Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New data platform illuminates history of humans' environmental impact

Animal bones on display.
Credit: © DedMityay / Adobe Stock

The human environmental footprint is not only deep, but old.

Ancient traces of this footprint can be found in animal bones, shells, scales and antlers at archaeological sites. Together, these specimens tell the millennia-long story of how humans have hunted, domesticated and transported animals, altered landscapes and responded to environmental changes such as shifting temperatures and sea levels.

Now, that story is available digitally through a new open-access data platform known as ZooArchNet, which links records of animals across biological and archaeological databases.

Making these specimen records accessible digitally helps provide a long-term perspective on current biodiversity crises, such as animal extinction and habitat loss, and could lead to more informed conservation policies, said Michelle LeFebvre, postdoctoral associate at the Florida Museum of Natural History and lead author of a study introducing ZooArchNet.

Read the rest of this article...

A gold serpent pendant from Viking Age Denmark

Photo: Southwest Jutland Museums.

This beautiful serpent pendant was recently discovered near Gørding in Denmark by Jean Stokholm and Doris Birch Mathiesen. Fashioned out of gold and decorated using the filigree technique, it most likely dates from the the 10th century AD.

It was originally suspended via a loop formed out of gold wire that was ornamented with a pair of green glass beads. Serpent pendants such as this one are known from across Viking Age Scandinavia and it has been suggested that they may have been associated with fertility or the god Odin (see Graslund, p. 126). This new find now forms part of the Southwest Jutland Museums.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Analysis of the Palaeolithic diet shows no social divisions in food consumption

Credit: University of Granada

The study of the human diet in Palaeolithic times is currently among the research areas generating the greatest advances in knowledge. Analysis of the Palaeolithic diet is conducted mainly on the basis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, which are present in the collagen of human bones. These isotopes indicate the types of food consumed by the individual in the years leading up to their death.

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) have analyzed the diets of past peoples from samples in the anthropological collections of the Megalithic necropolises of Panoria (Darro, Granada) and El Barranquete (Nijar, Almeria). They find that although Megalithic communities did vary their eating habits over time, there were no relevant social differences, either in the type of food or in the proportion of proteins consumed.


Read the rest of this article...

The riddle of Winchester Cathedral's skeletons

A reconstruction of Queen Emma's bones is on display but her skull is not completely intact making it too difficult to create a 3D model of her
Image copyright WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL

For centuries bones believed to be the remains of Anglo-Saxon and early Norman rulers and bishops have been kept in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral.

Over the years the skeletal remains have been mixed up and moved around, resulting in some confusion over whose they are.

Fresh research has now dated the contents of the chests and established that the only bones from a mature female are likely to be those of Queen Emma of Normandy.

But that is only the first piece in a puzzle researchers from the University of Bristol are now trying to solve.

They will use DNA extracted from the bones to try to establish the identity of the other 22 people whose remains were in the wooden caskets.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Chewing gums reveal the oldest Scandinavian human DNA

Masticate being examined
[Credit: Natalija Kashuba/Stockholm University]


The first humans who settled in Scandinavia more than 10,000 years ago left their DNA behind in ancient chewing gums, which are masticated lumps made from birch bark pitch. This is shown in a new study conducted at Stockholm University and published in Communications Biology.

Ancient chewing gums are as of now an alternative source for human DNA and possibly a good proxy for human bones in archaeogenetic studies. The investigated pieces come from Huseby-Klev, an early Mesolithic hunter-fisher site on the Swedish west coast. The sites excavation was done in the early 1990's, but at this time it was not possible to analyse ancient human DNA at all, let alone from non-human tissue. The masticates were made out of birch bark tar and used as glue in tool production and other types of technology during the Stone Age.

Read the rest of this article...

Fossil teeth push the human-Neandertal split back to about 1 million years ago

CROWNING ROOTS An analysis of hominid tooth evolution, including specimens from Spanish Neandertals (top row), pushes back the age of a common Neandertal-human ancestor to more than 800,000 years ago. The bottom row shows Homo sapiens teeth.

People and Neandertals separated from a common ancestor more than 800,000 years ago — much earlier than many researchers had thought.

That conclusion, published online May 15 in Science Advances, stems from an analysis of early fossilized Neandertal teeth found at a Spanish site called Sima de los Huesos. During hominid evolution, tooth crowns changed in size and shape at a steady rate, says Aida Gómez-Robles, a paleoanthropologist at University College London. The Neandertal teeth, which date to around 430,000 years ago, could have evolved their distinctive shapes at a pace typical of other hominids only if Neandertals originated between 800,000 and 1.2 million years ago, she finds. 

Gómez-Robles’ study indicates that, if a common ancestor of present-day humans and Neandertals existed after around 1 million years ago, “there wasn’t enough time for Neandertal teeth to change at the rate [teeth] do in other parts of the human family tree” in order to end up looking like the Spanish finds, says palaeoanthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Read the rest of this article...

The Prittlewell Princely Burial Treasures go on show at Southend Museum

Gold crosses from the earliest dated princely Anglo-Saxon burial believed to have been placed over the man’s eyes © MOLA

Ellie Broad, Assistant Curator of Archaeology at Southend Museums, on the Prittlewell Anglo-Saxon princely burial going on permanent display at Southend Central Museum from May 11 – for the first time since their discovery 15 years ago
The Prittlewell Princely Burial is the earliest evidence of Anglo-Saxon Christianity ever found in England. Compared with the princely burials at Sutton Hoo and Taplow, Prittlewell has a beautiful and exotic array of artefacts, with many of the most impressive objects going on permanent display from May 11 2019.

In 2003, archaeologists from MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) began excavating land in Prittlewell, Essex ahead of a road widening scheme. The discovery of a chamber grave came as a great surprise to the archaeologists as they uncovered incredible objects buried under centuries of earth.

A small, wood-lined chamber had been buried under a mound, which had collapsed over time, concealing its location and protecting its contents from robbers.

Read the rest of this article...

Bronze Age Caernarfon bypass find 'could be canoe'

If proven to be a canoe the timber would be a "rare find", according to experts
WELSH GOVERNMENT

Work on a bypass in Gwynedd has revealed the site of a Bronze Age mound which could contain an ancient canoe.

Archaeological excavation on the site of the Caernarfon-Bontnewydd bypass uncovered three troughs underneath a burnt mound dating back about 3,500 years.

Experts think one of the troughs may have been originally used as a dug-out canoe hollowed from an oak tree.

It would be the first prehistoric canoe ever found in north Wales if proven.

The timber has now been lifted from its discovery site and is being examined in more detail.

Read the rest of this article...

Bronze age burial uncovered at Orkney sub station site

The cist archaeologists have uncovered lies on top of a glacial mound
ORCA ARCHAEOLOGY

Archaeologists have discovered a Bronze age burial pit while excavating the site of a proposed new sub electricity sub station in Orkney.

The stone lined box capped with a large flat stone was unearthed at Finstown, ahead of construction work by SSEN Transmission.

The pit - known as a cist - appears to be empty, though it would once have contained bones or cremated remains.

It's thought the burial dates back around 3,500 years.

The team from ORCA Archaeology based at Orkney College are exploring and recording the features and history of the site on behalf of the power firm.

Read the rest of this article...

Roman treasure found by metal detectorists in Lincolnshire

The Roman coin hoard and fragment of pot that it was buried in, near Rauceby.

The largest haul of Roman coins from the early 4th Century AD ever found in Britain has been unearthed near Sleaford by two metal detector enthusiasts.

The discovery was made near the village of Rauceby after the detectorists painstakingly searched the area for years.

The hoard, which consists of more than three thousand copper alloy coins, many of which are historically unique, is now being looked at by The British Museum and is regarded as being of significant international importance.

The coins have today (Thursday) officially been declared treasure under the Treasure Act 1996 at Lincoln Coroner's Court.

Read the rest of this article...

Fancy a game of Ludus latrunculorum? It seems the Romans certainly did

Artists impression of how the Vindolanda archaeology centre would look 
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

After a day’s duty on the frontier of Hadrian’s Wall , what better than a relaxing game of Ludus latrunculorum.

The game of strategy and military tactics was popular across the Roman empire, and a stone board on which it may have been played has been uncovered at Vindolanda fort in Northumberland .

This third century board was found by volunteer digger Phil Harding re-used in a floor, in a newly excavated building behind the Vindolanda bath house.

It is thought that the board would have been in use in the bath house and then utilised elsewhere after it was broken.

Read the rest of this article...

Traces of Roman-era pollution stored in the ice of Mont Blanc


The deepest layers of carbon-14 dated ice found in the Col du Dôme of the Mont Blanc glacier in the French Alps provide a record of atmospheric conditions in the ancient Roman era. Published in Geophysical Research Letters, the study, led by an international team and coordinated by a CNRS scientist at the Institute for Geosciences and Environmental Research (IGE)(CNRS/IRD/UGA/Grenoble INP)*, reveals significant atmospheric pollution from heavy metals: the presence of lead and antimony (detected in ancient alpine ice for the first time here) is linked to mining activity and lead and silver production by the ancient Romans, well before the industrial age, in fact.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists find secret chamber decorated with centaurs and a sphinx inside Nero's palace in Rome

The chamber has been dubbed the Sphinx Room 
CREDIT: UFFICIO STAMPA PARCO ARCHEOLOGICO DEL COLOSSEO

Archeologists have chanced upon an underground chamber decorated with images of panthers, centaurs and a sphinx in the remains of a vast palace built by the Emperor Nero in Rome.

The room, which was part of the huge Domus Aurea palace built by the emperor in the first century AD, had remained hidden for nearly 2,000 years.

It was discovered by accident during restoration of an adjacent area of the palatial complex, which was built on by subsequent emperors, including Trajan, and now lies interred beneath a hill next to the Colosseum in the historic heart of Rome.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists find objects from 10th century under former parking site in Brussels

© Belga

The Brussels regional government has approved a request to prolong archaeological works currently taking place on the site of the former Parking 58 in the city centre, now the planned location for a new administrative centre for Brussels-City municipality.

The works are at the moment a gigantic hole in the ground (photo) where once there was a parking garage famous for the view from its top floor. When the multi-storey car park was razed, a routine architectural inspection uncovered some interesting artefacts, and construction was halted for further investigation, as the law allows.

The dig has now turned up evidence of a settlement on the banks of the Senne, the river on which Brussels grew up, with objects first thought to date to the 10th century, but which may in fact be up to three centuries older.

Read the rest of this article...

New research reveals what was on the menu for medieval peasants

Credit: University of Bristol

Scientists from the University of Bristol have uncovered, for the first time, definitive evidence that determines what types of food medieval peasants ate and how they managed their animals.

Using chemical analysis of pottery fragments and animal bones found at one of England's earliest medieval villages, combined with detailed examination of a range of historical documents and accounts, the research has revealed the daily diet of peasants in the Middle Ages. The researchers were also able to look at butchery techniques, methods of food preparation and rubbish disposal at the settlement Dr. Julie Dunne and Professor Richard Evershed from the University of Bristol's Organic Geochemistry Unit, based within the School of Chemistry, led the research, published today in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Julie said: "All too often in history the detail, for example food and clothing, of the everyday life of ordinary people is unknown.

Read the rest of this article...

UK's 'Tutankhamun' tomb: Your questions answered

The tomb contained 40 artefacts including treasures from other kingdoms
MOLA

Treasures discovered in an Anglo-Saxon royal burial site have gone on display for the first time. The site, discovered between a pub and an Aldi supermarket in 2003, has been described as the UK's answer to Tutankhamun's tomb.

Here we answer your questions on the astonishing find at Prittlewell near Southend.

How was it discovered?

The Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) was commissioned by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to perform an archaeological investigation on the site ahead of a proposed road widening scheme.

The small verge between the road and rail line was known to be in the area of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery,

Read the rest of this article...

Southend burial site 'UK's answer to Tutankhamun'

The Prittlewell burial site was discovered in 2003
MOLA

A royal burial site found between a pub and Aldi supermarket has been hailed as the UK's answer to Tutankhamun's tomb.

Workers unearthed the grave, which contained dozens of rare artefacts, during roadworks in Prittlewell, near Southend, Essex, in 2003.

Tooth enamel fragments were the only human remains, but experts say their "best guess" is that they belonged to a 6th Century Anglo-Saxon prince.

It is said to be the oldest example of a Christian Anglo-Saxon royal burial.

Now, after 15 years of expert analysis some of the artefacts are returning to Southend to go on permanent display for the first time at the Central Museum.

When a team from the Museum of London Archaeology (Mola) excavated the site, they said they were "astounded" to find the burial chamber intact.

Read the rest of this article...

'Queen's bones' found in Winchester Cathedral royal chests

The six chests have been found to hold the remains of at least 23 individuals
JOHN CROOK / WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL

Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen, researchers have found.

The contents of six chests have been analysed and radiocarbon-dated.

University of Bristol biological anthropologists found they contained the remains of at least 23 individuals - several more than originally thought.

One is believed to be that of Queen Emma who was married to kings of England, Ethelred and Cnut.

Although the chests, originally placed near the high altar, had inscriptions stating who was supposed to be within them, it was known the names bore no relation to the actual contents.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Bones unidentified for centuries may belong to one of England’s most historically important queens

Anglo-Saxon bones dating back 1,000 years ( Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral )

Early England’s forgotten monarchs are set for a high-profile comeback – more than 1,000 years after they died.

Scientists are investigating the remains of up to 18 Anglo-Saxon kings and queens to try to determine their identities, potentially including the pivotal figure of Queen Emma. Emma of Normandy was the wife of two kings and the mother of two others, and one of the most significant figures of late Anglo-Saxon England.

The trove is believed to be the largest assemblage of medieval royal skeletal material ever scientifically analysed anywhere in the world.

For hundreds of years, some 1,300 royal and other high status bones have been kept in elaborate wooden caskets in what was, back in Anglo-Saxon times, England’s de facto capital city, Winchester.

Read the rest of this article...

Arctic Vikings Field School- Igaliku, South Greenland


Arctic Vikings Field School- Igaliku, South Greenland
Institute for Field Research
June 22 to July 23 2019
This field school is a four-week adventure in a rugged environment that will provide students with a crash course in Arctic Archaeology. Participants will learn how to identify sites and features through landscape survey, perform “keyhole” excavations, and learn how to document their observations quickly and efficiently. Students will not only learn about archaeological field methods but will also have the chance to interact with the local community and gain insight into emerging issues regarding the impact of global climate change on cultural resources in the Arctic. Due to the ongoing issues surrounding the loss of organic deposits in South Greenland, emphasis will be placed on rapid and efficient intervention techniques in the field. This program is RPA certified (Register of Professional Archaeologists) and will benefit students who plan to pursue cultural resource management work in the future.

Further Details...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Archeologists believe Norway find is rare Viking ship burial

This handout picture released on March 25, 2019 by Vestfold Fylkeskommune shows Funnplass, 
where a ship's grave probably originated from the Viking Age has been discovered on a plain among the burial mounds in Borreparken in Vestfold, eastern Norway

Archeologists believe they have found a rare Viking ship burial site in a region of Norway known for its Viking-era treasures, Norwegian officials said Monday.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), experts found a ship-shaped anomaly near other Viking burial mounds in the Borre Park in Vestfold county, southeast of Oslo.

"The GPR data clearly show the shape of a ship, and we can see weak traces of a circular depression around the vessel. This could point to the existence of a mound that was later removed," Terje Gansum, leader of the department for cultural heritage management in Vestfold county, said in a statement.

He said researchers would carry out further investigations to try and assess the size of the preserved find.

Read the rest of this article...

Stone Circles Ringed House That May Have Belonged to the Neolithic 'One Percent'

The Avebury henge consists of at least two stone circles enclosed within a larger stone circle.
Credit: Kevin Standage/Shutterstock

The massive and ancient stone circles around Stonehenge and Avebury in southern England may have all started with the commemoration of a single Neolithic house that probably belonged to an elite family, archaeologists now say.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the researchers found that the monumental stone circles of Avebury, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Stonehenge, were centered on an early Neolithic habitation, with the concentric stone circles and large earthen embankment being built around it probably centuries later.

They say the Neolithic house at Avebury was built sometime after 3700 B.C. — but centuries before the creation of the larger rings of stone at Avebury and the megalithic monument at Stonehenge, which research shows were built after 3000 B.C.

Read the rest of this article...

Woolly mammoth mystery solved? Study reveals shocking details about prehistoric creature


A new study suggests that woolly mammoths and mankind's ancestors, the Neanderthals, may have shared genetic traits.

Extinct for thousands of years, the woolly mammoth continues to fascinate humanity, as the prospect of eventually reviving the species is pondered among the scientific community. Now, a new study suggests that the giant creatures and mankind's ancestors, the Neanderthals, may have shared genetic traits.

The study, published by researchers at Tel Aviv University, suggests that because of their shared geography, mammoths and Neanderthals likely had similar molecular characteristics that allowed them to adapt to their harsh environmental surroundings.

"Neanderthals and mammoths lived together in Europe during the Ice Age. The evidence suggests that Neanderthals hunted and ate mammoths for tens of thousands of years and were actually physically dependent on calories extracted from mammoths for their successful adaptation," said professor Ran Barkai in a statement.

Read the rest of this article...

Stonehenge tunnel: Row over building clause in deeds

Campaigners say the deeds prevent work close to the stones

Plans for a controversial road tunnel near Stonehenge could be blocked because of conditions in the ancient monument's deeds.

The government wants to build a 1.9 mile (3km) tunnel past the Neolithic stone circle.

But when the monument was gifted to the nation by Sir Cecil Chubb in 1918 its deeds contained conditions.

Highways England said it believed the proposed tunnel did not fall within the covenant's boundary.

The issue was raised during a Planning Inspectorate preliminary meeting into the application to build the tunnel past the stones.

Read the rest of this article...

Von den Kelten bis zum Mittelalter: Eisenverhüttung im Siegerland


Vor über 2.000 Jahren war das Siegerland eine blühende Region für Eisenproduktion. In den bislang größten bekannten Verhüttungsöfen ihrer Epoche in Europa gewannen keltische Hüttenleute große Mengen an Stahl. Archäologen gelang in Siegen nun ein Nachweis dieser bisher für die Eisenzeit in Mitteleuropa einzigartigen großen Zahl an Werkstätten zur Eisenverarbeitung.

Read the rest of this article...

World-renowned Ring of Brodgar stone circle vandalised in Orkney


The Ring of Brodgar originally comprised 60 stones, of which 36 survive. 
Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Graffiti engraved on a stone at Neolithic monument that is part of world heritage site

A world-renowned stone circle in Orkney, which is more than 4,000 years old, has been vandalised.

Damage to the Ring of Brodgar includes graffiti that has been engraved into one of the stones at the Neolithic site near Stenness. It is believed to have been caused sometime between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Insp David Hall from Police Scotland said: “The stones at the Ring of Brodgar are priceless historical artefacts and the damage caused cannot simply be estimated in monetary terms.

“For someone to damage them in this way is a particularly mindless act. I would urge anyone who has visited the area over the last weekend to think back and if they believe they may have seen something suspicious, even if it didn’t seem of much note at the time, to let us know.

Read the rest of this article...

'New species of human' found in cave throws doubt over evolution theories

Key site: Callao Cave on Luzon island in the Philippines, where fossils of Homo luzonensis were found. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

A previously unknown species of human that lived at the same time our ancient ancestors were colonising Europe has been discovered in the Philippines.
Bones and teeth of the "hominin" were found in Callao Cave on Luzon, the largest island in the Asian archipelago. They contain a mixture of old and new features that have excited scientists and threaten to overturn accepted theories of human evolution.
Hominins are members of the human family tree more closely related to one another than to apes.
Today, only one species of this group remains, Homo sapiens, to which everyone on Earth belongs.
Read the rest of this article...

New species of ancient human discovered in Philippines cave

Callao cave, where the fossils of Homo luzonensis were discovered. 
Photograph: Quincy/Alamy

Homo luzonensis fossils found in Luzon island cave, dating back up to 67,000 years
A new species of ancient human, thought to have been under 4ft tall and adapted to climbing trees, has been discovered in the Philippines, providing a twist in the story of human evolution.

The specimen, named Homo luzonensis, was excavated from Callao cave on Luzon island in the northern Philippines and has been dated to 50,000-67,000 years ago – when our own ancestors and the Neanderthals were spreading across Europe and into Asia.

Florent Détroit, of the Natural History Museum in Paris and the paper’s first author, said the discovery provided the latest challenge to the fairly straightforward prevalent narrative of human evolution.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, April 04, 2019

A 5,000-year-old barley grain discovered in Finland

Researchers determined the age of millennia-old barley grains using radiocarbon dating 
[Credit: Santeri Vanhanen]

On the basis of prior research, representatives of the Pitted Ware Culture from the Stone Age have been known as hard-core sealers, or even Inuits of the Baltic Sea. Now, researchers have discovered barley and wheat grains in areas previously inhabited by this culture, leading to the conclusion that the Pitted Ware Culture adopted agriculture on a small scale.

A study carried out in cooperation with parties representing the discipline of archaeology and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Helsinki, as well as Swedish operators in the field of archaeology (The Archaeologists, a governmental consultant agency, and Arkeologikonsult, a business), found grains of barley and wheat in Pitted Ware settlements on Finland's Aland Islands and in the region of modern Stockholm.

The age of the grains was ascertained using radiocarbon dating. Based on the results, the grains originated in the period of the Pitted Ware culture, thus being approximately 4,300-5,300 years old. In addition to the cereal grains, the plant remnants found in the sites included hazelnut shells, apple seeds, tuberous roots of lesser celandine and rose hips.

Read the rest of this article...

Climate change drove some Neanderthals to cannibalism

File photo - Hyperrealistic face of a neanderthal male is displayed in a cave in the new Neanderthal Museum in the northern Croatian town of Krapina Feb. 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic)

Six Neanderthals who lived in what is now France were eaten by their fellow Neanderthals some 100,000 years ago, according to gruesome evidence of the cannibalistic event discovered by scientists in a cave in the 1990s.

Now, researchers may have figured out why the Neanderthals, including two children, became victims of cannibalism: global warming.

While prior studies have interpreted Neanderthal remains to find proof of cannibalistic behavior, this is the first study to offer clues as to what may have led Neanderthals to become cannibals. Scientists found that rapid shifts in local ecosystems as the planet warmed may have extinguished the animal species that Neanderthals ate, forcing them to look elsewhere to fill their bellies. 

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Neolithic Britons travelled across country for regular mass national feasts 4,500 years ago, new research claims

Feasts were held at ritual sites, including Avebury ( English Heritage )

Findings suggest prehistoric tribes may have established cultural and political bonds – and an early national identity – long before previously believed

New scientific discoveries are set to dramatically transform our understanding of prehistoric Britain.

A study of Stonehenge-era archaeological material from large-scale ceremonial feasts is revealing that neolithic Britain was, in key respects, much more interconnected and unified than previously thought.

The evidence reveals that people from virtually every part of the country came together to participate in major, almost certainly politico-religious, ceremonies.

Some participants travelled hundreds of miles from Scotland, northeast England, the midlands and Wales to significant ritual locations in what are now Wiltshire and Dorset.

Read the rest of this article...

Norway finds another Viking ship


The fields and forests of Borre in Vestfold run along the west side of the Oslo Fjord, in a county that has produced Norway’s other famed Viking ships. 
PHOTO: Vestfold fylkeskommune


On an open field along the Oslo Fjord, among grave mounds from the Viking Age, archaeologists have found what they believe is another buried Viking ship. The discovery was made with the help of georadar that shows a ship-shaped object.

The ship’s form was actually first spotted nearly two years ago, but many examinations were needed in order to confirm that it’s another Viking ship. Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s government minister in charge of climate and the environment, announced the discovery on Monday along with the local Vestfold County Governor Rune Hogsnes.

“It’s not every day we find a new Viking ship, so this is really exciting,” Hogsnes told reporters at a press conference Monday morning. “For us locals it’s no surprise. A lot of treasures from the Viking times are hidden under the turf in our county.”

Read the rest of this article...

Pompeii ‘fast food’ bar unearthed in ancient city after 2,000 years

Dozens of thermopolia, or snack bars, have been found across Pompeii.
Photograph: Massimo Ossana/Instagram

Thermopolia used by poorer residents with few cooking facilities, archaeologists say

A well-preserved frescoed “fast food” counter is among the latest discoveries unearthed by archaeologists in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

The 150 or so thermopolia, or snack bars, dotted across the city were mostly used by the poorer residents, who rarely had cooking facilities in their home, to grab a snack or drink. Typical menus included coarse bread with salty fish, baked cheese, lentils and spicy wine.

An image of the 2,000-year old relic, found in Regio V, a 21.8-hectare (54-acre) site to the north of the archaeological park, was shared on Instagram by Massimo Ossana, the site’s outgoing superintendent.

“A thermopolium has been brought back to light, with its beautiful frescoed counter,” he wrote.

Read the rest of this article...

LES ARCHÉOLOGUES DE L’INRAP DÉCOUVRENT UNE TOMBE ÉTRUSQUE EN HYPOGÉE À ALERIA–LAMAJONE


Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap fouille actuellement une exceptionnelle sépulture étrusque à Aleria-Lamajone (Haute-Corse). Menée sur prescription de l’État (DRAC Corse), cette fouille a mis en évidence deux tronçons de voies et une nécropole étrusque et romaine. La découverte, parmi les sépultures, d’une tombe étrusque en hypogée creusée dans la roche, a entraîné la publication d’un arrêté complémentaire de prescription de fouilles.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient teeth hint at mysterious human relative

The gorges of Guizhou Province glimmer in the sunlight in China. Fossil teeth found in this province suggest that millions of years ago, a cave here was home to a mysterious branch of the human family tree.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NOVARC IMAGES/ ALAMY

The find adds to a growing number of fossils from China that don't fit neatly in the existing human family tree.

FOUR TEETH FOUND in a cave in the Tongzi county of southern China have scientists scratching their heads.

In 1972 and 1983, researchers extracted the roughly 200,000-year-old teeth from the silty sediments of the Yanhui cave floor, initially labeling them as Homo erectus, the upright-walking hominins thought to be the first to leave Africa. Later analysis suggested they didn't quite fit with Homo erectus, but that's where the story paused for nearly two decades.

Now, a study published in the Journal of Human Evolution takes a fresh look at these ancient teeth, using modern methods to examine the curious remains. The new analysis excludes the possibility that the teeth could come from Homo erectus or the more advanced Neanderthals, but the elusive owner remains unknown.

Read the rest of this article...

Concerns mount over plans for two-mile road tunnel past Stonehenge

Stonehenge lies within 165 metres of the A303, a key transport link for people travelling to and from England’s south-west. Photograph: Sam Frost/The Guardian

Highways England claims scheme will improve travel and visits to site but many oppose it

Environmentalists, archaeologists, residents and druids have expressed deep concerns about a controversial scheme to build a road tunnel through the Stonehenge landscape as the £1.6bn project reaches a key milestone.

A six-month long examination of the scheme that will consider issues ranging from the impact on precious archaeological remains to how it may affect endangered birdlife and the darkness of the night sky begins on Wednesday.

At a packed preliminary meeting at Salisbury racecourse on Tuesday, there were protests about the scheme, which some have branded vandalism. More than 2,000 people, many of them opposed, have said they want to make submissions and hundreds want to give evidence in person over the next six months.

Read the rest of this article...