Sunday, July 31, 2005

Nicosia excavations complete

THE Department of Antiquities has announced the completion of this year’s excavations at the hill of Ayios Georgios, Nicosia, the proposed site for the erection of the new House of Representatives building.

The excavations, which started on March 21, under the direction of Dr Despo Pilides, followed the demolition of the large building block on Skyrou Street and the removal of the surfaces of the modern roads.

Excavations focused on the investigation of the areas under the now removed modern roads, which coincide with the east and south foundations of the main building of the House of Representatives and the unification of the areas excavated in previous years.

An area of more than 11,000 square metres, possibly the western part of an ancient settlement, has been revealed. A large area in the centre of the site will be left unexcavated for future research, with a major concern being the conservation and preservation of the site.

Cyprus Mail

Azerbaijan Proposes Monitoring Of Historic Monuments in Occupied Land

The Organization for Protection of Historic and Cultural Monuments in the Occupied Azerbaijani Territories has proposed to hold a monitoring of the monuments jointly with international organizations.

The move aims to put an end to the destruction of historical, cultural and archeological monuments by aggressor Armenia in the occupied areas, chairman of the organization Faig Ismayilov told an international conference in Baku on Friday.

Ismayilov said his organization has passed an appeal to international organizations as well as Azerbaijani government bodies, the public and socio-political organizations.

The appeal points out that Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory an
d about one million people have become refugees and internally displaced persons as a result of the Armenian aggression.

JTW News

Ancient earthworks in Jersey may stop shooting plan

A Jersey (Channel Islands) resident is objecting to a proposed extension to the Crabbé shooting range because he believes the suggested area is an important archaeological site. Peter Judge says that field 108, which is proposed as a site for clay pigeon shooting, has remnants of an earthworks hill fort which could date back to the Iron Age. He wants the area to be surveyed and then excavated to discover the full and accurate history of the site.

Mr Judge said: "There is evidence that this is an archaeological site, and I think this was realised as far back as 1958. A Société Jersiaise bulletin at the time stated: 'There were signs of ploughing within the last few months at the bottom of the deep eastern part of the ditch, so that this, the most impressive part of the structure, may be in immediate danger.' This shows that the Société were well aware at the time that there is something there that needs protecting and investigating further."

Stone Pages

Cairns to get protective covering

Bronze Age cairns on Exmoor (England) are to be wrapped in fabric to protect them from souvenir hunters. The ancient monuments on Dunkery Beacon in Somerset are thought to be more than 3,000 years old.
The National Trust said they had been damaged over the years by walkers and sightseers taking stones as souvenirs. An earlier attempt to get the cairns covered was turned down, but an appeal this week to the Planning Inspectorate was successful.
The trust's countryside manager Nigel Hester said: "We are delighted by this decision. We will be beginning work on the cairns over the forthcoming months to protect them in advance of the winter weather." The geo-textile fabric will be covered with stones and then seeded with heather and moorland grasses.

Stone Pages

Update on the future of Silbury Hill

English Heritage has announced the latest stage in the process to repair and preserve Silbury Hill (Wiltshire, England), the largest Neolithic construction of its type in Europe, and part of the ancient landscape of Avebury, a World Heritage Site.

Since the collapse in 2000 of infilling to a shaft at the top of the Hill, English Heritage along with a team of expert external advisors, has carried out extensive investigations into the condition of the Hill and research as to the best way forward to preserve its long term stability. This work outlined a number of options for the future of the Hill, one of which has now been selected by English Heritage for further exploration and feasibility studies.

The option chosen is to re-enter Silbury Hill via the tunnel dug to its centre in 1968, and then remove existing collapse and inadequate backfill in the tunnel, before properly backfilling it. The tunnel and other voids within the Hill would be filled with chalk to the same density as the surrounding mound material. The work of backfilling would take place backwards from the centre of the Hill, and enable contractors to remove any temporary supports left after previous excavations. The work would be accompanied by an archaeological investigation programme which would fully record all the parts of the Hill which are exposed again and enhance our knowledge of its construction.

Stone Pages

Excavations Reveal Secrets of Roman Road

KOMOTINI, Greece - Archaeologists excavating along the Via Egnatia are revealing the secrets of the ancient Romans' equivalent of an interstate highway.

Stretching 535 miles across modern-day Albania, Macedonia and Greece, the stone-paved road made the going easy for charioteers, soldiers and other travelers. It was up to 30 feet wide in places and was dotted with safety features, inns and service stations.

"This was a busy road, and the Romans managed to make it completely functional," archaeologist Polyxeni Tsatsopoulou told The Associated Press.

Built between 146 and 120 B.C. under the supervision of the top Roman official in Macedonia, proconsul Gaius Egnatius, the highway ran from the Adriatic coast in what is now Albania to modern Turkey, giving Rome quick access to the eastern provinces of its empire.

Yahoo News

Friday, July 29, 2005

Woodstown excavation to proceed!

THE Save Viking Waterford Action Group have welcomed comments from Minister for Transport Martin Cullen that it was his understanding that a State-funded excavation, in conjunction with the National Museum of Ireland, is planned for the settlement of Woodstown in the near future.

Mr. Cullen made his comments on RTE’s Morning Ireland. He agreed that the site provided unique evidence of Ireland’s historical past and said that this was the reason the N25, which was originally planned to run through the area, had been moved. Save Viking Waterford spokesperson, Dr Catherine Swift expressed her delight at his words. “This is wonderful news.

This is the first time anyone from the government has confirmed that an excavation is planned. Hundreds of thousands of listeners to RTE radio heard Mr Cullen make a public commitment to the excavation of Woodstown.

Waterford News & Star

Ancient Iraqi harp reproduced by Liverpool engineers

A team of engineers at the University of Liverpool has helped reproduce an ancient Iraqi harp – the Lyre of Ur
Engineers from the University's Lairdside Laser Engineering Centre (LLEC) employed revolutionary laser technology to engrave authentic designs onto Gulf Shell (mother of pearl) – the original material used to decorate the body of the harp.

Dr Carmel Curran, who carried out the work at the LLEC, commented: "This is the first time we have laser processed this type of material and the results are remarkable. It is fantastic to be involved in the recreation of such a piece of history."

"The shells we engraved came from the Indian Ocean. The laser techniques we used to engrave the shell are normally applied to materials such as plastics, metals, fabric and wood."

The Lyre was discovered in a mass suicide grave in the ancient city of Ur in Iraq by British archaeologist, Sir Leonard Woolley. Uncovered in 1929, the remains were kept in a museum in Baghdad until they were destroyed during the recent war in Iraq.


Egnatia digs reveal Roman road secrets

KOMOTINI - Archaeologists excavating along the route of the ancient Via Egnatia are revealing the secrets of the ancient Romans' equivalent of an interstate highway.

Stretching 861 kilometers (535 miles) across modern-day Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece, the stone-paved road made the going easy for charioteers, soldiers and other travelers. It was up to 30 feet wide (9 meters) in places and was dotted with safety features, inns and service stations.

«This was a busy road, and the Romans managed to make it completely functional,» archaeologist Polyxeni Tsatsopoulou told The Associated Press.

Built between 146 and 120 BC under the supervision of the top Roman official in Macedonia, proconsul Gaius Egnatius, the highway ran from the Adriatic coast in what is now Albania to modern Turkey, giving Rome quick access to the eastern provinces of its empire.


Roman lead industry found in bog

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Roman lead smelting site in a peat bog in Ceredigion.
Dating back about 2,000 years, Cambria Archaeology said mines in the Borth area could have supplied the heavy, bluish-grey metal for production.

It added that blocks of Welsh lead may have even been transported to other parts of the Roman Empire.

Last year, archaeologists hinted they had found a Roman "industrial estate", but until now had little evidence.

BBC News

Roman 'motorway' secrets unveiled

ARCHAEOLOGISTS excavating along the ancient Via Egnatia in Greece are revealing the secrets of the ancient Romans’ equivalent of an Interstate highway.

Stretching 535 miles across modern-day Albania, Macedonia and Greece, the stone-paved road made the going easy for charioteers, soldiers and other travellers. It was up to 30 feet wide in places and was dotted with safety features, inns and service stations.

“This was a busy road, and the Romans managed to make it completely functional,” archaeologist Polyxeni Tsatsopoulou told The Associated Press.

Built between 146 and 120 B.C. under the supervision of the top Roman official in Macedonia, proconsul Gaius Egnatius, the highway ran from the Adriatic coast in what is now Albania to modern Turkey, giving Rome quick access to the eastern provinces of its empire.

Ancient engineers did such a good job that the Via Egnatia remained in use for some 2,000 years, sticking to its original course even as its paving slabs were plundered for building material. But over the last century, what’s visible of it has dwindled to less than two miles in total.

IC Wales

Ancient Discovery in Rome

The discovery was made recently by archaeologists working in the Traiano forum near the Colosseum.

"We found this big head, 60 cm. It was definitely of (Emperor)Constantine, 300 years after Christ, maybe after the period at the height of his glory," Rome culture counsellor Gianni Bornia, said during the unveiling at a news conference on Thursday (July 28).

Locks of hair are combed forward to frame the closely shaven face andthick eyebrows arch over upward gazing eyes. Archaeologists say thephysiognomy compares favourably with the emperor's traits as depicted on imperial portraiture, such as coinage.

"We thought about immediately restoring this statue but at thesame time we wanted to announce it to the world because what's happening in this archaeological dig is of international scientific importance," Bornia said.

See Video at Reuters

Roman Castle found in Kosovo

Archaeologists in Kosovo have discovered a castle dating back to the 4th century.

The Balkan province of 2 million people is better known for ethnic conflict, but in the past six years, since the war, relative calm has been restored, allowing important archeological work to continue.

The discovery of the castle was made in Harilaq, 25 kilometres west of Pristina, in June, and archeologists are at the first stage of uncovering the remains, which cover approximately 100 by 150 metres.

Archeologist Jahja Drancolli said the discovery was unique in that they had known the ruins of a castle were somewhere in the area south of the Kosovo capital.

"This project is unique because we discovered a fortification which we knew was there. The fortification was built in two stages, the first stage is from the fourth century and the second dates from the first half of the sixth century, from the time of the Emperor Justinian," he explained.

See Video at Reuters

Firm's land offer in quarry battle

SIXTY acres of land could be set aside to preserve undiscovered archaeological relics in a twist to the long-running dispute over the controversial extension of a Yorkshire quarry.

Campaigners have been battling for more than two-and-a-half years against proposals to extend Nosterfield Quarry to land near Thornborough Henges, the Neolithic earthworks in North Yorkshire which date back 5,500 years.
The quarry's owner, Tarmac Ltd, yesterday announced that it was willing to donate a total of 60 acres of land to the nation to ensure the proposals for the extension were approved.

The land has been offered to either English Heritage or a suitable charitable trust to take control of.
The 60-acre package of land is next to the most northern of the three henges, which are near Ripon and have been described as the Stonehenge of the North.
But campaigners remain sceptical of Tarmac's motives behind the offer, which was announced to the media yesterday before it had even been debated by a working party set up by North Yorkshire County Council to look into the proposals.
The county council is due to consider the plans for the extension at a meeting in September, almost three years since blueprints for the extension were made public in November 2002.

The publicity officer for the Friends of Thornborough Henges pressure group, Mike Sanders, said: "We are cautious about the motives and how the scheme will actually be implemented.

"It appears that Tarmac is attempting to win the hearts and minds of the public and of course the councillors who will be voting for this in September.

Yorkshire Post

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hadrian’s Wall forms first part of trans-national World Heritage Site

Hadrian’s Wall – a UK World Heritage Site since 1987 – has become the first part of a major trans-national World Heritage Site known as Frontiers of the Roman Empire.

The Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site also includes the Upper German-Raetian Limes, which follow a length of over 550km from the River Rhine in the north-east of Germany to the River Danube in the south east.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage more countries – initially just those in Europe – to add their sections of the Roman Frontier to the new single World Heritage Site, which was created at the annual World Heritage Committee held in Durban, South Africa, between 10 and 17 July.

UK culture minister David Lammy said: “As it develops, the Site will provide the potential to unite the people of many countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in a common shared heritage.”

Sir Neil Cossons, chair of English Heritage, added: “English Heritage is pleased that this development is based on the existing Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and that the tried and tested method of site management and co-operation developed at Hadrian’s Wall is being used as the basis of this wider initiative.”

Leisure Opportunities

Ancient stone phallus found in Germany

Tubingen, Germany - A stone phallus 28 000 years old has been discovered in a cave in Baden-Wuertemberg in southern Germany, according to archeologists with the University of Tubingen.

In assembling 14 stone fragments found last year in the Hohle Fels cave, archeologists rebuilt the phallus, which is 20cm long and 3cm wide.

It will be on display at the prehistoric museum in Blaubeuren.

The caves in the Blaubeuren region, which sheltered Neanderthal man, are among the most important archeological sites in Europe.

The oldest object representing a bird, dating back 32 000 years, was discovered a few years ago in the same cave. - Sapa-dpa

IOL Discovery

Bulgaria unearths Thracian riches

Archaeologists in Bulgaria have unearthed the treasure-filled tomb of what is thought to be a Thracian king.
A golden crown, ring, armour and other artefacts dating back 2,400 years were found with the skeleton in a tomb near the south-eastern town of Zlatinitsa.

National Museum of History director Bozhidar Dimitrov said the Thracian king was a young ruler who was buried with two horses and a favourite dog.

Excavations of burial mounds across Bulgaria have unearthed similar finds.

But Professor Dimitrov says there is something different about this burial.

BBC News

Tomb discovery reveals treasures after 2,400 years

Archaeologists have unearthed 2,400-year-old treasure in a Thracian tomb in eastern Bulgaria, the director of the country's history museum said yesterday.

Professor Daniela Agre, who led the team of 15 from the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute, said the finds, made on Saturday, provided enormous clues to understanding one of Europe's most mysterious ancient people.

"The Thracians are one of the founders of European civilisation, this is important for all of us, not just Bulgaria," she said. "The period of the grave is exceptionally important. It was a peak moment in the development of Thracian culture, statesmanship and art. They had very strong contacts and mutual influences with Greece, Anatolia and Scythia."

Among the objects found were a golden laurel and ring, rhytons - silver drinking vessels shaped like horns, Greek pottery and military items including weapons and armour.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Scientists seek fresh chance to dig up Stonehenge's secrets

Stonehenge has always mystified. Julius Caesar thought it was the work of druids, medieval scholars believed it was the handiwork of Merlin, while local folk tales simply blamed the devil.

Now scientists are demanding a full-scale research programme be launched to update our knowledge of the monument and discover precisely who built it and its burial barrow graves.

This is the key recommendation of Stonehenge: an Archaeological Research Framework, edited by Timothy Darvill of Bournemouth University, soon to be published by English Heritage. It highlights serious flaws in our knowledge of the monument, which is now a World Heritage Site.

'Stonehenge has not been well served by archaeology,' admitted Dr David Miles, chief archaeology adviser to English Heritage. 'Much of the area was excavated in the 19th century, when gentleman amateurs - glorified treasure-hunters, really - would get their labourers to dig great trenches straight into its barrows and graves.


Iron Age hill fort restored

Work has been completed to restore the area around the Uley Bury Iron Age hill fort. The DEFRA-backed project covers 38 acres on land above the village of Uley (Cotswolds, England). The hill fort, which dates back around 2500 years, is encircled by a bridle path that gives wonderful views over the Severn Vale. It is both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and, because of its species-rich grassland, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Before the conservation work was carried out, trees had been self-seeding and the top of the site was farmed for arable crops. This had meant that the area of undergrass was shrinking and with it the valuable rare habitat of chalk/limestone grassland. Tree roots were damaging the monument's structure and the trees themselves were obscuring the landscape views.

Stone Pages

Prehistoric artefacts unhearthed at Culzean Castle

Archaeologists working at Culzean Castle (South Ayrshire, Scotland) for The National Trust for Scotland have found traces of a 2000 year old wall and possible prehistoric artefacts including burnt bone and animal teeth. The finds were made during an archaeological excavation before the construction of new terraces in front of the Old Stables Café. The work is being undertaken by a small group of volunteers, supervised by the Trust’s West Region Archaeologist, Derek Alexander.

"The wall is made of large rounded granite boulders with courses of small sandstone slabs in between. The boulders must have been brought to the site and are unlike any thing else on the cliff top," said Mr Alexander. The exact date of the wall is unknown but the drystone construction (without mortar) and the discovery of a large piece of flaked flint might suggest occupation back in prehistory, over 2000 years ago. Other finds from the site so far include burnt bone, animal teeth, coarse stone tools, and charcoal. It is hoped that the charcoal will be able to provide a radiocarbon date. Alexander says "it is perhaps not surprising that we have started to find traces of early settlement on the site, as before the construction of the terraced gardens on the south-east side the castle, the ridge would have formed an ideal, naturally defended site".

Stone Pages

Bronze Age treasure to return home in Wales

A priceless 4,000-year-old gold cape is to return to north-east Wales for the first time since it was discovered there in 1833. The Bronze Age Mold Cape, the largest gold object found in Wales, will be exhibited in Wrexham in September. Culture Minister Alun Pugh said it will be at the centre of a three-month show.

The cape, widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of Bronze Age craftsmanship, has been painstakingly restored by the British Museum. It was uncovered by workmen quarrying stone in a field called Bryn Yr Ellyllon, not far from what is now Mold Rugby Club's ground in 1833. It was inside a Bronze Age burial mound together with the remains of a skeleton and some amber beads.

The Mold Cape is a unique treasure and one of the finest examples of Bronze Age gold work in existence. Made from a very high quality of gold, the cape weighs one kilogram and historians believe it was possibly worn as a garment for religious ceremonies by someone in authority. Campaigners have long fought to see the artefact back in north Wales.

Stone Pages

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hands-on dig held at burial site

An archaeological dig is set to take place at La Hougue Bie on Saturday.

It is all part of an archaeology week which aims to encourage youngsters to take a bigger interest in history.

The day is one in a series of events being held by Jersey Heritage and will allow islanders to locate, excavate, clean and log historical artefacts.

Organisers said it would be a hands-on experience and other activities will include pot making, Neolithic demonstrations and guided tours.

BBC News

Thames history revealed on shore

Londoners will be able to find out about the history of the Thames when the foreshore at the Tower of London opens to the public this weekend.

As part of National Archaeology Weekend the World Heritage site of Tower Beach will host a number of walks and talks.

Previous finds there include a medieval knife and Roman glass as well as clay pipes, animal bones and pottery pieces.

Environmental charity Thames 21 will be cleaning up litter. The free events run during the two mornings.

Anyone who wants to lend a hand with the clear-up will be provided with equipment.

The beach is open during low-tide which is from 1000 BST until 1200 BST on Saturday and 1000 BST and 1230 BST on Sunday.

BBC News

Christian Catacombs May Have Jewish Origin

The Roman catacombs are intricate labyrinths of burial chambers that were built roughly between the third and fifth century AD. They are considered among the most important relics of early Christianity.

But a recent study of a Jewish catacomb in Rome finds that it was started a century before the oldest known Christian versions.

In addition to the 60 Christian catacombs that have survived in Rome, there are two Jewish catacombs, which are distinguishable by the decorative artwork and inscriptions that were used.

"Jews were buried only with Jews and Christians only with Christians," says Leonard Rutgers of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Yahoo News

Village will take visitors back to the Iron Age

In three or four years' time, when the bread is in the oven, the animals in the field, and the whitethorn hedges in bloom, the Iron Age village of Cinderbury should look really good, its creator says confidently.

Unfortunately the first Iron Age villagers arrive in a fortnight - and by then all the creators can say for certain is that the roof should certainly be on at least one house, and the oven may well be fit to bake bread in.

"We have had a few delays," admitted Jason Blake, the archaeologist who has built the first Iron Age village in the Forest of Dean in 2,000 years. "We were months late on site because we were waiting for the funding, and then the materials are very tricky - you can't just go to a builder's suppliers and get half a ton of hazel rods across the counter."

Mr Blake, like the joke about John Major running away from the circus to become an accountant, was a musician, actor and voiceover artist who had a midlife crisis and ran away to university to take a degree in archaeology.


Bulgarian Archaeologists Discover Ancient Jewelry

Five golden jewelry pieces were found during excavations of the Necropolis, located outside ancient Roman legion camp near the Danube town Svishtov.

The jewelry weighting 82gram is dated back to the second half of the 5th century.

Pavlina Vladkova, an archaeologist from the team working near Svishtov, explained that the art pieces belonged to the people of the Goth King Theodoric.

There are at least 100 Goth's graves in the Necropolis near Svishtov and archaeologists claims that these people were from noble kin. One of the richest burials there was of a child. A massive golden rig was found there.

Roman legion camp Nove has been explored by Bulgarian-Polish expedition over the last 46 years.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Digging for Roman remains

A PROJECT to investigate Roman remains at East Anton and Abbotts Ann is getting under way thanks to the latest Local Heritage Initiative (LHI) Awards.

With community, school and university help, the Andover Roman Archaeology Project is being organised by the Andover History and Archaeology Society thanks to a £22,770 LHI grant.

The project will bring together evidence of the Roman period in the parishes around Andover.

There will be school packs, school visits, popular publications, a detailed publication, touring displays, talks and lively history events, as well as an exhibition in Andover Museum.

It is also planned to have an excavation at Abbotts Ann with a re-examination by Prof Barry Cunliffe of Oxford University of the Dunkirt Roman Villa site.

This is Andover

Unearthing the hidden past buried beneath grounds of Priory Park

Children at Reigate Priory Junior School took a step back in time when they took part in an archaeology lesson.

The lesson came from archaeologists investigating Priory Park as part of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council's bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for money to restore the historic landscape and public facilities.

Oxford Archaeology, with the help of the borough council, held a series of archaeological sessions to enable the pupils to find out about the investigations taking place next to their school and to learn more about the history of the priory and its parkland.

Noel Lellman, headteacher at Reigate Priory, said: "I know the Priory Park project is of great interest not only to the children, but also to their families and members of the wider community. It is a wonderful opportunity for our children, Reigate's future, to be able to have such a hands-on involvement in the restoration and enhancement of such an important area of Reigate's heritage. They have had a great time learning about their local history."

Epping Forest Guardian

Roman road unearthed at school

PRIMARY school children had history vividly brought to life when part of a Roman road was discovered beneath their feet.

Excited pupils at Cestria Primary School, in Chester-le-Street, were taken outside to see the remains of the cobbled road, discovered during the digging of foundations for a new school kitchen.

Experts believe the surface could once have been part of a road serving barracks at the Roman fort of Concangis - parts of which have been found elsewhere in the town.

Deputy headteacher Sarah Barningham said: "Year 3 pupils have been studying Roman history for the last term as part of their national curriculum - and they have loved every moment.

This is the North East

Researching old Iceland

Icelandic State Radio RÚV reports that over 30 archaeological research projects are taking place around Iceland.

The Archaeological Heritage Agency of Iceland, established in 2001, is the central authority for protection and management of archaeological monuments and sites in Iceland. According to its website the mission of the agency is to "safeguard the Icelandic cultural heritage and render it intact to future generations. To achieve this, the main focus of the agency is on in-situ preservation of archaeological monuments and sites, to increase public awareness and access to the cultural heritage, and on promoting research."

As of this year, the agency has granted permits for research of 32 projects, 11 in the north, three in the east, six in the south, six in Reykjanes, three in the west and three on the Western Fjords. The projects are varied and include everything from the excavations of farms and grave sites to research on temporary summer dwellings and local assemblies.

Seven of the projects are prompted by a need to preserve artifacts in advance of construction or other land development.

Iceland Review


The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is the national development agency working for and on behalf of museums, libraries and archives and advising government on policy and priorities for the sector.

The Musems Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has responded to the DCMS consultation on the future of England’s museums by calling for a series of measures to give the UK museum sector a strong unified voice.

A call for museum funding changes, more collaboration and stronger central support are highlighted, but central to the response is a radically new approach to the management and development of museums through the creation of a national strategy.

This, says MLA, would enable better planning and co-ordination of funding, storage, collections, management, acquisitions and a broad range of support activities.

24 Hour Museum News

Outgoing FM Presents Exhibited in History Museum

Bulgaria's outgoing foreign minister donated all his gifts received during his four-year term to the National History Museum.

Solomon Passy's presents include art pieces and historical artifacts.

Passy became the first Bulgarian minister to donate his presents thus obeying the European standards. In most European countries and the US the legislation provides that after the end of term of all state employees they should donate their presents to the local museums.

The museum exhibition includes presents given to Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria's communist leader, former presidents Zhelyo Zhelev, Petar Stoyanov, President Georgi Parvanov and ex prime minister Ivan Kostov.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Archaeology survey of Goss Moor

The Highways Agency has highlighted a new road in Cornwall as an example of its commitment to Archaeology Week.

The agency said although work has started to ease the bottleneck on the A30 at Goss Moor, it is to survey aspects of an ancient settlement.

The site includes a rare 'fossilised' landscape, with walls, banks and hedges untouched since medieval times.

A spokeswoman said time and resources would be given to investigate any historic features which are discovered.

BBC News

Acropolis Facelifts Near Finish in Greece

ATHENS, Greece Jul 20, 2005 — For years, tourists to the Acropolis have been frustrated to find ancient monuments shrouded in scaffolding, thanks to a long and painstaking restoration project. Now, an end is in sight.

Greek cultural officials said Wednesday that work on the Parthenon, the Athena Nike temple and the massive Propylaea gate treasures built in the mid-fifth century B.C. at the height of Athenian glory should be finished by the end of next year.

"These three works will be finished at the end of 2006," said architect Haralambos Bouras, a senior project official. "All three were vitally necessary, and failure to carry them out could have resulted in severe damage to the monuments."

ABC News

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rare Pompeii dinner set unveiled

A set of ancient silverware has been dug up from Pompeii, the Roman city destroyed by a volcano 2,000 years ago.

The hand-crafted goblets, plates and trays had been bundled into a wicker basket by an inhabitant fleeing the erupting Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The tableware, well preserved in ash and mud, was discovered five years ago and archaeologists have used the latest techniques to separate 20 pieces.

Experts say it is the most important find of this kind for 70 years.

Thousands of inhabitants of Pompeii gathered up what few possessions they hoped to save and tried to escape from the firestorm and the clouds of volcanic ash and mud which descended upon their city.

BBC News

Aighila once stronghold for pirates

Imagine an archaeological park for alternative tourism where visitors can participate in the research. That is what archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos has in mind for Antikythera. His excavations in the area keep turning up new finds to confirm that ancient Aighila, the fortified town of Antikythera, was a pirates' stronghold.

His latest dig revealed a large number of weapons: more than 20 arrowheads and sword tips, 50 different kinds of catapults and catapult projectiles.

«In some places the walls show signs of damage from human activity and rough reconstruction with pebbles,» Tsaravopoulos said. «During a break in the siege, the inhabitants may have tried to rebuild the part that had been damaged. That shows they were beaten; otherwise they would have rebuilt the wall with greater care and attention.»

These are not the only finds.

«There are two Rhodian inscriptions which refer to a campaign against the thieves of Aighila,» Tsaravopoulos said.


Archaeologists Unveil Pompeii Treasure

ROME - Decorated cups and fine silver platters were once again polished and on display Monday as archaeologists unveiled an ancient Roman dining set that lay hidden for two millennia in the volcanic ash of Pompeii.

In 2000, archaeologists found a wicker basket containing the silverware in the ruins of a thermal bath near the remains of the Roman city, said Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, head of Pompeii's archaeological office.

The basket was filled with the volcanic ash that buried the city when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. When experts X-rayed it, they saw the objects preserved in the ash, which killed thousands of people but kept the town almost intact, providing precious information on domestic life in the ancient world.

Experts have spent the last five years extracting and restoring the 20 pieces of silver that were left behind by their owners as they fled the eruption, Guzzo said as he presented the treasure to authorities and the media in Rome.

Yahoo News

Monday, July 18, 2005

Leominster big dig excitement

LEOMINSTER could be the scene of a summer sensation if the town is found to be the site of an ancient monument of international importance.

Archaeologists start digging beneath a social services car park next month to uncover the hidden remains of a massive Saxon rotunda, dating from the 10th or 11th century.

A ground-penetrating radar scan first revealed footings of the round building, which may have been a baptistery, a shrine for the bones of saints or a royal mausoleum.

The Time Team-style discovery, in 2003, was exclusively reported in the Hereford Times.

Now the excavation - due to start on August 13 - could turn into a major media event.

Top historians and archaeologists will be heading for Leominster and daily tours of the site at the Old Priory will be organised for the public.

Project leader Bruce Watson, a senior archaeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology Service, said: "This is a tremendously important find - an opportunity to rewrite the early history of Christianity."

This is Hereford

Trial to open in Rome for curator at LA's Getty Museum

ROME - A curator at Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty Museum goes on trial Monday accused of purchasing artifacts stolen in Italy in a case closely watched by the art world.

Prosecutors allege Marion True was involved in an extensive trade in archaeological treasures dug up in Italy and sold by art dealers operating in Switzerland to prestigious museums in the United States and elsewhere in Europe. They say they hope the case serves as a deterrent for those seeking to plunder Italy's rich cultural heritage.

True, accused of criminal association and receiving stolen goods, denies the charges. Getty officials have defended True's work, saying they found no evidence of wrongdoing and insisting they have provided relevant documents to the prosecution in Rome.

Ordered to stand trial along with True is a U.S. art dealer based in Paris, Emanuele Robert Hecht, who investigators allege acted as an intermediary between art thieves and museums.

Daily Breeze

Archaeologists Peel Away More Layers of Butrint

BUTRINT, Albania -- More than 2,000 years after Julius Caesar came here for provisions and decided to start a veterans colony, a new army has invaded -- a multinational force of archaeologists in what is perhaps the largest ongoing dig in the Mediterranean.

Led by Professor Richard Hodges of the University of East Anglia in England, 100 archaeologists from 19 nations, 60 Albanian undergraduates and dozens of local laborers are rotating in over the course of this summer's two-month digging season.

The scientific goal of this decade-long project is to learn how society was transformed at the end of the classical period of ancient Greece and Rome, but the city of Butrint is as much of an attraction. Over the course of 3,000 years, successive civilizations made this city their own. "It became a place in the middle of the Mediterranean where everybody came," Hodges said.

This year's dig is the third major excavation since the nonprofit Butrint Foundation began operations in 1994. Most of the team will work on the Vrina Plain, a flat marshland between steep mountain ridges on the coast of the Ionian Sea. It was the site of Caesar's colony, a Roman suburb just across a narrow channel from the 40-acre city.

Washington Post

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Historic church found in Uppsala

Uppsala Cathedral could be built on the remains of the church where Saint Erik, Sweden's patron saint, was killed, archaeologists say.

Investigations at the 13th century cathedral, which is the largest church building in northern Europe, have revealed the remains of an earlier building underneath the high altar.

Archaeologists used ground penetration radar to find the remains, which they say could be the remains of the old Holy Trinity Church, which was known to have stood in Uppsala before the present cathedral was built.

It was not known until now where the church was situated.

Archaeologists have also found seven graves under the floor of the high altar, and eight graves under the catherdral's southern doors, reports Uppsala Nya Tidning.

The Local


The Nautical Archaeology Society is calling on every diver in the UK to help locate and record Britain’s shipwrecks for its WreckMap Britain 2005 project, which will run until August 31 2005.

The project, launched on Saturday July 16 2005 as part of National Archaeology Week, asks divers to record data, photograph, video and even sketch shipwrecks as part of their normal dive. The NAS will collate the findings, plot shipwreck locations onto a map to be available online, and share valuable information with the national archive services – English Heritage, Historic Scotland and CADW in Wales.

“Nobody really knows how many wrecks are around our coasts,” said NAS project officer Mark Beattie-Edwards. “We think the records we have are just scratching the surface.”

24 Hour Museum News

800-year-old ring is full of mystery

AN 800-YEAR-OLD mystical ring unearthed in Warwickshire goes on public display for the first time tomorrow.

The precious gold and garnet band features a mysterious cryptic message, written in olde worlde French which has archaeology experts baffled.

It appears to say the words "Je suis une fleur" (I am a flower) and "amour" (love) but some of letters of the inscription are reversed and turned upside down.

Boffins from the British Museum believe it could be a coded token of affection between two lovers, or even a medieval spell.

People will be able to see and decide for themselves when the ring goes on indefinite display at the Warwickshire Museum, in Market Place, Warwick, from tomorrow.

I C Coventry

Bulgaria Sets Sights on Valley of Khans

The grave of a noble figure from the times of proto-Bulgarians that archaeologists uncovered near Shumen in eastern Bulgaria may be that of a woman.

Archeologists made the conclusion after they came across a second golden earring and do not rule out that the woman could have been the wife of a nobleman or ruler.

They may be on their way to unearth the valley of the Bulgarian khans to emulate the valley of the Thracian rulers.

The golden earrings with glass ornaments are the most spectacular find so far, along with bronze and ceramic relics.


Bulgaria's Indiana Jones Opens New Successful Season

Archaeologists digging in the excavations of ancient Thracian tombs in Bulgaria have disclosed the first for this summer Thracian temple.

Bulgaria's archaeological expedition TEMP started its new excavations in the Valley of Thracian Kings at Ploska Mound last week.

The head of the expedition Dr Georgi Kitov said that the temple has been robbed in the ancient times. He also explained that the temple had two pillars. Data about that temple dates back to 1898 when the region was explored by the famous Skorpil brothers.

We are still in the beginning, Dr Kitov, known as the Bulgarian Indiana Jones, said.


Important Saxon find in car park

The remains of a Saxon rotunda in Herefordshire is being hailed as a site of international importance.
Archaeologists will begin next month excavating the area in Leominster which is currently being used as a staff car park for Herefordshire Council workers.

The rotunda is thought to be part of a monastery founded by one of Britain's ancient rulers.

Archaeologist Bruce Watson said it was expected to be the "best preserved example of its type in England".

BBC News

Friday, July 08, 2005

National Archaeology Week 2005

Saturday 16 July to Sunday 24 July

The list of events for the National Archaeology Week 2005 is available.

The CBA makes due enquiries of all parties participating in National Archaeology Week in order to compile this listing of events, but cannot accept responsibility for individual events.

CBA List of events

Statue of Orpheus unearthed

A rare statue of the ancient Thracian hero Orpheus has been unearthed in Bulgaria, near a place archaeologists say might house the hero's tomb, the leader of excavations said.

The 9cm (3.5in) bronze statue, dating from the 1st or 2nd century AD, was found in the village of Tatul, 200 miles south-east of Sofia, an archaeologist, Nikolai Ovcharov, said.

The statue, which was perfectly preserved, was found a few days ago by villagers, and handed to archaeologists working on the site, he said.


Mosaic inspired image of England's favourite saint

THE earliest known template for the image of St George slaying the dragon has been found in Syria, archaeologists believe.

A mosaic floor dating from approximately AD260 depicting the figure who became the patron saint of England has been found in the city of Palmyra in the Syrian desert. Experts say that the portrait is one of the finest classical mosaics yet uncovered and may even be the source of the St George legend.

George was reputedly a Roman soldier, martyred in Palestine some 1,700 years ago. The mosaic shows Bellerophon, a hero in Greek mythology, killing a chimera, and it was found in what appears to have been a dining room in Palmyra.

The warrior is wearing a wide-rimmed Roman helmet with a red streamer and is flanked by two eagles bringing wreaths of victory. Bellerophon is riding the winged Pegasus and thrusting a spear down into the lion’s head of the chimera, while its two other heads, a snake forming its tail and a goat on its back, hiss up at him.

Times Online

NAS Project Director moves on

Chris Underwood, Project Director of the Nautical Archaeology Society in Portsmouth, leaves the post this month to work with archaeological services in Argentina.

His immediate projects include study of HMS Swift, a well preserved 1770s English warship off Puerto Deseado in Patagonia, and other wreck sites off Patagonia's Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Underwood will also work to expand NAS training courses for divers in Argentina and other South American countries. A plan to develop volunteer work opportunities is also being considered.

Underwood was a part-time tutor on NAS training courses from 1989 to 1993, and became Training Officer in 1994. In more recent years, as Project Director, he has been involved in discussion and policy development with archaeological interests, diving groups and the Government.


House of the medieval dead lurks in lawyers' basement

A rare medieval charnel house which lay undiscovered for 300 years has been restored to its former glory, English Heritage said yesterday.

The charnel house was previously included in the annual Buildings at Risk register, because of its uncertain future in the face of commercial development. The latest register of England's most important threatened buildings, announced there yesterday, has 1,302 entries including the Cutty Sark, which needs expensive conservation work.

The charnel house was a consecrated store for bones from the cemetery at Spitalfields in London - sited in the "hospital fields" which gave the area its name - allowing graves to be re-used at a time when, archaeological evidence suggests, the hospital was overwhelmed by the plague.

One of four charnel houses surviving in England, it is the only medieval building in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets.


National Archaeology Day

Carmarthenshire County Museum in Abergwili is hosting free events for National Archaeology Day on Saturday (July 16) from 10.30am to 4pm.

Activities will include an archaeological excavation, as well as making pots and mosaics, dressing up, talks, competitions and quizzes.

Carmarthenshire County Council Museums Curator Gavin Evans said: “Cambria Archaeology will be on hand to tell you all about it. Cambria will also have their history database computer – so learn about your locality and what new things can you tell us? Have you found any old finds or treasures in your garden? Bring them along for the experts to look at.

“And if it’s a fine day, why not enjoy a picnic in the museum’s gardens? Or if you’re feeling really fit, why not walk the nature trails from the Merlin’s Hill Centre to the Iron Age hill fort on Merlin’s Hill and experience the breathtaking views. There is a charge here for parking. Parents, please note that children are not be left unattended.”

Sir Gar

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dark day for heritage

THE destruction of our archaeological heritage at Tara has begun. This is a dark time in our nation’s history when we have shown contemptuous disregard for one of the richest archaeological, cultural and historical landscapes in the world.

This landscape is not fully understood, even by the experts, and yet people who are unqualified have given the go-ahead to motorway construction.

Where is the sense in that? This is the thin edge of the wedge to bring development into a rural and sacred landscape.

Already land is being bought and sold in speculation. Already there is talk of the Dundalk-Nass motorway intersecting at Blundlestown, further demeaning the Hill of Tara.

In any other country this would be regarded as treason.

Irish Examiner


Castle tower no longer in danger

A castle tower is no longer on a list of the country's most at risk historic buildings thanks to a major facelift.

English Heritage revealed that Oxford Castle's St George's Tower was not on the 2005 edition of its Buildings at Risk Register, released on Thursday.

Repairs to the roof, stonework and timber of the four-storey tower - the earliest stone structure in the castle - have secured its future.

The castle has had almost £4m in Lottery and English Heritage funding.

BBC News

Protesters claim quarry victory

Countryside campaigners are celebrating after Government chiefs turned down proposals to increase quarrying near a historic site.
Countryside campaigners are celebrating after Government chiefs turned down proposals to increase quarrying near a historic site.

Plans to extend Tearsall Quarry at Bonsall Moor – and extract another 27,000 tonnes of material – have been rejected by the Deputy Prime Minister following a public inquiry into the scheme.

Operators Slinter Mining Company appealed against an earlier decision by Peak Park bosses not to allow a 0.34 hectare extension at the site, which lies between Wensley and Winster.

And now their concerns that it would 'destroy the valuable characteristics of the National Park' have been upheld following the hearing in March.

Chesterfield Today

Bulgaria Excavates More Thracian Mounds

Bulgaria's archaeological expedition TEMP is about to start new excavations in the Valley of Thracian Kings.

The campaign is expected to start at 14 mounds on Friday, and the team is hoping for sunny weather.

TEMP is famous for discovering some of the most sensational Thracian finds over the last several years.

The team of Georgi Kitov has uncovered several Thracian tombs in the Kazanlak Kettle, which gave it the name Valley of Thracian Kings.

Last summer, the expedition discovered the sepulchre of King Sevt III, a mighty Thracian ruler.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New support for Antonine heritage bid

AN attempt to win World Heritage status for the Antonine Wall has moved a step closer.

Scottish tourism minister Patricia Ferguson has backed Historic Scotland's bid to secure European aid to make the historic structure Scotland's fifth World Heritage site, which would put it on a par with the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China.

The wall stretches 37 miles across Scotland from Bo'ness to Old Kilpatrick. An excellent section of it, including remains of forts, runs through the Kilsyth, Croy, and Twechar areas.

The Scottish bid is part of a joint international effort to have the frontiers of the Roman Empire recognised, with similar projects under way in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary.

Launching a new booklet on the Roman frontiers at the Scottish Parliament along with the German consul general, Ingo Radke, Mrs Ferguson said: "If it comes to pass I think it will be the most ambitious World Heritage site that has been identified. The Antonine Wall is an outstanding archaeological treasure, not just for Scotland, but for Europe. World Heritage Site status will give the Antonine Wall the international status and protection it deserves."

Cumbernauld Today

Unbekannter legt Mammutstoßzahn vor Museum ab

Denekamp/Münster (dpa) - Ein wertvoller Mammutstoßzahn direkt vor der Tür des naturhistorischen Museums im niederländischen Denekamp hat dort für Aufsehen gesorgt. Als ein Museumsmitarbeiter vor drei Wochen morgens zur Arbeit kam, lag vor dem Eingang ein 1,12 Meter langer Mammutstoßzahn.

«Eine sehr schöne, aber auch rätselhafte Entdeckung», sagte Direktor Dick Schlüter am Dienstag. Denn wer das 14 000 Jahre alte Fossil vor dem Museum nahe der Grenze zu Niedersachsen abgelegt hat, ist immer noch nicht geklärt.

Schlüter vermutet, dass es ein Bauunternehmer war. «Höchstwahrscheinlich ist er bei Bauarbeiten auf den Mammutstoßzahn gestoßen und befürchtet, wenn sein Name bekannt wird, dass die Behörden einen Baustopp verhängen, um nach weiteren möglichen Fossilien zu suchen», sagte der 49-Jährige. «Denn normalerweise freut sich jeder Spender, wenn er namentlich in Erscheinung treten kann.» Da das Museum im Euregio-Gebiet und nur fünf Kilometer von der niedersächsischen Grenze entfernt liegt, könne der «mysteriöse Geber» auch ein Deutscher sein, sagte Schlüter.



ARCHAEOLOGISTS are hoping to unearth some more historic revelations as the annual excavations at Rushen Abbey get underway again.
Experts from the University of Liverpool and the Centre for Manx Studies will be on site at the Medieval abbey until August 12.

Last year, the excavations started to uncover a ground layer left behind when the abbey was demolished after 1540 AD.

Tantalising glimpses of Medieval society were uncovered in the form of fragments of pottery and even a silver quarter penny from the mid-1200s – minted in Canterbury.

This year, the archaeologists hope to be exploring more fully the remains of the Medieval era and to try and solve the puzzle of a mysterious wall.

IoM online

Archaeologists on the uninhabited...

Archaeologists on the uninhabited islet of Despotiko near the Cycladic island of Antiparos have uncovered the remnants of ancient dwellings dating back to the Archaic era, which they described as ‘exceptional.’ The Culture Ministry said yesterday that fragments of kouroi statues (photo) and pillars, dating from 750 to 500 BC, have been found at the site, which has been operating since May.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Spiennes Flint Mines Website

There is a new Web ste for the wonderful Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes, Belgium. The site includes a number of pictures.

The site is in French, but a English translation is promised in a short while.

You can find the site at:

Thracian Gold Found at Tatul Temple

Archeologists have found a piece of 23-carat Thracian gold in south Bulgaria.

The team was examining the Tatul sanctuary near Kardzhali when they picked the precious find. It was discovered in a layer from the Late Bronze Age.

Experts believe that the piece was a part of a gold-trimmed stone mask.

Tatul, an extremely rich archeological site, is expected to bring to the surface sensational finds, specialists say.

They have already discovered a thin bronze knife, pieces of bronze earrings and cups, as well as ceramic pieces of a scepter bearing unique images of the sun.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Abandoned longship finds a home

A MASSIVE replica of a Viking longship is on its last journey to become an artefact in one of the most exciting archaeological projects in Scotland.

The 26 metre wooden Skidbladner is to be displayed at the head of Harolds Wick, in Unst, Shetland's most northerly island, at a spot where the Vikings might have set foot on Shetland for the first time, around 1,200 years ago.

The Skibladnerleaving Lerwick Harbour in June 2000The Skidbladner was abandoned in Shetland five years ago when a group of hardy sailors from Sweden and Norway failed in their attempt to emulate their ancestor Leif Erikson and sail from Scandinavia to America, without a back-up engine or any facilities to accommodate the eight crew.

Their journey failed miserably when persistent northerly winds prevented the sailors from rounding Sumburgh Head, Shetland's most southerly tip. Stuck in in the isles for weeks, the crew eventually abandoned ship and went home.

The Shetland News

Abbey ready to re-open in wake of flood

RIEVAULX Abbey reopens to the public on Saturday, two weeks after its visitor facilities were left under a layer of silt deposited by the flash floods in Ryedale.
Much of the site, including the abbey ruins, west of Helmsley, was unaffected when the River Rye burst its banks after three inches of rain fell in three hours.

But the car park and visitor centre, including the shop where stock valued at £10,000 was lost, were badly damaged and it was impossible for the public to access the site.
English Heritage staff have now cleaned up all the debris and a temporary building has been installed to welcome the public.

English Heritage head of visitor operations David Bailey said: "We were very fortunate that the main attractions at the site – the abbey ruins themselves and the museum – were not affected by the flooding,.

"But we had to close until we had cleaned up the lower parts of the site, particularly the car park, and installed an alternative admissions point."

Yorkshire Post Today

Historic Cadw move restores hope for buildings under threat

The Assembly Government has been urged to do more to protect historic Welsh buildings as it takes direct responsibility for Cadw today.

In a little noticed move, the conservation body today ceases to be an executive agency and instead becomes a directorate of the Assembly Government.

Unlike other agencies like the WDA, Cadw has not been run by a board of appointed members, and since culture minister Alun Pugh announced in April that its status was to change, there have been no protests organised by angry supporters of the body.

On the contrary, there are those who see the transition as an opportunity to make things better.

IC Wales

Archaeologists hunt for hot baths

Archaeologists are to dig up a set of Roman baths believed to be at a site in Swindon, Wiltshire.

The latest excavation at Groundwell Ridge started this week, hunting for a set of what used to be hot baths.

A Roman villa was first found at the site, in the north of the town, during housing construction in 1996.

In 2004, the team found a range of cold baths dating back 1,600 years. They hope to add to their collection with the latest five-week dig.

During the past nine years, English Heritage and Swindon borough Council have worked together to buy the land and fund excavations.

BBC News

Tara and the M3 toll-motorway

This site is dedicated to the preservation of the Hill of Tara, one of the most significant archaeological sites in Ireland. The website explains Tara's importance, and contains up-to-date information on plans of the Irish government to build a four-lane motorway through the Tara/Skryne valley. Tara (Old Irish 'temair', 'site with a view') is a site of prehistorical and historical importance. The website's 'detailed position paper', written by three archaeologists and historians, is a valuable introduction to the monuments and landscape at Tara. With regard to the political controversy, the website has sections for 'News and updates', 'Select published and forthcoming articles', 'Select letters to newspapers' and a section entitled 'What you can do'.

Humbul Humanities Hub