www.archaeology.ws/archive

http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/tm_objectid=15038429%26method=full%26siteid=50020%26headline=ancient%2dhenge%2ddiscovered%2dnear%2dcity-name_page.html

Ancient henge discovered near city Dec 31 2004

 

By David Holmes, Chester Chronicle

 

WILTSHIRE may have Stonehenge but now Cheshire has a wooden henge after archaeologists made the discovery near Chester.

 

Researchers working at Poulton, on the Duke of Westminster's land, were amazed to find the Bronze Age burials they had been investigating were preceded by a much earlier 'ritual' presence.

 

A circle of holes indicated the existence of the wooden henge together with a large hole in the centre which was potentially a form of 'totem pole'.

 

Now Durham University is to undertake both soil analysis and the dating of wood fragments.

 

Site director Mike Emery said: 'This will firmly place the burial ground and the timber circle in their proper historical context, as well as providing valuable environmental evidence, which will help to recreate what life was like thousands of years ago.'

 

Mr Emery said examples of such circles were more commonly located in the south, and had been interpreted as ritual monuments that were the precursors of more famous monuments, such as Stonehenge.

 

He added: 'The uncovering of the site of a timber circle, possibly a 'henge' monument, is of great and rare importance in the north-west.'

 

Mr Emery said this earliest phase was currently under excavation and a more detailed report would be given in 2005. 'What can be stated is that the Poulton site was part of a ritual/religious landscape that was established some 5000 years ago,' he commented.

 

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of human activity at the site from several periods of human history. And the 2004 excavations have proved to be the most successful to date.

 

Work on the Bronze Age Burial Ground (1600-1000BC) is now complete. Cremated human bone has been found along with coarse, hand-made pottery and animal bone fragments.

 

The causeway into the area is aligned to the position of Orion's Belt in the summer sky. It also aims, unerringly, for a gap in the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge.

 

It is now evident that the ring-ditch is one of several, others being located close by.

 

Mr Emery says the importance of the Poulton Bronze Age 'barrow' group cannot be underestimated. 'The existence of such a burial group opens up the unique and exciting prospect of locating a Bronze Age village, nearby,' he said. 'Such settlements are rare.'

 

Within the medieval graveyard (1153-1600 AD) 63 complete, or partial, skeletons were excavated to the west of the Chapel Tower. One group of burials was particularly poignant. This consisted almost entirely of children, two of whom had their hands clasped together.

 

Further evidence of the Romans (90-410AD) was unearthed consisting of a mass of pottery and building material.

 

Mr Emery said test-trenches suggested the remains of a substantial Roman building lies 'tantalisingly close by'. A planned programme of more extensive geophysical survey will aim to pinpoint the focus of Roman activity.

 

FRIENDS OF POULTON : XMAS 2004 NEWSLETTER

 

The 2004 excavations have proven to be the most successful to date. Both the Bronze Age Burial Ground (c.1600-1000BC) and the Medieval Chapel Graveyard (1123-c.1600 AD) were further investigated. Each site provided new and unexpected insights into the long and complex past of Poulton and Cheshire.

 

A new and exciting partnership was also established with the Cheshire CSI Unit (Crime Scene Investigation).  Throughout the summer 20 of its professional investigators were taught archaeological techniques, many of which they found remarkably similar to those employed in their own profession.

 

This unique partnership proved of great mutual benefit. Feedback from the CSI has been very positive and complimentary. The archaeology team, likewise, felt it was a great experience. It is envisaged that the partnership will continue next year, not just with Cheshire, but with other neighbouring forces.

 

The Medieval Graveyard (1153-1600AD)

 

63 complete, or partial, skeletons were excavated to the west of the Chapel Tower. One group of burials was particularly poignant. This consisted almost entirely of children, 2 of which had their hands clasped together.   Pathological analysis of all the burials is now being undertaken at the University of Liverpool.

 

The Roman ‘Presence‘ (90-410AD)

 

A mass of Roman pottery and building material continues to be unearthed, not just on the 2 main sites. A series of small test-trenches suggests that a substantial Roman structure lies tantalisingly close by. A planned programme of more extensive geophysical survey will hopefully pinpoint the focus of Roman activity. This will get under way during the spring.

 

To the north of the main excavations, in present-day Poulton, other members of the team have uncovered a previously unknown Roman road. By following its alignment it is hoped that other Roman settlement sites may be identified.

 

Bronze Age Burial Ground (c.1600-1000BC)

 

Work on the ‘ring-ditch‘ is now complete. Within the interior several areas evinced marked concentrations of charcoal and ash, associated with cremated human bone.  Sections cut through the ditch also showed that it contained carefully lain deposits of cremated human bone, along with coarse, hand-made pottery, burnt stone and animal bone fragments.

 

Horse skull fragments were carefully placed alongside the deposits of cremated human bone. Quantities of wild pig bones were also present, highly suggestive of feasting associated with the funeral rite.

 

From the base of one ditch section red deer antlers were recovered. Antler bone is hard and resilient; it can be used for tools and a variety of other ‘domestic‘ purposes. Antlers are also known to have been used in various forms of ritual practice.

 

The positioning of all these major ritual deposits, along the south-east arc of the ditch, is a phenomena noted on many other major excavations. Invariably, they appear to have some astronomical significance. The ditch is broken by an entrance, or causeway, either side of which the primary ‘ritual‘ deposits were carefully placed.

 

The causeway is aligned to the position of Orion‘s Belt in the summer sky. It also aims, unerringly, for a gap in the dominating hill range known as the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. It is now evident that the ring-ditch is one of several, others being located close by.

 

The importance of the Poulton Bronze Age ‘barrow‘ group cannot be underestimated. Their presence in Cheshire is extremely rare; practically non-existent. The existence of such a burial group also opens up the unique and exciting prospect of locating a Bronze Age village, nearby. Once again, such settlements are rare, not just in the north-west, but throughout the country as a whole.

 

If the 2004 excavations had surprised the team with so much new evidence, the Poulton Project was further amazed by the realization that the Bronze Age burials were preceded by a much earlier ‘ritual‘ presence. This took the form of a series of large post-holes set in a circular formation. They are roughly 2 metres apart and each post would have been at least 420mm in diameter. 3 post-holes are cut, or partially destroyed, by the later Bronze Age ring-ditch.

 

What is present on the site is nothing less than a timber circle, with a projected diameter of 15 metres. Positioned directly in the centre of this circle is a single massive post-hole, with a diameter of just under 1 metre. Potentially, a form of ‘totem pole‘.  Larger examples of such circles are more commonly located in the south, and have been interpreted as ritual monuments that were the precursors of more famous stone monuments, such as Stonehenge.

 

The uncovering of the site of a timber circle, possibly a ‘henge‘ monument, is of great and rare importance in the north-west. This earliest phase of activity is currently under excavation (winter weather conditions permitting!), and will be reported on more fully in the 2005 newsletter. But, what can be stated is that the Poulton site was part of a ritual/religious landscape that was established some 5000 years ago.        

 

Durham University is to undertake both soil analysis and the dating of wood fragments, which have been carefully sampled from the site. This will firmly place the burial ground and the timber circle in their proper historical context, as well as providing valuable environmental evidence, which will help to recreate what life was like thousands of years ago.

 

http://www.nidderdaletoday.co.uk

Henge campaigners slam 'hypocritical' sponsors

THORNBOROUGH Henge campaigners have clashed again with quarry firm Tarmac.

This time it is over a British Museum exhibition of archaeological treasures that is being sponsored by Tarmac, prompting accusations of "breathtaking hypocrisy" from Heritage Action campaigners.

The group has been at the forefront of opposition to plans by the quarry firm to extend its sand and gravel operations at Nosterfield Quarry, close to the prehistoric henges near Bedale.

Members of Heritage Action are staging what they describe as a "low key and respectful protest" outside the Hidden Treasures exhibition at Manchester Museum on Friday and Saturday (January 7 and 8).

Spokesman George Chaplin said: "This is a marvellous exhibition and we hope as many people as possible will see it, but we want them to also reflect on who is sponsoring it and why. Tarmac Northern are applying to quarry the surroundings of Thornborough Henges and the buried archaeology there is treasure as well."

Mr Chaplin added: "We find Tarmac's behaviour breathtakingly hypocritical. People ought to be aware that Tarmac is seeking credit for helping to exhibit treasure in Manchester while trying to destroy it forever in Yorkshire. We'd be delighted if people pause to talk to us before they go in, we hope that giving out our special sweets will serve as a welcome ice breaker."

But Tarmac chief executive officer, Robbie Robertson defended his firm's sponsorship of the exhibition and said he was "saddened and surprised" that Heritage Action should want to picket it.

"This major exhibition of British archaeology provides the public with an opportunity to see some of the most spectacular treasures ever found in Britain, many of which are recent discoveries," said Mr Robertson.

"Careful investigation, recovery and recording of artefacts is an on-going feature of our quarrying operations and, through working with professional archaeologists, we believe that we have added significantly to knowledge and understanding at Nosterfield and other sites across the UK."

Mr Robertson added: "We are proud to support the British Museum and its regional partners through our sponsorship of Buried Treasure and feel it is a pity that Heritage Action should want to disrupt an exhibition that has already been enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages. We would ask them to re-consider."

 

06 January 2005

 

http://www.theherald.co.ukl

Mystery of ancient broch unlocked after 2000 years

STEPHEN STEWART January 04 2005

 

A TEAM of archaeologists has helped unlock 2000-year-old secrets of an ancient tower described as one of the wonders of European archaeology.

Mousa Broch, located on the island of Mousa in Shetland, is one of the finest examples of an Iron Age tower or broch.

The impressive structure was used as a fortification when the islands were racked by warfare but was also mentioned in the sagas as an eloping lovers' hideout.

Experts used the latest laser scanning techniques to record every detail of the historic monument and check whether it has shifted or deteriorated over the years.

Laser scanning provides accurate and detailed information on the broch which can be of immense value in conservation and archaeological research.

The technique, which will be used during a monitoring project, has already given experts a valuable insight into the ingenious engineering of the broch.

Maintenance work will be carried out, as required, on the 44ft building which has been labelled the finest structure of its kind in the world.

Alistair Carty, technical director of Archaeoptics, a Glasgow-based 3D laser-scanning bureau operating in the archaeology and heritage sector, which carried out the project, said: "With the scans, you can spot how the broch has been constructed. The techniques used can be seen more clearly in the scans than in real life as the tower is covered in moss and lichen.

"The structure is just dry stone and there is no cement or other material binding the brickwork. If it moved, there would be a real danger of collapse.

"Dun Carloway, on the island of Lewis, is a case in point. In antiquity, half of the structure just fell apart. We obviously don't want that to happen in Mousa as it is the best example of a broch anywhere in the world.

"It is the only one which is complete right to the top. It even still has its internal stair well." It is thought that Mousa, which dates from around 100BC to 100AD, marks the final stage in the development of the building of brochs.

Some archaeologists once thought brochs were built by an influx of broch builders who had been displaced and pushed northward by the Roman invasion of Britain.

However, this theory has been discounted and some experts now argue that the fortifications were the work of itinerant master craftsmen since so many have been built to almost the same design.

A spokesman for Historic Scotland, which cares for the broch, said: "Mousa Broch is a monument of national importance and we want to make sure it is kept in the best possible condition.

"The survey will give us a near-perfect record of even the tiniest details of the broch.

"It will also tell us whether any movement has taken place in the last couple of years and help us decide on the nature of future works."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/4148315.stm

Builders find chariot race track

The remains of the only known Roman chariot racing track in Britain have been found under an army barracks being redeveloped in Colchester.

New homes are going up on a 209-acre site where builders preparing the groundworks excavated what they believe is a race track nearly 2,000 years old.

 

Developers Taylor Woodrow said they are delighted at the find and will include it as a feature in their development.

 

Archaeologists say it was built around the 2nd century.

 

Finding the chariot track was an exercise in detective work according to archaeological consultants RPS of Colchester.

 

 

 Chariot racing was very popular in the Roman world but only four tracks have been found in the north western provinces

Robert Masefield 

 

Director Robert Masefield said: "We have been excavating on the site for several years to assess any significant archaeological finds.

"Two trenches revealed two parallel walls which we thought were the precincts of a temple.

 

"There was also a road nearby but it was not until we investigated a third side that we found another wall and the remains of an entrance."

 

Phillip Crummy director of Colchester Archaeological Trust suggested that it may be a Roman circus where chariot races were held.

 

He took a drawing from a known race track in Spain and superimposed it over a plan of the Colchester finds and all the features fitted with a discrepancy of only one metre.

 

Family entertainment

 

Mr Masefield said: "We were certain it was a circuit and delighted because the only other evidence in Britain was in London and that was only part of a circus and was discounted.

 

"Chariot racing was very popular in the Roman world but only four tracks have been found in the north western provinces.

 

"Colchester was a colony town and its inhabitants were mainly veteran Roman soldiers and their families and this would have been one of the pastimes they would have enjoyed."

 

The find is on the site of the former Cavalry Barracks and is being developed as homes and commercial premises for local people.

 

James Moodie, project manager for developers Taylor Woodrow, said: "We are delighted to incorporate the find into the development.

 

"It came at an ideal time for us. We have just acquired the land from the MoD and we are just designing the development."

 

 

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/essex/4148315.stm

 

Published: 2005/01/05 11:17:34 GMT

 

BBC MMV

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1383274,00.html

Essex boy racers - Roman style

Patrick Barkham

Wednesday January 5, 2005

The Guardian

 

They may not have had alloy wheels, spoilers and underbody UV lights, but nearly 2,000 years ago young men in Essex were doing much the same as they do today: driving in circles as fast as they can.

In a welcome boost to the region's boy racers, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a chariot-racing course in Colchester which could be one of the biggest Roman racetracks in the world.

 

Hailed as an "extremely significant find" by English Heritage, historians are now seeking to find out more about the track, which was built in the former Britain's capital under Roman rule. People of all classes would have flocked to the purpose-built stadium to watch up to 60 chariots competing in what is one of the oldest spectator sports in the world. The first recorded race was held as part of the Greek Olympic Games in 680BC.

 

The track was discovered during an excavation of the former garrison in the town, which was sold off by the Ministry of Defence to developers, who plan to build 2,500 homes and a business park on the site.

 

"The recent discovery of a Roman chariot race course outside Colchester, Essex, is an extremely significant find," said Greg Luton, English Heritage regional director for the east of England. "English Heritage intends to work closely with local authorities to better understand the significance of this site."

 

Army chief of staff Major Ian Marlow said: "It is the remains of what could be the largest chariot-racing circuit outside of Italy."

 

Archaeologists said they could not comment on the significance of the find until Taylor Woodrow, the housing company developing the site, makes a formal announcement later this week.

 

But the next time the boy racers gather in a Colchester car park to display their customised steeds, they can at least claim to be taking part in an ancient Essex ritual.

 

 

http://www.eadt.co.uk

Expert had predicted chariot track find

 

BY RODDY ASHWORTH

 

January 8, 2005 08:00

 

A LEADING expert at the British Museum predicted the discovery of a Roman chariot racetrack in a historic town four years before its ruins were found by archaeologists, it has emerged.

 

Renowned Romanist Dr Ralph Jackson said the decoration on a Second Century Colchester jar, which shows the image of a charioteer in action, suggested that whoever had made it had seen a real race rather than used their imagination or relied on eyewitness reports.

 

The pottery exhibit was found in Colchester, where last week it was announced the ruins of a "Roman circus", as chariot racetracks are known to historians, had been unearthed by archaeologists. It was made either in Colchester or nearby.

 

Dr Jackson, curator of the Romano-British collection at the British Museum, told the EADT that when he assembled a collection of items for an exhibition in 2000 he had written about the realism of the image on the decorated jar.

 

"This was not a stylised depiction, or a scene lifted from another piece of artwork. There is something genuine about the way the figure is depicted with the right gear, the straps, and the whip, and the way the figure is really leaning forward," he said yesterday.

 

"I noted I thought it was only a matter of time before a circus was found at Colchester."

 

Dr Jackson added that a large number of images of gladiators and chariots had come from Colchester, Britain's oldest recorded town - further suggesting there was a Roman circus there.

 

A glass jar in Colchester Castle Museum also features chariots, although unlike the British Museum piece it is uncertain that it was actually produced in the town.

 

Dr Jackson added he was delighted the 350 metre-long racetrack and stadium, which would have had a capacity of around 8,000, had been found.

 

"It is a terrific find. I am sure a lot of expletives have been used already. But there are some things in life that are more exciting than others, and this is certainly one. Well done to Colchester Archaeological Trust."

 

Philip Crummy, head of the trust, said the organisation would be collating items from Colchester depicting chariot racing as secondary evidence of the Roman circus's authenticity. This would include the piece in the Castle Museum, he said.

 

"Already archaeologists use images of chariots as indicating the presence of a Roman circus, especially mosaics," he said.

 

"At the moment we are doing a review of all the items featuring them."

 

Mr Crummy and his team located the Roman circus while conducting a dig for environmental assessors RPS on land at Abbey Field, in Colchester.

 

The area is being developed by construction firm Taylor Woodrow who are building 2,500 houses on the 200 acre site as part of the Colchester Garrison private finance initiative.

 

n The decorated pottery jar can be viewed at the British Museum in London in Case Nine of Gallery 49.

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/4154729.stm

'High status' Viking site found

Archaeologists in Cumbria say they have discovered what could be the country's most important Viking burial site.

Experts are so excited about the find and its wealth of treasures, they are keeping its location a secret so they can work undisturbed.

 

All that has been revealed is that it is near Barrow and contains artefacts dating back to the 10th Century.

 

Another burial site has been uncovered in Cumbria, close to Cumwhitton village, near Carlisle.

 

Both sites were found by metal detector enthusiasts.

 

Barrow archaeologist, Steve Dickinson, who has been involved in the dig, said experts were particularly excited about a merchant's weight, which is the size of a finger and shows a dragon design with two figures.

 

Local craftsmanship

 

He said: "Normally such weights are plain lead with perhaps just a bit of inlaid metal, so this is definitely something to impress people.

 

"It is an example of local craftsmanship and represents an extraordinarily rich burial.

 

"The weight is currently with the British Museum for conservation.

 

"We do not want to be cagey about the site and raise people's expectations too high, but all the indications are that this is a high status burial site."

 

Archaeologists spent months last summer excavating the Cumwhitton site, which yielded swords, jewellery and riding equipment.

 

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/cumbria/4154729.stm

 

Published: 2005/01/07 14:02:09 GMT

 

BBC MMV

 

http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_objectid=15052876%26method=full%26siteid=50082%26headline=recalling%2dgiant%2dwave%2d%2d%2dthat%2dripped%2dinto%2dwales-name_page.html

Recalling giant wave that ripped into Wales Jan 8 2005

Catrin Pascoe, Western Mail

 

Earlier this week the Western Mail spotlighted a tsunami that hit the south coast of Wales 400 years ago. Here experts Dr Simon Haslett and Dr Ted Bryant explain exactly how the devastating wave, which will now feature in a new television series, hit our shores

 

IT WAS around 9am on the "20th January 1607" (although in the modern calendar this is the January 30 1607) when the flood struck.

 

The event is recorded on plaques in a number of churches, including those in Monmouthshire at Goldcliff, St Brides, Redwick and Peterstone.

 

The idea that the 1607 flood was due to a tsunami was first put forward by us in a scientific paper published in 2002 in the journal Archaeology in the Severn Estuary.

 

A number of historical documents exist that describe the event and its aftermath. An area from Barnstaple in north Devon, up the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary to Gloucester, then along the South Wales coast around to Cardigan was affected, some 570 km of coastline.

 

The coastal population was devastated with at least 2,000 fatalities according to one of the contemporary sources.

 

Examples of the human tragedy include:

 

Near Newport, Gwent, a wealthy women, Mistress Van, lived four miles from the sea and although she saw the wave approaching she could not get upstairs before it rushed through her home and drowned her;

 

In Monmouthshire, a four-year-old child survived after its mother sought safety clinging to a beam when water inundated their home;

 

An infant was found floating in a cradle with nothing more than a cat for protection;

 

Many perished from starvation and extreme cold. But the death toll could have risen higher if a Lord Herbert had not sent out boats delivering meat and other necessities to flooded homes;

 

In Barnstaple, Devon, the wave burst open doors that were locked and bolted and knocked down many walls and houses, one of which was the house of a James Frost. The roof and walls collapsed and killed both him and two of his children.

 

The 1607 flood was caused by a tsunami, rather than a storm, for a number of reasons:

 

Some historical accounts indicate that the weather was fine;

 

The sea appears to have been "driven back" - it retreated out to sea, before the wave struck, a classic tsunami herald;

 

The wave appeared as "mighty hilles of water tombling over one another in such sort as if the greatest mountains in the world had overwhelmed the lowe villages or marshy grounds. Sometimes it dazzled many of the spectators that they imagined it had bin some fogge or mist coming with great swiftness towards them."

 

This is very similar to descriptions of more recent tsunami, such as the tsunami associated with the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, where accounts refer to the sea as being "hilly". Film of the Asian tsunami is similar.

 

The speed of the wave appears to have been greater than a storm flood.

 

Field work in the area to record any physical impacts of the proposed 1607 tsunami that might still be left in the landscape found:

 

Erosion of rock at the coast that is characteristic of erosion caused by high velocity water flow;

 

The deposition of layers of sand over wide areas at the time, discovered in boreholes in the ground from north Devon to Gloucestershire to the Gower;

 

Large boulders that are only easily moved by tsunami waves have been found stacked like dominoes at and above the high tide limits all along the coast.

 

These signatures of tsunami enable us to estimate the scale of the proposed tsunami wave and its effects.

 

A possible cause of the proposed tsunami is not yet known, but the possibilities include a submarine landslide off the continental shelf between Ireland and Cornwall, or an earthquake along an active fault system in the sea south of Ireland. This fault system has apparently experienced an earthquake greater than magnitude 4 on the Richter scale within the last 20 years, so the chance of a bigger tsunami earthquake is a possibility. It may also have been a combination, in that an earthquake might have triggered a submarine slide.

 

A BBC Timewatch programme was filmed in the summer of 2004 in conjunction with our research, and is scheduled to be shown early this year, although some re-editing may be needed in response to the Asian tsunami.

 

Research into the devastating coastal flood event that affected the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary in January 1607 has, since 2002, been the subject of collaborative study between Dr Simon Haslett, head of Geography at Bath Spa University College, author of Coastal Systems and Dr Ted Bryant, School of Geosciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia, author of Tsunami: the Underrated Hazard (Cambridge University Press).

 

http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_objectid=15052876%26method=full%26siteid=50082%26headline=recalling%2dgiant%2dwave%2d%2d%2dthat%2dripped%2dinto%2dwales-name_page.html

Recalling giant wave that ripped into Wales Jan 8 2005

Catrin Pascoe, Western Mail

 

Earlier this week the Western Mail spotlighted a tsunami that hit the south coast of Wales 400 years ago. Here experts Dr Simon Haslett and Dr Ted Bryant explain exactly how the devastating wave, which will now feature in a new television series, hit our shores

 

IT WAS around 9am on the "20th January 1607" (although in the modern calendar this is the January 30 1607) when the flood struck.

 

The event is recorded on plaques in a number of churches, including those in Monmouthshire at Goldcliff, St Brides, Redwick and Peterstone.

 

The idea that the 1607 flood was due to a tsunami was first put forward by us in a scientific paper published in 2002 in the journal Archaeology in the Severn Estuary.

 

A number of historical documents exist that describe the event and its aftermath. An area from Barnstaple in north Devon, up the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary to Gloucester, then along the South Wales coast around to Cardigan was affected, some 570 km of coastline.

 

The coastal population was devastated with at least 2,000 fatalities according to one of the contemporary sources.

 

Examples of the human tragedy include:

 

Near Newport, Gwent, a wealthy women, Mistress Van, lived four miles from the sea and although she saw the wave approaching she could not get upstairs before it rushed through her home and drowned her;

 

In Monmouthshire, a four-year-old child survived after its mother sought safety clinging to a beam when water inundated their home;

 

An infant was found floating in a cradle with nothing more than a cat for protection;

 

Many perished from starvation and extreme cold. But the death toll could have risen higher if a Lord Herbert had not sent out boats delivering meat and other necessities to flooded homes;

 

In Barnstaple, Devon, the wave burst open doors that were locked and bolted and knocked down many walls and houses, one of which was the house of a James Frost. The roof and walls collapsed and killed both him and two of his children.

 

The 1607 flood was caused by a tsunami, rather than a storm, for a number of reasons:

 

Some historical accounts indicate that the weather was fine;

 

The sea appears to have been "driven back" - it retreated out to sea, before the wave struck, a classic tsunami herald;

 

The wave appeared as "mighty hilles of water tombling over one another in such sort as if the greatest mountains in the world had overwhelmed the lowe villages or marshy grounds. Sometimes it dazzled many of the spectators that they imagined it had bin some fogge or mist coming with great swiftness towards them."

 

This is very similar to descriptions of more recent tsunami, such as the tsunami associated with the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, where accounts refer to the sea as being "hilly". Film of the Asian tsunami is similar.

 

The speed of the wave appears to have been greater than a storm flood.

 

Field work in the area to record any physical impacts of the proposed 1607 tsunami that might still be left in the landscape found:

 

Erosion of rock at the coast that is characteristic of erosion caused by high velocity water flow;

 

The deposition of layers of sand over wide areas at the time, discovered in boreholes in the ground from north Devon to Gloucestershire to the Gower;

 

Large boulders that are only easily moved by tsunami waves have been found stacked like dominoes at and above the high tide limits all along the coast.

 

These signatures of tsunami enable us to estimate the scale of the proposed tsunami wave and its effects.

 

A possible cause of the proposed tsunami is not yet known, but the possibilities include a submarine landslide off the continental shelf between Ireland and Cornwall, or an earthquake along an active fault system in the sea south of Ireland. This fault system has apparently experienced an earthquake greater than magnitude 4 on the Richter scale within the last 20 years, so the chance of a bigger tsunami earthquake is a possibility. It may also have been a combination, in that an earthquake might have triggered a submarine slide.

 

A BBC Timewatch programme was filmed in the summer of 2004 in conjunction with our research, and is scheduled to be shown early this year, although some re-editing may be needed in response to the Asian tsunami.

 

Research into the devastating coastal flood event that affected the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary in January 1607 has, since 2002, been the subject of collaborative study between Dr Simon Haslett, head of Geography at Bath Spa University College, author of Coastal Systems and Dr Ted Bryant, School of Geosciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia, author of Tsunami: the Underrated Hazard (Cambridge University Press).

 

 

http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=143658&command=displayContent&sourceNode=143636&contentPK=11591188

DIVERS IDENTIFY HISTORIC SHIPWRECK OFF LUNDY 

11:00 - 04 January 2005 

The wreck of one of Britain's most significant 19th century ships has been identified off the coast of Lundy by a group of deep sea divers.

 

Divers from the Ilfracombe and North Devon Sub Aqua Club had known about the wreck, described as the "QE2 of its age", for several years, but it was only within the last week that they were able to positively identify it as the South Australian.

 

The wreck lies in about 150ft of water around ten miles off Lundy. The ship sank on February 14 1889 after the cargo she was carrying became loose, causing her to list. The shell of the boat itself appears to have broken and was completely covered by sand, making a positive identification impossible.

 

The only thing visible from the boat had been her cargo, railway lines stacked in the shape of a boat, which were en route to Argentina when she sank.

 

Divers described the sight as being very strange and unusual but it has been a haven for shellfish, crabs and lobsters which have made the wreck their home.

 

The sandy deposits covering the boat were shifted by the tides this year and the dive team, headed by Keith Denby of Exmoor, were able to see the ship's iron frame and positively identify her for the first time.

 

He said: "After the last dive we came back up and we looked at each other and we said, 'that's the South Australian'. There were smiles all round. It's great news after all the years of hard work.

 

"Once we were able to see the iron frame we knew which boat it was - until then we weren't sure.

 

"It's the only boat to have sunk in the area that was large enough to carry that much cargo and was made using an iron frame. We have searched around the area to see if there are any other large wrecks but this is the only one.

 

"You can only spend about 30 minutes at a time on the seabed and at that depth your head can go a bit funny. It's a bit like drinking eight pints of lager and then trying to do a crossword puzzle - it doesn't work. It can be very difficult to think strategically.

 

"We had to use helium gas instead of oxygen to breathe as this helps clear your head, and it was then that we made the discovery."

 

The work to try to identify the wreck started around five years ago when the sub-aqua club was contacted by the Scottish Maritime Museum, which owns the South Australian's sister ship, the City of Adelaide.

 

Now the team of divers want to go back and do a lot more research on the wreck, and spend time looking for artifacts, but because of the poor visibility of the water in the Bristol Channel they can only dive between the months of June and August.

 

Mr Denby said: "We don't have any plans to raise the boat to the surface - the tendency in archaeology is to leave it alone."

 

The South Australian was the first steamship commissioned by the Adelaide Steamship Company and was its flagship for many years.

 

Together with the City of Adelaide, now docked in a slipway at Irvine in Scotland, she ferried migrants from the British Isles to Australia.

 

http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh/ART25449.html

HERITAGE MINISTER PROTECTS WRECK SITE OF PROTOTYPE SUBMARINE

By David Prudames 04/01/2005

 

Holland no.5 was launched in 1902, but foundered off the coast of East Sussex in 1912. Courtesy Royal Navy Submarine Museum.

 

The wreck site of a prototype submarine built at the turn of the 20th century and containing one of the first periscopes has been given legal protection by the Heritage Minister, Andrew McIntosh.

 

Coming into effect on January 4, the order protects the final resting place of the Royal Navy’s Holland no.5 from being damaged by unauthorised interference from divers.

 

"The Holland no.5 played a short but significant role in the evolution of the British submarine and the survival of this boat gives a unique opportunity to study the technology of the time including the possible prototype of the submarine periscope," explained Andrew McIntosh.

 

"Only two of the Holland submarines survive today. The Holland no.5 is thought to be intact and in good condition," he added.

 

"I am pleased that this order will preserve the wreck site allowing proper study of the vessel and preventing any vandalism by trophy hunters."

 

 For some early submariners, this was the only way out. Underside view of the hatch to the submarine's outer casing, Holland 1. Jon Pratty. 24 Hour Museum.

 

Built by the Holland Torpedo Boat Company and launched by the Royal Navy in May 1902, Holland no.5 was the last of five prototype submarines built after the British Admiralty decided to evaluate the submarine’s potential as a weapon in the 1890s.

 

The vessel cost what was then a vast 35,000, but in August 1912 she foundered and was lost.

 

In 2000, the wreck was discovered off the coast of East Sussex and following a survey scan in April 2001, the Archaeological Diving Unit confirmed it as Holland no.5

 

The Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites advised the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that because of its historic significance the site was a strong candidate for designation.

 

Under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, the Secretary of State has the power to designate wreck sites which are considered worthy of protection from unauthorised interference on account of their archaeological, historical or artistic importance.

 

Once such a site has been designated, it is a criminal offence for a person to interfere with it except under the authority of a licence.

 

Bob Mealings, Curator of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Portsmouth, told the 24 Hour Museum that alongside its predecessors Holland no.5 occupies a significant position in the modern history of submarine craft.

 

The Holland series of prototypes, he said, "represent a culmination of advances throughout the late 19th century, based on the designs of John Holland."

 

Irish American inventor John Holland discovered a way to combine electric power and the internal combustion engine to create underwater propulsion and sold his designs to many of the world's navies, including the United States of America.

 

His system was so successful and important that it would remain at the heart of submarine technology for half a century.

 

"In many respects," added Bob Mealings, "there’s no great change until the 1950s when you get the first nuclear submarines."

 

The most significant of the Royal Navy’s Holland craft now has pride of place in the collection of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.

 

Holland no.1 was launched in 1901, but was lost in the Solent in 1913 while being towed to the breaker’s yard. In 1981 she was found again and raised from the seabed a year later.

 

The historic vessel then underwent a painstaking conservation process, before being opened to the public in 2001.

 

Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Haslar Jetty Road, Gosport, PO12 2AS, England T: 02392 510354. Open: Open every day (except December 24-25): 10.00 - 17.30 (April - October) - 16.30pm (November - March).

 

http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk

MISSING RAF BOMBER UNEARTHED AT KIELDER

Published on Friday, January 7th 2005

 

By WILL GREEN

 

HAVING visited more than 200 aircraft crash sites, Bellingham-based Air Crash Investigation and Archaeology (ACIA) researcher Jim Corbett still has a passion for the subject.

 

Jim’s interest in aircraft crash sites stems back to when his father took him to visit the remains of a B17 Flying Fortress on The Cheviot when he was just six-years-old.

 

Since then he has undertaken the full research and excavation of Hawker Hunter XG236 in Kielder Forest and has located and catalogued a host of crash sites in the North Tyne and Redesdale.

 

And Jim has just discovered an RAF bomber at Kielder, which has been missing for 61 years.

 

Jim explained: “Remains of a wartime bomber have been found in Kielder Forest having remained undiscovered since it crashed in 1943.

 

“Fragments of the machine were found in thick undergrowth by myself and Charlie Armstrong after a search spanning 20 years.“

 

The aircraft was on a training flight from Oxfordshire when it dived out of control and crashed.

 

An RAF investigation at the time suggested that the pilot had lost control of the aircraft in cloud or mist.

 

However, a witness on the ground later claimed that the aircraft was on fire before it impacted, suggesting an engine could have been the cause.

 

ACIA is currently making efforts to trace the families of the six crew killed and Jim is waiting for permission before making a full investigation of the crash site, but he has plenty of stories of other aircraft accidents in the area.

 

Recalling the details of a Spitfire crash at Houxty Bank he said: “On the morning of April 26, 1944, Sgt Cyril Jack Jewell took off from RAF Eshott, near Morpeth, for a low level sweep, known as a Rhubarb, over Northumberland with two other aircraft.

 

“Cyril was flying a Spitfire Mk IIB, serial number P8193, a war weary machine, having been in service with numerous units since 12th March 1941.

 

“P8193 was one of four aircraft presented to the RAF by Lady Rosalind Davison of Huntley Lodge, Aberdeenshire, with a donation of 20,000; it carried the name ‘La Rosalinda‘ on the nose.”

 

Jim explained that the purpose of the low level sweep was to locate and attack the ruins of Dally Castle, a 13th century stone motte and bailey fortress situated on the banks of the River Chirdon some four miles west of Bellingham.

 

“A witness on the ground was walking along a track near the farm of Billerley near Wark when a formation of three Spitfires passed low overhead heading down the North Tyne valley,” he continued.

 

“As the aircraft descended into the valley, a loud thud was heard, followed by a crash. Shortly afterwards two of the three aircraft climbed out of the valley and headed eastwards.

 

“One of the aircraft had flown into the edge of Houxty Wood and crashed.”

 

Jim said the accident occurred when the formation carried out an attack on the wrong target, resulting in Cyril’s aircraft striking the top of a wood situated on high ground.

 

The aircraft disintegrated on impact, leaving a swath of falling trees in the forest. The gap in the trees was visible until the 1980s when the wood was felled.

 

Jim said: “Another report suggests that Cyril may have been distracted whilst looking at his map.

 

“RAF personnel were soon on the scene, followed by local children trying to catch a glimpse of the wrecked Spitfire.

 

“Ivan Wright recalls visiting the scene as a child and finding that the aircraft had completely disintegrated from the cockpit forward, and that the wings were lying nearby propped up against a tree, the engine was some distance away down the bank.

 

“Later the wreckage was recovered by a Queen Mary trailer; Ivan recalling the difficulty the driver had trying to negotiate the tight bends through the nearby village of Wark.”

 

Sgt Cyril Jack Jewell was only 19 when he was killed.

 

ACIA has been actively involved in the research, recording and excavating of aircraft crash sites for the past 15 years.

 

Its research is recorded on the internet at www.acia.co.uk. The website is also designed as a research medium for fellow aviation enthusiasts and families of those airmen involved in these tragic events.