Tree Carvings Help Date World War II Site in Poland

Archaeology News - November 3, 2014

POZNAŃ, POLAND—Carvings in beech trees are helping archaeologists date World War II-era fortifications that were built between 1934 and 1944 in a forest in western Poland. Known as the Miedzyrzecz Fortification Region, the trenches were intended to defend the eastern border of the Third Reich. Dawid Kobialka and colleagues Maksymilian Frąckowiak and Kornelia Kajda of the Institute of Prehistory at Adam Mickiewicz University think that some of the inscriptions from 1944 may have been carved by Polish captives forced to work on the fortifications by the Germans. “On several trees we have recorded a clear concentration of Polish names—including Klimowicz, Wolski, Kubiak—next to which specific August dates are inscribed with the year 1944. Two words are also visible: “Łódź” (name of a city) and “Polacy” (Poles),” Kobialka told Science & Scholarship in Poland. But a metal detector survey failed to turn up anything at the site. “This report was not a surprise. If that trench was dug in 1944, it can be assumed that it never served a defensive function—the Germans retreated before the Russians. Therefore, in the trench there were no soldiers or fighting, there were no shells or any other items usually found in places of armed conflict,” he added. To read more about the study of this period, see "The Archaeology of World War II."

Categories: Blog

Tree Carvings Help Date World War II Site in Poland

Archaeology News - November 3, 2014

POZNAŃ, POLAND—Carvings in beech trees are helping archaeologists date World War II-era fortifications that were built between 1934 and 1944 in a forest in western Poland. Known as the Miedzyrzecz Fortification Region, the trenches were intended to defend the eastern border of the Third Reich. Dawid Kobialka and colleagues Maksymilian Frąckowiak and Kornelia Kajda of the Institute of Prehistory at Adam Mickiewicz University think that some of the inscriptions from 1944 may have been carved by Polish captives forced to work on the fortifications by the Germans. “On several trees we have recorded a clear concentration of Polish names—including Klimowicz, Wolski, Kubiak—next to which specific August dates are inscribed with the year 1944. Two words are also visible: “Łódź” (name of a city) and “Polacy” (Poles),” Kobialka told Science & Scholarship in Poland. But a metal detector survey failed to turn up anything at the site. “This report was not a surprise. If that trench was dug in 1944, it can be assumed that it never served a defensive function—the Germans retreated before the Russians. Therefore, in the trench there were no soldiers or fighting, there were no shells or any other items usually found in places of armed conflict,” he added.

Categories: Blog

“Ancient” Skull Recovered From a Cave in England

Archaeology News - November 3, 2014

LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND—Cavers exploring Dunald Mill Hole in northwestern England discovered what is being described as an ancient human skull. At the request of Lancashire Police, a team from the Cave Rescue Organization (CRO) retrieved the skull. “CRO was asked to retrieve it as part of the subsequent police investigation and a small team completed the task later in the day,” a spokesperson told The Westmorland Gazette.

Categories: Blog

“Ancient” Skull Recovered From a Cave in England

Archaeology News - November 3, 2014

LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND—Cavers exploring Dunald Mill Hole in northwestern England discovered what is being described as an ancient human skull. At the request of Lancashire Police, a team from the Cave Rescue Organization (CRO) retrieved the skull. “CRO was asked to retrieve it as part of the subsequent police investigation and a small team completed the task later in the day,” a spokesperson told The Westmorland Gazette.

Categories: Blog

Remains May Have Been Rural Roman Farmers

Archaeology News - November 3, 2014

WORCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND—Domestic pottery and the remains of two individuals who lived during the Roman period have been unearthed at a school in England’s West Midlands. One of the burials was of a woman over the age of 50. Hobnails, which are associated with rural Roman agricultural burials, were found with her bones. The other set of remains belonged to an adult male between the ages of 25 and 30 at the time of death. The bones show signs of degenerative joints and osteoarthritis. His head had been removed and placed alongside his legs. “This discovery seems to support evidence that during Roman times there were small farmsteads in Worcestershire, owned or run by a family,” archaeologist Tom Vaughan told The Worcester News. The boot-wearing woman may have worked on the farmstead—preparing food, manufacturing cloth, or as a general laborer. To read about another rural site in England with a strong Roman prescence, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Letter From England: The Scientist's Garden." 

Categories: Blog

Remains May Have Been Rural Roman Farmers

Archaeology News - November 3, 2014

WORCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND—Domestic pottery and the remains of two individuals who lived during the Roman period have been unearthed at a school in England’s West Midlands. One of the burials was of a woman over the age of 50. Hobnails, which are associated with rural Roman agricultural burials, were found with her bones. The other set of remains belonged to an adult male between the ages of 25 and 30 at the time of death. The bones show signs of degenerative joints and osteoarthritis. His head had been removed and placed alongside his legs. “This discovery seems to support evidence that during Roman times there were small farmsteads in Worcestershire, owned or run by a family,” archaeologist Tom Vaughan told The Worcester News. The boot-wearing woman may have worked on the farmstead—preparing food, manufacturing cloth, or as a general laborer. To read about another rural site in England with a strong Roman prescence, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Letter From England: The Scientist's Garden." 

Categories: Blog

The Big Circles of the Middle East

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

PERTH, AUSTRALIA—Jordan’s “Big Circles” were first spotted from airplanes in the 1920s, but little has been learned about them since then. The low walls, often made from uncut stones, would not have kept animals in or enemies out. New aerial images of the structures, which generally measure more than 1,300 feet in diameter, have been taken by David Kennedy of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project and the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME), located at the University of Western Australia. “Most are crude circles, but many are clearly intended to be geometrically precise, although often slightly distorted,” he told the Daily Mail. Kennedy hopes the photographs will bring attention to the rings. Excavation could tell scientists more about their construction and purpose.

Categories: Blog

The Big Circles of the Middle East

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

PERTH, AUSTRALIA—Jordan’s “Big Circles” were first spotted from airplanes in the 1920s, but little has been learned about them since then. The low walls, often made from uncut stones, would not have kept animals in or enemies out. New aerial images of the structures, which generally measure more than 1,300 feet in diameter, have been taken by David Kennedy of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project and the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME), located at the University of Western Australia. “Most are crude circles, but many are clearly intended to be geometrically precise, although often slightly distorted,” he told the Daily Mail. Kennedy hopes the photographs will bring attention to the rings. Excavation could tell scientists more about their construction and purpose.

Categories: Blog

Preserved Grains & Trade Goods Unearthed in Indonesia

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA—Rice and maize grains dating to sometime between the eighth and tenth centuries have been found in a bamboo basket on the slope of Mount Sindoro in Central Java. Joko Siswanto, head of the Yogyakarta Archaeology Agency, says that the maize and other imported artifacts such as Chinese vases from the Tang Dynasty suggest that Indonesia was part of an international trade network at this time. “The finding is also crucial to help us trace the history of food cultivation and technology in Indonesia, especially in Java,” he told The Jakarta Post. To read more about contemporary sites on Borneo, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Letter From Borneo: Landscape of Memory."

Categories: Blog

Preserved Grains & Trade Goods Unearthed in Indonesia

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA—Rice and maize grains dating to sometime between the eighth and tenth centuries have been found in a bamboo basket on the slope of Mount Sindoro in Central Java. Joko Siswanto, head of the Yogyakarta Archaeology Agency, says that the maize and other imported artifacts such as Chinese vases from the Tang Dynasty suggest that Indonesia was part of an international trade network at this time. “The finding is also crucial to help us trace the history of food cultivation and technology in Indonesia, especially in Java,” he told The Jakarta Post

Categories: Blog

Second Leaf of Marble Door Uncovered in Amphipolis

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

AMPHIPOLIS, GREECE—According to the Greek Reporter, a second leaf of a marble door has been found in the third chamber of the massive Hellenistic tomb in northern Greece, along with a sand-filled trench. The marble door is estimated to weigh one and a half tons. Tracks carved in stone on the floor to guide the pivoting doors have also been uncovered. Archaeologists are continuing to dig in an effort to reach the tomb's fourth chamber. To read about the search for Alexander the Great's tomb, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "In Search of History's Greatest Rulers."  

Categories: Blog

Second Leaf of Marble Door Uncovered in Amphipolis

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

AMPHIPOLIS, GREECE—The Amphipolis Tomb website reports that a second leaf of the marble door has been found in the tomb's third chamber, along with a sand-filled trench. The marble door is estimated to weigh one and a half tons. Tracks carved in stone on the floor to guide the pivoting doors have also been uncovered.   

Categories: Blog

17th-Century Luxury Goods Discovered in Irish Castle

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

DUBLIN, IRELAND—The Irish Times reports that workers installing an elevator shaft at Rathfarnham Castle found a cache of seventeenth-century artifacts sealed between two stone floors at the bottom of one of the castle towers. The damp environment yielded well preserved objects, including a foldable toothbrush, clay pipes, jewelry, porcelain, coins, chamber pots, an intact drinking glass and early wine bottles, ointment jars, and a stoppered perfume bottle. “Most of the material here was imported. The family had a lot of contacts with the royal courts in England so they would have gone to London, seen the fashion, and brought it all back to show off to all of their neighbors and friends,” said Alva MacGowan, find supervisor with Archaeology Plan. Food remains indicate that the family, the descendants of Lord Adam Loftus, who built the castle in 1583, enjoyed shellfish, cherries, apricots, peaches, and tea leaves. “Tea was only introduced in England in 1650. They correspond with the porcelain tea sets imported from China. The family were importing high luxury goods from all over the world, which shows Ireland wasn’t as cut off and unfashionable as we might think,” MacGowan added.

Categories: Blog

17th-Century Luxury Goods Discovered in Irish Castle

Archaeology News - October 31, 2014

DUBLIN, IRELAND—The Irish Times reports that workers installing an elevator shaft at Rathfarnham Castle found a cache of seventeenth-century artifacts sealed between two stone floors at the bottom of one of the castle towers. The damp environment yielded well preserved objects, including a foldable toothbrush, clay pipes, jewelry, porcelain, coins, chamber pots, an intact drinking glass and early wine bottles, ointment jars, and a stoppered perfume bottle. “Most of the material here was imported. The family had a lot of contacts with the royal courts in England so they would have gone to London, seen the fashion, and brought it all back to show off to all of their neighbors and friends,” said Alva MacGowan, find supervisor with Archaeology Plan. Food remains indicate that the family, the descendants of Lord Adam Loftus, who built the cast in 1583, enjoyed shellfish, cherries, apricots, peaches, and tea leaves. “Tea was only introduced in England in 1650. They correspond with the porcelain tea sets imported from China. The family were importing high luxury goods from all over the world, which shows Ireland wasn’t as cut off and unfashionable as we might think,” MacGowan added.

Categories: Blog

Three Egyptian Mummies Receive High-Tech Treatment

Archaeology News - October 30, 2014

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Experts from the Washington University School of Medicine, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University teamed up to examine three Egyptian mummies with a state-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) scanner. One of the mummies, Henut-Wedjebu, or “singer of Amun and lady of the house,” was discovered near Thebes and dates to the reign of Amenhotep III. The recent scans reveal that she had been mummified with her brain and lungs. Small objects had been placed around her head that may be a headdress or embellishments on her shroud. “The technical sophistication of all three mummies suggests that these were well-off individuals. We would expect to see that reflected in the condition of their teeth and skeletons. The CT scan helps us to better understand their lifestyles,” Lisa Çakmak of the Saint Louis Art Museum announced at Washington University. To read about the in-depth study of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Priestess of Amun." 

Categories: Blog

Three Egyptian Mummies Receive High-Tech Treatment

Archaeology News - October 30, 2014

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Experts from the Washington University School of Medicine, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University teamed up to examine three Egyptian mummies with a state-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) scanner. One of the mummies, Henut-Wedjebu, or “singer of Amun and lady of the house,” was discovered near Thebes and dates to the reign of Amenhotep III. The recent scans reveal that she had been mummified with her brain and lungs. Small objects had been placed around her head that may be a headdress or embellishments on her shroud. “The technical sophistication of all three mummies suggests that these were well-off individuals. We would expect to see that reflected in the condition of their teeth and skeletons. The CT scan helps us to better understand their lifestyles,” Lisa Çakmak of the Saint Louis Art Museum announced at Washington University.

Categories: Blog

Bullets Point to the Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits

Archaeology News - October 30, 2014

COUNTY FERMANAGH, NORTHERN IRELAND—In 1594, a force loyal to Queen Elizabeth I was traveling to Enniskillen Castle when it was intercepted by Irish chieftain Hugh Maguire at the Arney River. It had been thought that the ensuing Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits, named for the lost English rations that floated down the river, took place at the Drumane Bridge crossing. Local people, however, remembered that this first battle of the Nine Years War took place further upstream. Archaeologists conducted a metal detector survey at the proposed meadow and found sixteenth-century armor-piercing bullets. “Up until right now, for hundreds of years, the battle was meant to be behind us about a mile and a half at Drumane and that’s what I believed as well.…But when we’ve looked at the landscape a bit better, there’s a big massive line of bog for miles along here and there’s one crossing point across that bog if you want to have dry feet, and it leads right to this little ford. What we’ve found are little bullets that are special little bullets that show us the cavalry were here, armored men,” archaeologist Paul Logue told BBC News

Categories: Blog

Bullets Point to the Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits

Archaeology News - October 30, 2014

COUNTY FERMANAGH, NORTHERN IRELAND—In 1594, a force loyal to Queen Elizabeth I was traveling to Enniskillen Castle when it was intercepted by Irish chieftain Hugh Maguire at the Arney River. It had been thought that the ensuing Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits, named for the lost English rations that floated down the river, took place at the Drumane Bridge crossing. Local people, however, remembered that this first battle of the Nine Years War took place further upstream. Archaeologists conducted a metal detector survey at the proposed meadow and found sixteenth-century armor-piercing bullets. “Up until right now, for hundreds of years, the battle was meant to be behind us about a mile and a half at Drumane and that’s what I believed as well.…But when we’ve looked at the landscape a bit better, there’s a big massive line of bog for miles along here and there’s one crossing point across that bog if you want to have dry feet, and it leads right to this little ford. What we’ve found are little bullets that are special little bullets that show us the cavalry were here, armored men,” archaeologist Paul Logue told BBC News

Categories: Blog

Teotihuacan’s “Powder-Glittered Tunnel” Revealed

Archaeology News - October 30, 2014

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—Project director Sergio Gomez of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History announced that his team has completed the excavation of a 340-foot-long tunnel beneath the Temple of the Plumed Serpent at Teotihuacan. The tunnel, sealed some 1,800 years ago, contained seeds, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, shells, and animal bones. Its walls had been covered with a powder made from ground metallic minerals that, when lit by a torch, created a glittering effect reminiscent of the night sky. “Because this is one of the most sacred places in all Teotihuacan, we believe that it could have been used for the rulers to acquire divine endowment allowing them to rule on the surface,” Gomez told The Telegraph. His team will now excavate the chambers at the end of the tunnel, which may hold the remains of the city’s rulers. To read about recent Mesoamerican discoveries, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Under Mexico City." 

Categories: Blog

Teotihuacan’s “Powder-Glittered Tunnel” Revealed

Archaeology News - October 30, 2014

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—Project director Sergio Gomez of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History announced that his team has completed the excavation of a 340-foot-long tunnel beneath the Temple of the Plumed Serpent at Teotihuacan. The tunnel, sealed some 1,800 years ago, contained seeds, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, shells, and animal bones. Its walls had been covered with a powder made from ground metallic minerals that, when lit by a torch, created a glittering effect reminiscent of the night sky. “Because this is one of the most sacred places in all Teotihuacan, we believe that it could have been used for the rulers to acquire divine endowment allowing them to rule on the surface,” Gomez told The Telegraph. His team will now excavate the chambers at the end of the tunnel, which may hold the remains of the city’s rulers. 

Categories: Blog

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