Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Scanners throw laser light on the 'dark ages' in Orkney

One rune carving is on a stone hidden by grass at the base of a wall in ruins of 
the Bishop's palace

The latest laser scanning technology is being used to investigate ancient inscriptions left on Orkney by the Picts and the Vikings.

Experts from Sweden hope their software will make it possible to recognise the work of individual carvers.

The study may tell us more about the transition between the different groups who occupied sites like the Brough of Birsay over hundreds of years.

The team are hoping for preliminary results by the start of 2020.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Viking Warrior Women and the Public Archaeology of Death

Talk: Viking Warrior Women and the Public Archaeology of Death

Chester: Saturday 26 October, 10.00–11.00 

Talk synopsis: This talk introduces the ‘public archaeology of death’: the popular culture and politics of archaeological investigations of the dead. Focusing on recent research and public debates regarding ‘Viking warrior women’ to highlight the ethical challenges archaeologists face in digging, displaying and debating death in the digital age.

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Unique Archaeological Discovery in Croatia: Roman Chariot With Horses!

Cibalia.info/HR Turizam/Goran Rihelj/Novosti.hr

A truly sensational and unique archaeological discovery in Eastern Croatia.

As Goran Rihelj/HR Turizam writes on the 16th of October, 2019, archaeologists from the City Museum of Vinkovci and the Institute of Archaeology from Zagreb presented the results of research they've been conducting at the site in Stari Jankovci (Vukovar-Srijem) yesterday.

In tumulus 1, that is, an earthen mound about forty metres or so in diameter and about one metre high, a large burial chamber was found, into which a Roman chariot with two wheels and the bones of the accompanying horses were laid.

Research on this site initially began back in 2017, and these are the first major discoveries, significant to the extent that we have not had anything similar in Croatia so far.
A truly sensational and unique archaeological discovery in Eastern Croatia.

As Goran Rihelj/HR Turizam writes on the 16th of October, 2019, archaeologists from the City Museum of Vinkovci and the Institute of Archaeology from Zagreb presented the results of research they've been conducting at the site in Stari Jankovci (Vukovar-Srijem) yesterday.

In tumulus 1, that is, an earthen mound about forty metres or so in diameter and about one metre high, a large burial chamber was found, into which a Roman chariot with two wheels and the bones of the accompanying horses were laid.

Research on this site initially began back in 2017, and these are the first major discoveries, significant to the extent that we have not had anything similar in Croatia so far.

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An exceptional antique necropolis discovered in Narbonne

Archaeologists of the INRAP (the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research) search an ancient necropolis site in Narbonne, southern France, on October 7, 2019. The necropolis site is exceptional for its size - 5.000 m2 -, its state of conservation and the amount of treasures depicting the funeral rites at the time of Narbo Martius, the first Roman colony in Gaul, founded in 118 years before Christ. ERIC CABANIS / AFP.

 At the gates of Narbonne, an Antique necropolis is currently under excavation by an Inrap team, as prescribed by the State (Drac Occitanie), prior to the construction of a Zac. Due to its importance and its exceptional state of preservation, this site is a major discovery for French archaeology and benefits from significant funding from the government (State, Occitanie region, Aude department, Grand Narbonne agglomeration, city of Narbonne) and the project developer (Alenis, Grand Narbonne development company). The archaeological site adjoins Narbo Via, an international Antiquity museum designed by « Foster+Partners » who, in 2020, will present the exceptional heritage of Antique Narbonne in an 8,000 m2 space.

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3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle

This collection of bronze artifacts was contained in a pouch or box and lost on a battlefield 3300 years ago, archaeologists say. 

Bronze Age Europe was a violent place. But only recently have scientists uncovered the scope of the violence, at a 3000-year-old site in northern Germany where thousands of well-armed young men fought with sophisticated weapons in what appears to be an epic battle. Now, a bagful of bronze artifacts and tools found at the bottom of the river in the middle of the battlefield suggests some of these warriors traveled from hundreds of kilometers away to fight. That suggests northern European societies were organized on such a large scale that leaders could call warriors to distant battlefields, long before modern communication systems and roads.

“It’s extremely rare to find a box or pouch [like this],” on an ancient battlefield, says Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist with the Lower Saxony State Office for Cultural Heritage in Hanover, Germany, who describes the find with colleagues in a paper published today in Antiquity. “Somebody lost it there.”

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Orkney link to Pictish man buried in Highland cave

The Pictish man's skeleton was discovered during a cave excavation in the Black Isle 
three years ago

A Pictish man who was killed and then buried in a cave in the Highlands 1,400 years ago had links to Orkney, according to genetic analysis.

Archaeologists found the man's skeleton buried in a recess of a cave at Rosemarkie in the Black Isle in 2016.

He was discovered with stones weighing down his limbs while his head had been battered multiple times.

Researchers have compared his nuclear genome with a worldwide dataset of ancient and modern populations.

His genetics were found to be most similar to other Iron Age individuals from the Knowe of Skea in Westray in Orkney.

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Havering Hoard: Weapons found on building site to go on show

A group of 453 artefacts are due to go on display at a museum next year

Ancient weapons discovered on a building site will go on display at the Museum of London Docklands.

The group of 453 artefacts found in Havering, east London, is the third largest ever discovered in the UK.

It "adds immensely to our understanding of Bronze Age life", Historic England said.

The find, which dates from between 800BC and 900BC, was officially declared treasure by a coroner earlier this year.

The discovery, dubbed the Havering Hoard, was uncovered last September, and will form the centrepiece of a major exhibition from April.

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Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed

Map of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea showing Naxos in the center (stock image).
Credit: © lesniewski / Adobe Stock

An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

The findings, published today in the journal Science Advances, are based on years of excavations and challenge current thinking about human movement in the region -- long thought to have been inaccessible and uninhabitable to anyone but modern humans. The new evidence is leading researchers to reconsider the routes our early ancestors took as they moved out of Africa into Europe and demonstrates their ability to adapt to new environmental challenges.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Skeletons of six babies found during archaeological dig

House of the dead: scientists examine the remains of one of the children.
Muzeum im. ks. Stanisława Staszica w Hrubieszowie/Facebook

Archaeologists have found the skeletons of six babies in a medieval “house of the dead” near Poland’s border with Ukraine.

In 2017, famers started noticing bones appearing in their fields in the village Gródek nad Bugiem, so they swiftly informed the nearby Hrubieszów Museum about the grisly findings. Rightfully so as the bones led to astonishing discoveries - burials from 11th century, the times of Bolesław I the Brave and his famous battle with Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Rus, which took place somewhere nearby.

Excavation work on the site was led by Dr Tomasz Dzieńkowski from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University’s Institute of Archaeology and has covered a site about 300 meters from a medieval stronghold.

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Research reveals secret of who owned the Galloway Hoard

Ecgbeorht rune on silver arm-ring [Credit: National Museums Scotland]

Dr Adrian Maldonado, Glenmorangie Research Fellow at National Museums Scotland, said: "It’s really exciting to be able to reveal the first major research finding from the conservation of the Galloway Hoard, a message left by one of the individuals who deposited the hoard 1100 years ago.

We don’t know any more about Egbert than his name right now but there’s something really tantalising about connecting the Galloway Hoard with a named person. Egbert is a common Anglo-Saxon name, and with more research on the rest of the contents of the hoard, we will be able to narrow down its dating and suggest some candidates from the historical record."

"If the hoard belonged to a person or group of Anglo-Saxon speakers, does it mean they were out raiding with other Vikings? Or that these Viking hoards were not always the product of Scandinavian raiders? There are other explanations, but either way this transforms our thinking on the ‘Viking Age’ in Scotland."

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Une équipe de l'Inrap est intervenue à Écouflant, commune limitrophe d’Angers, dans le cadre du projet d’extension de la ZAC Provins porté par la société Alter. Les archéologues y ont étudié, sur une surface de 2,5 hectares, des traces d’occupation humaine gauloise et gallo-romaine. Ils ont notamment mis en évidence un système complexe de captage d’eau de la nappe phréatique, en lien avec un aqueduc identifié en 2014 à 400 mètres de là. Prescrite par le service régional de l’archéologie (Drac Pays de la Loire), cette opération fait suite à un diagnostic réalisé par l’Inrap en 2018. 

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Ungewöhnliche Funde vom bronzezeitlichen Schlachtfeld im Tollensetal

Diese Sammlung von Objekten wurde von einer Tauchergruppe im Fluss Tollense gefunden und ist wahrscheinlich der Besitz eines Kriegers, der vor 3.300 Jahren auf dem Schlachtfeld starb. Foto: Volker Minkus

Persönlicher Besitz eines bronzezeitlichen Kriegers auf dem Schlachtfeld im Tollensetal entdeckt
Ein Forschungsteam unter Leitung der Universität Göttingen, des Landesamtes für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und der Universität Greifswald hat im Tollensetal 31 ungewöhnliche Objekte entdeckt. Die Forscherinnen und Forscher vermuten, dass die Funde zum persönlichen Besitz eines bronzezeitlichen Kriegers gehören, der vor 3.300 Jahren auf dem Schlachtfeld starb.

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Mysterious disappearance of Scottish loch’s water exposes parts of ancient settlement not seen since 1300s

Loch Vaa in the Caingorms is a freshwater loch notable for its clear water
( Creative Commons )

Water levels in a freshwater Scottish loch mysteriously reached a 750-year low earlier this year, according to archaeologists studying the remains of an ancient settlement on a man-made island.

Researchers at Loch Vaa in the Cairngorms collected and carbon-dated timbers which had been covered by water since the 13th Century, to reveal that water levels reached a historic low in May 2019.

However, what remains unclear is what caused the loch to drain. It is a spring-fed loch, with no other major water inlet or outlets, but in May the water levels had fallen by 1.4 metres. It was like someone had “pulled a plug”, according to locals, and took until July for the loch to regain its usual level.

The archaeological team assessed the impact of the millions of missing litres of water on the loch’s “crannog” – an ancient man-made island common in lochs across Scotland, and revealed the record water level low.

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England's oldest surviving timber trestle bridge and a military complex built during the Napoleonic Wars among heritage sites now at risk

Sites added to the register in 2019 include the 19th century Dovercourt lighthouses and causeway, Harwich 

England's oldest surviving timber trestle bridge, a 19th century lighthouse and a military complex built during the Napoleonic Wars are in danger of being lost forever if not given funds for restoration, according to Historic England.

The charity’s Heritage at Risk Register has seen some 247 historic places added in 2019, bringing the overall number of sites to 5,073.

But last year, some 310 sites were saved, and moved off the register, bringing the total down to its lowest number since 2010.

The Heritage at Risk Register provides an annual snapshot of how treasured heritage is faring, highlighting those which are most at risk from neglect, decay and inappropriate development.

It also highlights the buildings and sites which have been saved, with new uses found for empty buildings and monuments cared for and brought back to life, often by teams of volunteers and members of the community.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Airborne laser scan reveals Arran's 1,000 ancient sites

Post-medieval shielings - temporary huts - were identified for the first time

HES rapid archaeological mapping manager Dave Cowley said: "This survey has shown us that there are double the number of ancient monuments on Arran than we previously knew about.

"This new 3D technology has allowed us to undertake a rapid archaeological survey, over weeks rather than months or years, and allowed us to discover sites that might even have been impossible to find otherwise.

"We have been able to see how densely settled parts of Arran were, and the medieval and post-medieval shieling sites that were discovered have told us how upland areas were used by shepherds."

Mr Cowley said this was an exciting time to be developing the technology and Arran was "just a first step".

He added: "As this technology becomes more widely available, we expect to find tens of thousands more ancient sites across the rest of Scotland - working at a pace that was unimaginable a few years ago."

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Thousand Year Old Arrowhead Found In Hardanger

The arrowhead is about 12cm long. Photo: Hordaland fylkeskommune

This 12cm-long iron arrowhead was found high up in the mountains near Eidfjord, at the end of the Hardangerfjord.

As glaciers melt and the ground changes, historical artefacts are turning up more frequently. The latest find in the mountains of Hardanger paints an interesting picture.

Around one thousand years ago, a reindeer hunter was out hunting 1,400 metres above sea level at Store Ishaug in Eidfjord, just north of what is now Hardangervidda National Park. He had with him a bow and arrow on his hunt for reindeer. But his aim was poor, and he lost an arrow into the snow.

In September 2019, a local out for a walk near his mountain cabin stumbled across the arrowhead, laying on the floor next to a snowflake. “I immediately realized that it was something special, something from before they used rifles,” said Ernst Hagen.

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Scottish link to Icelandic virtual reality 'dive' of Icelandic shipwreck

A diver inspects canons at the wreck site in Drumbeg in Sutherland

A study of a Highland shipwreck has played a part in a new virtual reality experience of 360-year-old sunken smugglers' boat.

The wreck at Drumbeg in Sutherland was one of the first in the world to be recorded using 3D photogrammetry.

The technique was further developed and applied to the new digital reconstruction of a wreck in Iceland.

Now Australian archaeologists have used the technology to create a three-minute virtual "dive" of the wreck.

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Pictish carved beasts 'unlike anything found before'

Pictured from left the stone's carved beasts, an illustration of the beasts carvings and 
a side of stone later used as a grave marker

A 1,200-year-old standing stone discovered in the Highlands has carvings never before seen on a Pictish stone, archaeologists have said.

The stone was found lying in the ground and covered by vegetation at an early Christian church site near Dingwall.

Archaeologists have now revealed the side of the stone that was down in the earth and hidden from view was decorated with "two massive beasts".

Just over a metre of the original two metre-tall (6ft) stone survives.

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Hundreds of archaeological sites uncovered across NI

Hundreds of important archaeological discoveries have been made at excavations across Northern Ireland during the past four years.

The Department for Communities licensed 800 digs, mainly as a requirement of the planning process where developers are required to record important sites.

It has now made details of significant finds available to the public in a booklet entitled Unearthed.

The sites range from Stone Age farms to 19th Century urban industry.

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Soziale Ungleichheit in bronzezeitlichen Haushalten

Hochrangige und nicht-lokale Frauenbestattung aus Kleinaitingen »Gewerbegebiet Nord«. Der Kopfschmuck und der Bestattungsritus spiegeln die lokalen Traditionen wider, aber die Isotopenwerte zeigen die fremde Herkunft. Diese Bestattung einer Frau ist eine der reichsten bekannten Bestattungen Süddeutschlands. Foto: © ABK Süd

Das archäologisch-naturwissenschaftliche Projekt an der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften wurde von Philipp Stockhammer von der LMU in München zusammen mit Johannes Krause und Alissa Mittnik vom Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte in Jena und der Universität Tübingen geleitet. Die Ausgrabungen südlich von Augsburg ermöglichen es den Archäologen, auf bislang ungeahnte Weise tief in die Bronzezeit herein zu zoomen und zu untersuchen, wie sich der Umbruch von der Steinzeit zur Bronzezeit auf die Zusammensetzung der damaligen Haushalte auswirkte. »Reichtum korrelierte entweder mit biologischer Verwandtschaft oder Herkunft aus der Ferne. Die Kernfamilie vererbte ihren Besitz und Status weiter. Aber in jedem Bauernhof haben wir auch arm ausgestattete Personen lokaler Herkunft gefunden«, sagt Philipp Stockhammer, Professor für Prähistorische Archäologie an der LMU und einer der Leiter der Studie. Dieser Befund spricht für eine komplexe Sozialstruktur von Haushalten, wie sie aus dem klassischen Griechenland und Rom bekannt ist. So waren zu römischer Zeit auch die Sklaven Teil der Familie, hatten aber einen anderen sozialen Status. Aber diese Menschen im Lechtal lebten über 1.500 Jahre früher. »Das zeigt erstmals, wie lang die Geschichte sozialer Ungleichheit in Familienstrukturen zurückreicht«, so Stockhammer weiter.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hoards Of Viking Coins Discovered On The Island Of Saaremaa

Some of the silver coins and other finds dating from viking-era Saaremaa. 
Source: Saaremaa museum

Located in the Baltic Sea, Saaremaa is the largest Estonian island. Archaeologists can now investigate two large hoards of silver coin that will offer new light on Vikings’ presence on the island.

The archaeological discovery was made by a licensed hobby detector, who reported the findings to the Heritage Protection Board.
According to EER Estonia, “two separate hoards were found. One of these dating to the second half of the 10th century contained silver coins which came via the Viking trade route which crossed the Baltic from the present-day Swedish island of Gotland to Saaremaa's southern coast, and then on to Lääne County and on to present-day Tallinn.”

Among the coins was also a 1,700-year-old gold bracelet that may be of Viking origin. During the Viking Age in Estonia, the area of Estonia was divided between two distinct cultural areas – Northern and Western Estonia and Southeastern Estonia.

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Another Saaremaa archaeological haul includes viking-era silver coins

Some of the silver coins and other finds dating from viking-era Saaremaa. 
Source: Saaremaa museum

Another archaeological find has been made on the island of Saaremaa, just weeks after a major haul including a 1,700-year-old gold bracelet came to light.

The recent find dates from a later era, the viking period, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, and includes a large number of silver coins, according to both the Heritage Protection Board (Muinsuskaitseamet)  and Saaremaa Museum.

As with the earlier treasure trove, the latest find was the work of a metal detector hobbyist, who, in line with Estonian law, informed the authorities.

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1,800-year-old head-shaped balsamarium found in Bulgaria

Dating back about 1,800 years, the brass balsamarium shows the head of a man wearing
a cap made from the skin of a feline [Credit: Daniela Agre]

The skeleton of an ancient sports fan was discovered alongside an 1,800-year-old jar shaped like the head of a wrestler or boxer who may have had his nose broken, archaeologists reported

The "spectacular" balsamarium — a jar used to store liquids such as balm or perfumes — was found in a grave in southeastern Bulgaria (ancient Thrace).

It dates to a time when the Roman Empire controlled Thrace — an ancient area that encompassed parts of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

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Israel cave bones: Early humans 'conserved food to eat later'

In experiments, researchers removed skin from stored bones to match cut marks 
found on bone fragments PA MEDIA

Scientists in Israel say they have found evidence that early humans deliberately stored bones from animals to eat the fatty marrow later.

It is the earliest evidence that humans living between 200,000 and 420,000 years ago had the foresight to anticipate future needs, they say.

Early humans had not previously been thought capable of such dietary planning.

Researchers analysed bone specimens at Qesem cave near Tel Aviv.

They identified cut marks on most of the bone surfaces - consistent with preservation and delayed consumption.

The researchers suggest the marks came about because the early humans had to make greater effort to remove skin which had dried on bones which had been kept longer.

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Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a mené une opération archéologique à Ittenheim (Bas-Rhin), sur prescription de l’État. Elle permet d’accéder à des vestiges très anciens, dont deux dents de lait d'un mammouth, datant du Paléolithique, soit entre 22 000 et 115 000 ans avant notre ère. Il est très rare d’étudier des vestiges de cette période qui correspond entre autres à celle de l’homme de Néandertal.

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Lost Kirkwall Cathedral Buildings Found During Roadworks in Orkney

Part of the wall of the sub deans manse looking towards 
St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

A team from ORCA Archaeology discovered sections of wall that were part of the St Magnus Cathedral Close last week while undertaking a watching brief for an Orkney Islands Council infrastructure project in the heart of historic Kirkwall. 

A series of walls, pottery and animal bones were unearthed only inches under the surface of the road near the entrance to Victoria Street. Archaeologists know from previous work that remains of structures dating back to the Iron Age exist in this area, but this is the first time that structures directly relating to the cathedral precinct have been identified in this particular area.

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Climate change endangers Scotland's archaeological treasures

FILE PHOTO: Neolithic Buildings are seen at Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands, Scotland Britain September 25, 2019. REUTERS/George Sargent

The Orkney Islands, situated off the north coast of the Scottish mainland, are home to more than 3,000 historical sites.

Evidence has been found of human habitation there going back 8,500 years. Some buildings on the islands date to the Iron Age, Viking rule and medieval times.

But around 1,000 sites are situated on the coastline and are under threat.

One such site is the Iron Age building South Howe Broch on the island of Rousay. Dating from between 600-400AD, the sea has taken much of the site’s western area. Now the broch wall itself is falling into the sea.

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Early humans stored bone marrow like tins of soup 400,000 years ago

The earliest evidence of delayed food consumption: 
pictured is bone marrow after six weeks 

Prehistoric humans stored bone marrow in their caves like tins of soup for up to nine weeks before eating it, a new study has found. 

Previously, scientists thought Paleolithic people lived a hand-to-mouth existence but this research shows they were sophisticated enough to preserve meat using bones like we use modern-day cans. 

The study shows this was happening between 420,000 and 200,000 years ago in Qesem cave near what is now Tel Aviv. It is the earliest evidence of delayed consumption of food in the world, according to the study published in Science Advances. 

“The bones were used as ‘cans’ that preserved the bone marrow for a long period until it was time to take off the dry skin, shatter the bone and eat the marrow,” said Professor Ran Barkai from Tel Aviv University, who was involved in the research.

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Monday, October 07, 2019

Archaeology: Hoard of gold coins found in Bulgaria’s Devnya

Archaeologists have found a valuable gold treasure in the town of Devnya, about 25km from Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna.

Fifteen gold coins were found on September 29, along with more than 20 bronze coins, and another gold coin, with the image of Emperor Theodosius II and dating from the fifth century, was found on September 30.

This brings to 16 the number of Theodosius II gold coins that have been found. Also found was a gold coin with the image of the emperor’s cousin Valentinian III.

It is though that the hoard was hidden during an attack by the Huns on the ancient city of Marcianopolis in the fifth century, according to Dr Hristo Kuzov of the Regional History Museum in Varna, a statement by the municipality of Devnya said.

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Ancient genomes provide insight into genetic history of second plague pandemic

Mass grave dating to the Black Death period, identified in the
 '16 rue des Trente Six Ponts' archaeological site in Toulouse, France 
[Credit: Archeodunum SAS, Gourvennec Michael]

The second plague pandemic, which began with the Black Death in the mid-14th century and continued with devastating outbreaks in Europe and the vicinity until the 18th century, decimated the continent, causing the death of up to 60% of the population. But where did this strain of Yersinia pestis, the plague causing bacterium, come from? And how did it evolve and expand once it arrived?

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Alte Genome geben Einblick in die genetische Geschichte der zweiten Pestpandemie

Die Analyse von 34 Pestgenomen aus der Zeit des Schwarzen Todes und nachfolgender Epidemien zwischen dem 14. und 17. Jahrhundert in Europa zeigt, wie sich das Bakterium nach einem einzigen Eintrag nach Europa diversifizierte.

Ein internationales Forschungsteam hat menschliche Überreste aus zehn archäologischen Stätten in England, Frankreich, Deutschland, Russland und der Schweiz analysiert, um Einblicke in die verschiedenen Stadien der zweiten Pestepidemie (14. bis 18. Jahrhundert) und die genetische Vielfalt des Pestbakteriums während und nach der Pandemie des »Schwarzen Todes« zu gewinnen. In einer in Nature Communications veröffentlichten Studie rekonstruierte das Team 34 Yersinia-pestis-Genome, um die genetische Geschichte des Bakteriums nachzuverfolgen. Dabei konnten wichtige Erkenntnisse über den Beginn und den Verlauf der zweiten Pestpandemie gewonnen werden.

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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Man’s name found on the 1100 year-old Galloway Hoard

The Egbert Rune. © National Museum Scotland

Egbert was here! Name discovered and deciphered from a runic inscription on the spectacular Galloway Hoard

Perhaps more than anything else in the hypothesis-filled world of archaeology, burial hoards invite the most conjecture. What does they mean? Who buried them and why?

Archaeologists in Scotland are however a step closer to answering these questions after they discovered a message left by one of the people who may have deposited the Galloway Hoard 1100 years ago.

Described as one of the most significant Viking discoveries ever found in Britain and Ireland, the hoard consists of more than 100 gold and silver objects from the Viking age and was discovered on Church of Scotland land in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway in September 2014.

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Ancient asteroid apocalypse destroyed early human civilisations, scientists claim

A map showing the ‘platinum spikes’ found across the world

A cataclysmic asteroid impact caused a global disaster which destroyed early human proto-civilisations in Africa and America, researchers have claimed. 

In a study published in a respected journal, scientists presented evidence which indicates Earth was struck by an asteroid 12,800 years ago. 

This caused a worldwide catastrophe which plunged animal species into extinction and may have caused the abrupt demise of the mysterious Clovis people, although this hypothesis is controversial. 

The Clovis was a prehistoric society that lived in North America but abruptly disappeared. 

Now a team from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have uncovered evidence of a gigantic impact which preceded a period of massive climate change, spelling doom for the Clovis and potentially other early societies around the world

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Fragments of 100 Viking swords unearthed in north Estonia

Part of the hilt of the sword of the XI-XIII centuries from Läänemaa. Picture is illustrative. 
Source: Department for the Protection of Antiquities

Archaeologists have discovered fragments of about a hundred Viking swords, the largest find of Viking swords in Estonia to date, in northern Estonia.

The fragments were found in two closely located sites in a coastal area of north Estonia, in the territory of the ancient Estonian county of Ravala, late last autumn. 

The finds consisted of dozens of items, mostly fragments of swords and a few spearheads. 

Mauri Kiudsoo, archaeologist and keeper of the archaeological research collection of Tallinn University, told BNS the two sites were located just 80 meters apart. The swords date from the middle of the 10th century and are probably cenotaphs, grave markers dedicated to people buried elsewhere.

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Archaeologists explore Shakespearean-era Whitechapel playhouse site

An archaeologist holding part of a money pot found on site at the Boar's Head. 
Picture: MOLA

A money pot and a bone needle pin are among the artifacts uncovered during the excavation of a Shakespearean-era playhouse in Whitechapel.

The Boar's Head was converted from an inn to a playhouse in 1598, but there are references to open air performances on the site as early as 1557.

And the dig, carried out by a team from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), aims to uncover artefacts relating to the playhouse, as well as its performers and audience.

Archaeologist Heather Knight said: "Theatre emerges and booms in 16th century London and made its lasting mark on theatre across the world.

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Archives, Possible Throne Room Discovered in Ancient Palace on Crete

Source: Ministry of Culture

The Greek Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday that a new storage room for valuables in Zominthos Palace, on the plateau of Mount Psiloritis on Crete, was discovered at the sprawling site during this year’s excavation season.

Supporting evidence for the Palace room being used as a type of archive includes its location and other circumstantial evidence.

Besides the multitude of vessels found throughout the site, discoveries included a hallway with pillars, leading to what could possibly be a throne room. The remains of a seat were found in that room, which was ostensibly used in earlier periods as well, from 1900 BC to Mycenaean times, ca. 1400 BC.

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Roman shipwreck loaded with amphorae discovered off coast of Majorca

Preliminary investigations suggest that the wreck dates from the third or fourth century and
was a merchant vessel carrying amphorae between Majorca and the Spanish mainland
[Credit: IBEAM. Instituto Balear de Estudios en Arqueología Marítima]

Incredible footage reveals a Roman shipwreck containing more than 100 perfectly preserved amphorae that underwater archaeologists are painstakingly recovering.

The wreck — which experts have dated back to around 1,700 years ago — was found off of the coast of Mallorca back in July 2019.

Based on some of the inscriptions on the long, two-handled jars, the archaeologists believe that the amphorae were used to store fish sauce, oil and wine.

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Zentralismus in den ältesten vorstädtischen Siedlungen Europas

Kupferzeitliches Versammlungshaus nach der Freilegung: In einem offenen Hof und einem angrenzenden, überdachten Gebäudeteil fanden eine Vielzahl unterschiedlicher integrativer Aktivitäten statt. (© SFB 1266)

Ein ukrainisch-deutsches Forschungsteam sieht in undemokratischen Entscheidungsstrukturen und der Bündelung von Macht die vermutliche Ursache für den Zusammenbruch der ältesten vorstädtischen Großsiedlungen Europas um 3.700 vor Christus.

Zwischen 5000 und 2700 vor Christus breitete sich in Osteuropa auf dem heutigen Gebiet der Ukraine, Moldawiens und Rumäniens die sogenannte Tripolye-Kultur aus und schuf die größten bekannten Siedlungen dieser Zeit in Europa: sogenannte Megasiedlungen mit bis zu 15.000 Einwohnern, die sich über Flächen von bis zu 340 Hektar erstreckten.

Staatliche Strukturen waren zu dieser Zeit unbekannt und so wirft die Größe dieser Siedlungen viele Fragen bezüglich ihrer gesellschaftlichen Organisation auf: Wie liefen Entscheidungsprozesse ab? Gab es gesellschaftliche Unterschiede, demokratische Prozesse, Führer? Insbesondere bewegt die Wissenschaft aber die Frage, warum die Siedlungen nach nur wenigen hundert Jahren wieder verschwanden.

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