Monday, September 30, 2013

Stonehenge prepares to open visitor centre after decades of rows and delays

Construction of museum, cafe and shop 1.5 miles from stones follows series of scrapped plans and missed deadlines

The English Heritage chief executive, Simon Thurley, outside the soon-to-be-completed Stonehenge visitor centre. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
On 18 December, a mere 24 years after the parliamentary public accounts committee denounced the visitor facilities at one of the world's most famous ancient monuments as "a national disgrace", and 85 years after the idea was first mooted, a new £27m visitor centre will open atStonehenge.
For the first time there will be a museum-quality gallery interpreting the site and displaying original finds, as well as a cafe and shop. There was a distinct air of incredulity among many of the English Heritage staff, bruised and battered survivors of decades of debate, funding rows, public inquiries and planning consultations, sites identified and then abandoned, grandiose plans announced and promptly cancelled, landmark dates including the millennium and the Olympics missed, even as they stood in hard hats and hi-vis jackets in the shadow of the almost completed building.
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Listen here: Our ancestors may have sounded like this

Recording studios were hard to find 6,500 years ago, but thanks to centuries of scholarship, we may now be able to get a sense of how our ancient ancestors sounded.

A linguist at the University of Kentucky has recorded a short story in Proto-Indo-European, or PIE, a language probably spoken across Europe and Asia from about 4,500 BCE to 2,500 BCE. Professor Andrew Byrd used Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit to deduce what PIE might have sounded like, the Huffington Post reports.

It's "a very educated approximation," Byrd says.

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New Finds Uncovered at Ancient Greek Site of Argilos

With a team of 50 students and additional help from workmen, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of structures at the site of ancient Argilos on the coast of Macedonia, reporting that the finds will help open an additional window on the development and economy of one of the earliest Greek colonies in an area that was previously settled by the Thracians.

Among the discoveries was a large portico consisting of at least seven storerooms.
"The building is in a remarkable state of preservation, and five rooms have been partially excavated this year," report excavation co-directors Zizis Bonias of Greece's 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Jacques Perreault of the University of Montreal. "In its early state, the building probably dates back to the 6th century BC."
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Anthropologists confirm link between cranial anatomy and two-legged walking

Comparison of the skeletons of three bipedal mammals: 
an Egyptian jerboa, an eastern gray kangaroo and a human.

Anthropology researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have confirmed a direct link between upright two-legged (bipedal) walking and the position of the foramen magnum, a hole in the base of the skull that transmits the spinal cord.
The study, published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, confirms a controversial finding made by anatomist Raymond Dart, who discovered the first known two-legged walking (bipedal) human ancestor, Australopithecus africanus. Since Dart's discovery in 1925, physical anthropologists have continued to debate whether this feature of the cranial base can serve as a direct link to bipedal .
Chris Kirk, associate professor of anthropology and co-author of the study, says the findings validate foramen magnum position as a  for fossil research and sheds further insight into human evolution.
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yorkshire Museum appeals to public to help save Iron Age jewellery of pre-Roman torc

Curators at The Yorkshire Museum are warning that a 2,000-year-old torc, described as having a rarer and more intricate style than its sister treasure, which was saved in 2012, could be sold at auction if they cannot raise £30,000 by October.

The precious bracelets became the first examples of Iron Age gold jewellery to have been found in the north of England when they were discovered by metal detectorists near Tadcaster in 2010 and 2011.

Despite being unearthed separately, curators say they were “almost certainly” buried together, having once belonged to a member of the ruling Brigantes whose extreme wealth could have indicated Royal status.

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Ancient Greek site threatened amid celebration

Greece—While world leaders and top athletes lit the Olympic flame with pageantry drawn from antiquity, another important ancient site of athletic prowess sat overlooked and endangered.

Some 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Ancient Olympia where the flame lighting for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi went off without a hitch Sunday, the Nemea stadium and its humbler games are in danger of closing to the public because of crisis-hit Greece's harsh budget cuts, according to a renowned American archaeologist who led excavations there for decades.
Stephen G. Miller, professor emeritus of classical archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, arrived at Nemea in 1973, when the ancient site still lay buried beneath a highway and vineyards used by raisin farmers. Excavations there unearthed the temple and stadium, one of the four major sites where Ancient Greek games were held: Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia and Nemea.
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Bulgaria’s 2013 season draws to a close

The archaeology season for Bulgaria is winding down, with a number of dig teams announcing their findings in recent days. Although this summer has not yielded any treasure troves comparable to the one found at Sveshtari in 2012, there is still time – that particular find came in early November.

Bulgaria’s 2013 season draws to a close
The two-wheeled carriage and carcasses of the horses (foreground) were found in a Thracian tomb along with some decorations [Credit: Rex/Daily Mail]
At Sveshtari, near Razgrad, the team led by professor Diana Gergova has found the remains of a two-wheel chariot, buried with two horses still in their harness. Each horse was buried in its own sarcophagus.

Gergova described the find as unique for Bulgaria, the first physical evidence confirming some of the historical theories about Thracian culture. A mural of a two-wheel chariot has been previously found in a burial mound near Kazanluk, but the two chariots previously found by Bulgarian archaeologists both had four wheels, she said.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

2500-Year-Old Horse Remains in Bulgaria Suggest Creatures Were Buried Upright

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Thracian carriage and two horses that appear to have been buried upright.

The chariot and horse skeletons are 2,500-years-old and were discovered in the village of Svestari in north-east Bulgaria.

The two-wheeled carriage and carcasses of the horses were found in a Thracian tomb along with some decorations.

Professor Diana Gergova of the National Archaeology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who led the dig, said: 'The find is unique, it is not resembling any other carriage dating from the Thracian era ever uncovered in Bulgaria.'

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fight hots up to keep Iron Age gold in Yorkshire

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, with the Iron Age torc, right, that the museum is hoping to buy to reunite it with one found metres from it at Towton, left, that is already in the collection

GOLD jewellery thought to be 2,000-years-old could leave North Yorkshire, if essential funds can not be raised.
The gold torcs, or bracelets, are currently on show at the Yorkshire Museum, and are the first items of Iron Age gold jewellery ever found in the north of England.
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Bronze Age 'boat building' discovery in Monmouth

Reconstruction of the channels in the clay earth by Peter Bere
An artist's impression of how the channels could have been left in the ground at Monmouth

Archaeologists believe they have found the remains of a Bronze Age boat building community in Monmouth.
Excavations show 100ft-long (30m) channels in the clay along which experts think vessels were dragged into a long-gone prehistoric lake.
Monmouth Archaeological Society started to unearth new findings when work started on Parc Glyndwr housing estate two years ago.
The research is being published in a book called The Lost Lake.
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Londonderry city walls archaeological dig extended

The Northern Ireland environment minister has announced a two-week extension to an archaeological dig in Derry that uncovered 13 skeletons last week.

Watch the video...

Derry dig team working in Bishop Street given more time to go back 4,000 years

The human remains found believed to be of a child aged between six and 10 years old

The archaeological dig that uncovered 13 skeletal remains from the early 17th century in Londonderry has now revealed evidence of life in the area 4,000 years ago.

New finds from the early Bronze Age mean the area has been settled for thousands of years more than previously thought.
The first artefact discovered was a flint tool known as a scraper, which would have been used to clean and prepare animal hides.
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The First Great Human Population Explosion

It seems there is no end these days to what genetics might be telling us about our past. To add to the profusion of new findings are the conclusions of another study that suggest an early human population boom around 60,000 - 80,000 years ago, marking perhaps the first great population expansion of human history, or pre-history, as the case would be.

The prevailing theory is that, as humans transitioned to domesticating plants and animals around 10,000 years ago, they developed a more sedentary lifestyle, leading to settlements, the development of new agricultural techniques, and relatively rapid population expansion from 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.
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Archaeological dig seeks evidence of the very first islanders' arrival

ISLANDS perhaps better known for their Bronze Age relics are revealing traces of an earlier civilisation.
A settlement being unearthed on St Martin's represents "the most promising neolithic site in Scilly", according to Dr Duncan Garrow of Liverpool University, a specialist in the prehistory of North- West Europe.
  1. The dig site at St Martin's Old Quay, where 2m by 2m test pits have revealed a wealth of ancient material.
    The dig site at St Martin's Old Quay, where 2m by 2m test pits have revealed a wealth of ancient material.
Along with maritime archaeologist Dr Fraser Sturt of Southampton University and a ten-strong team, supplemented by locals, he is exploring how Neolithic man arrived on the islands some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.

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Alpine Archaeology Reveals High Life Through the Ages

An international team of archaeologists led by experts from the University of York has uncovered evidence of human activity in the high slopes of the French Alps dating back over 8000 years.

The 14-year study in the Parc National des Eìcrins in the southern Alps is one of the most detailed archaeological investigations carried out at high altitudes. It reveals a story of human occupation and activity in one of the world's most challenging environments from the Mesolithic to the Post-Medieval period.
The work included the excavation of a series of stone animal enclosures and human dwellings considered some of most complex high altitude Bronze Age structures found anywhere in the Alps.

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A Bronze Age stone pathway that links stone circles has been uncovered for the first time since the 1930s.

Hurlers stone circles pathway uncovered
The dig was a community archaeological project with local people and
enthusiasts helping the experts [Credit: BBC]

Archaeologists were helped by local people to "re-discover" the feature, laid between two of the Hurlers stone circles on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.

The 4,000-year-old pavement has been described as "unique" by archaeologists. They hope it will give a better understanding of early civilisations.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Digital world. Image: Marcus Abbott

Imagine the possibilities as you explore a stunning visualisation of a 3D digital world generated from archaeological and paleo-environmental data. It already exists, but needs your help in order to make it freely available to the world.

A virtual prehistoric world

This project offers a visual representation of what is known about an ancient landscape, combining detailed archaeological and scientific data with cutting edge digital recording and visualisation techniques to produce a virtual world, but so real that the past and present become one.
The world you will enter is over 3500 years ago; the Bronze Age of East Anglia, UK  and focuses on an area known to be of great ritual significance during this period.

A liminal wetland environment

The landscape is a liminal wetland environment and what you will be able to explore has been generated entirely digitally. The archaeology has been painstakingly reconstructed from evidence found on sites in the area; round houses, wooden platforms, track ways, fences and even the great causeway structures of Flag Fen are all present.
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Neolithic stone puts spotlight on Perthshire glen’s ancient history

The possible Neolithic quern stone found in Balnaguard Glen.

An ancient relic that shines a light on Neolithic life has been discovered on a picturesque reserve in Highland Perthshire.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust made the exciting archaeological discovery while repairing a wall in Balnaguard Glen. Volunteers were working on field walls on the hillside when they noticed one of the wall stones was shaped like a shallow basin.
It has since been identified as a possible Neolithic quern stone — potentially more than 6,000 years old — with its shape created by years of rubbing grain with a heavy stone to make flour.
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How Complex Was Neanderthal Speech?

The challenge: Unlike pottery shards, arrowhead flints, and cave paintings, language does not leave an archaeological trace that can be uncovered by intrepid linguists bearing bullwhips.
That makes anything we say about early human speech and language very speculative. (As I've mentioned elsewhere, e.g., How did languages evolve?, it's been deemed so speculative that at one point, the Paris Linguistics Society banned discussion on the topic in the 19th century.)
And that makes what we say about Neanderthal speech doubly speculative because at least with humans, when we consider the evolution of speech for anatomically modern humans, we have living, breathing examples to look at, measure, experiment on, and observe. Everything about Neanderthals, we have to reconstruct from fossils and, now, DNA.
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Cave Paintings Among the Oldest in Europe

Scientists find wall paintings in the Altxerri cave system in northern Spain pre-date most prehistoric paintings in Europe.

team of scientists from the Universities of Cantabria and Burgos in Spain and Toulouse in France have dated prehistoric wall paintings in the Altxerri cave system in the Gipuzkoa province of northern Spain to about 39,000 years BPE, making them among the earliest known cave paintings produced by humans in Europe.

It was in 2011 when Cantabria University members Aitor Ruiz and César González began to explore the upper gallery of the cave, designated Altxerri B, with the objective of coming up with some reliable dates for the less-explored wall paintings in this part of the cave system. These paintings appeared to have been done independently of other paintings found in a lower gallery, paintings already with known dates that fell within the 29,000 - 35,000 BPE range. The paintings in this upper gallery were figurative representations of a bison (the most common element among the Altxerri cave system paintings) a feline, a possible animal's head, a bear and two groups of three finger marks, as well as other motifs. Ruiz and González also employed the help of Diego Garate, a specialist in Upper Paleolithic cave art from the University of Toulouse, to help them place and interpret the paintings and their findings within the context of current knowledge about Paleolithic art in Europe.
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Mycenean Palace and Linear B Tablets Discovered in Sparta Area

A new excavation in the Xirokambi area of Aghios Vassilios west of Sparta, in the Peloponnese, Greece, has revealed a richness of Mycenean artefacts in the area, including the remains of a palace, Linear B tablets, fragments of wall paintings, and several bronze swords.
The excavation, led by emeritus ephor of antiquities Adamantia Vassilogrambrou, was presented publicly at the biennial Shanghai Archaeology Forum at the end of August as one of 11 sites showcased from different parts of the world.
The Aghios Vassilios excavation began in 2010, after Linear B tablets were found in the area in 2008, pointing to the existence of a powerful central authority and distribution system. The deciphered texts were devoted to perfume and cloth production, the trade of which was controlled by a palace administration in the Mycenean era.
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UC Davis research finds Neandertals, not modern humans, made first specialized bone tools in Europe

One day in 2011, undergraduate student Naomi Martisius was sorting through tiny bone remnants in the University of California, Davis, paleoanthropology lab when she stumbled across a peculiar piece.
The bone fragment, from a French archaeological site, turned out to be a part of an early specialized bone tool used by a Neandertal before the first modern humans appeared in Europe.
"At the time, I had no idea about the impact of my discovery," said Martisius, who is now pursuing her doctoral degree in anthropology at UC Davis.
Martisius' opportunity was the result of a decade of excavation and research by two international teams. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in August.
"Previously these types of bone tools have only been associated with modern humans," said Teresa E. Steele, associate professor of anthropology at UC Davis, who also served as a co-author on the article and adviser to Martisius at UC Davis and at archaeological excavations in France.
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6,000 yr old wine discovered in eastern Macedonia

In the prehistoric settlement of Dikili Tash were discovered the oldest samples of wine that were ever recorded in Europe. The samples date back to 4200 BC and reverse existing data regarding the way of living during the Neolithic period.

6,000-year-old wine discovered in eastern Macedonia
Excavations at Dikili Tash [Credit: Ethnos]
The prehistoric site of Dikili Tash is located south east of Drama in Eastern Macedonia, Greece. It lies approximately 2 km from the ruins of the ancient city of Philippi and within the limits of the modern town of Krinides (Municipality of Kavala).

“It is an impressive and important discovery,” the archaeologist of the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and co-director of the excavations at Dikili Tash Dimitra Malamidou told She explained that, “During the excavations that took place in a house on the archaeological site, called House 1, quantities of carbonized grape berries that had been pressed were discovered in pots, a fact which proves the extraction of juice from grapes.”

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World's oldest bog body hints at violent past

A CT scan of Cashel Man showing the compressed state of the remains that are 500 years older than Tutankhamen

Cashel Man has had the weight of the world on his shoulders, quite literally, for 4,000 years.
Compressed by the peat that has preserved his remains, he looks like a squashed, dark leather holdall.
Apart, that is, from one forlorn arm that stretches out and upward and tells us something of the deliberate and extremely violent death that he suffered 500 years before Tutankhamen was born.

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As part of that decommissioning, their nipples are mutilated”
Eamonn KellyNational Museum of Ireland
Cashel Man is now being studied at the National Museum of Ireland's research base in Collins Barracks, Dublin. He was discovered in 2011 by a bog worker in Cashel bog in County Laois.
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Skeleton of ancient prince reveals Roman life

Italian archaeologists have unearthed a 2,600-year-old intact Etruscan tomb that promises to reveal new depths of one of the ancient worlds most fascinating and mysterious cultures. (ROSSELLA LORENZI)

The skeletonized body of an Etruscan prince, possibly a relative to Tarquinius Priscus, the legendary fifth king of Rome from 616 to 579 B.C., has been brought to light in an extraordinary finding that promises to reveal new insights on one of the ancient world’s most fascinating cultures.

Found in Tarquinia, a hill town about 50 miles northwest of Rome, famous for its Etruscan art treasures, the 2,600 year old intact burial site came complete with a full array of precious grave goods.

“It’s a unique discovery, as it is extremely rare to find an inviolate Etruscan tomb of an upper-class individual. It opens up huge study opportunities on the Etruscans,” Alessandro Mandolesi, of the University of Turin, told Discovery News. Mandolesi is leading the excavation in collaboration with the Archaeological Superintendency of Southern Etruria.

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Giant Prehistoric Elephant Slaughtered by Early Humans

Elephant tusks at Ebbsfleet. (Credit: University of Southampton)

Research by a University of Southampton archaeologist suggests that early humans, who lived thousands of years before Neanderthals, were able to work together in groups to hunt and slaughter animals as large as the prehistoric elephant.

Dr Francis Wenban-Smith discovered a site containing remains of an extinct straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) in 2003, in an area of land at Ebbsfleet in Kent, during the construction of the High Speed 1 rail link from the Channel Tunnel to London.
Investigation of the area was carried out with independent heritage organisation Oxford Archaeology, with the support of HS1 Ltd.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dating of Beads Sets New Timeline for Early Humans

Beads from the site of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) found closely associated with the skeleton of an early modern girl dating to between 39,000–41,000 years ago. The beads shown here are made of the shell of a small marine snail (Nassarius gibbosulus/circumcinctus). The large Glycymeris valve in the centre was not pierced, but its surface preserved bright red pigmentation. (Credit: Katerina Douka and Natural History Museum London)

An international team of researchers led by Oxford University have new dating evidence indicating when the earliest fully modern humans arrived in the Near East, the region known as the Middle East today. They have obtained the radiocarbon dates of marine shell beads found at Ksar Akil, a key archaeological site in Lebanon, which allowed them to calculate that the oldest human fossil from the same sequence of archaeological layers is 42,400-41,700 years old. This is significant because the age of the earliest fossils, directly and indirectly dated, of modern humans found in Europe is roughly similar. This latest discovery throws up intriguing new possibilities about the routes taken by the earliest modern humans out of Africa, says the study published online by the journal PLOS ONE.

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Excavation may reveal secret of the Hurlers

A Bronze Age crystal pavement described as "unique" by archaeologists is to be uncovered for the first time since the 1930s.

Excavation may reveal secret of the Hurlers
The Hurlers stone circle near Minions on Bodmin Moor and, above right, the crystal pavement as it looked when last uncovered in 1938 [Credit: Emily Whitfield-Wicks]
The monument, at the Hurlers stone circle on Bodmin Moor, is believed to be the only one of its kind in the British Isles. Scientists and historians hope that by studying it they will gain a better understanding of early civilisations.

Organised by the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project, "Mapping the Sun" will be led by a team from Cornwall Council's Historic Environment department. Archaeologists will be setting up at the site close to the village of Minions this weekend and the excavation will be open to the public between Tuesday and Saturday.

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6.000 Jahre alte Dorfplätze am Kapellenberg gefunden

Ausgrabung auf dem jungsteinzeitlichen Siedlungsplatz auf dem Kapellenberg. 
Foto: RGZM/D. Gronenborn

Bei den diesjährigen Ausgrabungen auf dem Kapellenberg in Hofheim am Taunus haben Mainzer Archäologen einen seltenen Nachweis für einen jungsteinzeitlichen Tritthorizont mit Keramik-Konzentrationen und Holzkohle in einer Siedlung der Michelsberger Kultur gefunden.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stone me! It’s Britain’s newest stone circle

Standing still: The stone circle at Wilton, near Egremont, restored after more than 200 years

The circle was discovered in a meadow at Wilton, near Egremont by landowners Philip and Lyndsey Johnson. And according to Dr Terence Meaden, a research archaeologist from Oxford University, the stones could be over 4,000 years old.
The formation was unearthed when the Johnsons began researching the history of their house.
They came across an 18th century map with a drawing of the old stone circle in a field close to their home. It was marked “Druids Temple”.
Further investigation showed the stones were probably moved by a farmer around 1800. The stones were found in a nearby hedge.
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As Fashion Week Ends, Pondering the Origins of Clothes

A reconstruction of a Neanderthal female.
Photograph by Joe McNally, National Geographic
As Fashion Week winds down in New York, scientists continue their own search for the very latest in ancient fashion—latest meaning oldest. They're asking one seemingly simple question: Who invented clothes anyway?
As straightforward as it sounds, it isn't easy to answer. We may be used to artistic depictions of prehistoric Homo sapiens and Neanderthals wrapped in furry hides, but, in truth, the story of how clothing became such a prominent mark of humanity is only just starting to be unraveled.
Clothing doesn't readily fossilize. Much like the soft tissues that wrap our bones, fabrics and other body coverings decay rapidly. Yet, despite this, archaeologists and anthropologists are starting to figure out the elements of prehistoric style through an array of indirect evidence that includes everything from dyed plant fibers to lice.
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LiDAR image of Boyne Valley. Image: Heritage Council (INSTAR)

Details of the “first passage-tomb to be discovered in in Boyne Valley in 200 years” have been reported in the Sept 7 edition of the Meath Chronicle. It was recently discovered along with many other previously unknown features by archaeologists using light detection and ranging imaging (LiDAR).
The archaeologists, led by Kevin Barton, have called for a fully comprehensive research project in order to fully assess the results of the entire LiDAR survey performed in and around the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site
Warranted further investigation
The “new” passage-tomb, on the floodplain of the Boyne southwest of Newgrange, had showed up on LiDAR imagery of the valley, Mr. Barton said. Because of its situation in proximity to the Boyne monuments, it was considered that the feature warranted further work.
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Stonehenge was built on solstice axis, dig confirms

English Heritage says it has discovered a "missing piece in the jigsaw" in our understanding of Stonehenge, England's greatest prehistoric site. Excavations along the ancient processional route to the monument have confirmed the theory that it was built along an ice age landform that happened to be on the solstice axis, according to Professor Mike Parker Pearson, a leading expert on Stonehenge.

Stonehenge was built on solstice axis, dig confirms
Archaeologists found ridges, formed by Ice Age meltwater, that align Stonehenge
with the solstice axis [Credit: Francis Dean/Rex]
The Avenue was an earthwork route that extended 1.5 miles from the north-eastern entrance to Wiltshire's standing stones to the River Avon at West Amesbury. Following the closure of the A344 road, which cut across the route, archaeologists have been able to excavate there for the first time.

Just below the tarmac, they have found naturally occurring fissures that once lay between ridges against which prehistoric builders dug ditches to create the Avenue. The ridges were created by Ice Age meltwater that happen to point directly at the mid-winter sunset in one direction and the mid-summer sunrise in the other.

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Stonehenge ditch discoveries prove archaeology link to River Avon true

An overhead shot of Stonehenge now (top) and how it is expected to look by summer 2014, once the A344 has been covered by grass

Found near the Heel Stone lying about 24 metres from the entrance to Stonehenge, the ditches represent either side of The Avenue, a long, linear feature to the north-east of the site which has been severed for centuries by the A344.

“The part of the Avenue that was cut through by the road has obviously been destroyed forever, but we were hopeful that archaeology below the road would survive,” said Heather Sebire, an archaeologist for English Heritage, who are currently helping decommission the road as part of a plan to make the landmark more tranquil for visitors.

“It is very exciting to find a piece of physical evidence that officially makes the connection which we were hoping for.”

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Archaeology: 7000-year-old defensive wall emerges near Bulgaria’s Shoumen

The dry spell blanketing Bulgaria for the past two months has resulted in an unexpected archaeological discovery, with the remains of a 7000-year-old defensive wall emerging from the waters of the Ticha accumulation lake near the town of Shoumen in northeastern Bulgaria.
The wall is more than five meters tall, made of rocks that are being held together by clay. The wall has an arrowslit and appears to be better built than other fortifications dating back to the same period in this part of Europe, historian Stefan Chohadjiev from Veliko Turnovo University told Bulgarian National Television.
On the southern approach of the hill, the fortification is at its strongest, with three parallel lines of defence built to repel attackers. The inhabitants of the stronghold appear to have been a frequent target of attacks, this being the most likely reason why its defences have been built up, instead of featuring only the more traditional moat, according to Chohadjiev.

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Field teeming with Bronze Age gold rings

Four Bronze Age gold rings were recently found near the site where six similar rings were found in 2009.

A key question in archaeology is how a tool or a piece of jewellery was used and what significance it had to the people who used it.
Careful observations and descriptions combined with common sense always form a strong basis for these discussions, but sometimes a little more is needed, e.g. analogies from foreign peoples or inspiration from written sources.
Closely tied in with the question of how an item was used is the practice of naming. What do you call archaeological artefact?
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Archeologists date human femur found in northern Britain to 10,000 years ago

A trio of archeologists has found that a human femur unearthed in a cave in the early 1990s, in northern Britain dates back to over 10,000 years ago. The combined team of researchers from the University of Nottingham and Liverpool John Moores University has documented their findings in a paper they've had published inJournal of Quaternary Science.
Up until now, remains from humans living in Britain during a warming spell at the end of the last Ice Age, have been confined to  in the south. Tools and other have confirmed that people were living in the north as well, but up till now, none of their remains have been found. The bone piece-part of a femur, was found in a cave almost 25 years ago in Cumbria (Kents Bank Cavern) and has since been housed at the Dock Museum. It wasn't until very recently, however, that researchers took a closer look—carbon dating places the bone from the cave at a little over 10,000 years ago which would mean it belonged to a person living during a warming spell (when the ice retreated enough for people to endure) during the  which started approximately 12,000 years ago.
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Sourcing obsidian artefacts in only 10 seconds

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed a method of sourcing obsidian artefacts that takes only 10 seconds -- dozens of times faster than the current methods -- with a handheld instrument that can be used at archaeological excavations.

Sourcing obsidian artefacts in only 10 seconds
Dr Ellery Frahm using pXRF [Credit: University of Sheffield]
Obsidian, naturally occurring volcanic glass, is smooth, hard, and far sharper than a surgical scalpel when fractured, making it a highly desirable raw material for crafting stone tools for almost all of human history. The earliest obsidian tools, found in East Africa, are nearly two million years old, and obsidian scalpels are still used today in specialised medical procedures.

The chemistry of obsidian varies from volcano to volcano, and the chemical "fingerprints" allow researchers to match an obsidian artefact to the volcanic origin of its raw material. The chemical tests often involve dedicated analytical laboratories, even nuclear reactors, and take place months or years after an archaeological site has been excavated.

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