Monday, March 18, 2019

Mary Rose crew 'was from Mediterranean and North Africa'

The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard houses a cross section of the ship's hull as well as thousands of artefacts, including weapons and jewellery
STEPHEN FOOTE

The crew on board the sunken Henry VIII ship the Mary Rose was from the Mediterranean, North Africa and beyond, researchers have found.

Bone structure and DNA of 10 skeletons found on board were analysed by team at Cardiff and Portsmouth universities.

They said four of the skeletons were of southern European heritage, and one seems to have hailed from Morocco or Algeria.

The findings cast fresh light on the ethnic makeup of Tudor Britain.
The Mary Rose sank in 1545 in the Solent during a naval battle with the French, with the loss of between 400 and 600 lives.

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Archaeologists discovered a flintstone workshop of Neanderthals in the southern Poland; it is approx. 60,000 years old


Researchers discovered a flint workshop of Neanderthals in Pietraszyno (Silesia). According to scientists, it is the first such large workshop in Central Europe that was not located in a cave. So far, researchers have counted 17,000 stone products created 60 thousand years ago.

Neandertals (Homo neanderthalensis) were very close relatives of contemporary man (Homo sapiens). They probably appeared in Poland approximately 300,000 years ago. The oldest stone tools they used, discovered on the Vistula, are over 200,000 years old, and the remains are over 100,000 years old.

"On the bank of the river in Pietraszyno, we discovered an unprecedented amount of flint products - 17,000 - abandoned by Neanderthals approximately 60,000 years ago" - says Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław. Since 2018, the researcher has been conducting joint excavations with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig in the framework of a National Science Centre project. In his opinion, this is the first such large Neandertal workshop discovered in Central Europe that was not located in a cave.

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Ancient switch to soft food gave us an overbite—and the ability to pronounce ‘f’s and ‘v’s

An ancient woman from Romania shows an edgeto-edge bite (left). A Bronze Age man from Austria had a slight overbite (right). D. E. BLASI ET AL., SCIENCE, 363, 1192 (2019)

Don't like the F-word? Blame farmers and soft food. When humans switched to processed foods after the spread of agriculture, they put less wear and tear on their teeth. That changed the growth of their jaws, giving adults the overbites normal in children. Within a few thousand years, those slight overbites made it easy for people in farming cultures to fire off sounds like "f" and "v," opening a world of new words.

The newly favored consonants, known as labiodentals, helped spur the diversification of languages in Europe and Asia at least 4000 years ago; they led to such changes as the replacement of the Proto-Indo-European patēr to Old English faeder about 1500 years ago, according to linguist and senior author Balthasar Bickel at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The paper shows "that a cultural shift can change our biology in such a way that it affects our language," says evolutionary morphologist Noreen Von Cramon-Taubadel of the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York system, who was not part of the study.

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Artificial intelligence for the study of sites


Three examples of the different types of notches 
[Credit: A. Moclán]

An experimental study led by researcher Abel Moclán, from the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has just been published in the Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences journal, which proposes a new method to understand how the faunal assemblages were generated in archaeological sites, and how they could have interacted with groups of humans and carnivores in the places they occupied.

This new method involves the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to decipher whether faunal assemblages were generated by hominids or carnivores, specifically hyenas and/or wolves. "Thanks to this method, we can discern among the acting agents with a certainty of over 95%," says Abel Moclán.

To carry out this study, bone fractures have been analyzed in order to interpret whether they were fractured by human groups to consume the bone marrow, or if, on the contrary, the carnivores fractured the bones when trying to access this same resource.

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Ancient migration transformed Spain's DNA

Bronze Age burials: Iberia saw a dramatic genetic shift during this period
L BENITEZ DE LUGO ENRICH - JOSE LUIS FUENTES SANCH

A migration from Central Europe transformed the genetic make-up of people in Spain during the Bronze Age, a study reveals.

DNA evidence shows the migrants streamed over the Pyrenees, replacing existing male lineages across the region within a space of 400 years.

It remains unclear whether violence played a role or whether a male-centric social structure was more important.

The result comes from the most extensive study of its kind.

Researchers reconstructed the population history of Iberia (modern Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra) over 8,000 years - the biggest slice of time tackled by a single ancient DNA study. The region has been a crossroads for different cultures over time.

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Neandertaler und moderne Menschen hatten ähnliche Speisezettel

Knochen aus Spy geben Aufschluss über Ernährung und Mobilität der dortigen Neandertaler. Foto: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)

Internationale Studie findet mehr gemeinsame Nahrungsvorlieben als angenommen ‒ Rätselhafte Spuren von Kannibalismus

Neandertaler und der frühe moderne Mensch ernährten sich vermutlich sehr ähnlich: Zu diesem Schluss kommt eine internationale Studie und widerspricht damit der Annahme, die Neandertaler seien ausgestorben, weil ihr Ernährungsspektrum eingeschränkt war. Die Ergebnisse zeigten aber auch, dass moderne Menschen dennoch einen Vorteil hatten, weil sie vermutlich mobiler und besser vernetzt waren, berichtet das Team um Dr. Christoph Wißing von der Universität Tübingen.

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Anglo-Saxon gold pendant found in Norfolk declared treasure

The gold pendant would have belonged to a "high status woman", like the famous Winfarthing Pendant
COURTESY OF THE PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES SCHEME

An Anglo-Saxon gold pendant, found near a site where a similar item worth £145,000 was dug up, probably belonged to a woman of "high social status".

The Winfarthing Pendant was found in 2014 near Diss in Norfolk.

The latest pendant, with a central cross motif, was found in 2017 and it has been declared treasure.

Julie Shoemark, Norfolk's finds liaison officer, said it made a "valuable contribution to our understanding of Saxon society".

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hominids may have hunted rabbits as far back as 400,000 years ago

BUNNY TRAIL  Fossils from southern European sites indicate that ancient relatives of humans hunted small, fast animals as early as around 400,000 years ago. Ends of rabbit bones (shown) were probably snapped off to remove marrow.

In Europe, Stone Age hominids began adding small, fast animals to their menus much earlier than previously thought, scientists say.

Now-extinct members of the human genus, Homohunted rabbits and, to a lesser extent, hares in southern France and probably other Mediterranean parts of Europe by around 400,000 years ago, researchers report online March 6 in Science Advances. Hunters also bagged larger creatures such as wild goats and deer. The new finding may highlight the flexibility and innovativeness of these ancient relatives of humans.

That dietary shift to smaller animals away from eating primarily large game emerged long before a previously recognized change in ancient humans’ eating habits, concludes a team led by paleoanthropologist Eugène Morin of Trent University in Peterborough, Canada. In the later transition, Stone Age people dramatically broadened what they ate, including a wide variety of small animals, starting around 36,000 years ago.

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Researchers find a piece of Palaeolithic art featuring birds and humans

A tracing of the engraved figures over the stone [Credit: University of Barcelona]

It is not very common to find representations of scenes instead of individual figures in Palaeolithic art, but it is even harder for these figures to be birds instead of mammals such as goats, deer or horses. So far, historians have only found three scenes of Palaeolithic art featuring humans and birds in Europe.

Now, an article published in the journal L'Anthropologie tells how University of Barcelona researchers found -in the site of Hort de la Bequera (Margalef de Montsant, Priorat)-, an artistic piece from 12,500 years ago in which humans and birds try to interact in a pictorial scene with exceptional traits: figures seem to star a narration on hunting and motherhood.

Regarding the Catalan context in particular, this is an important finding regarding the few pieces of Palaeolithic art in Catalonia and it places this territory within the stream of artistic production of the upper Palaeolithic in the Mediterranean.

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Stonehenge was 'hub for Britain's earliest mass parties'

Pigs were the main food at the feasts and were brought from as far away as Scotland and the North East of England to Stonehenge
ENGLISH HERITAGE/PA

Evidence of large-scale prehistoric feasting rituals found at Stonehenge could be the earliest mass celebrations in Britain, say archaeologists.

The study examined 131 pigs' bones at four Late Neolithic sites, Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures.

The sites, which served Stonehenge and Avebury, hosted the feasts.

Researchers think guests had to bring meat raised locally to them, resulting in pigs arriving from distant places.

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HABITATS DE L’ÂGE DU BRONZE, SILOS ET RITUELS GAULOIS À FAUX-FRESNAY


À Faux-Fresnay, dans la Marne, une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a découvert des vestiges de deux villages de l’âge du Bronze et de l’âge du Fer qui témoignent d’une importante activité agricole. Des silos où reposent des restes d’animaux interrogent sur des rituels qui auraient impliqué le cheptel. Cette fouille est réalisée en amont de l’aménagement d’un poste électrique par RTE.

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In Europa lebten im frühen Jungpaläolithikum im Schnitt nur 1.500 Menschen


Mit einem an der Universität zu Köln entwickelten Protokoll können die Forscherinnen und Forscher des Sonderforschungsbereiches 806 "Our Way to Europe" rekonstruieren, wie die Besiedlung Europas durch den anatomisch modernen Menschen verlief. Die Daten zeigen, dass die Population der gesamten europäischen Jäger und Sammler in der Zeitspanne von etwa 42.000 bis etwa 33.000 Jahren vor heute – dem sogenannten Aurignacien – durchschnittlich nur etwa 1.500 Personen betrug.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Home of 7th Century princess unearthed in Coldingham

The dig concentrated on ground around Coldingham Priory in the Borders
DIGVENTURES/AERIAL-CAM

Archaeologists believe they have found remains of the long-lost home of a 7th Century princess in the Borders.

A monastery was founded near the village of Coldingham by Princess Æbbe nearly 1,400 years ago.

It was destroyed by Viking raiders in the 9th Century and previous attempts to pinpoint its location have failed.

However, excavations led by DigVentures have found traces of a large, narrow ditch which they believe was the boundary of the religious settlement.

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'Hobbit' human story gets a twist, thanks to thousands of rat bones


The limestone cave of Liang Bua, on the Indonesian island of Flores, is widely known as the hobbit cave, the site where the surprisingly tiny and enormously controversial extinct human relative Homo floresiensis was discovered. But to the scientists who excavate there, the site is known as something else entirely: the rat cave.
“The first time I went to the excavations at Liang Bua, I remember watching the bones coming out of the ground and being amazed at how it was almost all rat,” recalls Matthew Tocheri, the Canada Research Chair in Human Origins at Lakehead University.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Unique Medieval Burial Found In Sicily

This medieval man's skeleton, bearing marks of stab wounds, was found facedown
in a shallow pit in Sicily 
[Credit: Emanuele Canzonieri; Roberto Micciche. et al. 2019]

In medieval Sicily, a man was stabbed multiple times in the back, buried in a really weird way and ostensibly lost to history.

Now, hundreds of years later, archaeologists have excavated evidence of this ancient crime in the Piazza Armerina, Sicily. The researchers found the man's skeleton lying face-down in a shallow pit, empty of any funerary objects typical of ancient burials. The body was buried in a position that was unusual for that time period, they reported last month in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

The evidence suggests that the man, lived in the 11th century and was between 30 and 40 years old when he died. Using CT scans and 3D reconstructions, the researchers set out to determine how he died and why his burial was so unusual.

According to the report, there was evidence of six cuts on the individual's sternum (breastbone) that were indicative of stab wounds likely inflicted by a knife or dagger. On the right side of his sternum, the researchers found a chop mark where a piece of the bone had been removed, likely by a twisting motion from the weapon.

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Yes, That Viking Warrior Buried with Weapons Really Was a Woman

An illustration of what the female warrior may have looked like.
Credit: Drawing by Tancredi Valeri; Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd.

The ancient warrior was given a prestigious Viking burial, complete with deadly Viking weapons, a bag of gaming pieces (possibly to represent military command) and two horses, one bridled for riding. This mighty warrior — long thought to be be a man — made headlines in 2017 when researchers in Sweden announced that the individual was, in fact, a woman.

The intense scrutiny that followed caught the researchers by surprise.

The barrage of questions from the public and other scientists was unrelenting: Were the researchers sure they had analyzed the right bones? Was there more than one body in the burial, of which one was surely a man? And if the warrior's sex was indeed female, is it possible they were a transgender man? [See Images of the Viking Woman Warrior's Burial]

Now, in a new study published online yesterday (Feb. 19) in the journal Antiquity, the researchers of the original study have reaffirmed their conclusion that this mighty individual was a woman. The new study addresses all the questions people raised, and more.

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Second Rare Roman Coin Hoard Found In Warwickshire

Coins from Year of the Four Emperors and pot found in Warwickshire 
[Credit: Warwickshire County Council]

Warwickshire museum service needs help to raise the funds to buy a major Roman hoard, found recently in Warwickshire.

The hoard made up of 440 silver denarii coins was uncovered during an archaeological dig at a Roman site on the Edge Hill in 2015. They were buried in a ceramic pot over 1900 years ago, under the floor of a building. This is the second hoard of denarii to be found in this area and this new discovery contains 78 coins dating to AD 68-69, a turbulent time in Roman history known as the ‘Year of the Four Emperors’.

This important period in Roman history saw a civil war sparked by the death of Nero in AD 68, resulting in four successive rulers in a short span of time: Galba, Otho, Vitellius and finally Vespasian. As they vied for power, each contender struck their own coins to fund their armies, and these coins are incredibly rare. Within a roughly 18 month period the title of Emperor changed hands four times. Very few of these coins from this turbulent time survive. The second South Warwickshire hoard contains the largest collection of civil war-era coins ever found.

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University of Cambridge release trove of aerial photos of Wales


A series of aerial photographs which form part of a collection labelled the "historical Google Earth" show the changing face of Wales.

The images, some dating back to 1945, have been made available online by the University of Cambridge.

RAF pilots were asked to capture the bomb-scarred post-war period to the emergence of motorways and new cities.

Prof Martin Millett said the images "let you travel back in time to a Britain which no longer exists".

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Neolithic skull found by Thames 'mudlarkers'

The frontal bone was radiocarbon dated to 3,600 BC
MUSEUM OF LONDON

Here's a piece of history pulled from the muddy banks of the River Thames.

It's a skull fragment that is 5,600 years old. It dates to a time long before there was any permanent settlement on the site we now know as London.

Investigations indicate it belonged to a male over the age of 18.

There are older Neolithic remains that have been recovered in the region, but what makes this specimen especially interesting is that it's the earliest ever skull found by "mudlarkers".

If you haven't heard of them before - they're the band of mostly amateur archaeologists who scour the Thames' edges at low tide for objects of intrigue and antiquity. And they're constantly picking up fascinating items - many of which end up in the Museum of London, where this frontal bone will now be displayed from Wednesday.

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St Michan's, Dublin: Vandals decapitate 800-year-old crusader

The crusader's head was "severed from his body and taken away"

An 800-year-old "crusader" from a crypt in a Dublin church has been decapitated by vandals.

Archdeacon David Pierpoint told RTE the crusader's head has been "severed from his body and taken away".

The discovery was made as a tour guide was preparing to open the church for visitors on Monday afternoon.

Archdeacon Pierpoint said he was upset and disappointed that the church has been targeted again by vandals.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Stonehenge: Archaeologists discover long-lost tools used to build ancient monument

Scientists know the Stonehenge early phase standing stones (the so-called bluestones rather than the later more famous and much larger sarsen stones) come from this and other Pembrokeshire prehistoric quarries – because of chemical identification tests they have carried out on the rocks.
So far, only two quarries have been identified – both on the northern slopes of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales - but geologists, who have studied the Stonehenge bluestones, think it is likely there were at least three or four other quarries that have yet to be found.
The discovery of the tools is likely to rekindle one of archaeology’s biggest debates – how did the builders of Stonehenge transport the bluestones (an estimated 79 of them, each weighing approximately 2 tonnes) from southwest Wales to Salisbury Plain.
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Archaeologists Make 'Very Special' Viking Era Discovery in Norway


Gjellestad, Norway: The site of the discovery
ERICH NAU, NIKU


Almost one thousand years after the end of the Viking Age, Norwegian archaeologists have made a sensational find near Halden in the south-east of Norway. The burial mound and adjacent field harbour several longhouses and at least one ship burial.

Digital data visualizations reveal the well-defined 20-meter-long ship-shaped structure, with indications that the lower part is well preserved. Incredibly, the ship lies just below the topsoil, with just 50cm separating it from the fresh air.

The discovery was made quite by accident when a local farmer wanted to dig ditches to solve an ongoing drainage problem in a boggy field. In previous years trenches in the area had turned up items of interest, so archaeologists from Østfold county decided to try a non-intrusive method of analysis before giving the work the go-ahead.

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Vikings Were Fearless. Except When It Was Too Cold

Aerial view of the Greenland ice sheet from a helicopter.
Credit G. Everett Lasher / Northwestern

Greenland was balmy when the Vikings invaded, a new study based on isotopes in flies has proven, and they left as the glaciers bore down

Vikings evoke many associations, none of which involve relaxing on the seaside and smelling flowers on a balmy evening. The Scandinavian warriors are more usually perceived as being roughnecks in horned helmets who laughed off subzero temperatures. And maybe they did, but a new study by Northwestern University, published this week in Geology, has proven the theory that when the Vikings braved the violent northern seas and conquered Greenland from auks in the 10th century, the island’s climate was less merciless and more Mediterranean.

Also, the Vikings suddenly disappeared from Greenland in the middle of the 15th century, just as the warm snap was ending and the glaciers were sweeping down. A combination of factors seems to have crushed the formerly prosperous settlement, but cold seems to have been key. They could either go native and become horn-helmeted Inuits, or leave. They left.

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Helle's toilet: 12th-century three-person loo seat goes on display

Conservator Luisa Duarte working on the 12th-century toilet seat. 
Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Archaeologists know the names of the owners of the building where plank of oak sat
A rare 12th-century toilet seat built to accommodate three users at once is to go on display for the first time at the Museum of London Docklands.

Nine hundred years after the roughly carved plank of oak was first placed over a cesspit near a tributary of the Thames, it will form the centrepiece of an exhibition about the capital’s “secret” rivers.

The strikingly well preserved seat, still showing the axe marks where its three rough holes were cut, once sat behind a mixed commercial and residential tenement building on what is now Ludgate Hill, near St Paul’s Cathedral, on land that in the mid-1100s would have been a small island in the river Fleet.

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Stunning Narcissus fresco at Pompeii


(ANSA) - Rome, February 14 - A stunning fresco depicting Narcissus gazing at his own reflection has been uncovered during new excavations at Pompeii, the interim director of the archaeological site, Alfonsina Russo, announced on Thursday.

    Pompeii Superintendent Massimo Osanna said the myth of Narcissus was a "very commonly found artistic topos in the ancient city".


    He said "the whole ambience is pervaded by the theme of 'joie de vivre', beauty and vanity, underscored also by the figures of maenads and satyrs who, in a sort of Dionysian courtship dance, accompanied the visitors inside the public part of the ancient house.


    "It is a deliberately luxurious, and probably dating back to the last years of the colony, as is testified by the extraordinary state of conservation of the colours".


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Suspected Neanderthal footprints have been found in Gibraltar


A footprint which could belong to one of the last Neanderthals to walk the Earth has been found in Gibraltar.
Although most Neanderthals died out by around 40,000 years ago, some did survive at the edge of the Iberian peninsular, where stone tools prove they were still alive around 28,000 years ago.
Now researchers at The Gibraltar National Museum, who have spent the last decade studying ancient paths in the sand dunes above Catalan Bay, believe they have discovered the footprint of a teenage Neanderthal who lived around 29,000 years ago.
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Britain’s largest Neolithic house ‘built in Scotland’

The remains of the largest Neolithic hall found in Britain, which was were discovered in Carnoustie, Angus. 
PIC: GUARD Archaeology.

The largest Neolithic house in Britain was built in Scotland around 6,000 years ago, archaeologists have confirmed

Two halls which were used as houses and likely home to large numbers of people have been discovered in Carnoustie, Angus.

The site is far larger and older than previously thought with archaeological work shedding new light on some of Scotland’s earliest communities.

Analysis shows food was processed and consumed in the halls with pottery made and used there.

It is possible that animals were also kept in part of the building.

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Ancient DNA from Viking Graves Proves the Fierce Fighters Rode Male Horses

Modern Icelandic horses are likely descended from the horses that Vikings were buried with, 
more than 1,000 years ago.
Credit: Albína Hulda Pálsdóttir

Vikings who settled in Iceland more than 1,000 years ago valued their horses so much that the men were buried with their trusty steeds. And DNA analysis of these treasured animals recently proved that the horses consigned to the grave with their manly owners were males, too.
For decades, archaeologists have studied the contents of hundreds of Viking graves in Iceland. Many of these graves also contained the remains of horses that appeared to have been healthy adults when they died.
Because the horses seemed well cared for in life — before they were killed and buried, that is — they were considered to be important to the men whose remains lay nearby. Recently, scientists conducted the first ancient DNA analysis of bones from 19 horses in Viking graves, and found that nearly all of the animals were male, a tantalizing clue about vanished Viking culture
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Decapitated bodies found in Roman cemetery in Great Whelnetham

The team found a number of decapitated Roman burials
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS

Archaeologists excavating a Roman burial ground said the discovery of a series of decapitated bodies was a "rare find".

A dig has been taking place on a site in Great Whelnetham, Suffolk, ahead of a planned housing development.

Of the 52 skeletons found, about 40% had their skulls detached from their bodies, many placed by their legs.

Archaeologist Andrew Peachey said it gave a "fascinating insight" into Roman burial practice.

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Ancient burial site and monument found in England's New Forest

he urns contained cremated human bone and had been placed into small pits 
[Credit: New Forest National Park Authority via BBC]

Archaeologists and volunteers have found an important prehistoric burial site near Beaulieu dating back thousands of years.
A community dig in a field at East End set out to investigate what they thought was a Bronze Age barrow which had been ploughed over and they were thrilled to find four cremation burial urns dating from that period around 3,000 years ago.

But as the excavation progressed further, the evidence began suggesting that the site might have been an important place for even older human activity which Bronze Age settlers then adapted.

New Forest National Park Authority Community Archaeologist James Brown said: ‘We were elated to find the urns – they were inverted in what we originally thought was the ditch around the barrow and one has a decorative band pattern on it that will help us to date them. These urns were domestic pots and contain cremated human bone placed into small pits. So we know this site was a place of memorial for people in the New Forest around 3,000 years ago.

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'Witches' marks' found in British cave network


The "witches' marks" are scribed into walls and ceilings of the caves, 
over dark holes and large crevices 
[Credit: © Creswell Heritage Trust]

They were discovered at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, and are believed to be the biggest concentration of protective marks found in British caves.

The "apotropaic" marks were scribed into the cave surface as they were thought to keep evil spirits coming from the underworld.

Originally thought to be graffiti, they have now been reclassified.

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Pembrokeshire chariot burial finds ruled as treasure

his terret ring would have guided the chariot reins
Parts of an Iron Age chariot found by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure by the Pembrokeshire coroner.
Mike Smith made the discovery in February 2018 on farmland in the south of the county.
The court at Milford Haven heard on Thursday the finds were part of the ritual burial of an entire chariot and that the site is now legally protected.
Mr Smith says the 2,000-year-old finds could be worth a "life-changing" six to seven figure sum.
The nine artefacts are now Crown property and a independent valuation committee will decide on the payment to Mr Smith.

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Sheela-na-gigs: The naked women adorning Britain's churches

This sheela-na-gig at Oaksey in Wiltshire boasts "pendulous breasts" and a vulva
"extended almost to her ankles"
For hundreds of years carvings of naked women have sat provocatively on churches across Britain. But who created them - and why?
Look at these, my child-bearing hips
Look at these, my ruby red ruby lips...
Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
The year is 1992 and the singer-songwriter PJ Harvey is performing Sheela-Na-Gig, the most successful single from her critically acclaimed album Dry.
But unless you're a fan of late 20th Century indie music, or an expert in Norman church architecture, there's every chance you've not been exposed to the sheela-na-gig - or have sauntered past one without even realising it.
Hidden in plain sight, these sculptures of squatting women pulling back the lips of their vaginas have for nearly a millennium aroused feelings of intrigue, shame and even anger.

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DES FORTIFICATIONS ET UN HABITAT DU MOYEN ÂGE À HARFLEUR


À Harfleur (Normandie), les équipes de l’Inrap ont mis au jour des éléments de fortification remarquables, dont une tour creuse et un ouvrage défensif avancé (casemate), ainsi que des vestiges d’habitation des XIIIe et XIVe siècles. Ces découvertes viennent enrichir l’histoire de ce port stratégique de l’estuaire de la Seine, supplanté seulement au début du XVIe siècle par le Havre.

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Mittelalterliche Siedlungsspuren gesucht – 3.000 Jahre altes Grab gefunden


Dynamische Interaktionszone am Nordrand des Kaukasus
Ein internationales Forschungsteam koordiniert von der Eurasien-Abteilung des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (DAI) in Berlin und dem Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte in Jena (MPI-SHH) konnte erstmals systematische paläogenetische Untersuchungen im Kaukasus durchführen. Die kürzlich erschienene Studie fußt auf den Analysen genomweiter Daten von 45 Individuen aus der Steppen- und der Gebirgszone des Nordkaukasus. Die zwischen 6500 und 3500 Jahre alten Skelette zeigen, dass die genetische Signatur in den nördlichen Bergflanken den Gruppen südlich des Kaukasus ähnelt und dort eine scharfe genetische Grenze zu den Steppengebieten im Norden verläuft. 

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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Stonehenge tunnel: The background to the row

Will tunnel destroy secrets of Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions, drawing 1.5m visitors visitors alone last year. But plans to build a road tunnel nearby to help ease congestion have enraged some archaeologists.

Here is the background to the row.

Why is a tunnel being built?

Visitors to Stonehenge typically arrive there via the A303, a major link road between London and the South West.

However, the single carriageway section of road past the site is a notorious bottleneck, especially in the summer months.

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First ancient DNA from mainland Finland reveals origins of Siberian ancestry in region


New study shows that the genetic makeup of northern Europe traces back to migrations from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago and that, as recently as the Iron Age, ancestors of the Saami lived in a larger area of Finland than today.

Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Helsinki have analyzed the first ancient DNA from mainland Finland. As described in Nature Communications, ancient DNA was extracted from bones and teeth from a 3,500 year-old burial on the Kola Peninsula, Russia, and a 1,500 year-old water burial in Finland. The results reveal the possible path along which ancient people from Siberia spread to Finland and Northwestern Russia.

Researchers found the earliest evidence of Siberian ancestry in Fennoscandia in a population inhabiting the Kola Peninsula, in Northwestern Russia, dating to around 4,000 years ago. This genetic ancestry then later spread to populations living in Finland. The study also found that people genetically similar to present-day Saami people inhabited areas in much more southern parts of Finland than the Saami today.

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Burial sites from 5th and 6th centuries yield unexpected treasures

Some of the artefacts discovered during excavations in Lincolnshire. 
Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Archaeologists have uncovered lavish burial sites for women in Lincolnshire from the fifth and sixth centuries, which illustrate how women of the time made themselves resplendent.

Items recovered from the previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery include jewellery made from amber, silver and glass as well as personal grooming items such as tweezers.

Dr Hugh Willmott, senior lecturer in European historical archaeology from Sheffield University and a dig leader, said: “These women wore necklaces made from sometimes hundreds of amber, glass and rock crystal beads, used personal items such as tweezers, carried fabric bags held open by elephant ivory rings, and wore exquisitely decorated brooches to fasten their clothing.

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Archeologists find Viking sword in southern Turkey


Turkish archeologists uncover Viking sword from 9th-10th century in ancient city of Patara

Searching through the ancient city of Patara in Turkey's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkish archeologists uncovered a sword dating back to over a millennium.

Lead excavator Professor Havva Iskan Isik of Akdeniz University told Anadolu Agency that they identified a Viking sword from the ninth or 10th century.

Isik said they have been carrying out excavation works for 30 years and have discovered important archaeological evidence so far. 

"Finding a Viking sword in a harbor city in the Mediterranean area is of great importance," she said.

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Lincolnshire Anglo-Saxon cemetery burials unearthed

Experts said a "significant proportion of very lavish burials" belonged to women

Burials of richly-dressed women interred with their jewellery and personal items have been unearthed at an Anglo-Saxon cemetery.

About 20 graves dating to the fifth and sixth centuries, including one containing a woman cradling a baby, were found in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

The cemetery was discovered after a metal detectorist uncovered artefacts at the site in Scremby, near Skegness.

Experts said there was a "rich array" including necklaces and brooches

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