Monday, July 31, 2006


Archaeologists in Perthshire will attempt to raise a Bronze Age boat from below the River Tay next month after undertaking excavation work yesterday.

The 3,000-year-old log boat was found by a man with a metal detector on the mudflats near Abernethy, six years ago.

The find was reported to Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, which has since carried out a series of studies of the vessel, which is visible at low tides.

Radiocarbon dating tests revealed the 30ft boat, which was carved from a single piece of oak, is one of the oldest found in Scotland.

It is thought the vessel was used by hunters to catch fish or to transport goods or people.

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Irish bog bodies help unlock secrets of Iron Age

Life in the Iron Age may have been nasty, brutish and short but people still found time to style their hair and polish their fingernails -- and that was just the men.

These are the findings of scientists who have been examining the latest preserved prehistoric bodies to emerge from Ireland's peat bogs -- the first to be found in Europe for 20 years.

One of the bodies, churned up by a peat-cutting machine at Clonycavan near Dublin in 2003, had raised Mohawk-style hair, held in place with gel imported from abroad.

The other, unearthed three months later and 40 km (25 miles) away in Oldcroghan by workmen digging a ditch, had perfectly manicured fingernails.

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France's new Stonehenge: Secrets of a neolithic time machine

A spectacular discovery of Stone Age menhirs in Brittany could unlock the code to one of the most puzzling chapters of human development, and transform our knowledge of mankind's early history

Some months ago builders were clearing a piece of wasteland in southern Brittany when they struck an enormous hunk of granite. The developer was no historian but he knew instantly what the obstacle must be: the remains of a buried "menhir" or neolithic standing stone.

He ordered a bulldozer to shove the stone underground again before any passing busybody spotted it. He did not want the work on his six seaside bungalows to be halted for a prolonged archaeological dig.

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Bulgarian police have discovered three ancient chariots and two ornaments tossed in an abandoned vine-field close to the central city of Stara Zagora.

The artefacts were found meters away from a mount and archaeologists believe they date back to the II or III century AD, the Bulgarian national TV reported.

Marauders have most likely ripped off exquisite bronze ornaments from the wheels of the chariots, experts think.

The silver ornaments that were spared by the treasure-hunters are rarely seen on Thracian chariots. This made archaeologists think that the artefacts were probably used for special occasions.

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One of the oldest boats discovered in Scotland is being excavated and raised from its site in the Tay Estuary.

The Carpow log boat, as it is known, situated near Abernethy, was discovered in 2000. Identifying it as a log boat, used for fishing and wildfowling, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust radiocarbon dated it to 1000BC - the late Bronze Age.

Archaeologist David Strachan of the Trust explained: “It was discovered in 2000 by a metal detectorist – half of it was sticking out of the mud.”

“The buried portion of it was very well preserved with intact transom boards [stern timbers], but the exposed part is deteriorating.”

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Greek Subway Dig Excites Archaeologists

Another subway in Greece, another look into the past.

Tunneling work to build a metro system for the country's second-largest city started Thursday, as Culture Ministry officials signed an agreement to protect antiquities they expect to be discovered during construction.

The agreement follows a massive horde of antiquities uncovered while building a new subway system in Athens, which opened in 2000, with extensions added before the 2004 Olympics. Some of the discoveries are on display at Athens stations.

The subway system for Thessaloniki, where some 1.3 million people live, will span about 6 miles with 13 stations and is due to be completed by 2012, at an estimated cost of $1.27 billion.

Work involving two large tunnel-boring machines started Thursday. The machines were named Cassander and Thessalonica, after the king who founded the northern city 2,300 years ago, and his wife.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Medieval walkway found at abbey

A medieval walkway which was hidden under years of vegetation growth has been discovered at an abbey in Suffolk.

It was found during redevelopment of Grade I listed Georgian houses built against a wall on the west front of the abbey at Bury St Edmunds.

Still visible are marks made by abbey clerks' hobnail boots which had worn away a path used as a maintenance route between internal walls.

The walkway will now be covered over to preserve it for future generations.

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Bog discovery hailed as Ireland's Dead Sea scrolls

Irish archaeologists are celebrating the discovery of their own Dead Sea scrolls after a bulldozer unearthed fragments of a psalter that may have lain in a bog for more than 1,000 years. The book of psalms was found last Thursday when an engineer excavating bogland in the midlands noticed a bundle near his digger's scoop. It turned out to be the animal skin pages of an early Christian psalter that appears to date back as far as AD800. One psalm - number 89 - was still legible.

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Ancient bones shed light on Roman Britain

Archaeologists uncover farmstead and infant burial site along route of modern water pipeline

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Yorkshire have stumbled across fascinating remains which are shedding new light on what life was like for ancient Britons under the rule of Rome.

The experts working along the route of a new water pipeline have discovered an ancient farmstead to the south west of Bridlington.

Its occupants kept cattle, sheep and possibly pigs and lived in wood-framed roundhouses which were only yards away from where children were buried in small, round graves.

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'Time team' unearths evidence of Downs dwellers of Iron Age

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed Iron Age and Roman pottery during a week-long excavation on Farthing Downs.

Fragments were discovered in one of the Anglo-Saxon burial mounds, originally excavated by antiques collector John Wickham Flower in the 19th century.

Archaeologists working at the site believe the pottery must have been missed by Wickham Flower, as he removed all the artefacts he unearthed.

It follows the discovery of human bones in graves near the burial mounds during a dig at the site last year - held, such as this dig, in National Archaeology Week.

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Medieval book of psalms unearthed

Irish archaeologists Tuesday heralded the discovery of an ancient book of psalms by a construction worker while driving the shovel of his backhoe into a bog.

The approximately 20-page book has been dated to the years 800-1000. Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan said it was the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries.

"This is really a miracle find," said Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, which has the book stored in refrigeration. Researchers will conduct years of painstaking analysis before putting the book on public display.

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Shoreham dig opens window to the past

MEDIAEVAL pottery and the remains of animals were among items uncovered in an archaeological dig in Shoreham.

A team of four people from Archaeology South East took part in the dig in Shoreham High Street, opposite Ropetackle, last week, writes Sam Woodman.

They uncovered a rubbish tip, complete with several pits, dating back to the 14th or 15th century.

Simon Stevens, who led the dig, said: "It is a little mediaeval rubbish site. We have got the normal spread of animal bones and lots of fish bones.

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Iron Age villagers 'behind times'

Iron Age villagers living in west Somerset were 'behind the times' according to evidence unearthed by a team of archaeologists.

The team has been investigating the site at Maundown Water Treatment works near Wiveliscombe.

Six round houses dating back to 100 BC have been revealed by the dig.

A site of this age should show signs of square Roman houses but the existence of only round houses shows the village was behind the times in property style.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Combing the Mendips for historic treasures

A TEAM of archaeologists will begin a four year hunt for hidden treasures on the Mendip Hills soon.

A dozen English Heritage specialists will use the latest aerial scanning technology as well as field surveys and other traditional archaeological techniques to look for new finds.

They will also be taking a fresh look at known sites, especially historic lead mines like the ones at Charterhouse near Cheddar where they hope to team up with local amateur archaeologists.Work will begin in the coming weeks with a complete aerial survey of the hills and groundwork in Burrington.

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Digging to find answers

Ancient timbers uncovered as part of engineering work and mistaken for modern fence-posts could belong to a 4,000-year-old walkway across marshland on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, archaeologists revealed last night.

The archaeological find, the first of its kind in the region, has been made on the banks of the River Waveney during flood defence work.

Iron Age timbers have been preserved "extraordinarily well" according to archaeologists working at the site, on the Suffolk side of the river, near Beccles.

Now the contractor, Broadland Environmental Services Limited (BESL), has roped off the area and paid for a three-week dig to take place at the site to see what else can be found out about the wooden structure.

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TIME Team will uncover the early years of Manx Christianity when the popular archaeology programme films in September.
After months of speculation, it has been confirmed the Channel 4 series will feature the Island.

A team of more than 40, including a few well-known faces, will spend three days trying to get to grips with an important area of Manx history.

Series editor Michael Douglas confirmed presenter Tony Robinson, who also played sidekick Baldrick in the BBC comedy Blackadder, will travel here.

The excavation will be overseen by respected archaeologist and Time Team regular Professor Mick Aston and Phil Harding, whose West Country accent, hats and eccentric hair have made him a favourite with fans, will also join the dig.

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Do you dig archaeology?

KEITH Fitzpatrick-Matthews has a message for anyone who thinks that archaeology is boring - it is actually about what makes us human.

"It's about the things we do with the world around us and what it also shows is that all human beings, no matter where they come from and where they lived, are basically the same. It's about the traces you leave behind as you go through your daily lives," said Keith, (pictured right) who works at North Hertfordshire District Council as archaeology development officer.

This week is National Archaeology Week and Letchworth Museum has an ambitious project to rebuild the replica Iron Age round house that burned down there three years ago.

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Archaelogical study

The first stage of an archeological evaluation of the St Chad's Centre development is due to finish this week. The study of the site, behind Well Cottage, has been undertaken by Oxford Archaeology for the last two weeks. The evaluation aims to identify specific underground features which were mapped during an earlier geophysical scan.

It has involved opening ten trenches which could provide evidence for a future decision on whether a fullscale archeological investigation is warranted. Any specific artefacts found will be recorded and stored and if larger underground items are found they will be charted and covered in when the trenches are back-filled and turfed. The final report will assess if further exploration of the site is required at a later date.

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Archaeologists seek hints on 4000-year-old civilization in Tekirdağ

Archaeologists working on an ancient Thracian site in Tekirdağ said on Monday they have unveiled part of an ancient city named Heraion Teichos, which is thought to date back to 2000 B.C.

The excavation team of Mimar Sinan University's Archaeology Department has been working to unearth the ancient city, located near Tekirdağ's Karaevli village, for the last six years.

Head of the excavations, Associate Professor Neşe Atik, told the Doğan News Agency on Monday that they were the first team to conduct the excavation of a Thracian site in Turkey.

Sources of information on the Thracian civilization are very scarce, according to Atik.

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Treasures in Larissa

A marble statue of Artemis was found near Larissa’s ancient theater among a layer of more than 60 column drums, Doric pillars and an expanse of marble stretching more than 140 meters. The headless statue was discovered in the area where researchers were digging for the ancient theater. Artemis, a Thracian deity whose cult reached Attica, was worshipped in caves but is identified with the Hellenistic period.

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Archaeologists find birthplace of Rome's first emperor

A team of archaeologists say they have uncovered part of what they believe is the birthplace of Rome's first emperor Augustus.

Leading archaeologist Clementina Panella said the team has dug up part of a corridor and other fragments under Rome's Palatine Hill, which she described today as "a very ancient aristocratic house."

Panella said that she could not yet be certain that the house was where Augustus was born in 63 BC, but added that historical cross-checks and other findings nearby have shown that the emperor was particularly fond of the area, she said.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Britain 'had apartheid society'

An apartheid society existed in early Anglo-Saxon Britain, research suggests.

Scientists believe a small population of migrants from Germany, Holland and Denmark established a segregated society when they arrived in England.

The researchers think the incomers changed the local gene pool by using their economic advantage to out-breed the native population.

The team tells a Royal Society journal that this may explain the abundance of Germanic genes in England today.

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'Apartheid' slashed Celtic genes in early England

A system of racial segregation imposed by early Anglo-Saxon invaders in England may have massively boosted the breeding of the Germanic interlopers, much to the detriment of the native Celtic race, researchers claim in a new study.

Genetic analysis of men in modern-day central England shows that more than half of them possess a Y-chromosome that can be traced to a Germanic region – what is now Germany, Holland and Denmark.

Historians argue that fewer than 200,000 Anglo-Saxons invaded the population of about 2 million Celtic Britons during the 5th century. All things being equal, this number should account for just 10% of the gene pool being Anglo-Saxon.

In an attempt to explain this anomaly, Mark Thomas at University College London, UK, and colleagues came up with a theory that an apartheid social structure benefited the people - and therefore the genes - of the Anglo-Saxon race at the expense of the native Celtic genes.

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'Anglo Saxons Were Apartheid Racists'

Anglo Saxons were the first apartheid racists who enforced ethnic segregation and discrimination and which eventually caused the disappearance of native Britons, new scientific research reveals.

A computer model has shown a social structure barring marriage between the two groups during the 'dark ages' may explain why millions of people in England who can trace their ancestry back to the continent.

Estimates indicate at most up to 200,000 Anglo Saxons came to Britain but studies of the male Y chromosome show that they are responsible for between 50-100% of the gene pool.

This suggests there may have been a deliberate attempt at long term ethnic cleansing.

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Tara protesters plan new demonstration

TaraWatch is planning a peaceful demonstration outside the Hill of Tara Visitors Centre tonight at 8pm.

The group are demonstrating in co-operation with local support groups and political representatives.

Sinn Féin, the Green Party and Labour have all promised to send representatives.

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Building threat to Roman remains

They've been hidden on a patch of Tyneside land for nearly 2,000 years before finally being discovered.

Now amazing relics of Roman times could now be lost for ever after council chiefs revealed plans to build on top of them.

North Tyneside Council has sparked fury by recommending permission be granted for plans to build on top of the remains, which its own planning documents say are of national and international importance.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

SunHorse Video

Location: Nepal Length: 12 min.

High in the Himalayas near Mount Everest rests the Sherpa Buddhist monastery called Chiwong. In 1999, a renewable energy foundation known as REDI installed an extensive solar lighting system so that the monks and nuns would no longer be dependent on kerosene. The installation took place in conjunction with the monastery's preparations for their annual masked dance festival. This film provides an interesting view at the culture of a remote Buddhist monastery in Nepal, as well as the realities of doing complex development work at high altitudes

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Make a journey through the UK's landscape and you soon see evidence of a sometimes violent and martial past. The British countryside remains littered with castles and fortifications that date from the earliest Anglo Saxon hillforts and Roman outposts to later Tudor and Georgian coastal defences.

But as any student of the castles of England will probably be aware, the popular conception of the 'Englishman’s castle' is in fact a French invention - or a Norman one to be precise. Even that most royal of castles, Windsor Castle, began life as a Norman Motte and Bailey fortification, as the Norman Lords sought to consolidate their power across newly conquered Anglo-Saxon Britain.

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WW II bomb found in Pompeii ruins

A mortar bomb from the Second World War was found today in the archaeological ruins of Pompeii, Italy, police officials said.

The bomb was discovered in the rubble of the Surgeon’s House, the archaeological site next to the Roman Basilica, the ANSA news agency said.

Police from Pompeii secured the area as tourists looked on until the bomb squad from Naples arrived.

Police said the public was never in any danger.

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English Heritage to reveal old aerial photos of Stonehenge

English Heritage is celebrating the centenary of the first aerial photographs of Stonehenge with a touring exhibition opening at the Neolithic site. Dozens of vintage and modern photographs will tell the story of the first images and explore the world of aerial photography in Britain, and will look at how they have helped our understanding of 6,000 years of British pre-history. "Aerial photography is most useful in helping us understand the human use and development of the landscape around Stonehenge," said Dave Batchelor, chief Stonehenge archaeologist at English Heritage.

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European dry stone wallers talktactics

THEY play an integral role in farming, they beautify the landscape, encourage biodiversity, and reflect cultural heritage and archaeology.

But, unlike hedgerows, there is no protection under law for dry stone walls. An estimated 7,000km - 4,350 miles - of dry stone walls disappeared from the countryside of England and Wales between 1947 and 1985 and 96% of those left are in need of restoration.

Factors like this, together with a passion for the highly-skilled 4,000-year-old technique of controlling livestock, brought dry stone wall experts from around Europe to the Brecon Beacons National Park earlier this month for a conference on regenerating the tradition.

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Evolution, Umwelt und Lebensweise des "Urmenschen". Neanderthaler-Kongress an der Universität Bonn

Vom 21. bis 26. Juli 2006 treffen sich an der Universität Bonn rund 200 Forscher aus Europa, Asien und den USA, um bei dem Kongress "150 Years of Neanderthal Discovery" die neuesten Forschungsergebnisse zum Neanderthaler zu diskutieren. Inzwischen interessieren sich sogar Genetiker für die mehr als 40.000 Jahre alten Fossilien.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Dig unearths picture of ancient Norfolk

It has already provided a series of fascinating snapshots of early life in a Norfolk village.

And now an annual dig at Sedgeford, near Hunstanton, is providing more pieces of the jigsaw, as archaeologists slowly build up a complete picture of the life of the community.

The main focus of the 11th season of summer excavations by the award-winning Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) is the site of an Iron Age farm, which is thought to have been taken over by the Romans following their invasion.

The dig, which started earlier this month, has already uncovered plenty of Roman pottery and part of what is believed to be a fine drinking vessel, indicating that there was a domestic settlement in the area as well.

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A blast for the past

Crouching professorially over a lectern, Stephen Fry held forth last week on the subject of history. He was delivering a somewhat overblown dissertation to launch a campaign to "raise awareness of the importance of history in our everyday lives and encourage involvement in heritage in England and Wales". The campaign, with the oddly childish slogan "History Matters - pass it on", is sponsored by the National Trust, English Heritage and every other heritage organisation of note, and aims, among other things, to get one million people to wear a badge saying that history matters to them. "Some people sense in our world, even if they can't prove it, a new and bewildering contempt for the past," Fry said. "In the high street of life, as it were, no one seems to look above the shop-line. Today's plastic signage at street level is the focus; yesterday's pilasters, corbels and pediments above are neither noticed nor considered, save by what some would call cranks and conservationists."

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One of England's oldest nunneries could lie in the garden of a museum dedicated to one of the West's most famous sons. It emerged yesterday that, alongside the oldest inhabited castle at Berkeley, archaeologists may have found the site of a Saxon religious house.

Experts from Bristol University have been carrying out geophysical surveys in and around the Gloucestershire town, including in the gardens of the Edward Jenner Museum.

In the shadow of the castle and near the town's ancient church, interesting shapes have been discovered.

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Haunting secrets of Rollright Stones are revealed

THE haunt of witches for centuries, and a site shrouded in mystery, the Rollright Stones near Long Compton may have some secrets revealed this weekend and next weekend as part of National Archaeology Week.

Visitors on both weekends will enjoy free admission and guided tours by archaeologists including the chairman of the Rollright Trust, George Lambick, formerly director of the Council of British Archaeology, and Dr Gill Hey of Oxford Archaeology.

This weekend will also include a storyteller and next weekend a dowser will be giving lessons in the ancient art of water divining.

"This is an ideal opportunity to find out about the history and legends of one of Oxfordshire's oldest monuments," said trust spokesman Dohn Prout.

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Friday, July 14, 2006


People of all ages will be encouraged to dig up their past during National Archaeology Week 2006, with more than 300 events planned across the country from July 15 to July 23.

The events will give opportunities to gain archaeological skills, learn about artefacts, investigate local buildings and landscapes and witness interpretations of the past. All periods of British archaeology will be covered, from the Romans to the Saxons, the Tudors and more, and there will be plenty of activities aimed at families and children.

National Archaeology Week is organised by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and its Young Archaeologists Club and supported by English Heritage.

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Dyffryn Lane Henge Project

The project, directed by Dr Alex Gibson, is being run jointly by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust and the Department of Archaeological Sciences of the University of Bradford and is being undertaken with grant aid from Cadw and other sources. The fieldwork project will run from early July to about the middle of August 2006. It will focus on the investigation of the henge monument at the focus of the Dyffryn Lane prehistoric ritual complex - an important complex of monuments in the fields to either side of Dyffryn Lane, Berriew, in the Severn valley, about 4 miles south of Welshpool, Powys (Wales).

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Excavation under Scottish church unearths sixth-century burial site

ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe that they have unearthed one of Scotland's oldest churches.

A dig underneath the historic Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen has found graves which are thought to date back to the sixth century or possibly even earlier.
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The hugely significant find has now opened a new window into the past and allowed experts to delve into what life was like fifteen hundred years ago.

Alison Cameron, who is leading the project, said: "It's very exciting.

"The skeletal remains are well preserved, which is extremely rare, so we can tell how the people buried here lived their lives.

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Viking dig to resume

Further exploratory investigations at the Woodstown Viking site near Waterford city have been ordered by Environment Minister Dick Roche.

The interim report of the expert working group he established to advise him on the future management of the “highly significant” national monument - which follows a targeted consultation process held earlier this year - “acknowledges that, as yet, not enough is definitively known about the site, its provenance and the knowledge of our history it has the potential to unlock”.

The Minister has thus approved its recommendation to undertake “a supplementary research and investigation project” to review all available information, including archaeological assessments and investigations, and also “targeted excavation to answer specific questions about the site”. This additional work will be completed and a report prepared by the end of the year.

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Pupils 'dig' latest lesson

HISTORY-hunting youngsters from Rothwell have been digging the dirt in search of the past.
Pupils from Robin Hood Primary and Rothwell Primary Schools have been taking part in a dig at a possible Roman site at Rodillian School.

Finds have included a 1957 shilling and part of a wall which will now be the subject to further investigations by archaeologists.

The event was organised West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, Leeds City Learning Centre, the South Leeds Archaeology Group and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

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Ancient Greek sites in need of renovation

Over the centuries, they withstood the forces of wind, water and earthquakes. Today, Greece’s two main ancient theaters face new threats: high heels and chewing gum.

Culture Ministry officials said their decision to close the outdoor Herod Atticus and Epidaurus theaters in August was forced by the need for urgent repairs, with the strain of nightly performances threatening to worsen damage.

The 1,800-year-old Herod Atticus, at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, has hosted a wide variety of concerts, from Elton John to the Bolshoi Ballet.

“If emergency reconstruction isn’t conducted on the monument in August, there will be major structural damage over the next 50 years,” Michalis Lefantzis, an architect with Greece’s Ministry of Culture, said yesterday.

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Regensburg ist Weltkulturerbe

Die einzigartige mittelalterlichen Altstadt von Regensburg ist von der Unesco zum Weltkulturerbe erklärt worden. Seit annähernd zwei Jahrzehnten strebte Regensburg diesen Titel an und hatte vor zwei Jahren seine Bewerbungsschrift eingereicht.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Excavation unearths burial site

Archaeologists believe they may have discovered one of the oldest churches in Scotland during an excavation in Aberdeen.

They are awaiting test results which will confirm whether they have uncovered a religious burial site dating back to the 6th Century.

The find was made during Scotland's biggest archaeological dig in the east kirk of St Nicholas Church.

So far 300 skeletons have been unearthed, far more than expected.

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Woche der Antike im Saarland

Im Rahmen einer "Woche der Antike" wird das Saarbrücker Forum für Altertumskunde (SFA) vom 14. bis 21. Juli 2006 auf dem Gelände der Römischen Villa Borg in der Gemeinde Perl neue Ergebnisse der Zusammenarbeit zwischen Universität und archäologischen Projekten im Saarland vorstellen. Auf dem Programm stehen zahlreiche Vorträge zu unterschiedlichen Themen und Aspekten der Archäologie und Altertumskunde sowie eine kleine Ausstellung über Arbeit der Forumsmitglieder.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The new improved WHS trowel

WHS has been synonomous with British archaeology for decades. Some have complained in the last few years that is has just not been strong enough for excavators. Well, with pressure from BAJR, various universities and ourselves, the manufacturer has redesigned and rebuilt the WHS for you!

Learn more from the GETATROWEL Newsletter...

Graves moved to save abbey's ruins

HERITAGE watchdogs are to dig up ancient graves to stop the ruins of one of Scotland's oldest abbeys from rotting away.

The plans are part of a radical effort by Historic Scotland to preserve Dryburgh Abbey, where Sir Walter Scott and Field Marshal Earl Haig are also buried.

Drainage ditches to stop water seeping into the historical structure are to be dug in an area which is thought to have been the burial ground of the monks who once worshipped at the site in the Borders.

Bosses at Historic Scotland want to make sure the medieval stone and paintwork in the Chapter House of the abbey cannot be damaged by water getting in below ground level.

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The archaeologists who recently discovered a Thracian village applied for state financing for the excavations, planning to make the village a cultural tourism destination.

The project already received funds from several private companies and from Plovdiv municipality, Focus news agency reported.

The money would be needed for the conservation of the remains and the construction of a shelter, Konstantin Kisyov, head of the Plovdiv Archaeological Museum and leader of the archaeological team, said.

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Ancient sin city bears fresh fruit

Naples, July 11 - American, British and Italian archaeologists have made a major new find at the ancient Roman site of Stabiae, one of the hottest and most happening resorts in ancient times .

Stabiae has been neglected over the years because of its more famous neighbour Pompeii and because, frankly, there wasn't much to see there .

But now a key new partnership has been set up to dig the whole area of the ancient 'Gomorrah-on-the-Gulf' .

Stabiae was in fact much naughtier than supposedly raunchy Pompeii and things went on there that have would have made a Roman patron - never mind matron - blush .

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An open day this weekend will give visitors the chance to dig deep into local history. The Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust is putting on the open day at Swansea Museum on Sunday, from 10.30am to 4pm.

Experts will be on hand to help amateur archaeologists identify pieces of pottery, tools or other artifacts they have uncovered.

There will also be exhibitions from organisations such as Gower Society, West Glamorgan Archive Service and Swansea Metal Detecting Club.

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Getty agrees to give back two artifacts

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has agreed to return two of four contested antiquities which Greece has been seeking for more than a decade, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday.

The artifacts are a 4th century BC carved tombstone from near Thebes and a 6th century BC engraved sculpture from the island of Thassos. The funeral stele, which depicts a warrior figure with the inscription “Athanias,” is listed by the Los Angeles museum as one of its masterpieces.

“The decision to return the two ancient artifacts to Greece was based on a thorough internal investigation carried out by the Getty Museum, which concluded that it would be right to return the works,” a joint statement issued by Voulgarakis and the Getty said. No time frame was given for the return of the two antiquities to Greece.

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Cairngorms park commissions a historical record

THE archaeological heritage of the Cairngorms National Park is to be mapped to allow it to be protected for future generations. The park authority has commissioned an audit of the area's historic environment by AOC Archaeology Group to take place over the summer.

Andrew Harper, the park's head of economic and social development, said: "The archaeology and heritage of the park is very special indeed and contributes significantly to the special qualities of the park. We want a comprehensive picture of what we have here, so that we can ensure its protection.

"We also want to be able to identify and to make the most of the economic and social opportunities that the park's heritage has to offer."

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Bronze Age ditch cleared

Senior officials and military personnel from the Ministry of Defence in London spent a day on Salisbury Plain recently, working alongside staff and volunteers of various environmental groups, helping to clear a 200-metre length of Bronze Age linear ditch.

The work was part of the fifth annual Biodiversity Day, organised by Defence Estates and helped conserve the clearly defined stretch of the 3,500-year-old ditch.

The scheduled ancient monument runs next to the Tidworth golf course towards Bronze Age barrows in the corner of the Tidworth tank driving area.

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A TWO thousand year old pot was one of hundreds of Roman finds on the site of Horncastle's skate park on the playing fields.

Muckton archaeologist Marc Berger was joined by volunteers from the Horncastle Skatepark Committee Support Group (HSCSG) for the dig.

He explained: "The finds seem to be a mixture of early and late Roman times, but none from the middle.

"This signifies maybe the Romans moved away from the area for a while - it could have been a peripheral settlement."

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Abbey set for delicate damp work

A delicate project is under way to protect the Chapter House at Dryburgh Abbey near Melrose from the damaging effects of damp.

The 12th Century building contains traces of some of the earliest medieval paintwork in the country.

Historic Scotland, which looks after the abbey, is seeking to stop water seeping in from below ground level.

The work is being carried out by archaeologists as it involves digging in what was once a burial ground.

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Excavation underway to find more about our Thames Valley ancestors

AN excavation on the town's earliest known settlement began this week as the Marlow Archaeological Society (MAS) attempted to find out more about our ancestors in the Thames Valley.

The dig began on Tuesday in Low Grounds Farm in the Harleyford Estate where Marlow's first ever residents lived at a time when the rest of the town was just a lake.

Pam Knight, fieldwork secretary, said: "The first few days went brilliantly. We have been taking off the top layer of three different areas (trenches) in different spots the most interesting one will be expanded to a minimum of 20 metres by 20 metres so it's going to be a really big dig. It has already showed up what appears to be the remains of pits which suggests people were there."

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Greek Goddess Found In Ancient Ruins

A 2,000-year-old marble statue of a goddess has been discovered among dozens of broken columns and inscriptions during excavation at an ancient theater in central Greece, archaeologists said on Monday.

The headless statue of hunting goddess Artemis dates from the middle of the first century B.C., archaeologist Athanassios Tziafalias said.

The statue, standing 32 inches tall, was found July 4, during work on the fringe of the ancient theater at Larissa, a town about 225 miles north of Athens.

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Villa mosaic's secrets revealed

Archaeologists excavating part of a Roman villa in Somerset have unearthed a mosaic of Daphne and Apollo.

The mosaic, which dates back to the 4th Century, is part of the Dinnington Roman Villa site near Ilminster.

It is thought to be the only one of its kind in the country to feature the figures from Greek mythology.

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The Search



The Search is a brand new Channel 4 show taking 10 lucky contestants on an amazing treasure hunt to some of the most iconic and spectacular art historical locations on the planet.

We’re looking for Britain's brightest people to unravel mysteries, decipher codes and keep up with the pace of this spectacular new show. We want people from all backgrounds with the skills to help them overcome the challenge. You may be an academic from Oxford or a cabbie with a degree from the university of life, it doesn’t matter as long as you’ve got what it takes. If selected you will get the chance to travel to some of the most exotic places on earth and if you can keep your wits about you, discover a fortune in hidden treasure.

Go to the Website...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thracian Settlement in Central Bulgaria Stuns Archaeologists

A Thracian settlement, dating back to the 5th century BC, was uncovered near the village of Vassil Levski, the municipality of Karlovo, Central Bulgaria.

The site covers an area of 25 decares and includes a fortified wall and a number of Greek utensils, which archaeologists believe were used for importing wine from the Mediterranean.

Experts describe the remains of the settlement as unique due to a 3000-year-old building with a tiled roof, decorated just like the utensils.

Excavations are currently located in the eastern part of the settlement, where the royal residency of the yet unknown king is believed to sit.

Archaeologists fear the ancient town will not be unveiled in its full dimensions as its boundaries go into private property.

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Archaeologists today revealed they have made a shock discovery which proves that Lincoln is more than 6,000 years older than previously thought.

The evidence - shown exclusively to the Echo - has been uncovered on the site of the University of Lincoln.

It shows that man was living beside the River Witham during the Stone Age.

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Renewed moves by English Heritage to create a world class visitor centre at Stonehenge seem certain to get the go-ahead today, marking an amazing U-turn by councillors.

Salisbury District Council's Planning Committee will approve an application for the landmark £67.5million visitor centre at Countess East, just under two miles from the 4,500-year- old henge.

The scheme is exactly the same one the council threw out last summer following objections from residents.

A key reason for rejecting the scheme was that a land train taking people from the monument to the centre would have an adverse impact on nearby residents.

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Public dig deep into city's past

PEOPLE got stuck into history as they unlocked the secrets of an 800-year-old Manchester mill.

Hundreds helped strip away layers of stone and sediment from a Northenden car park to unveil a mill dating back to medieval times.

More than 1,200 volunteers worked on the challenge to uncover the corn mill off Mill Lane, which would have been powered by the nearby River Mersey.

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Wreck of 16th-century warship found off Cyprus

The remains of a Turkish ship believed to have taken part in the 1570 to 1571 Ottoman siege of Famagusta have been located off the Cyprus coast, it was reported on Sunday.

Three cannons, 25.4 centimeters (10 inches) in diameter, and an anchor were found by amateur divers 40 meters down in the Mediterranean off the city on the island's southeast coast, Politis newspaper said.

The find is believed to be the first of its kind.

Politis said that the ship had probably been part of the fleet of general Lala Mustafa, who lost 80,000 men before the walled city finally fell in July 1571 after a 10-month siege.

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Ancient Thracian city uncovered

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Thracian town in Karlovo Municipality in Central Bulgaria, local media reported on Sunday.

Initial estimates dated it to the 5th century B.C., and remnants of the town's fortress wall have been unearthed.

The archaeologist will be looking for the residence of the ruler, supposed to have been a powerful Thracian king, reports said.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Festival of History

English Heritage's big summer event, the Festival of History, takes places 12th/13th August at Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire and last year was attended by over 17,000 people.

Please see for further details.

"This is an action-packed, fun and quality weekend, with the highlight event this year being a WW1 aerobatic display of dog fights in the skies above. We are also hosting a round of the Knights’ Tournament (, a fast-pace competition which has been a big hit with the crowds at the two weekends already played this year. As well as these spectaculars, there will be a wide range of activities for children and families, with battle re-enactments, living history, music and dance, and Terry Jones heads up our celebrity lecture programme."

Scottish Archaeology Month

Scottish Archaeology Month is an annual event whcih happens every September in Scotland, and is broadly similar to National Archaeology Week in England.

This year there will be 300 events happening all accross Scotland. The link for this is ''.

The 2006 Events Guide will appear on the above website.

Go to the Council for Scottish Archaeology's homepage...

Rare Bronze Age axe unearthed in Orkney

Men working on a peat bank in Orphir have unearthed an 'outstanding' example of a late Bronze Age socketed axe – believed to be only the second found in Orkney to date. The find is particularly exciting, given the comparative scarcity of Bronze Age artefacts in the county.

Michael Watt discovered the 3,000-year-old axe head while spreading peats at the Highland Park's Hobbister peat bank. Initially, it was thought that the peat-encrusted object was an old tractor part, but once its significance was realised it was passed to Scott Chalmers, whose father, Jim, took it to the archaeology department in Orkney College.

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Keros enigma cracked

Archaeologists say they have discovered a 4,500-year-old ceremonial centre, the oldest ritual site in Greece. Excavations resumed for a few weeks this summer at Dhaskalio Kavos on the tiny island of Keros, after a lull of nearly 20 years. The problem with the site had been that it was disturbed by looters, who made a lucrative trade in the 1960s of the now famous minimalist Cycladic figurines. As a result, archaeologists could never be sure whether fragments of the Cycladic statuettes had been smashed in antiquity or more recently by smugglers.

That puzzle has now been solved by this year's excavation on an undisturbed patch of the site dating to 2,500 BCE. "All the material found was already broken in fragments before it became buried in ancient times. Moreover, the rarity of joining pieces (as well as the different degree of weathering of the fragments) makes clear that they were broken elsewhere and that they were brought, already in fragmentary form," says an announcement from the team of Greek and British archaeologists who head the dig.

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Oldest Thracian Town Discovered

Sensational archeological finding near the village of Vassil Levski, Karlovo region, central Bulgaria is expected to attract thousands of tourists. "The oldest Thracian city with a large royal residence dating back to over 2500 ago was discovered," said archeologist Kostadin Kissiov. He is the leader of the excavation works with the Museum of Archeology in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv. We started a year ago but it is now that our efforts were rewarded with a finding that has no match, Kissiov thinks. He dates the site to the 5th century BC. It spreads on the vast for its time area of 2.5 ha. This is the oldest Thracian settlement ever found. The other similar town is Sevtopolis that is now on the bottom of Koprinka dam, at five kilometers from the town of Kazanlak, central Bulgaria.

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Ancient Beauty Unearthed

A unique statue depicting a female figure, probably the finest the land of Thessaly has brought to light, was unearthed Thursday at Larissa’s Ancient Theatre during restoration works.

The headless statue depicts goddess Artemis and probably dates back to the mid-1st century BC. A short tunic is wrapped around the statue with an animals’ skin on top, while the main body is richly decorated.

Archaeologist and Director of Larissa’s XV Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Athanasios Tzafalias, who is supervising the excavation works, ranked it among the finest statues ever created in Ancient Thessaly.

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New home for ancient artefacts

Florence, July 7 - A rare collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan finds went on public display this week, following renovation work at Florence's National Archaeological Museum .

Over 500 precious artefacts, previously kept in storage, are now housed on the second floor of the museum, located through 17 rooms .

"The second floor was actually restructured around ten years ago but until now has only been used to house temporary exhibits," said Carlotta Cianferoni of the museum director's office .

"This reopening will showcase pieces that have long been locked away in the warehouses. They reflect the history of the museum itself, and its growth and development within Palazzo della Crocetta" .

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Roman site open for two days only

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL site will be open for one weekend.

Residents are invited to visit the Roman Bathhouse, Poverest Road, Orpington.

The site, which was excavated in the 1970s, will be opened by Bromley Museum next weekend as part of National Archaeology Week.

There will be guided tours and children will have the opportunity to try out activities, including excavating genuine Roman finds and trying on costumes.

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Archaeologists from throughout the UK will team up with Aberdeenshire volunteers and students from as far afield as the US this month to uncover further traces of a lost bishop's palace.

Penny Dransart, of the University of Wales at Lampeter, who is leading the annual dig at the centuries-old palace site near Kemnay, said good progress was already being made in a new area where work began last summer.

Together with the late Nicholas Bogdan, of Oldmeldrum, Ms Dransart started excavations beside the ruins of Fetternear House in 1994.

The work uncovered the remains of the Palace of Fetternear, created by Alexander Kininmonth while he was Bishop of Aberdeen between 1329 and 1341.

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Massive earthquake destroyed ancient city of Anamurium, say scientists

The ancient city of Anamurium, located west of Mersin's Anamur district, was destroyed by a massive earthquake in the sixth century, scientists working at the site announced on Wednesday.

Professor Selim İnan of Mersin University said in a written statement that four fault lines in the triangle formed by the Mut, Ermenek and Anamur districts had been identified during studies conducted over the last two years with Professor Nurdan İnan.

İnan said the research revealed strong evidence that the ancient city was destroyed by an earthquake that occurred on the continuation of the Namrun fault line, which constitutes the southwest end of the Ecemiş fault line.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Project to assess significance of Waterford Viking site

Heritage Minister Dick Roche today gave the go-ahead for a project to investigate the significance of a major Viking site in Co Waterford.

The site at Woodtown was discovered in 2003 during archaeological investigations ahead of construction of the N25 Waterford Bypass.

An interim report on the find has concluded that not enough is known as yet about the discovery to properly assess its significance and historical importance.

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Medieval badge found at Aberdeen Kirk

Archaeologists have unearthed a rare medieval badge in the grounds of an ancient church. The pewter badge was uncovered during excavations at the Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen's city centre.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Volunteers dig for history

ARCHAEOLOGISTS searching for the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon castle at North End Park, Driffield, have unearthed Roman and medieval remains.

Driffield archaeologist Simon Weaver has been commissioned by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to carry out a dig in a bid to form a greater understanding of the area.

The team of volunteers, who have been working since last Wednesday, have already uncovered plain-coloured shards of Roman and medieval pottery and found what they believe could be ruins of a late-Norman tower.

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A burial ground, the foundations of medieval castle buildings and a chapel have all been discovered by archaeologists carrying out an excavation in Exeter. The human remains date to before the construction of Rougemont Castle by William the Conqueror in 1068 and could represent an early Christian cemetery.

Archaeologists from Exeter City Council are undertaking the four-week trenching at the castle courtyard to discover what remains of the former medieval building and of Roman and Saxon Exeter beneath it.

Any finds could go on public display and help in discussions with a new owner about the future use and landscaping of the courtyard.

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Hitch in Acropolis restoration

Restoration work on the Acropolis monuments has hit “another small delay” but this should not hinder the overall course of the project, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday after touring the ancient site.

The ministry will release further funding, if necessary, to tackle the latest glitches, which have arisen in the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon’s vestibule, Voulgarakis said. Since 1999, more than 28 million euros has been spent on restoring the Acropolis, the minister said, noting that 86 percent of these funds came from the European Union. Voulgarakis said cutting-edge technology would be used to analyze the condition of the Acropolis’s peripheral walls, which will also be restored.

Voulgarakis also expressed his satisfaction with the progress in construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which he said was ready for the return of the Parthenon Marbles (currently in the British Museum) and other fragments in other foreign museums. “Greece now has the infrastructure to accommodate all the missing parts of the Parthenon,” he said.

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Roots of human family tree are shallow

Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia — Taiwan, Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He — or she — did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.

Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today.

That means everybody on Earth descends from somebody who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. There's even a chance that our last shared ancestor lived at the time of Christ.

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Rome's Ancient Sites Are at Eternal Peril

Weeds with stone-splitting roots. Relentless traffic belching pollution. Tourists trampling across the once palatial residences of emperors. Earthquakes and terrorism waiting to happen.

From the imposing stone bulk of the Colosseum to the romantic ruins of imperial luxury atop the Palatine Hill, the Eternal City's monuments, once pillaged by foreign conquerors, today face an array of perils old and new.

Rome's fragile ruins have the urgent attention of teams of monument "doctors," armed with such high-tech instruments as micro-cameras probing for weak spots.

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