Friday, August 22, 2014

Gold coin may be key to solve Sweden's 'Pompeii'


    Archaeologists found the coin on Monday at a site on the island of Öland that's been compared to Italy's Pompeii
    A small team of archaeologists at Kalmar County museum, in collaboration with Lund University, has been digging at the site for the past three years. The team is studying the Migration Period in Scandinavian history, from about 400 to 550 AD, centuries before the Viking Age.
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    Archaeologists Find Humans Were Eating Snails 30,000 Years Ago


    Paleolithic humans of present-day Spain may have eaten snails as much as 30,000 years ago, or 10,000 years earlier than inhabitants of Mediterranean regions, according to research by Javier Fernández-López de Pablo from Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social and colleagues.
    The researchers discovered land snail shell remains dated to about 30,000 years ago at the site of Cova de la Barriada, Spain. Groupings of complete shells from a large land snail species were found in three areas of the site, corresponding to different time points. They studied these remains by investigating patterns indicating likley land snail selection, consumption, and accumulation at the site, and then analyzed the shells' decay, fossilization process, composition, and age at death by measuring the shell sizes.
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    Humans Did Not Wipe Out the Neanderthals, New Research Suggests


    Neanderthals went extinct in Europe about 40,000 years ago, giving them millennia to coexist with modern humans culturally and sexually, new findings suggest.

    This research also suggests that modern humans did not cause Neanderthals to rapidly go extinct, as some researchers have previously suggested, scientists added.

    Neanderthals are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans, and lived in Europe and Asia. Recent findings suggest that Neanderthals were closely related enough to interbreed with ancestors of modern humans — about 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone outside Africa is Neanderthal in origin.

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    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    Before they left Africa, early modern humans were 'culturally diverse'

    A new study provides fresh insights into the life of early modern humans before they left Africa following a massive comparative study of stone tools.

    Researchers have carried out the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago found in the region between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia. They have discovered there are marked differences in the way stone tools were made, reflecting a diversity of cultural traditions. The study has also identified at least four distinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other with their own different cultural characteristics.

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    Archaeologists compare Neolithic Kent site to Stonehenge, find Bronze Age funerary monument


    A Neolithic ditch which became a huge funerary monument when it was enlarged with an outer ring during the Bronze Age has been found on housing development grounds in Kent


    Archaeologists suspect a “sacred way” could have led to a henge 6,000 years ago at Iwade Meadows, to the west of the Kent industrial town of Sittingbourne.

    Positioned on a north-west slope, the 30-metre diameter structure is one of several prehistoric monuments on a north-west slope above the Ridham fleet stream running through the centre of the site.

    “Its purpose is not known,” says Dr Paul Wilkinson, of excavators SWAT Archaeology.


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    More victims of 4th cent. Kourion earthquake found


    The Department of Antiquities of Cyprus has announced the completion of the 2014 excavation season of the Kourion Urban Space project (KUSP) under the direction of Dr. Thomas W. Davis of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. 


    D. Soren, The day the world ended at Kourion, National Geographic, 30-53, July 1988;  
    [Credit: Martha Cooper] 

    This year’s excavations uncovered the remains of more victims of the massive earthquake that destroyed Kourion in the fourth century A.D. Initial analysis indicates the remains consist of two adults, a juvenile, and an infant.

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    Scientists Confirm Richard III Led a Royal Lifestyle

    The remains of King Richard III found in Trench 1 during the Leicester excavations. 
    Photo Credit: University of Leicester

    It is confirmed: King Richard III, whose remains were identified and exhumed in September, 2012 near Leicester, England, led a royal lifestyle, particularly during his last few years as King. A recent bone chemistry study completed by a joint scientific team from the British Geological Survey and the University of Leicester backs it up with evidence. This might seem to be a rather unnecessary confirmation for a common assumption—kings lived like, well, kings. But the same study has also revealed evidence of previously unknown changes in diet and location during his youth.

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    Silchester archaeological dig ends after 18 years


    For 18 long summers, a quiet corner of Hampshire has resounded to the sound of tapping, scraping, and sloshing. But after Saturday all that will end. 


    The Silchester dig site [Credit: BBC] 

    Silchester - the site of one of Britain's longest running archaeological digs - has revealed many secrets since 1997. 

    It's thanks to the hard work of thousands of volunteers, students and staff from Reading University that we now know much more about Iron Age life, and the early Roman period around the time of the invasion of AD 43. 

    "It's been a great experience," said Professor Michael Fulford, who has directed the annual summer dig from the beginning.

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    Remains of at least two bodies found in ancient grave

    Archaeologist Paul Murtagh excavating the Bronze Age burial cist in which the remains of at least two bodies were found


    Archaeologists have discovered the remains of at least two bodies in a Bronze Age burial cist in a remote area of the west Highlands.

    They were previously aware of one body in the ancient grave on the Ardnamurchan peninsula but they have now found more bones than could belong to another person.

    A skull found during an earlier archaeological dig at Swordle in 2010 was dated as being from around 1700BC.

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    Mystery of the ancient Gauls found dumped in a pit


    Eight skeletons including two of children dating back to the Iron Age have been found in good condition in France. 

    Eight skeletons dating back to about 500BC have been found in an ancient  grain silo near a Celtic salt mining site in Marsal, eastern France  [Credit: AFP/Getty Images] 

    The extraordinary archaeological discovery was made in Marsal, in the east of the country, in the Lorraine region, close to the border with Germany. 

    Dating back to around 500BC, all were exhumed from a wet, boggy area which was once the site of extensive salt mines, but is now surrounded by an industrial estate. 

    It is excavated most summers by a team led by Laurent Olivier, curator of the National Archaeological Museum at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris.

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    Découverte d’une occupation néandertalienne en bord de Saône


    Une séquence stratigraphique exceptionnelle


    Ce site préhistorique est implanté sur une butte lœssique dominant l’ancien lit de la Saône. Unique en Rhône-Alpes, cette séquence sédimentaire qui associe des dépôts d’origines fluviatile et éolienne, renseigne sur l’évolution de la Saône durant le Pléistocène supérieur (128 000-11 000 ans). Initialement haute de 8 m, elle est constituée d’une succession de paléosols et de lœss : le plus ancien, épais de plus de 2 m, est daté entre 55 000 
    et 35 000 ans, c’est-à-dire durant la fin du Paléolithique moyen. La fouille révèle une faune riche répartie sur trois niveaux et associée à des silex taillés abandonnés par les Néandertaliens.

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    Richard III was bottle-a-day drinker, study suggests

    Isotope samples were taken from the king's femur and teeth by researchers

    A study of the teeth and bones of Richard III show the king drank up to a bottle of wine a day in the last years of his life.
    The research by the British Geological Survey and University of Leicester revealed he also ate exotic meat including swan, crane, heron and egret.
    Samples were taken from a femur, rib and tooth after his remains were unearthed in Leicester in 2012.
    His diet was "far richer" than other high-ranking people of the time.
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    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Polish archaeologists discovered Roman baths in Georgia

    Students from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, explore the Roman baths. Photo by R.Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski.

    In Gonio, south of Batumi, a team of researchers has discovered baths built and used by the Roman army about 2000 years ago. "We were surprised by both the age of the structure, as well as its buid quality" - told PAP Dr. Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski, head of the excavation.
    Research is conducted inside the ancient fort Apsaros built by the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century AD. Near the fortress ran once the only convenient road from Colchis (Western Georgia) to the Roman provinces in Asia Minor.

    "In general, thermal baths built for the military were not luxurious. That is why we were surprised by the discovery of mosaics ornamenting the floor. We also unveiled a large part of cool water pool, so-called frigidarium" - described Dr. Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski.

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    Bath under Byzantine-era church to come to light soon

    The Roman bath under the Balatlar church will be completely unearthed

    A found bath under the Byzantine-era church Balatlar in the northern province of Sinop is gradually being revealed with excavations. The head of excavations, Mimar Sinan University Professor Gülgün Köroğlu said they had reached the bath and were continuing to unearth it. 

    The Sinop Balatlar Church archaeological work has been continuing since 2010 on architectural remains. Köroğlu said they were working with a 40-person team and plan to extend the excavation area through expropriation. 

    “We are mostly working on an area called ‘palesta,’ which is the big hall. Because there was a monastery on top of the structure, we are unearthing a cemetery field. Anthropologists are examining it. We also reached the pool of the Roman-era bath in lower stages. Works will continue for six more weeks. At the end of the season, we will shed light on the history of Sinop,” she said. 


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    Major finds unearthed on Hinkley bypass dig


    Important finds dating back to the Iron Age and Roman period have been uncovered at the site of a new bypass to be built as part of the Hinkley C project. 


    Archaeologists working at the site of the Cannington bypass  [Credit: Latitude Photography] 

    Archaeologists working at the site of the Cannington bypass revealed their discoveries to local residents on Thursday when EDF Energy and Somerset County Council invited local stakeholders to take a look. 

    The dig is being carried out at the site of a planned Cannington bypass which will be built to help serve the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. 

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    Greek tomb at Amphipolis is 'important discovery'

    Archaeologists know that major events took place in the area in the years after Alexander's death

    Archaeologists unearthing a burial site at Amphipolis in northern Greece have made an "extremely important find", says Greek PM Antonis Samaras.
    Experts believe the tomb belonged to an important figure dating back to the last quarter of the Fourth Century BC.
    A large mound complex has been unearthed at the Kasta hill site in the past two years.
    Lead archaeologist Katerina Peristeri said it certainly dated from after the death of Alexander the Great.
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    Medieval brewery uncovered at Northampton


    Northampton brewers have taken special interest in a medieval ‘malting’ oven found at the site of an archaeological dig in the town centre, possibly indicating the town’s first brewery. 


    Archaeologists have unearthed a medieval ‘malting’ oven in Northampton  [Credit: Northampton Chronicle] 

    Directors from Phipps Brewery and Carlsberg came to visit the large stone pit, still showing scorch marks from flames, which would have been used to roast barley and turn its starch into sugar, one of the main ingredients of beer at the time. 

    The remains were found at a dig on a former car park off St John’s Street as archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) prepare the site for the building of new Northamptonshire County Council headquarters.

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    Saturday, August 09, 2014

    Archaeology: Fifth century Christian basilica found in Bulgaria’s Bourgas


    Archaeologists working in the Kraimorie area of Bourgas on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast have found a Christian basilica said to date from the fifth century.

    The discovery of the early Christian basilica is a rare one for Bulgaria, according to Milen Nikolov, leader of the Bourgas Regional History Museum team that made the find.

    The church building is 19.5 metres long and 15 metres wide.

    At the site, the archaeological team found a chamber for storing relics and a holy water vessel.

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    Barn found at 'lost' medieval manor in Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire

    The tithe barn, which the team is in the process of excavating, measures 26m long by 7m wide (85 feet long by 23 feet wide)

    Archaeologists working on the site of a "lost" medieval manor house in Leicestershire say they have found a tithe barn, shop buildings and artefacts including a metal strap-end carved with a dragon.
    The finds were made at Croxton Kerrial, near the Lincolnshire border, where digging began in 2012.
    The 12th Century house had disappeared from maps by the 1790s.
    Tony Connolly, who is leading the dig, said the finds were "quite amazing".
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    Archaeologist try to unlock secrets of Pictish stone


    Archaeologists have released details on what they have described as the most important Pictish stone find to have been made in Moray in decades. 


    The Dandaleith Stone [Credit: Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service] 

    Weighing more than a ton and stretching to 1.7m, the Dandaleith Stone dates from the 6th to 8th Centuries and was uncovered during the ploughing of a field near Craigellachie in May 2013. 

    Because of sensitivities around the location as well as the issue of having to work out how to remove a stone of its size - and where to move it to - archaeologists have revealed little about the find until now. 

    The stone was removed from the field in April this year and taken to the Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation workshop in Leith for assessment. 

    Once this work is completed, the stone will be put on display at Elgin Museum, possibly next year.

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    Friday, August 08, 2014

    Stone Age Skull May Contain Bits of Brain Matter

    Archaeologists in Norway recently unearthed a Stone Age skeleton and child's skull with bits of what looks like brain still attached. Because the soil was so tightly packed, the arm bone, shown here, was partially dug out, but needs to be fully excavated.
    G. REITAN/MUSEUM OF CULTURAL HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF OSLO

    A Stone Age skull with what may be bits of brain clinging to it has been unearthed at an ancient hunter-gatherer site in Norway.

    The skeletal fragment, which is about 8,000 years old, may have once belonged to an infant or a small child, though it is so packed into the soil that researchers still haven't been able to remove most of it, said Gaute Reitan, an archaeologist at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway, who is excavating the site in conjunction with the University of Oslo.

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    Archaeology: Diverse Diet in Icelandic Cloisters

    Skriðuklaustur. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

    The diet in Icelandic monasteries and convents is likely to have been rather diverse, as indicated in recent research carried out by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) and National Museum of Iceland.
    Fractions of pottery from Skriðuklaustur and Kirkjubæjarklaustur are being studied and the first results indicate that they contained fish, meat from mammals and also nuts, seeds or berries, Morgunblaðið reports.
    A convent and monastery was operated at Skriðuklaustur in East Iceland in the 15th and 16th centuries, while Kirkjubæjarklaustur in South Iceland was the site of a convent in operation from the 12th century until the Reformation in 1550.
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    Excavation of ancient well yields insight into Etruscan, Roman and medieval times

    Caption: This image shows Nancy de Grummond and her team. Clockwise from top: Florida State University Department of Classics alumni Nat Coombes, Tyler Haynes and Ellie Margadant; Nancy de Grummond, the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics at Florida State; and Cheryl Sowder, professor of art history at Jacksonville University.
    Credit: Florida State University

    During a four-year excavation of an Etruscan well at the ancient Italian settlement of Cetamura del Chianti, a team led by a Florida State University archaeologist and art historian unearthed artifacts spanning more than 15 centuries of Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany.

    "The total haul from the well is a bonanza," said Nancy de Grummond, the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics at Florida State. De Grummond, who has performed work at the site since 1983, is one of the nation's leading scholars of Etruscan studies.

    "This rich assemblage of materials in bronze, silver, lead and iron, along with the abundant ceramics and remarkable evidence of organic remains, create an unparalleled opportunity for the study of culture, religion and daily life in Chianti and the surrounding region," she said of the well excavation that began in 2011, which is part of a larger dig encompassing the entire Cetamura settlement.

    A July 4 news conference at Italy's National Archaeological Museum in Siena drew a standing-room-only crowd as de Grummond and her team reported on their findings from the well excavation over the past four years. Among the most notable finds: 14 Roman and Etruscan bronze vessels, nearly 500 waterlogged grape seeds and an enormous amount of rare waterlogged wood from both Roman and Etruscan times.

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    Europe's oldest village sought under Greek bay

    PlanetSolar press officer Julia Tames walks across the deck of the MS Turanor PlanetSolar,

    The world's largest solar-powered boat has arrived in southern Greece to participate in an ambitious underwater survey that will seek traces of what could be one of the oldest human settlements in Europe.

    The Swiss-Greek project starts next week and archaeologists hope it will shed new light on how the first farming communities spread through the continent.

    Working near a major prehistoric site, they will investigate a bay aptly called Kiladha — Greek for valley. The area was once dry land and archaeologists operating off the MS Turanor PlanetSolar hope it may contain sunken remains of buildings from Neolithic times, when farming started, about 9,000 years ago.

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    Fowl play: Neanderthals were first bird eaters (Update)

    Cut-marked bone (ulna) of Rock Dove specimens from Gorham’s Cave 
    Credit: Ruth Blasco et al., Scientific Reports

    Neanderthals may have caught, butchered and cooked wild pigeons long before modern humans became regular consumers of bird meat, a study revealed on Thursday.
    Close examination of 1,724 bones from rock doves, found in a cave in Gibraltar and dated to between 67,000 and 28,000 years ago, revealed cuts, human tooth marks and burns, said a paper in the journal Scientific Reports.
    This suggested the doves may have been butchered and then roasted, wrote the researchers—the first evidence of hominids eating birds.
    And the evidence suggested Neanderthals ate much like a latter-day Homo sapiens would tuck into a roast chicken, pulling the bones apart to get at the soft flesh
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    "Truly unexpected" pink granite boulder of ancient Scottish Picts revealed in Moray


    A symbol stone of the Picts who occupied Scotland centuries ago could be unique, say archaeologists in Moray

    A huge pink granite boulder from the Picts who lived in the north and east of Scotland hundreds of years ago, incised with a large eagle and a mirror case in a “truly unexpected” set of symbols, has been revealed to the public more than a year after it broke a farmer’s plough near Craigellachie.

    Spanning more than 1.7 metres and weighing more than a ton, the Dandaleith Stone was originally reported as a “rather large stone with some sort of carving” by the landowner, who reported the solid relic to Aberdeenshire Council's Archaeology Service in May 2013.


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    Eleventh warship ram recovered in the Egadis


    A bronze warship ram raised from the seafloor in Sicily marks the expansion of the only ancient naval battle site discovered. 


    The Egadi 11 Ram [Credit: RPM Nautical Foundation] 

    The bronze ram was affixed to the bow of an ancient warship that sank in 241 B.C. as part of the final battle between the Romans and Carthaginians during the First Punic War. 

    This is the eleventh warship ram from this archaeological site, the largest collection of ancient warship rams ever found. 

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    Wednesday, August 06, 2014

    Schoolboys unearth golden hair tress more than 4,000 years old


    A GOLDEN hair tress dating back 4,300 years has been unearthed by a group of children taking part in a summertime archaeological dig.


    Experts say the pre-Bronze Age ornament is one of the most significant recent archaeological finds ever discovered in the UK.
    Mini-archaeologists Joseph and Aidan Bell and their friends Luca and Sebastian Alderson were taking part in a community excavation at Kirkhaugh, Northumberland, when they saw a glint of gold in the soil.
    To their astonishment it turned out to be an ancient hair tress which is one of the earliest pieces of metal work dug up in the UK.
    The schoolchildren, aged between seven and ten, had been on a dig arranged by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership's Altogether Archaeology project, when they stumbled across the treasure.
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    More on Gallic chariot tomb discovered in France


    A combined team composed of archaeologists from the Ardennes departmental archaeology unit and from Inrap has just finished excavating the aristocratic Gallic grave at Warcq (Ardennes). 




    The chariot tomb at Warcq in the process of excavation  [Credit: © Denis Gliksman/Inrap] 

    Curated by the State (Drac Champagne-Ardenne), this site was part of the investigation of the route of the A304 motorway being constructed by the Dreal between Charleville-Mézières and Rocroi. 

    This type of aristocratic grave, containing a ceremonial or war chariot, emerges in the 7th century B.C. and disappears with the end of the Gallic period. 

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    Produktion von Salz und Pökelfleisch in der Bronzezeit

    Ausgrabung bei Wörbzig: Großer bronzezeitlicher Grubenkomplex mit drei rechteckigen Herdgruben. Foto: Klaus Bentele © LDA Sachsen-Anhalt

    Schon in der Bronzezeit war die Salzgewinnung ein bedeutender Wirtschaftsfaktor im südlichen Sachsen-Anhalt. Das zeigen die zahlreichen Funde von Salzsiedekeramik aus dieser Epoche. Auch bei den aktuellen Ausgrabungen bei Wörbzig im Landkreis Anhalt-Bitterfeld fanden die Archäologen des Landesamts für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt zahlreiche Bruchstücke von Briquetage. Daneben fanden sich zahlreiche Herd- oder Gargruben, in denen vermutlich Schweinefleisch gepökelt und so haltbarer gemacht wurde.

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    Sunday, August 03, 2014

    DANISH IRON AGE VILLAGE TO BE RE-BORN

    Lyngsmose og Hover viewed from the north in 1993.  Image: Palle Eriksen

    Situated in a Danish cornfield on a crossroads between Ølstrup and Hover lies the remains of Lyngsmose, an Iron Age village of international importance now buried beneath the soil. However an exciting collaboration means that Lyngsmose will spring to life again after 2000 years.

    A joint steering committee between the various parish organisations is to administer a large renewable energy grant from the Environment and Technology Committee to facilitate the realisation of a common dream to “re-visualise” the 2000 year old space into the present.

    Currently, acquisition of the land is in progress along with building permits and the creation of a joint Lyngsmose Association.

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    Elite Turkic warrior burial discovered in Kazakhstan

    Horse remains. Photo courtesy of "Akmola Media Ortalygy".

    An archeological expedition in Zhaksy District of Akmola Oblast has discovered a burial of a warrior of the Turkic period belonging to 6-7 centuries AD.
    The international expedition worked on the site on the territory of Zaporizhzhya rural district, near the village of Novochudnoye from 7 to 20 July, Tengrinews reports citing Akmola Media Ortalygy.

    There were two mounds and the archeologists fully excavated both of them on July 18. One of them, in the north-western part of the burial, contained the remains of a warrior, who was enveloped in birch bark. During the examination of the burial, remains of arrowheads made of iron, weapons and a bronze earring were discovered. 


    For more information see:http://en.tengrinews.kz/science/Elite-Turkic-warrior-burial-discovered-in-Kazakhstan-255136/
    Use of the Tengrinews English materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink to en.Tengrinews.kz
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    Archaeologist happens upon Roman bone fragments – at the end of his road

    Mike Heyworth with the bone fragments found in a mound of excavated soil.

    Mike Heyworth says discovery in trench dug in York by utilities company demonstrates 'black holes' in archaeological planning

    Mike Heyworth, president of the Council for British Archaeology, was trudging home after a long, hot day in the office when he was startled to find fragments of Roman bone and pottery lying on a heap of soil at the end of his road.
    The trench dug by a utilities company in York, which had sliced through an ancient cemetery, was on the corner of a residential street near the city's racecourse.
    But it was also just across the road from a site that made headlines worldwide:, a pit under suburban back gardens where more than 80 skeletons of young gladiators – including one with bite marks from a lion, and decapitated skulls with the marks of hammer blows – were excavated.
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    Lindow Man: Gruesome discovery who became 'international celebrity'

    Lindow Man is the best preserved peat bog body to be found in Britain

    Thirty years ago, a peat cutter working in the Cheshire countryside spotted what he thought was a piece of wood trundling along a conveyor belt.
    Tasked with the job of keeping the belt free of debris, he threw it away, but as it hit the ground, the dirt fell from it and the remains of a human leg lay in the summer sun.
    That gruesome discovery on 1 August 1984 led to Rick Turner, the newly-appointed county archaeologist, being called to the site on Lindow Moss.
    He says what followed were "the most exciting days of my archaeological career".
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