Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mammoth remains' island return

The teeth and jaw bone of a mammal which roamed the earth during the ice age are to be returned to their home town on Anglesey.

The remains were originally uncovered at Holyhead over 140 years ago.

They were saved because the local lord of the manor at the time was an amateur archaeologist who gave the remains to the Natural History Museum in London.

A special cabinet has been built at Holyhead Maritime Museum to house the objects at a constant temperature.

The jawbone and teeth were found by workmen from the London North Western Railway working in Holyhead harbour in 1864.

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Ministers 'wreck protection for listed buildings'

Leaked plans that would allow some of the country's top listed buildings to be demolished to generate money for the taxpayer led to an extraordinary row between the head of English Heritage and the Government last night.

Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, called the legislation proposed by Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary and Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, with the approval of Tony Blair, a "demolishers' charter".

He said it undermined "the fundamental principle that the country's best and most culturally valuable architecture is worth keeping".

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500k-year human fossil remains found in Casablanca

A new human fossil remain of an upper premolar tooth of a Homo erectus has been discovered recently in the Thomas 1 quarry site in Casablanca.

"The human fossil is associated to an Acheulian tool and to numerous remains dating back to at least 500,000 years," said a communiqué of the Culture Minister, recalling that this site had previously yielded notably a Homos erectus lower jaw in 1969, and an upper premolar tooth in 1994.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Boadicea may have had her chips on site of McDonald's

Archaeologists believe they may have found the final battle site for the warrior queen Boadicea - on the site of a McDonald's restaurant.

Having spent her life in fierce resistance to one empire - the Romans - her last stand is thought to have been overshadowed by another one, this time corporate.

Having found ancient artefacts where new houses and flats are due to be built, experts have now asked the local authority to allow a full excavation of the area.

Little is known about Boadicea's last fight, or the way in which she died, but it is widely believed to have taken place in the West Midlands. The site unearthed by experts, in Kings Norton, Birmingham, lies close to the line of a Roman road, and fits many of the few facts available.

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Uncovered - Boadicea's big fight on McDonalds

She spent her life fighting off the might of the Roman Empire, only to be defeated in her last stand.

Now, in the 21st century the Queen of the Iceni would seem to be in the grip another mighty empire - the McDonalds food chain.

Excavations near the sprawling McDonalds in Kings Norton have uncovered Roman artefacts which archeologist think may have been the location for the famous battle between Boadicea's army and the Romans in 61AD.

Local councillor and archaeologist Peter Douglas Osborn (Weoley, Con) said: "We know for certain that the battle between the 200,000 ancient Britons and the Romans happened somewhere in the Midlands.

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Ride back in time as chariot fires the imagination

THE remains of a 2,000-year-old chariot and a skeleton – possibly that of a tribal chief – discovered in a West Yorkshire field have gone on public display.
The remains, dating back to the Iron Age, were found at Ferry Fryston three years ago during upgrading of the A1.

The chariot was buried whole in its owner's grave – a fact that makes it a very rare find, say archaeologists.

It forms the centrepiece of an exhibition starting today at Pontefract Museum.
Tests have revealed that the skeleton found with the chariot was that of a male aged 30 to 40, who probably did not originate from the West Yorkshire area.

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Roman artefacts found on farm are treasure

A UNIQUE Roman oil lamp and a bronze arm purse found in a farmer's field have been declared treasure trove.

The purse – one of only three found in Britain – was unearthed with
the decorated oil lamp and four silver coins by Huddersfield garden centre manager Andrew Harper, who had permission to use his metal detector on a farm near Tadcaster – the Roman settlement of Calcaria.

Simon Holmes, of the national Portable Antiquities Scheme based at the Yorkshire Museum in York, told a Selby inquest yesterday that the Roman dinari coins dated the finds as no later than 180AD.

He said the British Museum had nothing remotely like the lamp, which was probably made in Italy in the first century AD, and he added: "I would say it is unique."

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500 year-old human remains are discovered in Bawtry

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have descended on a Bawtry building site – after human remains were found by surprised workmen.
Last Wednesday police cordened off the site believing it could be a crime scene, but visiting history experts confirmed the bones were 500 years old.

It is thought the skull and bones belong to a small adult or child, but the gender has not yet been determined.

Work on the Bett Homes development has been temporarily halted while a team of archaeologists dig for clues that could reveal more about Medieval Bawtry.

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Gringley dig

MEMBERS of the community were invited to an archaeological dig at Gringley Wharf where the parish council is working towards a restoration project.

Gringley Parish Council and Notts County Council are working together to redevelop Gringley Wharf which is currently a derelict piece of land owned by the parish council.

As part of the Building Better Communities scheme, a £30,000 bid for money to work on the rural heritage project was successfully granted by the county council.

Project manager Dave Foreman, who is also vice-chairman of the parish council, said the dig was to help them research the area which is to be restored.

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The chariot man meets his public

MAKE no bones about it, Pontefract Museum's Iron Age mystery man is one of the most significant finds in British history.

The 2,000-year-old skeleton was found buried with the remains of his ash wood chariot in 2003 during routine surveying work on the A1 at Ferry Fryston, Castleford.
Now the amazing find, thought to be one of the best examples of its kind in the world, is going on public display for the first time just a few miles from where it was unearthed.

But after he lay undiscovered for over two millennia, and following almost three years of painstaking research at the University of Bradford, experts are still no closer to solving the riddle of just who the remarkable Ferry Fryston man really was.

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Is Boudicca buried in Birmingham?

The burial ground of Queen Boudicca could be next to a burger restaurant in Birmingham, it has been claimed.

An excavation is to take place at the site in Kings Norton after evidence it has Roman remains buried there.

Queen Boudicca, who led ancient tribes in battle against the Romans, died in 62 AD, possibly in the Midlands.

It would be a "world-shattering" find, said Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn. But experts warned there is no evidence the site is linked to Boudicca.

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Ancient chariot goes on display

A 2,500-year-old chariot found during the construction of a motorway near Pontefract will go on display at the town's museum on Friday.

The chariot was unearthed at an Iron Age burial site in 2003 by engineers working on the A1 motorway.

Archaeologists say the chariot is extremely unusual as it was buried whole with its wheels still intact.

It will be displayed in the 'Wheels of Time' exhibition at Pontefract Museum until 22 July.

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Würzburger Archäologen erforschen antiken Siedlungsbund in der Türkei

In der Antike war die Karische Chersones, die heutige Bozburun-Halbinsel im äußersten Südwesten der Türkei, als ein Bund von etwa 20 kleineren Siedlungen organisiert, die kein städtisches Zentrum hatten. "Diese dezentrale Struktur steht im Gegensatz zu den griechischen Stadtstaaten, ist jedoch für das einheimische Volk der Karer eine typische, wenn auch archäologisch bisher kaum untersuchte Siedlungsweise", erklärt der Würzburger Archäologe Held.

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prof. Riccardo Francovich (University of Siena-Medieval
Archaeology), prof. Maurizio Forte (senior scientist of Italian National
Research Council)and DR.Stefano Campana (University of Siena-Landscape
Archaeology) are organizing an important scientific initiative in Italy.

WE ANNOUNCE HEREBY THAT IN DECEMBER 2006, the second conference will be
organized in Rome:


CNR HEADQUARTER (Piazzale Aldo Moro) ROME 4-7/12/2006


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Archaeology Project

A former Kendal Museum employee is poised to start unlocking the Lake District ’s vast heritage where over 6,500 sites make it one of the north’s top areas for archaeology.

Thanks to a £171,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, Lisa Keys is spearheading work to roll out the relics of history to new and expanding audiences in a project she says ‘couldn’t be more exciting’.

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Broken stones and iron rails – a key to 2,000 years of civic pride

AT FIRST glance the items which decorate Tullie House’s gardens are just metal railings and blocks of stone.

But to dismiss them as ornate pieces of furniture which break up the flowers would be a huge mistake.

The stones and metalwork which appear to make the gardens more attractive actually reveal major clues to Carlisle’s rich historical past.

From the remnants of the Roman empire which once ruled the city to the start of the industrial revolution which transformed its fortunes, these seemingly simple pieces are of great significance.

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The Wenlock Jug, an English Royal medieval jug dramatically acquired by Luton Museum earlier this year, is to finally go on display at Wardown Park Museum in Luton on Friday May 26 2006.

The bronze jug was almost sold to New York’s Metropolitan Museum for £750,000 but was export-stopped in October 2005 by culture minister David Lammy - in order to provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the jug in the United Kingdom.

After a hard fought campaign to raise the necessary £750,000 Luton Borough Council’s Museums Service managed to buy the jug, which has strong local connections, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of several key organisations and donations from many individuals.

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Arrest on Paros over artifacts

Police on the Cycladic island of Paros said yesterday that they had arrested a 56-year-old woman for allegedly possessing a number of illegal antiquities, including nine sections of ancient columns.

Officers from the Attica police antiquities department had been on the island to chase up leads from the discovery of a huge stash of illegal artifacts on the nearby island of Schinoussa.

Policemen searched the house of an archaeologist who had allegedly worked in the past with Marion True, the former director of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Illegal artifacts were confiscated from True’s villa on Paros last month. But officers did not find anything suspicious at the unnamed archeologist’s house.

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Dracula castle returns to bloodline

More than 60 years after it was seized by communists, the Romanian government is to hand back one of the country's most popular tourist sites, the fabled Dracula Castle, to its former owner, the culture minister said Tuesday.

The hand-over ceremony will take place Friday noon in the 14th century castle's museum deep within the fortress in Transylvania, said minister Adrian Iorgulescu at a news conference.

The castle, worth an estimated $25 million (19.6 million euros), was owned by the late Queen Marie and bequeathed to her daughter Princess Ileana in 1938. It was confiscated by communists in 1948 and fell into disrepair.

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Heritage denied in London

ENGLISH HERITAGE has accepted the issue of a “certificate of immunity” from listing of its own headquarters in London’s Savile Row. The building, Fortress House, is a notable landmark designed by a gold medallist of RIBA, William Curtis Green, who has long been recognised as a leading talent.

Clearly it stands on a valuable piece of real estate, and English Heritage has only remained here thanks to the determined stand of its former chairman, Sir Jocelyn Stevens, in reversing ill-judged proposals to move the organisation away from the centre of power to Nottingham. Now the Department of Culture is surrendering the lease to the owners, Legal & General.

The issue of a certificate of immunity from listing can only be justified in cases where a building clearly has no architectural interest of any kind. In this case, however, English Heritage acknowledges the building has architectural interest, but argues this is not sufficient to make it “special” and therefore worthy of listing.

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Location: Florida Length: 28 min.

Before Spanish explorers arrived 500 years ago, Florida was home to a variety of sophisticated and colorful native societies, including diverse groups such as the Calusa, Apalachee, Timacua, and Tequesta. In this film, artist Ted Morris follows his quest to recreate on canvas the lives and spirits of these vanished people. Archaeological evidence from the land and from below the clear waters combines with facial reconstructions and early historical accounts to paint a fascinating picture of people in tune with the subtropical environment.

Watch the video...

Call to save WWII weapons plant

A former chemical weapons factory where British scientists contributed to early atomic bomb technology should be preserved, experts are to say.

The Valley Works at Rhydymwyn, near Mold, Flintshire, produced hundreds of tons of mustard gas in World War Two.

But its history goes back to the 18th Century, according to university researchers who studied the site, now a nature reserve, for five months.

They are to present their findings at a public meeting on Tuesday.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rosslyn Trust seeks millions in funding to save crumbling chapel

THE Rosslyn Chapel Trust is hoping to secure £13.3 million to preserve the medieval treasure for future generations, The Scotsman can reveal.

The money would be used to restore the crumbling masonry, replace the roof, install a new heating system and try to repair disastrous renovation work carried out in the past.

The cash would come from Historic Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources of finance such as ticket sales from people visiting the chapel.

Stuart Beattie, the director of the trust, said: "The trust has always had a supportive working relationship with Historic Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Midlothian Council. This partnership continues as we move towards our final push of the consultation plan, which is a £13.3 million project."

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London's heart of stone

The mysterious "London stone" is going to be rescued from a building due to be demolished. Does it mean that London is going to be saved from an ancient legend?

You couldn't get much less of a romantic setting for an historic monument. It's in a kerbside cage, stuck on the wall of a sports shop in Cannon Street due for demolition.

The only clouds of mystery billowing around it are the car exhaust fumes from the traffic crawling through the City of London.

But this is the neglected setting of the London Stone - an ancient and mysterious object mentioned by Shakespeare, William Blake and Dickens, which has been seen as one of the capital's greatest relics since at least the Middle Ages and probably much earlier.

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Roman centre step closer

AMBITIOUS plans to demolish part of a Grade II listed building in Chester's city centre and replace it with a new visitor centre have moved a step closer.

Later this summer, Chester City Council will be told whether it can develop detailed plans to build a new centre at the Roman amphitheatre.

Last week, the city council agreed that if it makes it through to the next round of bids it will hold an architectural competition for "a design concept for a new multifunctional landmark centre on part of the amphitheatre".

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Fire destroys roof of oldest church in Gdansk

The roof of the oldest church, st Catherine's, in the Polish port city of Gdansk was destroyed Monday by fire which was still not fully out by early evening as 20 fire trucks worked away.

There were fears that the historic tower of the church, with its 49 bells, would collapse. 'We're doing all we can to prevent this,' said fire chief Andrzej Roszkowski.

Television broadcaster TVN 24 said part of the roof collapsed, but a spokesman for the fire department said the building's interior was not threatened.

Emergency crews were also preparing to bring art works housed in the building to safety. 'This is the worst tragedy for Gdansk's landmarks since 1945,' art historian Andrzej Januszajtis told radio reporters.

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Building site was Roman cemetery

Archaeologists have discovered a Roman cemetery on a building site.

During a routine inspection, they discovered 18 cremation urns, most in perfect condition, yards from the Thomas A Becket crossroads in Offington Lane, Worthing.

Project manager Neil Griffin said the unexpected find had caused considerable excitement.

He said it was rare to find vessels dating back to at least 200AD in such fine condition.

Mr Griffin, of Ditchling-based Archaeology South-East, hopes the urns, thought to contain a family group of five people alongside offerings of food and wine to the gods, will be presented to Worthing Museum.

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We inform that this is the last week AVAILABLE to submit the
application for the XV International Summer School in Archaeology:


the School is organized from the University of Siena and the Italian
National Research Council and will take place in Grosseto (Tuscany, Italy)
FROM 10 TO 18 July 2006.

List of lecturers:
H. Becker - S.Campana - L. Conyers - M.Dabas - C.Gaffney - D.Goodman -
A.Hesse - Y.Nishimura - S.Piro - D.Powlesland - A.Schmidt - A.Tabbagh -
G.Tsokas - M.Watters

Visit the Website...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dig turns up a medieval mystery

Archaelogists have discovered what they believe are medieval floor tiles at the site of a former Red Cross ambulance base in Northumberland.

A team from Durham-based Pre-Construct Archaeology have been working at the site on St Helen's Street, Corbridge, all week.

The area has been earmarked by Anvil Homes for a development of up to six homes but before a planning application can be submitted, Northumberland county archaeologist Sara Ruston ordered test excavation to be carried out.

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A GOLD miniature annular brooch, believed to be 13th century, is the latest discovery made by Island metal detectors.

It has been heralded a rare find by Island archaeologists, who have examined the piece found by Allan Hall in the parish of Godshill.

The brooch is inscribed with the letters AGLA, each letter separated by a cross potent (a sort of Medieval full stop), which comes from the Latinised version of a Hebrew phrase, Atha Gebri Leilan Adonai, or Thou Art Mighty Forever o' Lord.

These words are known to have been considered to be a powerful charm against fever in the Middle Ages.

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Caesar seizes his chance to educate young Romans

PARENTS and pupils have been exploring ancient historical sites as part of a school's Roman theme week.

Each class at St Charles Primary School, Tudhoe, has been on a trip accompanied by school staff and a number of parent helpers.

They have visited places including the Museum of Antiquities, in Newcastle, Arbeia Roman Fort, at South Shields, and Hadrian's Wall.

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Ancient Etruscans are unlikely the ancestors of modern Tuscans, study finds

For the first time, Stanford researchers have used novel statistical computer modeling to simulate demographic processes affecting the population of Tuscany over a 2,500-year time span. Rigorous tests used by the researchers have ruled out a genetic link between ancient Etruscans, the early inhabitants of central Italy, and the region's modern day residents.

The findings suggest that something either suddenly wiped out the Etruscans or the group represented a social elite that had little in common with the people who became the true ancestors of Tuscans, said Joanna Mountain, assistant professor of anthropological sciences.

"Very often, we assume the most simple explanation for something," said Mountain, an expert in anthropological genetics. "So when you find in a particular location the archeological remains of people, the simplest explanation is that those people are ancestral to whoever is living there now. How often do you get a chance to check that? Very rarely."

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Egyptian backs Bosnian pyramid claim

An Egyptian geologist said on Wednesday that a hill in central Bosnia appeared to be a primitive human-made pyramid of uncertain age.

Geologist Aly Abd Barakat was sent by Egypt’s government to join the local team researching what Bosnian-born amateur archaeologist Semir Osmanagic says are three 12,000-year-old pyramids — the Bosnian Pyramids of Sun, Moon and Dragon.

“In my opinion, it is a type of pyramid, probably primitive pyramid ... (that) we did not know until now,” Barakat told reporters at the dig on the northeastern side of Visocica hill, where huge stone blocks have been found.

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Tara Burial Unique in Irish Archaeology

A newly discovered burial site near Tara shows features not found in Ireland before.

A cemetery from the first few centuries CE, when Romano-British customs were being introduced into Ireland, includes a variety of burial types and a kind of square-ditched enclosure characteristic of Yorkshire burials

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Sunday, May 21, 2006


A fraying 4000 year old papyrus of accounts might seem an unpromising place to look for gay history. But next to the figures is a fragment of the story of Horus and Seth, containing the oldest recorded chat up line in history:

"And the Majesty of Seth said
to the Majesty of Horus: 'How lovely your backside is!
Broad are [your] thighs(?) [...]
And the Majesty of Horus said:
'Watch out or I'll tell this!'"

…and he does: he goes straight round to the palace of his mother, Isis, and says "Seth tried to know me".

The evidence of this Egyptian papyrus - now held at the Petrie Museum is just one of the aspects of male same-sex desire in the ancient world uncovered at the British Museum this month.

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Iron Age fort unearthed in Wiltshire

A dig near Malmesbury town walls (Wiltshire, England) has uncovered a substantial stone-fronted defensive rampart and a deep ditch which could date to the Iron Age. Archaeologists believe the prehistoric hill fort would have had impressive multiple defences rising above the valley of the River Avon.

English Heritage said the results were very exciting and showed how important the town's defences were. A project spokesman said it was the first time that the area outside of the line of defences has been examined archaeologically. The finds add to discoveries recorded during the previous investigation carried out during November 2005 during restoration work on the walls, that revealed new evidence about the nature of the town's defences.

When the collapsing stone of the wall was removed, substantial clay deposits almost 3m (10ft) high were found. Archaeologists identified these as the upper rampart of the Iron Age hill fort on which Malmesbury was later built.

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Brutal lives of Neolithic Britons

A survey of British skulls from the early part of Neolithic, shows societies then were more violent than was supposed. Early Neolithic Britons had a one in 20 chance of suffering a skull fracture at the hands of someone else and a one in 50 chance of dying from their injuries. Details were presented at a meeting of the Society for American Archaeology and reported in New Scientist magazine.

Blunt instruments such as clubs were responsible for most of the traumas.

This is not the first time human-induced injuries have been identified in Neolithic people; but the authors say it is the first study to give some idea of the overall frequency of such traumas.

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Discovery confirms wine-making on Santorini

The excavation at Akrotiri on Thera (modern-day Santorini, Greece) has given more information about viticulture in the Cyclades in the Bronze Age. Thanks to modern methods and techniques, archaeologists have concluded that Akrotiri had one of the richest collections of flora and fauna in the Aegean at that time.

"Among the samples analyzed are traces of vine-wood coal and grape stems that appear with great frequency. That means that viticulture was one of the farming activities on Thera, at least during the 17th century BCE. Grapes are depicted on jars dating from that time, both painted and embossed, indicating that grapes were not simply a product to be traded but a popular foodstuff. Of course, these findings confirm that grapes were cultivated, not necessarily that wine was produced, although for this we have other more tangible indications and references, such as jars with a tap just above a narrow base," said Professor Christos Doumas, director of excavations of the ancient settlement of Akrotiri.

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Pipes upgraded near historic wall

Archaeologists have been called in to make sure workers burying waste pipes do not disturb artefacts in Cumbria.

United Utilities is laying six kilometres of water pipes in Bowness on Solway near Hadrian's Wall, which runs from the River Solway to the Tyne.

If no Roman artefacts are found then work will go ahead on the £6m scheme.

Currently waste water goes into the Solway Firth untreated. The scheme will mean water from Port Carlisle and Bowness will be treated in Glasson.

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According to Shakespeare, Richard III once cried "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" during the Battle of Bosworth.

It might be a bit late, but one has finally turned up.

Archaeologists discovered the tiny relic of a horse while searching for the true site of the battle.

It was among a haul of nearly 1,000 artefacts which have been unearthed on a site next to the Bosworth Battlefield Visitors' Centre in Sutton Cheney, near Market Bosworth.

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Bones in togas puzzle Vatican archaeologists

Archaeologists exploring one of Rome's oldest catacombs are baffled by neat piles of more than 1,000 skeletons dressed in elegant togas.

The macabre find emerged as teams of historians slowly picked their way through the complex network of underground burial chambers, which stretch for miles under the city.

They say the tomb, which has been dated to the first century AD, is the first known example of a "mass burial".

The archaeologists are unable to explain why so many apparently upper-class Romans - who would normally have been cremated - were buried in the same spot, apparently at the same time.

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Apes prove to be forward thinking

Apes plan for the future, according to new research that questions whether humans are the only animals to think ahead.

German research published today in the journal Science says apes can choose an appropriate tool to reach a treat and save the tool for the future instead of using it immediately.

The researchers, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, say that planning for future, not just current, needs is one of the most formidable human cognitive achievements.

This is because it imposes a long delay between performing an action and being rewarded for it.

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'Hobbit' stirs scientific clash

A US-British team of scientists has challenged the idea that the tiny skeleton from Indonesia dubbed the "Hobbit" is a new human species.

Writing in Science magazine, the team presents an alternative theory that the remains could be those of a modern human with a brain disorder.

Their arguments appear in a technical critique of previous research into the Hobbit brain also published in Science.

But the authors of that earlier paper have vigorously defended their work.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Race of tiny people didn’t exist, scientists say

When scientists found 18,000-year-old bones of a small, humanlike creature on an Indonesian island in 2003, they concluded that the bones represented a new species in the human family tree.

Skull cast and cast of the brain case of a modern adult with microcephaly. Scientists are using the specimen, from the Royal College of Surgeons in London, to argue that the "Flores Man" skull could also have been a microcephalic adult.

This view was widely accepted among scientists and trumpeted by the press. Because of its size, the creature was nicknamed the “Hobbit.”

But a growing number of scientists have raised questions about the claim.

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Oldest altarpiece back in abbey

The oldest surviving medieval altarpiece in the UK has been returned to its home at Westminster Abbey after months of restoration work.

The altarpiece, known as the Westminster Retable, was commissioned by King Henry III in 1270 just after the abbey was built.

But the 11ft-by-3ft (3.33m by 97cm) piece went missing for 400 years and at one point was being used as a cupboard.

The newly restored Retable will now be the centrepiece of the Abbey's museum.

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Roman treasure to stay in Bristol

Thousands of Roman coins will go on permanent display in Bristol after the city's museum was awarded £22,500 of lottery money.

The hoard of 11,460 coins - the third largest found in the UK - was unearthed in 2004 by a gardener in Thornbury.

Since the discovery, Bristol Museum has been seeking cash to put the copper and silver alloy coins on display.

Grants totalling more than £40,000 have now been raised to keep the coins, which date back to AD 270, in Bristol.

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Rampart find excites historians

A dig near Malmesbury town walls has uncovered a substantial stone-fronted defensive rampart and a deep ditch which could date to the Iron Age.

Archaeologists believe the prehistoric hill fort would have had impressive multiple defences rising above the valley of the River Avon.

English Heritage said the results were very exciting and showed how important the town's defences were.

The work was said to bring a new dimension to the story of Malmesbury.

Read the rest of this article...

"Hobbit" claims lose ring of truth

Palaeontologists rebut claims that the so-called "Hobbit" fossil from Flores, Indonesia, is a new species, amid recrimination over hype and poor science

When scientists found 18,000-year-old bones of a small, humanlike creature on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, they concluded that the bones represented a new species in the human family tree that they named Homo floresiensis. Their interpretation was widely accepted by the scientific community and reported in the popular press worldwide. Because of its very short stature, H. floresiensis was soon dubbed the "Hobbit" writes Ted Nield

Increasingly, however, this controversial conclusion is being questioned. In a Technical Comment published topday (19 May 2006) in Science magazine, scientists led by Dr Robert D Martin, Provost of the Chicago Field Museum and world-renowned primatologist, say that the bones in question do not represent a new species at all. A far more likely explanation is that the bones belonged to a modern human who suffered from microcephaly, a pathological condition that causes small brain size, often associated with short stature.

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Bones found dating back to 1400s

Human remains uncovered on a building site near Doncaster have been dated back more than 500 years.

Police were called to the site on Tickhill Road in Bawtry after builders found a skull and skeletal remains buried about two feet underground.

A police surgeon confirmed the bones were those of a small adult or child.

South Yorkshire Police said they were no longer treating the site as a crime scene after tests showed the bones were more than 500 years old.

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Evolution's human and chimp twist

Humans and chimpanzees may have split away from a common ancestor far more recently than was previously thought.

A detailed analysis of human and chimp DNA suggests the lines finally diverged less than 5.4 million years ago.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, is about 1-2 million years later than the fossils have indicated.

A US team says its results hint at the possibility that interbreeding occurred between the two lines for thousands, even millions, of years.

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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.

Go to the Website

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The University of Siena and the Italian National
Research Council announce the SECOND CALL FOR PARTECIPATION at the XV
International Summer School in Archaeology "GEOPHYSICS FOR LANDSCAPE
ARCHAEOLOGY", Tuscany, Italy, FROM 10 TO 18 July 2006.

H.Beker - S.Campana - L.Conjers - M.Dabas - C.Gaffney - D.Goodman - A.Hesse
- Y.Nishimura - S.Piro - D.Powlesland - A.Schmidt - A.Tabbagh -G.Tsokas -


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Spectacular brooch find may 'unlock secrets of Hadrian's Wall'

A 'spectacular' small brooch has been uncovered at a Roman fort that may reveal secrets about the men that built Hadrian's Wall.

The discovery of the legionary soldier's expensive and prestigious cloak brooch has excited archaeologists in Northumberland.

Experts have discovered that the brooch belonged to soldier Quintus Sollonius who would have been stationed at the forefront of the Roman empire 2,000 years ago.

Historians are continuing to examine the artefact and believe it could reveal more secrets behind the men who helped build Hadrian's Wall.

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Archaeologists find candidates for Cook's ship Endeavour

One of four 18th-century ships found on the sea bed off Rhode Island could be the Endeavour, the vessel Captain Cook commanded on his first epic voyage across the Pacific Ocean, according to US archaeologists.

Marine experts have found the remains of four cargo ships scuttled by the British in 1778 in a last-ditch effort to hold off American and French forces advancing on Newport in the revolutionary war.

They belonged to a fleet of 13 ships deliberately sunk by the British, one of which was the Lord Sandwich, which the Endeavour is believed to have been renamed in its later life.

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Call for mines to be put on maps

A campaign has been launched by MPs calling for disused pits to be marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

The group of nine has signed a motion calling for former pits to be recognised in the same way as other archaeological and historical sites.

The campaign led by MP for Blaydon Dave Anderson is being backed by former miner Barry Chambers, who worked at Blackhall Colliery, in Durham.

He said life down the pits was harsh but they brought prosperity.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Neanderthal yields nuclear DNA

The first sequences of nuclear DNA to be taken from a Neanderthal have been reported at a US science meeting.

Geneticist Svante Paabo and his team say they isolated the long segments of genetic material from a 45,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil from Croatia.

The work should reveal how closely related the Neanderthal species was to modern humans, Homo sapiens.

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Archaeologist 'flummoxed' by Roman burial site

Oxford archaeologists have discovered a large and significant Roman burial ground on the site of a gravel quarry.

Stunned experts had hoped to find a small farmstead at the site near Fairford, Gloucestershire, but instead discovered more than 100 graves.

Dr Alex Smith, of Oxford Archaeology, who is leading the excavation of the site, said it was a "very significant" discovery.

The burial ground is divided into two, with separate sections for adults and children a common practice in late Roman times.

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Getty Museum Director to Recommend Return

After months of intense pressure, the director of Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty Museum agreed Tuesday to recommend to the museum's board to return ancient artifacts in its collections that Greece claims were illegally spirited out of the country.

The agreement was struck as museums come under increasing pressure from countries with rich archaeological pasts to return artifacts of potentially dubious provenance.

It also raised the possibility that Greece may now go after other U.S. museums that own ancient Greek artifacts.

Under the agreement, Getty Museum director Michael Brand will recommend to the museum's Board of Trustees the return of some of the four antiquities wanted by Greece.

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Skull brought back to 'life'

A Stafford Grammar school pupil will come 'face to face' with a 600-year-old skull he discovered while walking his dog.

Josh Chick and his friend Philip Sutton-Green were walking Josh's dog Meg in countryside near to their homes in the village of Outwoods, near Gnosall, when they made the grisly discovery back in March.

The skull was found at the edge of a brook in farmland and gave the boys quite a shock.

The find sparked a police investigation before experts determined that the skull was not a recent burial.

Since then experts at Stafford College, led by sculptor Adam Wilkinson, have been working on a unique project to bring the skull back to 'life'.

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Digging in to find priceless objects

TREASURE hunters got a chance to separate their junk from priceless finds with help from an expert.

A Kent County Council finds officer visited Gravesend Museum, High Street, Gravesend, to help identify people's archaeological discoveries.

Around 200 visitors brought items such as buckles, buttons and flint axeheads.

Members of the Gravesend Historical Society were available to offer help and suggestions about what the items could be.

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£150,000 to protect historic site

More than £150,000 is to be spent protecting an historic site on Teesside which is also a wildlife haven.

Cleveland Borough Council's countryside rangers will spend the government grant building shallow ponds to rejuvenate the wetlands of Eston Moor.

The area is a haven for roe deer, brown hares, lapwings, skylarks and curlews.

The money will also be spent preserving nearby archaeological remains, including a Bronze Age hill fort on Eston Nab and Stone Age burial mounds.

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Tuscany's Etruscan claim knocked

Rome, May 16 - The Tuscans' proud claim to be the descendants of the ancient Etruscans has taken a knock .

A DNA comparison of Etruscan skeletons and a sample of living Tuscans has thrown up only "tenuous genetic similarities", said lead researcher Guido Barbujani of Ferrara University .

"If the Tuscans were the direct descendants of the Etruscans the DNA should be the same," said Barbujani, a genetecist who coordinated the study with Stanford University in the United States .

The study, which appears in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that most modern Tuscans are descended from a non-Etruscan people .

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Climate change may be key to 10,000-year-old mystery - University of Alberta leads investigation into disappearance of ancient people

Today, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) announced an investment of $2.5 million in a research project that will investigate the link between climate change, human genetics and the disappearance of an entire culture from the Boreal forest region of Siberia between 7,000 and 6,000 BC.

With the help of DNA analysis, radiocarbon dating and climate modeling,
University of Alberta professor Andrzej Weber will lead an international team
of scholars in examining 10,000 to 5000-year-old human remains from ancient
cemeteries in the Lake Baikal region of Russia. The group will then use this
evidence to reconstruct the daily lives, cultural traditions and local
environment of the hunter-gatherers who once lived there.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mousa is Top Scottish Attraction

A TOWERING Pictish broch in Shetland has been declared Scotland's top visitor attraction by the authors of the updated seventh edition of the Rough Guide to Scotland.

Mousa Broch - 'The mother of all Iron Age brochs' - Described as "the mother of all Iron Age brochs", the 2,000 years old, 13 metre high Mousa broch has beaten the island of Iona and the Shetland's own Jarlshof archaeological site into second and third place.

Well known Scottish attractions such as Stirling Castle (no.14), Edinburgh Old Town (28) and the Edinburgh Festival (30) rank far further down the list.

The third Shetland attraction featuring in the top ten is the annual folk festival in eighth place.

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(If you wish to visit Mousa next Easter, EMAS will be running an archaeological Study Tour to the Shetlands. Visit
for further information)

Visitor numbers campaign gears up

A campaign aiming to boost visitors to a historic Central Scotland town is moving up a gear.

Friends of Kinneil, which is backing the development of Kinneil Estate in Bo'ness near Falkirk, is aiming to take advantage of its Roman roots.

The group will elect a ruling committee and draw up a constitution to place it on a firmer footing.

It is also backing efforts by expert Dr David Breeze to win World Heritage status for the Antonine Wall.

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Church finding creates archaeological sensation

RESEARCH conducted last month on frescoes at the St George Church in Kostoľany pod Tríbečom, in the Zlaté Moravce region, has concluded that the building is much older than originally thought.

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English Heritage celebrates 100 years of aerial archaeology (09:42:18 - 16th May 06)

Featuring dozens of historic and modern photos and illustrations, many of them from the National Monuments Record, Aerial Photography and Archaeology - 100 Years of Discovery tells the story of those first photographs, explores the world of aerial photography in Victorian, Edwardian and wartime Britain, and looks specifically at the contribution that the last 100 years of aerial photography has made to our understanding of 6,000 years of British history and pre-history.

In 1906, Lieutenant Philip Henry Sharpe of the Royal Engineers’ Balloon Section took three pictures of Stonehenge from a tethered balloon. Why he took them is not entirely clear but they are the first known aerial photos of the famous monument, and indeed of a British archaeological site.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

International Conference on Remote Sensing Archaeology

prof. Riccardo Francovich (University of Siena-Medieval
Archaeology), prof. Maurizio Forte (senior scientist of Italian National
Research Council) and Dr. Stefano Campana (University of Siena-Landscape
Archaeology) are organizing an important scientific initiative in Italy:

In October 2004, the International Conference on Remote Sensing Archaeology
was organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and hosted by
the Joint Laboratory of Remote Sensing Archaeology (JLRSA). In that context
an international team of experts was created in order to promote
multidisciplinary activities of remote sensing archaeology in the entire

WE ANNOUNCE HERBY IN DECEMBER 2006 that the second conference will be
organized in Rome at the National Research Council (main building) with
particular attention to the study and the conservation of archaeological and
ancient landscapes through integrated technologies and virtual reality


Some See a 'Pyramid' to Hone Bosnia's Image. Others See a Big Hill.

VISOKO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Semir Osmanagic stopped to shake hands and have his photograph taken with a group of mud-flecked Bosnian villagers, pickaxes in hand, on a steep hillside above this small medieval trading town on a bend of the Bosna River. They have dug away four feet of roots and clay to expose slanted slabs of sedimentary stone.

"Look at that megalith, it's got to weigh 40 tons," Mr. Osmanagic said eagerly, pointing to one of the roughly rectangular-shaped stones. "After so many thousands of years, it is amazing that they are still here."

Mr. Osmanagic, an amateur archaeologist, is convinced that he has discovered a huge ancient pyramid that will rewrite the history of Europe — not to mention that of Bosnia, a country suffering from war recriminations, political divisions and sunken pride. Anthropological genetics, he said, has proved that Bosnia is "the second oldest oasis of life in Europe," and the pyramid proves Bosnia is a source of civilization on the Continent.

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Tutankhamun's mysteries to be put online

It was the most famous archaeological find of all time, but still it holds secrets that have yet to be unravelled. Now Oxford scholars are preparing to post the notes, diaries, drawings and photographs from the 1922 excavation of the tomb of King Tutankhamun on the internet in an attempt to study it completely.

Howard Carter and his patron, Lord Carnarvon, first opened a mysterious doorway in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt 84 years ago and established an unknown boy king who died 3,500 years ago as one of the most famous faces in the world. Research at the tomb continued for eight years up to 1930. But most of the thousands of objects have never been properly studied, and most of the documentation has remained locked in archives in Oxford.

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Experts rocked by ancient stones

IT is not every day you find out a piece of your rockery might have spent its earlier life in a prominent part of York Minster.

So residents of a North York Moors village will be looking around them with fresh eyes after an unusual "antiques" show offered them a new perspective on their surroundings.

A panel of eminent historians and archaeologists shared its expertise at the "stone show" in Lastingham, where villagers raided their gardens and farm walls to bring peculiarly-shaped rocks and carved and weathered stones for identification.

Almost 50 specimens were produced, some travelling in pockets but others requiring rather more effort to lug along to the village hall.

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Fungus attacks iconic cave paintings, magazine reports

A U.S.-based magazine is reporting that a virulent white fungus that has been threatening the site of the world’s most famous cave paintings has begun reaching the artworks themselves.

The situation is gravely worrying experts, according to Time magazine, which published the report in its May 15 European edition.

The 17,000-year-old paintings in the Lascaux cave in Southwestern France are among the earliest known human-made artworks and symbols. The magnificent, realistic depictions of mammoth, bison, deer and horses are widely considered monuments to the development of art and even consciousness.

The works, while naturalistic, also contain elements so modernistic that Pablo Picasso, upon exiting the cave shortly after its discovery in 1940, is said to have remarked: “We have invented nothing.”

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dig team moves in ahead of renovation project

Car park closes for archaelogical investigation at Riverside.

Riverside Square car park in Bedford is to close for six weeks while it gets the 'Time Team' treatment ahead of a major redevelopment.

The car park will shut from Monday, May 22 until Monday, July 3 to allow for an archaeological investigation of the site before work begins on the makeover, due to include a neo-classical building featuring cafes, restaurants and flats.

The scheme is not part of the large-scale blueprint for the bus station area – spearheaded by St Modwen Developments Limited – but is a separate project.

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Highland ‘archaeologists’ unearth artifacts made, buried by students

Four wooden stakes were planted in the wet earth. The string that ran from one to another created a rectangular work area beneath a canopy of bright green leaves.

Displaced dirt and dead leaves lay in mounds around the area as workers dug deeper and deeper into the ground.


On the right side, a golden plate, its circular edge covered with black and red triangles, became visible. David Jameyson used a small broom to dust its surface.

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Discovery of a press confirms wine-making on site

Let us talk about Santorini and the famous city of Akrotiri. What oenological findings are there?

The excavation at Akrotiri on Thera (modern-day Santorini) has given us more information about viticulture in the Cyclades in the Bronze Age. Thanks to modern methods and techniques now used in archaeology, and drawing information even from the humblest finds, we have concluded that Akrotiri had one of the richest collections of flora and fauna in the Aegean at that time.

To understand just how important findings of this nature are, it is enough to say that studying them has given us information about the general climate and environmental conditions at that time, about the species of plants cultivated, the livestock animals bred, cultivation methods, as well as the people’s dietary habits in prehistory.

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Experts from Norfolk Archaeology Unit based at Norwich Castle have discovered a rare form of mitochondrial DNA identified as Romani in a skeleton discovered during excavations in a large area of Norwich for the expansion of the castle mall.

The DNA was found in an 11th century young adult male skeleton, and with the first recorded arrival of the Romani gene in this country put at 500 years later, historians may need to re-think the ethnic mix of the city's early population.

Norfolk Archaeological Unit’s lead archaeologist on the dig was Brian Ayres. He told the 24 Hour Museum: “The bones were of a late Saxon Christian. We know this because it was found in a graveyard associated with the church.”

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Sediments Reveal Alexandria's Hidden History

Traces of pollutant lead found in harbor sediments have revealed that Alexander the Great did not found the Egyptian city of Alexandria – he just rebranded it.

One of antiquity’s most opulent economic and cultural centers, Alexandria is named after the Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great, who was believed to have ordered its construction on the western branch of the Nile River in 331 B.C.

But new geochemical data, published by Alain Véron from the Paul Cézanne University in Aix-en-Provence, France, and colleagues in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters, revealed that this part of the Nile was settled 4,500 years ago, more than two millennia before Alexander's arrival.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

'Brazilian Stonehenge' discovered

Brazilian archaeologists have found an ancient stone structure in a remote corner of the Amazon that may cast new light on the region's past.

The site, thought to be an observatory or place of worship, pre-dates European colonisation and is said to suggest a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy.

Its appearance is being compared to the English site of Stonehenge.

It was traditionally thought that before European colonisation, the Amazon had no advanced societies.

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mtDNA from medieval al-Andalus

Human mitochondrial DNA diversity in an archaeological site in al-Andalus: Genetic impact of migrations from North Africa in medieval Spain.

Mitochondrial DNA sequences and restriction fragment polymorphisms were retrieved from three Islamic 12th-13th century samples of 71 bones and teeth (with >85% efficiency) from Madinat Baguh (today called Priego de Cordoba, Spain). Compared with 108 saliva samples from the present population of the same area, the medieval samples show a higher proportion of sub-Saharan African lineages that can only partially be attributed to the historic Muslim occupation. In fact, the unique sharing of transition 16175, in L1b lineages, with Europeans, instead of Africans, suggests a more ancient arrival to Europe from Africa.

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Study: Neolithic life wasn't much fun

U.K. researchers say they've determined Neolithic, or New Stone Age, people were more violent than has been believed.

Rick Schulting of Queen's University-Belfast and Michael Wysocki from the University of Central Lancashire studied skulls from that era -- 4000 B.C. to 3200 B.C. -- and found early Neolithic Britons had a one in 20 chance of suffering a skull fracture at the hands of someone else, the BBC reported Thursday.

Blunt instruments, such as clubs, are believed to have been responsible for most of the trauma, they said.

While previous studies have identified human-induced injuries in New Stone Age people, Schulting and Wysocki say their study is the first to provide some idea of the overall frequency of such trauma.

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Sabine chariot rewrites history

Rome, May 12 - An ancient king's war chariot found in a tomb near Rome has helped rewrite the history of the Romans and their Sabine rivals .

"This chariot is an exceptional find," said archaeologist Paola Santoro .

"It shows that the city of Ereteum remained independent long after the Sixth Century BC." "In other Sabine cities like Custumerium, conquered by the Romans, the custom of putting regal objects in king's tombs had died out by that time" .

"We can say that Eretum kept its independence until the Fourth Century BC." Santoro said her team had recovered all the metal parts of the bronze-and-iron decorated chariot and had used echo-soundings to trace the imprints of the long-decayed wooden parts .

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Ancient mariners reveal tales from the Earth's core

While sailors plied the Seven Seas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, little did they know that their ships' logs would one day help scientists to reconstruct the history of the Earth's magnetic field.

Geophysicist David Gubbins and his co-workers at the University of Leeds in England have used old navigational data, combined with records taken from archaeological artefacts, to figure out how the direction and strength of the magnetic field changed between 1590 and 1840, roughly the time between Francis Drake's voyages on the Golden Hind and Charles Darwin's journey on the Beagle.

Systematic records of the geomagnetic field only exist from around the middle of the nineteenth century, when physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss devised a method to measure it. These measurements show that since that time the strength of the field has fallen gradually by around 0.05% per year.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Brutal lives of Stone Age Britons

A survey of British skulls from the early part of the New Stone Age, or Neolithic, shows societies then were more violent than was supposed.

Early Neolithic Britons had a one in 20 chance of suffering a skull fracture at the hands of someone else and a one in 50 chance of dying from their injuries.

Details were presented at a meeting of the Society for American Archaeology and reported in New Scientist magazine.

Blunt instruments such as clubs were responsible for most of the trauma.

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Humans not to blame for ice age mass extinction

A rare good-news story for those concerned about the impact humans have had on the Earth: the mysterious mass extinction of large mammals at the end of the last ice age was not the fault of our marauding species as previously thought. New research concludes that the disappearance of mammoths and wild horses in the Americas more than 10,000 years ago is likely to have been the result of natural shifts in the Earth's climate.

Dale Guthrie, of the institute of Arctic biology at the University of Alaska, conducted a radiocarbon dating experiment on more than 600 fossilised bones of mammoths, horses and other large mammals from Alaska and the Yukon Territory to test the three proposed explanations for the mass extinction. These are that disease wiped out the animals; over-hunting of mammoths by humans led to a shift in the local environment, reducing the grasslands and inadvertently killing off other species; and the "blitzkrieg" idea, which imagines newly arrived human hunters devastating large mammals, driving mammoths and horses to extinction and forcing bison and wapiti - a type of deer - into reduced habitats.

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Neolithic man 'had violent history'

Neolithic man, thought to be the world's first farmer, was not as peaceful as previously thought, new research has suggested.

A study of remains kept in UK museums found neolithic man ran a one-in-14 chance of getting a cracked skull.

Archaeologist Dr Rick Schulting from Queen's University, Belfast said 350 skulls dated between 4000 and 3200 BC from southern England were examined.

He said the study "challenged" the myth of neolithic man being peaceful.

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How Stone Age Britons were the original head-bangers

LIFE in Britain was never as violent as it was in Neolithic times, research has shown.

Britons living 5,000 to 6,000 years ago had a one-in-14 chance of being bashed on the head and seriously injured or killed.

One in 50 was likely to be fatally wounded in an attack.

The grisly figures emerged from the first systematic survey of early Neolithic British skulls. Although scientists have found craniums from this era bearing signs of inflicted injury before, the frequency of violence was unexpected.

Dr Rick Schulting, from Queen's University, Belfast, who co-led the study, said: "It's certainly more violent than we'd considered."

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Turkish Tunnel Project Unearths an Ancient Harbor

Workers digging a railway tunnel under the Bosporus Strait have uncovered the remains of a major Byzantine harbor that archaeologists say is a trove of relics dating back to Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

The tunnel, when it's finished, will end in a shining new railway station, the largest in Turkey -- a train and subway link surrounded by a 21st-century shopping center. Modern Turkish planners, though, weren't the first people in history to imagine the spot as a transport hub. The $4 billion tunnel project has uncovered a fourth-century harbor under the slums of Yenikapi, on the European side of Istanbul, and archaeologists excavating the area say it's a trove of relics dating back as far as Constantine the Great.

Chief archaeologist Metin Gokcay and his team have found preserved leather sandals, hairbrushes, candle holders, mosaics, massive anchors, eight ships and the remains of a pier and stone harbor jetties. "We've found lots of things that tell us about the daily life of the city in the fourth century," Gokcay told the BBC. "I've done many digs in Istanbul, but there are many things here I've never seen before."

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Muggings were rife in New Stone Age

The first systematic survey of early Neolithic British skulls reveal that life was more violent than anyone expected

IF YOU are worried about being attacked or killed by a violent criminal, just be glad you are not living in Neolithic Britain. From 4000 to 3200 BC, Britons had a 1 in 14 chance of being bashed on the head, and a 1 in 50 chance of dying from their injuries.

Grisly figures from the first systematic survey of early Neolithic British skulls reveal that life then was no rural idyll. "It's certainly more violent than we'd considered," says Rick Schulting of Queen's University Belfast, UK, who conducted the study with Mick Wysocki at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

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Save Stonehenge

Sir, The RAC Foundation strongly supports the Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London in advocating the published scheme as the best available solution to the situation of Stonehenge

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English Heritage launches campaign to save historic churches from rot and ruin

Hundreds of England's historic churches face decay and closure in the face of a £925m repair bill, according to a report.

The first full audit of England's listed churches, carried out by English Heritage, found that the estimated cost of bringing them up to scratch is £185m every year for the next five. That exceeds the amount of money raised by Britain's dwindling congregations by around £118m a year.

Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, which published the findings yesterday, called for a proper strategic plan, backed by new government cash, to save the country's crumbling heritage. "These figures show for the first time the extent of the crisis. When you have a 13th-century church... supported by a few people who are pensioners, it's a crisis."

The new campaign, called Inspired!, aims to make people understand the situation and take action before the full extent of the problem kicks in, he said.

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Roman graveyard found in quarry

Archaeologists have unearthed a large Roman cemetery in a Gloucestershire gravel quarry.

More than 100 people are believed to have been buried at the site, near Fairford, which dates back 1,600 years.

It is thought the dead were interred according to their age, as children's bodies have been found in one area with adults in another section.

Experts said the find is unusual because no big settlements are known to have existed nearby in the Roman era.

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Prehistoric 'Sistine Chapel' under threat from fungus

A pernicious white fungus has spread "like snow" in the caves of Lascaux in France where the fabulous rock art has been described as the "Sistine Chapel of prehistory".

The fungus is believed to have been introduced after contractors began to install a new air conditioning system that was meant to preserve the precious 17,000-year-old cave paintings from the heat and humidity generated by their many visitors.

The historical importance of Lascaux is immeasurable and any damage to its art would have serious repercussions given the cave's status as an evolutionary icon for the development of human art and consciousness.

The figures are so modernist in design that when Picasso emerged from the cave soon after it was first discovered in 1940 he exclaimed: "We have invented nothing."

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Archaeological Excavations in Tuscany

prof. Riccardo Francovich of the University of Siena - Medieval
Archaeology and Laboratory of Landscape Archaeology and Remote Sensing) will
inform you that are open the inscription to the IInd Season of the
Archaeological Excavations of the medieval hilltop village at Poggio Cavolo.

Session I: 12-23 June
Session II: 26 June-7 July

Information WEB site:
Or write email and a brief CV to:

Excavations are opened to undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D. and researcher in

The latest date for applications in 30 May 2006.

World’s first battlefield archaeology centre

The world's first centre for battlefield archaeology, headed by the star of BBC's Two Men in a Trench series, has been established at Glasgow University.

Dr Tony Pollard, who co-presented the archaeology show, heads the groundbreaking unit which will work on a number of projects including the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 in South Africa, the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland and an archaeological evaluation of British battlefields.

Students will start the first postgraduate course in battlefield archaeology this autumn and will take part in a number of visits including Bannockburn and Culloden.
Dr Pollard said: "My colleagues and I have been pushing battlefield archaeology as a serious and important subject of study for some time.

"The logical next step was to develop some sort of centre for excellence. When I did Two Men in a Trench I received a lot of e-mails from people saying they enjoyed what we did and asking where could they study battlefield archaeology.

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Augustan head found at new villa

Rome, May 9 - A marble head of the Emperor Augustus has been found at a large and well-appointed Roman villa just discovered outside the capital.

The head, practically a bas-relief, shows the emperor in profile in his middle years.

It will shortly be taken to the newly refurbished Roman Antiquities Museum at Palazzo Massimo near Termini Station to be shown to the public.

Also travelling from the dig site - north of Rome, not far from Hadrian's great villa - will be some 100 gold and silver coins.

The head was found at the bottom of a well at the villa, a large (2,500 square-metre) property built between the second century BC and the first century AD.

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Turkey's underwater archaeological wealth to be unveiled in Bodrum

The Bodrum Underwater Research Institute's Conservation Center launched an initiative on Monday to display the region's underwater archaeological wealth, which has so far been stored in warehouses.

The discoveries were unearthed from sunken ships

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Tara’s Skryne Valley to be discussed at seminar

A SEMINAR looking at the Gabhra Valley, better known as the Tara-Skryne Valley through which the proposed M3 motorway will be routed and through which the current N3 cuts, is to be held in Lismullin Conference Centre on Saturday next, 13th May.

The title of the seminar is ‘The Gabhra Valley Through the Centuries to AD2000’.

The Gabhra is the river that passes through the valley between the hills of Skryne and Tara.

The cut off at the year AD2000 is chosen to exclude discussion of the proposed route of the M3 motorway and to leave more time to consider the rich heritage of the area, according to the organisers.

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Archaeologists find Augustan head in Italy

A marble, bas-relief, head of the Emperor Augustus has been found at a large and well-appointed Roman villa site near Rome.

The head, showing the emperor in profile in his middle years, is to be displayed at the Roman Antiquities Museum at Palazzo Massimo, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.

Archaeologists found the head at the bottom of a well at the villa that was constructed between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D.

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HISTORY: 'Time Team' dig up the past

POTTERY, bricks, bones, flints ... and an artificial human eye, were among items uncovered during a Time Team-style dig in various gardens in Wisbech St Mary.

About 20 students from Ely High School joined professional archaeologists in attempting to discover something of the village's history.

Each 10cm of the test pits was carefully recorded and finds were photographed before being processed and taken to the University of Cambridge archaeology field unit for analysis.

Although no evidence of a settlement was discovered, enough pieces of Roman pottery were unearthed for the experts to say that there may have been people travelling through the village nearly 2,000 years ago.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Earliest Europeans featured on TAC

The gently rolling hills of the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain hold many limestone caves used by humans for almost one million years. Using lots of computer 3D graphics, this documentary brings us face to face with discoveries made over the last twenty years at archaeological sites there. These discoveries include a remarkable group of 30 individuals who lived 400,000 years ago. The Atapuerca has yielded the oldest human fossils in Europe and is the only place in the world where human life is evidenced continuously over the last million years.

Watch the video. . .

Fisherman Nets Ancient Statue in Greece

ATHENS, Greece - A Greek fisherman has handed over to authorities a large section of an ancient bronze statue brought up in his nets in the Aegean Sea, officials said on Monday.

The male torso was located last week near the eastern Aegean island of Kalymnos, the Culture Ministry said in an announcement.

The one-meter (3-foot) high find belonged to a statue of a horseback soldier, and would have been part of the cargo of an ancient ship that sank in the area. It was taken to Athens to be cleaned and dated.

Together with the torso, the fisherman brought up two small bronze pieces believed to belong to the statue, and a wine-jar from the ancient city of Knidos — in what is now Turkey — dating from the first century B.C, the ministry said.

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Roman about at the old shrine

BONE, tile and pottery finds including some unusual imported wares are among the Roman finds unearthed in the Ewell archeological dig.

Investigating the secrets of lost Roman shrines at Hatch Furlong on the Ewell ByPass, schoolchildren were among visitors taken on a conducted tour of the site last week.

Also on site was David Brooks, of Bourne Hall museum, an authority on local archaeology and author of The Romans in Ewell.

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Merrin Gallery In Italy's Antiquities Dragnet?

It is not totally surprising that New York antiquities dealer Ed Merrin appears to be caught in the dragnet of Italian prosecutors who are conducting a criminal trial in Rome, having already charged dealer Bob Hecht and former Getty Museum curator Marion True with conspiracy to traffic in ancient art. Merrin testified before US Congress in the 1970s in opposition to H.R. 5643, a bill designed to implement the UNESCO convention protecting cultural property. He has said "prohibition never worked and never will work".

He has also made the claim that there was only one other person dealing at his level of quality -- Robin Symes. And Symes has been on the Italians' dealer hit list since 1999 -- following the accidental death of Symes' partner Christos Michaelides, who fell down the stairs at the rented Italian villa of collectors Shelby White and Leon Levy [Michel van Rijn -- Symes Special].

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Neanderthals and Humans: Perhaps They Never Met

The number of years that modern humans are thought to have overlapped with Neanderthals in Europe is shrinking fast, and some scientists now say that figure could drop to zero.

Neanderthals lived in Europe and western Asia from 230,000 to 29,000 years ago, petering out soon after the arrival of modern humans from Africa.

There is much debate on exactly how Neanderthals went extinct. Theories include climate change and inferior tools compared to those made by modern humans. Anthropologists also disagree on whether modern humans and Neanderthals are the same species and interbred.

And now, some scientists dispute whether they lived side-by-side at all in Europe.

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Sofia Displays Crucifix-Piece Cross, Gold Treasure

Sofia has put on display for the first time a unique treasure of church plate, including a cross believed to imbed a piece of Christ's crucifix.

Its permanent exhibition in the National History Museum will be officially opened on Monday by Culture Minister Stefan Danailov, under the title "Bulgarian Gold Treasure - IX-XIX century".

The solemn crown of the Orchid Patriarch - head of once autonomous Orchid Patriarchy - can also be seen in a new light.

More than 400 pieces have found place as tellers of one of most turbulent times of Bulgarian history. The exhibits were collected in the period of 1916-1917 by a special reconnaissance unit from churches and monasteries on the territory of nowadays Macedonia, the Museum's Bozhidar Dimitrov explained.

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Rosslyn Chapel comes alive

WHAT do the incredible carvings within the grey walls of Rosslyn Chapel really mean? How have the Knights Templar and Masons played a role in the chapel and the family who built the spectacular 15th-century structure right here in Scotland?

These questions and more will be examined in a special five-part video podcast series on Rosslyn Chapel, presented exclusively by Heritage & Culture, the popular website on all things Scottish from

Join us next week when we take you on a visual tour through the chapel to learn more about the myths and the mysteries. Diane Maclean will present a clear picture on the many issues surrounding this amazing house of worship near Edinburgh.

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Archaeologists to dig at Coatham site

A TEAM of specialists will delve into Redcar's past to search for old relics on land earmarked for a multi-million pound development.

Redcar and Cleveland Council has commissioned an archaeological team to investigate the site earmarked for the Coatham Links development.

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

The settlements of Oustcotum and Westcotum, or East and West Coatham, were first mentioned in the twelfth century and became the centre of a salt manufacturing industry in the later medieval period, supplying the needs of Gisborough Priory.

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Parking lot replaces historic Roman city

Ecija, a small town in southern Spain, has paved over a treasure trove of Roman history to put in a parking lot.

The Sunday Times of London said the last vestiges of the lost city known as Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi have been destroyed to build an underground municipal car park.

Archeologists say the site contained a well-preserved Roman forum, bath house, gymnasium and temple -- as well as dozens of private homes and hundreds of mosaics and statues. Terracotta urns from Ecija have been discovered as far away as Britain and Rome.

Research has shown that Ecija was almost as important in the Roman world as Cordoba and Seville.

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Bulgarian archaeologists discovered near the town of Rousse a stone with an engraved Latin inscription, once part of a defence wall.

The stone is in the region of Stulpishte near the Danube River, Darik Radio reported. The defence wall is part of the Trimamium castle, renovated by archaeologists. The urgent repair operations started a month ago. They were necessary because of the frequent raids of treasure-hunters.

The inscription comprises of six lines. It informs of the erection of a major temple or public building. The name of the legate in Lower Misia and the 'Severiana' cohort are also mentioned.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Roman ruins are found at Paris construction site

Studies must be done by late June, when work on new building resumes

PARIS - Last month, on a Left Bank hillside, French archaeologists found remnants of a road and several houses dating back some 2,000 years to when Rome ruled Gaul.

In one sense, it was not a surprise. Other Roman vestiges have been uncovered, notably those of a theater that could seat 15,000 and Roman thermal baths found beneath the 15th-century Abbey of Cluny.

Yet the area of the new find, half a mile to the south, was so heavily built up in the early 20th century that it is hard to imagine space for excavation.

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Did Monks Try to Make Gold?

A ceramic cone unearthed at a remote British abbey might indicate that Cistercian monks implemented the Benedectine motto "ora et labora" (pray and work) with another rule: "make gold."

On display for the first time at Bylands Abbey, which was founded in 1137 by Cistercian monks in North Yorkshire, the cone is what's known as an alembic.

The delicate apparatus, 8 inches tall and 6 inches across the base, originally sat on top of a "cucurbit" — a heated gourd-shaped pottery vessel that held a boiling concoction. Vapors given off by the boiling mixture would have passed though a small hole at the cone's apex into a pipe connected to a condenser.

The alembic could have been used in medicinal preparations, to distill alcoholic spirits by monks who fancied an illicit tipple, or in pursuit of the alchemist's dream — gold.

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Wheels drop off Tyke's chariot theory

IN AUGUST 2003, routine recording work for the new A1 motorway near Ferry Fryston uncovered one of the most significant archaeological finds in Yorkshire's history.

But research has revealed the 2,000-year-old owner of the remarkable Iron Age chariot which was unearthed may not have been a Yorkshireman.

The secrets of the chariot and its mysterious owner will be revealed when the discovery goes on public display for the very first time in Pontefract.
Since being unearthed, the chariot and its owner have been undergoing research at the University of Bradford.

Tests on the rider's teeth indicate he may have hailed from somewhere away from the West Yorkshire region.

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Archeologists excavate 2,000-year-old road

PARIS -- Deep beneath pavement pounded by tourists on Paris' Left Bank lies an ancient path - a 2,000-year-old Roman road recently excavated during construction work.

Remnants of private houses rigged with baths and ingeniously heated floors were among the findings, now on view in a stunning dig. Over the next few weeks, however, archaeologists will rip up the ruins to make way for a research center.

The archeologists gradually remove every layer of ruins until they reach the geological stratum - the original ground - and eventually draw a chronological diagram.

"Excavating is destroying. We dig into historic layer after historic layer," said Didier Busson, scientific supervisor of the archaeological site.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006


The University of Siena and the Italian National Research Council announce the SECOND CALL FOR PARTECIPATION at the XV International Summer School in Archaeology "GEOPHYSICS FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHAEOLOGY", Tuscany, Italy, FROM 10 TO 18 July 2006.

The School is organized by the Laboratory of Landscape Archaeology and
Remote Sensing (University of Siena) and by the Laboratory of Geophysics
(Italian National Research Council, Institute of Technology Applied to
Cultural Heritage)


Looted relics inflame scholars' ethics debate

Inscribed on Sumerian clay tablets more than 4,000 years ago, the Code of Ur-Nammu may be the earliest known recorded set of laws in the world: dozens of rules written in cuneiform about commerce and taxes, family law and inheritance.

But many scholars will not go near the one largely intact version of the code, and the top American journal of cuneiform research will not publish articles about it. The reason? The tablet was bought by a private Norwegian collector on the open market and does not come from a documented, scientific excavation. According to the ethics policies of the leading associations for antiquities scholars, that means it is off limits.

As scholars grapple with the reality that a growing number of important works - like the Ur-Nammu tablet and the recently unveiled Gospel of Judas - lack a clear provenance, those ethics policies are the focus of heated debate.

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Heritage Trial - The Romans in Malta

Heritage Malta will be organising another thematic heritage trail on Sunday 7th May. This time round, the focus will be on the Romans in Malta, with visits to the Roman Domus in Rabat and the archaeological site of Tas-Silg. The latter site is not open to the public and so this is one of the few opportunities that people will have to visit it.

Transport will depart from Valletta at 09:00am, with the first stop being the Roman Domus. This site was accidentally discovered in 1881 by workers engaged in a landscaping project in Rabat.

The Roman Domus seems to have been originally built during the beginning of the first century B.C. -- which is when the Romans took over Malta -- but remained in use until the second century A.D.

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Study: Royal Executions Followed Pattern

A study of British royal executions has determined that the killings followed consistent patterns that correspond to Charles Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory.

The study helps to explain why so many British royals killed family members, particularly over a 200-year period called The Cousins' Wars that spanned the 14th to the 16th centuries.

It also suggests that human behavior, even family murders, can be consistent with patterns of survival under circumstances in which resources are scarce, yet highly valued, life-supporting and gained only through inheritance.

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Man may have caused pre-historic extinctions

New research shows that pre-historic horses in Alaska may have been hunted into extinction by man, rather than by climate change as previously thought.

The discovery by Andrew Solow of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, US, David Roberts of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew and Karen Robbirt of the University of East Anglia (UEA) is published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The accepted view had previously been that the wild horses became extinct long before the extinction of mammoths and the arrival of humans from Asia - ruling out the possibility that they were over-hunted by man. One theory had been that a period of climate cooling wiped them out.

However, the researchers have discovered that uncertainties in dating fossil remains and the incompleteness of fossil records mean that the survival of the horse beyond the arrival of humans cannot be ruled out.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Angkor temple reopens to public

Archaeologists in Cambodia have completed the first part of what has been called the world's largest jigsaw puzzle.

The Baphuon, one of the largest and oldest temples at the world-famous Angkor complex, has been in hundreds of thousands of pieces for decades.

Under the Khmer Rouge's brutal regime, the plans for the temple's reconstruction were destoyed.

But now, after years of hard work, one section is reopening to the public.

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Bosnian Pyramids: Great Discovery or Colossal Hoax?

It's either one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our time, or man has made a giant pyramid out of a molehill.

In the wake of recent news that evidence of colossal pyramids had been found in the small Bosnian town of Visoko, many in the archaeological community are speaking out and dismissing both the discovery and the man who made it, businessman Semir Osmanagic.

Some critics have gone as far as to call the pyramid an absurd publicity stunt.

But Osmanagic stands by his claim.

"They are jealous," Osmanagic told LiveScience in a telephone interview. "These people are going crazy because they've been teaching students that these [Bosnians] were cavemen, and all of a sudden they are finding complex structures here."

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Getty director 'had relics in villa'

Investigators claim to have found 12 important ancient relics in the Greek island villa of Marion True, the former director of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, who is on trial in Rome on charges of complicity in antiquity smuggling.

The discoveries deepen suspicion that some resort islands in the Aegean Sea could be being used as hubs for the international antiquities black market.

Last month Greek and Roman statues, busts and coins were found on the islet of Schinoussa.

George Voulgarakis, the Minister of Culture for Greece, said that the present director of the Getty Museum would be in Athens on May 16 in connection with the recent finds.

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Looted relics inflame scholars' ethics debate

Inscribed on Sumerian clay tablets more than 4,000 years ago, the Code of Ur-Nammu may be the earliest known recorded set of laws in the world: dozens of rules written in cuneiform about commerce and taxes, family law and inheritance.

But many scholars will not go near the one largely intact version of the code, and the top American journal of cuneiform research will not publish articles about it. The reason? The tablet was bought by a private Norwegian collector on the open market and does not come from a documented, scientific excavation. According to the ethics policies of the leading associations for antiquities scholars, that means it is off limits.

As scholars grapple with the reality that a growing number of important works - like the Ur-Nammu tablet and the recently unveiled Gospel of Judas - lack a clear provenance, those ethics policies are the focus of heated debate.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Archaeology: A unique burial monument at Tara

The discovery of a monument type previously unknown to Irish archaeology is something to be celebrated. As it lies within the Gabhra Valley its discovery is all the more significant.

Preliminary test-trenching in advance of the construction of the M3 motorway had identified the presence of an unusual sequence of burials at Collierstown – a little to the south and mid-way between the hills of Tara and Skreen. The mixed burial traditions, so-far revealed, consist of several pit-burials (some containing cremations), three stone-lined cist graves and an alignment of four burial mounds or barrows. The chronological range of burial type suggests this cemetery – likely to have been deliberately located at an important territorial boundary – was in use during the first few centuries AD at a time whenRomano-British burial practices were first being introduced to Ireland. This is a uniquely important addition to the corpus of monuments that define Tara's landscape; but these preliminary findings tell only part of the story.

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The Role of Looted Artifacts in Scholarly Research

One of the thorniest ethical issues in archaeology today has to do with the repercussions of rampant looting over the past several hundred years. Artifacts without provenience--that is, ones that we cannot say for sure were recovered from an archaeological site under scientific excavation--are, almost without exception, the result of looting. Many scholars and publications, particularly the prestigious American Schools of Oriental Research and the Archaeological Institute of America, have developed codes of ethics that include suggesting that using artifacts lacking provenience in a research report is tantamount to supporting the looting.

However, one vociferous opponent to this stance has been Herschel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), who has taken a great deal of criticism over the years for accepting advertisements for the sale of such artifacts within his pages, and has long been a supporter of antiquities dealers.

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City's glasshouses past revealed

Recently excavated artefacts from Bristol's glass industry are due to be put on show to the public.
Archaeologists have spent a month excavating Portwall Lane, opposite St Mary Redcliffe Church where two 18th Century glasshouses were sited.

In their day the cones of the buildings and the towers and spires of Bristol's churches dominated the city skyline.

The archaeological investigations should be completed in June 2006 when the site is due to be redeveloped.

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