Saturday, March 23, 2013

Online Viking Course

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers

University of Oxford Online and Distance Learning

8 May to 21 July 2013

Ravagers, despoilers, pagans, heathens - the Vikings are usually regarded as bloodthirsty seafaring pirates, whose impact on Europe was one of fear and terror. As they plundered the British Isles and the north Atlantic, these pagan invaders were seen by their Christian victims as a visitation from God.

Yet the Vikings were also traders, settlers and farmers with a highly developed artistic culture and legal system. Their network of trade routes stretching from Greenland to Byzantium and their settlements, resulted in the creation of the Duchy of Normandy in France, the foundation of the Kingdom of Russia in Kiev and Novgorod as well as the development of Irish towns including Cork, Dublin and Limerick. 

This course will use recent findings from archaeology together with documentary records, to examine these varied aspects of the Viking world and to give a detailed and balanced view of this fascinating period. 

A wide variety of online resources including Google Maps and Google Earth as well as specific Viking web pages, are used in conjunction with text books and specially designed online interactive media to create an exciting insight into the world of the Vikings.

Further details...

Cambridge dig unearths history from Bronze Age to World War II

An archaeological dig in Cambridge has revealed the site's history from the Bronze Age to its role in World War II.
Excavation of the site in the north-west of the city began in October, ahead of a large-scale University of Cambridge development.
Roman roads and World War II practice trenches were amongst the discoveries.
Christopher Evans of Cambridge Archaeological Unit said: "Something that is going to be vibrant in the future was also vibrant in the past."
Archaeologists believe the site was first colonised for settlement in the Bronze Age and subsequently saw an Iron Age settlement.

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First farmers on the Polish Lowland

The transition to farming on the Polish Lowland, which is a part of the North European Plain, was a complex process lasting over a millennium. This is partly due to the diversity of the landscapes (Figure 1) from the Pomerania Lakeland to the north with its rolling glacial hills and the south with the flat monotonous Great Poland Lowland Plain. The largest area is covered by a light sandy soil, however, in some regions heavy, fertile mollic gleysols formed over a clay subsoil can be found; comparable to the fertile loess-based soils prevailing in the uplands of southern Poland.

The Early Neolithic long house

The LBK long house is a rectangular post-built dwelling with a pitched roof structure, which rests its weight on three rows of posts along the its axis (Figure 2). The side walls are created by a row of more densely spaced external posts sunk to a shallower depth than the weight bearing posts. In the eastern part of the LBK distribution area, including Kuyavia, there is as yet no record of foundation trenches in the buildings, which is a more common feature to the west.
The length of these long houses varies from 12 to 40 plus metres, though the average is about 20 metres. The width is more standardised, ranging from between 5 to 8 metres.

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Pre-Viking tunic found by glacier as warming aids archaeology

A pre-Viking woollen tunic found beside a thawing glacier in south Norway shows how global warming is proving something of a boon for archaeology, scientists said on Thursday.
The greenish-brown, loose-fitting outer clothing - suitable for a person up to about 176 cms (5 ft 9 inches) tall - was found 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) above sea level on what may have been a Roman-era trade route in south Norway.
Carbon dating showed it was made around 300 AD.
"It's worrying that glaciers are melting but it's exciting for us archaeologists," Lars Piloe, a Danish archaeologist who works on Norway's glaciers, said at the first public showing of the tunic, which has been studied since it was found in 2011.
A Viking mitten dating from 800 AD and an ornate walking stick, a Bronze age leather shoe, ancient bows, and arrow heads used to hunt reindeer are also among 1,600 finds in Norway's southern mountains since thaws accelerated in 2006.

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Stone Ships Show Signs of Maritime Network in Baltic Sea Region 3,000 Years Ago

 In the middle of the Bronze Age, around 1000 BC, the amount of metal objects increased dramatically in the Baltic Sea region. Around the same time, a new type of stone monument, arranged in the form of ships, started to appear along the coasts. New research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden shows that the stone ships were built by maritime groups.

The maritime groups were part of a network that extended across large parts of northern Europe. The network was maintained largely because of the strong dependence on bronze.
Archaeologists have long assumed that bronze was imported to Scandinavia from the south, and recent analyses have been able to confirm this notion. The distribution of bronze objects has been discussed frequently, with most analyses focusing on the links in the networks. The people behind the networks, however, are only rarely addressed, not to mention their meeting places.

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'Out of Africa' Story Being Rewritten Again

Our early human ancestors may have left Africa more recently than thought, between 62,000 and 95,000 years ago, suggests a new analysis of genetic material from fossil skeletons.

The new findings are in line with earlier estimates, but contradict a more recent study that put humans' first exodus from Africa least 200,000 years ago.

The new results "agree with what we know from archaeology," said study co-author Alissa Mittnik, a biologist at University of Tübingen, in Germany.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tony saddened over Time Team axing

Tony Robinson admitted he is sad his show Time Team is being axed

Tony Robinson has admitted Channel 4's decision to axe its archaeology series Time Team has left him "frustrated".

The show, which has been exported to more than 36 countries, comes to an end this month after almost 20 years.

Tony, 66, who shot to fame as Baldrick in Blackadder, told the Radio Times: "I'm quite philosophical. They've treated me pretty well." But he later said: "I am a bit frustrated."

He said that, with repeats, more people watch Time Team than ever before, while "the series we've just made is one of the best".

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Roman artefact discovered in Sudeley Castle cupboard

Experts say the sculpture reveals more about the worship of local gods

A Roman sculpture of a Cotswold god has been found in a castle cupboard after being missing for over 100 years.

The artefact, dated 150-350AD, was first found during an archaeological dig on the estate of Sudeley Castle in 1875.

But when historians found records of the discovery in the 1960s, there was no trace of the sculpture.

The Roman altar God has now been found in a basement cupboard during a clear out at the Gloucestershire castle.

The engraved figure, found earlier this month, wears a conical cap, tunic and cloak and holds a bow and arrow. 

It has been identified by historians as Cotswold deity Apollo the Hound Prince or Apollo Cunomaglos.
Experts believe there are only seven other known depictions, four from the Cotswolds and three from London, and say the discovery is a significant find.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

How Beer Gave Us Civilization

HUMAN beings are social animals. But just as important, we are socially constrained as well.
We can probably thank the latter trait for keeping our fledgling species alive at the dawn of man. Five core social instincts, I haveargued, gave structure and strength to our primeval herds. They kept us safely codependent with our fellow clan members, assigned us a rank in the pecking order, made sure we all did our chores, discouraged us from offending others, and removed us from this social coil when we became a drag on shared resources.
Thus could our ancient forebears cooperate, prosper, multiply — and pass along their DNA to later generations.
But then, these same lifesaving social instincts didn’t readily lend themselves to exploration, artistic expression, romance, inventiveness and experimentation — the other human drives that make for a vibrant civilization.

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Ancient Rock Art at Risk, Warn Experts

Chatton. Urgent action is needed to prevent ancient art disappearing, Newcastle University experts have warned. (Credit: Image courtesy of Newcastle University)

Researchers from the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS)  and School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) studied the physical underpinnings and condition of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock art panels in Northumberland. They conclude climate change could cause the art to vanish because new evidence suggests stones may deteriorate more rapidly in the future.
Writing in the Journal of Cultural and Heritage Studies, they say action is needed so the art can be preserved for future generations, but they also urge that a deeper understanding is needed of what causes rock art to deteriorate.
David Graham, Professor of Ecosystems Engineering (CEG) said: “We wanted to understand the scientific reasons why these stones may deteriorate. Our findings show that predicted changes to our broader environment  – such as more wind and warmer, wetter weather -  could have a devastating effect on these artworks. If we want to keep them, we need to start looking at how we can preserve them now.”

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Crannog dig team gets one last reprieve

Roads Minister Danny Kennedy says there can't be any more delays to work on the A32 Cherrymount Link Road near Enniskillen which has been held up by the treasure trove of historical artefacts discovered.
Archaeologists are working round the clock to excavate as much material as possible from the Fermanagh site, before the major roads project goes ahead.
Mr Kennedy had previously granted a week's extension to the dig which was due to come to a halt at the end of March. It has now been extended again until April 15.
"I have given this issue very careful consideration and have had to balance my desire to complete the Cherrymount link before the G8 Summit, alongside the historical importance of the crannog," Mr Kennedy said.

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Black Death skeletons unearthed at rail site

A Crossrail archaeologist uncovering a skeleton found in a tunnel shaft in London. Thirteen skeletons thought to be victims of the Black Death plague which swept Britain over 600 years ago have been dug up by workers on the £15 billion Crossrail project in London, archaeologists said Friday [Credit: AFP]

Workers building a new railway in London have unearthed 13 skeletons thought to be victims of the Black Death plague that swept through Europe in the 14th century, archaeologists said on Friday.

The remains were dug up at Charterhouse Square in central London during excavation work for the city's £15 billion ($22.7 billion, 17.4 billion euro) Crossrail project.

Archaeologists believe the site could be the location of a plague cemetery described in medieval records, where up to 50,000 victims of the Black Death were buried. The plague wiped out a third of Europe's population between 1348 and 1353.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Staffordshire hoard of treasures to be displayed in Birmingham gallery

The Staffordshire hoard, the UK's largest collection of Anglo Saxon treasure, includes sword mounts and fragments of processional crosses. Photograph: Getty Images
The museum in Birmingham where thousands queued for hours to seethe Staffordshire hoard of Anglo Saxon gold is to create a gallery to display some of the most spectacular pieces, helped by a £705,000 grant from the heritage lottery fund.
"The Staffordshire hoard is our Tutankhamun," Simon Cane, director of the Birmingham Museums Trust said.
In 2009 a nondescript field near Lichfield, of no known historical interest, yielded one of the most spectacular hoards of Anglo Saxon gold ever found.

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Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?

Neanderthals did not learn how to hunt small animals such as rabbits (pictured, a group of animals Portugal).

Rabbits are small, fast, and devilishly hard to catch. And that could have had dire consequences for Neanderthals.
A new study suggests that an inability to shift from hunting large mammals to wild rabbits and other small game may have contributed to the downfall of European Neanderthals during the Middle Paleolithic period, about 30,000 years ago.
"There have been some studies that examined the importance of rabbit meat to hominins"—or early human ancestors—"but we give it a new twist," said study lead author John Fa, a biologist at the United Kingdom's Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Imperial College London.

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Cirencester Roman cockerel 'best find' in 40 years

Conservation work on the figurine has taken four months to complete

A restored Roman cockerel figurine is the best result from a Cirencester dig in decades, archaeologists have said.
The enamelled object, which dates back as far as AD100, was unearthed during a dig in 2011 at a Roman burial site in the town.
It has now returned from conservation work and finders Cotswold Archaeology said it "looks absolutely fantastic".
The 12.5cm bronze figure was discovered inside a child's grave and is thought to have been a message to the gods.

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Bronze Age settlement unearthed in SW England

Wick Barrow beakers [Credit: Somerset County Council]

Excavations at the Hinkley C site have revealed the remains of a 3,000-year-old Bronze Age settlement.

Archaeologists have also discovered the first Saxon grub hut to be found in Somerset, and a number of Roman features and artefacts, including a grain drier, quern stones, a stone anchor, fishing net weights, jewellery and graves.

The work was funded by EDF Energy as part of its site preparations and carried out by Somerset County Council.

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Dig to reveal history of Northampton’s castle

The remains of a medieval castle have been discovered on the site of Northampton's new railway station [Credit: BBC]

Archaeological work to unearth the remains of Northampton’s medieval castle will begin later this month.

Work is due to start at the town’s railway station on Monday March 25, ahead of the development of a £20 million new station building.

Test pits dug last year found a range of remains dating back to the Medieval and Saxon period, including a 12th century wall and a Saxon brooch.

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Remains of Medieval knight found under car park

An elaborately decorated sandstone slab with the telltale markings of a member of the nobility [Credit: Scotsman]

The remains of a medieval knight have been discovered underneath a car park that is being demolished at a city-centre building site.

The skeleton was found in Edinburgh’s Old Town after archaeologists uncovered the corner of an elaborately decorated sandstone slab bearing markings of a member of the nobility – the carvings of the Calvary Cross and an ornate sword.

An excavation of the immediate area uncovered the adult skeleton, which archaeologists said is likely to have once occupied the nearby grave.

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Kooperation zwischen Archäologiepark Belginum und Universität Trier

Der Archäologiepark Belginum (Foto: Uni Trier)

Die Universität Trier kooperiert mit dem Archäologiepark Belginum der Gemeinde Morbach im Hunsrück. Belginum ist bekannt durch sein keltisch-römisches Gräberfeld mit 2.500 Bestattungen und seinem antiken römerzeitlichen Vicus (Kleinstadt) unmittelbar an der heutigen Hunsrückhöhenstraße.

Mit dieser bedeutenden archäologischen Fundstätte eröffnet sich für das Zentrum für Altertumswissenschaften der Universität Trier (ZAT) und das Fach Klassische Archäologie die Möglichkeit, die Attraktivität von Lehre und Forschung zu steigern. Die Archäologin Rosemarie Cordie, die den Archäologiepark leitet, ist seit Januar 2013 als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Zentrum für Altertumswissenschaften der Universität Trier (ZAT), Professur für Klassische Archäologie (Prof. Dr. Torsten Mattern), tätig.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Neanderthals' large eyes 'caused their demise'

The eyes have it: The Neanderthal skull (L) has larger eye sockets compared with a modern human skull (R). Consequently, the now extinct species used more of its brain to process visual information
A study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species.
As a result, more of their brains were devoted to seeing in the long, dark nights in Europe, at the expense of high-level processing.
By contrast, the larger frontal brain regions of Homo sapiens led to the fashioning of warmer clothes and the development larger social networks.
The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Ancient Reindeer Hunters Fished Ice Age Lakes

Archaeologists unearthed six fishhooks that date to 12,300 years ago, with one made from a 19,000-year-old mammoth tusk.  CREDIT: B. Gramsch 

Scientists have unearthed six fishhooks, the oldest of which was made from a 19,000-year-old mammoth tusk.  

Hunters of ice age reindeer around 12,300 years ago likely left the fishhooks, along with mammal and fish bones, in an open field in what is now Wustermark, Germany. The fishhooks, which are the oldest found in Europe, suggests humans developed fishing tools earlier than previously thought, probably to catch fast-moving fish that appeared in lakes as the climate warmed.

"These people had strong ideas to use the new resources of this changing environment," said Robert Sommer, a paleoecologist at the University of Kiel in Germany. The eel, perch and pike that entered lakes are too fast to snag with a harpoon or a spear, Sommer added.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Stonehenge started as graveyard, says new research

New research overturns the belief that Stonehenge was built as an astronomical calendar or observatory [Credit: Associated Press]

British researchers have proposed a new theory for the origins of Stonehenge: it may have started as a giant burial ground for elite families around 3000BC.

New studies of cremated human remains excavated from the site suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard, according to researchers.

"These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups," University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson, who led the team, said at the weekend. "We'd thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community - a different kind of power structure."

Parker Pearson said archaeologists studied the cremated bones of 63 individuals, and believed that they were buried around 3000BC. The location of many of the cremated bodies was originally marked by bluestones, he said.

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Heart disease present in ancient mummies

The mummified remains had signs of heart disease

Fatty arteries may not just be a curse of modern unhealthy lifestyles, say researchers who used scans to look at the heart health of mummies.
A study in The Lancet of 137 mummies up to 4,000 years old found a third had signs of atherosclerosis.
Most people associate the disease, which leads to heart attacks and strokes, with modern lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity.
But the findings may suggest a more basic human pre-disposition.
Previous studies have uncovered atherosclerosis in a significant number of Egyptian mummies but it had been speculated that they would have come from a higher social class and may have had luxurious diets high in saturated fat.

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

EMAS Study Tour to Brittany

EMAS Study Tour to Brittany

23 to 30 May 2013

This year's EMAS Spring Archaeological Study Tour is to Brittany.

The area is justly famous for its prehistoric monuments, especially the stunning Carnac alignments, but there are monuments of all periods to be found here. An interesting late medieval local feature is the enclos paroissial, or parish close. These sites are cultic in character. Within the walled churchyard are only buildings and structures designed for worship: the church, the calvary, and sometimes an ossuary or charnel house.

The coach will pick up at London Embankment. We will stay overnight in Rouen on our way to and from Brittany. The rest of the time we will stay in the charming town of Quimper. The major sites that we will visit include the prehistoric sites of Carnac and Locmariaquer; the Celtic and Viking fortification at the Camp de Péran; the abbeys of Mont-St-Michel and Beauport; the castle at Fougères and a selection of the best of the parish closes.

The cost of this trip will be £706 per person sharing a twin room and £835 per person in a single room.. The cost includes travel by coach; Bed & Breakfast in the hotels; entry to all the monuments and an illustrated brochure of the sites. 

You can find full details here...

Remarkable ringfenced burials from Roman Colchester

A recently-completed cemetery excavation close to Colchester’s Roman circus has revealed that some of Camulodunum’s citizens marked their grave plots with ditches and wooden fences. It had previously been speculated that, during the Roman period, those unable to afford stone monuments might have used wooden markers or mounds of earth to distinguish individual burials. Now a four-month investigation by Colchester Archaeological Trust has unearthed clusters of inhumations dated by grave goods and other finds  to the 2nd and 3rdcentury and surrounded in some cases by lines of small post-holes up to about 20cm in diameter.
‘This is certainly extremely unusual – I have never seen anything like it before,’ said CAT chief archaeologist Philip Crummy. ‘We have excavated about 400 inhumations and cremations here with much that is unusual. For example, we found areas of fenced burials at either end of the site, 80m apart, and it seems we are dealing not with one great cemetery area but a collection little plots used by different groups or families.’

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Oxford's University Church of St Mary the Virgin reopens

Oxford's 13th Century University Church of St Mary the Virgin has reopened following a £5.5m restoration.
The medieval building - which boasts Oxford's tallest spire - has undergone its biggest renovation since the late 19th Century in a two-year project.
Works included cleaning stonework, restoring the Clore Old Library, chancel and nave including 15th Century stalls, and improving access.
The church, which attracts 300,000 annual visitors, reopened earlier.

Watch the video...

Stonehenge may have been burial site for Stone Age elite, say archaeologists

Dating cremated bone fragments of men, women and children found at site puts origin of first circle back 500 years to 3,000 BC
Centuries before the first massive sarsen stone was hauled into place at Stonehenge, the world’s most famous prehistoric monument may have begun life as a giant burial ground, according to a theory disclosed on Saturday.
More than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge, have been excavated and studied for the first time by a team led by archaeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who has been working at the site and on nearby monuments for decades. He now believes the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form.

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Tooth found in Cave of Orce named earliest human remain

A MILK tooth discovered in Granada has been declared the earliest known human remain ever found in Western Europe.
The infants tooth was unearthed in the Cave of Orce and is believed to be 1.4 million years old.
Archaeologists believe the tooth came from aHomo erectus or Homo habilis which correlates with another discovery in the cave.
In 1983, Catalan archaeologist Josep Gibert visited the cave and found a skull fragment belonging to what he dubbed the Orce Man.

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MARYPORT DIG: Site director Tony Wilmott, left, and Professor Ian Haynes last summer

A tiny scrap of wool found during an archaeological dig in Maryport has unlocked a piece of history.

Archaeologists revealed this week that the dig at Camp Farm last summer has unearthed what appears to be a Christian church, dating back to the 5th or 6th century.

Experts believe the possible church, built in an east-west direction, was positioned so it could be seen at Whithorn, the cradle of Christianity in Scotland, on the other side of the Solway Firth.

They revealed their findings exclusively to a Maryport audience crowded into the town’s Senhouse museum on Tuesday night.

Tony Wilmott, site director, said that volunteers on the dig had discovered what appeared to be Christian long cist graves. In one they found fragments of bone and a tooth.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Could this be Dick Whittington’s privy?

MOLA’s Standing Buildings Team was recently commissioned by the City of London to investigate and record masonry features within the Phene Neal Room of the Guildhall in London. Previous investigations by MOLA showed the masonry to in fact be part of a medieval garderobe, more commonly known as a toilet.

The garderobe would have been constructed during John Croxtone’s renovations of the Guildhall in the early 15th century and therefore, it is believed to have been in use when the fabled Dick (Richard) Whittington was Lord Mayor of London, on no less than four separate occasions between 1397 and 1420. 

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Phil Harding voted Archaeologist of the Year 2013

Wessex Archaeology is proud to congratulate Phil Harding on being voted Archaeologist of the Year at the Current Archaeology Awards 2013.
The Current Archaeology Awards, decided by public vote, celebrate the best of British archaeology. The Archaeologist of the Year Award recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to archaeology. This year’s results were announced on 1st March at Current Archaeology Live. Best known for his starring role in Channel 4’s Time Team, Phil is a field archaeologist and flint expert with Wessex Archaeology.

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St Oran's Cross from Iona put back together in Selkirk

Work is being done to reassemble the cross before it is returned to Iona

One of the world's first Celtic High Crosses from the 8th Century is being reassembled in Selkirk in order to be returned to Iona.
St Oran's Cross will be back in place for the celebration of the 1450th anniversary of the arrival of St Columba on the island.
The cross was in five pieces and originally weighed more than one tonne.
It will be put back together inside a special steel structure designed by Borders-based mount-maker Richard West.
St Columba and his followers arrived from Ireland and established a monastery on Iona in 563.

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THE 3,000-year-old Carpow log boat is about to embark on another journey – not by river, but by road.
The waterlogged craft was discovered partially submerged in the mud, sand and gravel of Carpow Bank, at the head of the Tay Estuary, in 2001.
Carved from a single tree trunk, it was an example of one of the first known boats in existence and was radiocarbon dated to 1130-970 BC.

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First evidence of Viking-like 'sunstone' pulled from shipwreck

Researchers say this crystal found at the Alderney shipwreck near the Channel Islands could prove that fabled Viking sunstones really did exist.

Ancient lore has suggested that the Vikings used special crystals to find their way under less-than-sunny skies. Though none of these so-called "sunstones" has ever been found at Viking archaeological sites, a crystal uncovered in a British shipwreck could help prove they did indeed exist.
The crystal was found in the wreckage of the Alderney, an Elizabethan warship that sank near the Channel Islands in 1592. The stone was discovered less than 3 feet (1 meter) from a pair of navigation dividers, suggesting it may have been kept with the ship's other navigational tools, according to the research team headed by scientists at the University of Rennes in France.
A chemical analysis confirmed that the stone was Icelandic Spar, or calcite crystal, believed to be the Vikings' mineral of choice for theirfabled sunstones, mentioned in the 13th-century Viking saga of Saint Olaf.

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Brigg Bronze Age raft back at heritage centre

A Bronze Age raft has returned to a North Lincolnshire town after it was stored away for nearly 40 years.
The 3,000-year-old flat-bottomed oak boat was found in Brigg but has been in storage at a museum in London.
Now the ancient craft is being pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle and will go on display at Brigg Heritage Centre in May.

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Cardigan Castle: Steel supports removal in £11m work

Work has begun in Cardigan to remove the steel framework that has supported the castle walls for almost 40 years.
Yellow steel beams which have propped up the crumbling walls since 1975 are being taken away in an £11m renovation.
After months of work to strengthen and re-point the stone walls, the first piece of steelwork was cut away and removed by a crane on Friday.
A crowd of around 200 people gathered to watch the spectacle, which closed the main road for about 15 minutes.
The mayor of Cardigan, Catrin Miles, lit the oxyacetylene torch to begin the task of cutting down one of the steel supports.

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Human Ancestors Were Fashion Conscious

Keeping up with fashions. A close examination of shell beads from Blombos Cave (top) suggests that ancient humans there started off with one style of jewelry (bottom) and then shifted to another (middle) over the course of 3000 years.

The 2013 Academy Awards were, as always, as much about making appearances as about making films, as red carpet watchers noted fashion trends and faux pas. Both Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts wore Armani, although fortunately not the same dress. And Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway switched from Valentino to a controversial pale pink Prada at the last minute because her original dress looked too much like someone else's. Of course, no actress would be caught dead wearing the same style 2 years in a row. A new study of ancient beaded jewelry from a South African cave finds that ancient humans were no different, avoiding outdated styles as early as 75,000 years ago.
Personal ornaments, often in the form of beads worn as necklaces or bracelets, are considered by archaeologists as a key sign of sophisticated symbolic behavior, communicating either membership in a group or individual identity. Such ornaments are ubiquitous in so-called Upper Paleolithic sites in Europe beginning about 40,000 years ago, where they were made from many different materials—animal and human teeth, bone and ivory, stone, and mollusk shells—and often varied widely among regions and sites.
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Nat Geo is casting for a new show

Calling all Adventurers and Explorers!  
Nat Geo is Now Casting For A New Adventure Series

National Geographic is searching for the most incredible expeditions of 2013 to film and feature in a dynamic new blue chip adventure series that will take viewers to the edge of the world… and back. Every riveting episode will feature a new explorer, a new territory, and a new adventure, which will redefine the limits of possibility. Production has begun, but if you have an expedition happening this year, Nat Geo would love to hear from you and potentially feature you in the series. Missions will ideally combine risk-taking adventure with mind-blowing science.

If you’re planning to break records, conquer the impossible and redefine the limits of human potential, we want to hear from you.  Email Past Preservers at and if you are not already signed up on their expert database, register today here. Tell them about you, your upcoming mission, and how far along you are in the planning stage. Make sure to include your name, contact information and photos and/or video links.  (Submissions without photos and/or video WILL NOT be considered.) Expeditions that combine adventure and science especially wanted. Be prepared to inspire a new generation. 

Dogs Domesticated 33,000 Years Ago, Skull Suggests

A canine skull found in the Altai Mountains of Siberia is more closely related to moderndomestic dogs than to wolves, a new DNA analysis reveals.

The findings could indicate thatdogs were domesticatedaround 33,000 years ago. The point at which wolves went from wild to man's best friend is hotly contested, though dogs were well-established in human societies by about 10,000 years ago. Dogs and humans were buried together in Germany about 14,000 years ago, a strong hint of domestication, but genetic studies have pinpointed the origin of dog domestication in both China and the Middle East.

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