Saturday, 11 January 2020

Melton Mowbray building site bones date back to 7th Century

The bones were discovered on a building site in Melton Mowbray
NEMM.CO.UK

Human bones found on a building site have been found to date back to the 7th Century.

Police were called and construction was stopped when the remains were discovered off Scalford Road in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, in October.

A forensic examination was carried out to determine how long the bones had been in the ground.

Carbon dating has dated them to 635 to 685 AD. They have now been handed over to an archaeology firm.

The bones were found at a site during the construction of a new retirement village.

Leicestershire Police said the bones are being passed to Cotswold Archaeology Ltd "for further research to be carried out into the finding".

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Saturday, 21 December 2019

New archaeological discoveries reveal birch bark tar was used in medieval England

Skeleton from grave 293, Anglo-Saxon child burial
[Credit: Oxford Archaeology East]

Scientists from the University of Bristol and the British Museum, in collaboration with Oxford Archaeology East and Canterbury Archaeological Trust, have, for the first time, identified the use of birch bark tar in medieval England - the use of which was previously thought to be limited to prehistory.

Birch bark tar is a manufactured product with a history of production and use that reaches back to the Palaeolithic. It is very sticky, and is water resistant, and also has biocidal properties mean that it has a wide range of applications, for example, as a multipurpose adhesive, sealant and in medicine.

Archaeological evidence for birch bark tar covers a broad geographic range from the UK to the Baltic and from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia.

In the east and north of this range there is continuity of use to modern times but in western Europe and the British Isles the use of birch bark tar has generally been viewed as limited to prehistory, with gradual displacement by pine tars during the Roman period.

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Thursday, 19 December 2019

Tintagel Castle: Arthurian Legend Mixes with True History


Tintagel Castle is a site of castle ruins located on Tintagel Island; a peninsula connected to the North Cornwall coast in England by a narrow strip of land. This castle was an important stronghold from around the end of Roman rule in Britain, i.e. the 4th century AD or the 5th century AD until the end of the 7th century AD. Tintagel Castle is best known for the claim that it was the place where the legendary King Arthur was conceived, but the real history of the site is also exciting.

Signs of the Romans at Tintagel Castle
The site where Tintagel Castle stands today is likely to have been occupied during the Roman era, as artifacts dating to this period have been found on the peninsula. Having said that, as structures dating to the Roman period have yet to be discovered, it is not entirely clear if Tintagel Island was inhabited during the Roman period.

It may be said with more certainty that the site was occupied between the end of the Roman period and the 7th century AD. In 2016, geophysical surveys revealed the existence of walls and layers of buildings at the site. Excavations yielded walls, said to belong to a palace, a meter in thickness.

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Monday, 9 December 2019

Archaeological Study Tour to Orkney


EMAS Study Tour to Orkney
14 – 23 April 2020
There are still a few places left on the EMAS Archaeological Society Study Tour to Orkney.

However, hotel places are very limited, so an early reply is advised.

You can find further details on the EMAS website.

Further details...

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Metal detectorist makes pretty penny after ancient coins he found in Suffolk field sell for £90,000 at auction

Builder and metal detectorist Don Crawley holds a collection of Anglo Saxon silver pennies which form part of a hoard of 99. ( PA )


An "amazed"  builder and metal detectorist made a pretty penny after a haul of old coins which he found in a Suffolk field sold for £90,000 at auction. 

Don Crawley was taking his metal detector  for a spin in Suffolk when he discovered 99 silver coins at the site of a forgotten Saxon church. 

The 50-year-old, from Bucklesham, was visiting a farmer’s field for the first time when he made the discovery in 2017.

Auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb said the unnamed landowner did not want to reveal further details of the location of the find.

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Monday, 2 December 2019

1,400-Year-Old Skeletons Reveal Location of Anglo-Saxon Enlightenment

Detailed isotope analysis was done on the Bamburgh skeletons. 
(Bamburgh bones / Facebook)

110 Anglo-Saxon skeletons dating to 1,400 years ago have been found under dunes in Bamburgh, England.

Dating to about the 7th-century or Early Middle Ages, the team of researchers say the skeletons belong to people of “high social standing” within the royal court. The hoard of human remains was originally discovered between 1998 and 2007 at the ‘Bowl Hole’ cemetery site which is thought to have been the burial ground for the medieval royal court of the Northumbrian palace, now located beneath dunes just south of Bamburgh Castle , in Northumberland, England.

Over the past two decades scientists from England’s Durham University have been studying the remains of 110 Anglo-Saxons buried near the famous Northumberland castle. According to a report in The Daily Mail while the greater part of Britain was experiencing the Dark Ages , travelers from all across Europe visited Bamburgh and it had its own “local enlightenment”, according to the team of university researchers.

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Friday, 29 November 2019

It Cleans Up Nicely: Scottish Viking Hoard Reveals New Secrets


Around the time the Irish were stamping out the Viking presence in their country, local lore says the Scots and Vikings also fought a battle near Galloway, Scotland. In 2014, a metal detectorist took that legend, swept the area, and discovered a hoard of more than 100 “strange and wonderful objects” that are at least 1,000 years old. Now those Viking hoard relics have been cleaned up and experts say “the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland” is providing new and valuable information.

Extensive Conservation work on the Viking Hoard
Dr. Martin Goldberg, principal curator of archaeology and history at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, told The Scotsman that conservation work has “completely transformed” the appearance of some of the artifacts. It is also providing researchers with “a better understanding now of the international range of hoard.” He says:

“There were always clues about the origins of some of the material and the amazing trajectories that brought them across Europe and Asia to be buried in Galloway. But we are learning more about the specifics about where things have come from and how old various things might be and for how long the hoard may have been accumulated for. We’re sticking to AD 900 for the burial but some objects are looking like they are several centuries older.”

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Friday, 22 November 2019

Remarkable remains of Anglo Saxon woman and jewels found in grounds of Canterbury Christ Church University

The skeleton of the Anglo Saxon woman (21999128)

The remarkable remains of a young Anglo-Saxon woman, buried with lavish jewels and a knife, have been discovered on a university campus in Canterbury.

They were unearthed by archaeologists working in the grounds of Christ Church University at the site of its new £65 million STEM building, which is due to open in September next year.

The woman, believed to have been in her twenties, was found buried with a silver, garnet-inlaid, Kentish disc brooch.

She was also wearing a necklace of amber and glass beads, a belt fastened with a copper alloy buckle, a copper alloy bracelet and was equipped with an iron knife.

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Viking treasure thieves who stole hoard worth £12m with metal detectors are jailed



Metal detectorists George Powell and Layton Davies have been jailed at Worcester Crown Court for stealing a Viking treasure hoard, worth up to £12 million.

The pair failed to declare the "invaluable" and "emblematic" collection of buried coins and jewellery, which date back 1,100 years.

Powell, 38, who was described as having the "leading" role, was jailed for 10 years while Davies, 51, a former caretaker, received eight-and-a-half years behind bars.


The items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

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Metal detectorists convicted of trying to sell £3m Viking treasure hoard on black market


A pair of metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a hoard of Viking coins and jewellery potentially worth £3m – much of which is still missing.

George Powell and Layton Davies covered up their once-in-a-lifetime discovery of a collection dating to King Alfred the Great’s reign 1,100 years ago, and planned to sell it off in small batches.

Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but were typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up at Eye Court Farm near Leominster, Herefordshire, on 2 June, 2015.

Contained in the hoard was a ninth century gold ring, a dragon’s head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins. Only 31 coins have been tracked down.

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Detectorists hid find that rewrites Anglo-Saxon history

 Coins and jewellery from the hoard found by George Powell and Layton Davies. Photograph: .

An expert gasped when he saw coins unearthed by two men now convicted of theft

On a sunny day in June 2015 amateur metal detectorists George Powell and Layton Davies were hunting for treasure in fields at a remote spot in Herefordshire.

The pair had done their research carefully and were focusing on a promising area just north of Leominster, close to high land and a wood with intriguing regal names – Kings Hall Hill and Kings Hall Covert.

But in their wildest dreams they could not have imagined what they were about to find when the alarm on one of their detectors sounded and they began to dig.

Powell and Davies unearthed a hoard hidden more than 1,000 years ago, almost certainly by a Viking warrior who was part of an army that retreated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia after being defeated by Alfred the Great in 878.

There was gold jewellery including a chunky ring, an arm bracelet in the shape of a serpent and a small crystal ball held by thin strips of gold that would have been worn as a pendant. Beneath the gold were silver ingots and an estimated 300 silver coins.

The law is clear: such finds should be reported to the local coroner within 14 days and failure to do so risks an unlimited fine and up to three months in prison. Any reward may be split between the finder, land owner and land occupier.

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UK metal detectorists guilty of theft after concealing £3m hoard

A ring, crystal pendant and ingot found in the haul. Photograph:

Two metal detectorists who unearthed an astonishing hoard of gold jewellery, silver ingots and coins buried more than 1,000 years ago by a Viking warrior in Herefordshire face prison after being found guilty of theft.

George Powell and Layton Davies should legally have declared the find, estimated to be worth more than £3m, but instead they began to show it to dealers and tried to sell parts of it off.

Among the jewellery, which dated from the fifth to ninth centuries, was a ring, an arm bracelet and a small crystal ball held by strips of gold that would have been worn as a pendant.

The jewellery and one ingot have been recovered but the vast majority of the 300 Anglo-Saxon coins that police believe were found remain unaccounted for, to the frustration and anger of historians who see the hoard as hugely important.

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Detectorists stole Viking hoard that 'rewrites history'

Most of the estimated 300 coins believed to be in the hoard are still missing
BRITISH MUSEUM

Two metal detectorists stole a £3m Viking hoard that experts say has the potential to "rewrite history".

George Powell and Layton Davies dug up about 300 coins in a field in Eye, near Leominster, Herefordshire, in 2015.

They did not declare the 1,100-year-old find, said to be one of the biggest to date, and instead sold it to dealers.

They were convicted of theft and concealing their find. Coin sellers Simon Wicks and Paul Wells were also convicted on the concealment charge.

The hoard included a 9th Century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot and a crystal rock pendant. Just 31 coins - worth between £10,000 and £50,000 - and some pieces of jewellery have been recovered, but the majority is still missing.

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Two metal detectorists convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and priceless jewellery

A coin which was part of a £3 million Viking hoard CREDIT: PA

Two metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and priceless jewellery - much of which is still missing.

George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, failed to declare an "invaluable" collection of buried treasure dating back 1,100 years to the reign of King Alfred the Great.

Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

Among the priceless hoard was a ninth century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins, some dating to the reign of King Alfred.

Only 31 of the coins have been recovered, although mobile phone photographs - later deleted, but recovered by police - showed the larger hoard, still intact, in a freshly dug hole.

Powell and Davies were also convicted alongside two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, with conspiring to conceal the find.

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Detectorists stole Viking hoard that 'rewrites history'

Most of the estimated 300 coins believed to be in the hoard are still missing
BRITISH MUSEUM

Two metal detectorists stole a £3m Viking hoard that experts say has the potential to "rewrite history".

George Powell and Layton Davies dug up about 300 coins in a field in Eye, near Leominster, Herefordshire, in 2015.

They did not declare the 1,100-year-old find, said to be one of the biggest to date, and instead sold it to dealers.

They were convicted of theft and concealing their find. Coin sellers Simon Wicks and Paul Wells were also convicted on the concealment charge.

The hoard included a 9th Century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot and a crystal rock pendant. Just 31 coins - worth between £10,000 and £50,000 - and some pieces of jewellery have been recovered, but the majority is still missing.

Read the rest of this article...

Four convicted over theft of £3 million Viking treasure trove that could hold key to English history

George Powell and Layton Davies were convicted at Worcester Crown Court of stealing a £3 million hoard of Viking coins and jewellery ( PA )

Four people have been convicted over the theft of £3 million of Viking treasure which could unlock secrets to the early days of a united England.

A trove of 300 coins and rare pieces of jewellery from the 9th century AD were sold to private collectors before historians and museum experts could glean the history from the find.

Probably buried by the retreating Vikings, the cache was dug up 1,100 years later by metal detectorists George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, on Herefordshire farmland, in 2015.

The pair have now been convicted at Worcester Crown Court of stealing the find, illegally concealing it from the authorities and then selling off coins to private collectors.

A jury also found two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, guilty of conspiring to conceal the hoard.

Wicks was also found guilty of helping sell off the coins for cash.

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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Mysterious battle which 'saved England from the Vikings' WAS fought near Liverpool


A bloody conflict which saw the Anglo Saxons fend off the Vikings and Celts took place in Wirral, near Liverpool, archaeologists say.

Their claim reiterates past theories about the 937AD battle but there has been ongoing debate about its true location, with 40 possible sites suggested.

Researchers in 2017 were convinced it had happened in South Yorkshire.  

But now after researching medieval manuscripts and carrying out land surveys, experts believe they have found the true battlefield in Wirral, northwest England.

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EMAS Archaeological Study Tour to Orkney


EMAS Archaeological Study Tour to Orkney
14 – 23 April 2020
Guide: David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot
The 2020 EMAS spring study tour will be to Orkney. We will travel by coach from Baker Street, London stopping overnight at Middlesbrough and Inverness and visiting archaeological sites on the way.
We will be based in Kirkwall, and will visit sites on Orkney Mainland and the islands of Egilsay, Rousay and Wyre. The sites that we will visit include Maes Howe, Skara Brae, Midhowe Broch, the Brough of Birsay, Cubbie Roo’s Castle, the Earl’s Palace at Birsay and Kirkwall Cathedral.
The cost of this study tour will be £1036 per person for people sharing a twin room, and £1305 per person for a single room.
Please note that hotel accommodation is limited, so an early reply is advised.
Click here for a complete itinerary

Sunday, 3 November 2019

'One of the greatest finds': experts shed light on Staffordshire hoard

Items from the Staffordshire hoard of gold, weapons and ornaments found by a metal detectorist in 2009. Photograph: David Jones/PA

First major academic research finds ‘war hoard’ likely captured in battles between regional kingdoms

When an amateur metal detectorist first heard his machine beep in an unpromising field in Lichfield in July 2009 and dug down to uncover gold, it was clear this was no ordinary archaeological discovery.

But who had collected the astonishing stash of gold, garnet weapons and ornaments he had found? Why had they been buried? And why were so many of them broken?

After a decade of conservation and analysis, archaeologists have finally revealed their conclusions about these tantalising questions and others, with the publication of the first major academic research into what became known as the Staffordshire hoard.

What they have concluded, according to Chris Fern, the lead academic on the project, reaffirms the hoard’s significance as “without a doubt one of the greatest finds of British archaeology” and casts new light on one of the most turbulent periods of early English history.

The archaeologists have even tentatively identified the Mercian king they believe may have once owned the booty, and can draw a tantalising link to the dynasty of the rival Anglo-Saxon ruler who was buried at Sutton Hoo, Britain’s most famous site of the period.

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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Research reveals secret of who owned the Galloway Hoard

Ecgbeorht rune on silver arm-ring [Credit: National Museums Scotland]

Dr Adrian Maldonado, Glenmorangie Research Fellow at National Museums Scotland, said: "It’s really exciting to be able to reveal the first major research finding from the conservation of the Galloway Hoard, a message left by one of the individuals who deposited the hoard 1100 years ago.

We don’t know any more about Egbert than his name right now but there’s something really tantalising about connecting the Galloway Hoard with a named person. Egbert is a common Anglo-Saxon name, and with more research on the rest of the contents of the hoard, we will be able to narrow down its dating and suggest some candidates from the historical record."

"If the hoard belonged to a person or group of Anglo-Saxon speakers, does it mean they were out raiding with other Vikings? Or that these Viking hoards were not always the product of Scandinavian raiders? There are other explanations, but either way this transforms our thinking on the ‘Viking Age’ in Scotland."

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