Friday, January 31, 2014

The Vikings are coming…

Iron axe-head found in the Thames at Hammersmith, Viking, 10th-11th century (1909,0626.8)

Tom Williams, Project Curator: Vikings, British Museum
Several years ago I worked at the Tower of London. Spending long periods of time within a building of such age, I would often start to wonder about how the area would have looked before the castle was built. Every morning I would pass the remains of Roman walls at Tower Bridge station, walls that were repaired and refortified by King Alfred the Great in response to the very real threat of Viking raids from the river. Blotting out the great hulk of HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge and the modern office blocks that now crowd the banks, I would try to imagine the awe and the terror that a Londoner would have felt a thousand years ago, standing on the city walls, watching the carved and gilded prows of dragon ships silently gliding up the Thames. Viking fleets and armies raided and besieged the city on numerous occasions, and the river has given up dozens of weapons that might have ended up there as a result of those conflicts.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Neanderthals gave us disease genes

Gene types that influence disease in people today were picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals, a major study in Nature journal suggests.
They passed on variants involved in type 2 diabetes, Crohn's disease and - curiously - smoking addiction.
Genome studies reveal that our species (Homo sapiens) mated with Neanderthals after leaving Africa.
But it was previously unclear what this Neanderthal DNA did and whether there were any implications for human health.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Govan Stones: The Viking-Age treasures

The sarcophagus dates back to about AD 900

A unique collection of Viking-age monuments, which lay unloved in a Govan churchyard for 1,000 years, has attracted the attention of the British Museum. Its curator said the Govan Stones was one of the best collections of early medieval sculpture anywhere in the British isles.
Govan is well-known as an industrial powerhouse which, over the past 150 years, has built an incredible number of the world's largest ships.
However the town, now part of the city of Glasgow, has a long and largely-forgotten history as one of the earliest seats of Christianity in Scotland and the main church of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, the lost kingdom of the northern Britons.
In AD 870, Vikings, who had been based in Dublin, destroyed Dumbarton at the mouth of the Clyde, which had been a major power centre in the centuries after the Romans departed from Britain.
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Book Now For London Archaeology Tours

Archaeologists doing their thing at a recent dig near Walbrook. Image by M@.

Museum of London has a tempting schedule of upcoming events to better acquaint yourself with Londoners of days gone by. Unless otherwise stated, events take place at the museum’s fascinating Archaeological Archive in Mortimer Wheeler House, Hackney.

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300,000-year-old hearth found: Microscopic evidence shows repeated fire use in one spot over time

Upper left: Infrared spectrum of the grey sediments, right, showing that the dominant material is calcite, the mineral of which the wood ash ...
Credit: Image courtesy of Weizmann Institute of Science

When did humans really begin to control fire and use it for their daily needs? Scientists discovered in the Qesem Cave, an archaeological site near present-day Rosh Ha'ayin, the earliest evidence -- dating to around 300,000 years ago -- of unequivocal repeated fire building over a continuous period. These findings help answer the question and hint that those prehistoric humans already had a highly advanced social structure and intellectual capacity.

Humans, by most estimates, discovered fire over a million years ago. But when did they really begin to control fire and use it for their daily needs? That question -- one which is central to the subject of the rise of human culture -- is still hotly debated. A team of Israeli scientists recently discovered in the Qesem Cave, an archaeological site near present-day Rosh Ha'ayin, the earliest evidence -- dating to around 300,000 years ago -- of unequivocal repeated fire building over a continuous period. These findings not only help answer the question, they hint that those prehistoric humans already had a highly advanced social structure and intellectual capacity.

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Swedish divers unearth Stone Age settlement

"One-of-a-kind" Stone Age artefacts left by Swedish nomads 11,000 years ago have been discovered by divers in the Baltic Sea, prompting some to claim that Sweden's Atlantis had been found.

A diver exams an 11,000-year old tree trunk [Credit: Arne Sjostrom]

 "What we have here is maybe one of the oldest settlements from the first more permanent sites in Scania and in Sweden full stop," project leader and archaeology professor at Sodertorn University Bjorn Nilsson told The Local. 

Nilsson's team has been diving in Hano, a sandy bay off the coast of Skane County, and has been given the resources by the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieambetet) needed for a three-year excavation of an area 16 metres below the water's surface.

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History-Making Expedition Recruits New Scientists

The "Rising Star Expedition", known for its recent recovery of one of the largest troves of hominin (early human) fossils ever discovered in one place, is now ambitiously seeking new early-career scientists to study the more than 1,200 fossil elements retrieved from the site and now housed at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

"The fossil material is an exceptional sample representing most of the parts of the skeleton, and our first task is to describe the material and place it into the context of hominin evolution," says John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a key member of the team that recovered the fossils during the Fall of 2013.
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Old Norse people drank wine 3,000 years ago

Researchers have found traces of wine in jars, dating back to 1100 BC. The finds suggest that wine was imported long before previously thought.

The discovery of traces of wine in an Old Norse jar reveals that Nordic people drank wine as early as 1100 BC. The archaeologists behind the discovery believe that Nordic people may have received the wine through trading with central and southern Europeans. (Illustration: Robert Brown)

Having recently studied three jars from ancient Denmark and one cup from southern Sweden, researchers found traces of wine in one of the jars, which may originate as far back as 1100 BC.
The new study indicates that Old Norse people traded wine with central and southern Europeans long before the Iron Age, when most of the earliest traces of wine in the North started to appear.
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After 2,000 years, Ptolemy’s war elephants are revealed

Carthaginians used war elephants against the Romans in the Battle of Zoma in 202 B.C., as seen in this 1890 painting by Henri-Paul Motte. A new genetic study sheds light on world’s only known battle between Asian and African war elephants in 217 B.C.

If you think back to history class, you might remember the tale of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps in 218 B.C. to sneak up on Rome during the Punic Wars. It was notable not just because he brought an entire army from Carthage to Rome the long way around, but because that army included elephants.

The use of war elephants dates back at least to the fourth century B.C., when Indian kings took Asian elephants into battle. The practice soon spread west to the Persian Empire and then northern Africa, where African elephants were put to military use. There’s only one known case, though, of an African elephant-Asian elephant matchup, at the Battle of Raphia near Gaza on June 22, 217 B.C. The battle, over the sovereignty of Syria, matched the forces of Ptolemy IV, pharaoh of Egypt, against those ofAntiochus III, a Greek king whose reign stretched into western Asia.

Ptolemy won the battle — but not because his elephants were any help, at least according to Greek historian Polybius, whodescribed the encounter in his work The Histories:

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Ancient Roman Infanticide Didn't Spare Either Sex, DNA Suggests

Infanticide was a fact of life in ancient Rome. In the city's foundation story, two abandoned babies, Romulus and Remus, were nursed by a wolf, as depicted in this sculpture from the Basilica of Aquileia.

A new look at a cache of baby bones discovered in Britain is altering assumptions about why ancient Romans committed infanticide.

Infant girls were apparently not killed more often than baby boys, researchers report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Roman infanticide didn't spare either sex

A new look at a cache of baby bones discovered in Britain is altering assumptions about why ancient Romans committed infanticide.

One infant's skeleton found at the Hambleden site. An analysis of remains from 35 infants revealed they were most likely killed at birth [Credit: BBC] 

Infant girls were apparently not killed more often than baby boys, researchers report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Hunter-gatherer European had blue eyes and dark skin

The team was surprised by the hunter gatherer's unusual colouring

Scientists have shed light on what ancient Europeans looked like.
Genetic tests reveal that a hunter-gatherer who lived 7,000 years ago had the unusual combination of dark skin and hair and blue eyes.
It has surprised scientists, who thought that the early inhabitants of Europe were fair.
The research, led by the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, is published in the journal Nature.
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Frost fair: When an elephant walked on the frozen River Thames

It is 200 years ago since the last "frost fair" - an impromptu festival on a frozen Thames, complete with dancing, skittles and temporary pubs. Could such hedonism be repeated today?
Londoners stood on the Thames eating gingerbread and sipping gin. The party on the frozen river had begun on 1 February and would carry on for another four days.
The ice was thick enough to support printing presses churning out souvenirs. Oxen were roasted in front of roaring fires, drink was liberally taken and dances were held. An elephant was marched across the river alongside Blackfriars Bridge.
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1,500-year-old plague victims shed light on disease origins

Study finds catastrophic diseases aren't things that evolve once – 'they actually evolve multiple times from different ancestors'

Scientists have sequenced the genome of the pathogen that caused one of the most devastating plagues in human history, shedding light on where the disease came from and how it spread.

The Plague of Justinian occurred in the sixth century AD and resulted in more than 100 million deaths by some estimates. Named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the outbreak was one of the first recorded plague pandemics. 

Scientists have previously analysed DNA samples taken from plague victims to determine that the Plague of Justinian was likely caused by Yersinia pestis, the bacterium also responsible for the Black Death.
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World's oldest-known living cancer '11,000 years old'

The world's oldest-known living cancer dates back 11,000 years, according to UK scientists.
It arose in a single dog and has survived in canines ever since, with the cancer cells passing between animals when they mate.
A team led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge decoded the DNA of the cancer.
It revealed the "genetic identikit" of an ancient husky-like dog, which first developed the disease.
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École, Europe, écriture : l'héritage de Charlemagne

Le 28 janvier 814, Charlemagne décédait dans l'indifférence la plus totale, mais en laissant derrière lui un héritage qui marquera la France à jamais.

Charlemagne recevant à sa cour le clerc et poète Flaccus Alcuin. © Gianni Dagli Orti / The Art Archive / The Picture Desk

Inventeur de l'école, fondateur de l'Europe, premier grand roi deFrance, nombreux ont été les détournements faits autour du personnage de Charlemagne. Ce souverain franc reste, 1 200 ans après sa mort, la figure du Moyen Âge la plus célèbre. Et pour cause, du haut de son mètre quatre-vingt-dix, Charlemagne a dominé une grande partie de l'Europe pendant les 45 ans de son règne. Ce n'est pas sa voix fluette, son léger embonpoint ou encore son nez allongé qui ont traversé les siècles, mais bien son aura sur les peuples qu'il domine, ses conquêtes militaires ou encore les changements sociaux et culturels qu'il a tenté d'apporter. 

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Aachen feiert den großen Karl

1200 Jahre nach dem Tod des Frankenherrschers erinnert die Stadt an ihren Sohn – mit einer roten Couch, Graffiti und einem Kinder-Königreich.

Das restaurierte Mosaik mit der Darstellung Karls des Großen im Aachener Dom: Die Stadt feiert ihren den Herrscher heuer mit 100 Veranstaltungen. Foto: Oliver Berg dpa

AACHEN. Menschen auf der Couch, Kinderparade, Karl als Graffiti-Kunst – mit mehr 100 Veranstaltungen wird in Aachen an Karl den Großen erinnert. Die Stadt stellte am Montag das Jahresprogramm zum 1200. Todestag des Frankenherrschers vor. So sollen Kinder und Jugendliche drei Monate lang mit dem polnischen Künstler Pawel Althamer ihr Königreich gestalten und dabei herausfinden, was sie an ihrer Umgebung ändern möchten.

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Aber wie groß war Karl der Große wirklich?

Frankreich liebt ihn als Landesgründer, Deutschland verehrt ihn als Verkörperung eines toleranten Europa: Vor 1200 Jahren starb der Kaiser

Am 28. Januar 814 ist Karl der Große / Charlemagne gestorben. Die dümmste Frage, die man da stellen kann ist: "War er nun Franzose oder Deutscher?" Es sei denn, man wäre noch vor wenigen Jahrzehnten in die französische Grundschule gekommen und hätte eine kleine, noch von Augustin Thierry beeinflusste Histoire de France als Lehrbuch bekommen

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Frankreich will Karl den Großen ganz für sich

Die Nazis hassten ihn als Sachsenschlächter, im Nachbarland gilt er als Gründer Frankreichs und seiner höheren Zivilisation. Um Karl den Großen, der vor 1200 Jahren starb, wird immer noch gestritten.

Am 28. Januar 814 ist Karl der Große gestorben, den die Franzosen Charlemagne nennen. Die dümmste Frage, die man da stellen kann ist: "War er nun Franzose oder Deutscher?" Es sei denn, man wäre noch vor wenigen Jahrzehnten in die französische Grundschule gekommen und hätte eine kleine, noch von Augustin Thierry beeinflusste Histoire de France als Lehrbuch bekommen.

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Der Mann, der Europa aufräumte

Es ist „Karlsjahr“: Überall erinnern Ausstellungen an den Frankenkaiser. Aber haben wir nichts Besseres zu tun? Was verbindet uns mit einem Mann, der vor zwölfhundert Jahren starb?

JJetzt feiern sie wieder. Ein „Karlsjahr“ ist ausgerufen, nach dem Schillerjahr, dem Kleistjahr, dem Friedrich-der-Große-Jahr, und der Kulturbetrieb eilt zu den Fahnen. Die Beiräte haben getagt, die Kuratoren gesammelt, die Minister ihre Einladungen erhalten, und jetzt regnet es Karls-Ausstellungen: in Aachen, der alten Kaiserstadt, in der auch der unvermeidliche Karlspreis verliehen wird - in diesem Jahr bekommt ihn Ex-EU-Ratspräsident Van Rompuy -, geht es vom Rathaus („Orte der Macht“) über das neue „Centre Charlemagne“ („Karls Kunst“) bis zur Domschatzkammer („Verlorene Schätze“); dazu gibt es noch mal drei Museums-Events im rheinischen Pfalzstädtchen Ingelheim, unter den Stichworten „Prachtort“, „Pfalzansichten“ und „Personenkult“ und natürlich mit „Originalfunden aus der Karolingerzeit“.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

New excavations take place at Ilkley's Roman fort

Site officer James Stanley in one of the trenches

An archaeological dig aims to uncover new information about Ilkley’s ancient Roman fort and the lives of the soldiers who once lived there.
Archaeologists are digging trial trenches on Castle Hill - close to the Manor House Museum and All Saints Parish Church.
The site was opened up for members of the public to visit today and find out more about the explorations unde way.
The investigation has been instructed by property developer, BurleyDevelopments, in consultation with English Heritage and West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service.
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British Museum launches The BP Exhibition Vikings: life and legend

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.
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Archaeological treasures 'stolen' in France

Bobigny - France, prized by tourists for its historical treasures, loses at least half a million buried archaeological items to pillagers each year, a group fighting the practice said on Wednesday.

Jean-David Desforges, head of the French association Stop the Pillage of Archaeological and Historical Heritage, told a conference that many objects from ancient Gaul, and Nazi artefacts from World War II were illegally dug up and sold by thousands of prospectors using metal detectors.

"In the past few years, the illegal sale of objects has exploded on the internet," he said, despite legislation that stipulates that buried heritage is protected.

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Great East window at York Minster to be protected with UV shield

YORK Minster is to protect the Great East Window – one of its medieval masterpieces – with a newly developed UV shield.
The UV resistant glass will be used as part of the external protective glazing for the 15th Century window, which has been removed and is being painstakingly conserved by York Glaziers Trust.
It will become the first building in the UK to use the German made Restauro UV glass, which makes the the UV resistance an integral part of the glass itself. The work to conserve and restore the Great East Window is part of the York Minster Revealed project which is due for completion in 2016.
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Didcot dig: Campaign against road near Bronze Age monument

Campaigners trying to save archaeology have urged housing estate developers to change the route of a road to save a Bronze Age burial monument.
A dig ahead of the development of the Great Western Park estate in Didcot, Oxfordshire, discovered humans had lived on the site for 9,000 years.
The Didcot Dogmile group said Taylor Wimpey's planned road would cut across the rare pond barrow.
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Greeks reject call to privatize ancient sites

Greek archaeologists have rejected suggestions that private companies should be allowed to run ancient sites, insisting that this task should be retained by the state. 

Stephen Miller stands in front of the Temple of Nemean Zeus, September 25, 2013 
[Credit: ekathimerini] 

The Association of Greek Archaeologists issued a statement on Monday following the publication of a Time magazine article in which American archaeologist Stephen Miller, who has spent more than three decades in Greece helping unearth antiquities at Ancient Nemea, suggested allowing private companies take over the development, promotion and security of under-used sites.

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Today the magnificent 3,000 year old Shropshire hillfort of Old Oswestry is in the news while campaigners fight to halt several proposed housing developments that threatens both the setting and archaeology surrounding the monument. But, as if to highlight the importance of this place, a new discovery from 2008 has been dubbed the Oswestry Pegasus Stone.

The  engraved stone currently stands in the Oswestry Town Museum and Professor George Nash was invited by Rodney Farmer to review the previous interpretation.
The stone was recovered during an archaeological watching brief in February 2008 from undergrowth near the main entrance to Old Oswestry Hillfort, close to the western outer ramparts.  
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During evaluation of land prior to the construction of a new hospital in Aalborg, Northern Denmark, archaeologists uncovered an Iron Age village dating back around 2000 years. The settlement differs from other sites of this period because of its well preserved condition, including a number of houses complete with fireplaces, chalk floors and cobbled paving.

The village covers an area of ​​approximately 4 ha., and excavation has so far located about 40 houses. However, this number is expected to increase greatly during full excavation, but initial reports show they are not all contemporary, and represent repeated reconstruction and rebuild over hundreds of years.
Usually, only traces of the postholes are left to understand the layout of a house, but the village had been covered over with a thick layer of soil, that had protected it after abandonment. Several of the houses had floors created out of chalk for the living area, while other parts of the buildings appeared to be used as stabling for animals. Preliminary studies show bones found were mainly from the butchering of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, but the inhabitants supplemented their diet with fish from the nearby fjord.

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Floods expose Roman ruins near Pompeii

Heavy flooding south of Naples have caused landslips that exposed Roman walls at Baiae, an ancient Roman fleshpot resort near Pompeii attracting the empire's great and good, archaeologists said Wednesday. 

Roman mosaics at the submerged town of Baiae in the Bay of Naples [Credit: ANSA] 

Baiae - modern Baia, near Sophia Loren's birthplace Pozzuoli - was a fashionable getaway for several hundred years, especially towards the end of the Roman Republic. Even more popular than Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Capri with the super-rich, it was notorious for the hedonistic temptations on offer, and for rumours of scandal and corruption.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hilary Term Online Courses in Archaeology

Hillary Term begins tomorrow at Oxford, but there is still time to enrol for one of the online courses in archaeology.

Cave paintings, castles and pyramids, Neanderthals, Romans and Vikings - archaeology is about the excitement of discovery, finding out about our ancestors, exploring landscape through time, piecing together puzzles of the past from material remains.

These courses enable you to experience all this through online archaeological resources based on primary evidence from excavations and artefacts and from complex scientific processes and current thinking. Together with guided reading, discussion and activities you can experience how archaeologists work today to increase our knowledge of people and societies from the past.

The following courses are available:

East Lothian's Broxmouth fort reveals edge of steel

Broxmouth was a settlement for nearly 1,000 years, from the Iron Age until the Roman occupation

Archaeologists have identified the earliest use of steel in the British Isles from a site in East Lothian.
They now believe artifacts recovered from the site of the Broxmouth Iron Age hill fort were made from high-carbon steel.
This would have been deliberately heated and quenched in water, indicating "sophisticated blacksmithing skills".
The steel objects were manufactured in the years 490-375BC.
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Ireland’s storms unearth 6,000-year-old dwellings near Galway

Archaeologist Michael Gibbons investigates the area on Omey Island where 6,000-year-old dwellings were revealed by storm damage.

The recent storms that battered Ireland's countryside and coastlines unearthed a hidden gem amidst the devastation to properties and landscape.

The storms have exposed evidence of life dating back to the Neolithic period on Connemara’s Omey island. Large linear archaeological deposits of up to a meter thick have been exposed on the western and northern shorelines of the tidal island off Claddaghduff.

The Irish Times reports two sets of medieval burial sites, traces of sunken dwellings and parts of a Neolithic bog which had been covered over for millennia by shifting sands, have been revealed.

Clifden-based archaeologist Michael Gibbons has classified the weather impact on Omey as “spectacular,” but says that many important archaeological features, such as midden deposits, have been destroyed along the Atlantic rim in the “severe beating of Connacht’s coastal dunes” since mid-December.

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New biomolecular archaeological evidence for Nordic "grog," expansion of wine trade, discovered in ancient Scandinavia

Winters in Scandinavia were long and cold in the Bronze and Iron Ages, then as now—but a blazing fire was not the only thing to keep people warm. From northwest Denmark, circa 1500–1300 BC, to the Swedish island of Gotland as late as the first century AD, Nordic peoples were imbibing an alcoholic "grog" or extreme hybrid beverage rich in local ingredients, including honey, bog cranberry, lingonberry, bog myrtle, yarrow, juniper, birch tree resin, and cereals including wheat, barley and/or rye—and sometimes, grape wine imported from southern or central Europe.
Such is the conclusion based on new archaeochemical evidence derived from samples inside pottery and bronze drinking vessels and strainers from four sites in Demark and Sweden, combined with previous archaeobotanical data. The research ("A biomolecular archaeological approach to 'Nordic grog'") was recently published online in the Danish Journal of Archaeology (Dec. 23, 2013). 
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Researchers claim to have found King Alfred's pelvis

Researchers said Friday they may have discovered remains of King Alfred the Great, the 9th-century royal remembered for protecting England from the Vikings and educating a largely illiterate nation. 

The portion of a pelvic bone said to belong either to Alfred, the only English king to have the moniker "Great", or his son King Edward the Elder was identified in remains dug up at a medieval abbey in Winchester, southwest England, the capital of Alfred's kingdom [Credit: University of Winchester] 

The University of Winchester said in a statement that a pelvis found in a box of bones in the city's museum is likely to be either from the legendary leader or his son, King Edward the Elder.

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Bone fragment 'could be King Alfred or son Edward'

The fragment of pelvis dates back to the period in history when King Alfred died

A fragment of pelvis bone unearthed in Winchester in 1999 may belong to King Alfred the Great or his son Edward the Elder, academics have said.
It was found at a previous dig at Hyde Abbey and has been dated to 895-1017 - the era the king died.
Experts were originally testing remains exhumed last year from an unmarked grave at St Bartholomew's Church, where it was thought he was buried.
But they were found to be from the 1300s, not 899, when the king died.
The fragment of pelvis had been among remains stored in two boxes at Winchester's City Museum and was tested by academics at Winchester University after their study into the exhumed remains proved fruitless.
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Anglo-Saxon remains found during Rushton excavation work

An early Anglo-Saxon pottery vessel, a skull and a bone were unearthed at one of the four graves

The remains of four Anglo-Saxon adults have been found in shallow graves during excavation work at a river in Northamptonshire.
The graves, 12in (30cm) below ground level, were found during the work to create a new backwater at the River Ise at Rushton near Kettering.
A 6th Century bowl was also found in the graves.
Archaeologists said they were "excited" by the graves, which have since been covered again with soil.
Jim Brown, senior project officer at Northamptonshire Archaeology, said the discovery of burial goods with the body remains indicated the people were "certainly pagan".
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Genomes of Modern Dogs and Wolves Provide New Insights On Domestication

This chart depicts wolf and dog lineages as they diverge over time. (Credit: Freedma, et al. / PLoS Genetics)

Dogs and wolves evolved from a common ancestor between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago, before humans transitioned to agricultural societies, according to an analysis of modern dog and wolf genomes from areas of the world thought to be centers of dog domestication.

The study, published in PLoS Geneticson January 16, 2014, also shows that dogs are more closely related to each other than wolves, regardless of geographic origin. This suggests that part of the genetic overlap observed between some modern dogs and wolves is the result of interbreeding after dog domestication, not a direct line of descent from one group of wolves.

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Italy threatens to sue UK firm over ancient ‘loot’

Italy is demanding the immediate return of a cache of antiquities stored in London and warning that if it does not receive information about the status of the collection within 30 days, it may sue the firm responsible for the objects. 

After reclaiming antiquities from the Swiss in 2010 (above), the long arm of the Carabinieri is reaching towards the UK [Credit: The Art Newspaper] 

Italy’s state legal counsel was planning to send, this month, a final warning to the liquidator responsible for the assets of the disgraced antiquities dealer Robin Symes, who was declared bankrupt in 2003. Italy’s letter includes a detailed list of around 700 ancient objects, including sculptures and jewellery, that Italy is claiming because it believes they were taken from its territory illegally.

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Staatliches Museum für Archäologie Chemnitz eröffnet am 16. Mai 2014

Mit dem Museum soll Sachsen eine dauerhafte Präsentation seiner archäologischen Landesschätze erhalten.
Auf 3.600 Quadratmetern Ausstellungsfläche werden ab Mai im denkmalgeschützten »Schocken«-Gebäude 300.000 Jahre Menschheitsgeschichte abgebildet und mit über 6.000 Exponaten ein Bogen von der Ur- und Frühgeschichte bis zum Beginn der Industrialisierung gespannt.
In der Ausstellung werden die Besucher sehen, wie im Laufe der Zeit immer größere Gebiete besiedelt wurden und die Menschen ihre Umwelt stärker strukturierten.

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Blaze threatens historic wood village in Laerdal Norway

Scores of people have been evacuated from a heritage village in southern Norway as a raging fire threatens its unique wooden buildings.
Flames spread rapidly after the fire began overnight in a house in Laerdalsoyri, a village of 1,150 people in Laerdal, on Sognefjord fjord.
At least 90 people received hospital treatment but no deaths were reported.
Flames have burnt at least 30 buildings, fanned by strong winds, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reports.
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

King Alfred the Great bones believed to be in box found in museum

The first remains of King Alfred the Great may have been found at last after tests on a pelvic bone unearthed in Winchester revealed it belonged to either the Anglo-Saxon King or his son Edward.
But after a high-profile excavation of an unmarked grave where the Anglo-Saxon King was believed to be buried, the location of the bone was much more mundane - a storage box in the bowels of a local museum.
Archaeologists from the University of Winchester had initially analysed six skeletons excavated from a grave at St Bartholomew's Church, the historic site of Hyde Abbey, last March.
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