Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two Neolithic-Era Burial Halls Discovered in UK Countryside

Archaeologists from the University of Manchester and the Herefordshire Council have unearthed the remains of two large halls that were constructed more than 6,000 years ago. The burned and buried halls, which were discovered atop Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch in Herefordshire, are believed to have been constructed between 4000 and 3600 BC.
Some of the charred wood at the site shows the character of the structure of the buildings as they may have looked above ground. The researchers suggest these buildings were used by entire communities, but do not have enough information to determine how large each structure was. However, based on the length of theNeolithic-era barrows beneath each of the buildings, the researchers estimate the halls to have been 100 and 230 feet long, respectively.
The team also believes the buildings were deliberately burned down after construction and the remains of the buildings were incorporated into two unique burial mounds on the hilltop. Even though the halls were burned, much detail is still preserved in the larger barrow. The team has found carbonized structural timbers, postholes that offer positions of original uprights and the burnt remains of stakes of the internal partitions. Also, the burial mounds are composed of burnt clay, which implies the daub from the walls of the buildings was used in the burial process.
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2 6,000-year-old 'halls of the dead' unearthed, in UK first

The remains of two large 6000-year-old halls, each buried within a prehistoric burial mound, have been discovered by archaeologists from The University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council -- in a UK first.

The sensational finds on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch in Herefordshire, were thought to be constructed between 4000 and 3600 BC.

Some of the burnt wood discovered at the site shows the character of the building's structure above ground level -- in another UK first.

The buildings, probably used by entire communities, are of unknown size, but may have been of similar length to the Neolithic long barrows beneath which they were found – 70metres and 30m long.
They were, say the team, deliberately burnt down after they were constructed and their remains incorporated into the two burial mounds.

However -- much detail has been preserved in the larger barrow: structural timbers in carbonized form, postholes showing the positions of uprights, and the burnt remains of stakes forming internal partitions..

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Find helps scientists map waves of migration across the continents

The discovery of an “early modern human” dating from 40,000 years ago in a cave outside Beijing, and a comparison of the individual’s DNA with that of populations around the globe, are providing new pieces in the puzzle of how Homo sapiens left their African origins to expand across the continents.

Find helps scientists map waves of migration across the continents
Scientists from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology extracted DNA from the Tianyuan early modern human and compared it with genetic profiles of people living around the world [Credit: Qiaomei Fu]
DNA extracted from the Tianyuan Cave dweller indicated he was genetically related to today’s Amerindians, said FU Qiaomei,  Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, one of the scientists who led the study at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. This Tianyuan fisher-gatherer is one of the earliest H. sapiens ever uncovered in China, she said in an interview.

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Monday, July 29, 2013


Archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin near the final resting place of Richard III.
The University of Leicester team lifted the lid of a medieval stone coffin this week – the final week of their second dig at the Grey Friars site, where the medieval king was discovered in September.
This is the first fully intact stone coffin to be discovered in Leicester in controlled excavations – and is believed to contain one of the friary’s founders or a medieval monk.

Inner lead coffin

Within the stone coffin, they found an inner lead coffin – and will need to carry out further analysis before they can open the second box.
Archaeologists have taken the inner lead coffin to the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, and will carry out tests to find the safest way of opening it without damaging the remains within.

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3D Virtual Dig: a 3D Application for Teaching Fieldwork in Archaeology

Archaeology is a material, embodied discipline; communicating this experience is critical to student success. In the context of lower-division archaeology courses, the present study examines the efficacy of 3D virtual and 2D archaeological representations of digs. This presentation aims to show a 3D application created to teach the archaeological excavation process to freshmen students. An archaeological environment was virtually re-created in 3D, and inserted in a virtual reality software application that allows users to work with the reconstructed excavation area. The software was tested in class for teaching the basics of archaeological fieldwork. The application interface is user-friendly and especially easy for 21st century students. The study employed a pre-survey, post-test, and post-survey design, used to understand the students' previous familiarity with archaeology, and test their awareness after the use of the application.

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Medieval Mansion Found at U.K. Construction Site

It sounds like a case for Sherlock Holmes: a 900-year-old medieval manor mysteriously vanishes, only to be uncovered later by British archaeologists.
How were the Vikings such remarkable mariners? Scientists have found the answer buried deep in a 16th-century shipwreck.
The ancient site has been stripped of its materials except for the foundation -- and there is no record of it ever existing.
Got chills? So do the archaeologists who discovered it.
"This is a significant find and therefore very exciting, particularly as there are no documentary records that such a site ever existed here," said Wessex Archaeology's senior buildings archaeologist Bob Davis, who participated in the excavation.
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10,000 year old mesolithic hut recreated

Archaeologists from University College Dublin have built a replica of a Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age house on the Belfield campus to better understand how humans lived at the time.

10,000 year old mesolithic hut recreated
Replica of 10,000 year old mesolithic dwelling built by UCD experimental
archaeologists on campus [Credit: UCD]
The circular dwelling, with a six-metre diameter, is based on archaeological evidence from a site at Mount Sandel in Northern Ireland which dates from 7900-7600BC – this site is the earliest known evidence of human settlement on the Island of Ireland.

During the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age humans made and used a variety of wooden and stone tools (including stone axes for carpentry), and lived a hunter gatherer lifestyle.

“Our reconstruction of this Mesolithic house is part of the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology,” says Dr Graeme Warren, UCD School of Archaeology.

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Search for link between mammoth bones and early hunters

Researchers at the University of Kansas have been digging for clues that would tie the remains of a 15,500-year-old mammoth discovered in west-central Kansas with prehistoric human artifacts found nearby.

Search for link between mammoth bones and early hunters
Researchers excavating the remains of a 15,500-year-old mammoth in west-central Kansas
with prehistoric human artifacts found nearby [Credit: University of Kansas]
The bones and a knapping pile — stone flakes accumulated from tool-making activities —were unearthed in 2011 by heavy equipment terracing a field northeast of Scott City. Found about 50 yards apart, the bones and flakes were in the same shallow layer of sediment.

“It was intriguing to find a knapping pile and mammoth bones close together in the same geologic layer,” said Rolfe Mandel, geoarchaeologist at the Kansas Geological Survey and professor in the KU anthropology department. “If we can determine that the people who created the flakes also killed the mammoth, it will prove that humans were in the Central Plains much earlier than currently proven.”

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Traces of 'lost village' found in Nottinghamshire

Experts say the presence of Medieval pottery suggests the presence a community that possibly dates from before the Norman conquest

Remains of what archaeologists believe is a "lost village" have been found beneath a Nottinghamshire town.
Experts say the presence of cobbled surfaces and Medieval pottery found in the Burgage area of Southwell suggests the presence a community that possibly dates from before the Norman conquest.
Archaeologist Matt Beresford said the work was ongoing and they hoped to find more conclusive evidence.
The dig was backed by a £5,800 Heritage Lottery grant.
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Possible Saxon bread oven found in Norfolk

A 1,300-year-old bread oven could have been discovered by a group of volunteer archaeologists in Norfolk.

Possible Saxon bread oven found in Norfolk
The suspected oven could have been used to provide bread for the community [Credit: BBC]
The annual dig in Sedgeford, near Hunstanton, has had about 100 people a week looking for signs of the village's past.

Supervisor Dr John Jolleys said the clay object, which he believes to be a Saxon bread oven, was found about 4ft 11in (1.5m) underground.

"It's rare and very exciting," Dr Jolleys said.

Excavation of the object will continue for the remainder of the dig, which finishes on 16 August.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Dig at Kent university's Iron Age site

A site which experts believe could be an Iron Age settlement is being excavated on land where the new Turing College at the University of Kent will be built.
An open day on Thursday allowed the public to see items such as a gold coin, a bronze bell and some of 2,500-year-old pottery uncovered so far by the team of 40.
The new college is being named after World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who grew up in Guildford, Surrey.
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During a recent excavation beneath the streets of London, archaeologists found a total of 1,500 human bodies, many buried hastily in a wave of epidemics that struck the quickly expanding city more than 150 years ago. 

In one coffin, archaeologists came across a grisly mix of bones from at least eight human bodies, many of them cut up and showing evidence of autopsy. But nine of the bone fragments were decidedly not human. They were walrus.

"It came as something of a shock," said Phil Emery, an archaeologist with a company called Ramboll UK, who led the excavation. The nine bone fragments came from a Pacific walrusthat was likely 13 feet (4 meter) long, Emery told LiveScience.

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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.

Archaeologist Mike Emery has been told by building owner Peter Dentith that someone who helped construct the 1960s building on the site insists a Roman mosaic was found at the time “but quickly covered up”.

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Viking Jewelry Unearthed in Denmark

A copper alloy piece of jewelry found at a Viking-age site in Denmark shows an animal figure with a beadlike chain around its neck.

Several pieces of Viking jewelry, some of which contain gold, have been uncovered at a farm site in Denmark that dates as far back as 1,300 years.

Although the Vikings have a popular reputation as being raiders, they were also farmers, traders and explorers, and the craftsmanship seen in this jewelry demonstrates their artistic skills.

Archaeologists working with volunteers used metal detectors to find the jewelry in different spots throughout a farmstead on Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The remains of the site, which is now called Vestervang, date from the late seventh to the early 11th centuries.

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Archaeologists Excavate Ancient Roman Capital in Macedonia

Although the ancient site known as Stobi in central Macedonia has been the subject of numerous excavations and research over the past century, only 15- 20 percent of its remains have been uncovered. Since 2008, however, renewed excavations under the auspices of the Balkan Heritage Foundation have been busy opening a new window on an ancient Roman city that, for a time, was a major center of trade and commerce.

Now, a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers will be returning to the site in August of 2013 to continue unearthing the northern residential section of the city, near a center that has already yielded such remains as a large theater, a city wall, a forum, a synagogue, a baptistry and a water supply system. During recent excavation seasons archaeologists have uncovered evidence of a necropolis (in use from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD) and an ancient temple dated to the 2nd and 3rd centuries  AD.  Write the project directors about their plans: "The excavations in 2011 and 2012 were focused on the Northern Residential Area of Ancient Stobi, inhabited from the Late Hellenistic till the Late Roman period. Further excavations at the same area are planned for next season in conjunction with the efforts of the National Institute (NI) Stobi in order to preserve and display this part of the site. The layers to be studied in 2013 mainly include the Roman and Late Roman periods of the existing ancient neighborhood."*
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Archaeological finds reveal prehistoric civilization along Silk Road

Archaeologists have unearthed relics that suggest prehistoric humans lived along the Silk Road long before it was created about 2,000 years ago as a pivotal Eurasian trade network.

An excavation project that started in 2010 on ruins in northwest China's Gansu Province has yielded evidence that people who lived on the west bank of the Heihe River 4,100 to 3,600 years ago were able to grow crops and smelt copper, the researchers said.

The site is believed to date back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC - AD 220).

Over the past three years, archaeologists have discovered a variety of copper items, as well as equipment used to smelt metal, said Chen Guoke, a researcher with the Gansu Provincial Institute of Archaeology.

"People back then mainly dealt with red metal. They also began to make alloys," said Chen, who is in charge of the excavation project.

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Ancient Technology for Metal Coatings 2,000 Years Ago Can't Be Matched Even Today

How artisans centuries ago achieved sophisticated gilding, such as on the St. Ambrogio golden altar from 825 AD, is now coming to light. (Credit: American Chemical Society)

Artists and craftsmen more than 2,000 years ago developed thin-film coating technology unrivaled even by today's standards for producing DVDs, solar cells, electronic devices and other products. Understanding these sophisticated metal-plating techniques from ancient times, described in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research, could help preserve priceless artistic and other treasures from the past.

Gabriel Maria Ingo and colleagues point out that scientists have made good progress in understanding the chemistry of many ancient artistic and other artifacts -- crucial to preserve them for future generations. Big gaps in knowledge remained, however, about how gilders in the Dark Ages and other periods applied such lustrous, impressively uniform films of gold or silver to intricate objects. Ingo's team set out to apply the newest analytical techniques to uncover the ancients' 

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Mycenaean frescoes found in Boeotian Thebes

Season 2013 of the excavations taking place at the site of Kadmeia in Boeotian Thebes in central Greece has been completed bringing to light a series of impressive finds, including Mycenaean frescoes and a Late Antique mosaic, according to a local newspaper’s report.

Mycenaean frescoes found in Boeotian Thebes
Mosaic from Thebes dating to the 4th century AD [Credit: Boiotiki Ora]
As stated by “Boiotiki Ora” newspaper, one of the most impressive finds is the mosaic floor depicting marine landscape, which came to light in Antigonis Street. According to the Emeritus Head of the Ephorate and head of the excavation team dr Vassilis Aravantinos, the mosaic dates to the 4th century AD, sharing the same dating with similar mosaics located during the past in Pindarou Street and the Stamatis Plot.

Two meters further and to the left of the mosaic, the excavators hit the destruction layer of the Mycenaean palace. 

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Spanish dig in the Atapuerca caves seeks prehistoric ancestors of Europeans

With trowels and paintbrushes, dozens of archaeologists in white hard-hats patiently sift the reddish-brown earth in the caves of Atapuerca, searching for remains a million years old.

Spanish dig in the Atapuerca caves seeks prehistoric ancestors of Europeans
Workers carry out an excavation at the Gran Dolonia site in the caves of Atapuerca on July 11, 2013. With trowels and paintbrushes, dozens of archaeologists in white hard-hats patiently sift the reddish-brown earth, searching for remains a million years old [Credit: Cesar Manso/AFP]
From under strata spanning hundreds of millenia at this site in northern Spain, they unearth ancient mouse bones and the teeth of horses -- but what they most hope for is a sign of prehistoric humans that could write a new chapter in our evolution.

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Medieval area of Roman Imperial Forum uncovered

Medieval remains in the Imperial Forum that include a workshop are most likely from the 8th century AD, archaeologists from Rome's Roma Tre university said on Tuesday. 

Medieval area of Roman Imperial Forum uncovered
Medieval structures unearthed in the Imperial Forum include homes
and a blacksmith's workshop [Credit: ANSA]
"The remains found in the Temple of Peace (Tempio della Pace) area are probably related to blacksmith activity," professor Riccardo Santangeli Valenzani said.

Another area from the Middle Ages, dating back to approximately the 14th century AD, was most likely a housing complex or residential area, Valenzani said.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Corinium’s dead – Excavating Cirencester’s Tetbury Road Roman cemetery

Recent excavations just beyond the walls of Roman Cirencester revealed the unexpected survival of parts of a town cemetery. Neil Holbrook, Ed McSloy and Jonny Geber explained to Matthew Symonds the results of our best glimpse of Corinium’s occupants for 40 years.

It started as a watching brief in 2011. Although Bridges Garage in Cirencester was known to lie on the site of a former Roman cemetery, it was believed that deep petrol tanks had long since destroyed any archaeology. When the garage was originally built in the 1960s on open ground beside Tetbury Road, in Cirencester’s western outskirts, it triggered salvage recording by Richard Reece. He managed to record 46 cremation burials and eight inhumations as the site was dug away around him. Fiftyyears later, as the bulldozers rolled in once more, it quickly became apparent that pockets of the Roman cemetery had survived intact. Cotswold Archaeology duly assembled an excavation team.

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Life story in a tooth

Most child health experts agree that a minimum of six months of breastfeeding is essential for the welfare of growing babies, although how well such recommendations are carried out widely varies across the globe. Less is known about the breastfeeding habits of other primates — and much less still about those of prehistoric humans. A research team now reports a new technique for accurately detecting when babies were weaned, using chemical signatures in their teeth. The method was successfully applied to the tooth of a Neanderthal child, raising the possibility that researchers could decipher the life histories of our evolutionary cousins and even gain insights into why they went extinct.
Fossils of prehistoric humans and other primates are relatively rare because bone does not last well in most environments. Teeth, on the other hand, are hard and strong enough to survive through the ages, and they are often found at palaeontological and archaeological sites. Researchers have worked diligently to extract information from ancient teeth. Palaeontologists recently reported finding the teeth of the earliest apes, and archaeologists have used chemical isotopes in the teeth of early farmers to track their movements across the landscape.

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Gene breakthrough shows Neanderthals in new light

WHEN Neanderthal bones were discovered in the 19th century, their robust build and heavy brows led palaeontologists to characterise them as brutish, and their name is still pejorative today.
Since then, we have found ample circumstantial evidence to suggest this stereotype is far from fair. Tools, jewellery and even cosmetics discovered among Neanderthal bones suggest that they were uncannily like us – a view strengthened when their genome was sequenced, showing a remarkable genetic overlap.
Now the Neanderthal epigenome – the system of on/off switches that modify gene activity – has been deciphered (see "First look into workings of the Neanderthal brain"), allowing us to directly assess the mental life of our extinct cousins for the first time.
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Roman dig in Maryport reveals ancient temple

Archaeologists in one of the trenches at the dig Credit: ITV News Border

Archaeologists at a Roman dig in Maryport have been showing off what they have found in their third year of excavations on the site.
The team, from the Senhouse Museum Trust and Newcastle University, have two years of work left to do.
Professor Ian Haynes, from Newcastle University said:
"We've opened three trenches here at Marport this year and we are currently in the trench that has opened up a classic Roman temple.
"It is the finest classical temple in the north-west of England. In fact it is the north-western most Classic temple in the Roman world."
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Viking legends to retell stories of old at Jorvik Centre

The gathering of legendary Viking heroes at the Jorvik Centre, clockwise from top, Eric Bloodaxe, warrior woman Lathgertha, Aud the Deep Minded, King Cnut the Great, King Harald Bluetooth and King Orry of Man
NINE heroes and a skeleton will take up residence at the Jorvik Viking Centre to give visitors an insight into the great deeds and battles of the past.
Legendary warrior and campaigner Eric Bloodaxe, warrior woman Lathgerda, warrior man Sweyn Forkbeard, adventurer Harald Hardrada, explorer Leif the Lucky and King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark are among nine big names from Viking and pre-Norman English history who will be among the star attractions of the centre’s Heroes exhibition.
They will answer questions from visitors and talk to them in between taking over its Twitter feed.
The exhibition will also include items to illustrate the lifestyle of a Viking hero, including a skeleton unearthed at Fishergate which may belong to a warrior killed at the Battle of Fulford in 1066 and several tenth century stones that may have covered a grave of a fallen hero or rich patron.
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Hemerdon tungsten mine: Bronze Age axe and pottery found

Bronze Age pottery and a "very rare" axe have been found at the site of a future tungsten mine near Plymouth.
Wolf Minerals, the firm behind the development of Hemerdon mine, has provided £1m towards the four year archaeological project as part of the planning agreement.
The dig will end later this year, with the company hoping to begin mining by the end of 2014.
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Archaeology uncovers amazing finds in West Sussex

Bronze Age settlements and Neolithic pottery are some of the finds made by UCL archaeologists during the construction of major new sea defences inland at Medmerry between Selsey and Bracklesham in West Sussex.
Once the fieldwork is complete, the archive of artefacts will be submitted to Chichester Museum.
Sussex has some of the earliest British Neolithic monuments, but recent discoveries have now doubled the number of known features of this date from non-monumental sites on the Sussex coast, heralding an important development in understanding the nature of the Sussex in the Neolithic era.
Other finds include three large and two small circular Bronze-age houses, water management features, and a cremation cemetery. It would appear that a large area of Bronze Age landscape has been preserved at Medmerry under sediments and other deposits and the site has the potential to preserve , such as a section of wattle work recorded at the base of a Bronze Age well, which has been carbon dated to c. 1,100 BC. Other features were dated by finds of Bronze Age pottery.
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Ice Age Figurine's Head Found: Archaeologists Put New and Old Finds Together to Reassemble Ancient Work of Art

A lion figurine carved from mammoth ivory, now with refitted head. Found at Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany. Approx. 40,000 years old. (Credit: H. Jensen. Copyright University of Tübingen)

Researchers from the University of Tübingen have successfully re-attached the newly discovered head of a prehistoric mammoth-ivory figurine discovered in 1931. The head was found during renewed excavations at Vogelherd Cave, site of the original dig in 1931. The recent excavations, between 2005 and 2012, have yielded a number of important finds. The discovery of this ivory head helps to complete a figurine which now can be recognized as a lion -- and demonstrates that it is possible to reassemble often fragmentary figurines from the earlier excavation.

The new discovery is presented in the 2013 edition of the journalArchäologische Ausgrabungen in Baden-Württemberg.

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(left) Field photograph of two skeletons (adult on left, adolescent on right) during excavation. Photo: E. Gerstein, Haifa University (right) Reconstruction of the double burial at the time of inhumation. The bright veneer inside the grave on the right is partially covered by green plants

When did people first begin to express their feelings with flowers? It turns out that in prehistoric times, Mount Carmel residents in what today is northern Israel buried their dead on a literal bed of fragrant wild flowers, such as Judean sage, as well as blooming plants of the mint and figwort families.
Assuming they had the same positive associations with flowers that we do today, these ancient humans must have sought to ensure for the deceased a pleasant passage from the world of the living.
The discovery is the oldest known use of flowers in grave lining. According to radiocarbon dating performed by Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the graves are 11,700 to 13,700 years old.

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6,000-year-old decorative wood carving unearthed on Welsh mountainside

Decorative wood carving found in Maerdy is believed to be one of the oldest ever recovered in Europe as it dates back 6,270 years

Archaeologists have unearthed what is believed to be one of Europe's oldest decorative wood carvings - dating back more than 6,000 - on a Valleys hillside.
The decorative carving was exposed by workmen during the construction of Maerdy Wind Farm in the Rhondda Valley.
Richard Scott Jones, an archaeologist from Heritage Recording Services Wales, said the piece of wood was “priceless” and would be unveiled to the public at the National History Museum in St Fagans next year.
He said the wood is likely to date back 6,270 years to the Late Mesolithic/Early Neolithic period.
“In archaeological circles, this is the is equivalent to winning the lottery,” he said.
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Paris mansion Hotel Lambert seriously damaged by fire

Breaking into the roof to fight the fire

A fire has damaged the landmark 17th-Century Hotel Lambert in Paris.
Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze, which broke out overnight on the roof of the riverside mansion in the centre of the French capital.
The building was being renovated after its purchase by a Qatari prince in 2007.
Located on the World Heritage-listed Seine embankment, the mansion was once home to the 18th Century philosopher Voltaire.
It took six hours for the fire brigade to put out the blaze, which started in an area below the rooftop which emergency services found difficult to access.
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Primitive human society 'not driven by war'

Some have said war is an innate part of human behaviour - but this research suggests otherwise

Primitive society was not driven by war, scientists believe.
Researchers from Abo Academy University in Finland say that violence in early human communities was driven by personal conflicts rather than large-scale battles.
They say their findings suggest that war is not an innate part of human nature, but rather a behaviour that we have adopted more recently.
The study is published in the journal Science.
Patrik Soderberg, an author of the study, said: "This research questions the idea that war was ever-present in our ancestral past. It paints another picture where the quarrels and aggression were primarily about interpersonal motives instead of groups fighting against each other."
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A tantalizing hint of an ancient trading town

When archaeologists Geir Grønnesby and Ellen Grav Ellingsen found these and other artefacts during a dig in mid-Norway, they realized they had intriguing evidence of a Viking-age trading area mentioned in the Norse Sagas.
The finds came from two separate boat graves in an area in Nord-Trøndelag County called Lø, a farm in part of Steinkjer. The archaeologists, who both work at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's University Museum, were there to conduct a routine investigation required because of an upgrade to Norway's main national highway, the E6.
But instead of a simple highway dig, the researchers found themselves with a potential answer to an unsolved puzzle about a mysterious Viking trading place that is named in ancient sagas, but that has never before been located.
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One More Homo Species? 3D-Comparative Analysis Confirms Status of Homo Floresiensis as Fossil Human Species

Ever since the discovery of the remains in 2003, scientists have been debating whether Homo floresiensis represents a distinct Homo species, possibly originating from a dwarfed island Homo erectus population, or a pathological modern human. The small size of its brain has been argued to result from a number of diseases, most importantly from the condition known as microcephaly.

Based on the analysis of 3-D landmark data from skull surfaces, scientists from Stony Brook University New York, the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, and the University of Minnesota provide compelling support for the hypothesis that Homo floresiensis was a distinct Homo species.
The study, titled "Homo floresiensiscontextualized: a geometric morphometric comparative analysis of fossil and pathological human samples," is published in the July 10 edition of PLOS ONE.

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Help float the Dover Bronze Age boat!

Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) is using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to raise funds towards a replica of the Dover Bronze Age boat. 

Help float the Dover Bronze Age boat!
Working on the Dover Bronze Age boat replica [Credit: CAT]
The replica sewn-plank boat has already been built using oak timbers, bronze tools and authentic techniques but more funding is needed to take it to sea for the first time. 

Although half-scale, the boat measures 8m long and weighs about a ton. Having acted as the centrepiece of a major exhibition which has toured France and Belgium, the replica boat now needs to be stripped down and re-stitched ahead of taking it to sea.

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