New research published by archaeologists from MOLA reveals a previously unknown Roman fort, built in AD63 as a direct response to the sacking of London by the native tribal Queen of the Iceni, Boudica. The revolt razed the early Roman town to the ground in AD60/61 but until now little was understood about the Roman’s response to this devastating uprising.
Excavations at Plantation Place for British Land on Fenchurch Street in the City of London exposed a section of a rectangular fort that covered 3.7acres. The timber and earthwork fort had 3metre high banks reinforced with interlacing timbers and faced with turves and a timber wall. Running atop the bank was a ‘fighting platform’ fronted by a colossal palisade, with towers positioned at the corners of the gateways. This formidable structure was enclosed by double ditches, 1.9 and 3m deep, forming an impressive obstacle for would be attackers.
A Roman fort suggests the Romans chose London as their new British political headquarters after Boadicea's revolt in the mid 1st century AD
A brutal blood-soaked bid to wipe London off the map was a key factor that led to the city first emerging as Britain's capital.
New archaeological research is showing that London's elevated status stemmed partly from a Roman military and political reaction to Boadicea's violent destruction of London and other key cities in the mid 1st century AD.
The investigation, carried out by Museum of London Archaeology(Mola), suggests that the Romans shifted the capital of their British province from Colchester to London shortly after her revolt.
Wayne MacIsaac stands near what he believes may be the remnants of a Norse fortification wall. (Tara MacIsaac/Epoch Times)
CODROY VALLEY, Canada–A story passed down in my family for generations may be the clue to finding a lost Norse settlement.
The only Norse settlement in the New World thus far confirmed by archaeologists is in L’Anse aux Meadows at the northern tip of Newfoundland, Canada. But the Norse sagas tell of other colonizing expeditions.
Last summer, archaeologists announced that they had found evidence of a Norse presence–a hearth used for roasting bog iron ore, which is the first step in the production of iron–at Point Rosee in southern Newfoundland. My uncle, Wayne MacIsaac, was so excited he said he didn’t sleep for three days. He felt vindicated in his long-cherished, but long-ignored, theory that he had found an ancient Norse site in the nearby Codroy Valley where he lives.
His previous attempts to attract the interest of archaeologists to the site had met with failure, but that has now changed. An international team of archaeologists are due to investigate in July.
The Curtain Theatre – one of the three earliest purpose-built playhouses in England – was 30 metres long and 22 metres wide, and not round like as expected
Archaeologists undertaking the initial excavation work at The Curtain Theatre AP
Remarkable new archaeological discoveries in London are shedding fresh light on the birth of the English theatre.
Excavations of a 16th century Shakespearian playhouse in Shoreditch have revealed that, contrary to all expectations, the purpose-built theatre was rectangular – not polygonal or round like the Globe or the Swan.
"It's a total surprise to us," said one of the U.K.'s top Shakespeare scholars, Professor Stanley Wells, honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
The rectangular shape reveals that the Curtain (and therefore potentially one or two other early theatres) were modelled on four-sided galleried inn courtyards – the major traditional venues for theatrical performances prior to the construction of the first purpose-built theatres.
Archaeology classrooms are becoming more representative, but we need practitioners with more varied backgrounds and perspectives
An archaeologist at work on the Bedlam burial ground in London.
Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA
As a British Asian woman, I am one of a small handful of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people to carve out a lengthy career in the archaeology sector. This is a problem.
In 2013, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) published its Profiling the Profession (pdf) report, which included a section on ethnicity. We are 99% white, with a miserly 1% “other” ethnicities. There are about 6,000 people employed in the archaeology sector in the UK. Of the 837 respondents, seven described themselves as non-white – and one of those was me.
These numbers are mirrored in wider arts audiences as well as people who access archaeology and heritage in its many forms, including museums and other venues. In December 2015, the chair of Arts Council England (ACE), Sir Peter Bazalgette, highlighted these continuing issues at ACE’s Diversity and the Creative Case event.
Thousands of volunteers have helped to uncover the full and devastating extent of the population collapse caused by the epidemic
Praying for relief from the bubonic plague or Black Death Hulton hh3748.jpg Photograph: Hulton Getty
Scraps of broken pottery from test pits dug by thousands of members of the public have revealed the devastating impact of the Black Death in England, not just in the years 1346 to 1351 when the epidemic ripped Europe apart, but for decades or even centuries afterwards.
The quantity of sherds of everyday domestic pottery - the most common of archaeological finds - is a good indicator of the human population because of its widespread daily use, and the ease with which it can be broken and thrown away. By digging standard-sized test pits, then counting and comparing the broken pottery by number and weight from different date levels, a pattern emerges of humans living on a particular site.
Women in Corded Ware Culture may have been highly mobile and may have married outside their social group, according to a study published May 25, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Karl-Göran Sjögren from Göteborg University, Sweden, and colleagues.
Examples of pottery from the Corded Ware period; these pieces date to ca. 2500 BC
The Corded Ware Culture is archaeologically defined by material traits, such as the burial of the dead under barrows alongside characteristic cord-ornamented pottery, and existed in much of Europe from ca. 2800-2200 cal. B.C. To better understand this culture, the authors of the present study examined human bones and teeth from seven sites in Southern Germany dating from different periods of Corded Ware culture, including two large cemeteries. They used carbon dating and additional dietary isotope analysis to assess the diet and mobility of the population during this period. Read the rest of this article...
If a Neanderthal were to sit down next to us on the underground, we would probably first notice his receding forehead, prominent brow ridges and projecting, chinless face.
Reconstruction of a Neanderthal child from the Musee National de Prehistoire
in Les Eyzies de Tayac, France [Credit: Don Hitchcock]
Only on closer inspection would we notice his wider and thicker body. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig have now investigated whether the differences in physique between Neanderthals and modern humans are genetic or caused by differences in lifestyle. Their analysis of two well-preserved skeletons of Neanderthal neonates shows that Neanderthals’ wide bodies and robust bones were formed by birth.
L'Inrap mène, depuis le 11 janvier 2016, une fouille préventive aux portes de Brest, sur le site de Lavallot Nord à Guipavas. Prescrite par la Drac Bretagne (service régional de l’Archéologie), elle permet la sauvegarde par l’étude des vestiges du sous-sol, préalablement à un projet d’aménagement porté par Brest Métropole Aménagement. La fouille révèle les témoignant d’une longue occupation depuis la fin du Néolithique. Mais c’est pendant l’Antiquité puis au Moyen Âge que le site révèle son histoire la plus dense. Read the rest of this article...
The structures were found deep inside the cave, so the builders would have needed fire to see
Researchers investigating a cave in France have identified mysterious stone rings that were probably built by Neanderthals.
The discovery provides yet more evidence that we may have underestimated the capabilities of our evolutionary cousins. The structures were made from hundreds of stalagmites, the mineral deposits which rise from the floors of caves. Dating techniques showed that they were broken off 175,000 years ago. The findings are reported in the journal Nature. Read the rest of this article...
A school site in an 11th century road system in Suffolk has been excavated for medieval remains ahead of the creation of a new classroom and kitchen. The first cooking there, though, might actually have happened during the 14th century, according to the most unusual of the discoveries made during the dig: a small flint and mortar building which is thought to have been a kitchen or cold store.
Any fires during cooking wouldn’t have affected the main house, with the kitchen building set some distance from the street frontage and houses. Above ground, it would have been constructed of timber with a tiled floor and roof.
Bury St Edmunds’s Abbot set up the roads at the core of the old town, where a large medieval market thrived. Pilgrims to the abbey made the area an important and wealthy regional centre. Read the rest of this article...
The Mäanderhöhle cave near Bamberg was
previously regarded as an archaeological sensation. It was thought to
contain some of the oldest cave art in Germany. However, Julia
Blumenröther, a former student at Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, has
demonstrated in her Master's thesis that the markings discovered inside
the cave in 2005 are not fertility symbols carved by humans as
previously thought. In fact, these lines occurred as a result of natural
processes, the archaeologist says.
One of the caverns in the 75-metre long cave
is full of spherical deposits of minerals known as cave clouds that form
on rocks in a similar way to stalactites and stalagmites. In 2005, cave
researchers discovered a large number of lines that looked like they
could have been made by humans on the rock-hard surface of these cave
clouds. An archaeologist studied these lines several years later and
published his interpretation of them in a preliminary report, in which
he said that the between 14,000 and 16,000 year-old lines were made by
humans and probably depicted a phallus and abstract female figures.
EVESHAM, ENGLAND—Archaeologists surveying a future development site in England’s West Midlands region were surprised to find a Bronze Age burial, reports the Worcester News. The team was following up on an earlier excavation at the site that revealed ditches thought to date to the Iron Age. In broadening their investigation to include a larger tract of land, the archaeologists discovered ditches with artifacts dating 1,000 years earlier than they expected, to the early Bronze Age. “The really unexpected find was a ‘beaker’ burial,” said Laurence Hayes of the environmental consulting firm RSK. “This large burial pit contained a near complete Early Bronze Age vessel known as a beaker, covered with intricate patterns, and a polished stone archer’s wrist guard.”
A six-foot warrior and a high-status woman were part of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery excavated in south-east Wiltshire
Last month, archaeologists found an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, Neolithic monuments and spears, knives and bone combs at a proposed Ministry of Defence housing site on Salisbury Plain. In the nearby garrison town of Tidworth, they’ve now excavated a 1,300-year-old cemetery of 55 burials from between the late 7th and early 8th centuries, containing the remains of men, women and children representing a cross-section of a local community. “The mid-Saxon cemetery is of particular importance in its own right,” says Bruce Eaton, the Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology, surveying one grave confining a six-foot tall warrior with an “unusually large” spearhead and conical shield boss. “But taken together with the excavation of the cemetery on MOD land at Bulford, which was of a similar date, we now have the opportunity to compare and contrast the burial practices of two communities living only a few miles apart. They would almost certainly have known each other.” Read the rest of this article...
IT is an ancient meeting place where Vikings would gather to decide laws, settle disputes and make key political decisions.
Now archaeologists believe they have identified one of the Norse parliament sites – known as a ‘thing’ - on the island of Bute, which points to it being the headquarters of the powerful Norse King, Ketill Flatnose, whose descendants were the earliest settlers on Iceland.
The significance of the mound site at Cnoc An Rath, which has been listed as an important archaeological monument since the 1950s, has been unclear for decades. Some had suggested it could have been prehistoric or a medieval farm site.
However, the idea of the location being a Viking site had been raised through a recent study of place-names on the island, which suggested long-lost names in the area may have contained the Norse word ‘thing’.
Tooth-marks on a 500,000-year-old hominin femur bone found in a Moroccan cave indicate that it was consumed by large carnivores, likely hyenas, according to a study* published April 27, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Camille Daujeard from the Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle, France, and colleagues.
During the Middle Pleistocene, early humans likely competed for space and resources with large carnivores, who occupied many of the same areas. However, to date, little evidence for direct interaction between them in this period has been found. The authors of the present study examined the shaft of a femur from the skeleton of a 500,000-year-old hominin, found in the Moroccan cave "Grotte à Hominidés" cave near Casablanca, Morocco, and found evidence of consumption by large carnivores.
This is an image of a fossilized human molar used in the study of dietary habits of Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens. Credit: Sireen El Zaatari
PLOS ONE—When fluctuating climates in the Ice Age altered habitats, modern humans may have adapted their diets in a different way than Neandertals, according to a study published April 27, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sireen El Zaatari of the University of Tübingen, Germany, and colleagues.
The Neandertal lineage survived for hundreds of thousands of years despite the severe temperature fluctuations of the Ice Age. The reasons for their decline around 40 thousand years ago remain unclear. The authors of this study investigated the possible influence of dietary strategies using the fossilized molars of 52 Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens (modern humans). They analysed the type and degree of microwear on the teeth to attempt to draw conclusions about diet type and to establish a relationship with prevalent climactic conditions.
This is Per Holmberg, researcher at University of Gothenburg, with the Rök Runestone.
Photo: University of Gothenburg
The Rök Runestone was carved in Sweden in the late 800s. Since it was discovered in the 1940s, interpretations of the writing honed in on supposed references to heroic journeys, battles and warrior-kings.
But a new interpretation says the Runestone is in fact referencing itself – and the power of writing, according to a new study.
“The riddles on the front of the stone have to do with the daylight that we need to be able to read the runes, and on the back are riddles that probably have to do with the carving of the runes and the runic alphabet, the so-called futhark,” said Per Holmberg, associate profess of Scandinavian languages at the University of Gothenberg.
Per Holmberg, researcher at University of Gothenburg, with the Rok Runestone
[Credit: University of Gothenburg]
The Rok Runestone, erected in the late 800s in the Swedish province of Ostergotland, is the world's most well-known runestone. Its long inscription has seemed impossible to understand, despite the fact that it is relatively easy to read. A new interpretation of the inscription has now been presented -- an interpretation that breaks completely with a century-old interpretative tradition. What has previously been understood as references to heroic feats, kings and wars in fact seems to refer to the monument itself. 'The inscription on the Rok Runestone is not as hard to understand as previously thought,' says Per Holmberg, associate professor of Scandinavian languages at the University of Gothenburg. 'The riddles on the front of the stone have to do with the daylight that we need to be able to read the runes, and on the back are riddles that probably have to do with the carving of the runes and the runic alphabet, the so called futhark.' Previous research has treated the Rok Runestone as a unique runestone that gives accounts of long forgotten acts of heroism. This understanding has sparked speculations about how Varin, who made the inscriptions on the stone, was related to Gothic kings. In his research, Holmberg shows that the Rok Runestone can be understood as more similar to other runestones from the Viking Age. In most cases, runestone inscriptions say something about themselves. Read the rest of this article...
The world's largest Viking ship in modern times is about to set sail across the Atlantic.
Named after Harald Hårfagre, the king who unified Norway in the 10th century, the ship's Swedish captain Björn Ahlander was originally supposed to have ordered the great dragon vessel to weigh anchor from Avaldsnes in Norway's Haugesund on Sunday, but the departure was delayed by bad weather.
And time is of the essence. Following in the historical tailwind of Leif Eriksson, the Viking thought to have discovered America centuries before Christopher Columbus, the ship has a long journey ahead, taking a route via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland before it finally drops anchor in the United States.
"We've got one month because the only gap, if you don't want to battle low pressure and harsh winds, is May. That's your chance to make it across," Ahlander told the Swedish news agency TT on Monday.
Towering above the grassy Salisbury Plain, its eerie rock monoliths are steeped in myth and magical stories, yet despite decades of research, the original purpose of Stonehenge remains a mystery.
Archaeologists excavated the burned bones that had been previously dug up from around the site of Stonehenge during the 1920s. They say analysis suggests the site was used as a cemetery [Credit: Adam Stanford/Aerial-Cam Ltd]
A new study by archaeologists, however, has suggested the imposing stone circle may have initially been used as a cremation cemetery for the dead. Charred remains discovered on the site were unearthed in holes - known as the Aubrey Holes - that have been found have to once held a circle of small standing stones. Fresh analysis of the burned bones has revealed they were buried in the holes over a period of 500 years between 3,100BC and 2,600BC. Read the rest of this article...
Construction workers have unearthed 600kg of Roman bronze coins, a unique and "hugely important" discovery according to experts.
Routine building work in southern Spain unearthed a very unexpected find this week, when over 600kg of Roman coins were discovered.
The find is "unique in Spain and perhaps the world" experts said of the coins, which were stored in 19 Roman amphoras or containers.
"We have a team looking into the discovery right now, We believe it is hugely important and will have more information very soon," said a spokesman at Andalucia's Ministry of Culture in Seville told The Local on Thursday.
The Viking Great Army in England: Torksey, treasure and towns
Tuesday 3 May 2016, 5.30PM
Speaker: Julian Richards
From AD 865 to 879 a Viking army wreaked havoc on the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, leading to political conquest, settlement on a substantial scale, and extensive Scandinavian cultural and linguistic influences in eastern and northern England. This critical period for English history led to revolutionary changes in land ownership, society, and economy, including the growth of towns and industry, while transformations in power politics would ultimately see the rise of Wessex as the pre-eminent kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England. Read the rest of this article...
An ancient song repertory will be heard for the first time in 1,000 years this week after being ‘reconstructed’ by a Cambridge researcher and a world-class performer of medieval music.
Detail from the Cambridge Songs manuscript leaf that was stolen from and then recovered by Cambridge University Library [Credit: Cambridge University]
‘Songs of Consolation’, to be performed at Pembroke College Chapel, Cambridge on April 23, is reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years. Saturday’s performance features music set to the poetic portions of Roman philosopher Boethius’ magnum opus The Consolation of Philosophy. One of the most widely-read and important works of the Middle Ages, it was written during Boethius’ sixth century imprisonment, before his execution for treason. Such was its importance, it was translated by many major figures, including King Alfred the Great, Chaucer and Elizabeth I. Read the rest of this article...
A rare find unearthed in a garden in Long Melford could point to the village being the “missing link” in a chain of Roman forts, it has been claimed.
A six inch tall figurine dating from the first or second century, known as a ‘pseudo Venus’, was dug up by volunteer archaeologists while they were working on a test pit at a property in the south of the village.
According to a county council archaeologist, the statue would have had religious significance and is a very “unusual” find.
Local heritage centre volunteers John Broughton, Kenneth Dodd and John Nunn came across the statue while they were carrying out a rescue dig in a garden that was due to be landscaped.
Researchers at Bournemouth University have developed a new software technique to uncover 'lost' tracks, hidden in plain sight at the world's oldest human footprint site in Laetoli (Tanzania). The software has revealed new information about the shape of the tracks and has found hints of a previously undiscovered fourth track-maker at the site.
The Laetoli tracks were discovered by Mary Leakey in 1976 and are thought to be around 3.6 million years old. There are two parallel trackways on the site, where two ancient hominins walked across the surface. One of these trackways was obscured when a third person followed the same path [Credit: Bournemouth University]
The software was developed as part of a Natural Environments Research Council (NERC) Innovation Project awarded to Professor Matthew Bennett and Dr Marcin Budka in 2015 for forensic footprint analysis. They have been developing techniques to enable modern footwear evidence to be captured in three-dimensions and analysed digitally to improve crime scene practice. Read the rest of this article...
Préalablement aux aménagements de la ZAC du Plessis-Saucourt par l’EPA Sénart sur la commune de Tigery (Essonne), une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap effectue, sur prescription de l’État (Drac Île-de-France), des recherches à Tigery (Essonne). 6 200 m2sont ainsi explorés entre mars et juin 2016.
Les fouilles permettront de libérer le terrain pour les travaux d’aménagement. La construction du 1er bâtiment (6 500 m²) réalisé par Alséi pour l’accueil d’activités (bureaux et locaux de production) pourra ainsi démarrer dès la rentrée 2016.
Rhind Lectures: Antiquaries, archaeologists and the invention of the historic town c 1700-1860 6th, 7th and 8th May
May 6 @ 6:00 pm - May 8 @ 5:00 pm
Professor Roey Sweet, Professor of Urban History, University of Leicester
The historic town today is a clichéd mainstay of tourism and place-branding; its credentials go back to the eighteenth century when antiquaries first began seriously to study the physical remains of the past and to single out towns as of particular historical interest. These lectures will explore how the antiquaries and archaeologists of the 18th and 19th century developed their understanding of the material and textual remains of the urban past and in the process both invented the familiar category of the historic town and contributed to a distinctively urban narrative of British history.
Crowdsourcing research by ‘non-specialists’ could help historians investigate big-data archives, and in the process make everyone an expert
Citizen science is a digital method, which has been applied to a range of big-data scientific problems. The Zooniverse is a key player in this; having first sought the help of the crowd in classifying galaxies almost a decade ago, it now boasts 47 different projects with well over a million users. The projects hosted on their site have been bringing to the forefront concerns over who exactly is allowed to participate in science. Even though the hierarchical structure of professional science still remains within most citizen science platforms (with the exception of the extreme citizen science movement), they have had the result of giving everyone access to the raw data of research, and an opportunity to demonstrate and develop expertise. The methods of citizen science are now starting to be used for humanities projects. Citizen Humanities is opening up the vast archives of history to the public. A repercussion of this development is that it leads to questions as to who gets to participate in researching history, and what it means to be an expert. Read the rest of this article...
Mass graves were replaced by individual burials for the elite in the Bronze Age showing a shift in social structure CREDIT: PA
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in Europe following the Stone Age, sweeping away the previous egalitarian Neolithic period and replacing it with hierarchical societies which were ruled by a powerful elite.
It is likely his power stemmed from advances in technology such as metal working and wheeled transport which enabled organised warfare for the first time.
The Museum of London Archaeology is leading a project to uncover and explore the remains of the Curtain Theatre, the 16th and 17th century venue where Shakespeare is known to have first staged Romeo and Juliet.Heather Knight, the senior archaeologist leading the dig on behalf of MOLA, said: “People often go to Stratford-upon-Avon to take in Shakespeare’s birthplace and his grave.
I ended up in archaeology as a result of a long-held romantic notion of making great discoveries and solving mysteries. As a kid I always had my head buried in books, lost in the realms of the great ancient civilisations of the world. I never had fantastical expectations of archaeology, though. I didn’t think that I would travel the world and be a globe-trotting treasure hunter. And you certainly don’t get to travel in archaeology unless you are somehow affluent, have magical powers to secure funding, or know the right people in all the right places.
None of the above apply to me, so I have been confined to archaeology in England and Northern Ireland. Don’t get me wrong, archaeology here is infinitely fascinating but let’s be honest, it’s not as grand and visually awe-inspiring as, say, the pyramids or Pompeii. Over here, at its most stellar, it can be just two different coloured soils side by side, but to the trained eye that tells us a great deal about what was going on thousands of years ago.