Thursday, October 15, 2020

THIRD SATELLITE TOWN OF EARLY MEDIEVAL BULGARIAN EMPIRE’S CAPITAL PLISKA FOUND DURING DIGS FOR TURKISH STREAM NATURAL GAS PIPELINE



Rescue archaeological excavations for the construction of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline (dubbed “Balkan Stream" by the Bulgarian government) have yielded a surprising discovery: a completely unknown medieval town described as the third satellite town of the city of Pliska, the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire between 680 and 893 AD.

Pliska was the first capital of the Ancient Bulgars south of the Danube River. In addition to having been the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018 AD) for more than 200 years, it was also the largest city in medieval Europe in terms of territory.

While not as densely populated, with a total enclosed area of 23 square kilometers it was substantially larger than Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire, or Aachen, capital of Charlemagne’s Carolingian Empire.

Ancient hunters stayed in frozen Northern Europe rather than migrating to warmer areas, evidence from Arctic fox bones shows

The jaw of an arctic fox which shows signs of being killed by hunters

Ancient hunters stayed in the coldest part of Northern Europe rather than migrating to escape freezing winter conditions, archaeologists have found.

Evidence from Arctic fox bones show communities living around 27,500 years ago were killing small prey in the inhospitable North European Plains during the winter months of the last Ice Age.

Researchers have found no evidence of dwellings, suggesting people only stayed for a short time or lived in tents in the area excavated, Kraków Spadzista in Southern Poland - one of the largest Upper Palaeolithic sites in Central Europe. Until now it wasn’t clear if people retreated elsewhere each winter to avoid the intense cold.

Dr Alexander Pryor, from the University of Exeter, who led the study, said: “Our research shows the cold harsh winter climates of the last ice age were no barrier to human activity in the area. Hunters made very specific choices about where and when to kill their prey.”

Unlocking the secrets of 'six-headed chief' burial


The ancient burial site is believed to contain the remains of several generations of the same family UNIVERSITY OF BRADFORD

Archaeologists have used DNA analysis to uncover the secrets of a centuries old burial site nicknamed the "six-headed chief".

The grave at Portmahomack in the Highlands contains a man with a fatal sword wound to his skull.

He was buried with four skulls before his grave was later reopened to bury a second man, while a third man was buried in a nearby grave.

Analysis suggests some of the remains to be generations of the same family.

All the remains bar one date to the late 13th to early 15th century.

Archaeologists said the exception was one of the four skulls which dates to the 8th to 10th century and probably belonged to a Pictish monk.

Check out a Lidl bit of ancient history beneath city supermarket

Lidl merchandising Manager Colm Kelly takes a photo of a stone-lined cistern which was fed with water from a gully outside the cottage which was built around AD 1070, and was excavated and is now visable through a glass floor at the new Lidl Store on Dublin’s Aungier St.Picture
Credit:Frank McGrath 14/10/20

The remains of an 11th-century medieval structure is the centrepiece of Lidl's newest Dublin supermarket on Aungier Street.

The supermarket features several significant archaeological finds that can be seen throughout the shop, including the 18th century Aungier Theatre staircase, an 11th century sunken-floored structure and the 18th century Longford Street Arches.

Covered by a rectangle of glass flooring, the most impressive feature is the medieval remains of the humble abode.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fossil footprints: the fascinating story behind the longest known prehistoric journey

A section of the double trackway. Outward and homeward journeys following each other. Central Panel: Child tracks in the middle of nowhere. Left Panel: One of the tracks with little slippage. M Bennett, Bournemouth University., Author provided

Every parent knows the feeling. Your child is crying and wants to go home, you pick them up to comfort them and move faster, your arms tired with a long walk ahead – but you cannot stop now. Now add to this a slick mud surface and a range of hungry predators around you.

That is the story the longest trackway of fossil footprints in the world tells us. Our new discovery, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, comes from White Sands National Park in New Mexico, US, and was made by an international team working in collaboration with staff from the National Park Service.

The footprints were spotted in a dried-up lakebed known as a playa, which contains literally hundreds of thousands of footprints dating from the end of the last ice age (about 11,550 years ago) to sometime before about 13,000 years ago.

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DNA testing sheds light on old Viking murder mystery

The grave was first uncovered 39 years ago (photo: Roskilde Museum)

Almost 40 years after the famous ‘Gerdrupgraven’ discovery was made near Roskilde, archaeologists uncover key piece of evidence 

One of the top draws at Roskilde Museum is the Gerdrup Grave, a 1,000-year-old Viking interment discovered 39 years ago just north of Roskilde in the tiny hamlet of Gerdrup.

The grave contains the skeletons of a man and a woman, and archaeologists have long speculated who they might be and why they were buried together.

Another element of the mystery is that the man was killed at some point and buried next to the woman. 

The Gerdrup Grave has another important aspect to it: it was the first discovery that proved that Viking women were buried along with a weapon – in this case a lance.

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Anglo-Saxon girl had her nose and lips cut off as punishment, shows skull

Skull of young Anglo-Saxon girl, front view with cuts and back view
with unfused sutures [Credit: Garrard Cole, Antiquity]

An Anglo-Saxon teenage girl appears to have had her nose and lips cut off — and possibly her head scalped as well — analysis of an old skull has revealed.

Unearthed in Oakridge, Hampshire, the remains have been radiocarbon dated to 776–899 AD — predating written accounts of this gruesome form of punishment.


Although it is not known exactly why the poor young woman was subject to the horrific facial mutilation, it was once routinely meted out to female offenders.

The disfigurement was given to adulteresses, slaves who stole and criminals guilty of more severe acts, the researchers reported. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway

The god house (shown here in a digital reconstruction) was strongly built of beams and walls of wood; some lasted for hundreds of years. It included a central tower, patterned on Christian churches seen in lands further south.
(Image: © University Museum of Bergen)

The remains of a 1,200-year-old pagan temple to the Old Norse gods such as Thor and Odin have been discovered in Norway — a rare relic of the Viking religion built a few centuries before Christianity became dominant there.

Archaeologists say the large wooden building — about 45 feet (14 meters) long, 26 feet (8 m) wide, and up to 40 feet (12 m) high — is thought to date from the end of the eighth century and was used for worship and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices.

Germanic lord buried with a harem of 6? Not quite, but the real story is fascinating.



Archaeologist Arnold Muhl shows early medieval fibulae, a part of women's clothing, that were discovered in the cemetery. This and other artifacts from the excavation are now in the workshop of the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte (State Museum for Prehistory) in Germany. 
(Image: © Hendrik Schmidt/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB; Alamy)

An early medieval cemetery unearthed in Germany may not contain "a harem for the hereafter," as some news outlets reported; but it's still a remarkable find, likely holding the remains of a wealthy aristocrat and about 80 other people, some buried with riches such as glass bowls, gold jewelry and sharp weapons, according to the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Germany.

The individuals buried at the roughly 1,500-year-old aristocratic estate were part of the short-lived Thuringian Kingdom, which lasted for about 80 years before the Franks conquered them in A.D. 531. Before its demise, the kingdom reigned during a tumultuous time known as the Migration Period, when the so-called Barbarian peoples, such as the Huns, Goths and Vandals, gained power as the remains of the Western Roman Empire crumbled.

DNA Analysis Suggests Mother and Son Were Buried in Famous Viking Grave



The male skeleton's neck and legs were arranged in an unnatural position, while the woman's remains were held in place by large stones. (Roskilde Museum)

New DNA evidence has identified two people buried in a 1,000 year-old Viking grave as a mother and son, reports the Copenhagen Post.

Previously, researchers had speculated that the man, who may have been hanged, was an enslaved individual sacrificed and buried alongside the noblewoman he served in life.

“It’s an incredibly exciting and surprising result we have here,” Ole Kastholm, an archaeologist at Denmark’s Roskilde Museum, where the remains are on display, tells TV 2 Lorry. “We need to thoroughly consider what this means.”

Archaeologists excavated the burial, known as the Gerdrup Grave, in 1981. The fact that the woman was buried with what appeared to be a lance helped overturn scholars’ assumptions about gender in Viking society. Since the site’s discovery, researchers have found a number of other Viking women buried with weapons, which could identify them as warriors or symbolize their elite status.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

British museum will send Viking skeleton home to Denmark to be reunited with 1,000-year-old 'relative' after he was butchered in 1002 'ethnic cleansing' massacre


A Viking skeleton from AD 1002 at the Museum Resource Centre in Oxfordshire today

A British museum will send a Viking skeleton that was butchered in an ethnic cleansing massacre in AD 1002 to its home in Denmark to be reunited with its 1,000-year-old relative. 

The skeleton, known as SK1756, is being held at Oxfordshire County Council's Museum Resource Centre and is one of at least 35 men and boys believed to be victims of the St Brice's Day massacre in Oxford in AD 1002.

The slaughter is said to have taken place after King Aethelred II of England ordered the execution of dozens of Danish raiders, settlers and their children.

But DNA has revealed that a male skeleton discovered during an excavation in Denmark could be a relative such as an uncle, nephew, grandfather, grandson or half-brother - and experts want to reunite them.

New Secrets Unearthed at Minoan Palace of Zominthos on Crete


The Palace of Zominthos, on Crete. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

An elegant summer palace once belonging to the Minoan aristocracy at Zominthos on Crete, first discovered in 1982, has yielded many more of its priceless secrets in a recent dig.

It was found in this summer’s dig that the original structure may have been up to three stories high and to date back to 2,000 BC. This year’s excavations of the building, measuring 1,600 square meters, or 17,222 square feet, have also shown that the edifice contained ramps, a series of apartments and even religious altars.

Under the direction of Honorary Director of Antiquities Dr. Efi Sapouna- Sakellaraki, the aim of the new dig was to clarify what served as the access to the northern entrance to the main building and to verify what had been discovered through biomagnetic research north of the main building.

This year’s excavations disclosed to archaeologists that the usage of the building actually extended back as far as 2,000 BC — and possibly further. From 1,700 BC onward it expanded into the surrounding area, and this year’s work uncovered two new complexes further out form the main building.

Marlow warlord's remains part of 'key archaeological site'


The burial site is believed to date from the 6th century AD
PETE BRYANT

The discovery of a warrior warlord's burial site could change historians' understanding of southern Anglo-Saxon Britain, according to archaeologists.

The 6ft "Marlow Warlord" was discovered in August close to the Buckinghamshire town.

An archaeological dig of the area took place after metal detectorists discovered two bronze bowls.

Dr Gabor Thomas said the find provided "new insights" into life after the collapse of Roman Britain.

The specialist in early medieval archaeology at the University of Reading said the burial suggested "people living in this region may have been more important than historians previously suspected".

Archaeologists unearth remains believed to be of Anglo-Saxon warlord

The remains of the Marlow Warlord are unearthed. Photograph: University of Reading

The final resting place of what appears to be an Anglo-Saxon warrior has been unearthed in a field in Berkshire, in a discovery archaeologists say sheds fresh light on the rise and fall of local tribes.

Buried with an array of weapons including spears and a sword with its scabbard, the skeleton of a man dating from the sixth century was found in August – two years after metal detectorists discovered bronze bowls at the site and alerted experts.

Dr Gabor Thomas, a specialist in early medieval archaeology at the University of Reading who worked on the subsequent excavation, said there had been much debate about whether individuals buried with such goods were warriors or were buried with weapons as a symbolic gesture.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Runestone Discovered in Sweden Provides Window Into Viking Past


While plowing a field on his family farm in Småland, southern Sweden, Lennart Larsson came across a large stone. Larsson put the stone, which is 6 feet high (2 m) and 3 feet wide (1 m), to one side and planned to use it as a stepping stone for a new staircase in his home. After finishing a day of plowing, he checked the stone again and to his amazement “on the underside of the stone were runes!” reports the Nattidningen Svensk Historia . The farmer and his family contacted the local Västerviks Museum about the runestone, who then inspected the discovery. Runestones are invaluable to researchers as they are windows into the Viking past. The artifact is expected to provide insights into a crucial period when the old Viking world was giving way to a new Christian world .

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