Archaeological cave dig unearths artefacts from 45,000 years ago
June 14, 2014
An archeological dig has revealed artefacts of early occupation so old they rival the dates of those found at sites of the earliest human settlement in Australia.
The discovery of the artefacts of animal bone and charcoal at the Ganga Maya Cave (named by traditional owners meaning 'house on the hill') in the Pilbara region of Western Australia are the subject of a scientific paper not yet submitted to archaeological journals.
The items analysed through carbon-dating techniques indicate first use of the cave from more than 45,000 years ago.
The cave, close to an active iron ore mine, is of even more significance because it is believed to have been settled continuously and right through the Ice Age up until about 1700 years ago.
Kate Morse, Director of Archaeology at Fremantle heritage consultancy Big Island Research remains cautious about making claims for the site’s significance because so far only a one-metre square area, 139 cms deep, has been excavated.
Asked if the cave could be the site of the earliest human settlement, she said: “We have only got the one date and I would prefer to get other dates before I make those kind of claims. It is certainly a very old site.
“I think it is an area that people have travelled into to start exploring Australia. They have come from SE Asia across the water and arrived in northern Australia and made their way around the coast following river systems inland.”
Dr Morse said that she had only this week been told of other older sites in the Kimberley and Northern Territory where work was ongoing.
“The work has been concentrated in the Pilbara because of the development that is going on there."
She added: “It’s a very exciting find. The archaeological sequence is great because a lot of sites have been patchily occupied and ours is occupied on and off but repeatedly including during the Ice Age 18-22,000 years ago and it looks like people were visiting the site then.
“We have found charcoal, stone artefacts and animal bone. We have analysed the bone to see if it is food remains or animals that have died in the cave. We think we have got some material that is burnt so it suggests it has possibly been used for food."
The discovery has, however, caused some division within the community with one elder, Eddy McPhee, saying he believes the mining company, Atlas, and Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) representing Njamal traditional owners were planning to destroy sacred sites and accompanying Dreaming tracks.
"More research needs to be done by an independent archaeologist and Njamal traditional owners to protect the area. The mining company are going to destroy Ganga Maya Cave and surrounding areas, which has more caves and a water hole close by which has a significant cultural connection to the area. Mining has to stop,” Mr McPhee said.
But Big Island says it has worked closely with the traditional owners and YMAC on the project and says it has been well supported by Atlas. It says further excavation is planned in the near future.
Yamatji said in a statement that 50-metre buffer zones protect the cave and that no disturbance can take place and that further meetings were planned to discuss how the site should be protected and managed in the future.
Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said in a statement that the Ganga Maya Cave was not impacted in any way by the mining operations.
"The excavation is part of Atlas’ intention to establish all the facts in respect to the Ganga Maya. This process, which is being funded by Atlas, is ongoing," it said.
Other contenders for earliest site
Devil’s Lair: Limestone cave south-west Western Australia – 41-46,000 years old
Lake Mungo: Dry lake basin, Willandra Billabong Creek, western NSW 43,000
Nauwalabila: Rock shelter Arnhem Land 200 kms East of Darwin – 40,000
Malakunanja: Rock shelter 45 kms north of above, east of Darwin – 45,000
Source Journal of Archaeological Science
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/archaeological-cave-dig-unearths-artefacts-from-45000-years-ago-20140614-zs7wd.html#ixzz34kNYbawm
Discovered: The evidence that the A1 is TEN THOUSAND YEARS old
· Mesolithic settlement was unearthed near Catterick in North Yorkshire
· Site beside the A1 was used as an overnight shelter 10,000 years ago
· This means the route predates previous estimates it was built by Romans
· Flint tools dating back to between 6000 and 8000 BC were found at the site
· The dig took place at known Roman settlements before the widening of a section of the road takes place
· Dere Street runs alongside the modern A1 and the experts are focusing on a Roman town where they have found fragments of glass and a bowl
Near Cataractonium is evidence of Iron Age settlements and cremations
By SARAH GRIFFITHS
PUBLISHED: 16:36, 12 June 2014 | UPDATED: 07:27, 13 June 2014
Many people may feel that they have spent a great deal of time on the A1 road, which connects London and Edinburgh.
But the route has been in use for a staggering 10,000 years, according to newly-discovered archaeological evidence.
A Mesolithic settlement, which has been compared to a modern-day service station, has been unearthed by researchers alongside the A1 near Catterick in North Yorkshire.
The route, which is now the A1 between London and Edinburgh, may have been in use for a staggering 10,000 years, newly-discovered archaeological evidence suggests. Experts have discovered ancient artefacts during the widening of the road through North Yorkshire (pictured)
A Mesolithic settlement has been uncovered beside the A1 in North Yorkshire. The site is believed to have been a kind of overnight shelter used by people travelling north and south thousands of years ago.
A number of flint tools dating back to between 6000 and 8000 BC were also discovered at the site.
Evidence of Iron Age, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements have been found near the Roman town of Cataractonium, near the River Swale.
The team has discovered buildings on the edge of Dere Street - a Roman road running alongside the A1 - including shop frontages and even a bath house.
Finds during the excavations have included a complete Roman bowl called a Mortaria used for grinding herbs and spices.
Roman glass from a drinking vessel has also been found at the site of the Roman town.
Approximately half a mile further south from Cataractonium, is evidence of Iron Age settlements and Iron Age cremations.
This means the route predates previous estimates that claimed it was built by the Romans.
The site is believed to have been a kind of overnight shelter, used by people travelling north and south thousands of years ago.
A number of flint tools dating back to between 6000 and 8000 BC were also discovered at the site.
Steve Sherlock, Archaeological Clark for the project, said: ‘This was a place that these people knew of - a place they could return to on many occasions, to stay sheltered overnight during their travels.
‘It is telling us there is evidence for people using the route and moving through the area over periods of time.
‘It is also adding to our knowledge of the early Mesolithic period, a time we don't know very much about and this is very interesting.
A number of flint tools (pictured) dating back to between 6000 and 8000 BC were also discovered at the site, which is believed to have been a kind of overnight shelter by people travelling north and south centuries
A Mesolithic settlement (pictured), which has been compared to a modern-day service station, has been unearthed by researchers alongside the A1. Evidence of Iron Age, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements have previously been found near the Roman town of Cataractonium, near the River Swale not far from this location
‘We found a small structure which resembled a type of shelter where they were making the flint tools that were also present at the site.’
This rare find was uncovered during the excavation of known Roman settlements in advance of plans to upgrade the A1 to motorway status between Junctions 51 and 56.
Neil Redfearn, principal inspector of ancient monuments for English Heritage in North Yorkshire, said: 'I think this is really tantalising. This discovery gives us an even greater understanding of the time depth and movement through this landscape.
The discovery was made along a stretch of the A1 close to Catterick in North Yorkshire (marked). It was uncovered during excavation of known Roman settlements in advance of plans to upgrade the A1 to motorway status between Junctions 51 and 56
‘Can we ask questions about route ways that predate the Roman period?’ he asked.
The A1 is the longest numbered road in the country and is under an almost constant state of upgrade.
Archaeologists have been excavating ancient monuments between Leeming and Barton, where construction work will begin to widen the road.
Finds during the excavations at Cataractonium include a complete Roman bowl called a Mortaria (pictured) which was used for grinding herbs and spices
Here, archaeologists investigate the ancient 'service station'
A Saxon brooch (pictured) was also unearthed at the site. Archaeologists are busy trying to find treasures before the widening of the A1 though North Yorkshire goes ahead
Archaeologists were surprised to find the ancient 'service station' (pictured left) which provided shelter for travellers heading north and south 10,000 years ago. A Saxon brooch (pictured right) was also unearthed at the site. Archaeologists are busy trying to find treasures before the widening of the A1 goes ahead
Roman glass from a drinking vessel, was also uncovered near Cataractonium. Finds preceding the glass by thousands of years were additionally discovered nearby
Roman glass from a drinking vessel, was also uncovered near Cataractonium. Finds preceding the glass by thousands of years were additionally discovered nearby
Dere Street, which was built by the Romans, runs alongside the modern A1 and the experts are focusing their efforts on a Roman town located by the road near to the River Swale, called Cataractonium.
They have so far discovered evidence of Iron Age, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements.
Sherlock said: ‘The road scheme is 12 miles (19km) long and we are investigating a number of different sites.
‘It was fascinating to find that one of those was in fact a Mesolithic site, a further 8,000 years into the past, beyond the Romans.
‘We are still finding extremely clear evidence of how people used to live here almost 2,000 years ago during the Roman period.’
The team has discovered buildings on the edge of Dere Street, including shop frontages and even a bath house.
This flint tool, which dates between 6000 and 8000 BC was also discovered at the site close to the busy A road
‘We think this was a particularly industrial part of the town,’ he said.
‘Finds during the excavations have included a complete Roman bowl called a Mortaria used for grinding herbs and spices. Another was Roman glass from a drinking vessel, found in Cataractonium.’
Approximately half a mile )0.8km) further south from Cataractonium, is evidence of Iron Age settlements and Iron Age cremations.
Redfearn added: ‘This is really interesting because we weren't quite expecting to find Iron Age material here either.
‘In pre-work, we have done quite a lot of studying at desktop level to try to understand what the level of archaeology of the landscape was actually like.
‘To find an Iron Age settlement with Iron Age activity and even cremations gives us an inkling again as to what life was like before the Roman period.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2656308/Ancient-service-station-unearthed-A1-10-000-year-old-route-reveals-Mesolithic-people-travelled-UK.html#ixzz34kOC4JAj
Grave digger finds ancient axe in village churchyard
15 June 2014
Pieces of a tool used about 6,000 years ago have been found in a Northumberland village.
Whilst working in Mitford Churchyard, a grave digger from Rothbury discovered part of a broken polished stone axe from the Neolithic period (between 4,000 and 2,200 BC).
It is made from what archaeologists call Group VI Langdale greenstone – a fine grained volcanic tuff.
Very few have been unearthed near Morpeth. The greatest concentration of these discoveries are in Lincolnshire.
The find has been examined by Mitford resident Frank Robinson, who is a member of the Morpeth Antiquarian Society.
He said: “Not all axes found show signs of use – there may have been an element of status in owning a polished green axe.
“Over centuries, these axes were passed on by traders or given as a sign of loyalty or as family heirlooms and stories of their origin would be embellished.
“How this broken part of an axe came to be in our Churchyard, we will never know.
“It could have been deliberately broken as part of a ceremony or it may have been found during the building and re-building of Mitford Church to be thrown away unrecognised. It may have been found elsewhere and dropped near the church.”
The section of axe will remain with the finder after being recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Newcastle.
Preserving the Battle of Hastings from 'contamination'
Date: June 11, 2014
Source: University of Huddersfield
The Battle of Hastings is regularly fought all over again by enthusiastic re-enactors, before large crowds of spectators. The problem is that they are depositing material that could compromise the archaeology of the historic site. But now one of the world's leading battlefield archaeologists is developing a unique project designed to unearth whatever genuine material survives from 1066.
The Battle of Hastings is regularly fought all over again by enthusiastic re-enactors, before large crowds of spectators. The problem is that they are depositing material that could compromise the archaeology of the historic site. But now the University of Huddersfield's Dr Glenn Foard -- one of the world's leading battlefield archaeologists -- is developing a unique project designed to unearth whatever genuine material survives from 1066.
The first stage, likely to take place in spring 2015, would be to spend a week machining away the top layers of soil at a substantial area of the battlefield, in order to eliminate modern artefacts. Then there would be a search for genuine remains from the battle of 1066.
An important dimension of the project would be public involvement. Trained archaeologists would carry out the actual survey, but there would be parallel sessions nearby, partly aimed at children and parents, which would provide insights into archaeology, including the use of metal detectors to survey a site.
"Now the challenge is on to find out what archaeology is there, before it suffers contamination from all the activities that are going on," says Dr Foard. "Whether there is archaeology under the ground to be confused by the re-enactment activities, we don't know yet."
One of Dr Foard's battlefield coups was to detect the true location of the Battle of Bosworth, where famously Richard III was slain in 1485.
The result of Dr Foard's work found that the actual battle took place more than two miles from the site where it was traditionally thought to have been fought. However, as he collaborates with English Heritage to plan his investigation of Hastings, he is working on the assumption that the Battle of Hastings in 1066 was fought on its traditional site, even though there have been attempts to establish an alternative location.
"I have no reason to believe that any of the alternatives are likely," said Dr Foard. "I will never say that they are impossible -- not after my work on Bosworth -- but all the evidence I saw when I looked at Bosworth suggested that it wasn't fought on the traditional site. At Hastings, however, everything I have looked at tells me that the battle did take place on the generally accepted site.
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Huddersfield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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Researchers finally discover, plan to open Dracula's grave. We're all going to die.
Greg Newkirk Greg Newkirk
13 June, 2014
Stock up on garlic and holy water, because Estonian researchers think that they've discovered the final resting place of the world's most famous vampire... and they're asking permission to crack open the tomb. GREAT IDEA, GUYS!
Vlad Tepes III was known for ruling 15th century Eastern Europe with a bloody fist, earning the nickname "The Impaler" for his pioneering work in the art of torture. His bag of terrifying tricks included strangulation, burning, cutting off noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs, scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to wild animals and boiling alive. But his favorite method of punishment was, obviously, impaling his enemies on giant stakes outside of the city, a warning to anyone who dared challenge his rule.
Oh yeah, and he did all of this to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. What a swell guy!
His gruesome tactics, coupled with a pervasive rumor that Vlad drank the blood of his enemies, has long been thought to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's 1897 novel "Dracula".
While Vlad's reign of terror is well-documented, no one could ever figure out exactly what happened to him. In 1476, The Impaler suddenly disappeared during battle, never to return. Many sources claimed that Vlad was killed, but a few reports mentioned the notorious ruler being hauled away in chains.
Now, a group of researchers believe that Vlad was ransomed to his daughter, who had married a Neoplitan nobleman, and lived the rest of his days in Naples, Italy where he was buried in a church. Erika Stella, a student who was writing her disseration on Naples' Piazza Santa Maria la Nova Church, uncovered a curious headstone that experts are saying belongs to Dracula himself.
Raffaello Glinni, a Medieval history scholar, noticed that that tomb is covered symbols representing the House of the Transylvanian “Carpathians,” something very out of place in a crypt full of Italian noblemen.
“When you look at the bas-relief sculptures, the symbolism is obvious. The dragon means Dracula and the two opposing sphinxes represent the city of Thebes, also known as Tepes. In these symbols, the very name of the count Dracula Tepes is written,” Glinni told reporters.
So naturally, the researchers are appealing to the authorities for permission to open the grave, releasing Dracula from his ancient slumber where he'll reinstate his bloody reign of terror on an unsuspecting world. Or, you know, maybe just prove their hunch. But honestly, is it really worth the risk?
Want to get into some vampire hijinx of your own? Head to Louisiana where you can scope out the filming locations from Interview with a Vampire, or visit a Voodoo shop in New Orleans staffed by friendly vamps who are content to do less sucking and more spellcasting.
Divers prosecuted for keeping wreck salvage
Two divers are facing hefty fines over undeclared treasure they salvaged from wrecks off the English coast
By Miranda Prynne, News Reporter3:33PM BST 15 May 2014
Two divers have been hauled into court after failing to declare £250,000-worth of historic treasure they plundered from shipwrecks.
Edward Huzzey, 55, and David Knight, 52, dived seven miles off the coast of Dover, Kent, to salvage the valuables from nine submerged vessels, some dating back more than 200 years.
The pair used explosives and professional cutting equipment to free material from one vessel carrying East India Company cargo in 1807.
Over the course of 13 years, they also raided German 'U-8', 'UC-64' and 'UB-40' submarines from the First World War.
But they failed to inform the Maritime and Coastal Agency’s (MCA) Receiver of Wrecks about any of their finds.
Their haul contained eight bronze cannons, worth £12,000 each, three propellers, ingot, copper, lead and zinc.
Huzzey and Knight used a boat with a large crane on the back to retrieve the half-tonne cannons, six of which are still missing.
The unique ingots were marked 'William Harvey & Co - Truro' on a vessel called the Harlingen which they found in July 2001.
The pair, who detailed their use of explosives and cutting gear in diaries found by investigators, pleaded guilty to 19 charges at Southampton Magistrates' Court.
They now face heft fines with maximum penalties of £2,500 for each undeclared find or the risk they must pay the rightful the owners twice the value of the items recovered.
Wreck material found in UK waters must be reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Receiver of Wreck within 28 days in order to give the rightful owners a chance to claim it.
One of the cannons (SOLENT NEWS)
If no-one claims the goods within a year, they become the property of the Crown and the person who has found them receives a salvage award based on the value of the find.
This is the first time the MCA have brought a case to court for divers failing to declare their haul, breaking section 236 and 237 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
Knight pleaded guilty ten of his 18 charges while Huzzey admitted nine of his 12 charges.
District judge Anthony Calloway said: "Because you have admitted the charges it will stand you in good stead, Mr Huzzey and Mr Knight."
Huzzey refused to comment and just said: "I would just like to thank the court."
Speaking afterwards, Alison Kentuck, the MCA's Receiver of Wreck, said: "All wreck material found within or brought within UK territorial waters must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck.
"It is not a case of 'finders keepers'. Finders of wreck have 28 days to declare their finds to the Receiver.
"This case highlights the importance of doing that and demonstrates what could happen to you if you don't.
"By reporting wreck material you are giving the rightful owner the opportunity to have their property returned and you may be adding important information to the historic record.
"Legitimate finders are likely to be entitled to a salvage award, but those who don't declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves facing hefty fines."
Mark Harrison, English Heritage's National Policing and Crime Adviser, added: "We recognise that the majority of divers enjoy the historic marine environment and comply with the laws and regulations relating to wrecks and salvage.
"This case sends out a clear message that the small criminal minority will be identified and brought to justice."
Mark Dunkley, English Heritage's Maritime Designation Adviser, said: "The investigation has highlighted the need to tackle heritage crime, wherever it occurs, so that the remains of our past remain part of our future."
The MCA also appealed to the public regarding the whereabouts of six bronze cannons that remain outstanding.
They were constructed in 1807 by W & G and have the English East India Company logo (VEIC) on them.
The pair, from Sandgate, Kent, will be sentenced at Southampton Magistrates' Court on July 2.
World War II-Era POW Camp Excavated in Scotland
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Excavation of Camp 22 by a team from GUARD Archaeology has uncovered evidence of its use a training facilities for the Tank Corps, a prisoner of war camp that held German and Italian soldiers during World War II, and a repatriation center for Polish soldiers. Six brick and concrete buildings, nine drain junction boxes, five concrete paths, and a road were found. “A series of 24 concrete-surrounded postholes on the north side of the road almost certainly relate to what would have been a fairly substantial fence dating to the POW camp phase of use,” archaeologist Christine Rennie told Culture 24. The team also found condiment bottles, a teapot lid, polish bottles, and cutlery. Some of the items clearly did not belong to the prisoners, such as a radio label and beer and whisky bottles. “The recovery of a plastic cosmetic compact and a baby’s feeding bottle from secure contexts is quite intriguing. It could be an indication that at least one Ayrshire lass left the county when her Polish husband was repatriated,” Rennie said.
Revealing a WWII POW Camp in Ayrshire
A team from GUARD Archaeology, led by Christine Rennie, recently carried out a watching brief during the removal of topsoil and overburden over the known remains of a Prisoner of War camp within the policies of Dumfries House in East Ayrshire. The camp, variously known as Camp 22, Temple Camp, Auchinleck Camp and Pennylands Camp, was built in about 1942 as a training camp for the Tank Corps, but was also used as a transit camp for other allied regiments. Between 1943 and 1944, the camp was Prisoner of War camp 22, housing German and Italian POWs. In 1947, the camp again changed use, becoming a repatriation centre for Polish soldiers.
The fieldwork revealed the remains of six brick and concrete buildings, nine drain junction boxes, five concrete paths and a road. These were in varying states of preservation, with Structure B at the south of the Site being the only building where any floor levels remained intact. A series of 24 concrete-surrounded postholes on the north side of the road almost certainly relate to what would have been a fairly substantial fence dating to the POW camp phase of use.
It was not possible to identify the functions of most of the excavated structures, although features and artefacts found in Structure B suggest that this was probably a latrine and shower room. Some of the artefacts retrieved from the Site reflect the daily life of the men who lived in the camps. The small assemblage includes items relating to food (HP sauce bottle, Peck's fish paste bottle, Neill's perfection preserve, teapot lid), and domestic life (Mansion hygienic polish, boot polish, cutlery). Some aspects of a social life may be extrapolated from the recovery of a label indicating that the camp's inhabitants had access to a wireless radio and beer and whisky which appear to have been consumed within the camp, although probably not while it functioned as a POW camp. The recovery of a plastic cosmetic compact (Californian Poppy rouge) and a baby's feeding bottle from secure contexts is quite intriguing and could be an indication that at least one Ayrshire lass left the county when her Polish husband was repatriated.