Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dressed up with bling stolen in Viking raids

When a female Norwegian Viking died some time during the 9th century, she was buried wearing a status symbol: a beautiful piece of bronze jewellery worn on her traditional Norse dress.
In the summer of 2016, 1200 years after her death, the piece of jewellery was found by chance at Agdenes farm, at the outermost part of the Trondheim Fjord in mid-Norway. The well-preserved object is an ornament with a bird figure that has fish- or dolphin-like patterns on both "wings."
The decorations suggest that the jewellery was made in a Celtic workshop, most likely in Ireland, in the 8th or 9th century. It was originally used as a fitting for a horse's harness, but holes at the bottom and traces of rust from a needle on the back show that it had probably been turned into a brooch at a later stage.
Read the rest of this article...

Europe's Earliest Humans Did Not Use Fire

New research conducted by scientists at the University of York and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona reveals for the first time that Europe's earliest humans did not use fire for cooking, but had a balanced diet of meat and plants - all eaten raw.

Studying dental plaque from a 1.2 million year old hominin (early human species), recovered by the Atapuerca Research Team in 2007 in Sima del Elefante in northern Spain, archaeologists extracted microfossils to find the earliest direct evidence of food eaten by early humans.

These microfossils included traces of raw animal tissue, uncooked starch granules indicating consumption of grasses, pollen grains from a species of pine, insect fragments and a possible fragment of a toothpick.

All detected fibres were uncharred, and there was also no evidence showing inhalation of microcharcoal - normally a clear indicator of proximity to fire.

Read the rest of this article...

Archäologen entdecken erste befestigte Flachland-Siedlung der Eisenzeit in Westfalen

Werne (lwl). Wo der Versandhandelsriese Amazon aktuell künftige Geschenke für das Weihnachtsfest lagert, deponierten die Menschen schon vor über 2.000 Jahren in Speichern und Gruben Lebensmittel und Ernten. Mit Siedlungsspuren aus dem ersten Jahrhundert vor Christi Geburt rechneten die Archäologen des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) durchaus, als die Untersuchungen auf dem Gelände des neuen Logistikzentrums des Versandhändlers in Werne begannen. Dass zusätzlich eine gewaltige Befestigungsanlage bei den Bauarbeiten im neuen Gewerbegebiet Wahrbrink II zum Vorschein kam, war eine Überraschung. Die Archäologen dokumentierten hier die Spuren der ersten Siedlung der Eisenzeit in Westfalen abseits der Gebirgsregionen, die mit einem riesigen Graben gesichert war. 

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Archaeology in schools: promoting archaeology as a key learning tool within the national curricula

Other than a few pockets of good examples, around the world archaeology is almost always absent from formal education until one makes it to University. History will be taught and archaeology gets a mention as part of that e.g. ‘archaeologists tell us blah, blah’ but actually archaeology is almost never taught. There was a session at the CIfA conference that looked at archaeology in the classroom, mainly primary age. We video recorded it and you can see the videos below.
Session Abstract: There are thousands of primary schools in the UK, all actively delivering curriculum-based learning in regard to popular archaeological themes such as Ancient Egypt, the Romans in Britain, the Picts or the Vikings. Archaeological evidence plays a role, as do visits to historic sites and museums. This session will first focus on existing and potential knowledge exchange between the archaeological and teaching communities. It will showcase some of the initiatives that specialist archaeological educators have taken to engage with teachers and teaching of the primary history curriculum alongside the work of commercial, community, curatorial and academic archaeologists. We will then aim to identify the various challenges faced and to share solutions and best practice that can be easily replicated by others. The key question is how best to promote archaeology as a key learning tool within the national curricula across all countries in the UK? The session (and resulting discussions) will aim to guide the creation of ‘Archaeology in schools: top ten tips for success’ (with a first draft to be supplied beforehand).
Read the rest of this article...

Neanderthals visited seaside cave in England for 180,000 years

SAINT HELIER, Jersey, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Neanderthals may have taken vacations, or at least they liked the view from the granite cliffs of Jersey. New evidence suggests Neanderthals visited La Cotte de St Brelade, a prehistoric site on the island of Jersey, for at least 180,000 years.
Previous surveys of La Cotte de St Brelade have been limited in scope, focused mostly on concentrations of mammoth remains within the cave. The latest effort involved a wide-angle approach.
Researchers re-examined stone artifacts unearthed in the 1970s to better understand how they were made and where materials were sourced from. The survey helped archaeologists get a better sense of how visitors to La Cotte de St Brelade utilized local resources and the surrounding landscape. The analysis also revealed where Neanderthals were visiting from.
Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists Discover Unknown Ancient City In Greece

Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessaliska plains and can be dated to several historical periods.

"What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one digging season", says Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork.

Read the rest of this article...


La fouille du Parc du Coteau à Vitry-sur-Seine est située en bordure de la RD 605, héritière de la voie romaine qui reliait Paris à Sens. La première construction est un édifice ostentatoire élevé au cours du Haut-Empire. À la fin du IIIe siècle ou au début du siècle suivant, un espace funéraire enclos de fossés est établi en périphérie de cet édifice, ce qui oriente l’interprétation au bénéfice d’un mausolée. La nécropole, organisée en petits groupes de tombes, est fréquentée jusqu’à la fin du haut Moyen Âge, probablement jusqu’au début du XIe siècle. Abandonnée dans un premier temps, la zone est réoccupée aux XIIe-XIIIe siècles par des carrières d’extraction de limon sableux, probablement à destination des tuileries installées de l’autre côté de la voie et dont la mémoire est conservée dans la toponymie. Certaines salles des carrières sont ensuite transformées en caves et ont conservé cette fonction jusqu’à nos jours.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Large Roman settlement remains found near Cambridge

Artefacts discovered during the excavation of land off Tunbridge Lane in Bottisham, where Bloor Homes is building its De Havilland Orchard development

"Absolutely fascinating" archaeological remains from a large Roman settlement have been uncovered on the site of a new housing development in Bottisham.
The discovery was made during an excavation of the site off Tunbridge Lane before Bloor Homes began work on the 24-home De Havilland Orchard development.
The three-month excavation, carried out by Pre-Construct Archaeology under the direction of CgMs Consulting, was commissioned by the developer due to the archaeological significance of previous finds made in the area.
Read the rest of this article...

Sex of prehistoric hand-stencil artists can be determined forensic analysis

"This geometric approach is very powerful as it allows us to look at the palm and fingers independently," researcher Patrick Randolph-Quinney said.

Researchers built a model cave wall to test their ability to determine the sex of hand stencil artists in the lab. Photo by University of Liverpool

Attempts to determine the sex of prehistoric hand-stencil artists have turned up contradicting conclusions. Researchers in England and South Africa suggest focusing on hand size and finger length is unreliable.

To solve the problem, scientists adopted a forensics technique to yield more definitive results. Scientists believe the new analysis strategy can sex 40,000-year-old hand stencils with 90 percent accuracy.

"The problem with focussing on hand size and finger length is that two different shaped hands can have identical linear dimensions and ratios," Patrick Randolph-Quinney, a forensic anthropologist at the universities of Central Lancashire and Witwatersrand, said in a news release. "To capture shape, we applied geometric morphometrics, a technique used in forensic studies that had never been tested on hand stencils before."

Read the rest of this article...

Late Bronze Age Grave Of Yound Girl Wearing Elaborate Diadem Found In Northern Greece

The skeleton of the young girl as found during the discovery of the tomb [Credit: Ethnos]

The coronet was unearthed among a trove of other valuable personal items found in the grave of a young girl thought to be between 6-7 years of age.

The diadem, which is comprised of three rows of spherical bronze plates mounted on a perishable material (leather or, more likely, a fabric), was wrapped at least twice around the girl's head.

Archaeologist Konstantinos Noulas said the skeleton of the girl, found in a strongly contacted position in the grave, was adorned with numerous jewels and precious items. Among these was a necklace with glass and carnelian beads, a bracelet, three bronze rings, two bronze girdles or belts, while pottery surrounded the interior of the grave.

Read the rest of this article...

Why don't humans have a penis bone? Scientists may now know

Speed of human mating might be behind the lack of a baculum in humans, suggests study tracing bone’s evolution

It can be as long as a finger in a monkey. In the walrus, it can be two feet long. But the human male has lost it completely. And researchers are a little stumped.
Known as the baculum to scientists with an interest, the penis bone is a marvel of evolution. It pops up in mammals and primates around the world, but varies so much in terms of length and whether it is present at all, that it is described as the most diverse bone ever to exist.
Prompted by the extraordinary differences in penis bone length found in the animal kingdom, scientists set out to reconstruct the evolutionary story of the baculum, by tracing its appearance in mammals and primates throughout history.
Read the rest of this article...

Watch Richard III The King in the Car Park: Telegraph Now Showing

When a skeleton was found under a council car park in Leicester in September 2012, the news broke around the world. Could these be the remains, lost for 500 years, of our most infamous King, Richard III?

The discovery of the body, and the battery of scientific tests conducted to establish its identity, were carried out in complete secrecy. This film – made by the only team allowed to follow the scientists – tells every twist and turn of the story. 

Richard III: The King in the Car Park is one of several shows available to watch for free as part of our Telegraph Now Showing series. Until the end of January, enjoy watching a range of quality dramas and documentaries including The Hour, Joanna Lumley's Jewel in the Nile and Miracle of the Hudson Plane Crash.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

France to unveil stunning copy of landmark prehistoric art cave

More than 70 years after the original cave was discovered, France will unveil a stunning real-to-life copy of the 18,000 year-old Lascaux cave, which cost €66 million and took four years to create.
The last of four boys who discovered the Lascaux cave paintings, a stunning display of prehistoric art in southwest France, will visit a new replica of the site Saturday.
Simon Coencas, now 89, will join President Francois Hollande for the inauguration of the display at a visitors' centre in Montignac, a village at the foot of the hills where he discovered the cave as a teenager.
More than seven decades after he got his first look at the site, Coencas will -- health permitting -- revisit a complete copy of the caves.
Read the rest of this article...

Digging Deeper

Artist's rendition of the Colchester Roman circus. Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons

Colchester, in the county of Essex, England, is perhaps best known as Britain’s oldest recorded town. The earliest record of Colchester’s existence is a reference by the Roman writer, Pliny the Elder in AD 77. In describing the island ofAnglesey, a large island off the northwest coast of present-day Wales, he wrote that ‘it is about 200 miles from Camulodunum, a town in Britain’. Camulodunum was the pre-Roman name for Colchester, the first known reference to any named settlement in this country.” It was a settlement that featured, among other things, a Roman circus.
The site of the Roman circus was identified in 2004 by the Colchester Archeological Trust, and it represents the only known Roman circus in Britain. The once monumental structure, at 400m long and 80m wide, is thought to have seated up to 8,000 spectators, and would have been used as a venue for various spectator sports, including chariot-racing. The circus is sited on the former army garrison site about 500 metres south of the southern Roman wall of Colchester. Rather poetically, part of the circus resides under the former garrison stables.
The circus starting gates were found first in the garden of the Sergeants’ Mess in Le Cateau Road. In 2005 the TV programme ‘Time Team’ subsequently located the starting gates, some of the wall, and the spina, the centre wall in the circus which acted as a barrier for chariot racing. 
Read the rest of this article...

Human blood, organs, and a surprising virus detected in ancient pottery

The vessels were interred in a burial mound near an Iron Age hillfort in Germany, known as the Heuneburg, reconstructed here.

Sometime between 600 and 450 B.C.E., a high-status individual in what is today Germany developed some disturbing symptoms: large bruises, bleeding from the nose and gums, and bloody diarrhea and urine. His fellow villagers, shocked—or perhaps intrigued—by his condition, stored his blood and organs in pottery vessels after he died, and interred them in a burial mound. Now, using a novel technique based on analyzing ancient proteins, archaeologists have reconstructed the contents of these vessels to conclude that the individual likely died from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), a severe tick-borne disease that still kills people across the world today.
"This is the first identification of CCHFV or any hemorrhagic fever virus in the archaeological record," says Conner Wiktorowicz, the study's lead researcher and a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It’s also the only known example of human blood and organs being buried in pottery vessels during this time in this region, raising the question of whether this was a more widespread practice, previously unknown to archaeologists.
The contents of ceramic vessels decay over time, leaving a film of residue containing proteins from any organic matter stored within. Archaeologists are exploring new ways to recover and analyze these proteins. In the new study, a team led by Wiktorowicz ground up a small portion of each of the pottery fragments (or sherds), used detergent and other chemicals to dislodge any proteins stuck to them, and isolated and analyzed the protein fragments using various techniques. The team then fed this information into a national protein database.
Read the rest of this article...

Viking gold discovered in Denmark – on live TV

The new find was made in the same field that yielded these seven bracelets over the summer. Photo: Nick Schaadt, Museet på Sønderskov

A team of Danish archaeologists digging in a field east of Ribe knew they had a better-than-average chance of discovering a treasure trove.
They were, after all, digging in the same field that back in June produced the largest ever discovery of Viking gold in Denmark. Having discovered seven bracelets, six gold and one silver, that date to around the year 900 the archaeologists went back to the field on Monday. 
This time they had a production crew from regional broadcaster TV Syd in tow. 
Already by midday, the archaeologists and the TV crew had cause to celebrate. In front of rolling cameras, the excited diggers pulled out what appeared to be part of another Viking gold bracelet. 
Read the rest of this article...

Rare 1,500 Year Old Odin Amulet Found In Denmark

A local treasure hunter named Carsten Helm, along with his 10 and 12-year-old sons, discovered a trove of gold on the island of Lolland that dates back 1,500 years.

The Odin amulet was called a "rare and exciting discovery" 
[Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster]

Among the gold discovered was a so-called bracteate, a thin gold medallion worn as jewellery during the Germanic Iron Age. Archaeologists at Museum Lolland-Falster believe that the image on the amulet depicts Nordic god Odin. Their conclusion was based on other finds of similar bracteates that include a rune inscription reading ‘The High One’, one of Odin’s nicknames.

“It is a very exciting find,” museum spokeswoman Marie Brinch said. “Even though it is a previously-known type, it is a rare and exciting discovery. Throughout history there have only been three found on Lolland, the latest in 1906, and in all of Northern Europe there are only around 1,000 of them.”

Helm and his sons also found an additional gold pendant, three gold pieces that were likely parts of a necklace, a gold ring and assorted pieces of silver.

Their finds will go on display at the Maribo County Museum on Friday.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, December 09, 2016

An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry by Trevor Rowley

An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry is the latest book by Trevor Rowley.

“An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry provides a unique re-examination
of this famous piece of work through the historical geography and archaeology of
the tapestry. Trevor Rowley is the first author to have analysed the tapestry through
the landscapes, buildings and structures shown, such as towns and castles, while
comparing them to the landscapes, buildings, ruins and earthworks which can be
seen today. By comparing illustrated extracts from the tapestry to historical and
contemporary illustrations, maps and reconstructions Rowley is able to provide the
reader with a unique visual setting against which they are able to place the events
on the tapestry.”

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Archaeology sheds light on Mongolia’s uncertain nomadic future

As a herding lifestyle practiced for millennia is threatened by contemporary climate change, archaeology offers a long-term perspective

Around the world, traditional subsistence practices provide a resilient source of ecological knowledge that improves humanity’s ability to respond to environmental crises. In Central Asia, a herding lifestyle practiced for millennia is increasingly threatened by the speed and magnitude of climate change.
Although the global mean temperature is predicted to rise by 2C over the coming century, this trend will likely be more severe in high altitude and high latitude environments. In the subarctic steppes of Mongolia, nearly one-third of the population makes their living through migratory herding of livestock – sheep, goat, horse, cattle, camel, and yak. For these herders, the effects of climate change have been immediate and dramatic. Mongolia has experienced summer droughts, extreme winter weather, pasture degradation, a shrinking water supply, and desertification, leading to seasonal herd die-offs. These processes have a cascading effect, reinforcing other issues caused by human activity and globalisation.
How will nomadic society respond to these obstacles? Archaeology offers a long-term perspective on the relationship between people and the environment.
Read the rest of this article...

Mysteries of deserted pre-Famine village on Achill Island revealed

Keem Bay on the western-most tip of Achill Island is one of the most remote spots in Ireland. Today, the beautiful valley is largely desolate, the boggy flanks of Croaghaun Mountain slope down to a sheltered white sandy beach. In summer campervans line up along the shorefront and holiday makers brave the cold sea, but during the winter the place is abandoned to sheep, the occasional hiker and the ferocious gales that lash the Atlantic coast. But there is more to the site than meets the eye. If you leave the beach, clamber up the old hairpin bend road, past the early 20th-century coastguard station, you start to notice strange lumps and bumps in the grass. This is the site of a village of over forty houses that stood in the valley c.1838.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists uncover clues to life of Iron Age man

Archaeologists have been able to provide insights into the life of a man whose remains were found at an Iron Age site on Orkney.
A human jaw with two teeth was discovered centrally placed in a large, carved whalebone vertebra within the ruins of a broch earlier this year.
Analysis, including radiocarbon dates, of the find on South Ronaldsay show the man died when he was 50 or older.
His diet also appears to have been unusually rich in fish.

Read the rest of this article...

Anglesey dig discovers human remains at 'internationally important' neolithic site

Archaeologists have also unearthed a fourth house from the period at the Llanfaethlu dig.
CR Archeology have been working at the site since late 2014 and have called the discoveries made there "unparalleled".
More than 6,000 artefacts have been recovered which is the most of any Prehistoric site in North Wales and these include a massive range of pottery styles from both the neolithic and Bronze age.
The discovery of two partial sets of human remains could cause a "revolution" in how historians view the origins of North Wales agriculture, say CR Archeology, who have been working with Anglesey Council, Wynne Construction and Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Services.
Read the rest of this article...


Si la première mention de La Rochelle apparaît dans une charte de l’abbaye Saint-Cyprien de Poitiers (998-1000), la ville ne se développe véritablement qu’à partir du XIIe siècle. La première enceinte de ville, probablement fondée dans les années 1160-70, permet d’asseoir le statut de cette nouvelle cité portuaire qui s’émancipe progressivement des pouvoirs locaux, notamment au début du XIIIesiècle en englobant deux nouveaux quartiers - Saint-Jean du Perrot et Saint-Nicolas.


Le quartier du Gabut, situé entre le rivage et le quartier Saint-Nicolas, est partiellement intégré à la ville à la fin du XIVe siècle, suite à la construction d’une nouvelle enceinte reliant la tour Saint-Nicolas à la porte du même nom. Ce secteur de la ville se développe ensuite progressivement. Des bâtiments très allongés (corderies, magasins pour l’artillerie) sont en effet représentés sur les plans de la période moderne et perdurent jusqu’au démantèlement de l’enceinte, à la fin du XIXe siècle.
Read the rest of this article...

Researchers find overwhelming evidence of malaria's existence 2,000 years ago

MCMASTER UNIVERSITY—HAMILTON, Dec. 5, 2016 - An analysis of 2,000-year-old human remains from several regions across the Italian peninsula has confirmed the presence of malaria during the Roman Empire, addressing a longstanding debate about its pervasiveness in this ancient civilization.
The answer is in mitochondrial genomic evidence of malaria, coaxed from the teeth of bodies buried in three Italian cemeteries, dating back to the Imperial period of the 1st to 3rd centuries Common Era.
The genomic data is important, say researchers, because it serves as a key reference point for when and where the parasite existed in humans, and provides more information about the evolution of human disease.
"Malaria was likely a significant historical pathogen that caused widespread death in ancient Rome," says evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar, director of McMaster's Ancient DNA Centre where the work was conducted.
Read the rest of this article...

Moderner als gedacht - Neandertaler passten ihre Überlebensstrategien aktiv an

Wissenschaftler des Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment an der Universität Tübingen haben herausgefunden, dass Neandertaler auch ohne äußere Einflüsse, wie Umwelt- oder Klimaveränderungen ihre Überlebensstrategien variierten. Mit einer neuen Methode zeigen sie anhand von Karbonatisotopie an fossilen Zähnen, dass die Vorfahren der heutigen Menschen vor 250.000 Jahren moderner in ihrer Entwicklung waren als bisher gedacht.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

‘Bronze Age burial reveals its long held secret’

Archaeologists studying Neolithic and Early Bronze Age human remains in the Manx Museum collection for the ‘Round Mounds of the Isle of Man’ project have made an exciting discovery. 

Contained within a box of cremated bones excavated in 1947, osteologist Dr Michelle Gamble, discovered a collection of small bone objects that had not been noticed by the excavators. The bones had been buried almost 4000 years ago at Staarvey Farm in what is now German parish, Isle of Man. 

The site was excavated by Basil Megaw (1913-2002) who was director of the Manx Museum (1945-1957). Mr Megaw had been contacted by the farmer who had hit a large stone during ploughing. Excavations revealed a stone-built cist (a box made out of stone slabs) containing fragments of burnt bone, two flint tools, and two Collared Urns (Bronze Age pots) buried upside-down. But it is only now that the bones have been studied in detail.

Read the rest of this article...

Somerset skeletons are oldest evidence of monks found in UK

Carbon dating of remains unearthed in Beckery chapel near Glastonbury indicate monastic life dating back to fifth or early sixth centuries

Skeletons excavated at a site near Glastonbury are the oldest examples of monks ever found in the UK, carbon dating has proved.
The remains, unearthed at the medieval Beckery chapel in Somerset, said to have been visited by legendary figures such as King Arthur and St Bridget, indicate a monastic cemetery dating back to the fifth or early sixth centuries AD, before Somerset was conquered by the Saxon kings of Wessex in the seventh century.
Archaeologists first located an extensive cemetery of between 50 and 60 bodies during an excavation in the 1960s. The fact all were male – apart from one female, thought to have been a visitor, nun or patron, and two juveniles, who may have been novices – left little doubt this was a monastic graveyard.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, December 02, 2016

Bitumen from Middle East discovered in 7th century buried ship in UK

Middle Eastern Bitumen, a rare, tar-like material, is present in the seventh century ship buried at Sutton Hoo, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on December 01, 2016 by Pauline Burger and colleagues from the British Museum, UK and the University of Aberdeen.
The seventh century ship found within a burial mound at Sutton Hoo, UK was first excavated in 1939 and is known for the spectacular treasure it contained including jewellery, silverware, coins, and ceremonial armour. The site is thought to be an example of the European ship-burial rites of the time, and also includes a burial chamber where a corpse was likely laid. Fragments of black organic material found in this chamber were originally identified as locally-produced 'Stockholm Tar' and linked to repair and maintenance of the ship. The authors of the present study re-evaluated these previously-identified samples, as well as other tar-like materials found at the site, using imaging techniques and isotopic analysis and found the samples had been originally misidentified.

Read the rest of this article...

Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

Analysis of black organic fragments found in the Sutton Hoo boat burial has revealed they are bitumen from Syria.
The Suffolk site was excavated in 1939. Gold and garnet jewellery, silverware and ceremonial armour were discovered. 
The small black objects scattered among the 7th Century finds were believed to be pine tar used for boat maintenance.
British Museum and Aberdeen University experts have revealed they are bitumen Andrew said they demonstrated the "far-reaching" Anglo-Saxon trade network.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All That Glittered Was Not Gold In Roman Britain

An in-focus display of artefacts found by archaeologists as part of major project to upgrade the A1 to a motorway in North Yorkshire opens at the iconic Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle on Saturday 26 November 2016.

A carnelian intaglio of Hercules and the Lion, a brass plated boot spur and a 

bronze plated penannular brooch [Credit: The Bowes Museum]

On the opening day, The Bowes Museum and Northern Archaeological Associates will also provide family activities based on archaeological findings on the road scheme. These drop in sessions, which include creating a paper mosaic; salt dough coin making and painting; creating a Roman helmet; pottery handling and viewing animal bones, will run from 11am - 3pm in the Museum’s Education Vaults and are free for children under 16 when accompanied by an adult for whom normal Museum admission applies.

An archaeological team of around 60 people have been working along the A1 between Leeming Bar and Barton for three years as part of a Highways England scheme to install an extra lane in each direction and improve the route to motorway standards.

During that time, archaeologists working on behalf of the Carillion Morgan-Sindall Joint Venture have uncovered more than 200,000 prehistoric and Roman artefacts and sieved more than 86 tonnes of sediment samples.

Read the rest of this article...

Pembroke Castle study uncovers possible Henry VII birthplace

Researchers believe they might have uncovered the location of Henry VII's birthplace at Pembroke Castle.
Aerial photographs from 2013 gave glimpses of what lay beneath the surface, with parch marks revealing possible buildings.
geophysical survey has now confirmed the outline of a late-medieval building in the outer ward, where the king could have been born.
Neil Ludlow, consultant archaeologist, said it shone new light on the castle.
Much of the interior of the castle, which dates from the 11th Century, was destroyed after the Middle Ages.

Read the rest of this article...

Over 82,000 Archaeological Finds Made By Members Of Public In UK

Thousands of archaeological finds, including a huge Bronze Age gold "torc" and a hoard of 17th century silver coin clippings, were made by members of the public last year, a report reveals.

The torc is much larger than usual examples and is regarded as the best found in England in more than a century 

[Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA]

The 82,272 discoveries were made mostly by people who were metal-detecting, according to the Portable Antiquities Scheme annual report launched at the British Museum.

More than a thousand discoveries of "treasure" - such as gold or silver ornaments or coin collections and prehistoric metalwork - were made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, the report reveals.

The 1,008 finds included a Roman grave in Hertfordshire and a hoard of Viking Age objects and Anglo-Saxon coins in a field near Watlington, Oxfordshire.

Archaeological items, the majority of which were found on cultivated land where items can be at risk of damage from ploughing and corrosion, ranged from thousands of stone flints to a rare Bronze Age shield in Suffolk.

Read the rest of this article...

Black Death burial pit found at site of medieval abbey in Lincolnshire

Carbon dating shows skeletons are from mid-14th century, while DNA tests of teeth find presence of plague bacterium

The presence of such a burial site suggests the local community was overwhelmed by the number who died. Photograph: University of Sheffield/PA

A mass burial pit of victims of the Black Death dating back to the 14th century has been discovered near Immingham in Lincolnshire.
Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield were searching the site of Thornton Abbey, once one of the country’s biggest medieval abbeys, for evidence of a post-medieval building when they came across the grave containing 48 skeletons, 27 of them children.
Carbon dating shows the remains are from the middle of the 14th century, when the Black Death, which was most probably bubonic plague, killed an estimated 75 million to 200 million people across Europe and Asia.
Teeth samples were sent to Canada where DNA was successfully extracted and tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the plague, which is documented to have reached Lincolnshire in the spring of 1349.
Read the rest of this article...
Dr Hugh Willmott said the mass burial was "completely unexpected"

A Black Death burial pit containing 48 skeletons, including the remains of 27 children, has been found at the site of a 14th Century monastery hospital.

The bodies were excavated at Thornton Abbey in North Lincolnshire.

Between 1347 and 1351 the "Great Pestilence" swept westward across Europe killing millions of people. It later became known as the Black Death.

It arrived on Britain's shores in 1348 and is believed to have wiped out up to 60% of the population at the time.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Altar of Miracle-Making Viking King Discovered in Norway

Archaeologists uncovered the foundations of a wooden church where the body of the Viking king Olaf Haraldsson may have been enshrined after he was declared a saint.
Credit: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU);
Distributed Under a Creative Commons License

The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) announced Nov. 11 that its researchers had discovered the foundations of a wooden church where the body of King Olaf Haraldsson was taken immediately after he was declared a saint in 1031. St. Olaf, as he is now known, conquered and consolidated Norway in 1016 but held on to rule for a little more than a decade before his power was threatened by Canute I, king of Denmark and England. Olaf died in the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030.
Now, archaeologists say they've found a key location in the king's posthumous journey from martyr to Norway's patron saint. [25 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]
Read the rest of this article...

5,000-Year-Old Hill Fort 'Damaged By Metal Detectors'

Cissbury Ring is the largest hill fort in Sussex [Credit: National Trust]

A 5,000-year-old hill fort is being damaged by the "illicit use of metal detectors", police say. The damage to Cissbury Ring, on the South Downs near Worthing, is irreversible, Sussex Police said.

The use of metal detectors on scheduled monuments is prohibited without a licence.

PCSO Daryl Holter said: "Illicit metal detecting is a shady unscrupulous act, and deliberate damage to this site is irreversible."

He said the site was protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and managed by the National Trust.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Unsealing of Christ's Reputed Tomb Turns Up New Revelations

For just 60 hours, researchers had the opportunity to examine the holiest site in Christianity. Here's what they found.

Members of the conservation team lift a stone to clean and digitally scan before reinstalling it on the façade of the Edicule, the shrine that houses what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus. 

JERUSALEM Researchers have continued their investigation into the site where the body of Jesus Christ is traditionally believed to have been buried, and their preliminary findings appear to confirm that portions of the tomb are still present today, having survived centuries of damage, destruction, and reconstruction of the surrounding Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City.

The most venerated site in the Christian world, the tomb today consists of a limestone shelf or burial bed that was hewn from the wall of a cave. Since at least 1555, and most likely centuries earlier, the burial bed has been covered in marble cladding, allegedly to prevent eager pilgrims from removing bits of the original rock as souvenirs.

Read the rest of this article...