AYRSHIRE, SCOTLAND—Archaeologists are excavating the Dreghorn trenches, which were dug by local soldiers as part of their training for battle. The training trenches were shallower than expected, but the dirt from them had been used to build ramparts, which would have provided extra protection. Sloping sides would have helped the troops “going over the top.” According to Tom Lovekin of AOC Archaeology, the trenches have provided some insight into how they were used. The evidence suggests that the Army kept the trenches clean and the troops did not camp out in them overnight. “We did recover a single bullet casing from the fill of one of the trenches, which we believe is from a Lee-Enfield rifle. This was the standard British infantry weapon from 1895 until 1957, which indicates that the trenches cold have been used for training in preparation for both the First and Second World Wars,” Lovekin said in a press release. For more on the archaeology of WWI, go to "Anzac's Next Chapter."
PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND—The bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood has been recovered from the floor of the Denmark Strait by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In May 1941, Hood exploded and sank after it was hit by the German battleship Bismark. Only three of the 1,418 crew members survived. Allen’s team used a remotely operated vehicle to retrieve the bell. Once the restoration is complete, it will become part of a display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and a memorial to its fallen World War II-era sailors. “For the 1,415 officers and men who lost their lives in HMS Hood on 24 May 1941, the recovery of her bell and its subsequent place of honor in the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth will mean that future generations will be able to gaze upon her bell and remember with gratitude and thanks the heroism, courage, and personal sacrifice of Hood’s ship’s company who died in the service of their country,” Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, president of the HMS Hood Association, said in a statement reported in USNI News. For more, go to "The Archaeology of WWII."
HAIFA, ISRAEL—A wreck discovered in 1976 may be the Baron de Rothschild’s long-lost ship, according to new research conducted by Deborah Cvikel and Micky Holtzman of the University of Haifa. The Baron had three ships that carried raw materials from France to his glass factory on the Mediterranean coast in the late nineteenth century in order to produce bottles for a winery at Zichron Yaacov. “We know that two of the Baron’s three ships were sold, but we have no information concerning the third ship. The ship we have found is structurally consistent with the specifications of the Baron’s ships, carried a similar cargo, and sailed and sank during the right period,” Cvikel and Holtzman said in a press release. Earlier excavations of the wreck found pots and tiles stamped with factory marks that helped the researchers participating in the current project to date the ship. One of the pots also contained traces of a chemical used in the production of glass. “This ship could certainly be one of dozens of similar ships that plied the coasts of Palestine during this period. However, there seem to be more than a few items that connect it with Zichron Yaacov, with the glass factory at Tantura, and with the Baron’s Ships. Perhaps we can now conclude that the third ship was not sold and condemned to obscurity like its sisters, but sank with its cargo still onboard,” they said. For more on underwater archaeology, go to "History's 10 Greatest Wrecks."
TUSCON, ARIZONA—Nicholas Reeves, currently at the University of Arizona, was examining ultra-high resolution images of Tutankhamun’s tomb when he noticed fissures and cracks in two places on its walls. He suggests that the cracks reveal the presence of two passages that were blocked and then plastered and painted over. Reeves thinks that one of the passages probably leads to a storeroom, while the other, which aligns with both sides of the tomb’s entrance chamber, may open to a corridor and a queen’s burial chamber. As he told The Economist, such an arrangement is typical of tombs built for Egyptian queens. Reeves adds that Tutankhamun’s tomb is smaller than other kings’ tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and it seemed to have been put together in a hurry. Could this tomb have been intended for Nefertiti, Tutankhamun’s stepmother? Radar scans could reveal hidden rooms if they exist. “Each piece of evidence on its own is not conclusive, but put it all together and it’s hard to avoid my conclusion. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but if I’m right this is potentially the biggest archaeological discovery ever made,” he said. For more on the search for Nefertiti's tomb, go to "In Search of History's Greatest Rulers."