Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Georadar detects a Viking ship in Norway

The outline of the Viking ship can clearly be seen in this animation of the radar data 
[Credit: Lars Gustavsen, NIKU]

Archaeologists armed with a motorized high resolution georadar have found a Viking ship and a large number of burial mounds and longhouses in Østfold County in Norway.

The discoveries were made by archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) with technology developed by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro).

"We are certain that there is a ship there, but how much is preserved is hard to say before further investigation”, says Morten Hanisch, county conservator in Østfold.

"This find is incredibly exciting as we only know three well-preserved Viking ship finds in Norway excavated long time ago. This new ship will certainly be of great historical significance as it can be investigated with all modern means of archaeology”, says Dr. Knut Paasche, Head of the Department of Digital Archaeology at NIKU, and an expert on Viking ships.

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Enormous, rare Viking ship burial discovered by radar

Using ground-penetrating radar mounted on the front of an all-terrain vehicle, archaeologists in Norway peered below farm fields and discovered the outlines of a Viking ship and long houses.

Whoever was buried in the ship wasn’t alone. There are traces of at least eight other burial mounds in the field, some almost 90 feet across. Three large longhouses—one 150 feet long—are also visible underneath the site’s soil, together with a half-dozen smaller structures.

Archaeologists hope future excavations will help date the mounds and the longhouses, which may have been built at different times. “We can’t be sure the houses have the same age as the ship,” Paasche says.

Paasche plans to return to the site next spring to conduct more sophisticated scans, including surveying the site with a magnetometer and perhaps digging test trenches to see what condition the ship’s remains are in. If there is wood from the ship’s hull preserved beneath the ground, it could be used to date the find more precisely.

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Norway makes rare discovery of Viking ship traces

FOX News

Archaeologists said on Monday they have found what they believe are traces of a Viking ship buried in southeast Norway, a rare discovery that could shed light on the skilled navigators' expeditions in the Middle Ages. 

The boatlike shape was detected about 50 centimetres underground in a tumulus, a burial mound, with the use of a ground-penetrating radar in Halden, a municipality located southeast of Oslo.

"In the middle of the mound, we discovered what is called an anomaly, something that is different from the rest and clearly has the shapes and dimensions of a Viking ship," Knut Paasche, an archaeologist at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), told AFP.

"What we cannot say for sure is the condition of the conservation. Yes there was a boat there, but it's hard to say how much wood is left," Paasche said.

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Norway makes rare discovery of Viking ship traces

This handout picture released on 15 October 2018, by Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) shows an Image generated from a georadar, showing what archaeologists believe is a viking ship buried near Halden, some 150km south of Oslo, Norway. — AFP pic

“In the middle of the mound, we discovered what is called an anomaly, something that is different from the rest and clearly has the shapes and dimensions of a Viking ship,” Knut Paasche, an archaeologist at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), told AFP.

“What we cannot say for sure is the condition of the conservation. Yes there was a boat there, but it’s hard to say how much wood is left,” Paasche said.

The Vikings, Northern European warriors and merchants who sailed the seas between the 8th and 11th century, would bury their kings and chiefs aboard a boat hoisted onshore and left under a mound of earth.

Only three Viking ships in good condition have been discovered in Norway in the past, including the well-preserved Oseberg ship discovered in 1903. All three of them are now exhibited in a museum near Oslo.

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Friday, October 05, 2018

Eight-year-old Swedish-American girl pulls pre-Viking era sword from lake

Eight-year-old Saga and her sword. Photo: Andrew Vanecek
An eight-year-old Swedish-American girl came across an exciting find swimming at her local lake, when she pulled an ancient sword from its depths.
"It's not every day that one steps on a sword in the lake!" Mikael Nordström from Jönköpings Läns Museum said when explaining the significance of the find.

But that's exactly what happened to Saga Vanecek, who found the relic at the Vidöstern lake in Tånnö, Småland earlier this summer.

"I was outside in the water, throwing sticks and stones and stuff to see how far they skip, and then I found some kind of stick," Saga told The Local.

"I picked it up and was going to drop it back in the water, but it had a handle, and I saw that it was a little bit pointy at the end and all rusty. I held it up in the air and I said 'Daddy, I found a sword!' When he saw that it bent and was rusty, he came running up and took it," she continued.

The water at the lake by the family's summer house was low this year due to drought, which may have been part of the reason Saga was able to reach the sword. Because of this, the family was putting a buoy out in the lake to warn other boats of an underwater slab of concrete which was dangerous in the low water levels.
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Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden

JONKOPING COUNTY MUSEUM

An eight-year-old found a pre-Viking-era sword while swimming in a lake in Sweden during the summer.
Saga Vanecek found the relic in the Vidostern lake while at her family's holiday home in Jonkoping County.
The sword was initially reported to be 1,000 years old, but experts at the local museum now believe it may date to around 1,500 years ago.
"It's not every day that you step on a sword in the lake!" Mikael Nordstrom from the museum said.
The level of the water was extremely low at the time, owing to a drought, which is probably why Saga uncovered the ancient weapon.

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Girl dubbed 'Queen of Sweden' after drawing ancient sword from lake


Experts have described the discovery of the 1,500 year old relic as spectacular, saying that it was "about 85 centimeters long, and there is also preserved wood and metal around it."

(CNN)An eight-year-old girl has discovered a pre-Viking-era sword in a Swedish lake, prompting locals to name her the "Queen of Sweden."

Swedish-American Saga Vanecek found the ancient artifact while playing in Vidöstern lake during the summer near her family's holiday home in the south of the country.
Experts at a local museum estimate the sword to be around 1,500 years old, according to local reports.

"I was outside in the water, throwing sticks and stones and stuff to see how far they skip, and then I found some kind of stick," Vanecek told The Local, a Swedish news website.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Archaeologists find 60 Roman burials in Lincolnshire field - one skeleton is even buried with a leg of lamb

One of the skeletons found at Winterton (Image: David Haber)

Three Roman villas or farmsteads have previously been found near the dig site off North Street, Winterton, which is just outside Scunthorpe.

And it was Roman tradition to place burial grounds outside of towns and villages to avoid pollution.

The Romans founded a settlement nearby called Ad Abum, at modern-day Winteringham on the south bank of the River Humber.

This was where the Roman Road between London and Lincoln - Ermine Street - ended.

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Playing Viking Chess with Whale Bones

Researchers discovered hnefatafl game pieces made of whale bone in upper- and middle-class Vendel graves. Photo by Rudolf Gustavsson

Game pieces made of whale bone may be evidence of the emergence of industrial whaling in ancient Scandinavia.

In central and eastern Sweden from 550 to 793 CE, just before the Viking Age, members of the Vendel culture were known for their fondness for boat burials, their wars, and their deep abiding love of hnefatafl.

Also known as Viking chess, hnefatafl is a board game in which a centrally located king is attacked from all sides. The game wasn’t exclusive to the Vendels—people across northern Europe faced off over the gridded board from at least 400 BCE until the 18th century. But during the Vendel period, love for the game was so great that some people literally took it to their graves. Now, a new analysis of some hnefatafl game pieces unearthed in Vendel burial sites offers unexpected insight into the possible emergence of industrial whaling in northern Europe.

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Ancient cemetery unearthed in Albania


URAN, Albania (AP) — In a rich agricultural basin near the town of Korca in southeastern Albania, gas pipeline construction work is offering archaeologists a unique insight into 5,000 years of history in a country that was off most experts’ radar during decades of isolationist Communist rule.

The excavations near the village of Turan, which ended Friday after 18 months, have unearthed one of the biggest ancient cemeteries in Albania, with about 1,000 layered burials, several of them richly furnished.

And under the bottom layer are traces of a rare Neolithic settlement demarcated by holes in the ground that supported the now-rotted wooden skeletons of small huts.

More than 20 Neolithic sites have been found in Albania, dating roughly from the 7th to the 3rd millennia B.C., which are some of the earliest farming settlements in Europe. But according to Turan lead archaeologist Iris Pojani, the pipeline work provided the opportunity — and the funding — to excavate an unusually large inhabited area from that era.

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Fifth-century bishop’s residence found at Bulgaria’s Misionis site

Church baptistry [Credit: Sofia Globe]

One of the earliest bishop’s residences in Bulgaria has been found by archaeologists examining the ancient city and fortress of Misionis near Turgovishte. The building is estimated to date from the fifth century, the early Christian period.
During the 2018 archaeological excavations at the Misionis site, a baptistery was also found.

The bishop’s residence is close to one of the great basilicas in the archaeological complex. It is assumed that the threshold and the staircase led directly to the altar of the church.

This year’s excavations uncovered seven new buildings at the site to be examined. Bulgarian National Television reported archaeologists as saying that tourist interest in the ancient city was increasing.

Archaeological team head Professor Nikolai Ovcharov said that he was convinced that in the coming years, Misionis would become the “pearl of the Bulgarian north-east”.

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture has declared Misionis to be a site of national importance. The state is due to transfer the ownership to the municipality in order to facilitate the access of tourists.

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Carmarthen Roman dig is filled in after key findings

A ceramic faience jewellery bead found at Priory Street
ARCHAEOLOGY WALES

An archaeological dig described as one of the most important in Wales has now been buried again and handed back to developers.

Archaeologists have spent three months sifting the site on a main street in Carmarthen, making substantial finds.

The dig was a condition of planning permission for a block of flats there.

As a result Archaeology Wales now believes Roman Carmarthen was established earlier and was a wealthy town of considerable status.

Its team moved in after developers had demolished a former car showroom and before they started work building homes for the Bro Myrddin housing association.

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Archaeologists unearth Roman road in Netherlands

The dig is metres away from a main road
OMROEP WEST

Archaeologists in the Netherlands have discovered a 2,000-year-old stretch of Roman road and the remains of a Roman village at the town of Katwijk, which once marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

The road is 125 metres (410 ft) long and lies close to a busy highway in the Valkenburg suburb. The Roman village comes complete with a canal and burial ground, the Omroep West regional broadcaster reports.

South Holland Province asked archaeologists to examine the whole area where the new RijnlandRoute bypass is to run, aware of the local Roman legacy and anxious to preserve any finds.

The Emperor Claudius built the city of Lugdunum Batavorum at the mouth of the Old Rhine River, which still flows through Katwijk, and ships would sail from there for Britain. But no one expected to find such well-preserved remains in Katwijk itself.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Thousands of objects discovered in Scandinavia’s first Viking city

Danish archaeologists have excavated the streets beneath Ribe to discover how the first city of the Viking age was established.

The bead-makers of 8th century Ribe used pieces of glass gathered from old Roman mosaics as their raw material. They didn’t have access to newly manufactured glass. This is one of the many details that tells us about the city’s network. 
(Photo: Museum of Southwest Jutland)

If you want to know anything about the Viking Age, Ribe, in west Denmark, is the place to go.
Archaeologists from Aarhus University and Southwest Jutland Museums (Denmark) have been excavating the Viking city as part of the Northern Emporium Project in minute detail.
We have dug down to three metres, where we find traces of the first cities of the Nordic region.
Thousands of items discovered beneath the streets of Ribe
Deep beneath street level are thousands of Viking finds. We have discovered everything from beads, amulets, coins, and lost combs, to dog excrement and gnawed bones.
We have also been surprised on several occasions, such as when we discovered a piece of a lyre (a harp-like stringed instrument), complete with tuning pegs. This discovery alone gives the Viking trading city of Ribe a whole new soundtrack.
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Chirk Castle dig tries to unearth origins of Offa's Dyke

Archaeologist Ian Grant said some suggest King Offa's predecessor may have started the dyke


An archaeological dig at 13th Century Chirk Castle is trying to determine the age of Britain's longest ancient monument.
Offa's Dyke runs 177 miles (285km) from Chepstow to Prestatyn and takes its name from the 8th Century Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia.
It is believed Offa built the dyke as a border between his kingdom and Wales.
However, opinion is divided about the actual age of the dyke, part of which runs through the castle's grounds.
previous examination of part of the dyke by experts suggested work may have started between 430 and 652 AD - more than 200 years earlier than the widely-accepted date of construction.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

EMAS Study Tour to Devon and Cornwall


Study Tour to Devon and Cornwall
Guide David Beard MA, FSA
29 October 2018 to 3 November 2018
The EMAS Autumn study tour this year will be to Devon and Cornwall – an area full of superb archaeological sites.
We will be based in Exeter, with its wonderful cathedral and interesting castle.
Sites that we will visit include Grimspound Prehistoric settlement, Cleeve Abbey, Hound Tor Deserted Medieval Village, The Anglo-Saxon Burh at Lydford, and Chysauster Iron Age Village.
The cost of this study tour is £644 per person in a single room and £544 per person sharing a twin room.
Please note, in order to be sure of booking hotel rooms, we must have confirmation by Monday, 10 September at the very latest.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Experts ask if there was a tsunami in ancient Orkney

Maesehowe is Orkney's most famous burial cairn, and a popular tourist attraction

A new academic paper has suggested it is possible neolithic mass burials in Orkney and Shetland contain the bodies of tsunami victims.

The authors said archaeologists should test remains to see if the bones show the distinctive signs of drowning in sea water.

Prof James Goff said the work was based on findings from the southern hemisphere.

It is published in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Prof Goff, from the University of New South Wales, told BBC Radio Orkney there are sites in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu where there are "known tsunamis that have happened in prehistory at the times that these mass burials date to".

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Stonehenge: Origins of those who built world-famous monument revealed by groundbreaking scientific research

Experts have discovered act of cremation actually crystallises a bone’s structure and allows its origins to be detected – something previously thought to be impossible


A new scientific research collaboration is, for the first time, revealing who built Stonehenge. The cutting-edge study sheds a remarkable light on the geographical origins of the Neolithic community that first constructed the ancient site.

Complex tests carried out on 25 Neolithic people who were buried at or following the time of the initial construction of the now world-famous monument, have revealed that 10 of them lived nowhere near Stonehenge, but in western Britain, and that half of those 10 potentially came from southwest Wales (where the earliest Stonehenge monoliths came from).

The other 15 could be local to Stonehenge, Wiltshire-origin individuals, or the children of other descendants of migrants from the west. All the remains were cremations.


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Small height evolved twice on 'Hobbit' island of Flores

Liang Bua cave, where the Hobbit remains were found
ROSINO / CREATIVE COMMONS

A new study has shown that small height evolved twice in humans on the Indonesian island of Flores.

Scientists decoded the DNA of modern-day "pygmy" people to find out if they might be partly descended from the extinct Hobbit species.

The remains of these Hobbits were found during an archaeological dig on Flores 15 years ago.

The new analysis, published in the journal Science, found no trace of the Hobbit's DNA in the present-day people.

This is important because some scientists had wondered whether modern humans (Homo sapiens) could have mixed with the Hobbit population when they first arrived on the island thousands of years ago. In theory, this could have led to Hobbit genes being passed down into living people on the island.

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Stonehenge: First residents from west Wales

Researchers have shown that cremated humans at Stonehenge were from the same region of Wales as the stones used in construction.
The key question was to understand the geographic origin of the people buried at Stonehenge.
The key innovation was finding that high temperatures of cremation can crystallise a skull, locking in the chemical signal of its origin.
The first long-term residents of Stonehenge, along with the first stones, arrived about 5,000 years ago.

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'Spectacular' ancient public library discovered in Germany

‘Really incredible’ … the site of the second-century library discovered in Cologne. Photograph: Hi-flyFoto/Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne

The remains of the oldest public library in Germany, a building erected almost two millennia ago that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls, have been discovered in the middle of Cologne.

The walls were first uncovered in 2017, during an excavation on the grounds of a Protestant church in the centre of the city. Archaeologists knew they were of Roman origins, with Cologne being one of Germany’s oldest cities, founded by the Romans in 50 AD under the name Colonia. But the discovery of niches in the walls, measuring approximately 80cm by 50cm, was, initially, mystifying.

“It took us some time to match up the parallels – we could see the niches were too small to bear statues inside. But what they are are kind of cupboards for the scrolls,” said Dr Dirk Schmitz from the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne. “They are very particular to libraries – you can see the same ones in the library at Ephesus.”

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Ancient Roman Library Discovered Beneath German City

The excavation of the ancient library in Cologne, Germany.
Credit: Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne

Beneath the soil in Cologne, Germany, lies a bibliophile's dream: an ancient Roman library that once held up to 20,000 scrolls, according to news reports.

Archaeologists discovered the epic structure in 2017 while they were excavating the grounds of a Protestant church to build a new community center. Considering Cologne is one of Germany's oldest cities, founded in A.D. 50, it's no surprise that it still has structures dating back to Roman times.

However, archaeologists didn't figure out that the structure was a library until they found mysterious holes in the walls, each measuring about 31 inches by 20 inches (80 by 50 centimeters), The Guardian reported.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Archaeological Find Near Reykjavík

The archaeological site. Photo/Ragnheiður Traustadóttir

A team of Icelandic archaeologists has discovered occupation layers, dating back to the settlement of Iceland in the ninth century until the beginning of the 14th century, on Mosfell hill in Mosfellsdalur valley, just east of Reykjavík. The discovery is believed to be able to shed light on the history of the Middle Ages in the area.

Work on a new parking lot by Mosfellskirkja church was halted by the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland in April, and subsequent archaeological research revealed the layers. The agency decides this week whether excavations are to be continued. Only part of the site was damaged when work on the parking lot was in progress, according to archaeologist Ragnheiður Traustadóttir. The site seems to have been affected more in 1960, when a minister’s residence was built on the lot. Two areas are under investigation, one north of road leading up to the church, and the other east of the current parking lot.

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Are these markings the handprint of a Pictish man?


Archaeologists believe they have discovered the hand markings of a Pictish man on an anvil found in Orkney. The find was made during an excavation on the island of Rousay, where the “unparalleled remains” of a smith’s workshop from the Pictish-era have been discovered.

A large stone anvil has been removed from the site with archaeologists claiming that carbon markings found on the metal working tool are imprints from a smith’s hands and knees. 

Dr Stephen Dockrill of the University of Bradford said analysis had confirmed that a copper smith worked in the semi-subterranean building now being excavated, with the site dating from 6th to 9th Century AD.

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Soldiers find skeleton of Saxon warrior on Salisbury Plain


This 6th century Saxon warrior with spear and sword, was found underneath a military trackway, frequently crossed by tanks and huge military vehicles. 

Afghanistan war veterans helping out with archaeological dig on military grounds found scores of Saxon burials complete with weapons and jewellery

On the last day of an excavation by soldiers within the military training lands on Salisbury Plain, they found a comrade in arms: the grave of a 6th century Saxon warrior, buried with his spear by his side and his sword in his arms.

His bones and possessions, which included a handsome belt buckle, a knife and tweezers, were remarkably well preserved despite his grave lying under a military trackway on which tanks and massive military vehicles have been trundling across the plain. Pattern welded swords, high status objects, are rarely found intact: his was lifted in one piece, complete with traces of its wood and leather scabbard.

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Archaeologists were hoping to find the first hermitage built in Cacela Velha, in Algarve, after the Christian conquest, but the remains that were unearthed in the area belonged instead to a medieval Christian necropolis and to an earlier Islamic settlement.

Cristina Garcia, from the Regional Direction of Culture (DRC) of Algarve, explains that the work is a continuation of the excavations undertaken in 1998 and 2001, in which the remains of what was thought to be the hermitage were detected, but it soon became apparent that the existing walls were, in fact, part of an Islamic bath abandoned by the Arabs before the Christian conquest and that they were later covered by a medieval Christian necropolis.

"Because the walls appeared to lie above the Christian necropolis, it was thought that they belonged to the hermitage, but only more burials of the medieval Christian cemetery were found, which had been used until the 15th or 16th century, and now we need to determine what the precise boundaries of this cemetery are", says Cristina Garcia.

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Roadworks reveal remains of Iron Age village in York

An enclosure measuring 16 metres across is believed to date from the Iron Age 
[Credit: City of York Council]

The earliest find – a large ring ditch which could have been an enclosure or roundhouse – appears to date from the Iron Age, around 2,500 years ago. At around 16 metres in diameter, it is one of the biggest to be unearthed in York.

Pits and what looks to be a hearth have been found alongside, during roadworks at the roundabout of the junction with the road to Wetherby, on York’s outer ring road

A nearby ditch has produced a series of related finds, including decorated pottery fragments, a piece of quern-stone and industrial waste material in the form of molten slag.

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Treasure found across Northern Ireland


More than 40 objects found across Northern Ireland between 2009 and 2016 have been officially categorised as "treasure" by a coroner.
The items include a variety of precious rings, jewellery and Viking coins.
They were found by members of the public through metal-detecting, as well as by archaeologists on excavation.
After examination both by the coroner and the British Museum, some of the treasured items are now being held at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
In Northern Ireland, any search for archaeological material that involves disturbing the ground requires a licence in advance from the Department for Communities' Historic Environment Division (HED)

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