SOLUTIONS

archaeology



Historians Claim to Have Recovered Holy Grail

Spanish researchers Margarita Torres and Jose Ortega del Rio believe they have found the goblet from which Jesus supposedly sipped during the Last Supper. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Spanish researchers Margarita Torres and Jose Ortega del Rio believe they have found the goblet from which Jesus supposedly sipped during the Last Supper. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Spanish historians say they have discovered what Monty Python could not — the Holy Grail, the legendary cup Jesus supposedly drank from at the Last Supper.

The Spaniards — Margarita Torres and José Ortega del Río — believe the 2,000-year-old vessel is in a church in León in northern Spain.
(more…)


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Couple Finds 2,000-Year-Old Treasures Under House

By Sharona Schwartz

Descending into history at the Siebenberg House (Photos Credit: Tzuriel Cohen-Arazi/Tazpit News Agency)

Descending into history at the Siebenberg House (Photos Credit: Tzuriel Cohen-Arazi/Tazpit News Agency)

When Miriam and Theo Siebenberg purchased a plot of land for their new home in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City that Israel had just a few years before captured from Jordan, they had no idea of the antiquity treasures dating back from Jesus’ time and before that lay underneath. (more…)


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Bulgarian Poison Ring Discovered

A 14th century bronze ring found in Bulgaria was exclusively crafted for poisoning people, say archaeologists. (Photo: Kavarna Municipality kavarna.bg)

A 14th century bronze ring found in Bulgaria was exclusively crafted for poisoning people, say archaeologists. (Photo: Kavarna Municipality kavarna.bg)

By Sanskrity Sinha

Archaeologists in Bulgaria have discovered a fourteenth century bronze ring that might have been used for killing people in the era.

The ring was found from an excavation site at Cape Kaliakra, located about 12km west of the Black Sea coastal town of Kavarna in northeast Bulgaria, the city’s municipality announced in a statement.

According to archaeologists, the ring is well-preserved and the only such find from the site where excavation since 2011 has revealed more than 30 pieces of gold jewellery. (more…)


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Artifact Trove on Shipwreck

1

One of the anchors looks like it was ripped away from its usual position on one of the ships and slid halfway back.

By Jane J. Lee

A team of researchers excavating a 19th-century shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico—the deepest wreck currently under excavation in U.S. waters—has found more than they had hoped for, including two other ships that appear to have been sunk at the same time.

Artifacts such as eyeglasses, navigational equipment, and telescopes indicate that no one made it off the copper-clad ship—dubbed the "Monterey Shipwreck," noted James Delgado, director of maritime heritage with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Office of Marine Sanctuaries. (more…)


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Medieval Ruins Found in Somerset

Aerial view of Longforth farm in Somerset, where the ruins were discovered.

Aerial view of Longforth farm in Somerset, where the ruins were discovered.

By Maev Kennedy

Foundations of a mysterious collection of medieval buildings, once an imposing complex with beautiful expensive floor and roof tiles, and substantial stone buildings set around courtyards, which vanished apparently leaving no trace of its existence 600 years ago, have been uncovered under farmland in Somerset.

The handsome floor tiles match some from nearby Glastonbury Abbey, suggesting that the site may have had religious connections. But although thousands of monastic foundations were demolished and their materials sold or scavenged for new buildings, this site appears to have been abandoned well before the dissolution of the monasteries. It is rare for one of any significance to disappear completely – this was a major complex, covering 0.4 hectares – leaving no evidence either in the landscape or in historical accounts. (more…)


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Head of Roman God Found in Ancient Dump

Antenociticus

An 1,800-year-old carved stone head of what is believed to be a Roman god has been unearthed in an ancient rubbish dump.

Archaeologists made the discovery at Binchester Roman Fort, near Bishop Auckland, in County Durham.

First year Durham University archaeology student Alex Kirton found the artefact, which measures about 20cm by 10cm, in buried late Roman rubbish within what was probably a bath house.

The sandstone head, which dates from the 2nd or 3rd century AD, has been likened to the Celtic deity Antenociticus, thought to have been worshipped as a source of inspiration and intercession in military affairs.

A similar sandstone head, complete with an inscription identifying it as Antenociticus, was found at Benwell, in Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1862. (more…)


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More Cannons recovered from Queen Anne’s Revenge

The second six-pounder cannon recovered from the Queen Anne's Revenge was lowered onto the R/V Dan Moore Thursday morning at Beaufort Inlet. Blackbeard’s flagship plundered merchant ships in 1717 and 1718 off the coast of the Carolinas, with records indicating it sunk in 1718 after being abandoned by Blackbeard. Chuck Beckley/ The Daily News

The second six-pounder cannon recovered from the Queen Anne's Revenge was lowered onto the R/V Dan Moore Thursday morning at Beaufort Inlet. Blackbeard’s flagship plundered merchant ships in 1717 and 1718 off the coast of the Carolinas, with records indicating it sunk in 1718 after being abandoned by Blackbeard.
Chuck Beckley/ The Daily News

By Jannette Pippin

A window of opportunity opened Thursday off the coast of Carteret County and history surfaced.

Twice.

Two cannons were raised from the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck site in Beaufort Inlet after a frustrating several weeks for the QAR team, which has been hampered by bad weather and sea conditions during this month’s dive expedition at the site. (more…)


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Church Found Under Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle

A previously undiscovered church, thought to be at least 1,000 years old, has been found beneath Lincoln Castle.

It is believed the stone church was built in the Anglo-Saxon period, after the Romans left Britain and before the Norman conquest of 1066. (more…)


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Underwater Dunwitch Surveyed

Dunwich

A University of Southampton professor has carried out the most detailed analysis ever of the archaeological remains of the lost medieval town of Dunwich, dubbed 'Britain's Atlantis'.

Funded and supported by English Heritage, and using advanced underwater imaging techniques, the project led by Professor David Sear of Geography and Environment has produced the most accurate map to date of the town's streets, boundaries and major buildings, and revealed new ruins on the seabed. Professor Sear worked with a team from the University's GeoData Institute; the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; Wessex Archaeology; and local divers from North Sea Recovery and Learn Scuba. (more…)


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More Skeletons Found Near Old Town Knight Grave

One of the skeletons

One of the skeletons

By David O'Leary

A CITY car park has been hailed a “real treasure trove of archaeology” after seven more skeletons were unearthed from the grave of a medieval knight.

Archaeologists working on the site now believe they have uncovered the remains of a family crypt having found bones from three fully grown adults, four infants and a skull. (more…)


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Skeletons Discovered Holding Hands in Coffin

Archaeologists discovered skeletons of a couple buried together holding hands. Experts believe the female was buried with her partner after dying from a broken heart.

Archaeologists discovered skeletons of a couple buried together holding hands. Experts believe the female was buried with her partner after dying from a broken heart.

By Dion Dassanayake

While excavating the courtyard of a former Dominican monastery in experts discovered skeletons of a couple buried together holding hands.

The bodies were discovered in the former cemetery of the monastery and it is believed the double grave dated back to the Middle Ages. (more…)


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4,500-year Old Skeleton Found Near Windsor

An artist's impression of the woman in her necklace and bracelet.  Photograph: Wessex Archaeology

An artist's impression of the woman in her necklace and bracelet.
Photograph: Wessex Archaeology

By Maev Kennedy

The remains of a woman who was buried almost 4,500 years ago has been discovered in a quarry in Berkshire wearing a precious necklace of gold beads – a particularly rare find from a woman's grave, when even her near contemporary, the Amesbury archer, the richest burial of the period ever found, only had two small gold hair ornaments.

She has been dubbed "Kingsmead's queen" after the quarry near Windsor where she was found, but experts from Wessex archaeology have more properly called her "a woman of importance". She clearly had considerable wealth and status in her community. The fragmentary bones, almost destroyed in the acid soil, suggest she was at least 35, and as well as the necklace of tubular sheet gold beads interspersed with black disks of lignite, she had several pierced amber beads, which may have been buttons for a jacket, and more black beads that may have been a bracelet.

She had a finely decorated cup placed by her hip – indicating she was one of the so-called Beaker Folk, new arrivals in Britain from the continent who brought with them advanced metal-working skills in copper and gold. They were commonly buried with an array of possessions including pottery cups. (more…)


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Did Richard III Undergo Painful Treatment?

by Jeanna Bryner

King Richard III may not have been a hunchback as portrayed by Shakespeare, but he did suffer from the spine-curving condition scoliosis, and he may have undergone painful medical treatments to straighten it out, scientists report today (April 19).

Archaeologists announced in February that bones excavated from underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, belonged to the medieval king. Since this confirmation, examination has continued on the bones and historical records, which have suggested the king was a control freak who had a friendly face.

Previous work showed King Richard III likely developed severe scoliosis, a painful condition, in his teen years.

Now, Mary Ann Lund, of the University of Leicester's School of English, has looked into the types of scoliosis treatments available when Richard III was alive, finding one would have been widely available for those who could afford it, such as the nobility.

Even so, there is no evidence on his bones to support the treatment.

"It wouldn't necessarily be possible to distinguish such signs," Lund told LiveScience. "Richard had idiopathic adolescent onset scoliosis, which means that the cause for it is not apparent, and that it developed after the age of about 10. So he would probably have been treated as an adolescent as well as during his adult life."

Traction treatment

Richard III was born in was born in 1452 and ruled England from 1483 to 1485, a reign cut short by his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the decisive battle in the English civil war known as the War of the Roses.

At the time, scoliosis was generally thought to be caused by an imbalance in the body's humors. "The theory of the humors would mean that this [treatment] would be geared towards Richard's individual humoral complexion," Lund wrote in an email. "Given the severity of his scoliosis, it's likely that treatment would have involved more than the topical application of ointments."

Some of the short-term scoliosis treatments available during the late medieval period would have been painful, Lund said. For instance, one such treatment, traction, relied on the same principle as the so-called Rack used in torture, she added.

For this treatment, rope would be tied under the patient's armpits and around his legs; these ropes would then be pulled at either end to stretch the person's spine.

Richard III would have been able to afford traction treatment, Lund said. In addition, his doctors would have been well aware of the method, which was detailed in treatises on medicine and philosophy by 11th-century Persian polymath Avicenna. (Avicenna's work seems to have been influenced by Greek philosopher Hippocrates, Lund said.) These treatises, including Avicenna's theories on using traction in scoliosis treatment, would have been widely read in Medieval Europe, Lund noted.

Avicenna's treatments for back disorders also included massage techniques done in Turkish baths and herbal applications. For longer-term care, patients were likely encouraged to wear a long piece of wood or metal to straighten their spines, Lund said.

"Hippocratic medicine was based on responding carefully to the individual, so without Richard's medical records we can only make conjectures," Lund wrote. Whether the possible treatment worked is also "impossible" to definitively answer, Lund said. "Historical accounts describe him as an active fighter in battle, so he was clearly able to do strenuous physical activity. On the other hand, it seems likely that the condition was painful and would have restricted his lung capacity," Lund wrote.

The spine of King Richard III suggests he had idiopathic adolescent-onset scoliosis, meaning the cause is unclear, though it would've developed after age 10. CREDIT: University of Leicester

The spine of King Richard III suggests he had idiopathic adolescent-onset scoliosis, meaning the cause is unclear, though it would've developed after age 10.
CREDIT: University of Leicester

Finding Richard

After the king's death in battle, he was brought to Leicester and reportedly interred at the church of the Grey Friars, a location long lost to history. Even so, interest in the king led to some far-fetched grave tales about the burial's whereabouts, including one purporting the bones were thrown into the Soar River. "Other fables, equally discredited, claimed that his coffin was used as a horse-trough," Philippa Langley, a Richard III Society member, said in a statement.

Relying on historical records, University of Leicester archaeologists started digging beneath the Leicester City Council parking lot on Aug. 25. They soon found the church and a 17th-century garden marked by paving stones. Records suggest mayor of Leicester Robert Herrick built a mansion and garden on the medieval church site years after the king's death, reportedly placing in the garden a stone pillar inscribed with, "Here lies the body of Richard III sometime King of England."

Shortly thereafter, the team unearthed human remains, including both a female skeleton (possibly an early church founder) and a male skeleton with a spine curved by scoliosis. The male skeleton's skull was cleaved with a blade, and a barbed metal arrowhead was lodged among the vertebrae of the upper back.

Interest in the king has remained strong. Richard III enthusiasts, or Richardians, as they are called, have societies in the United Kingdom and the United States. The discovery of the bones of the medieval king has only swelled their passions.

"He's just such an enigmatic figure, and people are drawn to that, because there's such mystery about him," Molly McAleavey, a Denver-based member of the Richard III Foundation, one of the societies dedicated to the king, told LiveScience in March. "What was he like, really? What is the truth?"

Little bits of this truth continue to spill out from the world of archaeology and social sciences.

>> Did King Richard III Undergo Painful Scoliosis Treatment?


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Archaeologists Dig into History of Execution

Archeologist Marita Genesis and anthropologist Sabine Birkenbeil inspect the skull of a man executed in the 13th century: Researchers found the remains of 70 people at an execution site not far from the eastern German city of Erfurt. They are now undergoing an anthropological evaluation. One of the dead was tied up, another lay next to an iron strangulation chain. A third had been buried along with a sharp blade. "It could be the murder weapon," says Genesis.

Archeologist Marita Genesis and anthropologist Sabine Birkenbeil inspect the skull of a man executed in the 13th century: Researchers found the remains of 70 people at an execution site not far from the eastern German city of Erfurt. They are now undergoing an anthropological evaluation. One of the dead was tied up, another lay next to an iron strangulation chain. A third had been buried along with a sharp blade. "It could be the murder weapon," says Genesis.

By Matthias Schulz

For years, few were interested in unearthing what lay beneath old gallows and scaffolds. But, in Germany, growing interest in "execution site archaeology" is throwing much light on how the executed died and the executors lived. (more…)


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Murals discovered in Ming Dynasty tomb

Jiangxi Province Mural

Beijing: A 600-year-old tomb decorated with rare mural paintings has been unearthed in east China's Jiangxi Province.

The tomb, dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), was discovered at a construction site of a parking lot in Xingzi County, the Archaeology Institute of Xingzi County announced on Thursday.

The tomb has not been damaged by thieves or vandals, but most of the murals are in poor condition, except for some well-preserved paintings covering 0.5 square meters on the eastern wall, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Tombs with colourful murals are common in northern China but are very rare in the south. This is the first time that tomb murals from the era of Ming Dynasty has been discovered in Jiangxi, experts said.

Archaeologists said they will continue their excavation efforts as they hope to find a cluster of tombs in the area. The wall paintings feature peonies, lotuses, chrysanthemums and sticks of bamboo with red, black, blue and yellow hues, and show a strong religious influence, the institute said.

>> Colorful murals discovered in 600-year-old tomb in China


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Lost Items Reveal Roman Bath Activities

This is a Roman intaglio, or engraved gem, dating from A.D. 212 and held in the treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Intaglios similar to this were sometimes found in roman bath drains. CREDIT: Marie-Lan Nguyen (User:Jastrow), 2008-04-11

This is a Roman intaglio, or engraved gem, dating from A.D. 212 and held in the treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Intaglios similar to this were sometimes found in roman bath drains.
CREDIT: Marie-Lan Nguyen (User:Jastrow), 2008-04-11

By Stephanie Pappas

Ever go swimming with rings on your fingers or hoops in your ears only to find your jewelry had vanished after your dip?

If so, you've got something in common with ancient Romans. (more…)


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Stone Structure Discovered Beneath Sea of Galilee

The circular structure was first detected in a sonar survey of part of the sea in the summer of 2003.

The circular structure was first detected in a sonar survey of part of the sea in the summer of 2003.

By Owen Jarus

A giant "monumental" stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built.

The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of "unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders," and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships. (more…)


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Could Boudicca Be Buried Under McDonald’s?

Boudicca's bones are thought to lay near what is now a McDonald's in Birmingham.

Boudicca's bones are thought to lay near what is now a McDonald's in Birmingham.

By Anna Edwards

It could be the year of great discoveries.

Just weeks after remains found under a car park were confirmed as Richard III and archaeologists have reportedly stumbled on Alfred the Great, now the hunt is on to find Boudicca.

The grave of warrior queen, who fought the Romans to defend Britain, is unknown - although it is thought that her bones lay near what is now a McDonald's in Birmingham.

Another theory suggests that the flame-haired leader of the Iceni lies beneath either platform eight, nine or 10 at King's Cross Station.

Dr. Mike Heyworth, the director of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), said that experts are on the hunt for her burial place, The Independent reported.

He suggested she would be unearthed in the next few years as Britain's growing number of voluntary archaeologists dig deep.

The CBA says there are more than 2,000 archaeological voluntary groups in the UK, with around 215,000 members. (more…)


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Gate to Hell in Turkey

This digital reconstruction of the Plutonium shows the entire site. Pilgrims watched the sacred rites on the steps, took the waters in the pool, slept not too far from the cave and received visions and prophecies, in a sort of oracle of Delphi effect. During the 6th century AD, the Plutonium was obliterated by the Christians. Earthquakes may have then completed the demolition work. Francesco D'Andria

This digital reconstruction of the Plutonium shows the entire site. Pilgrims watched the sacred rites on the steps, took the waters in the pool, slept not too far from the cave and received visions and prophecies, in a sort of oracle of Delphi effect. During the 6th century AD, the Plutonium was obliterated by the Christians. Earthquakes may have then completed the demolition work.
Francesco D'Andria

by Rossella Lorenzi

A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced.

Known as Pluto's Gate -- Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin -- the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors. (more…)


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Teutonic knights found in Poland

The Battle of Grunwald or First Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410, during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War.

The Battle of Grunwald or First Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410,
during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War.

Polish archaeologists said this week that they had identified the remains of three leaders of the Teutonic Knights, an armed religious order that ruled swathes of the country centuries ago.

"Anthropological and DNA testing has enabled us to back up the theory that these are the remains of the grand masters. We can be 96 percent certain," Bogumil Wisniewski, head of a team which found the skeletons, told AFP on Thursday. (more…)


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2500-year Old City Discovered in India

Raipur: In a significant archaeological discovery, remains of an ancient city, believed to be 2,500 years old, have been found at Tarighat, nearly 30 kilometres from here.

Raipur: In a significant archaeological discovery, remains of an ancient city,
believed to be 2,500 years old, have been found at Tarighat, nearly 30 kilometres from here.

by Rashmi Drolia

After initial survey, archaeologists claim to have found remains of a 2,500-year-old city, buried at Tarighat in Durg district of Chhattisgarh where excavation work is to begin shortly.

Talking to TOI, J R Bhagat, deputy director, archaeology department, said, "The ancient city located 30km away from the capital was found buried in 2008 in Patan tehsil of Durg district. Its remains indicate that it was a well-planned settlement dating back to 2nd and 3rd century BC." (more…)


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Black Death Pit DIscovered

Black Death Pit

Carefully laid out skeletons thought to be from a 14th century burial ground that have been discovered in London during work on the £14.8 billion Crossrail project.

by Rob Williams

For seven centuries they have lain beneath the feet of commuters in one of the busiest parts of central London.

Thirteen skeletons, lying in two neat rows, 2.4m beneath a road in Farringdon, have been unearthed by excavations for London's Crossrail project. (more…)


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Egyptian Lioness Goddess Statues Unearthed

Sekhmet Statues

by Nevine El-Aref

Egyptian and European excavators unearthed a collection of black granite statues depicting the ancient Egyptian lioness Goddess Sekhmet during their routine excavation at King Amenhotep III funerary temple in the Kom Al-Hittan area on the west bank of Luxor.

The statues depict the goddess Sekhmet in her usual form, sitting on the throne with a human body and lioness's head. (more…)


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Stone-Age Skeletons in Sahara Desert

Sahara Skeleton

Archaeologists uncovered 20 Stone Age skeletons in the Sahara Desert.
The burials spanned thousands of years, suggesting the place was a persistent
cemetery for the local people.
CREDIT: Mary Anne Tafuri

Archaeologists have uncovered 20 Stone-Age skeletons in and around a rock shelter in Libya's Sahara desert, according to a new study.

The skeletons date between 8,000 and 4,200 years ago, meaning the burial place was used for millennia. (more…)


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Ancient Shoes Turn Up in Egypt


The unwrapped shoe bundle showing the two pairs of children's shoes and the adult isolate.
CREDIT: © 2005 Franco M. Giani - Milano - Italy

by Owen Jarus

More than 2,000 years ago, at a time when Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of kings of Greek descent, someone, perhaps a group of people, hid away some of the most valuable possessions they had — their shoes.

Seven shoes were deposited in a jar in an Egyptian temple in Luxor, three pairs and a single one. Two pairs were originally worn by children and were only about 7 inches (18 centimeters) long. Using palm fiber string, the child shoes were tied together within the single shoe (it was larger and meant for an adult) and put in the jar. Another pair of shoes, more than 9 inches (24 cm) long that had been worn by a limping adult, was also inserted in the jar. (more…)


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Treasure-Filled Warrior’s Grave Found in Russia


The burial of the warrior was richly adorned and contained more than a dozen gold artifacts.
This fibula-brooch, despite being only 2.3 by 1.9 inches in size, contains intricate decorations leading
toward the center where a rock crystal bead is mounted.
CREDIT: Photo courtesy Valentina Mordvintseva

by Owen Jarus

Hidden in a necropolis situated high in the mountains of the Caucasus in Russia, researchers have discovered the grave of a male warrior laid to rest with gold jewelry, iron chain mail and numerous weapons, including a 36-inch (91 centimeters) iron sword set between his legs.

That is just one amazing find among a wealth of ancient treasures dating back more than 2,000 years that scientists have uncovered there. (more…)


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Mexico finds fire-god figure at top of Pyramid of the Sun

Mexican fire god
A sculpture of the fire god Huehueteotl lies on its side in a photo from Mexico's National Institute of
Anthropology and History. The piece was discovered at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan,
near Mexico City. (European Pressphoto Agency)

by Daniel Hernandez

Did the rulers of the ancient city of Teotihuacan dedicate their largest pyramid to the god of fire, the so-called old god with a signature beard and fire atop his head?

Mexican archaeologists announced this week that a figure of the god, called Huehueteotl, was found in a covered pit at the apex of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, a popular archaeological site north of Mexico City.

Excavations are ongoing, but the discovery suggests that a long-disappeared temple at the top of the pyramid was used to perform ritual offerings to the fire god, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, said in a statement Monday. (more…)


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Didcot dig: A glimpse of 9,000 years of village life

The site
The archaeological trenches can still be seen at the site where the builders are now working.

by Eleanor Williams

When archaeologists began digging the fields in 2010 they knew it was a site of historical interest, but even they were surprised by the wealth of ancient finds their trowels unveiled.

Back in 1995, a hoard of 400 Roman coins was discovered west of Didcot in Oxfordshire, indicating the land had been lived on for centuries.

As plans progressed for 3,300 new homes, schools and shops on the 180-hectare site, archaeologists were called in to investigate. (more…)


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USS Monitor remains to be buried next month

by Michael E. Ruane

For 140 years the two Yankee sailors lay entombed in the turret of the USS Monitor, doomed shipmates aboard the sunken Civil War vessel 40 fathoms down and 16 miles off Cape Hatteras.

Their remains were recovered when the turret was brought to the surface in an amazing feat of marine archaeology and engineering in 2002.

Next month, after a decade of trying to learn their identities, the Navy plans to bury the comrades as unidentified in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. (more…)