Wednesday, October 22, 2014

14th century birch bark scrolls preserved in mud tell Novgorod’s story


Anote, from father to son in 14th century Russia was etched into the bark of a birch tree and curled into a scroll. The scroll and a dozen others like it were among the finds from this year’s digging season.
These scrolls will be added to a collection of more than 1,000 birch-bark documents uncovered in the Russian city of Novgorod, after being preserved for hundreds of years in the mud.
Send me a shirt, towel, trousers, reins, and, for my sister, send fabric,” the father, whose name was Onus, wrote to his son, Danilo, the block letters of Old Novgorod language, a precursor to Russian, neatly carved into the wood with a stylus. Onus ended with a bit of humour. “If I am alive,” he wrote, “I will pay for it.”
Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists have discovered a sunken village from millennia ago


The first Stone Age settlement identified in Polish waters has been discovered in the lake Gil Wielki, Iława Lake District (Warmia and Mazury) by underwater archaeologists led by Dr. Andrzej Pydyn from the Department of Underwater Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.
The discovery was made in the project carried out in cooperation with the Warsaw branch of the Scientific Association of Polish Archaeologists.

"In shallow water in the reservoir we found a large amount of animal bones, remains of tools made of antler and numerous fragments of pottery, used at various times by ancient communities. Among them, the fragments that caught our attention relate to the tradition of late Neolithic, probably associated with the so-called Corded Ware culture" - told PAP Dr. Andrzej Pydyn.

Read the rest of this article...

Roman Gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank a tonic of ashes after training



Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank ashes after training as a tonic. These are the findings of anthropological investigations carried out on bones of warriors found during excavations in the ancient city of Ephesos.
Historic sources report that gladiators had their own diet. This comprised beans and grains. Contemporary reports referred to them as "hordearii" ("barley eaters").
In a study by the Department of Forensic Medicine at the MedUni Vienna in cooperation with the Department of Anthropology at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern, bones were examined from a gladiator cemetery uncovered in 1993 which dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century BC in the then Roman city of Ephesos (now in modern-day Turkey). At the time, Ephesos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia and had over 200,000 inhabitants.
Read the rest of this article...

Decrypting the enigmatic Phaistos Disk


The decoding of the Phaistos Disk has puzzled specialists for over a century, however new findings describe the disk as “the first Minoan CD-ROM’ featuring a prayer to a mother. Gareth Owens, Erasmus coordinator at the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, speaking at the TEI of Western Macedonia on Monday, said the disk is dedicated to a “mother”. 


Discovered in 1907 in the Minoan palace of Phaistos in Crete, the disk has been the  subject of many an interpretation attempt. However, the small total body of text - it consists  of only 241 signs on both sides, based on 45 individual signs - defies any  decisive conclusion [Credit: Yves Brise/Flickr] 

“The most stable word and value is ‘mother’, and in particular the mother goddess of the Minoan era,” said Dr. Owens. He says there is one complex of signs found in three parts of one side of the disk spelling I-QE-KU-RJA, with I-QE meaning “great lady of importance” while a key word appears to be AKKA, or “pregnant mother,” according to the researcher. One side is devoted to a pregnant woman and the other to a woman giving birth.

Read the rest of this article...

Forscherteam identifiziert 3500 Jahre alte Königsstadt


Marburger Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler haben die Identität einer 3500 Jahre alten Königsstadt enthüllt. Bei Ausgrabungen des Vorgeschichtlichen Seminars der Philipps-Universität in Kayalıpınar (Türkei) entdeckten sie Keilschrifttafeln, die erstmalig den hethitischen Namen des Ortes nennen: Samuha. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt Professorin Dr. Elisabeth Rieken vom Marburger Fachgebiet Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft und Keltologie bei ihrer kürzlich abgeschlossenen Bearbeitung der neuen Textfunde.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, October 13, 2014

'Vampire grave' found in Bulgaria


A skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed in Bulgaria, in what archaeologists are terming a "vampire grave"

The skelton with an iron spike through the chest, which was supposed to stop the dead rising

A "vampire grave" containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed by a man known as "Bulgaria’s Indiana Jones".
Professor Nikolai Ovcharov – a crusading archaeologist who has dedicated his life to unearthing mysteries of ancient civilisations – said that he had made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city located in southern Bulgaria, close to the border with Greece.
The city, inhabited since 5,000 BC but only discovered 20 years ago, is believed to be the site of the Temple of Dionysius – the Greek God of wine and fertility. And among the finds at the site, which includes a hilltop citadel, a fortress and a sanctuary, are a series of "vampire graves".
Read the rest of this article...

Stunning new finds from Antikythera


A Greek and international team of divers and archaeologists has retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera. The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue. 


WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O'Brien "spacewalks" in the Exosuit, suspended  from the Hellenic Navy vessel THETIS during the 2014 Return to Antikythera project  [Credit: Brett Seymour, Copyright: Return to Antikythera 2014] 

The Antikythera wreck was first discovered in 1900 by sponge divers who were blown off course by a storm. They subsequently recovered a spectacular haul of ancient treasure including bronze and marble statues, jewellery, furniture, luxury glassware, and the surprisingly complex Antikythera Mechanism. But they were forced to end their mission at the 55-meter-deep site after one diver died of the bends and two were paralyzed. Ever since, archaeologists have wondered if more treasure remains buried beneath the sea bed.

Read the rest of this article...

Découverte d’un nouveau pré-Néandertalien en France : l’homme de Tourville-la-Rivière


Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a mis au jour, sur le site préhistorique de Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), les vestiges d’un pré-Néandertalien. Cette découverte fait aujourd’hui l’objet d’une publication dans la revue internationale PLOS ONE par un groupe de chercheurs du CNRS, de l’Inrap, de l’université nationale australienne, du Centre national de recherche sur l’évolution de l’Homme à Burgos (Espagne) et du département d’Anthropologie de l’université Washington à Saint Louis.

Read the rest of this article...

The fatal attraction of lead


For millennia lead has held a deep attraction for painters, builders, chemists and winemakers - but it's done untold harm, especially to children. And while it's no longer found in petrol, you've still got several kilograms of it in your car.
Element number 82 is one of a handful that mankind has known for millennia. The oldest pure lead, found in Turkey, was made by early smelters more than 8,000 years ago.
That's because lead is very simple to produce. It often comes mixed up with other more coveted minerals, notably silver. And once the ore is out of the ground, thanks to its low melting point, the lead can easily be separated out in an open fire.
Read the rest of this article...

Greece archaeologists uncover Amphipolis floor mosaic

A circular area near the middle of the mosaic is missing but archaeologists hope to rebuild it

Archaeologists unearthing a huge ancient burial site at Amphipolis in northern Greece have uncovered a large floor mosaic.
The mosaic - 3m (10ft) wide and 4.5m (15ft) long - depicts a man with a laurel wreath driving a chariot drawn by horses and led by the god Hermes.
The burial site is said to be the largest ever found in Greece.
It dates from the late 4th Century BC, spurring speculation that it is linked to Alexander the Great of Macedon.
Read the rest of this article...

Treasure hunter finds Viking hoard


A metal detector enthusiast blessed with “a magic touch” has discovered one of the most significant Viking hoards of the past century in southwest Scotland, his third outstanding find in less than a year.
Derek McLennan, 47, from Hollybush, Ayrshire, said he was stunned by his latest success, despite a track record which has seen him unearth hundreds of medieval coins at two separate sites.
This time, working in a pasture owned by the Church of Scotland, he pulled out an arm ring with a distinctive Viking pattern.
That initial find at a site in Dumfries and Galloway was made last month. In the hours and days that followed, Mr McLennan and the county archaeologist unearthed more than 100 objects, including a silver Christian cross inlaid in gold, probably from Dublin, and a large Carolingian pot complete with its lid, one of only three of its kind known in Britain.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Neolithic finds unearthed at Scilly Isles site


Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest hauls of Neolithic pottery in the south west on St Martin's in the Isles of Scilly. 


The Old Quay site on the edge of the sea at St Martin's  [Credit: The Cornishman] 

Thousands of pottery shards, dating back between 3,500 and 3,000 BC, have been uncovered thanks to a project run by volunteers. 

Reading University lecturer and archaeologist Dr Duncan Garrow headed the Stepping Stones project with Fraser Sturt, of Southampton University. 

Dr Garrow called the find of an age that preceded the Bronze Age "significant and intriguing ".

Read the rest of this article...

CyArk is digitally documenting World Heritage Sites in 3D with a little help from Microsoft


The new site taps “advanced hardware acceleration and WebGL,” which basically helps bring powerful 3D capabilities to the browser.
From Microsoft’s perspective, this move represents part of its Rethink campaign, as it looks to convince the world that Internet Explorer is still worth your time.
Interestingly, Nokia is also teaming up with CyArk, lending its HERE True mapping vehicles to help create detailed models of roads and cities using LiDAR. You can see a short skit here of HERE’s work with CyArk in Philadelphia.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sardinian archaeologists find Bronze Age 'giant'


Archeologists working in Sardinia's southwestern region have uncovered a new 'giant', officials reported on Thursday. 


The newly discovered Bronze Age stone figure at the Monte Prama excavation site in Oristano [Credit: ANSA] 

Archaeologists from the Superintendency of Cagliari and Oristano and Cagliari and Sassari universities dug up another monumental sandstone giant at the Monte Prama excavation site in Oristano on Thursday morning. 

The Monte Prama site is home to the Giants of Monte Prama, ancient stone figures from the Bronze-age Nuragic civilization that were discovered en masse in the early 1970s.

Read the rest of this article...

Prehistoric Stone Tools Evolved Independently Within Local Populations, Say Researchers


Suggestion challenges the traditional Out-of-Africa human migration theory for new stone tool introduction into Eurasia.


It wasn’t exclusively the arrival of new people from Africa with new technology that changed the stone tool repertoire of early humans in Eurasia a few hundred thousand years ago—it was local populations in different places and times gradually and independently wising up to a better industry on their own.

So suggests Daniel Adler, associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and colleagues based on a recently completed study in which the researchers examined thousands of stone artifacts recovered from Nor Geghi 1, an Armenian Southern Caucasus archaeological site that features preserved lava flows and artifact-bearing sediments dated to between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago.  The artifacts, dated at 325,000 – 335,000 years old, were a mix of two distinct stone tool technology traditions—bifacial tools, such as hand axes, which were common among early human populations during the Lower Paleolithic, andLevallois, a stone tool production method typically attributed to the Middle Stone Age in Africa and the Middle Paleolithic in Eurasia. The researchers argue that the coexistence of two technologies at Nor Geghi 1 provides the first clear evidence that local populations developed Levallois technology out of existing biface technology.
Read the rest of this article...

Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?


A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse.

This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.

The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the city's cathedral. "The heathens mowed down the entire multitude of priest, clerics, and laity," according to one witness account. Among the slain, allegedly killed while celebrating the Mass, was a bishop who later was granted sainthood.
To modern readers the attack seems monstrous, even by the standards of medieval warfare. But the witness account contains more than a touch of hyperbole, writes Anders Winroth, a Yale history professor and author of the book The Age of the Vikings, a sweeping new survey. What's more, he says, such exaggeration was often a feature of European writings about the Vikings.

Read the rest of this article...

Roman 20,000 coins hoard 'among largest'

The coins are remarkably well preserved for those found in Devon where acidic soils can corrode metal

A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed near Seaton in east Devon.
The Seaton Down Hoard is believed to be one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have been found in Britain.
They were discovered last year by builder Laurence Egerton, 51, using a metal detector.
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is launching an appeal to buy the coins so they can be put on display in the city.
Read the rest of this article...

Numerous finds in a Roman camp


More than 300 coins from the I-VI century AD and further hundreds of objects made of bronze, glass, bone and antlers discovered archaeologists from the Centre for the Study of Antiquity of Southeastern Europe of the University of Warsaw during the excavations in Novae near Svishtov in Bulgaria.
"August campaign has brought a very rich archaeological crop in the form of luxury items used by Roman legionnaires. Curiosities include dagger handles made of ivory" - told PAP Prof. Piotr Dyczek, head of research.

The work also yielded important findings concerning the architectural solutions. Scientists have identified a fragment of a wooden barrack of the 1st cohort of the Eighth Augustan Legion, stationed at Novae from the mid-1st century. His remains are preserved only in the form of more than 200 holes remaining after the wooden pillars that held the structure, and relics of walls made of wicker and clay.

Read the rest of this article...

Roman camp in Bulgaria yields numerous artefacts


More than 300 coins from the first to sixth centuries AD and hundreds of objects made of bronze, glass, bone and antlers have been unearthed by archaeologists during the excavations in Novae near Svishtov in Bulgaria. 


Three unique, finely crafted bronze figurines found found at the dig site [Credit: J. Recław] 

"The August campaign has brought a very rich archaeological crop in the form of luxury items used by Roman legionnaires. Curiosities include dagger handles made of ivory",  said Prof. Piotr Dyczek, head of research. 

Read the rest of this article...

The Seaton Down Hoard: Amateur metal detector uncovers 22,000 Roman coins


An East Devon metal detector enthusiast has stumbled upon one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain, prompting a local museum to launch a campaign to buy the “remarkable” collection for the nation.

The British Museum announced the discovery of the Seaton Down Hoard today. Comprising of about 22,000 coins dating back more than 1,700 years, it is the fifth largest find of Roman coins in Britain.

Laurence Egerton, 51, a semi-retired builder from East Devon, discovered two ancient coins “the size of a thumbnail” buried near the surface of a field with his metal detector in November last year.

After digging deeper, his shovel came up full of the copper-alloy coins. “They just spilled out all over the field,” he said. “It was an exciting moment. I had found one or two Roman coins before but never so many together.”

Read the rest of this article...

Treasure hunter discovers 22,000 Roman coins


A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed on land near Seaton in East Devon. The “Seaton Down Hoard” of copper-alloy Roman coins is one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have ever been found in Britain. 


The Seaton Down hoard of treasure during excavation [Credit: APEX] 

The hoard was declared Treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest on 12th September 2014 which means it will be eligible for acquisition by a museum after valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee, a group of independent experts who advise the Secretary of State. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, which already houses a large collection of local Romano-British objects, has launched a fund-raising campaign.

Read the rest of this article...

Find Out About Archaeology in Exeter



Join Wessex Archaeology at Exeter Quay this week where we will be carrying out a small excavation to investigate the early phases of quayside development. Visitors will have the chance to witness the excavation in action and see any finds that might be uncovered. You will also be able to handle a range of artefacts from different periods and take part in hands-on activities including sandpit digs and clay pot making! 

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Medieval court to be rebuilt in Wales


Work to reconstruct one of the medieval courts of the Princes of Gwynedd has begun at St Fagans National History Museum, near Cardiff. 


Work on rebuilding the Llys Rhosyr great hall is under way [Credit: National Museum Wales] 

Rebuilding the great hall from Llys Rhosyr on Anglesey will be one of the most challenging archaeological projects attempted in Wales, said the museum. 

Part of its original stone structure recovered from Angelsey will be used. Once complete, schools and groups will be able to stay overnight. 

The project will see the building's nine-metre high (29.5 ft) stone walls and thatched roof rebuilt and is part the wider renovation of St Fagans.

Read the rest of this article...

Study shows early modern human settlement in Central Europe over 43,000 years ago



Early modern humans inhabited the region of what is today known as Austria around 43,500 years ago, living in an environment that was cold and steppe-like, according to a recent study. 

Philip Nigst and colleagues of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and other institutions analyzed stone tools and their context after a re-excavation of the famous Willendorf site in Austria, the site best known for the discovery in 1908 of the Venus of Willendorf figurine. Between 2006 and 2011 archaeologists uncovered an assemblage of 32 lithic artifacts and 23 faunal remains. The authors identified the tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as associated with modern humans. The researchers determined this through systematic morphological and technological analysis. They assign the artifacts to a very early archaeological horizon of modern human occupation.
Read the rest of this article...

They weren’t wimps: how modern humans, like Neanderthals, braved the northern cold


Recent finds at Willendorf in Austria reveal that modern humans were living in cool steppe-like conditions some 43,500 years ago – and that their presence overlapped with that of Neanderthals for far longer than we thought. 

In 1908 the famously plump Venus of Willendorf, thought to be a symbol of fecundity, was discovered during an excavation near the Austrian town of Melk. The statuette, on display at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, has been dated to 30,000 years ago and is one of the world’s earliest examples of figurative art.
Now a team of archaeologists has dated a number of stone tools, excavated recently from the same site at the village of Willendorf, to 43,500 years ago. The multinational team, led by Dr Philip Nigst of the University of Cambridge, has identified the tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as indicative of modern human presence. 
Read the rest of this article...

Roman Emperor Augustus' frescoed rooms unveiled for first time after years of restoration

A security man stands inside a room at the House of Augustus on the Palatine hill in Rome on September 17, 2014. The house of Emperor Augustus opened its doors to the public on September 18 after years of restorations. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE. 

Lavishly frescoed rooms in the houses of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia are opening for the first time to the public Thursday, after years of painstaking restoration. 

The houses on Rome's Palatine hill where the emperor lived with his family are re-opening after a 2.5 million euro ($3.22 million) restoration to mark the 2,000 anniversary of Augustus's death -- with previously off-limit chambers on show for the first time. 

From garlands of flowers on Pompeian red backgrounds to majestic temples and scenes of rural bliss, the rooms are adorned with vividly coloured frescoes, many in an exceptional condition. 

Restorers said their task had been a complex one, with bad weather during excavation threating the prized relics of a golden era in the Eternal City. 

Read the rest of this article...

Digital Archaeology changes exploration of the past


An archaeologist in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is exploring the past using the tools of the 21st century. 


Anthropology doctoral student Kevin Gartski takes notes on his iPad at Malloura,  while students work on site [Credit: Jody M. Gordon] 

Derek Counts, professor and chair of art history, and his team are looking at how new tools like iPads and 3D scanners can replace dusty notebooks, sketchpads, pencils and cameras at archaeological sites and museums. 

Paperless Archaeology 

Mobile computing (for example, with tablets, even smart phones) is becoming more and more the normal way of collecting, mapping and archiving information, says Counts. For the past several summers, Counts's archaeological project at the site of Athienou-Malloura on the island of Cyprus, has implemented protocols for using tablets in the field.

Read the rest of this article...

Excavation Through a Scheduled Monument


Wessex Archaeology has recently completed an excavation through the Scheduled Monument of Car Dyke (Scheduled Monument number 1004923). Wessex was commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council, working with the Heritage Consultancy Team at Mouchel, on a flood alleviation scheme at Keeble Drive, Washingborough. The flood alleviation works will involve laying of new pipes to take surface water runoff away from nearby residential areas. 

Read the rest of this article...

Beyond Angkor: How lasers revealed a lost city


Deep in the Cambodian jungle lie the remains of a vast medieval city, which was hidden for centuries. New archaeological techniques are now revealing its secrets - including an elaborate network of temples and boulevards, and sophisticated engineering.
In April 1858 a young French explorer, Henri Mouhot, sailed from London to south-east Asia. For the next three years he travelled widely, discovering exotic jungle insects that still bear his name.
Today he would be all but forgotten were it not for his journal, published in 1863, two years after he died of fever in Laos, aged just 35.
Mouhot's account captured the public imagination, but not because of the beetles and spiders he found.
Read the rest of this article...

Temple of Mithras: How do you put London's Roman shrine back together?


Sixty years ago, a Roman God was uncovered at a London building site. The excavations for the Temple of Mithras moved around but are now going back to the original site - how do you reconstruct a Roman temple, asks Tom de Castella.
The muddy find in September 1954 provoked urgent debate. Winston Churchill's cabinet discussed it three times. A huge new office block - for insurance firm Legal & General - was being built on the site of the Temple of Mithras, described as the Roman discovery of the century. Building work was stopped. People would be able to see it for two weeks before the remains were packed up and moved. A few hundred visitors were expected on day one. Instead about 35,000 queued round the block. Advertisers piled in: "In Londinium they believed in Mithras. In London they believe in Shell." Roughly 400,000 people saw it in all. Then the ruins began a peripatetic existence, including a stay at a builders yard in New Malden, before ending up being exhibited in the City 100 metres from where it had been found.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Viking Ireland - the Videos



In order to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf, the National Museum of Ireland have produced a superb set of videos depicting various aspects of Viking Age Ireland.

You can find the Museum’s Website for these videos here…

Or you can find the individual videos on Youtube:
Viking Ireland 1 – Weapons – The Axe

Viking Ireland 2 – Weapons – The Sword


Viking Ireland 3 – Viking Wealth and Trade


Viking Ireland 4 – Viking Women in Ireland


Viking Ireland 5 – Arrival of Vikings and Beliefs


Viking Ireland 6 – The Irish and the Vikings


Viking Ireland 7 – Daily Life in Viking Ireland


Viking Ireland 8 – Legacy of the Vikings in Ireland

TAG 2014: OK Computer? Digital Public Archaeologies in Practice


Call for Papers

Community or public archaeology has often emphasised communities defined by an attachment to place, often defined by the archaeological site (cf. Simpson 2008); increasingly digital technologies allow a breakdown of this privileging of physical place and the concept of ‘community’ (cf. Waterton 2005; 2010), to connect geographically disparate populations. Digital public archaeology projects have emphasised crowd-sourcing, engagment, dissemination, and publicity using blogs, social media, webfeeds and so on (e.g. Richardson 2012, 2013; Bonacchi et al. 2012). As well as the challenges and opportunities relevant to other public archaeology projects, work which includes a significant digital public archaeology component has a series of more specific concerns. Increasingly the need for archaeologists to engage thoughtfully with digitally technologies has been recognised by a number of organisations (Archaeological Data Service 2010; Heritage Lottery Fund 2012; Institute of Archaeologists 2012), and greater numbers of projects are defined by their predominantly digital work. As a result there are implications both for local site-specific practice by people working as archaeologists — where we are “…progressively transforming a ‘‘world of scarcity’’ into one of ‘‘saturation’’, where space is no more an issue…” (Bonacchi 2012); the wider political context in which people interested in heritage operate (Richardson 2012, 2014); and how different interest groups including intelligent and critical consumers work in the historic environment “…without any professional or academic input whatsoever…” (Moshenka 2008).

Read the rest of this article...

Divers sure of new finds from 'ancient computer' wreck


Athens - Archaeologists began on Monday using a revolutionary new deep sea diving suit to explore the ancient shipwreck where one of the most remarkable scientific objects of antiquity was found.
The so-called Antikythera Mechanism, a 2nd-century BC device known as the world's oldest computer, was discovered by sponge divers in 1900 off a remote Greek island in the Aegean.
The highly complex mechanism of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears was used by the ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system. It took another 1 500 years for an astrological clock of similar sophistication to be made in Europe.
Read the rest of this article...

Roadworks reveal ancient city in Western Greece


The construction works for the new motorway Ionia Odos, in Messolonghi, western Greece, led to an important archaeological discovery. 


The recently discovered archaeological site of Alikyrna near Missolonghi  in western Greece [Credit: Protothema] The archaeological site of Alikyrnas stretches to many acres and includes an entire ancient city near Aghios Thomas in Messolonghi. 

The Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Michael Chryssochoides visited the area and expressed his admiration for this great discovery. 

According to sources in the Greek media, the first findings suggest an ancient urban center which crosses over to the Ionia Odos construction site.

Read the rest of this article...

New photos of Amphipolis Caryatids released


The two caryatids found at the Kasta Tomb in ancient Amphipolis were uncovered entirely by excavators, the ministry of Culture announced on Sunday. 


The Caryatids wear a long chiton and long fringed robe with rich folds  [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 

The full height of each caryatid is 2.27 metres and they are wearing chitons - or full-length draped dresses, tied in the middle - and a long himation, or a shawl-like cover over their dress, with fringes and several folds. 

They are wearing kothornoi, resembling platform boots or shoes and best known for being worn by ancient Greek actors. Their shoes preserve traces of red and yellow pigments, while their toes are depicted in very fine detail.

Read the rest of this article...

Naturfreunde schmelzen für Eisenzeit dahin: In Lehrte bald historisch-ökologische Bildung

DBU-Kurator Matthias Miersch überreichte den Bewilligungsbescheid über 150.000 Euro an den ersten Vorsitzenden der Naturfreunde Lehrte, Wilfried Helmreich. (© Anette Helmreich)

In der Eisenzeit stand die Eisenerz-Verhüttung auch in und um Hannover hoch im Kurs – und produzierte schon früh erste ökologische Krisen. Was diese historische Epoche mit der Gegenwart in Sachen nachhaltige Landwirtschaft, Imkerei und Forstwirtschaft trennt oder verbindet, wollen die Naturfreunde Lehrte in einem "Miniatur-Freilichtmuseum" aufzeigen und so ein "differenziertes Nachhaltigkeitsverständnis für Schüler der Sekundarstufen I und II wie für Jugendgruppen befördern".

Read the rest of this article...

2,000 year old boomerang unearthed in France


The Gauls used boomerangs 2,000 years ago, according to archaeologists who have found a wooden curved stick on a beach in the northern French town of Cotentin. 


The Gallic "throwing stick" found at the site of Urville-Nacqueville  [Credit: Cyril Damourette] 

Boomerangs are usually associated with Australian aborigines but these amazing wooden weapons have been found in Egypt, apparently dating back 2,000 years, and in Europe - the oldest one, which was found in a cave in Poland, being 30,000 years old. 

They were apparently toys but now archaelogists have found what sems to be a 2,000-year-old boomerang on the beach at Cotentin and it was not used for play, Le Monde newspaper reports. 

Read the rest of this article...

'Lost chapel' skeletons found holding hands after 700 years

A couple who have been holding hands for 700 years have been uncovered at the ‘lost’ chapel of St Morrell in Leicestershire. Credit: University of Leicester Archaeological Services

Some relationships last a lifetime – and University of Leicester archaeologists have discovered that they can last even longer after unearthing two skeletons at a lost chapel in Leicestershire that have been holding hands for 700 years.
The happy couple refused to be parted by death when they were discovered by a team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) working with local volunteers during an excavation at the Chapel of St Morrell in Leicestershire, a site of pilgrimage in Hallaton during the 14th Century.
The four year  with the Hallaton Fieldwork Group (HFWG) has revealed the full plan of the chapel as well as the cemetery and evidence that the hillside has been used since at least the Roman period.
Read the rest of this article...

Engineers found Teutonic axes in the Forest District Wipsowo


Three Teutonic battle axes from the late Middle Ages have been found by engineers who remove World War II artillery shells left the forests in the Forest District Wipsowo (Warmia and Mazury). Historic weapons will be donated to the museum.
Engineers stumbled upon the historic axes by chance, while searching the woods metal detectors. The weapons have been initially identified by an archaeologist as late-medieval Teutonic battle axes.

Iron axes were close to each other, shallow underground, among the roots of trees. "It can be assumed that this is a deposit that someone left for better times. Perhaps the person fled, hid the weapons and never returned to this place" - told PAP Agata Trzop-Szczypiorska, responsible for archaeological supervision of the engineers’ work.

Read the rest of this article...

Fourth chamber likely at Amphipolis tomb


A high-ranking Ministry of Culture official told Greek news sources that the archaeologists who are currently clearing out the dirt from the third chamber in the Amphipolis tomb believe that a fourth chamber may exist. 


Meanwhile, the head of the excavation Katerina Peristeri told journalists that based on the findings so far, she believes the enigmatic tomb definitely dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.

 Mrs. Peristeri complained about colleagues who appear in the media claiming that the tomb may have been constructed in the Roman era. 

“The tomb is Macedonian. We have all the proof for that." said Mrs. Peristeri. "It’s futile for some people to say that it is Roman. I feel indignation against some colleagues of mine that speak to the TV channels, just for 5 minutes on prime time TV without knowing anything about the excavation.” 

Read the rest of this article...

Greeks captivated by Alexander-era tomb at Amphipolis

Two sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis

The discovery of an enormous tomb in northern Greece, dating to the time of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, has enthused Greeks, distracting them from a dire economic crisis.
Who, they are asking, is buried within.
In early August, a team of Greek archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri unearthed what officials say is the largest burial site ever to be discovered in the country. The mound is in ancient Amphipolis, a major city of the Macedonian kingdom, 100km (62 miles) east of Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.
The structure dates back to the late 4th Century BC and is 500m (1,600ft) wide, dwarfing the burial site of Alexander's father, Philip II, in Vergina, west of Thessaloniki.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Prehistoric pit discovered on Coney Island beach


A box-like structure built from large stone slabs may have been used for bathing or cooking during the Bronze Age

Volunteers excavate the box-like archeological structure on Coney Island. The site may date back 4,000 years
Archaeologists have discovered signs of human habitation, possibly dating back 4,000 years, on Sligo’s Coney Island.
A box-like structure built from large stone slabs found on the island may have been used for bathing or cooking during the Bronze Age, experts believe. It has been excavated by a team led by Eamonn Kelly, director of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum.
The structure is thought to be part of a fulacht fiadh, a prehistoric trough or pit that was dug into the ground and filled with water. Stones, heated separated on an outdoor hearth, would be added to bring the water to boil.
Measuring about a metre long and 80cm wide, the structure was recently identified as an archaeological site by Ciaran Davis, an archaeology student at IT Sligo, and native of nearby Rosses Point, who alerted the museum.
Read the rest of this article...