Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Unique Bronze Age find just south of Alingsås

Credit: Mats Hellgren

A unique Bronze Age find was made on 8 April in a wooded area just to the south of the town of Alingsås. Following an archaeological examination by among others Johan Ling, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Gothenburg among others, it has emerged that this is one of the most spectacular finds ever made in Sweden. It comprises around 50 artifacts that are all largely intact. These exclusive objects would have belonged to one or more high-status women in the Bronze Age. 

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Viking remains lost for more than a century rediscovered in a museum

Woven wrist cuffs found at a Viking burial site

Antiquity Publications Ltd/Rimstad et al/R. Fortuna, National Museum of Denmark

The remains of a Viking have been rediscovered after being missing for more than a century. They were safely stored in a museum the whole time, but had been mislabelled.

The individual had been buried with expensive grave goods, suggesting they were an elite person or even royalty. They also seem to have been wearing long trousers with elaborate decorations.

The story of the Viking’s remains begins in 1868, near the village of Mammen in Denmark. A landowner named Laust Pedersen Skomager enlisted local farmers to help him remove the topsoil from a mound on his estate.

They found it concealed a wooden Viking burial chamber, now called Bjerringhøj. The farmers dug up the contents and shared them out, so when academics arrived on the scene soon after, they had first to recover the remains from their new owners.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2276409-viking-remains-lost-for-more-than-a-century-rediscovered-in-a-museum/#ixzz6tuLEBnaw

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Study: Cancer Rate in Medieval Britain Higher Than Expected

A cancer cell (white) being attacked by two cytotoxic T cells (red), part of a natural immune response triggered by immunotherapy. Photo: Reuters

Cancer isn't just a modern-day affliction. A new archaeological analysis suggests malignant growths in medieval Britain were not as rare as we once thought.

Even before widespread smoking, the Industrial Revolution, and the modern surge in life expectancy, it seems cancer was still a leading cause of disease.

Scanning and X-raying 143 medieval skeletons from six cemeteries in and around the city of Cambridge, archaeologists have predicted cancer cases between the 6th and the 16th century were roughly a quarter of what they are today. That's 10 times higher than previous estimates, which had put cancer rates at less than one percent.

"Until now it was thought that the most significant causes of ill health in medieval people were infectious diseases such as dysentery and bubonic plague, along with malnutrition and injuries due to accidents or warfare. We now have to add cancer as one of the major classes of disease that afflicted medieval people," archaeologist Jenna Dittmar from Cambridge University said in a report published by the Science Alert website.

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Archaeology and the climate crisis: how the past could save the future

"Archaeology bridges the gap, as it combines a scientific understanding with the cultural exploration of past human life."
Unsplash/Hulki Okan Tabak

Ask most people what archaeology is and you’ll get a mixture of responses involving fossils, funny hats, digging, and bones. It might surprise you to know that archaeology isn’t the tomb raiding that Indiana Jones made it out to be, and that there is much more to it than just finding old things. Even if you are in fact a keen amateur archaeologist, you may never have considered how studying the human past could help preserve its future.

Aside from accepting our fate or waiting for a technological breakthrough that radically alters the way we exist, we have two options in confronting the issue of climate change. The first is that we colonise a new planet. Without overlooking the imperialist undertones of this concept, some archaeologists have studied island colonisation in the past as a model for human exploration beyond our planet. Lessons from the past emphasise that this solution would still require us to adopt a much more sustainable way of life to avoid facing the same threats just a few centuries down the line.

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