Archaeology news

wildfire chronology

Wildfires are known to have been frequent features of the Australian past - and Aborigines usually get the blame as they have a habit of setting the bush alight in controlled fires to manage the vegetation and flush out wildlife. At http://phys.org/print388293621.html ... scientists are hoping to map landscape fires by using dripping water in caves. The idea is to plot a sequence of wild fires on the land above the caves which hopefully will reveal some interesting information about timescales involved.

Rope making

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/40000-year-old-rop... ... a German team (see Archaologische Ausgrabungen Baden Wurttemberg) have found a rope or twine making tool dating to the Aurignacian period (roughly 40,000 years ago). Rope and twine are essential components in the toolbox of mobile hunting groups. Impressions of string have been found in fossil clay and are depicted on Ice Age art but on the whole rope, twine and string are biodegradable and absent from archaeological sites. The find is made from mammoth bone ...   

Hill of Chert

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/summer-2016/article/the-ancient-wor... .... a hill, 118m high, on the coast of Aghios Prokopios on the island of Naxos (in the Cyclades) has outcroppings of chert that have attracted humans for thousands of years - from deep in the Palaeolithic into relatively modern times. Today the hill is situated on a promontory that juts into the Aegean Sea. During the Ice Age and early Holocene Naxos was part of a much larger land mass, a big island comprising several of the Cyclades plus low lying areas that are now on the sea floor.

Early Farmers

This one is a bit of a surprise. Just as we were about to accept that early farming evolved in the Fertile Crescent and the descendants outbred hunter gatherers and gradually replaced them - or hybridised (and then went on to colonise large areas of the world from Europe to the Indian subcontinent) genetic research appears to have come up with something unexpected. The Fertile Crescent has been regarded as the cradle of agriculture for a long time - but is that view justified?

Aberlady

At www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/14620182.Archaeologists_find_evidence_of... ... excavations in Aberlady have unearthed the foundations of a large building that has been dated by animal bone to between the 7th and 9th centuries AD. The site is defined as Anglo Saxon as metal objects were recovered at the site but was it a monastery rather than a timber hall. Aberlady was on a pilgrimage route between Iona in the Western Isles and Holy Island in Northumbria - see also www.aberladyangles.com

South Downs LIDAR

BBC News also had a report of the discovery of an extensive field system on the South Downs, including beneath woodland. The LIDAR images are ground penetrating radar that are taken from overhead in light aircraft. They are often used by the Water Board for example, or the environmental agencies. In this instance the new South Downs National Park arranged for them to be made. There is also an extensive LIDAR set running along the length of the HS2 route (the high speed rail link between London and Manchester) but this is not yet at the public's disposal.

Must Farm

As the Must Farm excavations in the Cambridgeshire fens draw to a close we get a more balanced idea of the findings - go to http://phys.org/print387704062.html ... the Bronze Age settlement has been opened up over a 10 month period and has yielded lots of finely woven textiles as well as beads from the Mediterranean and everyday domestic artefacts. It is being called the Pompei of the Fens as the preservation is so good. The homes on wooden stilts were burnt down and fell into the river below.

from erectile to cavern

Homo erectus walked just like modern humans - see http://phys.org/print387534364.html ... which was proved by the discovery of footprints said to be one and a half million years of age.

At http://phys.org/print387521569.html ... archaeologists have unearthed an interesting burial in Leicester. It contained a skeleton wearing a ornamented belt in a style known to be used by Late Roman soldiers and civil administrators (who were sometimes retired soldiers). The belt contains symbols of Roman authority.

Philistine graves

At www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.729879 ... a Philistine cemetery has been found at Ashkelon, a Mediterranean port city in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Some 150 burials are said to date from the 11th to the 8th centuries BC. The good news is that bone samples will be analysed - for DNA, radiocarbon dating, and other biological reasons. Ashkelon was situated just to the north of Gaza, a trading hub that was used by the Egyptians to sell and transport slaves, linen, and other manufactures such as papyrus.

Glas

Formerly known as Gla but apparently now Glas we have an article in the journal Popular Archaeology - see http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/summer-2016/article/rediscovering-a... ... where the site of Glas has recently been reassessed by archaeologists (with more up to date instruments). Glas is the largest Mycenaean site from Bronze Age Greece. It is located in what was known as Boeotia in the marshland of the Kopais Basin. Glas was ten times the size of Tiryns and seven times the size of Mycenae.