Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Viking graves discovered

While most parts of Norway have experienced the wettest summer in years, the county known as Nord-Trøndelag, not far from Norway's third largest city Trondheim, has experienced extreme drought. But due to the dry summer, supposedly the driest in a century, more traces from Norway's Viking past have appeared.

The most recent findings include around 120 Viking graves, traces of houses, and even traces of what could be the Viking Chief's hall. A total of 145 antiquities have been found in the area.

"These are some of the most exciting antiquities ever found in this part of Norway," said county archaeologist Lars Forseth to newspaper Aftenposten.

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Archaeologist Uncover Possible Medieval Mosque In Sicily

Earlier this summer, while standing in an archaeological pit adjacent to an ancient hilltop castle in west-central Sicily, Northern Illinois University graduate student Bill Balco could literally reach out and touch the centuries—even the millennia.

The dig site, about 7-by-10 meters near the castle entrance, reveals a crossroads of cultures and history: remnants of post-World War I floor tiles, a wall trench dating to the Renaissance, an 11th-century Norman fortification wall, a fourth-century-B.C Hellenistic house and a sixth-century-B.C. dwelling constructed by the indigenous Elymian people.

Amidst such an archaeological treasure trove, another discovery was uncovered in June—the base of an ancient column. In a country that boasts the seat of Roman Catholicism, the column base and an adjacent section of gypsum flooring represent a potentially surprising find—the ruins of what is believed to have been an early medieval mosque, dating to the ninth or 10th century.

“In one spot, you can sit on the mosque floor, eye-level with the modern city, resting an arm on a Norman fortification wall with one foot near what’s left of a house from the fourth century B.C. and another resting near the ruins of a dwelling from the sixth century B.C.,” Balco says.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

EU Committee Chairperson Repeats Calls for Work to Halt on 'Illegal' M3

The chairperson of the influential EU Petitions Committee has written to Minister John Gormley calling for a halt to all construction work in the disputed Tara/Skryne Valley area. The letter states that: "urgent action is needed to halt existing works in this area and to review the routing of this section of the M3 motorway." (full text attached below) A similar letter is being sent to the Commissioner for the Environment, Stavros Dimas.

The letter from Marcin Libicki, Chairman of the Committee on Petitions confirms previous correspondence with Minister Gormley where the EU indicated that continuing works on the M3 were illegal under EU law governing the need for Environmental Impact Assessments. It goes on to state that many members at the recent meeting of the Committee voiced their concerns about "recent developments related to the M3 project at Tara and Lismullin and the Skryne Valley" and that serious damage was being done to sites of great archaeological and historical value and significance.

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3000-year-old whalebone mask found in Alaska

Archaeologists working in Unalaska (Alaska, USA) have found the remains of a whalebone mask believed to be about 3,000 years old. The partial mask was discovered earlier this month while archaeologists were unearthing an ancient village. The mask, stained brown by soil, is about 2,000 years older than any known Aleut mask, according to archaeologists.

Archaeologists began working on the hillside because a new bridge is to be built there, replacing an old wooden-decked one. The dig, originally scheduled to last only a month, has been extended because the site has proved to be much richer than anyone expected. The village was inhabited at a time when the climate in the Aleutians was much colder and the islands were surrounded by ice year-round. The inhabitants lived in stone houses with under-floor air spaces for heating. Residents of the ancient site - a village marked by unprecedented stone houses and ivory carvings - ate polar bears, ice seals that no longer visit the island and a whale that's never been documented in North American waters, Knecht said.

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Archaeologists fish out whalebone mask

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found the remains of a whalebone mask believed to be about 3,000 years old.

It was created at about the time Homer was producing the Iliad and the Odyssey. The mask was found during a dig to uncover an ancient village in Alaska.

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Up close with Saxon ancestors

More tantalising glimpses of a 1200-year-old civilisation have emerged from the chalky soil of a Norfolk wheat field.

Two weeks ago, the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (Sharp) revealed it had found what appeared to be evidence of a Saxon settlement, close to an eighth century cemetery it has been excavating for 10 years.

Yesterday hundreds of visitors saw the latest finds at the project's annual open day. They include a stone kiln, five feet down in a series of trenches believed to mark the boundary of the ancient village, pieces of an impressive clay pot and further fragments of shell and bone, providing further insight into what our ancestors ate.

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Mussolini home Jewish graves opened

Rome, July 26 - The Jewish catacombs under Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's Rome villa are being restored and readied for visitors. "It's going to take several months to prepare the site and make it safe," said the head of Italy's Jewish Cultural Heritage Foundation, Bruno Orvieto.

"We have to be very careful because there are delicate wall paintings down there that date back some 1,800 years," he stressed.

"We must also take care to respect Jewish rituals regarding all of the 1,500 tombs," Orvieto added.

However, a sneak preview of the 3rd and 4th century AD catacombs will be possible on September 2, when the European Day of Jewish Culture will be celebrated in 30 countries, including 55 sites around Italy.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ice Age cave art site preserved

Work to protect and preserve an Ice Age site in Derbyshire has been completed.

The project at the Ice Age cave art centre at Creswell Crags was funded by the East Midlands Development Agency and the county council.

It included building new scree banks to show how the gorge would have looked about 10 to 50,000 years ago.

A county council spokesperson said archaeologists were consulted during the preservation project to ensure the site's natural beauty was not spoiled.

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Ancient Sami village discovered

Archaologists have uncovered what they believe to be the remnants of a large 2000-year old Sami town near Tana on the border between Finland and Norway.

So far, more than 50 foundations, mostly of turf huts, have been located on the site, which is located on both sides of Higway E-6.

Archaeologist Joern Henriksen of the University in Tromsoe says the find is unique, and believes more discoveries are waiting to be uncovered.

More than 300 cultural artifacts have been found, and the oldest is a stone axe, which dates back to around 3000 BC.

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Underwater study provides evidence of much older city

CAIRO (AP) – Alexander the Great founded Alexandria to immortalize his name on his way to conquer the world, but this may not have been the first city on the famed site of Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. A Smithsonian team has now uncovered the first underwater evidence pointing to an urban settlement dating back seven centuries before Alexander showed up in 331 BC. The city he founded, Alexandria, has long been a source of intrigue and wonder, renowned for its library, once the largest in the world, and the 396-foot (119-meter) lighthouse on the island of Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But little was known about the site in pre-Alexander times, other than that a fishing village by the name of Rhakotis was located there. Coastal geoarchaeologist Jean-Daniel Stanley of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History said the work by him and his colleagues suggested there had been a much larger community than had previously been believed. The discoveries, reported in the August issue of GSA Today, the journal of the Geological Society of America, came by accident when his team drilled underwater in Alexandria’s harbor, Stanley said. Their project was part of a 2007 Smithsonian-funded study of the subsiding Nile Delta and involved extracting 3-inch-wide sticks of core sediment some 18 feet long (5.5 meters), from up to 20 feet (6.5 meters) under the seabed.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

"Keep Roman treasure in Gwent"

A HERITAGE campaigner is calling for a recently-discovered treasure trove of Roman coins to be exhibited in Gwent.

The 599 silver coins, dated around AD 160, were declared treasure by Gwent coroner David Bowen on Wednesday.

They were found in a field in Llanvaches, just outside Newport, in June last year by metal detector enthusiast Brian Stephens.

The hoard is thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds and is set to be officially valued in the coming weeks. The haul will then be bought and exhibited by the National Museum of Wales But the museum revealed the coins are likely to be kept at the National Museum in Cardiff instead of at the Roman Museum in Caerleon.

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The Roman Army is preparing to invade Birdoswald Fort

THE Romans are invading English Heritage’s Roman Fort at Birdoswald on August 4 and 5.

More than 20 fully armed soldiers are creating a cohort from the Imperial Roman Army for this fun-packed family weekend.

Jon Hogan, events manager at English Heritage, said: “This weekend promises to display many interesting aspects of Roman life from weaving your own cloth, to seeing Roman military displays – there’s something for everyone.

“And if you ever fancied burying a member of your family, now’s your chance as English Heritage need a volunteer to be buried – Roman-style.”

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Mystery of an old bone

He died of a blow to the head at 50, a respectable age for a ninth-century man. Now his ancient bones and the DNA within are the centre of a project to help archaeologists, geneticists and historians solve lingering mysteries about the Přemyslids, the founding family of Czech nationhood ― including whether they have any living descendants.

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Enlightened Medicine Found in Dark Ages

The Dark Ages had a few more proverbial light bulbs on than once thought, at least when it came to issues of the body.

People living in Europe during early Medieval times (400—1200 A.D.) actually had a progressive view of illness because disease was so common and out in the open, according to the research presented at a recent historical conference.

Instead of being isolated or shunned, the sick were integrated into society and taken care of by the community, the evidence suggests.

"The Dark Ages weren't so dark," said University of Nottingham historian Christina Lee, co-organizer of the second conference on Disease, Disability and Medicine in Early Medieval Europe. "The question we should be asking is whether illness was actually seen as a problem. What was classified as a disability? What was an impairment? The answer can't be generalized."

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Chance and isolation gave humans elegant skulls

Only chance kept us from looking like our crag-browed Neanderthal cousins. A statistical analysis suggests that the skull differences between the two species stems not from positive natural selection but from genetic drift, in which physical features change randomly, without an environmental driving force.

Some anthropologists had put the cranial differences down to natural selection arising from Neanderthals' use of their teeth as tools, for instance, or from modern humans' speech. To test if genetic drift could have been responsible instead, Timothy Weaver of the University of California, Davis, and colleagues compared 37 measurements of the skulls of various modern human populations with those of Neanderthals. After a comparison of the mean divergence between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals and the mean divergence among groups of modern humans, they conclude that genetic drift is responsible (Journal of Human Evolution, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.03.001).

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Zwei Schädel und eine Frage: Wer ist Schiller?

Anthropologen und Gesichtschirurgen der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg wollen Rätsel um Schillers Schädel lösen

Die Arbeitsgruppe Anthropologie am Institut für Humangenetik und Anthropologie der Freiburger Professorin Dr. Ursula Wittwer-Backofen sowie Dr. Dr. Marc Metzger, Klinik für Mund-, Kiefer- und Gesichtschirurgie, untersuchen zwei Schädel, die dem Dichter Friedrich Schiller zugeschrieben werden. Um zu prüfen, ob und welcher der beiden Schiller zugeordneten Schädel tatsächlich der echte ist, nutzen die Wissenschaftler der Albert- Ludwigs-Universität neben der reinen DNA-Diganostik eine Vielzahl methodischer Zugänge. Dazu werden unter anderem die Totenmasken und Porträts auf ihre Stimmigkeit mit den Schädeln untersucht sowie plastische und virtuelle Gesichtsrekonstruktionen vorgenommen. Die wissenschaftlichen Ergebnisse werden in wenigen Wochen erwartet.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Three in court over Ribbon sit-in

An 81-year-old man and his 72-year-old wife have appeared in court after being arrested at a protest to save a group of 4,000-year-old stones.

Mervyn and Virginia Morgan, of Westfield House, Ross-on-Wye, pleaded not guilty to aggravated trespass at Hereford Magistrates' Court.

A third defendant, Jacqueline Tonge, 46, of Bute Avenue, Putson, spoke only to confirm her name and address.

The charges relate to an incident at a Herefordshire Council cabinet meeting.

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Tay logboat history brought to light

PERTH and Kinross Heritage Trust is holding a one-day conference on the Late Bronze Age logboat from Carpow on the Firth of Tay.

Tales of the Riverbank: the Carpow Bronze Age logboat in context, will take place at Jamesfield Farm, Abernethy, Saturday, September 29.

Speakers will include Prof Sean McGrail (formerly Professor of Marine Archaeology at the University of Oxford), Trevor Cowie (National Museums of Scotland), Mark Hall (Perth Musuem and Art Gallery), Peter Clark (Canterbury Archaeological Trust), David Strachan (Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust), Bob Mowat (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland), Dr Theo Skinner (National Museums of Scotland), Dr Mike Cressey (CFA Archaeology Ltd), and Sarah Winlow (Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust).

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UNESCO Puts Spotlight on Eastern Serbia's Lost Palace

Experts hope listing of former Roman palace will prompt Serbia to undertake better care of its cultural heritage.

The decision of the UN heritage body UNESCO to add a Roman palace near Zajecar in eastern Serbia to its list of listed sites has boosted local pride - as well as hopes that Serbia will undertake a more responsible attitude to its cultural heritage.

At its annual meeting, held in early July in Wellington, New Zealand, UNESCO added the complex located 11km east of Zajecar to the world list of the protected sites under the name "Gamzigrad -Romuliana, Palace Of Galerius".

In a country still struggling to preserve its historical and cultural heritage, badly mauled by decades of mismanagement, the imperial palace now has a chance to outgrow its local significance and become a key site on the wider Serbian and Balkan tourist map.

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Dig reveals "billionaire's" Roman villa with baths

ROME (Reuters Life!) - Archaeologists have uncovered a tycoon's mansion outside central Rome with its very own bath complex -- the ancient Roman equivalent of owning a fleet of Ferraris or a private jet as a way of showing off wealth.

"This is a very impressive, very well preserved bath complex that belonged to a certain Quintus Servilius Pudens who was a billionaire friend of Emperor Hadrian," said Darius Arya, an American archaeologist who is leading the dig.

The site of the Villa delle Vignacce, towards Ciampino airport south of Rome, was first explored by archaeologists in 1780 who found statues that are now in the Vatican museum.

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Hidden City Found Beneath Alexandria

The legendary city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great as he swept through Egypt in his quest to conquer the known world.

Now scientists have discovered hidden underwater traces of a city that existed at Alexandria at least seven centuries before Alexander the Great arrived, findings hinted at in Homer's Odyssey and that could shed light on the ancient world.

Alexandria was founded in Egypt on the shores of the Mediterranean in 332 B.C. to immortalize Alexander the Great. The city was renowned for its library, once the largest in the world, as well as its lighthouse at the island of Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Die Steinzeit Live. Ab heute im Schweizer Fernsehen

Vom 25. Juli bis 21. August 2007 leben zehn Personen im Hinterried von Pfyn unter möglichst authentischen steinzeitlichen Bedingungen.

Das Grundkonzept ähnelt dem "Steinzeit-Experiment" von SWR/ARD. Mehrere Familien und Einzelpersonen tauchen für ein paar Wochen in das Leben der Steinzeit ab und auch SF1 nennt das Format ein Science-Projekt. Doch anders als im deutschen TV berichtet der Sender ab dem 25. Juli täglich außer Samstag und Sonntag in jeweils 15 minütige Zusammenfassungen über das Tagesgeschehens.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Sea Stallion in Kyleakin, Isle of Skye!

The Sea Stallion arrived in Kyleakin on Isle of Skye the 24rd of July c. 02.30 (British time). The crew will rest before they continue the journey the 26th July.

Click here for further information, or use the "Follow the Longship" link in the sidebar.


Archaeologists examining a Roman fortress near the Bulgarian town of Peshtera have found 14 gold coins dating back to the sixth century.

The coins were found at the bottom of a granary near a basilica, Focus news agency reported.

Local history museum director Dimitar Pavlov said that the coins might have been hidden when the Slavs attacked and captured the fortress.

The dig in Peshtera has so far uncovered numerous bronze and silver coins, silver pendants and various ceramic objects, Focus said.

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Scanner creates 3D images

The EScan is used to create a digital plot of the surface of objects as varied as engineering components, bespoke medical supports and implants, archaeological artefacts, organs and tumours

A highly affordable yet robust 3D scanner is being introduced by modelling and prototyping specialist Unimatic Engineers, and should prove ideal for use a wide range of design and manufacturing tasks. The EScan is used to create a digital plot of the surface of objects as varied as engineering components, bespoke medical supports and implants, archaeological artefacts, organs and tumours.

This information can be used for dimensional quality control, reverse engineering, as a CAD file for reproduction, to assess organ health and measure tumour growth.

The object to be scanned is placed on a turntable in front of the scanner and the laser runs vertically up and down it as the object rotates.

Software collects 3D positional co-ordinates at 300 micron centres from all over the surface.

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Archaeologists find key to Devon's Medieval past

University of Exeter archaeologists may have found the key to Stokenham’s Medieval manor house. Along with local schools and members of the community, the team has been digging a site in the South Hams village throughout July to try to uncover Stokenham’s Medieval history.

The dig has unearthed hundreds of items, including 13th century coins, a belt buckle, building materials, fish hooks, animal bones, sea shells and pieces of pottery. All of these help to piece together the history of the manor house, but the latest find, an ornate 15-cm-long iron key with a heart-shaped handle, is the most exciting discovery yet.

The key was uncovered by first-year archaeology student Lynsey Dunn amongst rubble from the abandonment and collapse of the manor house in the late 16th century. The animal bone provides interesting insights into medieval lordly life and the discovery of deer bones by first-year student Grace Doughty hints at the elite lifestyle of hunting and feasting.

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Archaeologists found a Thracian vessel in the shape of a horse head in a funeral mound near the town of Sliven.

The workmanship was especially precise, Focus news agency reported.

The horse’s accoutrements and a labris (double axe) were represented on the vessel. Focus said that the labris was a symbol of royal power in Thrace.

Georgi Kitov, head of the archaeological expedition, said that the vessel was unique from a scientific point of view. The labris proved the vessel was owned by a Thracian king.

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Russian Archeologists Read Ancient Birchbark Manuscript

Russian linguists and archeologists have deciphered text, written on a birchbank manuscript, which was found in Staraya Russa town of the Novgorod region and dates back to 14th century.

The manuscript, found earlier in July, contains information about salt collecting, which was one of the main occupations in Staraya Russa.

The manuscript, discovered in Staraya Russa, is the thousandth “message form the past”, found at Novgorod digging site since 1951. Archeologists continue digginds, hoping to find other interesting artifacts from ancient times.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Tara protest attracts 1,000 marchers

RENOWNED artist 90-year-old Louis le Brocquy joined 1,000 marchers in Dublin seeking to reroute a motorway from the historic Hill of Tara.

The Love Tara demonstration brought protesters from the Garden of Remembrance, along the banks of the Liffey, to the offices of Environment Minister John Gormley in the Custom House.

Organisers TaraWatch claimed the Green Party leader has power to change his predecessor’s decision regarding the M3 route in Co Meath.

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Archaeologist confident that Flag Fen will recover

A WEEK after yobs went on a wrecking spree, the archaeologist who discovered Flag Fen Bronze Age site said the world-renowned tourist attraction would recover.

Professor Francis Pryor insisted the closure of cash-strapped Flag Fen would be an "insult" to Peterborough.

Prof Pryor, Flag Fen's director of archaeology, was speaking at the launch of The Big Discovery Dig yesterday, a three-year Heritage Lottery-funded project enabling children to dig up their own artefacts.

The opening came at the end of a troubled week for Flag Fen, after a joyriding car wreaked havoc when it burst through gates, rammed the Bronze Age Centre and damaged picnic tables and a Roman herb garden.

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Burial mounds to be excavated

The Dutch landscape is strewn with them, but what are the stories behind them? Burial mounds are often 4000 to 5000 years old, they are visible to everyone and curious recreationists ask questions about them; questions the council are unable to answer as the research on burial mounds has for a number of decades been at a standstill. Leiden archaeologist David Fontijn intends to change this situation. From 16 July to 3 August, together with a team of colleagues and students, he will excavate two burial mounds belonging to the town council of Apeldoorn.

Unexplained phenomena

Fontijn’s excavations will take place 101 years after Queen Wilhelmina had the first mound excavated by a Leiden archaeologist. What remains to be researched in these mounds in 2007? ‘For a long time it was thought that we knew everything there was to know about the hundreds of burial mounds that are to be found in the Netherlands,’ Fontijn recounts. ‘After they acquired the status of artefacts of cultural heritage in the seventies, the mounds were no longer excavated. When I started examining old research reports, I discovered that all kinds of phenomena concerning these burial mounds remained unexplained. For example: Why are the mounds situated where they are? Or: why were cows sometimes buried inside? In the Netherlands as in other European countries, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.’

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Stonehenge world heritage status at risk as tunnel plan is shelved

THE government is set to reject a £500m road scheme which is seen as vital to preserving the status of Stonehenge as a World Heritage site.

A tunnel more than a mile long would have taken the A303 trunk road under the extensive prehistoric landscape in which the stone circle stands. A new visitor centre had also been planned.

Despite 20 years of work by English Heritage, which manages Stonehenge, and several planning inquiries costing £25m, a senior government source said last week that the scheme was “simply far too expensive”.

Instead, the culture and transport departments are planning a far cheaper scheme for a new bypass road.

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Roman graves uncovered during roadworks in Greek town

VEROIA, Greece: Four 1,800-year-old Roman graves have been uncovered during road works in the northern Greek city of Veroia, the Culture Ministry said Friday.

A statement said two gold earrings, a copper coin and ceramic pots were also found at the site, were municipal workers had been laying paving stones and upgrading the water supply network.

The graves are believed to be part of a Roman cemetery discovered in the 1960s outside the city's ancient walls.

Ancient artifacts are often discovered during public works in Greece, where many cities and towns date back to antiquity.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007


The recent heavy rains have been causing headaches at an archaeological dig in Aberdeenshire as the moat around an ancient palace has been filling up for the first time in five centuries.

A section of the moat around the Lost Bishop's Palace of Fetternear has been painstakingly reopened as part of the 13th annual dig at the site near Kemnay.

Heavy and persistent rain at the start of the week however meant water kept filling the massive defensive ditch that once surrounded the site.

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Ancient Roman Baths Unearthed

A large 2nd-century bath complex believed to be part of a wealthy Roman's luxurious residence has been partially dug up, archaeologists said Thursday.

The exceptionally well-preserved two-story complex, which extends for at least five acres, includes ornate hot rooms, vaults, changing rooms, marble latrines and an underground room where slaves lit the fire to warm the baths.

Statues and water cascades decorated the interiors, American archaeologist Darius A. Arya, the excavation's head, said during a tour offered to The Associated Press on Thursday. Only pedestals and fragments have been recovered.

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'Lost' coronation abbey unearthed

Archaeologists have unearthed the site where Robert the Bruce was crowned king of Scotland.

The location of the abbey at Moot Hill, the original home of the Stone of Destiny, was forgotten centuries ago.

But it has now been identified by experts from Glasgow University who have been surveying the grounds of Scone Palace for the first time.

They used scanners to detect buried structures and found part of the abbey church and a bell tower.

The coronation of Pictish and Scottish kings took place at Moot Hill for hundreds of years, and a royal abbey was built there by 1120AD.

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Ancient mariner tools found in Cyprus

AKAMAS, Cyprus - Archaeologists excavating the seabed off Cyprus have discovered the tools of ancient mariners, which they believe were used by foragers more than 10,000 years ago — before the island had permanent settlements.

The underwater discovery of what archaeologists said were the oldest materials recovered off the island's coast could shed fresh light on the early history of Cyprus and Mediterranean seafaring.

Earlier this month, divers located the pre-Neolithic finds — chipped stone tools and ground stone implements — in several areas off the western coast, near Aspros, an archaeological site discovered in 2004.

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Forschungsprogramm zur römischen Reichsreligion abgeschlossen

Mit einem Kolloquium in Erfurt fand am 14. Juli das DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm "Römische Reichsreligion und Provinzialreligion: Globalisierungs- und Regionalisierungsprozesse in der antiken Religionsgeschichte" seinen Abschluss. Über sechs Jahre hinweg wurde das Forschungsprogramm an der Universität Erfurt unter Leitung von Professor Dr. Jörg Rüpke koordiniert.

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Das Europa Elisabeths - 3. Thüringer Landesausstellung

"Elisabeth von Thüringen - Eine Europäische Heilige". Bereits der Titel der 3. Thüringer Landesausstellung, die Anfang Juli auf der Wartburg ihre Pforten öffnete, macht die Reichweite des Wirkens ihrer Protagonistin deutlich.

Mit Elisabeth von Thüringen steht eine Frauengestalt im Mittelpunkt der Ausstellung, deren Leben und Handeln anders als es ihr Name zunächst vermuten lässt, weit über die Grenzen Thüringens hinaus wirkte und bis heute wirkt. So war die 1207 geborene Tochter des ungarischen Königs mit dem europäischen Hochadel von Ungarn über Böhmen bis nach Frankreich und Spanien verwandt. Auch Elisabeths radikale Entscheidung, mit den Normen ihres Standes zu brechen und sich stattdessen den Ärmsten und Niedrigsten zuzuwenden, fand ein europaweites Echo: von heftigem Widerspruch bis zu tiefer Bewunderung.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Family discovers Viking treasure

The most important haul of Viking treasure to be discovered in Britain since the 19th century was unveiled by the British Museum on Thursday.

Discovered earlier this year by a father and son detecting team near Harrogate in northern England, the find includes coins, ornaments, ingots and precious metal objects all hidden in a gilt silver bowl and buried in a lead chest.

"The size and quality of the hoard is remarkable, making it the most important find of its type in Britain for over 150 years," the museum said.

"The find is of global importance, as well as having huge significance for the history of North Yorkshire," it added.

Vikings, sailor-warriors from modern day Norway and Denmark, began raiding the undefended coast of ancient Britain at the end of the eighth century AD.

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Viking hoard ‘is of global significance’

THE most important haul of Viking treasure to be discovered in Britain since the 19th century has been unveiled by the British Museum.

The objects, which date to the 10th century, come from as far as Afghanistan in the East and Ireland in the West, as well as Russia, Scandinavia and continental Europe.

Discovered this year by a father and son detecting team near Harrogate in northern England, the hoard includes coins, ornaments, ingots and precious metal objects all hidden in a gilt silver bowl and buried in a lead chest.

The museum said: “The size and quality of the hoard is remarkable, making it the most important find of its type in Britain for more than 150 years. The find is of global importance, as well as having huge significance for the history of North Yorkshire.”

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English Heritage officially reopened a 600-year-old gatehouse, one of the most important of its kind in the country and all that remains of a medieval abbey, on Wednesday July 18 after an ambitious conservation project.

Thornton Abbey, in North Lincolnshire, was for centuries a centre of spiritual and economic influence. Founded in 1139 by Augustinian canons from Kirkham Priory, near Malton in North Yorkshire, it became one of England’s wealthiest abbeys.

The gatehouse was built in the 1360s complete with barbican and battlements, as these were the nervous years after the Peasants’ Revolt.

Work to return the gatehouse to its former glory has been backed by the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward as part of a £4.5m scheme by the South Humber Bank Heritage Tourism Initiative, bidding to promote the natural and heritage assets of North Lincolnshire.

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Treasure hunters share £1m Viking hoard looted from round the world

A Viking treasure hoard of silver and gold, traded and looted from across Europe and as far afield as Asia and north Africa, and lost for more than 1,000 years, was revealed to public view again yesterday at the British Museum.

The find is one of the most spectacular recent discoveries from anywhere in the Viking empire: 600 coins, some unique, from as far as Samarkand in central Asia, Afghanistan, Russia and north Africa, hidden in a silver and gold pot. "This is the world in a vessel," said Jonathan Williams of the British Museum.

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Lucky landowner in line for share of £1m treasure trove

A HARROGATE landowner could receive a share of £1m after a hoard of Viking treasure was unearthed in fields in the area.

The collection of 617 silver coins and 65 artefacts has been described by archaeology experts as the most important British find for 150 years.

The hoard was confirmed as treasure by North Yorkshire coroner Geoff Fell at Harrogate Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon.

Mr Fell said the find held global significance and described the most spectacular single object as a gilt silver vessel, made in what is now France in the first half of the ninth century.

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Staff at Flag Fen say they are determined to carry on with this Sunday's Archaeology Festival despite a recent spate of vandalism at the important Bronze Age archaeological site near Peterborough.

Vandals smashed through the main gates to the visitor centre’s car park on Thursday July 12 and returned on July 15 to wreak thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“First of all we had some people come in on the Thursday last week in the early hours of the morning going at great speeds around the car park in a car, smashing through the wooden gates,” said Sharon Shortland, Fundraising Officer at Flag Fen.

The vandals then returned three days later to wreak more damage: “On this Sunday they smashed through again and completely obliterated the gate,” she explained. “They then destroyed three picnic tables, the entrance to the reconstructed roundhouse, then went into the preservation hall where they smashed through the wooden and glass double doors.”

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Phallus Throne Unearthed at Perperikon Rock Sanctuary in Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists have added a throne with an upright phallus on it to their exciting collection of finds from the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

Top archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov, who unearthed the four-legged throne on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, explained that the phallus symbolizes the prelude to a holy marriage. The find is dated to the fourteenth century.

Perperikon, a trove of buried treasures, also yielded a golden coin, which is believed to have belonged to a Byzantine emperor. It has never been used and archaeologists say it has been stored in a basin.

It was just last week that Ovcharov showed the press two unique ceramic figurines of a cobra and dragon heads unearthed at the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

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Medieval city gate uncovered

EINDHOVEN – Archaeologists uncovered a city gate from the 15th century in the centre of Eindhoven on Thursday. The so-called Woensel gate was one of the three guarded entrances to the centre. City archaeologist Nico Arts says the gate stood at the middle of a wooden bridge that crossed over a 30-metre wide city moat.

Only two rectangular foundation stones are left of the Woensel Gate, which was once three metres across. A large number of archaeological items have been found in the immediate vicinity, including an enormous iron cannon ball, pot shards, remains of butchered animals, spearheads, coins, keys and pilgrims' insignia. "The moat used to be the city's garbage dump. The items they threw out are archaeological treasures to us now," Arts says.

A bicycle cellar is soon to be built on the 18 September square where the city gate was found. The idea is to incorporate the gate into the cityscape once again, though how this will be done is not yet decided.

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Archaeologists dig up 2nd-century bath complex in Rome

ROME: Archaeologists said Thursday they have partially dug up a 2nd-century bath complex believed to be part of the vast, luxurious residence of a wealthy Roman.

The two-story complex, which extends for at least 5 acres (2 hectares), includes exceptionally well-preserved decorated hot rooms, vaults, changing rooms, marble latrines and an underground room where slaves lit the fire to warm the baths.

Statues and water cascades decorated the interiors, American archaeologist Darius A. Arya, the head of the excavation, said during a tour of the digs offered to The Associated Press on Thursday. Only pedestals and fragments have been recovered.

Arya spoke as students and experts were brushing off earth and dust from ancient marbles, mosaic floors and a rudimentary heating system, made of pipes that channeled hot air throughout the complex.

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We’ve been here much longer than we thought

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Cyprus have discovered what they believe could be the oldest evidence yet that organised groups of ancient mariners were plying the east Mediterranean, possibly as far back as 14,000 years ago.

The find, archaeologists told Reuters yesterday, could also suggest Cyprus, tucked in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean and about 30 miles away from the closest land mass, may have been gradually populated about that time, and up to 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.

What is now believed to be Cyprus' first permanent human settlement is at Shillourokambos, in the island's south dating from the end of the ninth millennium BC.

"This is a major breakthrough in terms of the study of early Cyprus archaeology and the origins of seafaring in the Mediterranean," Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus' Department of Antiquities, told Reuters.

The discovery at a coastal site on the island's northwest has revealed chipped tools submerged in the sea and made with local stone which could be the earliest trace yet of human activity in Cyprus.

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7 people arrested during M3 protests

Gardaí have arrested seven people who were protesting against the contentious M3 motorway being routed close to the historic Hill of Tara in Meath.

Five people were arrested this morning and were due to appear in court in Navan on a charge of obstructing traffic, a spokesman for the protesters said.

Two more people were arrested this afternoon and brought to Navan Garda station.

The protesters said they will seek to have the charges dismissed as "they were not in the public highway when protesting". The campaigners were arrested at the site at Blundelstown, about five miles south of Navan town on the west side of the existing M3. They are being held at Navan Garda Station.

The company building the road claimed this morning a construction worker was hospitalised following clashes with protesters. Protesters also claim they were "assaulted" by construction workers.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007


New Culture Minister Margaret Hodge was at the Museum of London on July 17 to enjoy a sneak preview of a newly acquired set of Roman murals, which will go on display at the Museum at the weekend as part of National Archaeology Week.

The plaster is from one room in a high status Roman building, thought to date from 120 AD. Discovered on a site on Lime Street by the edge of Leadenhall Market in London by the Museum of London Archaeology Service in Spring 2007, the pieces actually lay hidden beneath an Italian takeaway.

Staff at the Museum have since been working on the find to piece together over 40 crates of plaster to recreate the decoration, which features an elaborate scheme with painted candelabra, fruit and flowers, birds and animals on coloured panels.

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Blackhall ruins were 'probably domestic'

Walls found during the excavation of the former carpark in Blackhall Place are believed to represent domestic buildings surrounding the Dominican Priory that once stood nearby, according to the company which carried out the archaeological survey – and nearby, evidence has been found of human occupation of the area as far back as Neolithic times.

However, while important, the remains in the former carpark are not important enough to warrant preservation other than "by record", according to Valerie J. Keeley Ltd. Archaeological Consultancy, the firm which excavated the site on behalf of Rickaton, which is behind proposals to construct a mixed use development on the site, as part of an improvement plan for Mullingar town centre.

The excavation, carried out between February 15 2006 and March 2 of this year, found that the site contained "a complex series of walls", representing many phases of building and rebuilding, "not only at the time when the monastery was in use, but in the succeeding centuries up to, perhaps, the early 19th century".

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Gold mask found in Thracian king’s tomb

SOFIA, Bulgaria - A 2,400-year-old golden mask that once belonged to a Thracian king was unearthed in a timber-lined tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, archaeologists said Monday.

The mask, discovered over the weekend, was found in the tomb along with a solid gold ring engraved with a Greek inscription and the portrait of a bearded man.

“These finds confirm the assumption that they are part of the lavish burial of a Thracian king,” said Margarita Tacheva, a professor who was on the dig near the village of Topolchane, 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of the capital, Sofia.

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Archaeologists find old mask in Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria - A 2,400-year-old golden mask that once belonged to a Thracian king was unearthed in a timber-lined tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, archaeologists said Monday.

The mask, discovered over the weekend, was found in the tomb along with a solid gold ring engraved with a Greek inscription and the portrait of a bearded man.

"These finds confirm the assumption that they are part of the lavish burial of a Thracian king," said Margarita Tacheva, a professor who was on the dig near the village of Topolchane, 180 miles east of the capital, Sofia.

Georgi Kitov, the team leader, said that they also found a silver rhyton, silver and bronze vessels, pottery and funerary gifts.

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Chimps on treadmill offer human evolution insight

Chimpanzees scampering on a treadmill have provided support for the notion that ancient human ancestors began walking on two legs because it used less energy than quadrupedal knuckle-walking, scientists said.

Writing on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said people walking on a treadmill used just a quarter of the energy relative to their size compared to chimpanzees knuckle-walking on four legs.

The scientists equipped five chimpanzees and four people with face masks to track oxygen usage and looked at other measures to assess energy expenditure and biomechanics on a treadmill.

Bipedalism is a defining characteristic of the human lineage and marked an important divergence from other apes.

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Rare Mycenaean grave unearthed

Roadworks in southern Greece have unearthed a rare Mycenaean grave thought to be well over 3,000 years old and containing important burial offerings including a gold chalice, the culture ministry said on Monday.

Archaeologists said it appeared to be the grave of a local military official and was the first time a single grave had been found with such a combination of objects -- including a bronze and gold sword, and a bronze spear point, knife and pot.

Pottery found in the grave dated it to around 1,200 BC.

"It included one dead body in a fetal position, whose bones had disintegrated," the ministry said in a statement. "But the burial offerings are in very good condition and especially important."

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Metals and Money in the Middle Ages

A one-day symposium

Saturday, 13 October 2007

10:00 to 17:00

Imperial College London

Further details...

What’s the story with . . . the woolly mammoth?

Nothing is more certain than that our comfortable certainties about the past are not set in stone. A baby mammoth discovered perfectly preserved in the permafrost of north-west Siberia has raised the prospect of the creatures, which disappeared 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, being reintroduced by cloning DNA from the female calf.

The six-month-old specimen of mammuthus primigenius was discovered by a reindeer herder, Yuri Khudi, in May on the Yamal peninsula and has been named Lyuba after his wife. Lyuba is the biggest thing in palaeontology for years and caused a buzz at last month's international mammoth conference in Yakutsk in north-east Russia, an area so rich in mammoth finds that it boasts a permafrost museum.

The new find, described by Alexei Tikhonov of the Zoological Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg, "as the world's most valuable discovery", because of its state of preservation, has prompted speculation that its hair could provide DNA. That in turn could lead to a mammoth being cloned by fusing the nucleus of a mammoth cell with a modern elephant egg cell stripped of its own DNA.

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Ancient Jawbone Could Shake Up Fossil Record

Jawbones from an early human ancestor, found recently in northeast Ethiopia, could shine light on a murky period of human evolution, paleontologists say.

The bones were found in the fossil-rich Afar region, just 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of the spot where the famed skeleton of "Lucy"—early human ancestor who lived 3.2 million years ago—was unearthed in 1974.

The new bones are believed to date from 3.8 million to 3.5 million years ago.

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The discovery of an ancient well on a Cornish estate has led to speculation that it is the legendary well of St Petroc.

The discovery was made by amateur archaeologist Jonathan Clemes while searching for a secret tunnel in the grounds of Prideaux Place, an Elizabethan manor house at Padstow.

Mr Clemes regularly works with TV's Time Team and carries out a lot of excavations on the Prideaux estate.

He said: "I knew I was on to something when I found a papal bulla in the field close by. It's a type of lead seal which was always a good indicator of a holy well being in the area. So we started excavating and found this ancient well and we feel there is a good chance that this could be St Petroc's well."

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Ötzi erhält ein eigenes Forschungsinstitut

Angesiedelt an der Europäischen Akademie in Bozen (EURAC) und in engster Zusammenarbeit mit dem Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum (Südtiroler Landesmuseen) wird das neue "Institut für Mumien und den Iceman" die Forschung an der ältesten Gletschermumie der Welt dokumentieren und koordinieren, Daten über Ötzi und andere Mumien sammeln und zur Verfügung stellen, sowie Konservierungstechniken für Mumien weiterentwickeln.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heritage inspectors visit feature

English Heritage inspectors have been visiting a 4,000-year-old feature in Herefordshire to see if it should be preserved as an ancient monument.

Archaeologists have said the Rotherwas Ribbon, found by road builders, could be as important as Stonehenge.

Herefordshire Council said a protective shield will be built over the site to preserve it for future generations. A relief road will then be built over it.

If inspectors schedule the monument, work on the road will have to stop.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

DNA discovery reveals Greenland's warm past

Scientists have uncovered evidence that within the past million years southern Greenland was warmer than previously thought, and even covered in lush forests, a discovery suggesting its ice sheet could be more stable than previously thought against climate change temperature rises.

An analysis of DNA found at the bottom of ice cores drilled to a depth of more than a mile (2km) in south Greenland, and dated to between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago, has shown a surprising variety of plant and insect life was present then.

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Romano-Briton helps to open water works

HAISTHORPE'S £12 million water treatment works was officially opened with the help of a villager from an Romano-British settlement and Bridlington MP Greg Knight.

The settlement, which is thought to date back to approximately 2AD, was unearthed during the construction of the works and archaeologists who led the dig displayed the unearthed artefacts at the opening.

Children from Burton Agnes Primary School were also invited and they met the Romano-Briton (David Shackleton), who was from The Vicus re-enactment society.

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Italy's crackdown on art looting keeps plunderers in check, for now

It used to be so easy for the "tombaroli," Italy's tomb raiders.

Pietro Casasanta had no Indiana Jones-type escapes from angry natives or booby-trapped temples. He worked undisturbed in daylight with a bulldozer, posing as a construction worker to become one of Italy's most successful plunderers of archaeological treasures.

When he wasn't in prison, the convicted looter operated for decades in this countryside area outside Rome, benefiting from what he says was lax surveillance that allowed him to dig into ancient Roman villas and unearth statues, pottery and other artifacts which he then sold for millions of dollars on the illegal antiquities market.

"Nobody cared, and there was so much money going around," he recalled in an interview with The Associated Press. "I always worked during the day, with the same hours as construction crews, because at night it was easier to get noticed and to make mistakes."

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Cathedral goes back to Caen stone

Caen stone of the type originally used to build Canterbury Cathedral is to be used in conservation work there for the first time in 100 years.

The stone, from Plain de Caen in northern France, was brought to Kent by the Normans when they built their cathedral in the late 11th Century.

The present building boasts examples of Caen stonework from medieval times.

A shortage of supply at the end of the 19th Century forced stonemasons to use poorer quality stone from elsewhere.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Roman Maryport marches ahead

Maryport's unique Roman site will be the focus of attention during the summer, thanks to a project planning grant of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it was announced today (Tuesday).

The award, together with a matching grant from Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd, will enable the Senhouse Museum Trust, working with the landowners, Mr and Mrs Harold Messenger, to develop plans to undertake further archaeological research and develop new visitor facilities on the site.

The HLF money is for a Project Planning Grant to undertake important studies for the proposals. Three of these are an Audience Development Plan, a Conservation Management Plan and an Access Plan, all of which will be undertaken by Atkins Heritage of Leeds. The fourth is a Research Framework which will be undertaken by York Archaeological Trust.

Excavations by the Maryport and District Archaeological Society in 2005 indicated that Maryport may contain not only one of the largest but also one of the oldest Roman forts on the northern frontier of the Empire.

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Archaeologists set to unearth secrets of Scone and its kings

IT IS one of the most evocative sites in Scotland's turbulent history - the place where Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots before his victory over the English at Bannockburn.

From the reign of Kenneth MacAlpin in the ninth century, every Scots king assumed the mantle of power, seated on the Stone of Destiny, on the ancient mound now known as Moot Hill at Scone in Perthshire.

Despite its role at the very heart of Scottish power, little is known about the archaeology of the ancient site or that of nearby Scone Abbey, the "lost" Augustinian monastery founded in 1114 by Alexander I and sacked and burned by an angry mob at the height of the Reformation.

Next week, however, a major archaeological investigation is set to get under way in the grounds of Scone Palace, the home of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield, to unlock some of the secrets of Scone and to shed fresh light on the two historic sites.

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Archaeologists rise to solstice circle discovery

ARCHAEOLOGISTS working on a remote Scottish island have discovered an ancient stone ceremonial enclosure that is perfectly aligned to the winter and summer solstices.

The find was made by members of the Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (Bacas) working on the island of Foula.

The stones were found on the last day of an extensive geophysical survey at an area called Da Heights. The group found stones rising from the ground in a curve which did not look like they were placed naturally.

Extensive research has shown the stones were part of an early Bronze Age ceremonial enclosure. The structure would have been built some time between 3500 and 2000BC.

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Ancient remains found by pupils

Teenagers who joined archaeologists on a dig in an historic village uncovered the 1,000-year-old remains of a woman.

Pupils from different schools in Cambs and Suffolk were on a higher education course digging near Halesworth when their spades hit a skull.

Cambridge University archaeologist Carenza Lewis said they do not know all that much about the body they found.

"We think she may be Anglo Saxon or from before the Norman Conquest. She is ancient, adult and female," she said.

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Unique Bronze Age serpentine mound found in western England

An archaeologist has made a find in western England that he hopes will help illuminate the ritual life of Britain's Bronze Age inhabitants — a 60-meter (65-yard) serpentine mound paved with cracked stones believed to be the first of its kind discovered in Europe.

Mounds of "burnt stones" — so-called because they have been cracked by heating and rapid cooling — litter northern Europe; some experts believe they are piles of ancient kitchen trash. The use of the stones to cover the snakelike "Rotherwas Ribbon" mound, however, suggests that they were also used in rituals by people 4,000 years ago, said Herefordshire County archaeologist Keith Ray.

"It's the only structure we have from prehistory from Britain or in Europe, as far as we can tell, that is actually a deliberate construction that uses burnt stones," Ray said. "This is ... going to make us rethink whole chunks of what we thought we understood about the period."

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007


The huge archaeological monument of Baronstown, a possible candidate for
a National Monument, was destroyed in the early hours of Wednesday 4th
July when machinery moved onto the site at 4am. When protesters arrived
at 6am the entire site had been completely razed to the ground. This was
an extraordinary site described recently by archaeologist Joe Fenwick as
a “multi-period, archaeological complex” that was much more extensive
than the declared National Monument of Lismullin.

According to documents seen by the Campaign to Save Tara Baronstown had
been recommended for National Monument status a number of months ago by
archaeologists on-site, but that this was rejected by the NRA chief
archaeologist and former Minister for Enviroment Dick Roche.
Dr Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin said: “That they are destroying our heritage
under cover of darkness says it all. We demand that the Government calls
a moratorium on all construction work in the Gabhra Valley at least
until the new committee convened by Minister John Gormley has submitted
its deliberations and until the EU Petitions Committee who visited Tara
also submit their report.”

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Sea Stallion from Glendalough 2007

This is the official Website for the Sea Stallion from Glendalough – the reconstruction of the Viking longship (Skuldelev 2) which sailed on Sunday from Roskilde and is intended to reach Dublin in six weeks’ time.

This interesting Website contains a wealth of information over the voyage, including a Google Earth satellite picture showing the Sea Stallion’s current position.

You can also sign up to receive a daily newsletter about the voyage.

You can find the Website at : www.havhingsten.dk

Vikings set sail

A Viking ship leaves Danish shores for Ireland to retrace the journey of the Nordic tribe.

At the Danish port of Roskilde, the Sea Stallion, a ship crafted from 300 oak trees, set sail for Ireland in a bid to recreate the adventures of the Vikings.

Thousands of people came to wave off the reconstructed Viking ship and to enjoy the delights that a Viking market had to offer.

Blacksmiths, carpenters and craftsmen provided spectators with a show that transported them back to the time of the original Nordic tribe.

The vessel's sixty strong crew are aiming to answer questions about viking ship-building and travel. Like the vikings, the Sea Stallion crew will brave the elements and be put to the test of spending time at sea in an open ship.

The journey is expected to take six weeks.

Watch the video......

Viking ship sets sail for Dublin

A Viking ship has set sail for Dublin from the Danish port of Roskilde, in an attempt to recreate the voyages undertaken by early Norsemen.

The 30m (100ft) long replica, called Sea Stallion, is said to be the world's largest reconstructed Viking vessel.

It is based on a ship made nearly 1,000 years ago in Ireland, which in 1962 was excavated from the Roskilde fjord.

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Bid to uncover Scone’s buried past

A TEAM of archaeologists equipped with the latest underground scanning tools are set to descend on one of Scotland’s most significant medieval centres.

Scone Palace will play host to investigators attempting to discover more about the lost rich abbey of Scone and the famous Moot Hill, where Robert Bruce was crowned King of Scots in 1306.

Visitors to the top tourist attraction will be able to witness the team at work.

In ancient times, Scone was a centre of royal and ecclesiastical power.

The abbey was a centre of kingship in medieval Scotland, and archaeologists are amazed such an important place has left so little trace above ground.

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DNA testing to uncover Czech noble mysteries

Prague - DNA testing will be used in a unique scientific project to solve a more than thousand-year mystery over the noble occupants of Dark Age graves in Prague castle, a team of Czech specialists announced on Tuesday.

DNA tests on remains from 19 bodies, thought to belong to the Czech noble Premyslid family, considered the founders of the Bohemian kingdom who ruled the country for 400 years, will be used to determine who is who. In parallel, 50-70 tests will be carried out on remains from ordinary graves found around the ancient castle site.

"This is a unique project in the scale of what is being done. Nothing this big has ever been attempted in the world before," DNA forensic expert Daniel Vanek, who worked for three years on identifying genocide victims in Bosnia and will use techniques finetuned from then, said.

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500-year-old bronze disc is found in field

A HORSE harness decoration thought to have belonged to a lord of the manor at Bletchingley more than 500 years ago has been unearthed in a field.

Chris Andre, a member of the Reigate-based Weald and Downland Metal Detecting Club, handed the artefact to an archaeological expert for identification.

David Williams, Surrey County Council's finds liaison officer, has revealed that the small circular bronze disc may have been a personal belonging of Henry Stafford, who held the manor of Bletchingley in the late 15th century, or one of his retinue.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Was Lucy a Brutal Brawler?

These legs were made for fighting.

Anthropologists have long assumed that the short stature of australopithecines like Lucy was related to treetop living: Having short legs makes it easier to climb trees and gives stability when balancing on branches. David Carrier, a biologist at the University of Utah, has another idea. After taking measurements and collecting observations on nine living primate species, including humans, Carrier concluded that the living apes with the shortest legs for their body size, like gorillas and orangutans, are those that spend the least time in trees. They’re also the ones whose males exhibit especially aggressive behavior.

Carrier doesn’t rule out that Australopithecus may have spent time in trees, but he insists a more likely explanation for why short legs persisted is that Lucy and her ilk were particularly prone to fighting. According to this hypothesis, it was advantageous for males to remain short because it gave them an edge when grappling with one another for access to females. “With short legs, you have a lower center of gravity. You’re more stable, and you have greater leverage,” Carrier says.

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'Royal' Iron Age roundhouse found

One of the biggest Iron Age roundhouses ever found in Scotland has been uncovered during an archaeological dig near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.

The 2,000-year-old stone building was found in the Bennachie hills on the site of an earlier Bronze Age fort.

The archaeologists who uncovered it said the size of the building suggested it was inhabited by society's elite.

But they said it was impossible to say what relationship the owners had with Roman soldiers living in nearby camps.

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Million-year-old human tooth found in Spain

Spanish researchers on Friday said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, which they estimated to be the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe.

Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, co-director of research at the Atapuerca site said the molar, discovered on Wednesday in the Atapuerca Sierra in the northern province of Burgos, could be as much as 1.2 million years old.

"The tooth represents the oldest human fossil remain of western Europe. Now we finally have the anatomical evidence of the hominids that fabricated tools more than one million years ago," the Atapuerca Foundation said in a statement.

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Restaurierung von bedeutendem römisch-antiken Mosaik in Köln

Das infolge des Sturms Kyrill zu Beginn des Jahres beschädigte Dionysosmosaik im Römisch-Germanischen Museum Köln wird seit letzter Woche vom Fachbereich Konservierung und Restaurierung der FH Erfurt restauriert. Es handelt sich dabei um eines der bedeutendsten römisch- antiken Mosaiken nördlich der Alpen.

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