Thursday, February 20, 2020

New study results consistent with dog domestication during Ice Age

Palaeolithic dog with a bone fragment between its teeth. The bone was likely inserted between the teeth upon the death of the animal in the context of a ritual 
[Credit: Peter Ungar]

Analysis of Palaeolithic-era teeth from a 28,500-year-old fossil site in the Czech Republic provides supporting evidence for two groups of canids—one dog-like and the other wolf-like—with differing diets, which is consistent with the early domestication of dogs.

Analysis of Palaeolithic-era teeth from a 28,500-year-old fossil site in the Czech Republic provides supporting evidence for two groups of canids—one dog-like and the other wolf-like—with differing diets, which is consistent with the early domestication of dogs.

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Neanderthal 'skeleton' is first found in a decade

The ribcage of Shanidar Z (GRAEME BARKER)

Researchers have described the first "articulated" remains of a Neanderthal to be discovered in a decade.

An articulated skeleton is one where the bones are still arranged in their original positions.

The new specimen was uncovered at Shanidar Cave in Iraq and consists of the upper torso and crushed skull of a middle-aged to older adult.

Excavations at Shanidar in the 1950s and 60s unearthed partial remains of 10 Neanderthal men, women and children.

During these earlier excavations, archaeologists found that some of the burials were clustered together, with clumps of pollen surrounding one of the skeletons.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Lavish 'Princely tomb' belonging to mystery Iron Age man and brimming with weapons, a bronze helmet and a whole CHARIOT is discovered in Italy... but his body is missing

Inside the tomb archaeologists found the remains of a complete chariot, it's chassis can be seen on the outer edge of this block, as well as weapons and armour

A lavish 'Princely tomb' belonging to an Iron Age man was found in Italy full of treasures including a bronze helmet, weapons and a whole chariot.

The tomb of a pre-Roman prince has been saved from 'imminent' destruction after aerial photos revealed the ancient treasure trove before it could be built over.  

The body of the unidentified prince has not been found and no mound remains to mark his resting place - it may have been lost while the site was used for farming.

The hoard, found in Corinaldo, Italy, was on the site of a future sports complex and wasn't spotted until a survey of the land was carried out before building started. 

The value of the discovery and the site is now being assessed before any decision over whether to move the tomb or move the sports complex is made. 

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Hypogeum with sarcophagus from 6th cent. BC found in Roman Forum

Credit: Parcocolosseo

A hypogeum or underground temple and tomb structure with a tufa sarcophagus linked with what looks like an altar has been discovered in the Roman Forum, the Colosseum Archaeological Park director Alfonsina Russo said Monday.

The space is believed to be part of a votive area called a Heroon devoted to the founder of Rome, Romulus, she said.

The sarcophagus, made out of the same tufa rock that built the Capitol, is around 1.40 metres long and is believed to date back to the sixth century BC, she said.

The find was made next to the Curia-Comitium complex, a few metres away from the famed Lapis Niger, which Romans thought had brought bad luck because it was linked to the death of Romulus, Russo said.

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Human remains unearthed at site of early Roman military base in Kent

One of the skeletons found at Aylesham [Credit: SWAT via KentOnline]

Two skeletons dating back to the Bronze and Iron Age have been unearthed by archaeologists working on a building site.

The remains were discovered at the Aylesham Garden Village development near Canterbury and are now being examined by experts at the University of Kent to precisely date them and understand why they were buried there.

They are among the latest archaeological finds at the site, with smaller items of pottery and glass, dating from the Roman occupation of 2,000 years ago, also discovered.

The dig is being undertaken for developers Barratt Homes and Persimmon Homes by a team from the Faversham-based Swale and Thames Archaeology (SWAT).

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There are still a very few places available on the EMAS study tour to Orkney

EMAS Study Tour to Orkney
14 – 23 April 2020
Guide: David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot
The 2020 EMAS spring study tour will be to Orkney. We will travel by coach from Baker Street, London stopping overnight at Middlesbrough and Inverness and visiting archaeological sites on the way.
We will be based in Kirkwall, and will visit sites on Orkney Mainland and the islands of Egilsay, Rousay and Wyre. The sites that we will visit include Maes Howe, Skara Brae, Midhowe Broch, the Brough of Birsay, Cubbie Roo’s Castle, the Earl’s Palace at Birsay and Kirkwall Cathedral.
Further information...

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ancient ‘curse tablets’ discovered down a 2,500-year-old well in Athens

Oval lead "coffin" with a spell against Pytheas & co., ordered by Pytheas' opponent in an Athenian law court
[Credit: Dr. Jutta Stroszeck/German Archaeological Institute]

Texts are written on the tablets invoking the gods of the Underworld to inflict harm on other people. “The person who ordered a curse is never mentioned by name; only the ‘recipient’”, explains Dr Jutta Stroszeck of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens, who heads the Kerameikos research.

The well was first discovered in 2016, during an archaeological excavation to investigate the water supply of baths near Dipylon. The excavation had also brought to light numerous objects, including cups, containers for mixing wine, earthen candles, pots, coins and a wooden box.

The most exciting discovery however were probably the 30 “cursed” tablets, all made of lead, which would have contaminated the water. So-called “black magic” was not accepted at that time in ancient Athens and it was forbidden to write spells on the graves. This meant that anyone who wished to invoke a curse would have to find other methods of doing so.

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Blythburgh hoard: Iron Age gold coins declared treasure

The collection of coins was found near Blythburgh

A hoard of 19 gold coins from the Iron Age unearthed in Suffolk was a "really unusual" find for the area, an expert has said.

The collection was found on land near Blythburgh in February last year.

Suffolk coroner Nigel Parsley was told some of the coins had features linked with those traditionally associated with the north Thames area.

Archaeologist Dr Anna Booth said it showed "cross cultural interaction" between nearby counties at the time.

Mr Parsley declared the coins as treasure.

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2,000-year-old burial of Germanic 'dignitary' discovered in south-eastern Moravia

The grave of a local lord of Germanic origin
[Credit: Archeologicky ustav AV CR]

For two millennia, he had been resting untouched in the earth, in the hollow of what had been his tomb, untouched since his burial. It took only an earthmover and an attentive worker whose gaze was caught by the presence of a shiny object in the overturned earth to uncover the grave of a high Germanic dignitary dating back to the second half of the 1st century AD at Uhersky Brod (south-eastern Moravia), near the Slovak border. This is a particularly rare find according to the archaeologists in charge of the site, and should tell them more about this region at the foot of the White Carpathians, about 200 kilometres from the Roman limes.

"This discovery must be placed in its historical context. Dating places it back to Roman times, but it should be remembered that at that time the Czech and Moravian territories, i.e. the territory of the present-day Czech Republic, were located in an area called the Barbaricum, i.e. beyond the Roman Empire's limes."

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Durham archaeological dig reveals 'earliest resident'

The bone fragments belonged to an adult, but it was impossible to determine the sex

Remains found during a dig in Durham have revealed what is believed to be the city's earliest known resident.

Archaeologists from the university unearthed the bone fragments while excavating a city centre site where student accommodation was being built.

Radiocarbon dating has now shown they date to between 90BC and AD60.

Described as "very significant", the bones add to a growing body of evidence there were settlers in the area in the Iron Age and Romano-British periods.

Most of the identifiable bone, found in a site off Claypath, came from a skull, with parts of a radius and tibia also recovered.

Experts were able to establish they belonged to an adult who had been cremated, but could not determine their age or sex.

As well as evidence of the Iron Age cremation, archaeologists found items from medieval rubbish pits and 18th Century street-front buildings.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

New discoveries in the Neolithic landscape of the Callanish Stones

The Callanish Stones (known as Tursachan of Calanais in Gaelic) is the best-known monument in the Neolithic landscape of the Loch Roag area. [Image: Dr Martin Bates]

A project to survey the prehistoric landscape around the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides has revealed evidence of other stone circles hidden beneath the peat, including one with evidence of a large lightning strike in its centre.

The main stone circle, known in Gaelic as Tursachan Chalanais, is a significant Neolithic monument consisting of an arrangement of standing stones situated on a ridge above Loch Roag. In the surrounding area, over 15 other sites have been identified that may be ‘satellite’ stone circles to the main Tursachan, labelled Calanais Sites I to XIII. The Calanais Virtual Reconstruction Project, led by the University of St Andrews with Urras nan Tursachan and the University of Bradford, was designed to increase understanding of these features.

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French bracelet among surprises in mysterious Havering hoard

 A rare terret ring discovered in the Havering hoard. Photograph: David Parry/PA

Bronze age specialists split on why so many objects would have been broken and buried

One of the largest and most mysterious bronze age hoards ever found in the UK contains objects that have astonished archaeologists, including items more commonly found in France and the Alps.

The Museum of London on Monday revealed new finds among the Havering hoard, a remarkable collection of 453 swords, axes, knives, chisels, sickles, razors, ingots and bracelets excavated from a quarry in east London over a period of three months and revealed last year.

Dating from 900-800BC, it is the third largest bronze age hoard ever discovered in the UK.

Closer examination has revealed a pair of terret rings believed to have been used to prevent the reins tangling on horse-drawn carts. Bronze age examples have been found before in France but not the UK.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

This 7,000-year-old well is the oldest wooden structure ever discovered, archaeologists say

Archaeologists have discovered a 7,000-year-old Neolithic well in eastern Europe, which they believe is the oldest wooden structure in the world.

The square well was built with oak by farmers around 5256 B.C., according to researchers who pinpointed its origin after analyzing the tree rings in the wood, which is the scientific method known as dendrochronology. The well's age makes it the oldest dendrochronologically dated archaeological wooden construction worldwide, according to the researchers in the Czech Republic.

"The well was only preserved because it had been underwater for centuries. Now we cannot let it dry out, or the well would be destroyed," Karol Bayer of the University of Pardubice's Department of Restoration said in a press release.

Researchers are developing a process to dry the wood and preserve it without deformation using sugar to reinforce the wood's cellular structure.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Local discovers Bronze Age settlement in Galway

A leading Irish archaeologist believes a local in Spiddal has discovered a Bronze Age dwelling that was unearthed by a recent Atlantic storm.

A storm in mid-January unearthed a new archaeological site, possible of major, importance An Liopa Thoir, east of An Spidéal (Spiddal), in County Galway. A potential crannóg could be proof of settlements in the area dating back to the Bronze Age.

On Monday (Jan 4), RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta (an Irish language radio station) reported that local man Jimmy Ó Céide had discussed the archaeological site following Storm Brendan, which hit the west coast of Ireland in mid-January. 

As yet the find has not been confirmed as a crannóg, a lake dwelling, usually built on an artificial lake and found in Ireland and Scotland. 

One of Ireland’s leading field archaeologists, Michael Gibbons, from Clifden, County Galway, told RTE “This is a very important site. It amazes me that a site of such interest is here, not far at all from the other one further west in An Liopa. They are not common in this part of the country, or indeed anywhere in Ireland."

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Spectacular Findings Uncovered in Santorini’s Akrotiri Archaeological Dig

Some of the recent findings at Santorini’s Akrotiri archaeological site. 
Photo credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Significant new findings were recently revealed during ongoing excavation works at the archaeological site of Akrotiri, on the Greek island of Santorini (Thera), the Ministry of Culture of Greece announced in a statement on Thursday.

Most of the discoveries are related to the everyday life of the people who lived on the island before the volcanic explosion which destroyed most of the island and subsequently the Minoan civilization on Crete.

Ordinary objects used by the people of the island, even including clothing and burned fruit, were found, most likely believed to be the very last objects the people of Santorini were using in the moments before the devastating volcanic eruption.

Additionally, more than 130 micelle vessels were found, which archaeologists believe were most likely related to a burial place.

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New Building Found at Epidaurus’ Asclepieion in Sensational Archaeological Discovery

The Asclepieion of Epidaurus on the Peloponnesian Peninsula is one of the most important ancient sites in the entire world.

Today, it owes a great deal of its fame to the theater, a wonder of acoustics which is still in operation today, but in ancient times it served as a medical sanctuary, and serious illnesses were healed there.

People from all over the Eastern Mediterranean region flocked to Epidaurus in antiquity to find cures for their various maladies. It was a spacious resort which included guesthouses, a gymnasium, a stadium and the famous theater, which served to “elevate the soul,” which ancient Greeks saw as the goal of all theatrical plays, both tragedies and comedies.

Along with its many luxurious facilities, the Asclepieion of Epidaurus offered beautiful, serene natural surroundings, with lush vegetation and stunning views of the surrounding mountaintops.

According to the poet Hesiod, who was active between 750 and 650 BC, Asclepius, the son of Apollo who was considered the ancient Greek god of medicine, was born in Epidaurus.

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Detectorists unearth record breaking haul of 69,347 Iron Age coins after 30-year search

The discovery by Reg Mead (left) and Richard Miles could be worth £10m 

A hoard of Iron Age coins worth up to £10 million has been officially recognised as the largest collection ever found on the British Isles after two detectorists' were tipped off by a woman who spotted a 'shiny button' in a field.

Reg Mead and Richard Miles have spent the last 30 years searching for the 69,347 piece coin collection on Jersey after initially receiving a tip-off in the 1980s from a woman who said she had spotted something that looked like silver buttons in a field.

They eventually struck gold in 2012 and uncovered the coins which date from the 1st Century BC and lain buried for 2,000 years.

The duo have now had their collection recognised by Guinness World Records.

It overtakes the previous record for the largest collection of Iron Age coins of 54,951 found more than 40 years ago in Wiltshire.

Some of the treasure from the hoard is now on display at La Hougue Bie Museum and the hope is that it will allow people to understand the development of economies and coinage from over two thousand years ago.

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Saturday, February 1, 2020

2000-Year-Old Iron Age Warrior Grave Unearthed in England

Archaeologists in the United Kingdom have unearthed the grave of an Iron Age warrior. It has been described as a very rare find. A number of significant artifacts that are 2000 years old have been unearthed. These finds are providing insights into an important stage in ancient British history.

Construction workers were working on a housing project, just outside Walberton, West Sussex in southern England, when they came across the grave and as required by law, they notified the relevant authorities. Archaeology South East (ASE) was contracted to undertake an investigation of the site. ASE “work across south-eastern and eastern England, offering a broad range of professional archaeological services and expertise,” according to the  Archaeology South East website.

Incredibly Rare Finds From Key Point in History
The ASE archaeologists established that a grave had been found. The Chichester Observer reports that it “is incredibly rare, as only a handful are known to exist in the South of England.” It was later established that it dated from the late Iron Age, roughly from the 1 st century BC to 50 AD.

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Unique Bone Figurine Discovered in One of World`s Oldest Cities

Anthropomorphic figurine discovered by a Polish researcher, photo by J. Quinlan

Polish researcher discovered a human-like figurine in one of the oldest cities in the world: Çatalhöyük in Turkey. This is the first such object made of bone known from this place. The find is about 8 thousand years old.

The discovery was made in one of the largest proto-city centres of the first farmers and one of the most famous archaeological sites of the world: Çatalhöyük, located in the southern part of the Anatolian Plateau in central Turkey. Çatalhöyük was inhabited continuously for over a thousand years between 7100 and 6000 BC, i.e. in the Neolithic era. The figurine was found in 2016. The conclusions of its expert analyses are presented in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

The most famous artefacts from this place are clay female figurines, until recently considered to be mother goddesses due to their massive posture and exposed breasts. Today, they are usually interpreted as depicting the elderly and objects related to ancestor worship. Now scientists have announced the discovery of a bone figurine that is anthropomorphic, i.e. has human features.

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