Sunday, February 28, 2010

Early Humans Used Brain Power, Innovation and Teamwork to Dominate the Planet

As a species of seeming feeble, naked apes, we humans are unlikely candidates for power in a natural world where dominant adaptations can boil down to speed, agility, jaws and claws. Why we rose to rule, while our hominin relatives died out, has long been a curiosity for scientists.

The study of our human nature encompasses a variety of fields ranging from anthropology, primatology, cognitive science and psychology to paleontology, archaeology, evolutionary biology and genetics.

Representatives of each of these disciplines gathered February 19-22 at a workshop, "Origins of Human Uniqueness and Behavioral Modernity," staged by Arizona State University's Origins Project to discuss recent advances in their respective fields.

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Roman urn contains human ashes

AN URN discovered during the excavation of a large Roman site in Cullompton used to contain human remains for burial.

The 2,000-year-old vessel, which is whole and unbroken, was dug up during construction work on the Millwood Homes site in the centre of the town.

It was x-rayed at Exeter Airport because it was too large for the machines at the city’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

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Roman remains in York are 'elite' African woman

Archaeologists have revealed the remains of what they say was a "high status" woman of African origin who lived in York during Roman times.

Academics say the discovery goes against the common assumption that all Africans in Roman Britain were low status male slaves.

Remains of the Ivory Bangle Lady, as she has been named, were studied in Reading using forensic techniques.

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"Vampire of Venice" Unmasked: Plague Victim & Witch?

A female "vampire" unearthed in a mass grave near Venice, Italy, may have been accused of wearing another evil hat: a witch's.

The 16th-century woman was discovered among medieval plague victims in 2006. Her jaw had been forced open by a brick—an exorcism technique used on suspected vampires in Europe at the time.

The discovery marked the first time archaeological remains had been interpreted as those of an alleged vampire, project leader Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist at the University of Florence in Italy, said when the skull was first revealed in March 2009.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Virtual Stonehenge goes online

You can now explore Stonehenge from your living room thanks to a new online virtual representation of the historically significant site.

Created by Heritage Key, which has previously created a virtual tour of the tomb of King Tutankhamen, the Stonehenge project shows you the site at different points in time and follows different characters in order to narrate the history of Stonehenge.

You can already access a virtual representation of Stonehenge in Google Street View.

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Boar badge pinpoints Richard III death at Battle of Bosworth site

A tiny silver badge of a boar has allowed scientists to finally pinpoint the precise spot where they believe Richard III was killed by Henry Tudor's troops, bringing an end to more than 500 years of feverish debate among archaeologists and academics.

The miniature emblem of the Plantagenet ruler was discovered by experts from the Battlefields Trust during exhaustive excavations of the Fenn Lane site of the Battle of Bosworth - part of a joint project aided by Leicestershire County Council, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The King was killed in the field in August 1485 during a bloody countryside battle. The boar was his personal symbol.

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Ring fort may have held Bronze Age sports arena

A MYSTERIOUS ring fort in Co Tipperary holds “massive potential for discoveries” according to archaeologists who have carried out the first survey of the site.

Their initial findings suggest that the site may have been used for Bronze Age sporting contests in an arena that is the ancient equivalent of Semple Stadium.

Archaeologists have long been curious about the origins of the Rathnadrinna Fort located about 3km south of the Rock of Cashel – one of Ireland’s most important heritage locations and seat of the High Kings of Munster.

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Hoard event is a night to treasure

THE Staffordshire Hoard could have been "blasted" away by crews building the M6 Toll road if the Government had chosen one of the other proposed routes for the motorway.

This was one of many fascinating snippets of information about the Anglo-Saxon treasure revealed at an exclusive talk last night.

It was organised for 100 lucky Sentinel readers and their guests and was held at Hanley's Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, where 118 of the gold pieces are currently being exhibited

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'King of Bling' protest over Essex road scheme resumes

"Camp Bling" campaigners in Southend-on-Sea, Essex have resumed their battle against a road scheme.

Protesters camped for five years on Priory Crescent opposing a £22m road-widening scheme on the burial site of Britain's earliest-known Saxon King.

He was dubbed the "King of Bling" after archaeologists found gold and treasure at the 8th Century site.

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Magdeburg: Grab eines Erzbischofs aus dem 12. Jh. entdeckt

Bei dem Bestatteten handelt es sich vermutlich um Erzbischof Wichmann

Die archäologischen Ausgrabungen im Magdeburger Dom haben erneut einen spektakulären Grabfund erbracht. An zentraler Stelle des ottonisch-romanischen Vorgängerbaus wurde die reich ausgestattete Bestattung einer hoch gestellten Persönlichkeit entdeckt. Der beigegebene Bischofsstab, der feuervergoldete Kelch und der Ring weisen den Toten als Erzbischof aus, den man mit einer Mitra aus golddurchwirktem Brokat und mit goldverzierten Schuhen beigesetzt hatte. Heute wurde der bereits im Januar vermeldete Fund erstmals der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Soul’s Paradise: Congjiang

Location: China Length: 6 min

Ethnic minority groups in Congjiang, a beautiful place in southeast China, face a serious dilemma. People are poor and work hard to earn a living, but have a rich cultural heritage threatened by modern influences. The Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center and UNESCO are implementing the China Culture and Development Partnership Framework to assist ethnic minority groups in their cultural, socio-economic and political life and empower them to manage cultural resource and benefit from culture-based economic development.

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DNA Evidence Tells 'Global Story' of Human History

In recent years, DNA evidence has added important new tools for scientists studying the human past. Now, a collection of reviews published by Cell Press in a special issue of Current Biology published online on February 22nd offers a timely update on how new genetic evidence, together with archaeological and linguistic evidence, has enriched our understanding of human history on earth.

"To understand what it is to be human, it is essential to understand the human past," says Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge, who first coined the term "archaeogenetics" and is the author of a guest editorial in the special issue. "Nearly all civilizations have their own origin or creation myth. Now we can use archaeogenetics to tell a global story that is robust and applicable to all human communities everywhere."

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Vikings show their cultured side at open day

The more cultured side of the marauding Vikings was on show at Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes on Sunday.

The museum staged one of its popular family days and some 430 people enjoyed meeting members of the Temesvikings re-enactment group from London.

Museum education officer Ali Rushent said: “They set up a fur-lined tent and did a series of mini talks with members of the public who came along.

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A heritage to treasure

For the first time, a regional museum is showing its medieval and Viking treasures at the British Museum. Steve Pratt discovers the story of England’s capital of the North and unearths an unusual recipient of a Blue Peter badge.

THE gallery at the British Museum is crammed with extraordinary objects of national and worldwide significance, as keeper of prehistory and Europe Jonathan Williams calls them.

There’s the York Helmet, the most outstanding Anglo-Saxon find to survive in Europe, and the Middleham Jewel, regarded as one of the finest pieces of Gothic jewellery found in this country. In another display case is the 1,000-year-old Gilling sword, one of the best preserved Viking swords ever found.

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History in the Remaking

A temple complex in Turkey that predates even the pyramids is rewriting the story of human evolution.

They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot—the exact spot—where humans began that ascent.

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500.000 Euro für Netzwerk Klassische Archäologie

Die Universität Göttingen gehört zu den Gewinnern des bundesweiten Wettbewerbs "Bologna - Zukunft der Lehre" der VolkswagenStiftung und der Stiftung Mercator. Als eines von insgesamt neun erfolgreichen Projekten prämierte die Jury das "Netzwerk Klassische Archäologie", das unter der Federführung des Archäologischen Instituts in Göttingen entwickelt wurde.

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LVR-RömerMuseum für European Museum of the Year Award nominiert

Das LVR-RömerMuseum im LVR-Archäologischen Park Xanten freut sich über die Nominierung für den European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA). Der EMYA gilt als renommiertester Museumspreis Europas und bereits die Nominierung als Auszeichnung.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

£15.7 million given out to repair 154 churches in England

English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced this week more than £15.7 million to support urgent repair work to 154 churches across England, including many dating back to the Middle Ages. The grants were awarded under the organisations’ joint Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme.

Nationally, since 2002, £123 million of grants have been awarded for more than 1,300 Ghistoric places of worship through the partnership scheme, which is the largest single source of funds to help congregations to care for historic churches, chapels, synagogues and other historic places of worship.

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How a hobbit is rewriting the history of the human race

The discovery of the bones of tiny primitive people on an Indonesian island six years ago stunned scientists. Now, further research suggests that the little apemen, not Homo erectus, were the first to leave Africa and colonise other parts of the world, reports Robin McKie

It remains one of the greatest human fossil discoveries of all time. The bones of a race of tiny primitive people, who used stone tools to hunt pony-sized elephants and battle huge Komodo dragons, were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004.

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Jorvik centre reopens

The Jorvik Viking Centre in York has reopened to the public following a £1m refurbishment.

An entirely new gallery has been added and the replica of a Viking-age village has been upgraded. A number of new artefacts, discovered during diggings at the city's Coppergate district, have also gone on show.

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions at York Archaeological Trust, which operates the site, said: "The main thrust of the refurbishment this time is to make a reassessment of the archaeology at Coppergate from which the centre grew over 25 years ago.

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Project starts at historic Dorchester Roman site

Work has started to transform a historic part of Dorchester.

The landscaping project, at West Walks Road and Bowling Alley Walk, will open up Trinity Street car park and Borough Gardens.

The three-week development will be carried out in a conservation area next to the original boundary wall to the Roman town of Durnovaria.

West Dorset District Council has also obtained permission to remove some of the trees along West Walks Road.

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First Minoan Shipwreck

Crete has seduced archaeologists for more than a century, luring them to its rocky shores with fantastic tales of legendary kings, cunning deities, and mythical creatures. The largest of the Greek islands, Crete was the land of the Minoans (3100-1050 B.C.), a Bronze Age civilization named after its first ruler, King Minos, the "master of the seas" who is said to have rid the waters of pirates. According to Thucydides, he also established the first thalassocracy, or maritime empire. The Minoans were renowned for their seafaring prowess, which opened trade routes with the powerful kingdoms of Egypt, Anatolia, and the Levant.

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True site of Richard III battlefield found

Archaeologists said on Friday they had finally found the true location of one of England's most important battles and possibly the very spot where the island's last Medieval king was slain.

For centuries, enthusiasts have trudged to the top of a remote hill in Leicestershire, central England, believing it be the site of the Battle of Bosworth where King Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor's superior forces in 1485.

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Britain's oldest shipwreck discovered off Devonshire coast

A 3,000 year old Bronze Age trading vessel – the oldest shipwreck ever found in British waters – has been located off the coast of Devon in South West England.

It went down around 900 BC carrying a precious cargo of tin and copper ingots from the continent, and has lain undetected on the seabed in just eight to ten metres of water in a bay near Salcombe ever since. Experts have hailed the discovery – one of only four Bronze Age vessels found in British waters – as “extremely important,” and “genuinely exciting.”

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Research on Early Medieval Burial

Early Medieval Northumbria Research Seminar
New Research on Early Medieval Burial
30th April 2010, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Shefton Room, School of Historical Studies
1st Floor, Armstrong Building,
Newcastle University,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU
Free admission. All are welcome

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Archaeologists find medieval remains at Rothe House in Ireland

Rothe House, a historical home in the Irish town of Kilkenny, revealed last week that archaeologists have discovered medieval finds dating back to the 14th and 15th century. This was during a period that property was owned by the Abbot of Duiske Abbey, a Cistercian monastery located by the river Barrow at Graiguenamanagh, some 30km (20 miles) away.

A local firm, Kilkenny Archaeology, has been digging through the house's grounds and uncovered a waste pit or garderobe. Archaeologist Cóilín Ó Drisceoil, who led the team, told the Irish Times “the garderobe was the medieval equivalent of a luxury jacks” and the significance of the “quite rare discovery” was that “it provides an important insight into how a medieval abbot lived”.

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There are 12 days to save Roman circus

THE appeal to raise £200,000 towards saving Colchester’s Roman chariot-racing track is set for a grandstand finish.

With £143,000 pledged in donations and £30,000 promised by Colchester Council, only £27,000 is needed to hit the target of the Gazette backed campaign.

But there are just 12 days to go before developer Taylor Wimpey’s deadline.

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Canterbury Celebrates a Thousand Years of History

A unique glimpse into 1000 years of Canterbury's history was unveiled by broadcaster and renowned historian Dr David Starkey at Canterbury Christ Church University last week.

Funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the exhibition Canterbury: England’s Crucible, will bring the City’s history to life in a way that has never been tackled before. Especially designed for children and families, the exhibition uses 20 exclusively created, giant art panels to tell the city’s story alongside local archaeological gems, a free city trail and interactive fun to explain the city’s significance throughout the ages.

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Treasure hoard can secure the future

The Staffordshire hoard must be saved for the region in which it was found (In praise of..., 16 February). Some 3,700 people queued to see the hoard exhibition at the Potteries Museum in Stoke during the opening weekend, beating all their previous records, and 40,000 saw it while it was on display for 19 days in Birmingham. There is a real strength of feeling, and intrigue, across the region about what the treasure might tell us about the kingdom of Mercia and our Anglo-Saxon past. The find has galvanised partners across the Midlands in working to acquire the hoard.

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Roman Newcastle a place of prosperity

Archaeological investigations inside Victorian railway arches in Westgate Road have revealed the remains of substantial stone buildings and massive sandstone blocks which may be the gateway to the nearby Roman fort of Pons Aelius, which lies under the Castle Keep.

The structures could either be part of the fort or, more likely, evidence of the vicus – or civilian settlement – surrounding the 600-garrison military base.

“These are well-designed, solid, permanent buildings. These are not people scrabbling about trying to make a living on the edge of the Roman empire,” said English Heritage archaeologist Mike Collins.

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New Online Collection of Medieval Texts

The University of Otago in New Zealand has published online samples of 38 books it owns that were printed before 1501, in a bid to promote greater interest in them.

The medieval books are mostly religious texts in European languages, handbound and handprinted on handmade paper, and illustrated with woodcuts.

Special Collections Librarian Donald Kerr hopes the samples on the university's website will encourage more scholarly use of the books.

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Golden Bough from Roman mythology 'found in Italy'

Italian archaeologists claim to have found a stone enclosure which once protected the legendary "Golden Bough".

In Roman mythology, the bough was a tree branch with golden leaves that enabled the Trojan hero Aeneas to travel through the underworld safely.

They discovered the remains while excavating religious sanctuary built in honour of the goddess Diana near an ancient volcanic lake in the Alban Hills, 20 miles south of Rome.

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Ancient bridge stone to go on show in town

A PIECE of Holsworthy's history is to form part of a new feature in the town centre.

A clapper stone which once formed part of a mill leat river crossing at the bottom of the town is go on display in the Manor Courtyard.

Former town councillor Arthur Wright is behind the plans which have been given the go ahead by Torridge District Council.

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Bones found in Northumberland could form burial site

Bones found in a Northumberland garden could form part of an unmarked historical burial site, police say.

Since the initial discovery of a jaw bone on Saturday, more bones and a human skull have been unearthed.

Police are working with experts from Northumberland County Council's archaeological department.

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Sharks used to roam the fens, according to recent archaeological find

Discovery of shark tooth in site near Cambridge sheds some light on prehistory of East Anglia

A recent discovery of a shark tooth at an archaeological site near Cambridge has indicated that sharks may have once roamed the prehistoric seas of Cambridgeshire; predominantly in the area where the fens now lie.

The tooth that was discovered is thought to have belonged to a member of the Orthadocus family, an extinct type of shark. A precursor to the modern-day shark, the Orthadocus is reckoned to have been smaller than sharks are today, and lived in the Cretaceous period approximately 100 million years ago.

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Archaeological dig in grounds of Linton Village

Students at a Cambridgeshire college have begun an archaeological dig of their "artefact-rich" grounds.

Previous excavations at Linton Village College have revealed evidence of a Roman settlement and Bronze Age burial remains.

Neolithic pits dug 5,000 years ago and muskets and uniforms from the English Civil War have also been found there.

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Ein Schatz im Wert von 14 Schweinen

Seltener Münzfund der Salierzeit aus Märkischem Kreis wird im LWL-Landesmuseum präsentiert

Für drei Männer aus dem Märkischen Kreis ist der Traum, einen echten Schatz zu finden, wahr geworden: Nahe der Stadt Halver entdeckten sie im vergangenen Sommer 236 Münzen, die dort schon seit mehreren Jahrhunderten im Waldboden vergraben lagen. Entsprechend der gesetzlichen Vorschriften meldeten sie den Schatz umgehend beim Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL).

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Pillage d’un site archéologique sur le tracé du canal Seine-Nord Europe

Dans la nuit du 8 au 9 février, un groupe de pilleurs, équipés de détecteurs de métaux, se sont attaqués à un chantier archéologique de l’Inrap à Noyon (Oise). Une plainte a été déposée auprès de la Gendarmerie nationale de Noyon. Le procureur de la République et le préfet ont été informés.

En préalable à la construction du canal Seine-Nord Europe par Voies navigables de France, le site de Noyon fait actuellement l’objet d’un diagnostic archéologique prescrit par l’État (Drac Picardie). Étape préliminaire à une éventuelle fouille, le diagnostic est destiné à repérer, identifier et dater les sites archéologiques. Les archéologues de l’Inrap y ont trouvé des traces d’occupations humaines depuis la période néolithique (6 000 ans avant notre ère) jusqu’à la première Guerre mondiale.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Restoration starts at Wareham's ancient town walls

District council chiefs agreed to plough an additional £69,000 into the ongoing conservation project, and contractors moved onto the historic site to start clearance work. Dorset company Banyards Ltd started removing potentially damaging trees and shr-ubs from the area known as the Bowling Green.

Purbeck natural environment spokesman Cllr Andrew Starr said: “The restoration of this ancient monument will give the public a better appreciation of the magnificence of the historic town defences of Wareham, and will increase the opportunity for enjoyment for residents and visitors.”

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Securitisations set sights on Greek ruins

"Why not securitise the Parthenon?" asked Nikos Christodoulakis, the innovative finance minister who was casting round for ways of reducing Greece's large public debt shortly after the country joined the eurozone in May 2001.

His "Eureka!" moment involved issuing a securitisation bond backed by a stream of future revenues from annual ticket sales to some 6m tourists who visit the classical temples on the Acropolis, as well as other ancient monuments around Greece.

That deal fell through, partly because of objections from archaeologists who feared it would quickly lead to the development of Disney-style theme parks on cherished ancient sites.

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Roman mosaic may lie beneath Chester’s Dewa Experience building

ARCHAEOLOGISTS says there is the tantalising prospect of a Roman mosaic beneath the Dewa Roman Experience premises in the city centre.

A ongoing dig Pierpoint Lane site, off Bridge Street, has so far exposed an eight metres section of Roman wall next to a courtyard along with the remains of a flue.

The wall would have formed part of a building, of unknown purpose, leading to speculation about what may lie behind the wall in the centre of the former premises.

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Archaeologists find evidence of lavish lifestyle enjoyed by medieval Irish monk

Archaeologists have discovered new evidence of the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by a medieval Irish monk, which is a stark contrast to the perception of "the simple life" of these clergymen.

According to a report in The Irish Times, archaeologists in Kilkenny, Ireland, unearthed finds that prove at least some senior clergy feasted on roast swan, T-bone steaks and imported fine French wines.

This is in opposition to their public image as men who professed poverty and who were supposed to be devoted to "the simple life".

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Dig finds medieval monk was living it up in Kilkenny 'pad'

ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN Kilkenny have discovered new evidence of the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by a medieval Irish monk.

This was unearthed recently during ongoing excavations that prove at least some senior clergy feasted on roast swan, T-bone steaks and imported fine French wines. This, despite their public image as men who professed poverty and who were supposed to be devoted to “the simple life”.

A 14th-century toilet, known as a “garderobe”, was also excavated.

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3,000-year-old shipwreck shows European trade was thriving in Bronze Age

The discovery of one of the world's oldest shipwrecks shows that European trade was thriving even in the Bronze Age, according to experts.

The vessel, carrying copper and tin ingots used to make weapons and jewellery, sank off the coast near Salcombe in Devon and is thought to date from 900BC.

But it was only last year that the South West Maritime Archaeological Group, a team of amateur archaeologists, brought its cargo to the surface.

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On Crete, New Evidence of Very Ancient Mariners

Early humans, possibly even prehuman ancestors, appear to have been going to sea much longer than anyone had ever suspected.

That is the startling implication of discoveries made the last two summers on the Greek island of Crete. Stone tools found there, archaeologists say, are at least 130,000 years old, which is considered strong evidence for the earliest known seafaring in the Mediterranean and cause for rethinking the maritime capabilities of prehuman cultures.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Gems find from Roman times

A GOLD ring and a gemstone found in a field near Upton Grey date back to Roman times, an inquest in Basingstoke heard.

The ring dates back to the third century, and the gemstone from the first or second century. They were found on January 18 last year by Martin Barker, a plumber and amateur treasure hunter from Middlesex, using a metal detector.

Sarah Whitby, deputy coroner for North East Hampshire, ruled at an inquest into the find, held at the Civic Offices, that the items were treasure.

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Archaeologists discover burial site in Poland

Medieval archaeologists from the Poznań branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences Archaeology and Ethnology Institutes (IAE PAN) archaeology rescue team and the National Artifact Research and Documentation Center (KOBiDZ) have discovered in Bodzia in central Poland the largest-known burial site from the Piast Dynasty.

Dr. Iwona Sobkowiak-Tabaka, the head of the archaeology rescue team from the Poznań IAE PAN, said, “This discovery is important for the whole of Europe, as the burial chambers from the late 10th century or early 11th century were made in a Scandinavian style. There is no other graveyard like this one in the whole of Poland. They are full of riches, which show that the status of the people buried in them was high."

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Bronze Age shipwreck artefacts found near Salcombe

Experts have said 300 Bronze Age artefacts found in a shipwreck off the Devon coast could prove European trade thrived as far back as 3,000 years.

The artefacts, including copper and tin ingots, gold bracelets and a bronze sword, were found near Salcombe by amateur archaeologists last year.

Oxford University experts are now studying the objects.

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Bronze Age shipwreck found off Devon coast

One of the world's oldest shipwrecks has been discovered off the coast of Devon after lying on the seabed for almost 3,000 years.

The trading vessel was carrying an extremely valuable cargo of tin and hundreds of copper ingots from the Continent when it sank.

Experts say the "incredibly exciting" discovery provides new evidence about the extent and sophistication of Britain's links with Europe in the Bronze Age as well as the remarkable seafaring abilities of the people during the period.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Archaeological Summer School Courses at Oxford

The Oxford Experience Summer School, which is held at Christ Church, Oxford offers over 50 different courses during the five weeks from 4 July to 7 August 2010.

These include a large number of courses in archaeology, history and local history.

You can find out more at the University of Oxford’s website.

St Piran's chapel near Perranporth could be uncovered

An early chapel near Perranporth, associated with Cornwall’s patron saint of St Piran, could be preserved for future generations.

Archaeologists from Cornwall Council’s historic environment service and volunteers from the area have carried out a small excavation at the site of St Piran’s Oratory.

Working with Cornwall Council, the St Piran Trust is looking at whether it is possible to uncover the oratory and carry out conservation work to make the monument accessible for present and future generations.

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Heritage Key comes online as Second Life for Indiana Jones wannabes

Virtual worlds can create a good deal of controversy, with some critics suggesting that the format is detrimental to real life and learning, with the emphasis tending to be on gaining virtual possessions and snogging other avatars.

We spoke to Jim Himoff, CEO of Rezzable (a virtual world operator with involvement in the likes of Second Life and Steam Fish) regarding its latest project - Heritage Key - that lets users create avatars before exploring virtual reconstructions of the most impressive historical sites from around the world.

You may not have heard of Heritage Key just yet, but the site - currently in alpha - is set to grow rapidly over the coming year offering wannabe Indiana Jones a virtual, historical world to explore from the comfort - and affordability - of their arm chair.

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Medieval Church discovered at the site of the Hotel-Dieu in Marseilles

Archaeological research at the Hotel-Dieu in Marseilles, France has uncovered the remains of a medieval church and a floor dating back to the Roman period.

It is believed that this was the Church of the Holy Spirit, which was demolished in the 19th century. The building measures 9 feet wide and 28 meters long, and has several side chapels, for total area of 300 square meters.

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The Medway Neolithic megaliths

In the lower Medway valley, on both sides of the river, are a number of large sarsen stones which are collectively known as The Medway Megaliths. They were moved there between 2500-1700 BC and were part of Neolithic, chambered long barrows, which were ancient burial tombs.

The Medway Megaliths are the only groups of megaliths in eastern England. They consist of, on the east side of the River Medway: Kit's Coty House, Little Kit's Coty House, the Upper White Horse Stone, and the Coffin Stone. On the west side of the river are: the Coldrum Stones, Addington Long Barrow, and the Chestnuts Long Barrow.

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York's medieval treasures on show at the British Museum

Treasures from the Yorkshire Museum have gone on display at the British Museum while the museum is closed for a £2 million refurbishment.

The two museums have had a long history of working together since the late nineteenth century but this is the first time the British Museum has given over gallery space to another institution's collections. It's also the first time the Yorkshire Museum has lent such a large number of objects.

York was one of medieval England's most powerful cities, rivalling London in size and importance. The city was the main administrative and judicial centre for the north of England.

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Metal detectorist finds Viking brooch

A METAL detectorist who had only recently taken up the hobby made a lucky find when he uncovered a Viking brooch, which is going on display at Salisbury Museum.

Sidney Boyce was using his metal detector near Longbridge Deverill when he found the bronze trefoil brooch, which he then took to the museum to be identified.

The find was reported to Katie Hinds, the finds liaison officer for Wiltshire, based at Salisbury Museum, who immediately recognised its significance.

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Experts Gather to Celebrate York's Viking History

Academics from around the Viking world will gather in York on Saturday 13th February 2010 for an entertaining and illuminating look at the past, present and future of Viking studies.

The two-day conference - “A celebration of Iconic Collections and Excavations from the Viking World” - will open the 2010 JORVIK Viking Festival and forms part of JORVIK Viking Centre's 25th anniversary celebrations. It will celebrate some of the most important developments and iconic artefacts uncovered in the last quarter-century of research into the Viking era.

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Viking brooch found in Longbridge Deverill, 3 miles south of Warminster.

A Viking brooch discovered in Longbridge Deverill, three miles south of Warminster, has gone on display in Salisbury Museum. The bronze trefoil brooch was discovered at the end of last year by Sidney Boyce from Salisbury using a metal detector.

The find is extremely rare for this part of England. It dates from between 850 and 1050 AD and is in the Viking Borre style, each arm being decorated with a cat-like animal head.

Katie Hinds, finds liaison officer for Wiltshire, said “It is very unusual to find a brooch like this - similar items have been found in East Anglia but they are copies."

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Oysters and Crabs, the Popcorn of Shakespearean Theatergoers

Tudor theatergoers snacked on seafood while enjoying plays by Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, according to new evidence unearthed at two theaters in London.

The research, whose details are published by the Museum of London Archaeology in a book called "The Rose and the Globe: Playhouses of Shakespeare's Bankside, Southwark," began in 1988 and focused on two 16th-century famous playhouses: The Globe, home to many of Shakespeare's plays, and The Rose, where many of Christopher Marlowe's plays were first performed.

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York Jorvik Viking Centre re-opens with annual festival after £1 million revamp

A Nordic animatronic community made by Disneyworld designers in Ohio, a capsule ride around Viking York and a ferocious battle between axe-wielding warriors will form the opening highlights of the third incarnation of the Jorvik Viking Centre when it opens tomorrow following a £1 million refurbishment.

An antler worker called Sigurd who severed his finger in a saw, two rugged builders, a feuding Viking couple and a rat are among the robotic figures created by US specialists Life Formation, based on archaeological evidence from digs around the grounds of the Centre. They will address visitors in Old Norse, voiced by students from York University.

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‘Time Team’ star Tony Robinson hails revamped Jorvik Centre as Viking Festival gets under way in York

BLACKADDER actor Tony Robinson has officially opened the new-look Jorvik Viking Centre in York after a £1 million refit.

The showpiece of the nine-month renovation is the glass-floor gallery where visitors can marvel at a recreation of the Viking relics that were found on the Coppergate site, excavated between 1976 and 1981.

The exhibition, which charts the history of Norse colonies in the city, also features seven new life-like Viking animatronics which have been shipped in from specialists in the US.

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Analysis of hair DNA reveals ancient human's face

DNA analysis of human hair preserved in Greenland's permafrost has given clues as to what the owner looked like.

A study, published in the journal Nature, says the individual's genome is the oldest to have been sequenced from a modern human.

The researchers say the man, who lived 4,000 years ago, had brown eyes and thick dark hair, although he would have been prone to baldness.

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Bracelet found in Vale of Glamorgan is treasure trove

An Iron Age fragment found in a south Wales village last year is the missing half of a bracelet first discovered in 2005, say archaeologists.

Experts from National Museum Wales believe the two bracelets parts, unearthed at Boverton, Vale of Glamorgan, were buried together.

A matching join was found and the decoration, a repeating triangle and a line of dots, proved continuous.

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Unesco World Heritage site St Kilda seeks archaeologist

An archaeologist is being sought for a post on the remote archipelago of St Kilda.

The National Trust for Scotland, which owns the islands, said it was a rare opportunity to work at a Unesco World Heritage site.

The post-holder will be based in Inverness and on St Kilda.

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Why Humans Walk 'Flat-Footed'

Cats and dogs trot around on their toes, as do many other mammals. So why do humans and other great apes walk flat-footed? It is surprisingly energy efficient, a new study suggests.

It takes 53 percent more energy for humans to walk on the balls of their feet, and 83 percent more energy to toe-walk.

However, the energy savings don't apply to running. There's no difference, energy-wise, between landing on our heels and landing on the balls of our feet when we run, the scientists say.

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Sea levels erratic during latest ice age

Cave formations along the coast of an island in the Mediterranean Sea hold evidence that sea level can rise and fall abruptly during an ice age, a finding that casts some doubt on current notions about how those lengthy cold spells develop and progress.

At the height of an ice age, immense volumes of water are locked up in land-based ice sheets, and ocean levels can be as much as 130 meters below where they are today. By contrast, when that ice melts during warm periods, sea level can be a few meters higher than the modern-day standard, says Jeffrey Dorale, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Now, Dorale and his colleagues report in the Feb. 12 Science that during a brief interval well within the most recent ice age, sea level suddenly and inexplicably rose to a height more than one meter above today’s.

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Hellenistic Period tombs unearthed by torrential rainfall

Eight tombs dating to the Hellenist Period were partially revealed recently in the region of Gonous, Larissa prefecture, after flooding caused by heavy rainfall swept away a rural dirt road.

The Archaeological Service subsequently conducted an excavation, which brought to light the tombs which, according to initial assessment, date back to between the end of the 4th century BC and the beginning of the 3rd century BC.

Of the eight tombs, only one is intact.

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Stonehenge "Hedge" Found, Shielded Secret Rituals?

Stonehenge may have been surrounded by a "Stonehedge" that blocked onlookers from seeing secret rituals, according to a new study.

Evidence for two encircling hedges—possibly thorn bushes—planted some 3,600 years ago was uncovered during a survey of the site by English Heritage, the government agency responsible for maintaining the monument in southern England.

The idea that Stonehedge was a shield against prying eyes isn’t yet firmly rooted, but it's archaeologists' leading theory. For instance the newfound banks are too low and unsubstantial to have had a defensive role.

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Archaeological 'Time Machine' Greatly Improves Accuracy of Early Radiocarbon Dating

Researchers at Queen's University have helped produce a new archaeological tool which could answer key questions in human evolution.

The new calibration curve, which extends back 50,000 years, is a major landmark in radiocarbon dating -- the method used by archaeologists and geoscientists to establish the age of carbon-based materials.

It could help research issues including the effect of climate change on human adaption and migrations.

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A hedge may have blocked onlookers from seeing secret rituals at Stonehenge

A new study has indicated that Stonehenge may have been surrounded by a hedge that blocked onlookers from seeing secret rituals.

According to National Geographic News, evidence for two encircling hedges-possibly thorn bushes-planted some 3,600 years ago, was uncovered during a survey of the site by English Heritage, the government agency responsible for maintaining the monument in southern England.

The idea that Stonehedge was a shield against prying eyes isn't yet firmly rooted, but it's archaeologists' leading theory.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anglo-Saxon Kent Electronic Database (ASKED)

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

Further details...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pioneer Woman

Location: Colorado Length: 6 min

Construction workers digging a utility trench in Castle Rock, Colorado, in 2003 were surprised to find human bones. A crime scene investigation sprang up, drawing archaeologists from the Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the local sheriff and coroner. This documentary follows what happened after a trenching machine uncovered an unmarked burial, complete with a disintegrated wooden coffin buried and forgotten there since the 19th Century, when Euro-American pioneers were exploring the Colorado Territory.

Watch the video...

Ancient World in London

Join the action as people from all over London and around the world make their own discoveries of the Ancient World in London - one of the great cities of all time. Learn how London has changed across history and why it is a vortex for global heritage today.

Participate in challenges, competitions, quizzes, quests and discussions online, in the streets of London and/or immersed in our breath-taking virtual, online 3D places. Share your images and ideas, and follow our video series, in which our intrepid explorers set out across the landscape to learn about how the ancient world has made London what it is today.

Go to the Website...

Petition launched to save three Canterbury museums

Canterbury City Council (CCC) is considering the future of the Roman Museum, Westgate Towers and Herne Bay Museum, to save £3m over two years.

Campaigner, Ida Linfield said: "The[Roman Museum] is part of history. It was a town of huge importance."

The final decision will be made at a full council meeting on 18 February.

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Mary Rose crew man's recreated face goes on display

The reconstructed face of a crew member from the Mary Rose is going on display at the ship's museum in Portsmouth.

The face of the man, thought to have been of a rank known as Bosun, was created by forensic artists from a skull recovered from the wreck.

It was given to the Mary Rose Trust to be displayed along with other objects found on board the fated warship.

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Anglo-Saxon gold hoard returning to Staffordshire

Part of the Staffordshire Hoard, a selection of Anglo-Saxon artefacts found in a field in the county, is arriving at the Potteries Museum.

About 80 of the 1,500 artefacts are going on show at the Stoke-on-Trent museum at the weekend.

Campaigners hope to raise £3.3m to make sure the hoard remains in the West Midlands otherwise it could be bought by private collectors.

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Archaeology on the radio

BBC Radio 4 programmes about metal detecting, and how archaeologists can reach different conclusions from the same sites

BBC Radio 4 has a couple of programmes available that may be of interest to FT readers, presented by archaeologist and broadcaster Mike Pitts.

Broadcast on Sunday 7 February and available to download for a week from the BBC Radio 4 site, 'In Pursuit of Treasure' is an investigation into the world of the metal detector, from harmless amateur history buffs to criminal nighthawkers, with its infighting and impact on our national heritage.

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Medieval Dubrovnik's aqueduct and water supply

The city of Dubrovnik, known as Ragusa in the Middle Ages, faced challenges in maintaining its water supply during the medieval period. A recent article details the efforts made by the city to preserve what little fresh water was available and bring in new sources.

"Notes on the provision of water for the city of Dubrovnik in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries," by Barisa Krekic is published in the book Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages: A Cultural History. Professor Krekic notes that "water had an extraordinary importance in the life of Dubrovnik, even more so than was the case in many other medieval/Renaissance cities, because of the specific geography and political position of the Republic, squeezed as it was into an extremely narrow strip of land and a few small islands along the Adriatic Sea coast."

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'Gangland bling' of Beowulf era to go on show in Staffordshire

After 1,300 years in the ground and eight months on the road, biggest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold returns to Potteries

Some Staffordshire clay has come home clinging to the sinuous curves and filigree ornament of the most spectacular heap of Anglo-Saxon golden loot ever found.

More than 100 pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard, a glittering treasure from the world of Beowulf, news of which has gone around the world in eight months, is back in the county that hid it for 1,300 years.

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Figurine of Roman God found in Devon goes on show at Plymouth Museum

A tiny figurine of a Roman God discovered in Devon has gone on display in the Uncovered Gallery at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

The copper alloy figure, which is only seven centimetres long, is a scaled-down version of a well-known image of Jupiter, Roman King of the Gods and God of sky and thunder.

The figure is around 1,700 to 1,900 years old and was discovered by a metal detectorist near Loddiswell, where such finds are extremely rare.

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Bristol University professor has a bone to pick with Saxon queen

It must have been a lonely journey, as the two young sisters travelled through the night leaving behind the land they called home, knowing they would never return.

The year is AD929, and Eadgyth and Eadgifu, two Saxon princesses – the granddaughters of Alfred The Great, and daughters of Edward the Elder – have been sent away from the Wessex kingdom of their childhood, which is now ruled by their powerful half-brother King Athelstan.

In the kind of ruthless diplomatic move that would give him a place in the history books as the first true king of all England, Athelstan has sent his half-sisters to Germany in the hope that Otto, Duke of Saxony, will choose one to be his wife

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Steak Dinners Go Back 2.5 Million Years

A new fossil skull of a bull confirms that beef has been "what's for dinner" since the dawn of humans.

The discovery of a new "missing link" species of bull dating to a million years ago in Eritrea pushes back the beef steak dinner to the very dawn of humans and cattle.

Although there is no evidence that early humans were actually herding early cattle 2.5 million years ago, the early humans and early cattle certainly shared the same landscape and beef was definitely on the menu all along, say researchers.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Asian skeleton found in ruins suggests Roman Empire larger than thought

Archeologists have discovered the 2,000-year-old skeleton of an Asian man in an ancient cemetery in Italy, suggesting that the Roman Empire's reach was far more extensive than previously thought.

Although the Romans are known to have traded for silk and exotic spices with China, it was thought that most of the commerce was conducted through intermediaries along the Silk Route and that no Chinese or other Asians entered the empire itself.

But that orthodoxy will now have to be re-examined after a team of Canadian archaeologists conducted DNA analysis on the man's bones and found that he came from East Asia.

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Water pump uncovered in the grounds of Walton Gardens

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered a water pump - possibly unique - in the grounds of Walton Gardens.

Members of Priestley Field Archaeology Group (PFAG) carried out a three-year excavation on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, which owns the land.

This was after a gardener discovered the chamber in 2000 while digging a flowerbed, which caused a large hole to appear that gave way to an underground room containing a large cast iron wheel and a cylindrical tank.

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'Stonehenge? It's more like a city garden'

Design watchdog hits out at plans for £20m visitor centre at megalithic jewel in England's cultural crown

Its footpaths are "tortuous", the roof likely to "channel wind and rain" and its myriad columns – meant to evoke a forest – are incongruous with the vast landscape surrounding it.

So says the government's design ­watchdog over plans for a controversial £20m visitor centre at Stonehenge, the megalithic jewel in England's cultural crown. CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has criticised the design of the proposed centre, claiming the futuristic building by Denton Corker Marshall does little to enhance the 5,000-year-old standing stones which attract more than 800,000 visitors each year.

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Scholar examines reports of solar eclipses in the Middle Ages

Hundreds of solar eclipses were recorded by medieval chroniclers, offering historians of astronomy with some vital information about how people in the Middle Ages reacted to this phenomenon.

The latest research into this subject has just been published in the Journal for the History of Astronomy. In his article, "Investigation of Medieval European Records of Solar Eclipses," F. Richard Stephenson states he wants to provide "an intriguing insight into the effects of solar eclipses over a wide range of magnitudes on largely untrained and unsuspecting observers."

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£20m Stonehenge visitor centre criticised by Government design watchdog

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) believes the centre's "twee paths" are "more appropriate for an urban garden" and its "delicate roof" is unsuitable for the wind and rain that sweeps across the majestic Wiltshire plains where the stones stand.

Although the plans, by Australian architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall, have been approved by Wiltshire county council planners and are backed by local architects on the Wiltshire Design Forum, CABE said the "architectural approach" was wrong.

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North Pennines ancient buildings to be protected

Work has begun to protect four ancient monuments in the North Pennines which have suffered centuries of bad weather.

They are Whitesyke and Bentyfield lead mines in Cumbria, Shildon engine house and Ninebanks Tower in Northumberland and Muggleswick Grange, County Durham.

All are currently included on English Heritage's At Risk Register.

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Ben Hur in Colchester? Race is on to save UK's only Roman chariot racetrack

When the white handkerchief dropped, the Ben Hurs of Colchester would have set off down Circular Road North, past the banked tiers of seats, turning left at Napier Road, their iron tyres gouging a deep rut in the track,and back up past St John's gatehouse towards the water-spouting dolphin marking the end of the first lap.

Colchester, it seems, was the Formula One track of Roman Britain, with the only chariot racing circus ever found on the island, and the first found in northern Europe for 20 years. Now modern residents have less than a month to raise the money to save a unique monument and create a visitor centre to reveal the site's history.

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Bog woman given a face

A 2000-year-old body found in a northeastern Jutland bog has received a makeover – coroner style The female known as the Auning Woman, found in a northeastern Jutland bog 1886, and housed at the Museum for Culture and History in...

The female known as the Auning Woman, found in a northeastern Jutland bog 1886, and housed at the Museum for Culture and History in Randers, has finally got a face.

Reasonably well-preserved when she popped up from the bog, the woman’s 2000-year-old skull was broken into several pieces.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Book your place at 'Portable Antiquities: Archaeology, Collecting, Metal Detecting' Conference

Registration is now open for the ‘Portable Antiquities: Archaeology, Collecting, Metal Detecting’ conference on 13th and 14th March 2010. This event is co-organised by the CBA and Newcastle University’s International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, and takes place at Newcastle University and the Great North Museum: Hancock.

The papers at this conference offer perspectives from a range of different interest groups, look at recent research, present case studies from around the UK and beyond, and ultimately offer views about what the future may hold for portable antiquities management. Much debate is anticipated at this timely event.

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Darwin descended from Cro-Magnon man

The father of evolution Charles Darwin was a direct descendant of the Cro-Magnon people, whose entry into Europe 30,000 years ago heralded the demise of Neanderthals, scientists revealed in Australia Thursday.

Darwin, who hypothesised that all humans evolved from common ancestors in his seminal 1859 work "On the Origin of Species", came from Haplogroup R1b, one of the most common European male lineages, said genealogist Spencer Wells.

"Men belonging to Haplogroup R1b are direct descendants of the Cro-Magnon people who, beginning 30,000 years ago, dominated the human expansion into Europe and heralded the demise of the Neanderthal species," Wells said.

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Stonehenge Road Closure

Support the proposed closure of the A344 road to motor traffic at Stonehenge!

Wiltshire County Council has advertised the proposed closure to motor vehicles of the A344 in the vicinity of Stonehenge. This will allow the road to be returned to grassland and has been a long-term goal for all those - including the CBA - who have campaigned to see improvements to the landscape setting of the Stones. Cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders will still have access and the former road line will link the Stones and the new visitor centre at Airman’s Corner.

Removing motorised traffic from the environment immediately around Stonehenge will be a huge improvement and allow its enjoyment in a more dignified and open setting. However, there are others who think the cars, lorries and motorbikes should still have the right to use the road as a short cut and to access the Byways along it.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Olympics will 'damage Greenwich's heritage features'

Campaigners trying to stop 2012 Olympic equestrian events in Greenwich Park claim organisers have admitted it could damage "heritage features".

The campaign group No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events claim London 2012 admits in its planning application that such damage could be caused.

London 2012 has denied this and added anything of archaeological significance at the site would be protected.

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World's oldest monastery restored

Egypt has completed the restoration of reputedly the world's oldest Christian monastery, called Saint Anthony's.

The monastery is believed to be 1,600 years old. The government-sponsored restoration project cost over $14m (£8.9m) and took more than eight years.

The monastery is a popular site for Coptic Christian pilgrims.

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Ancient tooth enamel defects linked with premature death

A study reveals ancient human teeth showing evidence that stressful events during early development are linked to shorter lifespans.

Anthropologist George Armelagos led a systematic review of defects in teeth enamel and early mortality.

He said: ‘Prehistoric remains are providing strong, physical evidence that people who acquired tooth enamel defects while in the womb or early childhood tended to die earlier.

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Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle: archaeologist

Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle was a Danish archaeologist who helped to transform Britain’s approach to ecclesiastical archaeology in a career excavating important Early Christian sites in England.

Rumours went round the archaeological world in 1964 of the arrival at the huge excavations in Winchester of a dynamic pipe-smoking young Danish woman who was imposing new standards of rigour on an already exemplary project.

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A view fit for a king

EXPERTS have reconstructed a window from the reign of King Henry VIII to form the centrepiece of a £6 million exhibition.

A window from the Royal Tudor Palace of King Henry VIII has been recreated on the site of his famous palace on the exact day Henry died, 463 years ago on 28 January, 1547.

The window, reconstructed from stonework excavated on the site of Tudor Palace, is one of the unique exhibits in Discover Greenwich at The Old Royal Naval College, a new permanent exhibition exploring the history of the area, due to open on March 23.

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Viking treasure found in Shenstone

AN ANCIENT silver ingot dating back more than 1,000 years has been discovered by a treasure hunter in Shenstone, it was revealed this week.

The artefact, measuring almost three inches (70mm) in length, was found at an undisclosed location in Shenstone parish in March last year.

Experts at the British Museum have now examined the find and disclosed that it is Viking in origin and contains around 95 per cent silver.

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More treasure found near Tamworth

A MEDIAEVAL 'silver link' dating back 600 years has been discovered by a treasure hunter near Tamworth, a treasure trove inquest heard this week.

The precious artefact, said to be 15th Century and silver gilt, was found at an undisclosed location in Harlaston back in August.

And because of its antiquity and precious nature it was officially declared as treasure on Monday.

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Skeleton uncovered at Roman dig in Sleaford

Roman artefacts and a complete 1,700-year-old human skeleton have been uncovered by workers preparing a building site in Lincolnshire.

The skeleton was found at The Hoplands, in Sleaford, where North Kesteven District Council is building housing.

The remains, pottery and animal bones will now be moved to Lincoln where they will be cleaned and assessed by archaeologists.

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Stonehenge's secret: archaeologist uncovers evidence of encircling hedges

The Monty Python knights who craved a shrubbery were not so far off the historical mark: archaeologists have uncovered startling evidence of The Great Stonehenge Hedge.

Inevitably dubbed Stonehedge, the evidence from a new survey of the Stonehenge landscape suggests that 4,000 years ago the world's most famous prehistoric monument was surrounded by two circular hedges, planted on low concentric banks. The best guess of the archaeologists from English Heritage, who carried out the first detailed survey of the landscape of the monument since the Ordnance Survey maps of 1919, is that the hedges could have served as screens keeping even more secret from the crowd the ceremonies carried out by the elite allowed inside the stone circle.

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Vikings and Death

In the Viking Age people were buried in many different sort of places. Did the ancient Scandinavians chose a particular place for burial or were the burial sites randomly selected? Had the choice anything to do with ideas of the afterlife?

The seasons first Tuesday Talk at The Museum of Archaeology has an exciting topic! Archaeologist Eva Thäte will talk about vikings and death, Tuesday 9 February at 0630 pm. 

– Viking Age burial rites are very diverse as were people’s choices of places for burial grounds. In the Late Iron Age (AD 500-1000), people in Scandinavia buried their deceased on high ground, in ancient burial mounds, in houses, close to water sites and near roads or boundaries, says Eva Thäte.

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Egil Skallagrimsson Keeps his Head

Violent feuding, cunning witchcraft and poetic resolution make for a thrilling comedy drama commissioned for this February's JORVIK Viking Festival.

Egil Skallagrimsson Keeps his Head is a first theatrical commission for York Archaeological Trust to mark its anniversary JORVIK Viking Festival. The new comedy drama has been written and will be performed by award winning North Country Theatre on 17th and 18th February as part of the week's celebratory Viking Festival.

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Tributes paid to cathedral archaeologist

A HIGHLY-respected archaeologist behind a key 1960s dig at Winchester Cathedral has died, age 68.

Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle – wife of Martin Biddle – uncovered remains of the Old Minister, the Anglo-Saxon cathedral demolished by the Normans.

Her team also found evidence of the church of Cenwalh of Wessex and St Alphege, the original burial place of St Swithun in 862.

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Anger at Southampton medieval site proposals

Proposals to sell off land in a historic part of Southampton have attracted anger among some groups.

The city council wants to develop Lower High Street with flats and businesses which it claims would pay for future preservation of medieval wine vaults.

But campaigners have argued that precious and well-used open space would be lost.

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Bronze brooch rises from the ashes

A 1,400-YEAR-OLD brooch dating from the early Christian period has been discovered in the remnants of a turf fire in a range in north Kerry.

It is believed the brooch fastened the cloak of a clergyman and was dropped, probably on a forest road which later became bog. It ended up in a sod of turf in the range of Sheila and Pat Joe Edgeworth at Martara, Ballylongford, near the Shannon estuary. Lands alongside the Shannon are chequered with early Christian ruins and holy wells.

The bronze brooch was found shortly before Christmas by Ms Edgeworth when she was cleaning out her range.

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Search for Columba's monastery

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are hoping to find the exact location of the original monastery built by St Columba when he arrived in Scotland in AD563.

The National Trust for Scotland is conducting a survey on the island of Iona, off Mull, this week to try to locate the remains of the early Christian monastery built by the sixth-century missionary.

A team from Orkney College is carrying out a series of geophysical tests in the fields around Iona Abbey, searching for evidence of a monastery built by the Irish monk. The last geophysical survey of the area was carried out in the 1970s, with relatively primitive equipment.

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Lost Roman Codex Fragments Found in Book Binding

Fragments of a lost ancient Roman law text have been rediscovered in the scrap paper used to bind other books.

The Codex Gregorianus, or Gregorian Code, was compiled by an otherwise unknown man named Gregorius at the end of the third century A.D. It started a centuries-long tradition of collecting Roman emperors' laws in a single manuscript.

The Codex Gregorianus covered the laws of Hadrian, who ruled from A.D. 117 to 138, to those of Diocletian, ruler from A.D. 284 to 305. (See a picture of a colossal statue of Hadrian found in Turkey.)

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Quantensprung für die Schiffsarchäologie

Erstmals in Deutschland: Dreidimensionales Messsystem für Dokumentation von Schiffsfunden - Erprobungsphase an Koggehölzern
Der sogenannte Oberländer aus der Mittelalterflotte des DSM wird mit dem FARO-System dokumentiert. Diplom-Restaurator Michael Sietz arbeitet sich am neuen Gerät ein. Foto: Philipp Schmidt

Für Kollegen in Dänemark, Schweden, Norwegen, England und Irland ist es nicht neu. Erstmals führte in Deutschland jetzt aber das Nationalmuseum Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum die digitale dreidimensionale Vermessung von Schiffsfunden für die Schiffsarchäologie ein.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Aviation archaeologists' Londonderry Spitfire search

Two aviation archaeologists are to come to Northern Ireland to search for a lost WWII Spitfire.

Gareth Jones and Steve Vizard have been keen to unravel the mystery of the missing aircraft.

They believe it's buried underground on the site of City of Derry Airport, the former RAF Eglinton air base.

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Save Palaeography at King's College London

Please sing the online petition

To: Professor Richard Trainor, Principal, King's College London

The Chair of Palaeography at King's College in the University of London is the only one of its kind in the UK, and is of fundamental intellectual significance to a broad and interdisciplinary scholarly community as well as to the wider community beyond universities. Many other classical, medieval and early modern disciplines depend on the accurate deciphering of manuscripts and documents and their proper understanding, while the study of writing offers a gateway to the comprehension of our own history, writ large. We therefore urge the Executive of KCL to reconsider their proposal to cut this prestigious Chair.

You can sign the petition here...

Roman skeleton unearthed in Sleaford

Buried deep under the ground for centuries, a long-forgotten Roman skeleton has been unearthed in Lincolnshire.

The skeleton, whose age and gender remain a mystery, was uncovered during a dig at The Hoplands in Sleaford.

Little is known about the ancient figure other than the fact it was buried face down and was discovered with a plethora of other Roman items.

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Helman Tor: Bronze Age hut circle uncovered

A BRONZE Age hut circle near Lanlivery, on Helman Tor, has been revealed by conservationists.

Nine volunteers met at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's largest nature reserve last Saturday, which takes in the tor and the surrounding 217 hectares (536 acres), and stripped back gorse to show off the monument.

Mid Cornwall reserves officer, Sean O'Hea said: "This is a really positive thing we are doing for the reserve. By stripping back the gorse, we are encouraging increased plant biodiversity and as a result we will see more butterflies and bird species eventually.

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Greece: New Underwater Archaeological Site Designated Off Polyaigos Island

A shipwreck located off the small uninhabited Cycladic island of Polyaigos in the central Aegean will be designated as an “underwater archaeological site” by Greece’s Culture Ministry, the institution’s representatives announced recently.

The shipwreck, first spotted in 2004, was initially explored by underwater archaeologists in the fall of 2009, the Athens News Agency reported today. These excavations resulted in the discovery of valuable archaeological objects, including amphorae, ceramic vases and fragments of the vessel’s anchor.

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Long lost theory on Silbury Hill is uncovered

Letters that lay undiscovered in national archives for more than 230 years suggest that Silbury Hill, the enigmatic man-made mound that stands between Marlborough and Beckhampton, may have originally be constructed around some sort of totem pole.

Historians have uncovered in the British Library in London letters written in 1776 that describe a 40ft-high pole which once stood at the centre of Silbury Hill. Europe’s largest man-made mound.

The letters detail an 18th century excavation into the centre of the man-made mound, where archaeologists discovered a long, thin cavity six inches wide and about 40ft deep.

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DNA Testing on 2,000-Year-Old Bones in Italy Reveal East Asian Ancestry

Researchers excavating an ancient Roman cemetery made a surprising discovery when they extracted ancient mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from one of the skeletons buried at the site: the 2,000-year-old bones revealed a maternal East Asian ancestry.

The results will be presented at the Roman Archeology Conference at Oxford, England, in March, and published in the Journal of Roman Archaeology.

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Go shopping in the Viking Age

The Viking Ship Museum invites children and adults on a shopping trip in the Viking Age during the winter holidays.

The Vikings were the first people in Scandinavian history to fit sails to their ships and acquire the ability to travel much further. When the Vikings returned home from an expedition or trading voyage, the ship was loaded with new and exciting goods and practices. Where could the Vikings purchase glass? How much did a walrus tooth cost? Did the Vikings trade in slaves?

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Archaeological dig in Bideford town centre

A MAJOR archaeological dig is to take place in Bideford as part of the regeneration of a key town centre site.

The first part of the dig will take place in Chopes department store car park as part of new plans to redevelop Bridge Street.

The work is set to begin this week followed by a second, larger dig at the neighbouring Torridge District Council car park next month.

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Sweet solution saves Medieval Leicester bridge at Snibston Discovery Museum

Scientists have used 70 tons of liquid sugar to preserve the remains of three Medieval bridges found near Leicester.

Experts from the University of Leicester immersed the 11th century bridges – whose ruins were so heavy they had to be carried in sections by eight-man teams – in tanks of sugar solution.

The trio of Medieval bridges were excavated at Heminton Quarry, near Castle Donington in Leicestershire

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Polish scientists say 3 Neanderthal teeth found

A team of Polish scientists said Monday they have discovered three Neanderthal teeth in a cave, a find they hope may shed light on how similar to modern humans our ancestors were.

Neanderthal artifacts have been unearthed in Poland before. But the teeth are the first bodily Neanderthal remains found in the country, according to Mikolaj Urbanowski, an archaeologist with Szczecin University and the project's lead researcher.

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The Megaliths of Northern Europe

When: Thursday, February 18th at 10am (tea and coffee from 9:30)

Where: Centre for Anthropology, British Museum

The British Museum’s Centre for Anthropology, in collaboration with the Royal Anthropological Institute, will be continuing its series of encounters between authors and their reviewers with a seminar discussion between Dr. Magdalena Midgley, author of The Megaliths of Northern Europe, and Prof. Chris Scarre, who reviewed the work for JRAI.

This is a free event.

Bookings/enquiries by email: SMarianski(AT)

Monday, February 01, 2010

EMAS Events for 200

The programme of events for EMAS, the University of London Extra-Mural Archaeological Society, are now on the Web.

You can find them at:

Saved for the nation: monuments to Britain's cold war

Government joins with English Heritage to put nuclear bunkers at RAF Upper Heyford on list of protected national monuments

Some of the most sinister historic monuments in Britain, a set of hardened concrete bunkers built to shelter American nuclear bombers, are to be protected and preserved, it has been announced.

A planning inquiry into the future development of Upper Heyford, near Bicester, has accepted the English Heritage argument that the site is one of the best preserved Cold War landscapes in Britain. The government has now agreed that the heart of the complex, which is on the Schedule of Monuments with sites such as Stonehenge, should be protected from development.

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The greatest scientific advances from the Muslim world

From the elephant clock to the camera obscura, here are six amazing inventions from between the 9th and 15th centuries

There is no such thing as Islamic science – for science is the most universal of human activities. But the means to facilitating scientific advances have always been dictated by culture, political will and economic wealth. What is only now becoming clear (to many in the west) is that during the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world. Geniuses in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus and Cordoba took on the scholarly works of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, India and China, developing what we would call "modern" science. New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering and agriculture.

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An ancient Roman temple, discovered in the chancel of the church of Sant Feliu Girona.

The work that has lasted three weeks have also brought to light several tombs and a Roman Christian who, according to experts, could belong to some bishops or individuals from that epoch

An ancient Roman temple, discovered following the first excavations in the chancel of the church of Sant Feliu Girona.

The temple, with cross-shaped plan, apse, three naves and two side chapels, and several tombs from the sixth and seventh centuries, have appeared

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V&A Medieval & Renaissance Galleries: Andrew Graham-Dixon in conversation with Daniel Katz

It has taken many years and millions of pounds to create a space for what is arguably the most impressive collection of Medieval and Renaissance objects in the world. It is impossible to become jaded with the works on display, as Andrew Graham-Dixon and Renaissance sculpture specialist, Daniel Katz, discover as they walk, talk and examine the beauties of the V&A’s new galleries .

(with video clip)

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