Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Archaeology: Fragment of 13th C mural showing St Peter found at Plovdiv’s Great Basilica site

Archaeologists working at the site of the Great Basilica in Plovdiv, the largest early Christian church found on the Balkans, have uncovered a fragment of a mediaeval mural believed to depict St Peter.
The fragment is estimated to date to the 13th to 14th centuries.
It was found in the hitherto unexamined northern nave, not far from the city’s Roman Catholic church close to the intersection of Maria Louisa and Tsar Boris III boulevards.

Archaeologists accidentally discover dozens of ancient shipwrecks at the bottom of the Black Sea

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project had intended to find out how quickly water levels rose in the Black Sea after the last Ice Age, but the team ended up discovering a whole lot more than they had bargained for, Quartzreports. While examining the seabeds, the scientists found dozens and dozens of previously undiscovered shipwrecks — 41 in all.
"The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys," the project's principal investigator, Jon Adams, said in a statement.
Many of the shipwrecks were in spectacular condition due to the low oxygen levels that exist nearly 500 feet below the surface. "Certainly no one has achieved models of this completeness on shipwrecks at these depths," Adams said.

Many of the ships date back to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The researchers are using photographs to build 3D models of their finds and hope tolearn more about "the maritime interconnectivity of Black Sea coastal communities and manifest ways of life and seafaring that stretch back into prehistory." Jeva Lange

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‘Ancient Passage Tomb’ Found Beneath Dublin’s Hellfire Club

An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club - the popular Dublin viewing spot on Montpelier Hill in the Dublin mountains - has uncovered what is believed to be an ancient passage tomb.

An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountains has uncovered what is
believed to be an ancient passage tomb [Credit:Abarta Heritage]

Archaeologists working at the site near Tallaght in South County Dublin believe the large tomb discovered beneath the remains of the former lodge was once a large passage tomb similar to the tomb at Newgrange.

It is believed the passage tomb, which was destroyed by workmen building the Hellfire Club shooting lodge in 1725, would have once been a large circular mound with a stone line passageway that led to a burial chamber. This type of tomb generally dates to around 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period.

Archaeologists taking part in the dig believe the tomb is part of an extended cemetery of tombs that top a number of mountains in south Dublin and Wicklow.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016


This newly discovered over 1,000-year-old golden heart jewel with glass enamel is believed to have belonged to a 10th century Bulgarian Tsaritsa (Empress). Photo: Shum

A remarkable golden jewel in the shape of a heart decorated with a five-color enamel, which may have belonged to the wife of Tsar Petar I (r. 927-969), has been discovered by archaeologists during excavations in Veliki Preslav (“Great Preslav"), Shumen District, in today’s Northeast Bulgaria, which was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018) from 893 until 970.
The heart-shaped 23-karat gold jewel has been found in the ruins of what is believed to have been an imperial residence of the Tsars of the First Bulgarian Empire who ruled from Veliki Preslav.
(Between 680 and 893, the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire was the nearby city of Pliska which is especially notable for its 9th century Great Basilica, among other things.)
The golden heart is 4 cm wide and 3.5 cm tall, and dated back to the middle of the 10th century, which is precisely the time of the reign of Bulgaria’s Tsar Petar I, the son of Tsar Simeon I the Great (r. 893-927).
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Stone Age people 'roasted rodents for food' - archaeologists

The vole may have been a food source 5,000 years ago
Rodents appear to have been roasted for food by Stone Age people as early as 5,000 years ago, archaeological evidence suggests.
Bones from archaeological sites in Orkney show voles were cooked or boiled for food, or possibly for pest control.
This is the first evidence for the exploitation of rodents by Neolithic people in Europe, say scientists.
Rodents were consumed later in history, with the dormouse regarded as a delicacy during Roman times.
The Orkney vole - found only on the archipelago - is thought to be a subspecies of the European common vole.

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5,000 years ago, rodents were apparently considered food in part of Europe

New evidence including this ancient, charred vole mandible suggests that 5,000 years ago, rodents were on the menu in Europe. (Courtesy of Jeremy Herman)
The European palate may not always have been so sophisticated.
This week, researchers report the first evidence of ancient Europeans snacking on rodents at least 5,000 years ago.
The discovery suggests that rodents like mice and voles have not always been mere pests hellbent on annoying humanity throughout its history: They may have been a food source as well. 
“Rodents are frequently excavated from older archaeological sites in Europe, but people haven’t examined why they are there,” said Jeremy Herman, a biologist at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. “Maybe because they are not currently a food source in Europe, no one ever thought to ask if they had been in the past.”
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Spectacular archaeological find in Denmark

More and more Stone Age maps are turning up on Bornholm (photo: National Museum)

A mysterious stone found in a ditch on Bornholm by archaeology students during the summer has proven to be a 5,000 years old map.
According to the magazine Skalk, the stone was discovered during  archaeological excavation work at the Neolithic shrine Vasagård.
The stone has been studied by researchers at the National Museum of Denmark. Unlike previous and similar findings, archaeologist and senior researcher at the National Museum, Flemming Kaul, is reasonably certain that the stone does not show the sun and the sun’s rays, but displays the topographic details of a piece of nature on the island as it appeared between the years 2700 and 2900 BC.
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Unusual Medieval Graves Found In Poland

Ten monumental tombs discovered in Sasiny (Podlaskie), initially believed by archaeologists to contain Neolithic burials, were found to be less that 1,000 years old, and made by Christians.

The cemetery in Sasiny is located in the northeastern Poland. In the eleventh through to the thirteenth centuries, the area regularly changed hands between the Piast princes and the Rus princes.

"All members of the local community were buried in the study graveyard - both poor and rich, including the elite. Funeral rites were common to all. Each of the deceased was placed in a large burial structure, the edges of which was marked by big boulders," explained Dr. Michał Dzik from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Rzeszów, who heads the excavations in Sasiny.

The graves examined by archaeologists have almost rectangular outlines. The space surrounded by boulders, some of which weigh over half a ton, was filled with several layers of unworked stone, which covered the deceased, who was placed in a wooden coffin or covered with a shroud. Structures of this type have extensive size - on average 5 by 3.5 m.

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Missing Viking-era rune stone turns up in Sweden

A Viking-era rune stone that went missing for almost two centuries has been found after a Swedish archaeologist stumbled on it almost by chance.
The find took place during installation work of a lightning conductor at Hagby Church, west of the central Swedish university town of Uppsala. It was found underground a few metres from the building.
"We knew that there had been a medieval church there, but didn't know that this rune stone was in that exact location," Emelie Sunding, archaeologist at Uppland Museum, who was present during the construction project to preserve any historic remains discovered, told The Local on Wednesday.
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Viking arrowheads emerge from melting Norwegian glaciers

High up in the mountains, archaeologists are now discovering human traces dating as far back as the Stone age.

The oldest ice in this snowdrift glacier may have formed in the Stone Age. Now the ice is melting, and archaeologists have a golden opportunity to find ancient traces of human activity. 
(Photo: Lasse Biørnstad,

Julian Martinsen bends down and places a tape measure next to a small treasure located between two large rocks. He is the curator and archaeologist in Oppland County and has been  tasked with picking up and packing the artefacts that the team of archaeologists find.
“This is a rare specimen, a bird point,” says Martinsen, as he picks a mysterious arrowhead up off the ground. The arrow has a very special appearance. The point is split in half, like two knife blades facing each other.
According to Martinsen, it stems from the Viking Age, between 900 and 1050 CE. The dating is based on what kinds of arrows and building techniques people used in different time periods.
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