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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Archaeology News: April 16, 2013

Archaeologists in Fermanagh discover 600-year-old murder mystery beneath controversial crannog

Archaeologists excavating the crannog site in County Fermanagh believe a 600-year-old skeleton was the victim of an ancient murder mystery.

Experts working on the Drumclay Crannóg at Enniskillen believe the woman’s remains which date back to the 15th or 16th century were buried in an “irregular” way. Investigators also found that the woman’s skull was damaged, however it is not known if this happened after death.

Muslim Perspectives on the Military Orders during the Crusades

On July 4, 1187, the armies of Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria, surrounded thousands of Crusaders surmounting the Horns of Hattin near Tiberias in Galilee. Exhausted by heat, thirst, and days of marching and fighting, the Crusaders were forced to surrender. Thousands of the resulting prisoners were sold into slavery, but not all. While King Guy and the Frankish aristocrats who had led their followers to disaster were allowed for the most part to ransom themselves, the knights of Military Orders faced a different fate. After his triumphant victory, Saladin singled out the captive Templar and Hospitallers for execution.

La Tene Warriors Uncovered

A team of Inrap archaeologists recently uncovered an exceptionally preserved necropolis dating to the 4th – 3rd centuries BC in Buchères, north central France.

Tomb containing two burials and a sword, dating to 4th century BCE. © Denis Gliksman, Inrap
The team uncovered fifteen spectacular funerary enclosures, quadrangular, circular and horseshoe in shape dating from both the pre Celtic Bronze Age and early Iron Age.

‘Citizen archaeologists’ needed for Orkney’s eroding coastal heritage

If you enjoy the coast, know about your local heritage – or want to explore it further, you could make a real contribution to a national project which is being run by The SCAPE Trust and the University of St Andrews.

The Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk project is looking for volunteers who can visit threatened coastal archaeological and historical sites in their local areas to take photographs, record their current condition and contribute information to a national database of coastal archaeological sites.

Horse-related artifacts unearthed in London dig

Several fascinating horse-related objects are among a treasure trove of 10,000 Roman objects unearthed during an archaeological dig in London. Many of the finds contain obscene imagery, such as a 1st century AD Roman pendant. It would have been used by cavalry and features a copper-alloy fist and phallus. It is believed to have had a pair of clappers to make a jingling sound as the horse moved.

Their finds include a padded and stitched piece of leather with an image of a gladiator fighting mythical animals. The leather has been elaborately worked by its creator. Archaeologists say it is one of the most puzzling finds at the site to date. They suspect it may have come from a chariot, but can only guess because nothing similar has ever been found.

Research Reveals How Australopithecus sediba Walked, Chewed, Moved

New research appearing in six papers in the journal Science describes how the hominid Australopithecus sediba walked, chewed, and moved around 2 million years ago. The research offers a comprehensive depiction of some of the most complete early human ancestral remains ever discovered.

Pottery cooked from the start

Ancient leftovers indicate that the earliest pottery was used by hunter-gatherers for cooking, thousands of years before farming communities began heating their food in vessels.

Chemical analyses of charred food clinging to pottery fragments from sites across Japan indicate that hunter-gatherers who lived there between 15,300 and 11,200 years ago cooked freshwater or marine animals in ceramic vessels, say bioarchaeologist Oliver Craig of the University of York in England and his colleagues.

Anthropology student finds excitement in the mundane

As a 38-year-old graduate student watches volunteers go through archeological materials from the Leonis Adobe site in Calabasas, she becomes excited with mundane objects like a nail, a marble and broken pieces of ceramic.

Ann Stansell, a second-year anthropology graduate student, works in CSUN’s Anthropological Research Institute once a week where she recently started overseeing undergraduate anthropology students who volunteered to help. The university has acquired much archaeological material since the 1960s and the inventory has never been properly organized.


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