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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...