Archaeology

Archaeology and related sciences

Medieval healing spring to be excavated

St. Ann's Well, a medieval healing spring in Nottingham, England, has been scheduled to be excavated sometime in 2012. The site, under a demolished pub, was once believed to have magical healing powers.

Beheaded skeletons might be victims of royal decree

Dr Britt Baillie, from the University of Cambridge, believes that 54 skeletons discovered in 2009 at Ridgeway Hill in England were Viking mercenaries from the time of Aethelred the Unready. All remains were found beheaded "in an unusual fashion from the front."

California Bay to be named after Sir Francis Drake

The U.S. Government is set to name a spot north of San Francisco, California after Sir Francis Drake, giving credance to that spot as the true location where Drake landed and claimed "Nova Albion" for Elizabeth I.

16th century secular frescoes found in Slovenia

A rare set of frescoes depicting secular themes have been found in a house in Slovenia. The frescoes depict men and women wearing the latest fashions.

Gold cross found in Anglo-Saxon bed grave

A grave of a young Anglo-Saxon woman lying on a bed has been found in Cambridgeshire. She was buried with a gold and garnet cross comparable in quality to the treasures found at Staffordshire and Sutton hoo. The cross was stitched to the woman's gown.

Reliving the Viking past in Dublin

Dublin's Viking past is everywhere in the city, from the Viking exhibition Dublinia to excavations at Dublin City Council headquarters. Join Catherine Le Nevez of Lonely Planet for a look at the city's Norse heritage.

Artifacts push back timeline on Spanish Colorado

Recent archaeological discoveries indicate the Spanish search for gold may have taken them into Colorado much earlier than previously thought.

The case for women Vikings

On her blog Bones Don't Lie, mortuary archaeologist Katy M. Meyers discusses proof of Viking women warriors in the 9th and 10th centuries in the form of swords found in female burial mounds. (photos)

Excerpts from "A history of Ireland in 100 objects"

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is a selection of some of the many medieval artifacts featured in The Irish Time's column A history of Ireland in 100 objects.

Iron age bog man gets his head examined

Worsely Man, the 1st century CE skull of a man found in an English bog in 1958, has been sent to Manchester Children's Hospital for a CAT (computer-assisted tomography) scan.

Portable Antiquities Scheme offers registry of British "treasures"

Metal detector hobbyists and amateur archaeologists in Great Britain are encouraged to record their discoveries of objects over 300 years old on the Portable Antiquities Scheme website, which also provides news and articles on British archaeological finds.

"Young Warrior's" grave reveals links to Kyivan Rus king

National Geographic's website offers a slideshow of artifacts discovered recently in eastern Europe. Among them are the remains from a grave in Poland dubbed the "Young Warrior."

Grant awarded to search for Viking "court circle" in Sherwood Forest

Several years ago, the Friends of Thynghowe, an amateur history group, was instrumental in discovering a Viking Thing in England's Sherwood Forest. Now the group has received a grant to search a wider area.

Guinea pig joins the ranks of favorite medieval pets

Was there a guinea pig sitting in the cage of a 16th century classroom? A new archaeological find proves it's possible. The 3rd ever early European guinea pig skeleton has been found in Belgium. Experts believe it was buried like a pet.

Ancient stone may hold the fate of modern London

The Stone of Scone and the Tower Ravens may have some competition. A fight has broken out over the fate of London's Stone of Brutus. A development company wants to relocate the stone, while tradition holds that, "So long as the Stone of Brutus is safe, so long will London flourish."

"Cumbrian Dragon" may have belonged to a knight

A stunning miniature of a 15th century knight slaying a dragon has been found in Carlisle, England. The cast silver gilt piece is of high quality and thought to be a piece of jewelery rather than a pilgrim's badge.

Evidence suggest that London was built by Iceni slaves

An essay from a recent issue of British Archaeology suggests that the city of London was  built as a military base by the captured Iceni tribesmen of rebel Queen Boudica, who were then executed. Author Dominic Perring bases his theory on the discovery of hundreds of skulls of young males.

Jewish bread stamp found in Acre

In the Israeli city of Acre around 500 CE, Larry the Baker left his mark. A ceramic Byzantine bread stamp has been unearthed bearing the classic Jewish seven branch Menorah and the name "Laurentius" written out in Greek letters.

Maria Vretmark and the mystery of the king's tomb

Maria Vretmark has a "fantastic story" to tell: Who is buried in King Magnus Ladulås' tomb? New DNA tests carried out by her team have determined that at least some of the bodies in the tomb in central Stockholm, Sweden are several centuries younger than the reign of Magnus, who ruled from 1275 until 1290.

Restored Roman helmet to go on display

A Roman helmet found in Leicestershire, England is going on display after a 10 year restoration effort. The elaborate helmet dates to the 1st century CE.

Will skeletons tell story of Norwegian town?

The people of Stavanger, Norway are on a quest to discover the exact year their town was founded. A good starting place may be with the huge collection of human bones dating to the Middle Ages found beneath their cathedral.

British Museum given "gifts to the gods"

Curators at the British Museum are happy to accept a collection of "over 3,000 objects including coinage, jewellery, furniture fittings and pottery vessels" thrown in the River Tees at Piercebridge in Roman times as gifts to the gods. (photos)

17th Century "fairytale cottage" may have link to dark history

Workers from United Utilities in the village of Barley, England, were "stunned" to discover a well-preserved 17th century cottage during a construction project. The cottage included the bones of a cat found inside a wall, possibly put there to ward off evil spirits.

Chatham's Tudor shipyard confirmed

Archaeologists working on a dig in Chatham, England have confirmed that a dockyard dating to the time oif Henry VIII existed on the site of the Command House pub on the banks of River Medway. Officials hope to make a bid to declare the dockyard a World Heritage site.

1000-year-old Icelandic remains may prove ritual sacrifice

A recent report in Urðarbrunnur, the journal of the science association at Laugar in the rural district Þingeyjarsveit, Iceland, suggests that remains found in a large hole in the turf wall in Þegjandadalur, Iceland show the practice of ritual sacrifice in the time before the country converted to Christianity.

"Exciting" Anglo Saxon discovery in Yorkshire Dales National Park

A team of amateur archaeologists from the Ingleborough Archaeology Group has discovered evidence of an Anglo Saxon building in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in northern England. The "exciting" discovery is "the first building in the national park that is firmly dated to the 7th Century and is one of only a handful in the north."

Japanese train yard reveals luxury lodgings

A site excavated at a train yard in Japan is thought to have been a facility that provided food and lodgings to Korean and Chinese enyoys. The facility is mentioned in ancient manuscripts and dates to the 8th or 9th century CE.

New study traces the origin of board games from ancient times to modern era

A study published in Antiquity looks at board games and traces their spread from ancient Mesopotamia through medieval Europe and into 20th century America.

Disturbed remains may not be fault of grave robbers

Archaeologists who have found graves from the early Middle Ages with remains disturbed have long believed that grave robbers were responsible, but new research may show that the destruction was done for other reasons than material gain.

Pictish power centered in Rhynie

Excavations near the site of Scotland's Rhynie Man, a six-foot boulder carved with the image of a Pict, have revealed a fortified early medieval settlement, possibly the seat of the mysterious Kings of Pictland.