Wednesday 29 December 2010

Popular Archaeology Magazine Launched

Popular Archaeology magazine is a 100% online periodical dedicated to participatory, or public, archaeology. Unlike most other major magazines related to archaeology, no paper copies will ever be produced and distributed, so it will always be "green", and it will always be less costly to produce and therefore far less costly to purchase by premium subscribers (although regular subscriptions are always free). Most of our writers and contributors are either professionals or top experts in their fields, or are individuals relating first-hand experiences; however, the magazine is unique among other archaeology-related magazines in that it makes it easy to invite and encourage members of the public (YOU) to submit pertinent articles, blogs, events, directory listings, and classified ads for publication. As a volunteer or student, do you have a fascinating story to tell about an archaeological experience? As a professional archaeologist, scholar, educator, or scientist, do you have a discovery, program or project that you think would be of interest to the world? Do you have an archaeology-related service or item for sale? Would you like to have your archaeology-related blog post featured on the front page? ( Ad and specially featured item prices are lower than what you will find in any other major archaeology magazine). Through Popular Archaeology, you can realize all of these things. Moreover, because the content is produced by a very broad spectrum of contributors, you will see more feature articles than what you would typically find in the major print publications, with the same content quality.

As a community of professionals, writers, students, and volunteers, we invite you to join us as subscribers in this adventure of archaeological discovery. It could open up a whole new world for you.

Read the magazine...

Saturday 18 December 2010

Mucking Anglo-Saxon cemeteries archive released

The ADS, English Heritage, the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust are pleased to announce by the release of The Mucking Anglo-Saxon cemeteries project archive by Sue Hirst and Dido Clark.

The Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at Mucking, Essex, represent the burials of over 800 individuals from the 5th to early 7th centuries AD. The mixed rite Cemetery II is one of the largest and most complete Anglo-Saxon cemeteries yet excavated (282 inhumations, 463 cremation burials), while the partly destroyed Cemetery I included further significant inhumations.

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Saturday 27 November 2010

New Sutton Hoo photographs unearthed

It’s like stepping back in time. The Sutton Hoo Visitors Centre has unearthed a host of new, historically important treasures.

Like the original ship burial, this remarkable find has laid unseen and forgotten for a long time. Tucked away in a dusty storeroom were a couple of fairly nondescript cardboard boxes.

Inside these unprepossessing packages were a photographic treasure trove which sheds new light on the discovery and the excavation of the Sutton Hoo ship burial.

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Monday 8 November 2010

Silbury Hill's Anglo-Saxon makeover

Silbury Hill acquired its distinctive shape in more modern times, according to new archaeological evidence.

It is traditionally thought that the hill, with its steep banks and flat top, was conceived and completed in pre-historic times.

But new research presented in a new book suggests the final shape was a late Anglo-Saxon innovation.

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Thursday 21 October 2010

Britain's first hospital discovered

A site which may house Britain's earliest known hospital has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Radio carbon analysis at the former Leper Hospital at St Mary Magdalen in Winchester, Hampshire, has provided a date range of AD 960-1030 for a series of burials, many exhibiting evidence of leprosy, on the site.

A number of other artefacts, pits, and postholes also relate to the same time including what appears to be a large sunken structure underneath a medieval infirmary.

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Friday 24 September 2010

Newly restored Staffordshire Hoard items on display

A year on from the public unveiling of the Staffordshire Hoard, some newly restored items have gone on display.

A pectoral cross is just one of 21 new exhibits on show at the Potteries Museum in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

The £3.3m hoard was discovered in a field in south Staffordshire and has been heralded as one of the greatest archaeological finds ever.

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Tuesday 21 September 2010

Online Courses in Archaeology with the University of Oxford

Cave paintings, castles and pyramids, Neanderthals, Romans and Vikings - archaeology is about the excitement of discovery, finding out about our ancestors, exploring landscape through time, piecing together puzzles of the past from material remains.

Our courses enable you to experience all this through online archaeological resources based on primary evidence from excavations and artefacts and from complex scientific processes and current thinking. Together with guided reading, discussion and activities you can experience how archaeologists work today to increase our knowledge of people and societies from the past.

View the courses available this term...

Ancient weapons and Anglo-Saxon gold among subjects for Treasure House lectures

A series of autumn lectures are being at the Treasure House, Beverley.

Dr David Marchant, museum's registrar, will begin the series on October 12 with a talk on the South Cave weapons cache - seven years on and what have we learned?

This will be followed by Janet Tierney's Past times, past apparel – a look at costumes in the East Riding museum service collections on Tuesday, October 19. Janet is curator of Goole Museum and Skidby Windmill and Museum of East Riding Rural Life.

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Friday 3 September 2010

Archaeologists solve riddle of bones in Eynsham garden

ONCE surrounded by his aged peers, he is the one they left behind.

Archaeologists yesterday confirmed that the human skeleton discovered in the garden of a house in Wytham View, Eynsham, was that of a man buried 1,500 years ago.

The site was known to be an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and archaeologists had excavated all the other bodies about 40 years ago – but missed him.

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Saxon boat found by workmen

A Saxon boat has been uncovered during flood defence work on the River Ant.

Broadland Environmental Services Ltd (BESL), working on behalf of the Environment Agency, made the significant archaeological discovery.

The boat, approximately three metres long, had been hollowed out by hand from a solid piece of Oak and is believed to date from Saxon times. Five animal skulls were also found close to the boat, which was discovered at a depth of more than two metres.

It is the first opportunity in Norfolk for a vessel of this type and date to be excavated and recorded using modern archaeological methods.

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Thursday 12 August 2010

Dig uncovers Wales’ first Saxon ‘palace’

ARCHAEOLOGISTS yesterday unearthed the first Saxon building found in Wales, and said it may have been the ancient palace of a prince.

A team from Cambrian Archaeological Projects have started a month-long excavation on what appears to be a fifth-century Saxon palace or timber hall on farmland close to Offa’s Dyke at Forden, near Welshpool.

Bulldozers have stripped off the top soil at the Gaer Farm site and revealed evidence of what experts claim is the first of its kind in Wales.

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Tuesday 10 August 2010

Domesday Book reveals the rise of a Norman Abramovich after 1066

Within 20 years of the Norman conquest, England was dominated by "a new class of super rich Frenchmen gorging on their success". So said an academic who has used the Domesday Book to trace the rise and rise of William the Conqueror's barons.

Stephen Baxter, a historian at King's College London, is one of the authors of a database, which goes live tomorrow, making it possible to trawl through figures from the Domesday Book and map the landholdings of those for whom 1066 became a licence to coin money. To take one example, Earl Hugh's estates, more than 300 scattered across 19 shires, generated an income of about £800 a year, over 1% of the nation's entire wealth. "Hugh was an Abramovich-scale billionaire," said Baxter, who presents a programme on Domesday tomorrow on BBC2 in the Normans series.

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Lincoln Castle dig uncovers Saxon homes

Evidence of ruthless land clearance by Norman knights has been found in Lincoln.

Archaeologists working in the castle grounds have discovered remains of Anglo-Saxon houses.

When William the Conqueror decided to build a castle inside the old Roman fort, he swept away 166 homes - more than 10% of the existing town.

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Friday 23 July 2010

More Staffordshire Hoard items on show

Nineteen pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard have gone on public display for the first time.

They are on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Museum manager Keith Bloor said the function of many of the items was still being researched

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Tuesday 20 July 2010

Pillar of Eliseg: Archaeologists dig beneath 9th Century monument

Archaeologists start excavations on a suspected ancient burial site to try to understand the significance of a Llangollen landmark on which it stands.

But the team will have to work carefully because the 9th Century Pillar of Eliseg, a Cadw-protected ancient monument, stands directly on top of the barrow - burial mound - and the archaeologists can't disturb it.

Medieval archaeology Professor Nancy Edwards, from Bangor University, says it is the first time the site has been dug since 1773 when, it is believed, a skeleton was unearthed.

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Wednesday 7 July 2010

Oxford University opens Anglo-Saxon archive to online submissions

Widespread interest in last year's discovery of a hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold in Staffordshire has prompted Oxford University to embark on a mission to create the world's largest online archive about the period.

The university is asking members of the public to upload any stories, poems, writing, art or songs they have composed or heard that relate to Old English and the Anglo-Saxons to Project Woruldhord (Old English for "world-hoard"). Oxford is also keen for translations of Anglo-Saxon texts, pictures and videos of Anglo-Saxon buildings or monuments, recordings of Old English, and even videos of historical re-enactments, to be included in the archive.

"We've just appointed a new professor of poetry, Geoffrey Hill, whose Mercian Hymns [about eighth-century ruler King Offa] harks back to the period," said Dr Stuart Lee, who is running Project Woruldhord. "Many other people have also been inspired by the literature and have written their own work."

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Saturday 19 June 2010

How the study of teeth is revealing our history

The scientific study of teeth and bones is transforming our knowledge of our historic past

So British scientists have proved some bones found in Magdeburg Cathedral to be the remains of our Anglo-Saxon Princess Eadgyth. At least, science helped. Eadgyth was known to have been buried in Germany: in 2008 archaeologists there opened her tomb, and found a lead box containing bones from a woman of the right age, with an inscription saying they were her remains.

In a more innocent age, this might have been enough to settle the case. But today we like science, the full CSI drama. Yet before we get too cynical about Eadgyth (the science showed that the woman in Magdeburg probably grew up in southern England), we should recognise that the technique used is transforming the way we think about our ancient and early historic past. Something big is going on.

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German cathedral bones 'are Saxon queen Eadgyth'

Scientists have revealed that they think bones found in a German cathedral are those of one of the earliest members of the English royal family.

The remains of Queen Eadgyth, who died in 946, were excavated in Magdeburg Cathedral in 2008.

The granddaughter of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, the Saxon princess married Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 929.

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The life of an Anglo-Saxon princess

The unearthing of Eadgyth, the Anglo-Saxon princess, was an emotional moment for historian Michael Wood. She was the Diana of the dark ages – charismatic, with the common touch

For anyone interested in the kings and queens of England it was a touching moment last year to see the heavy tomb cover lifted in Magdeburg Cathedral. The inscription said the occupant was Eadgyth, queen of the Germans, the Anglo-Saxon granddaughter of Alfred the Great, sister of Athelstan the first king of a united England. But was it really her? Now the results of the scientific examination are through: isotopes from her tooth enamel confirm that this early medieval woman, a regular horse rider who died in her mid-30s, had indeed spent her first years in southern England. It is her, after all.

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Thursday 17 June 2010

Remains of first king of England's sister found in German cathedral

Bones offer insight into royal life of Eadgyth, whose brother Athelstan married off to German king in 929, say scientists

She ate lots of fish, rode frequently, may have suffered from a disease or an eating disorder at 10 and regularly moved around the chalky uplands of southern England, presumably as she followed her regal father around his kingdom.

Analysis of remains found in a German cathedral have not only confirm they belonged to the granddaughter of the English king Alfred the Great but also given an insight into the life and times of a Saxon princess.

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German cathedral bones 'are Saxon queen Eadgyth'

Scientists are to announce that bones found in a German cathedral are those of one of the earliest members of the English royal family.

The remains of Queen Eadgyth, who died in 946, were excavated in Magdeburg Cathedral in 2008.

The granddaughter of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, the Saxon princess married Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 929.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Anglo-Saxon finds to be examined

ANGLO-SAXON finds that were unearthed in Cheltenham have been moved off site for further investigation.

Two skeletons, pottery and a large wooden hall used for feasting were discovered during building work on the new All Saints' Academy site earlier this month.

The finds, thought to date to the 6th to 8th Century AD, have now been moved to the offices of Cotswold Archaeology at Kemble Airfield for further investigatory work to be carried out.

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Friday 21 May 2010

Archeologist will give Hoard update

STEPHEN Dean, Staffordshire's County Archaeologist, will be giving an update on the fabulous Staffordshire Hoard at Lichfield Guildhall next month.
Tickets, costing £5, are in aid of the Artfund in order to create the Mercian Trail.
The talk, at the Bore Street venue, takes place on Wednesday, June 9, from 7.30pm.

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Anglo-Saxon finds at new Cheltenham academy site

An Anglo-Saxon settlement has been discovered on the site of the new All Saints' Academy in Cheltenham.

Two skeletons, pottery and a large timber hall, all thought to date back to between the 6th to 8th Century, have been uncovered.

Steve Sheldon, of Cotswold Archaeology, said it was previously thought the area did not succumb to Saxon control during that period.

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Monday 17 May 2010

Saxon church is East Yorkshire's 'oldest building'

Experts say they have identified East Yorkshire's oldest standing building.

Part of St Peter and St Paul's Church, near Stamford Bridge, is thought to be 1,100 years old, 300 years older than previously believed.

Archaeologist Peter Ryder recognised it as an early Saxon church when he was invited to inspect the building.

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Thursday 6 May 2010

Remains of 1,100-year-old drinking pot help pinpoint Wallingford's history

A BUILDER’S drinking pot which was smashed more than 1,100 years ago could help archaeologists accurately date the birth of Wallingford for the first time.

Leicester University experts say tiny pottery fragments uncovered in the town’s Anglo-Saxon ramparts could prove Wallingford was first fortified during the reign of Alfred the Great to protect his kingdom from Viking invasion.

Dozens of local volunteers helped sieve a tonne of earth last month during two weeks of excavations in Castle Meadows, where the archaeologists uncovered the ramparts beneath later medieval construction.

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Monday 3 May 2010

Dig for archaeological victory at new road site

KENT NEWS: Britain’s largest archaeological dig is now under way in Thanet and will last until work begins on a new road in June.

The big dig has already unearthed a multitude of artefacts and is expected to reveal even more secrets about Kent’s past.

And to ensure every step is covered, it is being captured on film for a BBC Two documentary.

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Friday 30 April 2010

Has the Anglo-Saxon stone been saved?

Earlier in the week we reported the consternation of historians over the sale of an Anglo-Saxon stone. Now the item has been withdrawn from auction

It was the Guardian wot won it. Perhaps. In Monday's G2 I reported that, to the consternation of archaeologists and historians, an Anglo-Saxon stone carving was to be sold yesterday by Bonhams in London.

The carving is part of a cross from Peakirk, Northamptonshire, a monument to St Pega, England's first female hermit, which fell into the hands of a couple called the Evereds when they acquired a former chapel and its outbuildings eight years ago. It wasn't regarded as part of the listed building; neither was it covered by the Treasure Act. So the fear was that it could disappear from public view or even go abroad.

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Wednesday 28 April 2010

Anglo-Saxon treasures revealed by Parker Library website

One of the most important collections of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts – for centuries kept at Corpus Christi College – has been entirely digitised, making it the first research library to have every page of its collection captured.

The Parker Library was entrusted to the College in 1574 by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury under Queen Elizabeth from 1559 until his death in 1575, and one of the primary architects of the English Reformation.

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Tuesday 27 April 2010

Outcry as Anglo-Saxon Inscribed Stone Goes on Sale at Bonhams

The CBA has written to Bonhams about this rare and vulnerable item of sculpture requesting that the lot is withdrawn.

CBA Director Mike Heyworth has written to the auction house Bonhams, requesting that they withdraw this lot from sale in tomorrow’s auction of antiquities and to allow the owner to receive it back without financial penalty.

The section of a cross-shaft is an important example of a rare and vulnerable form of Anglo-Saxon sculpture. Its scholarly and heritage value is recognised through the work of the British Academy-funded Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland.

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Save our Anglo-Saxon stone!

Part of an ancient Northamptonshire monument to England's first female hermit is up for sale. Should it be allowed to leave Britain?

At the time it seemed the ideal solution. For eight years, Nick Evered has had a piece of carved Anglo-Saxon stone in his sitting room (it came with the house). "It's attractive," he says, but not the sort of thing he would go out and buy; and he could do without the responsibility of looking after it, insuring it and showing it to the occasional visiting scholar. Selling it seemed a good idea. But when he handed the stone over to Bonhams in London – where it is due to be auctioned on Wednesday – he had no idea what a storm the Anglo-Saxon specialists would blow up.

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Sunday 18 April 2010

Social Networks for Archaeology

The power and importance of social networks are growing all the time, not least in the field of archaeology.

I thought that it would be useful to compile a list of these sites for archaeology. The list as it stands at the moment can be found here….

Obviously, this list is very incomplete at the moment, so if you know of any archaeological social network site that should be added, please give details on the form here…

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Anglo-Saxon Stafford. Archaeological Investigations 1954-2004. Field Reports Online

In July AD 913 Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, founded Stafford as part of a campaign for the recovery of England from the Danes. She was the commander of the left flank in the northward advance, while her brother Edward the Elder led the pincer movement on the right flank. Wessex had already been won, thanks to the persistence and ingenuity of their father, Alfred the Great.

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Monday 12 April 2010

TV Preview: Saxon Gold: Finding the Hoard C4, 9pm

A REPEAT of the programme previously shown on National Geographic, Saxon Gold: Finding The Hoard recounts what happened when amateur metal detecting enthusiast Terry Herbert uncovered the largest Anglo Saxon treasure hoard ever found in Britain. Just below the surface of a field belonging to farmer Fred Johnson near Lichfield, he unearthed more than 200 pieces of jewelled gold and silver treasure, buried, lost and forgotten for a millennium. Archaeologists later excavated a further 1,400 items. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Sunday 11 April 2010

Staffordshire Hoard location revealed

The secret location where the multi-million pound Staffordshire Hoard was unearthed is to be revealed for the first time in a television documentary this week.

Newspapers and broadcasters have largely abided by archaeologists' requests not to publish the exact position of the field where metal detectorist Terry Herbert found the exquisite Anglo-Saxon collection in July last year, fearing the site could be targeted by thieves.

But a new Channel 4 documentary includes footage of the field where the hoard was discovered, and even pinpoints the location of the main archaeological trench within the plot of land.

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Friday 9 April 2010

Staffordshire and Tamworth and announce £100,000 Hoard contribution

Staffordshire County Council and Tamworth Borough Council officially announced a £100,000 contribution to the Staffordshire Hoard Fund today.

Having successfully raised the £3.3m needed to acquire the Hoard, a further £1.7m is needed to ensure that vital conservation and research work can take place on the 1600 items that make up the treasure. It will also ensure it is appropriately displayed and interpreted for all to enjoy.

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Saturday 27 March 2010

Second dig on Staffordshire Hoard site to learn more about the treasure

A SECOND dig at the site of the Staffordshire Hoard has finished as archaeologists try to learn more about the Anglo Saxon treasure.

The dig, led by Staffordshire County Council’s principal archaeologist Steve Dean, was an attempt to find out why the Hoard was left in a field for an amateur metal enthusiast to discover centuries later.

Five trenches and ten test pits were dug to find clues about the landscape at the time the £3.3 million treasure was buried.

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Friday 26 March 2010

Lichfield Cathedral to be part of Staffordshire Hoard’s Mercian Trail

Lichfield Cathedral will be part of a new Mercian Trail, being created as part of plans to showcase the magnificent Staffordshire Hoard on Anglo Saxon gold treasures.

And as part of the celebrations to mark the announcement that the Art Fund has saved the largest archaeological Anglo-Saxon find ever unearthed for the nation; the Cathedral has been chosen for an exclusive advance preview of a National Geographic film about the Hoard’s discovery.

The film Saxon Gold: Finding the Hoard will be shown on Friday night at 7.30pm.

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Team digs for clues at Staffordshire Hoard site

EXPERTS have spent the week digging up the Hammerwich field where the Staffordshire Hoard was found. But the archeologists say there is definitely no more gold on the site.

They have been examining the land off Barracks Lane, pictured below, in an attempt to find out more about its history.

Staffordshire's county archaeologist Stephen Dean said: "Last July we were very much looking to recover material, but we knew we needed to come back.

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Wednesday 24 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard saved for the nation

The collection - the largest ever find of Anglo-Saxon gold - was unearthed on Staffordshire farmland by a metal detector enthusiast last year and later valued at £3.3 million.

Today the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the Government's fund of last resort for heritage items at risk, pledged £1,285,000.

The grant, added to the amount already raised during a nationwide fundraising drive, means that the hoard can now be purchased and displayed permanently in the UK.

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Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire hoard saved by £1.3m heritage grant

The Staffordshire hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure found last year will receive a £1.3m Heritage Memorial Fund grant to allow it to remain in Midlands museums

A grant of £1,285,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) will keep the glittering treasures of the Staffordshire hoard, the most spectacular heap of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, in the region where an amateur metal detector found it last summer after it spent 1,300 years buried in a nondescript field.

The grant goes to Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent museums, which will share the treasure, having raised the £3.3m necessary to pay Terry Herbert, who found the gold, and farmer Fred Johnson, the owner of the field where it was discovered.

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Tuesday 23 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard saved for the West Midlands

The Staffordshire Hoard is to remain in the West Midlands after the £3.3m purchase price was met.

The Anglo Saxon treasure was found in a field in Staffordshire by a metal-detecting enthusiast last July.

A grant of £1.285m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has been added to the money raised by a campaign led by Stoke and Birmingham councils.

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Monday 22 March 2010

Ridgeway Vikings exhibition attracts huge crowds

THOUSANDS gathered at an exhibition in Weymouth to see the archaeological treasures unearthed during building of the town’s Relief Road.

The Pavilion Ocean Room was transformed into an Aladdin’s Cave of ancient bones, Iron Age pottery, jewellery and other finds.

Crowds filled the hall keen to learn more about the discoveries, including the Viking remains found in a mass grave at the top of Ridgeway.

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Friday 19 March 2010

Fresh dig at Staffordshire hoard treasure site

Another dig is to be held at the site of where the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure was discovered.

The original find of 1,500 gold and silver pieces was made by metal detectorist Terry Herbert in a farmer's field in Staffordshire in July 2009.

Experts say the new dig is not expected to turn up any more gold, but could reveal how the original items came to be there.

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Thursday 18 March 2010

Weymouth ridgeway skeletons 'Scandinavian Vikings'

Fifty-one decapitated skeletons found in a burial pit in Dorset were those of Scandinavian Vikings, scientists say.

Mystery has surrounded the identity of the group since they were discovered at Ridgeway Hill, near Weymouth, in June.

Analysis of teeth from 10 of the men revealed they had grown up in countries with a colder climate than Britain's.

Watch the video...

Illegal metal detecting crackdown

Archaeologists are to team up with police in a bid to crack down on illegal metal detecting in Norfolk.

Norfolk has the highest number of recovered artefacts in the country declared treasure and a successful long-established working relationship with legitimate metal- detecting enthusiasts.

There were 109 cases of items found in Norfolk being declared treasure in 2008-09. Recent finds include a hoard of 24 Henry III short-cross pennies in Breckland, and an early Saxon gold spangle from south Norfolk.

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Previews of Staffordshire Hoard film to be shown in Stoke-on-Trent

Special preview screenings of a National Geographic film about the Staffordshire Hoard are to take place at The Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent

Saxon Gold – Finding the Hoard is narrated by Bernard Hill of Titanic and Lord of the Rings fame, and two screenings will take place on March 26 at 3pm and 6pm.

Richard Belfield, the film’s executive producer, will be at the museum’s Forum Theatre to give an introduction.

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Wednesday 17 March 2010

51 Headless Vikings in English Execution Pit Confirmed

Naked, beheaded, and tangled, the bodies of 51 young males found in the United Kingdom have been identified as brutally slain Vikings, archaeologists announced Friday.

The decapitated skeletons—their heads stacked neatly to the side—were uncovered in June 2009 in a thousand-year-old execution pit near the southern seaside town of Weymouth (United Kingdom map).

Already radio-carbon dating results released in July had shown the men lived between A.D. 910 and 1030, a period when the English fought—and often lost—battles against Viking invaders. (Related: "Viking Weapon-Recycling Site Found in England?")

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Teeth tests show victims from mass war grave in Weymouth pit could have been Swedish

"Painstaking" analysis of teeth from ten of the executed corpses found in a mass grave on the Weymouth Olympic Relief Road last summer has revealed the slaughtered remains may have belonged to Vikings from Scandinavia and the Polar regions.

Isotope tests showed the men had grown up in a cold, non-chalk climate with a predominantly protein-based diet, nodding to research collected on bodies from Swedish and Arctic Circle sites.

Strontium and oxygen samples were used to determine the local geology and climate of their native countries, supported by carbon and nitrogen investigations reflecting their likely eating patterns.

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Weymouth Relief Road archaeology day school

Spaces are still available on the Weymouth Relief Road archaeology day school this Saturday, 20 March.

Tickets cost £12, and the day includes presentations by Oxford Archaeology, Wessex Archaeology and Dorset County Museum, as well as having access to the exhibition.

To book a space call Dorset County Council senior archaeologist Claire Pinder on 01305 224921, you will then be able to pick your ticket up on the door.

Limited space – over 200 tickets sold so far!

If you don’t book, you can’t come in!

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Saxon object mystery for Canterbury experts

A Saxon object which was uncovered in an archaeological dig in Kent cannot be identified by experts.

The circular silver, bronze and wooden disk was found in a Saxon burial ground at The Meads, Sittingbourne, in 2008.

Despite using microscopes, X-rays and reading articles about burial grounds, the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) has been unable to identify it.

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Monday 15 March 2010

Visitors queue to see return of Staffordshire Hoard in Birmingham

CROWDS of new, intrigued visitors have flocked to see previously unseen items from the Staffordshire Hoard in Birmingham.

They spoke about their fascination with the hoard as part of it returned to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

A selection of about 60 items has gone on display including helmet fragments, a crumpled gold cross and parts of animal ornaments.

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Archaeological finds at The Meads, Sittingbourne

Archaeologists are puzzled over a mystery object uncovered at The Meads, Sittingbourne.

The item, which was found during a dig of the site in 2008, was put on public display along with several other items including swords and shield bosses at the Forum Shopping Centre on Friday.

It could take months of research before the team working on the project discover what the item is.

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Sunday 14 March 2010

Decapitated Viking Skeletons found near Weymouth

The archaeological news recently has been full of articles concerning the decapitated skeletons found during the excavations for the Weymouth Relief Road.

With so many news reports it is often difficult to separate the journalistic hyperbole from the facts, and one often has to look at several reports even to begin to get the full picture.

This website draws together the important facts and gives links to informative press releases. The last page contains links to a video and collections of pictures of the excavations.

You can find the website here…

The long battle for the Staffordshire treasure hoard

For 1,400 years, a stash of Anglo-Saxon artefacts remained buried — until it was found last year by a man with a metal detector. It throws fascinating new light on clashes in the Dark Ages, but now we must win the fight to keep this precious hoard in Britain

It’s a misty dawn in Middle England, some time in the 7th century. A small band of armed men struggle up a wooded hill. At the summit they pause. While one keeps watch, the others tip their loot on to the ground. They divide up the jewels and coins, then they turn to the rest of the booty: swords, crosses, saddle fittings, which are mostly gold and exquisitely made. They hammer at them with stones and the hilts of their knives, they rip the pommels from the swords and stuff the blades into their jerkins, smash the helmets and bend the arms of the crosses until they look like nothing more than twisted pieces of metal. They stuff the small gold and bejewelled fragments into leather pouches, grub out a hole in the earth, and bury their cache. Then they disappear over the hill as swiftly as they came.

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Saturday 13 March 2010

Ridgeway Viking grave: Historian's hope

HISTORIAN Stuart Morris is hoping the bones will shed more light on when Vikings were first believed to have arrived on the British Isles at Portland in 787.

He said Anglo Saxon chronicles have shown that on their arrival the Shire Reeve, or sheriff of Dorchester, travelled to Portland to meet and trade with the Vikings but was killed.

And Mr Morris is hoping the discovery of the bones on the Ridgeway might reveal what happened when the Shire Reeve met them.

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Ridgeway Viking grave: Finds to go on display

FINDS from the Viking grave and other archaeological sites unearthed along the route of the Weymouth Relief Road are going on display later this month.

The Pavilion Ocean Room will be turning into an Aladdin’s cave of archaeological treasure as exhibits are laid out.

During the free event, ancient bones, Iron Age pottery, shale jewellery and many other finds will be on display.

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1,000-Year-Old Massacre Uncovered in England

A macabre and forgotten episode from the Dark Ages has been uncovered by British researchers after they examined dozens of beheaded skeletons.

Mystery surrounded the identity of the victims since they were discovered by accident last June near Weymouth, Dorset, England, when workers at a 2012 building site, stumbled across a burial pit.

The grave contained a mass of bones and 51 skulls neatly stacked in a pile.

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Beheaded Vikings found at Olympic site

They were 51 young men who met a grisly death far from home, their heads chopped off and their bodies thrown into a mass grave.

Their resting place was unknown until last year, when workers excavating for a road near the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth, England, unearthed the grave. But questions remained about who the men were, how long they had been there and why they had been decapitated.

On Friday, officials revealed that analysis of the men's teeth shows they were Vikings, executed with sharp blows to the head around a thousand years ago. They were killed during the Dark Ages, when Vikings frequently invaded the region.

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Unseen Staffordshire Hoard treasure back on display in Birmingham

Helmet fragments previously unseen in Birmingham will go on display when items from the world’s largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure returns to the city tomorrow (Saturday).

A selection of 59 items will be on display including helmet fragments with animal decorations and warriors. Other artefacts to be displayed include

fragments of decoration of eagles and ducks, a crumpled gold cross and a red garnet stud.

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Friday 12 March 2010

University of Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology

Exploring Roman Britain (starts April 2010)

Origins of Human Behaviour (starts April 2010)

Pompeii and the Cities of the Roman World (starts May 2010)

Ritual and Religion in Prehistory (starts April 2010)

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers (starts May 2010)

Click on the course title for further details.

Decapitated bodies found in Dorset burial pit were executed Vikings

Fifty beheaded young men found in a burial pit last year were probably executed Vikings, archaeologists revealed today.

Teeth samples from 10 of the decapitated warriors discovered in Weymouth, in Dorset, show that they were Scandinavian invaders who fell into the hands of Anglo Saxons.

Dating back to between AD910 and AD1030, the mass war grave is among the largest examples ever found of executed foreigners buried in one spot.

Read the rest of this article...

Weymouth ridgeway skeletons 'Scandinavian Vikings'

Fifty-one decapitated skeletons found in a burial pit in Dorset were those of Scandinavian Vikings, scientists say.

Mystery has surrounded the identity of the group since they were discovered at Ridgeway Hill, near Weymouth, in June.

Analysis of teeth from 10 of the men revealed they had grown up in countries with a colder climate than Britain's.

Read the rest of this article...

See also In pictures: Burial pit (BBC)

Archaeologists uncover headless corpses of 51 Vikings executed by Saxons in Dorset killing field

They knelt and cowered together - a once proud and fearless band of raiders stripped and humiliated by their Saxon captors.

One by one, their executioners stepped forward, uttered a prayer and brought their axes and swords crashing down on the necks of the Viking prisoners.

The axes fell until the roadside was sticky with blood from the decapitated corpses of the 51 men, most barely in their twenties.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard returning to Birmingham with unseen items

UNSEEN relics that form part of the Staffordshire Hoard will be added to a display returning to Birmingham this Saturday.

Helmet fragments will be featured alongside 59 items from the world’s largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure.

Huge crowds are again expected as the city is hit by a second ‘gold rush’.

And the new display announcement comes as it was revealed that the appeal to raise enough funds to bring it permanently to the Midlands has hit £1.5 million.

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Tuesday 9 March 2010

Saxon pottery at Wisbech playground site

Archaeologists have unearthed Saxon pottery at the site of a new adventure playground in Cambridgeshire.

Further excavations will now take place at the site in Waterlees, Wisbech.

A dig took place ahead of the £800,000 project, which will not be delayed by the discovery, Cambridgeshire County Council said.

Archaeologists are expected to carry out more digs in the Roman Bank end of the site, the opposite end to where construction is due to begin.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday 8 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard display in Stoke-on-Trent closes

A temporary public display of the Staffordshire Hoard has now closed.

A selection of 118 gold items have been on display at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent for the past three weeks.

The Museum said it had welcomed its 50,000th visitor to see the treasure on its final day of exhibition on Sunday.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday 7 March 2010

Change in Blog Address

As you will have noticed, the address for this blog has changed.

This is because Blogger are phasing out their FTP service.

If you have been using an RSS feed for this blog, then you will need to change the address. Simply click on the “Subscribe to Posts [Atom]” at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.

Similarly, if you have been receiving email notifications, you will have to register again using the form in the right-hand sidebar.

Sorry for the inconvenience,

David Beard

Friday 5 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard gets crowds, award

Over forty thousand people have visited the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, England, to see a fraction of the famous Staffordshire Hoard. It is another sign that discovery of Anglo-Saxon treasure is still drawing in massive interest.

A total of 1,852 people passed through the doors on Wednesday, taking the total number of people who have queued to see the Hoard to 41,447 over 19 days. Over 3700 people visited the collection on its opening day in mid-February.

Read the rest of this article...

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Wednesday 3 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard team wins award

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Sport, Cllr Martin Mullaney, today congratulated the Staffordshire Hoard team after it scooped a top archaeology award.

The team that recovered the Anglo-Saxon treasure, including staff from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, have won the Current Archaeology award for ‘The Best Rescue Dig of the Year, 2010’.

And Cllr Mullaney believes it is a richly deserved accolade. He said: “This was a team effort from day one and everyone involved deserves credit. A number of organisations have played a part and things have run smoothly – from the excavation right the way through to the fundraising campaign.”

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Thursday 25 February 2010

Hoard event is a night to treasure

THE Staffordshire Hoard could have been "blasted" away by crews building the M6 Toll road if the Government had chosen one of the other proposed routes for the motorway.

This was one of many fascinating snippets of information about the Anglo-Saxon treasure revealed at an exclusive talk last night.

It was organised for 100 lucky Sentinel readers and their guests and was held at Hanley's Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, where 118 of the gold pieces are currently being exhibited

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'King of Bling' protest over Essex road scheme resumes

"Camp Bling" campaigners in Southend-on-Sea, Essex have resumed their battle against a road scheme.

Protesters camped for five years on Priory Crescent opposing a £22m road-widening scheme on the burial site of Britain's earliest-known Saxon King.

He was dubbed the "King of Bling" after archaeologists found gold and treasure at the 8th Century site.

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Tuesday 16 February 2010

Restoration starts at Wareham's ancient town walls

District council chiefs agreed to plough an additional £69,000 into the ongoing conservation project, and contractors moved onto the historic site to start clearance work. Dorset company Banyards Ltd started removing potentially damaging trees and shr-ubs from the area known as the Bowling Green.

Purbeck natural environment spokesman Cllr Andrew Starr said: “The restoration of this ancient monument will give the public a better appreciation of the magnificence of the historic town defences of Wareham, and will increase the opportunity for enjoyment for residents and visitors.”

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Saturday 13 February 2010

Anglo-Saxon and Viking Summer School Courses at Oxford

The Oxford Experience Summer School, which is held at Christ Church, Oxford offers over 50 different courses during the five weeks from 4 July to 7 August 2010.

These courses include:

The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon England - 25 to 31 July 2010
(see further details)

King Alfred and the Vikings - 1 to 7 August
(see further details)

You can find out about other Summer School courses in archaeology and history at the University of Oxford’s website.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Anglo-Saxon Kent Electronic Database (ASKED)

ASKED, the Anglo-Saxon Kent Electronic Database was built collaboratively by Stuart Brookes and Sue Harrington to facilitate our respective PhD researches at UCL Institute of Archaeology, from 1998-2000. A pared down version of its content is presented here, in order for it to act as the pilot database for a much larger corpus of material currently being gathered under the aegis of the 'Beyond the Tribal Hidage Project' - a Leverhulme funded research project undertaken at UCL Institute of Archaeology by director Martin Welch and research assistant Sue Harrington. It is intended that this new dataset will be deposited with the Archaeology Data Service in late 2009, retaining the same format as this version of ASKED.

Further details...

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Anglo-Saxon gold hoard returning to Staffordshire

Part of the Staffordshire Hoard, a selection of Anglo-Saxon artefacts found in a field in the county, is arriving at the Potteries Museum.

About 80 of the 1,500 artefacts are going on show at the Stoke-on-Trent museum at the weekend.

Campaigners hope to raise £3.3m to make sure the hoard remains in the West Midlands otherwise it could be bought by private collectors.

Read the rest of this article...

'Gangland bling' of Beowulf era to go on show in Staffordshire

After 1,300 years in the ground and eight months on the road, biggest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold returns to Potteries

Some Staffordshire clay has come home clinging to the sinuous curves and filigree ornament of the most spectacular heap of Anglo-Saxon golden loot ever found.

More than 100 pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard, a glittering treasure from the world of Beowulf, news of which has gone around the world in eight months, is back in the county that hid it for 1,300 years.

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Bristol University professor has a bone to pick with Saxon queen

It must have been a lonely journey, as the two young sisters travelled through the night leaving behind the land they called home, knowing they would never return.

The year is AD929, and Eadgyth and Eadgifu, two Saxon princesses – the granddaughters of Alfred The Great, and daughters of Edward the Elder – have been sent away from the Wessex kingdom of their childhood, which is now ruled by their powerful half-brother King Athelstan.

In the kind of ruthless diplomatic move that would give him a place in the history books as the first true king of all England, Athelstan has sent his half-sisters to Germany in the hope that Otto, Duke of Saxony, will choose one to be his wife

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Saturday 6 February 2010

Book your place at 'Portable Antiquities: Archaeology, Collecting, Metal Detecting' Conference

Registration is now open for the ‘Portable Antiquities: Archaeology, Collecting, Metal Detecting’ conference on 13th and 14th March 2010. This event is co-organised by the CBA and Newcastle University’s International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, and takes place at Newcastle University and the Great North Museum: Hancock.

The papers at this conference offer perspectives from a range of different interest groups, look at recent research, present case studies from around the UK and beyond, and ultimately offer views about what the future may hold for portable antiquities management. Much debate is anticipated at this timely event.

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Monday 25 January 2010

Robbie Williams and Noddy Holder asked to help keep Staffordshire Hoard in the Midlands

POP star Robbie Williams has been asked to donate part of his huge fortune to help save the Staffordshire Hoard for the Midlands, the Sunday Mercury can reveal.

The Stoke-on-Trent singer is on a secret list of celebrities and millionaires being contacted in a bid to raise £3.3 million to keep the Anglo-Saxon treasure in the region.

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Tuesday 19 January 2010

Artefacts selected to outline history of North Yorkshire

AN ANGLO-SAXON helmet, a Viking arm ring and a Second World War Halifax Bomber are just some of the artefacts that tell the story of North Yorkshire’s history, according to a new project.

Ten items of varying shapes and sizes have been selected to outline the history of the county as part of a national project entitled A History Of The World.

It was developed by the British Museum, 350 museums across the country and the BBC.

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Thursday 14 January 2010

Find £3.3m to buy Staffordshire hoard for nation, public urged

Historian Starkey spearheads fight to save Anglo-Saxon 'gangland bling' unearthed in West Midlands

A public appeal was launched today to raise £3.3m in three months to buy the Staffordshire hoard, one of the most jaw-dropping of archeological finds or, as the historian David Starkey called it, 5.5 kilos of Anglo-Saxon "gangland bling".

Politicians and archaeologists joined Starkey in Birmingham to launch a ­campaign to raise the money and keep the hoard, the largest and most significant find of Anglo-Saxon gold, in the Midlands. Failure to raise the money was almost unthinkable, said Starkey.

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Wednesday 13 January 2010

Appeal to keep Anglo-Saxon gold hoard in West Midlands

Historian Dr David Starkey has backed a campaign to keep the UK's largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold in the region it was unearthed.

The appeal, launched at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, aims to raise £3.3m to buy the Staffordshire Hoard which was discovered last July.

Up to 1,500 artefacts were found in a field near Lichfield by metal detecting enthusiast Terry Herbert.

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Historian Dr David Starkey launches campaign to keep Staffordshire gold hoard in Midlands

Historian Dr David Starkey today launched a fundraising drive to keep the largest ever hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold in the region where it was discovered.

The campaign, being launched at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, aims to raise £3.3 million to acquire the Staffordshire Hoard, which was found by a metal detectorist last summer.

If the campaign is successful, the Hoard would be jointly acquired by both the Birmingham museum and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.

Read the rest of this article...