Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Women warriors from Amazon fought for Britain's Roman army

THE remains of two Amazon warriors serving with the Roman army in Britain have been discovered in a cemetery that has astonished archaeologists.
Women soldiers were previously unknown in the Roman army in Britain and the find at Brougham in Cumbria will force a reappraisal of their role in 3rd-century society.

The women are thought to have come from the Danube region of Eastern Europe, which was where the Ancient Greeks said the fearsome Amazon warriors could be found.

Times Online

Road 'threatens seat of kings'

Plans to build a motorway close to one of Ireland's most historic sites have been attacked by campaigners as "a crime against humanity".
The Hill of Tara and its ancient burial site in County Meath is Ireland's equivalent of the Valley of the Dead in Egypt, campaigners have said.

Environmentalists and historians have called for the proposed M3 motorway to be stopped.

BBC News

Unearthing Mysteries, Creswell Crags Cave Art

The latest edition of Unearthing Mysteries on BBC Radio 4 features Creswell Cave Art. It describes the findings of palaeolithic rock art in the Derbyshire caves. There is also a description of the art and how it was found along with some pictures on their web site.

The programme describes how archaeologists decided to search for cave art, how they discovered it, and what exactly is depicted in the cave. There is some discussion of aspects of the site such as whether and how colour was used and the relationship of the art to other European art.

Megalithic Portal

Archaeologists say they may have found site of Jesus' first miracle

CANA, Israel Archaeologists believe they may have found the site of Jesus' first miracle.

Israeli archaeologist Yardena Alexander says she's found pieces of large stone jars of the type the Bible says Jesus used when he turned water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast.

The shards were found during a salvage dig in modern-day Cana (KAY'-nuh), between Nazareth and Capernaum (kuh-PER'-nuhm), and date to the Roman period, when Jesus walked in Galilee.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Archaeologists strike gold in secret spot

Eleven small, golden reliefs have been unearthed at an archaeological dig somewhere in eastern Norway. Officials won't say where, because they think more of the 1,400-year-old gold objects will be found at the site.

Professor Heid Gjøstein Resi with one of the small gold reliefs found in eastern Norway.

The most intact object found in October depicts a couple, maybe the mythological figures Frøy and Gerd.


See also Gullgubber for pictures of the finds.

Ancient moorland view scratches the surface of history

A CARVED stone dating back 4,000 years to the early Bronze Age could be an early example of decorative landscape art. The relic, unique to England, was uncovered when a forest fire consumed a large swath of heather moorland on the North Yorkshire Moors.

Archaeologists, who found the metre-wide slab of sandstone half buried in the ash, believe that its distinctive markings could depict a mountainscape with fields and a house in the foreground


Armouries invest in Roman sword

A 2,000-year-old Roman sword has been bought to go on display in Leeds - for more than £56,000.
The "best-preserved" weapon of its type in the UK was bought by the Royal Armouries museum at auction this week.

It was discovered 30-years ago by an amateur archaeologist in Germany and restored by a collector in Switzerland before being sold.

BBC News

Rare carving unearthed after moorland fire

A bold pattern of zigzags which may be the world's first known attempt at landscape painting, has been found in the aftermath of a devastating moorland fire.
The crude carving by an unknown bronze-age artist is one of more than 2,400 historically important artefacts revealed by the scorching last year of a swath of the North York Moors, where until now only 30 scheduled ancient monuments have been designated.

"It turns out to be an astonishing archaeological landscape," said Nick Redfern, regional inspector of ancient monuments for English Heritage, who was left open-mouthed when the hidden treasures of Fylingdale Top were revealed, near the Anglo-American Star Wars defence base.


Out of the flames, a work of art from 4,000 years ago

Archaeologists believe a 4,000-year-old stone carving found among the remnants of a devastating moorland blaze could be the world's earliest work of landscape art.

Inscriptions on the yard-wide sandstone panel are thought to depict fields and a house with a mountain or seascape in the background.

The sandstone panel is thought to depict fields and a house
It was discovered last summer after a four-day peat fire exposed a huge chunk of subsoil on Fylingdales Moor, North Yorks.


Moorland treasures rise from the ashes

A HUGE fire last year devastated part of the sensitive landscape of the North York Moors National Park.

But it also offered archaeologists an unprecedented opportunity to view thousands of previously hidden artefacts and earthworks spanning 4,000 years of human life on the moors.

The most exciting discovery was a unique piece of carved sandstone more than 4,000 years old which archaeologists believe may be some kind of map.
They say it has international significance as, unlike other rock art from the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age, the lines of carving are angular rather than curved, similar to designs more often found on pottery.

Yorkshire Today

Solstice illumination at passage tomb

Clear skies will benefit the twenty people who were selected from thousands of applicants to see the annual illumination of Newgrange by the solstice sunrise.

UTV Newsroom

Mystery of the Moors

It was an ecological disaster which devastated one of the worlds's rarest landscapes, but the fire which ravaged the North York Moors last year has had an unexpected twist. Nick Morrison reports.

AT first, it seemed to be a largely abstract, although highly unusual, pattern. A series of diamond shapes surrounding a main feature resembling an hourglass, with a number of wavy lines to one side. It was only when the image was rotated to sit on its end that a light went on inside Neil Redfern's head.

The diamonds turned into fields, the hourglass into a house, with the additional line on one side representing a door. The triangles now at the top were mountains, the wavy lines perhaps the sea, or birds in the sky.

This is the North East


Archaeologists are pondering one of the most intriguing archaeological discoveries for some years after a fire revealed a unique carved stone thought to be 4,000 years old.

The find came to light after a blaze in 2003 at Fylingdales near Whitby consumed two and a half square kilometres of heather moorland - before being brought under control by hundreds of fire fighters and a water-dumping helicopter.

However, in the fire’s aftermath archaeologists were astonished to find a vast array of archaeological remains – uncovered by the intensity of the blaze, which burnt away much of the peat.

25 Hour Museum

Carved Imagine May Be Ancient Map

An image on a carved stone thought to date back more than 4,000 years may depict an ancient map, it was revealed today.

English Heritage archaeologists said the relic, which is unique in England and considered internationally significant, may show a map or landscape drawing – thought to be a first for rock art.

The stone was uncovered after a wildfire devastated two and a half square kilometres of heather moorland on the North York Moors at Fylingdales, near Whitby, in September last year.

The Scotsman

Monday, December 20, 2004

Fire reveals moor's stone legacy

A fire which devastated a huge area of Yorkshire moorland has uncovered hidden archaeological secrets of the area's past, experts have revealed.
A 2.5 sq km area of the North York Moors national park was scorched by the blaze in September 2003.

But a 4,000-year-old carved stone found in the aftermath could "re-write the history books", English Heritage says.

BBC News

The Warriors of Paros

Soldiers' bones in urns-evidence of a forgotten battle fought around 730 BC. Did these men perish on their island home of Paros, at the center of the Aegean Sea, or in some distant land? The loss of so many, at least 120 men, was certainly a catastrophe for the community, but their families and compatriots honored them, putting the cremated remains into large vases two of which were decorated with scenes of mourning and scenes of war. Grief-stricken relatives carried the urns to the cemetery next to the ancient harbor in Paroikia, the island's chief city and placed them in two monumental cist graves.

Excavation of the ancient cemetery began after its discovery during construction of a cultural center in the mid-1980s. It proved to be a veritable guidebook to changing funeral practices, the cemetery yielded up seventh and sixth c. BC burials in large jars, fifth-century marble urns and grave stelae, and Hellenistic and Roman marble sarcophagi on elaborate pedestals. But the two collective burials of soldiers from the late eighth century are the most important of the finds; as the earliest such burials (polyandria) ever found in Greece [dated 240 years earlier that the Marathon polyandrion of 490 BC] their very existence offering evidence for the development of city-states at this time.

Hellenic News

New archaeological discovery uncovered at Carrickmines

A new discovery of archaeological remains, thought to be those of a "curtain wall" extending up to 80 metres and dating from the 17th century, has been made at Carrickmines Castle in south Co Dublin.

The area of the remains, on a hillside to the south-west of an existing farmhouse, indicates the castle itself was a considerably larger complex than was originally thought, according to archaeologists.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Police find 100 stolen Roman artefacts

Police in southern Italy have seized some 100 ancient Roman treasures, from marble busts to vases, that were unearthed by archaeological scavengers and sold illegally to collectors.

A Naples police unit that specialises in archaeology raided homes, restaurants and hotels, said Lorenzo Marinaccio, the unit’s commander. The raids stemmed from an investigation of scavengers and traffickers.

The finds included a sarcophagus and busts of bearded men, all made of marble.

Breaking News

Medieval artefacts unearthed

Archaeologists have unearthed well-preserved remains of early medieval buildings in Winchester, Hampshire.
The dig is taking place at Northgate House, in advance of the planned redevelopment of the site.

A series of walls have been discovered in the excavation, the biggest that the city has seen for twenty years.

BBC News

Saturday, December 18, 2004


During the Iron Age it stood up to marauders, protecting the people of ancient Leicestershire against anyone that might do them harm. But a couple of thousand years later Burrough-on-the-Hill was in need of a little defending of its own.

They might not sound as fearsome as a neighbouring tribe, or even the might of the Roman Empire, but the ancient hill fort has recently been under attack from the local rabbit population.

However, under the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme, farmer and Country Park Ranger, Tim Maydwell, has been fighting back.

24 HourMuseum News

A 3,500 year old crossing recreated online

The thrill of archaeologists’ discovery of the oldest bridge ever found in England can now be relived through a series of web pages. Wessex Archaeology has put up information on its website about how its staff found the timbers from a 3,500-year-old Middle Bronze Age bridge near Testwood, Hampshire and can be viewed at

Megalithic Portal

Rare Roman sword comes to Armouries

THE Royal Armouries has sharpened its collection with the acquisition of a 2,000-year-old Roman sword – autographed by the original owner.

It is the best preserved sword of its type in the UK.

The blade and its scabbard mounts have been bought at auction by the Leeds-based national museum of arms and armour, and they are about to go on display alongside a replica of how the sword may have looked when carried by a Roman infantryman in the first century AD.

The fascinating weapon, an important sword of the Pompeii type, is decorated with engraved figures – possibly Mars, the Roman god of war, and Victory – and has a dot-punched inscription of the owner's name, Caius Valerius Primus.

Leeds Today

Friday, December 17, 2004

After the hunt, ice age man chilled out - with a flute

He is better known for his hunting skills, but now it appears that ice age man did not merely chase prey - he was also fond of music.
German archaeologists revealed yesterday that they had discovered one of the world's oldest musical instruments, a 35,000-year-old flute carved from the tusk of a now-extinct woolly mammoth.

The flute was dug up in a cave in the Swabian mountains in south-western Germany, and pieced back together again from 31 fragments. Its discovery suggests that ice age man, who roamed across Europe during prehistoric times, had precocious aesthetic talents, and probably discovered music far earlier than previously assumed.


Roche says he has no power to alter Tara motorway

Environment Minister Dick Roche has reportedly stated that he does not have the power to significantly alter the proposed route of the M3 motorway through Co Meath.

Campaigners are urging Mr Roche to re-route the road away from the Tara-Skryne valley due to the archaeological and historical importance of the area.

The proposed route of M3 would pass close to the Hill of Tara and would also lead to the destruction of dozens of archaeological sites.

However, reports this morning said the minister had insisted that his only role in the controversy is to decide on the method of preservation for archaeological sites.

Breaking News

Roche 'cannot change M3 route'

Campaigners are demanding the protection of archaeological sites and want the road re-routed away from the Hill of Tara.

Minister Dick Roche can direct that individual archaeological sites are preserved, and he is now being asked to issue an order for the entire Hill of
Tara site.

UTV Newsroom


A Stone Age hand axe dating back 500,000 years has been discovered at a quarry in Warwickshire.

The tool was found at the Smiths Concrete Bubbenhall Quarry at Waverley Wood Farm, near Coventry, which has already produced evidence of some of the earliest known human occupants of the UK.

It was uncovered in gravel by quarry manager John Green who took it to be identified by archaeologists at the University of Birmingham.

24 Hour Museum News

Roman graves threat to homes plan

ANCIENT remains could force changes to a controversial multi-million pound Chichester redevelopment scheme.
Plans to build more than 70 homes and a handful of shops on land between Eastgate and New Park Road are opposed by English Heritage because it is concerned they will impact on buried archaeological sites including part of a Roman cemetery and the city's Roman defences.

In a letter to Chichester District Council it said it had concerns over the height and bulk of the proposed development.

English Heritage can press for planning applications to be considered at Whitehall level if a council looks set to approve a plan it is against.

Portsmouth Today

Ancient treasure trove on Thasos

Two gold rings and a pair of earrings decorated with floral and marine motifs, as well as the goddess Nike (l) were among the rich finds from an ancient cemetery on Thasos made public yesterday.

Rich grave offerings dating from the fourth century BC, including exquisite gold and silver jewelry, have been discovered in a crowded ancient cemetery on the northern Aegean island of Thasos, it was announced yesterday.

Around 150 artifacts have been excavated so far from the seaside necropolis at Limenas, close to the island’s new port. The closely clustered group of graves dates to between the fourth and the first centuries BC.


Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Digger issue 34

The latest issue of "The Digger", the on-line magazine for archaeologists is now online at:

Roman remains found by busy road

THE remains of a “waterfront” settlement dating from Roman times have been discovered in a Suffolk village.

Archaeologists have found pottery, brooches, coins and other items on a site at Stoke Ash, beside a tributary of the River Dove and close to the A140 road, itself Roman in origin.

Information gleaned from the site and from the adjacent Thornham Estate is adding to the academic understanding of the Roman occupation of Britain.


English Heritage warns of dire consequences of cuts

Badly eroded structures of national significance face a bleak future, it became clear yesterday.
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, warned that the consequences of the imminent 5% cut in its budget - £13m in real terms - will be dire for the whole heritage sector. "We need to look and see what a £13m cut means for us: it will mean something, and probably something that we don't like very much and that our partners won't like very much."

Dr Thurley was speaking at the launch of the annual Heritage Counts audit of the historic environment, which shows that there is still a multi-billion pound job to be done.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust are working on the remains of an important Victorian iron foundry in York.

The team carrying out the excavation of the site hope to locate and record everything that remains of the Walker Iron Foundry before it is redeveloped into housing. The site had previously been covered up by a 1970s office block.

The Walker Iron Foundry at Walmgate was one of several in 19th century York, though the city is not known for its industrial heritage – unlike its neighbours Leeds and Bradford.

24 Hour Museum News

Airports 'will kill heritage'

British High Court heard that ancient monuments, woodlands and hundreds of homes will be lost if expansion at three airports goes ahead. The claim was made as local councils launched a challenge against Government plans for London’s Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports. They want the judge to declare proposals in a Government White Paper unlawful.

Tom Hill, for councils around Stansted and Luton, told the court the processes leading up to the White Paper were "inadequate and unlawful". He warned much-loved landscapes would be "swept away" if the proposals went ahead. Woodlands and hedgerows, homes and ancient landmarks would be obliterated and thousands more homes affected by noise. Mr Hill said: "The expansion bandwagon has already started to roll, and unless the court intervenes it will be unstoppable."


8,300-year-old grave unearthed in Bulgaria

A grave dug some 8,300 years ago was disclosed during excavation works near the Veliko Tarnovo village Dhzulyunitsa, in Bulgaria. The archaeologists were working in a Neolithic village, when they found the grave, which is said to be of a child aged 10 to 15. It is still not clear whether the child was a girl or a boy.

Children were buried near their homes probably because ancient people believed they could be reincarnated, archaeologist Nedko Elenkov underlined. Ceramic pots and a grain mill as well as a unique stone sceptre and a home altar were found in a nearby home. Excavation works will go on.

Stones Pages

Replica of Bronze Age boat ready to set sail on a 4,000-year-old journey

A REPLICA of a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age boat found near Hull will set sail on the Humber in the new year – close to where the original was discovered.
The plank boat, the oldest of its kind found in western Europe, was one of three discovered at North Ferriby by Hull amateur archaeologist, Ted Wright, between 1937 and 1963.

Yesterday a half-scale replica, named Ferriby I, was unveiled at the Streetlife Museum, in Hull, where it will be used as a local focus for SeaBritain 2005, a celebration of the UK's maritime heritage.
The boat, built in Southampton, has been trialled successfully on the Solent, despite being only half the size of the original.

Yorkshire Today

York Minster tops visitor league

York Minster attracted more visitors last year than any other cathedral in England, latest figures show.

Some 1.16m people passed through its doors in 2003, English Heritage says, pushing Canterbury Cathedral into second place with 900,000 visitors.

Nearly nine million visited the 42 Anglican cathedrals in England.

BBC News

Cathedrals bring millions to area

Research at three of the South East's cathedrals has revealed they are worth millions to their local economies.

Canterbury, Chichester and Guildford were among eight cathedrals which provided in-depth case studies for the report by English Heritage.

BBC News

Archaeologists Unearth 8, 300 Year-old Settlement in Central Bulgaria

Archaeologists in central Bulgaria discovered remains of an 8, 300 year-old New Stone Age settlement, a report said Monday.

Bulgarian News Network (You need to register with BNN to read this)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The past is just under our feet

A LEAFLET with the words Introducing: Vale of Clwyd - Historic Landscape by Jonathan Neale, Feature Writer, Countryside Council for Wales caught my eye recently and, as I enjoy history and walking in the countryside, I decided to visit the Vale to find out more.

First I met Richard Kelly, an expert in the Welsh landscape, who explained why outstanding historic landscapes in Wales have been placed on a register.

"What's special about the Vale of Clwyd is that its countryside tells the story of how people have lived on the land for a very, very long period of time, from prehistoric people living in caves near Tremeirchion at around 30,000 years ago right through to Victorian field enclosures," he said.

I C Wales

Museum casts aside 4,500 exhibits

Up to 4,500 objects are being removed from the National Maritime Museum as part of a huge clear out.
The museum said it does not have enough room to show all of its 2.5m objects so it has decided to disperse or dispose of thousands of historic items.

The Museums Association said mistakes had been made in the past where objects deemed "unfashionable" became popular decades later.

BBC News

English Heritage joins Common Information Environment

English Heritage has signed up to the principles of the Common Information Environment Group, a group of key public sector organisations providing online content across a variety of sectors.

It's another stepping stone towards the vision of an online environment in which all citizens of the UK can access high-quality information freely and easily.

A key aim of this group is to ensure that the investment of some £2bn worth of online content estimated to have been created out of public funds is repaid by making as much of it as possible accessible by all citizens of the UK.

Public Technology Net

Rock Art event in England

Archaeology enthusiasts from across the north rolled up for a sell-out conference to experience recording rock and the Lake District’s (England) rich history. The gathering, exploring thousands of years of the area’s diverse past, brought 200 enthusiasts to Windermere for a Lake District National Park Authority organised exploration.

With a unique combination of spectacular natural landforms, adapted by passing centuries of residents, the authority has been at the helm of archaeological investigation and conservation in the Lake District. Authority archaeologist Eleanor Kingston said: "We had excellent, nationally-renowned speakers, covering topics which ranged widely in period and scope. People arrived to hear about prehistoric rock art, the Neolithic period in the central fells, the development of villas in the landscape and the impact of slate working." The date, November 26, has been set for a similar event next year.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Treasure House gives up its secrets

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed some hidden secrets of Beverley's past on the site of the planned Treasure House in Champney Road.
Several clues to the history of that part of the town have been unearthed during an exploration of the site by East Riding Council and Humber Field Archaeology.

These include bronze needles, lead weights and a thimble, suggesting that a cloth finishing or leather workshops were once situated there.

Contractors have also revealed the remains of medieval chalk foundations dating from between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this time Beverley was a particularly prosperous place to live, but it was followed by a very rapid decline which saw many properties razed to the ground.

Beverley Today

Secrets of iron foundry uncovered

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered the remains of an iron foundry that played a crucial part in a city's 19th Century industrial history.

York Archaeological Trust is working on the site of the Walker Iron Foundry in Walmgate, York.

Teams have uncovered walls and found structures including a brick-lined pit which housed a wheel, probably driven by a steam engine. It is thought to have been used for powering the foundry bellows.

This is the North East

DECOUVERTE à Tintignac Naves en Corrèze

Vue générale des structures de l'Age de Fer, avec au premier plan les trous de poteaux du bâtiment circulaire au centre du sanctuaire protohistorique ; les murs appartiennent à la galerie du temple gallo-romain des 1er et 2ème siècles.

Pictures from the excavations at Limousin Culture

See also Gallic war treasure discovered in southern France

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Clay lamps shed new light on daily life in antiquity

Artificial light permeates many aspects of our daily lives. It is so pervasive in society that, compared to the ancient world, its presence and significance goes roughly unnoticed. Yet, its effect on our lives is far greater and its use considerably more complex. Through fiber optics, for example, light is a vital delivery system of information, transmitting words and images across the globe on the Internet and on satellite television.

Today as in antiquity, light has served the principle utilitarian function of illuminating dark spaces. It has also performed a symbolic role. Take, for example, the timeless practice of lighting a candle or lamp in memory of loved ones. In ancient times, people would leave votive lamps behind in tombs. A modern example of this practice is found in the Pre Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where 33 years after the burial of Doors legend Jim Morrison, bereaved fans of the rock star continue to light candles at his grave.

Daily Star

For the cradle of English civilisation, go to the Wirral

The people of Merseyside have another reason to stoke their sense of pride - the history of England may have been forged in Wirral.

Viking enthusiasts looking for the site of an epic battle that was instrumental in the birth of the idea of Englishness believe they have found it at what is now Bromborough, south-east of Bikenhead.


Ancient Apollo sanctuary found on uninhabited Greek islet

Hundreds of ancient objects from as far apart as Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey), Greece, Egypt and Cyprus were discovered among the remains of a previously unreported, pre-Christian sanctuary on an uninhabited Greek islet in the Aegean Sea.

Archaeologists conducting excavations on Despotiko island since 1997 uncovered, among others, a valuable statuette dating from 680-660 BC, statue parts, tools, weapons, pearls, even an ostrich egg, the Greek culture ministry announced Wednesday.

Yahoo News

Tatoulis balks at Acropolis costs

Confirming reports of funding cuts for the Acropolis conservation and restoration work, the Culture Ministry said yesterday that budgeting for the marathon project had to be “rationalized” and rendered “credible.”

Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, who is on a visit to Albania, said he was unhappy with the planning and budgeting by archaeologists and architects leading the massive project — which started in 1975.


Ice Age mammoth flute found in Germany

Archaeologists have unearthed a 35,000-year-old flute made from a woolly mammoth’s ivory tusk in a German cave, the University of Tübingen said Friday.

The flute, one of the oldest musical instruments discovered, was pieced together from 31 fragments found in a cave in the Swabian mountains in southwestern Germany, the university said.

The mountains have yielded rich pickings in recent years, including ivory figurines, ornaments and other musical instruments. Archaeologists believe humans camped in the area in winter and spring.


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Saxon find brings clues to history

A NUMBER of ancient artefacts discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast have given vital clues to Suffolk's history.

Six gold and silver fragments discovered in a Witnesham field have given historians the chance to confirm details about life in Suffolk around 1,500 years ago.

At a treasure trove inquest on Wednesday, Great Suffolk Coronor Dr Peter Dean confirmed the artefacts met the criteria for treasure.

Evening Star

Cat's gravestone fetches £200,000 at Sotheby's

A stone marking a pet cat's grave fetched more than £200,000 at Sotheby's yesterday after experts said it was a 1,100-year-old Anglo-Saxon carving.

The relief depicting St Peter was found in a salvage yard 20 years ago by a stonemason, Johnny Beeston, who took it back to his home in Dowlish Wake, Somerset, where he and his wife Ruth decided it would make a headstone for their cat Winkle.

After Chris Brewchorne, an amateur archaeologist from the town, realised its significance as he walked past, experts identified it as probably part of a Christian cross from 900AD.



Located at the end of the line, this particular example of Victorian engineering must have come in very handy. Courtesy Crich Tramway Village.

An unsung cog in the great machinery of the Victorian tram system has received the acclaim it deserves at the National Railway Heritage Awards in London.

A gentleman’s urinal left derelict for years, but restored to full working order and installed at Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire has been given the Virgin Trains Volunteers Award.

Presented by His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, the annual National Railway Heritage Awards recognise excellence in restoration and environmental care of railway and tramway structures.

24 Hours Museum News

Ice-age ivory flute found in German cave

A 35,000-year-old flute made from a woolly mammoth's ivory tusk has been unearthed in a German cave by archaeologists, says the University of Tuebingen.
The flute, one of the oldest musical instruments discovered, was pieced together from 31 fragments found in a cave in the Swabian mountains in southwestern Germany, the university said on Friday.

The mountains have yielded rich pickings in recent years, including ivory figurines, ornaments and other musical instruments. Archaeologists believe humans camped in the area in winter and spring.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Add the latest archaeological news to your My Yahoo page!

Do you have a My Yahoo Page? If so, you can now add the latest headlines from the Archaeology in Europe weblog to your page. If you look at the sidebar, you will find that we have added a “Add to My Yahoo” button. One click and you can receive the latest archaeological news direct to your My Yahoo page!

Tool use confirmed in monkeys

UK researchers have collected the first hard evidence of monkeys using tools, Science magazine reports.
Cambridge researchers observed wild capuchin monkeys in the Brazilian forest using stones to help them forage for food on an almost daily basis.

Scientists have already known for some time that capuchins use tools in captivity, but have only occasionally observed them doing so in the wild.

BBC News

Remains reburied to make way for rail line

THE remains of bodies dug up to make way for the Channel Tunnel Rail link have finally been put to rest.

Bones from more than 5,000 people were removed during the building work but have now been reburied at Camden's cemetery in East Finchley. It was the second time the bodies had been disturbed - 150 years ago they were taken out of St Pancras churchyard during the construction of the Midland Railway.

Bishop of Edmonton Peter Wheatley performed the reburial service on Wednesday.

Ham & High

TD raises fears over 'Tara motorway'

The Government was urged today to seek advice from independent archaeologists before deciding the destiny of the ancient seat of the Kings of Ireland.

Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe accused the environment minister of adopting a "road-based bias" when choosing the route between Navan and Dublin, which cuts through the Tara Skyrne Valley.

He said that because it was the most economical option, Tara had been condemned from the outset for lying directly on the "desire line", while other options had not been considered.

Online I E News

Heritage group starts running Roman Fort

BIRDOSWALD Roman Fort is now in the hands of English Heritage after an official hand-over ceremony this week.

A Roman legionnaire in uniform handed over a standard to symbolically mark the start of the fort’s new era with English Heritage.

The site was previously owned by Cumbria County Council.

Gordon Seabright, commercial director of English Heritage, joined councillors on Wednesday to take over the running of the popular fort which attracted 35,000 visitors last year.

Cumberland News

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Discovery and study of ancient fabrics provide clues to life in ages past

In 1993, Russian archaeologist Natalia Polosmak discovered an undisturbed kurgan, or tomb, in the rugged Ukok Plateau of Siberia, just inside a strip of no-man's land between Russia and China. It belonged to the Pazyryks, Iron Age horsemen who inhabited the steppes of western Asia up until the second century B.C.

Sign On San Diego

Ancient brooch is a real treasure

A MEDIAEVAL brooch unearthed by a man using a metal detector in a field at Mildenhall has been declared treasure.

Archaeologist John Newman told an inquest last week that tests had revealed the brooch, dating from the 13th century, contained 98 per cent silver.

The Standard

Greek farmer uncovers Roman monument

A farmer ploughing his field in central Greece hit on an ancient Roman trophy dating from 86 BC, the culture ministry announced.

Archaeologists have unearthed the lower part of the stone-made monument near the village of Pyrgos some 100 kilometres north-west of Athens.

An inscription identified the finding as a trophy raised there by Roman General Sulla after his victory over Mithridates, King of Pontus - a kingdom on the Black Sea in Asia Minor.

ABC News

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Historical fort begins a new era

A new era begins for an historical landmark which moves into the care of English Heritage after transfer was approved by Cumbria County Council.
Birdoswald Roman Fort, near Brampton, is set on Hadrian's Wall and is a popular tourist attraction.

At a special ceremony on Wednesday, a legionnaire in uniform will hand over a standard to mark the transfer.

BBC News

'Duck pond' turns out to be a moat

It appeared to be nothing more than a duck pond, but a chance comment and some research have revealed otherwise.

The mysterious moat could have more ancient origins as a medieval swannery, a Roman lookout, a refuge for people on the run – or there could be another explanation for it.

Whatever the story behind the structure on a farmer's land near Stalham, it will soon be restored to somewhere near its former glory.

EDP 24


A Police helicopter was used to track down two treasure hunters on a nocturnal foray at a protected historical site.

Valuable historical information is being destroyed by people motivated by private gain. Keith Knox, from Immingham, and Robert Best, from Laceby, ran away after they were spotted on the helicopter's infra-red night vision equipment in a field close to Croxton, near Kirmington.

This is Grimsby

Cretan excavation sheds light on Dark Ages of Greek history

On a narrow spur under the shadow of Mount Ida in central Crete, archaeologists for the past 20 years have been excavating a town that flourished from the Dark Ages of Greece’s early history until Medieval times.

The Eleutherna project, a systematic dig carried out by a three-pronged team of top archaeologists from the University of Crete, is in itself unusual in a country where most excavations are carried out by harried Culture Ministry employees chasing after land developers.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Modern-day Indiana Joneses will no longer have to rummage through dusty museums to find information on Bath's hidden heritage treasures. From tomorrow, details about artefacts stored at the city's numerous museums, libraries and archives will be available at the click of a button.

Tap Into Bath will allow members of the public, school pupils and researchers to find information on the hundreds of collections housed in the city.

It is the first time organisations in a British city have combined to provide a comprehensive database of stored treasures, and the move may now be copied by other cities.

This is Bath

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bulgaria Unearthed Yet Another Ancient Gold

Two gold earrings were found during excavation works near the Black Sea city of Nessebar.

The jewellery belonged to a woman buried during the Hellenic period IV- III century B.C., Tanya Dimova, chief of the Nessebar Museum announced.

The Bulgarian archaeologists were surprised by the high quality of the metal- over 24 carats. The earrings were made by an extreme professional and had a lion's head. The archaeologists are expecting to find more jewellery as at present they are excavating a second tomb.


St Paul's West Front is restored

The most famous side of St Paul's Cathedral is due to be re-opened following a £5m restoration project.
The West Front, which is the main ceremonial entrance of the London cathedral, will be unveiled on Monday.

The renovation scheme will see the entire cathedral repaired for the 300th anniversary of the laying of the final stone in 1708.

BBC News


A HOARD of gold and silver coins, ingots and pottery dating to the Iron Age has been hailed the largest and most significant find of its kind on the Island.

The remarkable discovery, made on farmland by members of the IW Metal Detecting Club — a club founded less than 12 months ago — was declared treasure by Island coroner John Matthews at a hearing last week.
Eighteen gold staters, 138 silver staters, one thin silver coin — used by Celtic Durotriges who inhabited parts of Devon, Dorset and Somerset more than 2,000 years ago — and seven copper alloy coins of the Roman period, were found during a dig in March this year.

Isle of Wight County Press

Saturday, December 04, 2004

History unearthed

A HOARD of Viking jewellery has been found by a metal detector enthusiast in the Cheshire countryside.

The finder, Steve Reynoldson from Keighley in West Yorkshire, made the discovery near Huxley on Sunday during a metal detecting rally which attracted almost 100 enthusiasts.

Archaeologist Dan Garner, who works for Chester Archaeology, went to the site where he confirmed the booty of 20 silver arm bands was likely to date from the Viking period in the 10th century.

Liverpool Daily Post

Ancient Roman Rest Stop Discovered

Underneath a German bus terminal, archaeologists have found the remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman roadside rest stop that included a chariot service station, gourmet restaurant and hotel with central heating.

The building complex indicates that citizens of the Roman Empire traveled in relative comfort, according to press releases from the Press Office for the City of Neuss, Germany.

Discovery Channel

New theory on Stonehenge mystery

A fresh theory on how Stonehenge was built has been tested out by a group of experts and enthusiasts.
Gordon Pipes, of the Stonehengineers group of scientists and archaeologists, has suggested that levers may have been used to move the giant stones.

They have tested his "stone-rowing" theory which involves a 45-tonne stone being levered on a track of logs.

BBC News

Friday, December 03, 2004

Say goodbye to Rudolph and other reindeer if global warming continues

With increasing global warming Rudolph and the rest of Santa Claus' reindeer will disappear from large portions of their current range and be under severe environmental stress by the end of the century.

That finding comes from a new study that examined the archaeological record in southwestern France, where reindeer became locally extinct during two earlier episodes of warming roughly 10,000 and 130,000 years ago.

Site News


Archaeologists have welcomed news that a man has been convicted of going onto an important excavation site in Leicestershire equipped to steal.

Raymond Tebble was seen at night in the field, near Market Harborough, which is one of the most significant Iron Age and Roman sites in the country. A police helicopter was scrambled and Tebble, from South Shields, was caught with a metal detector and a spade.

Wendy Scott, Finds Liaison Officer for Leicestershire County Council, told the 24 Hour Museum: “This conviction is really good news, it sends out the message that they will be caught.”

24 Hour Museum News

Archeological looting: here, there, and everywhere

Archaeologists have welcomed news that a man has been convicted of going onto an important excavation site in Leicestershire equipped to steal.
Raymond Tebble was seen at night in the field, near Market Harborough, which is one of the most significant Iron Age and Roman sites in the country. A police helicopter was scrambled and Tebble, from South Shields, was caught with a metal detector and a spade. . .

Dr JD Hill, Iron Age expert at the British Museum, said at the time that the discovery of the silver gilded helmet – the first of its kind to be found in Britain – was of "international significance", and has likened the site to a cathedral. However, it has not yet been scheduled and efforts to keep its location secret, in the meantime, have been unsuccessful.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Graves of Saxon warriors found

AN ANCIENT graveyard discovered on a hill overlooking Marlborough on Sunday looks set to confirm the long-held belief that the town had Saxon origins.

The five graves containing the remains of what are believed to be Saxon warriors complete with shields was made by metal detector enthusiasts.

Realising the enormity of their discovery, the enthusiasts halted their exploration and notified police that they had found a burial site.

This is Wiltshire

Historic castle needs £2.5m of work

A HISTORIC Highland castle that has been closed to the public because of safety concerns needs £2.5 million of work to save it from further decline.

Historic Scotland commissioned reports on the condition and historical significance of Castle Tioram in Moidart, which has been at the centre of a dispute for seven years.

Its owner, Lex Brown, a millionaire Scottish businessman, wants to restore it and live there, but Historic Scotland favours the building being conserved as a ruin.

The Scotsman

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Crusaders exhibition to travel to four countries

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage is co-organising an international exhibition entitled Crusades: Myths and Realities, which will be shown in four countries.

The exhibition will be opening at the Municipal Arts Centre of Nicosia in Cyprus tomorrow. It will travel to Athens, Amalfi in Italy and then, in September next year, on to Malta, once the stronghold of the last of the Crusaders.

The exhibition is due to a successful bid for EU funding made by a consortium comprising the Perides Foundation (Cyprus), the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage (Malta), the NCR (Italy) and the University of Amien (France). The project has received the highest amount of funding that is possible within the Culture 2000 framework.

Times of Malta

stonehenge heritagehikes

A carpenter's new theory on how Stonehenge came about could roll away old theories on Britain's megalithic monument, finds Patrick Weir. For more than 20 years, Derbyshire carpenter Gordon Pipes has been striving to find an answer to a 4,000-year-old question that still confounds archaeologists; namely how, without roads or wheels, did Neolithic man transport 80 sarsen stones, each weighing an average of 30 tons, 20 miles from the Marlborough Downs to Salisbury Plain to construct Stonehenge?

Megalithic Portal

27 archaeological sites unearthed in past year

No fewer than 27 new archaeological sites, 13 of them in Rabat, were unearthed over the past year, following close scrutiny by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

During the year Mepa received 350 applications for proposed development within archaeologically sensitive areas.

In nearly a third of these applications, the development required an Archaeological Watching Brief, by which Mepa archaeologists and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage monitor the works to ensure no damage is done

Times of Malta

Bronze age boat to be recreated

Archaeologists are planning to build a copy of an ancient boat found in Dover and sail it from Britain to France.
The £200,000 project is intended to demonstrate how the boat might have been used thousands of years ago.

The boat is one of the best preserved examples of a coastal vessel from the bronze age and was found in a chance discovery in 1992.

BBC News


He might be better known for wielding a bass guitar than a metal detector, but former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman has been an enthusiastic amateur archaeologist for many years.
So who better to open proceedings at a Portable Antiquities Scheme Roadshow? Held up and down the country on November 27, the events offered a chance for members of the public to have any finds they’d unearthed identified by an expert.
Altogether some 840 people did just that at events in Donnington, Exeter, Reading, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, York and Colchester where Bill Wyman was on hand to get things going.
24 Hour Museum News

France trumpets discovery of Gallic war trophies
French archaeologists said this week they had discovered an exceptional Gallic war treasure in the south of the country, including rare war trumpets and ornate helmets.
The some 470 objects, or fragments of objects, were found at the end of September during a dig at Naves, in the department of Correze in southern France, in a ditch hollowed out of a Gallic-Roman temple, they said.
"The exceptional character of this discovery lies mainly in the presence of five almost complete carnyx," Christophe Maniquet, an archaeologist at Inrap, France's national institute for Archaeological studies, said.

Welcome to the Little Chef of the ancient world
Their dried-out food, cheerless service and overpriced petrol have made motorway service stations the bane of modern travel.
However, archaeologists have found evidence that they are not such a modern phenomenon after uncovering the remains of the Roman equivalent of Newport Pagnell services.
Deep beneath a bus terminus in the town of Neuss, near Dusseldorf, they have found the 2,000-year-old foundations of a roadside rest-stop complete with forecourt, chariot workshop, restaurant and an area to give horses water and hay.


New Web Site for London Archaeology

An excellent new web site for London Archaeology can be found at

A link to this side has been added to the Archaeology in Europe Weblog sidebar.

Early 7th century battlefield site found

For the last three summers the Chester Archaeological Society has been excavating at the multi-period site known as Heronbridge which lies 2km south of Chester city centre. In addition to a Roman roadside settlement the site also features a post-Roman mass burial, partly excavated in the 1930s and interpreted as a battle cemetery of uncertain date, along with a curvilinear earthwork fortification enclosing an area of 6ha, also undated. The mass burial was re-located this summer and more than a dozen skeletons partly exposed in a small area. This revealed the dead were laid close together, on their back or side, and in slightly overlapping rows. Two skeletons were removed for analysis. This was carried out by York Osteoarchaeology Ltd and confirmed they were battle casualties, both having a number of sword blade cuts to the head as well as other injuries. Radiocarbon dating of bone samples by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre indicate they date to the late 6th or early 7th century. It therefore seems very likely that the burial relates to the Battle of Chester fought c. AD 616 when the Anglian army of Aethelfrith of Northumbria defeated the combined forces of the British kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys. Radiocarbon dating of samples from the fill of the ditch belonging to the neighbouring earthwork indicates that this, too, is 7th century in origin and is thus a rare early Anglo-Saxon fortification. It was perhaps constructed by the Northumbrians following their victory.

Information from Dr David Mason - Project Director

Intensive fishing was an ancient practice
Intensive fishing by humans may be more ancient than previously thought, suggests a new archaeological study, which shows that significant marine fishing may have started in the UK in the 9th century.
The diminishing levels of marine fish stocks as a result of over-fishing has caused great concern since the mid-20th century. The rapid increase in commercial fishing after World War II has had a devastating impact on the marine ecosystem in the North Sea, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and caused a number of marine fish species to become endangered.
New Scientist

The Vikings: A Memorable Visit to America
Exploring the New World a thousand years ago, a Viking woman gave birth to what is likely the first European-American baby. The discovery of the house the family built upon their return to Iceland has scholars rethinking the Norse sagas
Roughly 1,000 years ago, the story goes, a Viking trader and adventurer named Thorfinn Karlsefni set off from the west coast of Greenland with three ships and a band of Norse to explore a new land that promised fabulous riches. Following the route that had been pioneered some seven years before by Leif Eriksson, Thorfinn sailed up Greenland's coast, traversed the Davis Strait and turned south past Baffin Island to Newfoundland—and perhaps beyond. Snorri, the son of Thorfinn and his wife, Gudrid, is thought to be the first European baby born in North America.
Smithsonian Magazine

The never-ending search

Fascination with the Holy Grail has lasted for centuries, and now the Bletchley Park code-breakers have joined the hunt. But what is it that's made the grail the definition of something humans are always searching for but never actually finding?

Could an obscure inscription on a 250-year-old monument in a Staffordshire garden point the way to the Holy Grail - the jewelled chalice reportedly used by Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper?

BBC News

Malta participants in ANSER project

Over the past two and a half years the University of Malta, through the Foundation of International Studies, participated in the EU project Anciennes Routes Maritimes Méditerranéennes (ANSER), financed under the Interreg IIIB Medocc programme. Participating countries included Italy, France, Spain, Algeria, Morocco and Portugal.
From within these countries a number of institutions, including the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Alicante, the Underwater Archaeology Centre of Catalonia, the National Centre of Maritime and Underwater Archaeology of Portugal and the Camille Jullian Centre of Aix-en-Provence, all contributed to the success of this project. Dr Nicholas Vella and Timmy Gambin served on the scientific and pilot committees alongside other members from the various participating institutions.
Times of Malta

Prehistoric Julia Roberts Found

Bulgarian archaeologists have found what they claim is Europe's oldest skeleton, which they have named "Julia Roberts" because the woman was a "rare beauty" with a nearly flawless set of teeth.

The archaeologists reported their findings in the Sofia News Agency and Bulgaria's Standart News newspaper.

ABC Science News

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bulldozing an ancient site: Turkish Cypriot developers say they’re willing to bring in the archaeologists

THE row over whether a Turkish Cypriot construction company should be allowed to build on the site of a Bronze-Age necropolis in the village of Kazafani outside Kyrenia resurfaced yesterday with the company at the centre of the debate calling on the north’s authorities to join them in excavating the site.

The offer coincided with a renewed debate over the site’s status within the Turkish Cypriot administration. In line with local law, the antiquities department has reissued its application for the site to be recognised as a grade one archaeological site. The application is currently waiting for ratification by the ‘economy and tourism ministry’, after which its status will be published in the official gazette.

The argument first erupted in June, when the north’s antiquities department called a halt to development of a 40-donum site, known as Vounos, into a complex of luxury housing for sale to predominantly British clients. The department had, unbeknownst to the company, declared Vounos a grade one archaeological site on May 27 this year, but not soon enough to prevent extensive bulldozing of the Bronze Age relic.

Cyprus Mail

Gallic war treasure discovered in southern France

French archaeologists said this week they had discovered an exceptional Gallic war treasure in the south of the country, including rare war trumpets and ornate helmets.

The some 470 objects, or fragments of objects, were found at the end of September during a dig at Naves, in the department of Correze in southern France, in a ditch hollowed out of a Gallic-Roman temple, they said.

"The exceptional character of this discovery lies mainly in the presence of five almost complete carnyx," Christophe Maniquet, an archeologist at Inrap, France's national institute for Archeological studies, said.

Yahoo News

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Découverte d'un trèsor de guerre gaulois

Des archéologues viennent de révéler la découverte faite fin septembre lors de fouilles archéologiques en Corrèze, d'un véritable "trésor de guerre" gaulois, composé de pièces uniques comme des trompettes utilisées au cours de batailles et des casques richement ornés.

Ces 470 objets ou fragments d'objets reposaient dans une fosse, creusée dans l'enceinte d'un temple gallo-romain à Naves (Corrèze), près de Tulle. Les fouilles de ce temple, dont les premières occupations datent du 1er siècle av JC, ont débuté en septembre 2001.

La Libre

3000 Jahre Würzburg Kelten und Franken am Main

24. 11. 2004 – 17. 4. 2005
Sonderausstellung des
Mainfränkischen Museums Würzburg

Freilich ist sie älter, die Stadt, deren Name erstmals in einer Urkunde aus dem Jahr 704 erscheint. Die in diesem Datum verankerte 1300-Jahr Feier der Stadt Würzburg inspiriert das Mainfränkische Museum zu einer Ausstellung, die zeigen möchte, wie Forschung und Funde der Archäologen in Würzburg und Unterfranken Fenster öffnen in das Zeitalter vor 704, eine uns immer noch weitgehend unbekannte, fremd erscheinende Welt, aus der es keine schriftliche Überlieferung gibt.

More information

A New Website for London Archaeology

Christian Allen, of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society, has recently created a new website for London Archaeology.

You can find the site at:

A link to the site has been added to the Archaeology in Europe Weblog sidebar.

5,000-year-old settlement found

Archaeologists believe that ancient artifacts uncovered at a Cambridge village college are evidence from a 5,000-year-old settlement.
Pits containing neolithic remains of arrowheads, pottery and knives have been found at a site next to the Linton Village College south of Cambridge.

Digs took place ahead of construction of a new special school on the site.

BBC News

Italy Returns Stolen Obelisk to Ethiopia

A cyclopean task will put to an end a decades-long diplomatic dispute between Italy and Ethiopia over a looted obelisk, according to a bilateral agreement signed last week in Rome.

Signed by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin and Italian Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Alfredo Mantica, the deal set up the final details over the transport of a 160-ton granite stele from Rome to the city of Axum.

Dicovery Channel

Vatican returns relics of saints to Istanbul in bid to heal rift

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II, in a gesture of friendship with the Orthodox Church, on Saturday handed over the bones of two early Christian saints that were brought to Rome from ancient Constantinople centuries ago.

The Vatican said the return of the saints' relics was part of the pope's efforts to promote Christian unity and dismissed any suggestion that John Paul was "asking pardon" for their removal by Crusaders from the seat of the Orthodox Church.

The pope sat beside Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, in St. Peter's Basilica as the bones of the saints, resting on yellow velvet in crystal and alabaster reliquaries, were brought to the altar.

Rapid City Journal

Heritage Malta's plan for the Citadel

Pierre Cassar, manager public programmes, Heritage Malta, (November 17) opened his reply to a letter by Tony Mercieca by trying to minimise the importance of the Citadel Armoury. The Armoury, inaugurated in March 1984, was closed down by Heritage Malta last month to turn it into an office.

Heritage Malta has confirmed through this reply:

The Times (Malta)


This is the last in a series of seven introductory features about the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Roadshows, happening nationally on November 27 2004.

The Romans were once in Leicestershire, and they certainly left their mark. The county bears a legacy of roads from the days of the great Empire and objects dropped by those who once travelled down them now make it an interesting place for metal detectorists and amateur archaeologists. Take our story from 2003, where some intriguing gold jewellery was found.

24 Hours Museum News

Stone me! Jak's rock is 4,000-year-old axe

When Jak MacDonald picked up a pebble on a beach, he had no idea he was holding an artefact shaped by a Stone Age craftsman 4,000 years ago. The six-year-old, from Broughton Astley, stumbled upon a neolithic axe head while on holiday in Pembrokeshire.

Jak was looking for pebbles to skim in the sea when he came across the flat stone.

He was about to try it out when his mum's partner noticed the unusual shape.

Megalithic Portal

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Viking map may rewrite US history

Danish experts will travel to the U.S. to study evidence that the Vikings landed in the New World five centuries before Columbus.

A controversial parchment said to be the oldest map of America could, if authentic, support the theory that the Vikings arrived first.

The map is said to date from 1434 and was found in 1957. Some people believe it is evidence that Vikings, who departed from Greenland around the year 1000, were the first to land in the Americas.

News in Science


A tiny silver locket - discovered in a Westonzoyland field - may have fallen from the neck of a soldier fighting for the King at the Battle of Sedgemoor more than 300 years ago. The ornament, measuring little more than two centimetres, is a first for Somerset - and there are hopes it will eventually go on display at the County Museum in Taunton.

This is Somerset

Friday, November 26, 2004

Unearthed: ancient burial pit shows how Bronze Age Scots prepared for afterlife

Archaeologists have hailed the discovery of an early Bronze Age cemetery as one of the most significant in Britain after new technology enabled them to pinpoint the date of graves.

The remains of more than 35 men, women and children who lived between 1900BC and 1600BC have been uncovered at a previously unknown settlement at Skilmafilly, north-west of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

Among the cremated bones, which were buried in pottery urns, scientists found a wide range of artefacts which signify that the community had widespread trade links with other parts of Britain and probably shared a common belief in an afterlife.

The Independent

Shipworm threatens marine archeological remains in the Baltic

Shipworm has spread to the Baltic Sea. If it continues to spread, it threatens to destroy still well-preserved and irreplaceable shipwrecks and other marine archeological remains along the coast of Sweden, according to Carl Olof Cederlund, professor of marine archeology at Södertörn University College in Stockholm and the Swedish representative in the EU project that has now determined the spread of shipworm to the Baltic for the first time.

“Up till now the Baltic has been regarded as a haven against shipworm. This is one of the reasons why it was possible to find the royal warship Wasa and other large wooden vessels in such excellent condition after centuries at the bottom of the sea,” adds Carl Olof Cederlund.

Innovations Report

24. August 79 Pompeji. Die Stunden des Untergangs

Als am 24. August 79 der glühende Ascheregen des Vesuvs über die Stadt Pompeji fiel wurden die Menschen buchstäblich "in ihren alltäglichen Verrichtungen" überrascht. Die Katastrophe, die über die Stadt hereingebrochen war hat sich für die Wissenschaft als eine reiche Quelle zur Erforschung und Beschreibung der Lebenswelt des antiken Menschen erwiesen.

Vom 28. November 2004 bis zum 17. April 2005 zeigt das Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum in Mannheim eine Ausstellung über den Untergang der Stadt. Die Ausstellung schildert mit originalen Fundstücken, Schaubildern und Rekonstruktionen anschaulich das Geschehen im August 79.


Stone age relics found off coast

The site of a stone age settlement, preserved under layers of silt, has been discovered off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

Included in the find is a fire pit, presumed to be an oven, which was first used about 9,000 years ago.

The settlement, now thirty feet beneath the sea and 500 yards off the coast of Bouldnor, was found by divers.

BBC News

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Relics looted by Bulgaria are on their way home to Greece

Bulgaria has paved the way for the return of priceless religious relics which were removed from monasteries in Macedonia and Thrace during World War I. The first step toward meeting the longstanding demand of the Greek authorities came unexpectedly a few days ago when Bulgaria’s President Georgi Parvanov expressed his government’s intention of returning the relics to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios.


Bronze Age Site Discovered at Gas Company Dig

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the most comprehensively-dated Bronze Age site in Britain, it emerged today.

The 29 cremations pits and a number of artefacts were uncovered by chance during the installation of a gas pipeline in Aberdeenshire.

The pits include 10 pottery urns containing ashes of children and adults and two golden eagle talons.

The talons are of particular archaeological importance as they have never been excavated from this period before.

The Scotsman

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Mycenaean tomb found in southern Greece

Athens - Archeologists have discovered an unraided tomb with various artifacts dating from the Mycenaean period more than 3 000 years ago in southern Greece, officials said in Athens on Monday.

The vault-shaped tomb, carved in natural rock, was found during earthworks near Peristeri, 50km south of the town of Sparta.

Two graves and the bones of eight people were brought to light, the Greek Culture Ministry said in a statement.

IOL Discovery

Moors murders scientist traces buried medieval village

A LOST medieval village has been discovered by a scientist who led a search for Moors Murder victims.

Professor John Hunter and a team of 15 have discovered what is believed to be a buried medieval crofting settlement while carrying out general field survey work in and around a harbour village in the Western Isles.

Artefacts buried under the clachan of Rodel, on south Harris, may provide evidence that the community was once an international trading centre, with vessels arriving from Scandinavia and also the Mediterranean.

The Herald

Flint find is historic first

A Forest archaeologist is still full of excitement after stumbling across a find which could re-write Forest history books. President of the Forest of Dean Archaeology Group, Dr Alf Webb got more than he bargained for while out on a mission to get a photograph for his new book.

The 80-year-old archaeological expert, who is writing a book about the archaeology of the Dean, came across what he is certain is a spearhead from the Solutrean period which dates back to 18,000 BC.

Megalithic Portal

Swiss help bring Roman Pompeii back to life

Visitors to Pompeii will now be able to see and hear life as it unfolded in Roman times, thanks to a computer project spearheaded by Geneva University.

The LifePlus programme takes real images of the ruined Italian city and adds the life that is missing, including simulated animals, plants, and humans.


Eagle secret of Bronze Age burial

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Scotland have made a "hugely significant" discovery by unearthing the best and most comprehensively-dated Bronze Age site in the UK, The Scotsman has learned.

The tightly clustered group of 29 cremation pits, one containing eagle talons, was uncovered at Skilmafilly when the gas maintenance company Transco was excavating and installing its £56 million gas pipeline from St Fergus to Aberdeen.

With no previous indications of the burial site, either from ground-level observations or aerial photographs, the pits were stumbled on by chance. Transco called in archaeological contractors to check the site while the pipeline was being installed.

The Scotsman

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Google launch the Scholar search, Megalithic Portal links in

Google announces: We have just launched the beta version of Google Scholar. This is a free service that helps users search scholarly literature such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports. Just as with Google Web Search, Google Scholar orders your search results by how relevant they are to your query, so the most useful references should appear at the top of the page.

Megalithic Portal

(You can find Google Scholar here and an entry has been added to the Archaeology in Europe Weblog sidebar)


This is the fifth in a series of seven features we are writing in the run up to the forthcoming PAS Roadshows.

When it comes to archaeological finds reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), Wales has proved to be something of a goldmine.

A series of high profile finds in the north of the country include gold hoards that are allowing archaeologists to pinpoint some interesting new patterns about the late Bronze Age period.

In common with many areas administered by the PAS, the majority of these finds come through a good relationship and frequent contact with the metal detecting community, but in Wales there are also some other major sources.

24 Hour Museum News

Mary Rose meets older sister

THE Mary Rose may be almost 500 years old – but she's a newcomer compared to the latest arrival at Portsmouth's historic dockyard.

Experts from the Mary Rose Trust who preserve King Henry VIII's favourite warship are jubilant after being asked to preserve the remains of a 2,500-year-old Greek trading vessel raised from the deep.

About 700 sodden timbers were transported halfway across Europe last week from a wreck site off Sicily to the trust's conservation facilities.

Portsmouth Today


The three-hour workshops will be held thanks to a grant obtained by the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust from from the Local Heritage Initiative Fund.

The idea is to enable residents to become more aware of the heritage surrounding them, whether it be buildings, wildlife or the landscape.

The workshops will be aimed at all sections of the community who will be able to get help and advice to produce images which can be entered into an exhibition at the museum.

Isle of Wight County Press

Newgrange and Dowth under threat?

A proposal to build an incinerator in Cork Harbour to handle toxic waste has raised fears about its effect on the UNESCO designated World Heritage Site which includes the passage tombs of Newgrange and Dowth.

Megalithic Portal

Monday, November 22, 2004

Stonehenge's past brought to light

Pictures dating back 150 years show how site has developed

The sign advises the solitary car pootling down the deserted road, past the reassuring AA phone box, to "fork left for Exeter" - unless the driver decides to fork right onto the infant A344, park on the grass verge, and pop in for a quick wander among the towering columns of Stonehenge, or for a nice cup of tea and a Bath bun in the newly built Stonehenge Cafe.

The photograph, one of hundreds excavated for a new book by archaeologist Julian Richards, from the National Monuments Archive in Swindon and other public and private archives, dates from around 1930. The car is passing the exact spot of the current furore over what to do about the world's most famous prehistoric site.


The ancients: now available in colour

For hundreds of years, Caligula's handsome, marble face has stared out at a fascinated world. Now situated at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen, the celebrated first-century bust of this cruel young Roman emperor is made repellent, yet intriguing, not so much by his petulantly downturned mouth as by the blank, staring eyes chiselled from marble by an unknown sculptor.

It comes as a shock to be confronted with an exact replica with unthreatening hazel eyes. Add garish pink skin and glossy brown hair, and the new painted version of Caligula's bust looks as if it might once have been used to model hats in thewindow of a men's outfitters. Yet, according to the curators of a new exhibition at the Vatican museums, this is a lot closer to what the sculptor intended we see than the white marble to which we are accustomed.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Trading with the enemy: Tudor ship provides clues to Anglo-Spanish ties

Marine archaeologists have found in the mudflats of the Thames estuary the remains of an Elizabethan merchant ship which may have been carrying out a secret trading mission.

The 100ft-long vessel, one of the few Tudor merchant vessels ever found around Britain's coast, is of immense archaeological and historical importance. The ship was built of East Anglian oak at an east coast ship-building centre, probably Ipswich or Aldeburgh, around 1575 and its cargo and armaments suggest it may have been illegally trading with England's arch enemy, Spain.



Exotic spices unearthed beneath the Bath Spa show military administrators lived in the lap of luxury in the city's early days. Food and architectural remains found preserved beneath the remains of Roman buildings provide new evidence of the high living enjoyed by the military rulers of what was then Aquae Sulis in the first century AD.

The remains were discovered in 1999, but have only just finished being analysed.

This is Bath

New English Heritage Director for SW appointed

A new director has been appointed by English Heritage to take responsibility for championing historical sites and buildings in the South West. Dr Robert Bewley has worked for the government body for the last 20 years.

In his new role he will take charge of English Heritage initiatives in the region - including regeneration of city centres and work on archaeological sites.

Megalithic Portal

'Menhir Alleys' found in Russia

Last September, Alexander Ludov, a student of local lore, made a strange discovery not far from a burial mound on the basin of the Aksai river (Russia). He spotted several gigantic stones in the middle of a steppe. The construction consists of vertically erected massive rocks: long 'Menhir alleys' made of stone stretch from East to West. According to results of a geological expedition, the site dates back to approximately 9,000 BCE. Thus, these megaliths could be much older than the other European megaliths.

"These rocks do not contain traces of limestone or any other kinds of rocks that are commonly found in our steppes. These rocks are made of quartz," said Alexander Ludov. "Today, we can only guess about the initial forms of the megaliths. For centuries, people have been looting the archaeological site. However, the damages had not been too drastic. This is the first discovery of megaliths in the European part of Russia; similar stone monuments have been previously discovered only in Caucasus and Siberia." added Ludow.

Stone >Pages

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Simon Holmes, Finds Liaison Officer for North and East Yorkshire is something of a champion of community archaeology. But this wasn’t always the case.

Having worked as an archaeologist for the past fourteen years he admits that, when it came to metal detecting and its role in deciphering the past, he was definitely of the ‘old school’.

Now, the intervening years of experience and the last three years administering the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) have forced him to have not just a re-think, but a complete volte-face. “Metal detectorists are re-writing history,” he says without a hint of doubt or irony.

24 Hours Museum News

Archaeologist receives top honour

A retired Cambridge archaeologist has been given a top award for his work.

The pioneer of radiocarbon dating which estimates the ages of settlements, Prof Colin A Renfrew, received the Balzan Prize for prehistoric archaeology.

BBC News

Friday, November 19, 2004

Another Stonehenge Found in Russia?

Russian archaeologists have announced that they have found the remains of a 4,000-year-old structure that they compare to England's Stonehenge, according to recent reports issued by Pravda and Novosti, two Russian news services.

If the comparison holds true, the finding suggests that both ancient European and Russian populations held similar pagan beliefs that wove celestial cycles with human and animal life.

Discovery Channel

Ancient Animal Could Be Human-Ape Ancestor

A nearly 13 million-year-old ape discovered in Spain is the last probable common ancestor to all living humans and great apes, a research team says in Friday's issue of Science magazine.

A husband-and-wife team of fossil sleuths unearthed an animal with a body like an ape, fingers like a chimp and the upright posture of humans. The ancient ape bridges the gap between earlier, primitive animals and later, modern creatures.

This newest ape species, Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, is so significant that it adds a new page to ancient human history.

Yahoo News

Historic ship remains recovered

Parts of a medieval ship thought to have lain under the Thames Estuary for the past 500 years have been recovered near Gravesend.
The remains, thought to have been part of an armed merchant vessel, were found during dredging of the estuary.

The Port of London Authority recovered the bow section of the ship relatively intact - virtually unheard of for a ship of this age.

BBC News

Medieval harvests reveal climate change

Leave it to the French to measure global climate change through the archives of 600 years of harvesting the pinot noir grape in Burgundy.

A group of French climatologists and ecologists has pored over records squirrelled away in parish papers and obscure municipal files to find which day the fabled grapes were picked in each year stretching back to 1370.

Globe and Mail

Tall Bronze Age skeletons found in Bulgaria

Archaeologists working near the village of Moguila in the district of Yambol, Bulgaria, have uncovered 3,000 year-old skeletons.

The skeletons were around 2 metres in length, unusually tall compared to other Early Bronze Age remains found in the area. They were found curled up in an embryonic position, which was believed to immortalise the soul.

These people arrived in the region having moved from the Black Sea steppe, mixing with locals to produce the Thracian race. The Thracian heritage of Bulgaria has been highlighted this year by a number of important discoveries in the so-called "Valley of the Thracian Kings", including the unearthing of Europe's oldest skeleton last week.

Stone Pages

Iron Age Cornish hill fort for sale

A hill fort in Cornwall, south-west England, will go on sale next month. Lescudjack Hill Fort, the area's largest Iron Age settlement, is to be auctioned by Fulfords Estate Agents in Penzance on 2 December. The guide price of £28,000 includes a 2.5 acre area of land off Pendennis Road, Penzance, with stunning views over Penzance to Mount's Bay and the Mousehole Peninsula.

Historians and schools have raised concerns about the sale. Local author and historian Ian Addicoat said: "Clearly it is imperative that such an historic and important site is maintained and preserved correctly. I think if there were any plans to develop such an important site there would be an outcry, and I would be very surprised if the planners would allow it. I hope whoever takes it on appreciates its history and considers allowing it to be used as an amenity. I'm not sure the public is aware of its significance. They probably think it's a field with a nice view. But historians are certainly aware of what it represents."

Stone Pages


What kinds of objects land on the desk of a Finds Liaison Officer? If Nicky Powell, the FLO for Devon is anything to go by, the answer is everything from Roman brooches, coins and musket balls to…mushrooms and slugs.

“Looking at my desk now gives you an idea of the breadth of finds that are coming in,” she tells me. “There’s a selection of Roman pottery, medieval items and post-medieval clay pipes. There's a Tudor silver gilt dress pin, which is only the fourth such item found in Devon and we also have a weird thing that looks like an armoured slug.”

24 Hour Museum News