Archaeology news

Medieval Leprosy in Europe

At https://phys.org/print449220213.html ... a medieval leprosy hospital at Odense in Denmark has been excavated and some of the bones have been analysed. The hospital was the final resting place of people that died from the disease around 700 years ago - caused by an infection of Mycobacterium leprus bacterium. Scientists have found traces of the infection in the skeletons. Results of the study on well preserved DNA will, it is hoped, shed light on the outbreak that ravaged Denmark and large areas of Europe, and also on how diabetis developed (which still impacts the modern world).

German Stonehenge Link

At www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/rituals-performed-german-stonehenge-may-... ... which concerns an article published in Antiquity journal (the archaeological journal that is a mirror on the world beyond the shores of Britain). The impetus for this new  thinking seems to be the genetic discovery of folk movements across Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe - which may have introduced new ideas into Britain from the continent (including the idea of henges, a circle composed of a ditch with bank).

Cockatoo

An image of what looks like an Australian cockatoo has led to the claim that the Islamic world was trading along the northern coast of the southern land mass in the medieval period. This is not impossible of course as Islam became embedded as the religion of the larger Indonesian islands at around this moment in time. However, it is also known that the Chinese were sailing such waters - umtil the 14th century (when it chose to isolate itself from the outside world).

Ice Man still a source of research

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/p-stf061318.php ... continuing study of the ice amn found in a melting glacier in the Alps a few years ago has found a different dimension to write about - his use of stone tools. The ice man dates back to around 3200BC (although now backdated by IntCal2013 a bit earlier). His stone tools were made of chert - a form of flint. It seems they originate from different locations in what is now the Trentino region of Italy. For the full paper go to http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198292

Whale Bone Artifacts

At https://phys.org/print448179407.html ... large scale whale hunting goes back to the 6th century AD we are told, according to a new study in the European Journal of Archaeology (2018). Museum collections in Sweden contain thousands of Iron Age board game pieces - most of which were made from the bones of whales. In addtion, all the pieces come from the Right Whales. This gained its name as the 'right' whale to hunt down as it swims slowly, close to shore, and contains so much blubber it floated after being harpooned.

Radiocarbon inaccuracies

At https://phys.org/print447421745.html ... the theme here is that C14 carbon dating is a big tool as used by archaeologists  in order to date the age of organic material (including timbers). Is it all its cracked up to be. Apparently, Sturt Manning has reservations. He and his team have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time. Before anyone gets over excited he is talking about very short period of 20 years - not the big changes as envisioned by revisionist historians.

Iran archaeology

In Current World Archaeology 89 (June 2018) - www.world-archaeology.com ... there is an article on Iran's prehistory. It says the archaeology of Iran is dominated by the Zagros mountain chain which divides it from the flood plain of the Tigris and Euphrates. To the west of the Zagros are the fertile lands of Mesopotamia and to the east the hilly upland of the Iranian plateau (rich in metals but also fertile in places). The Neolithic revolution, we are informed, began in the hills and valleys of the Zagros between 10,000 and 8,000BC.

Further on Stonehenge Landscape

Further updates on the Stonehenge landscape are outlined in Mike Haigh's 'archaeology review' in Northern Earth magazine 153 (June 2018) - see www.northernearth.co.uk ... It seems a causewayed enclosure has been found at Larkhill barracks during an archaeological survey prior to construction of new buildings - and the excavation is ongoing. Causewayed enclosures are usually concentric circles with sausage shaped ditches (or pits) with banks. A henge is a circle with a continuous ditch and bank.

Stonehenge Landscape Research

British Archaeology magazine (May of 2018) has an interesting article by Mike Pitts. It concerns geophysics surveys around Stonehenge. The Hidden Landscape project and the First Monuments project are quite well known but there has been a lot more archaeology that does not reach the mainstream media but is done by local groups and most importantly, prior to development. In this case there are new housing schemes in the vicinity of Amesbury and a huge commercial park to the east of Stonehenge.

Ipplepen

Metal detectorists came across a quantity of Roman coins in a field between Exeter and Newton Abbot in Devon and this led to an archaoelogical investigation that uncovered a Roman period settlement (at Ipplepen). See for example www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_225948_en.html ... and www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-36596636 ...