Saturday, December 20, 2008

VIDEO: "Viking Horse" Has 2 More Gaits

Brought to the island by Vikings, the Icelandic horse does two gaits (besides walk, trot, and gallop) that no other horse does.

Watch the video...

University of Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology

Cave paintings, castles and pyramids, Neanderthals, Romans and Vikings - archaeology is about the excitement of discovery, finding out about our ancestors, exploring landscape through time, piecing together puzzles of the past from material remains.

Our courses enable you to experience all this through online archaeological resources based on primary evidence from excavations and artefacts and from complex scientific processes and current thinking. Together with guided reading, discussion and activities you can experience how archaeologists work today to increase our knowledge of people and societies from the past.

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Archaeological discovery: Earliest evidence of our cave-dwelling human ancestors

A research team led by Professor Michael Chazan, director of the University of Toronto's Archaeology Centre, has discovered the earliest evidence of our cave-dwelling human ancestors at the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.

Stone tools found at the bottom level of the cave — believed to be 2 million years old — show that human ancestors were in the cave earlier than ever thought before. Geological evidence indicates that these tools were left in the cave and not washed into the site from the outside world.

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Two Medieval Hoards Discovered in Historical Centre of Moscow

A unique hidden treasure consisting of 11 Russian coins of the epoch of Vasily the Blind (Vasily Tyomny) has been found during archeological digging in Tyoplye Ryady in Ilyinka Street.

This hoard of medieval coins is one of the biggest in Moscow. However, much bigger buried coin treasures have been recently found one the place of a medieval settlement near Volnino Village of Muromsk District, Vladimir Region.

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Reading Bones to Unlock Mysteries of the Evolution of Hunting and Warfare

Read any good bones lately?

Visiting biological anthropologist Jill Rhodes has, and they may provide some of the earliest evidence of when modern humans started doing something that would have been a pivotal development in the evolution of hunting and warfare—something we all take for granted.

New research by Rhodes and Steven E. Churchill of Duke University published in the Journal of Human Evolution addresses the question of when human hunters added long-range projectile weapons (those thrown overhead) to their arsenal and whether this was a hunting method also employed by Neandertals of the time.

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Wie das Wasser nach Xanten kam

Was Archäologen der Außenstelle Xanten des LVR-Amtes für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland vermutet und seit einigen Wochen durch Grabungen untersucht haben, hat sich nun bestätigt: Auch bei der römischen Wasserleitung nach Xanten, wurde das Wasser über eine Brücke geführt.

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Seltener Bleibarrenfund vor der Küste von Ibiza

Kölner Wissenschaftler vermutet Rüstungsgüter für Karthago

Einem Wissenschaftler des Archäologischen Instituts der Universität zu Köln, Dr. Marcus Heinrich Hermanns, ist es gelungen, vor der Nordküste von Ibiza aus 39 Metern Tiefe drei Bleibarren zu bergen, die vermutlich aus dem 3. Jahrhundert vor Christus stammen. Einer dieser Barren ist mit iberischen Schriftzeichen gekennzeichnet. Den Metallanalysen des Deutschen Bergbaumuseums in Bochum nach stammt der Rohstoff aus der Bergwerksregion der Sierra Morena in Südspanien.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Library Thing

(I am very grateful to Christine of the Mirabilis blog whose posting on Library Thing first brought the site to my attention.)

Library Thing describes itself as the world’s largest book club. Simple entry by means of ISBN or title enables (fairly) rapid cataloguing of your library.

There are already quite a number of archaeologists and people interested in archaeology using the site, and there are several archaeology groups.

Give it a try!

You can find Library Thing at:

Earth's Original Ancestor Was LUCA, Not Adam Nor Eve

Here's another argument against intelligent design: An evolutionary geneticist from the Université de Montréal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor).

Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.

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Medieval music brought back to life

Music from a medieval manuscript that has not been heard since the 15th century has been brought back to life, thanks to researchers at The University of Nottingham.

The project, involving collaboration with academics in Germany, has resulted in the production of a modern colour facsimile of one of the largest, oldest and most important collections of vocal music to survive from late-medieval Europe, as well as a CD recording of some of the music it contains. The St Emmeram Codex is a handwritten anthology of 255 compositions of mostly polyphonic music ( music for more than one voice ), both sacred and secular. The manuscript belonged to the Benedictine monastery of St Emmeram in Regensburg, Germany, but since the early 19th century has been kept under lock and key in the Bavarian State Library in Munich.

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Four-storey hotel to be built opposite Hampton Court

A four-storey river-front hotel is to be built opposite Hampton Court Palace despite vocal objections from the heritage lobby and historian Dr David Starkey, planners have decided.

The development, which also includes a separate care home for ex-servicemen, had pitted the Tudor specialist against Falklands War veteran Simon Weston.

Dr Starkey objected to the riverfront hotel, which will face Henry VIII's palace across the River Thames.

He said: "There can be no reason for new, out of scale and out of character development on that waterfront.

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Passage graves from an astronomical perspective

Passage graves are mysterious barrows from the Stone Age. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that the Stone Age graves' orientation in the landscape could have an astronomical explanation. The Danish passage graves are most likely oriented according to the path of the full moon, perhaps even according to the full moon immediately before a lunar eclipse. The results are published in the scientific journal Acta Archaeologica.

Claus Clausen, who graduated as astronomer from the Niels Bohr Institute, has also always been interested in archeology. There are many Stone Age graves in Denmark, where archaeologists estimate that around 40.000 large stone graves were built from around 3500 to 3000 BC. Only about 500 of the large passage graves, called giant tombs (in Danish Jaettestuer) are preserved today, but one of the great mysteries is their orientation in the landscape.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

DNA is recovered from ancestral snack

WE MAY soon find out exactly what our ancestors ate when they sat down to dinner. The discovery that DNA can be extracted from ancient cooked bones overturns the expectation that heat would destroy such genetic material.

Claudio Ottoni of the University of Rome, Italy, and his team studied 1100-year-old cattle bones from an archaeological site in the UK. By heating modern cattle bones, they found that temperatures of 140 °C damaged the collagen, and 170 °C destroyed it. While the team are unsure how hot the ancient bones got, they did find that only up to 16 per cent of the collagen that remained in them was undamaged. In contrast, the DNA they extracted from the old bones was identifiably bovine (Naturwissenschaften, DOI: 10.1007/s00114-008-0478-5).

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Three marble heads excavated at archaeological site Stibera

Three marble heads - one of an adult man, the other of a woman and the third one of a young boy - are the latest discovery unearthed during this year's archaeological excavations at ancient site Stibera in Prilep region.

- These latest discoveries found during the three-month excavations indicate that the Stibera site is of huge importance, i.e. it was a rich city with rich inhabitants. All the artifacts or statues that have been found so far point out that Stibera was populated by 20.000 inhabitants between 3rd century B.C. and 3rd century A.D., said archaeologist Liljana Kepeska of the Prilep Museum and Institute.

In addition to the marble heads, plaques bearing Greek letters in Latin alphabet were found, which means that prominent citizens had lived in Stibera and that the province Macedonia was significant in the period between the 2nd and 3rd century A.D.

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London Archaeologist Archive Released

The Archaeology Data Service and the London Archaeologist Association are pleased to announce the online availability of London Archaeologist archive. Published by the London Archaeologist Association since 1968 it covers every major archaeological discovery, period, event and issue. Content includes excavation reports, historical articles, artefact and finds studies, environmental archaeology reports, exhibition reports, book reviews, news and commentary. The online archive at the ADS includes digitised articles, along with selected indexes, from 1968-2005 (volumes 1-10).For anyone specifically interested in the history, heritage or archaeology of the capital, London Archaeologist is essential reading, however, it also has a wide appeal to all archaeologist whatever their specialism given the depth and breadth of topics covered.

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Ancient Mass Graves of Soldiers, Babies, Found in Italy

More than 10,000 graves containing ancient amphorae, "baby bottles," and the bodies of soldiers who fought the Carthaginians were found near the ancient Greek colony of Himera, in Italy, archaeologists announced recently.

"It's probably the largest Greek necropolis in Sicily," said Stefano Vassallo, the lead archaeologist of the team that made the discoveries, in September.

The ancient burial ground was uncovered during the construction of a railway extension.

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Farmer digs up ancient sanctuary in Italy

A farmer working his land south of Rome dug up hundreds of artifacts from a 2,600-year-old sanctuary, but ran afoul of police when he tried to sell the ancient hoard, officials said Wednesday.

After spotting fragments of pottery in soil dug up by the farmer, authorities searched his home last month and seized more than 500 artifacts, including perfume vials, cups and miniature vases used as votive objects.

The art squad of the Carabinieri paramilitary police said the farmer was placed under investigation for allegedly trafficking in antiquities. Ancient artifacts found in Italy are considered state property, and finds must be reported to authorities.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Prehistoric settlement uncovered

An unknown prehistoric settlement has been revealed during archaeological work in East Taunton, Somerset.

The dig was commissioned by Somerset County Council before construction begins on the Park and Ride scheme for the Cambria Farm site.

The remains of a prehistoric farm and surrounding fields reveal human occupation from the late Bronze Age to the Roman period (1000 BC to 400 AD).

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Battlefield relics could rewrite Roman history

ARCHAEOLOGISTS say the history books about Roman legions in Europe will have to be revised following the "sensational" discovery of a battlefield in northern Germany this week.

Arrowheads, axes, catapults, spears, coins and lucky charms of the centurions of Rome

who clashed with the Hun tribesmen in the 3rd century AD have been found in a forest. The clash of arms, say experts, would have resembled those portrayed in the Russell Crowe epic Gladiator.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Predecessor of Cows, The Aurochs, Were Still Living In The Netherlands Around AD 600

Archaeological researchers at the University of Groningen have discovered that the aurochs, the predecessor of our present-day cow, lived in the Netherlands for longer than originally assumed. Remains of bones recently retrieved from a horn core found in Holwerd (Friesland, Netherlands), show that the aurochs became extinct in around AD 600 and not in the fourth century.

The last aurochs died in Poland in 1627. In January 2008, the bony core horn was unearthed in a mound near Holwerd by amateur-archaeologist Lourens Olivier from Ternaard. The Groningen Institute for Archaeology at the University of Groningen has established that it came from the left horn of an aurochs bull, and C14 dating reveals that the horn dates back to between AD 555 and 650.

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Developing SASSA: a Soil Analysis Support System for Archaeologists

There is constant pressure on field archaeologists to be familiar with the core concepts of a diverse range of specialist disciplines. Soils and sediments are an integral part of archaeological sites, and soil and sedimentary analyses applied to archaeological questions are now recognised as an important branch of geoarchaeology. However, the teaching of soils in archaeology degrees is variable and many archaeologists complain they lack the confidence and skills to describe and interpret properly the deposits they excavate.

SASSA (Soil Analysis Support System for Archaeologists) is a free-to-use, internet-based system designed to familiarise archaeologists with the concepts and possibilities offered by the scientific study of soils and sediments associated with archaeological sites.

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Iron Age ‘sacrifice’ is Britain’s oldest surviving brain

The oldest surviving human brain in Britain, dating back at least 2000 years to the Iron Age, has been unearthed during excavations on the site of the University of York’s campus expansion at Heslington East.

Archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust, commissioned by the University to carry out the exploratory dig, made the discovery in an area of extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, trackways and buildings dating back to at least 300 BC.

And they believe the skull, which was found on its own in a muddy pit, may have been a ritual offering.

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Roman battlefield discovered in northern Germany

Archaeologists say they have uncovered a third-century battlefield in northern Germany which could prove that Roman legions were fighting in the region much later than historians have long believed.

Rome's most famous incursion into the north of modern Germany came in A.D. 9, when Roman soldiers were defeated by Germanic tribesman at the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest.

However, the newly uncovered battlefield near Kalefeld-Oldenrode, south of Hanover, is some 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the Teutoberg Forest and appears to date to between A.D. 180-260.

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Rare Lead Bars Discovered Off The Coast Of Ibiza May Be Carthaginian Munitions

Dr. Marcus Heinrich Hermanns from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cologne has recovered three lead bars which may originate from the third century before Christ, 39 meters under the sea off the north coast of Ibiza. One of the bars has Iberian characters on it. According to the German Mining Museum in Bochum, the lead originates from the mines of Sierra Morena in southern Spain.

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Römisches Schlachtfeld am Harzrand entdeckt

200 Jahre nach der Varusschlacht kam es offenbar tief im Germanischen Gebiet erneut zu einer Schlacht zwischen Römern und Germanen. Die spektakuläre Entdeckung, die auf die Fundmeldung eines Amateurarchäologen zurückgeht, bringt überkommene Geschichtsbilder ins Wanken.

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Discovery of Roman Battlefield Poses Historical Riddle

Archaeologists in Germany say they have found an ancient battlefield strewn with Roman weapons. The find is significant because it indicates that Romans were fighting battles in north Germany at a far later stage than previously assumed.

The wilds of Germany may not have been off-limits to Roman legions, archaeologists announced on Monday. At a press conference in the woods near the town of Kalefeld, about 100 kilometers south of Hanover, researchers announced the discovery of a battlefield strewn with hundreds of Roman artifacts dating from the 3rd century AD.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Fifth Century settlement located

A Fifth Century Germanic settlement has been discovered on land set out for regeneration in Kent.

A team of 30 archaeologists has been studying debris at the site in Rushenden, on the Isle of Sheppey, to learn how the original settlers lived.

The remains of a large boat-shaped hall have been found as well as evidence of boat-building activity.

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Rare artifacts uncovered in Roman baths dig

ROME (Reuters Life!) - Excavations at an ancient Roman villa and bath complex in the outskirts of Rome have unearthed a wealth of surprisingly well-preserved artifacts, including the marble head of a Greek god, archaeologists said on Wednesday.

The site of the Villa delle Vignacce, toward Ciampino airport south of Rome, was first explored by archaeologists in 1780 who found statues that are now in the Vatican museum.

But excavations began in earnest only about two years ago, revealing a residence attached to an elaborate thermal bath complex dating to the 1st century A.D. complete with hot baths, large tubs and a communal latrine.

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Graves 'may mark ancient church'

A team of Oxfordshire researchers and archaeologists have discovered three graves which they believe could mark the site of a medieval church.

The remains, which are about 800-years-old, were found in gardens of two cottages in Bix Bottom, near Henley.

They believe they may mark the location of the lost church of Bix Gibwyn.

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Prehistoric bronze hoard found off Greek beach

ATHENS, Greece – Authorities say a hoard of 4,500-year-old copper weapons recovered off a northern beach is the largest of its kind ever found in Greece.

A Culture Ministry statement says the discovery includes at least 110 ax and hammer heads, but several more should be extracted from compacted masses of corroded metal.

The ministry says they were probably buried at a time of unrest or war. The hoard would have represented a fortune at the time.

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Antikythera: A 2,000-year-old Greek computer comes back to life

Regulars of the Science Weekly podcast will remember our interview with Jo Marchant, the author of Decoding the Heavens. The book tells the story of the Antikythera mechanism, a mysterious clockwork object made up of numerous meshed cogs that was discovered more than a century ago among the cargo of a Greek shipwreck.

The mystery of how the Greeks had made a machine that appeared to be 1800 years ahead of its time and why that knowledge was seemingly lost is fascinating, but Marchant's story is really about the scientists and engineers who have fallen under the spell of the Antikythera mechanism over the last century. It is a gripping tale of scientific obsession, rivalry and skulduggery.

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Archimedes and the 2000-year-old computer

MARCELLUS and his men blockaded Syracuse, in Sicily, for two years. The Roman general expected to conquer the Greek city state easily, but the ingenious siege towers and catapults designed by Archimedes helped to keep his troops at bay.

Then, in 212 BC, the Syracusans neglected their defences during a festival to the goddess Artemis, and the Romans finally breached the city walls. Marcellus wanted Archimedes alive, but it wasn't to be. According to ancient historians, Archimedes was killed in the chaos; by one account a soldier ran him through with a sword as he was in the middle of a mathematical proof.

One of Archimedes's creations was saved, though. The general took back to Rome a mechanical bronze sphere that showed the motions of the sun, moon and planets as seen from Earth.

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Oldest brain of Britain unearthed in muddy pit

Archaeologists have unearthed Britain’s oldest human brain. The Iron Age brain, at least 2,000 years old, was spotted inside a skull in a muddy pit in the Heslington area of York. It is believed to be one of the oldest found anywhere in the world. Sonia O’Connor, research fellow in archaeological sciences at the University of Bradford, said: “The survival of brain remains where no other soft tissues are preserved is extremely rare.” It is believed that the skull was a ritual offering.

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Ancient Roman battlefield excavated in Lower Saxony

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient roman battlefield from the third century near Göttingen that will rewrite history, Lower Saxony's department for preservation of historical monuments said on Thursday.

“The find can be dated to the third century and will definitely change the historical perception of that time,” Dr. Henning Haßmann told The Local.

The amazing discovery allows an insight in what must have been a dramatic battle between Romans and Germanic tribes. “The find indicates a massive Roman military presence,” Haßmann said.

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Medieval Teutonic knights' remains found in Poland

Polish archaeologists said this week that they had identified the remains of three leaders of the Teutonic Knights, an armed religious order that ruled swathes of the country centuries ago.

"Anthropological and DNA testing has enabled us to back up the theory that these are the remains of the grand masters. We can be 96 percent certain," Bogumil Wisniewski, head of a team which found the skeletons, told AFP on Thursday.

Wisniewski said his team was convinced the men were Werner von Orseln, who led the knights from 1324-1330, Ludolf Koenig (1342-1345), and Heinrich von Plauen (1410-1413).

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Location: Nepal Length: 19 min.

High in the Nepalese Himalayas sits the monastery of Thupten Choling, one of the few remaining free, independent, and traditional Tibetan monasteries in the world. Its 900 resident monks and nuns, continuing Tibetan Buddhist cultural practices and a lifestyle many centuries old, rebuilt their stone monastery by hand over the past few years using traditional medieval technology, with the nuns providing the bulk of the labor. This short film describes these amazing people and their heroic struggle against the elements as they adapt to the modern world.

Watch the video...

Roman temple unearthed in Notts

THE remains of a Roman temple have been found in Notts – and experts say it could re-write the history books.

A wall dating back as far as 43AD, made from large smooth-faced sandstone blocks, has been unearthed at the former Minster School site in Southwell.

Twenty metres long by 2.5 metres tall, it is part of an emerging complex of buildings including a Roman bathing monument – known as a nymphaeum.

The site also contains what is believed to be a large villa.

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It’s the last day of the excavating year at Gobekli Tepe, the hill-top neolithic site whose circles of huge decorated T-shaped stones are at least 5,000 years older than any other monumental structure ever found.

Workmen have already buried the bases of the stones in rubble to protect them from the winter rain. Now they are laying raised walkways into the centre of a site that was previously off-limits to visitors.

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Late Neandertals and Modern Human Contact in Southeastern Iberia

It is widely accepted that Upper Paleolithic early modern humans spread westward across Europe about 42,000 years ago, variably displacing and absorbing Neandertal populations in the process.

However, Middle Paleolithic, presumably Neandertal, assemblages persisted for another 8,000 years in Iberia. It has been unclear whether these late Middle Paleolithic Iberian assemblages were made by Neandertals, and what the nature of those humans might have been.

New research, published Dec. 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is now shedding some light on what were probably the last Neandertals.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Divers search for Armada treasure off Mull

More than 400 years after a Spanish galleon loaded with gold and silver slid beneath the waves in the waters surrounding the Isle of Mull, a new mission has been launched to try to recover its hoard of treasure.

Divers will begin to sift through the silt at the bottom of Tobermory Bay in an attempt to recover the valuable cargo, reputed to have been intended to bankroll the ill-fated Spanish invasion of England in 1588. It is the second time that Sir Torquhil Ian Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll, has launched such a mission.

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Archaeologists dig into Greenham peace camp

They may not rank with the Pyramids or Sutton Hoo, but the traces of one Britain's best-known protest camps are being sifted by a team of archaeologists.

More than 600 artefacts have been catalogued at the skeletal remnants of Turquoise Gate camp, Greenham Common, as part of a project to tell the "full story" about the women's anti-nuclear campaign 25 years ago.

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Unique Archaeological Discovery In Balkan: World’s First Illyrian Trading Post Found

There is jubilation at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo i Norway. Marina Prusac, Associate Professor in the department of archaeology, has just returned home after conducting excavations in the border area between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the course of several weeks of intense digging this autumn, her archaeological team found the very first traces of an Illyrian trading post that is more han two thousand years old.

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Archaeologists find piece of string dating back 8,000 years

The fibres were discovered in a flooded Stone Age settlement just off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

The four-and-a-half inch long string was made from tough stems of honeysuckle, nettles or wild clematis that were twisted together.

Marine archaeologists discovered it when they found a pre-historic camp 30 feet below the surface, 200 yards off the Isle of Wight.

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Salonica university initiates research program in Cyprus

The History and Archaeology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica (AUT), continuing its long research presence in Cyprus, initiated in November 2008 a five-year Prehistoric Research Program.

According to a press release issued here, the scientific aim of AUT program is to search and locate installations of the early prehistory of the island (pre-Neolithic period) through an archaeological surface survey on part of Troodos.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

NSF awards Brown researchers $2.6 million for computer vision in archaeology

A Brown University archaeologist and team of engineers have been awarded $2.6 million from the National Science Foundation to use computer vision and pattern recognition in an archaeological excavation. The team is setting out to change the way archaeologists conduct fieldwork by developing innovative techniques for excavation, reconstruction, and interpretation during the next four years.

The work will focus on the site of Apollonia-Arsuf, located on the Mediterranean coast in Israel. The site has been under archaeological excavation and conservation since the 1950s and was formally recognized in 2004 as one of the 100 most endangered world monuments by the World Monuments Fund.

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Humans 80,000 Years Older Than Previously Thought?

Modern humans may have evolved more than 80,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a new study of sophisticated stone tools found in Ethiopia.

The tools were uncovered in the 1970s at the archaeological site of Gademotta, in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. But it was not until this year that new dating techniques revealed the tools to be far older than the oldest known Homo sapien bones, which are around 195,000 years old.

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Ancient Roman Oil Lamp 'Factory Town' Found

Italian researchers have discovered the pottery center where the oil lamps that lighted the ancient Roman empire were made.

Evidence of the pottery workshops emerged in Modena, in central-northern Italy, during construction work to build a residential complex near the ancient walls of the city.

"We found a large ancient Roman dumping filled with pottery scraps. There were vases, bottles, bricks, but most of all, hundreds of oil lamps, each bearing their maker's name," Donato Labate, the archaeologist in charge of the dig, told Discovery News.

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Shipwreck clues could clear Blackbeard of sinking his ship to swindle his crew

He was history's most feared pirate, striking terror into seafarers as he cut a bloodthirsty swathe through the Caribbean and North Atlantic.

But new research has found that Blackbeard may be innocent of one of the most notorious charges against him.

For almost 300 years, the British pirate captain has stood accused of deliberately sinking his flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, so he could swindle his crew out of their share of loot they had plundered

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Three thousand-year-old spearhead found

A 3,500 year old Bronze Age spearhead has been discovered in a stream in Dumfriesshire.

The ancient weapon-tip was found in the waters of the Mennock Pass, close to Wanlockhead.

It was found wedged in a rock crevice beneath the waters surface.

It is believed to date back to between the 15th and 12th century BC.

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Decline Of Roman And Byzantine Empires 1,400 Years Ago May Have Been Driven By Climate Change

The decline of the Roman and Byzantine Empires in the Eastern Mediterranean more than 1,400 years ago may have been driven by unfavorable climate changes.

Based on chemical signatures in a piece of calcite from a cave near Jerusalem, a team of American and Israeli geologists pieced together a detailed record of the area's climate from roughly 200 B.C. to 1100 A.D. Their analysis, to be reported in an upcoming issue of the journal Quaternary Research, reveals increasingly dry weather from 100 A.D. to 700 A.D. that coincided with the fall of both Roman and Byzantine rule in the region.

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Neanderthal goes High-Tech

Am 27.11.2008 unterzeichnete der Direktor des Neanderthal Museums, Prof. Dr. Gerd-Christian Weniger in Dortmund einen Kooperationsvertrag mit der Firma CTM-DO, einem Spezialunternehmen für industrielle Computertomographie.

CTM-DO forscht mit Unterstützung der EU im Bereich digitaler Messverfahren. Durch die Forschungskooperation werden den Wissenschaftlern des Neanderthal Museums in Zukunft hoch auflösende CT-Scans und exakte digitale Kopien wichtiger Humanfossilien zur Verfügung stehen.

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The world’s first Illyrian trading post found

A unique archaeological discovery in the Balkans: Archaeologists from the University of Oslo have just found the first Illyrian trading post of all time. So Balkan history must now be rewritten!

There is jubilation at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo i Norway. Marina Prusac, Associate Professor in the department of archaeology, has just returned home after conducting excavations in the border area between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the course of several weeks of intense digging this autumn, her archaeological team found the very first traces of an Illyrian trading post that is more han two thousand years old.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oetzi's last supper

What we eat can say a lot about us –where we live, how we live and eventually even when we lived. From the analysis of the intestinal contents of the 5,200-year-old Iceman from the Eastern Alps, Professor James Dickson from the University of Glasgow in the UK and his team have shed some light on the mummy's lifestyle and some of the events leading up to his death. By identifying six different mosses in his alimentary tract, they suggest that the Iceman may have travelled, injured himself and dressed his wounds. Their findings (1) are published in the December issue of Springer's journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, which is specially dedicated to Oetzi the Iceman.

The Iceman is the first glacier mummy to have fragments of mosses in his intestine. This is surprising as mosses are neither palatable nor nutritious and there are few reports of mosses used for internal medical treatments. Rather, mosses recovered from archaeological sites tend to have been used for stuffing, wiping and wrapping.

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Thera volcano in 1613 BC

Two olive branches buried by a Minoan-era eruption of the volcano on the island of Thera (modern-day Santorini) have enabled precise radiocarbon dating of the catastrophe to 1613 BC, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 years, according to two researchers who presented conclusions of their previously published research during an event on Tuesday at the Danish Archaeological Institute of Athens.

Speaking at an event entitled "The Enigma of Dating the Minoan Eruption - Data from Santorini and Egypt", the study's authors, Dr. Walter Friedrich of the Danish University of Aarhus and Dr. Walter Kutschera of the Austrian University of Vienna, said data left by the branch of an olive tree with 72 annular growth rings was used for dating via the radiocarbon method, while a second olive branch -- found just nine metres away from the first -- was unearthed in July 2007 and has not yet been analysed.

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Dig unearths Stone Age sculptures

Rare artefacts from the late Stone Age have been uncovered in Russia.

The site at Zaraysk, 150km south-east of Moscow, has yielded figurines and carvings on mammoth tusks.

The finds also included a cone-shaped object whose function, the authors report in the journal Antiquity, "remains a puzzle".

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Archaeologists discover rare Bronze Age amber necklace in Greater Manchester

A team of archaeologists has uncovered a rare amber necklace believed to be about 4,000 years old in Greater Manchester, in the UK, dating back to the Bronze Age.

According to a report by BBC News, archaeologists made the find while excavating a cist, a type of stone-lined grave, in Mellor, Stockport.

The necklace consists of dozens of pierced amber beads of various sizes, linked together on a length of fibre.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Rare Bronze Age necklace is found

A rare amber necklace believed to be about 4,000 years old has been uncovered in Greater Manchester.

Archaeologists made the find while excavating a cist - a type of stone-lined grave - in Mellor, Stockport.

It is the first time a necklace of this kind from the early Bronze Age has been found in north-west England.

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Medieval Bishop's palace discovered in Ross

A CENTURIES-old search for a lost palace has ended at one of Herefordshire’s best-known beauty spots, where a time team unearthed its second stunning find in nearly as many months.

The remains of what was the medieval Bishop’s Palace that once dominated Ross-on-Wye were revealed by archaeologists digging at the site of a Roman temple uncovered there earlier this year.

An exact location for the palace has eluded local historians for some 300 years. It’s a find that not only has a big part to play in the future for Ross, but also further boosts the reputation of the town’s biggest benefactor.

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First credit crunch traced back to Roman republic

Politicians searching for historical precedents for the current financial turmoil should start looking a bit further back after an Oxford University historian discovered what he believes is the world's first credit crunch in 88BC.

The good news is that Philip Kay knows how the Romans got themselves into financial bother. The bad news is no one knows how they got themselves out of it.

"The essential similarity between what happened 21 centuries ago and what is happening in today's UK economy is that a massive increase in monetary liquidity culminated with problems in another country causing a credit crisis at home. In both cases distance and over-optimism obscured the risk," said Kay, a supernumerary fellow at Wolfson College.

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A temple discovered below Romuliana

ZAJECAR – German experts from the Archeological Institute of Frankfurt in collaboration with our experts have come to an incredible discovery- they have found monumental buildings below Romuliana covering 300 square meters. A temple and 25 objects have been hidden under the surface.

“It was generally believed that Romuliana, the place where Roman emperor Caius Valerius Galerius Maximianus (297-311) was born, was a village. This discovery casts a completely new light on historical data about Romuliana, proving that it was a Roman settlement with all characteristics of Roman cities of the time,” says Bora Dimitrijevic, the director from the museum in Zajecar.

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Fishermen find ancient boat in Black Sea

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — A well-preserved ancient wooden dugout canoe has been discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea, scientists said Saturday.

The vessel was discovered by fishermen trailing nets along the sea bottom some 15 miles off the coast, said Dimitar Nedkov, head of the Archaeological Museum in the port city of Sozopol.

"The dugout is 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) long and 70 centimeters (27.5 inches) wide, and it is made most probably of oak," Nedkov told The Associated Press.

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Fokus Fortifikation: Antike Befestigungen im östlichen Mittelmeerraum

Unter dem Motto "Fokus Fortifikation: Antike Befestigungen im östlichen Mittelmeerraum" fördert die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) über einen Zeitraum von drei Jahren bis Oktober 2011 den Austausch und die gemeinsame Arbeit von mehr als 15 Nachwuchswissenschaftlern an verschiedenen europäischen universitären und außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen, die sich aus bauforscherischer, archäologischer oder althistorischer Perspektive mit antiken Befestigungen in Griechenland, Kleinasien und dem Vorderen Orient befassen.

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Quo vadis - die römische Villa von Blankenheim

Internationales Symposium diskutierte Wege zur Konservierung und Präsentation eines der größten römischen Landgüter im Rheinland
Seit Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts beschäftigten sich Archäologen bereits mehrfach mit der Villa Rustica in Blankenheim.

Archäologen aus dem In- und Ausland waren auf Einladung der LVR-Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland sowie der Gemeinde Blankenheim (Kreis Euskirchen) zusammen gekommen, um über Möglichkeiten der Erhaltung und Präsentation der römischen Villa von Blankenheim zu diskutieren. Aufbauend auf den Erfahrungen der Spezialisten sollen Konzepte für den künftigen Umgang mit einem der größten römischen Gutshöfe im Rheinland entwickelt werden.

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Prähistorische Elfenbein-Objekte zeigen alte Handelswege

Untersuchungsergebnisse des Mainzer Elfenbein-Zentrums INCENTIVS werden bei einer internationalen Tagung in Alicante vorgestellt.

Das Internationale Zentrum für Elfenbeinforschung (INCENTIVS) an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz wird die Untersuchungsergebnisse von 80 prähistorischen Elfenbeinobjekten aus Spanien, Portugal und Marokko diese Woche bei einer Tagung im spanischen Alicante vorstellen. Die Mainzer Wissenschaftler um INCENTIVS-Gründer Dr. Arun Banerjee haben die bis zu 5000 Jahre alten Artefakte mit zerstörungsfreien Methoden auf ihre Herkunft beziehungsweise das verwendete Material untersucht. "Wir konnten dabei zeigen, dass der nordafrikanische Raum und insbesondere Marokko ein Elfenbeinlieferant für die Iberische Halbinsel war und zwischen den Gebieten sehr alte Handelsbeziehungen bestanden haben", erläutert Banerjee.

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Young archaeologists unearth history

INDUSTRIOUS youngsters have helped reveal the rich and varied history of their Norfolk village after they dug up rare Roman pottery and prehistoric flints.

For the last two summers pupils from Acle have been getting their hands dirty as they took part in major excavations to unearth the community's past.

A report by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit has now revealed that the Acle High School's students' efforts this July have led to the discovery of 242 shards of Roman pottery from mainly 200 and 300AD and 46 Neolithic flint fragments.

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