Archaeology

Archaeology and related sciences

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.

Eggshells and pipes highlight 16th century Swedish kitchen

Swedish archaeologists were recently given the rare opportunity to excavate a portion of the Södermalmstorg area in Stockholm. The excavation revealed a complete 16th century kitchen, including intricately-carved tobacco pipes and an unexplained pile of eggshells. (photos)

Newborough dig may stall energy construction

Archaeological digs on a farm near Newborough, England have unearthed several layers of history from Roman to Saxon times. The excavations were commissioned before the land could be used for proposed renewable energy parks.

16th century blacksmith shop found in Norway

The discovery of an old forge, an iron arrowhead and utensils has led archaeologists to believe that they had found an area used by blacksmiths dating to the 1500s. The site was unearthed under Klosterenga in Oslo, Norway.

Wooden pillars puzzle experts in Old Uppsala

Archaeologists working on the site of a railway line in Old Uppsala, Sweden are trying to puzzle out the purpose of two rows of large wooden pillars near a 5th century pre-Viking burial ground and religious center. (photos)

Archaeological forensics not like CSI

The public has learned to expect DNA testing to answer all archaeological questions, but this is not always the case according to Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer for LiveScience. One good example is the mummified head, long believed to be that of King Henry IV of France, the investigation of which has led experts on a merry chase.

Leicester car park mystery continues

Archaeologists are puzzled by the revelation that the occupant of a lead coffin found yards from the grave of Richard III in Leicester, England might be a woman. The grave was believed to have been that of Sir William de Moton.

Battlefield discovery inhibits rail construction

Riders of a English railways will have to wait a little longer for the HS2 line thanks to the discovery of a previously "lost" site of a Wars of the Roses battlefield. The site of the Battle of Edgecote between the Earl of Warwick and King Edward IV, fought July 26 1469 in Northamptonshire, lies along the route of the high-speed rail link.

Archaeologists ponder Swedish "murder mystery"

"It's like Pompeii: Something terrible happened, and everything just stopped," said Helene Wilhelmson, a researcher from Sweden's Lund University about the recent discovery of a well-preserved fort on the island of Öland, just off the Swedish coast, which contained a number of skeletons.

Roman skulls unearthed by "lost" London river

The Walborn River used to run through London until it was paved over in the 15th century. Recently the river made it's presence known when 20 skulls, dating to the 3rd or 4th century, were discovered washed from a Roman burial site.

Horse and rider return to Mildenhall

In 1997, the remains of an Anglo Saxon warrior and his horse were discovered, along with over 400 other graves, at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Now the horse and rider have come home for display at the Mildenhall Museum.

Aristocratic burials found at Polish dig

Archaeologists working on excavations in Burdąg, Warmia and Mazury, Poland have discovered rich burials dating to the 6th and 7th centuries. Believed to have belonged to local aristocrats, the graves contained such artifacts as a silver breastplate, glass beads and silver fibulae. (photo)

3rd century shop found at Roman Maryport

Archaeologists working at Roman Maryport, along Hadrian's Wall, have discovered evidence of six buildings and a road. One of the buildings is believed to have been a Roman shop.

Search for sultan's heart continues

Archaeologists working at a site near Szigetvar, Hungary have discovered an Ottoman-era town near the site of the 16th century siege between Suleiman the Magnificent and Croatian-Hungarian nobleman Miklos Zrinyi. Experts hope to find the location where the sultan's heart is buried.

Early medieval grave finds "quite a surprise"

Until recently, archaeologists believed that the site of a dig in northern Poland was "considered quite poor," but then more than 40 graves, containing a wealth of early medieval artifacts, were discovered in Burdąg, Warmia and Mazury. The experts were "surprised." (photos)

Roman Child's Lead Coffin Unearthed

Dating to about the third century CE, a small lead coffin was recently unearthed in Leicestershire, England. It is presumed to be a Christian burial due to its east-west orientation and is less than a meter long. (photo, video)

Were headless skeletons slaves of Vikings?

In the 1980s, a number of graves were discovered on an island in the Norwegian Sea, some without their heads. New research may show that the headless burials were slaves to their dead Viking masters.

History from Below

In an article posted on ManyHeadedMonster website, Chris Briggs, Lecturer in Medieval British Social and Economic History at the University of Cambridge, discusses the possessions of the peasantry of England and Europe during the later middle ages (1200-1500). The Future of History from Below is the 16th piece in an online symposium.

Lincoln Castle excavations yield interesting finds

Construction of a new museum to house a copy of the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle in England has halted after the discovery of the remains of a church, human skeletons and other artifacts. Among the finds was a sarcophagus, believed to contains the bones of "somebody terribly important." (photos)

Mystery of the disappearing manor solved

Once upon a time, a medieval manor house graced the countryside of Leicestershire, then it disappeared. Today the land is a sheep pasture, at least until archaeologists reveal what lies beneath the field.