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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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Anglo-Saxon 'palace' found at Rendlesham near Sutton Hoo site

One of the beads found at the site in Rendlesham

Archaeologists believe they have found a lost Anglo-Saxon royal palace near one of Britain's best known finds.
Archaeologists have been studying an area at Rendlesham, about four miles (6km) from the Sutton Hoo burial site.
Faye Minter, project co-ordinator, said the remains of a 23m (75ft) by 9m (30ft) structure could have once been a royal hall or palace.
And she said it was "likely" there are "other royal burial sites" like Sutton Hoo dotted along the River Deben.
The hall find, said Ms Minter, of Suffolk County Council's archaeological unit, might be the same "palace" referred to by the Venerable Bede in the 8th Century.
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Earth Wobbles May Have Driven Ancient Humans Out of Africa

A computer model simulated human density 80,000 years ago, showing the arrival of humans in eastern China and southern Europe as well as migrations out of Africa along vegetated paths in Sinai and the Arabian Peninsula.
Credit: Tobias Friedrich

Ancient human migrations out of Africa may have been driven by wobbles in Earth's orbit and tilt that led to dramatic swings in climate, a new study finds.
Modern humans first appeared in Africa about 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. It remains a mystery as to why it then took many millennia for people to disperse across the globe. Recent archaeological and genetic findingssuggest that migrations of modern humans out of Africa began at least 100,000 years ago, but most humans outside of Africa most likely descended from groups who left the continent more recently — between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago.
Previous research suggested that shifts in climate might help explain why modern human migrations out of Africa happened when they did. For instance, about every 21,000 years, Earth experiences slight changes to its orbit and tilt. These series of wobbles, known as Milankovitch cycles, alter how much sunlight hits different parts of the planet, which in turn influences rainfall levels and the number of people any given region can support. [See Photos of Our Closest Human Ancestor]
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New broch site excites archaeologists

A first photo of the possible broch on the Holms of Hogaland 

THE REMAINS of what could be an Iron Age broch have been identified in a loch near Whiteness by a researcher from the University of Aberdeen.
Michael Stratigos found the site on one of the three Holms of Hogaland islets in the Loch of Strom.
He said the majority of the islet, which is the smallest of the three, is covered by a large mound around 3m high and 16x14m across.
It is unclear at the moment whether the find is the remains of a broch or of a roundhouse.
A small circular depression in the centre is believed to be the "internal space" of the structure.
There are also the potential remains of orthostats, or piers, while coursed stonework was noted.
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Roman skeleton with 'bent feet' found at Dorset quarry

The skeleton of a Roman man who had his feet bent backwards to fit in his coffin has been found in a quarry in Dorset.
Archaeologists made the discovery at Woodsford, near Dorchester, where they have been carrying out excavations for several years.
Thames Valley Archaeological Services said the man died in his 20s or 30s.
Tests are being carried out to determine how he died and to understand more about his "unusual grave".

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Roman Skeleton With 'Bent Feet' Found At Dorset Quarry

Tests are being carried out to find out how the man died 
[Credit: Hills Quarry]

Archaeologists made the discovery at Woodsford, near Dorchester, where they have been carrying out excavations for several years.

Thames Valley Archaeological Services said the man died in his 20s or 30s.

Tests are being carried out to determine how he died and to understand more about his "unusual grave".

The limestone sarcophagus was found in a 1.80m (5ft 11in)-long, 0.55m (1ft 10in)-wide and 0.3m (1ft)-deep grave.

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Les fouilles préventives réalisées sur prescription de l’Etat par une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap sur le parc Saint-Georges avaient mis au jour, en 2003, 16  bateaux dont un chaland datant du deuxième siècle de notre ère, vraisemblablement utilisé pour le commerce fluvial sur le Rhône.
Propriété de la Métropole de Lyon, ce chaland est destiné au musée gallo-romain de Lyon Fourvière. Dans cette perspective, il a subi une restauration complète, conjointement pilotée par un archéologue de l’Inrap et une restauratrice d’Arc-Nucléart.

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Internationaler Mumienkongress mit neuen Erkenntnissen zu Ötzi

Das Kupfer von Ötzis Beilklinge stammt nicht – wie bisher angenommen ‐ aus dem Alpenraum, sondern wurde aus südtoskanischem Erz gewonnen. Ötzi war wahrscheinlich nicht in den Prozess der Metallverarbeitung eingebunden, wie es erhöhte Arsen‐ und Kupferwerte in seinen Haaren bislang vermuten ließen. Seine Ermordung vor über 5.000 Jahren scheint auf eine persönliche Konfliktsituation Tage vor seinem Tod zurückzugehen, und der Mann aus dem Eis litt trotz Normalgewichts und viel Bewegung unter etlichen Gefäßverkalkungen. Diese und andere neue Erkenntnisse präsentieren Wissenschaftler aus aller Welt in diesen Tagen auf dem internationalen Mumienkongresses in Bozen. Zum 25. Jubiläum von Ötzis Entdeckung waren alle drei Kongresstage, vom 19. ‐ 21.9.2016, dem Mann aus dem Eis gewidmet.

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Indigenous Australians most ancient civilisation on Earth, extensive DNA study confirms

The first extensive study of Indigenous Australians' DNA dates their origin to more than 50,000 years ago, backing the claim that they are the most ancient continuous civilisation on Earth. 

Scientists used the genetic traces of the mysterious early humans that are left in the DNA of modern populations in Papua New Guinea and Australia to recontruct their journey from Africa around 72,000 years ago.

Experts disagree on whether present-day non-African people are descended from explorers who left Africa in a single exodus or a series of distinct waves of travelling migrants.

The new study supports the single migration hypothesis. It indicates that Australian aboriginal and Papuan people both originated from the same out-of Africa migration event some 72,000 years ago, along with ancestors of all other non-African populations alive today.

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Friday, September 16, 2016


Work resumed at the site of Smerquoy, on the Orkney Mainland, at the start of this month, involving a team of archaeologists from the UHI Orkney College, the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire, as well as volunteers.
Excavations in previous years uncovered the remains of early Neolithic houses, alongside more ephemeral remains and structures.
In this final year we hope to understand the sequence of house construction across the site and definitively date the different phases of use.
Progress has been slowed by some mixed weather in the first week, including heavy rain, thick mist and strong gales. Nevertheless there have been some very exciting finds.
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Beneath This Medieval German Town Lie Over 25 Miles of Forgotten Tunnels

O the surface, Oppenheim looks like your typical German town resting along the banks of the Rhine River. But there's more to Oppenheim than beer halls and a Gothic-style cathedral from the Middle Ages. Beneath its narrow cobblestone streets lies something deeper—an entire labyrinth of tunnels and cellars.
“The town is practically honeycombed with cavities,” Wilfried Hilpke, a tour guide with Oppenheim’s tourism office, tells
Hilpke should know. For the past ten years, he’s spent much of his time leading hour-long hardhat tours of Oppenheim’s elaborate tunnel system, taking visitors through a journey that covers just a fraction of the 25 miles of known tunnels residing beneath the surface. (It’s believed that there could be more than 124 miles of tunnels underneath the town, which is located 30 miles southwest of Frankfurt. However, many sections remain uncharted; they are thought to lead to private cellars beneath residents’ homes.)
Not only are the Kellerlabyrinth tunnels long in distance, but their history is equally deep. According to Hilpke, some of the oldest tunnels date back to 700 A.D. The tunnels got their start as food and wine storage cellars, and workers carved out the bulk of them using pickaxes and shovels during the 1600s, when residents were in need of extra storage space and channels to transport goods like wine. The tunnels took on a secondary purpose when the city's inhabitants used them to hide from Spanish troops during the Thirty Years' War. (They also used them to store Katharinenkirche cathedral’s stained glass windows to protect them during that war's bombardments.)
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New Viking graves discovered in Denmark

A new archaeological excavation in Denmark reveals the remains of graves and buildings that span the Stone Age, Bronze Age, the Vikings, and right up to the Middle Ages.

Archaeologists are busy unearthing the traces of three thousand years of activity at Silkeborg, west Denmark.
Excavations have already revealed pit-houses, which were typically used as workshops during the Viking era, and residential homes in the so-called Trelleborg style (see Fact Box), together with several graves.
At least two of the graves could have accommodated high-status Vikings.
“There’s been activity here at least since the Stone Age,” says one of the archaeologists involved in the dig, Maria Thiemke, from the Silkeborg Museum, Denmark.
“There’s at least 14 houses and five graves from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, right up until the Middle Ages,” says Thiemke.
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Burnt cheese casts light on 3,000 year-old family drama

When someone in Bronze Age Denmark quickly disposed of a burnt pot, they unintentionally provided archaeologists with a unique find.

A moment of carelessness, 3,000 years ago has given Danish archaeologists an unexpected gift.
A clay pot unearthed during an archaeological excavation in central Jutland, Denmark, contains the possible remains of a failed attempt of cheese making.
Something went wrong during the process and the cheese maker most likely threw the pot away into the street, only to show up again thousands of years later.
“We found the clay pot in what was once a pit. Quite unusually, it was in near mint condition and this is itself is an exciting find,” says curator and archaeologist Kaj F. Rasmussen from Museum Silkeborg, Denmark.
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Major Archeological Find in Iceland

From the excavation site in Stöðvarfjörður. Photo: Screenshot from Stöð 2
A recent archeological find in Iceland suggests that the country may have been inhabited as early as the year 800, or 74 years earlier than its official settlement date, Vísir reports. Four weeks of excavation in Stöðvarfjörður, the East Fjords, under the direction of archeologist Bjarni F. Einarsson, have revealed some of the most interesting signs of human presence found i the country. They suggest a longhouse was built there shortly after 800, but until now, Iceland’s first permanent Nordic settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, is said to have arrived in 874.
“The C-14 dating method shows a date shortly after the year 800,” Bjarni explained. “I have no reason to doubt that analysis.”
Signs of human presence from a similar time have been discovered before in Kvosin, Reykjavík, in Hafnir, Reyjanes, and in Húshólmi by Krýsuvík.
“We’ve started detecting a longhouse-shaped structure with thick floor layers,” Bjarni stated. The long-fire is missing, but a fireplace is coming into view by one of the gables, by the wall.
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Two New Roman Photo Spheres

Following a trip to France, I have now uploaded two new Roman period archaeological photo spheres.  They are as follows:

World's Oldest Snowshoe Found In Italy's Dolomites

Scientists in Italy’s Dolomite mountains have unveiled what they believe to be the world’s oldest snowshoe.

The snowshoe was discovered by chance on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy’s border with Austria 
[Credit: ANSA-USP]

Carbon-dating has shown that the rudimentary snow shoe, made of birch wood and twine, was made in the late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC.

“It is the oldest snowshoe in the world so far discovered, dating to around 5,800 years ago,” scientists said in a statement.

It was discovered by chance at an altitude of 3,134 metres (10,280ft) on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy’s border with Austria.

The ice and freezing temperatures of the glacier had provided “ideal conditions for the preservation of organic material,” the researchers said.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Mary Rose shipwreck skulls go online in 3D

For the first time, skulls and other artefacts from the 1545 wreck of Henry VIII's warship the Mary Rose are being exhibited online as 3D reconstructions.
Researchers from Swansea University unveiled the scans to coincide with theBritish Science Festival, taking place in the Welsh city this week.
Some of the virtual objects are public while others are for research purposes.
The idea is to see how much can be learned about the lives of the ship's crew, just from their digitised bones.
Richard Johnston, a materials engineer at Swansea, said the project would test the scientific value of digital archaeology - and the world's burgeoning collection of cyber-artefacts.
"Lots of museums are digitising collections, and a lot of the drive behind that is creating a digital copy of something," Dr Johnston told journalists at a press briefing in London.
"We're going to challenge the research community to see if they can actually do osteological analysis.

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Prehistoric Cochno Stone unearthed near housing estate

A prehistoric stone panel said to be the "most important in Europe" is being unearthed for the first time in more than 50 years in Clydebank.
The Cochno Stone dates to 3000BC and is described as one of the best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings in Europe.
Located next to a housing estate, the stone was buried in 1965 to protect it from damage.
Excavation work started on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.

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Ancient Viking warrior blade unearthed by Icelandic goose hunters

© The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland

Hunters tracking geese in the wilds of southern Iceland have returned with an unexpected catch - an incredibly well-preserved 1,000 year old Viking sword.

The group of hunters fortuitously stumbled upon the weapon in Skaftárhreppur, south Iceland, a region badly hit by floods last year.

Pictures of the Viking weapon of war - a double edged sword - show it to be in remarkably good condition, save for the tip which has broken off.

The sword is slightly curved at the point and due to years of exposure the metal blade has partially corroded. But despite years out in the open, splinters of wood can still be observed around the handle.

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‘Secret Clock’ of Carbon-14 Within Tree Rings Could Revolutionize Archaeology

Archaeology has gotten better at estimating the timeline of civilization. But there are limitations for the earliest cultures thousands of years ago, like the Maya and the Egyptians. Dating can’t get more precise than within a few centuries for those ancient peoples.

But a pair of highly-radioactive solar storms that occurred long ago left their indelible mark in trees growing at the time – and could provide important new touchstones for dating civilizations, argues an Oxford team in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Levels of the isotope carbon-14 spiked during Miyake Events, in the years 775 and 994 A.D., and is encased like a “secret clock” within timber, papyrus, linen garments, baskets and other artifacts, the team says. The Miyake Events are thought to be solar storms that bombard the Earth with gamma rays and massive amounts of solar protons, spreading the irradiated particles worldwide.

“The spikes in 775 and 994 A.D. were almost vertical and of comparable magnitude all around the Earth,” said Michael Dee, the lead author, from Oxford’s School of Archaeology. “Such markers can be easily identified in known-age tree-rings and are fixed in time.

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Tenth century Viking sword discovered in Iceland

A few friends hunting for geese accidentally discovered an impressive Viking sword this weekend which they handed over to the Cultural Heritage Centre of Iceland. 

The sword was found in Hrífunes, South Iceland. 

Only 20 such swords have been found in Iceland and this one is in a very good condition. 

Experts believe it dates from between 900 - 1000 AD and that it was placed in a pagan grave. 

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Les archéologues étudient les vestiges de l’Abbaye Saint-Faron (VIIe-XIXe siècles) établie sur un quartier antique. La fouille permettra d'appréhender les états médiévaux de l’abbaye et d’analyser les modalités de son implantation sur les vestiges antiques.

Rue Saint-Faron, préalablement à la construction d’un immeuble d’habitations, l’État (Drac Île-de-France) a prescrit des recherches archéologiques menées par l’Inrap de juillet à décembre 2016, sur 1570 m2. Les archéologues étudient les vestiges de l’Abbaye Saint-Faron (VIIe-XIXe siècles) établie sur un quartier antique. Fondé au VIIe siècle par Faron, évêque de Meaux, le monastère est d’abord dédié à Sainte Croix. Il prit ensuite le nom de son fondateur canonisé. Disparue du paysage urbain meldois avec la Révolution française, l’abbaye a fait l’objet de deux interventions archéologiques. L’une, en 1990-1991, a permis de repérer l’église abbatiale (Danielle Magnan, SRAIF), l’autre en 2012  de dégager une portion du cloître (Erwan Bergot, Inrap).

La fouille actuelle, porte sur la partie sud de l’établissement monastique qui, d’après les sources historiques, est réservée à l’abbé. Son objectif est de pouvoir appréhender les états médiévaux de l’abbaye et d’analyser les modalités de son implantation sur les vestiges antiques.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Lost Greek statue of Zeus remade with 3D printing

The original statue was made of wood, ivory and gold but the recreation is entirely thermoplastics

An ancient Greek statue of Zeus has been recreated using 3D printing, after it was lost in the 5th Century.
One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the statue of Zeus at Olympia was recorded only in descriptions and illustrations on coins.
3D printing firms Stratasys and 3DPTree made the recreation for the Millennium Gate Museum in the US city of Atlanta.
One expert in classical sculpture said 3D printing was a "powerful tool" for learning about lost artefacts.
The Greek statue was roughly 13m tall but the 3D-printed version stands at a more modest 1.8m.
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Danish archaeologists find mysterious well

The mysterious site was found near Aars west of the Limfjord in northeastern Jutland (photo: Google Maps)

Danish archaeologists have discovered a mysterious New Stone Age construction near the town of Aars in northeastern Jutland.
“I never use the word sensation, but I must admit this is as close as it gets,” Bjarne Nielsen, the leader of the research team and curator at Vesthimmerlands Museum, told newspaper Nordjyske Stiftstidende.
“We have not seen anything like it before.”
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Roman goddess unearthed at South Shields culture spot

Delighted volunteers at a South Shields culture spot had a blast from the past after unearthing a Roman goddess. 

Volunteers from the WallQuest community archaeology project and the Earthwatch Institute made the startling discovery at Arbeia Roman Fort. 

The dramatic discovery is a beautifully crafted miniature bronze figure of the Roman goddess Ceres which is thought to be a mount from a larger piece of furniture. 

Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, grain and fertility which is a highly appropriate goddess for Arbeia because it was a supply base where thousands of tons of grain were stored in granaries to feed the army stationed along Hadrian’s Wall.

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Restored Pompeii kitchens show how Romans cooked

The ancient Roman kitchens of a Pompeii launderette have once again been kitted out with pots and pans as part of a new project that is trying to give visitors a sense of what day-to-day life in the city was like.

The kitchens at the Fullonica di Stephanus 
[Credit: Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii]

Before they were buried by a volcanic eruption in AD 79, the kitchens once provided food for the hungry attendants of the three-storey launderette, the Fullonica di Stephanus.

The Fullonica was the place where wealthy Roman patricians sent their togas to be washed in huge baths using clay and urine. The garments were then rinsed, dried and placed on special presses to ensure they returned to their noble owners crease-free.

Thanks to a refurbishment which finished on Monday, the kitchens inside the Fullonica now appear as they did 2,000 years ago, complete with metal grills, pots, pans and earthenware crockery.

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