Saturday, April 29, 2006

New evidence suggests the need to rewrite Bronze Age history

Separated in history by 100 years, the seafaring Minoans of Crete and the mercantile Canaanites of northern Egypt and the Levant (a large area of the Middle East) at the eastern end of the Mediterranean were never considered trading partners at the start of the Late Bronze Age. Until now.

Cultural links between the Aegean and Near Eastern civilizations will have to be reconsidered: A new Cornell University radiocarbon study of tree rings and seeds shows that the Santorini (or Thera) volcanic eruption, a central event in Aegean prehistory, occurred about 100 years earlier than previously thought.

The study team was led by Sturt Manning, a professor of classics and the incoming director of the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology at Cornell. The team's findings are the cover story in the latest issue of Science (April 28).

The findings, which place the Santorini eruption in the late 17th century B.C., not 100 years later as long believed, may lead to a critical rewriting of Late Bronze Age history of Mediterranean civilizations that flourished about 3,600 years ago, Manning said.

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Searching for the past at £55m development site

A TEAM of experts will delve into a town's past in search of relics on land earmarked for a multi-million pound development.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has commissioned the archaeological team to investigate any potential remains on the planned site for the Coatham Links development, in Redcar.

The team, led by senior keeper Steve Speak and keeper of field archaeology Gary Brogan, from Tyne and Wear Museums, has undertaken some preliminary work on the site and will be starting digs shortly.

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Families to dig for the past

Families could get the chance to delve into the city's past by taking part in a community archaeological dig.

With the success of TV's Time Team firing up enthusiasm in archaeology, a study is being carried out to see if a community excavation can be carried out in Norwich - with everyone invited to try their hand at uncovering the past.

Similar projects, where people get the chance to join archaeologists in the hunt for traces of the past, have proved enormously successful in other cities.

The city's heritage organisation Norwich HEART (Heritage, Economic and Regeneration Trust) has got funding from the East of England Development Agency to commission a study to see if such an excavation can be done in the city. Norwich HEART has asked NAU Archaeology to carry out the feasibility study and look into whether there is a spot in the city which people would be able to help excavate.

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Beverley: Iron Age archaeology will come under the spotlight in a new series of lectures at Beverley Art Gallery.

East Riding Council's museums service has just released details of the events.

Dr David Marchant, the local authority's museums registrar, said: "We have arranged for a variety of speakers to give talks on subjects such as Yorkshire chariot burials, the use of scientific techniques to analyse ancient weaponry and warfare in Iron Age Britain."

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Tigris dam project stirs hopes, fears in Turkey

For the people of Hasankeyf, this sleepy, once-mighty town on the banks of the River Tigris is a historic treasure: for those who want to build a massive dam here, it is a backwater in need of development.

"We have to stop the dam, our town will be destroyed," said Hasankeyf's mayor, Abdulvahap Kusen, a staunch opponent of the Ilisu dam project, which would swallow up more than 80 villages and hamlets by the time of its planned completion in 2013.

"Our valley is part of ancient Mesopotamia, where human history began," he said. "When you visit our caves, you get a sense of how people lived millennia ago."

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Ajax's long-lost palace discovered on island

Salamina, Greece - On a deserted green hill above the Aegean Sea, archaeologists have unearthed what may be the palace of Ajax, one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology.

From a rocky outcrop among the tranquil ruins, it is easy to imagine the warrior-king of Homer's Iliad setting sail from the island for Troy more than 3 300 years ago, as crowds lined the pine-covered slopes to wave farewell.

The idyllic location on Salamina island perfectly matches historical references, a fact which led archaeologists to wonder whether the scattered stones here might have formed one the most famous kingdoms of pre-historic Greece.

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Religious site could reveal cult secrets

Archaeologists hope to uncover a glimpse of the mysteries of cult worship in Roman Britain by excavating a vast religious complex in Ewell, writes Kevin Barnes.

A series of deep shafts found cut into chalk bedrock at Hatch Furlong gave researchers the clue that a ritual site existed there about 1,900 years ago.

Over the next fortnight an expert team led by Harvey Sheldon of Birkbeck College, London, intends to unearth the sacred stone building lying near the Ewell bypass.

Although similar temple complexes have been discovered in Britain, the dig may provide new evidence about Roman religion.

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The Bosnia-Atlantis Connection

Frenzied reporting of supposed pyramids in the Balkans ignores the truth and embraces the fantastic.

The world's oldest and largest pyramid found in Bosnia? It sounds incredible. The story has swept the media, from the Associated Press and the BBC, from papers and websites in the U.S. to those in India and Australia. Too bad that it is not a credible story at all. In fact, it is impossible. Who is the "archaeologist" who has taken the media for a ride? Why did the media not check the story more carefully? ARCHAEOLOGY will address these questions in depth in our next issue, July/August, but for now let's at least put the lie to the claims emanating from Visoko, the town 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo where the "Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun" is located.

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East Kirk of St Nicholas dig - 24th to 28th April 2006 - Week 13

Judith Stones, Keeper of Archaeology, writes…

A few weeks ago, Chris Croly discussed the extent of the damage caused by the 1874 fire in the East Kirk, and it became clear from newspaper reports of that time that despite headlines suggesting complete destruction, the devastation was not as great as that.

That impression is confirmed by evidence found on the dig. In the picture below you can see that the 19th-century wall behind David and Iraia looks blackened in places.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

World Heritage Alert!

Welcome to World Heritage Alert!

Around the world, at this very moment a huge number of heritage sites are under threat. They are being robbed, vandalised and destroyed by developments. Many countries lack appropriate laws to protect their heritage sites and even those countries that claim to have legal protection simply ignore these rules, misinterpret them or lack the determination to enforce them.

WHA! is here to raise awareness of these threats to our heritage, to provide more in depth coverage of the issues and to inform you of what actions you can take to help the various campaign groups that are fighting to preserve our heritage sites the world over.

Often the loss of internationally important sites fails to achieve recognition in the media. The issues involved often being cited as being too complex to be covered in the tiny space available. WHA! aims to give these issues the attention needed to inform the growing number of people concerned that we are loosing too much at a time when the developments that threaten the sites are also threatening the world in which we live.

(This text is taken from the editorial on the website)

Go to the site at:


Archaeologists have unearthed a collection of 15th Century pottery from the Princesshay site.

The remnants of some 2,000 jugs were discovered at the bottom of a medieval well in the area previously occupied by the service road between the rear of the High Street and the former Princesshay arcade.

Archeologist Peter Weddell said it was an exciting find.

"We weren't expecting to discover this sort of thing because it's so deep down," he said. "The jugs are not really of any monetary value but they are of historical importance.

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7th Int'l Archaeology Film Festival in Germany showcases Iran

The Seventh International Archaeology Film Festival which opened to the public in the north German city of Kiel on Wednesday, is screening 35 movies from nine countries, among them Iran.

A major focus at this year's event are archaeological documentary films from Iran and Russia.

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Late Bronze Age in Aegean a Century Older, Study Says (Update1)

Radiocarbon dating pushes some events in the middle of the second millennium B.C. 100 years back into the past, possibly revising history in the Aegean Sea area near Greece and Turkey, a study in tomorrow's Science said.

``A new story may be written on the origins of early classical and Aegean civilization, which effectively becomes much of Western civilization,'' said Stuart Manning, a Cornell University professor of classics.

The findings concern a critical time for development of Late Bronze Age cultures in the Aegean, Cyprus, Anatolia and others and may change how cultural relations are viewed in the period, said Manning, the lead investigator, in a telephone interview from London. The conclusion solves one of the big challenges to archeologists in the past 30 years, he said.

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ARCHAEOLOGY: Pupils really dig ancient history

WHEN a group of school pupils decided to get their hands dirty on an archaeological dig, they did not expect to unearth secrets of the past.

However, 14-year-olds Luke McDowell and Sophie Strickle, from Stanground College, made a medieval discovery that even delighted an expert from television's Time Team, who was overseeing the evacuation.

Luke and Sophie were digging away at the village of Ufford, near Peterborough, when they hit something solid.

They dug carefully around it and unearthed an ancient wall that had been hidden for centuries.

Former Time Team member and current Cambridge University lecturer Corenza Lewis guided the group.

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Olive branch clue to how Minoans were wiped out

A single olive branch may have solved one of ancient history's most enduring mysteries: when and why did the great Minoan civilisation of the Mediterranean come to a sudden end?

The branch was buried during a cataclysmic volcanic eruption on the Aegean island of Thera - now known as Santorini - and scientists believe they can date the precise moment of the tree's death.

Knowing when the Thera eruption happened is important because the explsion was so powerful that it almost certainly caused the collapse of the Minoan civilisation, centred on the island of Crete, 60 miles away. Vulcanologists believe the explosion generated violent tsunamis that destroyed Crete's ports, threw thousands of tons of ash and pumice into the atmosphere and created a "nuclear winter" that led to successive crop failures in the region.

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UCLA Egyptologists launching online encyclopaedia

Frustrated with the poor quality of many Web sites dealing with ancient Egypt, a professor at the University of California has decided to create a massive online encyclopaedia devoted solely to Egyptology.

Willemina Wendrich, a professor of Egyptian archaeology, had watched in dismay as the best resource for her subject, a seven-volume encyclopaedia in German got more and more out of date because of the prohibitive cost of updating it.

Meanwhile, her students at the University of California Los Angeles were doing research for papers on the Internet, and being led astray. "The Web has a lot of wonderful information and a lot of horrible information," she told Reuters in a telephone interview on Thursday.

The UCLA encyclopaedia of Egyptology, which will go online in 2008, will be peer-reviewed and will update constantly when there are new discoveries, said Wendrich.

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Archaeology: Digital digs

Archaeologists are bringing past worlds vividly to life on the computer screen. But are the high-tech graphics helping science, or are they just pretty pictures? Michael Bawaya takes a look.

There's more than one way to sink a ship, as Donald Sanders knows. President of the Institute for the Visualization of History in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Sanders spends a lot of his time repeatedly sinking a vessel off the coast of Cyprus.

The ship isn't real — it's a computer model of a vessel that sank in the fourth century BC. Sanders is trying to recreate what happened when the ship went down, leaving nearly 500 intact amphorae, or storage vessels, to be found centuries later on the sea floor. By loading his ship with a virtual crew and cargo, then sinking it in a number of different potential disasters, Sanders hopes to find a sequence of events that closely matches the archaeological evidence, and so work out might have happened centuries ago.

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Neanderthaler und Co.

Drei Ausstellungen und ein Kongress werden dieses Jahr unter dem Motto "Neanderthaler und Co." an die Entdeckung des Neanderthalers vor 150 Jahren erinnern. 1856 hatten Steinbrucharbeiter in dem Tal bei Mettmann 42.000 Jahre alte Knochen gefunden, die einer ganzen Menschenart weltweit den Namen gaben.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Evidence of pyramid reported in Bosnia

Archaeologists have unearthed stone slabs that they say could be part of an ancient pyramid buried under a huge hill in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Associated Press reported April 20.

If they’re right, experts say this would be the first step pyramid, or pyramid with stepped sides, known in Europe.

Archaeologists began digging at Visoko, a central Bosnian town, last week to explore a theory that the 2,120-foot hill covers the pyramid. “These are the first uncovered walls of the pyramid,’’ the Associated Press quoted Semir Osmanagic, a Bosnian archaeologist who studied the pyramids of Latin America for 15 years, as saying. “We can see the surface is perfectly flat. This is the crucial material proof that we are talking pyramids.”

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Research takes fresh look at what makes Berwick special

A NEW English Heritage research project led by buildings historian Adam Menuge is taking a fresh view of what makes Berwick special.

The project will study the whole town, together with Tweedmouth and Spittal, and produce an attractive and accessible book celebrating Berwick's historic fabric.

"Our aim is to show how the historic environment plays a vital role in the life of the town at this pivotal time," said Adam, who is based at English Heritage's York office.
He and his colleague Matthew Withey are already enthusiasts having conducted much of their research in the early part of this year.

"Many people are well aware of Berwick's outstanding military remains, with the best 16th century fortifications in the country but as the townspeople already know, Berwick's landscapes and buildings tell a much deeper, richer story," said Adam.

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Neandertaler-Jahr in Bonn gestartet

Am Fundort des vor 150 Jahren im Neandertal östlich von Düsseldorf entdeckten Neandertalers wurde am 26. März 2006 durch den auch für Archäologie zuständigen Bauminister von Nordrhein-Westfalen, Oliver Wittke (CDU), das Neandertalerjahr eröffnet.

Der Skelettfund vom August 1856 im Neandertal zähle "unbestritten zu den wichtigsten Ereignissen der Wissenschaftsgeschichte schlechthin", erkärte der Minister. Er habe der Vorgeschichtsforschung, der Anthropologie und auch der Theologie wesentliche neue Anstöße gegeben, sagte Wittke bei der Präsentation des Bandes "Neandertaler + Co.", der das Jubiläumsjahr begleiten soll.

Höhepunkt des Ausstellungsprogramms wird die Präsentation "Roots - Wurzeln der Menschheit" als bisher größtes "Familientreffen" der Urmenschen vom 8. Juli bis 19. November 2006 im Bonner Landesmuseum sein. Bisher lägen hierfür schon mehr als 40 Leihzusagen für Fossilien aus der Entstehungsgeschichte des Menschen vor, berichtete Ausstellungsorganisator Michael Schmauder. Ältestes Objekt sei der Kieferknochen eines ungefähr 3,7 Millionen alten Australopithecus afarensis, eines Zeitgenossen der berühmten Vormenschenfrau "Lucy".

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Archaeologists seize unique opportunity to discover ancient secrets under Olympic site

Humans have exploited east London ever since hungry Mesolithic fishermen ventured down to the banks of its marshy pools in search of food.

The Romans drove a fast road through the land, only for the rebellious English queen Boudica to exploit it to wreak her violent revenge on the invaders.

In the Middle Ages it was the turn of the Knights Templar. Their water mills established a thriving industrial zone, paving the way for some of the most important technological developments of the Victorian age.

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Solving Scotland's oldest murder mystery

A COLD-case murder investigation has uncovered new evidence of a killing - 2,000 years after a man's remains were dumped in a shallow grave.

The discovery of the human skeleton was made last year in the remains of an Iron Age workshop near Mine Howe, an underground chamber in Orkney.

Subsequent tests have shown the man, who was aged between 25 and 35, met a violent end and was probably stabbed to death, before his body was disposed of in a rubbish tip.

Archaeologists are now considering whether he was a battlefield hero or if he was slaughtered as a sacrifice.

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Caligula coins tell story of Roman debauchery

AN historic tale of incest, murder and cannibalism is being revealed at a Warwickshire museum this summer.

The amazing story is told on coins found at sites across the county and is now on display at the museum, in Warwick town centre.

Dating from as early as the 1st Century BC, the cash includes Greek and Roman coins brought back by Sir Roger Newdigate of Arbury Hall, Nuneaton from his grand tour of Europe in the 18th Century.

Dr Stanley Ireland, of the University of Warwick and the museum's former honorary numismatist, then late Wilfred Seaby catalogued the coins.

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Mythical Argo is brought to life

Greek shipbuilders use ancient tools to recreate legendary vessel of Jason and the Argonauts

Apostolos Kourtis, head of the Argo reconstruction project, examines a scale model of the legendary Greek vessel at a shipyard in Volos earlier this month. To ensure the authenticity of their creation, shipbuilders have used ancient tools. It has taken them 15 months to build just one-quarter of the 28-meter (92-foot) ship.

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Orkney's '2,000-year-old murder'

A body found in Orkney was likely to have been a murder victim dating back as far as 2,000 years, it has emerged.

The skeleton of the man was found during an Iron Age site excavation at Mine Howe, Tankerness.

Tests have now revealed that the body met with a violent death and had been dumped in a shallow grave.

Experts believe it dates from between 100 BC and 100 AD and now hope to establish more about where the man came from and what may have happened.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Antiquities trail leads abroad

Following the discovery of hundreds of illegal antiquities at a villa on the island of Schinoussa, the policeman leading the investigation explained to Kathimerini how organized networks are able to turn their plunder into legal ancient artifacts on the international market.

Giorgos Gligoris, the head of the Illegal Antiquities Department of Attica Police, has been leading the probe into how hundreds of unregistered artifacts ended up on the island, south of Naxos. The discovery was made on April 13.

He told Kathimerini that illegal antiquities mainly find their way into collectors’ hands in two ways. The first is when the artifacts are dug up by chance, usually by farmers or shepherds who then try to sell the finds.

The second method involves a more organized operation when international rings, often working to fill requests from collectors, will assign tasks to local illegal antiquities traders.

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Surprise finds at school site dig

Several important finds have been made at an archaeological dig on the site of the proposed new school in Lockerbie.

It was decided to survey the area after information was received by the council suggesting it could be an area containing buried remains.

The dig unearthed a cremation urn from about 1900 BC and what is believed to be an early Bronze Age grave.

Remains of a 5,500-year-old timber building and an Anglian Hall from about 700 AD were also discovered.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


At the very heart of ancient Thrace, in modern Bulgaria, lies the equally ancient town of Plovdiv. Occupied since the end of the seventh millennium BC, the city has risen from the ashes many times in more than 8000 years. This video tells the remarkable story of Plovdiv from Neolithic to recent times. Captured by King Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, the city became a Roman capital, was devastated by Attila the Hun, rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian, captured by the Bulgars in AD 831, destroyed by Crusaders, and captured by the Turks in 1364.

Watch the video ...

Tower skills captured on DVD

A record of how 21st century craftsmen used 600-year-old traditional methods to build the Millennium Cathedral Tower, in Bury St Edmunds, has been captured on DVD.
Flintknappers, bricklayers and stonemasons are among those who describe the similarities and differences in the workmanship undertaken during the six-year project.

The 10 hours of filmed material was edited down to a 50-minute DVD by Hazel Dormer, video production lecturer and video tech demonstrator Tony Haer, at West Suffolk College.

The DVDs are on sale at the cathedral shop priced £12 and the money will be used to cover the cost of the project. There are 1,000 copies available.

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1) Archaeology, it seems, really is a matter of life and death --this was the theme to emerge from a recent meeting [5] convened to address the question of what makes societies more likely to collapse or to achieve long-term sustainability. Just as we do today, our ancestors faced problems of resource depletion, environmental degradation, political instability, demographic pressure and social upheaval. And, as today, success in dealing with these challenges was never assured.

2) Consider the following contrasts. The islands of eastern Polynesia were all settled within a few centuries of one another by people sharing the same ancestral culture. Yet whereas some islands, such as Tahiti, have sustained human populations for centuries, others, such as Easter Island (Rapa Nui), supported populous and complex societies for only a short time before experiencing profound demographic and social disruption. Completely isolated since its initial colonization, variously dated between about AD 750 and 1200 [1,2], this scrap of land came to the notice of the world with the visit of the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen on Easter Sunday, 1722. Roggeveen marvelled not only at the more than 200 massive stone statues, the Moai, which ring the coast, but also at the barrenness of the landscape and the destitution of its small population. The rich soils of Easter Island, oddly enough, supported a depauperate vegetation virtually devoid of woody plants.

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Archaeologists dig Roman dogs

BONES of dozens of dogs offered to the gods in Roman times and unearthed in Ewell 30 years ago is an archeological find that has triggered further investigation.

Leading archaeologists are in the village recovering the secrets of lost Roman shrines.

The team of excavators, digging at Hatch Furlong on the Ewell bypass, is being led by Harvey Sheldon of Birkbeck College, University of London, and Jon Cotton of the Museum of London and president of the Epsom and Ewell Local History and Archaeology Society.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Missed rock carvings found in ancient 'stew-site'

Deep in the dark heart of a passage grave on Anglesey, archaeologists have discovered a decorated slab carved 4,500 years ago for the dead and their guardians, missed when the tomb was originally excavated over half a century ago.

The newly revealed carving at Barclodiad y Gawres, a chevron design pecked into the rock with a stone chisel, brings to six the number of decorated slabs with lozenges, cupmarks, concentric circles and spirals in a tomb already regarded as one of the most spectacularly decorated prehistoric burial monuments in Britain. It was spotted first by amateur archaeologists Maggie and Keith Davidson, and recorded earlier this month for the first time by a team of rock art experts. The carving is much fainter than on the other slabs, and was missed when the tomb was first excavated in the early 1950s.

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Italy owes wine legacy to Celts, history buffs say

Wine conjures up the image of cultured drinkers sipping their way delicately through a full-bodied vintage.

But for two history buffs with a passion for the tipple, northern Italy has the barbarians to thank for its long wine-making tradition.

Luca Sormani, from Como, and Fulvio Pescarolo, from the tiny town of Robbio near Milan, have traced the region's wine culture all the way back to its Celtic roots and have started making it according to ancient methods.

Celtic tribes from farther north — known to the Romans as "Barbari" — conquered northern parts of Italy about 2,500 years ago, settled there and started draining marshes, cultivating land and growing vines.

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Jason's 'Argo' to be recreated in Greece

Shipbuilders in the small Greek port of Volos are struggling with handmade tools and methods used millennia ago to recreate the Argo, the legendary vessel of Jason and the Argonauts.

The absence of modern resources such as electricity and machine tools makes it an exhausting task, but authenticity is an essential part of this experiment in ancient shipbuilding.

"It's extremely laborious work," said builder Stelios Kalafatidis. "We don't have large, proper, modern tools, only our hands and wooden mallets and chisels."

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Thirsk castle site history unveiled

AN unveiling ceremony was held in Thirsk this week to mark the installation of three interpretation boards on Castle Garth.

The boards have been placed at each of the three entrances to Castle Garth by the town council and depict the history of the site of Thirsk Castle and the archaeological remains found there – some of which are now in Thirsk Museum.

The historical text on the boards was produced by museum curator Cooper Harding, while the artwork was done by Bob Anderton.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006


EXPERTS are pouring scorn on the findings of an archaeologist who says he has discovered a Roman fort in Furness.

Eight specialists wrote a joint letter to the magazine British Archaeology rubbishing Steve Dickinson’s claims about his dig at Urswick.

One of them, archaeologist Ben Johnson from Newcastle University, was site manager during last year’s Furness dig and has not been paid his wages.

Mr Johnson said: “There is no evidence that there is a Roman fort on the site at all. There are no walls, trenches or ditches — nothing.”

Mr Dickinson says his finds are significant and are still being processed.

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Olympia event scrapped after archaeologists intervene

An international athletics meeting at the birthplace of the Olympic Games in the ancient stadium of Olympia has been scrapped after scientists vetoed the plan for fear it could damage the historic site.

The event scheduled for mid-May and conceived by the Greek Olympic Committee (HOC), had been backed by the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations as a means to promote athletics worldwide.

"The meeting is canceled. It cannot go ahead if we have to use some other stadium for the events," an HOC official told Reuters on Saturday.

Greece's Central Archaeological Council (CAS) rejected organizers' plans for the event on Wednesday and refused to allow the use of the ancient stadium because of the added weight of equipment and the large number of spectators.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Roche faces court battle over Tara

Campaigners battling to re-route the M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara yesterday served environment minister Dick Roche with notice of a Supreme Court challenge.

Lawyer Vincent Salafia said he was appealing a High Court ruling clearing the way for the road, which would snake its way through the ancient capital of Ireland’s kings.
He said he was hopeful the government would try to appease voters ahead of next year’s election by doing a U-turn.

“While the case is proceeding logically to the Supreme Court, and Europe if necessary, we are still hoping for a political decision by the authorities to review the situation and consider rerouting the Tara section of motorway,” he said.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Weaponry project receives grant

One of the country's leading museums of archaeological treasures has been given £98,571 for a project focused on weaponry and armour through the ages.

Curators at Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum said the collection ranges from a set of Japanese Samurai armour to a riot shield donated by Thames Valley Police.

Spokesman Michael O'Hanlon said the grant would make "these wonderful collections even more accessible".

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Museum curators in Bristol will get the chance to open up an under-used collection of photographic images. The pictures form part of the city council's museums and galleries archives' outstanding local history collections.

A £100,000 award by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) will enhance the collections and make it possible for the public to see them.

The money will allow for 3,500 images to be digitalised and made available freely online.

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Virgil's demi-god city 'found'

Rome, April 6 - Italian archaeologists believe they have found an ancient city where the demi-gods Castor and Pollux fought Aeneas, the Trojan hero whose descendants founded Rome .

Lorenzo and Stefania Quilici of Bologna and Naples universities claim the large, massive-walled settlement dating from the VI to III Century BCE was the city of Amyclae, believed by Renaissance scholars to be somewhere near Lake Fondi between Rome and Naples .

"The road there is a perfectly preserved stretch of the ancient Via Appia," said Lorenzo Quilici .

"After a tough climb we found the remains of the old city, which appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake, given the way the rocks have tumbled onto one another" .

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The MoLAS Review for 2005

The MoLAS (Museum of London Archaeological Service) Review for 2005 is now online.

Find the MoLAS 2005 Review here...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Prehistoric and Roman Coastal Saltmaking in Britain

One day conference about 'Prehistoric and Roman Coastal Saltmaking in Britain' will be held on Saturday 10th June 2006 at Boston Conference Centre, Skirbeck Road, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE21 6AQ (England).

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Art treasures and the Gestapo: The casket, the Nazis and why the police came calling at the V&A

For 25 years, this exquisitely enamelled medieval casket had been on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Made in the French city of Limoges in about 1200, it was designed to hold the relics of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury famously murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. It had been on public display until 2000 when it was put into storage while the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries were prepared.

Like its sister work, a slightly earlier Becket casket which was bought with the support of a public appeal 10 years ago for £4.3m, it was likely to have proved one of the centrepieces of the new galleries when they open in a few years' time.

But that looks unlikely now. Earlier this year, The Art Newspaper revealed yesterday, Metropolitan police from the art and antiques squad arrived at the V&A Museum and seized it.

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Ancient pyramid found under crucifixion site

Archaeologists claim to have discovered a massive sixth century pyramid beneath a crucifixion re-enactment site.

Built by the Teotihuacans, the pyramid was abandoned almost 1,000 years before Catholics began re-enacting the crucifixion at Iztapalapa in 1833 to give thanks for protection during a cholera epidemic.

During the Good Friday ritual, which now draws up to a million spectators, a wooden cross is raised and a man chosen to portray Christ is tied to the cross.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Flint heads were Neolithic tooth drill of choice

LONDON (Reuters) - Long before the invention of electric drills and anaesthesia early humans drilled teeth to treat decay, according to research published on Wednesday.

But in the absence of modern metal tools the Neolithic drill of choice 9,000 years ago was a flint head, according to Roberto Macchiarelli, of the University of Poitiers in France.

While excavating in Pakistan, Macchiarelli and a team of international scientists found drilled molars from nine adults discovered in a grave that date from 7,500 to 9,000 years ago.

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9,000-Year-Old Drilled Teeth Are Work of Stone Age Dentists

Human teeth excavated from an archaeological site in Pakistan show that dentistry was thriving as recently as 9,000 years ago.

Researchers excavating a Stone Age graveyard found a total of 11 teeth that had been drilled, including one that had apparently undergone a complex procedure to hollow out a cavity deep inside the tooth.

The discovery suggests a high level of technological sophistication, though the procedure, which involved drills tipped with shards of flint, could hardly have been a painless affair.

"The finding provides clear and compelling evidence that earlier people had knowledge of manipulation of dental hard tissues in living people," said Clark Spencer Larsen, an anthropologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, who was not part of the excavation.

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Secrets of 'swamp girl' revealed in Germany

Berlin - German scientists on Tuesday said a girl whose 2 650-year-old skeleton was found in a swamp in the east of the country had lived a short life marked by famine.

"Moora", as the skeleton has been dubbed, was only about 15 when she died, forensic scientists at the Hamburg-Eppendorf university clinic said, as they unveiled the results of months of research on the skeleton.

Studies of her teeth and bones showed that she was malnourished up to the age of 11, suggesting that there had been food shortages in the region where she lived.

"Moora" was found in a marshland in Germany's eastern Lower Saxony state in 2000.

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The Kalat project

This is one of the projects of the Archeoclub d’Italia - non-profit organization situated in Campobello di Licata. The major interest of Kalat project is connected with protection and development of the Sicilian archeology heritage. For our activities we was worked with Italian and foreign participants, youth volunteers, students, research workers, non-profit organizations and with the support of the local institutions. During these years are realized the following activities:

- archaeological research of the area and of the excavation

- exploitation and recovery of the environment

- promotion of tourism and international divagation

- formation and exploitation of human resource.

- cultural exchanges between local youth, Italians and foreigners

- European Voluntary Service projects

Every summer the camps of Kalat project give one beautiful possibility to young people from all around the world to do an interesting archeological research, cultural discoveries and summer vacation. We would like to inform You about this our activity and to ask about your co-operation with the popularization of this archaeological summer camp.

For further information email:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Medieval trading hall reopening

A 15th Century merchant's hall built when Norwich was England's second richest city is reopening after restoration work which cost almost £2m.

Dragon Hall, the only building of its type in Western Europe, was built by wealthy Robert Toppes in 1430 to sell goods imported from around the world.

Many medieval trading halls were built by merchants' guilds. The 400-year-old hall is the only one built by one man.

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Vase Accident Man Arrested

A museum visitor who claimed he accidentally smashed three vases after tripping over a shoelace has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage, police have said.

Nick Flynn, 42, claimed he had tripped and crashed into the 17th century porcelain Chinese vases on a visit to The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in January.

A specialist ceramic restorer is currently gluing together more than 400 pieces to recreate the three vases.

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Early Farming Communities Often Ate Weeds, Other Wild Plants, Archaeologist Finds

Thousands of years after the advent of agriculture, ancient farmers in India routinely foraged for wild plants — even weeds — when times got tough, a UCLA archaeologist has found.

In fact, they may have eaten a flower now used today in Hawaii for leis, a weed considered invasive in the American West and a relative of the acacia plant that now grows beside Southern California freeways, said Monica L. Smith, the article's author and an assistant professor in the UCLA Department of Anthropology and who also heads the South Asian archaeology laboratory at UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.

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Bishop's country palace uncovered

Archaeologists have found the site of a medieval bishop's palace.

After a search lasting decades, the time team found the country residence of the Archbishop of Glasgow on the outskirts of the city.

The palace, near to Bishop Loch, was built around the 13th Century but destroyed three centuries later during the reformation.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Excavations in Ephesus see their 111th year

Excavation and restoration efforts in the ancient city of Ephesus are entering their 111th year.

Conducted by the Austrian Archaeology Institute for the past 110 years, work on the site will continue this year as well, carried out by the same or...

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Digging deep for restoration work

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have moved onto one of Bexley's most historic sites to prepare for its restoration.

Hall Place, the Tudor house in Bourne Road, Bexley, and its gardens, are about to undergo major renovation and conservation work to better reflect its past.

But before the work begins, investigation pits are being opened up all over the site, both in the house and the grounds.

The investigations are the first stage of work being carried out by the Museum of London's archaeological services and include geo-technical test pits and boreholes in the garden.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Blueprint to save Iron Age hill fort

A conservation blueprint to safeguard the future of the historic Castle Hill site in Huddersfield (Yorkshire, England) has been unveiled. Castle Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has been settled for at least 4,000 years. Experts regard it as one of Yorkshire's most important early Iron Age hill forts.

Castle Hill was mired in controversy after developers part-built a hotel which did not match the plans approved by Kirklees Council. The authority took the Thandi Partnership to court and the firm has since demolished the structure. Now a draft conservation management plan has been produced by Leeds-based consultancy Atkins Heritage. It will eventually guide the future use and development of the site and ensure that guidelines are in place to shape its conservation and any new development.

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Music did help human ancestors survive

In Steven Mithen's imagination, the small band of Neanderthals gathered 50,000 years ago around the caves of Le Moustier, in what is now the Dordogne region of France, were butchering carcasses, scraping skins, shaping ax heads - and singing. One of the fur-clad men started it, a rhythmic sound with rising and falling pitch, and others picked it up, indicating their willingness to cooperate both in the moment and in the future, when the group would have to hunt or fend off predators.
he music promoted "a sense of we-ness, of being together in the same situation facing the same problems," suggests Prof. Mithen, an archaeologist at England's Reading University. Music, he says, creates "a social rather than a merely individual identity." And that may solve a longstanding mystery.

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Castle opens after six-year wait

Gorey Castle has been reopened to the public after the completion of a £4.6m restoration project.

The Lieutenant Governor Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire presided over the opening ceremonies at the castle on Sunday afternoon.

It has taken more than six years to restore the 13th century building.

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Discovery of Roman clunch dig

TWO Roman quarries have been discovered by archaeologists on the site of a cement works.

Chalk has been excavated from Barrington quarry for around 80 years - but it now seems our Roman ancestors had the same idea nearly 2,000 years ago.

An archaeological team from Cambridge University made the discovery after they were called in by Cemex, which owns the quarry and adjacent cement works.

The firm was required by planning regulations to bring in the team before extracting chalk in a new part of the quarry.

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The reasons why Uley Bury, near Dursley is such an important landmark have been set in stone. A new interpretation board explaining the history, archaeology, ecology and geology of the site was unveiled yesterday.

The bury stands at 650ft and is topped by an Iron Age hill fort.

Local councillor Janet Wood explained that several things had happened at the site over the last four years and an interpretation board had been put in place to add to the experience of visitors.

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Archaeologist records discoveries

An archaeologist has been hired to record thousands of historic objects and artefacts uncovered each year on county council owned farms and land.

Philippa Walton will be known as a finds liaison officer and will be available to help identify and record any interesting discoveries.

Cambs county farms estate is one of the largest in the country with 300 tenants working 13,500 hectares of land.

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Odyssey's End?: The Search for Ancient Ithaca

Robert Bittlestone is standing above the village of Petrikata, looking over red-tile roofs down upon a narrow isthmus that connects the two parts of the island of Cephalonia, off Greece’s western coast. In the valley below, farmers in overalls are harvesting olives. A light breeze carries the scent of oregano and thyme. “This looks like solid ground that we’re standing on,” Bittlestone says. “But everything under us is rockfall. Across that valley was the ancient island of Ithaca.”

Bittlestone, a management consultant by profession, believes he has solved a mystery that has bedeviled scholars for more than 2,000 years. In Odysseus Unbound, published this past October by Cambridge University Press, he argues that a peninsula on the island of Cephalonia was once a separate island—Ithaca, the kingdom of Homer’s Odysseus some 3,000 years ago. He believes that the sea channel dividing the two islands was filled in by successive earthquakes and landslides, creating the peninsula of Paliki, as it is known today.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Unearthing Welsh history

That an amateur archaeologist was prepared to pay £32,000 for 4.5 unremarkable acres at Trelleck, Monmouthshire, must mean Welsh sons of the soil are salivating with glee. But so convinced is Stuart Wilson that the field is the site of a lost medieval town, he still insists it was money well spent a year after he bought the land.

Mr Wilson, 27, and friends at the Monmouth Archaeological Society, have a strong hunch that, 700 years ago, Trelleck was not only the industrial heart of Wales, specialising in the manufacture of iron, but also its largest and most prosperous town. So in an attempt to confirm this, they have, for three years, been burrowing in fields to the south of the present day village.

Last year, Mr Wilson pricked up his ears when a tenant farmer mentioned that his landlord, Monmouth County Council, had asked him to move his sheep from an adjacent field as it was soon to be sold at auction. "Although we hadn't dug there yet, we'd always looked at this particular field as an area of archaeological significance because it has a road frontage, which is a good clue when looking for a settlement," he says. "It was old pasture land, which implies that the earth is stony for some reason and too difficult to plough."

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Coins returned to Greece

An archaeologist holds three ancient Greek coins out of a group of 48 returned to Greece from Sweden on Friday, March 31, 2006. Excavated by Swedish archaeologists in Asine, southern Greece, in 1922, the coins were lost

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visualizing_neolithic is a photography project upon the material culture of the lakeside neolithic settlement Dispilio in Greece.

Information from Fotis Ifantidis

Rare Painted Roman Sculpture Found

The marble head of an Amazon warrior woman has emerged from Vesuvius' volcanic rock with her make up still on, archaeologists announced this week.

Buried by the eruption that nearly 2,000 years ago covered Pompeii and the nearby towns of Herculaneum and Stabiae with nine to 20 feet of hot ash and pumice, the painted marble bust was found in a collapsed escarpment near Herculaneum's Basilica.

The newly found Amazon head belonged to a group of sculptures which adorned the Basilica, or the law courts.

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