Monday, October 31, 2011

Missing link in Roman conquest of Germany a 'sensational find'

Archaeologists are celebrating the find of a Roman military camp which was a crucial link in Emperor Augustus’ conquest of Germany – after more than a century of looking for it.

The find, near the small town of Olfen not far from Münster near the Ruhr Valley, has already produced a collection of artefacts, not only pottery but also coins and clothing fasteners. These enabled researchers at the Westphalia-Lippe Municipal Association (LWL) to confirm what they had hoped.

“It’s a sensational discovery for Roman research in Westphalia,” LWL-director Wolfgang Kirsch said in a statement.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scientists digitise our prehistoric past

Researchers in Leipzig are compiling a ground-breaking digital archive of artefacts from around the world. Created to compare Neanderthals with modern man, the archive could revolutionise their field — which is exactly why many oppose it.

Visitors to Tel Aviv University are greeted by three skulls with seashells in their eye sockets and on a table behind them, a student completes a detailed drawing of the teeth in a human jaw.  The bone chamber lies behind a simple steel door on the ground floor, located right next to the delivery entrance of the anatomy institute at Tel Aviv University, what looks like a simple storeroom is actually one of the world’s largest repositories of human history.

Nestled on foam within blue storage drawers are all sorts of fragile bones, from femurs to mandibles, and phalanges to ribs, children’s skulls and a whole range of teeth. These are one-of-a-kind fossils that reveal a key episode in the history of the human species.

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Tourism development versus historic preservation in Turkey reaches ‘fever pitch’

Last week AOL journalist Melanie Renzulli reported that the conflict between historic preservation and tourism development has reached a “fever pitch” in Turkey.

Renzulli referred to the Art Newspaper, which reported that Turkey’s recent transfer of archaeological excavation permits from the hands of non-Turkish to Turkish scholars implies a “crackdown” on foreign universities for its slow pace in turning Turkey’s abundance of historic sites into tourist attractions.

Experts agree that the threat of tourism development to historic preservation, both of which fall under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is real.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

The find of a lifetime: Treasure hunter digs up 200-piece haul of Viking jewellery and coins

A metal detecting enthusiast unearthed 'the find of a lifetime' when he discovered a Viking treasure hoard including 200 pieces of silver jewellery. 

Darren Webster dug up a 1,000-year-old casket that also held coins, hacksilver and ingots while scouring at an undisclosed location on the border between Cumbria and North Lancashire.

Experts at the British Museum in London say the find is of 'national significance'.

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Lost Roman camp that protected against Germanic hordes found

Historians believe the camp, once home to an estimated 1,000 legionaries and located on the River Lippe near the town of Olfen, may well have been served as a key base for the Roman General Drusus, who waged a long and bloody war against the tribes that once inhabited what is now western Germany.
The find comes 100 years after the discovery of a bronze Roman helmet near Olfen indicated the presence of ancient remains but it took a century of searching to finally discover the exact location of the camp.

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Prehistoric site is found at Cave Hill in Belfast

Archaeologists have discovered what is believed to be a prehistoric ceremonial site on Cave Hill in north Belfast.

It follows a community excavation involving more than 400 people at the site of Ballyaghagan cashel on the Upper Hightown Road, which had never before been unearthed.

Dr Harry Welsh, an archaeologist with Queen's University, which led the Big Dig project, said some of the earliest items on the site dated back to 3,500 years BC.

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Jawbone found near Kennewick Man site, raising specter of controversy

Federal archeologists are investigating a very old jawbone that turned up Monday along the Columbia River in Kennewick, Wash. The human remains were found a short distance from where Kennewick Man was discovered in 1996 and sparked a decade-long legal conflict.

The battles over Kennewick Man have scientists being extra cautious with the new discovery.

The jawbone with six worn teeth was spotted in shallow water by a jail work crew doing routine park cleanup. Kennewick Police and the Benton County coroner quickly determined the bone belonged to an adult human, but was too old to connect to any modern crime.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Controversy Over Reopening the 'Sistine Chapel' of Stone Age Art

Plans to reopen Spain’s Altamira caves are stirring controversy over the possibility that tourists’ visits will further damage the 20,000-year old wall paintings that changed views about the intellectual ability of prehistoric people. That’s the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. The caves are the site of Stone Age paintings so magnificent that experts have called them the “Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art.”

armen Drahl, C&EN associate editor, points out in the article that Spanish officials closed the tourist mecca to the public in 2002 after scientists realized that visitors were fostering growth of bacteria that damage the paintings. Now, however, they plan to reopen the caves. Declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Altamira’s rock paintings of animals and human hands made scientists realize that Stone Age people had intellectual capabilities far greater than previously believed

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Solving the Mysteries of Short-Legged Neandertals

While most studies have concluded that a cold climate led to the short lower legs typical of Neandertals, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that lower leg lengths shorter than the typical modern human's let them move more efficiently over the mountainous terrain where they lived. The findings reveal a broader trend relating shorter lower leg length to mountainous environments that may help explain the limb proportions of many different animals.

Their research was published online in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and will appear in print in the November issue.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Viking Buried With Axe, Sword and Spear Found With Fully Intact Viking Boat Burial in UK

The UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been discovered by archaeologists working in the Scottish Highlands. The 5m-long grave contained the remains of a high status Viking, who was buried with an axe, a sword with a beautifully decorated hilt, a spear, shield boss and bronze ring-pin.

The Viking had been buried in a ship, whose 200 or so metal rivets were also found by the team.

The 1,000-year-old find, on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula, was made by the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project (ATP) which is a team led by experts from the Universities of Manchester, Leicester, CFA Archaeology Ltd and Archaeology Scotland

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Linn Duchaill: Ireland's unlikely Viking capital

A windswept barley field just south of Dundalk seems an unlikely spot for Ireland's capital. 

But if things had been different, Annagassan near Castlebellingham might have been the principal city on the island of Ireland.

Twelve hundred years ago it was the site of Linn Duchaill, one of the first Viking settlements, which rivalled Dublin in size and importance.

Folklore said it was there, but all traces of it had disappeared, until a group of archaeologists and local historians set out to prove its existence.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Archaeology Courses at the Oxford Experience 2012

1 July to 11 August 2012

The Oxford Experience is a residential summer school held at the college of Christ Church, University of Oxford.

The programme consists of 6 weeks of courses and participants attend for one or more weeks.

It offers a choice of twelve seminars each week over a period of five weeks. Participants do not need any formal qualifications to take part, just an interest in their chosen subject and a desire to meet like-minded people.

You can also find details of the various archaeology courses offered at Oxford Experience here...

It's a new Viking invasion of Britain – but this time it's cultural

After the discovery of a Viking burial site in Scotland, Norse history and myths are the focus of a TV saga, epic novels and a major British Museum exhibition

Longboats, funeral pyres, glinting helmets and drinking horns: the discovery of a buried Viking boat in the west Highlands a few days ago has given an extra fillip to a burgeoning cultural fascination with all things Norse.

A succession of Viking literary sagas, films and television series, pieces of poetry and avant-garde art, not to mention preparations for a major British Museum show, are now all on the slipway.

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Pompeii wall collapse blamed on Berlusconi spending cuts

Part of a Roman wall has collapsed at Pompeii, one year after a house there crumbled, prompting accusations that the Italian government has failed to keep promises to protect the ancient site.

During heavy rain on Friday, an eight square metre section of a perimeter wall crumbled near Nola Gate.

It is the latest in a series of incidents including the fall of the House of the Gladiators last November, which Unesco criticised and which led the government of Silvio Berlusconi to vow that upkeep would improve.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Viking boat burial site ‘could boost tourism’

THE discovery of a Viking boat burial site in the Highlands could boost tourism in the area if some of the artefacts can be retained at Ardnamurchan, it was claimed yesterday.

Local sources have confirmed that talks will be held to discuss the possibility of creating a new centre or exhibition space to house items from the burial site at Kilchoan.

Archaeologists revealed that the 16ft grave unearthed on the Ardnamurchan peninsula is the first fully-intact boat burial site to be found on the UK mainland.

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Couple Held Hands for 1,500 Years

The skeletal remains of a Roman-era couple reveal the pair has been holding hands for 1,500 years.

Italian archaeologists say the man and woman were buried at the same time between the 5th and 6th century A.D. in central-northern Italy. Wearing a bronze ring, the woman is positioned so she appears to be gazing at her male partner.

"We believe that they were originally buried with their faces staring into each other. The position of the man's vertebrae suggests that his head rolled after death," Donato Labate, the director of the excavation at the archaeological superintendency of Emilia-Romagna, told Discovery News.

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Part of ancient wall collapses at Pompeii due to heavy rains

MILAN — Officials at Pompeii’s archaeological site say part of a wall has collapsed due to heavy rains in recent days.

Spokeswoman Daniela Leone said Saturday an external layer of a roughly two-meter (six-foot) section of wall collapsed at the northern end of the ancient ruins. Leone said it was of no artistic value and stressed that the wall itself remained standing. The area was closed to the public.

There were two collapses at the 2,000-year-old archaeological site last year, emphasizing concerns about the state of Italy’s cultural treasures.

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Redditch man makes major archaeological discovery

A METAL detecting enthusiast from Redditch has uncovered Worcestershire's largest ever archaeological hoard.

Jethro Carpenter found almost 4,000 Roman coins at Bredon Hill near Evesham - a major significance not only for the county but also the country.

Mr Carpenter, 43, was walking with friend Mark Gilmore when their metal detectors registered 'overload'.

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Ancient Roman wall collapses at Pompeii after flash storms

Rome (AFP) - Part of an ancient Roman wall has collapsed at the archaeological site of Pompeiii in southern Italy following flash floods and storms across the country, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

The wall, built with the Roman "opus incertum" technique using irregularly shaped stones and concrete, collapsed on a stretch of the ancient city’s external walls, near the Porta di Nola, in an area open to the public.

An archaeological team is assessing the damage but there is no risk to public safety, the spokeswoman told AFP.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Irish ring-pin found in Viking boat burial site

A BRONZE Viking ring-pin believed to be from Ireland has been found buried with its owner in a major archaeological discovery in Scotland.

The 1,000-year-old remains of a Viking of high status in a five-metre-long boat burial site has been described as one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain.

As well as the ring-pin, which probably held his cloak, archaeologists also recovered other artefacts including an axe, a sword, a spear, what could be the tip of a bronze drinking horn and Viking pottery.

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Bredon Hill Roman coins unveiled at Worcester museum

A hoard of Roman artefacts unearthed in the Worcestershire countryside is to go on show at a museum in the county.

Local metal detector enthusiasts Jethro Carpenter, 43, and Mark Gilmore, 47, discovered more than 3,800 coins in a clay pot at Bredon Hill, near Evesham.

The Roman haul - the county's largest ever - is mainly bronze coins dating back to the 3rd Century.

Featuring 16 different emperors, many will be shown at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum from Saturday.

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Face-To-Face With an Ancient Human

A reconstruction based on the skull of Norway's best-preserved Stone Age skeleton makes it possible to study the features of a boy who lived outside Stavanger 7 500 years ago.

"It is hoped that this reconstruction is a good likeness and that, if someone who knew him in life had been presented with this restoration, they would hopefully have recognised the face," says Jenny Barber, an MSc student at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

She has scientifically rebuilt the face of the strong and stocky Viste Boy, who lived in the Vistehola cave near Stavanger, so that people can now look him right in the eye.

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Museums could bid for Ardnamurchan Viking finds

Museums will have the chance to bid to exhibit artefacts from the UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial.

Archaeologists found the remains of a high-ranking warrior, along with a sword, axe and other items at Ardnamurchan in the Highlands.

Following analysis, the Crown is expected to eventually claim the objects on behalf of the nation.

Under treasure trove rules, museums could then apply to keep them.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Revealed, Henry VIII's lost pleasure palace: Amazing scale model recreates Nonsuch Palace more than 300 years after it was destroyed

When it was built, it was hailed as one of the finest buildings of its age – only to be destroyed 150 years later.

Now Henry VIII’s ‘lost’ palace can be seen for the first time in more than 300 years – in a scale model based on 50 years of research.

The replica of Nonsuch Palace – so named because there was no other like it – took 1,250 hours to make.

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Funds secured for Easter Ross's Pictish Nigg cross-slab

A small voluntary group has secured enough money to conserve and redesign the displaying of an intricately carved Pictish stone in Easter Ross.

The Nigg cross-slab dates from the 8th Century AD and features snakes and a depiction of monks receiving bread from a raven sent by God.

Nigg Old Trust has received a funding package of £178,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish government and European Community Highland Leader fund contributed.

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Viking secret puts Ross-shire town on map

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL discovery in Dingwall could put the town on the international map and bring major benefits to Ross and Cromarty, experts claimed this week.

Geophysical surveys of the Cromartie car park in Dingwall town centre have revealed that it most likely is the site of the long lost meeting place of the Vikings who once ruled Ross.

The Highland Council-owned car park was closed to the public for two days last month to see if archaeologists could produce the hard evidence to back up beliefs that it was an important Viking assembly area around 1,000 years ago.

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Last chance to see city’s Roman dig site

ONE of the nation’s largest archaeological digs, which has unearthed a treasure trove of relics dating from the Roman era, is being opened up to the public for the last time at the weekend.

The excavations overseen by the York Archaeological Trust at the Hungate development are the most extensive in the city since the famous Coppergate dig more than a quarter of a century ago.

The five-year project comes to an end in December and visitors will have a final opportunity on Saturday to meet archaeologists, who will talk through some of the remarkable finds.

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Roman hoard of coins found on Bredon Hill

A FARMER has said metal detector enthusiasts “hit the jackpot” when they uncovered the largest hoard of Roman coins ever found in Worcestershire, on his family’s land at Bredon Hill.

About 4,000 coins, featuring 16 different Roman Emperors, were discovered in June this year and are thought to be of national significance. The farmer, who is not being named by the Journal, said the exact location of the find may never be revealed.

He said: “We were really taken aback and shocked by it.

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Deckchair protest halts archaeological survey

A one-man protest momentarily stopped work on a trench being built on what could have been the original site of a manor house in the heart of a village near Frome.

Steve Wood sat in his deckchair in the path of a digger on Monday afternoon in protest at part of a field being dug up next to Kilmersdon Village Hall.

Mr Wood claims work carried out on behalf of the developer is part of an access road to a nine-house development which so far has not been given planning permission. He said the road is being built prematurely and should not be allowed until permission is granted.

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Gold hoard thrown in skip displayed

A hoard of Early Bronze Age gold that was salvaged from a skip following a botched robbery has gone on display.

The ancient artefacts were recovered by gardai in 2009 after being dumped along with the stolen safe they had been kept in at Sheehan's Pharmacy in Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

The thieves had not realised that the 5,000-year-old gold was hidden among documents when they tipped out what they thought were the safe's worthless contents.

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Vikings and Scotland: 10 lesser known facts

THE discovery of the first fully intact Viking burial site in the UK - on the Ardnamurchan peninsula - has rekindled public interest in the Norse legacy on our shores.

The 16ft-long grave containing the remains of a “high-status Viking” who was buried with an axe, a sword and a spear provides a valuable insight into a period of our history which has fascinated Scots for centuries.

But the facts about the Vikings in Scotland bear little resemblence to the stereotypes of helmeted warriors pillaging the land at will. Here we delve a little deeper to examine ten lesser-known traits of our Nordic forebears.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Search on for a second passage in Newgrange

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are examining whether one of the country's most popular tourist attractions may have more to it than meets the eye.

Newgrange in Co Meath may have a second passage, and it too could be aligned with a solstice event.

Teams from Ireland and Slovakia are exploring the possibility -- using technology that has proven successful at the pyramids in Egypt.

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Clues About Early Diets Found in Fossilized Teeth

By studying the pits and scratches on fossilized teeth and analyzing the carbon isotopes on enamel, researchers have discovered new information about the diets of early hominids.

“The new data suggests our simple story, of harder and harder diets over time, is not accurate,” said Peter Ungar, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Arkansas, whose lab does microscopic analysis of dental wear.

The genus Australopithecus, which lived two million to four million years ago, shows a greater variation in diet over geographic region than over time, he said.

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Staffordshire Gold Hoard

One day, or perhaps one night, in the late seventh century an unknown party traveled along an old Roman road that cut across an uninhabited heath fringed by forest in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Possibly they were soldiers, or then again maybe thieves—the remote area would remain notorious for highwaymen for centuries—but at any rate they were not casual travelers. Stepping off the road near the rise of a small ridge, they dug a pit and buried a stash of treasure in the ground.

For 1,300 years the treasure lay undisturbed, and eventually the landscape evolved from forest clearing to grazing pasture to working field. Then treasure hunters equipped with metal detectors—ubiquitous in Britain—began to call on farmer Fred Johnson, asking permission to walk the field. "I told one I'd lost a wrench and asked him to find that," Johnson says. Instead, on July 5, 2009, Terry Herbert came to the farmhouse door and announced to Johnson that he had found Anglo-Saxon treasure.

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Found, the Viking war lord buried in his boat: 1,000-year-old tomb of Norse invader and weapons of war

Judging from the opulence of his tomb, he was a revered Viking warrior destined to take his place in Valhalla among the honoured dead.

Laid to rest in a 17ft boat with his sword, axe and bronze drinking horn, the powerful Norseman’s burial site has been discovered by archaeologists in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands.

The grave, unearthed in Ardnamurchan, is the first of its kind to be found intact on the British mainland and is thought to date from 1,000AD – the height of the ‘Second Viking Age’.

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Viking boat burial find is UK mainland first

The UK mainland’s first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been discovered by archaeologists working in the Scottish Highlands.

The 5m-long grave contained the remains of a high status Viking, who was buried with an axe, a sword with a beautifully decorated hilt, a spear, shield boss and bronze ring-pin.

The Viking had been buried in a ship, whose 200 or so metal rivets were also found by the team.

The 1,000-year-old find, on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula, was made by the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project (ATP) which is a team led by experts from the Universities of Manchester, Leicester, CFA Archaeology Ltd and Archaeology Scotland

Funded this season by The University of Manchester, Newcastle University and The Leverhulme Trust, the project brings together students and academics at what may be one of Britain’s most significant Viking sites. 

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Roman barge comes up for air after 2,000 years

Archaeologists have recovered the final piece of a ship that sank in the river Rhone in France more than two millennia ago, which they hope will shed light on how the Romans led the way with globalization. Stuart McDill reports

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A Viking treasure

A boat burial on the peninsula of Ardnamurchan, in Scotland, reveals just how noble the Vikings were.

Bad weather can have its comforts. “Bitter is the wind tonight, / It tosses the sea’s white tresses,” wrote an Irish monk more than 1,000 years ago, “I do not fear the fierce warriors of Norway, / Who only travel the quiet seas.”

A warrior of the sort he feared found his last resting place on the peninsula of Ardnamurchan, north of Mull and south of Skye. His newly discovered grave has astonished archaeologists, for it is the first Viking boat burial found on mainland Britain. There he lies with axe, sword and spear. He must have been a leader among Norsemen to gain this noble grave.

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Viking burial boat surfaces after 1,000 years

IT’S the sort of find most archaeologists spend their careers looking for, a discovery unseen by human eyes for more than a thousand years.

The first fully intact Viking boat burial site ever uncovered on the UK mainland has been found on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Lochaber.

The 16ft-long grave contained the remains of a “high-status Viking” who was buried with an axe, a sword and a spear.

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Viking artefacts show 'high-status' burial

Archaeologists have discovered a Viking boat burial site in the Scottish Highlands.

The grave contained the remains of a high-ranking warrior with his axe, his sword, and his spear.

The find at Ardnamurchan is thought to be more than 1,000 years old.

Dr Oliver Harris from the University of Leicester said the burial artefacts belonged to a high-status individual.

Watch the video...

Britain’s first intact Viking boat burial site unearthed

A VIKING boat burial site, believed to be more than 1000 years old, has been discovered by archaeologists.

The 16-and-a-half foot long grave contained the remains of a high-status Viking who was buried with an axe, sword and spear.

The incredible discovery on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the Highlands is the first intact boat burial site to be uncovered on the UK mainland.

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Ardnamurchan Viking boat burial discovery 'a first'

The UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been uncovered in the north-west Highlands, archaeologists have said.

The site, at Ardnamurchan, is thought to be more than 1,000 years old.

Artefacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat suggest he was a high-ranking warrior.

Archaeologist Dr Hannah Cobb said the "artefacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain".

Dr Cobb, from the University of Manchester, a co-director of the project, said: "This is a very exciting find."

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Viking chieftain's burial ship excavated in Scotland after 1,000 years

Timber fragments and rivets of vessel, and deceased's sword and shield, unearthed undisturbed on Ardnamurchan peninsula

A Viking ship, which for 1,000 years has held the body of a chieftain, with his shield on his chest and his sword and spear by his side, has been excavated on a remote Scottish peninsula – the first undisturbed Viking ship burial found on the British mainland.

The timbers of the ship found on the Ardnamurchan peninsula – the mainland's most westerly point – rotted into the soil centuries ago, like most of the bones of the man whose coffin it became.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Viking axe excavated after 1,000 years – video

Oliver Harris of the University of Manchester lifts the axe in a soil block from a 1,000-year-old boat burial of a Viking chief. The boat burial is the only undisturbed one ever found on the British mainland

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Possible Iron Age find at site of proposed housing development

IRON Age remains may have been found in a Harborough field earmarked for possible housing development.
Archaeological experts have dug trenches at the site, off Lubenham Hill, to investigate further.

Evidence of possible cattle and sheep farming by agricultural workers in the Iron Age is believed to have discovered.

Resident Red Williams said: “A crew started digging trenches with a JCB on Monday. I heard there’s an Iron Age dig taking place in the field near where I live at the top right-hand side of Lubenham Hill near the spinney.”

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Archaeologists uncover Lycian tomb complex in Turkey

Archaeologists excavating at the site of the ancient city of Rhodiapolis, located in the Kumluca district of present-day Antalya, have uncovered a series of Lycian-era tombs.

Rhodiapolis excavation leader and Akdeniz University archaeologist Dr. İsa Kızgut told the Anatolia news agency last week that his team had uncovered what he believes to be a Lycian cemetery complex that dates to roughly 300 B.C.

The complex, explained Kızgut, was a series of tombs that surrounded a larger necropolis in ancient times. Today, although the necropolis and most of the tombs have been destroyed over the centuries, Kızgut says that the tombs they have so far uncovered will serve as key examples of the often elaborate style of tomb architecture found in Lycian Anatolia.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

West Cumbrian dig uncovers Roman building

The first week of a 12-day excavation on land below Papcastle has uncovered remains of a Roman building which could have been used as a Roman bath house or a high status building.

Grampus Heritage is leading the community excavation on land owned by Robert and Edmund Jackson.

Archaeologists found evidence of walls of a large Roman building, shards of pottery and metal objects.

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Stanton Drew – new Great Circle entrance found

New evidence of archaeological features in and around the three prehistoric stone circles at Stanton Drew has been revealed.

The results of a geophysical survey carried out by Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) in collaboration with Bath & North East Somerset Council's Archaeological Officer in summer 2010 have just been published.

 The 2010 survey was led by John Oswin and John Richards of BACAS and shows evidence of below-ground archaeological features, including a second entrance into the henge monument first identified by English Heritage in 1997. The second entrance is south-west facing and forms a narrow causeway, defined by two large terminal ends of the circular ditch. Further work at the South-West Circle suggests that it sits on a deliberately levelled platform.

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Ancient Greek ships carried more than just wine

A DNA analysis of ancient storage jars suggests that Greek sailors traded a wide range of foods — not just wine, as many historians have assumed. The study, in press at the Journal of Archaeological Science1, finds evidence in nine jars taken from Mediterranean shipwrecks of vegetables, herbs and nuts. The researchers say DNA testing of underwater artefacts from different time periods could help to reveal how such complex markets developed across the Mediterranean.

Archaeologist Brendan Foley of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts and geneticist Maria Hansson of Lund University, Sweden, retrieved DNA from nine amphorae — the storage containers of the ancient world — from sunken ships dating from the fifth to the third centuries BC.

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Columbus blamed for Little Ice Age

By sailing to the New World, Christopher Columbus and the other explorers who followed may have set off a chain of events that cooled Europe’s climate for centuries.

The European conquest of the Americas decimated the people living there, leaving large areas of cleared land untended. Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, diminishing the heat-trapping capacity of the atmosphere and cooling climate, says Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford University.

“We have a massive reforestation event that’s sequestering carbon … coincident with the European arrival,” says Nevle, who described the consequences of this change October 11 at the Geological Society of America annual meeting.

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4,000 years of history crashes to the ground

An ancient monument has crashed to the ground after standing for more than 4,000 years as an important landmark.

The famous standing stone at Bedd Morris, on Newport mountain, was snapped over the weekend, toppling over and crushing a nearby fence.

Archaeologist Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, an expert who has worked on several sites in the Preselis, plans to play an active role in getting the stone reinstated.

He said: “It’s a tragedy, the stone has snapped and it’s a real mess.

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Will DNA Swabs Launch CSI: Cargo Scene Investigation?

Ceramic jugs known as amphorae were the cardboard boxes of ancient Greece. Produced in the millions, they contained goods that were shipped across the Mediterranean and beyond. But what was in them? In a new study that uses a DNA-based method inspired by crime-scene protocols, scientists say they've uncovered a cornucopia of cargoes, but other researchers are skeptical of the technique.

Shipwrecks and other sites have yielded plenty of intact amphorae. Maddeningly, nearly all are empty, devoid of obvious clues to what they once held. Researchers have scraped bits of ceramic from the vessel's interior to look for leftover genetic material. In the new study, however, they also turned to a less destructive method straight from television's CSI: swiping the amphorae with a swab. The idea came from the Massachusetts State Police, whom the investigators called for leads.

A team led by maritime archaeologist Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution tested the new protocol on nine 5th to 3rd century B.C.E. amphorae that had been languishing in a government storage room in Athens for more than a decade. All had been hauled up in fishermen's nets before being handed over to the Greek government in the 1990s.

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Göbeklitepe site unveils mystery

The latest excavation in Göbeklitepe in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa reveals that inhabitants 12,000 years ago also had a belief system and a certain culture. The remains show there is much more to be discovered from those ancient people, according to scholars.

Recent excavations at the Göbeklitepe archaeological site have revealed that ancient people living there 12,000 years ago engaged in agriculture, processed leather, made sculptures and rock accessories and possessed a significant belief system.

The site in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa includes important information on the people 12 millennia ago, said Assistant Professor Cihat Kürkçüoğlu of the local Harran University.

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Prehistoric Painters Planned Ahead

When Vincent Van Gogh moved to the southern French town of Arles in 1888, he painted nearly 200 vivid canvasses before cutting off his left ear in a fit of madness. This artistic explosion was possible in part because Van Gogh kept his brushes, paints, and palette constantly at the ready. A new discovery in South Africa suggests that prehistoric human painters also planned ahead, using ochre paint kits as early as 100,000 years ago. But just what they used the paints for is still a matter of debate.

Red or yellow ochre, an iron-containing pigment found in some clays, is ubiquitous at early modern human sites in Africa and the Near East. Some researchers think the earliest known art comes from the site of Blombos in South Africa, about 300 kilometers east of Cape Town, where pieces of ochre incised with an abstract design have been dated to 77,000 years old. Scientists have found even earlier signs of ochre use at Blombos and other sites as old as 165,000 years, but solid evidence that the pigment was used in artistic or other symbolic communication has been lacking.

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Biggest haul of Roman gold in Britain could have been found

Details of the treasure remained sketchy and the identity of the lucky metal detecting enthusiast has not been revealed.
But it is understood Worcestershire County Council and the county coroner have been informed because of the potential archaeological significance.

The treasure, found at Bredon Hill, the site of an Iron Age fort in Worcestershire, is already being compared with the Staffordshire Hoard, the country's biggest ever find of Anglo Saxon gold.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tribes of Science 1 – Archaeologists

Peter Curran puts archaeologists under his anthropological microscope. He meets a tribe who are excavating the culture of the Stone Age on the island of Jersey.

Listen to the broadcast...

An early Celtic “Stonehenge” discovered in the Black Forest

A huge early Celtic calendar construction has been discovered in the royal tomb of Magdalenenberg, nearby Villingen-Schwenningen in the Black Forest.

This discovery was made by researchers at the Römisch-GermanischesPress Zentralmuseum at Mainz in Germany when they evaluated old excavation plans. The order of the burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly with the sky constellations of the Northern hemisphere.

Whereas Stonehenge was orientated towards the sun, the more then 100 meter width burial mound of Magdalenenberg was focused towards the moon. The builders positioned long rows of wooden posts in the burial mound to be able to focus on the Lunar Standstills. These Lunar Standstills happen every 18,6 year and were the ‘corner stones’ of the Celtic calendar.

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A henge beneath the water of the Stenness Loch? Time will tell

Survey work in the Loch of Stenness has revealed what could be a massive prehistoric monument lying underwater to the south of the Ring of Brodgar.

The underwater “anomaly” has come to light in a project looking at prehistoric sea level change in Orkney. The project, The Rising Tide: Submerged Landscape of Orkney, is a collaboration between the universities of St Andrews, Wales, Dundee, Bangor and Aberdeen.

But although it is tempting to speculate that the ring-shaped feature, which lies just off the loch’s shore, is the remains of a henge — a circular or oval-shaped flat area enclosed and delimited by a boundary earthwork (usually a ditch with an external bank) — or perhaps a prehistoric quarry, at this stage the project leaders are urging caution.

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Stone circle to rival Ring of Brodgar found off Orkney coast

THE remains of a Neolithic stone circle that could rival the most impressive in Britain may have been found off the coast of Orkney.

Archaeologists surveying the seabed near the island chain’s famous Ring of Brodgar believe they could have discovered an earlier version just 500 metres offshore from the major tourist attraction.

Preliminary findings from an investigation seeking previously hidden historical sites in the area have raised hopes that prehistoric structures built up to 5,000 years ago have survived, even though they were submerged under the waves by rising sea levels. Marine surveys – using remote sensing and seismic profiling techniques – have revealed “anomalies” which could be man-made structures around 12 feet under water.

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120 Roman Shoes Found in U.K.; "Substantial" Fort Find

About 60 pairs of sandals and shoes that once belonged to Roman soldiers have been unearthed at a supermarket construction site in Camelon, Scotland (see map), archaeologists say.

The 2,000-year-old leather footwear was discovered along with Roman jewelry, coins, pottery, and animal bones at the site, which is located at the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

The cache of Roman shoes and sandals—one of the largest ever found in Scotland—was uncovered recently in a ditch at the gateway to a second century A.D. fort built along the Antonine Wall. The wall is a massive defensive barrier that the Romans built across central Scotland during their brief occupation of the region.

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Sandford Heath's 'Roman Road' is excavated in Dorset

An archaeological dig has begun on a Dorset footpath to determine whether or not it has Roman origins.

The straight path, known locally as "Roman Road", runs through Sandford Heath between Sandford and Station Road at Holton Heath.

Organisers say the path may have formed part of the main road between Wareham and Poole in the 18th Century.

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Der Kriminalfall »Ötzi«

Die Pfeilspitze, die mit größter Wahrscheinlichkeit zum Tode des Eismannes geführt hat, wurde im Süden hergestellt. Ein aktueller Materialvergleich zeigt allerdings, das solche Pfeilspitzen vereinzelt auch im nördlichen Alpengebiet auftauchen.

Bei der tödliche Pfeilspitze, deren Entnahme der Südtiroler Landeshauptmann untersagt, gibt es sehr genaue Röntgen und Computertomographie-Aufnahmen.Es handelt es sich um eine 2,8 Zentimeter große, flächenretuschierte Spitze, die an der Basis einen Schäftungsdorn aufweist. Diese Art von Pfeilspitzen ist in der kupferzeitlichen Remedello-Kultur in Oberitalien verbreitet. Das Rohmaterial ist mit größter Wahrscheinlichkeit der bekannte Feuerstein der Monti Lessini in der Prov. Verona, aus dem auch die sechs Feuersteingeräte des Eismannes gefertigt wurden. 

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Thorpe House pupils take part in archaeological dig

Using trowels, brushes, a metal detector and shovels, the pupils were given an insight into archaeology, thanks to the Norfolk Archaeological Unit.

The school, in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, approached the unit about the possibility of doing the dig after many of the children became interested in archaeology through their history lessons.

Archaeologist Lilly Hodges helped mark out test pits at the school, with four KS2 children at a time given the opportunity to dig.

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Modern Viking

Andrew Saur combines art and heritage to create special Nordic-inspired art.

Art was a part of Andrew Saur’s life since he was a child – he still has a sketch of a Viking ship he did as an eight-year-old. He grew up in on the shores of Lake Superior in Two Harbors, Minn., where many Nordic immigrants settled over a century ago. Saur discovered graphic design in college, and realized it was a perfect fit for his interest in computers and fine art.

Today Saur and his wife Angel Sarkela-Saur have traveled to the Nordic countries several times, engaging in the culture and seeing where their ancestors came from (both have different combinations of Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish heritage). The young couple is based in Duluth, Minn., and together they create one-of-a-kind art with Nordic inspiration.

“From church to bazaars, the heritage is everywhere,” said Sarkela-Saur.

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Bicester Anglo-Saxon skeletons re-interred

Fifteen Anglo-Saxon skeletons unearthed in Oxfordshire last year have been re-interred in a church memorial garden.

A requiem mass was held on Saturday before a wicker coffin containing all the remains was buried at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bicester.

The Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, whose diocese covers Bicester, led the Roman Catholic ceremony.
The burial led to a disagreement with the church and local archaeologists, who wanted the bones put in a museum.

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Award nomination for Worcester Cathedral stonemasons

STONEMASONS who have worked on Worcester Cathedral’s recently completed 23-year restoration programme have been shortlisted for an English Heritage award.

The stonemasons’ team consists of five masons specially skilled in the conservation of historic stone buildings, and two apprentices.

They have been nominated in the English Heritage Angel Awards, supported by Andrew Lloyd Webber, to be held in London on October 31.

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Ancient Greek farmers found buried with livestock: Report

Archaeologists in northern Greece have found a rare group of ancient graves where farmers were interred with their livestock, a Greek daily reported on Friday.

At least 11 adults and 16 farm animals were found buried together near the town of Mavropigi in the northern region of Macedonia, some 21km from the city of Kozani, Ethnos daily said.

The men, women and a child lay alongside horses, oxen, dogs and a pig in two rows of graves, the area's head archaeologist told the newspaper.

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Tiny Drone Reveals Ancient Royal Burial Sites

A miniature airborne drone has helped archaeologists capture images for creating a 3-D model of an ancient burial mound in Russia, scientists say.

Archaeological sites are often in remote and rugged areas. As such, it can be hard to reach and map them with the limited budgets archaeologists typically have. Scientists are now using drones to extend their view into these hard-to-reach spots.

"There are a lot possibilities with this method," said researcher Marijn Hendrickx, a geographer at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Ancient Greek city digitally recreated

A submerged ancient Greek city, from the heroic era portrayed in Homer’s Iliad, is being ‘raised’ from the bottom of the Aegean. 

Using cutting edge underwater survey equipment and site reconstruction software, archaeologists and computer scientists have joined forces to map and digitally recreate a Bronze Age port which was swallowed by the waves up to 3000 years ago. 

It’s the first time that a submerged city has ever been fully mapped in photo-realistic 3D.

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Studying Grecian Battles and Human Origins

Curtis Marean received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990 and is now a member of the Institute of Human Origins and School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. In addition to studying climates and environments of the past,his research focuses on the origins of modern humans, the prehistory of Africa and the study of animal bones from archaeological sites.

Much of his recent work involves anthropological finds at Pinnacle Point, a sea cliff along the south coast of South Africa where a large number of caves overlook the Indian Ocean. In 2007, Marean and a team of researchers reported finding evidence at Pinnacle Point that suggests humans may have eaten seafood more than 40,000 years earlier than previous estimates and it may have been a catalyst for early human migration out of Africa.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

£25,000 Roman dig bid for Cockermouth

A £25,000 plan for a three-year Roman excavation project in Cockermouth will be drawn up.
Grampus Heritage has been given the cash by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work up the proposal.

Mark Graham, archaeologist for the non-profit organisation, said the aim was to build a picture of the Roman heritage along the banks of the River Derwent at Cockermouth and Papcastle.

The group will begin 12 days of excavation work on Monday on land below Papcastle, owned by Robert and Edmund Jackson.

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Iron Age gold coins discovered in Kimbolton

The 67 Iron Age coins were discovered by a metal detector in October last year but details of the find, described as significant by a curator at the British Museum, were only made public last week. The coins were subject to an inquest at Lawrence Court in Huntingdon on Thursday (September 29), where it was down to the deputy coroner of Cambridgeshire, Belinda Cheney, to determine if the hoard should be officially classified as treasure.

After their discovery, the coins were sent by a local finds liaison officer to the British Museum in London, where they were examined by the curator of Iron Age and Roman coins, Ian Leins. In his report to the inquest, Mr Leins expressed his opinion that the coins were treasure, as defined by the 1996 Treasure Act.

The inquest heard that the coins were discovered by Andrew Thomas, from Loughborough, in a field owned by John Williams, on October 26. The find included 67 gold coins known as staters, and a single quarter-stater coin.

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Bronze Age boat sets sail on Euro mission

THE official launch of a European project with the Dover Bronze Age Boat as its centrepiece has taken place in France.

Boat 1550 BC Bronze Age Maritime Communities, funded with £1.7million of European Interreg cash, is a three-year education and exhibition project.

It is jointly run by the Dover Bronze Age Boat Trust and Canterbury Archaeological Trust, the University of Lille 3 and European Social Sciences and Humanities Research Institute (MESHS), Canterbury Christ Church University, Ghent University, INRAP (the French national archaeology service), the Conseil general du Pas-de-Calais, the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer and the British Museum.

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Converting the Isles

On Friday and Saturday 23 - 24 September 2011, the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (University of Cambridge) hosted a two-day interdisciplinary conference on conversion to Christianity in North West Europe. It featured papers by an international group of historians, archaeologists and philologists, who were given a unique forum in which to explore conversion comparatively by focusing on different parts of Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and Iceland in the early and central middle ages. The combination of places chosen for the discussion reflects our wish to establish a wide comparative framework, covering areas that are of significance to the study of conversion in both the pre-Viking and the Viking era. The talks were recorded and audio podcasts will be posted online soon.

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Bluestonehenge: An ancient alignment revealed

igital archaeologist Henry Rothwell was working on graphics for a smartphone app about the world famous monument of Stonehenge and the wider landscape, and required imagery for the Bluestonehenge section. What followed was a discovery that shines new light onto the ancient alignments of the henge monuments.

Using an image by archaeological photographer Adam Stanford, taken during the excavations on  The Stonehenge Riverside Project, Rothwell created a digital circle of stones and overlaid the images. In discussion with Adam Stanford, he realised that a stone hole had been missed from the reconstruction on the far right.  This prompted Henry to return to the digital model and increase the circumference to take in the ‘extra’ hole, however  it looked too large and no longer fitted well with the other stone holes.

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Archaeologists make rare discovery during Crossrail excavations in Royal Oak

Prehistoric animal bones have been uncovered by archaeologists as they carried out excavations for a Crossrail tunnel in Westbourne Green.

The remains, found near Royal Oak station, include those of bison, deer and the auroch, a large ancestor of modern cattle.

Some of the bones appear to have small marks on them which may suggest butchery by humans.
They will now be cleaned and studied before they are incorporated into the Natural History Museum's permanent collection.

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Melting Glaciers Reveal Ancient Artifacts

A well preserved male hunter’s coat from around the year 300 A.D. was found this summer in the Breheimen National Park, making it the oldest piece of clothing in the country.

The coat was found in the rock bed left by a melting glacier.

The warmer weather caused by climate change provides archaeologists, researchers and museums with new opportunities to find artifacts dating back hundreds of years. A new exhibition at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo will feature all finds from the melting glaciers, most of which date back to Roman times.

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Prehistoric Teen Girl's Grave Found Near Henge

The finding of the 17-year-old girl's grave adds more evidence that henges were linked to death rituals.

Four to five thousand years ago, a wealthy teenage girl was laid to rest in a grave at what archaeologists believe is a newly found henge in Kent, England.

The discovery of the 17-year-old's grave -- along with a unique prehistoric pot inside of a ringed ditch near two other women -- strengthens the idea that important death-related rituals took place at many of these mysterious ancient monuments when they were first erected.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Roman Finds

Archaeological artefacts uncovered

Fresh finds have been made at the site of a Roman villa unearthed at one of the most important archaelogical sites in the South East. The discoveries were made by archaeologists and a huge team of volunteers digging at a clifftop at Folkestone.

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Archaeology degrees stuck in the (far distant) past

Curricula ignoring modern professional needs and UK's industrial heritage. Matthew Reisz reports
Archaeology students face a growing disparity between what they are taught at university and the skills they need in the modern profession, an academic has warned.

Marilyn Palmer, emeritus professor of industrial archaeology at the University of Leicester, said she was unhappy that pressures on academics had in many cases led to reductions in fieldwork, since this tends to be what gets students "hooked" on the subject.

But her main concern is that much of what is taught on archaeology courses, however intellectually challenging for those who go on to work in unrelated sectors, is "not relevant to the needs of the archaeological profession" in the UK.

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Archaeology works start at heritage centre site

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have begun preliminary investigations at the site of the new Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre.

Focused on the car park in the area of the proposed new centre, the dig hopes to uncover evidence of the ancient Roman road which is thought to travel through the site.

Derek Alexander, head of archaeological services at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “Prior to the 1950s, this land was agricultural fields and earlier archaeological features may survive below the tarmac.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Roman artefacts found at Camelon Tesco site

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of at least two Roman forts at a supermarket construction site near Falkirk.

Artefacts including bones, jewellery and coins were discovered at the development in Camelon.

Contractors Barr Construction, who are currently building a Tesco store on the site, are to put the excavated items on public display.

Experts believe the forts date back to the first and second centuries AD.

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Dig finds 2,000-year-old salting site at Willow Tree Fen

Archaeologists have been unearthing the story of a 2,000-year-old salt making site on the Lincolnshire fens.

Artefacts such as pottery, hair pins and tools have been found by volunteers at Willow Tree Fen, near Bourne.

Experts were invited to excavate the site by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust prior to the area becoming a nature reserve.

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Bulgarian archeologists unearth unique mosaic in S. Bulgaria

Stara Zagora. Bulgarian archeologists have unearthed unique mosaic in the southern municipality of Stara Zagora, the press center of the municipality announced.

A team headed by Dimitar Yankov, chief curator of the Regional Museum of History in the city of Stara Zagora, held a press conference on Tuesday to brief the media about the find. The mosaic dates back to around the 3rd century and depicts a man and two women, all members of Dionysus’ entourage.

“The complex figures of dancing women suggest the mosaic was done by a great master. The clothes are in five shades of blue and the red color varies from pink to dark red. The figures are very fine. One of the women holds castanets in her hands and the other one holds other music instruments. The folds of their clothes suggest their knees are bent. Their ankles are bare and their legs move. There is play of light and shade,” said Dimitar Yankov and expressed hope the team’s further excavations would reveal more figures, including the one of Dionysus, the Greek god of grape harvest, winemaking and wine.

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Archaeologists in Roman Road dig at Sandford Heath

A GROUND-BREAKING archaeological search for an ancient Roman road starts in Purbeck next week.

Experts will excavate part of the straight footpath running through Sandford Heath, known locally as the Roman Road.

Historians hope this dig will, once and for all, answer whether the thoroughfare visible today was constructed over an ancient road built during Dorset’s Roman occupation.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011


AnthroJournal is an open source journal of outstanding scholarly research papers and reports authored primarily by undergraduate and graduate college students. The content represents the results of extensive research undertaken by students during the course of their education. The material is free and open for public access, affording students with a global readership venue.  Content is acquired through student application and evaluated for quality before publication. See the "Paper Submission Procedure" tab at this website for instructions on how to apply. 

The Journal's first papers were published in the June and September, 2011 issues of Popular Archaeology Magazine.

Go to the AnthroJournal Website...

Jersey’s Ice Age heritage

A UK archaeological research team are returning to Jersey this October to undertake scientific analysis at the Neanderthal site of La Cotte de St Brelade.

The team, funded through a National Environment Research Council (NERC) Urgency Award, are currently mobilising to undertake sampling and stabilisation work ahead of winter. The site and the team’s research featured in Digging For Britain, on BBC2.
Dr Pope said, “The NERC award has provided a chance to study and stabilise an area of the site which had remained hidden under scree for at least 60 years. During last summer our team established this section of the site was at threat from erosion. It’s unlikely that anyone alive has seen these deposits and we had pretty much thought they were lost to modern scientific study. Through this NERC-funded work, we now have an opportunity to show what targeted science-based archaeology can do to enhance our understanding of the deep past.

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How continents shaped human culture

How modern-day humans dispersed on the planet and the pace of civilization-changing technologies that accompanied their migrations are enduring mysteries. Scholars believe ancient peoples on Europe and Asia moved primarily along east-west routes, taking advantage of the relative sameness in climate, allowing technological advances to spread quickly.

But what about in North and South America, with its long, north-south orientation and great variability in climate? How did people move and how quickly did societal innovations follow?

Studying the human genome

Using advanced genetic analysis techniques, evolutionary biologists at Brown University and Stanford University studied nearly 700 locations on human genomes drawn from more than five dozen populations. They say that technology spread more slowly in the Americas than in Eurasia and that the continents’ orientation seems to explain the difference. After humans arrived in the Americas 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, genetic data shows, the migrating populations didn’t interact as frequently as groups in Eurasia.

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Beheaded Archbishop's Face Revealed

The face of a 14th-century former Archbishop of Canterbury has been revealed 630 years after he was beheaded by angry peasants.

Resembling a character out of a science fiction movie, the medieval cleric Simon of Sudbury now stares at visitors in St. Gregory's Church at Sudbury in Suffolk, where the 3-D model is on permanent display alongside the original skull.

"There was a gasp when people saw what he looked like as his sculpture was unveiled. He was compared to characters such as Spock and Shrek, and some were surprised by the size of him. Indeed, he is quite a big guy," forensic artist Adrienne Barker from the University of Dundee told Discovery News.

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Nevern Castle ancient inscriptions to 'ward off evil'

Experts believe rare 12th Century slate inscriptions found on a castle were probably made to protect against evil.

The dozen scratchings were uncovered during a three-week excavation at Nevern in Pembrokeshire.
Archaeologists think the stars and other designs were made by a serf, labourer or soldier some time between 1170 and 1190 when the castle was built.

They say they also give an insight into the beliefs of medieval working men.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Prehistoric cave etchings 'created by three-year-olds'

Archaeologist Jessica Cooney told the BBC's David Sillito that the most prolific artist was a five-year-old girl

Prehistoric etchings found in a cave in France are the work of children as young as three, according to research.

The so-called finger flutings were discovered at the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths in Rouffignac, alongside cave art dating back some 13,000 years.

Cambridge University researchers recently developed a method identifying the gender and age of the artists.

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Archaeologists dig test pits at Bannockburn ahead of new battlefield visitor centre

The work to improve the visitor experience and interpretation at one of Scotland’s most important historic sites took a step closer today as archaeologists began digging test pits on the site of the proposed new visitor centre at the Bannockburn battlefield site.

Due to open in 2014 in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle, the new centre will enhance the presentation and interpretation of the major clash of arms that saw the armies of Robert the Bruce defeat the English army of Edward II.

The victory in June 1314 paved the way for Scottish independence and strengthened the position of the Bruce as king of Scotland. 

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High resolution 3D Stonehenge model unveiled

Adetailed survey of every stone that makes up Stonehenge using the latest technology, including a new scanner that has never before been used on a heritage project in Britain, has resulted in the most accurate digital model ever produced of the world famous monument.

With resolution level as high as 0.5mm in many areas, every nook and cranny of the stones’ surfaces is revealed with utmost clarity, including the lichens, Bronze Age carvings, erosion patterns and Victorian graffiti.
Most surprisingly, initial assessment of the survey has suggested that the ‘grooves’ resulting from stone dressing on some sarsen stones appear to be divided into sections, perhaps with different teams of Neolithic builders working on separate areas. A first glimpse of the model can now be viewed on the English Heritage website.

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Danish archaeologists discover 300 year old toilets

Construction workers preparing sites across Copenhagen for the new Metro line are making some extraordinary discoveries, the latest being a pair of latrines last used around 300 years ago.

The find beneath Kultorvet Square is providing experts with a chance to study in detail how Copenhagen residents went about their business three centuries ago.

to Politiken, said the soil’s low oxygen content meant that the remains were very well preserved. “It smells like rotten eggs,” she said. She explained that the smell was extremely encouraging because it means that bacteria had not yet eaten up all the contents of the two outhouses.

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Food archaeologist gives new life to nearly extinct grains, veggies

Gary Nabhan has written stacks of research papers about culture, archaeology and food for academic journals, and has authored at least a dozen books, some meant for popular consumption, others the academic kind whose titles have colons and subtitles that are longer than the main title.

But the gist of his high-minded, dense research is this: People lived here thousands of years ago and they must have eaten something.

To get that something, they didn't go to the supermarket or big-box discount store. They grew and raised their foodstuffs on arid desert lands.

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Loftus royal treasure attracts 28,000 to Redcar museum

A collection of 7th Century treasure found in Loftus has attracted more than 28,000 visitors after being put on display in Redcar.

The artefacts, on display since May, were found between 2005 and 2007 at the only known Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in north-east England.

On show at Kirkleatham Museum, they have been hailed by archaeologists as some of the rarest discovered.

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