Saturday, July 04, 2020

The Australian story, told beneath the sea

The survey area in the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Credit: Flinders University.

Submerged archaeological sites discovered off Australia’s northwest coast offer a new window into the migrations, lives and cultures of Aboriginal people thousands of years ago, when the continental shelf was dry.

This was a time when around 20 million square kilometres of land was exposed, before the last glacial loosened its grip on the planet and melted ice drowned coastal areas – and large swaths of human history – under the sea.

In Australia alone, two million square kilometres were flooded, hemming back a third of the continent.

“You’re talking about a huge, expansive cultural landscape inhabited by Aboriginal people all over the country… which is just a blank, empty map,” says Jonathan Benjamin from Flinders University, lead author of a paper published in the journal PLoS ONE.

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Ancient Graffiti Reveals the Real Date of Pompeii's Destruction

The charcoal graffiti, preserved in the aftermath of the eruption, was likely made by a worker renovating a home just a week before Pompeii's destruction. (Photo: Courtesy of Archaeological Park of Pompeii)

Archaeologists excavating a previously untouched portion of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii have come across a remarkable discovery: dated graffiti that appears to have been made just prior to the city's destruction.

The charcoal inscription, which references someone overindulging in food, is dated 16 days before the "calends" of November in the old Roman calendar style — or Oct. 17. While there's no year to go along with the graffiti, archaeologists believe both the nature of the scrawl and the renovations in the home where it was discovered all line up with 79 A.D.

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11,000-year-old mine in underwater cave surprises archaeologists

A diver examines stones stacked into a pile by ancient miners who extracted ocher pigment at La Mina, a site deep inside a cave in Yucatán, Mexico between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago. Rising seas later flooded the cave, preserving the evidence of mining for thousands of years.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CINDAQ.ORG

In the spring of 2017, a pair of divers shimmied fin-first through a narrow passageway in a water-filled cave beneath Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. They had already swum for nearly half a mile through the cave system, winding around spires of rock jutting from the ceiling and floor, when they finally arrived at the threshold that spanned a mere 28 inches across.

In the chamber that lay beyond the tiny passage was an ancient scene preserved in stunning detail: an 11,000-year-old mining site for red ocher pigments, complete with tools and fire pits. The mine, described in a new study published today in Science Advances, is one of the few archaeological sites to reveal where and how ancient humans extracted the vibrant pigments that have been put to a host of uses around the world, including mortuary rituals, cave painting, and even sunscreen.

“I’ve spent a lot of time imagining the different ways that people in the past have gone about collecting mineral pigments,” says study author Brandi MacDonald, an archaeologist at the University of Missouri and expert on ocher pigments. “But being able to see it like this in such an interesting state of preservation, it just kind of blew me away.”

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Underwater caves in Mexico preserve one of the world’s oldest ochre mines

A diver examines a rock pile thought to be an ancient navigational marker inside a 12,000-year-old ochre mine in Quintana Roo, Mexico. © CINDAQ.ORG

Crouching as she wound her way through a pinched underground corridor, a young woman grasped a torch in one hand, soot blackening the craggy ceiling above her. Guided by stacks of stones deeper and deeper in the darkness of the cave, she finally spied her prize: a blood-red vein of rock in the fire-lit wall. It would be 10,000 years before another pair of eyes saw it again.

Now the blood-red rock—a treasured crimson mineral known as ochre—has been found again, this time by underwater divers who were the first people in tens of centuries to return to these now-submerged caves. Scientists have confirmed that the site, now part of a coastal cave system in Quintana Roo, Mexico, is one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest known ochre mining sites. Ochre, which was used for rock art, body decoration, tanning animal hides, and possibly medicine, was a prize miners would go to great lengths to obtain, from the jungles of Mesoamerica to the grasslands of Africa.

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Cold Case Whithorn sheds new light on 'cradle of Christianity'

Log coffins, like this replica by Andy Nicholson, have been studied closely by researchers
ADRIAN MALDONADO

Archaeological researchers believe hollowed tree coffins could reveal new details of the story of Scotland's "cradle of Christianity".

It is part of Cold Case Whithorn - a project reopening archive evidence from excavations at the town's priory.

Previous research dated the founding of a monastery at the site to the 5th Century.

However, studies have now suggested this might not have happened until much later in its history.

Archaeological researchers believe hollowed tree coffins could reveal new details of the story of Scotland's "cradle of Christianity".

It is part of Cold Case Whithorn - a project reopening archive evidence from excavations at the town's priory.

Previous research dated the founding of a monastery at the site to the 5th Century.

However, studies have now suggested this might not have happened until much later in its history.

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

First Viking ship excavation in a century begins in Norway

The excavation was launched by Norway's climate and environment minister on Friday
AFP

Archaeologists in Norway have begun the first excavation of a Viking ship in more than a century.

The vessel was discovered in a burial site in Gjellestad in the south-east of the country two years ago.

Although it is believed to be in poor condition, the find remains significant as only three other well-preserved Viking ships have been discovered in the country.

The excavation is expected to last five months.

Knut Paasche, an expert from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research said that only part of the ship's timber appeared to have been preserved, but added that modern techniques could allow archaeologists to discover its original shape.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Archaeologists discover ‘astonishing’ huge circular neolithic monument next to Stonehenge

Yellow dots represent locations of the shafts, and the red circle marks Durrington Walls 
(University of St Andrews)

Site ‘offers us new insights into the lives and beliefs of our Neolithic ancestors’, expert says

Dr Richard Bates, of St Andrews’ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: “Yet again, the use of a multidisciplinary effort with remote sensing and careful sampling is giving us an insight to the past that shows an even more complex society than we could ever imagine.

“Clearly sophisticated practices demonstrate that the people were so in tune with natural events to an extent that we can barely conceive in the modern world we live in today.”

Tim Kinnaird, of the same school, said: “The sedimentary infills contain a rich and fascinating archive of previously unknown environmental information.

“With optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating, we can write detailed narratives of the Stonehenge landscape for the last 4,000 years.”

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Gigantic Circular Structure Found Near Stonehenge

The circular structure (indicated by the black line) and 20 pits located along its boundary (in red).
Image: University of St. Andrews

A surprisingly large pit structure has been discovered around Durrington Walls Henge, which is less than 2 miles away from Stonehenge. Dated at 4,500 years old, it’s the biggest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain.

Located on Salisbury Plain in the United Kingdom, the circular structure consists of at least 20 carefully positioned pits. Now buried, these pits were huge, at more than 16.5 feet deep (5 meters) and 32 to 66 feet wide (10 to 20 meters). Together, these pits formed a circle measuring more than 1.2 miles in diameter (2 km). At the center of this circle is Durrington Walls Henge, one of Britain’s largest henge monuments. The pits are, on average, around 2,835 feet (864 meters) from the center point. Details of this incredible discovery were published today in the scientific journal Internet Archaeology.

“The numbers and the layout of these features is unique as far as I am aware, and they constitute the largest prehistoric structure in Britain,” Vincent Gaffney, a co-author of the new study and an archaeologist at the University of Bradford, wrote in an email to Gizmodo. The entire structure encloses an area measuring 740 acres, he said.

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Scrap Stonehenge road tunnel plans, say archaeologists after neolithic discovery

 A giant structure created 4,500 years ago has been uncovered 1.9 miles north-east of Stonehenge. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty

Exclusive: Discovery of prehistoric structure is another reason to give up ‘disastrous white elephant’ scheme

Leading archaeologists say a £1.6bn scheme to build a road tunnel through the historic Stonehenge landscape should be scrapped altogether after the sensational discovery nearby of the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain.

Mike Parker Pearson, professor of British later prehistory at University College London, said: “This is just another reason to give up this disastrous white elephant of a scheme.”

A giant neolithic structure, created 4,500 years ago, has been uncovered 1.9 miles (3 km) north-east of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain near Amesbury, Wiltshire. To the astonishment of archaeologists, a series of vast shafts – each more than five metres deep and up to 20 metres across – were found to have been aligned to form a circle 1.2 miles in diameter.

The discovery was made possible by new technology that is yet to play a significant role in our understanding of this extraordinary ancient landscape.

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Third Neanderthal Genome Sequenced

(© Dr. Bence Viola, Dept. of Anthropology, U. of Toronto)

According to a statement released by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, a third Neanderthal genome has been sequenced by a team of researchers led by Fabrizio Mafessoni. The first sequenced genome belonged to a Neanderthal whose 40,000-year-old remains were found in Croatia’s Vindija Cave, while the second came from a Neanderthal individual whose remains were found in Siberia’s Denisova Cave and dated to about 120,000 years ago. This DNA sample came from female Neanderthal remains dated to between 80,000 and 60,000 years ago that were recovered from Chagyrskaya Cave, which is located in Russia’s Altai Mountains, just 65 miles away from Denisova Cave. 

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Oldest Viking settlement possibly unearthed in Iceland

The oldest of the two Viking longhouses at Stöð dates from around A.D. 800, several decades before the commonly accepted date of the settlement of Iceland in A.D. 874.
(Image: © Bjarni Einarsson)

It dates back decades before Vikings are supposed to have settled the island.

Archaeologists have unearthed what may be the oldest Viking settlement in Iceland.

The ancient longhouse is thought to be a summer settlement built in the 800s, decades before seafaring refugees are supposed to have settled the island, and was hidden beneath a younger longhouse brimming with treasures, said archaeologist Bjarni Einarsson, who led the excavations.

"The younger hall is the richest in Iceland so far," Einarsson told Live Science. "It is hard not to conclude that it is a chieftain's house."

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toilet in Denmark


Archaeologists excavating a settlement on the Stevns Peninsula in Denmark suggests they have discovered a toilet from the Viking Age.
Archaeologists from the Museum Southeast Denmark were conducting a study for pit houses, when they found a hole feature that they have identified as a toilet, possibly the oldest ever found in Denmark and bringing new revelations into the toilet habits of Vikings living in the countryside on the Peninsula.

Many studies have been carried out on privy buildings from the Viking Age and early Middle Ages in towns and cities, but very few have been conducted on farmsteads from this period.

A macrofossil and pollen analyses found mineralised seeds (caused by high levels of phosphate) and concentrations of fly pupae that indicates the sediments accumulated in the hole were human faeces. The pollen analyses also discovered insect-pollinated plants, often used for creating honey or mead for human consumption.

PhD student Anna Beck from the Museum Southeast Denmark has had resistance over the interpretation from academics. Toilets are mentioned in the Icelandic sagas, but are generally described as separate buildings and differ in the interpretation for the hole toilet being proposed.

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French cave reveals secrets of life and death from the ancient past

Grotte de Cussac cave in Dordogne, France 
[Credit: University of Wollongong]

Grotte de Cussac cave in Dordogne, France, is the site of stunning cave art, containing more than 800 figurative engravings of animals and humans that are between 25,000 and 30,000 years old.

It also contains the remains of at least six humans, dated to the same period. With one possible exception, it is the only known example of human remains interred so deep within a cave that also contains artworks.

For the past 10 years, a research team has been studying these human remains in situ to discover what they reveal about the lives, customs and beliefs of the people of that time.

Dr. Eline Schotsmans, a Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong and the University of Bordeaux, is part of an international team, led by the University of Bordeaux's Professor Jacques Jaubert, working inside the cave to uncover its secrets.

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Iron Age funeral site discovered on Solihull HS2 site

Wessex Archaeology have been studying the site at Coleshill, Solihull
WESSEX ARCHAEOLOGY

Archaeologists have uncovered an Iron Age funeral site along the HS2 route.

The graves, at least 2,000 years old, show a settlement existed on the river bank site at Coleshill, near Solihull.

The cluster of several dozen sites, placed on funeral pyres, should shed a light on what people did with their dead, experts said.

It is one of a number of discoveries made by archaeologists ahead of construction work for the 225mph rail line.

Emma Carter, from Wessex Archaeology, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service experts were uncovering "tantalising" evidence from the past and an in-depth investigation of the graves would follow.

"[It] should offer some interesting ideas of what they do with their dead," she said.

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Digital 'dig' puts archaeology online

A talk on the wrecks in Kirkcudbright Bay is among the events planned
SOLWAY FIRTH PARTNERSHIP

Archaeology across Scotland is being taken online this summer to highlight the "world-class" work being done throughout the country.

With much field work postponed due to coronavirus many experts have turned to social media to share their efforts.

A hashtag has been set up to highlight the work at #ScotlandDigsDigital.

Dr Jeff Sanders, project manager at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland's Dig It! project, said it was a new chapter in challenging times.

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York Guildhall: Human remains found on building site

Construction work in York has revealed bones from six bodies
LDRS

Human remains have been found on a city centre building site by construction workers.

The bones, thought to be from six bodies, were uncovered at the Guildhall site in York next to the River Ouse.

Councillor Nigel Ayre said the remains could be a burial plot linked to a friary which was on the site in the 14th or 15th Century.

The discovery was made in the last few weeks and the remains have now been sent for further analysis.

Roman pottery, a hairpin and tiles used to create mosaics, as well as medieval coins, have also been found, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

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History in Ice

(Dr. Nicole Spaulding, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine)
Colle Gnifetti glacier, Switzerland

Lead pollution levels from the Middle Ages preserved in an ice core taken from Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss Alps reflect political upheaval in England, some 500 miles away, a multidisciplinary research team has found. In addition to studying archaeological data and tax records, the researchers used lasers to measure how lead levels in the core changed from year to year. They observed a major spike in lead pollution during the reign of the English Angevin kings—Henry II, Richard I, and John—between 1154 and 1216, when economic growth led to an increase in silver and lead production from British mines. Lead particles from the extraction and smelting processes were carried southeast by weather patterns, and traces of the metal were trapped in Swiss glaciers.

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

ID'ing England's First Nun

(Courtesy Finding Eanswythe) 
Probable remains of Saint Eanswythe, England

Many people in the port town of Folkestone in southeastern England still revere Saint Eanswythe, a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon princess who helped found Folkestone Priory, the first nunnery in England. Her remains were thought to have been interred at the priory until the 1530s, but went missing after Henry VIII dissolved the country’s monasteries. In 1885, a lead container with human bones was discovered concealed in a wall near the priory’s altar. It was long assumed the relics were Saint Eanswythe’s, and that they had been hidden to protect them from the Tudor king’s machinations. Now, work on the reliquary led by Canterbury Archaeological Trust archaeologist Andrew Richardson has provided new evidence that the remains are in fact those of the missing holy woman. 

The team’s study shows that the container dates to around the eighth century, and that the remains belonged to a young woman of about 20 years old who lived in the mid-seventh century. Says Richardson, “The strong probability is that this young person, concealed in a prestigious location within a church known to have housed her remains, is indeed Eanswythe.”

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The Beowulf Manuscript – Nowell Codex

The Only Surviving Manuscript of Beowulf

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that survives in a single copy in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. It has no title in the original document but has become known by the name of the story’s hero.

The poem is known only from a single manuscript, which is estimated to date from around 975–1025.

The manuscript dates either to the reign of Æthelred the Unready or to the beginning of the reign of Cnut the Great from 1016.

The Beowulf manuscript is known as the Nowell Codex, gaining its name from the 16th-century owner and scholar Laurence Nowell.

The earliest surviving reference to the Nowell Codex was made about 1650, and the prior ownership of the codex before Nowell remains a mystery.

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Lindisfarne Gospels


The Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated manuscript produced about 715 – 720 in the monastery at Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland. It is an illustrated Latin copy of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,

The manuscript is in the unique style of Hiberno-Saxon combining Mediterranean, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic elements.

The Lindisfarne Gospels are presumed to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698. Some parts of the manuscript were left unfinished, indicating that Eadfrith was still working on it at his time of death.

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Startling secrets within Irish tombs: Neolithic man buried within Newgrange was inbred as part of ‘ruling elite’

Newgrange, Co Meath (PA)

Ireland’s earliest Neolithic society had an elite ruling social class similar to Inca god-kings and Egyptian Pharaohs, and they were allowed to interbreed.

A team of archaeologists and geneticists, led by Trinity College Dublin, have shed startling new light on the earliest periods of Ireland’s human history.

The findings were based on genetic analysis of the remains of an adult male found buried deep in the 5,000-year-old passage tomb at Newgrange, Co Meath.

Older than the pyramids, Newgrange is world-famous for its annual solar alignment where the winter solstice sunrise illuminates the sacred inner chamber in a golden blast of light.

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Incest uncovered at the elite prehistoric Newgrange monument in Ireland

A misty morning view of the passage tomb of Newgrange overlooking the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.
Figure 1 | Newgrange passage tomb, Ireland. Cassidy et al.1 report that the analysis of DNA from a man buried in this 5,000-year-old monument reveals evidence of incest.Credit: Ken Williams/ShadowsandStone.com

A study of the DNA of Ireland’s Stone Age inhabitants has produced spectacular results, with far-reaching consequences for our understanding of prehistoric population movement and the structure of that ancient society. Writing in Nature, Cassidy et al.1 report their striking discoveries from this project.

The authors looked at the period, around 4000 BC, when farming appeared as a new, Neolithic way of life, supplanting the older and more mobile Mesolithic lifestyle based on fishing, hunting and foraging for wild foods. Cassidy et al. examined the social structures of these farming communities over the following 1,500 years, focusing on the people buried in passage tombs — a type of monument featuring a chamber, covered by a mound, that is entered along a passage. The most famous Irish passage tomb is the enormous monument at Newgrange (Fig. 1), which is part of a World Heritage site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This huge circular mound is one of three major tombs built in the Brú na Bóinne cemetery complex in County Meath, north of Dublin, in eastern Ireland.

Read the paper: 
A dynastic elite in monumental Neolithic society
Newgrange was constructed between around 3200 and 3000 BC. It was built using sophisticated engineering to ensure that, at the end of a long, stone-lined passage, a burial chamber is lit up for a few minutes every year by the rays of the rising Sun, on and around the shortest day of the year. The monument pre-dates, by around 500 years, the huge trilithon stones at Stonehenge, which align to the winter and summer solstices. Marking the winter solstice was crucial for early farmers, who needed to know when the days would start to get longer. It took a massive effort to build Newgrange, and archaeologists think it was constructed as a burial place for a wealthy and powerful elite. People probably journeyed there from far and wide to participate in major solstice-marking ceremonies. Perhaps this elite claimed to have divine power by ‘controlling’ the Sun’s movement2.

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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Schoolboy Cathal gets a hands-on history lesson with 4,000-year-old boat

Ancient treasure: Cathal McDonagh (12) and his family help to retrieve the ancient longboat 
he found in the inland lake

A bored schoolboy who abandoned his homework to go paddling in a lake uncovered an ancient boat that could be more than 4,000 years old.

The 17ft longboat was lodged in the mud in the lake at the back of 12-year-old Cathal McDonagh's home in Lisacul, Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

Archaeologists have told the family the ancient vessel could date back as far as 2000 BC.

A team will travel down from Dublin this week to examine the amazing find, which Cathal tripped over as he paddled in shallow water.

While a river may have flowed through the area thousands of years ago, the lake is inland, and is home to at least one crannóg - an ancient artificial island usually built for defensive reasons. They are the oldest dwelling places in prehistoric Ireland.

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Tree-ring analysis has solved many historical mysteries

Tree rings are now considered to be one of the most revealing of all climatic indicators. Getty Images

Depopulation, pandemics, the rise and fall of empires — all can be explained by dendrochronology, according to Valerie Trouet

History is only as good as its sources. It is limited largely to what has survived of written records, and in prehistory to random fragments unearthed by archaeologists and paleontologists. Climate history is no different. As the effects of global warming accelerate, it becomes ever more urgent to reassemble what we can of the atmospheric conditions of the past to gather evidence from wherever it may be.

Glacial ice cores are one place, with their frozen snapshots of long-ago air and traces of ash and pollen and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide or methane. Other climate proxies include the annual accretion of stalagmites, the growth of corals and the incremental layers of bone in the ears of fish. But in recent decades, tree rings have emerged as one of the most precise and revealing of all paleoclimatic indicators.

Each growing season, a tree adds an outer layer of cambium to its core of dead wood. How much is added is a function of thermal and pluvial conditions. The exact width of the ring and its microscopic structure give a very clear picture of the weather during a period of a few warm months, like a postcard from a distant summer.

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The Emperor of Stones

(Helge Andersson) Rök runestone, Sweden

In the language of the Vikings, Old Norse, rök means “monolith,” and no other runestone stands out from its peers in more ways than Sweden’s Rök. The five-ton stone measures eight feet tall and its five sides are covered with the longest runic inscription in existence—some 760 runes divided into 28 lines. And, while the vast majority of runestones date to after the mid-tenth century A.D., the Rök was inscribed much earlier, around A.D. 800. “It’s the emperor of runestones,” says Henrik Williams, a runologist at Uppsala University. “Nothing can compare with it.”

Although scholars are united in recognizing the Rök’s singularity, with regard to its meaning all they can agree on is that it was set up by a local chieftain named Varinn as a memorial to his son Vamoth. The stone’s inscription has defied attempts at interpretation since the mid-nineteenth century, when it was transcribed after the Rök was removed from a structure into which it had been built centuries earlier. Decoding the inscription is made especially difficult as it features several styles of writing, including the earliest form of runes, called Elder Futhark, and two types of cipher. It’s not clear in what order the sections of the text are supposed to be read—or if it was even intended to be understood by mortals at all. “I don’t think this was ever meant to be read by humans,” says Bo Gräslund, an archaeologist at Uppsala University. “It was only meant for the gods.”

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The Field of the Cloth of Gold


Glenn Richardson explores the events of the Field of the Cloth of Gold and considers its impact on Anglo-French relations

On the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII and Francis I’s magnificent peace summit in northern France, historian Glenn Richardson explores the events of the Field of the Cloth of Gold and considers its impact on Anglo-French relations.

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Viking Age Excavation Could Rewrite the Story of Iceland’s Settlement

Photo: Bjarni F. Einarsson

A Viking Age excavation in East Iceland is revealing a more nuanced history of the settlement of Iceland, involving seasonal settlements, wealthy longhouses, and walrus hunting long before the island was settled permanently. The site, known as Stöð and located in Stöðvarfjörður fjord, shows human presence in Iceland decades before AD 874, the accepted date for when Iceland was permanently settled.

One of the Largest Longhouses Found in Iceland
Bjarni F. Einarsson, leader of the excavation at Stöð, took the first digs at the location in the autumn of 2015. The excavation is ongoing but has already produced findings that illuminate the early history of Iceland. “We are currently excavating what is certainly a Viking-Age farmstead, dating back to 860-870 AD according to my estimate.” The longhouse is among the largest found in Iceland, 31.4m (103ft) long. “It is also the richest longhouse ever excavated in Iceland. We have found 92 beads and 29 silver objects, including Roman and Middle-Eastern coins.” The bead horde at Stöð is twice as large as the next two largest found in Iceland combined. In fact, it is one of the very largest ever found at a Viking-Age site in all of Scandinavia.

Older Longhouse Predates Settlement By Decades
Even more interestingly, the farm is built on the ruins of an even older longhouse. “It was built inside the fallen walls of the older structure that appears to have been huge, at least 40m (131ft) long.” To put this in context, the largest longhouses found in Scandinavia measure 50m (164ft). “It also appears to be at least as old as the oldest structures we have previously excavated in Iceland. Based on radiocarbon dating and other evidence, I estimate this structure dates to around 800 AD.”

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Norway couple find Viking grave under floor of their house

The couple were pulling up the floor to install insulation. Photo: Nordland County Council

A couple in northern Norway were pulling up the floor of their house to install insulation when they found a glass bead, and then a Viking axe. Now archeologists suspect they live above an ancient Viking grave
"It wasn't until later that we realised what it could be," Mariann Kristiansen from Seivåg near Bodø told Norway's state broadcaster NRK of the find. "We first thought it was the wheel of a toy car." 

Archaeologist Martinus Hauglid from Nordland county government visited the couple last Monday and judged taht find was most likely a grave from the Iron Age or Viking Age.

"It was found under stones that probably represent a cairn. We found an axe dated from between 950AD and 1050AD and a bead of dark blue glass, also of the late Viking period," he told The Local. 

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Coal Mine in Serbia Gives up New Roman Treasure

An archaeologist looks at parts of a wooden Roman ship dated to the 3rd century AD, at the ancient city of Viminacium, near Kostolac, Serbia, May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Marko DjuricaREUTERS

BELGRADE (REUTERS) - AS the sun sank over a vast opencast coal mine in eastern Serbia earlier this month, a small crane eased the front half of a Roman ship from the steep sides of the pit.

An excavator cutting through the coal rich soil had pulled out some muddy timber weeks before, but coronavirus restrictions had meant the retrieval had to wait.

The ship was part of Viminacium, a sprawling Roman city of 45,000 people with a hippodrome, fortifications, a forum, palace, temples, amphitheatre, aqueducts, baths and workshops.

Lead archaeologist Miomir Korac said the vessel dated from the 3rd century AD when Viminacium was the capital of the Roman province of Moesia Superior and near a tributary of the Danube river.

"A Roman (river) fleet was based here to defend this region from barbarian invasions," he told Reuters. "Such findings of Roman ships are really rare, especially in such a good condition where one could see how the boat was built."

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Well-preserved Roman mosaic unearthed in Italian vineyard


SOAVE, Italy (AP) — Archaeologists have briefly revealed a well-preserved mosaic floor of an ancient Roman villa first discovered almost a century ago near the northern Italian city of Verona.

The mosaic in bright shades of red, pink, orange, purple and yellow appeared to be ’’in a good state of conservation,” from what archaeologists observed after gingerly digging a trench between vineyards in the hills of Valpolicella, Gianni de Zuccato, the official in charge of archaeology in Verona province, said Friday.

Mosaics revealing the site of an ancient villa were first discovered in 1922. Archaeologists have been doing partial digs to determine the scale of the original villa and in preparation to transform the area into a museum. The recent discovery of two nearby mosaic floors confirmed the villa extended north and south of the original site.

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Antiques Roadshow presenter stunned to discover ancient Roman site in garden

Antiques Roadshow expert Marc was shocked to make the discovery (Image: SWNS)

Antiques Roadshow expert, Marc Allum is on hand to guide owners through the history of their treasured items and has left many guests stunned with unexpected valuations. But the antiques expert was left speechless himself when he discovered his house had been built on an ancient Roman site after initially having his suspicions that the land may have a connection to King Alfred.

BBC viewers will know Marc as the miscellaneous expert who specialises in all the weird and wonderful items that don’t quite fit into any particular category.

But in an upcoming exclusive interview on The Arts Society Connected, Marc will be giving fans a glimpse into his own collection of antiques.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Marc revealed the three items he will be discussing in the lecture while revealing the unlikely discoveries he made in his garden.

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