Saturday 12 April 2008

Bejeweled Anglo-Saxon Burial Suggests Cult

In seventh century England, a woman's jewelry-draped body was laid out on a specially constructed bed and buried in a grave that formed the center of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, according to British archaeologists who recently excavated the site in Yorkshire.

Her jewelry, which included a large shield-shaped pendant, the layout and location of the cemetery as well as excavated weaponry, such as knives and a fine langseax (a single-edged Anglo-Saxon sword), lead the scientists to believe she might have been a member of royalty who led a pagan cult at a time when Christianity was just starting to take root in the region.

"I believe it is a cult because of the arrangement of graves, the short period of the cemetery's use and the bed burial and burial mound that is almost in the center of the very regular cemetery," archaeologist Stephen Sherlock, who directed the project, told Discovery News.

"The whole focus of the cemetery is based upon the bed burial -- it is our view that this was erected first and the other graves were dug around it," added Sherlock, who worked with the Teesside Archaeological Society, which recently published a report on the research.

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Tuesday 8 April 2008

Experts bone up on grisly relics

Archaeologists now believe a dozen skeletons discovered in a mass grave in the centre of Oxford may have belonged to executed criminals from Saxon times.

A team of three archaeologists have been digging in the quadrangle of St John's College in Blackhall Road, off St Giles, for nearly two weeks since the discovery was made.

The bones of 12 or 13 bodies have gradually been uncovered after a body part was discovered 80cm below ground level by diggers excavating the plot before a new quadrangle is built.

City archaeologists have labelled the find the most exciting in Oxford for nearly half a century, and predict more bodies could be found in the area.

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Archaeological work on an Anglo-Saxon settlement in East Anglia

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have meticulously built up a picture of ancient settlements in an isolated location near Aldeburgh. Their work follows two digs during which they discovered evidence of life in the Anglo-Saxon period at Barber's Point, which is on the banks of the River Alde opposite Iken. The digs were carried out in 2004 and 2006 by up to 50 volunteers with the help of the county council's archaeological service. The Local History Initiative gave £25,000 towards the work which was commissioned by the Aldeburgh and District Local History Society.

Richard Newman, a founder member of the society, had a long-held ambition to dig at Barber's Point and he is delighted with the success of the project. “It has been a fascinating time and a lot of people have had a lot of fun, enjoyed a taste of archaeology and developed a greater understanding of what was going on in these parts,” he said. “When we started we thought we would just find a fairly humble Roman site, possibly linked to salt making of which there are a number of sites on the River Alde. But by the second session it became obvious that it was considerably more.”

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Sunday 6 April 2008

Archaeological finds set to go on display

DONCASTER Museum is expected to stage an exhibition of the borough's recent major Viking or Saxon find in the next few months.

Doncaster Council expects the bones of the 35 people whose grave was found during site preparations for the construction of the new North Ridge Community School in Adwick to be returned when archaeologists finish working on them.

But it is unlikely all the bones will be put on public display at the Chequer Road venue and may be kept in storage by the authority.

Jane Miller, director of neighbourhoods, said: "The excavated material is currently undergoing conservation and analysis but it is hoped that an exhibition will be held in Doncaster to give local people the chance to look at some of the
se finds within the next few months."

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Thursday 3 April 2008

Bid to make St Bede's home a world attraction

CREATED by Benedict Biscop in the 7th century, the joint monastic site of Jarrow and Wearmouth is one of the greatest treasures from the Golden Age of Northumbria.

The visit of leading heritage experts to the site yesterday underlined the importance of the World Heritage Site bid.

A local authorities World Heritage Forum was staged, bringing together local authority elected members and officials from across the country who are closely involved in World Heritage Sites.

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