The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Stonehenge and its Environs

Stonehenge dig finds 6,000-year-old encampment


"Archaeologists working on a site near Stonehenge say they have found an untouched 6,000-year-old encampment which "could rewrite British history".

David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, made the discovery at Blick Mead in October, and said the carbon dating results had just been confirmed.

But he also raised concerns about possible damage to the site over plans to build a road tunnel past Stonehenge.

The Department of Transport said it would "consult before any building".

The Blick Mead site is about 1.5 miles (2.4km) from Stonehenge and archaeologists said "scientifically tested charcoal" dug up from the site had "revealed that it dated from around 4000 BC". "

More on the BBC website here...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30540914
1speed Posted by 1speed
19th December 2014ce

West Sussex

Chichester skeleton: Racton Man 'was warrior chief killed in battle'


A 4,000-year-old skeleton found on farmland in West Sussex was probably a warrior chief who was killed in battle, scientists have revealed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-30478544
A R Cane Posted by A R Cane
16th December 2014ce

Stonehenge and its Environs

Stonehenge World Heritage Site at risk from A303 tunnel plans


An excellent analysis by Kate Fielden(CPRE) in the Ecologist on that fraught subject of the tunnel by Stonehenge.

The government's plans to tunnel the A303 under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has one grievous flaw, writes Kate Fielden. The tunnel is too short, so huge portals and graded junctions at both ends would lie entirely within the WHS causing huge damage to landscape and wipe out archaeological remains...


See the article at:

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2670978/stonehenge_world_heritage_site_at_risk_from_a303_tunnel_plans.html
moss Posted by moss
15th December 2014ce

Jersey

Archaeologists in Jersey find solid gold torc hidden in Celtic coin hoard


Archaeologists in Jersey find solid gold torc hidden in Celtic coin hoard
By Richard Moss

A Celtic coin hoard discovered on Jersey has been offering up its secrets and astounding archaeologists with a series of golden treasure finds.

For the last two weeks, the Jersey Heritage hoard conservation team have been excavating in an area known to contain gold jewellery and late last week, one end of a solid gold torc was uncovered.

The find comes on the back of several finds within the hoard including two other solid gold torcs, one gold plated and one of an unknown alloy, along with a silver brooch and a crushed sheet gold tube. But the latest discovery is considerably larger than anything previously unearthed on the island.

A large, rigid neck ring, archaeologist say the torc has a massive decorative ‘terminal’, which is where it was probably locked closed around the owner’s neck. The terminal is formed from two solid gold wheels, each about 4cm across and 1cm wide.

So far, 10cm of the curved gold collar has been uncovered and it is not yet known how complete it is.

“It’s an incredible time here,” said Neil Mahrer, Jersey Museum Conservator. “Every hour or so we are finding a new gold object.

“We did see some gold jewellery on the surface of the hoard, but since we’ve started looking at this shoe-box sized area, we’ve uncovered a total of six torcs, five of which are gold and one which we believe to be gold-plated. This is the only one that we think is whole, though.”

The extent of the torc’s wholeness will be discovered in the next few weeks as the coins currently hiding it will be painstakingly recorded and removed.

Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, an Iron Age jewellery expert who has been involved in studying jewellery found in other Jersey hoards has been assisting with the interpretation. He has already identified comparable features in examples found in 2nd century BC hoards at Bergien, Belgium and Niederzier, Germany.

A small stone has also been uncovered, possibly of local granite. Archaeologists say it may be no more than a pebble in the field that fell into the treasure pit during the burial, but, as it is an odd shape and size, its purpose will be investigated.

At the end of the clearing period the torc will be scanned in place to record its position to fractions of a millimetre before being removed, probably along with some of the other jewellery surrounding it.


http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art508530-archaeologists-in-jersey-find-solid-gold-torc-hidden-in-celtic-coin-hoard
moss Posted by moss
5th December 2014ce

Norfolk

Bronze Age Rudham Dirk saved for museum


A spectacular new Norfolk treasure has been unveiled - after years of being used as a doorstop.

The 3,500-year-old Rudham Dirk, a ceremonial Middle Bronze Age dagger, was first ploughed up near East Rudham more than a decade ago. But the landowner didn’t realise what it was and was using it to prop open his office door.

And the bronze treasure even came close to being thrown in a skip, but luckily archaeologists identified it in time.

Now the dirk has been bought for Norfolk for close to £41,000 and is now on display in Norwich Castle Museum.

Dr John Davies, Chief Curator of Norfolk Museums Service, said: “This is one of the real landmark discoveries.”

The dirk - a kind of dagger - was never meant to be used as a weapon and was deliberately bent when it was made as an offering to the gods.

Only five others like it have ever been found in Europe - including one at Oxborough in 1988, which is now in the British Museum. But thanks to a £38,970 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, following a £2,000 donation from the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, the Bronze Age treasure will now stay in the county.

Dr Tim Pestell, who is Curator of Archaeology with the NMS, has been negotiating with the (unnamed) landowner for almost a year. He said: “As soon as my colleagues told me about it we started to plan how we could acquire it, so it could stay in Norfolk and be on display here.”

Dr Andrew Rogers, whose team first identified the dirk, said he never expected the Oxborough discovery would be repeated. “It’s absolutely incredible. Gosh - to have a find like this twice in a lifetime - this is unbelievable,” he said.

The 1.9kg (4lb) dirk is made from bronze, which is nine-tenths copper and one-tenth tin. The nearest source for the copper is Wales, while the tin may have come from Cornwall.

Straightened out, it would be 68cm long, slightly shorter than the Oxborough example. It may even have been made in the same workshop, maybe even by the same craftsperson.

Sophie Cabot, president of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, added: “We’re really excited - it would have been a great shame if we’d have lost it.”

http://www.edp24.co.uk/norfolk-life/archaeologists_hail_incredible_norfolk_bronze_age_discovery_1_3857540
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
23rd November 2014ce

North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist

3,500-year-old basket excavated at North Uist beach


From the BBC...

"An artefact thought to be 3,500 years old that was uncovered by the tide on a Western Isles beach has been excavated before being washed away.

The prehistoric basket was discovered in an area of shoreline where the sea has been eroding the land at Baleshare in North Uist.

Archaeologists have managed to remove the object with help from the local community.

It will be examined by AOC Archaeology Group.

The basket appears to contain animal bones covered in a layer of quartz pebbles."

More here...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-30055116
1speed Posted by 1speed
14th November 2014ce

News

Massive Siberian Geoglyph


This is a bit enormous and a bit old.

http://archaeology.org/news/2680-141104-siberia-massive-moose-geoglyph

http://www.livescience.com/23910-russian-nazca-lines-discovered.html
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
7th November 2014ce

Vespasian's Camp (Hillfort)

Groundbreaking finds by Stonehenge team


Update for 2014.

Pre-history may have to be re-written following a recent dig by university students near Stonehenge.

Signs of human habitation 8,000 years ago have been discovered by Archaeology MA students from the University of Buckingham, led by senior research fellow David Jacques.
Mr Jacques said: “This year we’ve found burnt flint – a sign that people had made fires, so were in the area, around 8,000 years ago.

“The finds will have to be carbon-dated to get a precise date.

“It’s been wonderful that the first ever University of Buckingham archaeology students have unearthed mesolithic tools as part of the team of volunteers at the dig.”


The archaeologist, who is leading the new Archaeology MA course at the university, has just completed a two-week dig at Vespasian’s Camp, a mile from Stonehenge, at which MA students and University of Buckingham staff worked as volunteers, sifting through remains.

A number of ancient flint tools were among the finds.

More than 12,000 items from the mesolithic era (8000 – 3500BC) have been uncovered, including hunting tools, the cooked bones of aurochs – a gigantic cow-like animal – deer, wild boar, and even toads’ legs.

The finds have revealed that the site was in use continually for over 3,000 years, and could even be the reason why Stonehenge is where it is.

Mr Jacques suspects the site will contain evidence of settlements, which would be some of the earliest ever found in the UK and would completely change our understanding of this era.

Mr Jacques appeared on TV this year in BBC 1’s Operation Stonehenge and BBC 4’s The Flying Archaeologist.

And the MA students working alongside him at the dig a fortnight ago found themselves being filmed for a forthcoming episode of Horizon.

Digs at the site over the last few years have already yielded a staggering 32,000 artefacts dating from as far back as 7500BC.

Last year, the dig resulted in 8,000-year-old burnt frogs’ legs being found, revealing the delicacy was originally English and not French.

Earlier this year, carbon dating of finds from the dig led to the revelation that Amesbury is the oldest town in the country.

A previous public lecture by Mr Jacques at the university drew a packed audience.

Following the latest dig, Mr Jacques is returning to deliver another public lecture on Thursday, November 13.

The free event will take place at 6.30pm, in the Chandos Road Building, as part of the university’s autumn concert and lecture series.

In the lecture, Mr Jacques will unveil startling new evidence showing how the mesolithic period influenced the building of Stonehenge.

The lecture will focus on the area around the dig, Blick Mead, which features a natural spring, which would have attracted settlers to the area.

The warm spring water has caused stones to turn a bright puce, a colour of stone not found elsewhere in the UK.

David Jacques was elected a Fellow of the Society of the Antiquaries (FSA) in recognition of the importance of his discoveries there.

http://www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk/news/more-news/groundbreaking-finds-by-stonehenge-team-1-6390477
moss Posted by moss
1st November 2014ce

Dalmahoy Hill (Hillfort)

Bog material reveals 11,500 years of Scottish history at prehistoric hillforts near Edinburgh


Evidence of prehistoric man and the woodland clearances of the Iron Age are found at the site of two hillforts near Edinburgh

Peat from a bog near Edinburgh contains 11,500-year-old vegetation and glimpses of the impact made by humans on the landscape from as far back as the Neolithic period, say experts who have foraged seven metres into the earth across parts of a site previously known for prehistoric settlements.


Ravelrig Bog, where an early Iron Age palisaded homestead was found during preparations for a quarry extension, contains two hillforts. Kaimes Hill offers evidence of human activity from the Mesolithic period, while the unexcavated Dalmahoy Hill is thought to have been occupied during the pre-Roman Iron Age and early medieval times.

Woodland resources for fuel and building material, found at the homestead, have been radiocarbon dated to between 400 and 800 BC.

“The bog started out as a small lochan [lake] within a rocky hollow that was formed at the end of the last glacial period,” says archaeobotanist Susan Ramsay, discussing pollen analysis on the Ravelrig core as part of a report concluding that there is “plentiful archaeological evidence” of the people who once roamed the region.

“Aquatic plants gave way to marshland and finally raised Sphagnum bog as natural succession progressed.

“During the early Holocene, the woodlands of the area were dominated by birch, hazel and willow but developed into mixed oak, elm and hazel woodlands by the mid-Holocene.

Most previous studies of the vegetation history of central Scotland have concentrated on the last 3,000 years of environmental history.

“This has tended to be because extensive industrial and agricultural activity in the central belt of Scotland, which was the industrial heartland of the country, has removed many potential sites of palaeoenvironmental importance over recent centuries, and so there have been few chances to construct a pollen diagram from this region that covers most of the Holocene period.

“The presence at Ravelrig Bog of an area of deep peat in an area that has a rich archaeological record and is also located close to agricultural land provided a unique opportunity to study the effects of human activity on the environment of this part of Scotland.”

An initial survey, in 2007, revealed the incredible scientific potential of a core deposit covering more than 10,000 years of history.

“Previous studies have suggested that the first major woodland clearances in central Scotland occurred in the pre-Roman Iron Age, with the cleared agricultural landscape being maintained throughout the Roman period,” says Ramsay.

“However, at Ravelrig, human impact on the landscape is recorded from the Neolithic period onwards, with increasing woodland clearance and agricultural activity in the Bronze Age and a peak in activity in the pre-Roman Iron Age.

“Pastoral agriculture was the dominant form of farming in the area, although there is evidence for the cultivation of cereals from the later Bronze Age onwards.

“These periods of agricultural intensification appear to correspond with known periods of occupation at the nearby hillforts.”

A slight decline in agriculture between 250 BC and AD 150 could have followed the abandonment of Dalmahoy and the Roman invasion.

“Birch pollen levels increased significantly, suggesting that land that was previously farmed was abandoned and was gradually colonised by birch woodland,” says Ramsay.

The birches gave rise to the oak and elm trees which later colonised the woods.

A slight increase in activity, between AD 400 and 600, could show that the hill fort was set for reoccupation during the early medieval period, although the subsequent 850 years saw alder and birch growth take over, chiming with evidence from other sites in central Scotland at the time.

“It is not clear what the cause of this agricultural decline might be but further work may be able to determine a more precise date range for this event,” believes Ramsay.

“It has been suggested that there were some reversions to a colder and wetter climate during the sixth to ninth centuries AD, which could explain why areas once suitable for agriculture perhaps became too wet to grow crops and agriculture had to be moved to sites with better drainage.
“This explanation could account for the significant increase in alder – a tree of wetter areas and river banks that is seen at Ravelrig during this period.

“The last major episode of woodland clearance began around AD 1450, with the cleared landscape continuing until the present day.”

The full results of the research, funded by Tarmac Ltd have been published at archaeologyreportsonline. com.

taken from: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art503348-bog-material-reveals-years-of-scottish-history-at-prehistoric-hillforts-near-edinburgh
moss Posted by moss
28th October 2014ce

Derbyshire

Dovedale Roman and Iron Age coins to go on show at Buxton Museum


A hoard of 2,000-year-old coins found in a cave in the Peak District have gone on public display.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-29754949
scubi63 Posted by scubi63
25th October 2014ce
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