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Unknown Queen's Tomb Discovered in Egypt

January 5, 2015

CAIRO, EGYPT—The BBC reports that archaeologists led by the Czech Institute of Egyptology's Miroslav Bárta have uncovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen at Abusir, the necropolis of the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis. Inscriptions on the tomb's walls indicate it was occupied by Queen Khentakawess, and its close proximity to the pyramid of the Pharaoh Neferefre, a Fifth Dynasty king who ruled briefly around 2460-2458 B.C., led the team to hypothesize she was probably Neferefre's wife and the mother of his successor. In addition to the inscriptions, the team discovered 23 limestone pots and four copper tools. To read about an earlier discovery of an Old Kingdom tomb made by the Czech team, see "The Doctor Is In."

Categories: Blog

Unknown Queen's Tomb Discovered in Egypt

January 5, 2015

CAIRO, EGYPT—The BBC reports that archaeologists led by the Czech Institute of Egyptology's Miroslav Bárta have uncovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen at Abusir, the necropolis of the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis. Inscriptions on the tomb's walls indicate it was occupied by Queen Khentakawess, and its close proximity to the pyramid of the Pharaoh Neferefre, a Fifth Dynasty king who ruled briefly around 2460-2458 B.C., led the team to hypothesize she was probably Neferefre's wife and the mother of his successor. In addition to the inscriptions, the team discovered 23 limestone pots and four copper tools. To read about an earlier discovery of an Old Kingdom tomb made by the Czech team, see "The Doctor Is In."

Categories: Blog

European Battlefields from World War II Surveyed

January 2, 2015

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO—David Passmore of the University of Toronto, Mississauga, and his colleagues surveyed key World War II battlegrounds in Europe from June 1944 through February 1945. They focused on parts of northwestern France; the Ardennes forests of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany; the Hürtgenwald and Reichswald forests of western Germany; and the woodlands of the Arnhem region of the Netherlands. The team found evidence of bomb craters, foxholes, trenches, and German logistics depots. “These things [could] illuminate war diaries and accounts of battlefield history, and provide a far more accurate impression of where troops were fighting, how they were fighting, and so on," Passmore told Live Science. He and his team are now investigating what the Allies knew about those German depots. The archaeological evidence may allow Passmore to determine how successful the Allied bombings were. For more on the study of battlefields of this era, see "Archaeology of World War II."

Categories: Blog

European Battlefields from World War II Surveyed

January 2, 2015

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO—David Passmore of the University of Toronto, Mississauga, and his colleagues surveyed key World War II battlegrounds in Europe from June 1944 through February 1945. They focused on parts of northwestern France; the Ardennes forests of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany; the Hürtgenwald and Reichswald forests of western Germany; and the woodlands of the Arnhem region of the Netherlands. The team found evidence of bomb craters, foxholes, trenches, and German logistics depots. “These things [could] illuminate war diaries and accounts of battlefield history, and provide a far more accurate impression of where troops were fighting, how they were fighting, and so on," Passmore told Live Science. He and his team are now investigating what the Allies knew about those German depots. The archaeological evidence may allow Passmore to determine how successful the Allied bombings were. For more on the study of battlefields of this era, see "Archaeology of World War II."

Categories: Blog

Large Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Coins Unearthed

January 2, 2015

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND—Members of a metal detecting club discovered a lead bucket filled with more than 5,000 silver Anglo-Saxon coins late last month. The coins, which feature the faces of Anglo-Saxon kings, including Ethelred the Unready and Canute, had been covered with two feet of earth. “They’re like mirrors, no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down. It looks like only two people have handled these coins. The person who made them and the person who buried them,” club leader Pete Welch told the Daily Record. Archaeologist Ros Tyrrell was called in to help excavate the 1,000-year-old coins. “When the coins have been properly identified and dated, we may be able to guess at why such a great treasure was buried,” added a spokesman from Bucks County Museum. To read about an early Anglo-Saxon kingdom, see "The Kings of Kent."

Categories: Blog

Large Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Coins Unearthed

January 2, 2015

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND—Members of a metal detecting club discovered a lead bucket filled with more than 5,000 silver Anglo-Saxon coins late last month. The coins, which feature the faces of Anglo-Saxon kings, including Ethelred the Unready and Canute, had been covered with two feet of earth. “They’re like mirrors, no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down. It looks like only two people have handled these coins. The person who made them and the person who buried them,” club leader Pete Welch told the Daily Record. Archaeologist Ros Tyrrell was called in to help excavate the 1,000-year-old coins. “When the coins have been properly identified and dated, we may be able to guess at why such a great treasure was buried,” added a spokesman from Bucks County Museum. To read about an early Anglo-Saxon kingdom, see "The Kings of Kent."

Categories: Blog

Siberia’s Spaso-Zashiverskaya

January 2, 2015

NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—Spaso-Zashiverskaya, originally built in 1700 in the town of Zashiversk, was a center for the Christianization of the people who lived near Siberia’s Indigirka River. The town was an administrative and trade center until 1803, when the fur trade declined. A smallpox outbreak in 1840 killed all but one of the town’s remaining settlers. In the 1940s, the top of the church’s belfry collapsed, but archaeologist Alexey Okladnikov described the church in 1969 as a “splendor,” according to The Siberian Times. The timber church was disassembled in 1971, and stored until the late 1980s, when it was reassembled at an open-air museum at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk. 

Categories: Blog

Siberia’s Spaso-Zashiverskaya

January 2, 2015

NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—Spaso-Zashiverskaya, originally built in 1700 in the town of Zashiversk, was a center for the Christianization of the people who lived near Siberia’s Indigirka River. The town became an administrative and trade center until 1803, when the fur trade declined. A smallpox outbreak in 1840 killed all but one of the town’s remaining settlers. In the 1940s, the top of the church’s belfry collapsed, but archaeologist Alexey Okladnikov described the church in 1969 as a “splendor,” according to The Siberian Times. The timber church was disassembled in 1971, and stored until the late 1980s, when it was reassembled at an open-air museum at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk. 

Categories: Blog

Medieval Hoard Discovered Beneath Russian Museum

December 31, 2014

TVER, RUSSIA—During excavations conducted in conjunction with the restoration of the Tver State Museum in western Russia, archaeologists discovered a medieval silver hoard lying just six feet below the office of the museum's general director. Buried in a small hole covered with ceramics sometime during the Mongol invasions of the mid-thirteenth century, the hoard contained silver headdresses, chains, beads, and pendants, among other items. According to RU Facts, archaeologists believe the jewelry may have belonged to a Tver noblewoman who died in the assault on the city or was otherwise unable to retrieve her precious cache. The hoard narrowly missed being discovered in the fifteenth century, when the area on which the museum now sits was leveled and workers may have come within less than five inches of the jewlery. To read about another recently unearthed cache, see "Viking Hoard Unearthed in Scotland."

Categories: Blog

Medieval Hoard Discovered Beneath Russian Museum

December 31, 2014

TVER, RUSSIA—During excavations conducted in conjunction with the restoration of the Tver State Museum in western Russia, archaeologists discovered a medieval silver hoard lying just six feet below the office of the museum's general director. Buried in a small hole covered with ceramics sometime during the Mongol invasions of the mid-thirteenth century, the hoard contained silver headdresses, chains, beads, and pendants, among other items. According to RU Facts, archaeologists believe the jewelry may have belonged to a Tver noblewoman who died in the assault on the city or was otherwise unable to retrieve her precious cache. The hoard narrowly missed being discovered in the fifteenth century, when the area on which the museum now sits was leveled and workers may have come within less than five inches of the jewlery. To read about another recently unearthed cache, see "Viking Hoard Unearthed in Scotland."

Categories: Blog

Norwegian Vikings Among the First to Raid British Isles

December 31, 2014

TRONDHEIM, NORWAY—A new examination of ninth-century A.D. burial sites in the central Norwegian region of Trøndelag has revealed they contain many more artifacts from Britain, such as brooches, drinking horns, and swords, than had been previously believed. “These graves are some of the earliest proof that we have of contact between Norway and the British Isles,” archaeologist Aina Margrethe Heen Pettersen told Science Nordic. She argues that Vikings from Trøndelag were among the first to voyage across the North Sea, and emphasizes that they were not simply bent on raiding. “Contact with the Anglo-Saxons means more than just violent pillaging. Drinking horns and swords are considered to be gifts in support of alliances. And scales that have been found suggest that there was trading between the Vikings and the people of the British Isles at the time.” To read in-depth about some of the earliest Viking raids, see "The First Vikings."

Categories: Blog

Norwegian Vikings Among the First to Raid British Isles

December 31, 2014

TRONDHEIM, NORWAY—A new examination of ninth-century A.D. burial sites in the central Norwegian region of Trøndelag has revealed they contain many more artifacts from Britain, such as brooches, drinking horns, and swords, than had been previously believed. “These graves are some of the earliest proof that we have of contact between Norway and the British Isles,” archaeologist Aina Margrethe Heen Pettersen told Science Nordic. She argues that Vikings from Trøndelag were among the first to voyage across the North Sea, and emphasizes that they were not simply bent on raiding. “Contact with the Anglo-Saxons means more than just violent pillaging. Drinking horns and swords are considered to be gifts in support of alliances. And scales that have been found suggest that there was trading between the Vikings and the people of the British Isles at the time.” To read in-depth about some of the earliest Viking raids, see "The First Vikings."

Categories: Blog

Antiquities Thief Arrested in Israel

December 31, 2014

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL—Israeli Border Police caught a man with a metal detector and digging implements at the Roman and Byzantine-era town Khribat Marmita. A search of the man's home by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) inspectors yielded over 800 illegally excavated coins from the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman eras, as well as seals and bronze necklaces. Eitan Klein, deputy head of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery told The Times of Israel that the man is one of over 100 looters apprehended in 2014 by the IAA and that the coins he removed now have no scientific value. “Disconnecting the coin from an archaeological site is irreversible damage,” said Klein, “which doesn’t allow a restoration of the data, and effectively erases a whole chapter of history from an archaeological site.” To read about a scientifically excavated coin, see "Rare Coin Discovered in Israel."

Categories: Blog

Antiquities Thief Arrested in Israel

December 31, 2014

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL—Israeli Border Police caught a man with a metal detector and digging implements at the Roman and Byzantine-era town Khribat Marmita. A search of the man's home by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) inspectors yielded over 800 illegally excavated coins from the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman eras, as well as seals and bronze necklaces. Eitan Klein, deputy head of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery told The Times of Israel that the man is one of over 100 looters apprehended in 2014 by the IAA and that the coins he removed now have no scientific value. “Disconnecting the coin from an archaeological site is irreversible damage,” said Klein, “which doesn’t allow a restoration of the data, and effectively erases a whole chapter of history from an archaeological site.” To read about a scientifically excavated coin, see "Rare Coin Discovered in Israel."

Categories: Blog

Two Large Buildings Discovered in Agora at Nea Paphos

December 30, 2014

KRAKOW, POLAND—Traces of two large public buildings have been found in Nea Paphos, an ancient city founded in Cyprus at the end of the fourth century B.C. “One of them was probably a temple, the other probably served as a warehouse. Both were very well built,” Ewdoksia Papuci-Wladyka of Jagiellonian University told Science & Scholarship in Poland. The buildings are in the city’s agora, or central gathering place. An ancient well was found at its eastern entrance. “When the well was no longer in use, it served as the trash: it was mainly filled with broken vessels and kitchenware. Inside we also found fragments of statues and coins,” she said. The vessels, many decorated with red, glossy surface slips, date to the Hellenistic period. “They testify to the wealth of the residents of Paphos.” For more on the archaeology of ancient Greek agoras, see "Attention Shoppers."

Categories: Blog

Two Large Buildings Discovered in Agora at Nea Paphos

December 30, 2014

KRAKOW, POLAND—Traces of two large public buildings have been found in Nea Paphos, an ancient city founded in Cyprus at the end of the fourth century B.C. “One of them was probably a temple, the other probably served as a warehouse. Both were very well built,” Ewdoksia Papuci-Wladyka of Jagiellonian University told Science & Scholarship in Poland. The buildings are in the city’s agora, or central gathering place. An ancient well was found at its eastern entrance. “When the well was no longer in use, it served as the trash: it was mainly filled with broken vessels and kitchenware. Inside we also found fragments of statues and coins,” she said. The vessels, many decorated with red, glossy surface slips, date to the Hellenistic period. “They testify to the wealth of the residents of Paphos.”

Categories: Blog

Remains May Be Irish Children Who Died in Wreck of Coffin Ship

December 30, 2014

MONTREAL, CANADA—Human bones eroded and recovered from a beach on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula have been described as three European children suffering from malnutrition. Parks Canada archaeologists think the children may have died in the 1847 wreck of the Carricks, a ship carrying immigrants fleeing the famine in Ireland. An estimated 100 bodies washed ashore after the ship sank in a violent storm and were buried in a mass grave thought to be located in the area where the bones were found. Two of the children were between the ages of seven and nine. The third child was between 11 or 12 years of age. One of the children suffered from rickets, a condition caused by vitamin D deficiency. Analysis of tooth enamel indicates that the children ate a plant-based diet in Europe. A button from the site has also been traced to nineteenth-century Europe. “They are witnesses to a tragic event. You can’t have a more tangible witness to tragedy than human remains,” Parks Canada archaeologist Pierre Cloutier told The Globe and Mail. To read about another discovery dating to the era of the Great Famine, see "Mass Graves Found at Irish Prison Site."

Categories: Blog

Remains May Be Irish Children Who Died in Wreck of Coffin Ship

December 30, 2014

MONTREAL, CANADA—Human bones eroded and recovered from a beach on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula have been described as three European children suffering from malnutrition. Parks Canada archaeologists think the children may have died in the 1847 wreck of the Carricks, a ship carrying immigrants fleeing the famine in Ireland. An estimated 100 bodies washed ashore after the ship sank in a violent storm and were buried in a mass grave thought to be located in the area where the bones were found. Two of the children were between the ages of seven and nine. The third child was between 11 or 12 years of age. One of the children suffered from rickets, a condition caused by vitamin D deficiency. Analysis of tooth enamel indicates that the children ate a plant-based diet in Europe. A button from the site has also been traced to nineteenth-century Europe. “They are witnesses to a tragic event. You can’t have a more tangible witness to tragedy than human remains,” Parks Canada archaeologist Pierre Cloutier told The Globe and Mail. To read about another discovery dating to the era of the Great Famine, see "Mass Graves Found at Irish Prison Site."

Categories: Blog

Large Underground City Discovered in Turkey

December 30, 2014

NEVŞEHIR, TURKEY—An underground city estimated to be 5,000 years old has been discovered in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province, surrounding Nevşehir fortress, which sits on a conical-shaped hill. The area was being prepared by the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) for an urban transformation project. “It is not a known underground city. Tunnel passages of seven kilometers are being discussed. We stopped the construction we were planning to do on these areas when an underground city was discovered,” TOKİ Head Mehmet Ergün Turan told Hurriet Daily News. This city is thought to be much larger than other underground cities in the region. “We believe that people, who were engaged in agriculture, were using the tunnels to carry agricultural products to the city. We also estimate that one of the tunnels passes under Nevşehir and reaches a faraway water source,” said Özcan Çakir of 18 March University. To read about the spectacular remains of a Hellenistic and Roman-era city in central Turkey, see "Zeugma After the Flood."

Categories: Blog

Large Underground City Discovered in Turkey

December 30, 2014

NEVŞEHIR, TURKEY—An underground city estimated to be 5,000 years old has been discovered in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province, surrounding Nevşehir fortress, which sits on a conical-shaped hill. The area was being prepared by the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) for an urban transformation project. “It is not a known underground city. Tunnel passages of seven kilometers are being discussed. We stopped the construction we were planning to do on these areas when an underground city was discovered,” TOKİ Head Mehmet Ergün Turan told Hurriet Daily News. This city is thought to be much larger than other underground cities in the region. “We believe that people, who were engaged in agriculture, were using the tunnels to carry agricultural products to the city. We also estimate that one of the tunnels passes under Nevşehir and reaches a faraway water source,” said Özcan Çakir of 18 March University. To read about the spectacular remains of a Hellenistic and Roman-era city in central Turkey, see "Zeugma After the Flood."

Categories: Blog

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