Monday, October 31, 2005

Notebook: archaeology

The “Green Roads” of England, the network of trackways that linked communities before the Industrial Revolution, are an endangered species. Many lie under modern highways: the survivors, like the remaining stretches of Roman roads, run where modern priorities have shifted.

One of these old ways, a unique survival from Roman or even prehistoric times, is now under threat. The Whole Way, which links the Cambridgeshire villages of Barrington and Harlton across the top of a chalk ridge, rises between raised banks and descends north across open fields, a short cut between two lines of Saxon villages hugging the base of the hills on either side.

Christopher Taylor, formerly head of Archaeological Survey for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and author of Roads and Tracks of Britain, said: “The Whole Way is first recorded by the name Holeweye in about 1252: the name is a corruption of ‘holloway’, the form that it takes in places as the result of centuries of traffic along it. The southern part in Barrington parish was realigned in the 1790s during the enclosure of the medieval fields there.

“Although long known as a medieval road, recent research has led to its recognition as a much older track: it is the only surviving example in southwest Cambridgeshire of a group of tracks of Roman or even earlier date that bounded and gave access to contemporary fields. These tracks were all either destroyed or altered out of recognition in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Whole Way is the only one of these tracks to remain in anything like its original form. As such it is a most important survivor of a very ancient landscape.”

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First steps towards implementation of Valletta Convention

Archaeologists and politicians are currently discussing how to implement the Valletta Convention in Flanders. Some important steps have now been taken, Minister for Intangible Heritage Dirk Van Mechelen recently announced in the Flemish Parliament. After a congress in September, with delegates from the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, Flemish archaeologists and heritage workers are now writing a report about their aims and expectations. The report will be delivered to the Ministers before the end of the year.

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A dozen Iron Age roundhouses uncovered in Inverness

Archaeologists are excavating in Scotland what they describe as "the most important site found in Inverness for decades". They discovered the remains of an entire village, 'industrial estate' and trading centre at an undisclosed location near the city. So far, a team of 20 diggers has discovered the remains of around a dozen huge Iron Age roundhouses at the site as well as evidence of metal and glass working.

Those heading the dig believe it may have been the stronghold of a Highland ruler with trading links to the rest of Europe. "I don't know if there was a king here two thousand years ago or what, " excavation leader Mark Roberts commented. "That's why I just use the term the Big Cheese, but he was around here and he was the real thing."

The discovery was made after a routine archaeological inspection of a development site earlier this year. That revealed the previously untouched remains of around a dozen Iron Age roundhouses and evidence of metal and glass working.

Fraser Hunter, the National Museum Of Scotland's curator of the Iron Age and Roman periods, has been working with the excavation team. "This is the most important site dug in the Inverness area for a substantial time, " he said. "We are probably talking about the Iron Age nouveau riche rather than a king. He would have been the local power-broker around Inverness."

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2,000-year-old burial site found on Shetland

Archaeologists working on Shetland's most northerly isle have discovered a burial site more than 2,000 years old. The site at Sand Wick on Unst, thought to date back to the Iron Age, had already been badly eroded by the sea when a team of experts began their work in August. However, archaeologists from Glasgow University, the Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problems of Erosion Trust (SCAPE) and local volunteers managed to rescue artefacts and a skeleton.

The excavation, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland, was initially aimed at training volunteers how to excavate eroding coastlines. But what they unearthed is being described as a poignant find by experts. The skeleton was found lying on its back with a polished stone disc tucked inside its mouth. Near the arm was a tiny ornament formed of rings of copper alloy and bone which the team believes was some kind of pendant.

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Looting Claims Under Review at Getty

The board of the J. Paul Getty Trust has formed a special committee to investigate claims that its world-renowned museum purchased looted art and its chief executive spent lavishly with tax-exempt funds.

The committee announced Saturday will include five members of the board but not the trust's chief executive, Barry Munitz, who pledged "full support for this effort," the Getty said in a statement.

The special committee will examine the trust's policies and procedures and make recommendations to the full board.

The $9-billion trust and its J. Paul Getty museum are under intense scrutiny: The Greek and Italian governments have claimed the museum bought ancient artworks that had been smuggled out of those countries. The museum has denied wrongdoing but in 1999 it returned three pieces to Italy, including a fifth century B.C. drinking cup.

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Tomb-Robbing Trials Name Getty, Metropolitan, Princeton Museums

Photos seized from a Swiss warehouse paint a story of global skullduggery, Rome prosecutor Paolo Ferri says. The thousands of Polaroids depict how Greek pottery and Roman statues looted from 2,000-year-old tombs in Italy made their way to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

At the journey's end, convicted Roman antiquities trafficker Giacomo Medici and American dealer Robert Hecht posed in front of museum cases displaying looted relics, he says.

``This is evidence of an international conspiracy,'' says Ferri, who, 10 years after the warehouse raid, is using the photos to crack the alleged smuggling ring. ``Traffic in archaeology goes from Italy to Switzerland, and from there, it's sold to most art museums in America.''

The Getty's former antiquities chief, Marion True, is the first museum curator to be prosecuted with the Polaroid evidence.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Church rises from ashes left after war

60 years after Allied bombing, Germans today celebrate rebuilt Dresden landmark

DRESDEN, GERMANY - As they gazed over their city from a perch atop the dome of the Church of Our Lady, Brigitte and Ulrich Lehmann could not quite believe where they were standing.

For their entire lives, this splendid Baroque church, known throughout Germany as the Frauenkirche, was a ruin — a bleak testament to the Allied bombing raids of February 1945. At least 25,000 people died in the raids and ensuing firestorms, which incinerated Dresden's old city, including the church.

Fifty years later, the Frauenkirche has been meticulously rebuilt, and its bell-shaped dome once again crowns the skyline. Today it is to be consecrated in a service attended by dozens of German leaders, foreign dignitaries and a crowd expected to number up to 100,000.

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World's earliest observatory discovered in China

Chinese archaeologists said they have found the world earliest observatory, dated back to some 4,100 years ago, in north China's Shanxi Province.

The ancient observatory in the Taosi relics site in Shanxi Province is at least 2,000 years older than the 1,000-year-old observatory built by the Maya in central America, said He Nu, a research follow with the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He told Xinhua on Sunday that the observatory, built at the end of the primitive society, "was not only used for observing astronomical phenomena but also for sacrificial rites."

The remains of the observatory, in the shape of a semicircle 40 meters in diameter in the main observation platform and 60 meters in diameter in the outer circle, were made by rammed earth in three circles.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Archaeology finds shown to public

The results of an archaeological dig beneath the Shire Shopping Centre development in Leicester opens to the public on Saturday.

The dig has uncovered thousands of artefacts dating back 2,000 years to medieval, Anglo-Saxon and Roman times.

Visitors can take a half-hourly guided tour, which will include demonstrations of archaeological methods and displays of recent finds.

The dig was carried out by Leicester University's Archaeological Services.

Spokesman Richard Buckley said old Leicester was being laid bare.

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Rescue excavations in Lovendegem reveal old church remains

In Lovendegem (near Ghent) an archaeological team recently carried out rescue excavations around the church. As expected, grave structures belonging to the old cemetery were discovered. The most important tomb was built in bricks; as many skeletons were relocated during its construction, the archaeologists found a lot of scattered bones. Another find consisted of two buttresses, which were part of the foundations of the 19th century church. However, as this type of buttresses has a long history in the architecture of the region, they could even date back to the 15th century.

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Apart from vomitoriums and orgies, what did the Romans do for us?

The best way to judge a modern recreation of ancient Rome - in film or fiction - is to apply the simple "dormouse test". How long is it before the characters adopt an uncomfortably horizontal position in front of tables, usually festooned with grapes, and one says to another: "Can I pass you a dormouse?"
The basic rule of thumb is this: the longer you have to wait before this tasty little morsel appears on the recreated banquet, the more subtle the reconstruction is likely to be. On these terms Rome, the new joint HBO-BBC series, does not do badly. It is not until at least 30 minutes into the first episode that anyone pops the dormouse question.

It is a cliche among modern critics that public fascination with ancient Rome is driven by politics and imperialism. Rome now equals America, as once it equalled Britain. So in watching the rise and (crucially) fall of the Roman empire, we can enjoy some entertaining analysis of contemporary superpowers - as well as indulging in the gratifying thought that their dominance too will one day end.

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Marine hopes for archaeologists

Sailing event spotlights Ancient Roman wrecks

(ANSA) - Trapani, October 28 - Archaeologists in this western Sicilian city are hoping that a modern sailing event could help them unlock some of the underwater secrets of the island's maritime past .

The highly publicized pre-America's Cup Louis Vuitton series, the final chapters of which were staged off the coast here prior to the winter break, helped spotlight an area that is home to numerous wrecks of archaeological value .

Dozens of ancient vessels are still lying unsalvaged on the seabed, in part, due to a lack of funds .

Among the wrecks are a group that sank over 2,200 years ago during the Punic Wars, in a landmark battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians that shaped history .

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Italy Says It's Proven Vase at Met Was Looted

ROME — In their decade-long investigation of the illicit antiquities trade, Italian authorities have amassed the strongest evidence to date that the most prized ancient Greek vase in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was looted.

The Euphronios krater, described as one of the finest antiquities ever obtained by the Met, has been a source of controversy since the museum acquired it 33 years ago.

Italian authorities have long maintained that the vase was looted from a tomb north of Rome, but the Met has refused to return it, saying the Italians lack "irrefutable proof."

Italians prosecutors now believe they have it, according to previously undisclosed court records obtained by The Times.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Ladybridge Farm

In advance of North Yorkshire County Council's determination of Tarmac's planning application for an extension of their quarry at Nosterfield, near the Thornborough henges, a further phase of archaeological investigation began on Wednesday 19th October 2005. The preliminary results of this work will be made available via the Nosterfield web site of Mike Griffiths & Associates at

There is a site diary, updated daily with text and images, together with the agreed Method Statement for the evaluation work and a map of the site in its context.

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An exhibition of archeological finds made during the redevelopment of a small park in Yatton will be held on Saturday . Glebelands, near the village hall, is being renovated by a number of local organisations, including Yatton Parish Council, Yatton Horticultural Society, the village hall management committee and the parish church.

The project is intended to reduce anti-social behaviour in the area by creating a more open space with better lighting.

Work by Wessex Water on the site has turned up hundreds of fragments of china, some believed to date back to the 16th century.

Pupils from Court de Wyck school, who were planting daffodils at the park earlier in the month, have also unearthed some mysterious items which are being investigated.

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New gas pipeline will cut through Wales

A MULTI-MILLION-POUND pipeline being built to transport around a fifth of the UK's gas is intended to run through some of Wales' most protected countryside.

National Grid said the preferred corridor of its gas pipeline will run from Felindre near Swansea, to Tirley in Gloucestershire.

The route - which takes in some of the Brecon Beacons National Park and other large areas of agricultural land - has caused anger in certain circles.

Campaigners have now vowed to ensure that the pipeline is installed sensibly and sensitively - and that the landscape is adequately restored.

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Archeological activities have began on hill Visocica near Visoko, which holds the remains of the medieval royal town of Visoki, and the aim is to confirm the existence of the first European pyramid.

Hill Visocica hides the first European pyramid of monumental proportions, claims author of the book “Bosnian pyramid of the Sun” Semir Osmanagic, which was promoted yesterday in Sarajevo.

Osmanagic on Wednesday told Fena that this facility has an accession plateau wide 40 and long 200 meters built of stone plates. The access plateau is in the form of stairs leading to the pyramid.

The basis for the claim that Visocica holds a most valuable archeological monument is seen in a series of construction anomalies determined during research conducted in August. These anomalies indicate that the hill was not created naturally, but by man.

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Was a glass of Egyptian red King Tut's real poison?

KING TUTANKHAMUN was partial to wine at the end of a hard day, it has long been assumed. Now scientists claim that he favoured drinking red over white.

A long-standing mystery of precisely what was inside the jars, or amphorae, found in the tomb of the great Egyptian king (1336-1327BC) has been solved, according to academics who presented their findings yesterday at the British Museum in London.

A team at the University of Barcelona studied residues from the scrapings of eight of the jars from Tutankhamun’s tomb, which are now divided between the British Museum and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Tutankhamun ascended the throne at the age of about 8. Analysis of his mummy suggests that he was about 17 when he died. Ancient Egyptians believed in equipping a body for the afterlife, and Tutankhamun was buried with 26 vessels of wine for his funerary meals. Our earliest knowledge of wine cultivation comes from Ancient Egypt, where the process was represented on tomb walls dating to 2500BC.

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Divers get cultural signposts

Norway's Directorate for Cultural Heritage has begun a unique program of setting up signs to highlight historical landmarks - underwater.

About 30 shipwrecks in southern Norway will get the familiar preservation sign from the directorate, to help divers appreciate - and respect - some of the country's less obvious attractions.

On Thursday the first sign, bearing the familiar pretzel-shaped landmark logo, will go up near a shipwreck in Vest-Agder County in southern Norway. The signs are built of acid-resistant steel and titanium to resist saltwater and other sea problems.

Signs will be placed at depths of 10-30 meters (33-98 feet), and will point out wrecks and cargo that are particularly vulnerable to plundering.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Unexpected Iron Age burial monument in Edegem

The first phase of the rescue excavations in Edegem-Buizegem has recently been finished. As expected the remains of a medieval settlement (ditches, postholes and a water well, with related archaeological finds from the 10th-11th century) and a cemetery were uncovered. Digging the last trenches, the archaeologists found a circular ditch structure, which was immediately identified as part of an Iron Age burial monument. Unfortunately, due to erosion, no cremation remains or other objects were preserved.

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King Tut Drank Red Wine, Researcher Says

King Tutankhamen drank red wine, says a researcher who analyzed very dry traces of the vintage found in his tomb.

Maria Rosa Guasch-Jane, who briefed reporters Wednesday at the British Museum, said she had invented a process which gave archaeologists a tool to discover the color of ancient wine.

Guasch-Jane also discovered that the most valued drink in ancient Egypt, shedeh, was made of red grapes.

``This is the first time someone has found an ancient red wine,'' said Guasch-Jane, who earned her Ph.D. in pharmacy from the University of Barcelona in September.

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Unbekannte Kirche in Erfurt entdeckt

Bei Grabungen am Erfurter Domberg haben Mitarbeiter des Landesamtes für Archäologie in Thüringen Überreste einer großen romanischen Kirche freigelegt. Laut Karin Sczech, Gebietsreferentin am LfA Thüringen, weisen die Sandsteinblöcke der Außenmauer romanische Profile auf. Danach kann man den sicherlich mehrschiffigen Bau in das 12. Jahrhundert datieren.

Dieser völlig unerwartete Fund steht im Widerspruch zu den bisherigen Theorien zur romanischen Kirchenlandschaft in Erfurt. Die Ausgrabungen ermöglichen neue Rückschlüsse auf die Stadtgeschichte sowie über das kirchliche Gewicht und die politische Bedeutung der Stadt Erfurt im Mittelalter.

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Europas Spiegel - Die Antikensammlung im Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum Aachen

Eine Sonderausstellung des Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen ermöglicht seit langer Zeit wieder die Möglichkeit den gesamten Bestand der Antikensammlung zu sichten und einige ungeahnte Schätze kennenzulernen.

Während der erste Grundbestand der Antikensammlung vor allem durch Schenkungen Aachener Bürger zusammenkam, setzten sich im frühen 20. Jahrhundert die Museumsdirektoren selbst zum Ziel, die Sammlung durch gezielte Ankäufe zu bereichern und die Antike in ihrer gesamten Bandbreite zu präsentieren.

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Aerial Photos of Tlachtga

The earthworks at Tlachtga on the Hill of Ward (Ireland) are about 150
metres in diameter and are most impressive from the air. Tlachtga was the
location of the Great Fire Festival celebrated at Samhain (1st of November).
With the coming of Christianity the festival was incorporated into the
Christian calendar as a time of remembrance for the holy souls. The customs
of Samhain that didn't fit into Christianity survived as Halloween.

For aerial images of Tlachtga click on:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Greece seeks return of 'looted' works from Getty

The J. Paul Getty Museum, already embroiled in a dispute with Italy over looted art, now faces demands by Greece over the return of allegedly stolen antiquities.

Greece has backed its claims by presenting archaeological evidence proving the Greek origin of three items ranking among the masterpieces of the Getty's antiquities collection. A gold funerary wreath, an inscribed tombstone and a marble torso were all purchased in 1993. The fourth item, an archaic votive relief, was bought in 1955 by the museum's founder, J. Paul Getty himself.

According to the Greek media, the gold wreath was purchased by Marion True, the museum's former chief curator of antiquities, who resignedthis month after 20 years with the Getty, the world's largest and wealthiest museum. Her resignation came about due to a conflict of interest. She reportedly secured a $400,000 (£225,000) loan with the help of one of the Getty's main art suppliers for a holiday house in the Greek island of Paros.

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Witch bottle 'used to save cows'

A rare 18th Century "witch bottle" used to ward off evil spirits is to go on show at a Dorset castle.

The bottle, which is one of only four found in the UK with its contents still inside, is to go on show at Corfe Castle for two weeks from Wednesday.

It is thought the bottle discovered between Langton and Worth Matravers on the National Trust's Purbeck estate was used to protect cattle from distemper.

Witch bottles were generally used to protect people rather than animals.

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Fears over heritage loss grows

A summit of historians and experts is being held in Stourbridge amid fears the town's heritage could be wiped out by the growing number of housing developments.

These housing developments are threatening to turn Stourbridge into another "replica" town claim the historians.

Now residents and organisations are being urged to turn out at to an emergency conference being staged by the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust.

The Saving Our Built Heritage event at The Bonded Warehouse on Saturday, November 12, will offer advice on how people can go about protecting the town's history.

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Iron Age 'industrial estate' uncovered in Inverness

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are discovering how the nouveau riche of the Iron Age lived by excavating what they describe as "the most important site found in Inverness for decades".

The fresh insight into how our ancestors lived around 2000 years ago has come with the discovery of the remains of an entire village, "industrial estate" and trading centre at an undisclosed location near the city.

So far, a team of 20 diggers has discovered the remains of around a dozen huge Iron Age roundhouses at the site as well as evidence of metal and glass working.

Those heading the dig believe it is of national significance and may have been the stronghold of a Highland ruler with trading links to the rest of Europe.

"I don't know if there was a king here two thousand years ago or what, " excavation leader Mark Roberts commented. "That's why I just use the term the Big Cheese, but he was around here and he was the real thing."

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Y chromosomes reveal founding father

Did conquest and concubines spread one man's genes across Asia?

bout 1.5 million men in northern China and Mongolia may be descended from a single man, according to a study based on Y chromosome genetics1.

Historical records suggest that this man may be Giocangga, who lived in the mid-1500s and whose grandson founded the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 to 1912.

The analysis is similar to a controversial study in 2003, which suggested that approximately 16 million men alive today are descended from the Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan

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Ausgrabungen am Dresdner Neumarkt, eine Sonderausstellung im Hilton Dresden

Zusammen mit dem Hilton Dresden präsentiert das Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Dresden noch bis zum 25. November ausgewählte Funde der archäologischen Ausgrabungen am Dresdner Neumarkt. Die Ausstellung im Foyer des Hotels ermöglicht durch Schmuckstücke und Gerätschaften des täglichen Lebens einen Blick auf über 800 Jahre Dresdner Geschichte.

Die Kooperation von Hilton und Landesmuseum entstand durch die direkte Nachbarschaft des Hotels zu den großflächigen Ausgrabungen der letzten fünf Jahre, die mit der Wiederbebauung der brachliegenden Stadtquartiere einhergingen.

Bei den Grabungen wurde der Friedhof der alten Frauenkirche freigelegt, dessen älteste Gräber in das 11. Jahrhundert datieren, während die Bürgerhausbebauungen zwischen Landhausstraße und Rampischer Gasse in ihren Anfängen in das 15. Jahrhundert zurückreichen. Die Archäologen stießen auf die Grundmauern des im 13. Jahrhundert erbauten Maternihospitals, das 1429 bei der Hussitenbelagerung abbrannte und danach unmittelbar nordöstlich der Frauenkirche verlegt wurde.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Archaeology Ireland Conference

For those of you now in Ireland, or who will be in Dublin on the 12th of
November, the following may be of interest:

Archaeology Ireland, in association with the UCD School of Archaeology is
presenting a one-day conference on the subject: Food: Culture and Identity.
The conference will be held at the Stilorgan Park Hotel, Stilorgan, Dublin, on
12 Nov. 2005.

Further information and conference schedule is available here as a PDF document ...

Bede's World Saturday Talks

The next in the series of the Bede's World Saturday Talks will take place this Saturday, 29 October, at Bede's World at the normal time of 12 noon. Museum admission charges apply.

Dr Sam Turner, of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, will be speaking on 'Making a Christian Landscape: Wessex and Cornwall in the early middle ages'.

For details and directions see

Medieval lions once skulked Tower of London

Scientists have dated two lions skulls unearthed at the Tower of London to the 13th and 15th centuries.

A collaborative project between Liverpool John Moores University and London's Natural History Museum has been investigating the myth of the Royal Menagerie, a collection of exotic animals for regal entertainment.

The new evidence suggests that the nickname "king of beasts" was derived from more than just a symbolic relationship with British monarchs.

For centuries, lions have been closely associated with kingship and power. Since the reign of Henry II in 1154, lions have been used in the construction of royal coats of arms.

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Greek Officials Demand the Return of Getty Antiquities

The J. Paul Getty Museum, embroiled in a fight with the Italian government over allegedly looted antiquities, now faces demands by the Greek government for the return of four objects authorities say were illegally removed from their country.

The Greeks have presented archeological evidence that they say proves the Greek origin of three objects the Getty purchased in 1993: a gold funerary wreath, an inscribed tombstone and a marble torso of a young woman.

The three artifacts, which date from about 400 BC, are ranked among the masterpieces of the Getty's antiquities collection. The fourth object that Greek officials are seeking to recover is an archaic votive relief bought in 1955 by J. Paul Getty himself.

The Greeks first lodged their claim nine years ago and formally renewed it in May through diplomatic channels. Officials here say that they informed the Getty before it purchased the funerary wreath and the marble torso that they almost certainly had been looted and smuggled out of Greece.

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Experts excavate oldest worked metal in Europe

Archaeologists found the oldest worked metal in Europe while excavating an early Neolithic village near the village of Dzhulyunitza in central Bulgaria, state TV reported Sunday.

The 3 metal finds are 8,000 years old. The experts found signs of cold treatment during which the metal pieces were transformed into beads. The extraordinary find gives a new direction in the research of the prehistoric people who lived on Bulgarian territory. Only the worked metal pieces found in Anatolia, which is the Asian part of Turkey, is older (11,000 years) than the find in Dzhulyunitza. According to the chief archaeologist Nedko Eleneski the discovered worked copper beads prove the presence of intensive contacts with Asia even in that early age.
“It should be known that the treatment of copper was familiar back in the earliest ages known as the Preceramic Neolith. In our case we can say that this is the most ancient metal find for the Balkan Peninsula and for Europe as a whole,” Elenski said.
The archeological research near Dzhulyunitza is financed by a project of the Archaeological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). Last year experts discovered in the same village relics from the earliest Neolithic funeral, which is 8, 300 years old.

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Kalkrieser Kulturwoche zum Fest

Europäischer Kulturpreis für die Varusschlacht im Osnabrücker Land, Kalkrieser Kulturwoche: Vom 30. Oktober bis 6. November wird in Kalkriese nicht nur gefeiert, sondern auch jede Menge geboten - speziell für Familien und Kinder.

Die Europäische Union und Europa Nostra, die paneuropäische Föderation für den Schutz des kulturellen Erbes in Europa, haben der Varusschlacht den "European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage" zuerkannt. Museum und Park Kalkriese wurden als einzige deutsche Einrichtung mit einem der fünf Hauptpreise bedacht. Die Auszeichnung wird am 5. November in Kalkriese überreicht.

Es darf also gefeiert werden. Und deswegen haben die Organisatoren die Preisverleihung gleich in eine Kalkrieser Kulturwoche eingebettet. Diese besondere Woche bietet täglich Führungen durch das Museum, den Park und die Ausstellung (speziell auch Familienführungen). Außerdem werden an verschiedenen Tagen Archäologie für Kinder, feurige Erlebnisse oder Glücksbringerschnitzen geboten. Vorträge oder die Begegnung mit den "Zeitgeistern" (Gestalten der Antike) erwachen im Museum zum Leben.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Roman fort brought to life in book

ENGLISH Heritage has produced the definitive guide to Birdoswald Roman Fort, which boasts a view once compared to that from Troy.

Since they took over management of the site last December, visitor numbers have gone up by 13 per cent, helped by a successful Roman festival in May this year. The festival will be repeated next year.

Now a new guidebook, telling the story of Birdoswald from its origins as a Roman fort in 122AD to the present day, has gone on sale as part of a new series of guidebooks launched by English Heritage this year.

Between the 2nd and 5th centuries, Birdoswald was one of 16 forts built as part of Hadrian’s Wall frontier system. Today its defences are among the best preserved of any along the Wall.

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Doubt cast on Archimedes' killer mirrors

· Greek 'harnessed sun's rays to burn Roman fleet'
· US scientists manage small blaze that fizzles out

A re-enactment of the ancient siege of Syracuse suggests that Archimedes, the Greek mathematician, was better at working out why boats float than dreaming up weapons of war to make them sink.
According to sketchy historical accounts, Archimedes torched a fleet of invading Roman ships by harnessing the power of the sun as they sought to capture the Sicilian city in 213BC. Using large mirrors made of bronze or glass, the mathematician and erstwhile military adviser to King Hiero focused the sun's rays on the ships and, according to ancient writings, reduced them to cinders.

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Troubles at the Getty Museum ripple through the art world

A plot fit for a Hollywood thriller has been unfolding at the venerable J. Paul Getty Museum, a gleaming hilltop refuge that Italian authorities claim houses pilfered art.
A decade after leading efforts against the illegal trade of artifacts, the museum's recently departed antiquities curator faces trial next month in Rome over allegations that she knowingly received dozens of stolen items.

The internationally renowned Getty finds itself deflecting a barrage of questions about how it amassed its world-class collection of Roman, Greek and Etruscan works. And the art world is left to wonder whether the museum's current dilemma will refocus attention on how art is acquired.

"We don't want to become associated with Enron-type institutions," said Selma Holo, director of the International Museum Institute at the University of Southern California. "We're all looking to our own gardens and making sure we've cultivated them properly."

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Carved stone intrigues Scottish archaeologists

One of the oldest carved stones ever found in the Highlands of Scotland has given experts an intriguing mystery to solve. Archaeologists say designs on the 5000-year-old stone slab discovered inside a cairn near Beauly have only been seen before on rocks in Orkney and Ireland. Now they are researching the cultural links that could have brought this type of art to Balblair 3500 years ago when the cairn surrounding it was built.

The sandstone slab was used to form one side of a burial chamber within the cairn, from which the body and other items had been stolen in the past. It was discovered after Highland Council ordered a quarry company to undertake an archaeological survey on the site at Balblair prior to extracting rock and gravel.

Andrew Dutton, a senior archaeologist with Headland Archaeology, said the slab was well preserved because it had been buried for thousands of years. "It has certainly got people scratching their heads, " he admitted. "It is unique. There is a lot of rock art around here and the cup and ring symbol can be seen in the open air at several sites but the curvilinear lines on this slab are very strange. Also the cup marks have been worked through from both sides until there is a perforation that, perhaps, people could look through to see inside the kist or to let light inside."

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Burial site find in Iron Age dig

ARCHAEOLOGISTS on a Scottish island have discovered a burial site more than 2000 years old.

The site at Sand Wick on Unst, Shetland's most northerly isle, thought to date back to the Iron Age, had already been badly eroded by the sea when experts began their work in August.

However, archaeologists from Glasgow University, the Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problems of Erosion Trust (SCAPE) and volunteers managed to rescue artefacts and a skeleton. The team also found hundreds of shreds of pottery, limpet shells and animal bones left over from ancient meals.

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Iron Age skeleton found on isle

Archaeologists have discovered a burial ground dating back more than 2,000 years in Shetland.

Experts who started work on the site on the island of Unst two months ago have managed to rescue artefacts and, unexpectedly, a skeleton.

The burial site at Sand Wick is believed to date back to the Iron Age and has been badly eroded by waves.

Team members believe they have obtained valuable information from the site, before it is lost to the sea.

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Ancient roman navy soldier surfaces

The first-ever image of a soldier in the Ancient Roman navy has surfaced on 17th September 2005 at the major imperial naval base at Ravenna Classe.
The armour-clad, weapon-bearing soldier was carved on a funeral stone, or stele, in a waterlogged necropolis at Classe ('Classis' in Latin means Fleet), the now silted-up Ravenna port area where Rome's Adriatic fleet was stationed.
Previous finds at the site have only shown people in civilian garb (toga).
An inscription on the soldier's funeral slab says he was an officer (optio) on a small, fast oar-powered ship (liburna) used to catch pirates.
Although the stele is small -about one metre (yard) long- the detail of the carving is intricate.
The soldier has the bowl haircut and delicate, child-like features typical of carvings from the 1st-century AD Julio-Claudian era.


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Divers make surprising discovery

AN image of a Roman gladiator wearing only a G-string has been dug from the bed of the River Tees.

Broken Roman pottery, decorated with the picture, was recovered from the river at Piercebridge.
Archaeologists believe the figure of a gladiator, who also appears to be holding a whip, may be the first of its kind ever discovered.

Philippa Walton, who works for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said: "The pottery sherd depicts a man wearing a G-string and holding a whip. The sherd is a fragment from a larger vessel, probably a beaker.

"Similar pottery has been found before depicting some gladiatorial scenes, some quite pornographic, but I can't think of an example where the gladiator only wears a G-string.

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Cremona digs confirm Tacitus story

ilan, October 19 - Excavations in Cremona have confirmed a legendary description of the city's destruction in December 69 AD by the Latin historian Tacitus .

Archaeologists working in the area of Piazza Marconi believe they have found evidence of the northern Italian city's brutal pillage following a clash between the forces of Emperor Aulus Vitellius and his challenger, Vespasian .

Tacitus's graphic description of the rampage by Vespasian's troops is famous among scholars but there was no way to prove it actually happened .

But preliminary work on an underground car park allowed for more extensive excavations than ever before .

"The layer of ash left by fires and the butchered remains from the Roman age uncovered in various spots of the digs have confirmed both the city's destruction and its famed wealth," said the excavation's director Lynn Passi Pitcher .

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Press release from the Centre for Manx Studies

he Centre for Manx Studies started its series of talks on Manx topics last Thursday, with Roy Kennaugh presenting his findings from a study of the dialect of Cronk y Voddee.

The next two talks will appeal to those with an interest in language: Marie Clague will give a paper on cross linguistic discourse markers within Manx Gaelic and English on 3 November, and Dr Jennifer Kewley Draskau will focus on ‘language, death and resurrection’ – a look at past tenses in Manx Gaelic – on the 24 November. But the series will then move on to embrace a range of other subjects – history, archaeology, architecture, music and anthropology. The last session before Christmas will be two linked papers on milestones in archaeology, looking at the work of PMC Kermode and the Manx Archaeological Survey. Nick Johnson and Claire Corkill, archaeologists on the Centre’s staff, will present two shorter papers with time for joint discussion on Thursday 8 December.

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Archaeological sites are discovered near new dual carriageway in Republic

Medieval farm is among major finds

Nineteen archaeological sites including a Neolithic settlement and an early medieval cemetery have been found along the route of the next stage of the Belfast to Dublin road upgrade.

Construction of the nine-mile high quality dual carriageway between Dundalk and Newry is under way and it is due to open in 2007.

The archaeological testing was carried out by Archaeological Development Services Ltd (ADS) and they are nearly finished final excavations.

An early medieval farmstead or enclosure was located at Faughart lower on a small natural rise in the landscape which in addition to views over Dundalk bay gave it what ADS described as, "a commanding position over an ancient routeway".

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Learning from the Romans in the gloamin'

THE Roman soldier steps out of the bathhouse's recreation room, a few denarii better off after successfully betting on the outcome of some board games.

Heading back to the nearby fort in the settlement that we now know as Cramond, he shivers and pulls his cloak tighter around him. This life is hard and the winter weather certainly doesn't help, it's not what he's used to.

The soldier was here in Edinburgh during the Roman's second and longest attempt to conquer Scotland, in the middle of the 2nd century AD.

During that spell they stayed for around 20 years before retreating once more behind the safety of Hadrian's Wall.

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Greek and American scientists to continue successful joint deep-sea exploration project

The United States and Greece will continue their successful deep-sea exploration program in the summer of 2006. The project, part of a long-term partnership between Greek and American scientists and engineers, explores the deep-sea basins of Greece to locate, map and interpret ancient shipwrecks and geological and chemical features in three areas. American Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries is holding a dinner on Tuesday in honor of the team as well as to present the results of the partnership’s 2005 project. The program is jointly supported by the Greek Culture Ministry, the Ephorate of Underwater Activities, the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The precision surveys are carried out by the SeaBED (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, or AUV) developed by WHOI. The next mission, in summer 2006, will investigate a Byzantine-era shipwreck (c. 10th century AD) 110 meters below the surface, a Classical/Hellenistic wreck (c. fourth century BC) at a depth of 500 meters, an active submarine volcano and unexplored sea floor. The Greek and American partners each contribute equipment, funding and skilled personnel. Their goal is to find answers to fundamental questions about the sea and human interaction with it.

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Ancient Ritual Cauldron Unearthed in Bulgaria

Bulgarian treasure-hunters discovered an ancient bronze cauldron, used for ritual funerals more than thirty centuries ago, on Saturday.

The cauldron was found near the Utroba cave, close to Kurdzhali, Southern Bulgaria. It contained burned human bones and was placed in a stone shaft, covered with a slab.

Archeologists suppose that the treasure-hunters were digging for gold and found the relic by mistake. Upon seeing that it did not contain anything of value, they abandoned it, and it was found by some Kurdzhali citizens. German Angelov, an archeologis from the Perperikon expedition saw it and bought it from the finders.

Specialists date the cauldron between 11th and 8th century B.C. and think that it had been used as a funeral urn. An ancient village is believed to have been situated near the Utroba cave where this relic was found.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ancient Roman town uncovered

ANSA) - Bologna, October 18 - The once bustling Roman town of Claterna is slowly re-emerging from the soil 15 centuries after it was abandoned and then vanished beneath farmland .

As a result of haphazard excavations in the past, the remains of a few patrician homes have been uncovered at the site near Bologna, along with mosaics and some pottery shards .

But a methodical, long-term research project is now getting under way for the first time ever, with funding from regional and provincial authorities, which have acquired the site .

So far digs have uncovered small portions of the town, revealing the street layout and mosaic paving from homes. Archaeologists have also found pottery, coins, metalwork and decorated bone .

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Roman fort's call for volunteer foot soldiers

A CALL to arms has gone out for a volunteer army to descend on Segedunum Roman Fort.
The Wallsend heritage site is appealing for 600 workers to help recreate the bustling community which would have lived at the fort during the Roman occupation.

The Praesidium project is to celebrate National Lottery Day and the £5.3m funding which helped to create the museum and facilities.

Praesidium is the Latin word for garrison and the project seeks to re-garrison the fort with the help of local people.

More than 600 people are needed to symbolise what would once have been the Wallsend Roman community.

People are invited to go to the fort at 11am on Saturday, November 5, to stand on the site where the Roman soldiers and civilians would have lived.

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Archaeologists unearth a 5000-year-old mystery

ONE of the oldest carved stones ever found in the Highlands has given experts an intriguing mystery to solve.

Archaeologists say designs on the 5000-year-old stone slab discovered inside a cairn near Beauly have only been seen before on rocks in Orkney and Ireland.

Now they are researching the cultural links that could have brought this type of art to Balblair 3500 years ago when the cairn surrounding it was built.

The sandstone slab was used to form one side of a burial chamber within the cairn, from which the body and other items had been stolen in the past.

It was discovered after Highland Council ordered a quarry company to undertake an archaeological survey on the site at Balblair prior to extracting rock and gravel.

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Siena, Italy, Oct 20 - A new palm pilot device provides virtual visitors with a virtual trip through Etruscan funerary tunnels and settlements. The device developed by Siena University known as "Guida In&Out" marks an innovation in interactive archaeology, and is still at the prototype stage. The device is to be submitted to the press in Chiusi next Saturday, as part of Siena local authority archaeological tourism programs. (AGI)

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Research reveals the secrets of lions locked up in the Tower of London

Lions have appeared on the English monarchy’s coat of arms since the reign of Henry II (1133-1189). Now new research published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, shows that the relationship between these early monarchs and the ‘king of the beasts’ was more than just symbolic.

Scientists from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the Natural History Museum (NHM) have dated lion skulls discovered at the Tower of London back to the 13th century. As well as giving insights on the lives of England’s early monarchs, the research may also provide useful guidance for the modern conservation of zoo animals.

LJMU’s Dr Hannah O’Regan, who led the research, said: “These lions were potent symbols of monarchy at the time of the Hundred Years War and the Wars of the Roses. Our research provides important information on some of the earliest lions seen in Northern Europe since they became extinct at the end of the last Ice Age. It also sheds some light on the conditions and health of animals in one of the world’s longest running menageries.”

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Karlsruhe mit großer Ausstellung zu Römern am Oberrhein

Karlsruhe - Nach der großen Ausstellung in Stuttgart ist am Freitag in Karlsruhe auch die zweite Schau über die Römer im Südwesten eröffnet worden. Unter dem Titel «Römer, Christen, Alemannen - Die Spätantike am Oberrhein» zeigt das Badische Landesmuseum bis zum 26. Februar rund 500 Exponate.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Treasure hunters join forces to 'enrich public'

A NEW metal detecting club has been formed by treasure hunters in East Surrey who say their aim is to share their historic finds with the public.

The East Surrey Research & Recovery Group says its main rule is that members gladly declare and exhibit their finds so that the public can share the knowledge of the discoveries.

The club has been founded by several enthusiasts including Roger Mintey, of Alma Road, Reigate, who 15 years ago unearthed the famous Reigate Hoard half way up Reigate Hill. It consisted of more than 6,000 gold and silver medieval coins in two large broken pots.

Already the club has put on an exhibition at Lingfield Steam Rally in August and plans are afoot to stage a similar display in Reigate Priory next summer. Reigate Priory School's headmaster Noel Lellman is liaising with the group to discuss suitable dates.

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“THEY came, They saw, They left their Rubbish Behind – The Romans in Carlisle” was the subject of a vibrant and very well illustrated talk given by Tim Padley, the Keeper of Archaeology at Tullie House, to The Friends.

Rubbish it may have been to the Romans but treasure it has become to us.

Carlisle rubbish is of particular importance and interest, the city having been occupied from the winter of AD 72/73 to the end of the Roman period.

The stratification of the Roman deposits is deep and so much can be recovered, including well-preserved, waterlogged material such as wood and leather.

Rubbish tells a fascinating story of where it was made, what it is made of and when and who made it, thereby revealing much of the lives of the people who left it behind.

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Monuments under threat from vandals

FLY-TIPPING, vandalism and unauthorised metal detecting are damaging vulnerable ancient monuments throughout the North-East, it has been revealed.

As part of a national initiative, English Heritage has joined with police forces throughout the region to place the spotlight on potential threats to important scheduled monuments and to improve their protection.

English Heritage officials say illegal metal detecting has been carried out in arable fields at their Corbridge Roman Station, in Northumberland, while at Eston Moor, on the outskirts of Middlesbrough, fly-tipping, deliberately set fires and motorbike and 4x4 off-road vehicles, are damaging earthworks.

Bearpark, on the outskirts of Durham City, has come under attack from vandals with the removal of building stone, fly-tipping, fire-setting and graffiti.

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The Archaeology of Late Antique Paganism

The next Late Antique Archaeology conference will take place in Leuven, on November 25-26. The theme of the conference is 'The Archaeology of Late Anique Paganism'. International scholars will present their research on the fate of the temples, the material culture and religious statues in the Mediterranean.

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A stone-age colony at Lake Bracciano

Archaeologists are continuing to find evidence of a neolithic village at the foot of Anguillara’s promontory.

At the beginning of August, underwater archaeologists excavating at Lake Bracciano north of Rome brought to the surface a nine metre-long dugout canoe hewn from a massive oak trunk. Some 9,000 years old, buried under three metres of mud and eight metres of water, this was the fourth dugout canoe excavated since an entire neolithic colony was discovered near the shores of Anguillara in 1989.
This village is unique in neolithic archaeology. Previously, no early neolithic site had ever been discovered in central Italy. More importantly, none had ever been discovered at the bottom of a lake. This one is located in the bay called La Marmotta at the foot of Anguillara’s promontory.

It was discovered in unusual circumstances. In 1989 the Rome water authority, ACEA, began installing an aqueduct in Lake Bracciano to supplement the city’s water supply. When it started using machinery to dig a trench along the lake bottom, an archaeologist was required by law to monitor proceedings. In April that year he arrived at the site to find that the dredger was bringing up large pieces of wood. He ordered the work to stop immediately.

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Golden land for finding Roman treasure

MORE Roman gold is found in Britain than anywhere else - and now a Welsh academic has come up with an intriguing theory explaining why.

Thousands of gold and silver artifacts from the Roman period, especially when the conquerors finally left these islands in the 4th and 5th centuries.

Dr Peter Guest, of Cardiff University's School of History and Archaeology, is the leading expert on the biggest ever Roman gold treasure discovered in Britain. In 1992, 15,000 gold and silver coins were found at Hoxne in Suffolk in 1992.

In a lecture, Dr Guest is to propose that the large amounts of Roman gold and silver buried beneath our feet could be because something happened in the late Empire similar to the abolition of the gold standard in the 1930s.

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"Der KeltenFürst vom Glauberg" - seit Oktober in Darmstadt

Die Funde vom Glauberg am Rande der Wetterau, 30 km nordöstlich von Frankfurt am Main gelegen, haben seit ihrer Entdeckung Mitte der neunziger Jahre weit über die Grenzen Hessens und Deutschlands hinaus Fachwelt und Öffentlichkeit fasziniert. Für die frühkeltische Zeit des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. bilden sie ein einmaliges Ensemble.

Nach ihrer aufwändigen Restaurierung, in deren Folge die Glauberg-Funde mehrere Jahre nicht zu sehen waren, sind sie nun bis Herbst 2006 im Hessischen Landesmuseum Darmstadt erstmals wieder für Besucher zugänglich.

Ausgestellt werden auf einer Fläche von 500 qm rund 180 Objekte. Der Rundgang führt über vier Stationen, wobei die berühmtesten Funde, die vollplastische und bis auf die Füße vollständig erhaltene Keltenfürst-Figur und das erste der beiden Fürstengräber, den Auftakt bilden. Eine virtuelle Animation der Grablegung macht nachvollziehbar, wie der namenlose Große von Grab 1 vor rund 2500 Jahren beigesetzt wurde. In Eingangsnähe informiert eine Computerpräsentation über die Kelten und ihre Kultur.

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Felsgrotten in den Externsteinen neu datiert

Bereits seit Goethes Zeiten erhitzt die Frage nach dem Alter der Felsgrotten in den Externsteinen nahe Detmold die Gemüter immer wieder aufs neue. Nach anderthalb Jahren Arbeit haben nun Wissenschaftler der Forschungsstelle Archäometrie der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften die mit der Lumineszenzmethode ermittelten neuen Datierungen bekannt gegeben: alle untersuchten Feuerstellen datieren ins Mittelalter.

Diese neuen Daten fügen sich sehr gut in die bisherigen Forschungsergebnisse ein. Das älteste Keramikmaterial, das die Grabungen in den 1930er Jahren zu Tage brachten, stammt ebenfalls aus dem Mittelalter und auch historisch ist die Anlage in den Externsteinen erst im frühen 12. Jahrhundert erwähnt. Allein die sog. Kuppelgrotte lieferte eine kleine Überraschung. Sie erbrachte ein Datum, das um das Jahr 750 liegt, nach Christus wohlgemerkt!

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Berlin Museum to Restore Famed Roman Gate

Officials from Berlin's Pergamon Museum announced plans Wednesday to dismantle and remove much of its famed Market Gate of Miletus over the next year and a half and to spend the next 10 years restoring it.

The towering Roman gate, built around 120 A.D. as the entrance to the market square in the Aegean coastal city of Miletus in what is now Turkey, is one of the museum's chief attractions. But metal supports built decades ago are sagging dangerously.

In the next three weeks, workers will cut a hole in the 75-year-old museum's southern exterior wall. Through it, they will pass 58 of the gate's marble blocks weighing about 110 tons to load them onto flatbed trucks and take them to an offsite facility for restoration.

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Prehistoric ruins find near city

‘Significant’ prehistoric ruins, which lay hidden in undergrowth have been unearthed on the outskirts of the city.

The knee-high ruins are “a late prehistoric homestead, probably dating from the Bronze or Iron Age,” explained Galway County Council Project Archaeologist, Mr Jerry O’Sullivan. “There is a round house built in stone, around eight metres wide, and a big enclosure wall, about the size of a tennis court,” he said.

A carved bracelet was also found at the site. “It is a very nice bracelet or amulet, carved from jet or lignite stone, very typical of the period,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

The ruins are located at Coolough, about one kilometre from the Galway Clinic and close to many of the city’s business parks and industrial estates, where archaeological digs are being carried out on behalf of the National Roads Authority, prior to the N6 dual carriageway being built.

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Eröffnung des archäologischen Museums in Wildon

Mit einem großen Hengist-Fest wird am Sonntag die Eröffnung des archäologischen Museums in Wildon gefeiert.

In dem restaurierten Gewölbe im Schloss Wildon werden Vitrinen aufgebaut, Beleuchtungen montiert, archäologische Fundstücke sortiert und eingeräumt und Restaurator Robert Fürhacker sorgt für den letzten Schliff an einem wertvollen Fund aus der Spätantike, einem gut erhaltenen Kinderskelett, das im Rahmen des Neubaues der Volksschule ausgegraben wurde.

Nur mehr wenige Tage sind für Ausstellungsgestalterin Ursula Grabner und ihr Team Zeit, um alles fertig zu machen, denn schon am Sonntag wird das neue archäologische Museum Wildon seiner Bestimmung übergeben. "Als wir das Schloss umgebaut haben, war immer klar, dass wir ein Museum haben wollen und jetzt ist das Projekt endlich verwirklicht", freut sich Gemeindechefin Ingrid Weber.

Und Martina Roscher, Managerin des Kulturparkes Hengist, ergänzt: "Hier handelt sich um kein Museum für Archäologen, sondern um ein Museum für interessierte Laien, die etwas über Archäologie, Epochen und die Geschichte im Raum Wildon erfahren wollen."

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"Saladin und die Kreuzfahrer" - Sonderausstellung im Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle

Der Blick auf die Ereignisse in den Kreuzfahrerreichen zwischen 1099 und 1291 aus muslimischer und christlicher Perspektive ist der Leitfaden für die Konzeption der Ausstellung „Saladin und die Kreuzfahrer“, deren erste Station ab dem 21.10. das Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte in Halle ist.

Die Ausstellung thematisiert das Zusammentreffen der christlichen und muslimischen Welt im Vorderen Orient und zeigt, dass neben den kriegerische Begegnungen auch ein vielfältiger friedlicher Austausch und eine kulturelle Befruchtung stattfanden.

Zeugnisse zu Kunst und Kultur der Kreuzfahrer werden mit solchen der muslimischen Welt konfrontiert, um die Besucher eintauchen zu lassen in die Welt der Begegnungen, Konfrontationen und des Austausches im Vorderen Orient zur Zeit der Kreuzzüge.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ancient site study is postponed

Archaeological Work along the A419 near Swindon, which was due to take place next week, has been postponed.

Workers were due to investigate whether a noise fence, to dull traffic sounds, will damage an important ancient site.

The Highways Agency plans to put up the structure on a verge at Covingham which is protected by English Heritage.

The site is designated as a scheduled ancient monument for the Roman town of Durocornovium. The work is now due to take place later in the autumn.

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Ancient Roman town uncovered

Bologna, October 18 - The once bustling Roman town of Claterna is slowly re-emerging from the soil 15 centuries after it was abandoned and then vanished beneath farmland .

As a result of haphazard excavations in the past, the remains of a few patrician homes have been uncovered at the site near Bologna, along with mosaics and some pottery shards .

But a methodical, long-term research project is now getting under way for the first time ever, with funding from regional and provincial authorities, which have acquired the site .

So far digs have uncovered small portions of the town, revealing the street layout and mosaic paving from homes. Archaeologists have also found pottery, coins, metalwork and decorated bone .

An Etruscan-Celtic settlement stood in the area prior to the arrival of the Romans, who founded Bononia (Bologna) in 189 BC before spreading out to the surrounding area.

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Helen of Troy Existed?

Helen of Troy, described in the epic poem The Iliad, was based on a real woman, according to a new book that weaves history, archaeology and myth to recreate the famous ancient Greek beauty's life.

According to the new theory proposed by Bettany Hughes, Helen's mythological character was inspired by a wealthy Bronze Age leader from the southern mainland of Greece.

Hughes, a former Oxford University scholar who has conducted research in the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor, was unavailable for comment.

In her book "Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore," however, she wrote, "I believe that all three incarnations — princess, goddess and whore — find their root in a Bronze Age Helen, that the template for Helen of Troy was provided by one of the rich Spartan queens who lived and died on the Greek mainland in the 13th century B.C.; a woman who slept at night and woke at dawn, a flesh-and-blood icon, an aristocrat responsible for orgia — secretive, mysterious fertility rites — a woman so blessed, so honoured, so powerful, she appeared to walk with the gods. A mortal who, down the centuries, has become larger than life."

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New Free Video
In 146 BC, just as Corinth is set ablaze by the Romans, Hermogenes, a young architect from Priene in Asia Minor, goes back to his home city to study the city-planning of Pytheos and especially to visit the old house of his ancestors, before it is torn down. This film is a 3D animated reconstruction of the city and that house, which is typical of its time. The reconstruction, based on the research of Dr. Wolfram Hoepfner, demonstrates the arrangement and functionality of a Classical Period residence

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Bronze Age mounds and settlements in Weelde

In the late nineties two Middle Bronze Age sites were discovered in Weelde (prov. Antwerp). For the first time in this region, archaeologists not only found funerary monuments (mounds), but also settlement structures related to these. Archaeologist Rica Annaert recently presented the results of her research about the Bronze Age remains in Weelde.

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Under Downtown Prague

Every Czech school child knows the story. Prague was a crowded medieval city bursting at the seams when, in 1348, its problem was solved at a stroke by the brilliance of Charles IV. The greatest of Czech kings ordained that a massive swathe of farmland around the walled city should become a new urban space called Nove Mesto, or New Town. The Prague we know today is said to be largely a product of Charles IV's effort at urban planning.

But fascinating new finds from a rescue dig on the three-and-a-half acre site of a new shopping and office complex in downtown Prague are offering a different take on this historical chestnut. Evidence is emerging that proves Prague had a thriving--and wealthy--suburb beyond its early limits 150 years before Charles took on the mantle of master developer.

As I emerge from the neat network of Prague's Metro, it's a little difficult to identify exactly where the archaeology is taking place. Namesti Republiky--Republic Square--is a triangular patch of road bisected by tram lines and bordered by a patchwork of faded nineteenth-century buildings and ugly 1970s glass-and-steel shops.

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Professor rolls up for debate on Elgin Marbles

THE Capital will play host to one of Britain's leading authorities in classical archaeology later this week for a debate about the future of the Elgin Marbles.

Anthony Snodgrass, professor emeritus in classical archaeology at the University of Cambridge, will speak on the hotly contested issue at the Edinburgh College of Art on Thursday.

The Elgin Marbles take their nickname from Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin, who stripped the ancient Athenian Parthenon of its sculptures while he served as the British Ambassador to Constantinople in the early 1800s.

As a result of his actions, almost half the Parthenon's ancient treasures were plundered and shipped back to Britain.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Woes at the Getty Museum ripple through art world

A plot fit for a Hollywood thriller has been unfolding at the venerable J. Paul Getty Museum, a gleaming Los Angeles hilltop refuge that Italian authorities claim houses pilfered art.

A decade after leading efforts against the illegal trade of artifacts, the museum's recently departed antiquities curator faces trial next month in Rome over allegations she knowingly received dozens of stolen items.

The internationally renowned Getty finds itself deflecting a barrage of questions about how it amassed its world-class collection of Roman, Greek and Etruscan works. And the art world is left to wonder whether the museum's current dilemma will refocus attention on how art is acquired.

Getty officials have denied any wrongdoing. The museum recently described the return of three objects, including an Etruscan bronze candelabrum Italian authorities allege was stolen from a private collection, as "demonstrating the Getty's interest in a productive relationship." True on trial

That hasn't slowed Italian prosecutors, who hope their trial of former antiquities curator Marion True will deter art trafficking.

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Sinking patio hid old mineshaft

A curious archaeologist discovered a huge mineshaft under his patio after it began to sink.
Simon Timberlake, 49, began excavations out of professional interest when he noticed the back garden subsiding.

The mineshaft drops at least five metres into a chalk bed and opens up into a cavernous space below the patio in Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Timberlake said now the mineshaft had been secured his timber-framed home was in no danger of being swallowed up.

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BBC's graphic view of Roman life

It is one of the most ambitious and expensive dramas the BBC has produced - and also one of the most violent and sexually explicit.

The Corporation is preparing for a wave of controversy over its decision to broadcast the 11-part series Rome on BBC2 at 9pm - immediately after the watershed.

The series, which charts the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of Julius Caesar, has been made in conjunction with HBO, the American concern behind hits such as The Sopranos and Sex and the City.

Within ten minutes of the opening credits, the first episode features an explicit sex scene. There are then three more - including a rape - in the same episode.

It also has scenes of full frontal nudity, crucifixions, gruesome battles, assassinations, a beheading and a graphic animal sacrifice.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

'The Huns' conquer Brussels!

Luckily this October raid is confined to a mere exhibition in Brussels' Jubelpark. From October 20th onwards you are more than welcome to get to know the intriguing Huns' culture by their archaeological remains. These finds from the Lake Baikal region clearly show the military organisation of this people. The exhibition is a joint production between Europalia.Russia and the Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (Royal Museums of Art and History).

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Experts unearth an Iona of the east

WHEN St Columba landed in Scotland in the Dark Ages, he set about creating a centre of learning that would illuminate the Christian world.
His monastery on Iona, founded in 563AD, became a place of pilgrimage for saints and kings. It is believed to have produced the Book of Kells, one of the world's most famous religious manuscipts.

However, archaeologists have discovered the site of a second monastery in Scotland which they believe was also founded by St Columba at about the same time.
Evidence at Portmahomack, Easter Ross, indicates the monastery produced elaborate books and documents similar to the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels.
It is likely the Vikings ransacked the monastery in the ninth century, destroying any manuscripts and their methods of production.

The monastery is surrounded by a C-shaped ditch, like that at Iona, and defined by more than 200 pieces of carved stone showing strong links to Iona and Northumbria.
Professor Martin Carver, of York University, and Cecilly Spall, of Field Archaeology Specialists Ltd, led the research at the site.

Professor Carver said it had once been a centre of great learning, but had never fully recovered from the Viking onslaught.

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Unique insight into the Bronze Age in Wicklow

An upcoming archaeology event in Roundwood offers a unique insight into the Bronze Age in Wicklow (Ireland). A special exploration of archaeological discoveries from all around the county will take place at the end of this month.

The one day seminar, organised by the Roundwood Historical and Folklore Society in association with the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council, will feature a range of nationally renowned archaeologists. They will make presentations on subjects such as past investigations at Rathgall in south west Wicklow and recent discoveries at Charlesland, Greystones, as well as patterns of settlement and activity in county.

The seminar will cover Wicklow from the Bronze Age, an era which encompassed almost 2000 years from approximately 2400-600 BCE. A unique feature of the day's events will be live demonstrations of Bronze Age casting using authentic methods by Umha Aois, a county Wicklow based group. There will be live re-enactments by Mogh Roith, a living history society.

The seminar will run from 9.20 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Saturday October 22 at Roundwood National School. Booking is not required and it is free of charge. For further information contact John Medlycott on (01) 2828146.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Iron Age coins go on display

They lay underground in their unusual hiding place as 2000 years of history were played out in the world above.

But in 2003 this Iron Age hoard of gold coins finally came to light as part of Norfolk's longest-running archaeological dig, at Sedgeford, near Hunstanton.

Now the public has the chance to view the much talked-about discovery, as the coins and the cow's leg bone in which they were hidden have gone on display at the Town House Museum, King's Lynn.

The annual summer excavation of a Saxon burial ground in the valley of the Heacham River has also uncovered evidence of an earlier, Iron Age settlement.

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See also the SHARP Website

Yorkshire team find ancient road

A TEAM of archaeologists from Sheffield University have revealed significant new insights into the role of Stonehenge after discovering a prehistoric ceremonial road.
The team, also from four other universities, discovered the avenue. It proves there was a walkway between a henge (a circular momument) at Durrington Walls, and the River Avon, three miles away, blowing a hole in the theory the standing stones at Stonehenge were a one-off feature.

The new find supports the team's theory that Stonehenge was in fact just one part of a much larger complex of stone and timber circles linked by ceremonial avenues to the river.

Radiocarbon dates indicate the henge was in use at the same time as the sarsen stones were erected at Stonehenge. The newly-discovered roadway, with its rammed flint surface, is wider than most modern roads and more substantial than any other Neolithic track in Europe.

It runs for about 100 metres (328ft) from the timber circle within the great henge to the river. Analysis has shown that the avenue was heavily trampled by prehistoric feet, and archaeologists have unearthed numerous finds along its edge.

Prof Mike Parker Pearson, from the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, believes Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, together with its adjacent site of Woodhenge, were linked by the river to form a single complex.
He has suggested the entire complex was a funerary monument. The work was filmed for a Channel 4 Time Team special, to be screened next year.

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Tragedy that wiped out a rural community

ATHENS, Greece — Deep under a quiet valley in southern Greece, archaeologists are struggling to unravel a 1,400-year-old tragedy that wiped out a rural Byzantine community.

Sometime in the late 6th century, a group of at least 33 young men, women, and children sought sanctuary from an unknown terror in a sprawling subterranean network of caves in the eastern Peloponnese. Carrying supplies of food and water, oil-lamps, a large Christian cross and their small savings, the refugees apparently hunkered down to wait out the threat. But experts believe the sanctuary became a tomb once supplies ran out.

“In the end, they knew there was no hope of escape and just lay down to die in the pitch black,” archaeologist Dimitris Hatzilazarou told The Associated Press. At the time, Greece, which was part of the Byzantine Empire, was reeling under a wave of invasions by Slavs and Avars — a nomadic people of Eurasia — some of them may have penetrated as far south as the Peloponnese. The caves, near the modern village of Andritsa some 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Athens, retained their dark secret until their discovery in 2004. Finds from the excavation are currently on display at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens.

Hatzilazarou and fellow-excavator Lina Kormazopoulou are still searching for clues to explain the calamity. “We think something prevented these people from getting out. It may well have been human action such as an enemy attack, or even a natural event,” Kormazopoulou said. “Future investigation should help answer the riddle, but we may never learn the full truth.”

Digs in late 2004 and early 2005 revealed human remains — many huddled in what look like small family clusters — 113 fired clay pots, a large bronze processional cross inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer in Greek, cheap jewelry and over 200 coins, mainly low-denomination copper pieces. Some of the pots had been wedged among the cave’s impressive stalagmites, an indication the refugees tried to gather water dripping from the roof.

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Im Schlosspark Etelsen wird auf der Südwiese heftig gearbeitet

Archäologie mit dem Bagger, geht das? Zumindest für gewissen Vorarbeiten kann man schweres Gerät gebrauchen. Wenn die Altertümer noch nicht so wahnsinnig alt und dazu noch genau lokalisiert sind, ist die Arbeit mit den Maschinen ebenfalls nicht verkehrt. So gesehen läuft derzeit im Schlosspark Etelsen Archäologie mit dem Bagger. Heftig gearbeitet wird im Moment auf der Südwiese des Schlosses. Hier, wo schon viele Menschen einer Openair-Aufführung der Verdi-Oper Nabucco lauschten, wird ein Rundweg angelegt. Grundlage ist dabei ein Plan aus dem Jahr 1899. Der Plan, der übrigens auch auf den Info-Tafeln im Park abgebildet ist, war allerdings nicht die einzige Grundlage, mit der man sich an die Arbeit machte. Man nahm sich den Plan, überlegte wo einst der Weg verlaufen sein könnte - und machte sich an die Überprüfung.

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Ausgrabungen auf dem Flughafen Leipzig / Halle

Das Landesamt für Archäologie Sachsen untersucht seit August 2004 auf dem Gelände des Flughafens Leipzig/Halle über 300 Hektar, da zur Zeit die Vorbereitungen zum Bau einer neuen Start- und Landebahn sowie eines neuen Frachtzentrums laufen. Die 80 Mitarbeiter dieser Maßnahme haben bislang über 2000 archäologische Befunde dokumentiert.

Die Befunde belegen die intensive Siedlungstätigkeit im Leipziger Land. Neben bronzezeitlichen Siedlungsspuren und mittelalterlichen Befunden wurde eine jungsteinzeitliche Siedlung (um 5000 v. Chr.) mit bislang acht Hausgrundrissen von bis zu 30 m langen Gebäuden freigelegt. Die Entdeckung eines der größten Gräberfelder der Jungsteinzeit in Mitteldeutschland kann als sensationell gelten. 30 Bestattungen wurden freigelegt, 19 Körperbestattungen, zwei Brandbestattungen und 8 Gräber ohne Knochenerhalt.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Bid to help Dorset folk love 'lumps and bumps'

A NEW project aims to increase people's awareness, knowledge and appreciation of the amazing landscape between Weymouth and Dorchester.

It is being launched on November 5 by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team which hopes the project will appeal to everyone who enjoys the countryside, including artists, photographers and amateur historians.

Among outstanding features of the area are the strange `lumps and bumps' which litter the skyline between Broadmayne and Hardy's Monument - and which few realise are round barrows that have been there 4,000 years.

Some long barrows go back as far as 5,000 years, which experts say is an extraordinary survival feat considering their simple construction from native chalk with soil on top.

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Archaeologists dig the dirt on rare medieval farm find

THE remains of a medieval farm settlement have been uncovered in the walled garden of a city hotel.

A team of archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 12th-century building, a garden wall and fragments of pottery from the same era in the grounds of the Norton House Hotel, near Ingliston.

They hope the find will shed new light on early farming in Scotland. The find comes after archaeologists were called in as a condition of the hotel's planning permission for an £8.5 million extension. It is not thought the discovery will delay building work due to start in January.

The hotel is a Victorian mansion, built for the Usher brewing family and set in 55 acres of parkland, which dates back to 1840.

However, historical records show that the "fermtoun" of Norton was established there as early as 1290. The farm building appears to date back to 1150.

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Ancient relic is 'once in a lifetime' finding

AN ANCIENT relic worth thousands of pounds was recently dug up on an Aughton farm – by a man who thought it was a milk bottle top.

Metal detecting enthusiast Tim Pearson, of Denaby, found the gold Saxon aestel, which has the appearance of a four inch bottle, back in January this year and had no idea what it was.
"I've been going to that farm for six years and the only things I'd ever found was a Roman coin," he said. "I was off work at the time because I'd smashed my fingers. It was boring being at home so I decided to do some metal detecting. I was all ready for packing up when I heard the machine beeping."

Tim found the 9th century artefact eight inches beneath the surface. At first he thought it was a milk bottle top, then a Victorian pendant, but once he got it home he found it was much more interesting.

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A PROTECTION squad has been set up to look after some of the North West’s best industrial heritage sites in the Borrowdale valley.

Twenty-five mines and quarries, including eight considered by English Heritage to be of national archaeological importance, are being watched over by a band of volunteers.

Since the beginning of the year, a seven-strong group of history and walking enthusiasts have been doing their bit to preserve ancient workings – some dating back to Elizabethan times.

National Trust archaeologist Jamie Lund came up with the idea of putting a volunteer force together after discovering an early copper mine had been tampered with.

“Volunteers have a dual role,” he said. “As well as keeping an eye on these vitally important mines and quarries, they are recording data which is invaluable for monitoring and conserving these sites.”

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AMAZING finds by archaeologists during recent excavations at Brading Roman Villa mean history will have to be re-written, not just there but at other important mosaic sites around the country.

Although his findings are still to be published, archaeologist Kevin Trott has compiled a 400-page report, which has dispelled some long-held myths and is set to take the archaeological world by storm.
This week he gave the County Press an insight into the archaeologically-explosive contents.

Palladius, the supposed owner of the villa, is now completely out of the frame. It has emerged that when the villa burnt down in a catastrophic fire in around 300 AD, Palladius had not even been born.

There is now overwhelming evidence that the villa dates from the third century, not the fourth as originally thought from the style of the mosaics.

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A full archaeological survey of one of the oldest sites in Penzance - the Iron Age Lescudjack Hill Fort - is due to begin at the end of October. The survey will be carried out by Cornwall County Council's Historic Environment Service (Projects) and will be followed by a geophysical survey to help identify buried archaeological features.

Heritage Lottery Funding was awarded to Penwith Council in March for the restoration of the pre-historic hill fort which kick-started the acquisition proceedings for the site.

A spokesman for Penwith Council said this week that in preparation for the work, which begins on October 31, it is necessary for the site to be cleared and for access to be restricted for public safety reasons.

The spokesman told The Cornishman: "The council would like to reassure the public that all trees will be left and that once the archaeological survey has been completed by the early summer, the site will be replanted, with the aim of enhancing the understanding and appreciation of the hill fort and its environmental value to the community."

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Decision on Lakes' heritage plan

A decision on whether to press ahead with plans to seek World Heritage Status for the Lake District is likely to be made on Friday.

A meeting of interested parties dubbed a "make your mind up" event was taking place at Wray Castle, near Windermere.

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has been trying since 1985 to win United Nations approval.

However, some organisations, including Cumbria County Council, have expressed reservations about the plan.

The LDNPA believes it will cost at least £350,000 to fund an application.

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A QUIET stroll on the ancient Hatfield Moors resulted in a 5,000-year-old archaeological find - the earliest of its type discovered in the UK.

Conservationist Mick Oliver was amazed to have stumbled upon a historic `corduroy' track, dating back to the Neolithic period - built with pine logs and laid together to form a pathway. It is said to be the oldest find outside mainland Europe.
Retired town and country planner Mr Oliver, 65, of Wadworth, said: "When I found it I was intrigued by the unnatural straight line in the peat. I sat there for a minute and could see axe marks on the wood. Given their position in the peat, I pretty soon concluded they were old, possibly even Bronze Age. But of course we now know they are even older - it really is the find of a lifetime."

Indeed, the remains have taken archaeologists back thousands of years - to a time just after the Ice Age. Back then the dark, black peaty mires were originally covered with water as apart of a huge Humber Lake.
But as the climate changed, waters subsided and humans started to inhabit the lush woodland landscapes with their plentiful options of food and shelter.

As years passed, water levels rose, killing the trees, and once more and people moved towards a raised grassy part of the ground, named Lindholme Island.
It is this history which will help archaeologists unravel the mystery of the function of the 50-metre long track way.

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Einblicke in den Welthandel vor mehr als 3000 Jahren

Eine wertvolle Ladung wird erstmals außerhalb der Türkei gezeigt.
Eine nach Expertenangaben „archäologische Sensation“ wird vom Sonntag an im Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum präsentiert. Zum 75-jährigen Bestehen der Einrichtung ist dort die Ausstellung „Das Schiff von Uluburun“ zu sehen. Das mit wertvollen Rohstoffen und Luxusgütern des Vorderen Orients beladene Handelsschiff war vor 3300 Jahren vor der türkischen Küste gesunken und in den 1980er Jahren wiederentdeckt worden. Die aus dem Wrack geborgene Ladung wird in ihrer Gesamtheit nun erstmals außerhalb der Türkei ausgestellt. Neben den rund 180 Exponaten ist eine vollständige, rund 15 Meter lange und begehbare Rekonstruktion des Schiffes zu sehen.[...]

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Tiny Humans Hunted Tiny Elephants?

Recently, the right arm bones for this individual were located at the same site, Liang Bua cave. Another jawbone, various toe and finger bones and other remains belonging to what appears to be nine individuals also were excavated.

Skeptics argue that the fossils could belong to a type of Pygmy or to a deformed human. The researchers think the new discoveries negate those arguments.

"(This is) definitely a new species of human, and neither a Pygmy nor a 'diseased' modern human," said Richard Roberts, one of the study's authors. "This is the main 'take home' message of the Nature paper.

"We have too much skeletal evidence for a distinctive, small-bodied and small-brained population of humans inhabiting the cave for a period of 80,000 years. No 'diseased' type of human can remain viable over 4,000 generations!"

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Students conquer the Via Belgica

2059 years ago, Sabinus and his soldiers walked in two days from Jülich in Germany to Tongeren (Artuatuca) in Belgium. At least, that's what Julius Caesar writes in his De Bello Gallico. But is it really possible that a groups of heavily armed soldiers can walk this distance in two days? This weekend, a group of Dutch high school students will try to prove that Caesar's story is correct. Dressed as Roman soldiers, they will walk along the Via Belgica. They hope to arrive in Tongeren by Sunday evening.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chinese scientists uncover 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles

It was a long time to wait for a portion of noodles. Scientists have uncovered the world's oldest known noodles, dating back 4,000 years, at an archaeological site, Lajia, along the upper reaches of the Yellow river in north-west China. They were preserved in an upturned bowl among the debris of a gigantic earthquake. Until now, the earliest evidence for noodles has been a Chinese written description of noodle preparation dating back 1,900 years.

The Lajia settlement is thought to have been destroyed by earthquake and catastrophic floods. Houyuan Lu and his team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing were excavating this scene of ancient destruction when they came across a well preserved earthenware bowl, embedded upside-down in a layer of clay. In the bowl they were amazed to see the remains of somebody's dinner. "The prehistoric noodles were on top of the sediment cone that once filled the inside of the inverted bowl. Thin, delicate and yellow, they resembled the traditional La-Mian noodle that is made by repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand," said Dr Lu.

An empty space between the sediment and the bottom of the bowl had prevented the soft noodles from being crushed and helped preserve them. "The empty space must have been tightly sealed and become anoxic, allowing excellent preservation of the noodles for 4,000 years," said Dr Lu. When the bowl was lifted the exposure to air quickly oxidised the noodles, turning them to dust, but Dr Lu and his colleagues still managed to analyse the remains.

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Finding a Lost Emperor in a Clay Pot

Forget stone, a discovery of a Roman coin in Britain proves history is set in bronze and silver.

During the chaos and confusion of the third century A.D., amid widespread disease, famine, and barbarian invasions, a brazen upstart seizes control of a breakaway state within the Roman Empire. He proclaims himself emperor only to disappear days later, his life and story lost, save for only the briefest of remarks in two fragmentary and unreliable sources. Then, an amateur treasure hunter scanning the green fields of Oxfordshire with a metal detector chances upon a small clay pot filled with more than 5,000 ancient Roman coins. A British Museum archaeologist brushing away centuries of corrosion and carefully picking apart bronze and silver pieces, discovers one exceedingly strange coin. Among the thousands of unremarkable ones, this coin carries an unfamiliar bearded face, a perplexing name, Domitianus, and most strikingly, the three letters IMP, short for imperator, or emperor.

Suddenly, the hunt was on for another coin, this one found not buried in the ground, but buried in the archives of a small provincial museum in southern France. The French coin, dug up in 1900, was deemed worthless at the time, a modern counterfeit depicting what was surely a made up emperor. Amazingly, the portrait on the supposed fake matches the strange coin in the British Museum, as does the image on the reverse side. Small characteristic markings provide the final confirmation; both coins had been struck from the same die or stamp. The French coin is not a fake, and the bearded man, not an imposter, but a lost emperor.

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Island's little folk: How close a kin to man?

New discoveries in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, notably another jawbone, appear to give additional support to the idea that a separate species of little people, new to science and now extinct, lived there as recently as 12,000 years ago.

But a vigorous minority of skeptical scientists were unmoved by the new findings. They contend that the skeletal remains are more likely to be deformed modern human beings, not a distinct species.

The scientists, who announced the first findings a year ago and proclaimed the new species Homo floresiensis, describe the additional bones in a report to be published Thursday in the journal Nature.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mary Rose yields more relics

A question which must have anguished Henry VIII on July 19 1545, as he watched his flagship sink barely a mile out to sea, may have been answered yesterday. A 10-metre length of curved Tudor elm, prised from the deep silt on the bed of the Solent, may finally explain the disaster which overwhelmed the Mary Rose, and the 700 men and boys who sailed in her.

The Mary Rose was the pride of his navy. In 1545 it had just undergone a major refit which may have sealed its fate. It put to sea to fight the French carrying almost twice the normal crew, and heavy new guns. It sank so fast, apparently from taking in water, that all but a handful of men went down with it.

A massive iron anchor from the ship was also lifted yesterday, but the timber is regarded as one of the most important finds since most of the hull of the ship was located, and lifted 23 years ago, on October 11 1982.

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