Archaeology news

Megalithic tombs - new dating throws up a paradox ... it seems new dating evidence suggests the megalithic long barrows and passage tombs were built in a burst of activity over a few centuries around 4000BC. These predate the megalithic activity of around 3000BC, or that of around 2600BC and 2300-2000BC, and possibly around 1650BC.

Roman Wales

At August 12th ... there is a news release from Cardiff University saying that archaeologists may have to revise some of the details regarding the conquest of Britain. A complex of monumental buildings has been found outside the fortress of Caerleon in South Wales. It seems the Romans had plans to develop Caerleon into a major settlement but for some reason abandoned the plans. See also BBC News 11th August, at

Nefertiti in Colour

Archaeologists are examining a cache of talatat blocks stored in Luxor, some 62,000 of them. They have been locked away for some years and only now are they seriously been catalogued and dusted down, and amazingly the original pigments of colour have been preserved on what is Amarna period art that went out of favour and was reused as fill material for later constructions. The excavation reports of when and where they were located might be interesting from a revisionist angle.

Marden Henge - what do we know?

Actually, we still know very little. The latest bit of archaeological investigation has now come to an end (see BBC News August 6th) and we know more than what was known previously - but that is not a lot as the excavations were made in just one small section of what is a huge site. Indeed, English Heritage have no say on most of the henge.

Painted Stones by Painted People

The story is reported in The Scotsman (but see also ) stones painted with patterns such as zigzags and chevrons have been found in the Orkneys. The use of colour has been suspected but this is the first tangible evidence of it yet found in an megalithic structure in Britain. It occurs in Sardinian megaliths (as reported a couple of weeks ago) and now it has been found in the far north.

Cyrus and the Chinese (see News section if story unavailable) ... it seems a British Museum curator, Irving Finkel, has identified a cuneiform text inscribed on horse bones found in China, and they represent extracts from the Cyrus Cylinder.

Current World Archaeology

Current World Archaeology 42 (August 2010) has some information that might be interesting (see the web site ) such as the arrival of modern humans in North Africa is being now dated to 80,000 years ago. We also learn that the once huge fruit and nut forest in central Asia is rapidly disappearing as a result of fires, logging, and population pressure.

The Jared Diamond Myth in tatters

Manchester University (at ) it seems is about to publish new research set to overthrow the 'environmentalist propaganda' disseminated by Jared Diamond in his book a few years ago, much loved by eco-campaigners and politicians as an example of how to rubbish your own backyard.

Solomon's Pools

The story of the discovery of a Roman period aqueduct built to transport water from underground sources - such as Solomon's Pool, the Pool of Hezekiah, and so on, into the city of Jerusalem, is told in some detail as archaeologists had to clamber through ancient sewage systems rich in organic material to discover where the system went and who built it. The story began with a German archaeologist in the 19th century attributing a surviving piece of wall to King Herod - but this theory is now dead in the water.


The Independent July 30th ... harks back to the story of a hoard of 52,000 Roman coins found in a field near Frome. Almost 800 of them were minted during thre reign of Carausius, AD286-93. The journalist seems to have set out to find something about this character and has come back with a tale that reckons he was a gangster who was in league with Saxon and Pictish pirates, dividing the booty up between them (but strangely there is no mention of Irish pirates who were active at the same time).