Monday, September 30, 2013

Huge Chichester stone could be head of Roman Emperor Nero, say archaeologists

A 26-stone head found in a flower bed in a Hampshire vicarage garden could represent Nero, the rarely-glimpsed Emperor whose first century rule over the Roman Empire began when he was a 14-year-old.

Known as the Bosham Head, the spectacular cranium imposes itself within the Collections Discovery Centre at Fishbourne. Archaeologists have been using 3D scanning in a bid to determine whether it was carved seperately from its body.

“The Jupiter Stone found beneath the post office on West Street depicts the iconic image of the three graces, although only two women are shown,” says Anooshka Rawden, the Collections Officer at Chichester’s Novium museum.

Read the rest of this article...


Roskilde 6 - VIKING exhibition at the National Museum of Denmark 
© The National Museum of Denmark

mighty warship that sailed nearly 1,000 years ago during the reign of Cnut the Great, will stand at the centre of the British Museum’s Viking exhibition in 2014.
The Viking expansion from their Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The culture of the Scandinavians can be viewed in a global context which will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal detectorists.

Masterpiece of ship technology

These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior.  Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and the extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. In order to highlight this, the centre of the exhibition will house the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never before seen in the UK.
Read the rest of this article...

Stonehenge prepares to open visitor centre after decades of rows and delays

Construction of museum, cafe and shop 1.5 miles from stones follows series of scrapped plans and missed deadlines

The English Heritage chief executive, Simon Thurley, outside the soon-to-be-completed Stonehenge visitor centre. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
On 18 December, a mere 24 years after the parliamentary public accounts committee denounced the visitor facilities at one of the world's most famous ancient monuments as "a national disgrace", and 85 years after the idea was first mooted, a new £27m visitor centre will open atStonehenge.
For the first time there will be a museum-quality gallery interpreting the site and displaying original finds, as well as a cafe and shop. There was a distinct air of incredulity among many of the English Heritage staff, bruised and battered survivors of decades of debate, funding rows, public inquiries and planning consultations, sites identified and then abandoned, grandiose plans announced and promptly cancelled, landmark dates including the millennium and the Olympics missed, even as they stood in hard hats and hi-vis jackets in the shadow of the almost completed building.
Read the rest of this article...

Listen here: Our ancestors may have sounded like this

Recording studios were hard to find 6,500 years ago, but thanks to centuries of scholarship, we may now be able to get a sense of how our ancient ancestors sounded.

A linguist at the University of Kentucky has recorded a short story in Proto-Indo-European, or PIE, a language probably spoken across Europe and Asia from about 4,500 BCE to 2,500 BCE. Professor Andrew Byrd used Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit to deduce what PIE might have sounded like, the Huffington Post reports.

It's "a very educated approximation," Byrd says.

Read the rest of this article...

New Finds Uncovered at Ancient Greek Site of Argilos

With a team of 50 students and additional help from workmen, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of structures at the site of ancient Argilos on the coast of Macedonia, reporting that the finds will help open an additional window on the development and economy of one of the earliest Greek colonies in an area that was previously settled by the Thracians.

Among the discoveries was a large portico consisting of at least seven storerooms.
"The building is in a remarkable state of preservation, and five rooms have been partially excavated this year," report excavation co-directors Zizis Bonias of Greece's 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Jacques Perreault of the University of Montreal. "In its early state, the building probably dates back to the 6th century BC."
Read the rest of this article...

Anthropologists confirm link between cranial anatomy and two-legged walking

Comparison of the skeletons of three bipedal mammals: 
an Egyptian jerboa, an eastern gray kangaroo and a human.

Anthropology researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have confirmed a direct link between upright two-legged (bipedal) walking and the position of the foramen magnum, a hole in the base of the skull that transmits the spinal cord.
The study, published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, confirms a controversial finding made by anatomist Raymond Dart, who discovered the first known two-legged walking (bipedal) human ancestor, Australopithecus africanus. Since Dart's discovery in 1925, physical anthropologists have continued to debate whether this feature of the cranial base can serve as a direct link to bipedal .
Chris Kirk, associate professor of anthropology and co-author of the study, says the findings validate foramen magnum position as a  for fossil research and sheds further insight into human evolution.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Vikings are coming...British Museum to launch Vikings: Life and Legend in March 2014

Silver-inlaid axehead in the Mammen style, AD 900s. Bjerringhøj, Mammen, Jutland, Denmark. Iron, silver, brass. L 17.5 cm. © The National Museum of Denmark.

LONDON.- In March 2014 the British Museum will open the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery with a major exhibition on the Vikings, supported by BP. The exhibition has been developed with the National Museum of Denmark and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) and focuses on the core period of the Viking Age from the late 8th century to the early 11th century. The extraordinary Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The Vikings will be viewed in a global context that will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal-detectorists, to set the developments of the Viking Age in context. These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior in Viking society. Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and their extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. At the centre of the exhibition will be the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never seen before in the UK. Due to its scale and fragility it would not have been possible to display this ship at the British Museum without the new facilities of the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery. 

The ship, known as Roskilde 6, was excavated from the banks of Roskilde fjord in Denmark during the course of work undertaken to develop the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in 1997. Since the excavation, the timbers have been painstakingly conserved and analysed by the National Museum of Denmark. The surviving timbers – approximately 20% of the original ship - have now been re-assembled for display in a specially made stainless steel frame that reconstructs the full size and shape of the original ship. The construction of the ship has been dated to around AD 1025, the high point of the Viking Age when England, Denmark, Norway and possibly parts of Sweden were united under the rule of Cnut the Great. The size of the ship and the amount of resources required to build it suggest that it was almost certainly a royal warship, possibly connected with the wars fought by Cnut to assert his authority over this short-lived North Sea Empire. 

Read the rest of this article...

Yorkshire Museum appeals to public to help save Iron Age jewellery of pre-Roman torc

Curators at The Yorkshire Museum are warning that a 2,000-year-old torc, described as having a rarer and more intricate style than its sister treasure, which was saved in 2012, could be sold at auction if they cannot raise £30,000 by October.

The precious bracelets became the first examples of Iron Age gold jewellery to have been found in the north of England when they were discovered by metal detectorists near Tadcaster in 2010 and 2011.

Despite being unearthed separately, curators say they were “almost certainly” buried together, having once belonged to a member of the ruling Brigantes whose extreme wealth could have indicated Royal status.

Read the rest of this article...

Mildenhall Museum ready for Anglo-Saxon warrior & horse

The warrior and his horse are being displayed as they were found in the grave at RAF Lakenheath

A Suffolk museum has taken delivery of the skeletal remains of an Anglo-Saxon warrior and his horse.
The remains were found in 1997 at RAF Lakenheath and they are going on display at nearby Mildenhall Museum.
The warrior is thought to have died in about AD 500 and the find included a bridle, sword and shield.
The bones are being displayed under glass in the same position they were found in and the public will be able to see them next month.
Suffolk Archaeological Service has been in charge of the skeletons, which were part of a cemetery containing 427 graves.
The warrior is believed to have been born locally and was about 30 years old when he died.
Read the rest of this article...

British Museum to show Viking treasures from North Yorkshire

The Vale of York viking hoard, which is going on show at the British Museum

A MAJOR new exhibition featuring Viking finds from North Yorkshire will take place at the British Museum next year.
Vikings: Life And Legend is the first major exhibition on Vikings to be held at the London museum for more than 30 years, and will include artefacts from the Vale of York alongside items from around the UK and Ireland, and the museum’s own collection.
The Vale of York Hoard, which was found by metal detectorists near Harrogate in 2007, will be shown in its entirety for the first time since it was found and jointly acquired by the British Museum and York Museums Trust.
The hoard includes 617 coins, six arm rings and a quantity of bullion and hack-silver, and is considered the largest and most important Viking hoard to be found since 1840’s Cuerdale Hoard, part of which will also will also be included in the exhibition.
Read the rest of this article...

Volunteer will spend winter in the medieval era

Pavel Sapozhnikov decided to spend the winter without modern technology. Source: Dmitry Vinogradov / RIA Novosti

Reenactment performers and history fanatics have decided to conduct a great experiment in Moscow Region: A 24-year-old man is going to stop using all modern technology and spend six months as if he was living in the Middle Ages, without Internet, electricity, or modern clothing. The goal is to see how medieval instruments work and how the mental state of the volunteer may change over the course of the experiment.

A day before the start of the experiment, Pavel Sapozhnikov sets aside all the modern things that he will not be able to use for the next six months. An iPad, an iPhone, scotch tape — all these things will have to wait to be used.
Instead, Pavel takes different essentials of the ninth century: a flint, a steel to strike sparks from flint, a fibula, a rake-comb to get rid of lice.
Read the rest of this article...

Ancient Greek site threatened amid celebration

Greece—While world leaders and top athletes lit the Olympic flame with pageantry drawn from antiquity, another important ancient site of athletic prowess sat overlooked and endangered.

Some 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Ancient Olympia where the flame lighting for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi went off without a hitch Sunday, the Nemea stadium and its humbler games are in danger of closing to the public because of crisis-hit Greece's harsh budget cuts, according to a renowned American archaeologist who led excavations there for decades.
Stephen G. Miller, professor emeritus of classical archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, arrived at Nemea in 1973, when the ancient site still lay buried beneath a highway and vineyards used by raisin farmers. Excavations there unearthed the temple and stadium, one of the four major sites where Ancient Greek games were held: Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia and Nemea.
Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists unearth section of an Anglo Saxon cross in Weardale

Paul Frodsham, of the AONB Partnership, shows off the section of an Anglo Saxon cross unearthed during a dig in Frosterley

ARCHAELOGISTS excavating a medieval church in a dales village have found further evidence that the site was an Anglo Saxon settlement.
A carved section from an eighth century stone cross was unearthed during a dig at St Botolph’s field in Frosterley in Weardale this week.
The discovery was met with great excitement from the archaeologists and volunteers who were digging on the site as part of the Altogether Archaeology project.
Paul Frodsham, historic environment officer at the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, which is leading the project, said: “This is not the kind of thing that happens every day
Read the rest of this article...

Bulgaria’s 2013 season draws to a close

The archaeology season for Bulgaria is winding down, with a number of dig teams announcing their findings in recent days. Although this summer has not yielded any treasure troves comparable to the one found at Sveshtari in 2012, there is still time – that particular find came in early November.

Bulgaria’s 2013 season draws to a close
The two-wheeled carriage and carcasses of the horses (foreground) were found in a Thracian tomb along with some decorations [Credit: Rex/Daily Mail]
At Sveshtari, near Razgrad, the team led by professor Diana Gergova has found the remains of a two-wheel chariot, buried with two horses still in their harness. Each horse was buried in its own sarcophagus.

Gergova described the find as unique for Bulgaria, the first physical evidence confirming some of the historical theories about Thracian culture. A mural of a two-wheel chariot has been previously found in a burial mound near Kazanluk, but the two chariots previously found by Bulgarian archaeologists both had four wheels, she said.

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Left to right: Nigel Mills, Hadrian's Wall Trust, archaeologists Jeremy Bradley and Stephen Rowland, Oxford Archaeology North and Rachel Newman, Senhouse Museum Trust.

An eight week dig at the Roman settlement site at Maryport has revealed the remains of six buildings, including at least one shop, and a Roman road.
The dig has been commissioned by the Hadrian’s Wall Trust and funded by philanthropist Christian Levett.  Oxford Archaeology North, from Lancaster, have been carrying out the dig assisted by a team of volunteer and trainee excavators.

Shop with flagged floors

Stephen Rowland, project manager for Oxford Archaeology North said: “Previous detailed geophysical surveys of the site have shown lines of structures likely to be buildings either side of the main street running from the north east gate of the fort, so we had a good idea where to start digging and we’ve been able to confirm the survey results.
The building we’ve spent most time looking at this year might have been a shop at some point during its use. It is stone built and 5 metres wide by 20 metres long with several rooms, some with flagged floors.
Read the rest of this article...

2500-Year-Old Horse Remains in Bulgaria Suggest Creatures Were Buried Upright

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Thracian carriage and two horses that appear to have been buried upright.

The chariot and horse skeletons are 2,500-years-old and were discovered in the village of Svestari in north-east Bulgaria.

The two-wheeled carriage and carcasses of the horses were found in a Thracian tomb along with some decorations.

Professor Diana Gergova of the National Archaeology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who led the dig, said: 'The find is unique, it is not resembling any other carriage dating from the Thracian era ever uncovered in Bulgaria.'

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Viking ship to arrive at British Museum in 'flat pack'

The 37-metre warship was built in southern Norway around 1025, and deliberately sunk in Denmark in the mid-11th century

The longest Viking ship ever found will arrive at the British Museum in a "flat pack" from Denmark early next year, curators have revealed.
The 37-metre ship is the centrepiece of the museum's Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition which opens in March 2014.
"It's essentially an enormous Meccano set which can be put together," curator Gareth Williams told the BBC.

Start Quote

As you might expect of a Scandinavian-designed ship, it comes flat packed”
Gareth WilliamsCurator
It is the British Museum's first major exhibition on Vikings for more than 30 years.
Read the rest of this article...

Fight hots up to keep Iron Age gold in Yorkshire

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, with the Iron Age torc, right, that the museum is hoping to buy to reunite it with one found metres from it at Towton, left, that is already in the collection

GOLD jewellery thought to be 2,000-years-old could leave North Yorkshire, if essential funds can not be raised.
The gold torcs, or bracelets, are currently on show at the Yorkshire Museum, and are the first items of Iron Age gold jewellery ever found in the north of England.
Read the rest of this article...

Bronze Age 'boat building' discovery in Monmouth

Reconstruction of the channels in the clay earth by Peter Bere
An artist's impression of how the channels could have been left in the ground at Monmouth

Archaeologists believe they have found the remains of a Bronze Age boat building community in Monmouth.
Excavations show 100ft-long (30m) channels in the clay along which experts think vessels were dragged into a long-gone prehistoric lake.
Monmouth Archaeological Society started to unearth new findings when work started on Parc Glyndwr housing estate two years ago.
The research is being published in a book called The Lost Lake.
Read the rest of this article...

Londonderry city walls archaeological dig extended

The Northern Ireland environment minister has announced a two-week extension to an archaeological dig in Derry that uncovered 13 skeletons last week.

Watch the video...

Derry dig team working in Bishop Street given more time to go back 4,000 years

The human remains found believed to be of a child aged between six and 10 years old

The archaeological dig that uncovered 13 skeletal remains from the early 17th century in Londonderry has now revealed evidence of life in the area 4,000 years ago.

New finds from the early Bronze Age mean the area has been settled for thousands of years more than previously thought.
The first artefact discovered was a flint tool known as a scraper, which would have been used to clean and prepare animal hides.
Read the rest of this article...

Laser mapping uncovers secrets of the New Forest

Ancient secrets of the New Forest have been revealed thanks to high-tech images beamed back by lasers from aircraft.

More than 3,500 archaeological sites have been uncovered, including prehistoric field systems, Bronze Age burial mounds and an Iron Age hill fort.

Many of these landmarks were hidden under dense forest until National Park archaeologists used a plane to fire harmless laser beams into the ground to build a 3D map of the surface.

Read the rest of this article...

Late Byzantine monastery discovered in Crete

An important center of literature and education of the Byzantine years, which could be considered as the first Greek university, was excavated by Professor Ath. Paliouras in the location Losoudi of Asterousia, in Herakleion regional unit, at an altitude of 880 meters below the top of Kofinas Mountain.

Late Byzantine monastery discovered in Crete
Foundations of the the mid 14th -Century monastery of the Three Holy
Hierarchs at Asterousia [Credit: Greek Reporter]
According to FlashNews, the excavation revealed the monastery of the Three Holy Hierarchs that was founded in the mid 14th -Century, by the scholar monk Joseph Filagris, who was one of the most important commentators on Aristotle.

Professor G. Papazoglu highlighted the important role of Filagris in his doctoral thesis under the supervision of the late Professor Nikos Panagiotakis.

Read the rest of this article...


Digging underway at the theatre on the site of the Roman town Iteramna Lirenas: Credit: N Sodeberg

rchitectural remains from a Roman theatre buried beneath the Italian countryside are providing new clues as to the importance of a town abandoned by civilisation 1,500 years ago.
The head of a lion and griffin, believed to be part of the decoration of the theatre, as well as stone blocks with steps carved into them, are helping to further revise historical understanding about the site of Interamna Lirenas, founded by the Romans in the late 4th century BCE.

Mapped by geophysical analysis and imaging

The town, which disappeared following its abandonment around 500 CE, was last year mapped by geophysical analysis and imaging undertaken by a team of researchers led by Cambridge archaeologists Dr Alessandro Launaro and Professor Martin Millett from the Faculty of Classics.
Read the rest of this article...

The First Great Human Population Explosion

It seems there is no end these days to what genetics might be telling us about our past. To add to the profusion of new findings are the conclusions of another study that suggest an early human population boom around 60,000 - 80,000 years ago, marking perhaps the first great population expansion of human history, or pre-history, as the case would be.

The prevailing theory is that, as humans transitioned to domesticating plants and animals around 10,000 years ago, they developed a more sedentary lifestyle, leading to settlements, the development of new agricultural techniques, and relatively rapid population expansion from 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.
Read the rest of this article...

Archaeological dig seeks evidence of the very first islanders' arrival

ISLANDS perhaps better known for their Bronze Age relics are revealing traces of an earlier civilisation.
A settlement being unearthed on St Martin's represents "the most promising neolithic site in Scilly", according to Dr Duncan Garrow of Liverpool University, a specialist in the prehistory of North- West Europe.
  1. The dig site at St Martin's Old Quay, where 2m by 2m test pits have revealed a wealth of ancient material.
    The dig site at St Martin's Old Quay, where 2m by 2m test pits have revealed a wealth of ancient material.
Along with maritime archaeologist Dr Fraser Sturt of Southampton University and a ten-strong team, supplemented by locals, he is exploring how Neolithic man arrived on the islands some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.

Read the rest of this article...

Alpine Archaeology Reveals High Life Through the Ages

An international team of archaeologists led by experts from the University of York has uncovered evidence of human activity in the high slopes of the French Alps dating back over 8000 years.

The 14-year study in the Parc National des Eìcrins in the southern Alps is one of the most detailed archaeological investigations carried out at high altitudes. It reveals a story of human occupation and activity in one of the world's most challenging environments from the Mesolithic to the Post-Medieval period.
The work included the excavation of a series of stone animal enclosures and human dwellings considered some of most complex high altitude Bronze Age structures found anywhere in the Alps.

Read the rest of this article...

Hurlers stone circles pathway uncovered

A Bronze Age stone pathway that links stone circles has been uncovered for the first time since the 1930s.

Hurlers stone circles pathway uncovered
The dig was a community archaeological project with local people and
enthusiasts helping the experts [Credit: BBC]

Archaeologists were helped by local people to "re-discover" the feature, laid between two of the Hurlers stone circles on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.

The 4,000-year-old pavement has been described as "unique" by archaeologists. They hope it will give a better understanding of early civilisations.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Cairo, London & San Francisco - 22 September 2013 - Heritage in Action, LLC (San Francisco) and Past Preservers (Cairo, London) are pleased to announce the launch of their joint venture, MyEGYPT.

MyEGYPT is an initiative of A Drop in the Pond, an international project founded by Heritage in Action, LLC (HiA) that uses high-quality storytelling to engage audiences with global peoples and cultures, empower communities at the local level and drive economic and cultural development.

MyEGYPT aims to empower the Egyptian public through the sharing and management of its cultural heritage in a way that is meaningful and relevant to Egyptians and their emerging society.

The project will be launching a website shortly; interested parties may find further information through the project Facebook page or through HiA:

London's dark, sordid past unearthed by transit project

Skeletons are part of the mystery being churned up in the tunnels of London's new Crossrail network, Europe's largest ongoing construction project, upon which urban archaeologists are piggy-backing for one of the largest excavations into this storied city's past. (Courtesy of Crossrail)

LONDON — In an open pit near the old Bedlam insane asylum, where the curious once ogled chained lunatics for the price of a shiny coin, the skeletons in London's closet are climbing to the surface. And dead men do tell tales.
Take, for example, one poor soul recently unearthed from a long-lost graveyard in Bedlam's back yard — a 16th-century gentleman who was, perhaps, not so gentle in his day. His chalky skull bares the telltale signs of crude brain surgery. An honest attempt to cure the madness within? Or a joyride of an operation to slake the exotic tastes of doctors at a hospital whose name became synonymous with mayhem? (Bedlam is an archaic variation of its current name, Bethlem Royal Hospital.)

Read the rest of this article...


Digital world. Image: Marcus Abbott

Imagine the possibilities as you explore a stunning visualisation of a 3D digital world generated from archaeological and paleo-environmental data. It already exists, but needs your help in order to make it freely available to the world.

A virtual prehistoric world

This project offers a visual representation of what is known about an ancient landscape, combining detailed archaeological and scientific data with cutting edge digital recording and visualisation techniques to produce a virtual world, but so real that the past and present become one.
The world you will enter is over 3500 years ago; the Bronze Age of East Anglia, UK  and focuses on an area known to be of great ritual significance during this period.

A liminal wetland environment

The landscape is a liminal wetland environment and what you will be able to explore has been generated entirely digitally. The archaeology has been painstakingly reconstructed from evidence found on sites in the area; round houses, wooden platforms, track ways, fences and even the great causeway structures of Flag Fen are all present.
Read the rest of this article...

Norfolk dig uncovers Anglo-Saxon oven

The oven could be used for at least three tasks - to bake bread, malt barley and dry out grain

A structure uncovered by archaeologists in Norfolk has been confirmed as a 1,300-year-old "rare, multifunctional oven".
The Anglo-Saxon oven was found during an annual dig in Sedgeford, near Hunstanton.
Supervisor Dr John Jolleys said it would have been used to bake bread, malt barley and dry grain.
A second oven and a Saxon pot have also been discovered.
The volunteers initially thought the oven dated back to the Roman times, but the discovery of part of the Ipswich ware pot dated the oven to between 650 and 850 AD.
Read the rest of this article...

Neolithic stone puts spotlight on Perthshire glen’s ancient history

The possible Neolithic quern stone found in Balnaguard Glen.

An ancient relic that shines a light on Neolithic life has been discovered on a picturesque reserve in Highland Perthshire.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust made the exciting archaeological discovery while repairing a wall in Balnaguard Glen. Volunteers were working on field walls on the hillside when they noticed one of the wall stones was shaped like a shallow basin.
It has since been identified as a possible Neolithic quern stone — potentially more than 6,000 years old — with its shape created by years of rubbing grain with a heavy stone to make flour.
Read the rest of this article...

How Complex Was Neanderthal Speech?

The challenge: Unlike pottery shards, arrowhead flints, and cave paintings, language does not leave an archaeological trace that can be uncovered by intrepid linguists bearing bullwhips.
That makes anything we say about early human speech and language very speculative. (As I've mentioned elsewhere, e.g., How did languages evolve?, it's been deemed so speculative that at one point, the Paris Linguistics Society banned discussion on the topic in the 19th century.)
And that makes what we say about Neanderthal speech doubly speculative because at least with humans, when we consider the evolution of speech for anatomically modern humans, we have living, breathing examples to look at, measure, experiment on, and observe. Everything about Neanderthals, we have to reconstruct from fossils and, now, DNA.
Read the rest of this article...

Cave Paintings Among the Oldest in Europe

Scientists find wall paintings in the Altxerri cave system in northern Spain pre-date most prehistoric paintings in Europe.

team of scientists from the Universities of Cantabria and Burgos in Spain and Toulouse in France have dated prehistoric wall paintings in the Altxerri cave system in the Gipuzkoa province of northern Spain to about 39,000 years BPE, making them among the earliest known cave paintings produced by humans in Europe.

It was in 2011 when Cantabria University members Aitor Ruiz and César González began to explore the upper gallery of the cave, designated Altxerri B, with the objective of coming up with some reliable dates for the less-explored wall paintings in this part of the cave system. These paintings appeared to have been done independently of other paintings found in a lower gallery, paintings already with known dates that fell within the 29,000 - 35,000 BPE range. The paintings in this upper gallery were figurative representations of a bison (the most common element among the Altxerri cave system paintings) a feline, a possible animal's head, a bear and two groups of three finger marks, as well as other motifs. Ruiz and González also employed the help of Diego Garate, a specialist in Upper Paleolithic cave art from the University of Toulouse, to help them place and interpret the paintings and their findings within the context of current knowledge about Paleolithic art in Europe.
Read the rest of this article...

Mycenean Palace and Linear B Tablets Discovered in Sparta Area

A new excavation in the Xirokambi area of Aghios Vassilios west of Sparta, in the Peloponnese, Greece, has revealed a richness of Mycenean artefacts in the area, including the remains of a palace, Linear B tablets, fragments of wall paintings, and several bronze swords.
The excavation, led by emeritus ephor of antiquities Adamantia Vassilogrambrou, was presented publicly at the biennial Shanghai Archaeology Forum at the end of August as one of 11 sites showcased from different parts of the world.
The Aghios Vassilios excavation began in 2010, after Linear B tablets were found in the area in 2008, pointing to the existence of a powerful central authority and distribution system. The deciphered texts were devoted to perfume and cloth production, the trade of which was controlled by a palace administration in the Mycenean era.
Read the rest of this article...

UC Davis research finds Neandertals, not modern humans, made first specialized bone tools in Europe

One day in 2011, undergraduate student Naomi Martisius was sorting through tiny bone remnants in the University of California, Davis, paleoanthropology lab when she stumbled across a peculiar piece.
The bone fragment, from a French archaeological site, turned out to be a part of an early specialized bone tool used by a Neandertal before the first modern humans appeared in Europe.
"At the time, I had no idea about the impact of my discovery," said Martisius, who is now pursuing her doctoral degree in anthropology at UC Davis.
Martisius' opportunity was the result of a decade of excavation and research by two international teams. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in August.
"Previously these types of bone tools have only been associated with modern humans," said Teresa E. Steele, associate professor of anthropology at UC Davis, who also served as a co-author on the article and adviser to Martisius at UC Davis and at archaeological excavations in France.
Read the rest of this article...

Discovery of sacred Roman well amazes archaeology team

IT’S the most significant archaeological discovery in the Portsmouth area for many years.
Buried a few feet under a garden in the centre of Havant, archaeologists stumbled upon a Roman well filled with coins and a bronze ring with a carving of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea.
Perhaps most intriguing was the discovery of eight dog skeletons at the bottom of the well.
Experts believe the dogs, which were worshipped in some ancient religions, may have been dropped down the ‘sacred well’ as a sacrifice to the gods.
The excavation was done at Homewell House, a Georgian property behind St Faith’s Church that is undergoing renovation.
Read the rest of this article...

6,000 yr old wine discovered in eastern Macedonia

In the prehistoric settlement of Dikili Tash were discovered the oldest samples of wine that were ever recorded in Europe. The samples date back to 4200 BC and reverse existing data regarding the way of living during the Neolithic period.

6,000-year-old wine discovered in eastern Macedonia
Excavations at Dikili Tash [Credit: Ethnos]
The prehistoric site of Dikili Tash is located south east of Drama in Eastern Macedonia, Greece. It lies approximately 2 km from the ruins of the ancient city of Philippi and within the limits of the modern town of Krinides (Municipality of Kavala).

“It is an impressive and important discovery,” the archaeologist of the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and co-director of the excavations at Dikili Tash Dimitra Malamidou told She explained that, “During the excavations that took place in a house on the archaeological site, called House 1, quantities of carbonized grape berries that had been pressed were discovered in pots, a fact which proves the extraction of juice from grapes.”

Read the rest of this article...