Monday, March 19, 2018

Viking expert certain Norse seafarers visited Miramichi, Chaleur Bay

Birgitta Wallace, senior archaeologist emerita with Parks Canada, says she believes Vikings had summer camps in New Brunswick's Miramichi and Chaleur Bay area. 
(Contributed/Rob Ferguson)

Did Vikings visit New Brunswick's Miramichi and Chaleur Bay areas? According to the research done by Birgitta Wallace, senior archaeologist emerita with Parks Canada, they did. 

"I'm really convinced that the Vikings did visit that area. Not all my colleagues would agree with me," said the woman who's been studying Vikings for 50 years.

While she is certain the Vikings did spend time in Miramichi and Chaleur Bay, she says she is not hopeful of ever finding anything to prove it.

Wallace said she determined that the second location that Vikings visited in North America, known as "Hóp," meaning "tidal lagoon," was in the Miramichi and Chaleur region after she studied the Vikings sagas. She also drew on her extensive work at L'Anse aux Meadows, located on the very northern tip of Newfoundland. 

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Archaeologists Closer to Finding Lost Viking Settlement

The only known Viking site in North America is located at L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. It was declared a World Heritage site.
Credit: WendyCotie/Shutterstock

A lost Viking settlement known as "Hóp," which has been mentioned in sagas passed down over hundreds of years, is said to have supported wild grapes, abundant salmon and inhabitants who made canoes out of animal hides. Now, a prominent archaeologist says the settlement likely resides in northeastern New Brunswick.

If Hóp is found it would be the second Viking settlement to be discovered in North America. The other is at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland.

Over the decades, scholars have suggested possible locations where the remains of Hóp might be found, including Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick (on the east coast of Canada), Nova Scotia, Maine, New England and New York. However, using the description of the settlement from sagas of Viking voyages, along with archaeological work carried out at L'Anse aux Meadows and at Native American sites along the east coast of North America, an archaeologist has narrowed down the likely location of Hóp to northeastern New Brunswick. The likeliest location there? The Miramichi-Chaleur bay area. 

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Site of huge Iron Age feast celebration found on Orkney

Windwick Bay at South Ronaldsay, close to the site of the massive cliff top feast held more than 1,700 years ago. PIC:

Archaeologists have identified the site of a huge Iron Age feast on Orkney where more than 10,000 animals were cooked and eaten in a vast cliff top celebration. 

Tests have shown that horses, cattle, red deer and otters were on the menu at the gathering above Windwick Bay, South Ronaldsay, more than 1,700 years ago.

Archaeologists from the University of the Highlands and Islands have been working at The Cairns for several years. 

A large number of jewellery fragments and tools have already been discovered at the site, where the remains of an Iron Age broch and metalworking site can be found, with recent radiocarbon tests carried out at a midden - or rubbish tip - nearby.

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Utrecht’s history goes back 11,000 years, archaeologists say

The history of Utrecht begins at least 8,000 years earlier than was previously thought, local broadcaster RTV Utrecht reported this week. 

The discovery was made when archaeologists were digging at the site of the Prinses Máxima Centrum for children with cancer ahead of its expansion. 

The dig yielded traces of human habitation and objects from the early Stone Age, with some indications that Utrecht started as far back as 11,000 BC. 

‘There have been prehistoric finds in Leidsche Rijn and Hoograven, particularly from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. But this discovery means the history of Utrecht started 8,000 years earlier than the history books tell us,’ Utrecht alderman Kees Geldof told the broadcaster. 

Not only were older indications of a human presence found at the site but the dig also showed evidence that the site had been inhabited without interruption throughout the Stone Age.

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Alchemy, flushing toilets and blood-letting: The secrets of medieval Oxford revealed

Exclusive: Investigators have found writing equipment, cutlery and even ceramic beer mugs used by students and teachers going back 800 years

Oxford’s medieval secrets: a panorama of the development site and excavations 
Photos Oxford Archaeology

Archaeologists have been unearthing the realities of daily life at Oxford University – as they were experienced some seven centuries ago.

In one of Britain’s largest-ever urban excavations, investigators have found the writing equipment, refectory cutlery and even ceramic beer mugs used by students and teachers back in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

They’ve even been able to rediscover what Oxford’s medieval scholars were eating – a very wide range of food including beef, lamb, goose, salmon, trout and eggs.

For the first time for many centuries, archaeologists were able to see substantial parts of one of the university’s greatest medieval teaching institutions – a friary established by Franciscan friars in 1224.

It was of pivotal importance in the history of Oxford University.

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Major dig to begin at Carrickfergus Castle

A major archaeological excavation at the front of Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim, will begin later.
The dig will inform the next phase of conservation and presentation at the historic site.
Carrickfergus Castle is one of Northern Ireland's best-known historic monuments.
It has been in state care since 1928, and is now managed by the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities (DfC).
It dates back to the 1170s and is one of the most complete examples of Norman architecture in Northern Ireland, and one of the most complete castles of its type on the British Isles.
The excavation will investigate the ground at the entrance to the castle, where earlier investigations revealed buried structures and artefacts.

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Archaeological treasures hiding in London's mud

Continuing a tradition popularised by the Victorians, "mudlarkers" scour the foreshore of the Thames in search of historical treasures.
Two thousand years of human history are revealed by the low tide on London’s largest archaeological site and we spoke to the foreshore’s mudlarkers about their favourite finds.
At around 5am every morning, mudlarkers like Nick Stevens set out to explore the foreshore's offering.

Megalodon toothImage copyrightN.STEVENS
Image captionMegalodon was an ancient kind of shark

Nick came to mudlarking through his childhood interests in fossil hunting which explains how he managed to spot a rare Megalodon tooth in the barge bed.

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

15,000-year-old artefacts discovered along Scotland's Aberdeen bypass

Artefacts and structures found during archaeological excavations on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project are shedding light on land use and settlement in the north east over the past 15,000 years, including Mesolithic pits, Roman bread ovens, prehistoric roundhouses and a cremation complex.

A beaker from the Chalcolithic period; a fluted carinated bowl from early Neolithic times;
impressed ware from the middle Neolithic 
[Credit: Transport Scotland]

Since the archaeological excavations were completed, specialists have been analysing the artefacts and samples recovered from the various sites and will be detailing the results in a new limited edition book due to be published later this year.

Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work said: “When complete, the AWPR will help to reduce congestion, cut journey times, improve safety and lower pollution in Aberdeen City Centre, as well as enable local authorities to develop public transport solutions."

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Remains of Welshpool's medieval castle excavated

Archaeologists have resumed a dig at Welshpool's medieval castle.

Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) held an open day at Victoria Bowling Club on Saturday from 10:00 GMT to 16:00 to present their findings to the public.

Previous excavations found that parts of the building were well preserved.

"This year we are exploring the ditch around the castle mound," said CPAT community archaeologist Alex Sperr.

Volunteers have been helping the trust to excavate the site.

"Although the castle is on a prominent site not many people know about it, and it is great that we can help raise the profile of this important piece of Welsh heritage," said Mr Sperr.

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The Future of London’s Past

Unfortunately, Martin Biddle's lecture 'Central Considerations: Winchester, the birth of Urban Archaeology, and The Future of London’s Past’ due to be held at the Museum of London on Friday, 2 March has had to be cancelled owing to transport problems due to the severe weather.