Thursday, November 27, 2008

Historical data is unearthed in city

STRONG evidence has emerged that one of the city’s earliest Christian settlements was located in the northside district of Kileely.

Two reports submitted by Lynch Archaeological Consultancy and Noel Quirke of Limerick Civic Trust’s history department, indicate that a Round Tower and church stood in the vicinity of St Lelia’s Cemetery in Kileely. They have been lodged with the Public Works.

Cllr Michael Hourigan was instrumental in securing the involvement of the Civic Trust, responding to the local people’s desire to have what is believed to be the city’s oldest cemetery restored.

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How turtles got their shells... and other evolutionary mysteries solved

The fossilised remains of an ancient reptile that lived 220 million years ago may have solved the puzzle of how the turtle got its shell and, in the process, cleared up one of the most enduring mysteries of animal evolution.

It is the oldest known turtle-like fossil and its shell appears to be only half-formed, covering its belly but leaving its back unprotected. Scientists believe it shows the evolutionary transition from the shell-less state of the earliest turtle ancestor to the fully formed shell of all living turtles.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Medieval library site to be dug

Archaeologists are to examine a site near a medieval Herefordshire building before a new library is built.

The dig will take place near the Master's House in Ledbury before it is extended to house a new library.

Herefordshire Council said a viewing platform will be put up so people can observe the work taking place during the three-week dig from 5 January.

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Thracian funeral mould found near Pravets

An archaeological discovery of a great importance has been during an anti-treasure hunting action.

During an inspection damages on the mould have been noticed and that provoked a further investigation of the site.

At the level of the antique terrain a funeral ritual had been performed.

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Climate change wiped out cave bears 13 millennia earlier than thought

Enormous cave bears, Ursus spelaeus, that once inhabited a large swathe of Europe, from Spain to the Urals, died out 27,800 years ago, around 13 millennia earlier than was previously believed, scientists have reported.

The new date coincides with a period of significant climate change, known as the Last Glacial Maximum, when a marked cooling in temperature resulted in the reduction or loss of vegetation forming the main component of the cave bears' diet.

In a study published in Boreas, researchers suggest it was this deterioration in food supply that led to the extinction of the cave bear, one of a group of 'megafauna' – including woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, giant deer and cave lion – to disappear during the last Ice Age.

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Scythian village and cemetery unearthed in Northeast Hungary

Workers at a business park construction project near the northeast Hungarian town of Nagykálló have unearthed a series of graves and the remains of a Scythian village that enjoyed prosperity in the time of the Roman Empire, reports historical portal

The contents of the graves are expected to be particularly rich as the custom of the time dictated that knives, broaches, and bronze figures, as well as dishes and ceramics containing food be buried with the dead to ease their passage in the afterlife.

A gold hair-band and a silver mirror have already been recovered from the site.

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Return of the Neanderthals

If we can resurrect them through fossil DNA, should we?

Here's the next question in the evolution debate: We know roughly how the sequence of life ran forward in time. What about running it backward? How would you feel about rewinding human evolution to a species that's almost like us, but not quite?

Last week in Nature, scientists reported major progress in sequencing the genome of woolly mammoths. They reconstructed it from two fossilized hair samples. One was 20,000 years old; the other was 65,000 years old. Now, according to Nicholas Wade of the New York Times, biologists are discussing "how to modify the DNA in an elephant's egg so that after each round of changes it would progressively resemble the DNA in a mammoth egg. The final-stage egg could then be brought to term in an elephant mother."

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VIDEO: Roman "Jewel" Promoted

November 25, 2008—Archaeologists are touting a "jewel" of the Roman Empire: the city of Viminacium in modern-day Serbia.

Watch the video...

Photos reveal Hadrian's history

Archaeologists have uncovered 2,700 previously unrecorded historic features along the length of Hadrian's Wall by studying thousands of aerial pictures.

The English Heritage experts found ancient burial mounds, medieval sheep farms and 19th Century lead mines.

They were working from more than 30,500 pictures taken during the past 60 years as part of a push to map and interpret archaeological sites across England.

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Grant helps archaeologists dig into archives

Funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support a project at the University of York to find exciting new ways of making academic research material available online.

The New York-based Foundation has awarded $250,000 to the study led by Professor Julian D Richards, Head of the Department of Archaeology and Co-Director of the online journal, Internet Archaeology.

Professor Richards is examining ways of using the benefits of online publication to allow researchers to link their work to related databases, video, audio and other information in a way that traditional paper-based formats do not allow.

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The biennial British Archaeological Awards are the most prestigious awards in British archaeology. Since their foundation in 1976, they have grown till they now encompass 10 awards covering every aspect of British archaeology.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

60th Birth Anniversary Ian Hodder and more

New websites at International institute of Anthropology:

60th Birth Anniversary Ian Hodder

On the changing face of the 21st century Anthropology:

Archaeologists as people: Douglass Bailey:

Chariot that travelled to the afterlife

Sofia Archaeologists are working on a Thracian bronze chariot, which they unearthed near the village of Karanovo in southeastern Bulgaria. More than 10,000 Thracian burial mounds are scattered across central and southeastern Bulgaria, which is considered to have been the home of the ancient society that lived in the region between 4000BC and AD300.

Digging in the mound near Karanovo was begun because local authorities feared looting. The chariot had probably been buried in the tomb of a rich man in line with the Thracian belief that belongings accompanied the dead into the afterlife, archaeologists said. “It is an ancient four-wheel chariot with a richly ornamented framework and a yoke of figured bronze,” Veselin Ignatov told national radio.

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Delving into the past in Roscommon

A FEW WEEKS ago archeologists digging at the site of a medieval castle in Co Roscommon found a treasure trove of Iron Age pottery and flint tools that are at least 3,000 years old. Not what you expect when you are investigating the foundations of a 16th-century building - but not that surprising given that the site is a stone's throw from Rathcroghan, reputed to be the burial ground and inauguration site of the ancient kings of Connacht.

At first glance Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre, in Tulsk village, looks no more than an inviting coffee shop on the banks of the picturesque Ogulla river, near a busy crossroads about 18km from Roscommon town.

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Dig unearths fragments of the past

POTTERY fragments which could date back centuries have been discovered in Peterborough's historic Cathedral Square.

An archaeological dig is being carried out in areas of the square prior to the installation of a series of water features.

The project is being led by Opportunity Peterborough and should be completed by the end of today.

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Metal detector enthusiast discovers treasure

FRAGMENTS of a medieval brooch and 16 Roman coins discovered by a metal detector enthusiast from Thakeham have been declared to be treasure at inquests.

Anthony Gill, who has been "detectoring" for more than 30 years, discovered two pieces of the silver brooch buried at farmland in Steyning in April and the 16 copper alloy coins on downland in Storrington in June.

And at two inquests at Worthing Town Hall on Tuesday (November 18), West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield gave the verdict both finds were treasure.

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Clues to why modern humans migrated...

In a cave 70 000 years ago, something strange was beginning to happen.

The occupants, who once lived in the cave, were behaving differently from their forefathers.

They were producing some of the first examples of jewellery and developing new technologies that were to give them an edge in years to come.

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Die Paläste des Kaisers

Neueste Erkenntnisse über die Kaiserpaläste auf dem Palatin in Rom stehen im Mittelpunkt eines Kolloquiums, das das Institut für Klassische Archäologie der Universität Würzburg veranstaltet. Nachwuchswissenschaftler aus Deutschland und Frankreich werden dort die Ergebnisse ihrer Arbeiten vorstellen.

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Der älteste Schuh in Herne

Ausstellung zeigt Anfänge der Schuhe

Wann der Mensch den ersten Schuh erfand und wie er ihn in Jahrtausenden bis zum heutigen Designerschuh weiterentwickelte, erzählt die internationale Ausstellung "Schuhtick - Von kalten Füßen und heißen Sohlen". Der Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) präsentiert die Schau über die Kulturgeschichte des Schuhs mit über 400 Exponaten vom 6. Dezember 2008 bis 5. Juli 2009 im LWL-Museum für Archäologie in Herne. Anschließend geht die Ausstellung nach Bremen und Mannheim.

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Massive Prehistoric Fort Emerges From Welsh Woods

Cloaked by time's leafy shroud, the prehistoric settlement of Gaer Fawr lies all but invisible beneath a forest in the lush Welsh countryside.

Commanded by warrior chiefs who loomed over the everyday lives of their people, the massive Iron Age fortress once dominated the landscape.

Now the 2,900-year-old structure lives again, thanks to a digital recreation following a painstaking survey by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

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Greek pipeline workers discover stone age homes

Archaeologists in central Greece have unearthed the remains of a Neolithic settlement discovered by workers laying a gas pipeline, the Greek Culture Ministry said Thursday.

Ovens and pottery, rare decorated vases and bone tools found at the site near the city of Larissa show that its inhabitants were already skilled artisans nearly 7,000 years ago, the ministry said.

"The site was unknown until works for the installation of a natural gas pipeline started," the ministry said in a statement.

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3,500-year-old weapon found in burn

A Bronze Age spearhead which lay submerged in a burn for 3,500 years has been discovered and handed to a museum.

The spearhead was found wedged in a rock crevice in a burn at Mennock Water in Dumfriesshire. It is now on display in Dumfries Museum.

"It is in a remarkable condition having survived in the water for around 3,500 years," said the annual report of the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer.

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Ancient Chariot Found in Bulgaria

Archaeologists have unearthed an elaborately decorated 1,800-year-old chariot sheathed in bronze at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Friday. "The lavishly ornamented four-wheel chariot dates back to the end of the second century A.D.," Veselin Ignatov said in a telephone interview from the site, near the southeastern village of Karanovo.

But he said archaeologists were struggling to keep up with looters, who often ransack ancient sites before the experts can get to them.

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Hadrian's wall boosted economy for ancient Britons, archaeologists discover

Far from being a hated symbol of military occupation, Hadrian's Wall was the business opportunity of a lifetime for ancient Britons, archaeologists have discovered.

The 73-mile long Roman wall, built in AD 122 to defend the Roman Empire from hostile Celtic tribes, created a thriving economy to serve the occupying army, according to aerial surveys.

Farmers, traders, craftsmen, labourers and prostitutes seized the occasion to make money from the presence of hundreds of Roman troops.

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A stunning golden torc dating from the Iron Age, a hoard of over 3,600 Roman coins and a tiny Anglo Saxon roundel depicting the Hand of God were just some of the items on show at the British Museum last week for the launch of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Treasure Annual Report.

The report lists thousands of archaeological finds made and reported by members of the public and includes all of the discoveries that passed through the Treasure Process in 2005 and 2006 from an impressive 1,257 finds in total – each of them contributing to our understanding of the past.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Greek archaeologists find 6,500-year-old fishing village

More than 4,000 years after the settlement was eventually abandoned, researchers have unearthed the remains of houses built of wood and unbaked clay, together with pottery vases, ovens and stone tools, the Culture Ministry announced Thursday.

The Neolithic-era finds were discovered during work to lay a gas pipe near the village of Vassili in Thessaly, 170 miles north of Athens.

Thessaly's fertile plains attracted some of Greece's first farmers, and the ruins of more than 300 settlements - including what at the time would have been major towns - have been discovered in the area.

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Roman treasure found on Clifton farmland

A 72-YEAR-OLD woman found a piece of Roman treasure on farmland near Clifton.

Alice Wright found the small gold leaf while using her metal detector in the Clifton area on March 23.

The leaf was declared as treasure trove, meaning she may receive a reward for her find, at an inquest in Nottingham.

Mrs Wright, from Littleover in Derby, has sent the object to the British Museum, and another museum is interested in acquiring it.

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Archaeologists scoop second national award

A GROUP of amateur archaeologists in Clydesdale have the world of Time Team sewn up.

For Biggar Archaeology Group have, for the second time, won the highest award in Britain for amateur archaeologists – The Pitt Rivers Award.

The bi-annual British Archaeology Awards ceremony took place in the British Museum last week. And the Biggar team scooped their award for the work they have done on the River Tweed Project.

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Iron Age stele reveals early evidence of belief in the soul

An Oriental Institute team working in southeastern Turkey has discovered an Iron Age chiseled stone slab that provides the first written evidence in the region that people believed the soul was separate from the body.

The researchers will describe the discovery to two gatherings of scholars at a Saturday, Nov. 22 conference and a Sunday, Nov. 23 conference in Boston. The content chiseled in stone is considered the testimony of an Iron Age official, whose image is incised on the slab.

Members of the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute found the 800-pound basalt stele, 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, at Zincirli (pronounced “Zin-jeer-lee”), the site of the ancient city of Sam’al. Once the capital of a prosperous kingdom, it is now one of the most important Iron Age sites under excavation.

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Money for castle repairs rejected

A councillor has lost his fight to restore a castle, but says his campaign will go on.

Monmouthshire councillors rejected Tony Easson's call for funding to be "sourced immediately" by the authority to make repairs to Caldicot Castle.

Problems include the roof of the south-west tower leaking and windows rotting in the banqueting hall.

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Were Neanderthals stoned to death by modern humans?

Human aerial bombardments might have pushed Neanderthals to extinction, suggests new research. Changes in bone shape left by a life of overhand throwing hint that Stone Age humans regularly threw heavy objects, such as stones or spears, while Neanderthals did not.

"The anatomically modern humans would have this more effective and efficient form of hunting," says Jill Rhodes, a biological anthropologist at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, who led the new study. A warmer Europe would have opened up forests, enabling longer range hunting, she says.

Rhodes and a colleague studied changes to the arm bone that connects the shoulder to the elbow – the humerus – to determine when humans may have begun using projectile weapons.

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16th-century skeleton identified as Copernicus

The long-lost skeleton of Nicolaus Copernicus – the 16th-century astronomer who transformed our understanding of the solar system – has been found, Polish researchers have confirmed.

Forensic detective work has successfully matched DNA samples recovered from remains in a cathedral grave with hairs retrieved from a book the scholar priest is known to have owned.

The identification is the culmination of four years of investigation and centuries of speculation about the final resting place of the man who challenged the Bible and medieval teachings of the church.

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Scots unearth ancient 'treasures'

The first Roman tombstone found in Scotland for more than 170 years is among the rare artefacts unearthed by treasure hunters this year.

It forms part of Scotland's annual Treasure Trove, items found by archaeologists or enthusiasts which have been handed to the Crown Office.

Other pieces include a 5,000-year-old axe head, a Bronze Age sword and mysterious carved stone balls.

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Gold collar found in field 'best Iron Age loot in 50 years': report

An amateur treasure hunter hit gold when he found an Iron Age collar worth more than 350,000 pounds (414,000 euros, 520,000 dollars) in a field, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Maurice Richardson, who unearthed the 2,200-year-old gold collar near Newark will not get to keep it but has received an undisclosed reward and his lucky find has been acquired by his local museum.

"I was only in the field because a customer kept me late," Richardson, a tree surgeon, told the Guardian newspaper.

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Mammoth task: Scientists map DNA of ancient beast

Bringing "Jurassic Park" one step closer to reality, scientists have deciphered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth, a feat they say could allow them to recreate the shaggy, prehistoric beast in as little as a decade or two.

The project marks the first time researchers have spelled out the DNA of an extinct species, and it raised the possibility that other ancient animals such as mastodons and sabertooth tigers might someday walk the Earth again.

"It could be done. The question is, just because we might be able to do it one day, should we do it?" asked Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemist and co-author of the new research. "I would be surprised to see if it would take more than 10 or 20 years to do it."

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bronze Age site reaches a milestone of its own

THE founder of Flag Fen archaeological site joined more than 100 other guests at a special 25th birthday party.

This year marks the silver jubilee of the archaeological site near Peterborough, and to mark the end of its season, the site held a celebratory dinner in the city.

The charity held the fund-raising night on Friday at the Great Northern Hotel, and among the guests was Flag Fen founder, and regular on Channel Four’s Time Team, Professor Francis Pryor.

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AN excavation of an ancient Iron Age settlement at the south of Fleetwood could take place in the spring.

Wyre Archaeology Group discovered the area at Bourne Hill, on the border of Fleetwood and Thornton, last year.

Now, a geophysical survey, which has just been conducted at the site, should reveal more facts about the site.

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Chichester's Roman baths museum faces design revamp

Design changes for Chichester District Council's £6.9m Roman baths museum scheme are now being considered, it has emerged.

They include a reduction in the height of a turret on top of the proposed Tower Street building by at least half a metre, and reconsideration of the turret's detailing.

The move follows criticism of the design by conservationists and some councillors at a meeting of the council's southern area development control committee.

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Archaeologists begin Cathedral Square excavation

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL dig has begun in Peterborough's historic Cathedral Square.

An area of the square has been cordoned off while a mechanical digger is used to excavate the site.

The dig is being carried out before work starts to install a series of water features in the square.

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Oldest nuclear family 'murdered'

The oldest genetically identifiable nuclear family met a violent death, according to analysis of remains from 4,600-year-old burials in Germany.

Writing in the journal PNAS, researchers say the broken bones of these stone age people show they were killed in a struggle.

Comparisons of DNA from one grave confirm it contained a mother, father, and their two children.

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Funerary Monument Reveals Iron Age Belief That The Soul Lived In The Stone

Archaeologists in southeastern Turkey have discovered an Iron Age chiseled stone slab that provides the first written evidence in the region that people believed the soul was separate from the body.

University of Chicago researchers will describe the discovery, a testimony created by an Iron Age official that includes an incised image of the man, on Nov. 22-23 at conferences of biblical and Middle Eastern archaeological scholars in Boston.

The Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago found the 800-pound basalt stele, 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, at Zincirli (pronounced "Zin-jeer-lee"), the site of the ancient city of Sam'al. Once the capital of a prosperous kingdom, it is now one of the most important Iron Age sites under excavation.

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Archaeologists find ancient babies’ beakers in Sicilian necropolis

Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the largest Greek necropolis in the city of Himera on the island of Sicily, where the ancient version of babies’ beakers has been found.

According to the new agency ANSA, although experts have long known about the burial ground, they have only recently understood its importance because of building work to extend a local railway track.

Hundreds of graves have already been uncovered, but archaeologists believe there are thousands more waiting to be found in the burial ground of the city, which rose to prominence more than 2,500 years ago.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

National Geographic Expedition Week: Archaeology Viewer Guide

This coming week, November 16-23, 2008, the National Geographic Channel is featuring videos on scientific studies they've produced lately, including nine brand new ones. Most of the videos, old and new, are on archaeology. They sent along pre-publication copies of the new videos for me to review, and some really amazing still photographs for us all to enjoy.

To celebrate, I've built an Archaeologist's Viewers Guide to Expedition Week. On the Viewer's Guide, I'm going to provide a review of each of the videos I saw, and give solid, academic context websites and journal articles as background for each one.

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Remains of Iron Age fort found in Wednesbury

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered what could be the remains of an ancient Iron Age hill fort in the Black Country.

The exciting find was made during a dig on behalf of the Black Country Housing Group and a group of eager schoolchildren were on hand to witness it.

The community regeneration agency invited pupils from the nearby St Mary’s RC primary school in Wednesbury to watch the dig opposite St Mary’s Church and meet with archaeologists.

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Archaeological excavations have continued this summer within ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ World Heritage Site.

The Ring of Brodgar, the third largest standing stone circle in Britain and the Ness of Brodgar, its accompanying settlement site, have been the focus of an investigation funded by Historic Scotland and Orkney Island Council under the direction of Dr Jane Downes (Orkney College UHI) and Dr Colin Richards (Manchester University).

This season saw the anticipated re-opening of Professor Colin Renfrew’s 1973 trenches at the Ring of Brodgar, the impressive monument which is thought to be 4 to 4,500 years old although the date has never been scientifically confirmed.

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Roman settlement unearthed near Penrith

A Roman settlement has been unearthed near Penrith by workman preparing the ground for a sewage pipe.

The civilian vicus, which is thought to date back to the first century AD, was discovered on agricultural land in Brougham close to the A66.

Experts have declared the site is of national significance.

Archeologists uncovered the remains of two timber buildings, cobbled lanes, three stone buildings and a rare Grubenhauser – a sunken feature building from the early medieval period.

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Mary Rose sunk by French cannonball

For almost 500 years, the sinking of the Mary Rose has been blamed on poor seamanship and the fateful intervention of a freak gust of wind which combined to topple her over.

Now, academics believe the vessel, the pride of Henry VIII's fleet, was actually sunk by a French warship – a fact covered up by the Tudors to save face.

The Mary Rose, which was raised from the seabed in 1982 and remains on public display in Portsmouth, was sunk in 1545, as Henry watched from the shore, during the Battle of The Solent, a clash between the English fleet and a French invasion force.

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Pompeii: 1,000 new reasons to visit

Archaeologists are about to embark on a huge restoration project that should triple the area of the lost city of Pompeii accessible to tourists. Two thirds of the site’s 1,500 houses, shops and temples are currently closed to the 2.5 million visitors who go there every year.

In July the Italian government declared a year-long state of emergency for Pompeii, saying it was in danger of being irreparably damaged by vandalism, looting, mismanagement and under-investment.

In the next two years the city will become a “building site” Renato Profili, Pompeii’s “emergency commissioner”, announced this week.

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Ancient Rome goes online

Obviously, there were no satellites to snap pictures of Rome two millennia ago, but that hasn't stopped experts from giving web surfers a bird's eye view of the ancient city.

Google Earth has added to its software a 3-D simulation that painstakingly reconstructs nearly 7,000 buildings of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, the Forum and the Circus Maximus, officials said.

The program, which gives users access to maps and global satellite imagery, now hosts a new layer that allows surfers to see how Rome might have looked in AD320, a bustling city of about one million people under Emperor Constantine.

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New dawn for knights of old

The sword is the stuff of legend, jousting knights and the fabled Round Table of King Arthur.

In medieval times, no weapon was as clinically deadly as the sharpened longsword. But many centuries-old fighting styles were forgotten with the invention of gunpowder, which left swords obsolete.

Now, Bradford group Scola Gladiatoria is reviving some of the lost styles of European martial arts in a movement which is rapidly growing in popularity.

Thousands of martial arts enthusiasts are now practising medieval sword-fighting in countries including the USA, Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium and Italy.

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Roman emperor head discovered in a package!

The marble head of a statue of a Roman emperor was delivered in the National History Museum today from "Sofia Airport - Customs".

The head, most probably representing Octavian August, was found in a package sent from Haskovo to Western Europe.

It was part of a sculpture or a bust of the famous Roman emperor who conquered Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

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Cynisca of Sparta

A Spartan princess Cynisca broke the mould by winning a four horse chariot race in 396 BCE. English classicist, Paul Cartledge, introduces us to Cynisca of Sparta and offers us an insight to why she can be considered the first Greek female Olympic winner.

Cynisca sounds like a childhood nickname, because it means (female) puppy (little bitch...!). But it almost certainly wasn't that, as we know of adult males called by the masculine equivalent, Cyniscus. Our Cynisca in any case was anything but puppyish in adult life; and she was no one_s poodle. Born at Sparta probably some time round about 440 BC, she became the first woman ever to win a victory in the Olympic Games, a feat which she repeated remarkably enough at the immediately succeeding Games. Yet unlike the male victors, she did not have to compete physically in person, as we shall see.

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Wide-hipped fossil changes picture of Homo erectus

The fossil of a wide-hipped Homo erectus found in Ethiopia suggests females of the pre-human species swayed their hips as they walked and gave birth to relatively developed babies with big heads, researchers said on Thursday.

The finding transforms thinking about some early human ancestors and evolution and suggests that helpless babies came along relatively late in the human lineage.

"We could look at this pelvis and then, using a series of measurements, we can calculate ... how big the baby's head could be at birth," said Scott Simpson, a paleontologist at Case Western Reserve University who worked on the study.

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D'Artagnan's tomb found: Archaeologists claim

Dutch archaeologists believe that they have located the tomb of Louis XIV musketeer Charles de Batz de Castelmore d'Artagnan in a small Catholic church in the Netherlands.

According to a leading French historian, Charles de Batz de Castelmore dArtagnan, who served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard, was buried a few kilometres away at Saint Peter and Paul Church in Wolder, Holland, The Times Online reports.

The trail is very precise, according to Odile Bordaz, author of several works on the musketeer.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Archaeology Summer School Courses at Oxford

The Oxford Experience Summer School, which is held in Christ Church, Oxford each year, is offering nine different courses in archaeology in July and August 2009.

You can find a list of the courses here…

Roman Baths get overdue clean-up

Algae and sludge deposits built up over years are being removed from the original Roman lead-lined floor of one of Bath's top tourist attractions.

The Great Bath at the city's Roman Baths has been drained of natural thermae spa water for the clean-up.

The site, below the modern street level, is one of the best examples of a preserved Roman bath complex in Europe.

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Charting 9000 years of history in Falkirk

AROUND 9000 years ago the first humans set foot in Falkirk.

Since then Bronze Age settlers and the Romans are among the many cultures to have left their mark on the area.

The clues to their existence are everywhere.

They can be found beneath the ground we walk on and across the local landscape. Park your car at The Falkirk Wheel and you are actually on top of an Iron Age settlement.

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Metal detector reaps a harvest of precious coins

Amsterdam A man with a metal detector has found a trove of ancient Celtic and Germanic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht. City authorities say the gold and silver coins date from the middle of the first century BC, when Julius Caesar was leading military campaigns in the region. The treasure hunter found the coins this spring, leading to an archaeological investigation. The Celtic coins bear triple spirals on the front, and the silver pieces were imported from Germanic tribes further north.

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Workers unearth Roman settlement

A Roman settlement has been unearthed by a water company laying pipelines in Penrith, Cumbria.

It is believed to date back to the first century AD and includes remains of timber buildings and streets.

The discovery was made by United Utilities engineers during excavations for a sewage pipeline in October.

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Ancient Celtic coin cache found in Netherlands

A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht.

"It's exciting, like a little boy's dream," Paul Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made public.

Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.

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Prehistoric pelvis offers clues to human development

Discovery of the most intact female pelvis of Homo erectus may cause scientists to reevaluate how early humans evolved to successfully birth larger-brained babies. "This is the most complete female Homo erectus pelvis ever found from this time period," said Indiana University Bloomington paleoanthropologist Sileshi Semaw. "This discovery gives us more accurate information about the Homo erectus female pelvic inlet and therefore the size of their newborns."

A reconstruction of the 1.2 million-year-old pelvis discovered in 2001 in the Gona Study Area at Afar, Ethiopia, that has led researchers to speculate early man was better equipped than first thought to produce larger-brained babies. The actual fossils remain in Ethiopia.

The discovery will be published in Science this week (Nov. 14) by Semaw, leader of the Gona Project in Ethiopia, where the fossil pelvis was discovered with a group of six other scientists that includes IU Department of Geosciences graduate student Melanie Everett.

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Archaeologists hail 'remarkable' Roman settlement uncovered during pipeline work

A Roman settlement has been unearthed by a water company laying pipelines.

The civilian settlement in Cumbria is believed to date to the first century AD and includes the remains of timber buildings and cobbled streets.

The discovery was made by United Utilities engineers during excavations for a sewage pipeline near Penrith in October.

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Bowl survives 300 years underground

Archaeologists have discovered a piece of crockery dating back more than 300 years on a Belfast city centre building site.

The bowl fragment, dated from 1676, was discovered during a survey on a Skipper Street site owned by the Merchant Hotel which is being excavated ahead of a planned extension.

Archaeologist Audrey Gahan said there was great excitement when it was unearthed on Wednesday.

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Huge necropolis unearthed in Sicily

Palermo, November 11 - Archaeologists working at the ancient Greek city of Himera in northern Sicily have uncovered what they now believe to be the largest Greek necropolis on the island.

Although experts have long known about the burial ground, they have only recently understood its importance because of building work to extend a local railway track. Hundreds of graves have already been uncovered but archaeologists believe there are thousands more waiting to be found in the burial ground of the city, which rose to prominence more than 2,500 years ago.

''The necropolis is of an extraordinary beauty and notable dimensions,'' Sicily's regional councillor for culture, Antonello Antinoro, said Tuesday.

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Gründung des European Heritage Legal Forum

Das neue europäische Beratungsgremium European Heritage Legal Forum (EHLF) wurde kürzlich auf Einladung des Freistaates Bayern und organisiert vom Bayerischen Landesamt für Denkmalpflege in der Vertretung des Freistaates Bayern bei der Europäischen Union in Brüssel gegründet.

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Neues zu den Römern in Bad Cannstatt

Am gestrigen Donnerstag, den 13. November 2008, präsentierten Archäologische Denkmalpfleger des Regierungspräsidiums Stuttgart und der Unteren Denkmalschutzbehörde wichtige Ergebnisse aus laufenden archäologischen Untersuchungen in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt (Baden-Württemberg).

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

University of Oxford Online Archaeology Courses

Four University of Oxford online archaeology courses are now open for registration. The four courses are:

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers
Exploring Roman Britain
Origins of Human Behaviour: the evidence from archaeology
Ritual and Religion in Prehistory

The courses begin in January.

You can find further information here…


Location: Worldwide Length: 6 min.

World economic conditions have threatened to severely reduce our income from underwriting, our top income source. In response, ALI is featuring our first Pledge Drive, beginning November 5 and lasting up to two weeks, until November 18. Our goal is to replace the lost underwriting income with new supporting Memberships, to ensure a sound financial footing for ALI and thus also for TAC. Check for daily updates to learn how you can help TAC continue to deliver and expand its programming. We are counting on your support! Thank you.

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If Gordon Brown, the UK's current prime minister, or the next American president (yet to be determined) were to visit the British Museum's latest high-profile show, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict , he might find some uncomfortable parallels with one of Rome's greatest emperors — not to mention some differences he might envy.

As the exhibition catalogue points out, the major conflict zones of his time are strikingly familiar today: the Balkans, Caucasus, Mesopotamia and Judea/Palestine, where he faced (tables turned) Jewish rebellions from AD 116.

Forced to rein back after the imperial over-stretch of his predecessor Trajan , Hadrian initially fought Middle Eastern rebellions, but then turned, despite the risks and doubters, to troop withdrawals, beginning in what is modern-day Iraq.

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Findings cast light on mediaeval Georgian monastery in Cyprus

SIXTEEN important mediaeval graves have been uncovered during excavations at the the 12th century Georgian monastery near Gialia village in the Paphos district, the Antiquities Department said yesterday.

The graves dating from between the 14th and 16th centuries were found on all four sides of the monastery.

Twelve were found in the south side. The graves contained clay ware and glass vessels with Greek and Georgian inscriptions on some of the items, the Antiquities Department said.

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Neolithic burial ground found in Istanbul

Several 8,000-year-old cremation urns from the Neolithic Age have been discovered in Istanbul during digging of an undersea metro tunnel.

The urns were found in the everglade at Marmaray, before heavy machinery was used to dig a metro tunnel connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city. According to experts, the find sheds new light on the historic past of the Turkish capital.

All the personal belongings of the deceased, namely clothing, jewelry, utensils, and even the arrow the person was killed with were found buried with their owner inside the urns, representing him and the type of life he led. One urn even contained the skeleton of a baby.

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£30m medieval wing breathes new life into V&A

Anyone who has not visited the V&A for some time may not recognise the place, its director said yesterday as he gave details of new galleries for ceramics and theatre and a new wing for medieval and renaissance treasures.

Mark Jones was giving an update on the V&A's ambitious and, at £120m, expensive plan to reinterpret the museum's disparate collections and redesign galleries. Phase one will be finished this time next year, he said, and the new galleries represent the "most important and most exciting projects in recent years".

The £30m medieval and renaissance galleries will bring treasures together thematically. Visitors will be able to see everything from the 900-year-old Becket Casket, containing the relics of the murdered archbishop Thomas Becket, and Studley Bowl (circa 1400), one of the earliest surviving pieces of English domestic silver, probably used to give a noble child their porridge, to - for the first time on permanent display - five of Leonardo da Vinci's small notebooks.

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How warfare shaped human evolution

IT'S a question at the heart of what it is to be human: why do we go to war? The cost to human society is enormous, yet for all our intellectual development, we continue to wage war well into the 21st century.

Now a new theory is emerging that challenges the prevailing view that warfare is a product of human culture and thus a relatively recent phenomenon. For the first time, anthropologists, archaeologists, primatologists, psychologists and political scientists are approaching a consensus. Not only is war as ancient as humankind, they say, but it has played an integral role in our evolution.

The theory helps explain the evolution of familiar aspects of warlike behaviour such as gang warfare. And even suggests the cooperative skills we've had to develop to be effective warriors have turned into the modern ability to work towards a common goal.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tools Give Earlier Date For ‘modern-thinking’ Humans

An international team, including Oxford University archaeologists, has dated two explosions of sophisticated stone tool making in southern Africa much more precisely than has previously been possible.

The team dated the two events, known as the Still Bay and Howieson’s Poort industries, to around 80,000 and 60,000 years ago respectively.

This provides further evidence that humans (Homo sapiens) in southern Africa were ‘behaviourally modern’ – that is, thought and behaved like modern humans – before any migration of biologically modern humans to the rest of the world: most likely dated at around 60,000 years ago according to the ‘out of Africa 2’ theory.

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Ancient Rome lives again on Google Earth

The glory that was Rome is to rise again. Visitors will once more be able to visit the Colosseum and the Forum of Rome as they were in 320 AD, this time on a computer screen in 3D.

The realisation of the ancient city in Google Earth lets viewers stand in the centre of the Colosseum, trace the footsteps of the gladiators in the Ludus Magnus and fly under the Arch of Constantine.

The computer model, a collection of more than 6,700 buildings, depicts Rome in the year 320 AD. Then, under the emperor Constantine I, the city boasted more than a million inhabitants –- making it the largest metropolis in the world. It was not until Victorian London that another city surpassed it.

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Digging deep to pin down Iron Age fort

An expert from English Heritage has been to visit the site of what could be the remains of an Iron Age hill fort in Wednesbury.

The official from the organisation which protects and promotes sites of interest came out to view land in St Mary’s Road yesterday afternoon.

If as suspected, two ditches, discovered on an archeological dig, do date back to the Anglo-Saxon or even the Iron Age era, the site would be of national importance.

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The annual showcase for the best in British archaeology and a central event in the archaeological calendar, the British Archaeological Awards (BAA), took place at the British Museum this week.

Established in 1976, the BAA has grown to encompass 14 commendations and awards, covering every aspect of British archaeology from important discoveries and community archaeology to books, TV programmes and kids’ archaeology.

An important winner for the Council of British Archaeology (CBA) was its Best ICT Project award for the Community Archaeology Forum (CAF) website which was set up two years ago as a resource for anyone working in community archaeology.

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Did the Romans have money problems?

Historians will debate if people living in the Iron Age and early Roman Britain had money problems, at the next meeting of the South West Hertfordshire Archaeological and Historical Society.

Ian Leins, curator of Iron Age and Roman coins for the British Museum, will give a talk to the group and discuss what currency from this period tells us about their lives and the way they lived.

The talk starts at 8pm (doors open at 7.30pm) on Wednesday, November 19, at Cassio Lodge, The Avenue, Watford.

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Google Earth brings ancient Rome to life

Its creator has called it a "virtual time machine" – a digital reconstruction of ancient Rome that today became available to hundreds of millions of internet users around the world.

Users of Google Earth can now see the city, down to the last aqueduct and arena, just as it looked at midday on April 1 AD320. They can float through the Forum, past the platform or "rostra" from which Cicero once declaimed, admire the statues, read the inscriptions, pry into palaces, and then slip round to the Colosseum or whisk over to the Circus Maximus where the ancient Romans held their chariot races.

There, the virtual traveller will find, not the slightly disappointing, though enormous, oval expanse of grass that confronts the real tourist, but the huge, walled stadium that tourists are forced to conjure up from their imagination.

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Ancient Rome in Google Earth

At a press conference in Rome at noon today, Google's Michael Jones and Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno (cough) are announcing "Ancient Rome 3D" — The city of Rome as it was in 320 AD, brought to life via 6,700 buildings and monuments, 716 separate textures and 250 informational placemarks on historically accurate terrain. It's an entirely new kind of default layer for Google Earth — one that mirrors history as well as geography.

This layer wasn't built from scratch just now, however. Its development is the culmination of decades of work spanning some very different technologies. Between 1935 to 1971, the Italian archaeologist Italo Gismondi directed the rebuilding the Rome of Emperor Constantine as a real physical plaster-of-paris 1:250 scale model. You can visit the Plastico di Roma imperiale today at the Museo della Civiltà Romana:

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Neanderthals not only ate shellfish, they liked it as much as we do

Darren Fa, of the Gibraltar Museum’s research team, has just published an article online in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Quaternary Science Reviews. Dr Fa, who was awarded his Ph.D. in marine biology by the University of Southampton’s National Oceanography centre in 1998, has bought together his expertise in this field (specifically, the oceanographic and biological dynamics of the Strait of Gibraltar) and coupled it with the Gibraltar Museum’s ongoing research into the prehistoric inhabitants of the Rock and the surrounding hinterland to provide evidence that marine environments such as the intertidal could have played a significant role in the subsistence economies of these early humans.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anglo-Saxon Kent Electronic Database (ASKED)

ASKED, the Anglo-Saxon Kent Electronic Database was built collaboratively by Stuart Brookes and Sue Harrington to facilitate our respective PhD researches at UCL Institute of Archaeology, from 1998-2000. A pared down version of its content is presented here, in order for it to act as the pilot database for a much larger corpus of material currently being gathered under the aegis of the 'Beyond the Tribal Hidage Project' - a Leverhulme funded research project undertaken at UCL Institute of Archaeology by director Martin Welch and research assistant Sue Harrington. It is intended that this new dataset will be deposited with the Archaeology Data Service in late 2009, retaining the same format as this version of ASKED.

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700-year-old coins found in field

Three 700-year-old coins which were found in a field have been declared treasure by a coroner at Flint.

The silver pennies date back to between 1307 and 1314, to the reigns of both Edward I and his son Edward II.

Archaeology enthusiast Peter Jones, from Holywell, found a coin in 2006, then returned to the same spot a year later, when the other two were found.

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Iron Age ‘town in the sky’ is revealed

FROM the air, its hidden tree-covered slopes give little clue to the settlement that existed there 3,000 years ago.

And its position in one of the quietest corners of the nation may seem a million miles away from the bustle of today’s towns and cities.

But historians have now described an ancient Iron Age hillfort in Mid Wales as the “Millennium Stadium of its day”, after computer modelling revealed its true scale.

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Istanbul's burried history holds machines

ISTANBUL - 'Urn' type, 8,000 years old graves found at the Marmaray diggings at Yenikapı, Istanbul. Dr. Karamut, director of Istanbul Archeology Museums and the head of the excavation said the digging will continue as hand- operated for now

Istanbul's burried history holds machines

Construction on the new metro tunnel, which goes under the Bosporus and will connect the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, has uncovered 8,000-year-old cremation urns from the Neolithic Age.

The urns were found in the everglade at Marmaray, before heavy machinery was due to start excavations. The urns are a first in Anatolian history, which proves human tribes lived in Istanbul before the reigns of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

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Das Paradies im Kloster

Dalheimer Kreuzgang drei Tage lang wieder komplett

Von Freitag bis Sonntag (7. bis 9. November) haben Besucher die Chance, den Kreuzgang im LWL-Landesmuseum für Klosterkultur in Lichtenau-Dalheim (Kreis Paderborn) nach mehr als 200 Jahren wieder komplett zu erleben.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Roman past 'neglected'

COLCHESTER councillors should “hang their heads in shame” at the neglect of the town's Roman heritage, it has been claimed.

The accusation comes from Dennis Willetts, himself a borough councillor, who is furious about what he says is the continued lack of funds being spent on the “exceptional” historic sites.

He has now demanded to know why Colchester Borough Council does not have a financial plan for preserving its Roman heritage which includes the only chariot racing track in Britain.

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Virtual Rome: Gladiator fights return to the Colosseum

Italian capital launches virtual tours of ancient Rome complete with gladiators, Vestal Virgins and Colosseum crowds.

Vestal Virgins, bloodthirsty gladiators grappling with tigers and a portly toga-wearing guide are the highlights of a new high-tech attraction which aims to bring Ancient Rome to life.

"3D Rewind Rome" opens this month in the Italian capital within sight of the Colosseum, the scene of fights to the death between gladiators, slaves and wild animals.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Archaeologists discover 12,000 year-old grave of witch doctor

Archaeologists in Israel have unearthed an ancient grave of an elderly woman believed to have been a magical healer 12,000 years ago.

The grave was found in a burial ground for at least 28 people in a small cave in the lower Galilee region of present-day Israel.

It dates back to the Natufian people who were the first society to adopt a sedentary lifestyle.

At the time of burial, more than 10 large stones were placed directly on the head, pelvis, and arms of the woman whose body was laid on its side. The legs were spread apart and folded inward at the knee.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Icelandic heritage delegation in Island

A DELEGATION from the Icelandic Saga Trail Association visited the Island last week to learn about heritage management.

The seven-day trip was organised by Manx National Heritage.

The delegation included experts in cultural tourism from the Icelandic Saga Trail Association and a representative from the Orkney Islands, who all have a strong interest in the Isle of Man's Viking and Norse heritage.

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Limestone altar Discovered at Dalheim Roman Dig

Following previous archaelogical discoveries at the Dalheim dig (see, another artefact has been discovered.

The site of the former Gallo-Roman baths has now produced what is described as an "exceptional archaeological discovery". The National Museum of History and Art (MNHA), led by the young German archaeologist Heike Posch and overseen by the curator John Krier, has uncovered fragments of a large 1.3m high limestone altar. The discovery dates from the 3rd century AD and has a Latin inscription showing that the altar was dedicated to the goddess Fortuna.

The text over 10 lines mentions not only the people of Ricciacum vicus, but it also describes the return of the portico of the building baths, destroyed 'by violent barbarians', probably during an incursion by Germans. The curator of the work undertaken at that time was a soldier of the 8th Augusta legion stationed in Strasbourg.

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Ancient Phoenicians may be forgotten but not gone

The ancient Phoenicians may be largely forgotten, but they're not gone. Rome destroyed the Phoenicians' greatest city — Carthage — centuries ago, but new genetic studies indicate that as many as one in 17 men living in communities around the Mediterranean may be descended from these ancient mariners.

Originating from what is now Lebanon, the Phoenicians were early seafarers and traders who spread their culture, including a love for the color purple, to North Africa, Spain and other countries around the region. But they seemed to fade from history after being defeated in a series of wars with Rome.

Genographic Research Project scientists led by Chris Tyler-Smith of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England were able to locate a genetic marker for the Phoenicians on the male-only Y chromosome.

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