Iceman Oetzi Spent Days in Pain

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News


Sept. 6, 2004 — Ötzi the Iceman, the world's oldest and best-preserved mummy, might have spent at least three days in excruciating pain before he died, according to new research presented at the 5th World Congress on Mummy Studies in Turin.


Eduard Egarter Vigl, official caretaker of the 5,300-year-old mummy at the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano; Andreas Nerlich, of the Academic Hospital Munich-Bogenhause, Germany; and colleagues, re-examined a deep, defensive-style knife wound recently found on the mummy's right hand.


Histological and biochemical analysis on the irregularly shaped 3.7 cm long, deep, dark-brown wound revealed typical bleeding into the subcutaneous fat tissue and the beginning of transformation of a blood clot into haemosiderin.


"This means that the wound did not bleed once, but several times after affliction. The presence of haemosiderin containing macrophages in skin wounds would indicate that the injury happened between three to eight days before Ötzi's death,” Egarter told Discovery News.


At first, scientists thought that Ötzi died from cold and hunger. But the discovery of an arrowhead in his shoulder, recent DNA analysis and injuries on his body all suggested he that died following a violent hand-to-hand encounter with one or more assailants.


"At present, we do not know if the skin wound may have happened simultaneously or shortly after Ötzi was hit by the arrow, but if so this would suggest that he survived the attack for a few days," Egarter said.


The researchers believe Ötzi managed to flee up the mountain until he collapsed and was entombed in the ice of the Similaun Glacier, in the Ötztal Alps — hence the mummy's name — from where he emerged in 1991.


Probably caught in a storm at 10,000 feet, the right hand cut to the tendons and the left arm possibly bent in the effort to stop the blood, Ötzi died in pain, most likely for blood loss, hunger, cold and weakness, Egarter said.


Further research on the mummy's bone marrow revealed the presence of mild osteomalacia, a disease which involves softening of the bones.


"This confirms previous reports indicating that Ötzi suffered from intestinal parasitosis which is a frequent cause of osteomalacia," Egarter said.


He added that the bone biopsy showed no evidence that the Iceman suffered from other generalized metabolic diseases affecting bones.


"This research shows that there is still much to be learnt about the Iceman. I believe that there is opportunity to discover new things on this mummy for as long as it will remain available," Arthur Aufderheide, professor of pathology at University of Minnesota and author of "The Scientific Study of Mummies," told Discovery News.



White horse crops up in aerial photo

September 9, 2004


AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL riddle is unfolding in the undulating landscape of Whittlesford.


Is the white horse that is apparent from the air a genuine historic figure or not?


Answers could be some time away, for the "white horse" is in a sugar beet crop which is not expected to be harvested for some months.


The discovery has ignited a lively debate. Many villagers who have seen the aerial photographs are convinced it is an historic monument, but expert opinion is more guarded.


"We simply don't know what it is," said Ashley Arbon, manager of the Whittlesford Society Archive Project, who "discovered" the horse's outline when he was taking aerial photographs on Wednesday last week. It is not obvious at ground level.


"There were one or two sites in the village that I wanted to photograph. I was trying to see if there were any crop marks where the old brick factory, as mentioned in the book Anatomy of a Victorian Village, used to be.


"I downloaded the images and took them to show a friend who asked 'what's that pale patch in that field'. She said 'my god that looks like...' and we both said 'white chalk horse' together."


"The lay opinion is that it does look like a white horse, but it is in the wrong place – they are usually on big chalk escarpments.


"There are two sorts of white horse – one that actually look like horses with their feet on the ground. They are mostly late 18th century, early 19th century.


"Ours is much more like the Uffington horse in Wiltshire, which is more stylised. The Uffington horse was thought to be Iron Age but apparently English Heritage has done more research and think it could be Bronze Age."


Dr Chris Taylor, the country's leading landscape archaeologist and vice-president of the Whittlesford Society, is investigating further, along with others including Chris Montague, finds liaison officer for the Cambridgeshire Portable Antiquities Scheme.


They are unlikely to make any early pronouncements on the "Whittlesford Horse", although Peter Speak of the Thriplow Society has already said he believes it could be man-made.


Mr Arbon, a self-employed thatcher, said an increasing number of finds in the area suggests the former Roman villa nearby is even more significant.


A number of Roman coins with holes drilled in them, suggest they were worn as Saxon pendants.


He described a neolithic stone axe as a "star find" during the ongoing project to collate all the archeaology.


"Because of the geology, we are 95 per cent certain this originated in Langdale, north-west of Windermere."


His mother, Rita Arbon, found the end of what is believed to be a mesolithic axe, probably between 5,000 and 7,000 years old during a field walk held last month.


* The society's next field walk will take place on Sunday, September 19.


Mr Arbon is able to take up to 30 people on his tractor and trailer. Anyone interested should bring along stout shoes or boots and meet at 2pm at his home, 1 Wren Park, Whittlesford.




(AGI) - Naples, Italy, Sept. 7 - The first step of their restoration, an estimated five years, took place today, with the removal of the first ship from the sand and slime that protected them for centuries. Two of the three ships from the Imperial Age were taken away for a large crane from the subway station being built in Piazza Municipio in Naples. The delicate operation, done with companies which won the bid for the job and the Naples and Caserta Archaeological Superintendent, started today with the removal of the first hull, 12 meters long and weighing 21 tons in its fibreglass conservation shell, and its transport to a specially made warehouse in Piscinola, a northern suburb of the city. Last year, in the same warehouse, a Medieval fountain was housed, removed from the construction site of the Piazza Nicola Amore station, another site that yielded exceptional finds. There are three ships, on the bottom of what was Naples' Roman port. All are dated, thanks to carbon 14 dating of the wood, around the first century AD. "Two are commercial ships, able to do medium to long trip, that is, to the Roman port of Ostia. The third is a service ship used inside the port, as seen by the low keel and the vertical bow," said archaeologist Daniela Gianpaolo. The excavation operations required months of time, delicate phases and specific know how. There are very few antique ships in the world, and fewer still that survived 2000 years in such great conditions. The Naples Superintendent used the knowledge already used by the Tuscan Superintendent for ships found in Pisa and the experts of the Central Restoration Institute. Initially, the inside and outside of the ships were sampled, photographed, recorded, and scanned with 3D lasers. Then small portions of the ships were excavated, as demonstrated by the regional coordinator of the superintendents, Stefano De Caro, who illustrated the methodology to Naples mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino, region president Antonio Bassolino and province president Dino Di Palma. (AGI)

071934 SET 04

COPYRIGHTS 2002-2003 AGI S.p.A. 



Event - Thursday, Sep 16 2004

Public Meeting on Woodstown Viking Site

by Save Woodstown Viking Site Saturday, Sep 11 2004, 5:17pm


A public meeting has been called to launch a campaign to save the Woodstown Viking Site, recently discovered just outside Waterford City. The meeting will take place in the Granville Hotel on Thursday 16th September at 8.00pm. Speakers include the well known local historian and writer, Jack O’Neill, of the Waterford Historical and Literary Society, and a Dublin based archaeologist, Paula Geragthy. Further speakers will be confirmed in the following week.





A public meeting has been called to launch a campaign to save the Woodstown Viking Site, recently discovered just outside Waterford City. The meeting will take place in the Granville Hotel on Thursday 16th September at 8.00pm. Speakers include the well known local historian and writer, Jack O’Neill, of the Waterford Historical and Literary Society, and a Dublin based archaeologist, Paula Geragthy. Further speakers will be confirmed in the following week.


A video of the Roskilde Viking Centre is to be shown at the public meeting also. The town of Roskilde in Denmark has become a major tourist destination since the discovery of Viking longships, similar to those discovered at Woodstown, in the 1960’s. The Viking museum in Roskilde has recently completed an exact replica of an 11th century Irish built longship which will soon set sail to Ireland. The construction of the museum in Roskilde and the subsequent boom in tourism is an example of what can be achieved if the Woodstown Viking Site is properly handled and excavated fully. The video will be narrated by WIT lecturer, Noel Kelly.


The Woodstown Viking Site, discovered during preparations for the Waterford bypass has been described as: “The most significant new find in Viking studies in perhaps a century” by Professor Donnchadh O’Corrain, medieval historian at UCC, and “Ireland’s equivalent of Pompeii” by archaeologist John Maas.


Despite the extraordinary significance of the find, the National Roads Authority and Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen waited an incredible nine months before they made it public. Cullen has said he would make a decision on whether or not he would order a full excavation when he receives a combined report from the NRA, National Museum and Dept. of the Environment in September. Fears are increasing that he will only order a “rescue” excavation, a partial digging which will fail to unearth the full wonders of Woodstown.


In just two years as minister for the environment, Cullen has earned himself the reputation as a destroyer of Ireland’s heritage. The National Monuments Act 2004 which gives Cullen unlimited discretion and reduces the number of parties involved in deciding the fate of national monuments, has already seen the demolition of Carrickmines castle, threats to the Tara complex and now the Woodstown site.


Although the excavation has now halted because the license to carry out work has expired, already over 3,000 artefacts have been successfully excavated. It is believed the original town from the early to mid ninth century, could have been home to up to 4,000 inhabitants. The town remains virtually intact with streets and dwellings believed to be just underneath the soil surface.


Aerial photographs and evidence uncovered have convinced archaeologists that up to 120 Viking ships once occupied the town, which is located on the banks of the river Suir. The site began as a longport and was a base for shipbuilding. No other longport discovery in Europe comes close to matching the scale and significance of the Woodstown find.


Archaeologists, historians, medievalists and conservationists from around the world have welcomed the find and it has been predicted that the site could be worth up to €200 million annually to the local economy in increased tourism revenue. A Viking site of significantly less importance in York, England is worth approximately half a billion euros per annum with up to four million visitors each year.


Although Waterford needs the bypass, it should not be constructed at the expense of this extraordinary site. The road needs to be re-routed to facilitate the full excavation of the Woodstown site and surrounding areas. Anything else will result in a huge loss to our heritage. All members of the public who would like to get involved in the campaign or just find out more about Woodstown are invited to the meeting.


Jack O’Neill 051-378405



Viking burial ground dispels myth of longship marauders

Lee Glendinning and Maev Kennedy

Tuesday September 7, 2004

The Guardian


A Viking burial ground, which has held bodies undisturbed for 1,000 years with all the trappings of the Sagas including swords, jewellery and firemaking materials, has been uncovered in Cumbria, after a chance find by a metal detector.

The site - thought to contain the first formal burial of bodies discovered in England - is believed to date from the 10th century, when the Vikings had been Christianised, but were evidently still hedging their bets.


Full details of the find at Cumwhitton, which has caused international excitement, will be announced this morning.


The bodies of the four men and two women were buried in the east-west Christian alignment, but with all the grave goods they would need for the pagan afterlife - the women had rich brooches, ornate belt fittings, and a jet bracelet, a material prized as highly as gold.


The men had their weapons and one had spurs, a bridle and what may be a drinking horn for the feasting he clearly expected to continue in the spirit world.


All must have been wealthy and powerful individuals, but it will probably never be possible to determine the causes of their deaths, and whether they were related: the sandy acid soil had completely dissolved their bodies.


Sir Neil Cossons, the chairman of English Heritage, which stepped in to help Oxford Archaeology after amateur metal detector user Peter Adams' find, described the discovery as "incredible".


Mr Adams found two copper brooches last March, themselves significant finds in an area with no records of Viking remains, using a metal detector on farmland with permission from the landowner.


He immediately reported his find under the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which encourages amateurs to report all archaeological finds.


The Vikings were buried within 10 metres (30ft) of each other. In the 1940s at Ingleby in Derbyshire a burial ground was found, but it held cremated ashes buried in earthenware pots, with few artefacts. The only other group of bodies found was a battlefield cemetery at nearby Repton.


The Cumbria burials were completely different. These were clearly not the longship pirates of legend, but a settled, wealthy, peaceful community.


Sir Neil added that the find provided rare evidence of Vikings as settlers who integrated into English life.


Rachel Newman, of Oxford Archaeology North, said that they could not have expected more from the excavation site.


"We knew the brooches found by Mr Adams came from a burial of a Viking Age woman, which was exciting and of great importance in itself, but we did not expect to find five other graves complete with such a splendid array of artefacts."


Some items will go on show today at the Tullie House museum in Carlisle.


Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004




'Amazing' Viking cemetery found


Archaeologists have made what is believed to be the first discovery of a Viking burial site in England.


The burial ground is described as being among the most significant discoveries made in the UK in the past 100 years.


The location, containing the bodies of four men and two women, was found outside the village of Cumwhitton, near Carlisle by local metal enthusiast Peter Adams.


The site is believed to date back to the 10th Century.


Archaeologists have spent months excavating the site which yielded swords, jewellery and riding equipment.


The only other known Viking cemetery is at Ingleby in Derbyshire which was excavated in the 1940s, but the bodies had been cremated and not buried as in Cumbria.


Archaeologists began searching the site after Mr Adams found two copper brooches.


The grave of a Viking woman was found underneath, and further excavation led to the discovery of the graves of another woman and four men.


Among the items found in the graves were weapons, spurs, a bridle and a drinking horn, as well as a jet bracelet and a copper-alloy belt fitting.


Mark Wood, Chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council, said: "This is tremendous news, a unique discovery, which will improve people's understanding of the area and its history."


Rachel Newman, of Oxford Archaeology North, said: "We could not have expected more from the excavation of the site.


"It truly has been an amazing few months excavating this extremely important Viking Age site."


Some of the items found are going on show on Tuesday at the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle.


Story from BBC NEWS:


Published: 2004/09/07 04:27:24 GMT




1500-year-old Christian burial ground uncovered at quarry

STEPHEN STEWART September 13 2004


QUARRY workers have discovered an ancient graveyard which is giving archaeologists an insight into the lifestyle, nutrition and health of early Christians in Scotland.


Machine operators unearthed 19 graves in a previously unknown 1500-year-old cemetery at the quarry.


Experts are analysing 17 skeletal remains found at the site to glean more information about the dawn of Christianity in Scotland and its impact on the native Picts.

Lindsay Dunbar, of AOC Archaeology, who led the excavation at the quarry near Auchterforfar Farm in Forfar, said: "One of the quarry workers identified what he thought were bones.


"As the quarry was cut back, more bones were found. In total, 19 graves were found with all but two containing skeletal remains."


The graves were cists, small stone-built coffin-like boxes.


Cists may have been associated with other monuments, such as cairns or long barrows. Occasionally, ornaments have been found in a cist which could indicate the wealth of the interred individual.


"The form of the graves indicated that it was a cemetery, in particular a long cist cemetery. It was found to be from the early historic period, which would make it the Pictish period in Angus," he said,


"That means the site is from the sixth to ninth century AD. There were no grave goods which is common on a site of this kind. The only artefact that was found was a single amber bead found at the top of a grave.


"The bones are currently with a bones specialist. They may be used to tell the sex and age of the person and some good evidence can be found from the bones about diet, nutrition and disease."


Richard Heawood, senior project officer with AOC Archaeology, said that the organisation often carried out emergency excavations.


"Every year, such archaeological remains . . . are discovered by chance through agricultural works, quarrying, building or coastal erosion," he said.



Unique shipwreck found in good shape


The wreckage of a ship dating from the 14th century has been found by divers in the Skien River in Telemark. Archaeologists have a new treasure on their hands, because the wreckage can offer rare insight into vessel construction in the Middle Ages.


Divers found well-preserved wooden portions of the vessel from the Middle Ages.


Many had feared that the vessel from the Middle Ages was damaged when it was first discovered during dredging operations in the 1950s.


"The dredging brought up large portions of the vessel's woodwork in 1953, and marine archaeologists thought the vessel itself had been destroyed," Pĺl Nymoen of the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo told newspaper Aftenposten.


The use of divers in marine archaeology wasn't very advanced at the time, he noted, and the shipwreck dubbed Břlevraket was largely forgotten.


It resurfaced, so to speak, this summer when Norwegian authorities decided to place stones along the bottom of the Skien River, which runs into open sea south of Oslo, to hinder underwater erosion. Divers from the Norwegian Maritime Museum were sent into the area, to check whether any cultural treasures remained.


It didn't take long before they could report the re-discovery of wreckage that seemed largely intact. The vessel is believed to have been built during the late 1300s either in Scandinavia or the Baltic region.


The vessel was single-masted and is believed to have been about 20 meters long. Archaeologists think it was sailing from Eidsborg in Lĺrdal when it sank. The wreckage is lying at a depth of just 10 meters, around 300 meters upstream from Menstad.


Nymoen, who's thrilled over the discovery, is planning a full excavation of the vessel and hopes to raise its smallest portions. "We don't know much about Norwegian vessels from the Middle Ages, except that they became bigger, wider and could carry more cargo over the years," he said. "Pictures have been found in churches and on stone monuments."


"Our goal is to secure as much as possible from the vessel," he said.


Aftenposten's reporter

Cato Guhnfeldt

Aftenposten English Web Desk

Nina Berglund



Museum security check after theft of rare coins

Blaise Tapp


SECURITY has been reviewed at Manchester Museum after three rare coins were stolen from a display case.


The coins, known as "Nobles", were taken from the coin room at the Oxford Road museum, where they were on display as part of a collection on a 15-year loan from the British Museum in London.


Two coins have since been recovered and police have appealed for help in tracing the one still missing.


The Nobles, which had been in Manchester for a year, were minted between 1445 and 1485 as gold bullion to be used as army payment during the Wars of the Roses. Many Nobles were stolen during the wars and have been recovered from all over the country.


The coins, which were taken from the museum during opening hours on August 5, are from a collection unearthed in Nottinghamshire in 1966 and form part of the Fishpool Collection. Each coin, which is about the size of a 2p coin, is valued at between Ł1,000 and Ł3,000.


It is not known how the coins were removed from their display case but it is understood the glass case was not smashed.


A museum spokesman said: "This is an extremely rare occurrence. The Manchester Museum has an excellent security record. Our security measures were extensively updated as part of the museum's recent redevelopment and since this incident we have further reviewed these measures.


"We would urge anyone with any information regarding the missing third coin to contact Greater Manchester Police."


A spokeswoman for the British Museum said she had nothing more to add.


Police have arrested a 44-year-old man from Manchester in connection with the theft. Detectives are continuing to question him but are appealing to the public for their help in locating the missing coin.


Anyone with information is asked to call Greenheys police station on 0161 856 4457 or on 0800 555 111.



Dive recovers Cromwell's sailor

By Paul Rincon

BBC News Online science staff 


A sailor from a sunken ship belonging to Oliver Cromwell's navy had the upper body of a trapeze artist but bowed legs, his recovered skeleton shows.

The able seaman, who was in his early 20s, stood 157cm (5ft 2in) tall and suffered from rickets as a child.


About 80% of the man's skeleton was recovered from the wreck of the Swan, a warship that sank off the Isle of Mull in Scotland on 13 September 1653.


The results were presented at the BA Festival of Science in Exeter.


The Swan was one of a six-strong fleet of ships that were dispatched by Cromwell to capture a castle of the Royalist MacLeans of Mull and end their resistance. However, a storm sank three of the ships off the coast.


Archaeologist Dr Colin Martin said bones from the wreck had been dragged along the sea bed by crabs, but they made up 80% of the same man.


The ship was designed for a crew of 40, but "Seaman Swan" as he is known to Professor Sue Black of Dundee University, and one of the investigators on the dive, was the only skeleton recovered from the wreck.


The sailor's bowed legs had been caused by the rickets he had suffered as a child. Rickets is the result of the loss of calcium and phosphate from the skeleton. The consequent softening and weakening of the bones can lead to deformities of the legs.


"For all that, he was an extremely fit and healthy man who exercised beyond comprehension. His upper body was extraordinarily well-developed," said Dr Martin.


It is clear from this brawny physique that the man performed rhythmic balancing work, such as setting sails and hauling on ropes. Dr Martin added that the closest present-day analogy to the man's physique was that of a trapeze artist.


However, Seaman Swan also had deformities in his hips that were seemingly caused by jumping off the equivalent of a 2m (6.5ft) wall on a regular basis.

After climbing most of the way down the rigging, sailors slid the last way to the deck, Dr Martin said.


The 20m (66ft) long 6.7m (22ft) wide ship now lies crushed on the sea bed. Dr Martin said the ship had collapsed "like an archaeological lasagne".


A number of fish and mammal remains were also found on the ship, providing clues to what the sailors were eating. The fish remains included a species related to cod called ling, which were much larger than any ling found around Scotland today.


Story from BBC NEWS:


Published: 2004/09/13 16:25:30 GMT




Woman finds rare car buried in garden


A woman has found a 60-year-old car buried in her garden.


The unnamed woman from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, called in experts after discovering metal under the grass at her home as she mowed the lawn.


The car turned out to be a rare Ford V8 Pilot, says the Daily Mirror.


Sheets of corrugated steel and a frame of railway sleepers buried with the motor suggest it was used as a makeshift air-raid shelter. The car was buried without its engine or wheels and may have been built in 1935 or 1936.


The Early Ford V8 Club UK, who identified it, said: "We are absolutely astonished. We usually find cars in barns."


Research showed workmen had unearthed it in 1948 - but covered it up. The owner is a mystery, and the society must now decide whether to display the car - or bury it again.



Live grenades found in potato factory


Two live hand grenades were found on a potato production line in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.


Bomb disposal teams were called to the Pinguin Foods plant to carry out a controlled explosion in a nearby field, reports Lynn News.co.uk.


A metallic clanging sound alerted staff on the production line as the potatoes were being washed.


An Army press office spokesman from nearby Colchester said: "They were live grenades and very unstable.


"They were old, and rust had started coming through. They might have looked like potatoes - but I wouldn't like to peel those ones!"