Sunday, May 22, 2022

World’s largest ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren’t all Scandinavian

An artistic reconstruction of ‘Southern European’ Vikings emphasising the foreign gene flow into Viking Age Scandinavia.
image: Jim Lyngvild

Invaders, pirates, warriors – the history books taught us Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond.

Now cutting-edge DNA sequencing of more than 400 Viking skeletons from archaeological sites scattered across Europe and Greenland will rewrite the history books as it has shown:

Skeletons from famous Viking burial sites in Scotland were actually local people who could have taken on Viking identities and were buried as Vikings.

Many Vikings actually had brown hair not blonde hair.

Viking identity was not limited to people with Scandinavian genetic ancestry. The study shows the genetic history of Scandinavia was influenced by foreign genes from Asia and Southern Europe before the Viking Age.

Early Viking Age raiding parties were an activity for locals and included close family members.

The genetic legacy in the UK has left the population with up to six per cent Viking DNA. 

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Surprising DNA study finds Vikings weren’t all Scandinavian

Researchers have shown that not all Vikings were from Scandinavia. 
(CREDIT: Creative Commons)

Invaders, pirates, warriors – the history books taught us Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond.

Now cutting-edge DNA sequencing of more than 400 Viking skeletons from archaeological sites scattered across Europe and Greenland will rewrite the history books as it has shown:

Skeletons from famous Viking burial sites in Scotland were actually local people who could have taken on Viking identities and were buried as Vikings.

Many Vikings actually had brown hair not blonde hair.

Viking identity was not limited to people with Scandinavian genetic ancestry. The study shows the genetic history of Scandinavia was influenced by foreign genes from Asia and Southern Europe before the Viking Age.

Early Viking Age raiding parties were an activity for locals and included close family members.

The genetic legacy in the UK has left the population with up to six per cent Viking DNA. 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

An intact Viking ship burial held riches—and a surprising mystery


Vikings are often depicted as warmongering seafarers from Scandinavia, men who set out on expeditions to plunder distant lands. The lives of women of the Viking age factor less into the fantasy; many imagine them at home, tending to their lands, children, and elderly while the powerful men in their family were away. But evidence shows Viking women also held positions of power. 

In fact, the grandest single Viking grave ever found belonged not to a man, but to two women—one about 75 years of age, the other around 50—who were buried in a funerary longship on the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg, Norway. Their burial was one of history's most exciting Viking-era discoveries.

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Uncovering the Secrets of a Forgotten Viking Town

Approximately 45,000 artifacts and some 50,000 skeletal remains and animal bones were uncovered in the massive, decades-long excavation at Borgund. Today, a bed of grass once again hides the medieval town.
JARLE SULEBUST/CC BY-SA 3.0

THREE HUNDRED MILES NORTHWEST OF Oslo, Norway, nestled between replicas of medieval turf homes and 19th-century farmhouses at the sleepy Sunnmøre Museum, is a meadow. With impressive mountains and a crystalline lake in the distance, many wouldn’t even notice the blanket of grasses. But this meadow has secrets to tell.

Beneath the undulating greenery and centuries of mud are the remains of the lost town of Borgund. Beginning in the late 10th century, this meadow would have been alive with activity. During the town’s heyday, boatbuilders would have been busy crafting majestic ships, while traders hawked their wares. Children playing along wooden sidewalks might have been overheard by weavers crafting massive sail cloths within their small wooden houses. For most of us, it’s hard to picture life in this town entombed in dirt—that’s where the Borgund Project comes in.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Experts uncover series of Stonehenge mystery monuments that could reveal secrets of the past

New light on Stonehenge: Archaeological investigations in the area surrounding the famous ancient temple have discovered that prehistoric people were creating other ritual monuments by cutting into the landscape’s bedrock
(Wiki Commons)

Archaeologists investigating Stonehenge’s ancient prehistoric landscape have discovered a series of previously unknown mystery monuments.

By using a special detection method to analyse the ground, they have, for the first time, revealed how prehistoric people were hacking vast circular holes in the Stonehenge landscape’s chalk bedrock.

Around 100 of these mysterious newly discovered rock-cut basins and pits were between 4m and 6m in diameter and in some cases, at least 2m deep.

Some of the holes would have required the systematic removal of at least 25 cubic metres (around 60 tonnes) of solid chalk – a time-consuming task for prehistoric people, equipped only with stone and wooden tools, deer antler pickaxes – and possibly fire (to help fracture the chalk).

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Ancient Romans' answer to Roadchef? Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old road


The Ancient Roman equivalent of a roadside service station has been unearthed in Hertfordshire, along with a hoard of artefacts showing it was once a thriving commercial centre.

The 'once in a lifetime discovery' was made on the site of a planned football pitch at Grange Paddocks leisure centre in Bishop's Stortford.

Like a modern motorway service station, the site comprised several units and would have had everything the weary ancient traveller needed.

This may have included an inn providing refreshments, a blacksmith, and a temple to cater for travellers' religious needs, according to archaeologists.

'It's quite like a services,' said project manager Andrew Greef, from Oxford Archaeology, which has been excavating the site.

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Secrets of the River Thames include Roman brothel tokens and monster-shark teeth


Inventores custodes (or ‘finders keepers’ if you were not the Roman who lost their brothel tokens a few centuries ago). Human bones, animal teeth, credit at ancient knocking shops... these are just some of the items that have been recovered from London’s 30-million-year-old river, 

If you are keen to discover more about what lurks beneath the surface of the Thames then the team at Barratt London have just released a study into what marine life resides in the river, which is England's longest, as well as the strangest items that have been recovered over the years, plus our littering habits and it makes for an eyebrow-raising read.

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WINCHESTER, ENGLAND—The Hampshire Chronicle reports that the remains of a twelfth-century wall and some floor surfaces have been unearthed at the site of Hyde Abbey in southeastern England by HYDE900, a community archaeology project. The remains of Alfred the Great (r. 871–899), who died in 899, were moved to the abbey church when it was completed. After the abbey was torn down in 1538 by King Henry VIII, the stone was reused in other buildings. The newly unearthed wall and floors, which are located in the yard of a private home, are thought to be the only traces of the 260-foot-long structure ever to be found.

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The Vinland Mystery


How a husband-and-wife team proved Leif Erikson beat Columbus to North America

‘In this great ocean, many have found still another island, which is called Vinland, since there grow wild grapes. But beyond, everything is filled with intolerable ice and terrible fog.’ – Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (c1070)

Up until the 1960s, the existence of a pre-Columbian Norse settlement on the North American continent had long been hypothesised but never proven. That finally changed when a Norwegian husband-and-wife team – the explorer Helge Ingstad and the archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad – pieced together historical hints that led them to pursue the fabled settlement on the island of Newfoundland in present-day Canada, far north of where other historians believed Norse ruins might be found. This 1984 National Film Board of Canada documentary tells the remarkable story of how the Ingstads were eventually able to confirm that mysterious mounds in this remote stretch of Newfoundland were indeed Norse in origin, forever reshaping modern perspectives on European and North American history.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Pulses race at new erotic Pompeii exhibition

The discoveries initially caused "dismay, embarrassment, and curiosity, and were seen by some as a great opportunity to think about the relationship with their bodies and nudity in a very different way" Andreas SOLARO AFP/File

Raunchy scenes may redden faces at a new exhibition in Pompeii on art and sexuality in the ancient Roman city, where sculptures and paintings of breasts and buttocks abound.

Archaeologists excavating the city, which was destroyed by the eruption of nearby Vesuvius in 79 AD, were initially startled to discover erotic images everywhere, from garden statues to ceiling frescos.

Since those first digs in the 18th-century site, racy images have been found in taverns, thermal baths and private homes, from huge erect penises to a statue with both male and female physical attributes.

It became clear that "this is a city where sensuality, eroticism, are ever-present," Pompeii's site director Gabriel Zuchtriegel told AFP as he stood in front of statues of bare-chested Centaurs.

The discoveries initially caused "dismay, embarrassment, and curiosity, and were seen by some as a great opportunity to think about the relationship with their bodies and nudity in a very different way".

The Neapolitan King Charles VII, who financed the excavations, shut some of the more bawdy finds away in a secret cabinet in Naples, only showing them to those of proven moral standing, Zuchtriegel said.

That secret cabinet still exists today in the archaeological museum in the southern Italian city.

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Second century funerary altar of teenage girl discovered in Rome

Excavations taking place on Via Luigi Tosti in Rome.
(photo credit: FABIO CARICCHIA/ITALIAN MINISTRY OF CULTURE)

A 2nd-century funerary altar marking the remains of a 13-year-old girl was discovered in Rome on Tuesday.

Rome is home to countless archeological sites, some of which are now tourist attractions such as the Colosseum or San Clemente. Others, like this columbarium, are still being excavated. 

Archeologists found the altar approximately two meters below the current street level on Via Luigi Tosti in south-central Rome. The discovery is part of a wider excavation of the necropolis of Via Latina, a nearby street. 

The white marble altar is very well-preserved, and its inscription is clearly legible. It reads: Valeria Laeta, daughter of P[ublio] lived 13 years and 7 months.  Some fragments of a white marble sarcophagus were also found with a bas-relief decoration depicting a lioness and a hunter on horseback. 

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For peat’s sake: peatlands, climate change, and the future of archaeology


There might not be an immediately obvious link between the archaeology of peatlands and strategies for tackling global climate change. But as a landscape archive for past climatic change and human activity, peatland archaeology has the potential to offer vivid insights into the impact of climate change on society – and both are very much interlinked as part of one of the greatest challenges of our times.

The science and data required to demonstrate the scale of threat that global climate change poses to the planet have become a regular discussion point in mainstream media. As a society, we are becoming more aware of the range of actions and changes in behaviour that are required to help support efforts to combat the impact of climate change. We are also aware of the commitment that needs to be made by government bodies and international corporations to take large-scale action to support communities with the infrastructure and financial support required to address climate change. Considerable measures will be needed to reduce global emissions, temperature increases, and the risks of flooding.

At the heart of this global crisis are key human activities that contribute directly to the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) and the loss of biodiversity. These include the production of fuel and energy, intensive agricultural practices, and deforestation to clear land for industrial production. Beyond the ubiquity of pressing media coverage documenting rainforest destruction and melting polar ice-caps, we find a lesser-known environmental crisis that lies both on our doorstep here in the UK and across the globe: the destruction of peatlands.

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Author provided Ancient cave art: how new hi-tech archaeology is revealing the ghosts of human history

Human figure (1.81m tall).
(photograph by S. Alvarez; illustration by J. Simek/ Antiquity journal

In terms of dating the findings, ancient people rejuvenated a light in the cave (a flaming torch of American bamboo) by stubbing it against the cave’s wall. This left a residue that the researchers were able to date with radiocarbon to 133-433 AD. This was also in accord with the age of pottery fragments ancient artists left in the cave.

The problem is seeing the paintings. The cave ceiling is only 60cm high, which makes stepping back to view the large images impossible. They were revealed only through a technique called photogrammetry, in which thousands of overlapping photographs of an object or place are taken from different angles and digitally combined in 3D. Photogrammetry is a cheap technique increasingly used in archaeology to record artefacts, buildings, landscapes and caves. It allowed Professor Simek’s team to “lower” the cave floor up to 4 metres, enough for the complete motifs to come into view for the first time.

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Three metal detectorist friends who stumbled upon a hoard of more than 150 Roman coins dating back to 340 AD are set to make £40,000


A trio of metal detectorists who discovered more than 150 Roman coins after mistaking them for tent pegs could be set to make some £40,000 from the haul.

The band of friends were camping near the ancient village of Pewsey in Wiltshire when they dug up the buried treasure just 6ft from where they pitched their tent.  

Robert Abbot, 53, thought he had found a handful of old metal pegs which had activated his metal detector, but hidden just below was a valuable silver Roman Siliqua coin. 

His detector went into a frenzy and with the help of friends, Dave Allen, 59, a carpenter and Mick Rae, 63, a dairy herd manager, they frantically dug up dozens of the ancient Roman coins.

By the end of their weekend camping trip they had uncovered 161 silver coins, all around 1,600 years old, which they carried home in their washing up bowl.

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Ireland’s Earliest Inhabitants Were Black People With Blue Eyes

Source: JUSTIN TALLIS / Getty

Researchers are discovering new information about the earliest inhabitants of Ireland and some data suggests that the first settlers were Black people with blue eyes, according to the Irish Times.

In April 2021, Geneticist Dr. Lara Cassidy told the publication that forensic data revealed surprising information about Black prehistoric Irish people, who were known to be hunters and gathers. They lived on the island for nearly 4,000 years before settled farmers took over. The discovery was largely explored in a documentary called The Burren: Heart of Stone last year, where scientists developed a large genetic database of Irish genomes to help uncover more information about Ireland’s first natives.

“We know now from ancient genomes that farming was accompanied by a whole group of people moving into the continent from the region now known as modern Turkey, ” Cassidy explained.

The Black settlers were known to gather shellfish along the Burren, a karst landscape of bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone located in the region of County Clare, which is southwest of Ireland. They eventually moved inland to hunt wild boars and gather hazelnuts. Scientists believe that farmers who migrated into the region during the neolithic period may have driven the original settlers out as they brought “cattle, sheep and goats, pottery” and new housing structures. Dr. Cassidy believes they may have had lighter skin than the hunter-gathers.

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Skeletal remains in Bronze Age Orkney cemetery suggest large influx of women from continental Europe

Credit: Antiquity (2022). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.185

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Huddersfield in England reports evidence suggesting that large numbers of women from the European continent migrated to the Orkney Islands during the Bronze Age. In their paper published in the journal Antiquity, the group describes their study of the remains of people buried in a Bronze Age cemetery on the island of Westray, one of the northernmost islands of Orkney.

Approximately 4,500 years ago, during the Bronze Age in Europe, people living on the Orkney Islands built a number of stone structures and burial chambers. Prior research has shown that the community of people that lived there made up a farming settlement. Such work has revealed multiple houses and other structures and also a cemetery. In this new effort, the researchers conducted DNA analysis of the bones in the cemetery to learn more about the people who lived there.

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Stonehenge exhibition explores parallels with Japanese stone circles

the Ōyu Stone Circles in northern Japan. Photograph: handout

They were separated by thousands of miles and the two sets of builders could not conceivably have met or swapped notes, but intriguing parallels between Stonehenge and Japanese stone circles are to be highlighted in an exhibition at the monument on Salisbury Plain.

The exhibition will show that ancient people in southern Britain and in Japan took great trouble to build stone circles, appear to have celebrated the passage of the sun and felt moved to come together for festivals or rituals.

Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan will flag up similarities between the monuments and settlements of the middle and late Jōmon period in Japan and those built by the late neolithic people of southern Britain – and point out some of the differences.

The exhibition will feature 80 striking objects, some of which have never before been seen outside Japan. Key loans announced on Wednesday include a flame pot, a highly decorated type of Jōmon ceramics, its fantastical shape evoking blazing flames. Such pots were produced in Japan for a relative short period, perhaps only a few hundred years.

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The new cutting edge tour of Orkney that takes users headfirst into 5,000 years of history

The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae is a highlight of any trip to Orkney. PIC: HES.

Visitors to the Orkney Isles can now immerse themselves in more than 5,000 years of history on a digital tour that takes them deep into the story of the islands and the people and stories that shaped them.

The fascinating past of islands is being retold for the digital age with an app that combines drone footage and 3D scans with tales of the historic events that create the island’s mesmerising timeline.

Interviews with the archaeologists who have helped illuminate millennia of human activity in the far north are also included.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Viking hoard dodges auction bullet


Here’s an intriguing case of unintended consequences in cultural heritage law.  Meet the Everlöv Hoard:

The Everlöv Hoard is a large group of more than 950 silver objects –912 coins, 40 pieces of jewelry — from the Viking Age discovered in southern Sweden’s Skåne province in the 1980s. The oldest coin dates to the 9th century, the youngest to 1018, indicating the hoard was assembled in the late Viking era. The composition of the objects mark them as a single deposition, but the original find site is unknown.

Many of coins are from Bavaria, which is unusual in Swedish hoards. The hoard also contains an unusually high number of Anglo-Scandinavian coins, ie, coins struck by Scandinavian kings in imitation of the ones struck by the king of England. Among the objects are several extremely rare pieces: a buckle with intricately enlaced zoomorphic figures decorated with filigree and granulation, a Slavic lunula and an oversized jewelry bracteate minted by Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, aka Saint Henry the Exuberant.

The discovery was not made in the usual way; nobody found it by metal detecting or in a happy ploughing accident. It was not dug up at all, in fact. The current owner found it in a chiffonier that had been passed down through generations of the family. (Side note: finding a Viking silver hoard in an old piece furniture has to be in my top 3 greatest lifetime fantasies.)

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Priceless Ancient Greek Artifacts in Ukraine “Looted by Russia”

Scythian golden gorytos, 4th century BC.
Credit: VoidWanderer,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0/Wikipedia

Officials in Ukraine say that Russia has looted a number of museums and has removed valuable exhibits, including ancient Greek gold artifacts given by the Greeks to the Scythians.

The Scythians were a nomadic people that founded a rich, powerful empire centered in the Crimean Peninsula; the empire endured from around the eighth century B.C. to the second century A.D.

“Russia has taken hold of our Scythian gold,” declared Melitopol’s mayor, Ivan Fyodorov. “This is one of the largest and most expensive collections in Ukraine, and today we don’t know where they took it.”

The Melitopol Museum of Local History is home to 50,000 exhibits, but its prized collection was a set of rare gold ornaments from the Scythians.

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Rare medieval manuscripts digitised for first time

The collection includes the 15th Century Book of Hours from Italy
 which boasts lavish gold illumination

Rare manuscripts dating back as early as the 9th Century have been shared online for the first time.

More than 200 precious documents have been digitised by the National Library of Scotland.

The collection boasts a 15th Century medical almanac, printed illustrations and a 12th Century manuscript of the Rule of the Knights Templar order.

A donation from Alexander Graham, creator of the BBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" made the work possible.

Due to the reformation in the 16th Century, it is extremely unusual to find documents from the period, particularly those used by the Roman Catholic Church.

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In a burial ground full of Stone Age men, one grave holds a 'warrior' woman

Of 14 people buried at the monumental cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne during the early Neolithic period whose ancient DNA was tested, only one was a woman.
(Image credit: Pascal Radigue; CC BY 4.0)

The mysterious 6,500-year-old burial of a woman and several arrowheads in northern France may reveal details of how women were regarded in that society during the Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, a new study finds.

The researchers investigated giant graves known as "long barrows" — large earthen mounds, often hundreds of feet long and sometimes retained by wooden palisades that have since rotted away. Of the 19 human burials in the Neolithic cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne in Normandy, the team analyzed the DNA of 14 individuals; but only one was female.

The woman was buried with "symbolically male" arrows in her grave, and the researchers argue that she may have had to be regarded as "symbolically male" to be buried there.

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A Massive Medieval Cargo Ship Was Just Found Underneath The Capital Of Estonia


When construction began at Tallinn’s Old Harbor in Estonia, archaeologist Mihkel Tammet was sent to observe the work. Under his supervision, construction workers unexpectedly discovered a 700-year-old cargo ship that may have belonged to a medieval trading network called the Hanseatic League.

“For Tallinn as an old merchant town, finding something like this is an archaeological jackpot,” Priit Lätti, a researcher at the Estonian Maritime Museum, told Live Science.

The ship was discovered about five feet underground and, according to archaeologists, is in fairly good condition.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

This pile of rubble is actually an ancient fort. Historians have discovered 450 of them around Norway

A wall built around the Andorsrud fort in Øvre Eiker in Buskerud 
(Photo: Kristine Friis Jørgensen)

In times of shifting power relations during pre-viking times, many may have needed a stone structure for protection. But were they also used for other means?

Archaeologists and local historians have long discussed why people took on the difficult job of setting up stone and earth forts in many parts of the country.

About 450 so called hill forts have been recorded in Norway to date.

When archaeology as a discipline in Norway first began in earnest in the 19th century, hill forts were one of the first things researchers started studying. These structures, typically stones set in strategic locations, were called hill forts because it was thought that they must be a kind of defensive structure where villagers could seek refuge if their village was attacked.

This theory is still believed to be correct.

But perhaps these forts were used for something more.

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The Viking Sieges of Paris


By Danielle Turner

Ninth-century France proved very lucrative for the Vikings. It was a land marred by civil war and bad harvests, and the Norsemen took advantage of this through raiding and mercenary acts. France’s riverine system and innovations in the Viking longship allowed the Danes to penetrate deep into the continent and make a fortune in plunder from monasteries. Paris would be the ultimate target, and the Vikings besieged the city twice and received tribute payment in both cases. Why were the Vikings able to continuously successfully pillage France? Were the Frankish rulers inept, cowardly, or just practical in their handling of Norse incursions?

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Ancient Cities and Landscapes from Space


Ancient Cities and Landscapes from Space: How Remote Sensing is Transforming Archaeology

Presenter: Dr. Timothy Murtha, Professor, University of Florida

April 20, 2022 | 8 - 9pm

PRESENTED ONLINE AND AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Further information...

Brittany in the 6th century – abandoned, wet, cold and covered in forests


New research reveals a marked shift in the landscape of Northwestern France in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages

During the period from ca. AD 300–600, early medieval Europe was on the cusp of a significant climatic shift. Marked by stormy weather and shifts in dynamic precipitation levels, the landscapes in Northwestern France changed. Likely caused by a mixture of cyclical variations in solar activities with shifts in the ocean and atmospheric activities, these changes were also reinforced by volcanic events in AD 536, 40, 74 and 626. Exactly which impact each of these explanatory factors contributed is still under debate. However, the deserted and reforested character of large stretches of Europe can no longer be questioned.

Recently, the same consequences were detected at the Bay of Brest in a study undertaken by a French group of scientists led by Claude Lambert, who has carried out a series of palynological studies at the Bay of Brest. The Bay is a shallow near-enclosed basin covering 180 km2 and surrounded by a 250 km long coastline. Two rivers – the Aulne and the Élorn – flow into the Bay.

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The Greek Origins of Marseille, France’s Oldest City

The Greek origins of Marseille. Credit: Christophe.Finot, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

The huge port city of Marseille in southern France was founded by Greeks back in 600 BC when the first immigrants arrived in the area and established a trading colony.

The Greeks are well known for their ancient tales of glory and tragedy, as well as their civilization’s innumerable contributions to the very foundations of our modern world.

However, what is lesser-known is that throughout the centuries, they founded scores of cities across the Mediterranean which not only exist today but thrive and play a crucial role in their region’s affairs.

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New Thoughts on the Peopling of Eurasia


BOLOGNA, ITALY—According to a statement released by the University of Bologna, Leonardo Vallini, Luca Pagani, and Telmo Pievani of the University of Padova and Giulia Marciani and Stefano Benazzi of the University of Bologna compiled genetic and archaeological data to produce a picture of the movements of modern humans in East Asia and Europe. The researchers suggest that there were several waves of expansion and local extinction from a theoretical population hub where the ancestors of all Eurasians lived after migrating out of Africa some 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. In this scenario, the location of the population hub is unknown. The researchers suggest that more than 45,000 years ago, a group of modern humans, represented by remains discovered in the Czech Republic at the site of Zlatý kůň, eventually died out. This group is not related to modern Europeans or Asians.

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre's ancient altar rediscovered, researchers say


Pressed against a wall in a back corridor of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a stone slab bore testimony only to the graffiti etched on it by multitudes of pilgrims through the ages.

But the 2.5 x 1.5 meter stone turned out to be far more precious when its other side was exposed during recent renovations at the church, the traditional site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial.

Researchers believe the elaborate looping ornaments they found on the long-hidden part of the slab indicate it was once the decorated front of a medieval high altar that took pride of place centuries ago in one of Christianity's holiest sites.

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Historic England strongly object to Norris Castle proposals in initial advice to council


Norris Castle is described as one of the great treasures of the Isle of Wight and Historic England say the plans entail a very high degree of harm to Norris’s significance

Historic England has submitted its initial advice to Isle of Wight council, strongly objecting to proposals which will severely impact the Norris Castle estate.

Norris Castle is of outstanding importance as a particularly beautiful and unusually well-preserved picturesque ensemble of house, landscape and ancillary buildings. The current application is to turn the estate into a resort.

Proposals would entail a very high degree of harm
This would involve major change to the castle and farm along with extensive development around these buildings and within the wider landscape.

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