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23 August 2020

At www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/discoveries-iona-rewrite-history-sac… … discoveries on Iona show the sacred isle was not abandoned following Viking raids in the early 9th century AD. Monastic life continued. There is also evidence of metalwork being undertaken. A number of copper alloy pins of Hiberno-Norse origin, made by mixed Scandinavian/Irish people, have been retrieved, for example. The pins date to the 10th and 11th centuries. On the same beach as the pins were found the bodies of 68 monks – killed during the 806AD raid. It was thought the island was then abandoned by the church until the 12th century, 300 + years later. Now, it is thought, the monastery did manage to continue – after a short interval. A new set of monks arrived and we also have 10th and 11th century gravestones to prove that. It is also known that a former king of Dublin, retired to the monastery as a penitent, after adopting Christianity. Coins and bullion, from the abbey, and gold and silver artifacts have been found in St Ronan's church.

At www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archeology/stone-age-art-prehistoric-… … archaeologists on the Channel Islands have discovered Palaeolithic art near St Heliers on Jersey. The discovery imples the same people may have lived on what is the sea bed of the English Channel, drowned in the Early Holocene. The site, at Les Varines, is of a substantial camp site with evidence of the production of stone tools and other hunting equipment. The animals displayed on pieces of stone panel include large bovines, mammoths, and horses. At the time there was a large river running through the centre of the Channel, an extension of the Rhine and other European rivers. Jersey, however, was still connected to France at a later time of the Holocene. In contrast, the Magdalenians, who made the art, seem to have disappeared as a distinctive culture during the Younger Dryas event. Hunter gatherers subsequently arrived from elsewhere.

Over at https://theconversation.com/stone-tools-from-a-remote-cave-reveal-how-is… … there is some conjecture made in this story. Prehistoric axes and beads found in a cave on a remote island on the Wallacea Line seem to show it was a staging post for humans in boats. They were living in the region during the Late Glacial Maximum, or at least, towards its immediate hereafter. A date of 18,000-8000 years ago is provided. The latter date is of course interesting as this was when Sunda Land was inundated, leaving  the islands of Indonesia and submerging everything between them. Wallacea, on the other hand might not be so simple as it separated from Indonesia by a deep channel of water. New Guinea had been attached to Australia and in all likelihood the island concerned was much bigger. See for example, Eden in the East, by Stephen Oppenheimer. Interestingly, when the site was first occupied, presumably in the Late Glacial Maximum, it was  drier and colder. This may indicate they arrived at some point in the Oldest Dryas event – a long downturn in climate. Later, the site became a warm and equitable place to live, a tropical paradise if you like.

The island of Obi  was much larger we are told. Stone axes, it is thought, were introduced from New Guinea during a warm and wetter phase in the early Holocene. They were presumably required in order to cut back the thick tropical forest, the situation that still pertains today.


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