Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fundraising for political campaign - Campaign to Save Tara

The Campaign to Save Tara intends to mount a political campaign for the
upcoming General Election in Ireland that is due in May/June 2007. We
consider this to be the final opportunity to Save Tara. With that in
mind, the Campaign is mounting a fundraising effort to finance this

Read the rest of this news release...

Castell Aberlleiniog

Following the article "New life for castle that has kept its secrets for 900 years" published on this weblog on Saturday, March 24, Mark Morgan (of Egyptology Blog) has written to say that there are online pictures of the castle at:



Modern house hunters might be looking for on-street parking or easy access to the shops, but a new survey of caves in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales is helping to show how prehistoric man chose his dwellings.

The three-year-long survey looked at some 190 caves in the Peak District and 230 in the Yorkshire Dales and was organised by archaeologists from the University of Sheffield and the University of Bradford.

The project team systematically recorded the setting and dimensions of each cave and looked for archaeological deposits in them to establish what features made particular caves attractive for use in the past. Many previously unrecorded caves were included in the study.

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Pre-historic cave-dwellers may have placed the same emphasis on finding the right location for their homes as modern house-hunters, a new study has revealed.

Four hundred caves in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks were studied for the £95,000 project funded by English Heritage.

It found that the size of the cave, the direction of view from its entrance and its location were all important in determining whether particular caves were used 6,000 years ago.

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Archaeology study on site of possible reservoir

Teams of archaeological experts will be scouring part of the countryside near Lewes for evidence of historic finds.
Archaeologists are to carry out detailed site investigation work on land at Clay Hill, just outside Ringmer.

The work forms part of two-year-long planning, geological and environmental surveys being carried out by South East Water to determine if the site is suitable for a new reservoir.

Archaeology experts will use both conventional methods and 21st century technology to carry out the investigations this spring and summer. They will also be consulting with Ringmer Historical Society.

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Man's earliest direct ancestors looked more apelike than previously believed

First humans retained surprisingly apelike features, NYU study reveals

Modern man"s earliest known close ancestor was significantly more apelike than previously believed, a New York University College of Dentistry professor has found.

A computer-generated reconstruction by Dr. Timothy Bromage, a paleoanthropologist and Adjunct Professor of Biomaterials and of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, shows a 1.9 million-year-old skull belonging to Homo rudolfensis, the earliest member of the human genus, with a surprisingly small brain and distinctly protruding jaw, features commonly associated with more apelike members of the hominid family living as much as three million years ago.

Dr. Bromage"s findings call into question the extent to which H. rudolfensis differed from earlier, more apelike hominid species. Specifically, he is the first scientist to produce a reconstruction of the skull that questions renowned paleontologist and archeologist Richard Leakey"s depiction of modern man"s earliest direct ancestor as having a vertical facial profile and a relatively large brain – an interpretation widely accepted until now.

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Viking woman had roots near the Black Sea

The bones of one of the women found in one of Norway's most famous Viking graves suggest her ancestors came from the area around the Black Sea.

The woman herself was "Norwegian," claims Professor Per Holck at the University of Oslo, who has conducted analyses of DNA material taken from her bones.

But Holck says that while she came from the area that today is Norway, her forefathers may have lived n the Black Sea region.

Holck, attached to the anthropological division of the university's anatomy institute (Anatomisk institutt), isn't willing to reveal more details pending publication of an article in the British magazine "European Archaeology" later this year.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fundraising for archaeological report on Tara / M3

TaraWatch group started a fundraising towards the cost of generating a professional archaeological assessment of the M3 motorway at the Hill of Tara (Ireland). TaraWatch has opened a PayPal account for the sole purpose of raising money to pay for an archaeological consultancy company to assess the 38 sites being excavated between Navan and Dunshaughlin and generate a report. This report wil be used for complaints to the European Union, World Monuments Fund, and other bodies. This is considered an emergency situation, and time is of the essence, as this may be the last realistic hope for saving Tara from the M3 motorway.

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Shipwreck mystery uncovered on beach

Have the shifting sands of Montrose beach revealed the other half of a 19th century shipwreck uncovered last year?

It was about this time last year that the bow section of a wooden boat, long buried beneath the sands, was exposed for a brief period by the movement of the tides at the north end of the beach.

Last week another wreck partially reappeared, around half a mile further along the beach.

“It is of similar construction to last year’s wreck and this time it is a stern section, with the rudder still clearly visible,” said local shipping historian John Aitken.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Save Tara float wins prize in Trim parade

The Campaign to save Tara participated in three festival parades in
County Meath on Saturday in Athboy, Trim and Navan. The Campaign is a
cultural and environmental collective of voluntary organisations and
concerned citizens who feel strongly that the Tara Skryne valley is of
national and international importance and its integrity should be

The Campaign entry in each of the parades consisted of two floats and a
colour party with three women symbolizing the three ancient Goddesses of
Ireland; Ériu, Banbha, and Fódhla, who traditionally stand for
Sovereignty, Wisdom and Justice. The triple Goddesses upheld that these
three principles are being breached by the the routing of the proposed
M3 tolled motorway through the Tara/ Skryne Valley.

On a day when Irish culture, history, values and identity were being
celebrated worldwide the Campaign to save Tara called on members of the
Government, particularly the Taoiseach, the Minister for Transport and
the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to
reverse the decision to build the M3 on a landscape which is both
timeless and priceless.

Read the rest of this press release...

Spain and Britain to dive for treasure on 1694 wreck

Three hundred years after the British warship Sussex sank in a storm off southern Spain, researchers are preparing to dive to the site to see if it was carrying a fortune in gold coins.

Spain and Britain said on Friday they had agreed to start underwater exploration to find the ship that sank near Gibraltar in 1694. Any treasure will be claimed by Britain, the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.

According to the Council for British Archaeology's (CBA) website, the Sussex was taking money to the Duke of Savoy in Italy in exchange for his help in the war against French King Louis XIV.

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New life for castle that has kept its secrets for 900 years

AN ancient castle which has been off limits to the public since it was built in 1088 is about to reveal its secrets for the first time.

Aberlleiniog Castle, located on the south east corner of Anglesey, has been witness to a long and fascinating series of owners and events.

The little-known castle has been the site of a murder mystery, love triangles and even fatal duels, but few people are aware of its significance and no one has been allowed to visit for almost a thousand years.

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Delving into past of Roman village sites

ARCHAEOLOGISTS who have unearthed six former Roman villa estates in the west of the county will unveil their latest findings at the end of the month.
More than 100 volunteers, consisting of historians, archaeologists and villagers have conducted a detailed analysis of the landscape around Bugbrooke, Flore, Harpole, Nether Heyford and Weedon in the last three years.

Although nine Roman settlements were found in total, they have successfully identified six Roman villas dating from the third and fourth centuries.
The Community Landscape Archaeology Project, called Local People, Local Past, has been funded by a £15,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery fund through the Countryside Agency and £6,000 from parish collections.

The project has been spearheaded by Stephen Young, an archaeologist who helped excavate several Roman sites in the Nether Heyford area during the past 10 years.

Read the rest of this article...

Why the Greeks could hear plays from the back row

An ancient theatre filters out low-frequency background noise.

The wonderful acoustics for which the ancient Greek theatre of Epidaurus is renowned may come from exploiting complex acoustic physics, new research shows.

The theatre, discovered under a layer of earth on the Peloponnese peninsula in 1881 and excavated, has the classic semicircular shape of a Greek amphitheatre, with 34 rows of stone seats (to which the Romans added a further 21).

Its acoustics are extraordinary: a performer standing on the open-air stage can be heard in the back rows almost 60 metres away. Architects and archaeologists have long speculated about what makes the sound transmit so well.

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Norman House find

Contractors working on the £12 million revamp of Shrewsbury’s Music Hall have made a startling discovery after uncovering a Norman house within its structure.

An archaeological evaluation of the site has revealed that Vaughan’s Mansion, which was originally thought to date back to Tudor times, is actually a defensive house which could be 800 years old.

Councillor Charles Armstrong, portfolio holder for leisure, said the Music Hall was a “time capsule of history” and said the shock discovery would lead to the Mansion becoming a key focal point for the whole scheme.

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Turning back time to York 1300

RESEARCHERS from York Archaeological Trust have identified a remarkable artefact which shows that in 1300, York was at the forefront of science and engineering.

The object, a small circular copper-alloy disc, was discovered during excavations on the site of the former York College For Girls in Low Petergate.

It has been cleaned to reveal an abbreviated Latin inscription around its edge - SIGNUM ROBERTI HOROLOGIARII - which translates as "The seal of Robert the clockmaker".

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Contested Getty antiquities arrive in Greece

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has returned two ancient masterpieces long claimed by Greece on grounds of illegal provenance, the Greek culture ministry said on Friday.

The items, a gold funerary wreath and a marble woman's torso, arrived on Thursday evening on an Olympic Airlines flight from New York in "excellent condition", a ministry official told AFP.

"The antiquities will be stored at the Archaeological Museum in Athens, and will be officially presented by Minister George Voulgarakis on March 29," she said.

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Italy recovers hundreds of artifacts

Italian police said Thursday they have recovered about 300 ancient artifacts and thousands of fragments believed to have been illegally excavated in central Italy.

Six people were under investigation on possible charges that included trafficking of antiquities, but nobody has been arrested, Rome Carabinieri police said.

The items recovered include vases, jars and cups. Among the most precious objects was an 11-inch Greek vase dating to 600 B.C.-580 B.C. and featuring black figures. Some of the items were sold at the Porta Portese flea market, held every Sunday in Rome.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Archaeology may delay flats plan

Archaeologists could be called in to search for the remains of a medieval hospital on the site of a former nightclub in Shropshire.

The Hospital St John is thought to have been situated where the Old Vic club is currently, on the corner of Victoria Road and Roft Street in Oswestry.

Developers want to convert the Victorian building into 24 apartments, adding an extension on the east side.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists sniff out world's oldest perfumes

Archaeologists have unearthed the world's oldest perfumes on the island of Cyprus - 4,000-year-old sweet smelling concoctions brewed from lavender, bay, rosemary, pine or coriander, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The discovery was made at a 43,000 sq ft site at Pyrgos, on the south of the island, where the Italian team believes there was a vast perfume-making facility. Among the equipment left after the area was buried by an earthquake around 1850 BC were distilling stills, mixing bowls, and alabaster perfume amphorae. Lead archaeologist Maria Rosa Belgiorno enthused: "We were astonished at how big the place was. Perfumes must have been produced on an industrial scale."

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Archaeologists investigate nighthawking

A new report will look into the illegal removal and sale of antiquities and artefacts in Britain.

A team from Oxford Archaeology has announced plans to examine the practice of 'nighthawking', or the removal of antiquities from archaeological sites illegally.

More and more illicit archaeological treasures and antiquities are being traded on websites such as online auction house eBay, causing concern among experts.

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Location: Worldwide Length: 18 min.

This film introduces CyArk, a project of the Kacyra Family Foundation that is preserving the world's most valued cultural heritage sites in three-dimensional digital form. Realizing that World Heritage Sites steadily undergo decay, the CyArk team has set about to use the latest laser-scanning technology to collect the most accurate 3D models possible from these sites and store them safely in a publicly accessible archive. This introduction covers the threats to the world's cultural heritage, describes the technology used and explains the CyArk strategy.

Watch the Video...

Bosnian archaeologists discover fabled ships

A team of Bosnia-Herzegovina's archaeologists have discovered for the first time the remnants of fabled Illyrian ships in a marshland in southern Herzegovina, the team's head said on Tuesday.

Snjezana Vasilj told local media in Mostar that the ships were discovered about eight metres under the water of Hutovo blato, a marshland near the southern town of Capljina.

The Illyrian ships, believed to be more than 2 200 years old, had been known to historians only through Greek and Roman myths and legends, but their existence had never been physically proven, said Vasilj.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Greeks enlist Louvre in battle for Elgin Marbles

Greece is putting pressure on the Louvre museum in its long-running campaign to retrieve the Elgin marbles from Britain.

The Greeks have refused to lend the French an ancient sculpture for an exhibition because, they say, it is too fragile to be moved from Athens.

But Louvre sources believe the bronze artwork is being used as a bargaining chip to pressure the museum into joining Greek calls for the Elgin marbles - taken from Greece in the nineteenth century and now in the British Museum - to be returned to Athens.

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The way the Treasure Act 1996 is administered is changing

From today the British Museum will provide certain services to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport in relation to the performance of her functions under the Treasure Act. These services will include the valuation of treasure finds, the invoicing of museums, the payment of rewards and supporting the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Locating the performance of these functions within one body will improve the service offered to finders of Treasure, landowners, occupiers and acquiring museums. Those involved will only have to deal with a single set of staff who will be better placed to ensure the smooth progress of any Treasure find through the system.

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Renfrew expands understanding of cognitive archaeology

Lord Colin Renfrew, an influential and innovative archaeologist for more than three decades, will present this year's John and Penelope Biggs Lecture in the Classics as part of the Assembly Series at 4 p.m. March 22 in Graham Chapel. Titled "Becoming Human: The Cognitive Archaeology of Humankind," the talk is free and open to the public

Renfrew's groundbreaking research has provoked theoretical debate on archaeological methods and interpretation. He is internationally renowned for his contributions to archaeological science, including his work on radiocarbon dating, European prehistory, the origins of language, and DNA and archaeogenetics.

In the 1980s, he was a pioneer in the development of social archaeology, which focuses on the dynamics of past social relationships and their role in archaeological interpretation. He has dedicated himself to preventing looting of archaeological sites and raising awareness of the ethical aspects of his profession.

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Irish Times: Ancient sites dismantled along M3 route

Ancient sites dismantled along M3 route
Liam Reid, Environment Correspondent

Irish Times
Saturday, March 17, 2007

A series of ancient underground buildings from the early Christian era
have been dismantled in recent days to make way for the controversial
M3 motorway.

The buildings, on one of the largest historical sites discovered along
the proposed route, were logged and then removed by a team of
archaeologists in advance of work on the road.

Dating back 1,300 years, they are the first stone archaeological
features to be taken down as part of the motorway project. The move has
led to a series of protests. Yesterday historians and archaeologists
attached to the Save Tara campaign said the buildings, just north of
Dunshaughlin, could be part of a royal site and therefore directly
linked to the Hill of Tara.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Roestown national monument at Tara removed

The NRA and Meath County Council have removed an incredible underground souterrain complex

In the last few days one of the most important newly discovered sites along the path of the M3 motorway was removed completely, and 'preserved' by record

The complex of beehive souterrains, triple and double, interconnected, has been removed.

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Ancient sites dismantled along M3 route

A series of ancient underground buildings from the early Christian era have been dismantled in recent days to make way for the controversial M3 motorway.

(This is taken from the online version of the Irish Times, which unfortunately requires a paid subscription for access. None of my usual sources carry this important story, so if anyone knows of an online version, please email me the URL and I will post it on the weblog.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fundraising drive for professional archaeological report on Tara / M3

TaraWatch has opened a PayPal account for the sole purpose of raising money to pay for an archaeological consultancy company to assess the 38 sites being excavated between Navan and Dunshaughlin and generate a report. This report wil be used for complaints to the European Union, World Monuments Fund, and other bodies. This is an emergency situation, and time is of the essence. Please make a one time donation, of an amount of your choosing. If you do not have a PayPal account you can still use a credit or debit card. Please pass the word, as this is our last realistic hope for saving Tara from the M3 motorway.

We will contract with a company abroad like Oxford Archaeology to do the work, as it is common knowledge that Irish-based firms will not do it, because of their dependence on the National Roads Authority for contracts. Oxford did the Kampsax Report on Carrickmines Castle and the M50 for the EU, which was a daming review of what happened there.

Further information...


ST. PATRICK AND TARA - No Place for Heritage and Tradition in the New Ireland

Legend records that St. Patrick lit his Pascal Fire on the Hill of
Slane, just as the pagan fire was to be lit on Tara. The druids at Tara
warn the king, Loegaire son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, that unless
they put out the fire it will outlive their pagan fire forever. Loegaire
is feasting in the banqueting hall when Patrick enters and confronts the
‘great, fierce, pagan emperor of the barbarians reigning in Tara, which
was the capital of the Irish’. In one version of the story Loegaire
refuses baptism and insists on being buried in pagan fashion – that is
upright and fully armed in the ramparts of Tara facing his hereditary
enemy, the king of Leinster. This is the landscape targeted by the
proposed M3 motorway.

Read the rest of this press release...

See also site photos...

Hill of a fight looming over Bannockburn

IT PLAYED a key role in the greatest ever Scottish victory over the English but - almost 700 years after the fight ended - it now faces annihilation.

Robert the Bruce's camp followers sheltered behind what became Gillies Hill during the 14th-century Battle of Bannockburn until their legendary, and decisive, charge against the enemy towards the end of the conflict.

But the historic mound - renamed after the battle in their honour - is set to be eradicated as a result of quarrying for stone to use in making roads.

Although the site has been scarred by small-scale quarrying for more than a century, the local council admits far more extensive work is about to begin and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

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Flipping through the Book of the Earth

An educational exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art documents the keyrole of foreign archaeological institutes in issues of ancient heritage

An archaeologist's dream, Greece owes many of its discoveries - from shrines to settlements to shipwrecks - to foreign archaeological schools and institutes. A total of 17 such foundations with a history of some 160 years are currently active in Greece.

The foreign institutes' multifaceted contributions over the last 160 years were celebrated between November 2005 and January 2006 with an anniversary exhibition at the Megaron Mousikis, as well as the publication of a volume detailing the various schools' academic and field research. A new exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art titled An Excavation Chronicle of the Foreign Archaeological Schools in Greece - The Leaves of the Book of the Earth Revealed and a complementary volume of the different schools' work further document their key role in the preservation of our ancient heritage.

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Oxford Archaeology is to undertake a new project to collate intelligence and monitor activity around the illegal removal of antiquities, otherwise known as nighthawking, from archaeological sites.

The Nighthawks Study will collect data on the extent of damage to our archaeological heritage caused by nighthawking, and a web portal allowing people to fill in an online questionnaire will be launched in April/May 2007.

Backed by English Heritage, Cadw, Historic Scotland, National Museums of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the project will cover the whole of the UK and the Crown dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

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An Athenian Head of Aristotle from the Acropolis

The Greek Archaeological Service recently revealed a newly discovered head of Aristotle (384-322 BC) from the Athenian Acropolis, complete with a hooked nose. Previously known heads of Aristotle had broken or straight noses and Alkestis Horemi, the excavator, has described the portrait as ‘the best-preserved likeness ever found’, adding that ‘This is the only bust portraying the philosopher with a hooked nose in line with ancient descriptions’.

The excavators date the head to the 1st century AD because of its parallels to portraits of Augustus (27 BC - AD 14) and other early Julio-Claudians, although some features such as the long locks over the forehead actually bear a striking resemblance to portraits of Septimius Severus (AD 193 - 211). Greek portraits tended to be idealised, Republican Roman ones hyper-realised; the best example of this is Cleopatra, who had a small nose in Hellenistic Greek busts but a large one on coins associated with the Romans. The differing depictions of Aristotle are thus the result of design for different audiences at different periods.

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Stone Age Massacre Revealed in British Tombs

Gruesome evidence found in ancient burial chambers reveals a period of violence and instability in Stone Age Britain, according to archaeologists.

Signs of bloody massacres and fractured societies are emerging from research that used new dating techniques to age prehistoric skeletons and burial sites in southern England.

The sites include Wayland's Smithy in Oxfordshire, where the remains of 14 people show evidence of an ancient massacre, according to a team led by the U.K. government body English Heritage.

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49. Jahrestagung der Hugo Obermaier-Gesellschaft

Die 49. Tagung der Hugo Obermaier-Gesellschaft, eines der größten Fachtreffen für die Archäologie des Eiszeitalters in Mitteleuropa, wird in diesem Jahr vom 10.-14. April in Trento stattfinden.

Lokaler Veranstalter ist das Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali. Wegen des großen Interesses und vieler Vorträge von italienischen und anderen ausländischen Kolleginnen und Kollegen wird die gesamte Tagung in englischer Sprache durchgeführt. Die zugehörigen Exkursionen finden vom 13.-14. April statt, unter anderem in die Grotta di Fumane, das Riparo Tagliente und zu einigen norditalienischen

Alle weiteren Informationen können im Internet abgerufen werden, unter: www.uf.uni-erlangen.de/obermaier/hogtagungen.html

Look what the Romans have done for our garden

A CORNER of Ancient Rome is being lovingly recreated in Leeds as the centrepiece of a special garden.

Expert stonemasons are busy chipping away at Leeds City Council's nurseries at Red Hall to lay the foundations for the city's Roman-themed entry to this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

The council's Scent of a Roman entry draws its inspiration from archaeological and historical evidence that Leeds was home to a Roman settlement.

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Bronze Age treasures for museum

Bronze Age gold exhibits from between 1300 BC and 1150 BC are to go on display at Cirencester's Corinium Museum.
The 59 pieces were found near Fairford, Gloucestershire, and were bought by the museum for £20,000.

The collection will be taken away for restoration work in September before being permanently housed in the museum.

The museum, in the Cotswolds, re-opened in 2004 after a £5m transformation plan was carried out.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pharaoh's pots give up their secrets

FOR a century, they have been on display in the Louvre museum in Paris, labelled as Canopic jars holding the embalmed innards of the great Egyptian pharaoh Rameses II. But the four pots, covered in hieroglyphs, are not what they seem.

An analysis by French chemists has revealed that the jars in fact contain ordinary cosmetics, produced at a much later date.

The blue jars arrived in the Louvre in 1905. They carry the name of Rameses II, and seemed to contain embalmed organs, including a trace of what appeared to be heart tissue. Yet Rameses's actual mummy still has its heart - the one organ ancient Egyptians left inside mummies so it could be weighed in the afterlife by the god Thoth. "The jars look like the pots of unguents found in King Tut's tomb, among others, not like other Canopic jars," says Jacques Connan of the University of Strasbourg, France.

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20 coffins found at ancient burial site

At least 20 coffins thought to date back to the medieval period have been discovered at an ancient burial ground found at a Preston building site.

Construction work on a new hotel and student accommodation behind the Brunel Court flats on Marsh Lane stopped when developers uncovered five coffins last month.

Experts were called in to investigate the discoveries, thought to be from the 14th or 15th centuries, and it is understood at least 20 coffins have now been identified.

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Ancient Mashed Grapes Found in Greece

Either the ancient Greeks loved grape juice, or they were making wine nearly 6,500 years ago, according to a new study that describes what could be the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes.

If the charred 2,460 grape seeds and 300 empty grape skins were used to make wine, as the researchers suspect, the remains might have belonged to the second oldest known grape wine in the world, edged out only by a residue-covered Iranian wine jug dating to the sixth millennium B.C.

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Archaeologists uncover WWI underground village

A HUGE complex of secret tunnels built by Scots soldiers during the First World War has been discovered under a field in Belgium.

Archaeologists searching for the underground headquarters of a British unit found a maze of flooded tunnels covering an area the size of three football pitches.

Using radar technology, the team discovered a once-famous complex of corridors, mess rooms and sleeping quarters known as Vampire Dugout, 40ft under a muddy field near Ypres in Flanders.

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New find in Roman Circus excavation

THE final piece in the archaeological jigsaw that is Colchester's Roman Circus has been found by excavators, the EADT can reveal.

The location of the 12 gates that released the competitors into frenetic and often violent chariot races was discovered near the sergeants' mess building in the former Colchester Garrison at Abbey Field.

These would have operated in the same way as greyhound traps, unleashing the charioteers on to the quarter-mile long opening stretch of the track.

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Ancient perfume found on Venus' island

Archaeologists exploring Cyprus, said to be home to Venus, the goddess of love, have stumbled upon the world's oldest known perfume factory.

A display of the prehistoric scents and 60 objects from the Cyprus discovery can be seen at Rome's Capitoline Museums, ANSA reported. The distilling equipment is believed to be 4,000 years old.

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Neuer Bachelor-Studiengang 'Archäologische Restaurierung' in Mainz

Die Johannes Gutenberg-Universität und das Römisch-Germanische Zentralmuseum (RGZM) in Mainz starten einen neuen Bachelor-Studiengang "Archäologische Restaurierung", der theoretische und praktische Ausbildungsinhalte vereint.

Denn die Arbeit die Restaurierung archäologischer Artefakte erfordert nicht nur viel Fingerspitzengefühl und handwerkliches Können, sondern gleichzeitig fundierte Kenntnisse in vor- und frühgeschichtlicher Archäologie, in Naturwissenschaften, vor allem Chemie und Materialwissenschaften.

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Mannheim feiert 400jähriges Bestehen und ist doch älter

Zwar wird schon lange vermutet das Mannheim nicht nur eine reine barocke Planstadt ist, sondern eine mittelalterliche Vorgängersiedlung hatte, doch erst jetzt gibt es die ersten wirklich konkreten Hinweise. Bei einer Ausgrabung in der Innenstadt kamen Siedlungsreste des 12. - 15. Jahrhunderts zu Tage.

Gerade rechtzeitig zum 400jährigen Stadtjubiläum ist es Archäologen und Ehrenamtlichen der Reiss- Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim gelungen, im Quadrat M 1 auf einer Ausgrabungsfläche von ca. 50 qm die ersten jemals in Mannheim entdeckten mittelalterlichen Siedlungsreste des 12. bis 15. Jahrhunderts freizulegen.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mystery of Ancient Bulgarian City Uncovered

Bulgarian archaeologists uncovered another of the mysteries in the Perperikon area, an ancient living region of Thracians.

The have found a bronze spear from the time of the Trojan War. The finding shows Thracians' sacred city has been a metallurgical centre before more than 3000 years ago. Perperikon was the place where armoury was produced for the belligerent Thracian tribes.

The finding was made accidentally on Sunday in the foothills of Perperikon. The bronze peak, which was some 30 centuries ago was part of Thracians's weapons, of the ancient spire was found intact.

Homer in his Iliad wrote that every warrior had two pikes, nearly two metres long each. According to Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, it is highly probable that the discovered bronze pike peak belonged to a Perperikon warrior, who had participated in the 12-year-long battle for conquering Troy.

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Antonine Wall bid latest

THE TIMETABLE for securing World Heritage Site status for the Antonine Wall has been revealed by the Scottish Executive.

It's claimed that securing such a high level of protection for the Roman wall will give central Scotland and Falkirk district a high profile and should result in a significant number of new visitors to the area.

The decision on whether to accept the nomination of the Antonine Wall is now scheduled to be taken in the summer of next year by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

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Pigs clue to early human colonies

A DNA survey of wild and domestic pigs has thrown new light on how early humans reached the remote Pacific.

Scientists from Durham and Oxford Universities have found a clear genetic link between modern and ancient pigs in East Asia and several Pacific islands.

This suggests that colonists who transported the animals may have travelled from Vietnam via numerous islands, according to the researchers.

Details appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

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Lasst Knochen sprechen: Archäo-Anthropologie heute

Vom 17. bis 20.5.2007 findet an der Universität Basel die gemeinsame Jahrestagung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und der schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie statt.

Die ca. 20 Vorträgen geben ein Überblick über den heutigen Stand der Archäo-Anthropologie und decken das gesamte methodische Spektrum ab, von traditionellen Verfahren bis zu Isotopenanalyse und Alt-DNA.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Experts reveal 'ancient massacre'

Bones found at a prehistoric burial site indicate they belonged to victims of an ancient massacre, say scientists.

Remains of 14 people were discovered at Wayland's Smithy, near Uffington White Horse, Oxfordshire, in the 1960s.

Latest techniques date the bones at between 3590 BC and 3560 BC, and have led experts to believe the people may have died in a Neolithic Age massacre.

English Heritage carried out the work with the help of Cardiff University and the University of Central Lancashire.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Silbury Hill reveals Roman settlement

Archaeologists have discovered a Roman settlement at the base of Silbury Hill, an ancient man-made mound in Wiltshire, southwest England, English Heritage said on Saturday.

The 5,000-year-old hill is the largest man-made prehistoric monument in Europe and appears to contain no burial or shrine. Its original purpose remains a mystery.

The find shows Romans were living in its shadow some 3,000 years after the 34-metre (112-ft) high mound was built.

The village-sized settlement straddled the Roman road from London to Bath and lies where the road crossed the Winterbourne River, an obvious stop-over point for travellers.

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Deadlines für die 13. Jahrestagung der European Association of Archaeologists (EAA)

Die Jahrestagung der EAA findet dieses Jahr vom 18.9. bis 23.9.2007 an der Universität von Zadar (Kroatien) statt. Die erste Anmeldefrist für einzelne Bereiche oder Roundtable-Gespräche innerhalb der drei Themen läuft noch bis zum 30.4.2007.

Die Hauptthemen der diesjährigen Tagung sind "Managing the Archaeological Record and the Cultural Heritage", "Archaeology and the Modern World: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives" und "Archaeology and Material Culture: Interpreting the Archaeological Record".

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

YAT Training Excavation 2007

York Archaeological Trust has begun excavations as part of the Hungate
(York) Regeneration. Over the next five years excavations and research will be conducted on the largest scale urban archaeological excavation in the city for 25 years.

Following the great success of Archaeology Live! training excavations at previous sites in the City of York, St Leonard’s (2001–2004), St Mary’s Abbey (2005) St Saviour’s Church (2006), Archaeology Live! will be running in conjunction the excavations at Hungate during 2007 and beyond. You have the unique opportunity to join in with this exciting journey in to the last 2000 years of the history of York.

The excavation will be looking to answer a number of questions about the site, which has proven to contain deeply stratified archaeology from the Roman period onwards. Small-scale excavations in 2000 and 2002 revealed a complex sequence of burials, structures, occupation deposits and road surfaces dating from as early as the 3rd Century. Significant archaeology, including the burials, lay relatively close to the modern ground surface and was generally well preserved. Excavation which is currently underway has revealed the outlines of buildings and other structures from the 18th and 19th Centuries, with finds including medieval and Viking pottery, carved animal bone, and significant amounts of architectural stone which has been re-used from a medieval church.

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Lovers' padlock fad causes Roman uproar

A teenage fad to attach padlocks to Rome's oldest bridge as a sign of unbreakable love has caused a political ruckus and triggered a mysterious theft.

Every week, hundreds of teenage couples visit the Ponte Milvio and testify to their everlasting love by writing their names on a padlock and clipping it to a chain wrapped around two of the bridge's lampposts. They then throw the keys into the Tiber.

The fad was immortalised last year in I Want You, a romantic novel by Federico Moccia, which has just been turned into a film.

advertisementHowever, the lampposts are now so overburdened that some opposition members of the local council tabled a motion to remove the padlocks and clean up the bridge.

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Roman settlement found next to 'devil's hill'

Evidence of a Roman sacred site has been discovered at the foot of a man-made hill created thousands of years before the Romans arrived in Britain, it was announced yesterday.

English Heritage called the uncovering of the settlement a "startling discovery", and all the more so because it lies next to 5,000-year-old Silbury hill, which at 130ft is Europe's largest man-made prehistoric monument.

The original purpose and use of the Neolithic hill, which took an estimated 20 million man hours to make, still mystifies archaeologists.

Yesterday's disclosure indicates that a Roman community was equally taken with the Wiltshire hill and established a sacred settlement in its shadow, some 3,000 years after it was created.

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Roman clues found at ancient hill

Archaeologists have found traces of a Roman settlement at a 5,000-year-old landmark man-made hill in Wiltshire.

English Heritage believes there was a Roman community at Silbury Hill about 2,000 years ago.

The 130ft Neolithic mound near Avebury - one of Europe's largest prehistoric monuments - is thought to have been created some 3,000 years earlier.

Experts carrying out a project to stabilise the hill say the site may have been a sacred place of pilgrimage.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Unbrushed Teeth Reveal Ancient Diets

Ick factor aside, ancient tartar-encrusted teeth may be a biological gold mine for scientists, thanks to a new technique for extracting food particles from teeth that once belonged to prehistoric humans.

The method already has solved a mystery surrounding what early coastal Brazilians ate.

In the future, similar studies may reveal clues about other ancient diets, particularly in areas with little plant preservation from earlier times.

"There is great potential of dental calculus (old tooth tartar) analysis in past populations that inhabited tropical regions," said Sabine Eggers, co-author on a new study detailing the method.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

£2m Viking centre bid launched

THE preservation of Wirral's Viking Heritage begins later this week with the launch of a £2million three-year project.

Friday morning's event follows the publication of a report detailing the borough's links with the Norse invaders. It also made five key recommendations so that local history can be fully developed for tourist and educational purposes.

Following a successful bid for development funding from the Mersey Waterfront and English Heritage. It was submitted by Friends of Hoylake and Meols Gardens and Open Spaces' steering group The Heritage Project, set up to oversee the study. Chairman, Wirral West MP Stephen Hesford hopes the launch will help put the borough's Norse links firmly on the map.

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The Romans are coming home

ANCIENT treasures including Roman shoes, clothes and chariot straps discovered near Carlisle Castle are coming home to the city.

Some of the most significant finds of the Millennium Dig, which took place between 1998 and 2001, will form the centrepiece of an exhibition marking Carlisle’s rich Roman past.

A lack of facilities in Cumbria meant most of the artifacts were taken to research facilities at Lancaster University for the findings to be preserved and researched.

But, finally, the report has been completed and staff at Carlisle’s Tullie House museum and gallery are getting ready to celebrate the city’s past.

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'Viking' gold ring finds new home

Flintshire's first piece of Viking treasure has gone on display at Mold Museum, prompting a mystery over how it was lost in the first place.

The gold ring, made in the 9th or 10th Century, was found in a field at Nercwys by two amateur detectorists.

The county's principal museums officer, Deborah Snow, said the area has no known Viking settlements.

"It has captured the imagination that 1,000 years ago somebody was walking there and dropped the ring," she said.

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How Vikings Might Have Navigated on Cloudy Days

Vikings navigated the oceans with sundials aboard their Norse ships. But on an overcast day, sundials would have been useless. Many researchers have suggested that the on foggy days, Vikings looked toward the sky through rock crystals called sunstones to give them direction.

No one had tested the theory until recently.

A team sailed the Arctic Ocean aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden and found that sunstones could indeed light the way in foggy and cloudy conditions.

Would have worked

Crystals such as cordierite, calcite or turmaline work like polarizing filters, changing in brightness and color as they detect the angle of sunlight. From these changes, Vikings could have accurately determined where the polarized sky light was coming from and pinpointed the direction of the sun, said biophysicist Gabor Horvath.

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Ruins in Athens may be an ancient market

ATHENS, Greece - Archaeologists have discovered extensive remains of what is believed to be an ancient marketplace with shops and a religious center at the southern edge of Athens, the Culture Ministry said Friday. The finds, in the coastal neighborhood of Voula, date from the 4th or 5th century B.C.

"It is a very large complex," the ministry said. "It was a site of rich financial and religious activity, which was most probably a marketplace."

Marketplaces — or agoras — teemed with shops, open-air stalls and administrative buildings, and were the financial, political and social center of ancient Greek life.

Archaeologists believe the complex belonged to the municipality of Aexonides Halai, among the largest settlements surrounding ancient Athens.

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Ship Excavation Sheds Light On Napoleon's Attack On The Holy Land

Which navy commissioned the boat that sunk off the coast of Acre 200 years ago, which battles was it involved in and how did it end up at the bottom of the sea? The recent findings of marine archaeologists at the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies of the University of Haifa may provide the answers to these questions.

The ship, which sunk off the coast of Acre during a battle between Napoleon, the British navy and possibly the defenders of Acre, 200 years ago, is under excavation and its finds are beginning to shed light on Napoleon's attempt to conquer the Holy Land.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

World heritage sites to get protection from high rise and TV dishes

Britain's 24 world heritage sites are to be "buffered" from unsightly skyscrapers and intrusive home improvements such as stone cladding and satellite dishes, Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, will announce tomorrow.
The new laws will create "buffer zones" around the country's most treasured sites to prevent their being degraded by nearby high-rise buildings. More stringent powers will be given to public inquiries to block insensitive development, and the move will make it easier for controversial building schemes to be "called in" by ministers to protect world heritage sites.

Details will be published in a white paper. It follows concerns from Unesco inspectors that Britain has been putting "at risk" world heritage sites, such as the Tower of London, by allowing huge skyscraper developments. Unesco inspectors will rule in June whether the Tower should be put on a blacklist of endangered heritage sites, making it the only building in the developed world to be classified in this way.

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An Archaeology of Socialism

This fascinating case study of Moisei Ginzburg’s Constructivist masterpiece the Narkomfin Communal House demonstrates how the architect sought to embody Socialist and feminist principles in the form and fabric of the building. In this way an iconic early Communist project functions as a metaphor for the overwhelming optimism and uncompromising espousal of newness in early Communist thought, just as the subsequent behaviour of the building’s inhabitants as they adapted, compromised with and resisted it, is a metaphor for the adaptations and compromises of Communist ideology in the following decades.

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Was Cleopatra really ugly?

THERE is a fast-expanding montage in the Museum of Antiquities within the ancient, sprawling complex of Newcastle University. It's made entirely out of cuttings and what is obvious at once is that Elizabeth Taylor's face is the main image in the stories. This is the Press for one small coin, and it is clearly an explosion. "Over 150,000 websites have used it now," says Lindsay Allason-Jones, director of archaeological museums at the university. "It has stunned us. It's really caught the popular imagination."

What's caused the stir about the coin, which bears the images of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, is its depiction of the latter. A world away from the film star looks of Elizabeth Taylor, who played her glamorously on screen, she has a pointy, beak-like nose and mannish face. She has become the stuff of legend, her love for powerful Mark Antony, a would-be emperor of Rome, inspiring Shakespeare's famous play. It is no wonder that the coin has caused an outrage.

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Ancient building complex near Voula resort

A major building complex dating back to the Classical era (5th-4th century BC) has been found in a plot of land near the southeast Athens coastal resort of Voula, during excavations taking place since 2005.

The complex has a square profile and a 25-metre side and was built around a square compound. The large quantity of ceramics found, as well as many coins, lead archaeologists to believe that it was a public facility with extensive business and religious activities.

The modern-day municipality of Voula is identified with the ancient municipality of Aixonidon Alon, one of the biggest in Attica prefecture.

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Unearthed after 28 centuries

Geneva - An ancient tree trunk unearthed by a landslide in southeastern Switzerland nearly two years ago is more than 28 centuries old, local authorities said Thursday.

The white pine was formally dated by scientists to 808 BC, about 2 815 years ago, Mathias Seifert of the archaelogical service in the canton of Graubuenden told the Swiss news agency ATS.

The tree was found on the banks of the Landquart river near the resort of Klosters in August 2005 following a spate of bad weather that caused flash floods and landslides in the mountainous area.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hera statue follows Zeus find

Archaeologists yesterday hailed the discovery in ancient Dion, near Mount Olympus, of a 2nd century BC statue of Hera, the ancient Greek goddess of marriage and wife of Zeus, a few years after a matching statue of Zeus was found on the same site.

The headless statue of Hera, which is virtually life-sized, had been used by the early Christian inhabitants of Dion as filling for a defensive wall, according to Dimitris Pantermalis, an Aristotle University of Thessaloniki professor who has been leading excavations at Dion for more than 30 years.

“We have concluded that the statue of Hera stood next to that of Zeus in the temple,” Pantermalis said.

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The Guiness Book of the Ancient World

There was no annually published Guinness Book of Records to keep track, but the ancient Greeks and Romans were crazy about setting and breaking records. Now two Swedish archaeologists have compiled a selection.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans liked to keep records of top achievements in sport, nature, anatomy and sex.
Not long after the birth of Christ, when the most debauched phase of Roman history began, the wife of Emperor Claudius -- Messalina, 34 years his junior -- made a name for herself by challenging the city's best known whore to a sex marathon. Who can keep going for longer, the licentious wife wanted to know. She won by holding out for "25 rounds."

Details on the wanton competition can be found in the "Book of Ancient Records," compiled by Allan and Cecilia Klynne and published in Germany by the C.H. Beck publishing house. How fat was the fattest snail? What was the price of the most expensive slave? Swedish archaeologists Cecilia and Allan Klynne provide the answers, free of "academic commentary and lengthy footnotes."

The scientists combed through hundreds of old texts in their search for superlatives. Here are some of the results: The tallest man in the ancient world measured 288 centimeters (9 foot 5 inches), while the shortest (60 centimeters -- 2 feet) was barely as tall as a bedside table. Another treat from the book: The naturalist Pliny reports the case of some conserved beans that were forgotten in the cellar and retained their taste for 220 years.

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Stonehenge secrets may lie by side of the road

AN archaeological expert has claimed that two innocuous-looking stones at the side of a road in Berwick St James could hold clues to the secrets of Stonehenge.

Dennis Price, who is a renowned expert on the site and used to work with Wessex Archaeology, believes the two large stones standing at the side of a lane next to the B3083 could be parts of Stonehenge's mysterious altar stone.

The altar stone, which is believed to be the centrepiece of rituals carried out at Stonehenge, was first discovered in 1620 by the prominent architect, Inigo Jones, when he undertook the first ever investigation into the site.

But before experts could properly document everything at the site, the altar stone was removed and the secrets of Stonehenge were thought to be lost forever.

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Ruins in Athens May Be an Ancient Market

ATHENS, Greece -- Archaeologists have discovered extensive remains of what is believed to be an ancient marketplace with shops and a religious center at the southern edge of Athens, the Culture Ministry said Friday. The finds, in the coastal neighborhood of Voula, date from the 4th or 5th century B.C.

"It is a very large complex," the ministry said. "It was a site of rich financial and religious activity, which was most probably a marketplace."

Marketplaces _ or agoras _ teemed with shops, open-air stalls and administrative buildings, and were the financial, political and social center of ancient Greek life.

Archaeologists believe the complex belonged to the municipality of Aexonides Halai, among the largest settlements surrounding ancient Athens.

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Als die Bauern noch keine Milch tranken

Die Fähigkeit von Erwachsenen, Milchzucker und damit Milch überhaupt verdauen zu können, hat in der Vorgeschichte für die Entwicklung der Europäer wahrscheinlich eine entscheidende Rolle gespielt. Wissenschaftler der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz und des University College in London haben herausgefunden, dass dieses Merkmal, die sogenannte Laktasepersistenz, in Europa in der frühen Jungsteinzeit noch kaum vorhanden war.

Vor achttausend Jahren in Europa: die frühneolithischen Menschen betreiben erstmals Ackerbau und halten sich Schaf, Ziege und Rinder. Aber deren Milch konnte damals die Mehrzahl der frühen Bauern noch gar nicht verdauen. Dies ergaben die Untersuchungen des Anthropologenteams anhand alter Erbsubstanz (aDNA) aus Skeletten des Meso- und des Neolithikums.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Ancient olive oil factory discovered in Milas

An antique olive oil factory was discovered in the Milas village of Çakıralan in southwestern Turkey.

Staff from Selçuk University initiated archeological digs after a search for coal uncovered tombs with adjacent chambers a short while ago, the Anatolia news agency reported. One of the archeologists working at the site, Tuncay Özdemir, said the first results of the digging had revealed an ancient olive oil factory.

Remarking that the factory is estimated to be at least 2,300 years old, Özdemir said: "To be honest, the discovery stunned us. It functions just like the factories of today. We assume that the olive oil was transferred to ships in amphorae, which then carried them to the markets." Commenting on the ancient tomb discovered during the initial stages of digging, Özdemir said, "Bronze, silver and high quality ceramic pieces' presence in that tomb are a sign that it must've belonged to a very rich person."

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Greek Archaeologists Find Hera Statue

A 2,200-year-old statue of the goddess Hera has been found in a wall of a city under Mount Olympus, mythical home of Greece's ancient gods, archaeologists announced Thursday.

The headless marble statue was discovered last year during excavations in the ruins of ancient Dion, some 50 miles southwest of Thessaloniki.

Archaeologist Dimitris Pantermalis said the life-sized statue had been used by the early Christian inhabitants of the city of Dion as filling for a defensive wall.

He said the 2nd century-B.C. find appeared to have originally stood in a temple of Zeus, leader of the ancient Greek gods, whose statue was found in the building's ruins in 2003. The statue of Hera stood next to that of Zeus in the temple, said Pantermalis, a Thessaloniki University professor who has headed excavations at Dion for more than three decades.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Medieval burial ground unearthed

Human remains have been found by developers building a new hotel and student block in Preston.

The bones, discovered in Marsh Lane, are believed to be from a medieval burial ground.

Five coffins and a number of skeletal remains have been uncovered, along with medieval glass and floor tiles thought to be up to 700 years old.

The site has been fenced off and work halted to allow archaeologists to examine it.

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Finds declared 'treasure'

THREE sets of finds from the Saxon, Roman and Iron Age eras were declared treasure at an inquest in Lynn on Thursday.

The inquest heard Norwich Castle Museum had already expressed an interest in the incomplete silver Roman ring found by metal detectorist Michael Coggles, of Lynn Road, Swaffham, in a field in Pentney last June.

The hearing was told the British Museum had confirmed the find qualified as treasure on account of its age and metal content.

Museums have first refusal on treasure and the finder may receive a reward.

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Our Roman treasure goes to Westminster

A CARLISLE treasure was laid bear for all to see at Westminster yesterday.

MPs packed in to the members’ dining room in the House of Commons to see part of a collection of historic artefacts from world class museums from across the North West.

And among the items was an enamelled Roman pan from the Carlisle area which dates back to 125-140AD and bears the name of Roman forts along Hadrian’s wall, including Stanwix Wall.

It is believed the pan is only one of three such objects and would have originally had a handle and base.

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Search for the Romans... at Leeds school

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have been hunting for signs that the Romans once occupied the site of a north Leeds school.

They have been surveying fields around the tennis courts of Allerton High School, in King Lane, where there might have been a marching camp.

The site is shown on an 1847 Ordnance Survey map as "Camptown".

Journals and books also claim that the Romans might have camped at Allerton while marching towards York or Hadrian's Wall.

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A trading hub by the Strymonas River

The “thesmoforio” – a temple dedicated to female fertility where the inhabitants of ancient Verghi used to perform their sacrifices in Archaic and Roman times – preserved the remains of those rites for centuries.

In a large cylindrical pit (1.70 meters wide and 1.65 meters deep), preserved in a thick layer of ash and charcoal, were animal bones, mainly from swine, a figurine of a wild boar and potsherds dating from the end of the 6th to the early 5th centuries BC.

Next to the thesmoforio, the Hellenistic and Roman buildings (3rd century BC to 1st century AD) with clay floors concealed a hoard of coins and an abundance of ceramics.

Scores of black-figure and red-figure vases, unpainted and black painted pots, lamps and cooking vessels (some the Archaic pottery of far-off Thasos) indicate that the inhabitants were in direct contact with the Thasiotes at the end of the 6th century BC.

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Not Milk? Neolithic Europeans Couldn't Stomach the Stuff

DNA analysis of nine prehistoric skeletons finds no sign of a gene variant conferring the ability to digest milk

In what they claim is the first direct evidence of the evolution of lactase-persistence (the ability to digest milk and other dairy foods), German and British researchers came up empty in their search for the gene variant that allows over 90 percent of northern Europeans to gulp down and properly digest milk. In many others around the world, lactose causes diarrhea and bloating, especially in adulthood.

Lactase persistence (also called lactose tolerance), the continued production of the enzyme lactase that breaks down the sugar lactose in milk, correlates heavily with populations currently or once based on dairy farming, estimated to have begun in Europe roughly 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. (Populations in the Middle East and northeastern Africa also have the ability to digest milk.) "There's pretty good evidence that it's the most strongly selected single gene variant in Europeans in the last 30,000 years," says Mark Thomas, a genetic anthropologist at University College London and co-author of a new study in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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