Saturday, March 28, 2009

Abbey reveals itys ancient secrets

It was once home to Augustinian canons, but the ravages of time have left barely any trace of their existence.

Masked by trailing ivy and ancient oaks, all that was visible was a long wall, the remains of a decorated column and a pinnacle of flint rubble.

This was the first glimpse that TV presenter and historian Tony Robinson and his Time Team had when they arrived at the ruins of a historic Suffolk abbey.

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Archaeological worries over barrage plan

IRREPLACEABLE treasures dating back millions of years will be lost if plans to build the Severn Barrage go ahead, experts have warned.

Creating the 10-mile structure across the Severn Estuary could lead to a catastrophic rise in its tide levels, which one of Wales’ leading academics has warned will “drown” ancient relics buried deep within the waters.

The estuary is home to some of the country’s – and the world’s – best-loved archaeological finds, including the remains of Iron Age settlements and the prehistoric footprints. It is one of only two sites on Earth that offers a rare glimpse into life millions of years ago before modern civilisations developed.

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Boulder could have been a calendar – 5000 years ago

AN amateur archaeologist believes a giant boulder on a hill overlooking Loch Ness was used as a guide for crop sowing and harvesting by residents of in the Great Glen more than 5000 years ago.

John Forsyth, who lives in Lower Foyers and describes himself as a natural naturalist, is convinced the five-metre wide rock, which he can see on the horizon opposite his home, was intentionally placed there by early man.

The 76-year-old — who was voted a corresponding member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for services to archaeology — believes the boulder was positioned and sculpted so people could use it as a marker against the sun to signal when their crops should be planted in spring and harvested in autumn.

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Excavation in Turkey set to rewrite history of Iron Age

Japanese researchers digging in Turkey have pushed back the start of the Iron Age, until now presumed to have begun around 1500 B.C., with the discovery of fragments of an iron tool that predate previous finds by several centuries.

The implication of the excavations at Kaman-Kalehoyuk, about 100 kilometers southeast of Ankara, is that the history of iron tool production may have to be rewritten.

Researchers of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan have worked the Kaman-Kalehoyuk site since 1985.

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Ironware piece unearthed from Turkey found to be oldest steel

A piece of ironware excavated from a Turkish archaeological site is about 4,000 years old, making it the world's oldest steel, Japanese archaeologists said on Thursday.

Archaeologists from the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan excavated the 5-centimetre piece at the Kaman-Kalehoyuk archaeological site in Turkey, about 100 kilometers southeast of Ankara, in 2000. The ironware piece is believed to be a part of a knife from a stratum about 4,000 years old, or 2100-1950 B.C., according to them.

An analysis at the Iwate Prefectural Museum in Morioka showed that the ironware piece was about 200 years older than one that was excavated from the same site in 1994 and was believed to be the oldest steel so far made in 20th-18th centuries B.C.

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Italian dig uncovers "oldest" temple in Cyprus

An Italian archaeologist says she has discovered what is believed to be the oldest site of religious worship in Cyprus, a temple which is about 4,000 years old.

The find at the Pyrgos-Mavroraki site close to the southern city of Limassol predates any other discoveries in Cyprus by about 1,000 years, Italian archaeologist Maria Rosaria Belgiorno said.

"This is the first evidence of religion in Cyprus at the beginning of the second millennium BC," she was quoted as telling the Cyprus Weekly newspaper from Rome.

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Archaeologists call for a dig under a caravan business

THE potential for prehistoric and Roman archaeological finds under a caravan showroom in St Georges could scupper plans to build nine homes on the site.

Davan Caravans is proposing to downsize its forecourt in Bristol Road to provide space for the development.

But an archaeologist is demanding a trial excavation on the site before any work takes place.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

More on Robin Hood Manuscript Discovery

Last week we reported on a discovery made by Dr. Julian Luxford of the University of St. Andrews that a passage exists in a 15th century manuscript that reveals new information about the legendary figure Robin Hood - see this article for more details.

We have now posted an Interview with Dr. Luxford, which is posted on our main site. We ask about how he came across this interesting passage about Robin Hood and his work on the topic.

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Majority support excavations under city church

Politicians look set to approve excavation work under city landmark church for the new Metro City Ring

A majority in parliament are ready to support excavation for a new Metro rail station around Frederik’s Church, reports public broadcaster DR.

The proposal had been under fire for putting the city church - also known as the Marble Church - at risk of collapse. But now the Social Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Social Liberals and Danish People’s Party have all agreed to support the creation of the new station, which is part of the Metro City Ring extension.

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James will lose his beard and hair for charity

A CITY archaeologist is shaving off his beard and hair for a hospice caring for seriously ill children.

James Dinn, Worcester City Council archaeological officer, is swapping his salt and pepper locks for a barber’s buzz cut to raise cash for Acorns Children’s Hospice.

He said losing the beard that has been with him since he left university about 30 years ago was just a small price to pay.

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Salisbury Cathedral gets the Time Team treatment - 26/03/2009

A new exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral will display artefacts uncovered during a recent archaeological excavation by Channel 4’s Time Team.

Running from the 1st May until the end of October, the exhibition, located in the cathedral cloisters, will revisit the dig providing a full archaeological report that details additional insights that were not originally broadcast. Artefacts, photographs, text and audio visual material from the Channel 4 programme will be displayed, and visiting groups will be able to explore Salisbury’s social history as well as the archaeological and architectural story of the bell tower dig.

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Germany's stone age cannibalism

Tens of thousands of ancient human bones found in Germany suggest that victims were not killed just to satisfy hunger, writes Pierre Le Hir in Le Monde

The German city of Speyer, in Rheinland-Palatinate, well known for its ­Romanesque cathedral, also boasts some much more macabre relics. A collection of skulls, shin bones and vertebrae might not seem unusual in an archaeology museum, but these particular remains are special. They all show signs of having been cut, scraped or broken, indicating that their owners were cannibalised.

"Look at these grooves, running from the base of the nose to the back of the neck, or here on the temples," says Andrea Zeeb-Lanz, the regional head of archaeology, holding up a skull.

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5,000-year-old home of capital's first farmers discovered

THE remains of a hilltop home believed to be about 5,000 years old have been discovered on the outskirts of Edinburgh, The Scotsman can reveal.

The Neolithic roundhouse, found on a site where a quarry is due to be expanded, is one of the oldest prehistoric buildings to be discovered in the capital.

Archaeologists have hailed it as one of the most important finds ever made in Edinburgh because of its age – about the same as Skara Brae in Orkney – and unique location.

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Mud yields secrets of Newport's medieval ship

IT looks like gloop from the River Usk. But as Mike Buckingham finds out, where there's muck there's an historical treasure trove.

MUD, mud, apparently inglorious mud stored in 50 building waste bags may contain historical gold relating to Newport's mediaeval ship.

"And just as the old prospectors panned for gold we are going to have to sift through this lot to get it to reveal its treasure" Charles Ferris who has led the campaign to save the ship says.

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Roman wall escapes archaeologists' trowels

MEDIEVAL recyclers may have helped themselves to parts of Gloucester's Roman wall to build their own homes. That's one of the more unusual theories to come out of an archaeological investigation in the centre of Gloucester.

Gloucestershire County Council's archaeology team was given the chance to explore an area where the Kimbrose Triangle meets Southgate Street before work begins in the summer to connect the Docks to the city centre in a more defined way.

And although they made a number of significant discoveries, they were frustrated in their search for the line of the old Roman wall. The section between Parliament Street and Ladybellegate Street is the only piece of the city's Roman wall that has not been physically accounted for.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Worthing metal detector enthusiast finds rare penny worth £2,000

AFTER years of searching, the penny finally dropped for a Worthing metal detectorist when he found a coin worth £2,000.

Clive Nobbs discovered the 1200-year-old penny in the middle of a 20-acre ploughed field near Worthing.

"This is easily the most important thing I've ever found," said the amateur archaeologist and historian.

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Bronze Age sauna discovered on site earmarked for park and ride scheme

A Bronze Age sauna and one of the oldest prehistoric roundhouses in the UK have been unearthed on a site earmarked for a park and ride scheme in Somerset

Archaeologists have uncovered 3,000 years of history at the site near the junction of the A358 and the M5 at Cambria Farm, in Taunton, Somerset.

The Iron Age roundhouse with a diameter of 56ft (17m) is one of the largest prehistoric roundhouses ever found in Britain.

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Greek fisherman nets 2,200-year-old bronze statue

A Greek fisherman must have been expecting a monster of a catch when he brought up his nets in the Aegean Sea last week. Instead, Greek authorities say his haul was a section of a 2,200-year-old bronze statue of a horseman.

A Culture Ministry announcement said Monday the accidental find was made in waters between the eastern islands of Kos and Kalymnos. The fisherman handed over the corroded metal figure to authorities, who have started the cleaning process.

Dating to the late 2nd century B.C., the statue represented a male rider wearing ornate breast armor over a short tunic and armed with a sheathed sword. The trunk of the horseman and his raised right arm have survived.

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Medieval murder mystery at Kilkenny Castle

A HUMAN skull believed to be that of a murder victim dating back to medieval times has been unearthed embedded in the walls of the moat of Kilkenny Castle.

The moat walls were discovered on Tuesday by archaeologists working on the Parade development. The moat is believed to date back some 800 years to 1209. "This is the most significant find since we began our excavations last April. We always believed that the moat existed but it was never found and we thought that it was located closer to where the Kilkenny Design Centre presently is," consultant archaeologist Patrick Neary told the Kilkenny People.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Druids Committed Human Sacrifice, Cannibalism?

ON TV Secrets of the Druids airs Sunday, March 22, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel. Details >>

Recent evidence that Druids possibly committed cannibalism and ritual human sacrifice—perhaps on a massive scale—add weight to ancient Roman accounts of Druidic savagery, archaeologists say.

After a first century B.C. visit to Britain, the Romans came back with horrific stories about these high-ranking priests of the Celts, who had spread throughout much of Europe over a roughly 2,000-year period.

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Archaeologists take to the water at Limantepe site

At a 6,000-year-old site in İzmir's Urla district archaeologists are performing Turkey's first underwater excavation.

Professor Hayat Erkanal, head of the Ankara University archaeology department, recently spoke with the Anatolia news agency about the ongoing excavations at the Limantepe site. Scientists believe a massive earthquake that occurred around 700 B.C. caused an important section of an ancient city at Limantepe to slide one kilometer beneath the sea. The team of archaeologists led by Erkanal took diving courses before they began the excavation, with the help of experience and equipment from Israel's University of Haifa.

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Award for villa … at last

WHAT was the poshest house on the banks of the Tyne has won an award – 1,600 years after it was built.

The Third Century commander’s villa at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields was reconstructed based on detailed finds from a decade of excavations on the site of the original building.

Now the venture has won the Best Archaeological Research Project Award in the Current Archaeology Awards 2009.

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A Brief History Of Stonehenge Theories

For a set of craggy rocks in an English field, Stonehenge's ability to capture the imagination is impressive. The ancient monument — composed of massive stones arranged into concentric circles by unknown builders — is referenced almost as far back the Norman Conquest, when an English historian remarked in 1130 A.D. that "no one can conceive how such great stones have been so raised aloft, or why they were built here." That certainly hasn't kept many from trying. It seems like everyone has a theory for why the ruins were constructed. Some are more plausible than others.

With March 20 marking the vernal equinox (one of two days during the year where day and night are the same length) attention turns again to one of the more persistent theories for Stonehenge's origin. In a 1965 book, "Stonehenge Decoded," astronomer Gerald Hawkins offered the then-most comprehensive hypothesis to date of Stonehenge's purpose. Hawkins saw the cluster of stones, constructed in phases from around 3100 B.C. through 1600 B.C., as an ancient astronomical calendar.

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Byzantine Period Church With Beautiful Mosaics Discovered

A church that dates to the Byzantine period which is paved with breathtakingly beautiful mosaics and a dedicatory inscription was exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting near Moshav Nes-Harim, 5 kilometers east of Bet Shemesh (at the site of Horvat A-Diri), in the wake of plans to enlarge the moshav.

According to archaeologist Daniel Ein Mor, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The site was surrounded by a small forest of oak trees and is covered with farming terraces that were cultivated by the residents of Nes-Harim. Prior to the excavation we discerned unusually large quantities of pottery sherds from the Byzantine period and thousands of mosaic tesserae that were scattered across the surface level”.

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Centuries of history is unearthed at Kilkenny Courthouse

A REMARKABLE wooden dagger, bowl and shingles -and somewhat less remarkable cesspits - were some of the historical finds un-earthed during an archaeological excavation of the Kilkenny Courthouse on Parliament Street.

The excavation was carried out by the Office of Public Works (OPW) as part of the courthouse renovation which will include a new four-storey extension. The finds reflected the building's long history and significance in the city, dating back from when it was the site of the 13th-century Grace's Castle, which was given to city in 1568 and became the County Gaol. It then served as a gaol until the 18th century, when it was turned into a courthouse.

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Dionysos - ein differenter Gott?

Symposium mit Altertumsforschern aus acht Ländern tagt im Pergamonmuseum

Mit Dionysos, dem griechischen Gott des Weines und der Ekstase, beschäftigt sich eine internationale Tagung, die vom 25. bis 28. März 2009 im Pergamonmuseum in Berlin stattfindet. Unter dem Titel "Ein differenter Gott? Dionysos im Kontext des antiken Polytheismus" diskutieren Altertumsforscher aus acht Ländern über die vielfältigen Lesarten des antiken Gottes.

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Varus in Berlin

Die Varus-Schlacht vor 2.000 Jahren im Teutoburger Wald steht im Mittelpunkt einer öffentlichen Vorlesungsreihe, die am 20. April 2009 an der Freien Universität beginnt. Im Rahmen der Veranstaltung mit dem Titel "Geschichte - Archäologie - Legenden: 2000 Jahre Varus-Schlacht" untersuchen Wissenschaftler in zwölf Vorträgen die Bedeutung der Varus-Schlacht für den europäischen Kontinent.

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Getty Ex-Curator Testifies in Rome Antiquities Trial

ROME — In a court appearance on Friday, Marion True, the former curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, defended herself against accusations that she knowingly bought antiquities that had been illegally excavated.

“If ever there was an indication of proof of an object coming from a certain place,” or an illegal excavation, “we would deaccession it and return the object, regardless of the statute of limitations,” Ms. True said. “And we have shown that we would.”

She listed artifacts that the Getty returned to Italy during her tenure as antiquities curator, from 1986 until 2005. They included a 2,500-year-old kylix, or drinking cup, by the Greek artists Onesimos and Euphronios; a bronze Etruscan tripod; and some 3,500 objects from the archaeological site at Francavilla Marittima in Calabria. In each case that the museum discovered that a piece had been stolen, she said, it gave the object back.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Seals to shed light on life in Wales in Middle Ages

HISTORIANS will be reviewing more than 5,000 medieval seals relating to Wales, held at the National Library of Wales, as part of a new research project.

The team from Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities will look at the seals – used to authenticate and close documents – to find out what they actually tell us about the people who commissioned them, interpreting how they saw themselves and wanted others to see them and what they can tell us about the society that produced them.

Uniquely, one strand of the project will also be concentrating on images of medieval women.

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70th anniversary of Sutton Hoo's discovery

It was in 1939 an astonishing discovery was made at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk - the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon warrior king and his most treasured possessions.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of this amazing discovery and to celebrate the occasion The National Trust are holding a 1930s garden party, just as there was 70 years ago.

Mrs. Edith Pretty owned the estate at the time of discovery in 1939. She had brought in local archaeologist Basil Brown the year before to investigate the mounds located on the site, under the supervision of Guy Maynard, curator at Ipswich Museum.

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Archaeology Fieldschool 2009: Bamburgh Castle

In this week's fieldwork in focus, Gerard Twomey of the Bamburgh Research Project gives us a little insight into his ongoing project, excavations at the stunning medieval castle of Bamburgh, in Northumberland, England.

Anyone driving up the A1 between Newcastle and Edinburgh can hardly fail to notice the distinctive silhouette of Bamburgh Castle brooding over the Northumberland coastline. It has inspired poets and artists, film-makers, and the founders of a new religion, Christianity. It has lured invaders from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. In over two thousand years it has not lost its romantic appeal. The drama of its presence is fortified by its continuous occupation, which endures into the twenty first century, as, unlike other castles, Bamburgh is not a ruin.

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Time Team rolls back the years of Warboys history

Channel 4's Time Team have been digging deep to uncover the roots of Warboys near Peterborough.

Led by presenter Tony Robinson, renowned as the sidekick Baldrick in the historical satire Blackadder series, the Channel 4 team spent three days in a field at Warboys to excavate the remains of a medieval chapel.

The TV crew arrived after a telephone call from village farmer Mark England who wanted answers about origins of numerous pottery fragments and other artefacts that he kept finding on his fields at Chapel Head.

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Treasure hunter's Iron Age find

An amateur treasure hunter unearthed two Iron Age bronze bowls and a wine strainer just months after taking up metal detecting, an inquest has heard.

The rare artefacts, of "great importance for the UK," were found in Newport, south Wales, in December 2007.

It is believed the objects dating from around AD 25 were a religious offering.

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Concern as English Heritage cites Wikipedia in listing submission

Heritage body included user-edited website in key listing submission to government

The leading authority on the work of Colin St John Wilson, Roger Stonehouse, has expressed astonishment after English Heritage submitted a Wikipedia page on the architect as part of its evidence to the government on a key listing case.

Documents released to BD under Freedom of Information show that English Heritage included a print-out from the online encyclopedia alongside its official report as part of the review of Colin St John Wilson’s Hereford House — controversially stripped of its grade II status by Barbara Follett last autumn in her first major decision as architecture minister.

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Turkey’s Aegean Explored in Underwater Archaeology Excavations

Archaeologists announced today they have begun underwater excavations of the prehistoric site of Limantepe in western Turkey.

The underwater research, headed by Professor Hayat Erkanal of the Archaeology Department of the Ankara University, explores the prehistoric settlement located in the coastal town of Urla near İzmir in western Turkey.

The harbour settlement was inhabited as early as starting from 6,000 years ago and, as such, it is one of the oldest known artificial harbours in the Aegean Sea. A big part of it, including a fortification wall, was submerged in the sea due to a massive earthquake which occurred in 700 BC, according to Erkenal.

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Rare Iron Age bowls unearthed

Rare Iron Age artefacts buried as part of a religious offering have been unearthed by an amateur treasure hunter.

Two bronze bowls and a bronze wine strainer, described by an expert as of “great importance for the UK,” were found by Craig Mills in his home city of Newport, South Wales.

The 35-year-old security guard came across the items in the Langstone area in December 2007, only nine months after he took up metal detecting.

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Arbeia Roman Fort reconstructions win archaeological award

Archaeologists based at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields are celebrating after being recognised for the quality and importance of their archaeological excavations.

An award for Best Archaeological Research Project was made at the Current Archaeology Awards 2009 at Cardiff Castle on March 4 after a reader’s online vote, based on previous articles about Arbeia in the magazine.

The award-winning project, entitled South Shields: Rebuilding a Roman Fort, involved the full size reconstruction of the 3rd century AD Roman Centurion’s House at Arbeia, based in detail on excavated finds of the Roman original on the same site.

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UNESCO refuses to move Denmark’s Jelling Stones

The Jelling Stones, ancient monuments that declare the birth of the Danish nation, have been ordered by UNESCO to remain outdoors in their natural location despite calls from Denmark’s National Museum that they are steadily eroding. The stones’ outdoor location at Jelling Church in Jutland places them at the mercy of a cold and wet climate.

Experts from UNESCO did their own research and concluded that the stones were best left where they are. UNESCO has placed both the Jelling Stones and the church on its list of World Heritage Monuments, so if Denmark wants to maintain their prestigious status they have to follow the orders of UNESCO.

The Copenhagen Post reports that Denmark’s National Museum determined earlier that the cold, damp weather in Jelling was slowly eroding the stones and their priceless runic engravings, and suggested that they be moved indoors to better preserve them.

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Coate could be the new Avebury

A CONTROVERSIAL area of land in Swindon that is earmarked for a housing development could instead become Swindon’s own “mini-Avebury”, according to campaigners.

The claim comes after ancient stones, which could be part of Swindon’s Neolithic history, were unearthed at Coate.

The two sarsen stones were uncovered by the Highways Agency last week opposite Day House Farm, near the protected Coate Stone Circle.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Danish Museum Resists Return of Disputed Artifacts

The Italian government has successfully brokered deals with American museums and private collectors for the return of what it says are looted antiquities. But it is finding the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum in Copenhagen, harder to crack.

Talks with the Glyptotek have dragged on for months, even though “the presuppositions for the negotiations are identical to those that were carried out with the Americans,” said Maurizio Fiorilli, a lawyer for the Italian state involved in the negotiations. The Glyptotek, however, has “adopted a very different attitude,” he said.

At the core of the dispute are Etruscan and Greco-Roman objects that the Glyptotek bought from Robert Hecht, an American antiquities dealer now on trial in Rome, where he is accused of receiving and selling stolen artifacts and conspiracy in the antiquities trade. He denies any wrongdoing.

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New Technology For Dating Ancient Rock Paintings

A new dating method finally is allowing archaeologists to incorporate rock paintings — some of the most mysterious and personalized remnants of ancient cultures — into the tapestry of evidence used to study life in prehistoric times.

In the study, Marvin W. Rowe points out that rock paintings, or pictographs, are among the most difficult archaeological artifacts to date. They lack the high levels of organic material needed to assess a pictograph's age using radiocarbon dating, the standard archaeological technique for more than a half-century.

Rowe describes a new, highly sensitive dating method, called accelerator mass spectrometry, that requires only 0.05 milligrams of carbon (the weight of 50 specks of dust). That's much less than the several grams of carbon needed with radiocarbon dating.

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Ancient fish trap found off coast

A huge ancient fish trap has been found in an estuary after it was spotted in aerial photographs on Google Earth.

The 260m (853ft) man-made V-shaped structure could be more than 1,000 years old, experts believe.

They think it was designed to catch migratory fish, such as salmon and sea trout going up the River Teifi at Poppit in Pembrokeshire.

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Scholars in uproar over challenge to Dead Sea Scrolls

For more than 60 years scholars have believed that the Dead Sea Scrolls were the work of an ascetic Jewish sect called the Essenes, who lived in the 1st century in the mountains and recorded their religious observances on parchments.

Now a new theory challenging the broadly accepted history is sending shockwaves through the archaeological community, even leading to the arrest of one prominent scrolls scholar’s son in the United States.

Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, claims in a forthcoming study that not only were the 930 scrolls written by Jewish priests living in Jerusalem but that the Essenes as a sect did not exist.

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Securing the future of St Ninian's Chapel

THE site of St Ninian's Chapel is probably one of the most peaceful and isolated on Bute - but it was a hive of activity last week as a team of stonemasons and surveyors carried out consolidation and survey work at the historic site aimed at ensuring it's in a fit state to welcome visitors for many generations to come.
The chapel - which is estimated by some to date back to the sixth century AD - is now looking a good bit sturdier than it did before thanks to the work of Alison Davie and her team of 'mud masons' from Little and Davie Construction in shoring up walls and replacing stones at the remote site.

The work at St Ninian's Chapel is the first example of the 'consolidation' being carried out at Bute's scheduled ancient monuments under the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme, with similar work set to be carried out over the next few months at a number of other sites, among them the ruined castle near Meikle Kilmory and St Michael's Chapel in the north-west corner of the island.

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When Romans ruled our town ...

Ancient Wigan WAS a Roman military stronghold, archaeologists now believe.

Results of last year's "very exciting" town centre dig have left the experts in no doubt that our town once hosted an important barracks.

And one leading authority has now concluded that we are indeed the mysterious settlement of Coccium, mentioned in writings but whose exact whereabouts has been the subject of some conjecture.

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Walkers urged not to pick up stones to build bigger carins

WALKERS in the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been urged not to use stones to build cairns or wind breaks as they are putting the countryside's heritage at risk.

Rocks have been taken from ancient sites, including burial mounds dating back to the Bronze Age, to create cairns on routes in the Dales.

Beamsley Beacon, near Bolton Abbey, which has a large Bronze Age stone mound more than 35ft in diameter, is among the sites which have been disturbed.

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Ancient bones found at old church

Workmen carrying out renovations at a church in Falkirk have uncovered ancient human bones.

The discovery was made on Thursday in an area thought to be a former burial ground of Falkirk Old and St Modans Parish Church.

Forensic officers from Central Scotland Police were called to investigate the discovery and found there were more than one set of remains.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Roman bones found in farm field

A skeleton dating back to Roman times has been unearthed in a farmer's field by a member of the public.

Now it's hoped the adult bones will shed some light on what life was like 2,000 years ago.

It took archaeologists a week to carefully dig up the 2m lead coffin from inside a stone chamber.

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Ancient bones unearthed at quarry

Ice Age elephant, bison and giant cow bones have been uncovered at the base of a Lincolnshire concrete quarry.

Experts believe the bones date from around 150,000 BC, and one bison skull could be even older.

The skull is one of only three relatively complete finds from the Pleistocene period, the time before woolly mammoth and rhino roamed Lincolnshire.

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English Heritage uncover 13th century toilet system at Helmsley Castle

CONSERVATIONISTS at a medieval castle in North Yorkshire today revealed they had uncovered part of a toilet system that could date back to the 13th century.

English Heritage, which is carrying out maintenance work at Helmsley Castle, has uncovered a stone outlet in the foundations of the building, where sewage from two toilets would have flowed into a ditch.

John Tugwell, a spokesman for the castle, said he believed the latrines, which were in a tower, would have been part of the lord’s lodgings.

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In praise of ... Vikings

There's no disputing that the Vikings have had a bad press - and not without reason. Immense whirlwinds and fiery dragons signalled their sacking of Lindisfarne in 793, states the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, while Alcuin of York thought such terror had never before been suffered in Britain. For the ensuing centuries the Vikings have been so synonymous with rape and pillage that the question "What did the Vikings ever do for us?" might seem to have no mitigating answer. In fact, as scholars have long known and as a conference at Cambridge university this weekend has heard, there was a lot more to the Vikings than pillage. Most Norse people of the nearly 300-year Viking period were farmers not raiders,

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cleopatra had African ancestry, skeleton suggests

Traditional thinking has always been that the monarch, memorably portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, was Greek Caucasian.

But experts have discovered what they think are her sister's remains, revealing that the siblings had a part-African heritage.

Princess Arsinoe's remains were found in a tomb in Ephesus, Turkey.

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Vikings 'welcomed' as immigrants

Vikings successfully blended into British and Irish culture long before they were labelled as barbaric raiders, academics have told a conference.

Researchers unveiled two dozen studies this weekend at Cambridge University revealing how Vikings shared technology and ideas with Anglo-Saxons and Celts.

They argue Vikings should be seen as an early example of immigrants being successfully assimilated.

New evidence shows this assimilation occurred over a very short period.

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Cleopatra was 'part African' new research claims

An ancient skeleton believed to be Cleopatra's sister suggests the Egyptian queen was part-African, a documentary will reveal.

Traditional thinking has always been that the monarch, memorably portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, was Greek Caucasian.

But experts have discovered what they think are her sister's remains, revealing that the siblings had a part-African heritage.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

'Peking Man' older than thought; somehow adapted to cold

A new dating method has found that "Peking Man" is around 200,000 years older than previously thought, suggesting he somehow adapted to the cold of a mild glacial period.

A dating method developed by a Purdue University researcher allowed a more accurate determination of the age of the Zhoukoudian, China, site of remains of Homo erectus, commonly known as "Peking Man." The site was found to be 680,000-780,000 years old. Earlier estimates put the age at 230,000-500,000 years old.

Darryl Granger, the Purdue professor of earth and atmospheric sciences who developed the dating method, co-led the study with Guanjun Shen of China's Nanjing Normal University. They analyzed four stone tools and six sediment samples from the site.

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Blamabler Verlust: Steinzeitliche Einbäume verrottet

7.000 Jahre lang waren sie im feuchten Boden bei Stralsund konserviert geblieben, doch bereits zwei Jahre nach ihrer Bergung im Sommer 2002 waren die ältesten Wasserfahrzeuge des Ostseeraums zum größten Teil zerfallen. Bekannt wurde dies erst Anfang der Woche, als die Hansestadt sich beim Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege in Schwerin nach dem Verbleib der Einbäume erkundigte. Sie sollten in der Nähe des im letzten Sommer eröffneten Deutschen Meeresmuseum öffentlich ausgestellt werden.

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Classic gags discovered in ancient Roman joke book

We may admire the satires of Horace and Lucilius, but the ancient Romans haven't hitherto been thought of as masters of the one-liner. This could be about to change, however, after the discovery of a classical joke book.

Celebrated classics professor Mary Beard has brought to light a volume more than 1,600 years old, which she says shows the Romans not to be the "pompous, bridge-building toga wearers" they're often seen as, but rather a race ready to laugh at themselves.

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Ancient fishing trap found off Welsh coast at Poppit

A GIANT fish trap discovered off the West Wales coast has provided a rare glimpse of the “extreme fishing” of 1,000 years ago.

Actor Robson Green has recently popularised the virtues of adventurous angling on a TV show that has seen him hunting piranha-like species and tackling catfish with his bare hands.

But catching fish without a rod or net is something his ancient forefathers may well have been used to, judging by the 260m-long find in the Teifi Estuary.

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Visit with Respect

Location: Colorado, New Mexico Length: 10 min

Filmed at Canyon of the Ancients National Monument and the Pueblo of Acoma, this video explains how Pueblo people feel about visiting archaeological sites. The intergenerational cast from the Hopi Tribe and the pueblos of Santa Clara and Acoma emphasize the living connections between ancestral villages and the modern-day descendants of their builders. For this video, the Colorado Historical Society gave the Caroline Bancroft History Award to the Anasazi Heritage Center, which worked with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in its production.

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Town's roots go back to the 8th Century

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have made an exciting discovery that proves people were in Wisbech in the 8th Century – much earlier than previously thought.

The discovery was made during a dig at Wisbech Library in the Crescent in the process of a massive £2.5 million refurbishment of the premises.

The library received £2 million Lottery funding, with Cambs County Council footing the remainder of the bill, to extend and remodel the ground and first floor.

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Corpse reburied after 700 years

More than 200 people have attended the funeral and burial in north Kent of an unknown teenage girl who was decapitated about 700 years ago.

Her remains were found by an archaeologist on unconsecrated ground next to Hoo St Werburgh Parish Church, near Rochester.

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Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round takes over Ipswich's Gallery 3

Visitors entering Gallery 3 in Ipswich will soon find themselves transported back to an era of our country’s history dominated by warriors and kings. The Anglo-Saxon period was a time of transition, the dominant Pagan religion was being chased out by the literary monks of Christianity and people spoke the Germanic tongue of their recent ancestors from across the North Sea.

This new exhibition from Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service digs deep into what is a fascinating piece of our past, displaying rare items that have never been shown in the area before.

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Big Dig back on Roman trail

THE second phase of this year's Big Dig at Brading Roman Villa will hopefully unearth new and important finds to shed light on the origins and context of the site.
The dig programme, run jointly by the Oglander Roman Trust, which manages the villa, and its support group, the Friends of Brading Roman Villa, began the five-year project last summer, headed by leading archaeologist Prof Sir Barry Cunliffe.

Sir Barry, who is also interim chairman of English Heritage, will return to lead the next phase between August 2 and 22.

As with last year's excavation, phase two will involve an excavation of the south range, about which very little was recorded during the last big dig in 1880.

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Iron Age reconstruction underway

Sharon Walters looks at a project to re-create an Iron Age Roundhouse.

Step into spring this weekend as Park Hall Countryside Experience re-opens daily for an exciting new season.

Park Hall is undertaking a major new project for 2009 with the reconstruction of an Iron Age roundhouse built using traditional methods by local crafts men and women.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

ROV investigates 2,000 year-old Roman wreck

A Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV has been used to investigate the wreck of a Roman ship outside the Spanish harbour of Cartagena. The wreck is believed to be 2,200 years old. Its cargo included thousands of amphora of wine. The clay jars were still carefully packed in the hold.

The discovery was made by explorers working for the Aurora Trust, a not-for-profit oceanographic exploration, education and archaeological organisation based in Malta.

Working with the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Spain, the Aurora Trust has created a map of the submerged cultural heritage on the seabed outside the harbour, and have set about targeting various items of interest.

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Archaeology office lets 7,000-year-old boats rot away

A pair of stone-age boats, thought to be the oldest in Europe, have been allowed to rot in a partially collapsed shed while the northern German regional archaeology authorities stood by broke and helpless, it emerged this week.

The two 7,000-year-old wooden boats and a third one thought to be around 6,000 years old, were hailed as a sensation when they were found during construction work on the Baltic coast near Stralsund in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern seven years ago.

But now they are effectively ruined, after a lack of funds resulted in them being stored inappropriately. “It is a loss for Germany if not for the whole world,” said Andreas Grüger, director of the Stralsund historical museum.

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Experts baffled by Malmesbury's Roman coins

A hoard of Roman coins now on display in Malmesbury has perplexed staff at the Athelstan Museum.

The stash was discovered in a field in Milbourne two years ago and has now been cleaned up and given to the museum.

Chairman of the Friends of Athelstan Museum, Roger Griffin, is puzzled as to the purpose of the collection.

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Vikings lived 'harmoniously with our ancestors'

Viking warriors who raided and colonised Britain in the 11th century went on to form harmonious relationships with our ancestors, scientists claim.

The Scandinavian invaders are remembered in history books as barbaric savages who pillaged towns and villages, and raped their women.

But new evidence shows that following their violent arrival, the Vikings lived in relative harmony with their Anglo-Saxon and Celtic counterparts.

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Spotlight on the cuddly side of the Vikings

Academics gathering for a three-day conference on Vikings starting today at Cambridge University will celebrate the gentle side of the invaders: the town planners, ship builders, farmers, coin minters and stone carvers who were forever swapping songs, stories or a better way to rig a mainsail with their Gaelic neighbours.

"The rehabilitation of the Vikings is nothing new to academics, but it is surprising how enduring the myths are," conference organiser Maire Ni Mhaonaigh said. "Of course, initially there were extremely destructive raids, but over the four centuries covered by our conference they became completely integrated, even identifying themselves as the Gall-Gael, the Irish Scandinavians."

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Macedonia: Archaeology Excavations of Skopje Fortress Restart

This year’s excavations of the Skopje Fortress (Kale) began yesterday and will explore the remaining part of the site.

Despite the cold weather and strong wind on Tuesday, a large number of university students and workers gathered in the walls’ interior and began digging and arranging the found materials, the Utrinski Vesnik reported today.

The fortress was excavated partly in 2007 and the found artefacts were displayed in the Museum of the City of Skopje.

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The Vikings: it wasn't all raping and pillaging

Forget what history tells us about the Nordic invaders. New research suggests they were model immigrants who co-existed peacefully with the natives

For centuries, they have been stereotyped as marauding barbarians arriving in their helmeted hordes to pillage their way across Britain. But now a group of academics believe they have uncovered new evidence that the Vikings were more cultured settlers who offered a "good historical model" of immigrant assimilation.

The evidence is set to be unveiled at a three-day Cambridge University conference starting today, when more than 20 studies will reveal how the Vikings shared technology, swapped ideas and often lived side-by-side in relative harmony with their Anglo-Saxon and Celtic contemporaries. Some may have come, plundered and left, but those Vikings who decided to settle rather than return to Scandinavia learnt the language, inter-married, converted to Christianity and even had "praise poetry" written about them by the Brits, according to the experts.

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Wichtiger Fund durch Förderprogramm gesichert

Der Stuttgarter Regierungspräsident Johannes Schmalzl stellte letzten Dienstag, den 10.3.2009 in Sipplingen einen spektakulären neuen Fund der Taucharchäologen des zum Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart gehörenden Landesamtes für Denkmalpflege vor. Eine nahezu vollständig erhaltene Sandale aus der Zeit um 2900 v.Chr., deren Zustand und Aussagekraft den Kleidungsstücken des bekannten Gletschermannes „Ötzi“ nicht nachsteht.

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Kölner Archivmaterial in der Trocknungsanlage

LWL hilft nach Einsturz des Kölner Stadtarchivs

Fachleute des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) haben am heutigen Donnerstag erstes Archivmaterial aus dem eingestürzten Kölner Stadtarchiv in der LWL-Werkstatt in Münster in Empfang genommen. Dort wird nassen Archivalien in einer Gefriertrocknungsanlage die Feuchtigkeit entzogen.

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Digging Change

Could computers eventually replace shovels in archaeological research? At least one Brown researcher thinks they might.

An aerial view of the archaeological site Apollonia-Arsuf.
To prove it she's taking on the Crusader Castle, one of the world's most endangered archaeological sites. For decades, archaeologists have puzzled over what the Castle, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea from high atop a cliff along the central coast of Israel, might have looked like. Built in the mid-1200s by the Crusaders after their conquest of the Holy Land, it was sacked a few decades later by Egyptian Mamluks, who had their captives demolish the structure. The 6,500-square-foot stone fortress lay in ruins.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ancient fish trap discovery in the Teifi Estuary

A HUGE ancient fish trap more than 250 metres long and probably at least 1,000 years old has just been discovered in the Teifi estuary.

The underwater structure was first identified on aerial photographs and a recent exploratory dive at the site near Poppit has revealed the structure is protruding about 30 cm above the sand, allowing for a fuller investigation by divers.

A collaborative project is currently underway between Pembrokeshire College and the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, and members of the public are being asked to help with information for research into the conundrum of the ‘Poppit fish-trap’.

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Antonine Wall receives World Heritage Site status

Two culture ministers toured the Antonine Wall yesterday in recognition of its status as a World Heritage Site.

The most northerly frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain, which was built on the orders of Emperor Antoninus Pius nearly 2000 years ago, recently became Scotland's fifth World Heritage Site. It joined others, including St Kilda and Edinburgh's Old Town, in achieving the protected status.

Yesterday, Culture Minister Michael Russell MSP and Barbara Follett MP, Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, met at the Roman fortlet at Kinneil House to celebrate the recognition.

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County’s Roman city due to be expanded

Shropshire’s Wroxeter Roman City is to be expanded after English Heritage bosses revealed only the “tip” of the iceberg can currently be seen.

The city is the fourth largest Roman site in the UK and attracts thousands of people every year.

Viroconium - the city’s Roman title - is thought to have spread over more than 200 acres of land and had two miles of walls.

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The ideal measurements of a pre-Roman model

Pre-Roman atrium houses exhibited a striking number of similarities as part of a long Italic building tradition. Dutch researcher Noor van Krimpen analysed the measurements of primary mansions in Pompeii. As buildings were constructed according to a standard model, the adaptations to that model, required by the economical, practical and social demands of any particular project, provide a lot of information about the social significance of the houses of Pompeii's elite.

Noor van Krimpen has added a new weapon to the archaeologist's arsenal; the metrological analysis. This was already used to find out more about the design aspects of historical constructions. Van Krimpen, however, has now also used the method to add to our knowledge of the social significance of the houses of Pompeii's elite. The main advantage of using metrological analysis is that it does not require further excavations and so the remains are kept intact.

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The Ancient World's Longest Underground Aqueduct

Roman engineers chipped an aqueduct through more than 100 kilometers of stone to connect water to cities in the ancient province of Syria. The monumental effort took more than a century, says the German researcher who discovered it.

When the Romans weren't busy conquering their enemies, they loved to waste massive quantities of water, which gurgled and bubbled throughout their cities. The engineers of the empire invented standardized lead pipes, aqueducts as high as fortresses, and water mains with 15 bars (217 pounds per square inch) of pressure.

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Walk a mile - and 5000 years - in these shoes

German archeologists have uncovered an amazingly well-preserved 5 000-year-old sandal in mud under Lake Constance, close to the Swiss border, authorities said Tuesday.

The Stone Age footwear - European size 36 (or size four in Britain) - was made of wood and dates back to around 2 900 BC, Stuttgart city council said.

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Burgundy Wine Has Long History In France: Remains Of Gallo-Roman Vineyard Discovered In Gevrey-Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin, 12 km from Dijon, is famous throughout the world for its Burgundy wines. It is now possible to conclude that winegrowing in this region goes back to the Gallo-Roman era, as testified by the findings of excavations by the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (INRAP), at the spot known as "Au dessus de Bergis".

Carried out in collaboration with scientists from the ARTeHIS Laboratory (CNRS/Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication/Université de Bourgogne), the archeological dig revealed 316 rectangular pits aligned in 26 rows, interpreted as being the remains of a vineyard from the first century AD.

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Byzantine period church exposed in Moshav Nes-Harim

Beautiful mosaics and a dedicatory inscription were uncovered in a church that dates to the Byzantine period.

A church that dates to the Byzantine period which is paved with breathtakingly beautiful mosaics and a dedicatory inscription was exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting near Moshav Nes-Harim, 5 kilometers east of Bet Shemesh (at the site of Horvat A-Diri), in the wake of plans to enlarge the moshav.

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Angst Among the Ruins: Protests in Italy

State archaeologists are up in arms over a proposal to shift control of fragile ancient monuments here to a government committee with special powers, saying it will undermine their authority.

Nearly 4,700 people have signed an online petition arguing that the proposal “mortifies the professionalism” of the archaeological staff. On Thursday morning archaeologists and employees at the ancient sites plan to stage a three-hour protest at the Culture Ministry; during that time the principal sites here and in Ostia will remain closed. A similar protest on Friday left thousands of tourists standing outside locked gates.

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The Date of Birth for “Peking Man” Gets Pushed Back 200,000 Years

A clever and painstaking new analysis has revealed that the famous Homo erectus fossil known as Peking Man is 200,000 years older than previously thought. The fossil, discovered almost a century ago during excavations of the Zhoukoudian caves near Beijing, is now thought to be about 750,000 years old. The revised date could change the timeline and number of migrations of the Homo erectus species out of Africa and into Asia [LiveScience].

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

News from the Cologne Archive Collapse

The German newspaperthe Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported Monday that the tragedy was likely caused by ground water seepage at the construction site. "Everything points to a problem with the ground water," a source told the paper. City prosecutors have now appointed several experts to determine exactly what happened at the underground railway construction site. They are trying to determine whether water seeped in through the more than one-meter thick concrete side wall or came up through the floor, which hadn't been finished. They are also looking into whether the problems might be related to rising levels of the Rhine River, which is located very close to the archive.

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Archaeologist joins call to save unique Roman Villa

An archaeologist at The University of Nottingham has joined the fight to protect the site of a unique Roman villa. The site, until recently buried under the old Southwell Minster School, has planning permission for 13 new homes. But experts say at least part of the land earmarked for development should be protected because of the villa remains and its special relationship with Southwell Minster, the Cathedral Church of Nottinghamshire.

The University of Nottingham is custodian of a remarkable archive of photographs and lecture slides bequeathed to the Department of Archaeology after the death of Charles Daniels who led the very first major excavation of the site in 1959 — before the Minster Grammar School was built.

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Rare silver penny unearthed in Winchester

EXCITED archaeologists have unearthed a key piece of Hampshire’s heritage.

They have uncovered a rare silver penny that would have been currency during Alfred the Great’s reign as King of Wessex from 871 to 899.

It was found on the site of a former off-licence in Jewry Street, Winchester, which has been knocked down to make way for a restaurant and apartments.

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World mummies go on show in Italy

One of the biggest exhibitions of mummies ever staged is opening in the northern Italian town of Bolzano.

The show, called the Dream of Eternal Life, features more than 60 mummies from Egypt, Asia, Europe and South America, assembled from 27 museums.

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'Vampire' discovered in mass grave

A SKELETON exhumed from a grave in Venice is being claimed as the first known example of the "vampires" widely referred to in contemporary documents.

Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence in Italy found the skeleton of a woman with a small brick in her mouth (see right) while excavating mass graves of plague victims from the Middle Ages on Lazzaretto Nuovo Island in Venice (see second image here).

At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by "vampires" which, rather than drinking people's blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them doing this, Borrini says.

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Spannende Erkenntnisse über römische Großvillen

Zum Thema "Die römischen Großvillen vom Axialtyp" veranstalten die Stiftung Europäischer Kulturpark Bliesbruck-Reinheim, der Archäologiepark Römische Villa Borg und die Fachrichtung Vor- und Frühgeschichte und Vorderasiatische Archäologie der Universität des Saarlandes ein internationales Kolloquium in der Römischen Villa Borg.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Mystery relic found during London excavation is linked to Shakespeare

The bearded Tudor face, framed by long hair and a ruff, certainly looks familiar. As the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust prepares today to unveil what it says is a portrait of the Bard painted during his lifetime, archaeologists may have beaten them to it.

A team working on the site where Shakespeare learned his trade has discovered a piece of 16th-century pottery that features a face resembling that of the great man.

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Uncovered: vampire killer cure

ITALIAN archeologists have uncovered evidence of how superstitious funeral directors dealt with women suspected of being a vampire 500 years ago – by stuffing a brick in their mouths.

The gruesome discovery was made after an ancient graveyard for victims of Black Death was uncovered close to the edge of the Venice lagoon.

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Shakespeare's first theatre found

Archaeologists believe they have unearthed the remains of Shakespeare's first theatre, the BBC has learned.

A team from the Museum of London found the remains of the theatre in Shoreditch last summer.

Built in 1576, it is thought the Bard acted there and that it also hosted the premiere of Romeo and Juliet.

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North Yorkshire's heritage goes on line

FULL details of some of North Yorkshire’s finest historic monuments is being published on the internet for the first time.

The Historic Environment Record, owned and maintained by the county council, is a database of information about archaeology, historic buildings and landscapes.

Primarily used by the authority and others to help manage and protect them, it is also often of use to researchers and of interest to the public.

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Greece: Striking guards shut Acropolis site, again

Striking Greek Culture Ministry employees blocked access Thursday to the ancient Acropolis — the country's most popular tourist site — for the fourth day in the past week.

About 30 contract workers picketed the entrance, demanding permanent jobs and payment of months of back wages. The strikers handed out flyers in different languages explaining their position to dozens of frustrated tourists.

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Bulgarian-British archaeological research project along Lower Danube river green-lighted

A joint operation between Bulgarian and British archaeological teams received permission from the Bulgarian Government to start research along the lower Danube river, the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) said.

The project is part of a larger pan-European project and is called "The End of Antiquity".

Of particular interest will be an area called Nikopolis ad Istrum and the adjacent regions around it that date back to the end of 5th and the beginning of the 7th century CE.

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Old soles: 800-year-old shoe soles yield clues about preservation of leather

Ancient garbage can be like gold to archaeologists. During excavation of an 800-year-old trash dump in Lyon, France, scientists discovered the archaeological equivalent of golden shoe soles: A trove of leather soles of shoes, which is helping scientists understand how leather stays preserved in wet, oxygen-free environments.

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Shakespeare's lost theatre uncovered on site of new London playhouse

What are thought to be the long-lost remains of William Shakespeare's first theatre, in which plays such as Romeo and Juliet were first performed, have been uncovered by archaeologists.

By coincidence, it was work to build a new playhouse at the site in Shoreditch, east London, which uncovered the foundations of what was known simply as The Theatre, the direct forerunner of the Globe.

The Young William Shakespeare trod the boards there as an actor in the Chamberlain's Men company of players.

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The earliest archeological traces of the domestication of horses

An international team of archeologists has discovered the earliest known traces to date of horse domestication by humans, dating back to 5500 years. This discovery suggests that horses were harnessed, probably for riding, and exploited for their milk. The researchers have traced the origins of horse domestication back to the Botai Culture of Kazakhstan around 5,500 years ago – about 1,000 years earlier than thought and about 2,000 years earlier than domestic horses are known to have been in Europe.

The discovery suggests that horses were both ridden and milked and the findings could point to the very beginnings of horse domestication and the origins of the horse breeds we know today.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cologne City Archive Collapses

Cologne's six-story city archive building rumbled and then collapsed into a pile of rubble Tuesday. Many people inside were able to flee to safety, but authorities said they were searching for two to four people missing from nearby buildings.

Cracks and groaning noises had alerted staff and visitors at the archive, all of whom escaped before it collapsed.

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Prehistoric axe and skeletons found at Olympic site in UK's largest archaeological dig

A 4,000-year-old flint axe, four prehistoric skeletons and a 19th century boat have been unearthed at the Olympic Park.

Preparations for the London 2012 Olympics have seen over 140 trenches dug on the 1.5 sq-mile site in Stratford, east London, turning it into Britain's largest archaeological dig, according to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

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Prehistoric axe found on Olympic site

Archaeologists have found a 4,000-year-old flint axe during a dig on the new 2012 Olympic site in east London.

"It gives a unique insight into the first eastenders that lived and hunted in the area," the Olympic Delivery Authority said in a statement.

The unfinished axe, which archaeologists believe was deliberately placed in waterlogged ground, was among several items found during Britain's largest ever search.

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Riding with the first cowboys – in 3500 BC

High up in the steppes of Kazakhstan is where it may have first happened: a human decided to climb atop a horse instead of killing it for meat. The act seems trivial today, but nearly 5500 years ago it would have been revolutionary.

"Horse domestication was a landmark moment, a bit like the invention of the wheel," says Alan Outram of the University of Exeter, UK.

By domesticating horses, humans created the first form of land transportation, vastly expanded the region within which goods could be traded and wars waged, and spread culture over huge swathes of land.

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Iron bridge in disrepair

An eagle-eyed Shropshire Star reader sent us this photograph of the Iron Bridge, symbol of the Industrial Revolution, apparently coming apart.

Dave Paskin, of Hornet Way, The Rock, Telford, was horrified at the deterioration in the structure of the world-famous bridge. But English Heritage insists that the historic bridge is not about to fall down.

A major scheme is due to be carried out to stop it being bent out of shape by land movement in the unstable Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

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Will ancient history be lost for ever?

Is there any truth in the rumour 'floating' around that because of the vast amounts of water at Bathampton Meadows, Cllr Haeberling and her cabinet cohorts are thinking of building a spa there?

Or more appropriately, offering it as a yachting and rowing site for 2012?

Incidentally, when is an ancient flood plain not a flood plain? Apparently, when experts tell Cllr Haeberling it isn't.

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Archaeology Excavations Begin at Four Ancient Sites in Macedonia

Major archaeological excavations have started at four ancient sites around Macedonia.

The excavations, funded by about 20 million euro by Macedonia’s government, will take place at the sites of Heraklea Lynkestis, Skopje’s Kale Fortress, Stobi and Isar, the Dnevnik newspaper reported. It is expected that the sites will be completely explored, Pasko Kuzman, Director of Cultural Heritage Protection in the Macedonian Ministry of Culture, told the publication.

About 100 people already started excavating unearthed parts of the Heraklea Lynkestis site, which is located at about two kilometres from the town of Bitola in south-western Macedonia. The work on one of the best preserved ancient cities in the country is led by archaeologists Anitsa Georgievska and Engin Hasud from the Institute, Museum and Gallery in Bitola.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Skeleton of village 'witch' to be re-buried

The medieval remains of a teenage girl who may have been suspected of witchcraft are to be given a Christian burial and funeral.

The skeleton, found by Faversham-based archaeologist Dr Paul Wilkinson, is thought to be from the 14th or 15th century.

It was found in unconsecrated ground under a holly tree, next to Hoo St Werburgh parish church, near Rochester.

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Medieval corpse funeral planned

A funeral service will be held in Kent for a corpse believed to be up to 700-years-old.

The remains of the teenage girl were found six years ago by archaeologists at unconsecrated ground next to Hoo St Werberg Parish Church in north Kent.

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Ötzi eingescannt

Ötzi, die älteste je entdeckte Feuchtmumie wurde einem hochauflösenden Photoscan unterzogen, der den Mann aus dem Eis aus 12 Blickwinkeln zeigt.

Ötzi wurde auf dem Gletscher des Similaun, an der Grenze zwischen Österreich und Italien gefunden und ist mit seinen über 5000 Jahren die älteste je entdeckte Feuchtmumie. Während er in seinem tiefgekühlten Schaukasten im Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum in Bozen ruht, sind rund um ihn eine Reihe von Forschungen und wissenschaftlichen Projekten entstanden.

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Campaign to preserve Roman villa site

HISTORIANS and archaeologists are hoping to preserve a strip of land in Southwell believed to be part of a Roman complex.

A wall was uncovered on the land last year, dating back to 43AD.

The Southwell Community Archaeology Group wants the site protected from development to conduct more studies about its history and to enable more visitors to see it.

Dr Will Bowden, associate professor in Roman archaeology at the University of Nottingham, is trying to rally public support to protect the land.

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Axe handles dredged from North Sea win archaeology award

Prehistoric hand axes discovered in sand and gravel dredged from the North Sea by Hanson Aggregates Marine, have won the Best Archaeological Discovery Award at the prestigious British Archaeology Awards.

Twenty eight flint hand-axes, which may be more than 100,000-years-old, were discovered in marine sand and gravel delivered by Hanson to a Dutch wharf at Flushing, south west Netherlands in February this year.

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Journeys in time as professor unearths our past

WITH his rainbow-coloured jumper, matching socks and wild shock of silver hair, Mick Aston looks somewhere between a wacky scientist and an ageing hippie who still believes Haight-Ashbury is the centre of the known universe.
"I only wear this when I come to a public function," he says jokingly, in his unmistakable Brummie lilt.

Professor Aston is one of the stalwarts of Channel 4's hugely popular Time Team series along with presenter Tony Robinson and fellow archaeologist Phil Harding. The programme, now in its 17th year, has made him a household name and an estimated three million people still regularly tune in to watch Prof Aston and co as they trawl round the country searching for hidden artifacts.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Alan Vince (1952-2009)

We are very sad to report that Dr Alan Vince, former Managing Editor of Internet Archaeology (1995-1999), has died.

Alan studied archaeology at the University of Southampton and was awarded his PhD there in 1984. From 1980 to 1988 he worked at the Department of Urban Archaeology of the Museum of London and was responsible for the production of publications on finds and, alongside John Schofield, for the backlog publication programme which resulted in the publication of a series of books, monographs and reports on excavations in the City of London between 1974 and 1982.

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Experts trying to decipher ancient language

When archaeologists on a dig in southern Portugal last year flipped over a heavy chunk of slate and saw writing not used for more than 2,500 years, they were elated.

The enigmatic pattern of inscribed symbols curled symmetrically around the upper part of the rough-edged, yellowish stone tablet and coiled into the middle in a decorative style typical of an extinct Iberian language called Southwest Script.

"We didn't break into applause, but almost," says Amilcar Guerra, a University of Lisbon lecturer overseeing the excavation. "It's an extraordinary thing."

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Export ban on rare Celtic mirror

A rare Iron Age Celtic mirror and two brooches have been made the subject of a temporary export ban in a bid to keep the items in the UK.

The 19cm high copper-alloy mirror, which is engraved and has a looped handle, dates back to about 75BC.

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Archaeological investigation underway in Gloucester

An archaeological investigation is due to get underway in the heart of Gloucester in search of the city’s old Roman wall.

A team from Gloucestershire County Council’s Archaeology Service will begin digging on Kimbrose Triangle on Wednesday (March 4th) ahead of work on a new scheme to connect the Quays to the city.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Smithsonian puts Hill of Tara on list of endangered must-sees

ONE of the world's leading museums has included the Hill of Tara in a list of must-see endangered cultural treasures.

The latest edition of the 'Smithsonian Magazine', which is attached to the influential American museum of the same name, has compared the Co Meath site to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, thought to mark the birth place of Jesus.

Campaign group Tarawatch, which is seeking to reroute the controversial M3 motorway away from Tara, said that unless the road is moved, the area will never be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Bygone era uncovered by dig

HOW villagers used to live has been studied at a month long archaeological dig in Jacksdale.

About 20 people helped Notts County Council archaeologists uncover the oldest terraced homes in the Notts village, along with a canal and a tramway during an excavation that finished this week.

The excavation, which started on Monday February 2, aimed to research and record the industrial archaeology of Jacksdale's wharf.

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What the Romans learnt from Greek mathematics

Greek mathematics is considered one of the great intellectual achievements of antiquity. It has been decisive to the academic and cultural development of Western civilisation. The three Roman authors Varro, Cicero and Vitruvius were all, in their own way, influenced by Greek knowledge and transferred it to Roman literature. In his dissertation, Erik Bohlin, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, studied the traces of Greek influence on these authors with regard to the mathematical branch of geometry.

Most people have heard of the great Greeks Euclid and Archimedes. And who is not familiar with Pythagoras’ theorem? When Rome usurped political power around the Mediterranean, the Romans came into close contact with Greek culture, its literature and science.

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'Some things never seem to change'

Dublin - Irish archaeologists excavating a prehistoric tomb north of Dublin have discovered that ancient "vandals" left graffiti on the stonework, Environment Minister John Gormley said on Thursday.

Scientists have been working for almost 40 years to unlock the secrets of the megalithic tomb of Knowth in County Meath, believed to date back to about 3 000 BC.

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Archaeology team examine medieval village

THE Cosmeston Archaeology Project team, from Cardiff University School of History and Archaeology, will be excavating a small trial trench to examine the stratigraphy of part of the Manor House complex at Cosmeston Medieval Village on Friday and Saturday, February 27 and 28, and Sunday, March 1, from 10am-4pm.

The results of this exploratory work and other research will inform larger excavations on the site planned for June and July 2009.

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Pyrgos/Mavroraki 2008 Excavation Report

A second building was discovered and brought to light in 2008 South to the industrial area. This is a unique construction, consisting of two rooms arranged in a triangular area. As the nearby building it was probably destroyed by the earthquake and abandoned in 1800 BC circa.

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Earliest Humanlike Footprints Found In Kenya

Scientists digging in a Kenyan desert have found what they believe to be the oldest humanlike footprints. Several individuals laid them down 1.5 million years ago in what was a muddy track.

The scientists discovered not just one set of footprints, but two. The second set was left about 1,000 years after the first set. "It's incredible. I've never excavated anything like this before," says team director John Harris of Rutgers University.

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Grab von Kurfürst Rudolf II. in Lutherstadt Wittenberg entdeckt

In Lutherstadt Wittenberg ist im Zuge von archäologischen Ausgrabungen in der ehemaligen Klosterkirche der Franziskaner das Grab von Kurfürst Rudolf II. (ca. 1307–1370), Herzog von Sachsen-Wittenberg aus dem Geschlecht der Askanier, entdeckt worden. Die zwischen Oktober 2008 und März 2009 laufenden Ausgrabungen werden anlässlich eines Bauprojekts für ein neues Stadthaus vom Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt durchgeführt.

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