Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Archaeology in Europe

Archaeology in Europe

University of Salford to dig Manchester boroughs

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 05:32 AM PST

The University of Salford has announced a four year archaeology project which will see 9,000 people involved in digs.

Dig Greater Manchester, which will also include a study in Blackburn, will see volunteers work alongside experts at 11 sites.

Brian Grimsditch, who works at the university's Centre for Applied Archaeology, said it was "one of the biggest projects in the country".

"It will be a wonderful way for people to learn about the history," he said.

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Scottish Archaeological Finds Panel

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 05:30 AM PST

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has announced the appointment of a new Chair to the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel.

The new Chair is Dr Evelyn Silber, former Director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow. Dr Silber's appointment will be for four years and will run from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015.

The post is part-time and attracts no remuneration for a time commitment of four meetings per year.

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Spotted Horses in Cave Art Weren’t Just a Figment, DNA Shows

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 04:22 AM PST

Roughly 25,000 years ago in what is now southwestern France, human beings walked deep into a cave and left their enduring marks. Using materials like sticks, charcoal and iron oxides, they painted images of animals on the cave walls and ceilings — lions and mammoths and spotted horses, walking and grazing and congregating in herds.

Today, the art at the Pech-Merle cave, and in hundreds of others across Europe, is a striking testimony to human creativity well before modern times
But what were these cave paintings, exactly? Were prehistoric artists simply sketching what they saw each day on the landscape? Or were the images more symbolic, diverging from reality or representing rare or even mystical creatures? Such questions have divided archaeologists for years.

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Archaeologists Find Habitation Sites in Port of Rotterdam

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 04:20 AM PST

The site of what is now Rotterdam's Yangtzehaven was inhabited by humans in the Middle Stone Age. At a depth of 20 metres, in the sea bed, unique underwater archaeological investigation found traces of bone, flint and charcoal from around 7000 BC. These finds are the very first scientific proof that humans lived at this spot in the Early and Middle Stone Age. Up to now, very little was known about this period in particular, the Early and Middle Mesolithic, so far to the west of the Netherlands.

The striking results were announced yesterday by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. The Port Authority's Project Organisation Maasvlakte 2 is responsible for the expansion of the port in the form of Maasvlakte 2. The archaeological investigation that is being conducted is part of a series of studies being carried out in connection with the construction of Maasvlakte 2. Delltares, Bureau Oudheidkundig Onderzoek Rotterdam (Archaeological Research Office) and the Archeologisch Dienstencentrum (Archaeological Service Centre) are among the parties involved in these studies. The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands is guiding the research and is the supervisory authority.

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Rare 14th century time-telling instrument, marked with badge of Richard II, to sell at Bonhams

Posted: 08 Nov 2011 11:43 AM PST

LONDON.- Bonhams to auction one of the only known 14th century instruments, an exceedingly rare equal hour horary quadrant marked with the badge of King Richard II, at its Fine Clocks and Scientific Instrument Sale on 13 December 2011. Dated 1396, this extraordinary British time-telling mathematical instrument, which has come to light following its discovery in a shed in Queensland, Australia, has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 – 200,000. It is the second earliest dated British scientific instrument in existence, the earliest being the Chaucer astrolabe, dated 1326, housed in the British Museum.

This quadrant is the earliest of a similar group of three other quadrants dated 1398, 1399 and circa 1400 respectively, two of which can be found in the British Museum, and the other in the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester. Like the others, it is noteworthy for showing equal hours, in which the entire period from midnight to midnight is divided into twenty four equal parts. This technique had developed slowly during the 14th century. Indeed one of the earliest examples in England of an administrative record using equal hours occurs on the occasion of Richard II's abdication on 30 September 1399 stated to have been 'at about the ninth stroke of the clock'. On its reverse, the quadrant features a badge depicting a stag lying down wearing a coronet around its throat, which is associated with Richard II. The National Gallery's famous altarpiece, The Wilton Diptych, portrays Richard II wearing a cape embroidered with an identical badge.

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Human Ancestor 'Family' May Not Have Been Related

Posted: 08 Nov 2011 11:41 AM PST

A famous trail of footprints once thought to have been left behind by a family of three human ancestors may have actually been made by four individuals traveling at different times.

In a new examination of Laetoli in northern Tanzania, where a 3.6-million-year-old track of footprints of the bipedal human ancestor Australopithecus is preserved, researchers now argue that the classic understanding of this site is mistaken. The footprints have been buried since the mid-1990s for preservation, but a section recently opened for study as Tanzanian officials make plans for a museum on the site.

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Prehistoric Cave Paintings of Horses Were Spot-On, Say Scientists

Posted: 08 Nov 2011 11:33 AM PST

Long thought by many as possible abstract or symbolic expressions as opposed to representations of real animals, the famous paleolithic horse paintings found in caves such as Lascaux and Chauvet in France likely reflect what the prehistoric humans actually saw in their natural environment, suggests researchers who conducted a recent DNA study.

To reach this conclusion, scientists constituting an international team of researchers in the UK, Germany, USA, Spain, Russia and Mexico genotyped and analyzed nine coat-color types in 31 pre-domestic (wild) horses dating as far back as 35,000 years ago from bone specimens in 15 different locations spread across an area that included Siberia, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Iberian Peninsula.

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