Friday, July 29, 2011

Yorkshire Museum buys rare sapphire ring

A rare sapphire ring, discovered by a metal detector enthusiast, has been bought by the Yorkshire Museum.

The museum has raised £35,000 to purchase the piece of jewellery, which archaeologists described as a "spectacular" find.

The ring, found near York and measuring 2.5cm across, could have been made as early as the 7th Century.

It was found by Michael Greenhorn from the York and District Metal Detecting Club in April 2009.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ancient erotic carvings found in Germany

Researchers in Germany have discovered Stone Age cave art including carvings of nude women. Archaeologists working for the Bavarian State Office for Historical Preservation came upon the primitive engravings in a cave near the southern city of Bamberg, about 200km east of Frankfurt.

The engravings are believed to be around 12,000 years old, which would make them the first Stone Age artwork ever found in Germany. "They include schematic depictions of women's bodies and unidentifiable symbols, among other things," said spokeswoman Beate Zarges.

The ancient artists appear to have taken their inspiration for the erotic images from rock formations in the caves resembling breasts and penises, and then carved the images in the walls of the cave. Die Zeit quotes geologist and archaeologist Bernhard Haeck, a member of the discovery team, as saying that the five metre (16-foot) long chamber in the cave may have been used for fertility rituals. "It is a place full of magic," he said.

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Time team dig up the dirt: experts push back origins of farming in city’s history

ARCHAEOLOGISTS working at a Sheffield farm have dug up a mystery – the remains of a settlement which could date back 8,000 years to the Iron Age.

The dig, aided by volunteers at Whirlow Hall Farm, has found a rectangular-shaped enclosure formed by a ditch.

It was revealed during a geophysical survey undertaken by a team as part of an ongoing Heritage Lottery funded project at the farm.

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3,000 Roman 3rd Century coins found in Montgomery field

More than 3,000 Roman coins have been discovered in a field, it has emerged.

The hoard of copper alloy coins, dating from the 3rd Century, was unearthed in Montgomery, Powys, several weeks ago.

About 900 were found by a member of a Welshpool metal detecting club, with the rest of the discovery made with help from archaeologists.

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July issue of BBC History Magazine features the Crusades

BBC History Magazine, a leading monthly periodical on all things history, features an article about the Crusades and Christian-Muslim medieval interaction. “Traders and Crusaders”, by Thomas Asbridge of Queen Mary University of London, examines how relations between Europe and the Islamic Middle East “were about more than war and hatred.”

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Streetmuseum : The only way is Londinium

Following on from the success of award-winning phone-app Streetmuseum, the Museum of London has joined forces with the HISTORY Channel to develop a new app which gives users the opportunity to see Roman London as it was 2,000 years ago.
Immersive experiences of Roman London

Streetmuseum Londinium directs users to locations across London where they can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and remains of Roman life in AD 120.

Users can digitally excavate Roman artefacts, including leather bikini briefs and an ancient manicure set, each item telling the story of life in Roman London. Using amazing technology, the user can reveal the objects on the very spot where they were first found in the capital.

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Archeologists discover church remains in Turkish ancient city

Archeologists have unearthed remains of a church in an ancient city in the Mediterranean province of Isparta, head of the team said on Monday.

Associate Professor Mehmet Ozhanli, the head of Suleyman Demirel University's Archeology Department who heads excavations in the ancient city of Pisidian Antioch, said they had discovered remains of a church during their excavations.

"We have found the remains of a three-nave church one and a half meters below the surface," Ozhanli told AA correspondent.

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Should Pompeii have a theme park?

Should archaeologists reconstruct ruins as they decline or should they preserve them as best they can until there is nothing left?

Caroline Lawrence, archaeologist turned children's author, and Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the Herculaneum Conservation project and master of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, debate the future of Pompeii.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Langstone Harbour Saxon logboat in Portsmouth display

A 1,500-year-old logboat found buried in the mudflats of a harbour in Hampshire has gone on display.

The Saxon boat excavated from Langstone Harbour in 2003 can be seen in an exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum.

The hollowed out oak tree formed a wooden canoe, which was probably used by local people around 500 AD.

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Northampton archaeologists find man who could be 1,600-years-old

ARCHAEOLOGISTS from Northampton have discovered human remains which could be more than 1,600 years old.

The team from Northamptonshire Archaeology discovered the remains of a man while they were carrying out investigations on a building site.

A small piece of pottery found alongside the crouched skeleton was used to date the burial to somewhere between the years 43 and 410 – suggesting the body is Roman.

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Part Ape, Part Human

A new ancestor emerges from the richest collection of fossil skeletons ever found.

Lee Berger is standing in a death trap, smiling. It is a hole in the ground about 25 miles northwest of Johannesburg, in a ridged brown valley where herds of giraffes occasionally parade between stands of trees. The red-rock walls of the pit are higher than Berger's head, and steep enough in spots to make a scramble up, or down, rather daunting. Some two million years ago, the hole was a great deal deeper, with no possibility of escape for any creature that fell in. This accounts for the trove of fossils Berger is finding, which in turn accounts for his upbeat mood. He leans over a red boulder near the pit bottom, tracing a white-colored protrusion with his fingers. "It looks like part of an arm," he says. "That means we've found another individual."

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Carving found in Gower cave could be oldest rock art

An archaeologist believes a wall carving in a south Wales cave could be Britain's oldest example of rock art.

The faint scratchings of a speared reindeer are believed to have been carved by a hunter-gatherer in the Ice Age more than 14,000 years ago.

The archaeologist who found the carving on the Gower peninsula, Dr George Nash, called it "very, very exciting."

Experts are working to verify the discovery, although its exact location is being kept secret for now.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Experts Baffled by Mysterious Underground Chambers

Beate Greithanner, a dairy farmer, is barefoot as she walks up the lush meadows of the Doblberg, a mountain in Bavaria set against a backdrop of snow-capped Alpine peaks. She stops and points to a hole in the ground. "This is where the cow was grazing," she says. "Suddenly she fell in, up to her hips."

A crater had opened up beneath the unfortunate cow.

On the day after the bovine mishap, Greithanner's husband Rudi examined the hole. He was curious, so he poked his head inside and craned his neck to peer into the darkness. Could it be a hiding place for some sort of treasure, he wondered? As he climbed into the hole to investigate, it turned out to be a narrow, damp tunnel that led diagonally into the earth, like the bowels of some giant dinosaur.

Suddenly the farmer could no longer hear anything from above. He panicked when he realized that it was getting difficult to breathe the stifling air -- and quickly ended his brief exploration.

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Award winning treasure found in Wing was used by Roman criminals

AN AMATEUR archaeologist from Aylesbury has been given a national award after uncovering a coin press which may have been used to make counterfeit currency in Roman times.

Tom Clarke, who has been metal detecting for more than 40 years, found a number of blank bronze coins and a small anvil in a farmer’s field in Wing.

The unmarked discs are the halfway stage of someone making their own coins and have been dated to around 300AD.

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Roman skeleton unearthed on Watton building site

The remains of a male believed to date back to the Roman occupation of Britain have been discovered in Watton, west Norfolk.

The bones were unearthed during work to turn a former RAF base into housing and are thought to have been buried around AD43 to 410.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Elizabeth Dawson spoke to site developer Edward Parker and lead archaeologist Mark Holmes to find out more about the discovery.

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So much for Hagar the Horrible, with his stay-at-home wife, Helga. Viking women may have equaled men moving to England in medieval invasions, suggests

So much for Hagar the Horrible, with his stay-at-home wife, Helga. Viking women may have equaled men moving to England in medieval invasions, suggests a look at ancient burials.

Vikings famously invaded Eastern England around 900 A.D., notes Shane McLeod of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Western Australia in the Early Medieval Europe journal, starting with two army invasions in the 800's, recounted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. The Viking invaders founded their own medieval kingdom, 'the Danelaw', in Eastern England.

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Technology to Throw New Light On Ancient Artifacts

New technology which makes it possible to study the finer details of some of the world's greatest historical artifacts has been developed by computer scientists and archaeologists at the University of Southampton in conjunction with academics at the University of Oxford.

Dr Kirk Martinez at the University of Southampton's ECS -- Electronics and Computer Science and the team have developed two Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) systems to capture images of documentary texts and archaeological material. The systems takes 76 pictures of artifacts with the light in different positions, then creates a new type or RTI image. The viewer can then move the virtual light anywhere and focus on the detail.

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Heavy Metal Hardens Battle

The French may have had a better chance at the Battle of Agincourt had they not been weighed down by heavy body armour, say researchers.

A study published July 19 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that soldiers carrying armour in Medieval times would have been using more than twice the amount of energy had they not been wearing it. This is the first clear experimental evidence of the limitations of wearing Medieval armour on a soldier's performance.

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The Only Way is Londinium, Roman London is Revealed with Augmented Reality in New App

Following on from the success of award-winning app Streetmuseum™, the Museum of London has joined forces with AETN UK ’s flagship channel HISTORY™ to develop a new app which gives users the opportunity to see Roman London as it was 2,000 years ago.

Streetmuseum Londinium will direct users to locations across London where they can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and remains of Roman life. At the city’s peak in AD 120 approximately 25,000 Romans lived in London , leaving much behind to explore today.

Users can digitally excavate Roman artefacts, including leather bikini briefs and an ancient manicure set, which tell the stories of life in Londinium. Using their finger to dig and by blowing on their iPhone, users will gradually reveal the objects where they were first found in the capital.

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Early Human Ancestors Walked Fully Upright Earlier Than Scientists Thought, Study Shows

Early human ancestors walked fully upright about 2 million years earlier than scientists have long suggested, according to the results of a recent study.

A team of researchers at the University of Liverpool, along with scientists at the University of Manchester and Bournemouth University, applied a new statistical technique often used in functional brain imaging to obtain a three-dimensional average of the famous 11 footprints discovered at Laetoli, Tanzania, discovered by Mary Leakey in 1976. The footprints are interpreted to have been left originally in soft volcanic ash by a group of three individuals of the Australopithecus afarensis species following the eruption of the nearby Sadiman Volcano approximately 3.7 million years ago.

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7,000-year-old archaeological site was a Stone Age rest area

A recently uncovered archaeological site in the Scottish highlands dates back to the Mesolithic, roughly 10,000 years ago. What makes it so unusual is that this isn't a settlement - it's the prehistoric equivalent of a highway pit stop.

Sadly, there are no stone-operated vending machines, vaguely grotty bathrooms, or designated wolf-walking areas at this particular rest area. But even without all those modern accouterments, this particular site is still very much of a kind with their present-day counterparts. The commercial operation Headland Archaeology, which was hired to excavate the site in preparation for supermarket construction, discovered an ancient hearth with tons of charcoal remnants left inside.

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Mesolithic 'rest stop' found at new Sainsbury's site

Archaeologists believe the remains of burned oak uncovered at the site of the first Sainsbury's in the Highlands to be evidence of an ancient "rest stop".

The supermarket and a filling station are being constructed on the outskirts of Nairn, at a cost of about £20m.

Headland Archaeologists investigated the site ahead of building work.

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UK's 'oldest' open-air cemetery discovered in Somerset

Somerset was the site of the UK's oldest open-air cemetery, the county council says.

Recent radiocarbon dating of two skulls found at a sand quarry in Greylake nature reserve near Middlezoy in 1928 revealed them to be 10,000 years old.

The council said the find was made under its Lost Islands of Somerset project by a team investigating the archaeology of the Somerset Levels.

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Schönebeck: »Deutsches Stonehenge« II - nur ohne Steine

Bei Schönebeck südlich von Magdeburg wird derzeit eine frühbronzezeitliche Kreisgrabenanlage ausgegraben. Das vorgeschichtliche Heiligtum liegt in Sichtweite der Anlage von Pömmelte-Zackmünde, die als »deutsches Stonehenge« durch die Medien ging. Die Archäologen gehen davon aus, dass es sich um den direkten Nachfolger des Kultplatzes von Pömmelte handelt. Die Anlage hatte vermutlich die gleiche Bedeutung wie die berühmte Megalithanlage von Stonehenge, sagte Sachsen-Anhalts Landesarchäologe Harald Meller am Montag bei der Präsentation der ersten Grabungsergebnisse.

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Sad News

I am sad to report the death of our former colleague Dr David Hill yesterday, less than a year after his marriage to (another former colleague) Margaret Worthington.

David was a member of our Extra Mural Studies Department, and latterly in the English Department. He was one of the great figures of our time in medieval archaeology, and a great personality too. Since retirement from the University he has remained very research active, and despite his appalling health problems -- which he bore cheerfully for many years -- his death was unexpected, and peaceful.

He will be sadly missed by colleagues and his army of disciples -- many of them former students of his Anglo-Saxon Diploma and MA classes.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Dorchester Cursus - Cursus in England in Oxfordshire

Oxford Archaeology has been excavating the Dorchester-on-Thames cursus with the help of volunteers. Finds were on display at the open day, along with tours of the trenches. Geophysics of the 'car boot sale' field just off the A415 indicated that the cursus extended further north than previously thought. Excavations this summer have confirmed this and also found a ring ditch that cuts through the cursus.

The ring ditch is therefore of a later date - probably the remains of a Bronze Age barrow. What is particularly interesting is that the ring ditch exactly bisects the cursus ditch, indicating that the cursus, from approximately a thousand years earlier, was still recognised, possibly revered.

Also found is tree-throw with mesolithic flints deposited in the roots and a rectilinear Neolithic enclosure.

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Genetic Research Confirms That Non-Africans Are Part Neanderthal

Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa, according to an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The research was published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," says Dr. Labuda. His team places the timing of such intimate contacts and/or family ties early on, probably at the crossroads of the Middle East.

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'Fantastic results' at Roman dig in Maryport

The excavation of a Roman site at Maryport, in Cumbria, has produced "fascinating results", experts say.

The project at the remains of a Roman fort at Camp Farm, which started last year, is due to be completed on 22 July.

The team said it had found many features not recorded by a previous excavation in 1870.

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Archaeologists discover a hoard of silver Roman denarii coins at Vindolanda

A hoard of twenty one silver denarii has been recovered during the recent excavation of the foundations of a clay floor in a centurion’s apartment of the late Antonine period (cAD180-200) at Vindolanda, northeast England.

The hoard had been buried, possibly in a purse or some similar organic package which had long since rotted away, in a shallow pit within the foundation material of the floor of the structure in the middle of the room.

Dr Andrew Birley – director of excavations at the site explains, “The coins were tightly packed together and several had corroded onto one another, held together as a group by the foundation clay of the building on the surrounding packaging that had rotted away. The surface area covered by the coins was no greater than 10cms, suggesting that there had been little movement by post depositional processes. The archaeological context suggests that the hoard may well have been deliberately buried, rather than lost, and was probably the savings of an individual who was unable to recover his money.”

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Digging into Henry V111's defences

Archaeologists are about to start excavating the site of a blockhouse thought to have been built by Henry VIII on the Angle Peninsula to defend against French invasion.

Clinging to the edge of a sea cliff in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the blockhouse is a crumbling reminder of a bitter feud between Britain and France.

It was probably built as part of Henry VIII’s coastal defences after his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, when Britain was left politically isolated by a treaty between France and Spain – and the King was determined to defend his country from attack.

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Stone Age relics may be hidden in Western Isles' seas

Submerged sites of ancient communities could be hidden in the seas around the Western Isles, according to experts.

Dr Jonathan Benjamin and Dr Andrew Bicket believe the islands' long and sheltered lochs have protected 9,000-year-old Mesolithic relics.

Rising sea levels may have covered up to 6.2 miles (10km) of land on the west coast of the Outer Hebrides.

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Archaeology: Discovery of Gothic amulet at Bulgaria’s Perperikon

A Gothic amulet with a swastika dedicated to Odin, supreme god of the Germanic tribes, has been discovered by archaeologists at Bulgaria’s ancient holy site of Perperikon near Kurdjali.

It is believed that the amulet belonged to a warrior who participated in the capture of the rock city 17 centuries ago, Bulgarian National Television quoted archaeological expedition leader Professor Nikolai Ovcharov as saying.

The amulet was one of the first discoveries as the new archaeological season got underway. Another was a bronze cross estimated to date from the 11th century.

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Outrage, as English Neolithic monument bulldozed flat

Reports began to circulate in early June concerning damage to one of a series of four remarkable Neolithic monuments in Somerset, southwest England. However, the scale of the damage to the Priddy Circles is only now being fully appreciated.
A ruined monument

The four Circles are listed together as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and as such are under the protection of the State. Somerset County Council confirmed it was working in conjunction with English Heritage to pursue a resolution for this distressing situation, which arose when the landowner, Mr Penny, allegedly used his earth-moving equipment to bulldoze, flatten and reseed the entire southwestern arc of the southern circle.

Damage to ancient monuments can result in large fines – along with requirements to reinstate or repair – and in extreme circumstances, a prison sentence can be handed out to the perpetrator, under the 1979 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act.

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'World's oldest' wreck found in Swedish Baltic

What looks very much like a cog, a ship used in the Baltic between the 12th and the 14th centuries, has been discovered in the waters between the islands of Gotland and Öland off the east coast of Sweden.

The vessel showed up in sonar pictures of the area, causing experts on shipwrecks to believe that they may have the world’s oldest intact shipwreck on their hands.

“The hairs at the back of my neck stood up when I first saw the pictures,” said shipwreck expert Erik Bjurström to the local Barometern daily.

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5,000-year-old skeleton unearthed in Northern Italy

The 5,000-year-old skeleton of a woman was recently found in Aosta Valley (Northern Italy). "The Lady of Introd", as it has been nicknamed, was in perfect conditions, but the archaeologists found no sign of any burial items apart from the bones themselves.

The tomb was discovered in the small Alpine village of Introd, today home to about 600 people and located not far from the main town Aosta. An archaeological survey made before a planned extension of the local kindergarten allowed scientists to discover the ancient burial. The human remains have been found on a hill near the village; in the same area there is also a castle, the parish church and a shack. The skeleton found at Introd is contemporary to Oetzi, the famous iceman found 20 years ago in Trentino-Alto Adige, the mountainous region on the border between Austria and Italy.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Neue Multimedia-Führung im LVR-RömerMuseum

Auf virtuelle Streifzüge durch die Antike können sich die Besucher des LVR-RömerMuseums im Archäologischen Park Xanten begeben.

Ab sofort erwecken kurze Filmsequenzen und Animationen auf handlichen Multimedia-Geräten die Exponate aus der römischen Zeit an insgesamt 40 Stationen zum Leben: Auf Knopfdruck erwächst ein ganzer Tempel aus dem Bruchstück einer Säule, steuert ein voll beladener Lastkahn in den römischen Hafen oder beginnt ein Vogelflug über den Dächern der römischen Stadt. In vier Sprachen gibt es neben den Informationen für Erwachsene auch spezielle Filme für Kinder. Für Menschen mit eingeschränktem Hörvermögen werden alle Filme zusätzlich mit Gebärdensprachendolmetscher angeboten.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Archaeological Survey at Wessex Archaeology - an update from the Geomatics Team

We have just posted some new and interesting case studies as well as more information about techniques we use to satisfy the demanding needs of heritage survey & GIS projects.

As recently announced, Wessex Archaeology have been accepted as Affiliate Members of the Survey Association. We provide a range of geomatics services for the heritage sector and our TSA membership will help us to develop these services further.

Working closely with hardware and software manufacturers, academic institutions and partners in the survey industry, as well as our own in-house teams of archaeological surveyors and geomatics experts, built heritage and archaeology specialists, we provide tailored solutions for all manner of projects.

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Tooth filing was a worldwide craze among Viking men

Teeth with neat parallel grooves have been found in Viking graves in Sweden, Denmark and England, and farther afield

Filed Viking teeth are piling up. Caroline Arcini, an osteologist at the archaeology department of the Swedish National Heritage Board, was fascinated to learn from Oxford Archaeology of the men with neat horizontal lines filed into their teeth who ended up in a pit in Dorset: she has scores more such teeth on her desk.

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Early humans, ritual cannibals: Study

Archaeologists have found 32,000-year-old human remains in southeastern Europe, which suggest that the earliest humans practiced “mortuary” or “ritual” cannibalism.

The excavated human remains, the oldest known in Europe, were found at a shelter-cave site called Buran-Kaya III in Ukraine and exhibit post-mortem cut marks, the MSNBC reports.

"Our observations show a post-mortem treatment of human corpses including the selection of the skull," said the paleozoologist and archaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, Stephane Pean.

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Italy: Nero's Golden House to remain closed to visitors

Roman Emperor Nero's first century Domus Aurea villa will be closed to visitors for at least another three years as complicated repairs to the sprawling complex cause its scheduled 2011 reopening to be delayed, said the Italian culture minister's director general for archeology Luigi Malnati.

"You first and foremost have to avoid further collapses and save it," he said in an interview with Il Messaggero newspaper published on Friday.

Some historians say Nero started the great fire that charred much of Rome in 64 AD to make room for his 300 acre Domus Aurea, or Golden House that was adorned by gold leaf and dazzling frescos.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time Team unearths stables fit for a king

A television show has unearthed remains of King Charles II's original stables during excavations at Newmarket’s Palace House – but the roots of the site may extend further into the past.

A 15-strong team of archaeologists from Channel 4’s Time Team descended on Newmarket on Monday and uncovered remains of the stables, which were built in the 1670s.

The find came in the first trench dug in King’s Yard on the Palace House site, which is owned by Forest Heath District Council.

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CFP: Reading the Way to the Netherworld. Education and the Representation of the Beyond in Later Antiquity, Göttingen, 14-16.10.2011

The Courant Research Centre EDRIS (Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen) and the Graduiertenkolleg “Götterbilder-Gottesbilder-Weltbilder” (Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen) are pleased to announce the organisation of a Conference on Education and the Representations of the Beyond in Later Antiquity. The Conference will take place in Göttingen from the 14th to the 16th of October 2011. We welcome papers from the disciplines of Classics, Byzantine Studies, Religion Studies, and … Beyond that will help us to explore this theme.

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Roman-era shipwreck reveals ancient medical secrets

A first-aid kit found on a 2,000-year-old shipwreck has provided a remarkable insight into the medicines concocted by ancient physicians to cure sailors of dysentery and other ailments.

A wooden chest discovered on board the vessel contained pills made of ground-up vegetables, herbs and plants such as celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa and chestnuts – all ingredients referred to in classical medical texts.

The tablets, which were so well sealed that they miraculously survived being under water for more than two millennia, also contain extracts of parsley, nasturtium, radish, yarrow and hibiscus.

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Bringing ancient rock art into the digital age

new digital media project at Newcastle University is proving that academic thought is not set in stone. Through the use of a modern-day tablet – the mobile phone – Northumberland’s ancient rock art is being exposed to a new generation of enthusiasts.

Archaeologists have worked side-by-side with digital media experts on this International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies project, using new technology to share information about the famous stones.

During their research, it emerged that people were often left frustrated because they couldn’t find the rock art easily, which can be tricky to locate even with a GPS, as most of the markings are flat and often difficult to spot in thick vegetation and overcast conditions.

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Daniel's archaeology ambition

Daniel Radcliffe wants to study archaeology.

The 21-year-old actor is sad that the Harry Potter movie series - in which he has played the titular boy wizard in all eight films - is coming to a close, but happy he will now have more free time to pursue his interests.

He said: 'I watch a huge amount of stuff on the Discovery Channel and have started considering doing an Open University course because I'm becoming more and more fascinated by archaeology.

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8,000-year-old dog tomb ‘significant’ find

Archaeologists have discovered an unprecedented 8,000-year-old dog tomb – the oldest in southern Europe – in a shell mound near the Portuguese town of Alcaçer do Sal.

Project co-director Mariana Diniz told Lusa News Agency the find held “significant importance” because previously there had been no such sign of ancient “canine symbology” in southern Europe, in contrast to northern parts of the continent.

“Eight thousand years ago [southern] communities domesticated dogs, an animal with an economic role, but also a symbolic one”, Ms. Diniz said.

“The ritual burial of dogs was done with care, not just any way, with special significance”, she added of the find.

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"Tomb of the Otters" Filled With Stone Age Human Bones

Thousands of human bones have been found inside a Stone Age tomb on a northern Scottish island, archaeologists say.

The 5,000-year-old burial site, on South Ronaldsay (map) in the Orkney Islands, was accidentally uncovered after a homeowner had leveled a mound in his yard to improve his ocean view. (See Scotland pictures.)

Authorities were alerted to the find in 2010 after a subsequent resident, Hamish Mowatt, guessed at the site's significance.

Mowatt had lowered a camera between the tomb's ceiling of stone slabs and was confronted by a prehistoric skull atop a muddy tangle of bones.

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Archaeologists Explore the Secrets of Bulgarian Pompei

Bulgarian-British expedition resumed the excavations in the ancient city of Nikopolis-ad-Istrum near Veliko Tarnovo. This is the best preserved archaeological site in Bulgaria and a specialized Italian publication called it Bulgarian Pompei for its importance.

This summer archaeologists will be exploring a building dating back to the ruling of Roman emperor Septimus Severus. According to experts, the building was used as temple by the worshippers of goddess Cybele.

So far the archaeologists have found fragments of wall paneling, details of door cases, windows and niches.

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Friday, July 08, 2011

Bulgarian Archaeologists Uncover Major Church Built by Byzantium's Last Emperors

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed the main church of a 14th century Byzantine monastery built by the last dynasty of the Eastern Roman Empire located in the Black Sea town of Sozopol.

The team of archaeologist Dr. Krastina Panayotova from the National Archaeology Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has completed the first stage of the excavations of the St. Apostles Monastery and of a medieval feudal castle at the Cape of Sozopol.

During the excavations funded by the Bulgarian government, Panayotova's team has uncovered the monastery church, a small cemetery chapel, and a feudal castle dating back to the 13th-15th century, the last days before the Byzantine Empire before it was wiped out of the map by the Ottoman Turkish invaders.

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Codex Calixtinus manuscript stolen from Santiago de Compostela

Priceless 12-century manuscript, which contains Europe's first travel guide, went missing from a safe in Spanish cathedral

A priceless 12th-century illustrated manuscript containing what has been described as Europe's first travel guide has been stolen from the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

The Codex Calixtinus, which was kept in a safe at the cathedral's archives, is thought to have been stolen by professional thieves on Sunday afternoon.

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Roman Frontier Gallery tells tales from Cumbria's origins at Tullie House Museum

The pavements outside Tullie House’s beautiful old building, in Castle Street, once played host to Roman posties.

Just 20 years after the marauding channel-hoppers had arrived in Carlisle, in around AD 72, letters were being peacefully shuttled between correspondents in the Cumbria settlement.

The tablets they were written on serve as handy evidence of the earliest examples of handwriting, forming part of a gripping new gallery in a cavern beneath the doors they were delivered to almost 2,000 years ago.

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Reconstructed face of medieval skeleton may reveal Ireland’s ‘Helen of Troy’

EXPERTS are set to reconstruct the face and probable appearance of a high-ranking Medieval female, whose skeletal remains were unearthed at the end of last month during excavations at Dungannon’s Castle Hill.

It is hoped that the project, conducted by experts at Galway University, will reveal more about her true identity, and help bring tourists and local people face to face with the past.

The skeleton, dating back to the Medieval Period, was found nearly complete and in a good state of preservation, which means the most advanced studies of forensic anthropology can be performed on it.

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Latest News on the theft of the Codex Calixtinus

The Spanish newspaper El Pais is reporting that the police are looking over hundreds of hours of video footage and having teams go into the cathedral at Santiago de Compostella to look for forensic evidence. A helicopter flew over the church as well, to see if there was a hole in its roof which could have been used by the thief to enter the building.

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Earliest Europeans Were Cannibals, Wore Bling

Early humans wore jewelry and likely practiced cannibalism, suggest remains of the earliest known Homo sapiens from southeastern Europe.

The remains, described in PLoS One, date to 32,000 years ago and represent the oldest direct evidence for anatomically modern humans in a well-documented context. The human remains are also the oldest known for our species in Europe to show post-mortem cut marks.

"Our observations indicate a post-mortem treatment of human corpse including the selection of the skull," co-author Stephane Pean, a paleozoologist and archaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, told Discovery News. "We demonstrate that this treatment was not for nutritional purposes, according to comparison with game butchery treatment, so it is not a dietary cannibalism."

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Weymouth Relief Road dig reveals dental discovery

A GRUESOME dental discovery has been unearthed during analysis of the Viking burial pit remains found during construction of the Weymouth Relief Road.

Experts analysing the findings have come across a filed pair of front teeth to add to the unravelling story about the beheaded victims.

The burial pit containing 51 decapitated skulls with their bodies strewn nearby was discovered on the Ridgeway in June, 2009, an experts have been busy examining the remains.

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International Medieval Congress begins next week

re than 1,600 experts from all over the world will come together and take a medieval look at the contentious themes of poverty and wealth, at a forthcoming conference at the University of Leeds.

The 17th annual International Medieval Congress, organised by the University’s Institute for Medieval Studies, is the biggest academic event of its kind in the UK and the largest medieval-themed academic conference in Europe.

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.New discovery shows Vikings used to cut 'army stripes' into their teeth

Viking warriors may have given a new meaning to the expression 'cutting your teeth in battle' after archaeologists discovered the Norsemen filed stripes into their incisors to show their fighting status.

..The distinct grooves would have been made using a form of chisel to show the Viking was a proven warrior – similar to the various army stripes denoting rank of today, archaeologists believe.

The teeth were discovered in a mass grave containing 54 headless bodies and 51 skulls of Vikings which were unearthed two years ago by workers building a relief road near Weymouth, Dorset.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Roman silver coins go on display in Warwick

A hoard of Roman silver coins which pre-date the birth of Christ are going on show at the Warwickshire Museum.

A Roman pot containing 1,146 silver denarii coins was found by a man using a metal detector in a field on Edge Hill in the county.

The hoard, which dates back to 190 BC, will be on display from Saturday as the museum in Market Square, Warwick, marks its 60th birthday this month.

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Key keeper sought for 12th Century castle near Bridgend

A key keeper is being sought to take care of a 12th Century castle in south Wales.

Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service, needs someone to look after Newcastle, near Bridgend.

The post, which comes with a "modest" fee, involves checking the monument on a daily basis and keeping it free of litter.

The key keeper will also report any damage, vandalism or anti-social behaviour at the site.

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Mobile phone app will help users find North East prehistoric rock art Read More

THE meaning of rock art created in the North East thousands of years ago has baffled modern day experts.

And the prehistoric people who carved the rock images would be equally at a loss to understand today’s technology which is revealing their creations to a growing audience.

In a project by the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University, archaeologists have worked with digital media experts to create a mobile phone site enabling people to find the rock art panels.

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Weymouth burial pit shows Vikings filed their teeth

Archaeologists have discovered that teeth belonging to a Viking warrior, found under the Weymouth relief road in Dorset, had been filed.

They were among remains found in a burial pit which was discovered two years ago. The pair of front teeth have deep horizontal grooves cut into them.

Experts are not sure why the teeth were filed, but believe it may have been to frighten opponents in battle or to show their status as a great fighter.

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Cosmeston pottery find shows a thriving medieval craft

A 13th Century pottery vessel found in the Vale of Glamorgan could indicate a thriving local craft in medieval times.

Several fragments of the aquamanile, decorated with a ram's head, were discovered at the site of a manor house at Cosmeston, near Penarth.

The vessels were used by guests to wash their hands at the dinner table.

Professor John Hines from Cardiff University, leader of the dig, said they had never found such an elegant piece made from the local Vale Ware.

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Bulgarian Archaeologists Find Iron Labrys at Ancient Thracian Kings' Residence

Bulgarian archaeologists have dug up an iron labrys, a ceremonial doubleheaded ax, at the residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom, the state of the most powerful tribe of Ancient Thrace, located at the mount of Kozi Gramadi.

The ax was discovered on Monday, July 4, 2011, by the team of Ass. Prof. Ivan Hristov, Bulgaria's National History Museum announced on Tuesday.

It was dug up near the main gate of the fortified residence of the Odrysian rulers, and is the second labrys ever discovered at an Ancient Thrace site, after another such ax was found in the same archaeological site during its first more thorough excavation in 2005.

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Dorset burial pit Viking had filed teeth

Archaeologists have discovered one of the victims of a suspected mass Viking burial pit found in Dorset had grooves filed into his two front teeth.

Experts believe a collection of bones and decapitated heads, unearthed during the creation of the Weymouth Relief Road, belong to young Viking warriors.

During analysis, a pair of front teeth was found to have distinct incisions.

Archaeologists think it may have been designed to frighten opponents or show status as a great fighter.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Grab the Vikings Quiz!

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Woman’s skeleton found at Sedgeford dig sheds light on Norfolk 4,000 years ago

Archaeologists confirmed the significance of the discovery yesterday as work got under way for the summer season at Sedgeford, near Heacham.

Martin Hatton, curator of human remains at the site, was staking out an area of chalk down close to where the find was made last summer, ready for this year’s eagerly-awaited dig to begin.

“It was a total surprise to us,” he said. “You don’t bury people anywhere other than near where they live, so what we can say is that people were farming the land here 4,000 years ago.”

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Walk of the week: Follow in the footsteps of Vikings in Co Down

This walk across the rocky outcrops of Orlock Point in Co Down affords stunning views of the Copeland Islands and out across the Irish Sea towards Scotland.

The area is steeped in archaeology and history, with evidence of Vikings, smugglers and World War II defences, and the outcrops harbour a mosaic of semi-natural habitats which support a rich diversity of plants and animals.

The path around Orlock Point has been managed by The National Trust since 1984. It runs from Portavo to Sandeel Bay and is a section of the North Down Coastal Path.

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Experts uncover unique medieval tile in Cistercian basilica

Archaeologists have uncovered rare finds from the High Middle Ages, including a unique tile with a symbol of dragon, during the archeological research accompanying the restoration of the basilica in Velehrad, a popular church pilgrimage complex.

Dragon, embodiment of evil, appears only rarely in the Cistercian premises such as the Velehrad basilica, Zdenek Schenk, from the Archaia Olomouc organisation, told CTK Saturday.

The tile was uncovered inside a brick construction in front of the entrance of the church belonging to the Velehrad monastery.

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Discoveries at a Templar abbey in Ireland

Mourne Abbey in County Cork, Ireland, has been the focus of an archaeological excavation to discover more about the history of this medieval religious center.

The abbey was built around 1199 by the Knights Templar. After the rulers of Europe turned on the Templars and destroyed the order in 1307, resulting in 700 years of conspiracy theories, the abbey was handed over to the Knights Hospitaller. This knightly order got its name because its original purpose was to care for sick pilgrims in Jerusalem after the First Crusade, but soon they acquired more land and more power to become one of the leading forces in the Holy Land and Europe. They owned some of the toughest castles in the world.

Their power waned after the Muslims reconquered the Holy Land but the order still exists today. The abbey was abandoned when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries as part of his break from Rome in 1541. It has since fallen into picturesque ruin.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Viking Quiz

What do you know about the Vikings?

Try this online quiz. It loads 10 randomly selected questions from a large database, so each time that you return to the site you get a different set of questions.

You can find the Viking Quiz here…

Hoard of Viking silver coins unearthed in Furness

A metal detectorist uncovered a Viking hoard of silver coins and artefacts in the Cumbrian countryside.

The collection, which has been provisionally valued at tens of thousands of pounds, was found in an undisclosed site in Furness.

It is being examined by experts at the British Museum and is expected to be declared as treasure.

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Regret at 'bunny huggers' comment

A council leader in Cambridgeshire says he now regrets describing archaeologists and conservationists as "bunny huggers".

But Fenland District Councillor Alan Melton says he stands by his belief that too much time and money is wasted on digs at new building sites.

His comments have prompted a furious response from academics and archaeologists.

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Viking silver coin hoard discovered in northern England

A Viking treasure hoard of silver coins has been discovered in the northern English country of Cumbria. The find is being billed as ‘the missing link’ by experts who say it is the long-awaited significant evidence of 9th and 10th Century AD material culture of the settlers upon the area around Barrow-in-Furness.

The 92 silver coins and artefacts (several ingots and one near-complete silver bracelet) were discovered and brought to the surface in May by a locally-based metal detectorist. Amongst the coins is a pair of Ara dirhams – silver currency which circulated in 10th century Europe but rarely found in the United Kingdom.

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Exhibition of Staffordshire Hoard of gold goes back on display

SPARKLING pieces from the Staffordshire Hoard are on display as conservationists uncover more of secrets of the treasure.

This month 44 pieces from the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found are on show at the Shire Hall Gallery, in Stafford.

Archaeologists researching and conserving the Hoard have removed the soil, revealing the glistening garnets and gleaming gold. Now these cleaned pieces are on show, transporting visitors back to the Seventh Century.

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Important Roman altar stone unearthed at Cumbrian dig

A historically important Roman altar stone has been discovered by archeologists digging in Maryport.

The excavation at Camp Farm is being led by Professor Ian Haynes, of Newcastle University with leading field archaeologist Tony Wilmott.

The site is internationally famous as the place where 17 altar stones found in 1870 - they are now on display in the museum at the town’s Senhouse Roman Museum.

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Cosmeston: Archaeologists express concern over potential loss of 'living' medieval village

ARCHAEOLOGISTS concerned about the future of Cosmeston Medieval Village have been joined by Penarth Assembly Member Vaughan Gething, in calling on the Vale Council to think again on its proposals for the site.

As previously reported, the council identified changes to the Medieval Village as part of proposed savings agreed at the end of February.

The proposal involves opening the village up as free entry, resulting in a reduction in staff and savings of £60,000 per year.

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Staffordshire Hoard 'to help rewrite history'

A haul of Anglo-Saxon gold discovered beneath a Staffordshire farmer's field could help rewrite history, experts say.

Historians believe the Staffordshire Hoard could hold vital clues to explain the conversion of Mercia - England's last great Pagan kingdom - to Christianity in the 7th Century.

The hoard was found buried on a farm in Staffordshire in July 2009.

The 1,500 pieces of gold are thought to be the spoils of an Anglo-Saxon battle.

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