Monday, July 15, 2019

A Man, a Horse And a Dog Found in Extremely Rare Boat Burial Unearthed in Sweden


Not one, but two incredibly rare boat burials have been excavated in Uppsala, Sweden. One of these was still intact, with remains inside of not just a human, but also a dog and even a horse, all in good condition. According to archaeologists, it is a remarkable find, and indicates the burial of a high-status male.

"This is a unique excavation," said archaeologist Anton Seiler of Swedish archaeology firm The Archaeologists. "The last excavation of this grave type in Old Uppsala was almost 50 years ago."

Ship burials are found all across Europe, particularly in Scandinavian countries, but that doesn't mean they were common. They seemed to have been reserved for the upper echelons of society, those of the very highest status. These elite individuals were interred inside a ship, or a smaller boat, often loaded with rich grave goods.

The addition of horses, dogs, and hunting birds was also not uncommon.

"It is a small group of people who were buried in this way," Seiler explained. "You can suspect that they were distinguished people in the society of the time since burial ships in general are very rare."


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Climate change threatens Greenland's archaeological sites: study

Students and scientists investigate materials found at the Norse site Iffiartarfik
[Credit: Roberto Fortuna, National Museum of Denmark]

In Greenland, climate change isn't just a danger to ecosystems but also a threat to history, as global warming is affecting archaeological remains, according to a study published Thursday.

There are more than 180,000 archaeological sites across the Arctic, some dating back thousands of years, and previously these were protected by the characteristics of the soil.

"Because the degradation rate is directly controlled by the soil temperature and moisture content, rising air temperatures and changes in precipitation during the frost-free season may lead to a loss of organic key elements such as archaeological wood, bone and ancient DNA," the report, published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports, stated.

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Roman coins 'may be linked to Boudiccan revolt'

 The coins dated between 153BC and AD61
Suffolk County Council

A hoard of Roman coins found in a field may have been hidden there during the Boudiccan revolt, an expert has said.

The trove of 60 denarii, dating between 153BC and AD60-61, was found in a field near Cookley, in Suffolk, by a metal detectorist.

Dr Anna Booth, who examined the find, said there "might be a link with the Boudiccan revolt" and the coins.

Queen Boudicca led the Iceni tribe against the Romans in AD61 which led to the destruction of Colchester.

Most of the coins dated from the Republic era, pre-27BC, but there were also denarii minted during the reigns of emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Nero.

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Deux sols de mosaïque antiques au cœur de Poitiers


Située au nord-ouest de l’église Notre-Dame-la-Grande, la fouille se situe dans un secteur particulièrement sensible du point de vue archéologique compte-tenu de la densité importante des vestiges reconnus, notamment pour l’Antiquité. La surface de 230 m²  présente une grande densité de vestiges enchevêtrés et mobilise sept archéologues pendant sept semaines (du 11 juin au 26 juillet). Prescrite par la Drac Nouvelle-Aquitaine, cette fouille est mise en œuvre par la Communauté urbaine de Grand-Poitiers.

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Skull Bone Discovered in Greece May Alter the Story of Human Prehistory

A reconstruction of Apidima 2, which was shown to be a Neanderthal skull. A far older skull fragment, Apidima 1, was also assumed to be Neanderthal, but scientists now say it belonged to a modern human.
CreditCreditKaterina Harvati, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

The bone, found in a cave, is the oldest modern human fossil ever discovered in Europe. It hints that humans began leaving Africa far earlier than once thought.
A skull fragment found in the roof of a cave in southern Greece is the oldest fossil of Homo sapiens ever discovered in Europe, scientists reported on Wednesday.

Until now, the earliest remains of modern humans found on the Continent were less than 45,000 years old. The skull bone is more than four times as old, dating back over 210,000 years, researchers reported in the journal Nature.

The finding is likely to reshape the story of how humans spread into Europe, and may revise theories about the history of our species.


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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Cannonballs, skulls and jewellery: Archaeologists discover 'Bronze Age relics' in Edinburgh city centre, delaying Richard Branson’s new hotel

Building of first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the Edinburgh site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years ( Jon Savage /SWNS ) 

The opening of Sir Richard Branson‘s first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed by a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years.

The excavation in Edinburgh has lasted more than a year, three times longer than expected, due to the range of objects and material discovered from the 10th century.

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I by around 200 years.

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age.


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In pictures: New Unesco World Heritage Sites


Every year, natural and cultural landmarks from around the world are singled out for their "outstanding universal value" to humanity.

Unesco's World Heritage Committee has been meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan to decide which sites deserve special status and protection.

The 43rd session meets until Wednesday 10 July, but here are some additions made to their list so far.

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The first Europeans weren’t who you might think


Genetic tests of ancient settlers' remains show that Europe is a melting pot of bloodlines from Africa, the Middle East, and today's Russia.
The idea that there were once “pure” populations of ancestral Europeans, there since the days of woolly mammoths, has inspired ideologues since well before the Nazis. It has long nourished white racism, and in recent years it has stoked fears about the impact of immigrants: fears that have threatened to rip apart the European Union and roiled politics in the United States.

Now scientists are delivering new answers to the question of who Europeans really are and where they came from. Their findings suggest that the continent has been a melting pot since the Ice Age. Europeans living today, in whatever country, are a varying mix of ancient bloodlines hailing from Africa, the Middle East, and the Russian steppe.

The evidence comes from archaeological artifacts, from the analysis of ancient teeth and bones, and from linguistics. But above all it comes from the new field of paleogenetics. During the past decade it has become possible to sequence the entire genome of humans who lived tens of millennia ago. Technical advances in just the past few years have made it cheap and efficient to do so; a well-preserved bit of skeleton can now be sequenced for around $500.

The result has been an explosion of new information that is transforming archaeology. In 2018 alone, the genomes of more than a thousand prehistoric humans were determined, mostly from bones dug up years ago and preserved in museums and archaeological labs. In the process any notion of European genetic purity has been swept away on a tide of powdered bone.


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Sunday, July 07, 2019

Viking Burial Ships Uncovered in 'Sensational' Archaeological Find


Archaeologists have discovered two Viking burial ships in the Swedish municipality of Uppsala.

A find of this type is rare in the country. In fact, only around ten discoveries of this kind have been made to date in the Scandinavian nation, according to researchers.

"This is a unique excavation, the last burial ship was examined 50 years ago," Anton Seiler, an archeologist who works with several Swedish museums, told The Local.

The two vessels—which Saeiler describes as a "sensational" find—were excavated near the grounds of a vicarage in the village of Gamla Uppsala last fall.

These types of burials, where individuals were placed in full-sized boats, were not available to the common folk. They are thought to have been reserved for individuals with high status.

"It is a small group of people who were buried in this way," Seiler said. "You can suspect that they were distinguished people in the society of the time since burial shiaps in general are very rare."


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Exercise Shallow Grave


Mary-Ann Ochota joins Archaeologist of the Year,  Richard Osgood and his team of veterans and local archaeologists as they unearth Saxon artefacts and develop life changing skills.

An idyllic site in Gloucestershire has yielded some important 6th Century artifacts and is vulnerable both to ploughing and ‘night hawking’. But what’s going on above ground is just as valuable as what lies beneath it.

Lead by former Marine Dickie Bennet, ‘Breaking Ground Heritage (BGH)’ uses archaeology and heritage to develop projects that encourage physical and psychological well-being amongst former members of the armed forces.  Working alongside trained archaeologists, participants bring their skills of attention to detail and resilience whilst also building their own recovery pathways, empowering them to regain control of their lives.


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Viking Grave Discovery In Sweden Leaves Archaeologists Stunned

A member of the Arckeologerna team at the grave site in Sweden.

Arckeologerna, National Historical Museums

Swedish authorities have announced the first viking boat grave discoveries in the country in more than fifty years. Archaeologists taking part in a routine dig in Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), 46 miles (74km) north of Stockholm, were shocked as they unearthed the viking boat graves that included human remains.

There are only a handful of known burial sites of this kind in the country. While rare in Sweden, discoveries of viking burial sites have become more frequent elsewhere in Scandinavia. Last year, Norwegian archaeologists found remains of longhouses and at least one ship lying just below the topsoil near Halden in the south-east of Norway. Just months later, another ship discovery was made on the shores of the Oslofjord at the Midgard Viking Center in Horten.


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Thursday, July 04, 2019

Late Iron Age chariot pieces found in Pembrokeshire

Archaeologists discovered bronze artefacts, the iron tyres of the chariot wheels and an iron sword
MUSEUM WALES

Archaeologists have discovered more artefacts at the first Celtic chariot burial site to be found in southern Britain.

Two iron tyres and a sword from the chariot were retrieved during an excavation in Pembrokeshire.

The exact site remains a secret and follows the discovery of decorative objects by a metal detector enthusiast on the same land in February 2018.

National Museum Wales is conserving the chariot pieces.

Archaeologists had suspected they would uncover more beneath the farmland where metal detectorist Mike Smith found a number of objects associated with a chariot.

Following an initial investigation in June 2018 by archaeologists from National Museum Wales and Dyfed Archaeological Trust, a dig was carried out in March and April, funded by National Museum Wales, Cadw and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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Viking men were buried with cooking gear


Scientists often imagine that men’s and women’s roles during the Viking Age were clearly differentiated, archaeologist Marianne Moen says. “The illustrations show women making food and holding children, while men were active, in battle,” she says. But maybe this wasn’t the way things were. The illustration is from “Vikinger i vest” (Vikings in the West), published in 2009. 
(Illustration: Peter Duun)

What were gender roles like during Viking times? A Norwegian archaeologist thinks we often misinterpret the past based on our current cultural assumptions.
Marianne Moen says that gender roles during Viking times weren’t nearly as differentiated as we might think.

“I think we need to move away from distinguishing between men’s and women’s roles during the Viking times,” she said. Moen has completed her PhD on Viking Age gender roles at the University of Oslo. Her research shows that upper-class men and women generally were buried with the same types of items — including cooking gear.

Moen went through the contents of 218 Viking graves in Vestfold, a county on the southwest side of Oslo Fjord, and sorted the artefacts she found according to type. Many of the graves were richly equipped with everything from cups and plates to horses and other livestock.

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Ancient Humans Dietary Habits Reflected In Bonobo Aquatic Greens Diet


Bonobos have been spotted doing something interesting in the Congo basin. They are scouring the swamp in search of aquatic herbs that are packed with iodine, a nutrient that is very important for advancing the growth of higher cognitive abilities. That could help scientists understand the nutritional needs and practices of ancient humans. The Bonobo consumption of food rich in iodine is the first-ever recorded by a species other than humans.

“Our results have implications for our understanding of the immigration of prehistoric human populations into the Congo basin,” Dr. Gottfried Hohmann, the lead author of the study comments.

“Bonobos as a species can be expected to have similar iodine requirements to humans, so our study offers—for the first time—a possible answer on how pre-industrial human migrants may have survived in the Congo basin without artificial supplementation of iodine,” the researcher added.

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Bones and wall uncovered at clifftop fort in Aberdeenshire

Tests to date charcoal and bones found at Dillyminnen are to be carried out
KATIE SOUTH

The first modern archaeological excavation of an ancient clifftop fort in Aberdeenshire has begun.

Several digs were done at Dillyminnen, near Gamrie, in the 1860s.

The remnants of two rectangular buildings were identified and unidentifiable bone fragments and a glass bead were found at the time.

A large stone wall along with charcoal and bones have now been uncovered by a team of archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen.

Further analysis of the charcoal and bones will be done, including tests to radiocarbon-date the finds.

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Calstock Roman dig reveals 'unexpected' mine

Mine workings reveal the Romans were exploiting the mineral-rich area
UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

Archaeologists digging near a Roman fort in Cornwall have unearthed remains of a mine and a Roman road.

The discoveries were made during a new dig near a fort found at Calstock in 2007, one of only three such sites known in the county.

Experts will carry out further analysis of a previously-unknown series of deep pits, connected by arched tunnels.

Dig leader Dr Chris Smart, from the University of Exeter, said the mine was an "unexpected bonus".

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Roman road and possible mine discovered during Cornish dig

View of the possible mining pits looking north [Credit: University of Exeter]

Archaeologists have discovered a Roman road and possible ancient mine during excavations in Cornwall as they work to discover more about the history of the county.

Experts will carry out further analysis of the previously-unknown series of deep pits, which are connected by arched tunnels. It is likely to be yet another mine worked many hundreds of years ago when this area of South East Cornwall and West Devon was famed for having some of the richest mineral deposits in the world.

Archaeologists from the University of Exeter and local volunteers have been digging for the past month near to the site of a previously-found Roman fort at Calstock, in the Tamar Valley. This year’s excavation has focused on an area outside the fort’s west gate, which was at the front of the fort, originally facing hostile territory.

As well as the possible mine they have discovered a Roman road, which would have served regular military traffic in and out of the fort. The excavation has revealed a rare glimpse of timber-built Roman military buildings constructed outside of the fort, as well as a series of rubbish and cess pits, indicating that the Roman army was also active outside of the fort’s defences.

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Orkney world heritage sites threatened by climate change


The world heritage status of Orkney's archaeological treasures is threatened by climate change, a report has warned.

Rising seas and higher rainfall mean the Heart of Neolithic Orkney site is "extremely vulnerable", experts said.

Their assessment is being presented at a Unesco meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The method used to assess the impact of a warmer, wetter climate on Orkney could eventually be rolled out to all 1,092 Unesco World Heritage Sites.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Britain’s Atlantis: Evidence of Stone Age human activity found beneath North Sea

Archaeologists have found evidence of ancient human activity on Britain’s very own “Atlantis”. 

Scientists investigating a drowned Stone Age landscape at the bottom of the North Sea have discovered two potential prehistoric settlement sites on the banks of a long-vanished ancient river.


It is the first time that an archaeological expedition has ever found such evidence far offshore under the huge body of water. 


In the past, prehistoric artefacts have on occasions been trawled up by fishermen and found by oil exploration teams – but the seabed contexts they came from were never archaeologically assessed.


This time, the discoveries are part of a systematic archaeological survey.


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Archaeologists discover that Roman dockers ate surprisingly well – until the barbarians arrived

Built during the reign of Claudius in the 1st century AD at the mouth of the Tiber,
Portus was the epicentre of Roman trade for centuries. 
(Photo: Portus Project/Artas Media)

British-led study finds that all inhabitants of the town of Portus had a similar diet rich in meat and North African wine

Ancient Rome may have not have had much to offer its subjects by way of equality but when it came to the diet of its dockers at least it seems they dined something like emperors.

A British-led archaeological study of remains found in Portus, the maritime port which served Rome, has found that its labouring inhabitants benefited from the flow of goods through the town by having a diet entirely similar to that of its wealthy ruling citizens – at least until the “barbarians” arrived.
Exotic goods
The study, based on an analysis of food and human remains at locations around the manmade port to the west of Rome, found that dockers or “saccarii” benefited from their work unloading the flow of exotic goods – including bears and crocodiles – to the heart of the ancient empire with a diet rich in animal protein, imported wheat, olive oil and wine from North Africa.

Comparison with remains found at locations where rich and middle class inhabitants lived during the second to the fifth centuries AD found the same sort of diet, suggesting that Portus was unusual in the Roman world in that rich and poor ate similarly well.

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Anglesey archaeology: Bronze Age cairn dig at Bryn Celli Ddu

Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber is aligned to the sun and is lit during the summer solstice
AERIAL-CAM

An excavation is under way on the site of a suspected 4,500-year-old burial cairn that lies next to one of Wales' most important prehistoric monuments.

Experts are hoping to learn more about it and its relationship to Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber at Anglesey.

The 5,000-year-old "passage tomb" is aligned to coincide with the rising sun on the summer solstice.

Dr Ffion Reynolds said the cairn showed the site remained a "special location" centuries after the chamber was built.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Archaeologists uncover megalithic monument thought to be unlike any found in Ireland to date

IT Sligo Archaeology students Jazmin Scally Koulak and Eugene Anderson sieving the soil at Carrowmore excavation

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION in Co Sligo has uncovered a megalithic monument thought to be unlike any found in Ireland to date. 

Several prehistoric tools made from a hard stone called chert were discovered and are thought to have been used for activities such as working animal hides, cutting and preparing food, basket food, basket working and bone working. 

The discovery was made by a team of archaeologists from IT Sligo during a two-week excavation of a prehistoric monument in the heart of the Carrowmore megalithic complex in Co Sligo. 

Carrowmore in the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland, with 5,500-year-old passage tombs dating from 3,600 BC. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Artificial islands older than Stonehenge stump scientists

A diver holds a Neolithic (ca. 3,500 B.C) Ustan vessel found near a crannog (artificial island) 
in Loch Arnish, Scotland. PHOTOGRAPH BY C. MURRAY

When it comes to studying Neolithic Britain (4,000-2,500 B.C.), a bit of archaeological mystery is to be expected. Since Neolithic farmers existed long before written language made its way to the British Isles, the only records of their lives are the things they left behind. And while they did leave us a lot of monuments that took, well, monumental effort to build—think Stonehenge or the stone circles of Orkney—the cultural practices and deeper intentions behind these sites are largely unknown.

Now it looks like there may potentially be a whole new type of Neolithic monument for archaeologists to scratch their heads over: crannogs.

Artificial islands commonly known as crannogs dot hundreds of Scottish and Irish lakes and waterways. Until now, researchers thought most were built when people in the Iron Age (800-43 B.C.) created stone causeways and dwellings in the middle of bodies of water. But a new paper published today in the journal Antiquity suggests that at least some of Scotland’s nearly 600 crannogs are much, much older—nearly three thousand years older—putting them firmly in the Neolithic era. What’s more, the artifacts that help push back the date of the crannogs into the far deeper past may also point to a kind of behavior not previously suspected in this prehistoric period.

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Britain’s best places to see: Roman heritage sites

St. Mary in Castro, Dover Castle, Dover +Roman lighthouse © milo bostock (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What’s a medieval castle, founded only in the 11th century, got to do with the Romans? Being the British mainland’s closest point to Continental Europe, Dover has consistently been an important base for trade, travel and defence, and it is thought that the use of the site now occupying Dover Castle may have been utilised from as early as the Iron Age. What is known about the early origins of the site was that it was used by the Romans – evidenced by a rather unique structure in its grounds, adjacent to the St Mary in Castro church.

Constructed sometime during the 2nd century AD, when Dover was known as Dubris, this stone tower is a Roman pharos, or lighthouse, and is the most complete Roman structure standing in Britain. The 8-sided tower is something really rather special, with only three examples of Roman lighthouses existing anywhere in the world (another of which is also in Dover, though only a small section remains).

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Ancient DNA from Roman and medieval grape seeds reveal ancestry of wine making

Statue of Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine (stock image).
Credit: © Ruslan Gilmanshin / Adobe Stock

A grape variety still used in wine production in France today can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered.

With the help of an extensive genetic database of modern grapevines, researchers were able to test and compare 28 archaeological seeds from French sites dating back to the Iron Age, Roman era, and medieval period.

Utilising similar ancient DNA methods used in tracing human ancestors, a team of researchers from the UK, Denmark, France, Spain, and Germany, drew genetic connections between seeds from different archaeological sites, as well as links to modern-day grape varieties.

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Friday, June 07, 2019

DNA from 31,000-year-old milk teeth leads to discovery of new Ice Age population of big game hunters

The DNA was recovered from the only human remains discovered during the era – two tiny milk teeth ( Russian Academy of Sciences )

A new Ice Age population of big game hunters that lived in the depths of Siberia has been discovered using DNA taken from 31,000-year-old human milk teeth. 

Named the ‘Ancient North Siberians’ the hardy population would have hunted lions, wolves, woolly mammoths and bison, according to a study led by Cambridge University.

The find was one aspect of new research into the genetic composition of Native Americans who in part descended from these Siberian hunters. 

The existence of this fierce population, who first evolved 38,000 years ago, forms “a significant part of human history”, according to lead researcher Professor Eske Willerslev.

He told The Independent: “These humans had adapted to an extremely harsh environment in terms of temperatures – it’s a part of the world that is almost completely dark all winter. There are basically no trees and they were living alongside lions, wolves, bison and rhinos.

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Second oldest church in Germany uncovered

The site in the foundation of the church where human remains have also been found. 
Photo: DPA

Archaeologists have discovered Germany’s second oldest church hidden within a cathedral in the west of the country.

In the so-called "Old Cathedral" in Mainz, which is today the evangelical Church of St John, archaeologists found the remains of another church built 1,200 years ago in the time of Charlemagne, Deacon Andreas Klodt said on Tuesday.

Only Trier on the Mosel River has an older church, with its cathedral dating back to Roman times, making the find the second oldest church in the country.

Professor Matthias Untermann from the Institute of Art History in Heidelberg said the remains of the Carolingian walls stretched from the basement to the roof.

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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Prehistoric stone engraved with horses found in France

A generated image of the prehistoric sandstone plate and its engraving
DENIS GLIKSMAN/INRAP

A stone believed to be about 12,000 years old and engraved with what appears to be a horse and other animals has been discovered in France.

The prehistoric find by archaeologists excavating a site in the south-western Angoulême district, north of Bordeaux, has been described as "exceptional".

Markings appear on both sides of the sandstone, the National Archaeological Research Institute (Inrap) said.

It was found during work at an "ancient hunting site" near Angoulême station.

The Palaeolithic stone plate, which is said to be about 25cm long, 18cm wide and 3cm thick, "combines geometric and figurative motifs", Inrap said.

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Incredibly rare ancient map of London is discovered from 1572 – and the roads are the same

The map shows little life to the south of the river, but the city is already full of winding streets (Picture: BNPS)

An extremely rare example of the earliest surviving map of London has been discovered. The 1572 city plan, by engraver Frans Hogenburg, provides a fascinating bird’s eye view of the underdeveloped capital city. 

It reveals there was a large settlement north of the River Thames, but south of it was sparsely populated. T

he colourful map depicts many boats weaving their way down the river, which could only be crossed by the solitary Old London Bridge. 

Recognisable landmarks include the Tower of London, the Charterhouse monastery and the old St Paul’s Cathedral, while Westminster is marked as ‘West Mester’. 

In a nod to a bygone age, bear baiting is shown in Southwark, and there are drawings of Queen Elizabeth figures around the map’s edges.

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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Africa’s first herders spread pastoralism by mating with foragers

INHERITING HERDING  Ancient DNA indicates that early African herders started mating with hunter-gatherers more than 5,000 years ago. Here, modern herders in Tanzania watch over their goats.

Ancient sheep, goat and cattle herders made Africa their home by hooking up with the continent’s native hunter-gatherers, a study suggests.

DNA analysis shows that African herders and foragers mated with each other in two phases, says a team led by archaeologist Mary Prendergast of Saint Louis University in Madrid. After entering northeastern Africa from the Middle East around 8,000 years ago, herders swapped DNA with native foragers between roughly 6,000 and 5,000 years ago. Herders possessing some forager heritage then trekked about halfway down the continent and mated with eastern African foragers around 4,000 years ago, the scientists report online May 30 in Science.

Present-day herders, such as the Dinka in South Sudan, still live in eastern Africa. But how pastoralism spread into the region has been a mystery. In particular, it has been difficult to tell whether ancient African hunter-gatherers mated with early herders or simply adopted their livestock practices. The new study supports an emerging view from ancient DNA studies that human cultural evolution has often featured mating across groups with different traditions and lifestyles.

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Monday, June 03, 2019

Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family's drawer


A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.

They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen - which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family's grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby's auction house in London.

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Byzantine Constantinople, the navel of the (medieval) world


Byzantine Constantinople, the navel of the (medieval) world
A Lecture by Dr Aphrodite Papayianni

7.00pm Friday, 7 June 2019

at the Museum of London

Further details...

Lewis chessmen piece bought for £5 in 1964 could sell for £1m

The newly discovered medieval Lewis warder chess piece was missing for almost 200 years. Photograph: Tristan Fewings/Sotheby's/PA

A small walrus tusk warrior figure bought for £5 in 1964 – which, for years, was stored in a household drawer – is a missing piece from one of the true wonders of the medieval world, it has been revealed.

The Lewis chessmen were found in 1831 in the Outer Hebrides and became beloved museum collections in London and Edinburgh. They have also become well known in popular culture from Noggin the Nog to Harry Potter.

But of the 93 pieces found, five were known to be missing. Until now. On Monday the auction house Sotheby’s announced it had authenticated a missing piece and would sell it in July with an estimated value of between £600,000 and £1m.

The missing piece, measuring 8.8cm in height, is a Lewis warder and – 55 years ago – was purchased for £5, about £100 in today’s money.

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The Birdman of Siberia: sensational finds in the heart of Russia puzzle scientists


Two unique burials of the Odinov culture (early Bronze) were unearthed last year at the Ust-Tartas site in Novosibirsk region.

Inside one of them researches found several dozen long beaks and skulls of large birds assembled into something looking like a collar, a head dress, or armour. 

‘Nothing of this kind was ever found as part of Odinov culture in all of Western Siberia’ said researcher Lilia Kobeleva from Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography. 

‘Why do we think this was a part of clothing? The beaks were assembled at the back of the skull, along the neck, as if it was a collar that protected the owner when he lived here.’

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS TO SEEK GRAVE OF FIRST ROMAN EMPEROR TO DIE IN BATTLE, TRAJAN DECIUS IN 251 BATTLE OF ABRITUS, NEAR BULGARIA’S RAZGRAD


A collage showing a bust of Roman Emperor Trajan Decius, with the ruins of the fortress walls of ancient Abritus near Bulgaria’s Razgrad in the background. 
Photo: Abritus Archaeological Preserve


An international archaeological expedition is seeking EU funding in order to search for the grave of Trajan Decius, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire to die in battle, namely, the 251 AD Battle of Abritus near today’s city of Razgrad in Northeast Bulgaria.

Both Roman Emperor Trajan Decius (r. 249-251 AD) and his co-emperor and son Herennius Etruscus (r. 251 AD) were killed in what was one of the greatest battles of the Late Antiquity when their forces tried to stop the barbarian invasion of the Goths near Abritus (today’s Razgrad), a major city and fortress in the Roman province of Moesia Inferior.

The precise site of the Battle of Abritus was identified only recently, in 2016, by Bulgarian archaeologists near today’s town of Dryanovets.

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17 amphorae from the 3rd century BC discovered off Cannes

Credit: Marc Langleur

A campaign of underwater archaeological excavations has uncovered 17 amphorae dating from the 3rd century BC at a depth of twenty metres, not far from the Lérins islands off the Bay of Cannes.

According to Anne Joncheray, archaeologist and director of the Saint-Raphaël Museum of Archaeology, the 2,300-year-old amphorae are remarkably well-preserved and were likely used to transport locally produced wine to the Greek trading posts of the Mediterranean.

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UN DÉPÔT DE MONNAIES EXCEPTIONNELLES DE LA FIN DU XVE SIÈCLE DÉCOUVERT À DIJON


Lors d’un diagnostic archéologique dans le centre de Dijon, près de l’ancienne abbaye Saint-Bénigne, une équipe de l’Inrap a mis au jour un dépôt d’une trentaine de monnaies d’or et d’argent de la seconde moitié du XVe siècle, originaires d'Italie et des états du Saint-Empire. Ce dépôt, d’un grand intérêt numismatique, a les allures d’un catalogue de portraits de tous les grands princes de la fin du Moyen Âge.

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Sunday, June 02, 2019

Whipworm eggs found in 8000-year-old human coprolites. Andrew Masterson reports.

Archaeologists carefully excavating the neolithic village.
SCOTT HADDOW

Researchers picking though 8000-year-old human faeces have identified the earliest evidence of intestinal parasite infection in the mainland Near East.

A team led by archaeologist Piers Mitchell of Cambridge University in the UK travelled to the well preserve remains of a prehistoric village called Çatalhöyük, in southern Anatolia. 

The site was occupied from about 7500 to 5700 BCE, and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Apart from the extraordinarily good state of its survival, the village is of key interest because it was occupied around the period that populations in the region shifted from foraging to farming. 

The change in both diet and lifestyle – particularly the emergence of permanent settlements – introduces the question of whether such a shift in living conditions also brought about a consequent change in disease profiles.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Ancient marble head of god Dionysus discovered under Rome

The head of Dionysus was found near the Roman Forum. Photos: 
Archeological Park of the Colosseum.

Archeologists in Rome have uncovered a large marble head from Rome’s imperial age that is believed to show Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, music and dance.

The white marble bust, believed to be 2,000 years old, was discoved in the heart of the city, near the Roman Forum, during excavations last week.

The head had been reused to form part of a medieval wall but experts say it is in excellent condition.

The head, with hollow eyes probably once filled with glass or precious stones, would have belonged to a large statue of the god created in the imperial age.

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Medieval home of Lords of the Isles virtually reconstructed

Credit: University of St Andrews

Major archaeological work by the National Museum of Scotland has enabled the University of St Andrews’ Open Virtual Worlds Team, and spin-out company Smart History, to digitally recreate Finlaggan.

In collaboration with the Finlaggan Trust, the reconstruction is based on discoveries made by the Finlaggan Archaeological Project, led by archaeologist Dr David Caldwell (formerly of the National Museum of Scotland), who provided advice to the St Andrews team.
Documentary research and comparison with other late medieval sites has been used to ensure the reconstruction is as accurate as possible.

The digital research in St Andrews was led by Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science, while digital modelling was undertaken by Sarah Kennedy of the School of Computer Science, with additional historical research by Dr Bess Rhodes of the School of History and the School of Computer Science.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Remains of entire Roman town discovered next to motorway in Kent

Workers at the Roman settlement discovered in Newington ( KMG/SWNS.com )

‘This site changes our understanding of Newington’s development,’ says expert
Archaeologists have hailed the discovery of an entire Roman town and main road as “massive” for their understanding of ancient Kentish development.

An 18-acre settlement containing rare coins, pottery and jewellery dating back as early as 43 AD has been uncovered next to a major motorway in Newington.

Evidence of a 7m-wide road was also found, alongside the remains of an ancient temple, close to the A2 – which itself tracks an ancient link with Canterbury and the coast.

Experts have said the discovery is one of the most significant finds made in the region.

Dean Coles, chairman of the Newington History Group, said: “This is very exciting. The scale of this site, with the huge number and quality of finds, changes our knowledge of Newington’s development.”

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LATE BRONZE AGE SETTLEMENT DISCOVERED IN NORTHWEST BULGARIA IN TURKISH STREAM GAS PIPELINE RESCUE DIGS


A settlement originally dating back to the Late Bronze Age, which was also subsequently inhabited in the Thracian and Roman Antiquity, and the Middle Age, has been discovered by archaeologists near Rasovo in Northwest Bulgaria during rescue excavation on the projected route of the Turkish Stream natural gas transit pipeline.

A total of three archaeological sites have been found along the route of the proposed extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline (dubbed Turkish Stream – Northwest) that would potentially be transporting natural gas from Russian via the Black Sea, Turkey, and Bulgaria into Central Europe.

One of the three newly discovered sites is the settlement from the very end of the Bronze Age dating back to ca. 1,200 BC near today’s town of Rasovo, Medkovets Municipality, Montana District, in Northwest Bulgaria.

Because of the fact it was also inhabited during later historical periods, however, the archaeologists have described it as a “multilayer settlement".

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Roadworks uncover Bronze Age urn burial site in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Credit: ct-press

Construction work along the future A14 highway between Dolle and Lüderitz has revealed an urn burial ground from the late Bronze Age.

More than 100 cremation burials dating to around 800 BC have been found here, reports chief archaeologist Susanne Friederich, head of the department for the preservation of archaeological monuments at the State Office for Archaeology and Monument Conservation.

"The place obviously served as a 'cemetery' for several villages, whose remains were also found nearby", she said

"The deceased were burned on pyres. Their relatives placed their ashes and bone remains in urns, together with anything which had not been destroyed by fire, such as bronze clasps or jewellery made of metal," excavation leader Anette Schubert explains.

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