Archaeology news

Susan Oosthuisen

At ... archaeologist Susan Oosthuizen is well known for her research into the historicity of Britain's common land - which she claims goes back at least 1500 years. She was quoted by Steve Mitchell in one of his articles in SIS Review and has popped up in conversation with him, at one time or another. She specialises in the Anglo Saxon period and in particular, Cambridgeshire and the Fen country. The Fens were flooded in the Late Roman period - between 300 and 600AD, following the dry Roman Warm Period.

Cats Brain Barrow

At ... it seems the axe Otzi the Iceman was carrying was made of copper - and it has been traced back to a copper deposit in central Italy. This is interesting as it shows metal was in use in Europe in the 4th millennium BC (contemporary with its use in the Near East during the Chalcolithic).

Hancock on Gobekli

Gobekli Tepe in modern SE Turkey is an impressive megalithic structure - or series of structures. They date back to the early Holocene period - some distance after the so called Younger Dryas Boundary event. After it was deemed past its shelf life the stone circles were buried in soil and and debris to form a hill - a very large mound. The current view of archaeologists is that the megaliths were build by hunter gatherers.


   You can see Naxos as a large island in the Cyclades. Presumably at some time this would have all been joined up to Greece itself but sea levels and seismic events have turned this into a lot of small islands. When this might have occurred is central to excavations now taking place at Stelida on Naxos. Tristan Carter and a team of 35 have been digging there for the last 3 years with some surprising results.

The Montem

Montem Mound is situated on the main A4 route through Slough, in a particularly busy spot overlooking a major junction. Many people stuck in their vehicles at the traffic lights must have wondered why this unremarkable heap of earth has remained undeveloped. The answer is that it is a scheduled monument - even though it has never been excavated (see ). It is near the top of what was known as Salt Hill. This is where Eton College procured it's supplies of salt from traders coming down the A4 trunk road (as it was in previous centuries).

Tower of Skulls

A tower of human skulls has been found in Mexico City, going back to the Aztec era. See ... where archaeologists have unearthed 675 skull of men, women, and children at Huey Tzompantli. The Spanish conquistadores recorded thousands of skulls they came across - so the archaeologists have some way to go before reaching the bottom of the tower. The structure lies close to the Templo Major, which was used for human sacrifices in the capital, Tenochtitlan.

Skull Cult

At ... Gobekli Tepe pillars have carvings of headless humans, and animals ...


Avebury stone circle is far the more visitor friendly than Stonehenge. It is so large a village encroaches within it - but a lot of the stones are missing. There are some good stories abroad concerning the fate of the stones but clearly some were simply buried. Others were broken up and used in walls and houses in the village and on nearby farms. A somewhat zealous cleric was involved in the destruction of some of the stones - but that is a story for another day. All this took place in the 17th and 18th centuries and it is thought the circle was fairly intact up until then.

Fire Use

At ... is an interesting read - if only to illustrate how difficult it is to establish between natural fire (such as lightning and landscape blazes), and human induced fire (such as camp and hearth fires). It is thought by some archaeologists that fire use may go back to Homo erectus. Strangely, there appears to be a lot of scepticism towards an early date for making fires - some archaeologists even think Neanderthals could not light their own fires.

El Khawy

      A newly discovered panel of rock art is thought to contribute to an understanding on how heiroglyphic signs developed. A modicum of scepticism is in order - although one might think old ideas contributed to the new idea of sign language (or writing in the Egyptian style) - see In this instance, a bull's head on a pole and a back to back saddleback stork and a bald iris are depicted.