Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Archaeologists find ancient storage jar under Roman road

IPPLEPEN, England, July 27 (UPI) -- The excavation of an ancient Roman road that once ran through the British Isles has yielded a unique archeological find. Researchers with the University of Exeter has uncovered fragments of an ancient storage jar.
Archaeologists have been excavating the road, complete with potholes and wheel ruts, for nearly a year. Their work has offered new insight into how the communities of Roman Britain functioned.
The latest clue as to what life might have been like 2,000 years ago, near Ipplepen, England, is a pottery fragment -- a large piece of what's referred to as an amphora.
The storage jar was likely used to carry food stuffs across Europe, from Rome to "Britannia." Archaeologists say the jar likely carried olive oil or wine.
Read the rest of this article...

Mass medieval grave found at Aberdeen school

A mass grave with more than 20 medieval skeletons has been hailed a “major discovery”.

The remains, thought to date back to the 13th century, were discovered during installation works at a top private school in Scotland.

The bones were buried less than two feet underground in the quad area of the site and are now being examined by experts with a view to being reburied.

Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen, ordered the boiler work - but the skeletons were discovered in the grounds of the neighbouring private school Robert Gordon College.

Contractors installing cables found the first skeleton near Schoolhill main library and called in Aberdeenshire Council archaeologists to carry out further excavations in the area.

Read the rest of this article...

Neolithic house discovery at Avebury stone circle dig

Archaeologists believe they may have found the remains of a house where people who built Avebury stone circle may have lived.
The three-week Between the Monuments project is researching the daily lives of Neolithic and Bronze Age residents at the Wiltshire site.
The dig is being led by The National Trust and Southampton and Leicester University archaeologists.
The National Trust said if it is a house they will have "hit the jackpot".
Spokesman Dr Nick Snashall said: "I could count the number of middle Neolithic houses that have been found on the fingers of one hand.

Read the rest of this article...

New research on the causes of the Viking Age

The Viking hit-and-run raids on monastic communities such as Lindisfarne and Iona were the most infamous result of burgeoning Scandinavian maritime prowess in the closing years of the Eighth Century.

These skirmishes led to more expansive military campaigns, settlement, and ultimately conquest of large swathes of the British Isles. But Dr Steve Ashby, of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, wanted to explore the social justifications for this spike in aggressive activity.

Previous research has considered environmental, demographic, technological and political drivers, as well as the palpable lure of silver and slave and why these forms of wealth became important at this stage.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Volcanoes linked to cultural upheaval since early Roman times

Large volcanic eruptions have cooled the global climate many times in the last 2,500 years and coincided with devastating famine across Europe, new research shows.

New research presents the most precise record yet of volcanic activity during the last 2,500 years.
In a study published this week in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists use ice-cores and tree-rings to show just how often and by how much volcanoes have cooled the climate of the northern hemisphere -- Finding links between large volcanic eruptions and societal upheaval as far back as the early Roman period.
Read the rest of this article...

Ancient carriage way discovered near Athens

A 300-metre section of an ancient carriage way dated to the 4th century BC was discovered by archaeologists at the Megalo Kavouri beach in the southern suburb of Vouliagmeni, the ministry of Culture announced on Monday. 

Section of the ancient carriage road discovered in Vouliagmeni 
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 

The road, paved with small stones placed close to one another, varies in width from 1.90 metres to 6.10 metres. It is delineated by retaining walls on either side that also serve to keep the pavement stable, as the earth underneath is soft and sandy.

Read the rest of this article...

Bronze Age skeleton unearthed in Wiltshire

A 4,000-year-old Bronze Age skeleton, believed to be that of an adolescent child, has been unearthed by archaeologists.
The rare discovery was made by a team from the University of Reading, who are excavating Wilsford henge in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire.
It is believed the skeleton will help shed light on the lives of those who lived and worshipped at nearby Stonehenge.
The body, around 1.5m in length, was found in a foetal position and was wearing an amber necklace. Efforts will now be made to determine the age and gender of the child and where they were from after the find was made on Tuesday.
The Vale of Pewsey, situated between Stonehenge and Avebury, is the subject of a three-year dig but over the last six weeks, archaeologists have focused on Marden henge and Wilsford henge.
Read the rest of this article...

Fortress older than the pyramids is uncovered in Monmouth

Archaeologists have unearthed a wooden island old enough to have been built by the Flintstones under a modern Barratt estate.
The fortified farmhouse on stilts in the middle of an ice age lake is so old it could have even been built before Stonehenge was created.
At 4,900 years old it's probably even older than the Pyramids and was probably built to provide a natural moat to protect the rich inhabitants from attackers in an area that is now on the Welsh borders.
It was around the time early man started to live communally and archaeologist Steve Clarke says it is only the second "crannog" to be found in England and Wales and much older than the first.
Read the rest of this article...

Irish motorway dig reveals finds dating back to 3500BC

A ‘mound’ used as a gathering point for rituals dating back to 3500 BC, evidence of medieval treasure-hunting and remains of Famine cottages are among the ancient finds along the M17 motorway. 

The excavation at Kilskeagh, which found, where a gathering point dating  back to 3500C was uncovered [Credit: Connacht Tribune] 

The finds at 26 excavated sites on the 30km stretch from Rathmorrissy (near Athenry) to Tuam have been recorded in a book entitled ‘Through the Lands of the Auteri and St Jarlath’, which will be launched next week. 

The book takes its title from the Auteri tribe which controlled large tracts of land in the second century AD in what is now Athenry, and 300 years later, where according to legend, St Jarlath founded Tuam.

Read the rest of this article...

Eine weitere Frauenstatuette aus dem Hohle Fels?

Ein neu entdecktes Elfenbeinfragment aus dem Hohle Fels in Baden-Württemberg gehört möglicherweise zu einer zweiten weiblichen Figurine. Der im letzten Jahr gemachte Fund aus der Altsteinzeit ist derzeit in einer Sonderpräsenation in Blaubeuren zu sehen.

Bei Ausgrabungen in der Höhle Hohle Fels auf der Schwäbischen Alb nahe Schelklingen hat das Team von Professor Nicholas Conard aus der Abteilung Urgeschichte und Quartärökologie der Universität Tübingen einen rätselhaften Fund gemacht: ein aus zwei Teilen zusammengesetztes Bruchstück aus Mammutelfenbein. Von Menschenhand bearbeitet, weist das Fragment deutliche, tief eingebrachte Rillen in musterhafter Anordnung auf.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Oxford Westgate dig: Medieval leather shoes found

"Rare and exciting" leather and wooden objects 700 years old have been found at an archaeological dig in Oxford.

Experts uncovered 50 medieval leather shoes and a bag as well as a wooden bowl and timber posts at the Westgate Shopping Centre excavation.

The objects which "tell us about everyday people" have been so well preserved because the Thames floodplain area is below the water level.

Project director Ben Ford said: "These finds are as rare as gold."

Read the rest of this article...

The last Viking and his 'magical' sword?

Have you held the sword? Have you felt its weight? Have you felt how sharp and strong the blade is?

 Langeidsverdet helfigur 
[Credit: Ellen C. Holthe, Museum  of Cultural History, University of Oslo]

 A deadly weapon and symbol of power -- jewellery for a man, with magical properties. The sword gave power to the warrior, but the warrior's strength could also be transferred to the sword. That is how they were bound together: man and weapon, warrior and sword. 

This sword was found in Langeid in Bygland in Setesdal in 2011. It is a truly unique sword from the late Viking Age, embellished with gold, inscriptions and other ornamentation. The discovery of the sword has not been published until now, when it is being displayed for the first time in the exhibition 'Take It Personally' at the Historical Museum in Oslo. 

The sword must have belonged to a wealthy man in the late Viking Age. But who was he and what magic inscriptions are set into the decoration -- in gold? Was the owner of the sword in the Danish King Canute's army when it attacked England in 1014-15?

Read the rest of this article...

Four Days to the Festival

That’s right – there are only four days until we join The Salisbury Museum and friends for our annual Festival of Archaeology celebration. 
This Saturday and Sunday Wessex Archaeology will be at Salisbury Museum. Come and join us to see some of the finds our Coastal & Marine team have investigated, dig deep in our mini digs to complete our Collection Countdown challenge, and meet our engaging staff who are happy to answer all of the questions that you never knew you had about commercial archaeology.
Did we mention it’s entirely free?
The Museum is open from 10am Saturday 18 July and 11am Sunday 19 July 2015.
There will be a whole range of talks and events taking place.
Find out more here: http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/events/1674

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Study Shows Diseases Like Plague Can Perilously Evolve

keletons in the East Smithfield Cemetery in London, where plague victims were buried in the 13th century. Scientists warn that small genetic changes can contribute to new modes of transmission for diseases like plague. Credit Museum of London Archaeology, via Associated Press

Contrary to what was previously believed, the bacterium responsible for the Black Death probably caused small outbreaks of lung disease for many years before it evolved its better-known bubonic form, according to a new genetic study.

Also, only one added gene was needed to turn the Yersinia pestis bacterium into a killer, and only one tiny mutation in that gene was needed to give it two ways of spreading — by cough or by flea bite, said Wyndham W. Lathem, a microbiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who oversaw a team inserting genes into ancestral versions of Y. pestis in mice.

During last year’s Ebola outbreak in West Africa, some feared that the disease, which spread through blood, vomit and feces, could become airborne.

Plague bacteria are very different from Ebola virus, Dr. Lathem said, “but this shows that new modes of transmission can occur through very small changes, so you need to keep an eye out.”

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark

Archaeologists have discovered about 2,000 little gold spirals from the Bronze Age in a field near Boeslunde in Zealand.

Bronze Age gold spirals found in Boeslund, 900-700 BC  
[Credit: Morten Petersen/Zealand Museum]

The longest of the many spirals are around 3 cm in length and are all produced from thin and flat golden thread dating from 700-900 BC.

The find, in an area of Zealand considered one of northern Europe’s best places to find gold artefacts from the Bronze Age, remains as mysterious as it is sensational.

Read the rest of this article...

The boneyard of the bizarre that rewrites our Celtic past to include hybrid-animal monster myths

Cow with horse's legs among finds that throw light on the ancient mind

Ancient Mediterranean cultures thought nothing of splicing different animals together to form fantastical mythical beasts, such as the half-lion, half-goat chimera or the half-lion, half-eagle griffin.

Until now, however, ancient Britons were not credited with such imagination. That is all about to change following the discovery of a series of animal skeletons near Winterborne Kingston in Dorset, which raises the possibility that Britain’s ancient Celtic population had hybrid-animal monster myths similar to those of the ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians and Egyptians.

The bones, discovered in Dorset by archaeologists, appear to have been deliberately rearranged by Iron Age Britons in order to create hybrid beasts, half one creature and half another.

Read the rest of this article...

Viking-age hut found in Reykjavik

Archaeologists digging on Lækjargata in central Reykjavik were looking for traces of a farm cottage built in 1799 – and found a Viking longhouse from some 900 years earlier.

The longhouse is at least 20 m long at 5.5m wide at it widest point. The ‘long fire’ in the centre of the hut is one of the largest ever found in Iceland, which visible traces suggesting it was over 5.2 m long.

“This find came as a great surprise for everybody,” says Þor­steinn Bergs­son, Managing Director of Minja­vernd, an independent association working for the preservation of old buildings in Iceland. “This rewrites the history of Reykjavik.”

Read the rest of this article...

Rare ancient Roman frescos found in south of France

Girl playing a harp
Julien Boislève, Inrap/Musée Départemental Arles Antique

Extremely rare ancient Roman frescos, comparable to those found in the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii, have been uncovered in the historic southern French city of Arles. Photos of the ancient painting were released Friday after the mural from a villa bedroom was found in April.
The first full mural in the Pompeii style in France from between 20 and 70 BC has been found in Arles.
Archaeologists from the Museum of Ancient Arles collections have been working to recover the remains of the Roman villa since 2014.

Human presence in Scotland earlier than thought

Archaeologists working on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge Estate in Aberdeenshire have uncovered evidence that people were active in this mountainous landscape thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

Excavations of an 8,000 year-old hunter-gatherer site in remote Glen Geldie,  on the National Trust for Scotland’s mountainous Mar Lodge Estate  [Credit: National Trust for Scotland] 

Archaeologists working on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge Estate in Aberdeenshire have uncovered evidence that people were active in this mountainous landscape thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

Excavations at sites deep in the Cairngorm glens have produced radiocarbon dates which demonstrate a human presence as far back as 8,100 BC, with some places being revisited over many thousands of years.

Read the rest of this article...

Digital Reconstruction of Holt Castle

Robbed of stone to build Eaton Hall in C17, little today remains of the Edwardian castle of Holt a favourite of Richard II’s. Towards the end of his reign it became Richard’s royal treasury storing an estimated 100,000 marks (£66,000) just before his downfall.

Funded by the Castle Studies Trust, leading experts Rick Turner and Chris Jones-Jenkins have digitally reconstructed Holt in great detail both internally and externally which has been converted into a video fly-through to reveal what the castle was like at its zenith in the late C15

To see the video please go here:: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv_sHru_OG0 

This amazing work was done by combining their extensive knowledge and expertise with a variety of historical sources such as inventories, antiquarian drawings and plans as well as the results of recent excavations.

Project leader Rick Turner says:

“It has been great fun trying to solve the disappearance of this once famous castle. All the different pieces of evidence have had to be assessed and reconciled. The most important is what survives at the crime scene itself, the visible remains and what has been found in recent excavations. Old plan and views have been helpful in rebuilding the lost parts, though at times the information they give is contradictory. Visualizing what the documentary sources are describing has been a real challenge. We hope that we have done this impressive and complex castle justice.”

Castle Studies Trust Co-Patron John Goodall:

“This project has helped reconstruct in vivid detail the splendour of a major castle that has been lost for nearly four hundred years. The video fly-through will not only help people understand what this unusual and sophisticated building looked like, but also how it would have functioned as a working building, something that is impossible in its current condition.”

Watch the Video...

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

You(r) Archaeology – portraying the past

“You(r) Archaeology – portraying the past” - A European competition to express your view.

What is archaeology? An adventure? A pain in the neck? The appeal of the past, the magic of marvellous sites, the boredom of a dusty museum? Probably all of these together, and still more.

Up until July 31st 2015, all European citizens can answer the question and tell us about their idea of archaeology by entering a drawing, painting, photo or video in the European competition “You(r) Archaeology”.

Further details...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Historian Uses Lasers to Unlock Mysteries of Gothic Cathedrals

Thirteen million people visit the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris every year, entering through massive wooden doors at the base of towers as solidly planted as mountains. They stand in front of walls filigreed with stained glass and gaze at a ceiling supported by delicate ribs of stone.

If its beauty and magnificence is instantly apparent, so much about Notre Dame is not. To begin with, we don't know who built this cathedral—or how.

The bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, commissioned the massive church complex around 1160. Yet the names of those who first constructed this masterpiece are lost to history. They left no records—only centuries of speculation—behind.

Read the rest of this article...

Lasers reveal mysteries of Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Built from 1160 to 1345, the massive cathedral is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Paris and is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture that exists today. For all its storied past, however, little information survives about the architects and designers who raised the building. That’s where art historian and laser modeler Andrew Tallon has stepped in, with new methods of gathering data about Notre Dame that shed light on some of its earliest history. 

Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris  [Credit: osc-vector.com] 

The actual laser modeling is done by mounting a laser from a tripod and shooting the gallery, taking time to measure the distance between the scanner and every point it hits. Each one of these points represents a distance — by mapping millions of points from a single location, historians can measure how the building expands and contracts during the day, as well as how it shifts over longer periods of time. By combining the point cloud data generated by the laser scanner with on-site photographs taken at the same time, Tallon has created extremely accurate models of the underlying structure and design of the cathedral, and identified points where the cathedral’s masons either deviated from the original plan or paused work to allow the ground to settle.

Read the rest of this article...

Rare Viking relic discovered at Perthshire dig

ARCHAEOLOGISTS delving into Scottish history believe they have discovered a rare object at a Viking-age longhouse in Perthshire

The small circular stone, with a central hole - thought to be a spindle whorl - was found by Diana McIntyre, who was on a dig with Glenshee Archaelogy Project at Lair in Glenshee.

A spindle whorl, was a weight fitted to a spindle while hand spinning textiles to increase and maintain the speed of the spin.

The stone, which is only around 5cm in diameter, has been carefully shaped to be symmetrical, but what has interested the team are the symbols and designs carved onto one surface.

Read the rest of this article...

Dundee experts recreate face of Saxon man at Lincoln Castle

Facial reconstruction experts at the University of Dundee have recreated the face of a Saxon man whose skeleton was discovered on the site of an old church at Lincoln Castle.
On Monday 8th June, the new-look castle will be officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal. On that day, a new exhibition will be revealed in the Victorian Prison, sharing some of the archaeological finds unearthed during the Lincoln Castle Revealed project.
As part of the exhibition, experts at the University of Dundee have recreated the face of an Anglo Scandinavian man whose skeleton was discovered on the site of an old church within the castle grounds. The skeleton was one of ten sets of remains discovered.
Read the rest of this article...

Polish farmer finds 2,500 year old gold bracelets

Gold items preliminarily dated to 1600-400 BC have been discovered by a farmer near Jasło in the Subcarpathia. The antique objects have been taken to the Sub-Carpathian Museum in Krosno. 

The three gold bracelets dating to between 1600 and 400 BC unearthed by a farmer in southeastern Poland [Credit: PAP © 2015/Darek Delmanowicz] 

During field work near Jasło, a farmer found three gold bracelets tied with golden wire. He then informed the archaeological service. 

Archaeologists now intend to study the place of discovery because the want to determine whether it was a discovery of a treasure, or perhaps the remains of a burial ground, as Jan Gancarski, director of the Sub-Carpathian Museum in Krosno said. 

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists find Bronze Age food at prehistoric settlement "comparable to the Mary Rose"

Archaeologists found food from between 800-1000 BC in a set of pots, textiles and other material at a Cambridgeshire settlement destroyed by fire during the Bronze Age
© Cambridge Archaeological Unit

An “extraordinary testimony” to the lives of prosperous people in Bronze Age Britain could lie under the soil of a 1,100-square metre site destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago, say archaeologists who are about to start digging within a brick pit near Peterborough.

Must Farm – part of the Flag Fen Basin, and the site where nine pristine log boats were famously unearthed in 2011 – was protected by a ring of wooden posts before a dramatic fire at the end of the Bronze Age caused the dwelling to collapse into the river.

Its submergence preserved its contents, creating what experts are describing as a “time capsule” of “exceptional” decorated tiles made from lime tree bark.

Read the rest of this article...

Roman shipwreck found off coast of Sardinia

Italian police released a video on Tuesday (June 23) showing a well-preserved ancient Roman ship that was recently discovered in waters off the coast of Sardinia. 

The well-preserved ancient Roman ship was found in the strait that separates  Sardinia from Corsica [Credit: Polizia di Stato] 

In the video police officers were seen approaching the shipwreck as fish swam in the clear seas surrounding the Italian island. 

Italian police said their historical discovery was made in collaboration with the Archaeological Superintendence, the country's ministerial institute for archaeology.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Magna Carta: explore the document in full

Find out for yourself what Magna Carta says by consulting the original document, with English translation, Latin transcription, and expert commentary from the AHRC’s Magna Carta Project

Read the rest of this article...

Scholars reveal church’s role in Magna Carta

Study of handwriting shows church scribes copied two of the surviving four historical parchments

Magna Carta, signed by King John 800 years ago on Monday, laid the groundwork for the modern state, imposing the first limits on the monarch’s power. Now the true extent of the role the church played in sending its message across Britain has been uncovered by academics studying the four surviving copies of the parchments.
After scrutinising the handwriting, researchers working on the University of East Anglia and King’s College London’s Magna Carta Project are convinced that the Lincoln and Salisbury charters were written by religious scribes working outside the court. This means the famous Runnymede deal was backed by England’s bishops, as much as by the rebel barons whom John was hoping to appease.
Scholars believe the Lincoln charter was written by a scribe working for the Bishop of Lincoln, while the Salisbury charter was done by a scribe working for the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury.
Read the rest of this article...

How did the Turin Shroud get its image?

On Sunday, Pope Francis will "venerate" the famous Shroud of Turin, which is thought by some to be the burial wrapping of Jesus Christ - and by others to be a medieval fake. Whatever it is, it's a mystery how the cloth came to bear the image of a man. Science writer Philip Ball discusses the theories.
In a carefully worded announcement, the Archbishop of Turin says that the Pope "confirms the devotion to the shroud that millions of pilgrims recognise as a sign of the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord".
You'll notice that this says nothing about its authenticity. The Catholic Church takes no official position on that, stating only that it is a matter for scientific investigation. Ever since radiocarbon dating in 1989 proclaimed the 14ft by 4ft piece of linen to be roughly 700 years old, the Church has avoided claiming that it is anything more than an "icon" of Christian devotion.

Read the rest of this article...

1,000-year-old wine pitcher found in Jutland

Ribe’s archaeology never ceases to surprise, and now teams from the University of Aarhus and Sydvestjyske Museum have made yet another unique find during excavations in the city’s oldest burial ground. 

The 1,000-year-old French wine pitcher was found in Ribe during excavations  of the city’s oldest burial ground [Credit: Sydvestjyske Museer] Half a metre underground in a parking lot, wedged between other urns and tombs, they have discovered a perfectly intact French wine pitcher, which is predicted to be around 1,000 years old. 

“It is a unique find,” said Morten Søvsø, the head of archaeology at Sydvestjyske Museum. 

“The pitcher is an example of the finest pottery produced in northern Europe at the time, and it has never been seen before in Denmark. The vessel reveals information about the vast trading network that put Ribe on the map during the Viking era.” 

Read the rest of this article...

British scientists hunt for Viking traces in Norman DNA

British researchers on Monday began collecting the DNA of residents from Normandy in northern France in search of Viking heritage, but the project has raised concerns amongst some local anti-racism activists.
Around a hundred volunteers from the Cotentin Peninsula area are giving DNA samples to academics at the University of Leicester, who are trying to find descendants of the Vikings who invaded what is now Normandy in the 9th century.
The aim is to learn more about "the intensity of the Scandinavian colonisation" in the 9th and 10th centuries in the Cotentin Peninsula, said Richard Jones, a senior history lecturer at the University of Leicester.
That includes trying to find out whether the colonisers kept to themselves or married amongst the locals, he added.
The French volunteers have been chosen because they have surnames that are of Scandinavian origin or that have been present in France since at least the 11th century. They also qualify if all four of their grandparents lived within a 50-kilometre (30-mile) radius of their current home.
Read the rest of this article...

This ancient liquor popular among Vikings may be the answer to antibiotic resistance

Scientists in Sweden are launching their own mead — an alcoholic beverage made from a fermented mix of honey and water — based on old recipes they say could help in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Together with a brewery, the scientists, who have long studied bees and their honey, have launched their own mead drink: Honey Hunter's Elixir.
Lund University researcher Tobias Olofsson said mead had a long track record in bringing positive effects on health.
Read the rest of this article...

“Globally unparalleled” evidence of prehistoric Welsh feasting practices unearthed by archaeologists

New research led by archaeologists at Cardiff University has showcased "globally unparalleled" evidence of a unique prehistoric pork-focused feasting practice in South Wales
After 10 years of excavation and research, analysis of animal bones deposited in a 'midden' or rubbish heap at a prehistoric feasting site in Llanmaes, Vale of Glamorgan, has revealed the novel custom of mass feasting focused specifically on pigs' right forequarters.
The research - a collaboration between the University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion and National Museum Wales - has provided extraordinary insights into the lives of Wales' prehistoric ancestors.
Read the rest of this article...

400,000-year-old dental tartar provides earliest evidence of manmade pollution

Most dentists recommend a proper teeth cleaning every six months to prevent, among other things, the implacable buildup of calculus or tartar -- hardened dental plaque. Routine calculus buildup can only be removed through the use of ultrasonic tools or dental hand instruments. But what of 400,000-year-old dental tartar?
Tel Aviv University researchers, in collaboration with scholars from Spain, the U.K. and Australia, have uncovered evidence of food and potential respiratory irritants entrapped in the dental calculus of 400,000-year-old teeth at Qesem Cave near Tel Aviv, the site of many major discoveries from the late Lower Paleolithic period. 
Read the rest of this article...

Award-winning Maryport Roman Temples Project begins its final dig at Hadrian's Wall

This will be the final year of a five-year project which has done much to deepen understanding of “one of the most important Roman cult complexes” at Hadrian's Wall

The final opportunity to visit the award-winning annual dig at the Maryport Roman Temples Project and learn about the excavation directly from lectures by the archaeologists involved has begun in Cumbria. 

The eight-week dig aims to explore Roman Maryport’s complex religious landscape and to learn more about the famous altars found at the site, on display in nearby Senhouse Roman Museum.  

Read the rest of this article...

Le prince au torque d’or de Lavau

Exhumée par une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap, la tombe princière de Lavau, datée du début du Ve siècle avant notre ère, a révélé un mobilier funéraire exceptionnel : chaudron en bronze méditerranéen à têtes de lionnes et d’Acheloos (dieu-fleuve), oenochoé attique à figures noires, ciste, bassins en bronze etc. Dans le cadre des Journées nationales de l’archéologie (19-21 juin 2015), l’Inrap présente les derniers résultats de cette fouille achevée depuis quelques jours.

Read the rest of this article...

Construction workers dig up medieval ships in Estonia

The capital of Estonia is perhaps not the place where one would expect to find the remains of medieval ships, but that is exactly what happened to a group of construction workers in Tallinn this week. 

The remains of a medieval ship uncovered by construction workers building  a new residential area in Tallinn, Estonia [Credit: Sander Ilvest] While working on the foundations for high-end apartments in a seaside area of the Baltic state's capital, the men noticed something strange in the ground: the remains of at least two ships thought to be from the 14th-17th centuries. 

"We were digging the ground, when we found some massive wooden pieces, and we decided this might be something interesting," said Ain Kivisaar, spokesman for property developer Metro Capital. 

Read the rest of this article...