Monday, February 28, 2011

Prehistoric Dog Lived, Died Among Humans

Burial remains of a dog that lived over 7,000 years ago in Siberia suggest the male Husky-like animal probably lived and died similar to how humans did at that time and place, eating the same food, sustaining work injuries, and getting a human-like burial.

"Based on how northern indigenous people understand animals in historic times, I think the people burying this particular dog saw it as a thinking, social being, perhaps on par with humans in many ways," said Robert Losey, lead author of a study about the dog burial, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

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Wrecks, war graves and treasure ships

At over 10,000 miles, Scotland has one of the longest coastlines in Europe. This, coupled with the fierce gales that can spring up out of nowhere, has resulted in thousands of wrecks lying on our seabed. Little wonder, then, that we attract serious divers from around the world.

Some wrecks – ranging from early 16th century galleons to battleships from the first and second world wars – are, depending on their provenance, protected. Currently, Historic Scotland oversees 15 shipwrecks under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act. For these, a licence is required if you want to dive – and you “must take only photographs, leave only bubbles”. Other wrecks are designated war graves and fall under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

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Spectacular finale to York Viking festival on Knavesmire

THE sights and sounds of Vikings in battle rang out through York as the city’s week-long festival reached a spectacular climax.

Thousands of visitors gathered on Knavesmire on Saturday evening to see the burning of the Viking long-boat followed by a fireworks display.

Earlier in the day the Vikings marched through the centre of York after thrilling crowds with a huge battle in Museum Gardens.

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How Stone Age man kept his pores clean... in the SAUNA

The remains of a 4,500-year-old sauna have been discovered by archaeologists excavating a Stone Age temple.

They unearthed the foundations of the building at Marden Henge, near Devizes in Wiltshire.

Located close to the River Avon, the neolithic ‘sauna’ was in a key position overlooking a ceremonial area at the site.

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Britain may pull out of funding heritage sites

Britain is threatening to withdraw its support for the United Nations agency responsible for designating world heritage sites such as Stonehenge after a government review found it unable to justify the millions it receives from British taxpayers.

The UN Educational and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, was established in 1945 to promote peace and culture and academic corporation, but accusations of anti-Western bias and financial mismanagement led to Margaret Thatcher pulling Britain out of the agency in 1985. Tony Blair rejoined it in 1997.

But now an investigation into how effectively £3billion of British aid is spent is understood to have shown Unesco the 'yellow card'. The review found it was wasting money and failing to show concrete outcomes in return for the £12m it receives each year from the UK.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jellingsten malet over med graffiti

Den store Jellingsten er natten til lørdag blevet skændet af grøn spraymaling, da ukendte gerningsmænd skrev ordet "Gelwane" tværs hen over det danske oldtidsminde.

Stenen, som Harald Blåtand rejste omkring år 965, er ikke beskadiget ud over malingen på overfladen, men det kan ifølge formanden for Jelling Menighedsråd, Gunni Højvang, også være alvorligt nok.

Over for Vejle Amts Folkeblads kalder han hærværket "en katastrofe" og frygter at malingen kan være trængt ind i den historiske sten.

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Battle rages over Pictish victory site

IT WAS one of the most pivotal battles in Scotland's chequered history. The Battle of Dunnichen, fought in the Pictish heartland of present-day Angus on 20 May, 685, resulted in a decisive victory for the Picts over an invading army from Northumbria.

Some historians argue that the Pictish triumph over the invading forces, believed to have been fought at Dunnichen Hill near the village of Letham, laid the foundations for a distinctive Scottish state which endured until the Act of Union in 1707.

But now the site of the historic battle is at the centre of fresh conflict between Pictish experts, local Angus residents and Historic Scotland over the agency's decision to exclude it from the 17 strong list of Scotland's major battlefields.

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The Long Twelfth-Century View of the Anglo-Saxon Past

Dr David Woodman and Dr Martin Brett are hosting a two-day conference on 29th - 30th March on 'The Long Twelfth-Century View of the Anglo-Saxon Past' at Robinson College, Cambridge, in association with the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, and the British Academy. Registration is £20, and details on how to register can be found here.

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Fulham Palace's medieval moat excavated

A 14th Century moat which was covered with rubbish in the 1920s is being excavated at Fulham Palace.

The work is part of an £8m improvement programme to the palace and adjoining Bishops Park.

The first known reference to the moat dates back to 1392, although some historians believe it may date back to the Iron Age.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Garden dig leads to a grave discovery

Pat Tiernan is a keen fan of television's 'Time Team' and amateur archaeology. But he never thought a dig in his back garden would unearth items up to 4,000 years old.

After starting work on an extension to his home in Collinstown, Co Westmeath, he was astonished to discover a skeleton and other items.

Pretty soon a team from the National Museum was excavating and evaluating his find which included human remains and a Bronze Age bowl.

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Anglo-Saxon site will be unearthed

New archaeological digs are to take place at the site of an Anglo-Saxon burial ground in Oakington.

The village sits on the site of a sixth-century settlement described as “one of the most significant archaeological sites you could have”.

Two digs will take place later this year.

Archaeology students, led by Dr Duncan Sayer, a lecturer in archaeology at the University of Central Lancaster, will undertake a two-day excavation on April 12 and 13.

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New Discovery ‘will rewrite Stonehenge’s history’

Researchers from Leicester and Wales have shed new light on the origins of bluestones at Stonehenge- long believed to have come from ‘sacred hills’ in Wales.

Geologists from the National Museum Wales, University of Leicester and Aberystwyth University, have uncovered new evidence of its origins - which brings into question how the rocks were brought to the Salisbury Plain.

One type of bluestone at Stonehenge, the so-called ‘spotted dolerite’, was convincingly traced to the Mynydd Preseli area in north Pembrokeshire in the early 1920s. However, the sources of the other bluestones - chiefly rhyolites (a type of rock) and the rare sandstones remained, until recently, unknown.

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Brown-eyed, bearded, furrow faced, and tired: this is how Ötzi the Iceman might have looked, according to the latest reconstruction based on 20 years of research and investigations.

Realized by two Dutch experts, Alfons and Adrie Kennis, the model was produced with the latest in forensic mapping technology that uses three-dimensional images of the mummy's skull as well as infrared and tomographic images.

The new reconstruction shows a prematurely old man, with deep-set eyes, sunken cheeks, a furrowed face and ungroomed beard and hair.

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Ancient Britons: Iron Age riches in Cornwall

The South West has more ancient monuments than anywhere else in the country providing a rich history of how people used to live.

As part of our continuing series on Ancient Britons, BBC Spotlight's David George, helped by archaeologists, and enthusiasts, has been looking at bronze age sites in Cornwall.

Many of these ancient monuments have survived because the high places have not been developed.

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Oldest subarctic North American human remains found

Fairbanks, Alaska—A newly excavated archaeological site in Alaska contained the cremated remains of one of the earliest inhabitants of North America. The site may provide rare insights into the burial practices of Ice Age people and shed new light on their daily lives.

University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter and four colleagues published their discovery in the Feb. 25 edition of the journal Science.

The skeletal remains appear to be that of an approximately three-year-old child, found in an ancient fire pit within an equally ancient dwelling at the Upward Sun River site, near the Tanana River in central Alaska. Radiocarbon dating of wood at the site indicates the cremation took place roughly 11,500 years ago, when the Bering Land Bridge may still have connected Alaska and Asia. Initial observations of the teeth by UAF bioarchaeologist Joel Irish provide confirmation that the child is biologically affiliated with Native Americans and Northeast Asians.

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11,500-Year-Old Remains of Cremated 3-Year-Old Discovered

An archaeological dig in Alaska has uncovered the oldest human remains ever found in Arctic or Subarctic North America – the cremated skeleton of a 3-year-old.

The chlid's burned bone fragments were found in a fire pit in the remains of an ancient house near the Tanana River in central Alaska. Researchers date the cremation to 11,500 years ago. After the child's body was burned, researchers report in the Feb. 25 issue of the journal Science, the house and hearth were buried and abandoned.

"The fact that the child was cremated within the center of the house … this was an important member of society," said study author Ben Potter, an archaeologist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

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Pictures: Otzi the Iceman's New, Older Face Unveiled

Prematurely aged, with leathery, wrinkled skin, deep-set eyes, and a shaggy beard, this new reconstruction of "Ötzi" the Iceman is a far cry from past reconstructions that showed him as a strapping middle-aged man.

Notably, the new model, developed by Dutch artists Alfons and Adrie Kennis, has brown eyes based on recent research that showed the 5,000-year-old Iceman did not have blue eyes, as previously thought.

The latest Iceman reconstruction is based on new 3-D scans of Ötzi's body and will be the focus of an exhibition called "Ötzi 20," which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the naturally mummified body's discovery in the Italian Alps. "Ötzi 20" will run from March 1 to January 15, 2012, at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Bolzano, Italy.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Origins of Farming in Europe Result of Human Migration and Cultural Change, Study Suggests

It has long been debated as to whether the transition from a largely hunter-gatherer to an agricultural subsistence strategy in Europe was the result of the migration of farmers from the Near East and Anatolia, or whether this transition was primarily cultural in nature. A new study, co-authored by researchers at University College Cork and the University of Kent suggests that the prehistoric adoption of farming practices in outlying regions of Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic, European Russia and the Ukraine, was the result of cultural diffusion.

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, uses measurements of skulls of hunter-gathering (Mesolithic) and early farming (Neolithic) prehistoric populations from Europe, Near East and Anatolia to find answers.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New discovery throws further light on the origins of famous bluestones of Stonehenge

The ongoing debate surrounding the source of the famous bluestones formimg the distinctive inner circle and horseshoe of Stonehenge has taken another turn after new findings emerged from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

One type of bluestone, the so-called spotted dolerite, was convincingly traced to the Mynydd Preseli area of North Pembrokeshire in the 1920s, but the origins of many of the others have remained a mystery. Now geologists at the museum in Cardiff believe they have identified the source of one of the rhyolite types.

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Unearthed: 17th century shopping centre that drew the bargain-hunters to Dunluce

A trove of 17th century treasure has been uncovered which sheds new light on how people once shopped in the lost town of Dunluce.

The settlement near the north coast castle’s walls was once destined to be the region’s great commercial centre — but fell into decline after the 1641 Rebellion.

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Cheshire Archaeology Day to make welcome return in April

CHESHIRE Archaeology Day is making a comeback after a two-year break.

The popular event, organised by Cheshire East and West Councils, is on Saturday April 9, at Winsford Lifestyle Centre.

Renowned archaeologist Dr Kevin Leahy from the Portable Antiquities Scheme will deliver a speech about the famous Staffordshire Hoard – the largest hoard of Anglo- Saxon gold ever found.

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Archaeology team tells Queen, "We want to dig up Henry VIII"

Two American archaeologists have asked the Queen of England for permission to dig up Henry VIII and use the latest techniques to reconstruct his face. Bioarchaeologist Catrina Whitley and anthropologist Kyra Kramer popped the question because they're interested in seeing how accurate the royal portraits of the famous king really are. They also want to perform DNA tests to see if he suffered from a rare illness that might have driven him insane.

Facial reconstruction on skulls is nothing new and has been steadily improving over the years. It's used in archaeology to study ancient people and by CSI teams to identify murder victims.

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Researchers Map Out Ice Sheets Shrinking During Ice Age

A set of maps created by the University of Sheffield have illustrated, for the first time, how our last British ice sheet shrunk during the Ice Age.

Led by Professor Chris Clark from the University´s Department of Geography, a team of experts developed the maps to understand what effect the current shrinking of ice sheets in parts of the Antarctic and Greenland will have on the speed of sea level rise.

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Decorated sandstone boulder found after dig

ARCHEOLOGISTS have discovered that an artefact found during last year’s dig at Eddisbury Hill is a decorated sandstone boulder dated between the late Neolithic and late Bronze Age.

The old red sandstone boulder, which has multiple engravings on one of its surfaces, was found in the entrance area of Eddisbury Hillfort.

The series of motifs are usually associated with Neolithic or Bronze Age burial ritual found in or close to cairns and barrows.

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Too hot, too cold, just right: Testing the limits of where humans can live

On an isolated segment of islands in the Pacific Ring of Fire, residents endure volcanoes, tsunamis, dense fog, steep cliffs and long and chilly winters.

At least it might be for inhabitants of the Kuril Islands, an 810-mile archipelago that stretches from Japan to Russia. The islands, formed by a collision of tectonic plates, are nearly abandoned today, but anthropologists have learned that thousands of people have lived there on and off as far back as at least 6000 B.C., persevering despite natural disasters.

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Giving Lucy a foot to walk on

New fossil evidence from Hadar, Ethiopia suggests that Australopithecus afarensis, the humanoid species thought to have existed between about 2.9 and 3.7 million years ago, had the first modern feet. The fossilized bone researchers found is the fourth metatarsal, a bone that connects a human’s heel with the fourth toe. According to Carol Ward, an anthropologist at the University of Missouri, the fossil supports the claim that the foot of Australopithecus, the group the famous Lucy came from, was human-like and therefore that Lucy and her kind had given up living in trees.

Commenting on the study, Prof. Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at London’s Natural History Museum, said although this bone provides evidence that Australopithecus had a similar foot anatomy to humans, the bone’s function is highly debatable. Stringer claimed that even if the bone’s purpose were similar to that of Homo sapiens, Australopithecines were only at the very beginning of the evolution of the modern foot.

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Why early man could have done with a dose of aspirin

Back pain is often blamed on lazy lifestyles – watching television and eating too much.

But debilitating backache dates back millions of years, according to a Cambridge University researcher who is looking at fossil records of human bones.

His research also paints a picture of early man being more caring than some envisage – with those suffering from disability being looked after.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unlocking Noord-Holland's Late Neolithic Treasure Chest

About the Project

The project Unlocking Noord-Holland's Late Neolithic Treasure Chest was initiated by Hans Peeters (then Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency, now University of Groningen) and received a € 500,000.- grant by the Dutch Research Foundation NWO. On the basis of this grant and subsidiary grants from the universities of Leiden and Groningen and the unpaid involvement of various specialists from the Cultural Heritage Agency a multidisciplinary project on the Single Grave Culture of Noord-Holland saw its official start in September 2009. The project combines the research expertise from researchers from the Cultural Heritage Agency, two universities and various firms. All participants are introduced in this first newsletter.

This project aims to unlock and integrate cultural/ecological information and research data in order to provide a sound basis for cultural modeling and development of heritage management strategies. We will thereby obtain a better understanding of site variability in relation to landscape use, subsistence strategies and the material world of the inhabitants.

Visit the website...

Nottingham's caves go 3D thanks to university project

A largely unknown world is being explored under Nottingham. Erik Petersen met the people charged with exploring the city's caves.

DAVID Walker and Julia Clarke were in the caves beneath the Paul Smith shop in Low Pavement, setting up a fairly expensive laser.

That activity has a slightly sinister sound, like maybe Sir Paul has turned Bond villain and is preparing to release a secret weapon on an unsuspecting world.

But David and Julia work for the University of Nottingham, and their laser is not of the city-levelling variety. It helps them create digital moving images of the cave, which will soon go up on the internet alongside other images that take viewers on realistic flythroughs of many of the caves under the city.

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Giant step for Raglan Castle

VISITORS to Raglan Castle can see its 'hokey cokey' staircase for the first time in more than 20 years, following restoration work.

The 15th Century grand staircase, once used by the guests of the Earl of Pembroke, has been restored at Raglan Castle. The staircase, nicknamed the Hokey-Cokey staircase because it was removed and put back at least three times over 550 years, took nearly a year to complete as part of a major conservation project carried out by Cadw.

The castle’s curator, Jill Cale, said: "It has been closed for more than 20 years so it’s fantastic to see that section of the castle open to the public again."

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Structures of Roman fort defences never before seen in Britain have been unearthed during an excavation in Wales. Archaeologists have uncovered sect

Italy has ruled the fashion world for longer than we thought. That, at least, is the claim of archaeologists who say they have evidence that Neanderthals were using feathers as ornaments 44,000 years ago. The tenuous claim adds fuel to the debate over whether our distant cousins were simple brutes or as cultured as Homo sapiens.

Marco Peresani at the University of Ferrara in Italy found 660 bird bones mixed in with Neanderthal bones in Fumane cave in northern Italy. Many of the wing bones were cut and scraped where the flight feathers were once attached, suggesting the feathers had been systematically removed.

Just like the shells which Neanderthals may have worn as jewellery, Peresani thinks the feathers were used as ornaments. He dismisses other explanations on the grounds that many of the species are poor food sources and fletched arrows had not been invented at the time. João Zilhão at the University of Barcelona in Spain says it is more evidence that Neanderthals were as cultured as H. sapiens. On the other hand, Thomas Higham at the University of Oxford says Peresani has pushed his data too far.

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Roman fort unearthed at school playing fields dig

Structures of Roman fort defences never before seen in Britain have been unearthed during an excavation in Wales.

Archaeologists have uncovered sections of the defences of the 1st century AD building at the dig at school playing fields.

A defence tower, which allowed soldiers to shoot at gate attackers, has been found partially set outside the ramparts of the fort which was occupied until at least the 3rd century.

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Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Revised Research Framework (SARRF)

Wessex Archaeology is pleased to announce that we are co-ordinating the revision and updating of the Avebury and Stonehenge resource assessments, and will also be writing a single revised research framework uniting both parts of the World Heritage Site into a harmonised volume with a five year currency.

The resource assessment aims to be complete by June 2011, and regular updates regarding the progress of the project will be posted on the SARRF website. The revised research agenda will be open to public consultation in September 2011, with both the resource assessments and research agendas publicly accessible online via the project website. Following public consultation and comment, there will also be a public seminar at the end of the year, to discuss the research agenda and develop the strategies to make the agenda achievable, as well as encourage wide stakeholder participation and community ownership of the product.

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Archaeologists discover 900-year-old abbey

THE remains of a 900-year-old abbey, destroyed on the orders of King Henry VIII have been uncovered.

Archaeologists have discovered the site of the foundations of the former Abbey of St John while digging trenches in the grounds of the former Colchester Garrison Officers’ Club.

The club was destroyed in a blaze last July and the committee which runs it commissioned Colchester Archaeological Trust to find out what lies beneath it before hoping to rebuild next year.

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Feather ornaments used by Neanderthals?

New evidence has been put forward in the debate over whether our distant Neanderthal cousins were simple brutes or as cultured as Homo sapiens, researchers say.

An Italian archaeologist says he's found evidence Neanderthals were using feathers as ornaments 44,000 years ago, reported Monday.

Marco Peresani at the University of Ferrara says he has discovered 660 bird bones mixed in with Neanderthal bones in a cave in northern Italy, and the bird wing bones had been cut and scraped where the large flight feathers would have been attached, suggesting the feathers had been purposefully removed.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Roman fort dig near Neath school unearths new secrets

Excavation work on the site of a Roman fort near a school has revealed what archaeologists believe are structures never previously seen in the UK.

The dig in the playing fields of Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive Upper School in Neath has uncovered sections of the defences of the 1st Century building.

These include a defence tower partially set outside its ramparts allowing soldiers to shoot at gate attackers.

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What the ice house can teach us about the past - Chilston Park at Lenham

Ice houses have been known as a way to preserve food for thousands of years but in Britain no large country estate would have been complete without one.

Ice was a valuable commodity and was imported into England from
Scandinavia for wealthy households.

Usually only large manor houses had purpose-built buildings to store ice which grew in popularity from the 17th Century onward and many were still used until the 1950s.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Revealed: The treasure trove no-one wants

MUSEUMS are increasingly turning down offers of archaeological treasures because of budget pressures and a lack of space.

The latest Treasure Trove report, a list of the valuable finds made by members of the public in 2009-10, was published yesterday, detailing discoveries including jewellery, weapons and carved stones.

But with local authorities under severe financial constraint, some items are not attracting any bidders to put them on public display.

The report outlines discoveries made by treasure hunters between April 2009 and March 2010. Under Scots law, the Crown has the right to all lost and abandoned property which is not otherwise owned.

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Plans on show for Medieval Museum

Plans go on display this week for a Medieval Museum which will be at the heart of the city’s new Viking Triangle/Historic District project.

Part of an ambitious undertaking to invigorate the city’s tourist trail, the new two-storey museum will offer visitors access to the city’s undercroft and incorporate the Medieval Choristers Hall in Cathedral Square.

Outlining the proposal at Monday’s meeting of the City Council Rupert Maddock, City Architect, said the museum was one of a number of projects currently underway that cumulatively build upon the potential of City Hall and the Viking Quarter. The latter area pivots around Reginald’s Tower and includes Cathedral Square, Christ Church, the Theatre Royal, the Bishop’s Palace and 33, The Mall.

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Video: 900 year-old stained glass window discovered at Yorkshire abbey

IT IS viewed by many as possibly the greatest act of vandalism in English history.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries is often seen simply as four years of pillaging some of England’s greatest architecture and the destruction of priceless ecclesiastical treasures.

But thousands of artefacts from one of Yorkshire’s most famous abbeys are now shedding new light on the 16th century campaign by King Henry VIII to do away with Roman Catholicism.

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Brain food: the history of skull drinking

The Cheddar cave dwellers who used skulls as drinking cups were in good company – many have gone much further

It is now more than 15 years since I paid a visit to the sleepy town of Sedlec, just outside Prague. But I can still vividly recall the strangeness of leaving the sunlit graveyard to descend into a church where huge bell shapes had been formed from human skulls and bones, along with a skeletal coat of arms and a chandelier fashioned from every bone in the human body. The skeletons had been disinterred because the site was so popular as a burial place, having been supposedly sprinkled with earth from Golgotha in about 1278. The Kostnice ossuary is a striking example of how the sacred can legitimise seemingly macabre or taboo uses of the body.

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Norse code as Vikings return to York

WE’RE used to seeing the occasional blood-spattered Viking wandering the streets of York. But for nine days you won’t be able to move for axe-wielding Norsemen, even when you are doing the weekly shop in Monks Cross.

Next weekend they will even be rampaging across the racecourse.

The annual Jorvik Viking Festival starts today and this year hundreds of warriors will descend on the city to commemorate King Ethelred’s battle to capture York.

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Biological anthropologists question claims for human ancestry

"Too simple" and "not so fast" suggest biological anthropologists from the George Washington University and New York University about the origins of human ancestry. In the upcoming issue of the journal Nature, the anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors. Instead, the authors offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils' place in the Tree of Life. They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the fossils more likely belong to extinct distant cousins.

"Don't get me wrong, these are all important finds," said co-author Bernard Wood, University Professor of Human Origins and professor of Human Evolution Anatomy at GW and director of its Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology. "But to simply assume that anything found in that time range has to be a human ancestor is naïve."

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Iceman Oetzi gets a new face for 20th anniversary

BOLZANO, Italy — Iceman Oetzi, whose mummified body was famously found frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991, will get a new face for the 20th anniversary of his discovery.

As part of a new exhibit at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano (, two Dutch experts -- Alfons and Adrie Kennis -- have made a new model of the living Oetzi, this time with brown eyes.

Indeed, recent research has shown the Iceman, now approaching the tender age of 5,300 years, did not have blue eyes as previously believed.

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Subtle Shifts, Not Major Sweeps, Drove Human Evolution

The most popular model used by geneticists for the last 35 years to detect the footprints of human evolution may overlook more common subtle changes, a new international study finds.

Classic selective sweeps, when a beneficial genetic mutation quickly spreads through the human population, are thought to have been the primary driver of human evolution. But a new computational analysis, published in the February 18, 2011 issue of Science, reveals that such events may have been rare, with little influence on the history of our species.

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Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D

Werner Herzog gained exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their natural setting. He puts 3-D technology to a profound use, taking us back in time over 30,000 years.

Werner Herzog has previously created unforgettable films, from the ship dragged over the mountain in Fitzcarraldo to the Antarctic landscape in Encounters at the End of the World. Now he brings us the earliest known visions of mankind: the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave art of southern France, created more than thirty thousand years ago. By comparison, the famous cave art of Lascaux is roughly half as old.

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Irish medieval fishing site will be 'lost to the tide'

One of Europe’s best preserved medieval fishing structures located on the Fergus Estuary in County Clare, Ireland, will be washed away by tidal flows before archaeologists can reveal its secrets.

A team of University College Dublin archaeologists who have been visiting the remote 700 year old fishing site will no longer be able to conduct their scientific recording and analysis, due to recent budget cuts experienced by the Irish Heritage Council.

“There is little we can do to preserve the medieval fishing structures because they are totally exposed to the forces of nature on the mudflats, after being buried for centuries beneath the mud,” explains Dr Aidan O’Sullivan, UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin.

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Altar of the Twelve Gods sees the light

Archaeologists hope to persuade ISAP to stop renovation work that may compromise ancient monument

Renovation work on the aged Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) on the stretch between the central Athenian neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Thisseio have brought to light one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries of recent years.

Archaeologists believe that remnants found during construction in the area of the Ancient Agora, on the northwestern slope of the Acropolis, belong to the famed Altar of the Twelve Gods, one of Athens’s most ancient monuments and a landmark that marked the very center of ancient city, from which all distances were measured -- like an ancient Syntagma Square, which marks the starting point in terms of street numbers.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Managing Archaeology Data and Documentation

When: Monday 7th March 2011, 10am-3pm (incl. lunch)
Where: Turnbull Hall, Southpark Avenue, University of Glasgow -

Cost: Free (yes, including lunch!)

Who's it for: Archaeologists, postgraduate students, researchers,staff and people who manage data

On Monday 7th March, we will bring together archaeology researchers, postgraduate students and curators to share ideas about how to manage archaeology data.

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University of Newcastle archaeologists plan Humphrey Senhouse trail along Hadrian's Wall

This summer, archaeologists from the University of Newcastle will be following in the footsteps of Humphrey Senhouse, who found 17 Roman altars near Hadrian’s Wall in 1870.

The Newcastle team hope to throw new light on Senhouse’s treasures by excavating the Maryport site in Cumbria, which is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman sites in the north.

Professor Ian Haynes, who will lead the excavation, said: “The Maryport altars have been at the centre of international debate about the nature of religion in the Roman army for decades now.

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Medieval weir 'will be washed away'

One of the finest examples of a medieval fish trap in Europe is going to be washed away before its secrets can be recorded, scientists have claimed.

A 700-year-old giant wooden weir, once used by monks and to keep local lords in Co Clare trading, cannot be fully preserved because it is exposed to the forces of nature.

And with budget cuts hitting the Heritage Council there is no money to properly analyse and record the huge structure.

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UK Archaeology Continues To Suffer In The Recession

The number of people in archaeological employment fell considerably over the six months from 1 July 2010 to 1 January 2011.

It is estimated that on 1 January 2011 there were 5827 people in archaeological employment in the United Kingdom, a fall of 7.6% since July 2010.

3189 of these individuals were working in commercial, applied archaeology, a decrease of 13.1% since July 2010. This figure is 21.0% below the August 2007 peak.

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Searching for Saxons in West Langton

IN A FIELD near West Langton, under the cover of 100,000 square metres of oil seed rape, the secrets of a society long gone lay hidden for century after century.

All it took to bring these secrets to the surface was a determined team of archaeologists, a funeral pyre in the style of the Anglo Saxons and an agreeable farmer willing to allow the clearing of his crop.

Time Team visited the site in West Langton in the summer of last year.

Over the years, the fields they visited have produced a huge amount of Anglo Saxon finds.

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Disgrace For Irish Heritage; Medieval Fish Traps To Be Destroyed by Cuts

Recent budget cuts imposed on the Irish Heritage Council mean that a team of University College Dublin (UCD) archaeologists who have been visiting the remote 700 year old fishing site will no longer be able to conduct their scientific recording and analysis.

“There is little we can do to preserve the medieval fishing structures because they are totally exposed to the forces of nature on the mudflats, after being buried for centuries beneath the mud,” explains Dr Aidan O’Sullivan, UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin.

“They are likely to be entirely destroyed within the next ten years.”

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Medieval weir 'will be washed away'

One of the finest examples of a medieval fish trap in Europe is going to be washed away before its secrets can be recorded, scientists have claimed.

A 700-year-old giant wooden weir, once used by monks and to keep local lords in Co Clare trading, cannot be fully preserved because it is exposed to the forces of nature.

And with budget cuts hitting the Heritage Council there is no money to properly analyse and record the huge structure.

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Ice Age cups crafted from crania

An English cave serves up the oldest known vessels made from human skulls

Ice Age folk who lived in what’s now southwestern England gruesomely went from heads off to bottoms up. Bones excavated at a cave there include the oldest known examples of drinking cups or containers made out of human skulls, says a team led by paleontologist Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London.

Measurements of a naturally occurring form of carbon in the skulls places them at about 14,700 years old, Bello and her colleagues report in a paper published online February 16 in PLoS ONE. Prehistoric cave denizens cleaned the skulls before using stone tools to shape the upper parts of the brain cases into containers, the researchers say.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Six jobs axed at York's Castle Museum

SIX members of staff at York’s Castle Museum are being made redundant as York Museums Trust faces up to public spending cuts.

The trust revealed yesterday it had already shed 12 posts across the organisation through voluntary redundancy, early retirement and non-filling of vacancies.

But a spokesman said that “with regret” it was now proposing compulsory redundancies at the Castle Museum in the Eye of York.

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'Most romantic site' Tintagel Castle faces winter weekday closure

STAFF at a North Cornwall visitor attraction have been left heartbroken after being told on Valentine's Day that it was to reduce its opening hours.

Tintagel Castle, the most visited site in Cornwall, is to be closed on winter weekdays from the end of the coming season.

Shocked staff were told the news on Monday, Valentine's Day, the very day that English Heritage advertised that facebook fans had voted it as their most romantic site in Britain.

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Archaeological Investigations at the Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Sheffield, UK

Sheffield, in the north of England, grew rapidly in the 19th century and gained an international reputation for its cutlery, tableware, and steel products. The material legacy of this age of industrialisation is extensive, and archaeological work in the modern city over the last 20 years has, for the most part, focused on the above and below ground industrial archaeology relating to metals trades' production sites spanning the 19th and 20th centuries.

This article describes recent archaeological work around the Upper Chapel, a Unitarian Meeting House in the city centre where archaeological work recovered a possible buried medieval soil deposit, which contained an assemblage of medieval pottery dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. The presence of waster sherds and fragments of kiln furniture within this assemblage suggests that pottery production may have taken place on or near the site, making this the first putative evidence for pottery production in medieval Sheffield.

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English Heritage unveil TV's Rome Wasn't Built in a Day Roman Town House in Wroxeter

After months of blood, sweat, tears and much swearing documented blow-by-blow on the channel 4 TV programme Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, Wroxeter’s Roman Town House is finally ready to be unveiled to the public.

Six months in the making, the house dubbed "the newest Roman house in the world" will be open for visitors from February 19.

The town house was constructed using traditional building techniques to recreate the look, feel and attributes of a typical Roman property from Wroxeter’s Roman heyday in the 2nd century AD.

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Blood-thirsty Brits first to drink from ancient skulls

Had you attended a dinner party fifteen thousand years ago, you might have been served blood in a cup like this - constructed from a human skull.

At 14,700 years old, it is one of the earliest known examples of human skull-cups in the world. Along with other human bones, the macabre cups were discovered by palaeoanthropologists at Gough's Cave in Somerset, UK.

Analysis of marks on the three skull-cups has revealed some of the steps in the manufacture process.

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Bronze Age settlement found at NE Hungary construction site

Remains of a Bronze Age settlement and a former Sarmatian burial ground have been found at a construction site in the city of Nyiregyhaza in northeast Hungary, daily Magyar Nemzet said on Wednesday.

Several thousand metal objects, Roman bronze, silver and golden coins, and jewellery were excavated by archaeologists in the Oros district of the city, said the head of the excavation. One old pot contained as many as 34 bracelets, project leader archaeologist Eszter Istvanovits told the newspaper.

Some sixty dwellings have been excavated in the 56-hectare area and among the curiosities found has been a bone flute, she said.

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Video: Lifeline for Yorkshire’s crumbling churches

THE rain is coming in and the masonry is crumbling at some of the region’s most treasured places of worship as they battle the elements.

But hard-pressed congregations were offered a lifeline yesterday with the announcement that £2.3m has been set aside by heritage organisations to finance urgent repairs at 16 listed church buildings across Yorkshire and the Humber region. They include St Michael and All Angels, Haworth, known for its connections to the Bronte family.

The majority of grants are being given to churches in West Yorkshire, with St Wilfrid’s, in Halton, Leeds, which was designed by the last of the great Arts and Crafts architects just before the Second World War, getting the biggest sum of £498,000.

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6,000-year-old axe head unearthed

A 6,000-year-old axe head and an Anglo-Scandinavian sword handle are among hundreds of archaeological treasures unearthed in Scotland since 2009.

The items are included in the latest Treasure Trove report - a list of the valuable finds made by members of the public in 2009/10.

A medieval ring and silver cross pendant were also dug up on Scotland's shores and are expected to join the country's museum collections.

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Unearthing ancient secrets of daily life in Roman city

The Department of Ancient History’s Dr. Arianna Traviglia will be part of a groundbreaking cooperative archeological project in which she will be exploring what life was like for the more than 100,000 people who would have lived outside the city walls.

At its height Aquilea was home to 100,000 people, but the city walls could not accommodate a population of that size.

"Most of the population would have lived outside the city walls, and that’s my project," says Traviglia. "We don’t know pretty much anything about what was outside the city: where the people were living, where the nice villas were, where the fancy, rich Romans were living and so on."

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Child’s footprints found beside a Roman Fort

The excavation of a Roman fort at Healam Bridge and the attached industrial zone produced some remarkable discoveries, including the footprints of a child playing alongside the road that led into the fortress.

Archaeologists made the remarkable discovery while excavating an area beside the remains of a small stream that ran behind a former RomanVicus settlement. This and other finds were made during the upgrade of the A1 to a three-lane motorway between Dishforth and Leeming in North Yorkshire.

Helen Maclean of AECOM described the find as very rare and commented that, “she was not aware of many other footprints being found, everybody was quite amazed by it.”

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* Culture * Heritage Wroxeter house recreation adds colour to Roman site

Bright yellow and red house built using real Roman techniques – and a few illicit wheelbarrows – can be seen a mile off

Good taste is not a feature of a new Roman house that has risen, with much sweat and cursing, from a flat Shropshire field at the genuinely ancient Roman town site of Wroxeter: painted bright yellow and oxblood red, the building can be seen a mile off,

The wall, which is 7 metres (23ft) high and stands on top of a metre-high mound, protects the remains of an real ancient Roman forum.

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Ancient Britons 'drank from skulls'

Ancient Britons were not averse to using human skulls as drinking cups, skeletal remains unearthed in southwest England suggest.

The braincases from three individuals were fashioned in such a meticulous way that their use as bowls to hold liquid seems the only reasonable explanation.

The 14,700-year-old objects were discovered in Gough's Cave, Somerset.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Roman statues unearthed outside Rome

Italian archeologists have unearthed a collection of ancient Roman statues during excavations at a Roman villa along the Via Anagnina outside Rome.

According to Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the six statue fragments belong to members of the Severan Dynasty and were buried in a basin at the center of the villa's atrium.

"We first saw a white nape, belonging to a Roman matron,” archaeologist Magda Fossati of Rome's archaeological superintendency told the daily La Repubblica.

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The heat was on at Marden Henge

A building whose foundations were unearthed during an excavation at Marden Henge near Devizes last summer could have been a Neolithic sauna.

Archaeologist Jim Leary told his audience at Devizes town hall on Saturday that the chalk foundations contained a sunken hearth that would have given out intense heat.

“It brings to mind the sweat lodges found in North America,” he said. “It could have been used as part of a purification ceremony.”

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Crackdown on metal-detecting criminals who steal heritage and damage dig sites

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to combat criminals who steal from historic buildings and wreck archaeological dig sites.

The initiative aims to clamp down on practices such as "nighthawking" where thieves use metal detectors to find buried historic objects.

It will also focus on damage caused to the historic environment by fire, graffiti and vehicles, and architectural thefts of items ranging from stone walls to vintage street signs and unlawful alteration and demolition of listed buildings.

The campaign is being led by Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police Richard Crompton, who is also the national lead at the Association of Police Officers in tackling heritage crime

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The moment Britain became an island

Ancient Britain was a peninsula until a tsunami flooded its land-links to Europe some 8,000 years ago. Did that wave helped shape the national character?

The coastline and landscape of what would become modern Britain began to emerge at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago.

What had been a cold, dry tundra on the north-western edge of Europe grew warmer and wetter as the ice caps melted. The Irish Sea, North Sea and the Channel were all dry land, albeit it land slowing being submerged as sea levels rose.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

‘Sunstone’ crystals may have helped Vikings navigate on cloudy days

Between AD 750 and AD 1200 the Vikings, were the dominant sailors of the North Atlantic. When the Sun was shining, geographical north could be determined with a special sundial or ‘sundisc’. However, how the Vikings could have navigated in cloudy or foggy situations, when the Sun’s disc was unusable, is still not fully understood.

A hypothesis was formulated in 1967, suggested that under foggy or cloudy conditions, Vikings might have been able to determine the azimuth direction of the Sun with the help of skylight polarization, just like some insects. According to this theory, the Vikings could have determined the direction of the skylight polarization with the help of an enigmatic birefringent crystal (double-refracting crystal), like cordierite, tourmaline, or calcite, which are common in the Scandinavian region and even mentioned in a Viking saga, functioning as a linearly polarizing filter.

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Mesolithic beads found at Welsh dolmen site

A recent excavation led by archaeologist George Nash in November 2010 at the Trefael Stone in south-west Wales - originally a portal dolmen transformed in later times in a standing stone - has revealed a small assemblage of exotic artefacts including three drilled shale beads, identical to those found at a nearby Early Mesolithic coastal habitation site.
Until recently, little was known about the stones use and origin. A geophysical survey undertaken in September 2010 revealed the remains of a kidney-shaped cairn and it was within this clear feature that the three perforated shale beads were found. These items, each measuring about 4.5 centimetres in diameter, were found within a disturbed cairn or post-cairn deposit.
Based on the discovery of 690 perforated beads found at the coastal seasonal camp of Nab Head in southern Pembrokeshire, it is possible that the three Trefael beads are contemporary. Microware analysis on one of the beads was inconclusive but the perforation appeared to have the same micro-wear abrasions as beads from the Nab Head site.
The beads from the Nab Head site were oval-shaped and water worn. Each disc was uniform in shape and thickness and had been drilled using an awl-type flint tool, referred to as a Meches-de-foret. It is probable that the Nab Head beads and those from Trefael were made for adornment, either sewn into clothing or forming bracelets/necklaces. In association with the perforated beads a number 'blanks' were found suggesting that The Nab Head site was a production centre for bead making.

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Lucy's feet were made for walking

Toe bone puts a humanlike arch in ancient hominid's step

A tiny 3.2-million-year-old fossil found in East Africa gives Lucy’s kind an unprecedented toehold on humanlike walking.

Australopithecus afarensis, an ancient hominid species best known for a partial female skeleton called Lucy, had stiff foot arches like those of people today, say anthropologist Carol Ward of the University of Missouri in Columbia and her colleagues. A bone from the fourth toe — the first such A. afarensis fossil unearthed — provides crucial evidence that bends in this species’ feet supported and cushioned a two-legged stride, the scientists report in the Feb. 11 Science.

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Unearthing the long history of our island, one object at a time

We can learn astonishing things from an old object, but what makes it pulse with life is the idea of the people who touched it and were touched by it. In a new series, FINTAN O'TOOLE uses 100 objects to reveal the fascinating history of Ireland

WITH THE TECHNOLOGIES at our disposal we can reproduce almost any object with absolute precision. We can turn worn or smudged surfaces into clear and vibrant images. We can recast fragments as unified entities. Reproductions can have the same feel and form as the original. Some people who run museums have concluded that in the digital age we are no longer interested in mere inert things and must be immersed in experiences.

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Lucy Had a Spring in Her Step

The petite 3.2-million-year-old skeleton called Lucy is one of the most famous and most complete of human ancestors. But she was found without her foot bones, so researchers have debated whether she walked as we do or retained some apelike adaptations for climbing in trees that altered her gait. Now, a 3.2-million-year-old foot bone from a member of Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, reveals that this hominin was no flat foot: It had already evolved arches and a stiff midfoot similar to living humans. That means if Lucy were alive today, she could fit in high heels or march for miles without breaking her feet. "This discovery puts the spring back into afarensis's step," says co-author Donald Johanson of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe.

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Slawische Schätze des Mittelalters

Das Museum in der Kaiserpfalz in Paderborn präsentiert ab 12. Februar (bis 8. Mai) die Sonderausstellung "Schätze des Mittelalters - Schmuck aus dem Staatlichen Archäologischen Museum Warschau". 440 Schmuckstücke aus dem 10. bis 13. Jahrhundert zeigen die slawische Kultur des Mittelalters. Die Fundorte erstrecken sich über das heutige Polen, Weißrussland und die Ukraine.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

UK's ancient secrets may be buried with old bones

Top British archaeologists are urging the government to rethink a law requiring human remains be reburied, warning it risks undermining years of research into the island's ancient peoples and study of their DNA.

The row stems from the reinterpretation of a law introduced in 2008 by the Ministry of Justice. The rule states human bones discovered in England and Wales since that time, regardless of their age, must be re-interred after two years.

In a letter to Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, 40 academics complained experts would have too little time to study the remains and that reburial would result in the needless destruction of immensely valuable material.

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Early humans won at running; Neandertals won at walking

New research has compared the performance of the heels of modern-day distance runners to the heels of Neandertals and ancient Homo sapiens. The results show the Neandertals' heels were taller than those of modern humans and Homo sapiens, and more adapted to walking than running over long distances, while those of Homo sapiens were more adapted to endurance running.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Dr David Raichlen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, and colleagues, found that unlike modern humans, the Neandertal heel was taller would have provided less spring during running, and speculated that the heel probably stabilized the ankle and helped in jumping and walking uphill. In modern humans the heel is lower and stretches the Achilles tendon and increases its ability to act like a spring and reduce the consumption of energy.

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Vikings come to Northwich

VIKINGS have come to Northwich in a new exhibition exploring their history.

Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse is holiding the ‘Reap and Tillage’ exhibition until May 2.

Devastating raids by the Vikings on the east coast of England in the 8th century led to their conquest of almost half the country. Cheshire’s experience was very different with most Viking activity being peaceable and beneficial.

A coin mint flourished in Chester and trade links with other Viking settlements around the Irish Sea made the city wealthy and prosperous.

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Motorway maximus: Unearthed, a stunning Roman super-highway built 1,900 years ago

It was a route once trod by legionnaires as they marched across a conquered land.

But, eventually, the Romans left Britain and the magnificent highway they created was reclaimed by nature and seemingly lost for ever.

Now, some 2,000 years after it was built, it has been uncovered in the depths of a forest in Dorset.
And, remarkably, it shows no sign of the potholes that blight our modern roads.

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Ancient burials found under Lichfield Cathedral

Three ancient burials have been unearthed at Lichfield Cathedral.

It follows an archaeological investigation in the Chapter House by Cathedral Archaeologist Kevin Blockley.

For the last 750 years, two of the skeletons have lain just below the floor of the Chapter House, which was originally built in the 1240s.

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Forty leading archaeologists protest against Reburial Law

Archaeologists in the UK are protesting against a controversial reburial law (Under legislation 2008) which requires all human remains exhumed from ancient settlements to be buried within 24 months regardless of their age.

Archaeologists argue that the reburial law impedes research and gives too little time to study bones and other human remains of national and cultural significance for England and Wales. Leading archaeologists have written to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke in protest, that the reburial law undermines research of the history of humans in Britain and essentially destroys the evidence by reburial.

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Legislation forces archaeologists to rebury finds

Bones and skulls from ancient settlements will be reburied and lost to science under controversial legislation that threatens to cripple archeological research

Human remains from Stonehenge and other ancient settlements will be reburied and lost to science under legislation that threatens to cripple research into the history of humans in Britain, a group of leading archaeologists says today.

In a letter addressed to the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, and printed in the Guardian today, 40 archaeology professors write of their "deep and widespread concern" about the issue.

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Fortsetzung der geophysikalischen Untersuchungen im Römerkastell Halheim

In den vergangenen Tagen wurden die im Oktober 2010 begonnenen geophysikalischen Untersuchungen im römischen Kastell Halheim fortgesetzt.
Der Geophysiker Dr. Harald von der Osten mit einem Georadargerät die römischen Baustrukturen im Untergrund des römischen Kastells von Halheim (Foto: Stadt Ellwangen)

Dr. Harald von der Osten, Geophysiker des Landesamtes für Denkmalpflege im Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart (Esslingen), untersuchte mit einem Erdradargerät neuester Bauart das Kastellinnere. Bei dieser Technik waren die frostigen Bedingungen, die zurzeit herrschen, von Vorteil, um auch feinste Strukturen wie etwaige Kastellgräben sichtbar zu machen.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

New Excavation Of Important Neolithic Site On The Channel island of Guernsey

A team of archaeologists have applied for permission to excavate a gallery grave at Delancey Park n the Channel island of Guernsey later this year.

The park is situated in the north east of the Island. It is thought that the park was named after Oliver Delancey (1749-1822) who was the Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1733 and Barrack Master General in Guernsey from 1794 until 1804.

The aim of the planned excavation is to help unlock the mysteries of Guernsey's Neolithic Age, which occurred over five thousand years ago.

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Pictures: Ancient Bog Girl's Face Reconstructed .

"Moora" stares across millennia, thanks to a digital reconstruction based on the Iron Age girl's fragmented skull—one of several interpretations released January 20.

Along with the nearly complete corpse of the teenager, peat bog workers found her 2,600-year-old skull bones—mangled by peat-harvesting machinery—in Germany's Lower Saxony state (map) in 2000.

At first, "the police thought it was a criminal case"—perhaps the remains of Elke Kerll, a young woman who disappeared in 1969—said Andreas Bauerochse, a paleoecologist with the Lower Saxony State Office for Cultural Heritage.

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Alexander the Great exhibition to give insight into man who conquered world

Hundreds of ancient Macedon artefacts unseen outside Greece to be shown at Oxford's Ashmolean museum

An exhibition of more than 500 objects, most of them never before seen outside Greece, is set to rewrite knowledge of the Macedonian civilisation that brought forth Alexander the Great – the man who conquered most of the known world, from Greece to Egypt, Afghanistan and India, in the 4th century BC.

A magnificent array of objects, from intricate golden crowns to finely sculpted heads, will travel to the Ashmolean in Oxford this spring, for the first major archaeological exhibition to be held in the museum's newly expanded galleries.

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How the Romans made pottery in Britain

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall, Roman soldiers defended the northern border of the Empire, passed the time in their bathhouses and inevitably drank a lot of wine. They also made a lot of pots.

Melissa Chatfield, a research fellow in ceramic geoarchaeology, was determined to find out how. Which is why on the edge of the Stanford campus, a narrow column of pale smoke rose behind the Stanford Community Farm building last weekend.

The source was a 5-foot-high grass mound atop a 12-foot-square wooden box. It was modelled on several ancient kilns excavated in England dating to the first century B.C. as well as the early Roman kilns that followed.

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Vikings revered Stone Age objects

New archaeological findings suggest that the Vikings considered Stone Age objects to have magical qualities, and that such “antiques” were more important in Viking culture than previously understood.

The Vikings buried this ship, the "Oseberg," in a grave south of Oslo. New discoveries indicate they also buried other items, with a purpose. PHOTO: Viking Ships Museum
Examinations of around 10 Viking graves found in Rogaland, southwest Norway, revealed Stone Age items, such as weapons, amulets and tools. Olle Hemdorff of the Archaelogical Museum in Stavanger told newspaper Aftenposten that he believes the items were buried so that “they would protect and bring luck to the dead in the after-life.”

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1,500-Year-Old Church Found In Israel

Israeli archaeologists presented a newly uncovered 1,500-year-old church in the Judean hills on Wednesday, including an unusually well-preserved mosaic floor with images of lions, foxes, fish and peacocks.

The Byzantine church located southwest of Jerusalem, excavated over the last two months, will be visible only for another week before archaeologists cover it again with soil for its own protection.

The small basilica with an exquisitely decorated floor was active between the fifth and seventh centuries A.D., said the dig's leader, Amir Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He said the floor was "one of the most beautiful mosaics to be uncovered in Israel in recent years."

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New discoveries in Bath Abbey dig

More discoveries have been made in an archaeological dig underneath Bath Abbey.

Specialists have unearthed a former bowling green and the remains of an old prior’s house from the Middle Ages as they investigate an area under the historic church.

The dig began last month to coincide with a feasibility study by Bath architects practice Feilden Clegg Bradley to see what might be done to improve heating and other facilities at the abbey.

There will be seven digs taking place between now and Easter, four of which will be within the main part of the building.

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Manx names probe to find Viking genes

LOCAL men with certain Manx surnames are being urged to take part in a genetic investigation into Viking ancestry next month.

On Saturday, February 19, representatives from University of Leicester will visit the Manx Museum, Douglas, to conduct the investigation.

This university-funded study is being carried out by Hayley Dunn under the joint supervision of Professor Mark Jobling, from the Department of Genetics, and Dr Simon James, from the School of Archaeology, as part of research leading to a PhD degree.

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New exhibition about Roman Emperor Septimius Severus at the Yorkshire Museum

NEARLY 2,000 years ago, York was the most important place in the western hemisphere. The Roman Emperor had taken up residence and thousands of social climbers from all corners of the empire flocked to the city to be part of the scene.

The man attracting all the fuss was Septimius Severus, the first black citizen to hold Rome’s highest office. For the final three years of his reign, he made York his home and brought to the city a cosmopolitan period of culture, fashion and importance that has not been matched since.

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Ancient church discovered in western Turkey

An ancient church mentioned in the Bible has been discovered in western Turkey, according to the head of the excavation.

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay visited the ancient city of Laodicea on Sunday in Denizli province and was briefed by Professor Celal Şimşek, head of the excavation team. The professor said they have discovered the Laodicea Church, one of the seven mentioned in the Bible. Şimşek said the church from the fourth century A.D. was found by underground radar search, a system they have tried this year for the first time. “The major part of the church, which is built on an area of 2,000 square meters, has kept its original [status].”

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Stone Age artefacts 'could be under Delancey Park'

A Guernsey park could be home to artefacts dating back to the Stone Age, according to a Bristol University archaeologist.

Dr George Nash has asked the States for permission to excavate an area of Delancey Park in St Sampson.

Dr Nash has already carried out some test digs in the area and believes a Neolithic gallery grave, with some intact artefacts, is located there.

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Norway’s secret petroglyphs

It looked to be a routine excavation of what was thought to be a burial mound. But beneath the mound, archaeologists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Museum of Natural History and Archaeology found something more: unusual Bronze Age petroglyphs. 

“We believe these are very special in a Norwegian context,” says museum researcher and project manager Anne Haug.

The excavation in Stjørdal, just north of Trondheim, was necessitated by the expansion of a gravel pit. Initially the project archaeologists anticipated that the dig would be uncomplicated, and museum researchers allowed just three weeks for completion of the works.

Petroglyphs under a cremation site

Then came the surprises. Firstly, the mound builders had used an existing hill as a starting point – which of course saved them time and effort. The hill made the burial mound appear even larger and more monumental than it might have otherwise been.

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A new henge discovered at Stonehenge

An archaeology team led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria discovered a major ceremonial monument less than one kilometre away from the iconic Stonehenge.

History is set to be rewritten after an archaeology team led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria discovered a major ceremonial monument less than one kilometer away from the iconic Stonehenge.

The incredible find has been hailed by Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University’s IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, as one of the most significant yet for those researching the UK’s most important prehistoric structure.

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New ‘henge-like’ monument unearthed at Stonehenge

Archaeologists have discovered a major ceremonial monument less than one km away from the iconic Stonehenge.

The team led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, Austria, unearthed the prehistoric 'henge-like' late Neolithic monument, reports

Professor Vince Gaffney, from Birmingham University, hailed the incredible discovery as one of the most significant yet for those researching the UK's most important prehistoric structure.

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