Friday, 2 December 2016

Bitumen from Middle East discovered in 7th century buried ship in UK


Middle Eastern Bitumen, a rare, tar-like material, is present in the seventh century ship buried at Sutton Hoo, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on December 01, 2016 by Pauline Burger and colleagues from the British Museum, UK and the University of Aberdeen.
The seventh century ship found within a burial mound at Sutton Hoo, UK was first excavated in 1939 and is known for the spectacular treasure it contained including jewellery, silverware, coins, and ceremonial armour. The site is thought to be an example of the European ship-burial rites of the time, and also includes a burial chamber where a corpse was likely laid. Fragments of black organic material found in this chamber were originally identified as locally-produced 'Stockholm Tar' and linked to repair and maintenance of the ship. The authors of the present study re-evaluated these previously-identified samples, as well as other tar-like materials found at the site, using imaging techniques and isotopic analysis and found the samples had been originally misidentified.

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Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England


Analysis of black organic fragments found in the Sutton Hoo boat burial has revealed they are bitumen from Syria.
The Suffolk site was excavated in 1939. Gold and garnet jewellery, silverware and ceremonial armour were discovered. 
The small black objects scattered among the 7th Century finds were believed to be pine tar used for boat maintenance.
British Museum and Aberdeen University experts have revealed they are bitumen Andrew said they demonstrated the "far-reaching" Anglo-Saxon trade network.

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Friday, 18 November 2016

Revealing the substandard fate of the Dark Age dead


Almost 80 wooden coffins excavated at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk provides fascinating insight into the lives and deaths of Dark Age Anglo-Saxons


Our Dark Age Anglo-Saxon ancestors ended up in coffins made of decidedly substandard timber – according to new archaeological research.
In the first ever group of Dark Age wooden coffins ever unearthed in Britain, investigators have found that they were mostly made of poor quality knotted timber and that some of them were even slightly curved.
It appears that quality wood was so valuable that unknotted straight timber tended to be reserved for making planks and posts for buildings.
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Surprise Find: More Than 80 Anglo-Saxon Coffins Uncovered in England


An ancient Anglo-Saxon cemetery with more than 80 rare wooden coffins containing skeletons has been unearthed in England.
Earlier this year, archaeologists were investigating the ground around a river in the village of Great Ryburgh in eastern England, ahead of the construction of a lake and flood defense system. During an excavation, they started finding graves arranged in rows.
"We had no idea it [the cemetery] was going to be there," James Fairclough, an archaeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), told Live Science. [See Photos of the Rare Wooden Coffins and Cemetery]
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Discovery Of Rare Anglo-Saxon Burials Is Revealed


Archaeologists have uncovered an important Anglo-Saxon cemetery in an excavation in advance of a conservation and fishing lake and flood defence system at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk. The waterlogged conditions of the river valley led to the remarkable preservation of burials that are extremely rare in the archaeological record, including plank-lined graves and tree-trunk coffins dating from the 7th-9th century AD.

It is believed that this may have been the final resting place for a community of early Christians including a timber structure thought to be a church or chapel, of which there are few examples from this period. The wooden grave markers, east-west alignment of the coffins and the evident lack of grave goods all support the Christian origins of the cemetery.

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Anglo-Saxon 'palace' found at Rendlesham near Sutton Hoo site

One of the beads found at the site in Rendlesham

Archaeologists believe they have found a lost Anglo-Saxon royal palace near one of Britain's best known finds.
Archaeologists have been studying an area at Rendlesham, about four miles (6km) from the Sutton Hoo burial site.
Faye Minter, project co-ordinator, said the remains of a 23m (75ft) by 9m (30ft) structure could have once been a royal hall or palace.
And she said it was "likely" there are "other royal burial sites" like Sutton Hoo dotted along the River Deben.
The hall find, said Ms Minter, of Suffolk County Council's archaeological unit, might be the same "palace" referred to by the Venerable Bede in the 8th Century.
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

A bronze age barrow and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery have been unearthed in Rothley

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have discovered the hidden gems of the Leicestershire village during an investigation into how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places.



Archaeologists have dug into Rothley's ancient past and discovered a bronze age barrow and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery - shedding important light on the history of the area.
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have discovered the hidden gems of the Leicestershire village during an investigation into how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places.
The project, funded by Persimmons Homes in advance of a new housing development off Loughborough Road, Rothley, explored the concept of Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon people possibly making connections with Bronze Age barrow builders in order to create their own sense of place in the landscape.
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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Evidence Of 'Largest Anglo-Saxon Building In Scotland' Found


Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of what is believed to be the largest Anglo-Saxon building found in Scotland.
The dig at Glebe Field, Aberlady, has uncovered the foundations of a large Anglo-Saxon structure dating back to between the 7th and 9th century
[Credit: Aberlady Angles Project]
The foundations of the building, which may have been a monastery or even a royal home dating back to about 1,200 years ago, were discovered during excavations in Glebe Field, Aberlady.

Tests on an animal bone found at the scene have confirmed it dates back to between the 7th and 9th century.

Ian Malcolm, from Aberlady Conservation and History Society, described the first date evidence from the site as “very, very exciting”.

He said: “It is evidence that it was an important and a wealthy site.”


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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Lindisfarne monastery evidence found by amateur archaeologist

The stone was found by a member of the public who had contributed to the crowd-funded dig

An amateur archaeologist has unearthed what is believed to be evidence of one of England's earliest Christian monasteries in a dig on Lindisfarne.
The rare grave marker, thought to be from the mid 7th-8th Century, has been described as a "stunning find".
A £25,000 project off the north-east coast was crowd-funded by 200 donors, including 60 who took part in the dig.
Project leader Lisa Westcott Wilkins said the name stone was "absolutely fantastic diagnostic evidence".
"It was a spectacular moment and, even better for us, is that...it wasn't found by one of the team leaders or experts, it was found by a member of the public who had helped to fund and make the project possible," she said.
The team has made a 3D interactive image of the find.

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Monday, 27 June 2016

THE DAY OF ARCHAEOLOGY 2016 WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY 29 JULY!




We are looking for people working, studying or volunteering in the archaeological world to participate with us in a “Day of Archaeology” in July 2016. The resulting Day of Archaeology website will demonstrate the wide variety of work our profession undertakes day-to-day across the globe, and help to raise public awareness of the relevance and importance of archaeology to the modern world. We want anyone with a personal, professional or voluntary interest in archaeology to get involved, and help show the world why archaeology is vital to protect the past and inform our futures.

Explore posts from previous years here...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Story of one of the largest Saxon cemeteries ever found in Wessex revealed 42 years after its discovery

One of the largest Saxon cemeteries ever found in Wessex contains cremations, inhumations and warrior burials


Found in Collingbourne Ducis in Wessex, this skull shows a well-healed trepanation. There is no indication that the man had suffered any head injuries prior to the procedure
© Wessex Archaeology

Cremations, inhumations and graves accompanied by shield bosses, knives and spearheads were among the 77 burials at one of the largest Saxon cemeteries ever discovered in Wessex, say archaeologists who have released their findings at the site after re-examining a tricky terrain first excavated during the 1970s.

A local woman alerted the local council in the village of Collingbourne Ducis when she saw bones protruding from the ground at a housing development site in late 1973. More than 30 graves were found there by archaeologists in 1974, with a further 86 – believed to date from between the 5th and 7th centuries – uncovered in 2007.


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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

More Anglo-Saxons - including a warrior and a high-status woman - have been found by archaeologists in Wiltshire

A six-foot warrior and a high-status woman were part of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery excavated in south-east Wiltshire


Last month, archaeologists found an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, Neolithic monuments and spears, knives and bone combs at a proposed Ministry of Defence housing site on Salisbury Plain. In the nearby garrison town of Tidworth, they’ve now excavated a 1,300-year-old cemetery of 55 burials from between the late 7th and early 8th centuries, containing the remains of men, women and children representing a cross-section of a local community.

“The mid-Saxon cemetery is of particular importance in its own right,” says Bruce Eaton, the Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology, surveying one grave confining a six-foot tall warrior with an “unusually large” spearhead and conical shield boss. “But taken together with the excavation of the cemetery on MOD land at Bulford, which was of a similar date, we now have the opportunity to compare and contrast the burial practices of two communities living only a few miles apart. They would almost certainly have known each other.”

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Viking Great Army in England: Torksey, treasure and towns


The Viking Great Army in England: Torksey, treasure and towns

Tuesday 3 May 2016, 5.30PM

Speaker: Julian Richards


From AD 865 to 879 a Viking army wreaked havoc on the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, leading to political conquest, settlement on a substantial scale, and extensive Scandinavian cultural and linguistic influences in eastern and northern England. This critical period for English history led to revolutionary changes in land ownership, society, and economy, including the growth of towns and industry, while transformations in power politics would ultimately see the rise of Wessex as the pre-eminent kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England. 

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Did volcano eruptions tip Europe into Dark Ages?


Back-to-back volcanic eruptions in the mid-6th century darkened Europe's skies for more than a year and may have ushered in the Dark Ages, according to finding to be presented Friday at a science conference in Vienna.
"Either would have led to significant cooling of Earth's surface," said Matthew Toohey, a climate modeller at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel Germany who led the research.
"But taken together, the two eruptions"—in 536 and 540—"were likely the most powerful volcanic event affecting the northern hemisphere climate over at least the past 1,500 years," he told AFP at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union.
Their combined impact lowered temperatures by two degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during what is probably the coldest decade in the last two millennia, he added.
This sudden drop, caused by a Sun-blocking blanket of sulphur particles in the stratosphere, had a devastating impact on agriculture, provoking famine throughout much of Europe and beyond.
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Romsey Abbey: The mystery of the hair in the coffin


For the past few months, archaeologists have been testing a full head of hair found in a coffin. Is it the hair of a saint?
In October 1839, the work of some gravediggers came to an abrupt halt when their tools hit something hard. It was a lead coffin. Inside they found some hair. Human hair.
In the year 2000, a seven-year-old boy called Jamie Cameron went on a school trip to his local parish church, Romsey Abbey in Hampshire. It was where the gravediggers had made their discovery more than a century and a half earlier.
He was taken to a display case and was immediately drawn to the full head of hair, which was still resting on the oak "pillow" on which it was found.

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Monday, 18 April 2016

Prehistoric monuments and 150 Anglo-Saxon graves found at Bulford


Excavations on MOD land in Bulford, Wiltshire, have uncovered 150 Anglo-Saxon graves spanning the later 7th to early 8th century, and a host of prehistoric finds – as well as new insights into early medieval burial practices.
Containing the remains of men, women, and children, the burials were arranged in neat rows, packed closely together – though as none of the graves intercut, the team from Wessex Archaeology (excavating on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, ahead of the construction of new homes for army families) suggests that they may once have been picked out in some way.
‘It is likely that the graves were identified somehow, perhaps with some kind of marker or a low mound,’ said Wessex Archaeology osteologist Jackie McKinley. ‘This is a planned cemetery.’

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Anglo-Saxon graves and Neolithic pits and monuments found at MOD army base where anti-tank weapons were tested


The graves of men, women and children could have contained members of the same families on Salisbury Plain

This workbox was found in the grave of a woman on Ministry of Defence land in Bulford
© Wessex Archaeology

Two Neolithic monuments, prehistoric pits and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery of 150 graves containing spears, knives, jewellery and bone combs have been discovered at an army site where anti-tank weaponry was tested during World War Two.

One burial at Bulford has been radiocarbon dated to the mid Anglo-Saxon period, between AD 660 and 780. The graves have been found as part of a £1 billion Ministry of Defence development to create 1,000 homes for service personnel.
Archaeologists are now planning to excavate the monuments next to the cemetery, which are made up of Early Bronze Age round barrows and are likely to become scheduled monuments. Grooved ware pottery, stone and flint axes, a disc-shaped flint knife, a chalk bowl and deer and extinct wild cattle bones were found in the pits.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Unique jewellery from the British Isles found in Danish Viking grave

A Danish Viking burial site contains a buckle that may have come from Ireland or Scotland.

 The history of this bronze buckle might share some light on just how “global” the Vikings were. (Photo: Ernst Stidsing)


At just 6 cm in diameter, this little buckle is causing quite a stir in archaeological circles.

The small gilt bronze buckle once held a petticoat together and was buried between 900 and 1,000 years ago with its female owner in a Viking grave in west Denmark.

It is a rare find for Denmark, as the buckle appears to have come from Scotland or Ireland.
But just to determine this has been quite a journey, says project manager and archaeologist Ernst Stidsing, from the Museum East Jutland, Denmark.

The find is described in a collection of articles "Dead and buried in the Viking Age", published by Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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British Buckle Found in Danish Viking Grave A gilt bronze buckle dating to more than 1,000 years ago has been found buried with a woman in a Viking grave in west Denmark. Determining the origin of the 2.4-inch-wide buckle has been a major challenge, according to archaeologist Ernst Stidsing of the Museum of East Jutland. Stidsing sent photos of the buckle to a colleague who was stumped and who sent them on to other experts. They agreed that it was from the British Isles, but were divided on exactly which part—some said Ireland, others the south of Scotland. They agreed, however, that the disc was originally a decoration on a religious box and was only used as a buckle after it was stolen. Read the rest of this article...



A gilt bronze buckle dating to more than 1,000 years ago has been found buried with a woman in a Viking grave in west Denmark. Determining the origin of the 2.4-inch-wide buckle has been a major challenge, according to archaeologist Ernst Stidsing of the Museum of East Jutland. Stidsing sent photos of the buckle to a colleague who was stumped and who sent them on to other experts. They agreed that it was from the British Isles, but were divided on exactly which part—some said Ireland, others the south of Scotland. They agreed, however, that the disc was originally a decoration on a religious box and was only used as a buckle after it was stolen.

Read the rest of this article...