Friday, May 19, 2023

A Centuries-Old Mystery: Did This Elusive Viking City Exist?

A recreated “Slavs and Viking” settlement, with medieval craft demonstrations, re-enactments and guided tours in Wolin, Poland.Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Was a “medieval New York” called Jomsborg a literary fantasy or a historical reality? New archaeological discoveries may provide a clue.

After the local government decided to build an observation tower atop a sandy hill on Wolin, an island in the Baltic Sea, a Polish archaeologist was called in to check the site before construction and look for buried artifacts from the spot’s macabre past.

Hangmen’s Hill, a public park, had in earlier times been an execution ground, a cemetery and, some believe, a place for human sacrifices — so who knew what grisly discoveries were in store?

But what the archaeologist, Wojciech Filipowiak, found when he started digging caused more excitement than distaste: charcoaled wood indicating the remains of a 10th-century stronghold that could help solve one of the great riddles of the Viking Age.

Was a fearsome fortress mentioned in ancient texts a literary fantasy or a historical reality?

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Monday, May 08, 2023

Viking Burial Goods: 10 Exotic Items the Vikings Took to Valhalla

According to The Saga of the Ynglings, Odin ordered mortal Vikings to bury the dead accordingly: “He decreed that the dead were all to be cremated along with their possessions and said that everyone should arrive in Valhalla with the riches from his funeral pyre, and with the treasures he had hidden in the earth.”

Harnessing sails and ships, medieval Scandinavians explored the world, amassing treasures from faraway places. These exotic Viking burial goods preserve tales of exploration and adventure.

1. Glass Vessels in Viking Burials

On the island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren, the Vikings built a trading and manufacturing settlement called Birka. Thousands of people were buried at Birka from the late ninth to the tenth centuries. The graves contained an assortment of grave goods.

Archaeologists found glass vessels from the Rhineland, France, and the British Isles inside the Birka graves. Making glass vessels was an expensive and time-consuming process. Vikings did not make their own glass drinking vessels and had to import glass cups from other places in Europe and the Near East. These items were so important to the Vikings that they took glass goblets to the grave just like other treasures of more obvious importance.

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Is There Something Fishy About Radiocarbon Dating?

A map of the route taken by the Viking Great Heathen Army.
Hel-hama, own work, via Wikipedia

The Vikings started out as raiders, but then, in the way of these things, ended up as rulers, and their influence stretched from Greenland to what is now Russia. They first enter English history in 793, with the sacking of the Monastery of Lindisfarne. By the late 9th century, they were colonising Iceland, and serving as mercenaries to the Emperor of Byzantium. In 862, Vikings under Rurik established themselves in Novgorod, forming the nucleus of what would become Kyivan Rus. In 885, Vikings besieged Paris, and although they were beaten back settled in what is now Normandy (Norman, Northmen). In 865, the Viking Great Heathen Army arrived in England, and a year later, under Ivar the Boneless, captured York, which would remain their capital in England until the defeat of Eric Bloodaxe in at 954.

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Thursday, May 04, 2023

Seemingly 'empty' burial mound is hiding a 1,200-year-old Viking ship

The ship-shaped signals from ground-penetrating radar were detected in 2022 during excavations of burial mounds on the island of Karmøy, in southwest Norway.
(Image credit: Theo B. Gill – The Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger)

Ground-penetrating radar has revealed the outline of a Viking ship in a mound in southwest Norway that was once thought to be empty.

A Viking Age burial mound in Norway long thought to be empty actually holds an incredible artifact: the remains of a ship burial, according to a ground-penetrating radar analysis.

The remains, which are still underground, indicate that a ship burial took place during the late eighth century A.D., the very start of the Viking Age (A.D. 793 to 1066). If confirmed, it would be the third early Viking ship burial found in the area, on the coast of the island of Karmøy in southwestern Norway, a region that may be the origin of Viking culture.

"This is a very strategic point, where maritime traffic along the Norwegian coast was controlled," Håkon Reiersen(opens in new tab), an archaeologist at the University of Stavanger in Norway, told Live Science. Reiersen works for the university's Museum of Archaeology and led the team that made the discovery last year, near the village of Avaldsnes.

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Image Credit : Eva Gjerde - Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger


The mound was first investigated over a century ago by the archaeologist, Haakon Shetelig, however, excavations at the time showed no evidence to indicate that a ship was buried in situ.

“He was incredibly disappointed, and nothing more was done with this mound,” says Håkon Reiersen, an archaeologist at the Museum of Archaeology at the University of Stavanger.

Archaeologists returned to the mound in June 2022 to conduct a ground-penetrating radar survey (GPR), a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface and detect archaeological features.

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Rare, 1,000-year-old Viking Age iron hoard found in basement in Norway

The Viking hoard consists of 32 iron ingots, which are all pierced with a hole on one end and may have been grouped together in a bundle. (Image credit: Mildri Een Eide)

Forty years after her father stored them away, a woman discovered 32 identical iron ingots that Vikings may have used as a form of currency

A rare stash of 1,000-year-old ironwork, which sat for 40 years in a family's basement in Norway, is now seeing the light of day after a woman discovered the hoard during some spring cleaning. 

The hoard consists of 32 iron ingots that look like small spatulas and date back to the Viking Age (A.D. 793 to 1066) or high Middle Ages (1066 to 1350). The rods are identical and weigh about 1.8 ounces (50 grams) each, prompting archeologists to think they may have been used as a form of currency and that someone probably buried them with the intention of coming back for the treasure later.

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How Accurate Are the Viking Sagas?

The Viking sagas are deeply compelling mythologies, but epics like the Volsunga saga also preserve some elements of historical fact.

Almost a thousand years after stories of the Germanic Burgundians were first told, an unknown Icelandic scribe wrote down an accurate description of the events and personages of the 5th century CE, based only on the legends of his people. This incredible feat of oral history was powerful — and to understand its implications, we have to get inside the heads of the Christian Icelanders who looked to their pagan past for a proud literary tradition. Here, we shall attempt to do just that, examining just how accurate the Viking sagas really are.

What Are the Viking Sagas?

At their simplest, the Viking sagas are a body of literature that was mostly written by Icelanders in the 13th century CE. Saga is an Old Norse word meaning “a thing that is said” — it’s roughly analogous to the ancient Greek muthon (“things that are said”, from where we get our word myth), as opposed to ergon (“things that are done”). Thus, we can broadly conceive of the sagas as oral tales about a central figure or figures that recount the deeds of characters from Viking mythology and history. As we shall see, debate still rages as to whether the Norse themselves made a meaningful distinction between these two modern categories — myth and history.

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How Were Viking Ships Built and Buried?

In 793, the monks of Lindisfarne watched in horror as men invaded their holy place. They were under attack. There had been rumors of pirates in nearby Kent, but this was the first time the monks at Lindisfarne had come face-to-face with the raiders. The strangers plundered the monastery of everything valuable and left the edifice covered in the blood of the priests. Then the invaders returned to their ships and sailed away.

Their fine vessels would take the Vikings through Europe, the Baltic, and the Near East, allowing the Norse to establish trading ports and conquer foreign kingdoms. The ships would also allow the Vikings to colonize Greenland and Iceland. Always the ship carried the Vikings onward. Viking ships represented technical innovation and became monuments to honored leaders, ensuring the iconic legacy of the Vikings.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2023

New Genetic Study of Scotland’s Picts

A new genetic study has offered insight into the geographic origins and social organization of the Picts of Scotland, according to a report from Live Science. The Picts’ name is derived from the Latin word picti and references their use of body paint or tattoos. In the third century A.D., they fought off the Romans and established a kingdom in northern Britain that survived until around A.D. 900. Little is known of the Picts, but early medieval historians suggested they came from the Aegean Sea or Eastern Europe and that they traced their descent through their mother’s side. The new study, led by Adeline Morez of Liverpool John Moores University and Linus Girdland-Flink of the University of Aberdeen, analyzed genetic material from eight skeletons—seven from the Lundin Links cemetery and one from the Balintore cemetery, both in present-day Scotland.

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DNA study sheds light on Scotland’s Picts, and resolves some myths about them

The people known as the Picts have puzzled archaeologists and historians for centuries. They lived in Scotland during the early medieval period, from around AD300 to AD900, but many aspects of their society remain mysterious.

The Picts’ unique cultural characteristics, such as large stones decorated with distinct symbols, and lack of written records, have led to numerous theories about their origins, way of life, and culture.

This is commonly referred to in archaeology as the “Pictish problem”, a term popularised by the title of a 1955 edited book by the archaeologist Frederick Threlfall Wainwright.

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The Shadowy Kingdom Of Gewissae, Britain’s First Kings

Gewissae was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom that ruled much of southern Britain from the fifth to the seventh centuries as the island began forging a new identity in the aftermath of Roman occupation. Beginning with the fabled reign of the mysterious Germanic invader Cerdic and ending with the documented conquests of Cædwalla, the Gewissae straddled the murky line between myth and history and as such, many of the dates discussed have been the subject of intense historical debate and should not be viewed as definitive fact.

Cerdic and Cynric

The first recorded king of the Gewissae was Cerdic, an obscure individual allegedly of Germanic stock said to be directly related to Gewis, a mythological founding figure. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , Cerdic and his son Cynric first arrived in southern Britain at a place called Cerdicesora in 495 with five ships. Later on in 508 a great battle involving an indigenous British ruler called Natanleod is recorded, with Cerdic and his son emerging triumphant. For the next decade or so, the pair established themselves in the region though military force and became kings in 519 after defeating the British at Cerdicesford, a settlement which has since been identified as Charford in Hampshire.

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Tiny Bead, Found In Bulgaria, Is World's Oldest Gold

Every year, we discover something about our history on the planet through excavations around the world. In one such excavation, archaeologists found what may be the world’s oldest gold dating back to 4,500 B.C. The gold bead found was an eighth of an inch found in Bulgaria and it might be the oldest processed gold ever discovered in Europe and probably the world.

Reuters reported in 2016 that the bead predates the previous oldest gold object, the Varna Gold, which is a cache of gold found in a necropolis outside the Black Sea port of Varna. The Varna Gold cache was found between 1972 and 1991 and weighed about 5.8 kilograms. However, the new bead found in Bulgaria pushes the mystery back another 200 years.

Yavor Boyadzhiev, professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Science and in charge of the dig told Krasimiov, “I do not doubt that it is older than the Varna gold. It’s a really important discovery. It is a tiny piece of gold but big enough to find its place in history.”

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Researchers discover what triggered Earth's last ice age

At the beginning of the last ice, local mountain glaciers grew and formed large ice sheets, like the one seen here. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)

For quite some time, paleo-climate specialists have been perplexed by two enigmas: What was the origin of the ice sheets that defined the final ice age, and how could they expand so rapidly?

A fresh research conducted by the University of Arizona's experts suggests a plausible explanation for the swift expansion of the ice sheets that coated a considerable portion of the Northern Hemisphere during the last ice age. Furthermore, the study's findings may be applicable to other glacial periods in the Earth's past.

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The puzzle of Neanderthal aesthetics

Surprising new insights into the minds of this extinct human species suggest they may have been far more cultured than their outdated brutish reputation once suggested. But getting into the minds of a long-dead species is no easy task.

Sometime between 135,000-50,000 years ago, hands slick with animal blood carried more than 35 huge horned heads into a small, dark, winding cave. Tiny fires were lit amidst a boulder-jumbled floor, and the flame-illuminated chamber echoed to dull pounding, cracking and squelching sounds as the skulls of bison, wild cattle, red deer and rhinoceros were smashed open.

This isn't the gory beginning of an ice age horror novel, but the setting for a fascinating Neanderthal mystery. At the start of 2023 researchers announced that a Spanish archaeological site known as Cueva Des-Cubierta (a play on "uncover" and "discover") held an unusually large number of big-game skulls. All were fragmented but their horns or antlers were relatively intact, and some were found near to traces of hearths.

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Video – Viking Age fortresses on the North Frisian islands

The Borgsumburg on the North Frisian island Föhr.

The recording of April’s research seminar, featuring Dr Martin Segschneider on the Viking Age fortifications in Germany’s North Frisian Islands.

The two well-preserved, circular ramparts Borgsumburg and Tinnumburg were something of an enigma for decades as little was known about their structure, role and archaeological context.

But recent rescue excavations, aerial photography and geophysical survey have remedied the situation dramatically, leading to a research project focusing on Viking Age merchant sites in the vicinity of the fortifications and a second focusing on the ramparts themselves.

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Beowulf was connected to King Cnut, study finds

When King Cnut sailed to Denmark in 1019, did he bring a copy of Beowulf with him? That is the theory put forward in a new article on why the famous Old English poem was written in the early years of the 11th century.

Beowulf is only found in one copy: the Nowell Codex, which is now kept at the British Library. In his article, “Behold the Front Page: Cnut and the Scyldings in Beowulf,” the historian Richard North argues that this manuscript was at least partially written after Cnut became King of England in 1016. Moreover, the Norse leader and his entourage took a keen interest in the story, using it to develop a claim to the throne of Denmark.

Set hundreds of years in the past, Beowulf tells the story of a hero arriving to help Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, defeat the monster Grendel. Beowulf slays Grendel, then Grendel’s mother, before returning home to Geatland and becoming King of the Geats. Many years later, Beowulf also defeats a dragon, but at the cost of his own life.

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Stolen coins reveals King Alfred had help from ally to stop Vikings ruling England

Alfred was the king of Wessex and then later king of the Anglo-Saxons, and his grandson Æthelstan was the first 'King of the English' (Image: HampshireLive - Grahame Larter)

Alfred, who is widely regarded as the first person to be king of the English, may have been assisted by fellow leader Ceolwulf in his struggle against Viking marauders

Alfred the Great was helped on his way to legendary status by a fellow leader he refused to give credit to and allowed to be written out of history, experts now believe.

Images on medieval coins found in a stolen haul suggest King of Wessex Alfred, who stopped the Vikings in their tracks and paved the way for the formation of England, was in a years-long alliance with Ceolwulff II, King of Mercia.

A silver ‘Two Emperor’ penny from 870 AD shows the pair together, suggesting they were strong allies.

But Ceolwulf was later mocked by scribes loyal to Alfred as being a puppet of the Vikings.

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Double hoard of Viking treasure discovered near Harald Bluetooth's fort in Denmark

 Archaeologists say Harald Bluetooth paid his men and the Danish aristocracy with "cross coins" and thereby spread knowledge of the new Christian religion throughout the region. On this side of the silver coin there are several runes. (Image credit: Nordjyske Museer, Denmark)

Silver coins and jewelry unearthed from a field on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark are revealing new insight into the reign and religious ambitions of the powerful Viking king Harald Bluetooth, according to archaeologists.

The objects — around 300 pieces of silver, including about 50 coins and cut-up jewelry — were discovered late last year by a local archaeology group surveying a farm northeast of the town of Hobro and near Fyrkat, a ring fort built by Harald Bluetooth in about A.D. 980. 

Excavations show that the valuables were originally buried in two hoards about 100 feet (30 meters) apart, probably beneath two now long-gone buildings. Since then, these hoards have been spread around by farm machinery.

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Friday, April 28, 2023

Modern-day Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish people found to have Pictish ancestry

Pictish Stone in the Museum of Scotland. Credit: Johnbod/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

The Picts of Scotland who have long intrigued and have been ascribed exotic origins in fact descended from indigenous Iron Age society and were genetically most similar to people living today in Scotland, Wales, North Ireland and Northumbria. Adeline Morez of Liverpool John Moores University and Linus Girdland-Flink of the University of Aberdeen report these findings in a new study published April 27 in the journal PLOS Genetics.

The Picts, who inhabited early medieval Scotland from about 300–900 AD, formed the first documented kingdoms of eastern Scotland, but have often been a subject of mystery due to the lack of historical and archaeological evidence and due to their enigmatic symbol tradition inscribed on stone. In their new study, Morez and Girdland-Flink sampled Pictish burials to extract genomes to explore how the Picts are related to other cultural groups in Britain. They sequenced DNA from two individuals from central and northern Scotland that dated from the fifth to the seventh century AD. They compared the resulting high-quality genomes to more than 8,300 previously published ancient and modern genomes.

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Collectors guilty of illegal plot to sell historic Anglo-Saxon coins abroad

Two metal detectorists have been found guilty of hatching an illegal plot to sell Anglo-Saxon coins of “immense historical significance” abroad.

Craig Best, 46, and Roger Pilling, 75, were convicted of conspiring to sell criminal property worth £766,000, namely ninth century coins believed to have been buried by a Viking and which have never been declared as Treasure, and have not been handed to the Crown.

Following a trial at Durham Crown Court, the defendants were also convicted of separate charges of possessing the criminal property, which was thought to be part of a larger, undeclared find known as the Herefordshire Hoard.

Best, of South View, Bishop Auckland, was arrested with three coins at a Durham hotel in May 2019 in a police sting operation.

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Burnt graves full of ancient Roman artifacts uncovered during construction in Belgium

Experts said they were surprised by their findings. Gemeente Zemst

What started as a pre-construction archaeological project in Belgium has evolved into a sprawling excavation uncovering a trove of Roman-era artifacts and ruins, government officials say. Ahead of refurbishing Sportpark Hubert Van Innis, archaeologists launched an investigation into the area given its location in Elewijt — which was under Roman rule thousands of years ago. Experts expected to find remains, but the extent of their discoveries was surprising, according to an April 25 news release from the Zemst government. First, as expected, archaeologists unearthed a building and well dating to the Middle Ages, according to officials. They also discovered several burial mounds.

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Archaeologists Find Evidence of ‘Lost’ Ancient Roman Campaign in Arabia

The Romans tell that their conquest of the Nabateans was peaceful, but is that a tall tale of the victor? Or did they erase the memory of a fiasco in Arabia?

In the year 106, the Romans annexed the Nabatean kingdom and renamed it Arabia Petraea. The question is how exactly that was achieved.

Roman historians described this as a nonviolent process following the demise of the last Nabatean king, Rabbel II Soter. But now, in the barren desert of northern Arabia, archaeologists have detected what they believe were three Roman army camps. They're situated in a straight line between the Bayir oasis near the Nabatean capital of Petra and Dûmat al-Jandal in what is now northern Saudi Arabia.

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Neanderthals Built Boats And Sailed 100,000 Years Ago – Long Before Modern Humans

Jan Bartek - - Maritime history dates back thousands of years, och there is no doubt many ancient civilizations had excellent knowledge of navigation and sailing. Once ancient civilizations understood the value of trading, many maritime routes were established, and spices, gold, silk, and many other items were bought and sold. There is archaeological evidence magnificent ancient ships crossed the oceans, and curious explorers set foot on new lands

Still, modern humans were not the ones who invented the boat. According to a study, the first seafarers were the Neanderthals, who lived from about 400,000 to 40,000 years ago. On islands in the Mediterranean Sea, scientists have examined several artifacts and stone tools uniquely associated with the Neanderthals.

"Archaeological data from the southern Ionian Islands show human habitation since Middle Palaeolithic going back to 110 ka BP yet bathymetry, sea-level changes and the Late Quaternary geology, show that Kefallinia and Zakynthos were insular at that time. Hence, human presence in these islands indicates inter island-mainland seafaring. Seafaring most likely started some time between 110 and 35 ka BP and the seafarers were the Neanderthals. Seafaring was encouraged by the coastal configuration, which offered the right conditions for developing seafaring skills according to the “voyaging nurseries” and “autocatalysis” concepts," the research team writes in a paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Archaeologists Discover Ancient Necropolis Near Parisian Train Station

Researchers uncovered 50 burials dated to roughly the second century C.E.
© Camille Colonna / INRAP

Residents of Lutetia buried their dead at Saint-Jacques between the first and fourth centuries C.E.

Little is known about the Parisii, the ancient Gallic tribe that dwelled on the banks of the Seine some 2,000 years ago. At the time, the French capital that now bears the Parisii’s name was called Lutetia.

Last week, archaeologists unearthed 50 burials that may shed light on funerary traditions in the ancient city that preceded Paris. Discovered just a few feet away from a bustling train station, the graves are believed to be part of the largest known Lutetian burial site, the Saint-Jacques necropolis.

Dominique Garcia, president of the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP), tells Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the finds open “a window into the world of Paris during antiquity.”

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Urine Wheels in Medieval Manuscripts: Discover the Curious Diagnostic Tool Used by Medieval Doctors

If you went to the doctor in late medieval Europe hoping to get a health complaint checked out, you could be sure of one thing: you’d have to hand over a urine sample. Though it dates back at least as far as the fourth millennium BC, the practice of uroscopy, as it’s called, seems to have been regarded as a near-universal diagnostic tool by the thirteenth century. At, you can read excerpts of the then-definitive text On Urines, written about that time by French royal physician Gilles de Corbeil.

When a skilled physician examines a patient’s urine, de Corbeil explains, “health or illness, strength or debility, deficiency, excess, or balance, are determined with certainty.” Urine “darkened by a black cloudiness, and muddied with sediment, if produced on a critical day of an illness, and accompanied by poor hearing and insomnia, portends a flux of blood from the nose”; depending on other factors, “the patient will die or recover.”

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Researchers discover 18th century clay tobacco pipes were used as weapons and surgical tools

The ready availability of clay pipes meant that they were sometimes used for other activities other than smoking. Ashmolean Museum, CC BY-NC

Tobacco pipes were one of the first mass-produced, disposable objects in Britain. Through contact with indigenous peoples of the Americas, tobacco pipes and tobacco were introduced to Europe as early as the 16th century, but had been used in the Americas for centuries before this.

Pipes were adapted for European tastes using European materials, and in England the most popular material for pipes between 1600 and 1900 was clay. Shapes and styles varied over the years, but the basic design remained the same: a hand-held bowl to burn tobacco in and a stem to draw the smoke the mouth of the smoker.

Pipes were lightweight, rigid and made out of inexpensive materials. They were also rather breakable. This cheapness and breakability means they show up in large number across post-medieval archaeological sites in Britain.

The usefulness of pipes as artefacts is well established. Tobacco pipes found in archaeological digs can help researchers identify the dates when a particular site may have been occupied (based on bowl or stem size) and even who may have occupied these spaces (bite marks in stems may indicate workers holding them in their mouths while working, for example). Pipes can also inform researchers about patterns of tobacco consumption over time.

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Archaeologists found a lost Roman fortlet in Scotland

An artist's impression of Watling Lodge fortlet, which also once stood along the Antonine Wall, and would have been similar to the fortlet discovered near Carleith Farm. Historic Environment Scotland

Archaeologists in western Scotland have found the foundations of a Roman fortlet dating back to the Second Century CE. According to the government-run historic preservation commission Historic Environment Scotland, this fort was one of 41 defensive structures that was built near the Antonine Wall, one of Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This fortified wall made of mostly wood ran for roughly 40 miles across Scotland as part of the Roman Empire’s unsuccessful attempt to extend its control throughout Britain from roughly 410 to 43 CE. The Antonine Wall was defended as the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. Emperor Antoninus Pius ordered the building of the wall in 142 CE as a one-up to his predecessor Hadrian. The famed Hadrian’s Wall was built in the 120s CE about 100 miles south of the Antonine Wall.

The Romans called the people living in Scotland “Caledonians”, and later named them  the Picts after a Latin word meaning “painted people,” in reference to their body paintings or tattoos. The Romans retreated to the Hadrian Wall in 162 CE after 20 years of trying to hold a new northern line at the Antonine Wall.

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Monday, April 24, 2023

Vikings in Greenland Imported Wood From Europe – and Canada

Christian Krohg's painting of Viking explorer Leif Erikson discovering America.
Credit: National Gallery of Norway

The Vikings built homes and ships from wood, but Greenland has no forests to speak of. Now a new analysis sheds light on how they survived for centuries on the frigid island

Greenland is on many minds because its glaciers are melting faster than expected, and are ultimately expected to raise global sea level by over 7 meters (23 feet). But though warming, the Arctic tundra was and remains inhospitable. That explains why early migrants to the island died out, leaving no descendants. Over thousands of years, one culture succeeded another.

Among the cultures that came and ultimately died or beat a retreat were Vikings, though their communities did manage to persist for centuries. The question is exactly how they did so.

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Luck of the Vikings: Their Arrival Reversed Ireland's Decline, Say Archaeologists

Study debunks notion that Ireland had been populous when the Nordic migrants arrived in the 10th century: The island had been in decline for 200 years by then

Medieval Ireland's population had been shrinking for 300 years by the time the Vikings arrived in the 10th century C.E., a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science contends. The conclusion contradicts the widespread assumption that the island had been in a state of growing expansion and progression ahead of the Vikings' arrival.

The research, led by Rowan McLaughlin at Queen’s University Belfast, began from census records, genetic analyses of the Irish and the historic record – including the Norse settlement of the island in the 9th and 10th centuries C.E. It sought archaeological data to back the findings. To this day, as previous studies have found, the Irish have a small component of Viking ancestry.

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Roman burial site discovered on Nuneaton land set for giant new housing estate

Before and after - the land at Top Farm, left, and the masterplan for its future use - including 1,700 homes. Now works are to be undertaken to investigate areas of archaeological interest

Roman archaeology has been discovered on Nuneaton land where a giant new housing estate is set to be built. Planning permission was given the go-ahead last year for the 1,700 home development with secondary school and leisure centre land on Top Farm.

It is already known that there is an animal foot and mouth burial pit on the sprawling site and a report has also revealed that a probable Roman cremation burial area was unearthed on the site. This was during an archaeological survey undertaken last year.

Further investigation work is now set to take place. It will be ahead of the first phase of the works starting on the site, which are pencilled in to start in late summer this year.

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1,600-year-old temple to mysterious Roman god unearthed in Germany. Take a look

Lord Mayor Wolfram Leibe and Minister of the Interior Michael Ebling
at the excavations in Trier.

Torch lights flicker in the underground space, illuminating the stone statues and casting shadows on the gathering. Military men sit on brick benches and look at the stone carving. Looking back at them through the lantern light is their god — a figure simultaneously well-known and mysterious.

The cult scene feels part ominous, part reverent and entirely like part of a Netflix documentary. In reality, these shadowy gatherings took place across the ancient Roman world.

Archaeologists in Trier, Germany, recently uncovered a 1,600-year-old temple where this Roman cult gathered, according to an April 12 news release from the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Rhineland-Palatinate.

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