Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Hidden history' uncovered on tour

Underneath the streets of Belfast lies a hidden history which archaeologists have been exploring for years.

However, until now, locals and visitors have not had the chance to actively explore the history that lies beneath them.

Since 1983, more than 50 excavations have taken place all over the city, in order to discover information about Belfast's 800 years of history.

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Warwickshire Museum's archaeology website wins award

A MUSEUM has won a national award for its website about archaeology.

Warwickshire Museum set up the Warwickshire Timetrail website six years ago to provide information about archaeological finds in the area

It was voted the best online historic environment record in a recent poll by the British Archaeological Jobs Resource.

Visit the website at

Medieval limekiln discovered in Ripon

THE discovery of a large medieval limekiln in Ripon has caused great excitement among local historians and archaeologists.

The circular structure, which is believed to be more than 500 years old, was unearthed behind Ripon House, on Residence Lane, by Leeds-based Archaeology Services WYAS – a company carrying out exploratory excavations as part of development work on a new housing project.

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Excavation at Haslar reveals horror of life in Nelson's navy

An excavation of a former military hospital graveyard has revealed the harrowing deaths of some sailors from Nelson's navy.

The dig is being carried out in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport, where the unmarked graves date back to 1755.

The work, which is being filmed for a Channel 4 Time Team documentary, is to reveal what life was like in the navy hundreds of years ago.

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Long Lost Relative

There's no doubt that the fossil primate named Ida, after paleontologist Jørn Hurum's young daughter, is big news, and page one coverage in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal attests it's more than just a bit of evolutionary road kill. Ida is the subject of a two-hour History Channel documentary, "The Link," which will debut on May 25. A juvenile female, the 95 percent complete skeleton comes from Germany's Messel Pit, a mile-wide crater, and dates to 47 million years ago. Effectively acting as host of the show is Jørn Hurum of the University of Oslo's Natural History Museum.

The documentary will engage those who are interested in human evolution, but it has to be said that there's a fair amount of padding. The focus seems solely on the question, is this a human ancestor or not? At an early stage I would guess that it was judged that only this question would hold the attention of viewers. I think that was a mistake. But you can find much that was omitted from the program in the companion website and book. How was the fossil found and acquired, what the environment was like, and basics like close-up images in which you take time in looking at closely (those in the documentary are shown for mere seconds). So the documentary comes at you in a rapid fire mode (but oddly with lots of repeated material), but if you want to engage with and think about Ida and the implications of this fossil, you have to go to the other sources.

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Macedonia: Iron Period Layers Revealed by Latest Archaeology Excavations at Kokino

The latest archaeological research at the ancient observatory of Kokino in north-eastern Macedonia revealed layers from the Iron Period, around the seventh century BC, Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kancheska-Milevska declared today.

“At the moment, there is intensive archaeological research on several sectors of the site,” the minister explained during a Parliament session dedicated to questions of members of parliament, quoted by national media. She added that this work should be completed by the end of June.

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Remains of temple of Isis found

Workmen inside Florence's courthouse have stumbled across a spiral column and hundreds of multicoloured fragments that experts believe may have belonged to a Roman temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Dating to the second century AD, the remains were discovered as the men dug a five by three metre hole, barely four metres deep, for a new water cistern for the courthouse's anti-incendiary system.

''These finds are of extraordinary importance,'' said Alessandro Palchetti, the archaeologist charged with overseeing the works in the courthouse by Florence's archaeology superintendency, who suspected something interesting might be uncovered because of the area's historic relevance.

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Mystery over skeleton find in Littleton

SHOCKED builders near Winchester unearthed a skeleton thought to be more than 350 years old.

They made the discovery during work to build 12 homes in Main Road, Littleton.

But mystery surrounds why the remains — which were found in a 4ft deep pit — were not buried in the village’s churchyard, just a few hundred yards away.

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Vikings visited Canadian Arctic, research suggests

Artifacts suggest Norse settlement in Nunavut

One of Canada's top Arctic archeologists says the remnants of a stone-and-sod wall unearthed on southern Baffin Island may be traces of a shelter built more than 700 years ago by Norse seafarers, a stunning find that would be just the second location in the New World with evidence of a Viking-built structure.

The tantalizing signs of a possible medieval Norse presence in Nunavut were found at the previously examined Nanook archeological site, about 200 kilometres southwest of Iqaluit, where people of the now-extinct Dorset culture once occupied a stretch of Hudson Strait shoreline.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Perfectly preserved 300-year-old broom found in monk latrine

Bringing new meaning to the phrase “Holy crap,” a perfectly preserved 300-year-old broom has been found in a Benedictine monastery latrine in Paderborn, city archaeologist Sven Spiong told The Local on Wednesday.

Archaeologists from the Westphalia-Lippe regional authority had just finished excavating an area under the St. Ulrich Church monastery for a new underground parking facility, when one of the construction workers detected a pungent smell.

The men had unearthed the contents of a latrine dating from the 1700s, but the church building itself dates back to before 1200.

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Archaeologists to investigate city’s past

Excavations for the new metro train system will allow archaeologists to make new discoveries about early city life

Copenhagen City Museum is looking for 65 archaeologists to take part in excavations in the areas where the new Metro City Ring will be built, reports MetroXpress newspaper.

Museum officials hope that relics up to 1000 years old could be among the possible treasures hidden under the city.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Margaret Gelling: authority on the origins of English place names

Margaret Gelling made important contributions to the study of English place names, showing that many English villages and towns were named with remarkable precision after topographical landmarks. Thanks in large part to her work it is now thought that some of the earliest English place names were coined with reference to the geographical landscape. Gelling also popularised the subject, was an accomplished lecturer, and served as president of the English Place-Name Society for 12 years.

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Study unlocks history of the seas

Medieval fishermen first took to the open seas in about AD1,000 as a result of a sharp decline in large freshwater fish, scientists have suggested.

They say the decline was probably the result of rising population and pollution levels.

The study forms part of a series that examines the impact of humans on life beneath the waves throughout history.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ancient humans’ teeth show they were predominately right-handed

tudying the teeth of an ancestor of Neanderthals, known as Homo heidelbergensis, a team of Spanish researchers have come to the conclusion that “lefties” have been coping with a right-handed world for more than half a million years.

Marina Mosquera, a paleoanthropologist at Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, says that the study seems to suggest that the ancient humans were predominately right-handed.

“Finding that a hominin species as old as Homo heidelbergensis is already right-handed helps to trace back the chain of modernity concerning hand laterality,” New Scientist magazine quoted her as saying.

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Fossil Ida: she's 47m years old – and she's our link to animal life

Another milestone in our evolutionary history was reached yesterday when the exquisitely preserved fossil of a 47-million-year-old primate was unveiled. Here Britain's pre-eminent natural history broadcaster describes the importance of being Ida.

Humanity is very egocentric. We are ­fascinated with ourselves. I'm not sure that it is a particularly nice ­characteristic, but we are.

When we look around us at the natural world, there is often an ulterior motive. We desperately want to know where we came from. We love to think about us and about our ancestors.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Effective Cancer Treatment And The Migration Of Modern Man From Africa To Western Eurasia

The Collaborative Research Centre 806 "Unser Weg nach Europa: Kultur-Umwelt-Interaktion und menschliche Mobilität im Späten Quartär" (Our Road to Europe: Culture-Environment-Interaction and human Mobility in the late Quaternary) will be directed by Professor Dr. Jürgen of the Department of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology. This research centre is looking at the mobility of populations in the last 190,000 years. The focus of research will be the journey of modern man from Africa to Western Eurasia and Europe, in particular. Migration processes, and the exchange of ideas, technology and culture that entails, are an important prerequisite for important developments. The centre's main aim is to research, using scientific and archaeological methods, how human behaviour, the climate and the environment influenced important population movements.

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Mike Russell orders Historic Scotland to be more helpful

Scotland’s main heritage body must do more to engage with the public, Mike Russell, the Arts Minister, said this week.

Addressing the final meeting of the Historic Environment Advisory Council, a quango that the Scottish government is winding up, he said that Historic Scotland must be more outward-looking and positive in the way it dealt with those who were attempting to restore heritage sites.

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Neanderthals: tasty meals for early humans

Early modern humans may have used Neanderthal body parts as ornaments, and even feasted on them, a controversial study say.

Re-examined artefacts from the Les Rois cave, a settlement of early modern humans in southwest France, include a jawbone with flint-knife cut marks on it and a pendant made from a child's tooth cut out of another jawbone, according to a report in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences.

“Secondary burial practices and cannibalism are the two explanations traditionally proposed to account for modifications on prehistoric human bones,” the researchers wrote.

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Fields screened for ancient finds

Archaeologists are studying fields in West Kent to record any historically significant finds before a water pipeline is installed in the area.

South East Water plans to lay a 2.7km (1.7m) mains pipe close to Mereworth Woods to boost supplies in the area.

It said the archaeologists would ensure any finds were not damaged by the installation work, which is expected to be carried out at the end of May.

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4,000-year-old road found in city

A Bronze Age road has been found below Swansea's shifting foreshore.

The short section of track was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast and archaeologists have now dated it to around 4,000 years ago.

Woven from narrow branches of oak and alder the structure was covered in a thin layer of brushwood to provide a level walking-surface.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Early skeleton sheds light on primate evolution

The nearly complete and remarkably preserved skeleton of a small, 47 million-year-old creature found in Germany was displayed Tuesday by scientists who said it would help illuminate the evolutionary roots of monkeys, apes and humans.

Experts praised the discovery for the level of detail it provided but said it was far from a breakthrough that would solve the puzzles of early evolution.

About the size of a small cat, the animal has four legs and a long tail. Nobody is claiming that it's a direct ancestor of monkeys and humans, but it provides a good indication of what a long-ago ancestor may have looked like, researchers said at a news conference.

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Cliff erosion on Golden Cap estate exposes Bronze Age settlement

ARCHAEOLGOISTS working on the National Trust’s Golden Cap Estate have uncovered a rare find – a Neolithic settlement exposed by cliff erosion.

The test trenches are being dug this week by National Trust archaeologists Martin Papworth and Nancy Grace, and a team of experienced archaeological volunteers, on Dog House Hill, near Thorncombe Beacon.

Mr Papworth said everyone at the site was excited by finding such rare Bronze Age settlement in the area

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Archaeologists uncover further evidence of Nobber’s medieval past

Evidence of activity from the eras of late Bronze Age to the Early Medieval Age has been established as a result of archaeological excavations which have just concluded at the site where the new Nobber GFC juvenile pitch will be built.

The excavation on the site was conducted over six weeks from the end of March to early May by archaeological director Alan Hayden and his team.

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Archeologists make major discovery at latest Home Development in North Yorkshire

PLANS to build a new affordable housing development in Ripon have been put on hold following the significant discovery of a medieval lime kiln.

Housing association Home recently instructed WYAS Archaeology Services to carry out exploratory excavations at a proposed new development in Ripon, North Yorkshire.

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Knowledge and Learning in the Middle Ages - conference at the University of Cambridge

The Magdalene Society of Medievalists has announced that registration has now opened for the Society's 2009 Conference entitled: Knowledge and Learning in the Middle Ages: A Conference Celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the University of Cambridge.

This one-day, interdisciplinary conference on Medieval Studies will take place on 13 June 2009 and will be held in Cripps Court, Magdalene College, Cambridge. The conference was made possible by a special grant from the 2009 Fund, which is sponsoring a number of events throughout the year celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the University of Cambridge.

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Visitor centre upgrade for Housesteads

Housesteads Roman Fort, which is part of Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site near Bardon Mill, Northumberland, is set to be transformed over the next five years in a bid to improve the visitor experience.

The National Trust and English Heritage will work with Hadrian's Wall Heritage and Gareth Hoskins Architects - designers of the award-winning Culloden Battlefield visitor centre in Scotland - to create enhanced displays showcasing some of the most significant artefacts discovered at the site as well as improved educational and community facilities.

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'Oldest' human settlement found

Archaeologists working for the National Trust think they have found west Dorset's oldest human settlement.

Excavations over the last two weeks began when a number of artefacts were found by a man walking his dog.

Experts now believe people lived on Doghouse Hill on the Golden Cap estate up to 10,000 years ago.

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Marina dig opens window into lives 6,000 years ago

EVIDENCE of farming from more than 6,000 years ago was unearthed during archaeological digs at a new £7m marina in South Derbyshire.

The Neolithic finds date back to about 4,000BC and were uncovered at the site of Mercia Marina in Willington, which will be officially opened tomorrow.

Among the items were wheat seeds, parts of flint blade tools and pottery, used for the first time during that period to cook and store food.

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Survey begins on site of possible 13th century cemetery

An archaeological survey of the site of a 13th century Jewish cemetery in Northampton has finally begun, 17 years after skeletal remains dating back to medieval times were found nearby.

Experts believe the cemetery, which is one of only 10 such sites in England, was situated in what is now Lawrence Court, in the town centre, between 1259 and 1290.

Their research seemed to be confirmed when bones discovered by workmen in a collapsed culvert in neighbouring Temple Bar back in 1992 were dated to the same period.

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When in York, do as the Romans do

ANCIENT cuisine is on the menu at four York bars this weekend as part of the city’s Roman Festival.

From Saturday to Monday, Evil Eye Lounge, Stonegate Yard, Kennedy’s Café Bar and BoBo LoBo will be serving delicacies such as Roman sausages, marinated chicken wings, egg and bacon flan and Roman-style pizza as part of a Roman food and drink trail.

For £5, customers will be treated to one Roman dish and a glass of wine – and everybody who completes the trail will be entered into a prize draw to win a meal for two at one of the outlets.

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Dig's treasure trove on show

one of the most significant Iron Age and Roman finds in Europe is being told at Hallaton Museum.

The Rituals, Hoards and Helmets exhibition tells the exciting tale of The Hallaton Treasure being discovered by a group of walkers in a field near the village eight years ago.

It opens at the museum, in Hog Lane, on Sunday from 2.30pm to 5pm. There will be opportunities for children to try on a replica Roman helmet and cloak and have their photograph taken, as well as piece back together a broken pot and sort through shards of pottery.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Delving the secrets of HMS Victory

The squat yellow box, with its protruding arms and hoses, drips salt water onto the deck of the ship.

If you did not know any better, you might take the cuboid for a hardy piece of space junk - an old lunar module, perhaps - which had splashed down in the English Channel.

It is in the exploration business, as it happens, though its terrain is the bottom of the sea rather than the oceans of the moon.

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Trawlers are destroying historic wrecks, say explorers

The wreck of HMS Victory, a British warship sunk in the English Channel in 1744, is being destroyed by fishing trawlers, according to the American treasure hunters who discovered the site last year.

“We were shocked and surprised by the degree of damage we found in the Channel,” said Greg Stemm, chief executive of Odyssey Marine Exploration.

“When we got into this business, like everyone else we thought that beyond 50 or 60 metres, below the reach of divers, we’d find pristine shipwrecks. We thought we’d be finding rainforest, but instead found an industrial site criss-crossed by bulldozers and trucks.”
The wreck of HMS Victory, a British warship sunk in the English Channel in 1744, is being destroyed by fishing trawlers, according to the American treasure hunters who discovered the site last year.

“We were shocked and surprised by the degree of damage we found in the Channel,” said Greg Stemm, chief executive of Odyssey Marine Exploration.

“When we got into this business, like everyone else we thought that beyond 50 or 60 metres, below the reach of divers, we’d find pristine shipwrecks. We thought we’d be finding rainforest, but instead found an industrial site criss-crossed by bulldozers and trucks.”

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Fire and water reveal true age of ancient relics

Fire and water are all that is needed to unlock the internal clocks' of archaeological remains and accurately reveal their age, say scientists. The research, published online today in Proceedings of the Royal Society A , will help archaeologists date remains that are thousands of years old, and also reveal where other techniques go wrong.

Dating methods are of paramount importance in the earth and environmental sciences, palaeontology, archaeology, and art history. Fired clay material such as bricks, tile and ceramics represent an important sample of the remains unearthed at archaeological digs, but they are notoriously hard to date accurately. Carbon 14 dating, which can be used on bone, does not work with ceramics, and those techniques that do exist are extremely complex.

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Site for Stonehenge visitor centre finally confirmed

The government has today finally confirmed the new Stonehenge visitor centre, designed by Denton Corker Marshall (DCM), will be built just inside the edge of the world heritage site

After months of negotiations, it has been confirmed the £25 million scheme will be constructed on a plot known as Airman’s Corner which is about 1.5 miles west of the stones.

DCM landed the contest to design the new facility back in February – effectively for a second time following the demise of its original proposals in 2007 - seeing off Bennetts Associates and Edward Cullinan Architects in the process.

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New ceramic dating process unearthed

A new way to find the age of ceramic objects, such as ancient pottery, has been developed by scientists in the UK. The technique measures how much water the items have absorbed since they were fired - simply and accurately revealing when they were made.

Broken pottery, brickwork or tiles are unearthed at almost every archaeological dig site, but they are often of little use to archaeologists as determining how old they are is difficult. Carbon dating cannot be used because ceramics are made from finely-grained mineral clay, and alternative dating methods are complex and costly.

Now, UK scientists have found a way to date these artefacts and thus give fresh insight into the history and construction of excavated ruins or items. Key to the process is the knowledge that there is an ultra-slow recombination of moisture in fired-clay ceramic objects as they absorb moisture from the air, and that this 'rehydroxylation' process occurs at a predictable rate once an object is fired.

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Mayor backs bid to put Bede on world map

THE new Mayor of South Tyneside is backing a bid to put the borough on the world tourist map.

Coun John Anglin believes a successful World Heritage Site bid by Wearmouth and Jarrow would give North East England a significant cultural and economic boost.

One of Coun Anglin's top priorities after being made Mayor last week was to sign the document being submitted as part of the joint monastic site's campaign.

He said: "I think this is a tremendous opportunity for Jarrow and South Tyneside, which would become as significant, in cultural and tourist terms, as places like the Taj Mahal.

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Fishing 'risk to Channel wrecks'

Many shipwrecks in the English Channel are in danger of being lost forever, partly due to damage done by fishing trawlers and dredges, experts say.

Wreck Watch has analysed a new sea bed survey and said historically important wrecks are being destroyed and should be raised.

Some 267 shipwrecks have been found, 115 of which showed permanent damage, said its leading marine archaeologist.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

German scientists find clues to Roman mass production

German scientists disclosed Friday new evidence that the ancient Romans used mass-production methods to make metalwares at lesser cost, just like modern factories do. A close study of a 28-centimetre-tall bronze figure of the god Mercury made in the 2nd century AD showed it was hollow - an indication of cost cutting - and that its legs were made separately, indicating some kind of assembly line to exploit economies of scale.

Technical University of Munich scientists at the FRM-II research nuclear reactor in Garching near Munich blasted the statue with neutrons to reveal metal joins that are invisible to X-rays.

Physicist Martin Mühlbauer said the neutron tomography study was done on a statue lent by Munich's Archaeological

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Emperor Trajan's Palace discovered in southwestern Romania

Romanian archaeologists has discovered, in southeastern county of Caras-Severin, a complex structure estimated to be 2,000 years old belonging to the Roman culture, local media reported on Thursday.

The archaeological discovery has a special importance because it was built very early, probably in the autumn of 101 during the first Dacian-Roman War of 101-102, before the actual Roman conquest of Dacia, the Carpathian-Danube region, modern day Romania.

The discovery will bring the village of Zavoi in Caras-Severin County to the attention of history researchers and archaeologists from around the world following the digging up of the ruins of a Roman palace with well-preserved structures, which is expected to offer so far unknown precious information about the Daco-Roman culture, according to the official Agerpres news agency.

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Bronze Age man inhabited water-logged north

Skeletal remains of a young man, dogs' skulls and pottery. Archaeologists have found 3,000-year-old remains near Enkhuizen, a long-established city to the north of Amsterdam, in a dig that has been going on since January. Until now, experts thought no one could have lived in the area during the Bronze Age because it was too water-logged. They have now been proved wrong.

Water management

Around 1,000 BC, water-logged land was a major problem for human settlements in this region in the north of the Netherlands. However, even at this early date, people were taking measures to deal with the water. Dark traces in the sand around each of the five housing plots that have been discovered show they were surrounded by drainage ditches. These channelled the water away from the buildings, making them habitable.

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Neandertals Sophisticated And Fearless Hunters, New Analysis Shows

Neandertals, the 'stupid' cousins of modern humans were capable of capturing the most impressive animals. This indicates that Neandertals were anything but dim. Dutch researcher Gerrit Dusseldorp analysed their daily forays for food to gain insights into the complex behaviour of the Neandertal. His analysis revealed that the hunting was very knowledge intensive.

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Sardinians unlock 'sardonic grin'

Cagliari, May 15 - Sardinian scientists believe they've traced the roots of the 'death-defying' sardonic grin to a plant commonly found on the Italian island.

Greek poet Homer first used the word, an adaptation of the ancient word for Sardininan, to describe a defiant smile or laugh in the face of death.

He was believed to have coined it because of the belief that the Punic people who settled Sardinia gave condemned men a potion that made them smile before dying.

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Viking ship found in Swedish lake

For the first time in Sweden’s long history, marine archaeologists have uncovered the wreck of a Viking ship lying in the mud at the bottom of Sweden’s biggest lake. The Swedish coastguard had a group of 50 scuba divers surveying Lake Vanern’s bottom, when they stumbled across the 20-metre long wreck.

“Never before has a Viking shipwreck been found in Swedish waters,” marine archaeologist Roland Peterson from the Vanern Museum told The Local newspaper. He explained that several Viking boats had been unearthed in Sweden before, but all of them had been on dry land.

Divers took wood and iron samples from the ship, as well as a sword and spear found within the shell of the vessel, which is covered in sediment one metre thick. Experts will now test the specimens to confirm that it is a Viking ship.

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Thomas Becket paintings unveiled in Spain

For the first time in 30 years, wooden protective boards and a glass panel have been taken away to fully reveal a rare medieval artwork.

The paintings in the ruined church of St Nicolas in the Spanish town of Soria tell the story of the murder of the English Archbishop Thomas Becket.

The story of Becket is told in most British classrooms as part of medieval history lessons. He is remembered as the Archbishop of Canterbury who stood up to a king and for his trouble was murdered by the king's knights while he was praying.

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Groundbreaking exhibit on historic German-Roman battle opens

The exhibition is spread over three sites in Detmold, Kalkriese and Haltern and organizers are expecting more than half a million visitors by fall.

The joint project is called "Imperium Conflict Myth" and the exhibits will take visitors back 2000 years, to when an alliance of Germanic tribes annihilated three elite Roman Legions in the famous so-called Battle of Teutoburg, or Varus Battle.

Battle prevented Germany's full romanization

This may seem too long ago to be of any significance today, but some historians say the defeat in 9 AD prevented a full romanization of Germany and arguably altered the course of Roman, German and European history.

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Big dig begins to unearth clues to the history of Chester’s Grosvenor Park

ARCHAEOLOGISTS and students are working together on a month-long excavation designed to unearth vital clues to the history of Chester’s Grosvenor Park from the Roman period to the Civil War.

Led by Simon Ward, a senior archaeologist with Cheshire West and Chester’s Historic Environment Team, the ‘dig’ will provide a key training experience for students on the University of Chester’s Archaeology programme.

It is the third joint exploration of the park which holds rich potential for the local ‘ time team’ because it has remained undeveloped for centuries.

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Archaeologists unearth oldest known 3D pornography

Topflight archaeologists have unearthed a 35,000-year-old figurine carved out of mammoth ivory by prehistoric Germans, depicting a woman with enormous breasts. The find is thought to be the oldest known example of 3D pornography in the world.

Early German 3D jazzmag. Credit: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen.
The find was made in the Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura area of southwest Germany last year, by Nicholas Conard of Tübingen Uni. He believes that the jubtastic relic is at least 5,000 years older than previously-discovered busty nude cavewoman themed objets d'art, and perhaps indicates that the desire to goggle at saucy imagery of ladies well-furnished in the tophamper department is a basic attribute of modern humanity

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New Stonehenge plan

The A344 will be closed at Stonehenge to make way for a new £25M visitor centre. A previous scheme to build a £500M tunnel under the stones was abandoned in 2007.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said that a range of public and private sources would fund the new centre.

The announcement follows a decision in 2007 not to pursue construction of a 2.1km bore tunnel for the A303 which also runs close to the henge.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New £4.5 million visitor centre opens at Creswell Crags

IT may have been around for millions of years, but Creswell Crags has often remained something of a mystery to generations of local people.
But all that has changed, thanks to a £14 million investment in the site to make it more visitor-friendly than it has ever been before.

Around £4.5 million of the cash has paid for a brand new on-site museum and education centre – a magnificent building created to help people to take a look at and even change their established view of pre-history in the UK.

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Greek government unveils new home for Elgin Marbles

Fresh demands for the return of the Elgin Marbles are accompanying the launch next month of the £115 million Acropolis Museum, which has a reserved space for the world's most famous piece of classical statuary.

The 270,000 sq ft museum is being established as a home for the 160-metre long strip of marble that adorned the Parthenon until 1801. The museum, which stands just 400 metres from the Parthenon, opens in June – three decades after the building was first proposed.

Antonis Samaras, the minister for culture and tthletics said: "The opening of the Acropolis Museum is a major world event. June 20th will be a day of celebration for all civilised people, not for Greeks alone. I want the Britons especially to consider the Acropolis Museum as the most hospitable place for them."

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Day 3 and 4 at International Congress on Medieval Studies

Video report on the Congress by Medieval News.

Watch the video...

The king of Stonehenge: Were artefacts at ancient chief's burial site Britain's first Crown Jewels?

He was a giant of a man, a chieftain who ruled with a royal sceptre and a warrior's axe.

When they laid him to rest they dressed him in his finest regalia and placed his weapons at his side. Then they turned his face towards the setting sun and sealed him in a burial mound that would keep him safe for the next 4,000 years.

In his grave were some of the most exquisitely fashioned artefacts of the Bronze Age, intricately crafted to honour the status of a figure who bore them in life in death.

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200,000 year old human hair found in dung

Strands of hair from a human who lived 200,000 years ago have been found preserved inside fossilised hyena dung from South Africa.

Palaeontologists found 40 strands of fossilised hair inside samples of coprolite, or fossilised dung, from a cave in South Africa that was used by brown hyaenas.

Until now the oldest samples of human hair were from a 9,000 year old mummy found in northern Chile. It is extremely rare for soft tissue such as hair, skin and muscle to survive more than a few hundred years and only hard tissue like bone is fossilised normally.

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'Viking ship' discovered in Sweden's largest lake

Marine archaeologists in Sweden have discovered what they believe to be the wreck of a Viking ship at the bottom the country's largest lake.

A team of 50 divers from the Swedish coastguard happened upon the 20-metre long wreck by chance on Wednesday afternoon.

"Never before has a Viking shipwreck been found in Swedish waters," marine archaeologist Roland Peterson from the Vänern Museum told The Local.

A few Viking boats have previously been discovered in Sweden, but earlier finds were made on dry land, Peterson explained.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

World’s Oldest Manufactured Beads Are Older Than Previously Thought

A team of archaeologists has uncovered some of the world’s earliest shell ornaments in a limestone cave in Eastern Morocco. The researchers have found 47 examples of Nassarius marine shells, most of them perforated and including examples covered in red ochre, at the Grotte des Pigeons at Taforalt.

The fingernail-size shells, already known from 82,000-year-old Aterian deposits in the cave, have now been found in even earlier layers. While the team is still awaiting exact dates for these layers, they believe this discovery makes them arguably the earliest shell ornaments in prehistory.

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Das Jüdische Amulett von Halbturn

Internationales Symposium zum jüdischen Leben in der Provinz Pannonien

Seit gestern treffen sich Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus Deutschland, Israel, Ungarn und Österreich, um sich mit dem jüdischen Amulett von Halbturn auseinanderzusetzen. Dabei handelt es sich um einen der bedeutensten archäologischen Funde des letzten Jahres. ArchäologInnen der Universität Wien haben das Amulett aus dem 3. Jahrhundert n. Chr. bei Ausgrabungen in Halbturn im Burgenland gefunden. Organisiert wird die Tagung vom Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum (Mainz) und dem Institut für Judaistik der Universität Wien.

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First video update from the International Congress on Medieval Studies

This is our first video report from Western Michigan University about the International Congress on Medieval Studies. The congress officially starts tomorrow, and we hope to bring you daily updates.

Watch the Video...

Facelift skull discovery at site of Selby's Market Place works

A MEDIEVAL skull has been found by roadworkers carrying out improvement works at Selby Market Place.

The find could date back to the 12th or 13th centuries and was found on April 23 on the site of a medieval cemetery near Selby Abbey.

The find comes in the wake of another discovery of the foundations of a medieval gatehouse in the same spot three weeks ago.

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Archaeologists tell Cross Gates gardener he's digging up history

When chipped bits of pottery flipped up every time Keith Goddard mowed the lawn, he thought nothing more of it.

But now Leeds Archaeological Fieldwork Society has uncovered a host of ancient ceramics including part of a 300-year-old kiln after a dig in his garden.

The find is attracting interest from Leeds Museum.

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More human remains found at dig

Human remains dating from medieval times have been unearthed by archaeologists working alongside the tram route in Leith.

The discovery was made during a special dig in Constitution Street, where two 300-year-old skulls and several bones were found last September.

The South Leith Parish Church graveyard site is near the 16th and 17th century town defences.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Shedding light on the Catacombs of Rome

Rome's underground Christian, Jewish and pagan burial sites, the Catacombs, date back to the 2nd Century AD.

There are more than 40 of them stretching over 170km (105 miles).

But, until now, they have never been fully documented, their vast scale only recorded with handmade maps.

That is now changing, following a three-year project to create the first fully comprehensive three-dimensional image using laser scanners.

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Morpeth historians told of Neolithic finds

NEW Thoughts on Ancient Northumberland was the title of Paul Frodsham's lecture at Morpeth Antiquarian Society.
Mr Frodsham was the Northumberland National Park archaeologist for 15 years until 2007.

His talk concentrated on a small but incredibly rich area of the Breamish valley on and around Ingram Farm, where amazing archaeology has survived years of agricultural work. Twelve years of research from 1994 revealed evidence of occupation from the Neolithic to the present-day.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

A garden fit for a queen

I am enjoying a leisurely springtime ramble around the newly reconstructed Elizabethan garden of Kenilworth Castle with John Watkins, head of gardens for English Heritage, when he suddenly stops in his tracks. He bends down and points to a shallow hole next to the fence. “Gosh, rabbits,” he says. Trouble in paradise.

All the finishing touches are being meticulously applied for the garden’s opening to the public this weekend, and yet some interlopers are doing their best to spoil the party. “You would think that in a castle ... ” his voice trails off, because he knows that nature is nature, and no fortifications in the world can alter its immutable laws.

Rabbits may be the least of the garden’s problems. The £2.1m restoration has already caused something of a rumpus, magnified by English Heritage’s decision to allow television cameras behind the scenes of the project as part of a four-part series on the organisation’s work.

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Finally unearthing the secrets of our Neanderthal cousins

THE human genome sequence, published in 2003, is revealing a multitude of secrets. And when the chimpanzee genome followed in 2005, we discovered just how similar humans are to our closest living relative.

Now scientists have a draft genome sequence from the extinct Neanderthals (homo neanderthalensis) and are poised to clear up many long-debated issues, not least how like us our ancient cousins really were.

About 100 years ago, the anthropologist Sir Harry Johnston described Neanderthals as "gorilla-like monsters, with cunning brains, shambling gait, hairy bodies, strong teeth, and possible cannibalistic

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Major dig at earliest Scots site

A big archaeological dig is taking place at the site in South Lanarkshire where the earliest evidence of human beings in Scotland was found.

The Biggar Archaeology Group is beginning a major excavation of the area at Howburn Farm near Elsrickle.

Last month it was revealed that flint artefacts unearthed there could date back 14,000 years to 12,000 BC.

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Horsham girl's Bronze Age find

A HORSHAM youngster has discovered a rare arrowhead dating back to the Bronze Age while clearing an allotment with her family.

Seven-year-old Isobel Reynolds, of Arthur Road, found the 3,500 to 4,000-year-old flint artifact while clearing weeds.

Isobel, who attends St Mary's C of E Primary School in Horsham, has donated her find to the town's museum. She said: "I thought it was a normal piece of flint. When I found out it was a proper arrowhead I was amazed."

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North Wales castles share in £19m boost for heritage tourism

CULTURE minister Alun Ffred Jones announced a £19m package yesterday to develop heritage tourism in Wales.

Investment will take place in sites including Harlech, Denbigh and Conwy Castles.

Private businesses will be able to tender for the work packages, largely funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and EU funds.

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Theoretical Archaeology Seminar at Athens

I would like to draw your attention to the blog of the Theoretical Archaeology Seminar at Athens (TASA) (formerly known as the British-Irish Theory Seminars).

TASA was founded by a group of young scholars based at Athens, Greece. Its aim is to promote debate and discussion of issues in theoretical archaeology. Each seminar is dedicated to a specific theme and participants are encouraged to do some background reading prior to each meeting.

TASA is managed by an organising committee consisting of international scholars and students residing in Athens under the auspices of the British School at Athens and the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Monastery of Deer - Archaeological findings reported

Hunt for long lost Monastery of Deer makes some discoveries; Carbon dating to determine age of features found

Archaeologists searching for the long lost Monastery of Deer remained upbeat yesterday, despite a five-day dig in woodland at Old Deer turning up no conclusive evidence that a site behind Old Deer Parish Church was once home to the medieval monastery. The team said they were not ruling anything out after the discovery of several features which could date back to the right period.

The woodland of Aden Country Park was transformed last week as the archaeological team from Glasgow University moved in. Aided by volunteers from the local Book of Deer Project, the team meticulously searched eleven trenches at the site for the Monastery of Deer, home of the much-celebrated Book of Deer, a tenth century illuminated gospel manuscript from North East Scotland.

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Time Team Exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral was recently the subject of an exciting Time Team investigation. Over three days the site of the original 13th century cathedral bell tower and the long-demolished 15th century Beauchamp Chapel were excavated.

The team uncovered new information about the construction of the cathedral, and learned more about those buried within the chapel.

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Surveys, Excavations and Burgage Plots: New Volume of Archaeology North West Now Available

CBA North West has just published the first volume in a new series of its well-established journal `Archaeology North West´.

Entitled Surveys, Excavations and Burgage Plots, it focuses on fresh research on the many small towns established in the 13th and 14th centuries in a region where urbanisation was generally weak and late. The second part of the volume contains what it is hoped will become standard features: an archaeological walk; an archaeological science feature; and an overview of finds from the region reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

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Bowl may offer Roman Britain clues

A bowl thought to be 1,700 years old has been discovered in London and may hold clues to life in ancient Roman Britain, researchers say.

Liz Goodman, archaeology conservator at the Museum of London, said the bowl called millefiori, which means "one thousand flowers," may represent the first of its kind to be discovered in what was once the western Roman Empire, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

"We occasionally get tiny fragments of millefiori, but the opportunity to work on a whole artifact of this nature is extraordinary," Goodman said.

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Kastell Karls des Großen nachgewiesen

Magdeburg/Hohenwarthe (ddp-lsa). Archäologen haben ein frühmittelalterliches Kastell aus der Zeit Karl des Großen (747 - 814) in Hohenwarthe bei Magdeburg mit großer Sicherheit nachgewiesen. Serien sogenannter C14-Untersuchungen hätten die im vergangenen Jahr geäußerten Vermutungen bestätigt, sagte Grabungsleiter Joachim Henning am Donnerstag in Magdeburg. Danach konnte die Wehranlage des karolingischen Herrschers jetzt lokalisiert werden. Diesen Artikel weiter lesen

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