Monday, September 29, 2014

Sardinian archaeologists find Bronze Age 'giant'

Archeologists working in Sardinia's southwestern region have uncovered a new 'giant', officials reported on Thursday. 

The newly discovered Bronze Age stone figure at the Monte Prama excavation site in Oristano [Credit: ANSA] 

Archaeologists from the Superintendency of Cagliari and Oristano and Cagliari and Sassari universities dug up another monumental sandstone giant at the Monte Prama excavation site in Oristano on Thursday morning. 

The Monte Prama site is home to the Giants of Monte Prama, ancient stone figures from the Bronze-age Nuragic civilization that were discovered en masse in the early 1970s.

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Prehistoric Stone Tools Evolved Independently Within Local Populations, Say Researchers

Suggestion challenges the traditional Out-of-Africa human migration theory for new stone tool introduction into Eurasia.

It wasn’t exclusively the arrival of new people from Africa with new technology that changed the stone tool repertoire of early humans in Eurasia a few hundred thousand years ago—it was local populations in different places and times gradually and independently wising up to a better industry on their own.

So suggests Daniel Adler, associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and colleagues based on a recently completed study in which the researchers examined thousands of stone artifacts recovered from Nor Geghi 1, an Armenian Southern Caucasus archaeological site that features preserved lava flows and artifact-bearing sediments dated to between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago.  The artifacts, dated at 325,000 – 335,000 years old, were a mix of two distinct stone tool technology traditions—bifacial tools, such as hand axes, which were common among early human populations during the Lower Paleolithic, andLevallois, a stone tool production method typically attributed to the Middle Stone Age in Africa and the Middle Paleolithic in Eurasia. The researchers argue that the coexistence of two technologies at Nor Geghi 1 provides the first clear evidence that local populations developed Levallois technology out of existing biface technology.
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Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?

A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse.

This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.

The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the city's cathedral. "The heathens mowed down the entire multitude of priest, clerics, and laity," according to one witness account. Among the slain, allegedly killed while celebrating the Mass, was a bishop who later was granted sainthood.
To modern readers the attack seems monstrous, even by the standards of medieval warfare. But the witness account contains more than a touch of hyperbole, writes Anders Winroth, a Yale history professor and author of the book The Age of the Vikings, a sweeping new survey. What's more, he says, such exaggeration was often a feature of European writings about the Vikings.

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Roman 20,000 coins hoard 'among largest'

The coins are remarkably well preserved for those found in Devon where acidic soils can corrode metal

A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed near Seaton in east Devon.
The Seaton Down Hoard is believed to be one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have been found in Britain.
They were discovered last year by builder Laurence Egerton, 51, using a metal detector.
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is launching an appeal to buy the coins so they can be put on display in the city.
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Numerous finds in a Roman camp

More than 300 coins from the I-VI century AD and further hundreds of objects made of bronze, glass, bone and antlers discovered archaeologists from the Centre for the Study of Antiquity of Southeastern Europe of the University of Warsaw during the excavations in Novae near Svishtov in Bulgaria.
"August campaign has brought a very rich archaeological crop in the form of luxury items used by Roman legionnaires. Curiosities include dagger handles made of ivory" - told PAP Prof. Piotr Dyczek, head of research.

The work also yielded important findings concerning the architectural solutions. Scientists have identified a fragment of a wooden barrack of the 1st cohort of the Eighth Augustan Legion, stationed at Novae from the mid-1st century. His remains are preserved only in the form of more than 200 holes remaining after the wooden pillars that held the structure, and relics of walls made of wicker and clay.

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Roman camp in Bulgaria yields numerous artefacts

More than 300 coins from the first to sixth centuries AD and hundreds of objects made of bronze, glass, bone and antlers have been unearthed by archaeologists during the excavations in Novae near Svishtov in Bulgaria. 

Three unique, finely crafted bronze figurines found found at the dig site [Credit: J. Recław] 

"The August campaign has brought a very rich archaeological crop in the form of luxury items used by Roman legionnaires. Curiosities include dagger handles made of ivory",  said Prof. Piotr Dyczek, head of research. 

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The Seaton Down Hoard: Amateur metal detector uncovers 22,000 Roman coins

An East Devon metal detector enthusiast has stumbled upon one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain, prompting a local museum to launch a campaign to buy the “remarkable” collection for the nation.

The British Museum announced the discovery of the Seaton Down Hoard today. Comprising of about 22,000 coins dating back more than 1,700 years, it is the fifth largest find of Roman coins in Britain.

Laurence Egerton, 51, a semi-retired builder from East Devon, discovered two ancient coins “the size of a thumbnail” buried near the surface of a field with his metal detector in November last year.

After digging deeper, his shovel came up full of the copper-alloy coins. “They just spilled out all over the field,” he said. “It was an exciting moment. I had found one or two Roman coins before but never so many together.”

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Treasure hunter discovers 22,000 Roman coins

A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed on land near Seaton in East Devon. The “Seaton Down Hoard” of copper-alloy Roman coins is one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have ever been found in Britain. 

The Seaton Down hoard of treasure during excavation [Credit: APEX] 

The hoard was declared Treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest on 12th September 2014 which means it will be eligible for acquisition by a museum after valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee, a group of independent experts who advise the Secretary of State. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, which already houses a large collection of local Romano-British objects, has launched a fund-raising campaign.

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Find Out About Archaeology in Exeter

Join Wessex Archaeology at Exeter Quay this week where we will be carrying out a small excavation to investigate the early phases of quayside development. Visitors will have the chance to witness the excavation in action and see any finds that might be uncovered. You will also be able to handle a range of artefacts from different periods and take part in hands-on activities including sandpit digs and clay pot making! 

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Medieval court to be rebuilt in Wales

Work to reconstruct one of the medieval courts of the Princes of Gwynedd has begun at St Fagans National History Museum, near Cardiff. 

Work on rebuilding the Llys Rhosyr great hall is under way [Credit: National Museum Wales] 

Rebuilding the great hall from Llys Rhosyr on Anglesey will be one of the most challenging archaeological projects attempted in Wales, said the museum. 

Part of its original stone structure recovered from Angelsey will be used. Once complete, schools and groups will be able to stay overnight. 

The project will see the building's nine-metre high (29.5 ft) stone walls and thatched roof rebuilt and is part the wider renovation of St Fagans.

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Study shows early modern human settlement in Central Europe over 43,000 years ago

Early modern humans inhabited the region of what is today known as Austria around 43,500 years ago, living in an environment that was cold and steppe-like, according to a recent study. 

Philip Nigst and colleagues of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and other institutions analyzed stone tools and their context after a re-excavation of the famous Willendorf site in Austria, the site best known for the discovery in 1908 of the Venus of Willendorf figurine. Between 2006 and 2011 archaeologists uncovered an assemblage of 32 lithic artifacts and 23 faunal remains. The authors identified the tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as associated with modern humans. The researchers determined this through systematic morphological and technological analysis. They assign the artifacts to a very early archaeological horizon of modern human occupation.
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They weren’t wimps: how modern humans, like Neanderthals, braved the northern cold

Recent finds at Willendorf in Austria reveal that modern humans were living in cool steppe-like conditions some 43,500 years ago – and that their presence overlapped with that of Neanderthals for far longer than we thought. 

In 1908 the famously plump Venus of Willendorf, thought to be a symbol of fecundity, was discovered during an excavation near the Austrian town of Melk. The statuette, on display at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, has been dated to 30,000 years ago and is one of the world’s earliest examples of figurative art.
Now a team of archaeologists has dated a number of stone tools, excavated recently from the same site at the village of Willendorf, to 43,500 years ago. The multinational team, led by Dr Philip Nigst of the University of Cambridge, has identified the tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as indicative of modern human presence. 
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Roman Emperor Augustus' frescoed rooms unveiled for first time after years of restoration

A security man stands inside a room at the House of Augustus on the Palatine hill in Rome on September 17, 2014. The house of Emperor Augustus opened its doors to the public on September 18 after years of restorations. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE. 

Lavishly frescoed rooms in the houses of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia are opening for the first time to the public Thursday, after years of painstaking restoration. 

The houses on Rome's Palatine hill where the emperor lived with his family are re-opening after a 2.5 million euro ($3.22 million) restoration to mark the 2,000 anniversary of Augustus's death -- with previously off-limit chambers on show for the first time. 

From garlands of flowers on Pompeian red backgrounds to majestic temples and scenes of rural bliss, the rooms are adorned with vividly coloured frescoes, many in an exceptional condition. 

Restorers said their task had been a complex one, with bad weather during excavation threating the prized relics of a golden era in the Eternal City. 

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Digital Archaeology changes exploration of the past

An archaeologist in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is exploring the past using the tools of the 21st century. 

Anthropology doctoral student Kevin Gartski takes notes on his iPad at Malloura,  while students work on site [Credit: Jody M. Gordon] 

Derek Counts, professor and chair of art history, and his team are looking at how new tools like iPads and 3D scanners can replace dusty notebooks, sketchpads, pencils and cameras at archaeological sites and museums. 

Paperless Archaeology 

Mobile computing (for example, with tablets, even smart phones) is becoming more and more the normal way of collecting, mapping and archiving information, says Counts. For the past several summers, Counts's archaeological project at the site of Athienou-Malloura on the island of Cyprus, has implemented protocols for using tablets in the field.

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Excavation Through a Scheduled Monument

Wessex Archaeology has recently completed an excavation through the Scheduled Monument of Car Dyke (Scheduled Monument number 1004923). Wessex was commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council, working with the Heritage Consultancy Team at Mouchel, on a flood alleviation scheme at Keeble Drive, Washingborough. The flood alleviation works will involve laying of new pipes to take surface water runoff away from nearby residential areas. 

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Beyond Angkor: How lasers revealed a lost city

Deep in the Cambodian jungle lie the remains of a vast medieval city, which was hidden for centuries. New archaeological techniques are now revealing its secrets - including an elaborate network of temples and boulevards, and sophisticated engineering.
In April 1858 a young French explorer, Henri Mouhot, sailed from London to south-east Asia. For the next three years he travelled widely, discovering exotic jungle insects that still bear his name.
Today he would be all but forgotten were it not for his journal, published in 1863, two years after he died of fever in Laos, aged just 35.
Mouhot's account captured the public imagination, but not because of the beetles and spiders he found.
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Temple of Mithras: How do you put London's Roman shrine back together?

Sixty years ago, a Roman God was uncovered at a London building site. The excavations for the Temple of Mithras moved around but are now going back to the original site - how do you reconstruct a Roman temple, asks Tom de Castella.
The muddy find in September 1954 provoked urgent debate. Winston Churchill's cabinet discussed it three times. A huge new office block - for insurance firm Legal & General - was being built on the site of the Temple of Mithras, described as the Roman discovery of the century. Building work was stopped. People would be able to see it for two weeks before the remains were packed up and moved. A few hundred visitors were expected on day one. Instead about 35,000 queued round the block. Advertisers piled in: "In Londinium they believed in Mithras. In London they believe in Shell." Roughly 400,000 people saw it in all. Then the ruins began a peripatetic existence, including a stay at a builders yard in New Malden, before ending up being exhibited in the City 100 metres from where it had been found.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Viking Ireland - the Videos

In order to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf, the National Museum of Ireland have produced a superb set of videos depicting various aspects of Viking Age Ireland.

You can find the Museum’s Website for these videos here…

Or you can find the individual videos on Youtube:
Viking Ireland 1 – Weapons – The Axe

Viking Ireland 2 – Weapons – The Sword

Viking Ireland 3 – Viking Wealth and Trade

Viking Ireland 4 – Viking Women in Ireland

Viking Ireland 5 – Arrival of Vikings and Beliefs

Viking Ireland 6 – The Irish and the Vikings

Viking Ireland 7 – Daily Life in Viking Ireland

Viking Ireland 8 – Legacy of the Vikings in Ireland

TAG 2014: OK Computer? Digital Public Archaeologies in Practice

Call for Papers

Community or public archaeology has often emphasised communities defined by an attachment to place, often defined by the archaeological site (cf. Simpson 2008); increasingly digital technologies allow a breakdown of this privileging of physical place and the concept of ‘community’ (cf. Waterton 2005; 2010), to connect geographically disparate populations. Digital public archaeology projects have emphasised crowd-sourcing, engagment, dissemination, and publicity using blogs, social media, webfeeds and so on (e.g. Richardson 2012, 2013; Bonacchi et al. 2012). As well as the challenges and opportunities relevant to other public archaeology projects, work which includes a significant digital public archaeology component has a series of more specific concerns. Increasingly the need for archaeologists to engage thoughtfully with digitally technologies has been recognised by a number of organisations (Archaeological Data Service 2010; Heritage Lottery Fund 2012; Institute of Archaeologists 2012), and greater numbers of projects are defined by their predominantly digital work. As a result there are implications both for local site-specific practice by people working as archaeologists — where we are “…progressively transforming a ‘‘world of scarcity’’ into one of ‘‘saturation’’, where space is no more an issue…” (Bonacchi 2012); the wider political context in which people interested in heritage operate (Richardson 2012, 2014); and how different interest groups including intelligent and critical consumers work in the historic environment “…without any professional or academic input whatsoever…” (Moshenka 2008).

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Divers sure of new finds from 'ancient computer' wreck

Athens - Archaeologists began on Monday using a revolutionary new deep sea diving suit to explore the ancient shipwreck where one of the most remarkable scientific objects of antiquity was found.
The so-called Antikythera Mechanism, a 2nd-century BC device known as the world's oldest computer, was discovered by sponge divers in 1900 off a remote Greek island in the Aegean.
The highly complex mechanism of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears was used by the ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system. It took another 1 500 years for an astrological clock of similar sophistication to be made in Europe.
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Roadworks reveal ancient city in Western Greece

The construction works for the new motorway Ionia Odos, in Messolonghi, western Greece, led to an important archaeological discovery. 

The recently discovered archaeological site of Alikyrna near Missolonghi  in western Greece [Credit: Protothema] The archaeological site of Alikyrnas stretches to many acres and includes an entire ancient city near Aghios Thomas in Messolonghi. 

The Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Michael Chryssochoides visited the area and expressed his admiration for this great discovery. 

According to sources in the Greek media, the first findings suggest an ancient urban center which crosses over to the Ionia Odos construction site.

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New photos of Amphipolis Caryatids released

The two caryatids found at the Kasta Tomb in ancient Amphipolis were uncovered entirely by excavators, the ministry of Culture announced on Sunday. 

The Caryatids wear a long chiton and long fringed robe with rich folds  [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 

The full height of each caryatid is 2.27 metres and they are wearing chitons - or full-length draped dresses, tied in the middle - and a long himation, or a shawl-like cover over their dress, with fringes and several folds. 

They are wearing kothornoi, resembling platform boots or shoes and best known for being worn by ancient Greek actors. Their shoes preserve traces of red and yellow pigments, while their toes are depicted in very fine detail.

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Naturfreunde schmelzen für Eisenzeit dahin: In Lehrte bald historisch-ökologische Bildung

DBU-Kurator Matthias Miersch überreichte den Bewilligungsbescheid über 150.000 Euro an den ersten Vorsitzenden der Naturfreunde Lehrte, Wilfried Helmreich. (© Anette Helmreich)

In der Eisenzeit stand die Eisenerz-Verhüttung auch in und um Hannover hoch im Kurs – und produzierte schon früh erste ökologische Krisen. Was diese historische Epoche mit der Gegenwart in Sachen nachhaltige Landwirtschaft, Imkerei und Forstwirtschaft trennt oder verbindet, wollen die Naturfreunde Lehrte in einem "Miniatur-Freilichtmuseum" aufzeigen und so ein "differenziertes Nachhaltigkeitsverständnis für Schüler der Sekundarstufen I und II wie für Jugendgruppen befördern".

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2,000 year old boomerang unearthed in France

The Gauls used boomerangs 2,000 years ago, according to archaeologists who have found a wooden curved stick on a beach in the northern French town of Cotentin. 

The Gallic "throwing stick" found at the site of Urville-Nacqueville  [Credit: Cyril Damourette] 

Boomerangs are usually associated with Australian aborigines but these amazing wooden weapons have been found in Egypt, apparently dating back 2,000 years, and in Europe - the oldest one, which was found in a cave in Poland, being 30,000 years old. 

They were apparently toys but now archaelogists have found what sems to be a 2,000-year-old boomerang on the beach at Cotentin and it was not used for play, Le Monde newspaper reports. 

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'Lost chapel' skeletons found holding hands after 700 years

A couple who have been holding hands for 700 years have been uncovered at the ‘lost’ chapel of St Morrell in Leicestershire. Credit: University of Leicester Archaeological Services

Some relationships last a lifetime – and University of Leicester archaeologists have discovered that they can last even longer after unearthing two skeletons at a lost chapel in Leicestershire that have been holding hands for 700 years.
The happy couple refused to be parted by death when they were discovered by a team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) working with local volunteers during an excavation at the Chapel of St Morrell in Leicestershire, a site of pilgrimage in Hallaton during the 14th Century.
The four year  with the Hallaton Fieldwork Group (HFWG) has revealed the full plan of the chapel as well as the cemetery and evidence that the hillside has been used since at least the Roman period.
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Engineers found Teutonic axes in the Forest District Wipsowo

Three Teutonic battle axes from the late Middle Ages have been found by engineers who remove World War II artillery shells left the forests in the Forest District Wipsowo (Warmia and Mazury). Historic weapons will be donated to the museum.
Engineers stumbled upon the historic axes by chance, while searching the woods metal detectors. The weapons have been initially identified by an archaeologist as late-medieval Teutonic battle axes.

Iron axes were close to each other, shallow underground, among the roots of trees. "It can be assumed that this is a deposit that someone left for better times. Perhaps the person fled, hid the weapons and never returned to this place" - told PAP Agata Trzop-Szczypiorska, responsible for archaeological supervision of the engineers’ work.

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Fourth chamber likely at Amphipolis tomb

A high-ranking Ministry of Culture official told Greek news sources that the archaeologists who are currently clearing out the dirt from the third chamber in the Amphipolis tomb believe that a fourth chamber may exist. 

Meanwhile, the head of the excavation Katerina Peristeri told journalists that based on the findings so far, she believes the enigmatic tomb definitely dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.

 Mrs. Peristeri complained about colleagues who appear in the media claiming that the tomb may have been constructed in the Roman era. 

“The tomb is Macedonian. We have all the proof for that." said Mrs. Peristeri. "It’s futile for some people to say that it is Roman. I feel indignation against some colleagues of mine that speak to the TV channels, just for 5 minutes on prime time TV without knowing anything about the excavation.” 

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Greeks captivated by Alexander-era tomb at Amphipolis

Two sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis

The discovery of an enormous tomb in northern Greece, dating to the time of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, has enthused Greeks, distracting them from a dire economic crisis.
Who, they are asking, is buried within.
In early August, a team of Greek archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri unearthed what officials say is the largest burial site ever to be discovered in the country. The mound is in ancient Amphipolis, a major city of the Macedonian kingdom, 100km (62 miles) east of Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.
The structure dates back to the late 4th Century BC and is 500m (1,600ft) wide, dwarfing the burial site of Alexander's father, Philip II, in Vergina, west of Thessaloniki.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Prehistoric pit discovered on Coney Island beach

A box-like structure built from large stone slabs may have been used for bathing or cooking during the Bronze Age

Volunteers excavate the box-like archeological structure on Coney Island. The site may date back 4,000 years
Archaeologists have discovered signs of human habitation, possibly dating back 4,000 years, on Sligo’s Coney Island.
A box-like structure built from large stone slabs found on the island may have been used for bathing or cooking during the Bronze Age, experts believe. It has been excavated by a team led by Eamonn Kelly, director of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum.
The structure is thought to be part of a fulacht fiadh, a prehistoric trough or pit that was dug into the ground and filled with water. Stones, heated separated on an outdoor hearth, would be added to bring the water to boil.
Measuring about a metre long and 80cm wide, the structure was recently identified as an archaeological site by Ciaran Davis, an archaeology student at IT Sligo, and native of nearby Rosses Point, who alerted the museum.
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Letter from Ireland: Mystery of the Fulacht Fiadh

Versions of the same Bronze Age structure pop up all around Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom. Archaeologists, however, still have not agreed on their purpose.

On a typically misty morning in the west of Ireland, just outside the medieval town of Athenry, County Galway, archaeologist Declan Moore opens the trunk of his car and invites me to pull on a pair of Wellingtons. “Believe me, you’ll need them,” he assures me as we cross the parking lot and hop a fence into a nearby field.

Moore is taking me to visit an unexcavated fulacht fiadh (pronounced FULL-ahk FEE-add), or fulachtaí fia in plural, the most common type of prehistoric archaeological site in Ireland. Better known as a “burnt mound” in the neighboring United Kingdom, where they are also found, there are nearly 6,000 recorded fulacht fiadh sites dotted around Ireland alone. As we trudge through the wet and soggy field, Moore points out a small stream. “They are usually found near water or in marshy areas, so this is a prime location,” he explains.

When we arrive at the site, Moore shows me the basic features of a fulacht fiadh—a horseshoe-shaped mound of soil and rocks surrounding a depression big enough to park a small car in. Moore climbs the four-and-a-half-foot mound and quickly wipes away some of the soil to expose the layer of stones. He then points to the depression. “If we were to excavate, we’d find a trough dug into the ground there,” he says. It takes us only 15 minutes to fully explore the still-buried site.

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Dig near Dumfries unearths Roman Army artefacts

Archaeological investigations near Dumfries have unearthed artefacts relating to the Roman Army's occupation of southern Scotland. 

A javelin head was among the items discovered  [Credit: Guard Archaeology] 

The discoveries include an iron javelin head, the remains of a Roman boot, samian pottery and tile fragments. 

They were found at Wellington Bridge near Kirkton during Scottish Water works to lay a new mains in the area. 

Simon Brassey, of its environmental engineering team, said the items dated back more than 1,850 years. 

"It is fascinating for everyone involved to make this kind of discovery when working on a project such as the laying of new pipes," he added.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Village from the Roman period discovered in the Carpathians

Pottery kiln from the 3rd century AD discovered by archaeologists from the Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno in the village Lipnica Dolna, commune Brzyska in Subcarpathia. Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz 03.09.2014

Village from the Roman period, dating from 3rd-4th century AD, has been discovered in Lipnica Dolna near Jasło (Subcarpathia). Among approx. one thousand archaeological objects there is a large pottery kiln, in which ceramics were fired.
"The kiln is two meters in length and the same in width. It stands on a small tip in the Wisłoka valley. Its location shows that the wind blowing from the river was used to maintain the temperature during the firing cycle" - said Tomasz Leszczyński, archaeologist from the Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno.

He added that "such kilns are extremely rare in the Carpathians". "So far two similar structures have been found, in Krosno and Sanok" - he emphasised.

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Die genetische Herkunft der Europäer

Schädel der ungefähr 7.000 Jahre alten Bäuerin aus Stuttgart, Deutschland. Es fehlt der untere rechte Backenzahn, aus dem die DNA gewonnen wurde. (Bild: Joanna Drath, Universität Tübingen)

Forscher vergleichen Genome ursprünglicher Jäger und Sammler sowie früher Bauern mit denen heutiger Menschen: die Spuren der Europäer führen zu Ahnen aus drei Populationen

Der Beginn der Landwirtschaft und die Domestizierung wilder Tiere, die vor rund 11.000 Jahren im Nahen Osten ihren Anfang nahmen, hatten einen enormen Einfluss auf das Leben der Menschen. Jäger und Sammler wurden vielerorts von sesshaften Bauern abgelöst. Die Populationen wuchsen und schufen so die Voraussetzungen für das Entstehen größerer Städte und komplexer Gesellschaften. Die archäologischen Nachweise legen nahe, dass sich der Übergang zur bäuerlichen Lebensweise in Mitteleuropa vor rund 7.500 Jahren vollzog, gleichzeitig mit dem Auftreten der Linienbandkeramik, der ersten jungsteinzeitlichen Kultur in Europa.

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'Emmets Post' excavation blog - weeks 1-2

When Olaf mentioned that he was going to be digging a round barrow in its entirety on the edge of Dartmoor in August, I did everything I could think of in order to secure a place on the crew. This is an incredible and very rare chance to investigate what hopefully may yet turn out to be a relatively undisturbed Bronze Age ring cairn/round barrow c. 2000 BC or so. I have been interested – to an almost manic degree – in British prehistory and specifically megaliths for more than 20 years now. I am a self-confessed stone circle, longbarrow, standing stone, stone row and rock art-loving fanatic and proud of it.

Long before I began a career in archaeology in the late 1990s I travelled to England with fanciful ideas of our prehistoric ancestors and only a handful of sites under my belt to ponder. I had been to Avebury and Stonehenge and the like but, amazing as these sites are, they were covered in throngs of people. I first went to Dartmoor in the summer of 1997 and fell madly in love with every aspect of this lonely and enchanted land, and this love drove me around much of the rest of the British Isles to see more. Being back in Dartmoor for a month has given me the chance to hike around the Moor in the evenings to new and ever more mysterious sites. This place is really a paradise for hikers and lovers of the prehistoric past. This near-obsession back in Canada at the dawn of the new millennium drove me to pursue a degree and career in archaeology. Almost 20 years later I am back here again been given the chance to fully investigate something from the period, people and type of place that turned me into an archaeologist in the first place.

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Murder 'comes naturally' to chimpanzees

Groups of male chimpanzees patrol the borders of their territory in single file

A major study suggests that killing among chimpanzees results from normal competition, not human interference.
Apart from humans, chimpanzees are the only primates known to gang up on their neighbours with lethal results - but primatologists have long disagreed about the underlying reasons.
One proposal was that human activity, including destroying habitats and providing food, increased aggression.
But the new findings, published in Nature, suggest this is not the case.
Instead, murder rates in different chimp communities simply reflect the numerical make-up of the local population.
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Stonehenge: children revealed to be the metal workers of prehistoric Britain

Research suggests children wrecked their eyesight embellishing weapons and jewellery with minute scraps of gold

Daggers at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes, discovered in 1808 in Bush Barrow, Salisbury Plain, the richest and most important bronze age grave ever excavated in Britain. Photograph: Sam Frost for the Guardian

Scientists believe that some 4,000 years ago children as young as 10 wrecked their eyesight embellishing weapons and jewellery with minute scraps of gold, creating dazzling pieces so fine that the detail can barely be picked out with the naked eye. They were some of the best prehistoric metal work ever found in Britain.
The children may have been working in Brittany, where the largest concentration of daggers decorated with the tiny gold pins have been found, but the finest of all was excavated more than 200 years ago from a burial mound half a mile from Stonehenge.
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Europeans drawn from three ancient 'tribes'

The modern European gene pool was formed when three ancient populations mixed within the last 7,000 years, Nature journal reports.
Blue-eyed, swarthy hunters mingled with brown-eyed, pale skinned farmers as the latter swept into Europe from the Near East.
But another, mysterious population with Siberian affinities also contributed to the genetic landscape of the continent.
The findings are based on analysis of genomes from nine ancient Europeans.
Agriculture originated in the Near East - in modern Syria, Iraq and Israel - before expanding into Europe around 7,500 years ago.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Viking Blacksmith’s Grave Uncovered in Norway

The weapons and tools from the grave

The spectacular remains of what appears to be a Viking grave, most likely belonging to a blacksmith, has been uncovered in Sogndalsdalen, Norway (as reported by NRK). The grave was found by Mr Leif Arne Norberg, under a series of stone slabs in his back garden. Mr Norberg had been carrying out landscaping works when he suddenly spotted a blacksmith’s tongs, followed soon afterwards by a bent sword. On closer examination it quickly became apparent that he had stumbled upon a remarkable Viking Age find. Archaeologists from Bergen University and the County’s Cultural Department were called to the scene and the remains were subsequently excavated. The finds recovered from the grave suggest that it probably dates from the 8th or 9th century AD. They included various pieces of metalwork, a tongs, a sword and an axe, all of which will be conserved before being put on display at the University Museum of Bergen. Personally I can’t wait to find out more information about this exciting discovery.

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Long lost Roman fort discovered in Germany

In the course of an educational dig in Gernsheim in the Hessian Ried, archaeologists from Frankfurt University have discovered a long lost Roman fort: A troop unit made up out of approximately 500 soldiers (known as a cohort) was stationed there between 70/80 and 110/120 AD. Over the past weeks, the archaeologists found two V-shaped ditches, typical of this type of fort, and the post holes of a wooden defensive tower as well as other evidence from the time after the fort was abandoned. 

The excavation site in Gernsheim [Credit: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main] 

An unusually large number of finds were made. This is because the Roman troops dismantled the fort and filled in the ditches when they left. In the process they disposed of a lot of waste, especially in the inner ditch. 

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New bog body discovered in Co. Meath

A new, partially intact bog body has been discovered by Bord na Mona workers in Co Meath. Archaeologists from the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) have confirmed that it is working on a find of human remains in a bog near the border with Co Westmeath, at Rossan bog.

 Bog body remains of adult discovered last weekend at Rossan Bog, Meath  [Credit: National Museum Ireland] 

Archaeologist Maeve Sikora told the Irish Examiner that workers from Bord na Mona came across the remains. 

“Archaeologists and conservators from The National Museum of Ireland have been on site investigating the findspot of archaeological human remains in a bog in Co. Meath, near the border with Co. Westmeath,” Ms Sikora said.

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