Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Construction workers find Byzantine sarcophagus lid in northeastern Turkey


province discovered a 1,407-year-old Byzantine sarcophagus cover, assumed to belong to a "blessed" figure, near the ancient city of Satala, reports said Friday.

Workers immediately informed authorities after discovering the 2-meter long ancient cover in Gümüşhane's Kelkit district, Anadolu Agency reported.

Gümüşhane Museum officials said that there was a writing on the cover, saying "Blessed Kandes sleeps here" in Greek characters.

Museum Director Gamze Demir told reporters that the cover is from 610 AD and the sarcophagus is believed to be under the ground.

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Rare Pictish carving of “big nosed warrior” found near Perth

Detail from the stone found near Perth. PIC: Contributed.

A large Pictish stone decorated with what appears to be a big nosed warrior holding a spear and a club has been found by workmen on the outskirts of Perth.

Work on the upgrade to the A85/A9 junction was halted following the discovery with archaeologists called in to examine the stone.

Mark Hall, of Perth Museum & Art Gallery said the stone carried a type of Pictish carving not seen before in the area.

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Byzantine Shipwreck Found Off Coast Of Sicily


The wreck of a Byzantine ship has been found on the sea bed at a depth of 3 metres, buried by about 2 metres of sand, off Ragusa, sources said Friday. 

The wreck is now being examined by the University of Udine's Kaukana Project, which combines research activities with the training of students of underwater archaeology.

The project is directed by Massimo Capulli, professor of underwater and naval archaeology at the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage Studies (Dium) at the University of Udine, and by Sebastiano Tusa, of the Soprintendenza del mare della Regione Sicilia, with the support of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology of the Texas A&M University College Station.

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When the Gloves Come Off – Why We Do Not Use Gloves to Handle Artifacts in the Field


Ever since we started publishing pictures of our crew holding artifacts without using gloves, we have taken some heat in the Facebook comment sections. People have been worrying (or even cringing) about bad effects of touching the artifacts with bare hands. Their worry is that this could contaminate the artifacts with body oils or DNA. This blogpost explains why using gloves in the field is not necessary.

Body oils and other residues

When artefacts are handled in museums, you will see the museum staff wearing gloves while holding the objects. This is done to protect the artifacts from getting into contact with body oils and other residues on the person’s hand. It may seem like an obvious conclusion that the artifacts should also be handled wearing gloves in the field. However, this is rarely seen in practice. Why is there a difference in procedures?

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English Heritage joins the digital age with new Google partnership

Free online collection of high-resolution images offers visitors an intimate look at historic buildings, artwork and artefacts

The decorative ceiling in the library of English Heritage’s Kenwood House, one of the sites included in the project. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Viewers will be able to peer into English Heritage palaces, explore castle ruins and admire historic ceilings in detail without leaving the comfort of their own homes through a new partnership between the charity and Google Arts and Culture.

The website will open up 29 English Heritage properties – the first time that Google has worked with an arts institution across so many sites – including stately homes, castles, prehistoric sites and 19th-century industrial buildings.

Launched in 2011, Google Arts and Culture is an online platform that offers visitors free virtual tours of collections from partner galleries and museums, and high-resolution images of artwork and artefacts.

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Living With Gods review – 40,000 years of religious art, and this is it?

 Chosen for content over aesthetic merit … six Zoroastrian tiles, Parsi shrine, 1989-90, India. Photograph: © Trustees of the British Museum

After a few minutes in the exhibition that accompanies Neil MacGregor’s new BBC Radio 4 series on the power of religion, my skin started to sizzle and my blood to boil. I truly felt branded inside, marked out as a reprobate, for the premise of the show is that belief in God(s) is such a universal human trait that if you lack it, you may not be human.

That is signalled by a large wall text at the start, suggesting that the correct name for our species may not be homo sapiens, but “homo religiosus”. As someone who doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t miss her, I felt a bit left out. Is belief really the all-pervasive force this exhibition claims?

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Fossil of 'our earliest ancestors' found in Dorset


The mammals ventured out at night to hunt insects

Fossils of the oldest-known ancestors of most living mammals, including human beings, have been unearthed in southern England.

Teeth belonging to the extinct shrew-like creatures, which scampered at the feet of dinosaurs, were discovered in cliffs on the Dorset coast.

Scientists who identified the specimens say they are the earliest undisputed fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to humans.

They date back 145 million years.

''Here we have discovered from the Jurassic coast a couple of shrew-like things that are to date unequivocally our earliest ancestors,'' said Dr Steve Sweetman of Portsmouth University, who examined the ancient teeth.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Haggis originally brought to Scotland by Vikings, an award winning Scottish butcher argues

ICELANDIC “SLÁTUR” A Scottish butcher argues the Scottish national dish, Haggis, was originally brought to Scotland by Vikings, making it a descendant of the Viking delicacy still eaten in Iceland, slátur. Photo/Arnþór Birkisson.

ICELANDIC “SLÁTUR” A Scottish butcher argues the Scottish national dish, Haggis, was originally brought to Scotland by Vikings, making it a descendant of the Viking delicacy still eaten in Iceland, slátur. Photo/Arnþór Birkisson.

A Scottish butcher who has spent the past few years researching Haggis recipes argues it dates back to the Viking invaders of the British Isles the UK newspaper The Telegraph reports. The paper argues the research of award-winning Scottish butcher Joe Callaghan, who has spent the last three years studying haggis shows “Scotland’s national dish is an ‘imposter’… invented by Vikings”. Callaghan also argues the original Scottish ingredient is deer, not sheep.
The "natonal dish of Scotand", invented by Vikings

Haggis is a dish very similar to the Icelandic delicacy slátur: A sausage made by stuffing a sheep's stomach with diced innards of sheep, liver as well as lungs and heart, mixed with a oatmeal, onion, pieces of sheep suet (solid white fat) as well as seasoning. Haggis is considered the “national dish” of Scotland, occupying an important place in Scottish culture and national identity.

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Scotland's national dish is an 'imposter' and was invented by Vikings, claims master butcher

Scotland’s famous national dish is an ‘imposter’ and has been faking it as native for centuries, says an award-winning butcher


Scotland’s famous national dish is an ‘imposter’ and has been faking it as native for centuries, says an award-winning butcher who has traced haggis and its recipe back to Viking invaders.

Joe Callaghan, of Callaghans of Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, has been researching the savoury pudding for three years and claims that the evidence is clear - haggis should be made with deer, not sheep.

He also claims it was not invented by the Scots, but was instead left behind by marauding Norsemen as they plundered the Scottish coastline during the ninth century.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The small piece of silver was found at a Viking fortress in Køge, Denmark.

The box brooch on the left was found in a grave at Fyrkat, Denmark. The silver fitting discovered at Borgring, on the right, is almost identical to the ornamentation at the front of the Fyrkat box brooch. (Photo: Nationalmuseet/Museum Sydøstdanmark)

A small silver fitting has been found during excavations of the Viking fortress “Borgring” in Køge, east Denmark. It resembles one of the three missing parts of a distinctive Gotlandic box brooch previously discovered at the Fyrkat fortress in Hobro, north of Borgring.

The Fyrkat grave was one of Denmark’s richest female graves from the Viking Age, and belonged to a shaman or sorceress who the Vikings would have held in extremely high regard.

If the silver fitting found at Borgring really did originate from the same box brooch it would suggest that the woman had travelled between the castles, which were presumably built by Harold Bluetooth--king of Denmark between 958 and 987 CE.

“It will be incredible if this fitting is connected with the find from Fyrkat. If this really is where it comes from then it’s like finding a needle in the ocean,” says archaeologist Jeanette Varberg, a curator at Moesgaard Museum, Denmark. Varberg was not involved in the excavations at Borgring.

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Possible Missing Jewelry Box Piece Found at Viking Fortress


Nationalmuseet/Museum Sydøstanmark

KØGE, DENMARK—A small silver artifact has been uncovered at Borgring, a Viking fortress in eastern Denmark. According to a report in Science Nordic, the object resembles one of the three parts known to be missing from an elaborate box brooch discovered in a Viking woman’s grave at the Fyrkat fortress in Hobro, which is located to the north of Borgring. “It will be incredible if this fitting is connected with the find from Fyrkat,” said Jeanette Varberg of the Moesgaard Museum. “If this really is where it comes from then it’s like finding a needle in the ocean.”

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Norway calls on Ireland to help recover ‘irreplaceable’ Viking artifacts

© University Museum of Bergen / Facebook

A museum in Norway has appealed for help from its counterparts in Ireland after 400 Viking artifacts were stolen from its premises.

The collection, some of which was originally taken from Ireland by marauding Vikings more than a millennium ago, was stolen from the University Museum of Bergen on the country’s southwestern coast on August 12.

The Irish items have been on display in the National Museum of Ireland in the past and, in a karmic twist, local police are now said to be investigating a possible connection to Irish criminal gangs.

“It is difficult to find the right words to describe my feelings towards what has happened,” museum director Henrik von Achen said in a statement.

“One of our primary tasks is to protect cultural heirlooms. When we fail to do this, no explanation is good enough. This hits us at a very soft spot. We are all very shaky and feeling a sense of despair,” he added.

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Silver Treasure Found near Bulgaria’s Mezdra


A treasure of 187 silver Roman imperial coins was discovered during excavation works in the town of Mezdra, North-West Bulgaria. It has a great cultural-historical and numismatic value, experts say.

The silver treasure was in a clay pot and was found under the roots of an old tree. Historians define the coins as Roman imperial denarii and antonianians, which were minted for a period of two hundred years. They depict the faces of emperors and their wives who lived from the first half of the first century to the middle of the third century.

Archaeologists, however, argue that the find which is now in the museum in the city of Vratsa, is only a small part of the real treasure. It confirms again that in the place of today's Mezdra there was a rich central town with thousands of years of history.

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Viking textile did not feature word 'Allah', expert says

Medieval Islamic art and archaeology professor Stephennie Mulder disputes the findings, saying the inscription has 'no Arabic at all'


A tablet woven band, from a Viking burial site Annika Larsson

An expert has disputed claims that Allah's name was embroidered into ancient Viking burial clothes - a discovery hailed as "staggering" when Swedish researchers announced their findings last week.

After reexamining the cloth, archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University claimed the silk patterns which were originally thought to be ordinary Viking Age decoration, showed a geometric Kufic script.

The patterns were found on woven bands as well as items of clothing in two separate grave sites, prompting the suggestion that Viking funeral customs had been influenced by Islam.

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Using parchment to reveal the ancient lives of livestock

A page from the York Gospels. Eraser rubbings left over from cleaning the pages of this manuscript revealed the ancient genomes of the animals used to produce the parchment. 
(Image: York Minster)

Innovative ways of utilising ancient protein and DNA analysis have revealed new information about medieval parchment and the animals from which they are made.

A group of researchers from Trinity College Dublin and the University of York have taken eraser rubbings – left over from the cleaning of medieval manuscripts – and extracted DNA and proteins from the waste. This method means that parts of the manuscript no longer need to be removed for destructive testing.

The group recently used this technique to analyse the pages of the York Gospels, an Anglo-Saxon book (c.1000 AD) containing the four Gospels of the New Testament, a letter from King Cnut, and land ownership documents. The experiment yielded some interesting results.

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'Big, bad wolf' image flawed - scientists

Wolves are good at working together to get food rewards

New research casts doubt on the idea that dogs are naturally more tolerant and friendly than wolves.
In tests of cooperation skills, wolves outperformed their domesticated relatives.

Scientists say the findings challenge assumptions about how dogs were tamed from wolves and came to live alongside humans.
Previous evidence has suggested that the domestication process may have given dogs a more tolerant temperament.

"We still have very much this idea of the big, bad wolf and the cuddly pooch on your sofa," Dr Sarah Marshall-Pescini, who led the research, told BBC News.

"But, I think the simplest message is that the story is not quite as clear as that."

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Gold coin sheds new light on 5th century Swedish island massacre

The discovery of gold rings and coins on a Swedish island sheds new light on the history of the area, and could give insight into the motives for a massacre which took place in the fifth century, archaeologists told The Local on Wednesday.


The coin and gold rings in situ [Credit: Daniel Lindskog]

The team working at Sandby Borg, a ringfort on Öland off Sweden's south-eastern coast, said the discovery was the "find of the year".

Archaeologists Clara Alfsdotter and Sophie Vallulv last week uncovered two rings and a coin, which confirm a theory that the island was in close contact with the Roman Empire. Close by, the team found pieces of Roman glass in an area which was once an important house.

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Why did Vikings have 'Allah' embroidered into funeral clothes?

One of the excavated fragments made from fine silk and silver thread discovered at the two Swedish sites, Birka and Gamla Uppsala

Researchers in Sweden have found Arabic characters woven into burial costumes from Viking boat graves. The discovery raises new questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia, writes journalist Tharik Hussain.

They were kept in storage for more than 100 years, dismissed as typical examples of Viking Age funeral clothes.

But a new investigation into the garments - found in 9th and 10th Century graves - has thrown up groundbreaking insights into contact between the Viking and Muslim worlds.

Patterns woven with silk and silver thread have been found to spell the words "Allah" and "Ali".

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Ancient Viking burial fabrics found to have name of Allah woven into them

What was previously thought to be typical Viking Age patterns in silver have now proven to be geometric Kufic characters. The Uppsala University researchers behind the study also show that both Allah and Ali are invoked in the patterns of the bands.


A tablet woven band, from a Viking burial site 
[Credit: Annika Larsson]

The Arabic characters appear on woven bands of silk in burial costumes found in Viking Age boatgraves, as well as in the chamber graves clothing of central Viking Age sites such as Birka in Swedish Mälardalen.

“One exciting detail is that the word ‘Allah’ is depicted in mirror image,” says Annika Larsson, researcher in textile archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University.

“It is a staggering thought that the bands, just like the costumes, was made west of the Muslim heartland. Perhaps this was an attempt to write prayers so that they could be read from left to right, but with the Arabic characters they should have. That we so often maintain that Eastern objects in Viking Age graves could only be the result of plundering and eastward trade doesn’t hold up as an explanatory model because the inscriptions appear in typical Viking Age clothing that have their counterparts in preserved images of Valkyries.”

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Whisper it – Greek amphitheatre's legendary acoustics are a myth

Epidaurus. Ancient Greeks might have used all manner of devices to amplify sound, including placing hollow vessels at strategic locations.
Photograph: DEA / S. VANNINI/De Agostini/Getty Images

It has been held up as a stunning example of ancient Greek sound engineering, but researchers say the acoustics of the amphitheatre at Epidaurus are not as dazzling as they have been hailed.

Dating from the fourth century BC, and seating up to 14,000 spectators, the amphitheatre has long been admired for its sound quality, with claims that audiences are able to hear a pin drop, or a match being struck, at any seat in the house. Even the British archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler raved about the amphitheatre, declaring in clipped tones in a 1958 broadcast: “Even a stage whisper could be picked up by the furthest spectator with the cheapest ticket.”

But new research suggests such assertions are little more than Greek myth.

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‘Allah’ Is Found on Viking Funeral Clothes

A reconstructed Viking boat grave from the Gamla Uppsala archaeological site in Sweden is part of a Viking couture exhibition at the Enkopings Museum. Credit Therese Larsson

ENKOPING, Sweden — The discovery of Arabic characters that spell “Allah” and “Ali” on Viking funeral costumes in boat graves in Sweden has raised questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia.

The grave where the costumes were found belonged to a woman dressed in silk burial clothes and was excavated from a field in Gamla Uppsala, north of Stockholm, in the 1970s, but its contents were not cataloged until a few years ago, Annika Larsson, a textile archaeologist at Uppsala University, said on Friday.

Among the contents unearthed: a necklace with a figurine; two coins from Baghdad; and the bones of a rooster and a large dog.

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UK’s north-south divide dates back to Vikings, says archaeologist

A division 1,000 years in the making? Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

The north-south divide has been the butt of jokes in Britain for years, but research has shown the Watford Gap, which separates the country, was in fact established centuries ago when the Vikings invaded Britain.

According to the archaeologist Max Adams, who made the discovery while researching his new book, the Northamptonshire-Warwickshire boundary known as the Watford Gap is a geographic and cultural reality that can be traced back to the Viking age.

Adams was struck by the absence of Scandinavian placenames south-west of Watling Street, the Roman road that became the A5. “There might be one or two names, but I don’t think there are any, and there are certainly hundreds and hundreds north-east. Clearly the Scandinavian settlers stopped at Watling Street,” Adams said.

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Monday, October 09, 2017

Belgium's Grognon citadel and Medieval port resurfacing

The Grognon citadel, in Namur (in Wallonia, Belgium), continues to reveal its secrets, as rescue excavations began several months ago, with a view to building an underground car park at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers. Recently, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of the ramparts, a watchtower and the Grognon Gate, which were used to enter the area by ship. 


The excavations of the Grognon citadel allow us to visualize the boundaries of the district 
as it existed until the 19th century [Credit: © SPW]

"We knew that the gate was there, and also the round tower," explains Dominique Bosquet, archaeologist at the Walloon Public Service,"but the exact state of preservation, the smaller buildings adjoining it, the complexity of a building built against the rampart, then demolished and reconstructed on larger scale - all these things can only be discovered and really clarified through archaeological investigation. So we knew we were going to find this kind of thing, but not to such a degree of preservation and complexity."

"In reality," adds Raphaël Vanmechelen, also an archaeologist at the SPW,"there are four types of fortification walls and four gates, all of which are interesting because they all reflect different architectural techniques, public space design and military techniques. But it is true that the second, which can be dated precisely to the end of the 12th century, is particularly spectacular. This makes it possible to fully understand the morphology of the old quarter".

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Prehistoric humans are likely to have formed mating networks to avoid inbreeding

Early humans seem to have recognized the dangers of inbreeding at least 34,000 years ago, and developed surprisingly sophisticated social and mating networks to avoid it, new research has found.


Detail of one of the burials from Sunghir, in Russia. The new study sequenced the genomes of individuals from the site and discovered that they were, at most, second cousins, indicating that they had developed sexual partnerships beyond their immediate social and family group.
Credit: By José-Manuel Benito Álvarez (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Early humans seem to have recognised the dangers of inbreeding at least 34,000 years ago, and developed surprisingly sophisticated social and mating networks to avoid it, new research has found.

The study, reported in the journal Science, examined genetic information from the remains of anatomically modern humans who lived during the Upper Palaeolithic, a period when modern humans from Africa first colonised western Eurasia. The results suggest that people deliberately sought partners beyond their immediate family, and that they were probably connected to a wider network of groups from within which mates were chosen, in order to avoid becoming inbred.

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'Lost chapel' of Westminster Palace revealed in new 3-D model

St Stephen's was built by King Edward I to be a show-case of English royal splendor.
Credit: University of York

The first dedicated House of Commons chamber, destroyed in the 1834 Palace of Westminster fire, has been reconstructed with the help of 3D visualisation technology.

The House of Commons took shape in the medieval chapel of St Stephen, formerly a place of worship for the royal family. With few traces of the original building still remaining, echoes of the life of the chapel can only be found in centuries-old documents in parliamentary and national archives.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, art historians at the University of York have now brought St Stephen's Chapel and the Commons chamber back to life by pioneering a technique combining traditional archival research with digital reconstruction.

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Ax Linked to Ötzi the Iceman Found North of the Alps

Apart from a few scratches, the 2.6-inch-long (6.5 centimeters) blade is undamaged. 
Credit: Res Eichenberger

Archaeologists found a copper blade in Switzerland that's just like the ax Ötzi the famous "Iceman"was carrying when he died.

Like Ötzi's ax, this tool was made with copper that came from hundreds of miles away, in present-day Tuscany in central Italy. The discovery could shed light on Copper Age connections across Europe.

Bad fortune eventually made Ötzi the Iceman famous. About 5,300 years ago, he was shot with an arrow, struck in the head and left to die near a mountain pass high in the Alps. He was entombed in a glacier until 1991, when hikers near the Italian-Austrian border discovered his body.

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How the Romans fed their legions thousands of miles from home

Conquering Romans relied on resources from near and far to sustain their forces against the native tribes in Wales, according to new research by Cardiff University archaeologists.


In a study published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Dr Peter Guest and Dr Richard Madgwick of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, used biochemical techniques of animal remains to reveal the origin of livestock supplied to the legionary fortress at Caerleon.

Prior to the study, leading theories argued that locally produced agricultural resources must have been vital in feeding and maintaining the substantial occupying army, though this idea was based on very limited evidence.

Using strontium isotope analysis to analyse the bones of domestic animals from the fortress, the researchers identified a mix of sources. Significantly, the diverse pattern of results does not suggest a centralised supply chain from near or far – results that challenge existing theories.

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Friday, October 06, 2017

Viking Fort Reveals Secrets of Danish King's Elaborate Military Network

Archaeologists are uncovering the mysteries of a Viking-age fortress at Borgring, on the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark, which is thought to have been built late in the 10th century by the Danish king Harald Bluetooth.
Credit: Peter Jensen/Aarhus University
The discovery of a Viking-age fortress in Denmark has shed new light on a network of military sites built by the 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth, according to archaeologists.
Bluetooth — for whom the eponymous digital network technology is named — is credited with building several large, circular fortresses, or "ring forts," around Denmark in the 970s and 980s, as he unified the unruly Viking clans of the region into a centralized kingdom.
Until a few years ago, the sites of four such ring forts were known, and in the decades since they were found, debate has raged among Danish historians about these structures' purpose. [See More Photos of the Viking-Age Fortress in Denmark]
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Possible evidence of Norse parliament site near Thurso


Thing's Va Broch near Thurso in Caithness

Possible evidence of a medieval Norse parliament meeting place may have been found at an archaeological site in the Highlands.

A geophysical survey of Thing's Va Broch near Thurso has found "faint features" that may relate to activity associated with the meetings.

The site of an Iron Age broch, a stone-built roundhouse, takes it name from "thing", meaning a Norse meeting place.

Archaeologists will now carry out small-scale excavations this month.

The public can take part in the digs, which form part of the Caithness Broch Project and its year-long Caithness Broch Festival.

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A part of Hadrian's Wall has been found in Newcastle city centre, shedding new light on its route


Hadrians’s Wall has been uncovered during site investigations as part of a scheme to revive a historic building in Newcastle city centre.
The section of the wall has been revealed outside the Mining Institute on Westgate Road.
It was reportedly last seen during an excavation on the site in 1952.
But Simon Brooks, acting general manager of the Mining Institute, said: “There was some controversy about whether the Wall had been found. A lot of people were sceptical but now we have proof positive and we are delighted.”

Mysterious Stone Tools Unearthed at Bronze-Age Site in Wales

The stone tools found by the CRAG team vary in size, from around 220 millimeters (8.5 inches) in length, down to about 50 millimeters (2 inches).
Credit: Ian Brooks/CRAG

Amateur archaeologists excavating a Bronze Age site in the United Kingdom have discovered a cache of unusual stone tools unlike any that have been found before.

The tools appear to have been deposited deliberately — perhaps ceremonially — in what would have been a stream around 4,500 years ago, according to the researchers.

Around 20 of the roughly triangular stone hand tools, of various sizes, were found at the excavation site in the Clwydian Range, a series of hills in Denbighshire in northeast Wales, by the Clwydian Range Archaeological Group (CRAG) during four weeks of excavations in July and August. [See More Photos of the Stone Tools at the Bronze-Age Site]

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Antikythera Shipwreck Yields More Amazing Finds

For the third consecutive year, the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities has conducted an underwater excavation at the site of the Antikythera shipwreck. Work was carried out between the 4th and the 20th of September, under particularly good weather conditions, as has been announced by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.


Finds from the excavation at the site of the Shipwreck of Antikythera 
[Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports]

During research, excavations continued in the sea area, from where come the remains of skeletons from last year’s operation, as well as components from the ship itself such as: sections of lead tubing, counterweights and aggregates of iron objects. At the same time, a multitude of shards of amphorae and other vessels were recovered in this year’s excavation season.

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Santa Claus's tomb may have been uncovered beneath Turkish church

Archaeologists say they have found almost fully intact temple and burial grounds of Saint Nicholas in Antalya


St Nicholas Church in Antalya, where Saint Nicholas is believed to have been born. 
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Turkish archaeologists have dashed the hopes of millions of children by claiming to have uncovered the likely burial place of Saint Nicholas.

Surveys have uncovered an intact temple and burial grounds below St Nicholas church in the province of Antalya, where he is believed to have been born, archaeologists told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

“We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now,” said Cemil Karabayram, the director of surveying and monuments in Antalya. “We will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of Saint Nicholas.” 

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Antikythera shipwreck yields bronze arm – and hints at spectacular haul of statues

Arm points to existence of at least seven statues from Greek shipwreck, already the source of most extensive and exciting ancient cargo ever found


This bronze arm was discovered with a bespoke underwater metal detector, which has revealed the presence of other large metal objects nearby under the seabed. 
Photograph: Brett Seymour/EUA/ARGO 2017

Marine archaeologists have recovered a bronze arm from an ancient shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, where the remains of at least seven more priceless statues from the classical world are believed to lie buried.

Divers found the right arm, encrusted and stained green, under half a metre of sediment on the boulder-strewn slope where the ship and its cargo now rest. The huge vessel, perhaps 50m from bow to stern, was sailing from Asia Minor to Rome in 1BC when it foundered near the tiny island between Crete and the Peloponnese.

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Archaeology and blockchain: a social science data revolution?

Blockchain technology is revolutionising financial systems. Could it do the same for archaeological data?

Museum and data storage might both be aided in the future with blockchain technology. Photograph: Keith Myers/MCT via Getty Images

This month the world’s first “archaeology coin” launched to fanfare from a small community; however, it might be part of a coming social science data revolution. Named Kapu, the digital currency is similar to Bitcoin, but specifically designed for archaeology. The technology underlying Kapu and Bitcoin is called blockchain and it may change data storage and cultural heritage protection. While the public is unaccustomed with blockchain, there is good reason to believe we may be witnessing the first step in what will become a standard technology over the next decade.

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