Monday, January 31, 2005

Abbey ruins reveal 'city of light' community

PICTURESQUE ruins near a remote village once housed the political powerhouse and religious capital of Wales, archaeologists have revealed.

Experts from the University of Wales, Lampeter, say the abbey at Strata Florida was once a city of light to rival Westminster Cathedral and Oxford.

Situated near Pontrhydfendigaid in rural Ceredigion, the abbey is now in ruins, providing the area with a place of outstanding beauty. There are rumours it once held the most sacred of all icons, the Holy Grail, but there were very few other clues as to its hugely important past.

Now work by archaeologists, led by Professor David Austin, has revealed the ruins were once 10 times the size they now appear. And deciphering names of farms over a wide radius has helped uncover the true scale of a massive monastic operation on the site hundreds of years ago.

Wales I C

Iron Age beckons to 21st century man

HEREFORDSHIRE craftspeople and volunteers are being sought for a new attraction to be unveiled this spring where visitors will shake off the 21st century, step back in time and be part of a living history.

The magic and mystery of the past will literally touch the senses at the Cinderbury Iron Age Experience - a Royal Forest of Dean heritage project that will offer educational, archaeological, geological and horticultural activities.

The project will also tell the real stories behind the Forest's industrial history. It will be situated at Stock Wood, near Clearwell.

The replica Iron Age farmstead will consist of three areas - an enclosed settlement with vegetable and herb garden, an agricultural area with demonstration fields of Celtic crops and a small number of ancient breed animals, and a walk through some of the world's few remaining prehistoric opencast iron mines.

This is Hereford

Bronze age axe head is found

A bronze age axe head and a fossilised horse tooth were just two historical items taken along to a Finds Day at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery recently.
Members of the public were invited along to the Terrace Road museum to have their finds inspected and recorded for the national Portable Antiquities Scheme database.

Finds Liaison Officer Rachel Atherton said: "What we are trying to do is build up an idea of what people are finding across the country so it can be recorded and used by anyone from archaeologists to people researching their local history."

Buxton Today

Protocol for ancient human remains

Some 2,500 former residents of Barton-on-Humber, in north Lincolnshire, will soon move into the organ loft at the ancient church of St Peter in an experiment which will set new standards for archaeologists dealing with thousands of Christian burials uncovered every year, deliberately or by chance.

Although burials in consecrated ground are covered by ecclesiastical and secular law, there have until now been no consistent guidelines on how to handle remains no longer resting in peace - for archaeologists, developers, or parish priests.

Excavated bones are often of interest to scientists and historians, and developments in medical science mean the same skeletons can be studied repeatedly to reveal new evidence. The Barton-on-Hum ber bones, which include important Anglo-Saxon burials, were excavated in the 1980s, and are still being worked on.

The bones have been in an English Heritage store, but will now be moved into the space left when the organ of St Peter's was removed. They will be secure, accessible to scientists, but back on consecrated ground.


Under scrap yard, emperor's palace being uncovered

Buried treasure emerges near Rome's Colosseum

ROME - When the infamous emperor Nero fell from power in 68 A.D., weakened by military revolts, his successors decided that no personal trace of his reign should remain. They covered with debris the giant and sumptuous Domus Aurea — Golden House — that he built on a hill in central Rome. They replaced an adjacent artificial lake with the Colosseum.

The entombment of the palace was meant to make everyone forget Nero. Instead, it had the effect of conserving, as if in amber, his residential compound as few ancient sites in Rome have been. Last week, Rome city officials unveiled a new find that offers a tantalizing hint of the treasures that remain buried beneath the hill almost 2,000 years after Nero's rule.

It is a large mosaic, more than 9 by 6 feet in size, showing naked men harvesting grapes and making wine, a typical kind of illustration for a Roman palace of the time. Three of the men are stomping on grapes in a vat. One plays a double flute. They all seem to be having fun.

Washington Post

Threat to site of Greek temple

The remains of a fifth century BC temple, whose carvings conjured the golden age of Athens, is the subject of a row between potential developers and conservationists.
With Greece's powerful Central Archaeological Council (Kas) pondering whether to allow building on the site, conservationists fear one of Athens's most sacred places is headed for extinction.

The Ionic temple was dedicated to the goddess Artemis Agrotera (the huntress).

"Sites like this are part of a world heritage that go way beyond the borders of a country," said Iosif Efremidis, an architect heading the campaign to stop bulldozers moving in.


Neolithic causeway found by 'Time Team' Archaeologists

Archaeologists working for the Channel 4 programme 'Time Team,' uncovered the Neolithic causeway in Northborough (Cambridgeshire, England). The site, which a local archaeologist says was a former marketplace, dates back to 3,500 BC.

Dr Francis Pryor, President of the Council for British Archaeology, said the site was one of the country's earliest meeting places. "They are ceremonial meeting centres, marketplaces, which were constructed around 6,000 years ago. They really are the earliest sort of gathering places in British history," he said.

Stone Pages

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Give us back our chariot, Umbrian villagers tell the Metropolitan Museum

A tiny Umbrian village is taking on the mighty Metropolitan Museum in New York, claiming that one of its most exalted exhibits, an Etruscan chariot, was illegally exported from Italy 100 years ago.

The sixth-century bronze and ivory chariot, the pride of the museum's Etruscan collection, was originally sold to two Frenchmen by a farmer who dug it up in a field at Monteleone di Spoleto, near Perugia, in 1902.


Archaeologists find 'Russian Stonehenge'

Russian archaeologists have found the site of a 4,000-year-old concentric wooden structure resembling Britain's Stonehenge, the Art Newspaper reported Friday.

Evidence of the structure was found near Ryazan southeast of Moscow at the confluence of the Oka and Pronya rivers.

The area long known for its archaeological treasures was settled by tribes migrating from Eurasia thousands of years ago.

Big News

Bronze Age skeletons found in dig

Archaeologists have unearthed a unique site in Kent which they claim contains the best preserved examples of Bronze Age skeletons.

The discovery was made in a six-month excavation of a plot of land in Ramsgate, which is due to be the site of a new housing development.

The location has not been revealed because of its national importance.

BBC News

Anger over Stonehenge delays

he National Trust accused the government of abandoning the scheme to rescue Stonehenge from the stranglehold of traffic yesterday, despite its undertakings to protect the world heritage site.

Fiona Reynolds, the director general of the trust, said there was an "ominous silence on the subject", forcing the National Trust and English Heritage to delay plans for a £25m centre and improvements at the site.

She has written to Alistair Darling, the transport secretary, protesting against the decision to downgrade the scheme to improve the A303 and refer it to the South West regional assembly.


Saturday, January 29, 2005


The future of Britain's most famous monument is under threat because plans to divert traffic from the landmark are lost in "bureaucratic long grass", it was claimed yesterday. The National Trust is calling on the Government to press ahead with a tunnel on the A303 in Wiltshire, but has admitted it fears the project might be shelved.

Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, has now written an open letter to the Transport Secretary Alistair Darling protesting against delays and confusion over the long-awaited road scheme.

The letter said: "There is now a real risk that final decisions will not properly address the international heritage and cultural importance of Stonehenge."

Western Daily Press

Castle wants tourist centre

COUNCILLORS are to consider moving a Ryedale market town's popular tourist information centre to its historic visitor attraction to cut costs.

In an effort to make up part of a £337,000 budget shortfall, Ryedale District Council officers had suggested that Tourist Information Centres (TICs) at Malton and Helmsley could be closed, saving £120,000 a year.

However, at a budget meeting members decided to look at the possibility of the TICs sharing resources instead of being shut down.

The council has received a proposal from English Heritage, which runs five attractions in Ryedale and eight in the North York Moors, to relocate one TIC from the town hall to Helmsley Castle.

This is Ryedale

Pupils get their hands on history

YOUNGSTERS at a York primary school have been getting their hands on history.

Pupils at St Oswald's Primary School in Fulford have been lucky enough to see some of the archaeological finds thrown up as the foundations for a new school building are being laid.

St Oswald's is one of four schools in York being rebuilt under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme.

Archaeologists from Malton-based MAP Archaeological Consultancy Ltd have been showing youngsters some of the Roman and Iron Age objects they have found by sifting through after the diggers.

This is York

France Seizes African Archaeological Objects

PARIS (Reuters) - French customs officials have seized 845 African archaeological objects, including 70 million year-old dinosaur fossils and rare figurines, destined for possible resale in Belgium, the government said on Saturday.

The French Finance Ministry said in a statement that the objects were part of a 503 kg cargo sent from Niger in north Africa and falsely declared as "artisan products."

They comprised just over 100 70 million year-old dinosaur bones, 668 stone objects dating back to the Neolithic period (8,000-6,000 years B.C.), and 29 pieces of pottery and rare figurines likely to have been used in funeral ceremonies by inhabitants of the Bura region between Niger and Burkina Faso in the second to 10th centuries.

Science News

New broom to make togas the Roman way

RESEARCHERS in the ancient Roman town of Pompeii are attempting to revive 2,000-year-old traditions to reproduce imperial cloth used to make togas and uniforms.

The project follows successful production of Roman wine two years ago using methods that would have been employed in vineyards buried by a devastating eruption from Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Historians at the archaeology department in Pompeii are experimenting with wild broom as the base product to make the textiles.

They will be using the writings of ancient Roman scholars such as Pliny and Columella to make the cloth as well as relying on materials discovered within Pompeii in buried workshops.

The Scotsman

Remnants of ancient Trikke sanctuary unearthed in Trikala

Archaeological remnants and pottery, believed to be from the ancient city of Trikke (or Tricca), were uncovered Wednesday in a quarter of the town of Trikala, Thessaly prefecture -- which stands approximately on the site of the ancient city -- during digging on a private land plot for the construction of a building. Trikke, also known as Tricca or Trikka, was an important numismatic center of the ancient world, and is also believed to be the site where the cult of Asclepius, the mythological god of healing and medicine and son of the god Apollo and Coronis, originated. Trikke is the site of the oldest asklepieion -- sanctuary devoted to Asclepius -- while primary centres of worship were also located in Epidaurus, Corinthia, Cos and Pergamon. The finds included copper coins, shards of pottery and portions of statuettes dating from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, clay votive tablets with symbols and faces carved in relief identifying with the god Hermes.

Hellenic Resources Network

Friday, January 28, 2005

Necropolis of Old Bulgarian Rulers under Search

Archeologists plan to launch excavation works in the roundabouts of Old Bulgarian capital Pliska in search for an ancient town or mausoleum considered to keep the remains of Bulgarian khans.

The suggested royal necropolis is believed to reveal the burial sites of mighty Bulgarian khans Krum, Omurtag and their successors.

Not a single tomb or burial site of a khan or king from First Bulgarian Kingdom has been found yet, while those of later rulers of Bulgaria have been unearthed in different places inside and outside the country, the museum's director Bozhidar Dimitrov said. This fact hints that first Bulgarian rulers might lie buried in a single necropolis or mausoleum, he added.


New research shows Turin Shroud is no medieval fake

THE Turin Shroud, dismissed as a medieval fake after scientific studies in 1988, could actually date back to 1000BC, according to new research.

A study based on new analysis of the shroud, believed by many to be the burial cloth used to wrap Jesus Christ after his crucifixion, suggests it is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

In 1988, analysis using radiocarbon dating techniques concluded it was a medieval fake. But this was dismissed by the new study, published in the US peer-reviewed journal Thermochimica Acta, which claims the sample used in that research was taken from "an expertly rewoven patch" used to repair fire damage and, as such, does not give a true measure of its age.

The Scotsman

Britain may have been multicultural 400,000 years ago

Archaeologists working on the site of the Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link at Ebbsfleet in Kent, south-east England, have uncovered evidence that there may have been more than one species of early human in Britain 400,000 years ago.

The site revealed that a Palaeoloxodon antiquus, a species of elephant, was chased into a bog by hunters. "There are other sites where we have found elephant remains in this country," said Dr Francis Wenban Smith, an archaeologist from Southampton University who led the Ebbsfleet excavations. "However, this is the first that has been found with stone tools and that looks as if it was hunted and butchered."

Stone Pages

The Iron Age brought to life

Work on a replica Iron Age village in the Forest of Dean, on the English side of the border with south Wales, is to begin next month and is expected to be completed by May.

The project, which will be made up of roundhouses and enclosures, will give visitors the chance to live and breathe the lifestyle of Iron Age man. The managing director of the Cinderbury Iron Age settlement, Jasper Blake, said: "Cinderbury has aroused great interest the world over from academics, serious researchers and living history enthusiasts."

Stone Pages

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mixed welcome to quarry talks

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have given a cautious welcome to plans which could see the end of quarrying close to a Bronze Age stone circle.

For nearly four years activists and green campaigners have been fighting to stop quarrying at Stanton Moor near Bakewell.

A number of eco-warriors have even dug in to the site at the Peak District beauty spot, close to the Nine Ladies stone circle, to try to prevent work
Operators Stancliffe Stone has planning permission to extract stone from Endcliffe and Lees Cross quarries.

However, that has been subject to a number of legal battles in the courts over whether the site is classed as dormant or active.

Yorkshire Post

See also: Nine Ladies Stone Circle Campaign

Further to the above posting, an appeal from the Nine Ladies Stone Circle Campaign Web site:



Urgent! Click Here!

Ancient sanctuary of Hermes discovered in central Greece

ATHENS (AFP) - Residential construction in the central Greek city of Trikala brought to light the remains of an ancient sanctuary to god Hermes, the Greek culture ministry said.

Terracotta tablets dedicated to the deity of commerce were discovered near two greenish sandstone walls respectively 12.3 metres (40 feet) and 4.3 metres long.

Other findings included bronze coins, pieces of broken bowls as well as figurine fragments dating from Hellenistic and Roman times (4th century BC - 3th century AD).

Yahoo News

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Treasures from a bygone age return

THE treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb are coming to Greenwich.

World-famous golden relics belonging to the boy king will form a unique exhibition as new life is breathed into the Millennium Dome.

Around 50 artefacts from a haul of 5,000 found by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 will take centre stage on the Greenwich peninsula. The treasures were last brought to the UK in 1972 by the British Museum.

News Shopper

City's past unearthed

IT might just look like a pile of bricks, but archaeologists say this is a unique glimpse of Manchester's heritage which is about to vanish forever.

Surrounded by Piccadilly's high-rise flats and businesses, experts have unearthed a rare sight which we're unlikely to spot again - traditional Industrial Revolution back-to-back houses.

Once Manchester's skyline was dominated by factories and row upon row of terraced houses, where factory workers and their families lived.

Manchester On-Line


A GROUP of enthusiasts are studying for a qualification in archaeology at the IW College — but they could be the last.

The college, the only centre on the Island delivering GCSE archaeology, has recruited 13 students, four of whom have progressed to exam level after completing a ten-week adult education course in the subject.

But the GCSE qualification is under threat of being dropped by AQA, the only exam board offering the subject.

Lack of numbers nationwide is being blamed for the possible axing of the qualification, although Mary Silk, college marketing officer, said it was a popular subject among adult students.

The threat has been countered by a strong protest by archaeologists and educationalists to keep the qualification running with support coming from the Council for British Archaeology and the Young Archaeologists branch on the Island.

IoW Today

Nero mosaic found under Rome

Thirteen metres under the streets of Rome, archaeologists have discovered "a new Pompeii" that has been buried for nearly two millennia.

Using video cameras, they have brought up a taste of what remains to be discovered and disclosed: a mosaic in extraordinary condition showing a team of naked men at the time of Emperor Nero, trampling the grape harvest.

To the casual eye, Rome is a city whose ancient secrets are all on display, from the Colosseum to the Pantheon
and beyond.

The Star

Roman work in Faliron stream

Last week’s heavy rainfall in Athens has led to the discovery of a Roman marble statue which had been apparently dumped in a streambed in the southern suburbs, an archaeologist said yesterday.

The 1.8-meter tall marble torso of a young man was spotted on Thursday night in the Pikrodafni streambed, in Palaio Faliron — near the intersection of Dimocratias and Pikrodafnis Streets — by a passer-by who alerted authorities, said Yiorgos Steinhauer, head of the Culture Ministry’s local antiquities department.

The first-century-AD work is a Roman copy of a fourth-century-BC classical original and possibly represents Apollo Lykeios. Steinhauer said the statue could have been recently discovered by builders during construction work, and dumped in the streambed for fear archaeologists might stop the works if alerted to the find.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Unexcavated Viking site ‘worthless’

PRESERVATION of the Woodstown Viking site in Co Waterford is worthless without a full excavation and the removal of ancient artefacts, heritage campaigners claimed yesterday.

Save Viking Waterford Action Group (SVWAG) expressed fears the archaeological site could be abandoned if a NRA recommendation to re-route the city bypass is followed.

“If the NRA has divested itself of all responsibility for this site, then it is morally incumbent on the Government to step into the breach and fund a full excavation of Woodstown to international standards,” said Dr Cathy Swift, chairperson of SVWAG.

Irish Examiner

see also:

Seeing Clacton man in a new light

STOOPED, violent, unable to utter more than a grunt and hell-bent on terrifying innocent bystanders with Stanley knife-type weapons.

This is the image that archaeologists have painted of the ape-like man that lived in the Clacton area 400,000 years ago.

But new research has caused historians and archaeologists to re-evaluate the culture that has been dubbed “Clactonian”.

Until recently it was thought that crude, sharp-bladed flint weapons found off Jaywick in 1911 were evidence of an isolated, unsophisticated type of prehistoric ape-like man.


Rural archaeologist will help to protect the county's history

A NEW service has been launched to advise farmers and land managers on how to look after vulnerable historic sites.

North Yorkshire County Council has appointed a rural archaeologist to help to manage some of the county's thousands of kilometres of stone walls, disused railways, airfields, prehistoric burial mounds, medieval villages, moats and castles.

Linda Smith will advise on practical ways in which the historic elements of the landscape can be managed as part of day-to-day farming practice.

She said: "It's not about digging but about finding out what is there and how to preserve it for future generations. Damage can be worst where the archaeology is hidden below ground.

This is the North East


Lasers are being used to scan Lincoln Cathedral and create a brick-by-brick plan so it can be rebuilt in the event of a collapse.

High-speed laser technology developed at Nottingham University will be used to create a 3D map of the building this week.

It will enable the cathedral's keepers to plot the constant movement of the stone structure and provide vital plans that can be used in the event of disaster.

A virtual tour of the interior will also be created.

This will enable viewers to look at any part of the cathedral in a level of detail that will be accurate to two millimetres.

Lincoln Cathedral archaeologist Dr Philip Dixon said it was the first time such a project had been undertaken.

This is Lincolnshire

Couple craft research into humanity's roots

Using a needle several inches long, a hand surgeon slid wires into Nicholas Toth's and Kathy Schick's forearms and hands.

Then the two began chipping away, shaping simple stone tools the way that human ancestors did for millions of years. Signals began flowing along the wires in an experiment that helped to reveal which muscles are important in making tools.

Volunteering their bodies to figure that out is only one example of how far the husband-and-wife anthropologist team from Indiana University will go in their quest to understand the roots of humanity.


Virtual sculpture gallery of selected Greek and Roman sculpture

The fact that the ancient Greeks, Romans and Etruscans painted their stone sculpture to vivid effect has been a well known phenomenon since the 18th century, but visual reconstructions of what classical pieces actually looked like to contemporary eyes have always been hampered by the expense of conventional printing. This resource is intended for undergraduates taking ancient art courses and was created in collaboration between students and faculty. It applies modern computer technology to create digital impressions of what 15 ancient sculptures might have looked like in their original painted state, showing images of the pieces in their present format alongside the imagined polychromatic originals.

Archeologia: Milano, ritrovata strada romana del I secolo a.C.

MILANO - Una strada romana del primo secolo avanti Cristo e' stata ritrovata a Milano, all'interno dell'Universita' cattolica di Milano. Lo scavo, diretto dall'Istituto di Archeologia dell'Ateneo e condotto da studenti della Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia, ha portato alla luce una nuova porzione dell'asse stradale settentrionale, scoperto un decennio fa. Si tratta di una delle direttrici viarie che caratterizzavano l'area del suburbio occidentale della Milano romana a partire dalla fine del primo secolo a.C.


Monday, January 24, 2005


Archaeologists have unearthed eight skeletons in the centre of Bristol. The remains, said to date from between the 12th and 14th centuries, were found during work to build the city's new £40 million bus station and magistrates' court building.

Bruce Williams, one of the archeologists, said they would have been buried, not in a coffin, but in a shroud with a space hewn out of the rock for their grave.

The bones will be taken away for carbon dating so experts can learn what they did and why they were buried on the site.

This is Bristol


The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape has been chosen as the UK's 2005 nomination for becoming a World Heritage Site Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced today.

Cornwall and West Devon supplied much of the western world's tin and copper for substantial periods over the last 4,000 years and for a time during the 18th and 19th century the area was the world's greatest producer of tin and copper. As such it contributed substantially to Britain's industrial revolution and influenced mining technology and industrialisation throughout the world.


Farmers given ancient site advice

A new service has been launched to advise farmers and estate managers in North Yorkshire how to preserve important ancient sites on their land.

The county council has appointed Linda Smith to the new post of rural archaeologist.

She will advise on how land can be farmed without damaging historic landscape features.

"It's not about digging but finding out what is there and how to preserve it for future generations," Ms Smith said.

BBC News

Roman circus proves popular with public

HUNDREDS of enthusiasts descended on Colchester this weekend for a rare chance to see ancient history unveiled.

After uncovering what archaeological experts widely agree are the remains of a Roman chariot racing arena or circus at a new housing project on the Garrison, developers opened the historical site to the general public on Saturday.

The sunny weather helped ensure a constant stream of people, some of whom had travelled across East Anglia to attend. About 2,350, from toddlers to pensioners, queued patiently to join a tour throughout the day. There were so many visitors the refreshment stall sold out of burgers by about 1.30pm.

And the day certainly proved a hit with the public. Comments in the visitors' book included "we can now see why Colchester is so special"; "this has put Colchester on the map" and "fantastic, a really well-run open day".



Archaeologists are hoping investigation of a cave on the Isle of Skye will provide a snapshot of life 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.

Skye-based archaeologists Steven Birch, Martin Wildgoose and George Kozikowski began work on the site at Uamh an Ard Achadh - also known as High Pasture Cave - at Strath last year and have secured Highland Council and European Leader+ funding to continue their investigations this year.

Finds so far have included stone, iron, antler and bone tools; remnants of pottery; around 6,000 pieces of animal bone; a tooth from a brown bear and a wolf canine.

And the trio are hoping that further excavation, due to start next month, will reveal the uses to which the cave was put over a period of up to 1,000 years.

This is North Scotland

Classical treasures threatened by Vesuvius

An earthquake or volcanic eruption is likely to destroy a library of ancient books at Herculaneum, near Pompeii, before they can be excavated unless urgent action is taken, according to the founder of a new group based in Oxford.

Scientists have discovered new ways to read 1,800 charred manuscript scrolls already found in the ruins of the so-called Villa of Papyri at Herculaneum, a city that, like neighbouring Pompeii, was buried in volcanic matter when Vesuvius erupted in AD79.

Scholars are convinced that many more scrolls lie awaiting discovery there, among which are probably lost books by great authors such as Aristotle and Livy.

"The chances are very high that much remains to be found in three newly identified and unexplored levels," Professor Robert Fowler told a meeting of the Herculaneum Society at Wadham College, Oxford, at the weekend.

Tehe Telegraph

East Bulgaria Reveals Minoan Pertainence

The Eastern Rhodopes revealed an old-times funeral site obviously pertaining to an ancient Crete-Micenae cult dating 3,500 years ago.

The demographic researcher Mincho Gumarov of Kardzhali has donated the local museum with unique finds of ceramics, bronze and silver.

The artifacts from the late bronze epoch were found in the nearby Samara cave.

The find's pertainence to the epoch of legendary Micenae derives from the found labris (short two-face ritual axe, characteristic of that civilisation) and a silver amulet of the cult to Mother Earth, as well as pieces of surgery utensils.

Researchers suggested this finding confirmed some theories that the land of Eastern Rhodopes was once part of the Minoan culture and civilisation.


Rome gets a monumental shutdown

Rome - The Colosseum and the Roman Forum were among historic sites shut down on Thursday by a strike by archaeological workers against the departure of Rome's archaeology superintendent.

Archaeologists, restorers and architects at some of the city's most famed monuments went on strike from 9am to 2pm (08h00-13h00GMT), leaving visitors locked outside.

At the Colosseum, tourists were forced to take photos through the bars of the gates.

Other monuments that were closed included the Baths of Caracalla and four branches of the Roman National Museum, news agency Ansa said.

Workers were protesting the departure of Adriano La Regina as archaeology superintendent after 26 years in the job.


Dome hosts Tutankhamun exhibition

Fifty Egyptian treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun are to go on display at the Millennium Dome.
It is the first time in 35 years that the artefacts, which were excavated from the boy king's tomb in the burial chamber, will be on display in London.

More than 130 treasures from the Valley of the Kings, which are all between 3,000 and 3,500 years old, will also make up the exhibition.

The treasures are expected to go on display at the Dome in 2007.

BBC News

Heritage bid raises tourism hope

Cornwall's bid for World Heritage site status will be sent to the headquarters of Unesco on Monday.
If the bid is successful it will put the county on a par with Hadrian's Wall and Stonehenge and should encourage thousands of extra visitors.

The final decision from UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural organisation, is expected next year.

The bid, backed by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, details Cornwall's role in mining over 4,000 years.

BBC News

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The mysterious end of Essex man

Archaeologists now believe two groups of early humans fought for dominance in ancient Britain - and the axe-wielders won

Divisions in British culture may be deeper than we thought. Scientists have discovered startling evidence that suggests different species of early humans may have fought to settle within our shores almost half a million years ago.
They have found that two different groups - one wielding hand-axes, the other using Stone Age Stanley knives to slash and kill - could have been rivals for control of ancient Britain.

'The evidence is only tantalising, but it is intriguing,' said palaeontologist Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London. 'Certainly it suggests Britain may well have been multicultural 400,000 years ago.'


Saturday, January 22, 2005

The return of the Bronze Age dagger

A BRONZE AGE dagger has been returned to the town that it has called home since about 1400 BC.

The historic weapon was unearthed during the excavation of Testwood Lakes in Totton nearly a decade ago.

The foot-long dagger was donated to the Totton and Eling Heritage Centre as their main exhibit when it opened in 1996.

It left the town on loan to the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum where it was on display celebrating the 25th anniversary of Wessex Archaeology for most of last year.

Staff uncovered the dagger, which is one of their most major finds, when they were commissioned by Southern Water to excavate the area so that the reservoir there could be widened.

This is Hampshire

Shrine to Hercules unearthed

Rummaging in the dirt, Costas Kakoseos pulls up pieces of history steeped in legend.

It is an archaeological site dubbed “Hercules’ House” — the place, experts say, that the ancient Greeks may have held to be the mythological hero’s birthplace.

Thebes, an unattractive town about 70 kilometers (about 45 miles) north of Athens, stands on a spectacular buried heritage. The latest excavation, begun last February, revealed the remains of an altar and ancient dwellings used for more than 3,000 years.

Vassilis Aravantinos, head of the regional archaeological service, said finds on the site tally with descriptions by the poet Pindar some 2,500 years ago of a shrine to Hercules built on his legendary birthplace.


Roman-Era Britons Lived In Suburbia

A spa treatment followed by a trip to the suburbs for a bit of shopping and dining sounds like a day in the life of a wealthy suburbanite, but it also could describe someone's schedule from around the 1st century A.D., as archaeologists in Bath, England have identified an ancient suburb located outside of Bath's main city center.

Since suburbs dating to the Roman period also have been found around other major cities, such as London, the finding adds to the evidence that suburban living is not a modern phenomenon.

Discovery Channel

My kingdom for a battlefield: researchers to look for the site where Richard III really died

Visitors to one of the most important battle sites in British history, immortalised by William Shakespeare with Richard III's desperate offer of his kingdom for a horse, are almost certainly visiting the wrong spot, expert analysis of the evidence has concluded.

Leicestershire County Council is to embark on a three-year archaeological and topographical research project to identify where the Battle of Bosworth was really fought in 1485, marking the end of the Wars of the Roses and the beginning of Tudor England. The battle was the last time a British king was killed on the battlefield.


Falcons Fly to the Rescue of Ancient Herculaneum

After being buried in boiling mud when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the ruined ancient city of Herculaneum is now being deluged with acidic pigeon droppings.

The situation has got so bad that archaeologists have called in three falcons to scare away the hundreds of pigeons that have set up home in the once-vibrant Roman town.

The birds will start work in Herculaneum next Monday and are expected to stay for at least a year.

Yahoo News

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Prehistoric art archive reveals ancient skills of Britain's cave dwellers

One of the world's finest prehistoric "art galleries" has yielded more than 250 new works, underlining the extraordinary creativity of the cave artists.

The historic works, hacked out of rock on moorland settlements near the Scottish border in Northumberland, were unearthed during a 30-month search by archaeologists.

The experts are still grappling with the origins and meaning of these abstract carvings, believed to be the work of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people between 3,500 and 6,000 years ago, although theories abound. One says they are symbolic expressions of the changing relationship Neolithic people had with the landscape and past societies. Another suggests the carvings fulfilled a human need to mark their landscape.


You can find the site at

Historical games at Hadrian's Wall

The British Museum is sending 20 of the Lewis chessmen to a unique exhibition on the history of board games, which opens next week at the Roman fort of Segedunum, at the Newcastle end of Hadrian's Wall. It is the largest group the museum has loaned since it acquired the world famous set in 1831 - for £84, after the curator assured the dubious trustees that they would prove popular with the public


Monday, January 17, 2005

The Archaeological Events Diary

I am in the process of updating the Archaeological Events Diary – a web site which gives details of archaeological events in the U.K.

If your archaeological society, university or museum has any forthcoming lectures, field trips, training excavations or exhibitions, I will publicise them on the site.

Please send any notices for inclusion to

Smart move: Lewis chessmen start touring exhibition at Hadrian's Wall

A small contingent of Vikings, and two impostors with their own place in British history, are heading north towards Hadrian's Wall this week.

The British Museum is sending 20 of the Lewis chessmen to a unique exhibition on the history of board games, which opens next week at the Roman fort of Segedunum, at the Newcastle end of Hadrian's Wall. It is the largest group the museum has loaned since it acquired the world famous set in 1831 - for £84, after the curator assured the dubious trustees that they would prove popular with the public.

The wall is an ideal launchpad for the museum's touring exhibition, subtitled Around the World in 18 Games; the bored, cold soldiers defending the wall distracted themselves from the rain, mist, and their lack of warm socks - a letter pleading for more survives - by scratching game boards into the stones. Dice and playing pieces are among the archaeological finds along the wall.


Times of invaders come vividly to life

Slap bang amid the buzz of 21st-Century Tyneside is the imprint of a vastly different way of life from almost 2,000 years ago.

On the densely-populated north and south banks of the River Tyne are two major Roman forts which have been coaxed back into existence after being hidden for centuries beneath fields and housing.

Arbeia fort at South Shields in South Tyneside was crucial as a supply base for the garrisons along Hadrian's Wall and as a gateway to the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

Segedunum fort at Wallsend in North Tyneside was just as vital because of its position at the very eastern end of the Wall.

The longest-running and most intense excavations of any Roman site in Britain - plus ambitious reconstruction of buildings - rescued the forts and deliver a vivid impression for visitors of life on Roman Tyneside.

I C Newcastle


An ancient Lincolnshire hunter's axe head has finally been identified by archaeologists - 40 years after it was found.

The 6,000-year-old weapon, which may have been used to kill wild deer and boar, was brought to a village heritage day by pensioner Kathleen Hesketh.

She found the rare artefact, one of only a handful ever discovered, in a pile of rubble after a house demolition in Nettleham in the 1960s.

She kept it without realising its historical significance.

Specialists hosting a heritage day in the village, near Lincoln, on Saturday quickly realised that the axe head was a rare find.

This is Lincolnshire

Replica boat paddles off on historic voyage

A REPLICA of an ancient boat set out to relive part of a 4,000-year-old journey yesterday in the shadow of the Humber Bridge.

With the sun breaking through mist in shafts of light, it was easy to imagine its Bronze Age ancestor attempting to cross the North Sea.

But yesterday's paddlers were a smaller – and lighter – bunch of rowers, including instructors from Trinity House School, in Hull, and students from Hull University Boat Club.

The boat, named Oakleaf by North Ferriby schoolgirl Katherine Imrie, floated off the Humber foreshore, just down river from where the oak timbers of three Bronze Age vessels were excavated by amateur archaeologist Ted Wright between 1937 and 1963.
The only earlier similar planked boats found so far have been ceremonial vessels of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Yorkshire Post

America's destruction of Babylon

The extensive cultural vandalism of archaeological sites in Iraq by US-led forces (Report, January 15) is deeply depressing, but it comes as no surprise. Archaeological organisations on both sides of the Atlantic were warning British and American governments about these issues for months in advance of the conflict, and we have repeated our concerns many times since. If we are to have any claim to international leadership we must press ahead rapidly with the ratification of the 1954 Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, and we should use our influence to encourage the Americans to do the same. Iraq is already a signatory to the convention.

We must also do more to help the Iraqi authorities to prevent looting of their archaeological sites, and also root out those illegally trading in antiquities that have been stolen from Iraq.

Dr Mike Heyworth
Director, Council for British Archaeology

Other letters on this subject in the Guardian

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The New EMAS Home Page

EMAS, the University of London Extra-Mural Archaeological Society, now has a new home page.

EMAS was founded in 1988 to enable people who were, or had been, students of the University of London Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (now the Birkbeck College Faculty of Continuing Education) to extend their interest in archaeology through an annual programme of lectures and field trips.

Now, admission to EMAS is open to all.

Each year EMAS offers a wide range of lectures, one-day field trips and an extended field trip over the Easter period.

Members of EMAS also receive the EMAS Bulletin several times a year.

Go to the EMAS Home Page

Italy Art Trafficker Duped U.S. Museums, Police Say

An Italian antiquities trafficker running a thriving business out of Switzerland duped some of the world's most famous auction houses and museums with illegally acquired artifacts, authorities said on Friday.

The scam was the centerpiece of a yearly presentation by Italy's art and archaeology police, who displayed dozens of ancient works traced to Giacomo Medici, an Italian dealer who was sentenced last month by a Rome judge to 10 years in jail.

Sometimes working through third parties so he would not appear to be the principal salesman, Medici sold works often dating back to several centuries BC, police said. According to a Culture Ministry statement, works traced to Medici ended up in New York's Metropolitan Museum, the J.P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Sotheby's auction houses, Tokyo's Antike Mittelmerkultur Museum and others.

ABC News

Americans caused major damage to historic Babylon: British archaeologist

As the United States prepared to hand back the ancient ruins of Babylon to Iraqi authorities Saturday, a leading British archaeologist alleged that Polish and US troops had caused "substantial damage" to a site that dates back to the dawn of history.

John Curtis, curator of the British Museum's Ancient Near East department, said the US-led forces, which have used the old city as a base since invading Iraq in 2003, had seriously compromised future scientific research at the site.

Among the alleged depradations, Curtis said entire sections of the city had been flattened and covered with gravel, paving stones that had survived 2,600 years had been crushed by heavy military vehicles, and decorative bricks around the celebrated Ishtar Gate had been cracked and dislodged where people tried to prise them out of the wall.

Curtis based his report on findings during a tour of the site last month.

Turkish Press

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Northumberland Rock Art

Web access to the Beckensall Archive

"This website is the celebration of rock carvings made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people in Northumberland in the north east of England, between 6000 and 3500 years ago. Over 1000 carved panels are known and most of them are still located in the countryside.

The website is also a celebration of the work of Stan Beckensall who has spent 40 years finding and recording this ancient rock art. For many years Beckensall shared his knowledge and recordings of Northumberland rock art through public talks, conference presentations, and richly illustrated publications. Now we have the World Wide Web!

It is our hope that the information and images presented in this website will encourage greater enjoyment of this cultural resource; inspire the creation of new knowledge and insights into Northumberland and British rock art; and set the basis for the effective management and conservation of this ancient resource for future generations."

Visit the site at:

Friday, January 14, 2005

Museum in final for award

CAMBRIDGE'S Fitzwilliam Museum is in the running for the title Museum of the Year, it has been announced.

It is one of 10 museums shortlisted for the £100,000 Gulbenkian Prize, the UK's biggest single arts award.

The honour follows the completion of the Fitz's Courtyard Development last year, which gave the building extra gallery and teaching space, as well as a new cafeteria.

Cambridge News

Archeologia: emerso un mosaico a Colle Oppio del I sec d.c.

Un ampio tratto di mosaico parietale di eta' neroniana e' emerso nel corso degli scavi, condotti a Roma sul Colle Oppio. La scoperta alle spalle del locale dove e' stato trovato nel 1998 l'affresco noto come 'La citta' dipinta', del I secolo. Il frammento misura 3 metri per 2 e si trova a 13 metri di profondita'. Rappresenta cinque figure maschili intente alla vendemmia ed e' ritenuto un esempio unico per soggetto e qualita' di esecuzione. I11 (Riproduzione Riservata)


Creswell Crags cave art given protection grant

The protection of Britian's oldest cave art is to be safeguarded following the awarding of a substantial grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge in Derbyshire, England, is home to caves which contain 12,000 year-old engravings of bison, horses and birds. Their discovery in 2003 led to the Church Hole Caves being dubbed 'The Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age'.

The area is currently run by the charitable Creswell Heritage Trust. Nigel Mills, the Trust's Director said "This is just the news we were hoping to start the new year with. The award is a mammoth tribute to all the hard work and support we have had over the last ten years from the local authorities, private sector partners, national agencies and local communities.”

“With the help of the HLF this former coalfield area is developing a national reputation for heritage and landscape. It’s a real boost to regeneration and finally gives Creswell Crags the recognition the site deserves.”

Stone Pages

Ancient rock carvings go online

Archaeologists have discovered more than 250 new examples of prehistoric rock carvings, it has been revealed.
The panels were unearthed during a two-and-a-half year search of the moorlands of Northumberland by Newcastle University archaeologists.

They will feature on a new website featuring 6,000 images, which is thought to be the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.

BBC News

LSU researcher solves ancient astronomy mystery

An ancient mystery may have been solved by LSU Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Bradley E. Schaefer.

Schaefer has discovered that the long-lost star catalog of Hipparchus, which dates back to 129 B.C., appears on a Roman statue called the Farnese Atlas. Hipparchus was one of the greatest astronomers of antiquity and his star catalog was the first in the world, as well as the most influential. The catalog was lost early in the Christian era, perhaps in the fire at the great library in Alexandria.

The Farnese Atlas is a Roman statue, dating to the second century, that depicts the Titan Atlas holding a sky globe on his shoulder. The statue, currently housed in Italy, includes relief figures on the globe depicting the ancient Greek constellations in fine detail. Schaefer has discovered that the constellation figures on the Farnese Atlas are an accurate rendition of Hipparchus’ star catalog. According to Schaefer, the discovery will likely lead to the solution of several long-debated questions.

Innovations Report

New prehistoric rock carvings discovered in Northern England

More than 250 new examples of England's finest array of prehistoric rock art carvings, sited close to the Scottish border, have been discovered by archaeologists compiling a unique database.

Now over one thousand of the 'cup and ring' carvings can be admired on a new website, which carries 6,000 images and is said to be the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.

The site, which goes live today, includes the 250 panels unearthed during a two-and-a-half year trawl of some of England's remotest countryside, in the expansive moorlands of Northumberland.

Experts, however, are still grappling with the origins and meaning of these abstract carvings, believed to be the work of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people between 6000 and 3500 years ago, although there are several theories.

Among the new discoveries made by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne archaeologists is a collection at Goatstones, near Wark, where a haul of 14 carved stones was spotted and recorded for the first time. Elsewhere in the county, a local farmer alerted the team to seven panels on his land, which had not been previously recorded.


Heritage Trust seeking members

The organisation that looks after Jersey's heritage and museums is looking for four people to serve on its board of trustees.

Four members of the Jersey Heritage Trust's (JHT) board are due to retire in the next six months.

It says it wants a diverse group to make decisions about how the island's past is portrayed and looked after.

A reception will take place later this month at the Jersey Museum to explain what the role entails.

BBC News

Top British museums shortlisted

From orphans to coal mines, the shortlist for the country's biggest arts award -- the Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year -- has been announced.

The winner will receive 100,000 pounds when the final choice is announced on May 26.

Six of the 10 museums on the shortlist announced on Friday are dedicated to the country's rapidly vanishing heavy industry, while some of the others owe their existence to the dedication of one or a handful of enthusiasts.

Yahoo News

Thursday, January 13, 2005

When devil dogs ruled the world

The discovery of two ancient "devils" has challenged the traditional view of our distant ancestors as rat-sized creatures that scurried around the feet of dinosaurs.

Textbooks usually say that our ancestors were small, boring and nocturnal until an asteroid impact killed the "terrible lizards" around 65 million years ago.

That view is now challenged after the discovery of two beautifully preserved fossils of related 130-million-year-old mammals. They were found preserved in rock composed of volcanic and former riverbed sediments in north-eastern China's Liaoning Province.

Daily Telegraph

Statue reveals ancient astronomy

A Roman statue of Atlas -- the mythical titan who carried the heavens on his shoulders -- holds clues to the long-lost work of the ancient astronomer Hipparchus, an astronomical historian said Tuesday.

The statue in question is known as the Farnese Atlas, a 7-foot tall marble work which resides in the Farnese Collection in the National Archeological Museum in Naples, Italy.

What makes it important to scientists is not the titan's muscular form but the globe he supports: carved constellations adorn its surface in exactly the locations Hipparchus would have seen in his day, suggesting that the sculptor based the globe on the ancient astronomer's star catalog, which no modern eyes have seen.

CNN News

Chariot track will be protected

THE lead archaeologist at a groundbreaking dig in Britain's oldest recorded town has issued reassurances about the future of the site.

The move comes after Colchester MP Bob Russell called for national heritage bodies to take action to make sure the town's recently discovered chariot racetrack was preserved for generations to come.

Mr Russell made his comments in an early day motion published in yesterday's order paper at the House of Commons.

The motion called for the recognition of the national importance of the discovery and the fact it was within the former Colchester Garrison boundaries, an area that was sold by the Ministry of Defence for housing development.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Committee receives 2,000 submissions against Tara motorway

Heritage campaigners have delivered 2,000 submissions to the Oireachtas Transport Committee opposing plans to build a motorway through the historic landscape surrounding the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.

The submissions were collected by the Save Tara-Skryne Valley group at various locations throughout Ireland over the weekend.

The group is campaigning for a re-routing of the M3 motorway away from the Tara-Skryne Valley, which is rich with archaeology dating back to the Stone Age.

Online IE News

Visit the Save Tara/Skryne Valley Campaign Website

Greece's National Archaeological Museum Renovated

Staff of Greece's National Archaeological Museum are seen at its renovated entrance, Athens 11 January 2005. Part of Greece's most celebrated museum, which displays some of the country's biggest archaeological treasures, was closed after a 1999 earthquake. The construction of the museum was begun in 1866 and completed in 1889 with the gradual addition of the west wing in 1874, of the north in 1881, of the south in 1885 and finally, of the east wing. The building was erected in a large plot donated by Helen Tositsa, with the financial support of Demetrios and Nicolaos Vernardakis, the Archaeological Society and the Greek state.

Art Daily


Young archaeologists and their families from across the UK braved wild and windy weather to attend an international conference in York on Saturday January 8.

The event was held at Yorkshire Museum and was organised by the Young Archaeologists' Club (YAC).

Guests were treated to hands-on archaeological activities, as well as talks by top archaeologist Julian Richards and Tony Pollard and Neil Oliver of Two Men In A Trench fame.

To get the full lowdown on what happened throughout the day, pay a visit to the BAFTA-nominated 24 Hour Museum Kids' Zone

24 Hour Museum News

Trees threaten Iron Age hill fort

Conservation work is to be carried out on an Iron Age hillfort in North Somerset to save an ancient monument.
The site at Weston Woods near Weston-super-Mare is being destroyed by trees planted on the hillside in the early 19th Century.

There are concerns that the roots are prising apart the important archaeological structures.

The Forestry Commission has given North Somerset Council permission to fell the trees, which will take two months.

BBC News

Ancient Astronomer's Work Found on Roman Statue

A Roman statue of Atlas -- the mythical titan who carried the heavens on his shoulders -- holds clues to the long-lost work of the ancient astronomer Hipparchus, an astronomical historian said on Tuesday.
The statue in question is known as the Farnese Atlas, a 7-foot tall marble work which resides in the Farnese Collection in the National Archeological Museum in Naples, Italy.

What makes it important to scientists is not the titan's muscular form but the globe he supports: carved constellations adorn its surface in exactly the locations Hipparchus would have seen in his day, suggesting that the sculptor based the globe on the ancient astronomer's star catalog, which no modern eyes have seen


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Save the Macclesfield Psalter

"The National Art Collections Fund is spearheading the campaign to save
the remarkable 14th-century Macclesfield Psalter for the Fitzwilliam Museum,

The Macclesfield Psalter is a jewel-like treasury consisting of 252
richly-illustrated pages providing a fascinating record of medieval
English humour, and teeming with highly surreal and imaginative marginal
illustrations. This exquisite manuscript was sold to the Getty Museum,
California, at auction in June for £1,717,335. However, the Government’s
export system, which recognised the outstanding importance of the Psalter to
this country, gave the UK the chance to match this sum.

As of today, only £96,511 more needs to be raised in order to keep the
Macclesfield Psalter on view in the UK for all to see. We have until
10 February 2005 to raise the remaining funds.

Every donation is vital in helping us to bridge the final funding gap.
We would be extremely grateful if you could mention this appeal on your website,
and we are happy to provide a return link to your website."

To find out more, go to The Art Fund Save the Psalter Appeal

Next step in castle proposal

A CONSERVATION study is to be carried out at Knaresborough Castle by English Heritage.

Commissioned by the Museum and Arts Department at Harrogate Borough Council, the Conservation Plan will take approximately six months to complete and will look at the suitability of the area for the proposed Performance Area.

First voiced as a way of marking the millennium by local businessman Terry Maude and subsequently taken on board by Knaresborough Town Council, the purpose-built outdoor Performing Arts Area would be a permanent structure situated in the castle grounds.
However, the scheme has met with numerous setbacks but it is hoped following the conclusions of the study that decisions can then be made by Harrogate Council as to whether there is a place for the Performance building in the castle top grounds.

Nidderdale Today


FANS of best-selling book - The Da Vinci Code are threatening an ancient tourist attraction.

They have flocked to visit the medieval Rosslyn Chapel, which features in the novel.

But now unsupervised visits have been banned over fears the huge numbers of sightseers could wreck it.

The fragile carvings in the 15th-century Midlothian church risk being damaged by people brushing against them and the humidity from their breath.

To control numbers and avoid overcrowding this summer, the chapel trust will allow only hourly guided tours.

I t will be the first time access has been restricted since the chapel was founded in 1446.

Daily Record


Creswell Crags, the limestone gorge in Derbyshire that contains the UK’s oldest cave art, has been awarded a multi-million pound grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The HLF has awarded £4.26 million to fund a new museum and education centre that will form part of a ‘national centre of excellence’ telling the story of the ice age.

The Crags, which is believed to mark the northern most explorations of Ice Age man, hit the headlines in 2003 when spectacular 12,000 year-old engravings of bison, horse and birds were discovered there.

Experts dubbed the Church Hole Caves, where they were found, the 'Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age'.

24 Hour Museum News

2004 in Review-Archaeological treasure discovered

BULGARIA'S ancient Thracian heritage was thrust into the spotlight in 2004 with a number of key archaeological discoveries in the so-called "Valley of the Thracian Kings".

A team of Bulgarian archaeologists, led by Professor Georgi Kitov, discovered a 2400-year old golden mask in the tomb of an ancient Thracian king on August 19. The mask bears the image of a human face and is made of 500 grams of solid gold. The discovery was made near the town of Shipka, in the heart of the Stara Planina Mountain.

Dozens of Thracian mounds are spread throughout this region, which archaeologists have called 'the Bulgarian valley of the kings,' a reference to the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, which is home to the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs.

Sofia Echo

Monday, January 10, 2005

Cave art museum gets major grant

A Derbyshire museum has been given £4.26m to expand its facilities.

The money will be spent on building a centre of excellence at Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge which contains the country's oldest cave art.

The grant has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund and will pay for a new museum and education centre telling the story of the Ice Age.

BBC News

Hertford, home of the Holy Grail

An ancient secret society; a demand for a papal apology; and a network of hidden tunnels. Strange things have been stirring in Hertfordshire recently. Oliver Burkeman goes in search of the Knights Templar and, perhaps, the cup of Christ


Lottery millions for cave art museum

Millions of pounds of heritage lottery money has been given to safeguard the UK's finest example of ice age cave art.
Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire is a limestone gorge believed to mark the most northern explorations of ice age man. It houses Britain's earliest cave art, discovered two years ago, and is said to have the world's most elaborately carved cave ceiling.

The £4.26m award will fund the creation of a national centre of excellence for telling the ice age story to schoolchildren, the local community and tourists. A museum and education centre will be built and a local road rerouted to protect the site.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Save Viking Waterford Action Group makes New Years resolutions

Since its inception at a meeting attended by over 130 people in the Granville Hotel last September, the SVWAG has committed itself to ensuring that the Woodstown Viking site is properly excavated to international standards and the site utilised fully for its educational and tourist potential. SVWAG’s philosophy is that these discoveries belong to the people of Waterford and Ireland and that discussion of their fate should be a matter for transparent debate by all interested parties. It is in this spirit that we publish our New Years resolutions in the hope that this may help to spark ideas and discussion on the best way that the local community can benefit from the new discoveries.

Waterford Today

Archaeological Digs!

"Archaeological digs have become an increasingly popular way for retired individuals, students, and others to spend their vacation and travel time and to expand their educational horizons. Look here for archaeological and paleontological dig opportunities and field schools as well as narratives of volunteer experiences and other things ancient."

This is an Interesting archaeological weblog run by Paul McLerran

You can find Archaeological Digs! here and there is also a link under "Archaeological Weblogs" in the sidebar of this site.

Howard Carter - Der Ausgräber Tutanchamuns

- 1 mai 2005

Ägyptisches Museum der Universität Bonn

Notizen, Zeichnungen und Photographien beleuchten den Fund des einzigartigen Grabschatzes des jungen Pharao im Tal der Könige.

Di-So 12 - 18 Uhr
geschlossen vom 22.12.04 - 3.1.05

Eintritt pro Person:
regulär 3,5 Euro
ermäßigt 2,5 Euro
angemeldete Gruppen: 2,5 Euro

Ägyptisches Museum der Universität Bonn

Bronze Age arrow head donated to museum

An arrow head more than 3,000 years old has been found in North West Essex (England) and donated to Saffron Walden Museum. It was spotted by Essex Finds liaison officer Caroline McDonald while recording finds by local metal detector users and her identification was later confirmed by the British Museum. The arrowhead dates from the Middle Bronze Age, between 1275 and 1140 BCE.

Stone Pages

Ancient henge discovered near Chester

Cheshire has a wooden henge after archaeologists made the discovery near Chester (England). Researchers working at Poulton, on the Duke of Westminster's land, were amazed to find the Bronze Age burials they had been investigating were preceded by a much earlier 'ritual' presence. A circle of holes indicated the existence of the wooden henge together with a large hole in the centre which was potentially a form of 'totem pole'. Now Durham University is to undertake both soil analysis and the dating of wood fragments.

Site director Mike Emery said: "This will firmly place the burial ground and the timber circle in their proper historical context, as well as providing valuable environmental evidence, which will help to recreate what life was like thousands of years ago. The uncovering of the site of a timber circle, possibly a 'henge' monument, is of great and rare importance in the north-west."

Stone Pages

Saturday, January 08, 2005



Did you know that Yorkshire hosts the largest group of prehistoric earthworks in Britain ~ and that their setting is rapidly being destroyed by open-cast mining?

Stretching from the standing stones at Boroughbridge in the south to the cursus already destroyed at Scorton in the north are the remains of dozens of monuments constituting a landscape that was sacred to our prehistoric ancestors. Considered together, these monuments are an archaeological record equal in importance to the World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge, Avebury and Orkney ~ yet they remain virtually unknown to the wider public.

Read more here...

Unearthing 2,000 years of Wolds history

A hoard of ancient objects discovered in the Yorkshire Wolds has been sold to a Hull museum for £9,500. Alexandra Wood reports.

IT started in 1977 when he picked up a bullet cartridge on Beverley Westwood and grew to form a collection so big he has never actually counted all the objects.

Ranging in age from Celtic finds from 50BC, to the Second World War cartridge, the result of Steve Foster's passion for metal detecting is a fascinating mixture of thousands of objects representing some 2,000 years of history.

Individually there are few items collectors would covet, but together they represent an intimate snapshot of the bleak corners of the Yorkshire Wolds he has scoured for 28 years.

Yorkshire Today

Scottish siblings find a Bronze Age flint arrowhead

When schoolchildren Robert and Kirsty Simon chanced upon an oddly shaped piece of stone by a path, they did not realise they had found an important piece of Scotland's "ancient historical jigsaw". The brother and sister are being praised for handing in what turned out to be an early Bronze Age flint arrowhead to the National Museums of Scotland. The find will be placed in The Museum of Edinburgh on the Royal Mile.

The story of their unusual find comes on the day the Scottish Executive publishes its final response to the Normand Report review of treasure trove arrangements for Scotland. The preserving of historical artifacts often damaged by construction work or climatic changes has been given fresh impetus after other Bronze Age items were recently spotted being offered on the eBay internet site for as little as £16.

Stone Pages

Barrow Hill Game Project Announced

Shadow Tor Studios from Cornwall today announced production on Barrow Hill, a chilling new adventure game. The news supposedly follows an invitation by Conrad Morse, of Middlestone University, for the media production company to help survey the ancient stone circle known as "Barrow Hill".

Hidden inside the aging forest of the barrow (ancient burial mound), the stone circle has stood since 2500bc. Amazingly, this monumental site has yet to be surveyed, while Stonehenge has become almost vain through overindulgence.

Megalithic Portal

Friday, January 07, 2005

'High status' Viking site found

Archaeologists in Cumbria say they have discovered what could be the country's most important Viking burial site.

Experts are so excited about the find and its wealth of treasures, they are keeping its location a secret so they can work undisturbed.

All that has been revealed is that it is near Barrow and contains artefacts dating back to the 10th Century.

Another burial site has been uncovered in Cumbria, close to Cumwhitton village, near Carlisle.

Both sites were found by metal detector enthusiasts.

BBC News

Demons warded off historic Abbey

ITS demise was started by Henry VIII and, since then, the romantic ruins of Netley Abbey have suffered at the hands of a succession of vandals.

At one stage the Cistercian Abbey - which the first monks entered in 1239 - was used as a quarry site for Netley Castle and other local buildings.

More recently, rowdy youths and vandals have lit bonfires inside, used it as a drinking den, scrawled graffiti on the ancient walls and also walked on them.

But, now, English Heritage has joined forces with Hampshire police to give the ancient monument a new line of defence.

A 1.8m fence has been put up to replace the previous wooden barrier that did little to protect the site.

The project has cost about £20,000 and English Heritage was given £1,000 towards the bill by Hampshire Constabulary's police community fund after they became aware of the abbey's plight.

This is Southampton

THORNBOROUGH Henges campaigners have clashed again with quarry firm, Tarmac

This time it is over a British Museum exhibition of archaeological treasures that is being sponsored by Tarmac, prompting accusations of "breathtaking hypocrisy" from Heritage Action campaigners.

The group has been at the forefront of opposition to plans by the quarry firm to extend its sand and gravel operations at Nosterfield Quarry, close to the prehistoric henges north of Ripon.

Members of Heritage Action are staging what they describe as a "low key and respectful protest" outside the Hidden Treasures exhibition at Manchester Museum today and tomorrow.

The group is aiming to give out specially created 'Heritage Sweets' to people visiting the exhibition.

Spokesman George Chaplin said: "This is a marvellous exhibition and we hope as many people as possible will see it, but we want them to also reflect on who is sponsoring it and why. Tarmac Northern are applying to quarry the surroundings of Thornborough Henges and the buried archaeology there is treasure as well."

Mr Chaplin added: "We find Tarmac's behaviour breathtakingly hypocritical. People ought to be aware that Tarmac is seeking credit for helping to exhibit treasure in Manchester while trying to destroy it forever in Yorkshire. We'd be delighted if people pause to talk to us before they go in, we hope that giving out our special sweets will serve as a welcome ice breaker."

Knaresborough Today

Support the Friends of Thornborough

Furness home to Viking burial site?

FURNESS archaeologists believe a metal detector enthusiast might have stumbled on an important Viking burial site after unearthing an ornate merchant's weight.

The man was pottering around Low Furness farmland before Christmas when his detector's bleeping led him to a piece of lead 20cm beneath the soil, reports Jennie Dennett.

When it was unearthed, a 70g weight, 42mm long piece inlaid with an ornate bronze and enamel design depicting what look like entwined mythic beasts and two men with crossed swords emerged. The pattern indicates that it dates back to between AD 1030 and AD 1130.

It has already been described by The British Museum as a "remarkable" find and is setting Viking historians abuzz since it could challenge the textbook theories on the kind of Scandinavian raiders who put down their roots in Cumbria.

This is the Lake District

viking find rewrites history of furness

A VALUABLE Viking artifact unearthed between Barrow and Dalton could force a rethink on the history of South Cumbria.

The unique merchant’s weight was found with a metal detector and is being studied by experts at the British Museum, who have already declared it exceptional.

Ulverston archaeologist Steve Dickinson said: “It is of such high quality it must have been owned by a very high status person, but at the moment we can’t put a price on it.

“As far as we aware nothing like this has been found before and to a Viking it would be as valuable, for example, as a genuine Rolex Oyster watch is today. It just wouldn’t get lost. I didn’t think I would ever see anything like this."

North West Evening Mail

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Builders find chariot race track

The remains of the only known Roman chariot racing track in Britain have been found under an army barracks being redeveloped in Colchester.

New homes are going up on a 209-acre site where builders preparing the groundworks excavated what they believe is a race track nearly 2,000 years old.

Developers Taylor Woodrow said they are delighted at the find and will include it as a feature in their development.

Archaeologists say it was built around the 2nd century.

BBC News


Archaeologists working on a housing development in Essex have unearthed what they believe to be the first Roman chariot-racing arena to be found in Britain.

The discovery was made at a site in Colchester and has hit the headlines across the country with local and national press lauding it as one of the most exciting Roman finds in decades.

Experts are thrilled at the possibility that this could be the first evidence of a chariot-racing circus in this country, but have refuted claims that it was the largest to be built outside Italy.

Speaking to the 24 Hour Museum, archaeologist and excavation project manager, Rob Masefield, outlined exactly what it is they’ve found: "Basically," he said, "we are 99% sure it’s a circus in Colchester."

24 Hour Museum News

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Gold coins hoard for museum

An Iron Age hoard of gold coins found on a West Norfolk archaeological site is set to be housed in Lynn.

The coins, which were found in a mud-filled end of a cow's leg bone containing 20 Gallo-Belgic E coins or Staters dating back to 60-50 BC, were unearthed at the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Project (Sharp) in August last year.

Nineteen other coins had already been found during the annual excavations at the site, including 11 in 2003 and eight in previous years.

Kings Lynn Today

Theory: Oetzi Murdered in Power Play

Ötzi the Iceman, the world's oldest and best-preserved mummy, might have been murdered in a struggle for power, according to a new theory that identifies the 5,300-year-old mummy as the powerful leader of a Neolithic community.

Discovered in 1991 in a melting glacier in the Ötztal Alps — hence the name — by the German hiker Helmut Simon, Ötzi is thought to have died at about 45.

Discovery Channel

Mystery of ancient broch unlocked after 2000 years

A TEAM of archaeologists has helped unlock 2000-year-old secrets of an ancient tower described as one of the wonders of European archaeology.

Mousa Broch, located on the island of Mousa in Shetland, is one of the finest examples of an Iron Age tower or broch.

The impressive structure was used as a fortification when the islands were racked by warfare but was also mentioned in the sagas as an eloping lovers' hideout.

Ther Herald

New henge discovered

New henge discovered
Well, not exactly new. . .

WILTSHIRE may have Stonehenge but now Cheshire has a wooden henge after archaeologists made the discovery near Chester.

Researchers working at Poulton, on the Duke of Westminster's land, were amazed to find the Bronze Age burials they had been investigating were preceded by a much earlier 'ritual' presence.

A circle of holes indicated the existence of the wooden henge together with a large hole in the centre which was potentially a form of 'totem pole'.


Ancient henge [timber circle] discovered near city

Wiltshire may have Stonehenge but now Cheshire has a wooden henge after archaeologists made the discovery near Chester. Researchers working at Poulton, on the Duke of Westminster's land, were amazed to find the Bronze Age burials they had been investigating were preceded by a much earlier 'ritual' presence.

A circle of holes indicated the existence of the wooden henge together with a large hole in the centre which was potentially a form of 'totem pole'.

Now Durham University is to undertake both soil analysis and the dating of wood fragments.

Megalithic Portal

Roman chariot race track found

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are awaiting confirmation they have unearthed what has been hailed as a “major” discovery - the first Roman chariot-racing track in Britain.

Experts have unearthed in Colchester what they believe to be the remains of the world's biggest Roman chariot-racing track outside Italy and the first one to be found in Britain.

Stone fragments from what could have been a stadium similar in look and size to Rome's famous Ben Hur amphitheatre have been discovered during a dig at Colchester Garrison.


Rome's boy racers took chariots to Colchester

ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe that they may have unearthed the world’s biggest Roman chariot-racing track outside Italy.

Excavations of part of the garrison in Colchester, Essex, Britain’s oldest recorded town, have revealed traces of a track that are being examined by English Heritage. The garrison is the home of the 16 Air Assault Brigade and is the longest-established garrison in the country.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005


The Danish Television each year transmits the Christmas service from a church some where in Denmark.

In 2004 it is from Thorsager Rundkirke (round church) a church from the 1200 which is the only of it's kind in Jutland.

Thorsager Round Church is one of the 7 medieval Round Churches in Denmark
It belongs to a group of 3 churches called Absalon Round Churches, built by Bishop Absalon and his family. It is built around 4 pillars while the 4 round churches on the island Bornholm only have 1 central pillar.

This site has an excellent Panorama of the church

World Wide Panorama

Monday, January 03, 2005

Roman burials revealed in new study

ROMAN burials, Anglo-Saxon defences and medieval artefacts are part of the Faithful City's rich archaeological history published in a new report.

The Council of British Archaeology has published its findings of excavations carried out where the CrownGate shopping centre on Deansway was later built.

This is Worcester

Out-of-town shopping malls 'were pioneered by rich Romans'

The luxury housing estate and out-of-town shopping centre may need to be added to the long list of what the Romans did for Britain.

Work in Bath suggests that rich Romans were so keen to live close to city centre attractions that they abandoned the empire's traditional habit of building lavish villas in the countryside, well away from the neighbours and commerce within the city walls.

Excavations in Bath reveal that at least half a dozen elegant homes existed near each other and within easy reach of leisure areas. One villa was found while sprinkler pipes were being laid across a golf course. A second villa with mosaic floors was found a few hundred feet away.