Saturday, October 30, 2004

Roman remains ‘hidden’ for another five years – but new book reveals all

ROMAN artefacts unearthed in a dig in front of Carlisle Castle are unlikely to go on display in the city before 2009.

But a book detailing finds made during the three-year excavation has gone on sale at the Tullie House Museum.

That is where a permanent exhibition of clothes, coins and other items discovered will eventually be housed.

City council leader Mike Mitchelson said last night that would not happen before a detailed academic report on the excavation findings was published in 2007.

Cumberland News

English elm 'brought by Romans'

All English elm trees could be descended from a single tree brought here by the Romans, scientists say.

Spanish researchers who examined DNA from English elm told Nature magazine they found almost no difference between elm from Britain, Spain and Italy.

BBC News

Archeology dig throws new light on history of Prague

A former army barracks on Prague's Namesti Republiky square is going to be the site of another shopping and office complex in the centre of the city. But the project has been delayed by the discovery there of major archeological treasures - in fact it is the biggest archeological dig in the country's history.

Radio Praha

Friday, October 29, 2004

Scots heritage archives to get new £12m home

A NEW home for Scotland’s heritage archives is set to be built in the Capital after a £12 million award was announced today by Scottish ministers.

The new purpose-built centre will contain thousands of ancient documents and historical records including aerial photographs taken by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.

It will replace the current facilities run by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in the south of the city, which is struggling to house the growing collection.


Scientists dig up family skeletons

It has been a mystery for more than a century - is a skull in an Austrian basement really that of arguably the greatest composer of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Over the weekend a group of archaeologists began to answer the question by digging up the remains of Mozart's close relatives.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

The 3ft-tall 'hobbit' that rewrites the history of mankind

Scientists are celebrating the most important breakthrough in anthropology for a century: the discovery of a new species of apeman.

Described as human "hobbits", the apemen grew no taller than about 3ft and had brains the size of grapefruits. They lived alongside prehistoric man for thousands of years before they finally died out in the dense jungles of Indonesia, in a lost world inhabited by dwarf elephants and giant rats.

Archaeologists excavated the skeletal remains of the little humans from a cave on the remote Indonesian island of Flores, which has a rich history of exotic animals such as giant lizards and miniature beasts.


Scientists find new species of 3ft humans

The remains of a new species of human have been discovered on a remote Indonesian island - a spectacular find that could rewrite the story of human evolution.

The diminutive cavewoman shows that another kind of human walked alongside us much more recently than thought.

This questions current ideas about intelligence, further undermines traditional ideas about modern humans being unique, and even hints that other species of Homo may have survived into recorded history.


Scientists Hope to Find More Tiny Indonesia Hominids

Australian scientists who found a new species of hobbit-sized humans who lived about 13,000 years ago on an Indonesian island said on Thursday they expect to discover more new species of hominids on neighboring islands.

The partial skeleton of Homo floresiensis, found in a cave on the island of Flores in 2003, was of an adult female that was 3 feet tall, had a brain smaller than a chimpanzee's, and probably lived alongside modern humans on the island.

Australian and Indonesian scientists have since unearthed seven small hominids called "Flores man" from the Liang Bua limestone cave, the youngest living 13,000 years ago.


Real-life 'Hobbit' skeleton found

Scientists in Indonesia think they've found the remains of a new type of mini-human that could have been a bit like a Hobbit.
It lived around 18,000 years ago and was just three-feet-tall and has been dubbed by experts as "the Hobbit".

It's believed that the mini-humans lived on Flores Island in Indonesia until at least 12,000 years ago.

CBBC Newsround

New 'mini-human' species discovered

Researchers and field-archaeologists in Indonesia have announced the discovery of a new species of human which is now known to have existed up to 12,000 years ago.


Found: 50,000 treasures unearthed by Britain's amateur archaeologists

When Peter and Christine Johnson decided on a whim to shut their fitness shop early one day last year to try their luck at treasure-hunting, their metal detectors had hardly been used.

Armed with a plastic bag for any swag, they expected to come back ruddy-cheeked and empty-handed after their first trek out into the fields of Kent.

Twenty minutes later, they had uncovered a precious hoard of 360 coins dating back to the Iron Age - two of them of a kind never previously found in Britain. The extraordinary collection has since been classified as an official treasure. The British Museum is also keen to acquire it.


Sea damaging Roman burial site

There are concerns for part of Cumbria's Roman heritage, which is being damaged by erosion.
Roman invaders buried and cremated their dead at Beckfoot, which lies north of Maryport.

Now the site is being badly damaged by the sea and work is being done to try to save its relics.

Local volunteers have been gathering artefacts which are being found on the beach and an underground survey of the site has now started.

Community archaeologist from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Faye Simpson said: "Some of the problem is quite serious. Beckfoot is actually quite amazing and we think quite a large cremation cemetery.

BBC News

Internationale Tagung "Archäologie und Computer" in Wien

Mehr als 200 Teilnehmer aus über 30 Nationen werden in Wien beim Internationalen Workshop "Archäologie und Computer" erwartet, der vom 3. bis 5. November im Wiener Rathaus stattfindet. Das Thema der diesjährigen Veranstaltung lautet "Weltkulturerbe und EDV".

Seit dem Jahre 1996 veranstaltet die Stadtarchäologie Wien in Zusammenarbeit mit der EDV-Abteilung des Magistrats der Stadt Wien diese internationale Tagung.


Megalithic stone row discovered on Dartmoor's remotest hill

In the past thirty years Dartmoor has been the subject of some of the most detailed archaeological exploration and survey in Britain, surpassed only perhaps by the treatment given to Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.

It is therefore all the more remarkable that a previously unrecorded stone row with very large stones has been noted for the first time on one of Dartmoor’s highest and remotest hills. Cut Hill (603m) is no ordinary hill, being one of only five Dartmoor points above 600m in altitude. To reach it requires a walk of about two hours from whatever direction.

Megalithic Portal

Foil reveals Roman magic

The Norfolk gardener was quite irritated at finding bits of rubbish mixed with the expensive topsoil he had bought: he picked out what he took to be foil from a champagne bottle and unrolled it - to reveal a lost world of Roman magic.

Experts from the British Museum and Oxford University have been poring over the scrap of gold foil, no bigger than a postage stamp, which went on display for the first time yesterday, with other archaeological finds reported in the past year.


Heritage Malta launches cart ruts project

The enigma surrounding the origin of the cart ruts, scattered across the island, may be close to a solution as Heritage Malta yesterday launched a project aimed at documenting and understanding the archaeological sites.

The project, 'The Significance of Cart Ruts in Ancient Landscapes', is the first Culture 2000 project of its kind to be led by a Maltese organisation - Heritage Malta.

Aimed to shed light on the cart ruts, the project involves three principle partners: the National Museum of Archaeology in collaboration with the Restoration Unit; the Faculty of Environmental Sciences of the University of Urbino, Italy; and APROTECO (the association for economic development of the valley of Lecrin, Granada, Spain).

Sunday Times

Stonehenge views 'disappointing'

The leader of Salisbury District Council has said he is disappointed with the response to a consultation on a new Stonehenge visitor centre.

About 400 people wrote in over the proposed £67m centre, which would be located two miles from the stones.

BBC News

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sea damaging Roman burial site

There are concerns for part of Cumbria's Roman heritage, which is being damaged by erosion.
Roman invaders buried and cremated their dead at Beckfoot, which lies north of Maryport.

Now the site is being badly damaged by the sea and work is being done to try to save its relics.

BBC News

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Rabbits may cause fall of Roman forts

LEGIONS of rabbits are threatening to destroy dozens of Scotland’s most important Roman remains.

The rabbits have already burrowed deep beneath the defences of the 60 Roman forts and watchtowers built across Scotland to keep the marauding Picts at bay.

Archaeologists say many of the ancient structures are in danger of collapsing completely.

The Scotsman


Archaeologists have discovered the remains of what they think might be a small-scale 14th century button industry in Coventry.

Working on the site of an old Salvation Army building in Upper Well Street, the team from the University of Birmingham found pottery and bone in medieval hearths and rubbish pits.

But what caught their eyes was a number of bone button blanks. This suggests that rather than being used for decorative metallic buttons, the blanks would have been for the manufacture of buttons for practical use.

24 Hour Museum News

Monday, October 25, 2004

'Iceman' discoverer joins his find in Alpine grave

For 13 years, mountaineer Helmut Simon had basked in the glory of his unique encounter with history.
In 1991, the 67-year-old German discovered Otzi the Iceman, the perfectly preserved body of a Neolithic hunter, emerging from the Similaun glacier, 3,200m (10,500ft) up the Austrian Alps. Wherever he went in his beloved Alps, Simon wore a badge identifying himself as 'Discoverer of Otzi'.

But yesterday, Simon's body was found in a stream in these same mountains.


Die älteste Flöte - geschnitzt Schwanenknochen

Die "Schwanenflügelknochen-Flöte" aus dem Geißenklösterle, so der Ausstellungstitel, steht im Zentrum einer Ausstellung vom 4.11. 2004 bis zum 30.01. 2005 im Württembergischen Landesmuseum Stuttgart.

Die Flöte wurde gemeinsam mit den schon länger bekannten Kleinplastiken im Geißenklösterle gefunden - damit gehört sie in das Umfeld der ältesten bildenden Kunst der Menschheit. Mit einem Alter von mindestens 35.000 Jahren ist sie das älteste bekannte Musikinstrument.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Stonehenge: have your say

Salisbury district council is urging people to comment on the Stonehenge visitor centre planning application before the public consultation comes to an end next October 27th. Already, more than 250 people have written to the council with their views on English Heritage's plans.

On top of that, a week-long exhibition held at Amesbury library, where people could view a model of the proposed visitor centre and ask Salisbury district council's case officer, David Milton, questions about the scheme, attracted about 350 residents. The scheme from English Heritage, plans for a single-storey visitor centre alongside Countess Road in Amesbury, is one of the biggest and most eagerly awaited planning applications ever submitted to Salisbury district council.

It is proposed a land train will take people across the World Heritage site to a point near the monument. Visitors will then walk to the stones (facilities will be provided for disabled people and the elderly). The model of the proposed visitor centre can be viewed at the council offices in Bourne Hill. Copies of the application are also available for inspection at Bourne Hill, the planning office in Wyndham Road and Amesbury library. Alternatively, plans can be viewed on the council's dedicated Stonehenge pages at


Irish Bronze Age artefact on display

Ballymoney (Northern Ireland) fans of the historic are being given a unique opportunity to view an extraordinary artefact on its return to the province. A bronze-age chieftain's instrument of authority - the Dunaverney Fleshhook - will be at the Ulster Museum for six months, making its first reappearance since being discovered in the early 1830s. A beautiful artefact from the later Irish bronze-age, it has been on permanent display in the British Museum.

The Causeway Museum Service, in association with Ballymoney Borough Council and the Ulster Museum, will be providing a day excursion to see the Fleshhook in Belfast.


Project to record all rock art sites in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council (England) is leading an exciting new project to make a comprehensive record of all rock art sites in Northumberland and County Durham. This record will form the foundation of a national rock art database that English Heritage intends to develop for the whole country. The aim is to map what this ancient art is and where it is found, and then to explore ways in which to make it can be accessible to people without damaging it. Local volunteers are essential to the success of the project and will be involved in a number of different ways, including fieldwork and developing the rock art database.


Ocean archaeologists hunt Noah's flood under Black Sea

Four years ago, scientists thought they had found the perfect place to settle the Noah flood debate: A farmer's house on a bluff overlooking the Black Sea built about 7,500 years ago — just before tidal waves inundated the homestead, submerged miles of coastline and turned the freshwater lake into a salty sea.

Some believed the rectangular site of stones and wood could help solve the age-old question of whether the Black Sea's flooding was the event recounted in the biblical story of Noah.

Houston Chronicle

The Lake District unearthed

The stage is set for a third sell-out archaeology conference to see how thousands of years of the Lake District's (England) rich history are being unravelled. Looking at recent fieldwork and conservation, the Lake District National Park Authority-organised event at The Lakes School, Windermere, has attracted nationally-renowned experts to take the platform. The LDNPA has been at the helm of archaeological investigation and conservation, and, for the third time, will stage a conference to share information about its own projects, as well as putting other key schemes under the spotlight.

"Topics range widely in period and scope," said LDNPA archaeologist Eleanor Kingston. "We'll be investigating prehistoric rock art, the Neolithic period in the central fells, the development of villas in the landscape and the impact of slate working in the Lake District." The work of individuals, local groups, universities and org-anisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage will be explored during the day.

Stone Pages

Pilgrimage of protest at quarry plans near prehistoric Henges

For the first time in 5,000 years "pilgrims" trod North Yorkshire's Sacred Dale – as part of a campaign against quarrying near the ancient site.

The Thornborough Henges are 16 times bigger than Stonehenge when it was a single earthwork.

Yorkshire Post

Finnish find sheds new light on prehistoric Andean culture

Ceramic artifacts found by Finnish archeologists during a dig in Bolivia have shed new light on the prehistoric Tiwanaku people, of whom little is known, Helsinki University officials said.

"The discovery demonstrates that the Tiwanakus made the highest quality ceramics in the Andean region, with very naturalistic portraits, and thanks to this we now know what they looked like," Martti Paerssinen, a professor from Helsinki University who led the excavations, told AFP.

Tehran Times

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Bulgaria dig suggests rich past

Archaeologists in Bulgaria say they have found hundreds of tiny gold jewels dating back 5,000 years, possible proof of Europe's earliest civilisation.
The head of Bulgaria's National Museum of History, Bozhidar Dimitrov, said the team had unearthed gold rings, beads and jewellery inlaid with tiny pearls.

He said the jewels had shown expert craftsmanship and an unexpectedly high level of technology for the time.

BBC News

Luther's lavatory thrills experts

Archaeologists in Germany say they may have found a lavatory where Martin Luther launched the Reformation of the Christian church in the 16th Century.
The stone room is in a newly-unearthed annex to Luther's house in Wittenberg.

Luther is quoted as saying he was "in cloaca", or in the sewer, when he was inspired to argue that salvation is granted because of faith, not deeds.

The scholar suffered from constipation and spent many hours in contemplation on the toilet seat.

BBC News

Mind-boggling find in Crimea

Archaeologists discover witch burial in Crimea

An astonishing find will keep Russian archaeologists occupied for quite some time. Archaeological expedition from the Russian Ust-Alminsk region has made yet another sensational discovery.

In 2003, the same team of researchers unearthed an unlooted burial of a Sarmat girl in a lavish funeral gown; the burial also contained rings, earrings, necklaces and a variety of various golden medals, which had once been attached to clothes.

This fall, Russian archaeologists reported another remarkable find. According to the head of the expedition Alexander Puzdrovsky, the recently discovered unlooted grave, which has been marked ¦853, contains a woman-s corpse. Based on preliminary analysis, the woman had died in her mid 40s. Wide variety of occult inventory that was found in the grave as well, is indicative of the woman's professional involvement in the world of witchcraft and magic.

Pravda RU

Middle Ages cemetery discovered in Croatia

Zagreb - A 14th century cemetery was discovered in downtown Zagreb, Croatia, near the city's cathedral during roadworks, the daily Jutarnji list reported on Friday.

Workers were surprised to found human bones only 50 centimetres below ground. Archaeologist Zeljko Zemo confirmed the date of the find saying it was due to erosion of soil down through the centuries.


Saxons and the city

Just three minutes from Piccadilly Circus, in the heart of London's traditional red-light district, a group of primary-school pupils is taking part in an exciting building project. With help from the East Sussex Archaeology and Museum Project, children from Soho Parish School have spent their holiday building a replica of a Saxon house in St Anne's Churchyard, Wardour Street.

Education Telegraph

Friday, October 22, 2004

Full Excavation for Irish Viking Village?

Preliminary work to build a bypass road in an Irish village has yielded what could be the most significant piece of Viking history in Europe: a virtually intact town that some have already called Ireland's equivalent of Pompeii.

Evidence for the ancient settlement was discovered last year by archaeologists testing areas ahead of road builders.


Kiln's 'ancestor' found in Greece

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest clay "fireplaces" made by humans at a dig in southern Greece.

The hearths are between 34,000 and 23,000 years old and were almost certainly used for cooking by prehistoric inhabitants of the area.

BBC News

Archäologen entdecken das Zentralheiligtum des panionischen Bundes an der Westküste Kleinasiens.

In archaischer und klassischer Zeit bildeten 12 ionische Städte, darunter Milet, Ephesos und Priene den "Panionischen Bund". Als Zentralheiligtum dieses Städtebundes fungierte das sogenannte Panionion, in dem die Städte gemeinsam den Kult des Poseidon Helikonios begingen, dem uralten ägäischen Gott des Meeres und des Landes.

Gelang nun der Nachweis, dass man bisher einen falschen Fundort für dieses Heiligtum hielt. Prof. Dr. Hans Lohmann und seine Mitarbeiter Dr. Georg Kalaitzoglou und Dr. Gundula Lüdorf entdecken 100 südlich von Izmir im Mykalegebirge, die Überreste eines gewaltigen Ionischen Temples aus der archaischen Antike.


Burial site found near Ancient Olympia

Archeologists have discovered ancient graves near Ancient Olympia, the hallowed site where the Olympic games were born in 776 B.C., the Culture Ministry said Thursday.

The 25 limestone graves date back to the Neolithic era - roughly 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C - and were found during construction work about 200 miles southwest of Athens.

Seattle P I

More Ancient Gold Sees Sunlight in Bulgaria

About 400 pieces of gold applications have been found so far during the excavations at an Early Bronze Age village in Bulgaria, archeologists announced on Thursday.

Members of the expedition, organized by the National History Museum, admitted that each day some 10-15 new items have been discovered, including gold applications for clothing, beads, rings and many other objects, some of which with unclear purpose.

Archeologists believe they have found an ancient jewelry workshop, where exclusively fine pieces of highest quality were produced.


Clay hearths up to 34,000 years old found in Greece

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest clay "fireplaces" made by humans at a dig in southern Greece. The hearths are between 34,000 and 23,000 years old and were almost certainly used for cooking by prehistoric inhabitants of the area.

Researchers found remnants of wood ash and phytoliths - a type of plant cell - in these hearths and lab tests show the clay was burnt. The discovery helps to bridge the gap between the stone hearths built by earlier people and the clay kilns known to have been used 28,000-26,000 years ago at the site of Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic. The clay hearths were excavated by a European-Israeli team at Klisoura Cave 1 located in a gorge in the north-western Peloponnese.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hebrew University archaeologists reveal additional sections of ancient synagogue in Albania

Excavations carried out this fall at an ancient synagogue in Albania have uncovered additional sections of the impressive structure. The excavations, now in their second season, are being conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Albanian Academy of Sciences.
The synagogue, which dates from the 5th or 6th century C.E., is located in the city of Saranda, a coastal city in Albania, opposite the Greek island of Corfu. The synagogue underwent various periods of use, including its conversion into a church at its last stage, prior to being abandoned.

Initial excavations at the site were conducted some 20 years ago when Albania was under tight Communist rule. At that time that the building was identified as a church.


Fisherman nets statue of ancient Greek athlete

ATHENS, Greece A Greek fisherman has made the catch of the day -- or maybe the century.

He snagged a 24-hundred-year-old bronze statue a few days ago, near the Aegean Sea island of Kythnos

The Greek Culture Ministry says it's missing a head, an arm and a leg, but it's still quite a find. Experts think the statue is of a young athlete -- given the fact that it is naked, its stance indicates movement, and that there's a great deal of anatomical detail.

It is about four-feet-eight-inches tall and weighs nearly 155 pounds.


Lake Constance is historical ships' graveyard

Constance, Germany - Archaeologists believe Lake Constance is a huge ships' graveyard for historical vessels dating back to ancient times.

Martin Mainberger of the regional office for the preservation of historical monuments said Tuesday 50 shipwrecks have already been identified in Lake Ueberling, a northern arm of Lake Constance.

IOL Discovery

Forest excuse 'pure Roman spin'

WHEN the all-conquering armies of ancient Rome failed to subdue the northern end of Britain, there had to be a good reason.

So the Romans decided it was not the primitive barbarians known as the Caledonii who had defeated them, but the vast impenetrable forest covering the country now known as Scotland.

However, a new book to be released next month on the history of Scotland’s woods claims this idea was invented by Roman writers to preserve the image of the empire’s "invincible" legions.

The Scotsman

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Carlisle hailed ‘one of top Roman dig sites’

CARLISLE has been hailed as one of the top Roman sites in Europe by a leading archaeological expert.

Around 80,000 objects were discovered during the Millennium project excavation on Castle Green and the team leader in charge of the dig has ranked the city in the top three in the UK for Roman finds.

John Zant, of Oxford Archaeology North, who ran the Millennium Project in Carlisle in 1998 to 2001, was in the city over the weekend for a conference on the results of the dig.

News and Star

Medieval ruins found on future Kia site

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have begun excavating the remains of a medieval village dating from the 10th -13th century, covering an area of 14 hectares, on land where the Hyundai/Kia car plant near Žilina is due to be built.

Matej Ruttkay of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Archaeology Institute, said that this is the first opportunity for a complete medieval village to be studied on Slovak territory.

Slovak Spectator

Neue Technologien lösen Fragen der Geisteswissenschaften

BMBF stellt 65 Projekte dieses Wissens-Transfers in neuer Broschüre vor

Neueste Erkenntnisse aus Naturwissenschaft und Technik kommen auch den Geisteswissenschaften zu gute. Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) unterstützt mit seinem Förderschwerpunkt "Neue naturwissenschaftliche Methoden und Technologien in den Geisteswissenschaften" (NTG) den Wissens-Transfer von der naturwissenschaftlichen Grundlagenforschung in die Sprach-, Kultur- und Gesellschaftswissenschaften. 65 jüngst abgeschlossene Forschungsprojekte sind nun in einer BMBF-Broschüre "Alte Fragen - neue Antworten. Neue Technologien in den Geisteswissenschaften" zusammengestellt. Der Förderschwerpunkt NTG läuft noch bis 2007 mit einem Finanzvolumen in Höhe von 4,9 Millionen Euro.


Monday, October 18, 2004

Ruins wreck building plans

Bucharest - Construction workers for the American firm Bechtel found neolithic ruins which are more than 6 000 years old while building a highway in Romania, archaeologists said on Thursday.

"It is a surprising discovery of great importance for the region," Ion Stanciu, who heads a team of archaeologists, told AFP.

He said the ruins consisted of a funeral stone, the remains of several houses from the bronze age, and pieces of pottery.

IOL Discovery

Salisbury Plain sites damaged by badgers

Badgers have been burrowing into prehistoric burial mounds on Salisbury Plain (Wiltshire, England) and disturbing human remains and artefacts. Because the animals are protected, there are limits to what can be done to stop them. English Heritage has studied the damage to Bronze Age round barrows in order to find a solution. "There are an increasing number of cases on Salisbury Plain and more widely where badgers have moved into ancient earthworks," a spokesman said.



Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of the first early settlers in Aberdeenshire during an 11-day excavation near Kintore.

A Mesolithic, or Middle Stone-Age site, dating back around 8,000 years, was unearthed on the outskirts of the village.

This is North Scotland

Roman Comet 5,000 Times More Powerful Than A-Bomb

People living in southern Germany during Roman times may have witnessed a comet impact 5,000 times more destructive than the Hiroshima atom bomb, researchers say.

Scientists believe a field of craters around Lake Chiemsee, in south-east Bavaria, was caused by fragments of a huge comet that broke up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Scotsman

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Sarcophagus from 900 BC oldest yet found in Greece

Guy Sanders of the American School of Classical Studies discovered the oldest and heaviest sarcophagus ever found in Greece in Ancient Corinth. The 1.88x1.23x0.85-meter find weighs 2.3 metric tons and dates from 900 BC. It is made of stone and its discovery reveals that the ancient Corinthians were able to shift large stone masses 200 years earlier than hitherto known. The lid alone weighs 1.2 metric tons, The sarcophagus contained funeral gifts including 14 vases, cups, flasks and a knife.


Sarcophagus from 900 BC oldest yet found in Greece

Guy Sanders of the American School of Classical Studies discovered the oldest and heaviest sarcophagus ever found in Greece in Ancient Corinth. The 1.88x1.23x0.85-meter find weighs 2.3 metric tons and dates from 900 BC. It is made of stone and its discovery reveals that the ancient Corinthians were able to shift large stone masses 200 years earlier than hitherto known. The lid alone weighs 1.2 metric tons, The sarcophagus contained funeral gifts including 14 vases, cups, flasks and a knife.


The Archaeology of World Megalithic Cultures

International Conference





Conference Web Site

Castles and palaces under siege from government cost-cutters

The care of castles, country houses and ancient monuments is under threat from Treasury cost-cutters, it emerged last night. Heritage has been identified as an "inefficient" area of activity which is draining money that could be spent on schools and hospitals reports The Daily Telegraph.

Megalithic Portal

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Germany's Bronze Age Blockbuster

The 3,600 year old Sky Disk of Nebra -- the world's oldest image of the cosmos -- is the centerpiece of the biggest Bronze Age show of Europe, in the eastern German town of Halle.

It caused a world-wide sensation when it was brought to the attention of the German public in 2002, having been discovered in the state of Saxony-Anhalt two years earlier.

Deutsche Welle

Wiping the snow off Greenland's oldest ski

Copenhagen, Denmark - An 85cm-long piece of wood unearthed in southern Greenland in 1997 is likely to be a ski that was used by Norsemen who landed on the Arctic island more than 1 000 years ago, a researcher said on Friday.

The 9cm-wide plank with rounded edges was found during the excavation of a Norse settlement near the town of Nanortalik in 1997.

IOL Discovery

Europe's oldest wooden staircase found in Austria

A 3,000-year-old wooden staircase has been found at Hallstatt in northern Austria, immaculately preserved in a Bronze Age salt mine. "We have found a wooden staircase which dates from the 13th century BCE. It is the oldest wooden staircase discovered to date in Europe, maybe even in the world," said Hans Reschreiter, the director of excavations at Vienna's Natural History Museum. "The staircase is in perfect condition because the micro-organisms that cause wood to decompose do not exist in salt mines," he added.

The staircase is about one metre (three feet) wide and is made of pine and spruce. It was used, the acheologist said, during the Bronze Age to go down into the saltmine and was found some 100 metres (300 feet) below the surface. The saltmine lies about 200 metres from a necropolis which was the seat of the so-called Hallstatt Civilisation, one of the most important and advanced of the Iron Age, that lived around 700 BCE.

Stone Pages

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Medieval teeth 'better than Baldrick's'

Think of medieval England and you are likely to conjure up an image of a wizened hag with black stumps for teeth.

But although that might have been the unfortunate state of some people's teeth, others had much better care.

BBC News

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Iron Age horse burial unearthed

A RARE ritual burial of four horses has been discovered in an area experts regard as a sacred landscape surrounding one of the most important prehistoric sites in the North of England.

Carbon dating shows the horses – lying nose to tail at Nosterfield Quarry close to Thornborough Henges, north of Ripon – were buried around 50AD, shortly after the Romans arrived in Britain.

The burial pit, or barrow, was found earlier this year as a team from Field Archaeological Specialists, based at York University, watched over the removal of topsoil at the sand and gravel quarry.

Zoo-archaeologist Steve Rowland, who uncovered them, said: "Two of the skeletons were virtually intact, but the other two had been accidentally damaged through ploughing of the land in previous years.

"It was only after further investigation that we were able to confirm the full extent of the burial and understand its ritual significance."

Yorkshire Post Today

Gold Treasure Hidden in Thracian Tomb Bosom

Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered a gold treasure hidden in the recently unearthed Thracian tomb believed to be the oldest and largest discovered in Bulgarian land so far.

The three-chamber tomb has been unearthed from beneath the Golyama Kosmatka mound, in the outskirts of the Shipka Peak.

The archeological team's head Georgi Kitov, called also Bulgaria's "Indiana Jones" explained that the excavations have revealed a 13-metre long passage and two halls walled up with stones behind the façade.


Entire Iron Age village discovered at lochside

Archaeologists yesterday announced the discovery of an entire Iron Age village on an until-now unexamined site on the west bank of Loch Lomond.

A team from the West of Scotland Archaeology Service and a research unit at Glasgow University have spent months digging and sifting through soil at the site, which is being cleared for a golf course and leisure development.

Megalithic Portal

Experts probe Iron Age horse burials

THE skeletal remains of four Iron Age horses are helping archaeologists to shed new light on the history of a village.

The horses were discovered lying nose-to-tail in a ritual burial during excavations at Nosterfield Quarry, near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

The results of carbon-dating tests show they date back to about 50AD, shortly after the Romans set foot in Britain.

Archaeologist Mike Griffiths, whose team has been carrying out investigations funded by Tarmac Northern, said: "Ritual multi-burials of horses are rare and a find of this nature helps us to know more about the Iron Age people who lived in this area 2,000 years ago."

This is the North East

Renewed pressure for full excavation of Viking site

THE ‘Save Viking Waterford Action Group’, have called on new Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, to make a commitment to the full excavation of the entire Woodstown Viking Site one of his first announcements in his new role.

The National Monuments Act 2004, drafted by the previous Minister, Martin Cullen, invests the Minister for the Environment with arbitrary authority over Ireland’s heritage.

The new act, the action group maintains, abolishes the democratic checks and balances which previously existed, meaning that Dick Roche now has sole authority over the future of the Woodstown Viking Site and other sites of crucial archaeological importance around the country.

Waterford News & Star

Remains of ancient wall found at city site

Key points
• Medieval structure found on building site
• May have been built by James II in 1450
• Mansion excavated on same site in May

Key quote
"It was a defence for war and the plague. When there was a plague, they would lock the gates and not let anyone in or out. The Cowgate was never developed as a street until the late 14th century" - Russel Coleman, Headland Archaeology project manager

Story in full THE remains of a medieval wall built to guard the city have been discovered on a building site.

Workers building dozens of flats on a site beside Old Fishmarket Close in the Cowgate have unearthed the one metre-high structure, which is thought to be part of the "King’s Wall".

The Scotsman

Friday, October 08, 2004

Discovery of the oldest remains of a woman who died in childbirth

In ancient times, female death rates were particularly high and generally related to problems in maternity, such as complications during pregnancy, childbirth or the period of breast-feeding. However, in most cases this link has only been established from indirect data, such paleodemographic data and ethnographic references, or based on the poor health conditions normally attributed to ancient human groups.

There also exists direct archaeological evidence of the high rate of female mortality in the child-rearing period. However, it has not always been possible to establish the cause of death in females and whether or not there was any relation to obstetric complications. Despite this, a number of cases of female skeletons with the foetus in the uterus have been described, as well as some cases where signs of obstetric complications have been diagnosed. These archaeological cases are extremely rare, are not well documented in the specialist literature and are not well known among the scientific community.


Mersey archaeologist investigates lost society

AN ARCHAEOLOGIST from the University of Liverpool is uncovering the secrets of one of the world's oldest civilisations.

Dr Alan Greaves is looking at the people of the lost society of Ionia, which was in ancient Greece, now within the borders of Turkey.

Liverpool Echo

Coffins shed light on Ancient Greeks

THE discovery of two large limestone coffins dating back 3,000 years could indicate that the ancient Greeks may have been more technologically advanced than previously thought, an archaeologist said today.

Each of the coffins, also known as a sarcophagus, was found in Ancient Corinth and dates back to 900 to 875 BC - a period known as the early Geometric period.

The Australian

Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim verlängert Sonderausstellung

Bis zum 2. Januar 2005 verlängert das Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim seine Sonderausstellung "Meisterwerke ägyptischer Kunst Schätze aus dem Myers Museum am Eton College", rund 250 Stücke aus der exquisiten Sammlung des britischen Majors W.J. Myers


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Skull reveals how cranial surgery saved life of 11th-century peasant

ARCHAEOLOGISTS revealed new evidence yesterday which shows complicated cranial surgery was being performed in Britain 1,000 years ago.

An 11th-century skull, found at the abandoned ancient village of Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire, shows the scars of a near-fatal blow by a blunt weapon. But, thanks to a "life-saving" procedure performed at the time, the victim, aged about 40, survived the injury and made a good recovery.

The Scotsman

Extinct humans left louse legacy´

Some head lice infesting people today were probably spread to us thousands of years ago by an extinct species of early human, a genetics study reveals.

It shows that when our ancestors left Africa after 100,000 years ago, they made direct contact with tribes of "archaic" peoples, probably in Asia.

BBC News

Der geschmiedete Himmel

Vom 15. Oktober 2004 bis 24. April 2005 erweckt das Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte in Halle durch eine Sonderausstellung das Zeitalter der Himmelsscheibe mit zahlreichen Exponaten aus ganz Europa zu neuem Leben.

Mittelpunkt dieser Zusammenschau bronzezeitlicher Lebenswelt sind die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra und der Sonnenwagen von Trundholm (Dänemark), archäologische Funde von Weltrang.


Skull found at Anglo-Saxon site shows evidence of surgery

The history of brain surgery is being rewritten after the discovery of a skull which shows that complex operations were performed in Anglo-Saxon England.

A century before the Norman invasion of 1066, a doctor or itinerant healer was delicately removing scraps of skull from a 40-year-old Yorkshire peasant who had been whacked on the head.


Anglo-Saxon coin fetches £230,000

An Anglo-Saxon penny fetched £230,000 at auction - breaking the world record for a British coin.
Specialists at Spink auction house in London had expected it to fetch between £120,000 and £150,000.

American collector Allan Davisson bought the gold coin, which was found with a metal detector near the River Ivel in Bedfordshire in 2001.

BBC News

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Pilot project for possible webcam at Callanish, Isle of Lewis

Victor Reijs writes: I'm pleased to announcing my web site where I will broadcasting the moon sets/rises from Callanish I (Isle of Lewis, Scotland) next week. This will depend of course on weather and the availability of the Internet connection. It could be that some delayed broadcasts will happen, which I will tape record.

The link is:

Megalithic Portal

Auf welchen Wegen wanderte der frühe Mensch?

Der internationaler Workshop "Continental Rifting" an der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften ging der Frage nach, welche Bedeutung Grabenbrüche für die Entwicklung des Menschen hatte.


Ancient Treasure Unearthed in Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed ancient gold treasure buried in a vast Thracian tomb, part of several discoveries made over the summer, the excavation's leader said Tuesday.

"This is the largest Thracian tomb ever discovered on Bulgarian territory, and in it we've found 73 artifacts, 20 of them made of gold," Georgi Kitov said.

ABC News

Bulgarian Land Unveils Unique Thracian Tomb

The oldest and largest Thracian tomb disclosed so far on Bulgarian land has been unearthed from beneath the Golyama Kosmatka mound, in the outskirts of the Shipka Peak.

The archeological team's head Georgi Kitov, called also Bulgaria's "Indiana Jones" explained that the excavations have revealed a 13-metre long passage and two halls walled up with stones behind the façade.

The tomb has amazed archeologists with its first-of-the-kind doors made of marble and decorated with human figures, iron nail imitations and blue-end-red sculptural ornaments.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Dig may unlock Dunwich secrets

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are hoping to carry out a major five-year dig at a nationally important historical site before it is lost to the sea.

They face a race against time to collect information about Greyfriars Priory at Dunwich before the site is washed away by coastal erosion.

Suffolk County Council is preparing a bid for a 90% grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help cover the dig, which is expected to cost around £750,000.

The ambitious excavation would involve the complete excavation and salvage of buried historical artefacts – including uncovering 1,000 burials at the site.


Medieval surgeons were advanced

Surgeons were carrying out complicated skull operations in medieval times, the remains of a body found at an archaeological dig show.

A skull belonging to a 40-year-old peasant man, who lived between 960 and 1100AD, is the firmest evidence yet of cranial surgery, say its discoverers.

BBC News

Bulgarian Archaeologists Discover Ancient Greek Tombs

SOFIA (bnn)- Archaeologists in Bulgaria’s historical Black Sea town of Nesebar discovered Monday two Ancient Greek tombs dated fourth and third century B.C., the Sofia-based Darik Radio reported.

The rectangular tombs were built of local limestone and contained fragments of bones, ceramic utensils and iron nails – indications that the dead have been buried in coffins.


Dog Extinctions Show Why Bigger Isn't Better

Fossils from extinct dogs show why bigger is not better -- giant meat-eating animals died out because they relied too heavily on hunting other big animals, scientists reported on Thursday.

Smaller, quicker carnivores could vary their diet more, hunting small rodents and mixing in berries, roots and other food sources, said Blaire van Valkenburgh and colleagues at the University of California Los Angeles.

Yahoo News

Pompeii's erotic murals closed for a year for renovations

A SERIES of erotic murals decorating a brothel in the buried city of Pompeii were closed off yesterday for a £250,000 makeover.

The paintings depict the services on offer in the Roman city before it was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.

Souvenir stalls selling copies of the images do a brisk trade from the one million visitors a year who come to the town.

But now time has begun to tell on the fading images and the rooms of the Lupanare (Latin for brothel) are being closed for a year-long renovation project.

The Scotsman

Original Microbrews

Beer is nearly as old as civilization itself. It's mentioned in Sumerian texts from more than 5,000 years ago. Starting in the 1950s, scientists have debated the notion that beer, not bread, was actually the impetus for the development of agriculture. Nearly every culture around the world has invented its own local concoction. Historically, brewing was a home-based operation, as part of the preparation of meals. From South America to the Middle East, beer production grew in scale with the rise of organized societies, scientists theorize, and later became primarily a function of the state. Beer was given to laborers or soldiers, incorporated into religious ceremonies, and drunk by politicians at state functions.

Science News

Time team race to save history from the waves

THE sea has shaped Scotland’s coastline and given her people an abundance of food, wealth and play. But it is also rapidly erasing the nation’s history.

Coastal erosion - made worse by global warming - threatens to destroy an estimated 12,000 of Scotland’s 35,000 sites of archaeological importance, some of them in months and years rather than decades and centuries.

Experts say that 500 of the sites are of national and even international importance and they are in a race against time to salvage what artefacts they can before the seas claim them forever.

The Scotman

Geschichtsforschung mit physikalisch-chemischer Analytik

Spuren eines Renaissancegoldschmieds, Bücher als Informationsquelle für historische Gewässerbelastungen oder analytische Untersuchungen römischer Gläser sind Themen der Tagung Archäometrie und Denkmalpflege 2004 vom 6. bis 9. Oktober in den Mannheimer Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen.


Gold Treasure Hidden in Thracian Tomb - Bulgarian Archeologists

Bulgarian archaeologists say gold treasure is hidden in the recently Thracian tomb, which they claim to be the oldest and largest discovered on Bulgarian land so far.

The tomb has been unearthed from beneath the Golyama Kosmatka mound, in the outskirts of the Shipka Peak.

The archeological team's head Georgi Kitov, called also Bulgaria's "Indiana Jones" explained that the excavations have revealed a 13-metre long passage and two halls walled up with stones behind the façade.

The tomb has amazed archeologists with its first-of-the-kind doors made of marble and decorated with human figures, iron nail imitations and blue-end-red sculptural ornaments.


Students find 4,000-year-old mound

A four thousand-year-old mound has been unearthed by University College Worcester students. The Neolithic henge, near Bredon, south of Pershore, including the cremation pit of a young child and items associated with pagan rituals, was excavated last month. It is the first henge - a circular ritual enclosure - to be investigated in Worcestershire.

Megalithic Portal

Treasure boosts ancient church

TREASURE hunters have helped raise more than £800 to refurbish a medieval church, simply by trudging through a field.

About 65 people armed with metal detectors turned out on a dreary Sunday to scour a field in aid of Bacton Church.

Having paid for the pleasure of doing, so they contributed vital funds for the upkeep and repair of the village church and turned up some interesting artefacts at the same time.

Evening Star

Heritage Malta Facing Financial Difficulties

Heritage Malta, the public agency entrusted with the management of Malta’s rich historical sites and museums is facing financial difficulties.

This is so much the case that the September bonus which the agency’s employees should have received with their September pay packet was not paid to them.

Malta Star

Monday, October 04, 2004

Arab scholar 'cracked Rosetta code' 800 years before the West

It is famed as a critical moment in code-breaking history. Using a piece of basalt carved with runes and words, scholars broke the secret of hieroglyphs, the written 'language' of the ancient Egyptians.
A baffling, opaque language had been made comprehensible, and the secrets of one of the world's greatest civilisations revealed - thanks to the Rosetta Stone and the analytic prowess of 18th and 19th century European scholars.

But now the supremacy of Western thinking has been challenged by a London researcher who claims that hieroglyphs had been decoded hundreds of years earlier - by an Arabic alchemist, Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Wahshiyah.


Der Weg nach Wörth könnte sich lohnen

Seit September diesen Jahres zeigt die Stadt Wörth am Main in einer Dauerausstellung die Römische Vergangenheit der Stadt. Die städtische Archäologin, Frau Dr. Heide Lüdemann, hat umfangreiches Material zusammengetragen, das der Besucher in der Ausstellung zu sehen bekommt.


The Digger

The latest edition of “The Digger” – the journal of British Archaeological Jobs Resource – is on-line now.

You can find “The Digger” here.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Face to face with the oldest head

A retired fisherman has discovered an ancient stone head that experts say could be 24,000 years old — the oldest found in Britain reports The Times. Arthur Mack, 70, found the 5in stone head while he was walking off Long Island in Langstone Harbour, Hampshire. Archaeologists say the find could be a piece of Neanderthal art made by cave dwellers who were once thought too primitive for creative thinking. A similar stone head was found in a Neanderthal cave in northern France and was dated to 28,000BC.

Megalithic Portal


(AGI) - Aci Castello (Catania), Italy, Oct 2 - The commercial and political history in the ancient Mediterranean area is documented in the relics that are spread generously around the Capo Molini seabed, which is just north of Catania, between Acitrezza e Acireale. The results of the excavation carried out this summer in that part of the sea, between the coast and the Cyclops Islands were being presented by Edoardo Tortorici, an archaeologist at the University of Catania. He was speaking at the International Under-Water Archaeological Conference being held in Aci Castello. He said, "The findings that have been studied show the origins of the commercial system. Over the course of more than a thousand years, this operated along Sicily's eastern coast, from the archaic era of maritime trafficking with the ancient Greek colonies (from the 6th to the 1st centuries B.C..) up to the beginning of the Medioeval period (7th century A.D.).

AGI On-line


An exciting archaeological find made in Hexham's 14th Century Moot Hall has provided positive proof of the existence of an earlier building on the same site.

But the important discovery will be lost forever unless a benefactor can be found to keep it on public view.

As the concrete floor of the basement of the building was being removed, during refurbishment, the line of a mediaeval wall and a fine door threshold were uncovered.
Hexham Courant


An exciting archaeological find made in Hexham's 14th Century Moot Hall has provided positive proof of the existence of an earlier building on the same site.

But the important discovery will be lost forever unless a benefactor can be found to keep it on public view.

As the concrete floor of the basement of the building was being removed, during refurbishment, the line of a mediaeval wall and a fine door threshold were uncovered.
Hexham Courant

Saturday, October 02, 2004

'European archaeological sensation' unearthed

Zagreb - An ornament for horses dating back to the 1st century A.D. has been found during excavations of a Roman Empire-era military camp near the southern Croatian city of Drnis, local media reports said on Friday.

Croatian Minister for Culture Bozo Biskupic said the ornament - a small, crescent-shaped object fashioned from bronze and designed to be worn on the animal's head - was a "European archaeological sensation" because it was the biggest such item found and very well-preserved.

IOL Discovery

2 500-year-old pomegranates found

Four pomegranates thought to be 2 500 years old were found preserved intact inside a woven basket placed in a bronze vessel that was unearthed during an archaeological dig, an archaeologist said on Friday.

The fruits were found at an archaeological dig in the area of Ancient Corinth, located about 100 kilometres west of Athens.

IOL Discovery

Archaeologists finds ancient pomegranates

A scientific dig has uncovered four pomegranates believed to be 2,500 years old preserved inside a woven basket nestled in a bronze vessel, a Greek archaeologist said Friday.

The fruits were found at an archaeological dig in the area of Ancient Corinth, about 63 miles west of Athens.

Canoe News

Vandals strike again at Birkrigg stone circle

Vandals have desecrated an historic ancient monument near Ulverston (Cumbria, England) for the second time in 12 months. One of the standing stones of Birkrigg stone circle has been daubed with red paint.

Last November four of the 12 stones which form an inner circle on the common were covered in paint. Paint had also been spattered on the grass, where a fire had also been lit.

Stone Pages

Friday, October 01, 2004

City and Harbour: The Archaeology of Ancient Alexandria

University of Oxford, St Hughs College, Oxford, UK
18 - 19 December 2004


The 2004 International Archaeology Conference „City and Harbour: The Archaeology of Ancient Alexandria“, will be held under the auspices of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA), a centre of Oxford University’s Institute of Archaeology.

The conference will examine what recent archaeological work, both land based and maritime, has contributed to our understanding of the city of Alexandria.

A variety of scientific disciplines all of which have helped to explain the rise and decline of ancient Alexandria are incorporated in this event.

Further Information

1884 'pub crawl' for archaeologist Chris

ARCHAEOLOGIST and real-ale fan Chris Saunders has tracked down almost all the pubs which existed in St Albans in 1884.

They were all listed in a song performed at the second annual dinner of the St Albans Licensed Victuallers Association and published in the Herts Advertiser on January 26 of that year.

Chris, formerly keeper of field archaeology at Verulamium Museum, has now published a poster showing the location of all but three of the 92 drinking establishments which existed in the city at the time.

Herts Advertiser