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Burials – kings and halls

31 July 2013

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/uol-mdi072813.php … a lead coffin within a stone coffin has been dug up at the Richard III site (in a car park in Leicester).

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/uom-t6072913.php … the remains of what are described as two halls, going back 6000 years to the beginnings of the Neolithic in Britain have been found buried under prehistoric long barrows. They are at Dorestone Hill in Herefordshire and were constructed between 4000 and 3600BC. They appear to have been deliberately burnt down shortly after they were constructed and their remains were incorporated into the long barrows. What has been found are structural timbers in carbonised form, postholes at the positions of the uprights, and he burnt remains of stakes and planks forming internal partitions. In other words, they resembled long houses – and long houses themselves also look a lot like long barrows, and have an origin in early farming communities on the continent. Why  these buildings appear to have been ritually burnt and buried is anyone's guess – but may relate to landscape fires and airburst explosions that drove these people to migrate into Britain in the first instance, a sort of re-enactment of a troubling event that had traumatised them. Later burials at the site, one thousand years later, show affinities with eastern Yorkshire in the Late Neolithic. Does this show contact between the two regions, 200 miles apart, an alliance of some kind, or does it represent a further migration (this time within the confines of Britain).

At http://phys.org/print294309385.html … scientists in Germany extracted DNA from a Chinese individual buried around 40,000 years ago, from a cave near Beijing. They then looked around for similar DNA, hoping to find a link to early modern humans and their journey Out of Africa. What they discovered is that their closest genetic link was with the people that colonised America during the Ice Age – and it must have occurred not long after as the genetic signature was close. That is the most logical explanation for the DNA similarities according to Qiaomei Fu. They also discovered a genetic component related to Neanderthals, who populated Europe and Asia in the Ice Age prior to 40,000 years ago.

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