Archaeology

Archaeology and related sciences

Retired professor saves 8th century Indian mint

Manmohan Kumar, a retired professor from Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, India, was concerned about urbanization engulfing historic archaeological sites near Haryana. His pleas motivated a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to explore the area, where it unearthed the remains of an 8th century mint. (photos)

Viking mass grave findings generate book and museum exhibition

In 2009, a Dorset County, England road project uncovered the remains of 50 decapitated skeletons, later identified as Viking. Now the mass grave is the subject of a book, Given to the Ground: A Viking Age Mass Grave on Ridgeway Hill by members of the team that subsequently studied the remains. (photos)

The "peaceful conquest" of Roman Britain

Everyone knows that the transition from Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England was a brutal time -- everyone but Dr Andrew Millard, from Durham University, whose new study in the Journal of Archaeological Science, shows a more peaceful process. (maps)

Murder declared in Scotland

An unidentified 20-year-old man has been found murdered in Kirk Ness in East Lothian, Scotland, but the murderer will not likely be found. The victim, fatally stabbed four times in the back, was killed in the 12th or 13th century.

Dark ages less barbaric than Roman, says historian

Dominic Selwood is a lawyer, writer and historian. He is also a blogger on a mission: to take the "dark" out of the Dark Ages. Selwood recently blogged on the subject for The Telegraph with Why the so-called 'Dark Ages' were just as civilised as the savage Roman Empire.

Early Saxon graves unearthed in Cambridgeshire

Archaeologists in the English village of Haddenham have uncovered nine burials dating to the Early Saxon period (6th century CE) in the car park of the Three Kings Pub. The graves, of both men and women, contained a wealth of grave goods including a spear and shield and a beaded necklace. (photos)

Medieval superpowers of the Swahili Coast

Great civilizations of the Middle Ages were not located solely in Europe or Asia. Some of the world superpowers grew up along the coasts of Africa. In a feature article for i09, Annalee Newitz takes a look Songo Mnara, a city that thrived from the 10th to 15th centuries. (photos)

Stonehenge bluestones may have been local

Legend says that the bluestones of Stonehenge were transported from a quarry in Wales to the site on the Salisbury Plain, but a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shows that the stones may actually have come from a site only three kilometres from the structure.

Britain's fifth-century cultural revolution

"Dark Ages" history traditionally considers the transition from Roman to Anglo-Saxon culture in England a time of bloody conquest, but in a new article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science suggest that the evolution may have been more cultural than brutal.

Medieval church wall and remains unearthed by electrical workers

The excavation of a ditch to bury an electrical cable has led to the discovery of a medieval church wall at St Ffinan's Church in Anglesey, England. The original church, believed to have been built in 620 CE, was mostly destroyed when the newer church was built in the 19th century.

"Astonishing" find in St. Bartholomew's Church

In 2006, St Bartholomew's Church in Much Marcle, England received UK£500,000 for restoration of the church. During the project, workers discovered a lead coffin in the tomb chest of Blanch Mortimer, daughter of 14th century traitor Sir Roger Mortimer, who overthrew King Edward II. English Heritage described the find as "astonishing." (photos, video)

A violent end for the Finnish swordsman

In November 2013, archaeologists working near Hyvikkälä, Finland discovered the grave of an unknown swordsman dating to the Middle Ages. Recent tests showed that the well-fed, fit individual died a violent death from skull injuries.

Who's buried in Charlemagne's tomb?

In 1988, bones were secretly removed from the tomb of the Emperor Charlemagne for study and for possible identification. Now the results show that the remains are... probably Charlemagne's. (photos)

King Alfred found?

Researchers from the University of Winchester believe they may have found the pelvis of England's King Alfred the Great in a box of bones stored in the city's museum. The bone may also be from Alfred's son King Edward the Elder. The 9th and 10th century Saxon kings are best known for protecting their people from Viking raids.

"Not a pretty picture" painted by pit of Roman skulls

In 1988, 39 skulls of adult men were discovered near the Museum of London. The skulls dated to Roman times and now are believed to have been gathered by "head hunters" who retrieved the heads of those who died in the nearby amphitheater. "It is not a pretty picture," said Rebecca Redfern, from the centre for human bioarchaeology at the museum of London.

Investigation of Shakespeare's last home to enter phase 2

Archaeologists have been working on the site of New Place, William Shakespeare's last home in Stratford-upon-Avon, since 2009 and have now discovered "as much as they can" about the site, which was demolished in the 18th century. (photos)

Raising a horn with the Vikings

For centuries, the Norse used animal horns as drinking vessels, many of which had decorative metal terminals and mounts. Proof of this has been found in grave sites, although the actual horns have long decayed. A new book by Vivian Etting entitled The Story of the Drinking Horn – Drinking Culture in Scandinavia during the Middle Ages tells the long story of the custom. (photos)

Archaeologists surprised by medieval remains at Gallo-Roman site

The last thing that archaeologists working on the Roman site of Intaranum near Entrains-sur-Nohain, France expected to find was a mass grave in a well dating to the 8th-10th centuries.

Symposium scheduled to pinpoint location of Battle of Brunanburh

In 937, a deciding battle was fought which changed the course of British history forever. The Battle of Brunanburh, one of the UK's bloodiest, was fought between the Scots and the Saxons, establishing England's identity. Unfortunately, no one knows where the battle took place.

Keeping current on Stonehenge

It's been a momentous year for experts at Stonehenge, as well as those who visit the Neolithic monument, including the grand opening of its new visitor center. The Culture24 blog offers a wrapup of 2013 for the world Heritage site. (photos, map)

Altopascio skeletons show history of disease in Europe

For several years, biological anthropologist Giuseppe Vercellotti of The Ohio State University has led a field school in the Badia Pozzeveri Churchyard in Altopascio, Italy, where he and his students unearth and study the skeletons hoping "to read the history written in the bones." Of particular interest was a mass grave covered with a layer of lime. (photos)

Harlech remains may date to Wars of the Roses

Workers constructing a new visitor center at Harlech Castle in Wales were surprised to find the remains of three people, possibily dating to the time of the Wars of the Roses. Medieval foundations were also discovered, which may mean the site was once a churchyard.

The mystery of Longforth Farm continues

In a feature article for Current Archaeology, Matthew Symonds discusses recent discoveries at Longforth Farm with Bob Davis of Wessex Archaeology. Longforth Farm is a huge medieval complex near Wellington, England. (photos, map)

Mass medieval burial found near Durham Cathedral

Archaeologists are endeavoring to puzzle out the significance of a mass grave discovered during renovation of Durham University's Palace Green library. Instead of defined burials, the remains of 18 individuals seem to have been "tipped" into the grave.

Technology uncovers medieval defences and settlements in Poland

New studies using LiDAR (aerial laser scanning), electrofusion and magnetic prospection, soil analysis and other technologies have revealed new perspectives on six medieval sites in Poland: Chełm, Rękoraj, Rozprza, Stare Skoszewy, Szydłów and Żarnowo.

Pope Francis displays bones of St. Peter

For the first time ever, the relics of St. Peter, discovered in the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica in 1939, were displayed during mass, and prayed over by the Pope. The relices include nine pieces of bone. (photos)

Researchers create "virtual villa" using video game technology

Researchers at Indiana University, leading an international collaborative team, have used the Unity 3D game engine to create an interactive digital model of Hadrian's Villa, a Roman ruin located near Tivoli, Italy, for research and educational purposes.

Multi-period grave swords puzzle experts

Archaeologists working at the site of a 12th century crusader grave in Hyvikkälä, Janakkala, Finland were puzzled to find the remins buried with two swords from different historical periods.

Leicestershire lead coffin opened

A team of experts from Archaeology Warwickshire and York University have opened the 1,700-year-old lead coffin discovered recently near Hinckley, England, and have begun examination of its contents.

Archaeology fan? Wales has an app for that

Wales has introduced the Archwilio app, which will allow smartphone and tablet users to "access information about archaeological sites on maps covering the whole country." The free app will also let users connect and post their own updates.