Neolithic houses in Lannion (Côtes-d'Armor)

Published July 16, 2014 · Updated July 16, 2014


Inrap conducted a search in April and May 2014 on the site of Kervouric Lannion, prior to the development of a subdivision by the city. The team of archaeologists working on the prescription of state over an area of ​​about one hectare, highlighted habitat dated Neolithic, around 4800 BCE. This period of the Late Prehistoric is a real breakthrough in the history of humanity, so much so that we speak of "Neolithic revolution." Hunter-gatherers since time immemorial, people now adopt a lifestyle based on agriculture and livestock. These new livelihoods lead sedentary populations and the construction of houses, sometimes grouped in a hamlet or village.


The first farming communities

The excavated remains are plans three parallel houses, located on a hill overlooking the valley of Léguer ledge. These houses are characteristic of the first farming communities, with very comparable to known throughout northern France habitats contemporary architecture. The "normalization" of buildings indicates the existence of common features across a wide geographical area in which the western Britain can now be included. Houses Kervouric have a trapezoidal thirty meters long plane oriented east-west, and punctuated by a series of three posts supporting a wooden frame. The walls were wattle and daub, and the roof could exploit different plant materials (straw, wood ...). On either side of each dwelling, large pits were dug to extract clay needed to build walls, before being transformed into domestic waste. Nearby, several sumps ensured a steady supply of water.


A common culture in the north of France

Pits bordering homes deliver different objects of the daily life of these early farmers: ceramics, tools and waste flint, polished axes, ornaments ... This furniture reflects the technical and cultural traditions of the people. Some objects, such as bracelets shale allow linking the occupation of the Lannion area of great cultural Bliquy Villeneuve-Saint-Germain (BVSG), extending from Belgium to the Breton peninsula. debitage in Flint betrays contacts and regular exchanges on a wide geographical area. If rollers local coastal flint occasionally been used in Neolithic Kervouric also imported materials and blades much better quality from Normandy and the Centre region. As the architecture of the houses, the archaeological reflects common to all early Neolithic northern France technical standards.


The Neolithic Brittany

Buildings are Western Lannion best known to date for the Early Neolithic. Well preserved, they are the first recognized west of Rennes basin, and thus constitute a major breakthrough in research on the early Neolithic in Britain. Their geographical position is interesting because it marks the end of the current neolithisation called "Danube" (from the Danube basin) through northern Europe along an east-west. Continuing fieldwork, a number of studies will be performed: architectural interpretation of buildings, radiometric dating, typological and functional studies of furniture, paleoenvironmental analyzes ... The data will characterize the daily life and the environment of these early farmers armoricains. On a broader scale, the analysis will focus on interactions, heritage or cultural continuities with the Neolithic neighboring regions.



Oetzi the Iceman Had Heart Disease Gene



Ötzi the Iceman, a well-preserved mummy discovered in the alps in 1991, showed evidence of calcium buildup in his arteries. Now, new research shows he had a genetic predisposition to heart disease.


Ötzi the Iceman, a well-preserved mummy discovered in the Alps, may have had a genetic predisposition to heart disease, new research suggests.


The new finding may explain why the man — who lived 5,300 years ago, stayed active and certainly didn't smoke or wolf down processed food in front of the TV — nevertheless had hardened arteries when he was felled by an arrow and bled to death on an alpine glacier.


"We were very surprised that he had a very strong disposition for cardiovascular disease," said study co-author Albert Zink, a paleopathologist at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano in Italy. "We didn't expect that people who lived so long ago already had the genetic setup for getting such kinds of diseases."


Otzi was discovered in 1991, when two hikers stumbled upon the well-preserved mummy in the Ötztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy. Since then, every detail of the iceman has been scrutinized, from his last meal and moments (Ötzi was bashed on the head before being pierced by the deadly arrow blow), to where he grew up, to his fashion sense. [Top 9 Secrets About Ötzi the Iceman]


Past research has revealed that Ötzi likely suffered from joint pain, Lyme disease and tooth decay, and computed tomography (CT) scanning revealed calcium buildups, a sign of atherosclerosis, in his arteries.


Initially, the atherosclerosis was a bit of a surprise, because much research has linked heart disease to the couch-potato lifestyle and calorie-rich foods of the modern world, Zink said. But in recent research, as scientists conducted CT scans on mummies from the Aleutian Islands to ancient Egypt, they realized that heart disease and atherosclerosis were prevalent throughout antiquity, in people who had dramatically different diets and lifestyles, he said.


"It really looks like the disease was already frequent in ancient times, so it's not a pure civilizational disease," Zink told Live Science.


Scientists recently took a small sample of Ötzi's hipbone and sequenced the Neolithic agriculturalist's entire genome, to see where he fell on Europe's family tree. As part of that research, they found that the iceman had 19 living relatives in Europe.


In the new study, Zink and his colleagues found that Ötzi had several gene variants associated with cardiovascular disease, including one on the ninth chromosome that is strongly tied to heart troubles, the researchers reported today (July 30) in the journal Global Heart.


Living Relatives of Iceman Mummy Found

Despite spending years hiking in hilly terrain, it seems Ötzi couldn't walk off his genetic predisposition to heart disease.


"He didn't smoke; he was very active; he walked a lot; he was not obese," Zink said. "But nevertheless, he already developed some atherosclerosis."


The findings suggest that genetics play a stronger role in heart disease than previously thought, he said.


To follow up, the team would like to compare the genetic makeup of other mummies with the state of their arteries, to tease out just how much of a role genetics play in heart disease, Zink said. It would also be interesting to see whether ancient mummies exhibit signs of inflammation, the body's response to infection or damage, that has been tied to heart attacks, he added.


Original article on Live Science.

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




31st July, 2014 by Rupert Millar


A wine cup believed to have been used by the ancient Athenian statesman, Pericles, has been found in a north Athenian suburb.


pericles_cupThe eight centimetre high cup was discovered earlier this week during construction work in the suburb of Kifisia, according to local paper Ta Nea.


Broken into 12 pieces archaeologists found that there were six names scratched into the cup in apparent order of seniority, with none other than Pericles’ name and the name of his elder brother, Ariphron, listed along with Aristides, Diodotos, Daesimos and Efkritos.


Angelos Matthaiou, secretary of the Greek Epigraphis Society, told Ta Nea: “The name Ariphron is extremely rare.


“Having it listed above that of Pericles makes us 99% sure that these are the two brothers.”


To add further credence to the idea, Kifisia, a wealthy suburb and home to many of Greece’s modern politicians, is not far from the suburb of Cholargos where Pericles was born.


In dating the cup, experts think that Pericles would have been in his mid-20s at the time. The six men listed may have been drinking at a wine symposium together – goes one theory – and were clearly feeling the effects.




Whoever wrote Pericles’ name made a mistake and had to correct it. The cup appears to have then been offered to someone called Drapetis (“escapee” in Greek) who was either a freed or runaway slave and possibly a tavern owner.


The cup will go on display at the Epigraphical Museum in Athens this autumn.


Pericles was one of, if not the, most influential and important figures in classical Athens during its “Golden Age” in the fifth century BC.


Born in 495 BC, he went on to become a reliable admiral and general for his city fighting in many wars and campaigns against other Greek states and the Persians.


During his leadership of Athens from 461 BC until his death in 429 BC, he helped foster Athenian democracy and pushed for the construction of many of the great buildings on the Acropolis – most famously the Parthenon.


Having helped initiate the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC, he died of the plague with Athens invested by Spartan forces.


Ironically, the cup was discovered on Sparta Street.



Archaeologists make gruesome discovery near Skanderborg

Researchers discover the remains of four human pelvic bones attached to a stick

July 31, 2014 12:22

by Ray Weaver


Researchers conducting excavations in bogs near Skanderborg in eastern Jutland have uncovered evidence of what they believed to be ritual pagan violence inflicted on the corpses of some of the warriors who fell in a major battle during the Iron Age, sometime around the birth of Christ.


“We found a wooden stick bearing the pelvic bones of four different men,” said project head Mads Kähler Holst from Aarhus University on the university’s blog. “In addition, we have unearthed bundles of bones, bones bearing marks of cutting and scraping, and crushed skulls.”


Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in eastern Jutland after losing a major battle. Work has continued in the area since then, and archaeologists and other experts from Aarhus University, the Skanderborg Museum and the Moesgaard Museum recently unearthed these latest findings


Losing their religion

Holst said that the team believes that the gathering and desecrating of the remains was probably a religious act of some kind.


“It seems that this was a holy site for a pagan religion where the victorious conclusion of major battles was marked by the ritual presentation and destruction of the bones of the vanquished warriors,” said Holst.


The battles near Alken Enge occurred during the Iron Age when the Roman Empire was expanding to the north and putting pressure on the Germanic tribes. This resulted in wars between the Romans and the tribes, and between the Germanic peoples themselves.


Records kept by the Romans describe the rituals practised by Germanic peoples on the bodies of their enemies, but this is the first time that an ancient holy site has been unearthed.


The archaeological excavation at the Alken Enge site is set to continue until 8 August 2014. Guided tours of the dig for the general public will be held on Thursday, 31 July at 15.00 and 17.00. The tours start in Skanderborg. A number of finds from the excavation are currently on display at Skanderborg Museum.



Schoolboy's find unearths evidence of ancient conflict in Wales

Aug 03, 2014 06:00 By Antony Stone


A six-year-old's discovery of a Neolithic arrow head has changed our understanding of ancient history in Wales


An army of volunteer archaeologists has stunned the experts by unearthing evidence of an ancient conflict which took place in Wales hundreds of years before Egypt’s pyramids were built.


A six-year-old schoolboy was the first to spot what turned out to be a Neolithic arrow head, dating back to 3,600 BC, at an archaeological dig site in Caerau on the outskirts of Cardiff.


More than 250 volunteers from the CAER Heritage Project began digging at the site of an ancient Welsh hill fort in early July with the hope of finding artefacts dating back up to 2,000 years.


Among them more than 80 school children and teachers have collectively put in 2000 hours helping experts sift through the site, expecting to dig up Roman and Iron Age finds.


But as the excavation of prehistoric ditches proceeded the expert team from Cardiff University was shocked as volunteers unearthed a plethora of early Neolithic finds.


Finds suggesting an ancient conflict range from flint tools and weapons, including arrowheads, awls and scrapers as well as polished stone axe fragments and pottery, dating to around 3,600 BC.


A dig last year revealed the fort was the site of a powerful Iron Age community pre-dating the arrival of the Romans. The latest discovery pushes back finds a further 4,000 years in time.


“Quite frankly, we were shocked. Nobody predicted this,” said dig co-director Dr Dave Wyatt, from Cardiff University.


“Our previous excavation yielded pottery and a mass of finds, including five large roundhouses, showing Iron Age occupation, and there’s evidence of Roman and medieval activity, but no one realised the site had been occupied as far back as the Neolithic - predating the construction of the Iron Age hill fort by several thousand years.”


He added: “What’s really great about this story is that we’ve made the Neolithic discoveries with the help of local people.


“A six-year-old local boy spotted the first major Neolithic find - a flint tool from the Neolithic ditch.


“It’s all down to the hard work of local volunteers, who have been uncovering arrowheads and pottery, while local school children and teachers have been excavating and sieving the spoil heaps to look for finds.


“This local involvement is very important to us and is in line with key objectives of the CAER Heritage project which is to put local people at the heart of archaeological research, and to develop educational opportunities in Caerau and Ely.”


Oliver Davis, co-director of the CAER project, explained: "The ditches appear to date to the early Neolithic, when communities first began to settle and farm the landscape.


“The location and number of Neolithic finds indicate that we have discovered a causewayed enclosure; a special place where small communities gathered together at certain important times of the year to celebrate, feast, exchange things and possibly find partners.


“Such sites are very rare in Wales with only five other known examples, mostly situated in the south. What’s fascinating is that a number of the flint arrowheads we have found have been broken as a result of impact - this suggests some form of conflict occurred at this meeting place over 5,000 years ago."



Schoolboys strike gold on archaeological dig

Monday 4th August 2014

Submitted by Countryfile Magazine


A group of schoolboys in the North Pennines have unearthed one of the most significant recent archaeological finds in the UK.


The boys, aged from seven to ten, were on a local dig at Kirkhaugh when they saw a glint of gold which turned out to be a 4,300-year-old ornament, probably once worn as a ‘hair tress’.


The ornament is one of the earliest metal objects to be found in the UK and may have been worn by a first-generation metal worker who could have travelled to Britain from overseas in search of gold and copper.


The intricately decorated tress, which dates back to about 2,300 BC, was found in a burial mound alongside three flint arrowheads and a jet button.


Tresses are very rare, and only ten have ever been found in Britain. The boys' discovery, on a dig arranged by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership’s Altogether Archaeology project, is the partner of a matching one discovered at Kirkhaugh during an excavation in 1935.


Seven-year-old Joseph Bell, one of the four boys to make the discovery, said: "We were digging carefully in the ground and I saw something shiny, it was gold. Me and Luca started dancing with joy. It was very exciting.” His friend, eight-year-old Luca Alderson, added: “When I first saw it I thought it was plastic. When I found out it was gold, I was very happy.”


Paul Frodsham, who leads the Altogether Archaeology project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, for the AONB Partnership, said: “This is exceptional. It can be regarded as marking the very start of mineral exploitation in the North Pennines.”


Paul and a band of 50 volunteers spent nine days excavating the land under Professor Andrew Fitzpatrick. Andrew commented: “These tress rings must have been precious items. The person buried at Kirkhaugh was clearly of very high status.”


Both Andrew and Paul had hoped to recover bones and teeth from the Kirkhaugh grave, which could have given information about the burial, but time and soil conditions meant none have survived.


The head tress, along with the arrowheads and the button, will now be analysed by various specialists. Paul said: “We hope the ornament will eventually find its way to the Great North Museum in Newcastle, where it can be reunited with its long-lost partner from the 1935 dig.”


Dandaleith Pictish Stone

As a bit of background, the stone was found back in May 2013, but because of sensitivities around the location as well as the issue of having to work out how to remove a stone of this size and where to put it (on my initial visit to the site, the landowner assumed I was going to take it away with me there and then in my car!) we've tried to keep it as quiet as possible. The actual find location is still being kept under wraps for the moment until after we carry investigations at the site (geophysics and small-scale excavation, hopefully). The stone has now gone through the Treasure Trove process, and was allocated in March 2014 to Elgin Museum. It was removed from the farm in April 2014 and taken to Leith to the Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation workshop for assessment. Once the necessary conservation work has been carried out (and the floor at the museum has been reinforced!) it will go on display in Elgin Museum (this possibly won't be until 2015).


Its not clear at this stage if the "findspot" is the stone's original location or not, but hopefully this will be revealed by the follow-up investigations. One thing we're keeping in mind is that the location is on the River Spey floodplain; we know there's been at least one catastrophic flood event, the "Muckle Spate" of 1829 (documented in great detail by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder) which would have had enough force to move a stone of this size, but there may well have been other similar events prior to this. A positive note to counter this is that the stone is in pretty good condition, as are the carvings, and it doesn't at first glance look like its been caught up in a flood event.


Its such an exciting and rare find! As far as I can tell, there are no other known examples (certainly not from North East Scotland) of carved Pictish stones with this distribution of symbols, where the two pairs of symbols are on adjoining faces and would have both been visible at the same time - I don't think both pairs of symbols were carved at the same time, because there are subtle differences in the style of carving, so for it to have had this kind of "second-life"/re-use but for the first pair of symbols not to have been hidden (ie. by the stone being turned upside down) is unusual.


Dandaleith sits in the Strathspey valley, and number of other carved stones have been found in this area in the past which have some of the same symbols eg. at Inveravon and at Arndilly.  


In terms of rarity, as I say I can find no other carved stone decorated like this, but equally, new finds of any kind of carved Pictish stone of this scale are incredibly rare. A handful of small (c. 40 x 30cm), or fragments of, carved Pictish stones have been found in the North East (Moray, Aberdeenshire, Angus) in the last 60 years; there was a bit of a "flurry" in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, mostly unearthed during ploughing, so more likely reflecting changing agricultural practices. In terms of large-scale stones (but not of the same classification), the most recent I can think of is the Rhynie Man, found in 1978 in Aberdeenshire. So the Dandaleith Stone is, for Moray at least, probably the most important Pictish find of a decade.



A complete Merovingian necropolis unearthed at Évrecy in Calvados

Published June 26, 2014 · Updated August 4, 2014


A team of Inrap involved prescription of State Évrecy on the site of Saint-Aubin-des-Champs, in the context of the development of a residential area by the company Edifidès. In 2013, a diagnosis had previously detected the unprecedented presence of a necropolis dated between the end of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, either V e , VI th and VII th centuries. The search, which began in mid-March, confirms the importance of this discovery with the discovery of a complete burial of more than 300 graves, some of which contain a rich furnishings. The study of this site involves several specialists, including anthropologists, céramologues, specialists of glass and metal furniture.


Burial practices

Archaeologists have unearthed the graves at various depths, some dug up to 1.50 m. They generally contain a deceased person who was buried in a wooden form, now defunct. If the majority of burials today contain more objects or clothing, a third of them, however, revealed a rich and varied furniture, including the type used to group burials in two groups. Graves with objects deposited, accessories and ornamental elements dating from the V th century. In one of them, particularly rich, archaeologists have unearthed the skeleton of an adult man with twenty items: ceramics, glassware, bronze basin, tin plate, wooden bucket with bronze strapping decorated Frankish ax, spear, dagger in his belt and silver coin deposited on the mouth. A pair of shoes was also placed on his feet. After the V th century, the objects in the tombs are fewer incentives Christianity count the deceased in the afterlife. And tombs dated VII th century contain individuals with belt buckles, bronze or iron, simple or complex and decorated. Currently, furniture unearthed in the tombs did not allow any of them to date the VI th century; However, the search will continue for several weeks.


The village cemetery early Middle Ages

Early studies by anthropologists on these human remains possible now confirm that all age and gender categories are represented in this necropolis. Few burials of young children were buried by contrast, then it is a fragile population. This is not so far a defect, the shallower graves have been disturbed over time. Sometimes young children were also excluded from the Community Cemetery, both in ancient times in the Middle Ages. Archaeologists therefore infer from this information that it was the cemetery of a small village community, who lived between the V Évrecy th and VII th century. This cemetery was abandoned at the end of the VII th century, probably in favor of one or more other burial sites. It is then Christian cemeteries nearby habitat and probably a monastery founded in the VII th at the site of the present church of Saint-Pierre Évrecy.

The appropriateness of the transaction

The discovery of the funerary complex is of a novelty more than a title. Not listed on older sources, the site had never been studied or looting, so that the funerary furniture is to be kept in an exceptional way. He will bring valuable information about the V e VI and e centuries, poorly documented periods in archeology. In addition, the boundaries of the excavation site used to be here necropolis in its entirety, archaeologists have identified the enclosure which delineated.  

Scientists thus have all the elements to conduct a comprehensive study on the history and lifestyles of the community. More broadly, this site finding only few equivalents at regional level (however include the sites of Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay or Michelet Lisieux), it will become a major reference in the study of burial practices in Lower Normandy, witnesses of acculturation that mark this transition period between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginnings of Christianity.