Monday, July 18, 2011

Archaeology in Europe

Archaeology in Europe

Dorchester Cursus - Cursus in England in Oxfordshire

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 06:00 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:56 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:40 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:39 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:37 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:35 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:33 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:31 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:28 AM PDT

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

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:26 AM PDT

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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