Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cave fossils are early Europeans

Archaeologists have identified fossils belonging to some of the earliest modern humans to settle in Europe.

The research team has dated six bones found in the Pestera Muierii cave, Romania, to 30,000 years ago.

The finds also raise questions about the possible place of Neanderthals in modern human ancestry.

Details of the discoveries appear in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Read the rest of this article...

Were We All Good Mates?

New evidence has emerged that early modern humans and Neanderthals may have mated.

It comes after scientists re-examined 30,000-year-old fossil bones from a cave in Romania.

They found they had both early modern human and Neanderthal characteristics.

The find suggests the two types of human interbred to produce hybrids with mixed features, the researchers claim.

Read the rest of this article...

A royal tomb has been found in occupied Famagusta

Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.10.06) reports that a royal tomb, the 11th in number, has been uncovered in the occupied Salamis area, close to the Park Hotel after excavations performed by the so-called Antiquities and Museums Department.

According to Hasan Tekel, in charge of the occupied Famagusta District Office of the Antiquities and Museums Department, the tomb which was found belongs to the first Archaic period, that is 800 B.C.

Read the rest of this article...

Viking treasure found on Gotland

Two young men on Gotland have found Viking treasure dating to the 10th century.

The treasure cache consists of silver coins, weighing a total of around 3 kilos. They were discovered by 20-year-old Edvin Svanborg and his 17-year-old brother Arvid, who were working in the grounds of their neighbour, artist Lars Jonsson.

"I just stumbled by chance across an Arab silver coin that was around 1,100 years old," Edvin Svanborg told news agency TT.

Svanborg says he is studying history, and recognized the coin as one that is commonly found on Gotland. He said he had seen pictures of similar coins in the past.

Read the rest of this article...

Viking treasure unearthed in Sweden

In what seems to have been a euphoric week for archaeologists, scientists unearthed both a Viking burial mound in Orkdal, Norway and a Viking treasure on the island of Gotland off the south-east coast of Sweden, last week. The burial mound in Norway, discovered on Tuesday last week, belonged to a wealthy farmer and contained amongst other things a Viking sword, body armour and the tip of a spear according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, (only in Norwegian).

Preben Rønne, an archaeologist from the Museum of Science in Trondheim, Norway, believe the man buried in the mound was of a higher standing, possibly a local chieftain, adding that if a man could afford to slaughter his horse when he is buried he had to have sufficient means. The scientists claim that since the sea level was 5-7 meters above current day sea level, it is highly likely that this burial mound belonged to a settlement close to the sea.

Meanwhile on the island of Gotland off the Swedish east coast, scientists have uncovered a Viking treasure (article only in Norwegian) ranked as the 25th largest treasure ever to be uncovered on the island. The treasure, originally discovered by two amateur archaeologist brothers, soon revealed as many as 1.100 silver coins of foreign origin in addition to a substantial amount of bracelets.

Read the rest of this article...

Swedish Teens Find Viking-Age Silver Treasure

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Archeologists said Monday they found more than 1,000 silver coins in a Viking-age hoard discovered by chance on the Swedish island of Gotland.

The treasure, believed to have been buried in the 10th century, also included several silver bracelets and weighed about 7 pounds, local curator Majvor Ostergren told Swedish news agency TT.

Edvin Sandborg, 20, and his 17-year-old brother Arvid said they found the hoard last week when they were helping a neighbor with some yard work.

Read the rest of this article...


Location: Idaho/Oregon Length: 25 min.

The basalt cliffs of Hells Canyon have witnessed the ebb and flow of Native American tibes, trappers, miners, and homesteaders as each has left a mark on America's deepest river gorge. This film brings Hells Canyon to life through the accounts of historians; Horace Axtell, a descendent of Chief Joseph's band of the Nez Perce; and early Hells Canyon residents, Violet Wilson, Ace Barton and Joe Jordan. These old-timers share stories of work and family, isolation and ingenuity, and a deep respect for the canyon they called home in the first half of the 20th Century

Watch the video....

Monday, October 30, 2006

Stone Age man was at sewage site

Evidence of a Stone Age settlement has been uncovered by a water company planning to extend a sewage works.

Stone Age flint and Roman items were found at the site in Kintbury, near Hungerford, Berkshire.

The find dates back to 8,000 BC and confirms that a nearby Roman bath site probably had a British owner, a local archaeologist said.

Thames Water is now reviewing its plans to improve the sewage treatment works after realising the site's importance.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient Pyramids Of Bosnia? Many Are Believers

A part-time archaeologist noticed odd mountains in Bosnia, so he started digging. He found cement-like blocks stacked in the shape of massive pyramids. Could ancient Bosnians have built them at a time Europeans were believed to be still living in caves?
Egypt has pyramids, China has a wall and Greece has the Parthenon -- all evidence of ancient and great civilizations.

Ever heard of ancient Bosnians?

Probably not. But some are seeing pyramids towering above a drab Bosnian town -- perhaps pyramids bigger than the Egyptians built.

Read the rest of this article...

Ein zerstörtes Kloster wird wieder erlebbar

Im 16. Jahrhundert wurde das Kloster im thüringischen Georgenthal geplündert und zerstört, seitdem liegen das Gelände und die Gebäude brach. Um das Zisterzienserkloster touristisch für Menschen mit und ohne Behinderung nutzbar zu machen, entwarf das Verbundprojekt "Barrierefreier Tastparcours in Georgenthal", das von Prof. Dr. Ralf Böse vom Fachbereich Informatik der Fachhochschule Schmalkalden geleitet und vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung gefördert wird, einen behindertengerechten Tastparcours. Forscher des Fachbereichs haben auf der Grundlage des vorhandenen Quellenmaterials eine weltweit einmalige 3-D-Präsentation entwickelt, die die Basilikaruine des Klosters durch visuelle und akustische Technik sinnlich erfahrbar macht.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Oxford Experience Summer School 2007

Details of the Oxford Experience Summer School 2007 – which includes a number of courses in archaeology and history – are now available on the Internet.

The site includes a link to a PDF version of the complete brochure for the summer school.

This programme is run by University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education and is held in Christ Church, Oxford.

Find further details here…

War of words erupts over sale of ancient texts

Plans by a Geneva museum to sell two ancient manuscripts for millions of dollars have drawn consternation from scholars around the world.

They fear the sale of the papyri, which date back to the 2nd century, could precipitate the break-up of a unique collection of around 50 texts held by the Bodmer Foundation.

The Bodmer, based in Cologny just outside the city, says it needs to raise money to guarantee the long-term future of its museum, which opened only three years ago.

But around 20 academics from Switzerland and abroad are calling for the sale of two manuscripts – gospels of St John and St Luke – to be halted.

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mastodon tusks tell of brutal battles

Battle scars on male mastodon tusks show these Ice Age giants were not the peaceful creatures once thought, according to new findings.

The scars reveal they fought in brutal combat each year during seasonal phases of heightened sexual activity and aggression.

The discovery, announced at a recent Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Ontario, counters the view that now-extinct mastodons were peaceful, passive creatures that rarely engaged in battles.

Read the rest of this article...

Two Hellenistic-era mausoleums unearthed in western Turkey

Archeologists have unearthed two mausoleums dating as far back as the Hellenistic-era at the ancient city of Antandros in Turkey's Aegean province of Balikesir, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Thursday.

During the excavations carried out in the necropolis near Altinoluk village of Balikesir, traces signing that the area was used as a residential place in the late Roman period were found, assistant professor Gurcan Polat, head of the excavation team, was quoted as saying.

"The mausoleums were built with rubble and plastered by lime having a facet of marble in the ancient period," said Polat.

Read the rest of this article...

Antike Schätze aus dem Verborgenen befreit

Universitäten sind auch Stätten der Kultur. Ihr begegnet man an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena unter anderem bei den Abgüssen antiker Skulpturen, die Campus, Hauptgebäude und Rosensäle schmücken. Sie gehören zu einem Kunstschatz, dessen Großteil heute nur noch selten für die Öffentlichkeit zugänglich ist. Doch einige der Schätze aus dem Archäologischen Museum - Abgüsse wie Original-Objekte - können ab 27.10.2006 betrachtet werden. Im Rahmen der Ausstellung "160 Jahre Archäologisches Museum der Universität Jena" werden bis zum 16.12.2006 ausgewählte Exponate in der Thüringer Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Jena (Bibliotheksplatz 2) präsentiert. Der Eintritt ist während der gesamten Ausstellungsdauer frei.

Read the rest of this article...

Neandertal Gene Study Reveals Early Split With Humans

A new genetic study bolsters theories of an early human-Neandertal split and is helping scientists pinpoint what makes humans unique.

Controversy has long swirled in the scientific community over how closely the hairy Eurasian hunters resembled modern humans, with some researchers even claiming Neandertals (often spelled Neanderthals) were actually members of our own species, Homo sapiens.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Seeing the light

WHEN he caught sight of the bright red pentagon glowing above the great rose window of Rosslyn Chapel, Alan Butler almost let out a scream. At that point, he knew beyond doubt that Rosslyn was far more than just another medieval church.

By rediscovering the lightbox, forgotten for hundreds of years, Butler and John Ritchie, co-author of Rosslyn Revealed, moved closer to illuminating their theory that the truth about the chapel is even stranger than the fiction made world-famous by Dan Brown.

"It was a real Indiana Jones moment," recalls Ritchie. "Older inhabitants of Roslin village had told the story of a mysterious light which appeared in the chapel on St Matthew's Day [21 September]. But the story had been ignored by successive histories of the chapel."

Read the rest of this article...

Erotic frescoes put Pompeii brothel on the tourist map

A LUXURIOUS brothel that once entertained wealthy clients in Pompeii has been opened as a visitor attraction after painstaking restoration.

The two-storey structure, which features erotic frescoes that leave little to the imagination, is expected to become one of the ancient city’s top draws. Officials who unveiled it yesterday emphasised that the year-long restoration had been carried out in the interests of archaeology — and to save the frescoes — rather than prurience. The brothel was named the Lupanare — from lupa (she-wolf), the colloquial Latin term for a prostitute. Prices were posted outside the building, which had three entrances, and the frescoes depict the sexual services on offer.

The Lupanare boasted ten rooms, five on each floor, with the upper floor (which had a balcony) reserved for more important and wealthier clients. Sexual activity took place on stone beds, which would have been covered by mattresses.

Read the rest of this article...


THE discovery of a near-complete medieval jug during building work for Doncaster's hottest new store has been described as one of the most important finds in the history of the town.

The 12th century pottery jug was unearthed by chance during the development of Primark in the market place - and went on display in Doncaster museum the same day the store opened.

The jug is of special interest to archaeologists because it is so well-preserved and because it is a rare example of the earliest types of pottery manufactured in Doncaster.

Read the rest of this article...

Europe's oldest child skeleton unearthed in Bulgaria

Archaeologists have unearthed an 8,000 year old skeleton of a child in the village of Ohoden, northwestern Bulgaria, the Sofia News Agency reported on Thursday, citing Darik News.

Archaeologist Georgi Ganetsovski, the leader of the excavation, said the finding had been made at the southern end of a pre-historical funeral facility in a pre-historical village, which was found just two metres below the current ground level and was completely preserved in its original form.

Archaeologists at the site had also discovered a whole skeletonof a woman a year ago, which dated from 8100 year BC and was one of the most ancient in Europe, Ganetsovski added.

Read the rest of this article...

Restored ancient brothel opens in Pompeii

POMPEII, Italy (AP) - Art officials on Thursday presented a newly-restored ancient brothel in the archaeological complex of Pompeii.

The "Lupanare" - which derives its name from the Latin word "Lupa" for "prostitute" - underwent a one-year restoration of its structure and decorations, the local office overseeing the famed tourist spot said. The brothel is believed to be the most popular one in the ancient Roman city.

The two-floor structure, decorated with explicit erotic frescoes, has 10 rooms, five for each floor, and a latrine. The better-decorated upper floor was destined for higher-ranking clients. The stone beds were covered with mattresses.

Pompeii had many brothels, most of which consisted of only a room, often on the top floor of a shop.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Castle shock

A SURPRISE discovery of a 900-year-old medieval castle in Whitwood has astounded local heritage leaders.

Archaeologists and members of the community uncovered what could be Castleford's castle in a Wakefield Council-run excavation at Fairies Hill.

The hill – a large grassed mound near Whitwood Golf Course – had been dismissed as a slag heap from nearby coal mines.

But after council planning chiefs asked staff from West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS) to investigate the hill before approving an application for drainage works at the Willowbridge Beck, it turned out to be the motte of a motte and bailey castle.

Read the rest of this article...

Rare coins to form part of medieval exhibition

Five 600-year-old rare Spanish coins discovered in Myddle are set to be showcased at the British Museum after experts finally brokered a deal with treasure hunters.

The solid gold ‘doblas’ were found in a village field on September 4 last year and may now become part of a medieval exhibition in the National Collection.

Dr Barry Cook, museum curator of medieval and early modern coinage, revealed this week that the coins had been valued at £5,500.

He said: “We’re now definitely acquiring them. The deal is struck.

Read the rest of this article...

Greek archaeologists discover Aristotle bust near Acropolis

Athens - A recently-discovered bust of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle has been described by archaeologists as the best-preserved likeness ever found, reports said Wednesday.

Discovered under the Acropolis, the Roman-era marble bust of the famous philosopher had probably occupied the nearby villa of a wealthy Roman citizen, senior archaeologist Alcestis Horemi was quoted by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini as saying.

The 46-centimetre bust, which dates to the 1st century AD, is the first to depict Aristotle's hooked nose.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tree-ring dating used on chests

A number of ancient wooden church chests are to be analysed for the first time by a tree-ring dating team.

The Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory team aim to date the medieval chests at Mendlesham, Chevington and Earl Stonham churches in Suffolk.

They will take a small sample from the chest and measure the rings against samples which have already been dated.

The team previously discovered that a Saxon door at Westminster Abbey is the oldest door in Britain.

Read the rest of this article...

Prehistoric tooth found in wall

A tooth belonging to a prehistoric shark has been donated to a Kent museum after it was found in a wall.

The palm-sized incisor belonging to a creature called a Megladon was discovered by Angela Foster after her garden wall in Maidstone collapsed.

Experts at Maidstone Museum believe the tooth could be 10 million years old, but they do not know how it could have ended up where it was found.

Prof Ed Jarzembowski said the shark could easily have swallowed a human.

Read the rest of this article...

'Stop the looters destroying history'

THE cultural treasures of Iraq — the birthplace of writing, codified law, mathematics, medicine and astronomy — are being obliterated as looters take advantage of the country’s bloody chaos.

Fourteen of the world’s leading archaeologists have written to the President and Prime Minister of the country, demanding immediate action to stem the vandalism after seeing photographs of sites left pockmarked by enormous craters.

Among examples in the letter, seen yesterday by The Times, was a Babylonian sculpture of a lion dating from about 1700BC that lost its head because the terracotta shattered as looters tried to remove it.

Read the rest of this article...

Early maps to move to Perth

AN IMPORTANT slice of Scotland’s heritage has been secured for future generations through the vital conservation of a collection of early maps which will eventually be housed in in Perth.

The world-famous collection held by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society is to be preserved and made more accessible to the public after a £160,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award, it was announced by Professor Bruce Proudfoot, of St Andrews University.

Significant within the RSGS early map holdings is the Cuthbert Collection, gifted to the society in 2000 by the widow of the late William Cuthbert, a well-known Perth solicitor. This stunning collection consists of 300 maps spanning 400 years, depicting both Scotland and overseas.

William Cuthbert collected maps portraying both the whole of Scotland and a number of the old Scottish counties and regions.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologist vows to finish £10,000 project in church

AN archaeologist has vowed to complete £10,000-worth of unfinished work at a Furness church.

The move comes after members of the Hidden Light Low Furness community group claimed Steve Dickinson had failed to complete work paid for using part of a £25,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

They say it should have been finished by Easter 2005. The bulk of it includes a display in the tower of St Mary and St Michael’s Church, Great Urswick, which aims to show off the culture and history of Low Furness.

Jim Webster, chairman of the Hidden Light Low Furness, says he has unsuccessfully tried to contact Mr Dickinson several times since the two attended a meeting in April.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Oxford Experience Summer School 2007

Details of the Oxford Experience Summer School 2007 – which includes a number of courses in archaeology and history – are now available on the Internet.

The site includes a link to a PDF version of the complete brochure for the summer school.

This programme is run by University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education and is held in Christ Church, Oxford.

Find further details here…

Online tutorial for Archaeologists on the Internet

Intute (the Higher Education web resource service) and the ADS are pleased to announce the availability online of a new element in their Virtual Training Suite (VTS) Internet Archaeologist. The Intute:VTS provides free Internet tutorials to help you learn how to get the best from the Web for your education and research. Internet Archaeologist comprises a guided tour of some of the webs most significant archaeological resources and provides guidance using them as well as helpful case studies highlighting successful use of the web in archaeological teaching and research.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeological dig before work starts on new homes

A TOP archaeologist has said trenches should be dug in the grounds of an historic home to check for Saxon remains before a contentious redevelopment project goes ahead.

County archaeologist Steve Membery suspects there could be parts of a Saxon settlement beneath the Grade II listed Manor House in Axbridge, where plans to build 10 houses were revealed recently.

The proposals have attracted deep concerns in the town, with several prominent groups objecting strongly to the plans.

But Sedgemoor District Council planning officers asked district councillors to approve the application at a meeting on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this article...

The Sevso hoard undermines Britain's stand on illegal antiquities

Uncovering the origins of this magnificent Roman silverware is crucial, says Rupert Redesdale

The discovery and subsequent history of the Sevso treasure deserves to be the subject of a book (Not for sale yet - the 'cursed' 14 pieces of silver worth £100m, October 17). However, it also provides a sorry commentary on the difficulties governments have in attempting to stem the illicit trade in cultural objects.

I have long tried to prod the government into taking a more proactive stance on this issue, and there has been progress in recent years - most notably in 2003 when I had the privilege of steering a private member's bill through the Lords, which resulted in the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act being passed. As Lord Renfrew said, the Sevso treasure was probably looted and therefore "ranks as tainted goods". It could well have come within the scope of the law, but unfortunately the act only applies to objects discovered after 2003.

Read the rest of this article...

Excavations Underway To Uncover 1500-year-old Six-layer Underground City In Cankiri

Six experts and ten workers have been carrying out excavations to unearth a 1500-year-old six-layer massive underground city near Huyuk village in Orta town of Cankiri city, in central Anatolia.

Cankiri Museum Curator Yusuf Demirci heads the excavations that have received a 105 thousand YTL (70 thousand USD) financial support from Cankiri Governor's Office and Ministry of Culture & Tourism.

Informing the media on the excavations on Monday, Cankiri Governor Ali Haydar Oner said that their team had unearthed chapels, hallways, rooms and other architectural structures.

Read the rest of this article...

Geologists Make Better Estimates of Rock Ages, Study Global Climate Change

Ohio State University geologists have found that important rocks from Niagara Gorge -- rock formations that are used to judge the ages of rocks and fossils around North America -- formed five times faster than previously thought.

The finding means that scientists will have to re-examine studies of sedimentary rock deposited across North America during the Silurian period, from 416 to 443 million years ago.

Ultimately, the geologists hope to perform similar studies of rock from other time periods, to better pinpoint periods of global climate change in Earth's history. Just as tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores contain chemical records of Earth's history, sedimentary rocks such as limestone vary in composition according to the climate in which they formed.

Bradley Cramer, a doctoral student in earth sciences at Ohio State, reported the study October 22 at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia.

Read the rest of this article...

Die CAA 2007 unter dem Thema: Layers of Perception

Die 35. Internationale Jahreskonferenz für Computeranwendungen und quantitative Methoden in der Archäologie (CAA) findet nächstes Jahr vom 2. bis 6. April 2007 in Berlin statt.

Um neue Entwicklungen auf dem Gebiet der archäologisches Computeranwendungen umfassend zu diskutieren, möchte die Tagung Experten und interessierte Anwender aus möglichst vielen Disziplinen zusammenführen. Die Vorträge, Arbeitsgruppen und Round Tables werden sich somit unter anderem mit den Methoden und Anwedungen bei 3D-Rekonstruktionen, geographischen Informationssystemen, Web-Datenbanken, Photogrammetrie und Statistik beschäftigen.

Read the rest of this article...


The University of Siena and the Italian National Research Council announce the SECOND CALL FOR PARTICIPATION at the XVII International School in Archaeology "EXPLORING ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES" that will be held in Tuscany (Italy) FROM 27 November to the 2 December 2006.

The topic of the School will be related with the presentation and the discussion on the most recent remote sensing technologies and the powerful methods applied to the archaeological research from some of the most important world expert

For an overview please see: http://www.space2place.org/XVIIsummer_introduction.html

The School is organized by the Laboratory of Landscape Archaeology and Remote Sensing (University of Siena) and by the Laboratory of Virtual Heritage Reconstruction (Italian National Research Council, Institute of Technology Applied to Cultural Heritage) and is directly related to the II INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE REMOTE SENSING ARCHAEOLOGY, FROM SPACE TO PLACE that will be held in Rome from the 4 December to the 7 December 2006.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Antonine Wall is nominated as a world class site

THE Antonine Wall, once the Roman Empire's northernmost frontier in Britain, has been put forward for World Heritage status - an accolade which could place it among the UK's most treasured attractions, including Stonehenge and the Tower of London.

Spanning the narrowest strip of lowland Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, the 37-mile structure is one of the three nominations by the British government for the prestigious award.
Click to learn more...

The others are the 1,000ft-long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the Llangollen Canal over the North Wales countryside and the twin monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow, in north-east England, home of the Venerable Bede 1,300 years ago.

Read the rest of this article...


Location: New Mexico Length: 9 min.

In south-central New Mexico lies Three Rivers, where the Jornada Mogollon created over 10,000 petroglyphs between AD 900 and 1400. At the nearby Trinity Site, White Sands Missile Range, the world's first atomic bomb exploded in 1945. Juxtaposing these two sites reveals a striking contrast between two worlds: one which reveres and lives in harmony with the natural world and one which manipulates the forces of nature, creating the means for its destruction. This animated film explores these opposing forces and their relationship to, and effect on, one another.

Watch the video...

Museum to help return of Marbles

The completion of the new Acropolis Museum next year will help boost Greece’s chances of reclaiming the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Marbles from Britain, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday.

On a visit to the building site at the foot of the Acropolis, Karamanlis said the construction of the 129-million-euro project is moving ahead and will be completed by the middle of 2007.

“Once the museum is completed, Greece will have a very strong argument for the return of the Parthenon sculptures,” he said.

“We are taking a very important step to finally realize the dream that unites all Greeks,” he added.

Read the rest of this article...

Monastery wins World Heritage bid

The twin Anglo-Saxon monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow has been named as the UK's nomination for World Heritage Site status in 2009.

The site was home to the Venerable Bede in the 7th and 8th Centuries and one of the most influential cultural institutions in the western world.

The government nomination may see the site become the North East's third UNESCO World Heritage Site by 2010.

Hadrian's Wall and Durham Cathedral and Castle are already recognised sites.

Read the rest of this article...

Scientists find more bones of big camels

Hunters stalked giant camels as tall as some modern-day elephants in the Syrian desert tens of thousands of years ago and archaeologists behind the find are wondering where the camels came from and what caused them to die off.

The enormous beasts existed about 100,000 years ago and more of the bones, first discovered last year, have been found this year in the sands about 150 miles north of the capital, Damascus.

The animal, branded the "Syrian Camel" by its Swiss and Syrian discoverers, stood between three and four yards high — about twice the size of latter-day camels and the height at the shoulder of many African elephants.

"The camel is a dromedary but extremely big and extremely tall — about double the size of a modern day camel," said Jean-Marie Le Tensorer, who led the Swiss side of the team.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Roman wall in running for award

A historic landmark which represents the most northerly walled frontier of the Roman Empire has been nominated to become a World Heritage Site.
The Antonine Wall runs 37 miles from Bo'ness, near Falkirk, to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire.

It is now in the running along with two other UK landmarks for the accolade, the UK Government has announced.

The bid has been supported by five local authorities throughout central and the west of Scotland.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient Roman treasures found under Vatican car park

Archaeologists yesterday unveiled a 2,000-year-old burial ground discovered by chance inside the Vatican City.

The necropolis, which traces pagan Rome to the birth of Christianity, was discovered three years ago while excavations were being carried out for an underground garage to ease the Vatican's parking problems.

It contains more than 40 elaborately decorated mausoleums and 200 individual tombs. Headstones, including one that belonged to a slave of Nero, funerary urns and elaborately decorated frescoes and mosaic floors have also been uncovered on the site.

Read the rest of this article...

Bronze Age Remains Found in Vladimir Region

Archeological monuments of the 'Bronze Age' have been found at one of the road construction sites near the town of Vladimir. The builders reported about the finding to archeologists of the State Centre for Protection and Registration of Monuments.

According to the head of Archeological Service of the Centre Larisa Galchuk, the findings are unique, as it is for the first time that 'bronze age' relics have been found in Vladimir region. Tools and weapons made of the alloy of tin and bronze belong to the 'bronze age'. In the history of mankind it appears the longest period. In this country metallurgical centers for bronze are located far from this region: in the Urals and Siberia. The finding reveals that there existed long trading routes and relations.

Archeologists together with the road builders have found there remains of a big residential construction, with the total area of 150 meters.

Read the rest of this article...

Compelling evidence demonstrates that 'Hobbit' fossil does not represent a new species of hominid

What may well turn out to be the definitive work in a debate that has been raging in palaeoanthropology for two years will be published in the November 2006 issue of Anatomical Record.

The new research comprehensively and convincingly makes the case that the small skull discovered in Flores, Indonesia, in 2003 does not represent a new species of hominid, as was claimed in a study published in Nature in 2004. Instead, the skull is most likely that of a small-bodied modern human who suffered from a genetic condition known as microcephaly, which is characterized by a small head.

"It's no accident that this supposedly new species of hominid was dubbed the 'Hobbit;'" said Robert R. Martin, PhD, Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Field Museum and lead author of the paper. "It is simply fanciful to imagine that this fossil represents anything other than a modern human." The new study is the most wide-ranging, multidisciplinary assessment of the problems associated with the interpretation of the 18,000-year-old Flores hominid yet to be published.

Read the rest of this article...

Workmen unearth 3,600 Roman coins

A digger being used by workmen on a building site in Kent has unearthed 3,600 bronze Roman coins dating from AD330 to AD348.

Archaeologists from Kent County Council (KCC) were called to the site in the Medway Valley after the digger arm overturned a pot containing the coins.

"The workmen saw all these coins come pouring out of the digger bucket," said Maidstone Museum's Laura McLean.

They will be transferred to the British Museum for cleaning and recording.

Read the rest of this article...

Newly Unveiled Necropolis at Vatican

Visitors to the Vatican will soon be able to descend into an ancient world of the dead, a newly unveiled necropolis that was a burial place for the rich and not-so-affluent during Roman imperial rule.

Vatican Museums officials and archaeologists on Monday gave a press tour of the necropolis, which was unearthed three years ago during construction of a parking lot. One archaeologist said sculptures, engravings and other objects found entombed with the dead made the find a 'little Pompeii' of cemeteries.

The burial places, ranging from simple terra-cotta funerary urns with ashes still inside to ornately sculptured sarcophagi, date from between the era of Augustus (23 B.C. to 14 A.D.) to that of Constantine in the first part of the 4th century.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ancient brain surgery

Bulgarian archaeologists claim to have unearthed evidence that brain surgery was carried out more than 4,000 years ago.

Georgi Nehrizov, heading a team digging near the city of Svilengrad, said a skull belonging to a man who lived in Thracian times had been found with a hole in it that had been carved out with surgical precision.

He said: "The skull dates back to 2500-1800 BC and the hole had clearly been made for medical reasons. It is the first such discovery from Thracian times."

Read the rest of this article...

The Prophet of Gases

The Oracle at Delphi in central Greece was a major religious center for more than 1000 years. Citizens and rulers alike made pilgrimages there to get advice on everything from mistresses to military conquests. The officiant at the oracle was always a woman, referred to as the Pythia, who perched on a tripod above a chasm in the bowels of the Temple of Apollo and inhaled fumes from the earth that would induce a prophetic, often crazed, trance during which she would relay the wisdom of the gods.

The story was dismissed as a myth during the first half of the 20th century, when excavation of the temple and studies of the area by archaeologists turned up no sign of a chasm or a large fissure of any sort. But in the late 1990s, geologist Jelle de Boer of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, suggested that two faults crossing directly under the temple could have been the source of the chasm and the vapors. De Boer's group found traces of ethylene, a central-nervous stimulant that can produce euphoria, in a local spring and concluded it was the likely source of the oracle's frenzied trances.

Read the rest of this article...

Forgotten Macedonian Venice Reveals Pre-Historic Artifacts

For decades now, the Cultural Center in Resen has housed boats, some 4,000 years old. They belonged to the Prespa inhabitants of the Stone Age, and were discovered on the shores of Lake Prespa.

“In my 28 years as a professional, I have never heard of these boats, explains Dimitar Mucevski, an archeologist from Resen. “I know of foreign archeologists discovering such wooden boats in the pharaohs’ tombs, but I was not aware of such treasures here in Macedonia. These boats are made out of a single tree trunk,” further elaborates Mucevski.

Two years ago some locals contributed to the conservation of the boats dating from the Neolithic Period, and now the three can be seen in Resen free of charge.

Mucevski told us that the boats were discovered near the village of Nakolec. The locals say that similar artifacts are regularly washed up on the shores, but that there are not any sufficient funds or human resources available to conduct an archeological search.

Read the rest of this article...

Taking sides in the battle of the 'hobbit'

The battle among paleaoanthropologists over Homo Floresiensis, popularly known as "the hobbit", threatens to become an epic of Lord of the Rings proportions.

The debate rages on over whether the fossil, found on the Indonesian island of Flores, is a separate species or simply a modern human with stunted development.

Now Robert Martin at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, US, claims the controversial fossil, discovered in 2004 was really a Stone Age Homo sapiens (modern human) with a mild form of the condition microcephaly. There are more than 400 genetic variants of this disease, which stunts brain development.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Photo Gallery: "Lucy's Baby" Adds to Early-Human Record

The 3.3 million-year-old skull of a female Australopithecus afarensis was recently unearthed by paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged—22 years after the discovery of "Lucy," the most famous fossil of the early human ancestor species

See the photos...

Archaeological News on the Move

If you own a Pocket Computer or Smartphone, you can read the latest archaeological news together with other news headlines while on the move.

With NewsGator Go! you can sync items on your mobile device with your free Newsgator Online account. Read the headlines on your PDA and “clip” any items that seem to be of interest. When you next sync, your “clipped” items are waiting for you in your Clippings folder and you can go direct to the full story. If you like to check a lot of news sources, you can use your odd free moments during the day, rather than spending time at your desktop.

If you need to process a lot of RSS sources, your Newsgator Online account will also sync with a desktop reader, such as FeedDemon (the program that is used to sort news items for the Archaeology in Europe Weblog).

And, of course, you can add Archaeology in Europe to your Newsgator Online account. Simply go to “Add Feeds” from your Newsgator Online account and use the search term “Archaeology in Europe”; click on the add button and there you are!

Find out more from www.newsgator.com/

Remains of giant camel discovered in central Syria

Damascus: Swiss researchers have discovered the 100,000-year-old remains of a previously unknown giant camel species in central Syria.

"This is a big discovery, a revolution in science,". Professor Jean-Marie Le Tensorer of the University of Basel said. "It was not known that the dromedary was present in the Middle East more than 10,000 years ago."

"Can you imagine? The camel's shoulders stood three metres high and it was around four metres tall, as big as a giraffe or an elephant. Nobody knew that such a species had existed."

Tensorer, who has been excavating at the desert site in Kowm since 1999, said the first large bones were found some years ago but were only confirmed as belonging to a camel after more bones from several parts of the same animal were recently discovered.

"We found the first traces of a big animal in 2003, but we were not sure it was a giant camel," he said.

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Roman Coin Hoard Discovered - Medway Valley

A rare hoard of 3,600 late Roman coins has been unearthed on a Kent building site. Archaeologists from Kent County Council's heritage conservation team recovered the coins and a pot in which they had been buried after being called to the Medway Valley site.

Workmen digging trenches with an excavator made the latest discovery when the digger arm caught the pot, spilling the coins.

Maidstone Museum Officer Laura McLean said: "They saw all these coins come pouring out of the digger bucket. It made a sound like tinkling glass. When we got there they had two spades with the coins on the top. It was absolutely unbelievable."

Read the rest of this article...

Treasure hunting banned at wreck

A wreck off the Cornish coast has been given new protection from divers hoping to plunder its treasure.
Portuguese merchant vessel the St Anthony sank off Gunwalloe in 1527 in a heavy storm.

She went down with a mixed cargo including copper and silver ingots and, it is believed, a princess's dowry, some of which still survives.

The site covered by the Protection of Wrecks Act has been extended after part of the wreckage was spread by storms.

Read the rest of this article...

Rare medieval Jewish cemetery beneath Plzen shopping centre?

Almost six hundred years ago, the Jewish community in what is now west Bohemia bought some land on the outskirts of Plzen, west Bohemia, to build a cemetery. A few decades later the land was confiscated and the community expelled. Since then, very little has been known about the location of the burial site. But now, a team of archaeologists say the cemetery is right beneath land that is to house a new billion-crown commercial centre. Dita Asiedu reports:

Back in spring, a team of archaeologists headed by Radek Siroky was commissioned to examine a piece of land ahead of plans to build the Plaza Shopping and Entertainment Centre. After a preliminary examination of the 4,700m2, the researchers say there is reason to believe that the site holds relics of an ancient Jewish burial ground:
"The cemetery dates back to the 15th century. Unlike Christian graves, the Jewish ones are usually well preserved. We can learn how the people looked, what illness they suffered from, and it is possible to easily examine the population sample.

Archaeologically excavated medieval Jewish cemeteries are really only known from three European cities - Barcelona in Spain, York in England, and Prague in the Czech Republic. It is necessary to carry out a very detailed archaeological excavation of the construction area very carefully, centimetre by centimetre. It is an area of 4,700 square metres and around two metres deep."

Read the rest of this article...

Early humans followed the coast

Learning how to live off the sea may have played a key role in the expansion of early humans around the globe.

After leaving Africa, human groups probably followed coastal routes to the Americas and South-East Asia.

Professor Jon Erlandson says the maritime capabilities of ancient humans have been greatly underestimated.

He has found evidence that early peoples in California pursued a sophisticated seafaring lifestyle 10,000 years ago.

Read the rest of this article...

Konferenz für Computeranwendungen in der Archäologie (CAA) 2007 in Berlin

Vom 2. bis zum 6. April 2007 findet in Berlin die 35. Internationale Jahreskonferenz für Computeranwendungen und quantitative Methoden in der Archäologie (CAA) unter der Schirmherrschaft von Bundesaußenminister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier statt.

Ziel der Konferenz ist es, Experten verschiedener Disziplinen zusammenzubringen, um neue Entwicklungen im Bereich archäologischer Computeranwendungen zu diskutieren. Eingeschlossen sind dabei Methoden und Anwendungen von 3D-Rekonstruktionen, geographische Informationssysteme, Web-Datenbanken, Photogrammetrie, Statistik sowie eine große Zahl weiterer Bereiche.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Apollonia: Antiquities Under A Hotel And Old Houses

Tombs from antiquity are waiting to be discovered under old houses in Apollonia and a modern hotel has been built on part of the Western Necropolis, Professor Andre Laronde from Sorbonne University in Paris, told the Society for Libyan Studies today.

Professor Laronde described the excavations of the French Mission in Apollonia near to Al-Bayda, 115 miles north-east of Benghazi and 12 miles north of Cyrene.

Established in the 7th century BC, Apollonia was the port of Cyrene, for more than a millennium. It was founded by Greek colonists and became a significant commercial centre in the southern Mediterranean. It remained autonomous from Cyrene during the Roman period, and even surpassed it as the major city of the region in the 6th century AD. The theatre is sited in a particularly picturesque location by the sea. Other buildings include the Eastern, Central and Western Basilicas and the Byzantine Palace.

Read the rest of this article...

Moves to keep Pictish symbol stone in Angus

EFFORTS TO keep a Pictish stone found in Angus in the county permanently are to be made in earnest.

Angus councillors yesterday gave officials their backing in negotiating the retention of the Dunnichen Stone, which has been on loan from Dundee for the last decade.

Members of the environmental and leisure services committee agreed to the move after sanctioning an extension to the loan deal, which will see the stone stay at the Meffan in Forfar for another five years.

Read the rest of this article...

Story of Scotland in 22,000 ruins

THEY are memorials to a bygone era, yet people pass them every day without taking any notice.

Now agencies have come together to launch a £740,000 campaign to pinpoint 22,000 ruined settlements, including hamlets and clachans not recorded until now.
It has taken years of research by archaeologists and researchers from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to locate what are potentially important relics of life in Scotland.

They have scrutinised some 2000 Ordinance Survey maps from the 18th and 19th century, recording farmsteads, townships, crofts, weaver's cottages, mills, quarries, and fields.

The next stage is to investigate what remains of the settlements, establish how old they are, and check what state they are in.

Read the rest of this article...

Bronze Age canoe to be moved

A priceless Bronze Age canoe which was unearthed during work on a gas pipeline will be lifted into the 21st century today.

The ancient artefact is believed to be up to 3,400 years old and was discovered outside Milford Haven, west Wales, earlier this summer.

Experts believe the object is a dug-out canoe, or cooking trough, which has been carved from a single trunk of oak.

It is due to be lifted into a specially made crate late this morning, weather permitting, after centuries of slumber at a site near St Botolph’s.

It was spotted by an archaeologist monitoring construction work on the new National Grid natural gas pipeline that will run between Milford Haven and Aberdulais.

Read the rest of this article...


A recent Time Team investigation at a medieval chapel or keeill site on the Isle of Man has unearthed a remarkable stone slab that may reveal some interesting insights into the history of the island.

Several exciting finds were made at the filmed excavation at the Mount Murray Country Club, but the most unusual was a small stone slab bearing an incised inscription written in a script no longer in use.

The letters are from an alphabet known as Ogham, which has its origins in Ireland and was common around 1600 years ago. The tablet is also unique in that the few Ogham inscriptions previously discovered on the island have tended to be memorials to individuals or inscriptions with the Ogham alphabet spelt out.

“This find is really important – in fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s of national significance, and is already causing a bit of a stir amongst academics from England and Scotland,” explained Andrew Johnson, Field Archaeologist for Manx National Heritage.

Read the rest of this article...

Roman mosaics found on Quantocks

Archaeologists working on the Quantock Hills in Somerset have uncovered evidence of a substantial Roman villa with a mosaic floor in the main room.

The findings are part of a six-year study carried out on six separate sites around the area.

The dig team said the villa at Yarford is one of the most westerly villas with mosaic floors found in Roman Britain.

It was subjected to three seasons of excavation but has since been buried again to protect it for the future.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient hair dye used nanotechnology

A 2000-year-old recipe for hair dye shows Ancient Greeks and Romans used nanotechnology to permanently colour grey hair black, say experts.

Dr Philippe Walter of the French state museum agency's Centre for Research and Restoration and colleagues report their findings online in the journal Nano Letters.

The researchers made up a batch of dye according to a recipe used since Greco-Roman times, which includes a mixture of lead oxide and slaked lime.

They soaked 50 milligrams of blond human hair in the dye for three days, then studied the hair closely.

Read the rest of this article...

Bulgarian Archaeologists: Ancient Thracians Made Brain Surgeries

Bulgarian archaeological expedition discovered an ancient Thracian man's skull, which had undergone cranium surgery.

The skull was found near the Southeast Bulgarian city of Svilengrad, where archaeologists make rescue excavations.

The trepanation was done for medical reasons and it is the first one believed to be from Thracian times, chief archaeologist Georgi Nehrizov commented. The find is dated year 2500-1800 BC.

During the 2000s, Bulgarian archaeologists made discoveries in Central Bulgaria, which were summarized, as "The Valley of the Thracian Kings". On August 19 2005, some archaeologists announced they had found the first Thracian capital.

Read the rest of this article...

Konferenz für Computeranwendungen in der Archäologie (CAA) 2007 in Berlin

Vom 2. bis zum 6. April 2007 findet in Berlin die 35. Internationale Jahreskonferenz für Computeranwendungen und quantitative Methoden in der Archäologie (CAA) unter der Schirmherrschaft von Bundesaußenminister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier statt.

Ziel der Konferenz ist es, Experten verschiedener Disziplinen zusammenzubringen, um neue Entwicklungen im Bereich archäologischer Computeranwendungen zu diskutieren. Eingeschlossen sind dabei Methoden und Anwendungen von 3D-Rekonstruktionen, geographische Informationssysteme, Web-Datenbanken, Photogrammetrie, Statistik sowie eine große Zahl weiterer Bereiche.

Read the rest of this article...

£50m needed to rescue 'crumbling' Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral, the “mother church” of the Anglican Communion, is crumbling and needs £50 million if it is to be preserved for the nation.

The cathedral’s trustees said yesterday that a combination of old age and modern pollution were causing serious damage. The consequences for the 900-year-old Early English Gothic building would be “potentially disastrous” if urgent action were not taken.

Surveyors have described masonry crashing down from parts of the building, leaking roofs and stone and Purbeck marble pillars held together with “bits of string” to keep them safe. If repairs are not carried out soon, some parts of the structture risk being designated health-and-safety hazards and closed to the public.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

British Museum acts on online antiquities

The British Museum is joining forces with the online auctioneer Ebay to prevent valuable antiquities being sold illegally on the internet.

The London-based museum, one of the world's pre-eminent cultural institutions, has set up a team to monitor all antiquities sold on Ebay, and to make sure their sellers have a right to trade them.

If it finds a listing to be illegal, it will report it to the Metropolitan Police art and antiques unit.

All archaeological finds from England, Wales and Northern Ireland that constitute "treasure" must be reported to the UK authorities under the 1997 Treasure Act. Failing to report a find is a criminal offence.

Read the rest of this article...

Medieval hall discovered in barn

Experts are urging property owners in Wales to help them discover buildings with historical value to preserve the nation's heritage.

The call came after a couple from Hengoed in Denbighshire discovered one of their outbuildings was originally a 15th century medieval hall house.

Historians have dated the building using dendrochronology - the analysis of tree rings in timbers - to 1447.

Experts said the find was "extremely rare".

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Delving deep into Britain's past

Scientists are to begin work on the second phase of a project aimed at piecing together the history of human colonisation in Britain.

Phase one of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB) discovered people were here 200,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Phase two has now secured funds to the tune of £1m and will run until 2010.

Team members hope to find out more about Britain's earliest settlers and perhaps unearth their fossil remains.

Read the rest of this article...


THIS is the first glance of an amazing discovery made when television archaeology programme Time Team filmed here.
It is a piece of stone inscribed with Ogham script which could be almost 1,000-years-old.

It is one of only a handful of examples of the writing ever found and has been described by Time Team presenter Tony Robinson and Manx National Heritage's field archaeology curator Andrew Johnson as of 'national significance'.

Full story in today's Isle of Man Examiner.

Read the rest of this article...

Scientists bid to take Neanderthal DNA sample

SCIENTISTS are attempting to extract DNA for the first time from the fossilised bones thought to be of a Neanderthal man who roamed Britain 35,000 years ago.

Experts plan to use a tooth from an upper jaw to establish whether the closest relative of modern humans lived on the British Isles later than it was once thought.
Click to learn more...

The fragment of an upper jaw, which was found in 1926 at Kent's Cavern in Devon, was originally thought to be human, but experts now think it could date back even further.

Chris Stringer, research leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum in London, said it was a critical test that could have historic results. The only late Neanderthal fossils on the British Isles were found on the Channel Islands around 1910.

Read the rest of this article...

French police seize ancient bracelet from Romania

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The French police have seized a 2,000-year-old bracelet put up for sale in Paris after being stolen from an archaeological dig in Romania, Romanian officials said on Thursday.

"After Romanian police tipped off their French counterparts, the Paris police seized a golden bracelet from the Grand Palais exhibition," the Romanian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

It said the 24-carat Roman-Dacian bracelet, weighing more than a kilogram (2.2 pounds), had been put up for sale by a New York-based gallery at a price of 90,000 euros ($114,000).

The bracelet is one of a collection of 15 pieces believed dug up by thieves from an archaeological site in Transylvania six years ago.

Read the rest of this article...

DNA plan for 'Neanderthal' tooth

Scientists are hoping to extract DNA from a piece of jawbone found in Devon thought to be from a Neanderthal man who roamed Britain 35,000 years ago.

Experts plan to use an upper jaw tooth to establish whether the closest relative of modern humans lived on the British Isles later than thought.

The jaw fragment was found at Kents Cavern in Torquay in 1927 and was originally thought to be human.

But experts now think it could date back even further.

Read the rest of this article...