

She said the coloured stones were used by the Romans to demonstrate their power over local people.

"The public are accustomed to seeing these sculptures in bland greys, creams, white (for marble) and don't get the full impact that they would have had on the Roman and indigenous audiences 2,.000 years ago," she added.

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Stonehenge archaeology 'under threat' from Highways England diggers

Stonehenge Alliance said using heavy machinery on wet ground could "devastate any fragile archaeological deposits"

Heavy diggers being used by Highways England near Stonehenge are threatening its "fragile archaeology", campaigners have warned.

The agency has been surveying the proposed site of a controversial tunnel near the monument since January.

Stonehenge Alliance said archaeological evidence may be lost due to heavy machinery being used on wet ground.

Highways England said the claims were "alarmist and untrue" and "due care" was being "exercised at all times".

Plans for 1.8-mile (2.9km) underground dual carriageway as part of a £1.6bn upgrade of the A303, were unveiled by the government in January.

But Dr Kate Fielden, from Stonehenge Alliance - a campaign group which includes archaeologists and environmental campaigners - said what Highways England were doing in the area "beggars belief".

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DES OCCUPATIONS DU NÉOLITHIQUE À L’ÂGE DU FER SUR LE CONTOURNEMENT OUEST DE STRASBOURG


Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap mène actuellement une fouille archéologique à Berstett (Bas-Rhin), sur prescription de l’Etat (Drac Grand Est), en amont de la construction de l’autoroute du Contournement Ouest de Strasbourg portée par le Groupe Vinci Autoroutes. Les archéologues mettent principalement au jour des vestiges des périodes du Néolithique jusqu’à l’âge du Fer.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Raunds henge 'discovered' by Warth Park building work


An archaeological site thought to be 4,000 years old has been fully unearthed by work to extend an industrial estate.

Builders have uncovered the henge, which is 100m (330ft) in diameter, at Warth Park in Raunds, Northamptonshire.

An aerial photo showing the scale of the Neolithic monument first emerged on Twitter on Tuesday, but was deleted.

However, archaeologists say that site, known as Cotton Henge, has previously been investigated twice before.

Oxford Archaeology East, working on behalf of developer Roxhill, said the henge was first identified by aerial photography in the 1970s.

They added that it was likely to date from the late Neolithic period (circa 3000BC -2500BC) and forms part of a larger group of ceremonial landscape features located and excavated as part of the Raunds Area Project.

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The nineteenth century doctor who practiced neolithic trepanation

Human skull illustrating different methods of trephination owned by Dr. T. Wilson Parry, skull of Guanche, Canary Islands, 1871-1930 (approx). Credit: Science Museum, London. CC BY

Using images from the Science Museum and Wellcome Collection we explore the neolithic practice of trepanation
Archaeologists might not be able to agree on the reason why our ancestors made holes in their skulls, but what they can agree on is that humans on every continent have done it at some point in history, suggesting the seemingly-bizarre practice developed independently across multiple civilizations.

To date, thousands of skulls with trepanation holes have been unearthed at archaeological sites around the world.

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Skull and mandible


Bronze Age skull and mandible of an adult male recovered from Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim.
The skull and mandible were both modelled 360 using AgiSoft PhotoScan before being assembled in Blender. Outputs included animations and the SketchFab model as educational aids for our osteoarchaeology students.

Created by Dr Siobhán McDermott, Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork, QUB. #ActualLivingTechnician.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Archaeologists find silver treasure on German Baltic island

The April 13, 2018 photo shows medieval Saxonian, Ottoman, Danish and Byzantine coins after a medieval silver treasure had been found near Schaprode on the northern German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea. (Stefan Sauer/dpa via AP) (Associated Press)

BERLIN — Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls and bracelets linked to the era of Danish King Harald Gormsson have been found on the eastern German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea.

A single silver coin was first found in January by two amateur archaeologists, one of them a 13-year-old boy, in a field near the village of Schaprode. The state archaeology office then became involved and the entire treasure was uncovered by experts over the weekend, the Mecklenburg-West Pomerania state archaeology office said Monday.

“It’s the biggest trove of such coins in the southeastern Baltic region,” the statement said.

The office said the two amateur archeologists were asked to keep quiet about their discovery to give professionals time to plan the dig and were then invited to participate in the recovery.

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Google's 3D scans aim to preserve historical sites


High resolution 3D scans of more than 25 historical sites from around the world are being released.
CyArk used cutting edge digital archaeology techniques including laser scanning and drones to capture the images which have been released by the Google Arts and Culture project.
The project coincides with World Heritage Day on Wednesday 18 April 2018.
BBC Click’s Stephen Beckett reports.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bronze age pot uncovered in Cornwall field

A tenant farmer on the National Trust land where the pot was found had suggested the archaeology team should investigate his field

An intact earthenware pot thought to date back to the Bronze Age has been unearthed in a field in Cornwall.

The pot, which is 12in (30cm) high, is about 4,000 years old and thought to contain human remains.

It was found just below the surface, along with other Bronze Age artefacts like pottery and flint tools, at Hendersick Barrow near Looe.

Lead archaeologist Dr Catherine Frieman said: "It's almost a miracle that a plough has never hit it."

The project is part of the Southeast Kernow Archaeological Survey, with input from the Australian National University (ANU).

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Uncovering the Galloway Viking Hoard, layer by layer

A bird brooch from the Galloway Hoard. ®National Museums Scotland

Hold on to your Viking helmet; you’re about to dig, layer by layer, into one of the most extraordinary Viking hoards ever found on the British Isles – the Galloway Hoard – with Dr Martin Goldberg, Senior Curator at National Museums Scotland

The team of metal detectorists had been working this field in Galloway for some time, but what they eventually found was way beyond their expectations.

The top layer contained eleven ingots and eleven silver arm-rings that had been flattened into bullion. They would have been made from the type of ingots they’re buried with. There’s a nice variety of decoration, with lots of punched lines and hatches. This type of arm-ring is normally found in hoards in Ireland and there are some from North Wales and from Lancashire – all around the Irish Sea, but we don’t have a lot of this particular type in Scotland. This hoard completes the circle around the Irish Sea.

They’re called a Hiberno-Scandinavian type of arm-ring and obviously the Scandinavian is the new element added to the cultural mix at the time, but they’re given that Hiberno- prefix because they’re normally found in Ireland. For me it is always the hyphen between these cultural labels where the interesting things are happening.

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Slavs competed with the Vikings on these boats


Specialists from the National Maritime Museum in Tczew began the reconstruction of the 12th-century Slavic boat salvaged from the bottom of the Bay of Puck.

The reconstruction of the Slavic boat dated back to 1158 began at the Shipwreck Conservation Centre in Tczew, a facility of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. The wreck, designated P-3 by the museum workers, has been salvaged from the mud at the bottom of the Bay of Puck.

"This is a pioneering project" - emphasises Jerzy Litwin, director of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. "We have created a special metal basket that allows for precise positioning of individual structural elements" - he says.

This method will allow to recreate the shape and the actual dimensions of the boat. Viking boats are exhibited in a similar way in Scandinavian museums. Nobody has attempted such a reconstruction in Poland until now. Reconstructions of Slavic boats are also rare. Polish museums have only two such exhibits, one of which was reconstructed before the war.

Germans find 'Harald Bluetooth' medieval treasure

Harald Bluetooth might have buried the treasure while fleeing from enemies

Treasure linked to the reign of 10th Century Danish King Harald Bluetooth has been dug up in northern Germany.

An amateur archaeologist and a 13-year-old boy found a silver coin on the Baltic island of Rügen in January when scanning a field with metal detectors.

Experts kept the find secret until a team dug up 400sq metres (4,300sq ft) of land at the weekend.

They found braided necklaces, a Thor's hammer, brooches, rings and about 600 coins, probably buried in the 980s.

"This trove is the biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic sea region and is therefore of great significance," said lead archaeologist Michael Schirren.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Computer simulations show Viking's sunstone to be very accurate

The "Lofotr" viking ship and the smaller "femkeiping". Both recosntructions based on excavations from the Gokstad find. Credit: Geir Are Johansen/Wikipedia

A pair of researchers with ELTE Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary has run computer simulations that suggest that tales of Vikings using a sunstone to navigate in cloudy weather might be true. In their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, Dénes Száz and Gábor Horváth describe the factors that contributed to their simulations and what they found by running them.

For the time period 900 to 1200 AD, Vikings, by nearly all accounts, ruled the northern Atlantic. Their skill in building strong boats and in navigation allowed them to travel throughout the North Atlantic. Prior research has suggested the Vikings used a type of sundial to navigate, which was apparently quite accurate. But what did they do when it was cloudy or foggy? Viking tales passed down through the generations claimed it was through the use of sunstones, which allowed Viking navigators to find the sun even on cloudy days. But proving the tales true has been problematic—no sunstone has ever been found on or near a Viking shipwreck. A crystal was found on a 16th-century English shipwreck in 2002—and English sailors could have learned to use them from the Vikings—but much stronger evidence is needed.

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Unusual climate during Roman times plunged Eurasia into hunger and disease


UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI—A recent study published in an esteemed academic journal indicates that volcanic eruptions in the mid 500s resulted in an unusually gloomy and cold period. A joint research project of the Chronology Laboratory of the Finnish Museum of Natural History and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) suggests that the years 536 and 541-544 CE were very difficult for many people.

An extended period of little light may make it difficult for humans to survive. The level of production of plants is dependent on the amount of available sunlight. Food production, i.e, farming and animal husbandry, rely on the same solar energy. Humans, meanwhile, become more prone to disease if they are not exposed to enough sunlight to produce vitamin D.

“Our research shows that the climate anomaly, which covered all of the northern hemisphere, was the compound result of several volcanic eruptions,” says Markku Oinonen, director of the Chronology Laboratory.

The aerosols that were released into the atmosphere with the eruptions covered the sun for a long time.

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Gone to the wall: Talking up York's ancient defences


Friends of York City Walls was established back in 2011 to look after the medieval structure which is built on top of Roman walls which Vikings covered with earth and a tall wooden fence.

The Viking structure was replaced in the 13th and 14th centuries with the stone wall we know today.
According to the city's tourism office, more than two-and-a-half million people walk along the 3.4km length each year.

Friends of York City Walls say they now need more volunteers to help guide people around the walls and to help maintain them.

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Boy unearths treasure of the Danish king Bluetooth in Germany

Discovery by a 13-year-old and an amateur archaeologist leads to hoard linked to king who brought Christianity to Denmark

Part of the hoard linked to Bluetooth, the Danish king who reigned from around AD958 to 986. Photograph: Stefan Sauer/AFP/Getty Images

A 13-year-old boy and an amateur archaeologist have unearthed a “significant” trove in Germany which may have belonged to the Danish king Harald Bluetooth who brought Christianity to Denmark.

René Schön and his student Luca Malaschnitschenko were looking for treasure using metal detectors in January on northern Rügen island when they chanced upon what they initially thought was a worthless piece of aluminium.

But upon closer inspection, they realised that it was a piece of silver, German media reported.

Over the weekend, the regional archaeology service began a dig covering 400 sq metres (4,300 sq ft). It has found a hoard believed to be linked to the Danish king Harald Gormsson, better known as “Harry Bluetooth”, who reigned from around AD958 to 986.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Anglo-Saxon settlement and Roman army camp found in A14 bypass dig

An archaeologist excavates a skeleton in Cambridgeshire. Photograph: Highways 
England/MOLA Headland Infrastructure

It’s taken more than 700 years, but the medieval villagers of Houghton in Cambridgeshire have had the last laugh: the foundations of their houses and workshops have been exposed again, as roadworks carve up the landscape they were forced to abandon when their woodlands were walled off into a royal hunting forest.

Their lost village has been rediscovered in an epic excavation employing more than 200 archaeologists, working across scores of sites on a 21-mile stretch of flat Cambridgeshire countryside, the route of the upgraded A14 and the Huntingdon bypass.

Much of it is now flat and rather featureless farmland, but the excavations have revealed how densely populated it was in the past, with scores of village sites, burial mounds, henges, trackways, industrial sites including pottery kilns and a Roman distribution centre. The archaeologists also found an Anglo-Saxon tribal boundary site with huge ditches, a gated entrance and a beacon on a hill that still overlooks the whole region.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

St Albans Abbey 'one of England's early Norman cathedrals'

Remains of the original apse built in 1077 was unearthed during excavation work at 
St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Abbey has been confirmed as one of England's early Norman cathedrals after experts uncovered foundations of the early church.

Remains forming part of the early Norman abbey have been identified after foundations of the 11th Century church were revealed during excavation.

Site director Ross Lane said: "We knew it was probably there but this confirms it."

Other Norman cathedrals in the UK include Durham and Canterbury.

The Hertfordshire abbey is dedicated to Britain's first saint, St Alban - a citizen of Roman Verulamium - who was martyred by the Romans.

The first church at the site was probably a simple structure over St Alban's grave, making this the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain.

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An Icelandic Epic Predicted a Fiery End for Pagan Gods, and Then This Volcano Erupted

The Codex Regius, an Icelandic collection of poems about pagan gods, contains 
a version of the Vǫluspá.
Credit: Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty

A series of Earth-shattering volcanic eruptions in Iceland during the Middle Ages may have spurred the people living there to turn away from their pagan gods and convert to Christianity, a new study finds.

The discovery came about thanks to precise dating of the volcanic eruptions, which spewed lava about two generations before the Icelandic people changed religions.

But why would volcanic eruptions turn people toward monotheism? The answer has to do with the "Vǫluspá," a prominent medieval poem that predicted a fiery eruption would help lead to the downfall of the pagan gods, the researchers said.

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12th Century graffiti art uncovered as part of medieval discovery in Dublin's Coombe



A HOTEL DEVELOPMENT in Dublin halted production last October when the remains of what appeared to be 12th century Irish structures were discovered, including an example of graffiti art carved onto a piece of slate.

The Hodson Bay Hotel Group are developing a 234 room hotel at the site on Dean Street in The Coombe, to the west of the city centre.

Archaeologists from Aisling Collins Archaeology Services (ACAS) were called in and found evidence of nine structures that are believed to date from as early as the 1100s.

Five of the structures appear to be dwellings with smaller outhouses accompanying them that likely housed animals, the archaeologists say.

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New Pompeii excavations a revelation


ANSA) - Naples, March 23 - Major new finds have been unveiled for Friday's 270th anniversary of the discovery of the first remains of the ancient city of Pompeii buried by ash and rock following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

    The local archaeological authorities have marked the occasion by presenting major new excavations in the Regio V area launched under the auspices of the ongoing conservation project Great Pompeii. "Our aim was to resolve the instability of the excavation fronts in this area, which had a history of collapses," said special superintendent for Pompeii Massimo Osanna. "The work involved the reshaping of this part of the archaeological site. Then when we started digging we found remains of public and private areas, gardens and porticoes that we did not think we would find. It is the most important dig in the post-war period," he continued.

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Skilled female potters travelled around the Baltic nearly 5000 years ago

These are Neolithic Corded ware pottery recovered in Southern Finland
[Credit: Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä]

Was it the fine pottery itself, or the artisans who made it, that moved around the Baltic Sea region during the Corded Ware Culture of late Neolithic period? Are the archaeological artefacts found in Finland imported goods or were they made out of Finnish clay by artisans who had mastered the new technology? These are the questions researchers are trying to answer in the most extensive original study of archaeological ceramics ever undertaken in the Nordic countries.

Researchers mapped the arrival routes of pottery and people representing the Corded Ware Culture complex (c. 2900-2300 BCE) into the Nordic countries by identifying the areas where the pottery was made.

Corded Ware pottery was very different from earlier Stone Age pottery. It represented a new technology and style, and as a new innovation, used crushed ceramics -- or broken pottery -- mixed in with the clay.

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Ramsey Island: New survey finds 'Bronze Age' site

Ramsey Island is owned and managed by the RSPB

New archaeological sites on a small island off the coast of west Wales have been discovered.

The laser scan of Ramsey Island uncovered a "hidden" landscape thought to date back to the Bronze Age.

The survey, taken from the air, has also seen a detailed 3D model of the two mile-long beauty spot made for the first time.

Experts say the data could also be used to see if climate change affects the environment on the island.

Royal Commission archaeologist Dan Hunt described the findings as "incredible".

He added: "It has presented us with a stunning view of the island in enormous detail."

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The archaeologists sorting out Orkney's Neolithic bones

Archaeologists excavating Neolithic tombs in Orkney are used to finding jumbled collections of bones

A new study could potentially transform our understanding of the way Neolithic people dealt with their dead.

Archaeologists excavating Neolithic tombs in Orkney are used to finding jumbled collections of bones that seem unconnected.

Now, work by Dr Rebecca Crozier, from the University of Aberdeen, suggests whole bodies were placed in the chambered structures.

She said they could have been dismembered after being buried.

She told BBC Radio Orkney: "What we're trying to do is look at all the bones and try and understand why they are in the mess that we finding them in.

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LES FOUILLES DES JARDINS DE LA CATHÉDRALE DU MANS


Depuis septembre 2017, une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap fouille, sur prescription de l’Etat (Drac Pays de la Loire), les abords du chevet gothique de la cathédrale Saint-Julien, au Mans. En effet, l’aménagement des jardins, programmé par la mairie, est l’occasion d’ouvrir une fenêtre de plus de 2 000 m² sur le passé de la ville. Celle-ci révèle deux mille ans d’histoire débutant dès les premiers temps de Vindinum, chef-lieu de cité des Aulerques Cénomans et nom antique du Mans.

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