Monday, August 28, 2023

The Norse and the Sea: the Maritime Cultural Landscape of Scandinavian Scotland

The Norse and the Sea: the Maritime Cultural Landscape of Scandinavian Scotland
Paper by Alex Sanmark and Shane McLeod

Given at the Archaeological Research in Progress Conference 2023 of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on May 27, 2023

Abstract: This paper presents early results of the ongoing research project The Norse and the Sea with particular emphasis on the fieldwork carried out on the Isle of Eigg in September 2022. The project investigates the maritime cultural landscape in Scandinavian Scotland (c. AD 790-1350), through an interdisciplinary approach using archaeological, written and toponymic evidence and address the overarching questions of connectivity and communication in Norse Scotland.

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Vikings Were in America Before Columbus, Study Claims

Vikings from Greenland were living in North America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, according to a recent study.. Credit: Helgi Halldórsson, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikipedia

Vikings from Greenland were living in North America’s Newfoundland 1,000 years ago according to evidence from a recent study.

Newfoundland is located in Maritime Canada. Scientists have suspected for years that Vikings had settled in the area, but had not been able to assign a precise date to this encampment until now.

The authors of the research were able to trace the Vikings to trees they had cut down in order to build their shelter in Newfoundland. The trees indicate that the settlers were in the area as early as 1021 — 470 years before Christopher Columbus had arrived on the continent, and exactly one millennium ago.

“This is the first time the date has been scientifically established,” said archaeologist Margot Kuitems, a researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands who also led the study.

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Reconstructed Roman Gateway Tells The Story Of Britain’s Invasion

Richborough Roman Fort with the newly reconstructed gateway. Courtesy of English Heritage

The soil from these ditches would have been mounded up to create an earth rampart. These would have been a formidable defensive obstacle and typical of Roman military engineering of the first century AD.

Roman military defences normally enclosed a rectangular area for a camp or fort. The Richborough defences are odd in that they do not do that, but instead cut off a long stretch of land along the shore on the eastern side of the site.

Their full length to the north and south is unknown and much land to their east has undoubtedly been lost to erosion and the construction of the railway.

What was the purpose of the gateway and defences?
The defences look to be designed to secure a length of shoreline, leading historians to suggest that they were temporary defences for a beachhead.

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Teeth Can Preserve The Signal of Pathogens For Hundreds of Years, Study Finds

(Henry Horenstein/The Image Bank/Getty Images)

An analysis of antibodies extracted from 800-year-old teeth has provided a new way to identify pathogens our ancestors contended with.

The process could potentially help us understand how human antibodies – proteins naturally produced by our bodies in self-defense – have developed through history.

Building on previous research, a team led by researchers from the University of Nottingham and University College London (UCL) in the UK conducted a process called affinity purification to identify molecules through the way they bind to other molecules.

These kinds of bindings are a crucial part of how the human immune system works, and they can help researchers retroactively identify antibodies and what they were designed to fight against.

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Friday, August 18, 2023

International Medieval Congress 2024

The Viking Society is proposing to organise sessions at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in 2024. The dates of the Conference are 1-4 July. N.B. Participation is not limited to Viking Society members.

You can find further details here...

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Strange burial of 9th-century teenager reveals tragic story

English archaeologists have announced the discovery of the remains of a teenage girl buried in the Early Middle Ages. The circumstances of her burial were very unusual, suggesting she may have led a tragic life.

In ninth-century Cambridgeshire, as a community prepared to abandon their settlement, they took down the elaborate entrance gate and replaced it with a grave. In it were the remains of a young woman, aged just 15, buried face down in a pit and perhaps with her ankles bound together. This unusual grave gives us insight into a rare Early Medieval burial practice, and perhaps even contemporary attitudes towards those within the community who were considered different.

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