Friday, October 30, 2020

The Roman Balneum In Rafina: A Monument Reveals Itself

The olive press [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of East Attica]

What can the excavation of a Roman bath and its surroundings reveal? If the monument is located near an ancient municipality about which we know very little, such as the municipality of Arafinos (i.e. Rafina), it can bring to light valuable information possibly related to it. And if it is linked to other important findings, such as an inscribed olive press basin ‒ unique in its inscription ‒ it can provide information that may perhaps change views and beliefs about the rural life of late antiquity. The Athens and Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) visited the archaeological site of the Roman Balneum in Rafina ‒ where since 2013 a systematic excavation is being conducted with the cooperation of the Department of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Eastern Attica ‒ and talked to the site’s excavators.

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‘Lost’ medieval bridge discovered under the River Teviot

Ancrum Bridge has been hidden beneath the waters of the River Teviot for centuries.

Archaeologists deem the Ancrum Bridge one of the 'most important medieval structures' in Scotland.

One of the oldest bridges in Scotland has been discovered underwater in a river, with archaeologists deeming it to be the most important medieval structure in the country.

The ‘lost’ Ancrum Bridge has been hidden beneath the waters of the River Teviot in the Scottish Borders for centuries, and has been carbon-dated back to the 1300s, to the reigns of David II of Scotland and Edward III of England.

The standing bridge is around 100 years older than others known to exist, and monarchs such as as James V and Mary Queen of Scots would have used it as part of ‘Via Regia’ (The Kings Way), on its way from Edinburgh to Jedburgh and the border with England.

Using radiocarbon dating of the bridge timbers, experts confirmed a date of the mid-1300s, making this the oldest scientifically dated remains of a bridge ever found in its original position across one of Scotland’s rivers.

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How dogs tracked their humans across the ancient world

Libyan rock art that may date back 7000 years depicts a hunter and his dog.

Sometime toward the end of the last ice age, a gray wolf gingerly approached a human encampment. Those first tentative steps set his species on the path to a dramatic transformation: By at least 15,000 years ago, those wolves had become dogs, and neither they nor their human companions would ever be the same. But just how this relationship evolved over the ensuing millennia has been a mystery. Now, in the most comprehensive comparison yet of ancient dog and human DNA, scientists are starting to fill in some of the blanks, revealing where dogs and humans traveled together—and where they may have parted ways.

“It’s a really cool study,” says Wolfgang Haak, an archaeogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. “We’re finally starting to see how the dog story and the human story match up.”

Dogs are one of the biggest enigmas of domestication. Despite decades of study, scientists still haven’t figured out when or where they arose, much less how or why it happened. A 2016 study concluded that dogs may have been domesticated twice, once in Asia and once in Europe or the Near East, but critics said there wasn’t enough evidence to be sure. A few years later, researchers reported signs of dogs in the Americas as early as 10,000 years ago, yet those canines appear to have vanished without a genetic trace. Other studies have found evidence of ancient dogs in Siberia and elsewhere, but scientists don’t know how they got there or how they’re related.

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Five distinct types of dog existed by end of last ice age, study finds

While DNA from modern European dogs has contributed to breeds around the world, traces of other ice age groups remain, including in chihuahuas.
Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

From tiny chihuahuas to fluffy Siberian huskies, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. But researchers have revealed there is more to canine diversity than meets the eye.

Scientists have found five distinct groups of dogs were already present at the end of the last ice age, and their legacy lives on in our pets today.

“[If] I walk through Wimbledon Common I am pretty likely to run across dogs that all have a little bit [of a] different history, tracing back as far as 11,000 years ago to different corners of the world,” said Dr Pontus Skoglund, co-author of the study and group leader of the ancient genomics laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

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Archaeologists reveal human resilience in the face of climate change in ancient Turkey

Microscope image of Iron Age oak twig from Tell Tayinat in Hatay, Turkey.
Credit: Brita Lorentzen

An examination of two documented periods of climate change in the greater Middle East, between approximately 4,500 and 3,000 years ago, reveals local evidence of resilience and even of a flourishing ancient society despite the changes in climate seen in the larger region.

A new study led by University of Toronto and Cornell University archaeologists working at Tell Tayinat in southeastern Turkey, demonstrates that human responses to climate change are variable and must be examined using extensive and precise data gathered at the local level. The study highlights how challenge and collapse in some areas were matched by resilience and opportunities elsewhere.

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Dutch Archaeologist Discovers Traces of Four Submerged Medieval Settlements

A satellite image of the Noordoostpolder, a Dutch municipality where the four settlements were found (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

A five-year research project yielded the locations of several long-forgotten villages

Archaeologists have long known that multiple medieval settlements stood along the Zuiderzee, a now-obstructed inlet of the North Sea that used to cut through the Netherlands. Researchers unearthed two such historic towns—Urk and Schokland—in the mid-20th century, but until recently, the locations of other settlements remained unknown.

As Dutch regional broadcaster Omroep Flevoland reports, Yftinus van Popta, an archaeologist at the University of Groningen, has identified four “drowned” medieval villages in the Noordoostpolder, a low-lying tract of land reclaimed from the Zuiderzee in the 1940s, after five years of extensive research. (Per the United States Geological Survey, engineers reclaimed the Noordoostpolder and other flood-prone polders by draining water from the Zuiderzee and building a series of dikes.)

Medieval sources suggest that the settlements, called Marcnesse, Nagele, Fenehuysen I and Fenehuysen II, were first inhabited during the 10th and 11th centuries A.D. At some point in the 13th century, the Zuiderzee flooded, submerging the four towns and masking most traces of their existence.

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Saturday, October 24, 2020

CBA Festival of Archaeology

The Council of British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology runs from 24 October to 1 November.  The situation with the Corona Virus means that many of the events will be digital, although there will be a number of live events. Please use the search facility on their webpage to see the various events that are offered.

You can find their website here…

Please note that EMAS archaeological Society has offered a quiz on little known archaeological sites in South East England.

You can find a link to the quiz on the EMAS home page here…

Test your knowledge and see how much you know about the archaeology of the area!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Humans And Climate Drove Giants Of Madagascar To Extinction

Investigating the drivers of extinction: By analyzing stalagmites from the La Vierge Cave located
on Rodrigues the scientists reconstructed 8000 years of the region's past climate
[Credit: Hanying Li]

Nearly all of Madagascan megafauna - including the famous Dodo bird, gorilla-sized lemurs, giant tortoises, and the Elephant Bird which stood 3 meters tall and weighted close to a half ton - vanished between 1500 and 500 years ago. Were these animals overhunted to extinction by humans? Or did they disappear because of climate change? There are numerous hypotheses, but the exact cause of this megafauna crash remains elusive and hotly debated. 

The Mascarene islands east of Madagascar are of special interest because they are among the last islands on earth to be colonized by humans. Intriguingly, the islands' megafauna crashed in just a couple of centuries following human settlement. In a recent study published by Science Advances, a team of international researchers found that it was likely a "double whammy" of heightened human activities in combination with a particularly severe spell of region-wide aridity that may have doomed the megafauna. 

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The spacious changing room, or apodyterium, of the main mineral water public baths of the ancient spa resort of Diocletianopolis in Bulgaria’s Hisarya was more than 100 square meters in size.
Photo: Video grab from Nova TV

A sizable “changing room" or “undressing room", apodyterium in Latin, has been discovered by archaeologists in the main thermae (public baths) of the major Ancient Roman city and ancient spa resort of Diocletianopolis in Bulgaria’s Hisarya.

The main or central Roman thermae of Diocletianopolis in Bulgaria’s Hisarya, the modern-day town which is still a famous spa resort thanks to the healing qualities of its mineral waters, are said to be among the top three best preserved Ancient Roman public baths, together with thermae in Algeria and the UK.

Originally an Ancient Thracian settlement and then a Roman town called Augusta, the Antiquity predecessor of Bulgaria’s Hisarya was granted the status of a city in the Roman Empire in 293 AD under Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305 AD) who renamed it after himself, Diocletianopolis.

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Medieval Black Death May Have Sped Up Because of Droplets in the Air

And some people complain about having to wear a mask in the 21st century...
Credit: illustrissima /

Disease about which we know nothing and against which we have no defense is terrifying, and the plague was one such. In medieval times, its cause was unknown, treatment was nonexistent and its impact was devastating. Death rates are estimated to have ranged from a third to two-thirds for “regular” bubonic plague, and close to 100 percent for the pneumonic form that attacked the lungs. Mortality rates like that make the coronavirus seem practically benign.

Today we know more. Antibiotics were invented in the early 1940s, which is helpful because plague is caused by a bacterium, Yersinia pestis. The plague is still dangerous, especially in the pneumonic form: treatment must begin quickly if it’s to succeed. At least we aren’t reduced to thoughts and prayers.

We also know today that we don’t get plague for our sins. We get the bacteria from being bitten by a Yersinia-carrying rat flea – or from droplets in the air emitted by the sick. Yes, just like the coronavirus.

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HS2: Medieval graffiti to 'ward off evil spirits' found

It is believed the markings are "witches' marks", created to ward off evil spirits

Medieval graffiti associated with warding off evil spirits has been discovered by archaeologists.

A series of lines radiating from a drilled hole were unearthed on two stones at the remains of a church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire.

Historians believe the markings are 12th Century "witches' marks" created to protect against spirits by trapping them in an endless line or maze.

The discovery was made in preparation for the building of the HS2 rail line.

Archaeologist Michael Court said it was "a fascinating insight into the past".

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'Long-lost' medieval monastery in Gloucester rediscovered

The monastery was founded in about 1270 but was mostly demolished in the 16th Century

A "long-lost" medieval monastery has been discovered by archaeologists in Gloucester city centre.

The remains of the 13th Century Carmelite friary have been found beneath a demolished multi-storey car park.

Historians knew roughly where Whitefriars had stood, but its exact location was a mystery.

The dig, ahead of redevelopment work as part of the regeneration of the city's King's Quarter, took place in July.

City archaeologist Andrew Armstrong said it was "very exciting" finally to reveal the exact location of "this long-lost friary".

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À Bignicourt-sur-Marne, l'Inrap met au jour les vestiges d'un site carolingien (VIIIe-IXe siècles). Autour des bâtiments construits en matériaux périssables, ont été identifiés de nombreux « fonds de cabane » témoignant d'activités artisanales et agricoles.

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Archaeologists strike gold on Crete

“I feel this year’s findings have been a vindication for [Yannis A.] Sakellarakis. He always claimed – and I did not believe it at the time – that the excavations at Zominthos were very important. He would say, ‘I feel just like [Arthur] Evans when he excavated Knossos,’” the director of the dig, Dr Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki, says of her late husband. It is she who continues to conduct the Athens Archaeological Society’s excavations at Zominthos, at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level, approximately 7 kilometers west of Anogia.

Findings indicate that the excavations at this site on a plateau in the northern foothills of Mount Ida (Psiloritis), once “inhabited by the descendants of the Knossos dynasty,” have not come to an end. On the contrary, it has many more secrets to reveal. Its location is strategic – exactly halfway between the Palace of Knossos and the Ideon Andron caves. It was an important economic, religious and cultural center. Access from the north gate of the palace was via a ramp, dating from the Protopalatial Period (approximately 1900 BC), that ended in a robust retaining wall. In the Neopalatial Period (1700-1600 BC) the ramp was covered with plaques twice.

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Surprising leap in ancient human technology tied to environmental upheaval


For 700,000 years, our species’ ancient relatives in East Africa led rather stable lives, relying on an enduring set of skills and survival strategies. They made large, simple hand axes from nearby stones, perhaps using them to slice up prey, cut down branches, or dig for tubers.

But by 320,000 years ago—around the same age as the earliest fossil evidence of Homo sapiens—these early humans drastically changed their ways. They began crafting smaller, more nimble points that could fly through the air as projectiles, some made from obsidian gathered from many miles away. They collected red and black pigments—substances later humans frequently used in symbolic ways such as cave painting.

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East Africa Sediment Core Offers Human Evolution Clues

(Human Origins Program, Smithsonian)

Human Origins Program, Smithsonian)WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to a Science News report, a 450-foot-long sediment core from Kenya’s Koora Basin holds one million years of environmental data that could elucidate details of human evolution. Paleoanthropologist Rick Potts of the Smithsonian Institution said that chemical and microscopic studies of the layers in the sediment core revealed that some 400,000 years ago, volcanic eruptions reduced the size of lakes and the amount of available water, while the climate fluctuated dramatically. As large animals died out, they were replaced by smaller ones with more diverse diets, he explained. Between 500,000 and 320,000 years ago, hominins living at Kenya’s Olorgesailie site, which is located about 15 miles away from the core-drilling site, shifted from making cutting tools of local stone to the smaller, more carefully made objects made from imported materials that are characteristic of the Mesolithic. 

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Skull found of 5,000-year-old man who had ancient brain surgery with stone 'scalpel'

The skull bore signs of an ancient form of surgery (Image: Darya Veselkova)

Archaeologists have unearthed the skull of a man who underwent ancient brain surgery 5,000 years ago.

The scientists were blown away to find indications the Bronze Age man aged in his 20s had endured surgery with a stone 'scalpel'.

Remarkable 3-D imagery and pictures from Crimea show traces of trepanation - when a hole is deliberately made in the skull.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020


Rescue archaeological excavations for the construction of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline (dubbed “Balkan Stream" by the Bulgarian government) have yielded a surprising discovery: a completely unknown medieval town described as the third satellite town of the city of Pliska, the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire between 680 and 893 AD.

Pliska was the first capital of the Ancient Bulgars south of the Danube River. In addition to having been the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018 AD) for more than 200 years, it was also the largest city in medieval Europe in terms of territory.

While not as densely populated, with a total enclosed area of 23 square kilometers it was substantially larger than Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire, or Aachen, capital of Charlemagne’s Carolingian Empire.

Ancient hunters stayed in frozen Northern Europe rather than migrating to warmer areas, evidence from Arctic fox bones shows

The jaw of an arctic fox which shows signs of being killed by hunters

Ancient hunters stayed in the coldest part of Northern Europe rather than migrating to escape freezing winter conditions, archaeologists have found.

Evidence from Arctic fox bones show communities living around 27,500 years ago were killing small prey in the inhospitable North European Plains during the winter months of the last Ice Age.

Researchers have found no evidence of dwellings, suggesting people only stayed for a short time or lived in tents in the area excavated, Kraków Spadzista in Southern Poland - one of the largest Upper Palaeolithic sites in Central Europe. Until now it wasn’t clear if people retreated elsewhere each winter to avoid the intense cold.

Dr Alexander Pryor, from the University of Exeter, who led the study, said: “Our research shows the cold harsh winter climates of the last ice age were no barrier to human activity in the area. Hunters made very specific choices about where and when to kill their prey.”

Unlocking the secrets of 'six-headed chief' burial

The ancient burial site is believed to contain the remains of several generations of the same family UNIVERSITY OF BRADFORD

Archaeologists have used DNA analysis to uncover the secrets of a centuries old burial site nicknamed the "six-headed chief".

The grave at Portmahomack in the Highlands contains a man with a fatal sword wound to his skull.

He was buried with four skulls before his grave was later reopened to bury a second man, while a third man was buried in a nearby grave.

Analysis suggests some of the remains to be generations of the same family.

All the remains bar one date to the late 13th to early 15th century.

Archaeologists said the exception was one of the four skulls which dates to the 8th to 10th century and probably belonged to a Pictish monk.

Check out a Lidl bit of ancient history beneath city supermarket

Lidl merchandising Manager Colm Kelly takes a photo of a stone-lined cistern which was fed with water from a gully outside the cottage which was built around AD 1070, and was excavated and is now visable through a glass floor at the new Lidl Store on Dublin’s Aungier St.Picture
Credit:Frank McGrath 14/10/20

The remains of an 11th-century medieval structure is the centrepiece of Lidl's newest Dublin supermarket on Aungier Street.

The supermarket features several significant archaeological finds that can be seen throughout the shop, including the 18th century Aungier Theatre staircase, an 11th century sunken-floored structure and the 18th century Longford Street Arches.

Covered by a rectangle of glass flooring, the most impressive feature is the medieval remains of the humble abode.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fossil footprints: the fascinating story behind the longest known prehistoric journey

A section of the double trackway. Outward and homeward journeys following each other. Central Panel: Child tracks in the middle of nowhere. Left Panel: One of the tracks with little slippage. M Bennett, Bournemouth University., Author provided

Every parent knows the feeling. Your child is crying and wants to go home, you pick them up to comfort them and move faster, your arms tired with a long walk ahead – but you cannot stop now. Now add to this a slick mud surface and a range of hungry predators around you.

That is the story the longest trackway of fossil footprints in the world tells us. Our new discovery, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, comes from White Sands National Park in New Mexico, US, and was made by an international team working in collaboration with staff from the National Park Service.

The footprints were spotted in a dried-up lakebed known as a playa, which contains literally hundreds of thousands of footprints dating from the end of the last ice age (about 11,550 years ago) to sometime before about 13,000 years ago.

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DNA testing sheds light on old Viking murder mystery

The grave was first uncovered 39 years ago (photo: Roskilde Museum)

Almost 40 years after the famous ‘Gerdrupgraven’ discovery was made near Roskilde, archaeologists uncover key piece of evidence 

One of the top draws at Roskilde Museum is the Gerdrup Grave, a 1,000-year-old Viking interment discovered 39 years ago just north of Roskilde in the tiny hamlet of Gerdrup.

The grave contains the skeletons of a man and a woman, and archaeologists have long speculated who they might be and why they were buried together.

Another element of the mystery is that the man was killed at some point and buried next to the woman. 

The Gerdrup Grave has another important aspect to it: it was the first discovery that proved that Viking women were buried along with a weapon – in this case a lance.

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Anglo-Saxon girl had her nose and lips cut off as punishment, shows skull

Skull of young Anglo-Saxon girl, front view with cuts and back view
with unfused sutures [Credit: Garrard Cole, Antiquity]

An Anglo-Saxon teenage girl appears to have had her nose and lips cut off — and possibly her head scalped as well — analysis of an old skull has revealed.

Unearthed in Oakridge, Hampshire, the remains have been radiocarbon dated to 776–899 AD — predating written accounts of this gruesome form of punishment.

Although it is not known exactly why the poor young woman was subject to the horrific facial mutilation, it was once routinely meted out to female offenders.

The disfigurement was given to adulteresses, slaves who stole and criminals guilty of more severe acts, the researchers reported. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway

The god house (shown here in a digital reconstruction) was strongly built of beams and walls of wood; some lasted for hundreds of years. It included a central tower, patterned on Christian churches seen in lands further south.
(Image: © University Museum of Bergen)

The remains of a 1,200-year-old pagan temple to the Old Norse gods such as Thor and Odin have been discovered in Norway — a rare relic of the Viking religion built a few centuries before Christianity became dominant there.

Archaeologists say the large wooden building — about 45 feet (14 meters) long, 26 feet (8 m) wide, and up to 40 feet (12 m) high — is thought to date from the end of the eighth century and was used for worship and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices.

Germanic lord buried with a harem of 6? Not quite, but the real story is fascinating.

Archaeologist Arnold Muhl shows early medieval fibulae, a part of women's clothing, that were discovered in the cemetery. This and other artifacts from the excavation are now in the workshop of the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte (State Museum for Prehistory) in Germany. 
(Image: © Hendrik Schmidt/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB; Alamy)

An early medieval cemetery unearthed in Germany may not contain "a harem for the hereafter," as some news outlets reported; but it's still a remarkable find, likely holding the remains of a wealthy aristocrat and about 80 other people, some buried with riches such as glass bowls, gold jewelry and sharp weapons, according to the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Germany.

The individuals buried at the roughly 1,500-year-old aristocratic estate were part of the short-lived Thuringian Kingdom, which lasted for about 80 years before the Franks conquered them in A.D. 531. Before its demise, the kingdom reigned during a tumultuous time known as the Migration Period, when the so-called Barbarian peoples, such as the Huns, Goths and Vandals, gained power as the remains of the Western Roman Empire crumbled.

DNA Analysis Suggests Mother and Son Were Buried in Famous Viking Grave

The male skeleton's neck and legs were arranged in an unnatural position, while the woman's remains were held in place by large stones. (Roskilde Museum)

New DNA evidence has identified two people buried in a 1,000 year-old Viking grave as a mother and son, reports the Copenhagen Post.

Previously, researchers had speculated that the man, who may have been hanged, was an enslaved individual sacrificed and buried alongside the noblewoman he served in life.

“It’s an incredibly exciting and surprising result we have here,” Ole Kastholm, an archaeologist at Denmark’s Roskilde Museum, where the remains are on display, tells TV 2 Lorry. “We need to thoroughly consider what this means.”

Archaeologists excavated the burial, known as the Gerdrup Grave, in 1981. The fact that the woman was buried with what appeared to be a lance helped overturn scholars’ assumptions about gender in Viking society. Since the site’s discovery, researchers have found a number of other Viking women buried with weapons, which could identify them as warriors or symbolize their elite status.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

British museum will send Viking skeleton home to Denmark to be reunited with 1,000-year-old 'relative' after he was butchered in 1002 'ethnic cleansing' massacre

A Viking skeleton from AD 1002 at the Museum Resource Centre in Oxfordshire today

A British museum will send a Viking skeleton that was butchered in an ethnic cleansing massacre in AD 1002 to its home in Denmark to be reunited with its 1,000-year-old relative. 

The skeleton, known as SK1756, is being held at Oxfordshire County Council's Museum Resource Centre and is one of at least 35 men and boys believed to be victims of the St Brice's Day massacre in Oxford in AD 1002.

The slaughter is said to have taken place after King Aethelred II of England ordered the execution of dozens of Danish raiders, settlers and their children.

But DNA has revealed that a male skeleton discovered during an excavation in Denmark could be a relative such as an uncle, nephew, grandfather, grandson or half-brother - and experts want to reunite them.

New Secrets Unearthed at Minoan Palace of Zominthos on Crete

The Palace of Zominthos, on Crete. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

An elegant summer palace once belonging to the Minoan aristocracy at Zominthos on Crete, first discovered in 1982, has yielded many more of its priceless secrets in a recent dig.

It was found in this summer’s dig that the original structure may have been up to three stories high and to date back to 2,000 BC. This year’s excavations of the building, measuring 1,600 square meters, or 17,222 square feet, have also shown that the edifice contained ramps, a series of apartments and even religious altars.

Under the direction of Honorary Director of Antiquities Dr. Efi Sapouna- Sakellaraki, the aim of the new dig was to clarify what served as the access to the northern entrance to the main building and to verify what had been discovered through biomagnetic research north of the main building.

This year’s excavations disclosed to archaeologists that the usage of the building actually extended back as far as 2,000 BC — and possibly further. From 1,700 BC onward it expanded into the surrounding area, and this year’s work uncovered two new complexes further out form the main building.

Marlow warlord's remains part of 'key archaeological site'

The burial site is believed to date from the 6th century AD

The discovery of a warrior warlord's burial site could change historians' understanding of southern Anglo-Saxon Britain, according to archaeologists.

The 6ft "Marlow Warlord" was discovered in August close to the Buckinghamshire town.

An archaeological dig of the area took place after metal detectorists discovered two bronze bowls.

Dr Gabor Thomas said the find provided "new insights" into life after the collapse of Roman Britain.

The specialist in early medieval archaeology at the University of Reading said the burial suggested "people living in this region may have been more important than historians previously suspected".

Archaeologists unearth remains believed to be of Anglo-Saxon warlord

The remains of the Marlow Warlord are unearthed. Photograph: University of Reading

The final resting place of what appears to be an Anglo-Saxon warrior has been unearthed in a field in Berkshire, in a discovery archaeologists say sheds fresh light on the rise and fall of local tribes.

Buried with an array of weapons including spears and a sword with its scabbard, the skeleton of a man dating from the sixth century was found in August – two years after metal detectorists discovered bronze bowls at the site and alerted experts.

Dr Gabor Thomas, a specialist in early medieval archaeology at the University of Reading who worked on the subsequent excavation, said there had been much debate about whether individuals buried with such goods were warriors or were buried with weapons as a symbolic gesture.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Runestone Discovered in Sweden Provides Window Into Viking Past

While plowing a field on his family farm in Småland, southern Sweden, Lennart Larsson came across a large stone. Larsson put the stone, which is 6 feet high (2 m) and 3 feet wide (1 m), to one side and planned to use it as a stepping stone for a new staircase in his home. After finishing a day of plowing, he checked the stone again and to his amazement “on the underside of the stone were runes!” reports the Nattidningen Svensk Historia . The farmer and his family contacted the local Västerviks Museum about the runestone, who then inspected the discovery. Runestones are invaluable to researchers as they are windows into the Viking past. The artifact is expected to provide insights into a crucial period when the old Viking world was giving way to a new Christian world .

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