Thursday, 20 November 2014

Anglo Saxon graves found during excavation of Burwell Road, Exning


Twenty one skeletons of Anglo Saxon people have been found – just one foot under the ground – during an archaeological dig in Exning.
The skeletons were found on land at Burwell Road in Exning, alongside a spear, a glass bowl, gold plated brooches, a cloak pin, and a dagger, some of which is thought to have come from as early as 7AD.
The dig was carried out by Archaeological Solutions on behalf of Persimmon Homes, who have outline permission to build 120 homes on the site.
Andrew Peachey, post excavation manager for Archaeological Solutions, said: “The focus of the dig was of 20 Saxon graves. In those, we found 21 remains with one being a double burial.
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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Major dig planned at Battle of Hastings sites


One of the world’s top battlefield archaeologists is to lead an ambitious project which aims to finally unearth remains from the Battle of Hastings. 


Battle of Hastings re-enactment, Battle Abbey [Credit: Steve Hunnisett] 

Although the current site at Battle Abbey has been accepted as the correct location for the bloody clash for centuries, no archaeological evidence associated with the battle has ever been found on the site. 

Now English Heritage has asked Dr Glenn Foard, of Huddersfield University, to develop a project proposal with the hope of carrying out a major dig on the site. 

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Monday, 16 June 2014

Preserving the Battle of Hastings from contamination


The Battle of Hastings is regularly fought all over again by enthusiastic re-enactors, before large crowds of spectators. The problem is that they are depositing material that could compromise the archaeology of the historic site. But now the University of Huddersfield's Dr Glenn Foard -- one of the world's leading battlefield archaeologists -- is developing a unique project designed to unearth whatever genuine material survives from 1066. 


The East Sussex 1066 site gets the vote as one of the world's 10 best historical re-enactments.  Hastings is described as "the most-remembered armed conflict in British history" and  the re-enactments every year now involve thousands of participants and spectators  around the world [Credit: University of Huddersfield] 

The first stage, likely to take place in spring 2015, would be to spend a week machining away the top layers of soil at a substantial area of the battlefield, in order to eliminate modern artefacts. Then there would be a search for genuine remains from the battle of 1066. 

An important dimension of the project would be public involvement. Trained archaeologists would carry out the actual survey, but there would be parallel sessions nearby, partly aimed at children and parents, which would provide insights into archaeology, including the use of metal detectors to survey a site.

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Decoding Anglo-Saxon art

Silver-gilt square-headed brooch from Grave 22, Chessell Down, Isle of Wight. Early Anglo-Saxon, early 6th century AD

One of the most enjoyable things about working with the British Museum’s Anglo-Saxon collection is having the opportunity to study the intricate designs of the many brooches, buckles, and other pieces of decorative metalwork. This is because in Anglo-Saxon art there is always more than meets the eye.
The objects invite careful contemplation, and you can find yourself spending hours puzzling over their designs, finding new beasts and images. The dense animal patterns that cover many Anglo-Saxon objects are not just pretty decoration; they have multi-layered symbolic meanings and tell stories. Anglo-Saxons, who had a love of riddles and puzzles of all kinds, would have been able to ‘read’ the stories embedded in the decoration. But for us it is trickier as we are not fluent in the language of Anglo-Saxon art.
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Friday, 23 May 2014

Skeleton executed by sword blows to head poses questions on Norman Conquest

A potentially groundbreaking discovery has been announced as part of the 750th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Lewes in Sussex
© Courtesy Sussex Archaeological Society

An unusual set of battlefield burials have led to the skeleton of the first ever human discovery directly related to the 11th century Norman Conquest

A brutally-murdered man, executed by six sword blows to the back of the skull during a vicious 11th century battle on hospital grounds in Sussex, is compelling archaeologists to reconsider Norman war burials after becoming the first ever skeleton to be related to the 1066 invasion.

Originally discovered during a dig at a former medieval hospital more than 20 years ago, the individual has been carbon dated to within 28 years of 1063.

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

DORSET VIKING AGE MASS BURIAL PUBLICATION


In 2009 during the construction of the Weymouth Relief Road in Dorset archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology made one of the most exciting, and disturbing, archaeological discoveries in Britain in recent years. Around 50 skeletons, predominantly of young adult males, were found in an old quarry pit. All had been decapitated. Their bodies were thrown into the grave, while their heads were placed in a pile located at one edge.

Archaeologists knew they had found something special as they uncovered the tangle of human bones, but it was only as the scientific analysis of the skeletons progressed that the full international significance of the discovery became clear. What the archaeologists had found was a mass grave of executed Vikings.

Rare find

Oxford Archaeology Project Manager David Score said: “To find out that the young men executed were Vikings is a thrilling development. Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual.”
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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Burg der Zurückgelassenen


In den "dunklen Jahrhunderten" des frühen Mittelalters war nicht viel los zwischen Elbe und Weser - glaubte man. Doch neue Funde in Stade zeigen, dass es an der Schwinge in diesen Jahrhunderten keineswegs so dunkel war.

"Was haben die hier bloß gemacht?" fragt Stadtarchäologe Andreas Schäfer und schaut nachdenklich auf das Gras unter seinen Gummistiefeln. "Wozu brauchten die so eine große Burg?" Mit "die" meint er die Sachsen des Frühmittelalters, die zwischen Weser und Elbe lebten. Eigentlich, so waren sich die Forscher bisher einig, war in dem Gebiet nicht mehr viel los, seit die meisten Sachsen sich ab dem 5. Jahrhundert in Richtung England abgesetzt hatten, um gemeinsam mit den Angeln die Insel zu besiedeln. Während die Verwandten in England erste Königreiche gründeten, herrschten über die letzten Daheimgebliebenen lediglich so genannte Satrapen. Ihre Dörfer waren nicht mehr als ein paar zusammengewürfelte Höfe.

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Vikings Online Course


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers 

12 May to 25 July 2014


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers is an online archaeology course run by the University of Oxford's Department of Continuing Education.
The course runs for ten weeks and successful completion carries an award of ten CATS points. Students write two short assignments as part of the course.
Online forums for each unit enable students to discuss the topic being studied, and help from the online tutor is always available
You can find more details here...
You can find details of other online archaeology courses here...

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Skeletons of foetus, heavily pregnant woman and crammed men found at York church

The foetal skeleton found at All Saints in York © Courtesy All Saints Church

The bones of a foetus and its heavily pregnant mother have been found in a chamber of All Saints church in York, where three men were found “shoved” into a tomb with grave markings designed to ward off evil spirits during the early 13th century.

Ancient serviceable drains, pottery fragments dating from Roman times to the 18th century, entrenched Viking pottery and Anglian pieces with possible links to the baptism of St Edwin, the 7th century King of Northumbria, have also been discovered in the Lady Chapel, where a medieval-style tile pavement has been laid in an English parish church for the first time in 500 years.


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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Offa's Dyke evidence at Chirk suggests earlier build

The border between England and Wales closely follows much of the dyke's route

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence which suggests that Offa's Dyke may have been built up to 200 years earlier than thought.
Samples from Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust excavations on a stretch of the dyke have been radiocarbon dated to the second half of the 6th Century.
Historians have always associated the dyke with King Offa who ruled the kingdom of Mercia in the 8th Century.
But now archaeologists believe it might have been in use before he ruled.
The trust said it was a "tremendously exciting discovery".
The excavations were taken from a section of the protected ancient monument at Chirk near the Shropshire border.
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Monday, 17 March 2014

The Staffordshire Hoard - Unveiling the story so far


The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. In this film we find out about the first stage of conservation work on the artefacts …and what secrets have been revealed.

Watch the video...

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Royal settlement linked to Sutton Hoo treasures


Finds from Rendlesham in Suffolk will go on display for the first time this week at the National Trust's Sutton Hoo visitor centre

The burial mound at Sutton Hoo, one of Britain's most important archaeological sites, where Anglo-saxon treasures were found. Photograph: Garry Weaser/The Guardian

The home of the Anglo-Saxons who built the world famous burial mounds at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, where a king was laid with golden treasure heaped around him, has been discovered on nearby farmland a few miles from the site.
The finds from Rendlesham, which will go on display for the first time this week at the National Trust's Sutton Hoo visitor centre, include fragments of exquisite gold jewellery comparable in workmanship, if not in scale, to the Sutton Hoo treasures, pieces of gilt bronze horse harness, Saxon pennies and metal offcuts from a blacksmith's workshop.
The 50-hectare (123.5-acre) site, four miles north-east of Sutton Hoo, was discovered by archaeologists after a local landowner, Sir Michael Bunbury, became concerned about nighthawks – treasure-hunting thieves who use metal detectors. The archaeology unit of Suffolk county council has for five years been surveying his fields, using aerial photography, soil analysis, ground-penetrating radar and metal detecting, eventually pin pointing the 50 hectare Anglo Saxon site within 160 hectares of farmland.
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Royal Anglo-Saxon settlement found

The excavation in the 1930s of the Sutton Hoo site in Suffolk

A lost settlement which housed the Anglo-Saxon royalty who created the famous Sutton Hoo burial mounds has been unearthed.
Archaeologists say they have found conclusive evidence of the high-status settlement in fields near the village of Rendlesham, Suffolk.
It is thought fragments of gold jewellery, Saxon pennies and weights associated with trade, are evidence of the "the king's country-seat of Rendlesham" mentioned by the Venerable Bede in the 8th century.
Professor Christopher Scull, of Cardiff University and University College London said: "The survey has identified a site of national and indeed international importance for the understanding of the Anglo-Saxon elite and their European connections.
"The quality of some of the metalwork leaves no doubt that it was made for and used by the highest ranks of society.
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800-year-old monk found poking out of cliff face


The thigh bones of a medieval monk have been found poking out of cliffs at Monknash in South Wales which was a former burial ground in the Middle Ages

The remains of an 800-year-old monk that have been uncovered after his legs were spotted sticking out of cliff in Monknash, South Wales Photo: Wales News Service

The legs of an 800-year-old medieval monk have been discovered, poking out of a cliff face in Wales.
Although badly damaged and missing their knees, shins and feet, the thigh bones were found after the fierce recent storms caused severe coastal erosion.
They were spotted by rambler Mandy Ewington, who sent a photograph to coastal archaeologist Karl-James Langford.
Mr Langford, 39, said "I thought she must have been mistaken but I went down to see for myself and thought: "Bloody hell,this is amazing!
"You can clearly see a grave has been eroded into the sea.
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'Awesome' Viking warship 'struck terror into people'


There are ghosts at the British Museum.

Hulking, hairy, bloodthirsty warriors grunting in unison as they row the biggest warship of its kind the world has ever known.

Can the gallery curator see them, or am I the only one? He laughs -- a little nervously: "Yes, you do get a sense of them."

Looming before us is Roskilde 6, the largest Viking ship ever discovered, carefully reconstructed after 1,000 years languishing beneath the waves. At 37 meters long it's double the size of the boat Christopher Columbus sailed to America.

Ghost armies or not, it is a sight to behold. The ship's fearsome metal frame seemingly rises from a watery netherworld on a mission to conquer the globe -- once and for all.

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Vikings are here…


Gareth Williams, Exhibition Curator, British Museum
Lo, it is nearly thirty-five years since the Vikings last came to this Museum, and nobody believed that such an influx of fantastic material from overseas (as well as the UK) could be made…*
To be fair, the BP exhibition Vikings: life and legend lacks some of the drama of the original Viking attack on Lindisfarne in 793. We haven’t had fiery dragons in the sky (unless you count the Aurora Borealis coming unusually far south), and there hasn’t been much in the way of destruction or slaughter. Nor is it likely that this exhibition will be remembered 1200 years after the event, although in an age of globalised communication, there is no doubt that the exhibition has attracted considerably more notice in the last few days than the attack on Lindisfarne did at the time. Nevertheless, as the largest Viking exhibition in the UK for over 30 years, it has the potential to shape our definition of the Viking Age.
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Friday, 28 February 2014

ANGLO-SAXON CEMETERY RESULTS QUESTION VIOLENT INVASION THEORY



The early fifth century transition from Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England is a poorly understood period in British history. Historical narratives describe a brutal conquest by Anglo-Saxon invaders with nearly complete replacement of the indigenous population, but aspects of the archaeological record contradict this interpretation leading to competing hypotheses.

A new study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, suggests a more peaceful process, according to Dr Andrew Millard, from Durham University, one of the paper’s lead authors.
‘The main controversy over the years has centred on how many Anglo-Saxons came across the North Sea,‘ he says, ‘Was it a mass invasion, where the existing population was wiped out completely or forced back into Wales, or was it a small band of elites whose ways were then adopted very quickly?’  The evidence the researchers have gathered favours the second option.
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Shield-wearing skeleton, necklace and grave goods found in early Saxon inhumations


The discovery of nine bodies in Cambridgeshire could reveal much about the little-known early Saxon period

© Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology
An early Saxon man who fell on his shield has been found buried with a knife and spear alongside a jewellery-clad woman during a dig on a residential site in a Cambridgeshire village.

Grave goods, weaponry and everyday items from the 6th century surfaced during the excavation in Haddenham, where similar remains – including a double burial of a man and a woman – were first identified more than 20 years ago.

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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Haddenham dig yields finds dating back 1,400 years


Archaeologists gained a valuable insight into life and death in Saxon England thanks to a dig in Haddenham. 


A team of archaeologists from Pre-Construct Archaeology carried out an excavation within the village of Haddenham in advance of the construction of a residential dwelling. The dig uncovered burials dating to the Early Saxon period (6th century AD) 
[Credit: © Courtesy Pre-Construct Archaeology] 

At the start of the month, Pre-Construct Archaeology was invited to excavate a small site in the car park of the Three Kings pub, at the heart of the village, before developers moved on and began work on a new house. 

And, despite the dig taking place over a small site, the dig turned up a wealth of finds, including nine burials and plenty of grave goods in what experts believe was a Saxon burial ground.

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Village excavation turns up a wealth of finds dating back 1,400 years

A team of archaeologists from Pre-Construct Archaeology carried out an excavation within the village of Haddenham in advance of the construction of a residential dwelling. The dig uncovered burials dating to the Early Saxon period (6th century AD).

A team of archaeologists from Pre-Construct Archaeology carried out an excavation within the village of Haddenham in advance of the construction of a residential dwelling. The dig uncovered burials dating to the Early Saxon period (6th century AD).
At the start of the month, Pre-Construct Archaeology was invited to excavate a small site in the car park of the Three Kings pub, at the heart of the village, before developers moved on and began work on a new house.
And, despite the dig taking place over a small site, the dig turned up a wealth of finds, including nine burials and plenty of grave goods in what experts believe was a Saxon burial ground.
Read the rest of this article...