Friday, August 24, 2007

Dig in and find out about Dartmoor?s past

THE diverse architectural and cultural Dartmoor heritage can be witnessed by the public next month through ?Heritage Open Days?. Open days is now a well established annual event co-ordinated by the Civic Trust and English Heritage. Thousands of events take place across the country and it gives participants a chance to visit sites and buildings which are not usually open to the public or charge admission. Dartmoor National Park Authority has again arranged a number of special events to help bring aspects of Dartmoor?s cultural heritage to a wider audience. During 2007, the authority?s particular focus is being placed upon the issues of climate change and its impact on Dartmoor. This theme will also be the focus of the authority?s Heritage Open Days. Between September 6 and 9 participants can learn about climate change and its impact on Dartmoor?s population and landscape in the past, both pre-history and medieval times. Visits include Merrivale and Hound Tor which have experienced the impacts of climate change over periods of time.

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Bronze Age excavations in Cyprus open new chapter

Archaeological investigations in the past summer featured renewed excavations at the Bronze Age community of Politiko-Troullia, about 25 km southwest of Nicosia in the copper-bearing foothills of the Troodos Mountains, and brought to light a series of households that produced evidence of intensive animal husbandry and crop processing, copper or bronze metallurgy and sophisticated ceramic technology.

According to the excavations, this took place during the Middle Bronze Age, just prior to the advent of cities on Late Bronze Age Cyprus.

The results from Politiko-Troullia open a new archaeological chapter on the communities that provided the foundation for urbanized civilization on Cyprus.

Under the direction of Dr. Steven Falconer and Dr. Patricia Fall of Arizona State University, this fieldwork revealed extensive evidence of the Bronze Age community (ca. 2000 B.C.) that was the predecessor of ancient Tamassos, the seat of a centrally important kingdom during the subsequent Iron Age.

The excavations involved graduate and undergraduate students from Cyprus, Canada, Australia and the United States.

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Cave Clue Reveals Ancient Bohemian Life

Aug. 23, 2007 — A prehistoric Spanish hunting group that may have even had its own gang symbols appears to have drawn, hunted, crashed in a cave, eaten, recycled waste and moved on, suggests a new study.

Like a good detective story, the research hinged on one major clue — a buried pile of mysterious black bones found in a dark, dank room at the interior of El Mirón Cave near the northern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

This cave was like a residential hotel for traveling groups of Stone Age hunters, according to lead author Ana Belén Marín Arroyo, who worked with Lawrence Straus and other scientists.

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Oldest gorilla ages our joint ancestor

The last common ancestor of humans and gorillas might have lived at least 2 million years earlier than previously thought. Fossilized teeth of the earliest gorilla ever discovered, dating to 10 million years ago, have been found in Africa, say researchers.

The new species (Chororapithecus abyssinicus) from Ethiopia, reported on 'A new species of great ape from the late Miocene epoch in Ethiopia' of this issue, helps to fill in a huge gap in the fossil record. The team of Ethiopian and Japanese researchers has based its conclusion on just nine teeth from at least three individuals of the species, which were discovered in the desert scrubland of Afar about 170 kilometres east of Addis Ababa.

The teeth, eight molars and a canine, "are collectively indistinguishable from modern gorilla subspecies" in size, proportion and scan-revealed internal structure, says Gen Suwa of the University of Tokyo Museum, Japan, who led the study. The team argues that the gorilla's divergence date from the human lineage is not about 8 million years ago as previously surmised (S. Kumar et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA102, 18842–18847; 2005), but "greater than 10 to 11 million years ago" on the basis of the age of the new species. Functionally, he adds, the teeth already seem to be evolving — they could shear through a plant diet, a gorilla trait — although other herbivore apes also exist in the fossil record.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

A dialogue with the dead

Kilmartin Glen in Scotland is one of Europe's most important archeological sites. Stuart Jeffries meets the man who is bringing its ghosts back from the grave

'This," says Angus Farquhar, sweeping his arm imperiously across a vista of Kilmartin Glen in Argyll, "is really a theatre of death. As an artist, how could I be anything but drawn to it?"

We're standing in the ruins of Dunadd Fort on a hill called the Moire Mhor, or the Great Moss. Before us stretch 150 square miles of breathtaking Scottish landscape. Boasting more than 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius, S-shaped Kilmartin Glen is one of Europe's most important pre-historic sites. It is an area of extraordinary archaeological importance teeming with burial complexes, henges and ancient rocks marked by human hands thousands upon thousands of years ago. This fascinating landscape is also Farquhar's blank canvas - the raw material of his latest environmental artwork.

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Digging up history at the Playhouse

ARCHAEOLOGY experts will meet the owner of Beverley's former Picture Playhouse next week to discuss excavations which could shed new light on 800 years of the town's history.

Businessman David Fletcher, who owns the former cinema, is planning to excavate a basement under the historic building, which he has planning permission to convert for retail use.

But before the redevelopment work gets underway an archaeological evaluation will be carried out, which experts hope will provide a valuable insight into Beverley's past, perhaps dating back as far as the 11th or 12th centuries.

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Great ape find forces rethink on man's evolution

The discovery of a new species of great ape that roamed Africa 10m years ago has forced scientists to rethink the earliest steps of human evolution.

Fossil hunters working along the Afar rift in central Ethiopia unearthed remnants of teeth they claim belonged to the primitive ape, a previously unknown species of gorilla they named Chororapithecus abyssinicus.

The finding, if confirmed, will redraw the evolutionary tree of primates, suggesting that humans and chimpanzees must have split from their gorilla-like ancestors 3m years earlier than thought. Geneticists have previously put the date at which the human and chimpanzee lineage split from gorillas at around 7m years ago, with humans and chimps diverging more recently, at 5m years ago.

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M3 route plan likely to face legal challenge

THE decision by An Bord Pleanála to approve the National Roads Authority’s (NRA) plans to excavate and build over the national monument on the M3 motorway route is likely to be challenged in the High Court.

Vincent Salafia, of protest group Tara Watch, said a legal challenge was being considered following the ruling issued by the appeals board yesterday. It clears the way for an archaeological examination of the site at Lismullin, Co Meath, but for the site then to be recorded, rather than preserved. The monument includes two circular enclosures dating from between 1,000BC to AD400 and its preservation has been the subject of political and public controversy, including protests disrupting access to the site which was discovered in April.

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Egyptians' ancient tax burden revealed

A dusty crate of broken bits of pottery discovered at a stately home in Dorset has given a fresh insight into the life of the ancient Egyptians - and it turns out that concerns over mortgages, taxes and simply making ends meet were as important then as they are now.

More than 200 "ostraka" - potsherds inscribed with notes - were found in the cellar of the National Trust property Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne Minster.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ArchaeoFind - a new search engine for archaeology

Readers may be interested to learn about ArchaeoFind - a new search engine for archaeology, set up by Anita Cohen-Williams, the founder of ArchaeoSeek.

ArchaeoFind is a swicki, that is a search engine that uses artificial intelligence to refine its searches. When you use the search engine, you can vote on the relevance of the suggested sites that it returns. The more the search engine is used, the better the results.

You can find ArchaeoFind here, or use the link in the sidebar.

You can learn more about swikis here...


Thanks to modern technology some of the mysteries surrounding a crypt under the floor of St Stephen's Church in Exeter could soon by solved.

Although the crypt has been there since the church was built in the 11th century it has no door, so architects and archaeologists are planning to use fibre optic cameras to see what is there.

The church in Exeter High Street is undergoing a £1m restoration. The roof and tower are being repaired and the medieval sanctuary, which was above St Stephen's Bow, will be restored.

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Green light for M3 at Lismullen

An Bord Pleanála has cleared the way for work to commence on the National Monument at Lismullen in Co Meath, which lies in the path of the M3 motorway.

The decision means that the site, which is close to the Hill of Tara, will be examined by archaeologists before the road is constructed on top of it.

The National Monument at Lismullen consists of two circular enclosures, the largest 80m in diameter, and dates from somewhere between 1000BC to 400AD.

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Big dig treasure unveiled

THE Lake District will be unveiling its archaeological treasures ahead of the national Heritage Open Days.

The free events promise a celebration of the area’s rich history and culture, and an invitation has gone out to roll up for a voyage of discovery.

Keswick Youth Hostel is hosting a special day on September 8, while the doors of St George’s Hall, Millom, are being thrown open on the same day for a host of antiquities and historical activities.

Lake District National Park Authority’s Heritage Lottery Fund-backed Access to Archaeology Project will be highlighted during both days, along with a raft of other attractions.

One of the country’s first hostels, the Keswick centre has been a popular holiday venue for over 70 years and will be working with the town’s civic society and mountain rescue team to provide an action-packed day.

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Discovery films archeological findings in Iceland

A team from the Discovery Channel is currently filming archeological diggings supervised by Adolf Fridriksson in Hringsdalur valley by Arnarfjördur fjord in the Westfjords in a series about the work of archeologists around the world.

Discovery’s filming in Iceland revolves around archeological findings in Hringsdalur and in Skriduklaustur, an old monastery in east Iceland, and the new series will air next year, Morgunbladid reports.

The diggings by Skriduklaustur are finished, but archeologists are still unearthing a pagan grave discovered in Hringsdalur last weekend.

“The script was made in the last few weeks and now shooting is taking place,” Fridriksson said. “This has been very exciting and the people who came here [the Discovery Channel crew] are obviously very professional and well traveled.”

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Bronze Age excavations in Cyprus open new chapter

Archaeological investigations in the past summer featured renewed excavations at the Bronze Age community of Politiko-Troullia, about 25 km southwest of Nicosia in the copper-bearing foothills of the Troodos Mountains, and brought to light a series of households that produced evidence of intensive animal husbandry and crop processing, copper or bronze metallurgy and sophisticated ceramic technology.

According to the excavations, this took place during the Middle Bronze Age, just prior to the advent of cities on Late Bronze Age Cyprus.

The results from Politiko-Troullia open a new archaeological chapter on the communities that provided the foundation for urbanized civilization on Cyprus.

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Tara ruins must be preserved - report

Newly discovered 2000-year-old ruins at the Hill of Tara must be fully preserved because of their unique size and character, a US academic today said.

State archaeologists began excavation work on the prehistoric Lismullen structure earlier this month, claiming it was under threat from adverse weather.

Dr Ronald Hicks of Ball State University, Indiana, argues it is part of a larger ancient ritual complex and must be preserved in situ. He contends Lismullen is comparable to ceremonial enclosures found at Tara and other royal sites in Ireland, but is twice as large as any other.

Dr Hicks previously endorsed the nomination of Tara to the World Monuments Fund List and issued an earlier report about the area's archaeological significance.

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Tuscan Hills Are Alive With Amateur Archaeologists

CASENOVOLE, Italy, Aug. 16 — The Etruscan tomb was hidden in such a remote corner of Tuscany that Andrea Marcocci, the archaeology student who found and identified it about a decade ago, was not very worried that anyone else would stumble upon it.
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Then, this year, woodsmen began to clear brush in the area, and Mr. Marcocci — who had believed the tomb would be safe as long as it was concealed in a forest — realized he had to act.

“I became worried that what’s supposed to be the patrimony of mankind would become the patrimony of an individual,” he said.

Armed with a permit from the archaeological authorities (in Italy, anything found underground belongs to the state), he and a handful of volunteers began to dig.

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Stipendien für Forschungen zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte Sachsen-Anhalts

Die Stiftung zur Förderung der Archäologie in Sachsen-Anhalt vergibt Danneil-Stipendien zur Förderung des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses im Bereich der Vor- und Frühgeschichte. Bewerbungen sind bis zum 15.10.2007 möglich.

Gefördert werden sollen wissenschaftliche Qualifizierungsarbeiten sowie Forschungsvorhaben im Bereich der Vor- und Frühgeschichte, die sich mit Fundkomplexen im Land Sachsen-Anhalt befassen und einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Erforschung der archäologischen Kulturdenkmale Sachsen-Anhalts erwarten lassen. Antragsberechtigt sind Wissenschaftler, die durch herausragende Leistungen eine außergewöhnlich qualifizierte Befähigung zu wissenschaftlicher Arbeit erkennen lassen. Über die Vergabe der Stipendien entscheidet der Stiftungsbeirat. Es besteht kein Anspruch auf Förderung durch Stipendien.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Scholars uncover one ringfort to rule them all

THE former ‘capital of Cork’ appeared to have been short-lived, according to archaeologists who believe it was destroyed by an invading army.

The size of the ringfort near Innishannon suggests it was constructed under the orders of a powerful chieftain; somebody who probably controlled most of the Cork region.

An enemy strong enough to have destroyed it and the chieftain’s army most certainly came from another county, if not another province.

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Neolithic humans had gum habit

A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum - one of the oldest ever to be discovered - has been found by a British archaeology student.

The discovery of the Neolithic gum, made from birch bark tar, was made by Sarah Pickin, 23, during a dig in Finland. The gum had tooth prints in it.

Trevor Brown, her tutor at the University of Derby, said: "Birch bark tar contains phenols, which are antiseptic compounds. It is generally believed that Neolithic people found that by chewing this stuff if they had gum infections it helped to treat the condition."

He said it was particularly significant because of the well defined tooth prints.

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Archaeologists uncover county’s ‘first capital’

ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe they have discovered what may have been Cork’s ancient capital, built 3,200 years ago at a time when Rameses III was pharaoh of Egypt.

A team of archaeologists from UCC, led by Professor William O’Brien, have carried out extensive research that sheds new light on what is the largest prehistoric monument in Co Cork and the oldest dated ringfort in the country.

Their three-year project, funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social

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Ancient hide-out uncovered in Albania

Looking to get it away from it all? Consider Albania. An archaeology team reports that the mountains of northern Albania, perhaps the most remote place left in Europe, have been a hide-out for a surprisingly long time.

A leader of the expedition, archaeologist Michael Galaty of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., reports on this summer's expedition now that he's back from to the Shala Valley in northern Northern Albania's mountains, the tail end of the Alps.

"Some five hundred years ago, people came here fleeing the Ottoman empire. We expected to find what they left behind," Galaty says. Perched on a promontory near the village of Grunas (Groo-NAS) are the remains of walls, which the team initially assumed were from a hideout left over from the 1500's, a time when exiles repopulated the region, on the lam from the new empire.

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Student dig unearths ancient gum

A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum has been discovered by an archaeology student from the University of Derby.

Sarah Pickin, 23, found the lump of birch bark tar while on a dig in western Finland.

Neolithic people used the material as an antiseptic to treat gum infections, as well as a glue for repairing pots.

Ms Pickin's tutor, Professor Trevor Brown, said: "It's particularly significant because well defined tooth imprints were found on the gum."

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Scientists Find Ancient Gum in Finland

“It's somewhere between 5,500 and 6,000 years old”

Finns, who introduced a birch-tree sweetener for gum, have found that the habit of chewing sticky lumps dates back thousands of years. Last month, students in western Finland found a piece of Stone Age birch-bark tar, believed to have been used for chewing and to fix broken arrowheads or clay dishes, archaeologists said Monday.

'Most likely the lump was used as an antique kind of chewing gum,' said Sami Viljamaa, an archaeologist who led the dig near Oulu, some 380 miles north of the capital, Helsinki. 'But its main purpose was to fix things.'

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Cave carving dates back 13,000 years

A CAVE carving of a mammoth, thousands of years old, has been unveiled in Cheddar.

The 13,000-year-old artwork in Gough's Cave may have been used in tribal rituals by cave-dwelling shaman.

The carving, which dates back to the Late Upper Palaeolithic period, could possibly have been used in the rituals, which tribesmen performed to ask the animals if it was all right to eat them and ask not to be eaten by them.

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Student finds Neolithic chewing gum

DERBY An archaeology student has discovered a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum.

Sarah Pickin, 23, found the lump of birch bark tar – complete with Neolithic tooth prints - while on a dig as a volunteer in Finland.

Neolithic people used the material as an antiseptic to treat gum infections as well as a glue for repairing broken pots.

Trevor Brown, Ms Pickin’s tutor at the University of Derby, said: “It’s particularly significant because well-defined tooth imprints were found on the gum that Sarah discovered.”

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ireland's 'Ancient' Love Affair With Ale

The Bronze Age Irish were as fond of a beer as their modern-day counterparts, according to new research.

Two County Galway archaeologists have put forward the theory that one of the most common ancient monuments across Ireland may have been used for brewing ale.

For years, fulacht fiadh (pits or recesses), were thought to have been used as ancient cooking pits.

But archaeologists Billy Quinn and Declan Moore disagreed with that widely-held view, arguing that it would surely have been easier to roast meat over an open fire rather than boil it.

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The Byzantine castle 'Hieron Oros' remains vulnerable

First surface screening of the only castle built for defense by the Byzantines, “Hieron Oros” has been accomplished. In the first step of research, existence of another castle concurrently built on the other side has been confirmed. Many archaeological artifacts, belonging to periods before and after Christ, are expected to be found in the area where the castle is situated. The research is also important in terms of the Ottoman Empire. The castle was taken over by the Ottomans shortly before the conquest of Istanbul

A research project led by Istanbul University's Byzantine Art Department faculty member, Asnu Bilban Yalçın and her archaeology team concerning excavation along the Bosporus is being supported by the Turkish general staff and the Straits Command.

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Volunteer archeologists unearth an ancient tomb in Italy

CASENOVOLE, Italy: The Etruscan tomb was hidden in such a remote corner of Tuscany that Andrea Marcocci, the archeology student who had identified it about a decade ago, was not very worried that anyone else would stumble upon it.

Then, earlier this year, woodsmen began to clear brush in the area, and Marcocci - who had felt the tomb had been safe as long as it was hidden in a forest - realized he had to act.

"I became worried that what's supposed to be the patrimony of mankind would become the patrimony of an individual," he said.

Armed with a permit from archeological authorities - in Italy anything found underground belongs to the state - he and a handful of volunteers began to dig.

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Ancient drawing of mammoth found in Cheddar caves

A possible Palaeolithic engraving has been discovered at Cheddar Caves and Gorge by members of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society (UBSS).

This new find follows the discovery of presumed Mesolithic engravings at Aveline's Hole in Burrington Combe, Somerset and in Long Hole Cheddar Gorge by UBSS in 2005.

The team, led by Graham Mullan and Linda Wilson, has carried out investigations in a number of the Cheddar Gorge caves. The latest find is of a possibly late Upper Palaeolithic engraving in a small alcove in the main showcave, Gough’s Cave.

The engraving, which is difficult to see owing to some degradation of the rock surface since the last Ice Age, appears to be an outline drawing of a mammoth made by the addition of what is believed to be humanly engraved lines to some natural features of the rock, a technique which is well-known from the famous French and Spanish decorated caves.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Archaeology and Palaeopathology

A website where students, professionals and interested public can exchange information on all aspects of Funerary, Biological and Forensic Archaeology, Medical and Forensic Anthropology, Palaeopathology and related (sub)disciplines.

A very nice website created by Anastasia Tsaliki.

Click here to go to this site...

Or use the link in the sidebar.

TaraWatch canvassing support at Rolling Stones concert

The Rolling Stones take to the stage in Meath tonight for what's likely to be the last time they play in Ireland.

The legendary band is bringing their "Bigger Bang" tour to Slane Castle for their second visit in 25 years.

Meanwhile members of a group campaigning against the destruction of archaeological remains at Tara are attempting to win support at the Stones concert.

TaraWatch is emailing the Rolling Stones website and handing out stickers and tee-shirts today calling for the M3 roadworks to be stopped.

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History of Aberdeen goes online

Whether you’re interested in unusual artefacts discovered at ancient burial grounds, hauls of medieval coins or even urban standing stones - Aberdeen’s fascinating history is now available at the click of a mouse.

Aberdeen City Council’s Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) holds details of more than 3,000 archaeological and historic sites, ranging from 8000 BC to the 1960s.

Now these exciting slices of the Granite City’s rich history can be viewed online.

The first records will go live on Friday [17 Aug] with information on each site, along with photographs, drawings, maps and even satellite images.

More than 700 records are available to surfers, who can search by site type, historical period, parish and map reference.

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Dig will unearth Henge's secrets

YOUNG people are being offered a unique opportunity to get involved in one of the country's most high profile archaeological projects.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project, which begins on Sunday, aims to understand the purposes of Stonehenge between 2000 and 3000BC.

The archaeological excavations are pursuing a hypothesis that Neolithic Durrington Walls was the land of the living' and Stonehenge the land of the dead,' linked by a transitional journey along the River Avon.

As part of this exciting project, young people aged 16-25 are being invited to get involved through a youth volunteering project, which develops opportunities in the heritage and conservation sector in the south west.

Opportunities available will include helping devise a young person's trail which would be available to all visitors to the archaeological site, assisting with the visitor centre - welcoming visitors and sharing the collection of artefacts with visitors and being a guide onsite to the various digs.

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New rock art site in America

This site is designed to acquaint visitors with the diversity of Oregon rock art. Petroglyphs and pictographs exist in great abundance in much of Oregon. They represent a priceless and irreplaceable heritage inherited from peoples who occupied the territory, now called Oregon, for thousands of years before the migration of Europeans.

Rock art exists all over the world; any where humans have inhabited, they have intentionally left marks on stone. The interpretation of those petroglyphs and pictographs is a vast and open ended and outside the parameters of this site. For those interested, more information my be found here.

View the Website...

Today's White Rice Is Mutation Spread by Early Farmers

Some 10,000 years ago white rice evolved from wild red rice and began spreading around the globe. But how did this happen?

Researchers at Cornell and elsewhere have determined that 97.9 percent of all white rice is derived from a mutation (a deletion of DNA) in a single gene originating in the Japonica subspecies of rice. Their report, published online in the journal PloS (Public Library of Science) Genetics, suggests that early farmers favored, bred and spread white rice around the world.

The researchers report that this predominant mutation is also found in the Indica subspecies of white rice. They have found a second independent mutation (a single DNA substitution) in the same gene in several Aus varieties of rice in Bangladesh, accounting for the remaining 2.1 percent of white rice varieties. Neither of these two mutations is found in any wild red rice species.

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Bulgaria Discovers Biggest Ancient Water Tank on the Balkans

Bulgarian archaeologists announced they have discovered the biggest ancient tank for storing water on the Balkans, etched into the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

Top archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov, who unearthed the water tank to add it to the long list of exciting finds from the rock sanctuary, says the discovery proves that there were times when Perperikon was densely populated and with huge water supplies.

The tank, measuring twelve-meter-long, six-meter-wide and six-meter-deep, has a capacity of 432 000 litres.

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Archäologische Forschungen in der Mongolei

Mehr als zwanzig internationale Forscherteams führen heute in der Mongolei systematisch Ausgrabungen durch. Dass ihre Erkenntnisse untereinander wie auch bei mongolischen Institutionen kaum bekannt sind, ist jetzt Anlass für eine internationale Fachkonferenz.

Vom 19. bis 23. August 2007 präsentieren Archäologen aus zwölf Ländern in Ulaanbaatar die Ergebnisse ihrer Arbeiten. Zum ersten Mal erfolgt damit eine umfangreiche Bestandsaufnahme der fast zwei Jahrzehnte währenden Feldforschungen. Veranstalter sind das Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie der Universität Bonn, das Deutsche Archäologische Institut, das Archäologische Institut der Mongolischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und das Nationalmuseum für Geschichte der Mongolei.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

£260,000 medieval cross found in bin by woman hunting crockery

A cross from the Middle Ages has been found in a rubbish bin in Austria, by a woman looking for old crockery. That was in 2004, in the western town of Zell am See.

She had no idea what she tucked behind her couch at home. Now experts say the cross could be worth £260,000. A local museum has custody of it, temporarily. And whether the woman, who has not been identified, will get any money is not clear.

She found the cross after a hotel-owner who lived in Zell am Zee died, and his apartment was being cleared by relatives. The woman showed the cross to the niece of the dead man, but the she didn't want it and allowed the woman to take it, police said.

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Archeologists discover footprint made by sandal of Roman soldier

Archeologists have discovered a footprint made by the sandal of a Roman soldier - one of the few such finds in the world - in a wall surrounding the Hellenistic-Roman city of Sussita, east of Lake Kinneret.

The discovery of the print made by a hobnailed sandal, the kind used by the Roman legions during the time when Rome ruled the region, led to the presumption that legionnaires or former legionnaires participated in the construction of walls such as the one in which the footprint was found.

"We know that urban construction projects in Israel were run by the cities themselves, and the Roman imperial system wasn't involved," said Professor Arthur Segal of Haifa University, who is heading the excavation.

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Fossil Fish Jaws Give Information On Our Own Remote Ancestors

When we lose our milk teeth they are replaced by new permanent teeth growing out in exactly the same positions. This is an ancient part of our evolutionary heritage and an identifying characteristic of the largest living group of backboned animals. Now, an international team including two scientists from Uppsala University has uncovered ancient fossil fish jaws that cast light on the origin of this group and its unique dentition.

Together with scientists from Spain, Germany and France, Professor Per Ahlberg and Assistant Professor Henning Blom at the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology have been studying two of the earliest bony fishes found in Sweden and Germany, managing to show that they belong to the same group of vertebrates as ourselves, the Osteichthyes. Their findings are published in this week's Nature.

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Seahenge set for final resting place

Norfolk's famous Bronze Age timber circle has finally returned to the county ready to take pride of place in a flagship exhibition.

The finishing touches are being put to the 4,000-year-old timbers of Seahenge at the county's Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse near Dereham before it is transported to its permanent home in King's Lynn.

A display of the iconic Seahenge, which was controversially excavated from the shoreline at Holme near Hunstanton in 1999, is set to be the crowning glory of a £1.1m museum redevelopment at King's Lynn, due to open in Easter.

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Replica Viking warship hoisted into National Museum

The replica Viking warship that arrived in Ireland from Denmark today is being hoisted into the National Museum at Collins Barracks this morning.

The 40-metre Sea Stallion of Glendalough, which weighs 13.5 tonnes, is being lifted out of the River Liffey and into the museum grounds, where it will be on display as part of a Viking exhibition.

The vessel will remain at Collins Barracks until next summer, when it will make a return journey back to Denmark.

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Archaeologists have discovered an extremely rare Ice Age rock engraving in a Cheddar Gorge cave, made by our Stone Age ancestors 13,000 years ago.

It’s considered to be the most exciting find of its kind since the famous carvings discovered at Creswell Crags four years ago.

What makes the new find all the more sensational is that unlike the abstract rock art previously found in the area, this image reveals the clear outline of an animal – a mammoth, in fact.

The Upper Palaeolithic carving was found in a small alcove of Gough’s Cave, the main showcave of the popular attraction at Cheddar Caves and Gorge, just yards from where tourists view the caves every day.

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Royal treasure at museum

A royal treasure has gone on display at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes.

A gold link from a medieval necklace was bought by the museum after it was found by local metal detectorist Brian Read at Urchfont last year.

An inquest declared it was treasure and the museum bought the link with grants from the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Headley Trust.

Museum curator Paul Robinson said the link would have been made by a leading goldsmith of the day, commissioned by one of the English kings between 1350 and 1500.

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AN EXHIBITION has seen so many people through its doors organisers have extended it until next year.

The Roman Holiday Exhibition, at North Lincolnshire Museum was due to end its run on September 16.

But more than 1,200 people have visited the exhibition since it opened in July and council officers have decided to keep it on until January 27, 2008.

An entire Roman town - including a tavern, jewellery shop, malodorous public toilets, flour grinders and mosaic makers - has taken over the Oswald Road museum in the form of a fully interactive exhibition.

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Scientists Re-trace Evolution Via Ancient Protein

Newswise — Scientists have determined for the first time the atomic structure of an ancient protein, revealing in unprecedented detail how genes evolved their functions.

"Never before have we seen so clearly, so far back in time," said project leader Joe Thornton, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oregon. "We were able to see the precise mechanisms by which evolution molded a tiny molecular machine at the atomic level, and to reconstruct the order of events by which history unfolded."

The work involving the protein is detailed in a paper appearing online Aug. 16 in Science Express, where the journal Science promotes selected research in advance of regular publication.

A detailed understanding of how proteins – the workhorses of every cell – have evolved has long eluded evolutionary biologists, in large part because ancient proteins have not been available for direct study. So Thornton and Jamie Bridgham, a postdoctoral scientist in his lab, used state-of-the-art computational and molecular techniques to re-create the ancient progenitors of an important human protein.

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Medieval Cross Turns Up in Trash

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - A medieval cross that was hidden from the Nazis and ended up in the trash could be worth more than a half-million dollars, police said Thursday.

A woman looking for old crockery in a trash container in the western Austrian town of Zell am See stumbled upon the piece in 2004, Salzburg police said Thursday, when they announced the find.

The woman, who has not been identified, apparently did not know what she had found and stashed the cross behind her couch. Last month, a neighbor with a keen eye had an inkling the cross might be something special and took it to a local museum in the village of Leogang.

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Queen Margrethe has contributed to a foundation aimed at digging deeper into the roots of ancient Denmark’s fortresses

Danes need to know more about the land’s ancient Viking fortresses, according to Queen Margrethe, whose foundation is behind a new project with that goal in mind.

The foundation, known as the Augustinus Foundation and Queen Margrethe II’s Archaeological Foundation, will cover all expenses relating to a major research and excavation project led by Moesgård Museum outside Århus in Jutland.

It is the first time in 27 years that the foundation has itself initiated an archaeological digging in Denmark, although it has funded many through the years.

Project leaders hope the work will unearth more information about Harald Bluetooth’s massive coastal fortress network of Trelleborg, Aggersborg, Fyrkat and Nonnebakken. Harald ruled Denmark from 958-987 and is considered one of the nation’s great kings.

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Danes say sorry for Viking raids on Ireland

More than 1,200 years ago hordes of bloodthirsty Viking raiders descended on Ireland, pillaging monasteries and massacring the inhabitants. Yesterday, one of their more mild-mannered descendants stepped ashore to apologise.

The Danish culture minister, Brian Mikkelson, who was in Dublin to participate in celebrations marking the arrival of a replica Norse longboat, apologised for the invasion and destruction inflicted. "In Denmark we are certainly proud of this ship, but we are not proud of the damages to the people of Ireland that followed in the footsteps of the Vikings," Mr Mikkelson declared in his welcoming speech delivered on the dockside at the river Liffey. "But the warmth and friendliness with which you greet us today and the Viking ship show us that, luckily, it has all been forgiven."

The Havhingsten (Sea Stallion) sailed more than 1,000 miles across the North Sea this summer with a crew of 65 men and women in what was described as a "living archaeological experiment".

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Viking ship ends voyage in Dublin

A replica Viking ship has pulled into Dublin nearly 1,000 years after the original sank off Denmark's coast.

The arrival of the Sea Stallion in Dublin's harbour on Tuesday capped a 1,700km (1,000 mile) journey across the waters of northern Europe.

The 65 crew were overjoyed after the six-week voyage, during which they faced unfavourable sailing conditions.

The endeavour took the crew from Scandinavia, around Scotland and into the Irish Sea.

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Viking Ship Completes 1,000-Mile Journey

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - A replica Viking ship sailed triumphantly into Dublin's harbor Tuesday after attempting to re-enact the arduous 1,000-mile journey Scandanavian warriors made more than a millenium ago.

But this time around, there was a little towing with the rowing, and absolutely no pillaging.

The six-week journey of the ship ``Stallion of the Sea'' crossed the waters of northern Europe from Scandinavia, around Scotland and into the Irish Sea, retracing the path of Vikings who invaded Ireland. At times, it passed through violent waters and high winds.

Spectators cheered and sailors blew their horns as the ship drew into the harbor in Dublin, which was founded by Vikings in the 9th century.

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THANKS to a unique collaboration, youngsters from Pan, Newport, took time out from the beach to take a journey back in time, uncovering their historical heritage in the process.

The Big Dig saw over 20 children brandishing trowels and spending the day exploring a piece of waste land, off Garden Way in Pan, as the latest event of a government-funded project involving Wessex Archaeology and the Pan Neighbourhood Partnership.
It is thought Pan could be one of the country’s most important prehistoric sites. Flint tools, thought to be from the Middle Palaeolithic Age (between about 150,000 and 30,000 years ago) were first discovered in the area around Great Pan Farm in the 1920s.

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Ballard Chases History Again In The Black Sea

t's a painfully slow process, watching a robotic arm brush, inch-by-inch, the sediment off a 900-year-old shipwreck 400 feet underwater in the Black Sea.

But when the dust settles, Robert Ballard, president of the Institute for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium, and his team hope to have a better look into a time capsule of early human history.

About 6 miles off the coast of Ukraine, Ballard watched from a NATO research vessel Monday on a high-definition plasma television screen. The paintbrush uncovered what looked like a pewter cup at the bow of the ship.

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Yet Another Ancient Tomb Unearthed in Bulgaria's Sozopol

A team of Bulgarian archaeologists unearthed Tuesday an ancient stone tomb, dated back to the 4th century BC, Darik News reported.

The team, lead by Krastina Panayotova, stumbled upon the tomb during the annual archaeological excavations on the Harmani beach of the Black Sea town of Sozopol.

A man, probably an athlete, had been buried in the tomb because the team found an object used by athletes in antiquity.

Just a day earlier the archaeologists came upon the grave of another man, probably a gambler. The grave was full of dice, backgammon pieces and coins.

Last week the same team unearthed a tomb of a citizen, who lived in the ancient city of Apollonia, which is today's Sozopol.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Sea Stallion is in Dublin!

The seven weeks' voyage is over: The Sea Stallion is in Dublin!

At 13.39, local time, the Sea Stallion moored at Custom House Quay in Dublin.

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It might not have the instant impact of modern graffiti but a mammoth carved on to a wall in Cheddar Caves 13,000 years ago is being hailed as one of the most significant examples of prehistoric art ever found in Britain.

The carving - a little larger than a man's hand, is only the second piece of representational cave art found in Britain, and contemporary with the golden age of cave art in Europe.

Britain had a flourishing Stone Age culture but, unlike prehistoric sites in France and Spain, no cave paintings or carvings had been found until recently, when the discovery of Stone Age carvings of animals and humans at Cresswell Crags, near Sheffield, launched a new hunt for prehistoric cave art.

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Stone Age Site Surfaces After 8000 Years

Excavations of an underwater Stone Age archaeological settlement dating back 8000 years took place at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton between 30 July – 3 August 2007.

Maritime archaeologists from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (HWTMA) have been working at the site just off the Isle of Wight coast. Divers working at depths of 11 metres have raised sections of the seabed, which have been brought to the NOCS laboratories for excavation.

Garry Momber, Director of HWTMA said: ‘This is a site of international importance as it reveals a time before the English Channel existed when Europe and Britain were linked. Earlier excavations have produced flint tools, pristine 8,000-year-old organic material such as acorns, charcoal and worked pieces of wood showing evidence of extensive human activity. This is the only site of its kind in Britain and is extremely important to our understanding of our Stone Age ancestors from the lesser-known Mesolithic period.

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Experts uncover Orkney's new Skara Brae and the great wall that separated living from dead

NEW evidence has been unearthed suggesting Orkney islanders once built a physical barrier between the land of the living and the spirit world.

Archaeologists are working on a Neolithic settlement, dating back nearly 5,000 years.

Only a small part of the Ness of Brodgar site has been unearthed, but already experts say it has given up fascinating discoveries and is helping them better understand the wider Neolithic complex between the Ring of Brodgar stone circle and the standing stones of Stenness.

It is even suggested that the remains of the unusual buildings recovered at Ness of Brodgar could be as historically significant as the islands' famous Skara Brae village.

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Archaeologists home in on king's residence

A TEAM of leading archaeologists has arrived in Perthshire to begin unlocking the secrets of one of the most important and extensive crop mark sites in Scotland.

Forteviot, a small village nestling on the south bank of the River Earn, is known to have been the site of the royal palace of Kenneth MacAlpin, the first king of a united Scotland.

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Replica viking ship sails in

An Irish-built replica Viking ship arrives in Dublin today under the power of 64 oarsmen at the end of a two month voyage from Denmark.

The Sea Stallion of Glendalough, the biggest reconstruction of a Viking long ship in the world, is modelled on a 900-year-old vessel.

It put into Irish shores at Clogherhead, Co Louth last week after sailing 1,000 miles from the Danish port of Roskilde, via Norway and the Orkneys.

It is to be put on show in the National Museum in a homecoming of sorts after it arrives in the capital city.

It is a reconstruction of a ship, the Skuldelev 2, built in Dublin in 1042 which is believed to have sunk in Roskilde Fjord, near Copenhagen, some 30 years later.

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Neolithic village found in Orkney sheds new light on Stone Age life

The remains of a Neolithic settlement discovered in Orkney were hailed yesterday as potentially as important as the Skara Brae village on the islands.

The 2.5 hectare site is believed to date back nearly 5,000 years and to include a complex system of temples and dwellings spread over two fields. The find, at Ness of Brodgar, between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness, will add to the area’s reputation as home to some of the most remarkable archaeological monuments in Europe.

Nick Card, project manager at the dig, began excavations two months ago with a team from Orkney College and Orkney Archaeological Trust. He said that the discovery had the potential to rank alongside Skara Brae, the Stone Age village that is now part of a World Heritage Site. “The discovery has the potential to illuminate how these different sites interacted and how people lived,” he said. “We are hopeful that every aspect of life 5,000 years ago will be clarified by our discoveries. This is not just about Neolithic life in the north of Scotland; it could have ramifications for the study of the Stone Age throughout Britain.”

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Fossil hunter condemns Lucy tour of U.S.

NAIROBI, Kenya - One of the world's leading paleontologists denounced Ethiopia's decision to send the Lucy skeleton on a six-year tour of the United States, warning Friday that the 3.2 million-year-old fossil will likely be damaged no matter how careful its handlers are.

The skeleton was quietly flown out of Ethiopia earlier this week for the U.S. tour.

Paleontologist Richard Leakey joined other experts in criticizing what some see as a gamble with one of the world's most famous fossils. The Smithsonian Institution also has objected to the tour, and the secretive manner in which the remains were sent abroad has raised eyebrows in Ethiopia, where Lucy has been displayed to the public only twice.

"It's a form of prostitution, it's gross exploitation of the ancestors of humanity and it should not be permitted," Leakey told The Associated Press in an interview at his office in Nairobi.

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Castle dig unearths lost tower

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed the remains of a medieval tower at Edinburgh Castle thought to have been lost forever.

Fragments of Constable's Tower, which was destroyed by Elizabeth I's army during a siege, were found during excavation work for the attraction's new visitor centre.

A team of experts found a drain beneath the surface just inside the Castle's main portcullis gate, where a new timber kiosk selling audio tours is to be built.

They were amazed to find part of the disused drainpipe had been from a three-foot long piece of ornately carved masonry. Archeologists now believe it originally came from the lost Constable's Tower, which stood from the 14th century to the "Lang Siege" of 1581-73.

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Tracing Human Migration Through DNA

by Joe Palca

Geneticists are tracing the movements of people in prehistoric Europe using our DNA as a time machine.

Listen to the broadcast...

Tomb in Tuscany thrills archaeologists

Rome - Archaeologists have discovered a more than 2 000-year-old Etruscan tomb perfectly preserved in the hills of Tuscany with a treasure trove of artifacts inside, including urns that hold the remains of about 30 people.

The tomb, in the Tuscan town of Civitella Paganico, probably dates from between the 1st and 3rd centuries B.C., when Etruscan power was in decline, Andrea Marcocci, who led digging at the site, told reporters.

"It's quite rare to find a tomb intact like this," said Marcocci, who had suspected one might exist in the area after work on a nearby road scattered pieces of artifacts.

"When we found fragments outside, we thought we would find that the tomb had been violated. But the main burial room was completely intact."

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Viking Voyage

From Denmark to Dublin

Follow the reconstructed Viking ship, 'Sea Stallion', on one of the most perilous archaeology experiments ever attempted. Check back regularly for updates.

This BBC site features a number of videos.

Click here to go to the website...

Dig unearths Neolithic settlement

The remains of a massive Neolithic settlement dating back more than 5,000 years have been discovered in Orkney.

Archaeologists said the discovery could be as significant as the famous prehistoric village at Skara Brae, which was unearthed in 1850.

The site at Ness of Brodgar lies in the heart of Neolithic Orkney, between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness.

The finds have included a Neolithic mace head and decorated stones.

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Tide is turned in Mary Rose bacteria battle

THE Mary Rose is winning her latest battle in the fight against destructive bacteria lurking within the warship's wood.

Experts are confident the archaeological treasure, raised from the Solent seabed 25 years ago after sinking in 1545, is on course for victory in the battle for survival.

Scientists had discovered that bacteria growing in the wood, combined with a chemical reaction from rusted iron bolts and nails, was turning almost two tonnes of sulphur in the timber into sulphuric acid.

There were fears the acid could slowly eat away at the wood as it gradually dried out, reducing Henry VIII's flagship to a crumbling shell.

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Hope for archaelogical dig success

Norton Community Archaeology Group has begun an excavation in Church Field, Norton, on the outskirts of Letchworth GC.

Church Field - or Churchwyck Field - is an area of pasture between Church Lane and Norton Road that has been recognised as containing archaeological earthworks.

Some of the earthworks show the lines of old roads, including the original main street through the village, while others belong to long-demolished buildings.

The current excavation is taking place in the corner of the field beside Norton Road, closest to The Three Horseshoes pub.

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La Azohía building site uncovers Roman find

The remains are said to be of a salt fish factory dating from the fourth century BC

La Verdad newspaper reports this morning on the remains of a Roman salt fish factory uncovered on a building site in La Azohía, near the marina. The discovery was made some months ago, in survey work taking place as part of requirements for granting a building licence.

Archaeologists say the find could date from the fourth century. The site has been fenced off and any building halted while the archaeological excavations take place.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Viking replica ship to arrive in Ireland

After six weeks at sea, 65 crew members will row the Sea Stallion Viking ship up the Liffey this week.

The ship began its 1,000 nautical mile journey in Roskilde, Denmark, and, although the voyage was hampered by bad weather, it will arrive in Dublin on time, at 1.30pm this Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Visit Denmark, one of the organisers of the event, said each crew member had a tiny space on board where they sat, slept and kept their belongings. ‘‘All 65 of them take it in turn to row and sail,” she said. ‘‘It’s all voluntary and it’s a private holiday for them.”

Most of the crew are Danish, but there are also crew members from Germany, the US and Australia, among others. Kildarewoman Triona Nicholl, a PhD student in archaeology at UCD, is the sole Irish representative and is one of a number of archaeologists and scientists on board.

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Modern Vikings sail replica in epic journey

An extraordinary voyage by a team of archaeologists and historians has begun to solve some of the greatest riddles of the Viking age. On Tuesday, a giant Viking warship, an exact replica of one built nearly 1,000 years ago, will complete a 1,200-mile trip from Scandinavia to Ireland.

Throughout the six-and-a-half-week voyage, experts from Denmark's Viking Ship Museum have conducted experiments into 11th-century life and tested sailing technology. And they have found the famed longships were slower and more complex than thought. The vessel they replicated had been discovered and lifted by archaeologists in Denmark 50 years ago. Research showed it had been built in Dublin in 1042 and scuttled in Denmark 30 years later.

On this voyage, the vessel sailed from Roskilde in Denmark to southern Norway, then across the North Sea (where it was forced by poor winds to accept a tow from its escort vessel to Orkney), then via the Western Isles and the Isle of Man to Ireland. It will arrive in Dublin on Tuesday.

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Mary Rose fights the acid reign of bacteria

One of Britain's greatest archaeological treasures, the Mary Rose, is facing the biggest threat to its survival since it was raised from the seabed 25 years ago.

In contrast to the towering French warships it faced as Henry VIII's flagship, it is fighting a much smaller, though no less daunting, enemy. Scientists have discovered that bacteria growing on the timbers of the Tudor warship are producing a corrosive acid that could cause the hull to disintegrate.

They believe that the bacteria, together with a chemical reaction involving iron from rusted bolts and nails, is converting nearly two tons of sulphur in the waterlogged wood into sulphuric acid.

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Ancient forest found in Hungary

An ancient forest of cypress trees, estimated to be eight million years old, has been discovered in Hungary.

Archaeologists found the 16 preserved trunks in an open cast coal mine in the north-eastern city of Bukkabrany.

The specimens were preserved intact while most of the forest turned to coal thanks to a casing of sand, which was perhaps the result of a sandstorm.

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Archeologists battle against all odds to save Allianoi

Days ahead of the flooding due to the creation of the Yortanlı dam, archeologists battle to gain the right to excavate before the ancient thermal city of Allianoi is lost forever

The world's oldest known ancient thermal city is scheduled to be flooded on August 15. Located in the very center of the lake, the city will be submerged under water. Yet fighting against the odds, volunteers and archeologists are trying to save the city or at least unearth it before all artifacts are lost under the soil and water.

The struggle between the sacrifice of a 2,000-year-old city for a 50 to 60-year-old water project seems to be tipping in favor of the latter. State Water Affairs (DSİ) second zone Director Ayhan Sarıyıldız says that the decision in the following days will probably go in favor of Yortanlı dam.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

How Bronze Age man enjoyed his pint

Bronze Age Irishmen were as fond of their beer as their 21st century counterparts, it has been claimed.

Two archaeologists have put forward a theory that one of the most common ancient monuments seen around Ireland may have been used for brewing ale.

Fulacht fiadh - horseshoe shaped grass covered mounds - are conventionally thought of as ancient cooking spots.

But the archaeologists from Galway believe they could have been the country's earliest breweries.

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Archaeologists Recreate Ancient Irish Beer

Billy Quinn and Declan Moore, two archaeologists with Moore Archaeological & Environmental Services (Moore Group) in Galway, believe that an extensive brewing tradition existed in Ireland as far back as 2500 BC. In an article to be published in Archaeology Ireland next month, they detail their experiments and research into the enigmatic site that is the fulacht fiadh. These monuments (of which there are approx. 4500), which present in the landscape as small, horseshoe shaped grass covered mounds, have been conventionally thought of by archaeologists as ancient cooking spots. However, Quinn and Moore believe that they may have also been used as breweries.

According to Quinn “the tradition of brewing in Ireland has a long history, we think that the fulacht may have been used as a kitchen sink, for cooking, dying, many uses, but that a primary use was the brewing of ale.” The two set out to investigate their theory in a journey which took them across Europe in search of further evidence.

To prove their theory, Quinn & Moore set out to recreate the process. They used an old wooden trough filled with water and added heated stones. After achieving an optimum temperature of 60-70°C they began to add milled barley and after approx 45 minutes simply baled the final product into fermentation vessels. They added natural wild flavourings (taking care to avoid anything toxic or hallucinogenic) and then added yeast after cooling the vessels in a bath of cold water for several hours.

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Paleoanthropologists Disown Homo habilis from Our Direct Family Tree

An Associated Press article titled “African fossils paint messy picture of human evolution” explains that common popular conceptions of human evolution are incorrect: “Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.” Indeed, the inappropriateness of such "straight line" depictions of human evolution was one of Jonathan Wells' main points in chapter 11 in Icons of Evolution, "From Ape to Human: The Ultimate Icon." A Harvard biological anthropologist stated the newly reported fossils reveal, "how poorly we understand the transition from being something much more apelike to something more humanlike." The Associated Press article goes on to explain why Homo habilis can no longer considered a direct ancestor of humans:

The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years, Leakey and colleagues report in a paper published in Thursday's journal Nature. In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period. That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said.

In other words, habilis can no longer be considered the ancestor to the rest of the genus Homo.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Giant statue of Hadrian unearthed

Parts of a huge, exquisitely carved statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian have been found at an archaeological site in south-central Turkey.

The original statue would have stood 4m-5m in height, experts estimate.

His achievements include the massive wall built across the width of northern Britain which bears his name.

Ruling Rome from AD117 to AD138; he was known as a great military administrator and is one of the so-called "five good emperors".

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English were dedicated followers of French fashion 1,400 years ago

The British, it seems, have assiduously followed European fashion trends for years. It now turns out that it may have been for centuries.

Stylish Anglo-Saxon women, for example, wore front-fastening coats clasped with brooches that were common on the Continent at the time and would not be completely out of place on the catwalks of Paris today.

Penelope Walton Rogers is an archaeologist who has undertaken a significant study of Anglo-Saxon graves and settlements and come up with some surprising findings.

Evidence pieced together from more than 1,700 graves shows that followers of fashion in the middle of the 6th century wore outfits typical of northern France and territories west of the Rhine.

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A Danish crew has arrived in the Isle of Man on board the world’s biggest Viking ship ever reconstructed in an epic voyage from Denmark to Ireland that retraces the journey made by Norse ancestors almost 1,000 years ago.

The 16-strong volunteer crew set sail on the historic voyage from Roskilde in Denmark on July 1 2007, and arrived in Peel Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday morning (August 8). The Viking longship Sea Stallion from Glendalough is on a 1,000 mile journey with the goal of reaching her 'birthplace' in Dublin on August 14 2007.

The Sea Stallion from Glendalough is a reconstruction of a 30-metre long warship – the largest of five Viking ships discovered at Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord, Denmark in 1957. Following excavations in 1962, archaeologists discovered the vessel was built in Dublin in 1042 using traditional Scandinavian ship-building methods.

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Ancient Byzantine Church Discovered In Tiberias

Impressive Byzantine church discovered in excavations in Tiberias

In excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Tiberias impressive and unique finds were uncovered that shed light on the history of the ancient city.

The excavations were conducted over the course of the last three months at the request of Mekorot, as part of a project that involves the installation of a sewage pipeline and the transfer of the waste water treatment facility from Tiberias to the southern part of the Sea of Galilee.

The finds that were exposed date from the founding of Tiberias in the first century CE until the eleventh century, when the city was abandoned due to an earthquake, wars and dire economic and security conditions. In the lower part of the city, a Byzantine church (from the fourth-fifth centuries CE) was exposed that is paved with magnificent polychrome mosaics decorated with geometric patterns and crosses.

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Twin fossil find adds twist to human evolution

Two fossils unearthed in Kenya have added a new dimension to our view of life at the birth of our Homo genus. They show that two ancestral human species seem to have lived cheek-by-jowl in the same area, much as gorillas and chimpanzees do today.

Both skull fragments were found by anthropologists digging near Kenya's Lake Turkana, adding to the impressive list of early human fossils unearthed here. One of the fossils, an upper jawbone from the species Homo habilis, is dated at 1.44 million years, much younger than most fossils of this species.

The other fossil is an almost complete — but faceless — Homo erectus skull. Dated at 1.55 million years, the skull is far smaller than any other from this species — suggesting to the researchers that, as is the case with modern gorillas, there was a large size differences between the sexes in H. erectus.

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Neolithische Plastiken gefunden

Fragmente einer Tier- und einer Menschenfigur aus Ton kamen bei Ausgrabungen im niedersächsischen Hevensen ans Licht. Funde in dieser Kombination gibt es nur selten.

Bei Ausgrabungen im Zuge des Baus einer Erdgasleitung legten Archäologen unter Leitung von Claus Dobiat mehrere Hausgrundrisse einer 7.000 Jahre Siedlung frei. Außer linienbandkeramische Gefäßscherben und Steinwerkzeuge fanden die Wissenschaftler dabei auch Fragmente einer menschlichen Tonfigur und einer Tierplastik aus dem gleichen Material, die anscheinend ein Schwein darstellt. Die Ausgräber gehen davon aus, dass der Fund kultischen Hintergrund hat. Es könnte es sich natürlich auch um ganz profanes Spielzeug handeln.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ancient fossils show women much smaller

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Homo erectus, long viewed as a crucial evolutionary link between modern humans and their tree-dwelling ancestors, may have been more ape-like than previously thought, scientists unveiling new-found fossils said on Thursday.

Revealing an ancient skull and a jawbone from two early branches of the human family tree -- Homo erectus and Homo habilis -- a team of Kenyan scientists said they were surprised to find that early female hominids were much smaller than males.

The skull was the first discovery of a female homo erectus.

It suggests mankind's upright ancestors may have been physiologically closer to modern gorillas and chimpanzees, which also exhibit big differences in size between males and females, than had been supposed.

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Neanderthal DNA will help to unlock the secrets of humanity

NEANDERTHAL Man has begun to give up his genetic secrets almost 30,000 years after he last walked the Earth, providing critical insights into the genes that make human beings what they are today.

DNA extracted from a Neanderthal bone has been analysed in detail for the first time and the genetic code of humanity’s closest cousin will be mapped completely within two years, scientists announced yesterday.

The development will allow scientists to compare the human genome with that of our nearest living and extinct relatives — the chimpanzee and the Neanderthal — to tease out the differences between the three. These variations will in turn reveal the genes that make us human.

A gene found only in Homo sapiens, but not in chimps or Neanderthals, must have evolved recently and is therefore solely part of Modern Man’s genetic heritage. Genes that we share with Neanderthals, but not with chimps, will also have played a part in human evolution, but at an earlier stage, before we diverged from our extinct cousins.

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Unearthing Bronze Age brewing

Forget 1759, the most important year in Irish brewing history may have been many thousands of years earlier. A pair of bleary-eyed Galway archaeologists have developed a theory that, in between all the hunting and gathering, one of the most commonly found archaeological features on the Irish landscape was used by Bronze Age man to make ale.

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Queen Nefertiti: More than a pretty face

German scientists have discovered that the world's most beautiful woman allowed herself to be sculpted with wrinkles to appear more beautiful.

Maybe wrinkles are not so bad, after all, some German scientists have discovered.

In ancient times, such laugh lines and wrinkles around the mouth improved the face of Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen acclaimed as the world's most beautiful woman.

X-ray pictures of the bust by a computer tomography machine at the nearby Charite Hospital in Berlin revealed that the sculpture is a piece of limestone with details added using four outer layers of plaster of Paris.

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Turning a new leaf in an ancient land

Italy's Mastroberardino wine family have brought five vineyards back to life in the dead city of Pompeii

POMPEII, ITALY — To visitors, Pompeii is a fascinating outdoor museum in the form of a dead city.

To Italy's Mastroberardino wine family, Pompeii is alive and productive.

It is late afternoon on a hot, dusty day in July. I am standing in the welcome shade of the Foro Boario, one of five Pompeii vineyards brought back to life by the Mastroberardinos to make a modern version of an ancient wine.

Behind me is Pompeii's remarkably intact amphitheatre. In front is Mount Vesuvius, whose eruption in 79 AD buried the city in volcanic ash and pumice. Pompeii vanished; so did one of the Roman Empire's great winemaking centres.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Viking longship at Isle of Man

On its historic voyage from Roskilde in Denmark to Dublin in Ireland the ’Sea Stallion fom Glendalough’ moored at Peel Harbour at Isle of Man this morning at five o’clock.

The worlds largest reconstruction of a Viking longship will probably set its course for the coast of Ireland Thursday arriving to Dublin Tuesday 14th of August.

The Sea Stallion and her 65 men crew left the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark June 1st. So far the ship visited Norway, The Orkney Islands, the west coast of Scotland and Islay. The sail from Islay to Isle of Man prooved to be one of the most dramatic, however.

Going through The North Channel between Ireland and Scotland winds went up to 23 metres per second – Beaufort 9 that is. In waves up to 5-6 metres in height the crew faced problems as the rope and leather band holding the rudder in place collapsed. Repairments were made and all reefs in the 112 square metre sail were taken to reduce the impact of the harsh weather to the ships steering system.

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Scientists warn that hominid 'Lucy' is too fragile for six-year US tour

Palaeontologists in Ethiopia and in the United States were expressing alarm yesterday following confirmation that the fossilised bones of the world's famous hominid, "Lucy", were on their way from Addis Ababa to a museum in Texas for a six-year tour of American cities.

The remains are thought to be between three and four million years old and are considered the most important link ever discovered between modern man and its antecedents. They were discovered in the remote Afar region of Ethiopia by the US scientist Donald Johanson in 1974. Since then they have remained in secure storage in the Natural History Museum in Addis Ababa.

Now there is concern that transporting the fossils for a 10-city tourrepresents an intolerable risk to their integrity. The Ethiopian government defends the tour as a necessary tool to increase tourism.

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Archaeological dig finds Roman coins and games

A new dig at an ancient archaeological site has found Roman artefacts and musket balls fired during the English Civil War.

Archaeologists began work excavating the site at Bury Mount in Towcester on July 17 and an initial metal scan of one part of the area has already uncovered a number of Roman pieces, including an unusual carved disc believed to have been used in a board game similar to draughts.

Jim Brown, project officer for Northamptonshire Archaeology, said: "We haven't even started excavating the front section yet but we have carried out a metal scan and
retrieved a number of Roman artefacts including some lead cloth seals, a fourth century Roman coin and a small gaming piece.

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Experts move in before builders

Archaeologists and ecologists are carrying out tests on the site of a huge housing development.

Experts have started work on land at North Bersted in Bognor, where permission has been granted for 650 homes and a relief road.

They will spend nine weeks there to ensure environmental and archaeological interests in the site are protected.

This was one of the conditions of planning permission agreed by the Government.

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Shrule’s historic Abbey in need of attention

Steeped in history, Kille Abbey and graveyard in Shrule is in need of urgent attention. Cróna Esler visited the Abbey.

LOCATED some three miles from the village of Shrule in South Mayo, the ruins of Killeenbrenan or Murgagagh Abbey and Graveyard stands alone. While an exact date for the foundation of the present structure remains largely unknown, it is clear that the Abbey was constructed on the site of an earlier Irish Church and founded sometime before 1428. It is believed that the Shrule Franciscan Abbey formed part of the Third Order of St Francis, which was thought to have been established by St Francis himself for married men and women who wished for a Franciscan life.

Nowadays, the historical importance of Kille Abbey is often forgotten, with many locals not even realising its existence. Needless to say, this lack of knowledge and respect for so great an Abbey is a far cry from its glory days, when references were made to it in every religious book and place name book in the libraries of Ireland.

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Archaeologists set to dig for history

THESE foundations might be all that remain of some of Ipswich's oldest buildings.

But though visible today they are unlikely to be around forever.

Though earmarked for development, the St Peters Port site, close to Ipswich waterfront, has already been described by archaeologists as potentially one of the most important historical sites in the town.

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Protection for historic sites

ARCHAEOLOGICAL sites around the Island ranging from sweeping areas of St Ouen's Bay to individual standing stones could be given official planning protection for the first time.

The Jersey Heritage Trust has proposed that 165 sites get site of special interest (SSI) protection, and they range from the remains of a Neolithic forest and ancient sites at the pinnacle to the remnants of the St Brelade Occupation PoW camp.

Planning have worked with the trust and the Société Jersiaise to come up with the list of sites in a consultation document - white paper - which would mean developers and builders have to take care when working near them. Environment Minister Freddie Cohen said that without the SSI designation, the department were effectively at the mercy of developers.

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Bulgarian Archaeologists Unearth 2,500-Years-Old Tomb

Archaeologists from the Bulgaria's National History Museum have unearthed a tomb of a citizen, who lived in the ancient city of Apollonia, which is today's Black Sea town of Sozopol.

The team of Krastina Panayotova is working on the Harmani beach of Sozopol, a site which archaeologist have been exploring for many years now. During regular excavations Panayotova's team stumbled upon the tomb.

When the scientist opened it they found many pottery, the skeleton of a man, who lived some 2,500 years ago and a huge ceramic bowl with an inscription in ancient Greek.

The bowl has been already taken for a thorough expertise and a team of linguists was called to decipher the inscription. When this is done, the Head of the Museum Bozhidar Dimitrov hopes the scientists will get a further understanding of Apollonia Pontica - the first democratic state in the lands of today's Bulgaria.

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Study points to larger role of Asian ancestors in evolution

A new analysis of the dental fossils of human ancestors suggests that Asian populations played a larger role than Africans in colonizing Europe millions of years ago, said a study released Monday.

The findings challenge the prevailing "Out of Africa" theory, which holds that anatomically modern man first arose from one point in Africa and fanned out to conquer the globe, and bolsters the notion that Homo sapiens evolved from different populations in different parts of the globe.

The "Out of Africa" scenario has been underpinned since 1987 by genetic studies based mainly on the rate of mutations in mitochondrial DNA, a cell material inherited from the maternal line of ancestry.

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Vandals destroy 8,000-year-old artwork

Heartless vandals have destroyed cave paintings dating back thousands of years with graffiti.

Fluorescent yellow paint was sprayed over carvings, thought to be around 8,000 years old, inside the Cova de la Clau in Palma de Gandia, last week.

However, they left a 16,000-year-old engraving of a horse in the Cova del Parpalló untouched.

Gandia’s municipal archaeologist, Joan Cardona, was said to be ‘horrified’ at the news.

“It would be like destroying a Goya, a Picasso or a Velázquez,” he laments.

Some of the carvings, which were discovered in 2001, have been removed and are held in various museums throughout the province, but those that remain have been declared UNESCO heritage sites.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Location: Washington Length: 6 min.

With scenes from 2006 fieldwork in central Washington state and an original musical accompaniment, archaeologist Faith Haney offers her personal interpretation of archaeology. Haney created this video as a Career Day exhibit for Middle School students and in the process captured key insights about the values and purposes of archaeology. Although not intended to represent archaeology in all its worldwide manifestations or to speak for archaeologists everywhere, this video gives valid answers to some often-asked questions.

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M3 protesters stage Hill of Tara vigil

ANTI-M3 motorway protesters yesterday mounted a dawn vigil to defend a heritage site near the historic Hill of Tara.

Protect Tara supporters were triggered by speculation that the authorities were going ahead with plans to dismantle and “preserve as record” the so-called royal temple at Lismullin in Co Meath.

Feelings have run high, with heritage defenders claiming a priceless world treasure would be lost for ever if the motorway scheme goes ahead in its present form.

Conservationists have expressed bitter disappointment with the stance of new Environment Minister John Gormley of the Green Party to demands to reroute the motorway from Tara.

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Roman walls unearthed under city

An exhibition has been set up in Bath to show some of the discoveries that have been made as part of the city's Southgate redevelopment.

Archaeologists have been on the site of the old shopping centre while diggers carry out work on the £360m project to build new shops and housing.

Various discoveries have been unearthed including part of the Roman and Medieval city walls.

All the finds are on display at a new visitor centre on New Orchard Street.

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Save Tara campaigners protest as work starts on ruins

Save Tara campaigners will hold a demonstration at the ancient Co Meath site today as excavation works take place at newly discovered 2,000-year old ruins.

The find was made by workers on the controversial M3 motorway project last April and was later selected for National Monument status.

In one of his final acts of office, former Minister for the Environment Dick Roche controversially signed an order of preservation by record for the site, meaning the prehistoric henge would be photographed, sketched and measured before being razed to make way for the motorway.

According to TaraWatch, excavation was due to begin at the end of July, but was postponed due to bad weather.

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Save Tara campaigners protest as work starts on ruins

Save Tara campaigners will hold a demonstration at the ancient Co Meath site today as excavation works take place at newly discovered 2,000-year old ruins.

The find was made by workers on the controversial M3 motorway project last April and was later selected for National Monument status.

In one of his final acts of office, former Minister for the Environment Dick Roche controversially signed an order of preservation by record for the site, meaning the prehistoric henge would be photographed, sketched and measured before being razed to make way for the motorway.

According to TaraWatch, excavation was due to begin at the end of July, but was postponed due to bad weather.

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Tara excavation to begin

The excavation of a prehistoric site in Co Meath is due to get under way today.

The site at Lismullen is to be cleared to make way for the construction of the M3.

The site was declared a national monument earlier this year, but is to be demolished and preserved `by record` to make room for the motorway.
Click here

Opponents of the project are staging a demonstration at the site this morning.

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Archaeologists are taking advantage of the SouthGate development to delve into two millennia of Bath's history.

Experts from the Museum of London have been drafted in by Multi Development, the firm behind to the £360m project, to use the unique opportunity to search for and record evidence of the city's Roman, medieval, Georgian and Victorian past.

Work is only at the initial stages, with demolition the old Southgate shopping centre and Ham Gardens Car Park only recently completed.

But archaeologists have already uncovered evidence of the city's "bum ditch" - a stream which Bath's medieval citizens used as an open sewer - and of the original Southgate Street.

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Archaeologists discover 8-million-year-old forest in Hungary

BUKKABRANY, Hungary (AFP) - Archaeologists have found an eight-million-year old forest of cypresses, well preserved and not fossilised, in Bukkabrany in north eastern Hungary.

"The discovery is exceptional as the trees kept their wooden structure, they neither turned into coal nor were petrified," Tamas Pusztai, the deputy director and head of the archaeological department at the local Otto Herman museum who oversaw the excavation, told AFP.

Archaelogists announced the find last week after uncovering the mysterious forest of taxodiums, a kind of swamp cypress, after a few days of digging.

Miners working in a brown coal mine had first uncovered several tree trunks that had been turned into coal, a common occurrence in this kind of environment.

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Ancient Croatian Port City Saved From 13-Mile Wide Wild Fire

Dubrovnik, Croatia (AHN) - Firefighters managed to save Dubrovnik, Croatia from wildfires that had threatened the historic 7th century port city. A state of emergency had been declared Sunday night as a 13-mile wide line of forest fires fanned by heavy winds blazed toward the suburbs outside the ancient city on the Adriatic.

Firefighters saved the UNESCO World Heritage site with an aggressive combination of water bombs, dropped from the air, and firefighters on the ground, going house-to-house, to battle blazes as residents were forced from their homes.

About 26 firefighters were injured, but the city was saved. While one home was burned, tourists were largely unaffected because the town is between them and the hotels on the Mediterranean coastline.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Famous Fossil Lucy Leaves Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - The 3.2 million-year-old skeleton known as Lucy was quietly flown out of Ethiopia overnight for a tour of the United States, a trip some consider too risky for one of the world's most famous fossils.

Although the fossil was expected to leave the Ethiopian Natural History Museum this month, the handling of the departure took some in the nation's capital by surprise.

``This is a national treasure,'' said Kine Arega, a 29-year-old attorney in Addis Ababa. ``How come the public has no inkling about this? It's amazing that we didn't even get to say goodbye.''

Paleontologist Berhane Assaw said he worked late Sunday at the museum only to arrive Monday morning to find that the fossil and key staff members had left for Texas.

The departure ``should have been made public,'' he said.

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A Social Network for Archaeologists

ArchaeoSeek is the place to discuss archaeological issues, sites, excavations, and field schools. Membership is open to professional archaeologists, students, and avocational archaeologists, and covers all fields, from underwater to terrestrial.

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Early Humans In China One Million Years Ago

Chronology and adaptability of early humans in different paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental settings are important topics in the study of human evolution.

China houses several early-human (Paleolithic) archaeological sites along the Nihewan Basin near Mongolia, some with artifacts that date back about 1 million years ago. Deng et al. analyze one specific locality in the Nihewan Basin, called the Feiliang Paleolithic Site, where several stone artifacts and mammalian bone fragments have been found buried in basin silts.

By analyzing remnant magnetizations of basin silt layers and comparing these data with charts of known magnetic reversals, the authors identify that the artifact layer was deposited about 1.2 million years ago, just prior to a major climate transition that occurred during the mid-Pleistocene. The transition brought increased climate variability to the region.

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Stone Age Site Surfaces After 8000 Years

Excavations of an underwater Stone Age archaeological settlement dating back 8000 years took place at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton between 30 July – 3 August 2007.

Maritime archaeologists from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (HWTMA) have been working at the site just off the Isle of Wight coast. Divers working at depths of 11 metres have raised sections of the seabed, which have been brought to the NOCS laboratories for excavation.

Garry Momber, Director of HWTMA said: ‘This is a site of international importance as it reveals a time before the English Channel existed when Europe and Britain were linked. Earlier excavations have produced flint tools, pristine 8,000-year-old organic material such as acorns, charcoal and worked pieces of wood showing evidence of extensive human activity. This is the only site of its kind in Britain and is extremely important to our understanding of our Stone Age ancestors from the lesser-known Mesolithic period.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Scholar revives ancient subject

A Swansea University historian hopes to discover more about an ancient discipline which may have provided "the GPS system" of its day, 500 years ago.

Dr Adam Mosley will study cosmography, a subject believed to combine geography, history and astronomy.

He will also try to find out how it died out in around the 17th Century.

The lecturer wants to discover more about its study and how strong its links were with the seafarers' art of navigating by the stars.

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Saving Stonehenge

YOUR story Stonehenge world heritage status at risk as tunnel plan is shelved (News, July 22) is, in fact, good news.

Few of the monument’s friends support English Heritage’s “tunnel”: it would be too short; the A303 would emerge, dualled, right into the archeological landscape; the new visitors’ centre would be over a mile from the henge, so linked buses and new roads would be required to carry the hundreds of thousands of visitors across the landscape.

While the MP for Salisbury, Robert Key, remains in favour of the English Heritage proposals the National Trust, which owns the land around Stonehenge, the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, and the Stonehenge Alliance are opposed to it.

Immediate improvements are possible: the closure of the A344/A303 junction, traffic calming on the A303, improving the present visitors’ centre and moving the car park to the west.

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Archaeologists have discovered a large group of ancient rock art in Perthshire, which they hope will shed more light on the area’s prehistoric inhabitants.

A team working on National Trust for Scotland (NTS) land as part of the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project found the previously undiscovered ‘cup-and-ring’ style markings on a hillside overlooking Loch Tay and Kenmore. The carvings could date back to Neolithic times and be up to 5,000 years old.

Cup-and-ring rock art features abstract symbols of circles and cups, chipped out of the stone some time between 3,000-1,500 BC, from the late Neolithic period to the early Bronze Age. Other examples have been found at locations in upland Britain and across Atlantic Europe, from Portugal to Orkney.

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