Jul 01 2014

Haul of Roman coins dug up in field to earn finder a fortune

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<b>Clay Jar  full of Gold!</b>

Clay Jar full of Gold!

Pic: Daily Mail

Chef discovers largest ever hoard of Roman coins in a field! For 1,800 years the story of the ‘lost British emperor’ who defied ancient Rome has been merely a footnote in history books. Carausius’s audacious seizure of power and seven-year reign over Britain and much of Gaul have largely been forgotten. But thanks to the astonishing discovery of 52,000 Roman coins, new light is being shed on one of the most turbulent periods of our island story.

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Haul of Roman coins dug up in field to earn finder a fortune” was written by Steven Morris, for The Guardian on Thursday 22nd July 2010 15.04 UTC

Dave Crisp
Dave Crisp excavates part of the hoard of Roman coins he found in a pot in a field near Frome, Somerset. Photograph: Somerset County Council/PA

A metal detector enthusiast could share a £1m payout after finding one of Britain’s largest ever collections of Roman coins in a farmer’s field, it emerged today.

Dave Crisp, an NHS chef, was celebrating after a coroner ruled the find of 52,000 coins was treasure. It becomes the property of the crown and is bound to end up in a museum, but Crisp and the landowner will be rewarded once the hoard has been valued by an independent panel.

Crisp, 63, had spent more than 20 years hunting for buried treasure, with modest success. But he struck gold in April when he dug down a foot into the earth of a field near Frome, Somerset, and found a huge, well-preserved earthenware pot full of coins. Experts believe the coins had been deliberately buried in the third century as an offering to the gods by landowners hoping for favourable farming conditions.

Speaking after the hearing at East Somerset coroner’s court in Frome, grandfather-of-three Crisp said that he would continue with his hobby.

He said: “I’m over the moon. The money doesn’t really matter. Obviously it’s nice, but the significant thing for me is that I am the person who has made this discovery.

“I will keep working until I retire next year and will definitely continue with my hobby – you don’t just stop a hobby. I have no idea what I’ll spend the cash on. Maybe I’ll buy a new wok.

“People often compare metal detecting to trainspotting, or say it’s a bit geeky. Well, it just goes to show.”

The value of the hoard will not be known until it is examined in detail, but some experts have privately speculated it could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds and might even be worth up to £1m. The value will be split between Crisp and the landowner. Anna Booth, finds liaison officer for Somerset at the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said: “It will be fairly substantial, but how substantial, we don’t know.”

Over the years, Crisp, from Devizes, Wiltshire, has found coins, artefacts and jewellery of Celtic, Saxon, Victorian and Georgian origin. Earlier this year he found 62 coins scattered in the field near Frome, which he reported to the authorities, before returning for a second sweep. On 11 April, Crisp unearthed the haul of 52,503 coins.

Crisp told the coroner, Tony Williams, how he dug a foot beneath the surface after his metal detector emitted a “funny signal”. He dusted away the soil and found the pot full of treasure.

Crisp said: “I sat down and started to dig around and pulled out a bit of clay, which was attached to a pot. At first I found a coin, then another, then another. Then I realised what I had stumbled across and I literally stood up and shouted: ‘I have found a haul.’”

He alerted a finds liaison officer and a team of archaeologists was sent to study the site. Three days later they unearthed the pot, which was taken to the British Museum. It is thought to date from between AD253 and 293.

Crisp said: “Leaving it in the ground for the archaeologists to excavate was a very hard decision to take, but as it had been there for 1,800 years, I thought a few days more would not hurt. My family thought I was mad to walk away and leave it.”

Booth told the hearing the hoard was probably an offering to the gods for “favourable weather or good farming conditions”.

She said the pot was so heavy that whoever left it there did not intend to return to collect the contents.

Roger Bland, head of portable antiquities at the British Museum, said it was an extraordinary discovery. “It’s the largest hoard of coins that has even been found in a single pot,” he said. “In 1978, there was another find that was a little bit bigger but that was in two pots.

“We are at the beginning of understanding it properly. We have been able to wash and count all the coins and do a preliminary sort.”

He said most were bronze with about five silver coins that date back to the time of Emperor Carausius.

“He is not well known, this man,” said Bland. “He was a Roman commander who set himself up as emperor in Britain and ruled for seven years. To find such a big group of his coins will give us a lot of information about this episode in our nation’s history, which is not well understood.”

The Museum of Somerset is expected to try to raise the money to buy the coins to keep them in the county.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

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Jun 04 2014

Neanderthals aren’t grunting, club-wielding idiots – we are!

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Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Pic: icantcu

They’ve long been maligned as grunting, club-wielding idiots, but apparently we’ve got Neanderthals all wrong. Misled by their simple tools (clubs) and simple language (grunting) we have stereotyped them as primitive beings – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, according to recent research, Neanderthals were no less intelligent than their modern human contemporaries.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Neanderthals aren’t grunting, club-wielding idiots – we are” was written by Martha Gill, for theguardian.com on Friday 2nd May 2014 11.45 UTC

They’ve long been maligned as grunting, club-wielding idiots, but apparently we’ve got Neanderthals all wrong. Misled by their simple tools (clubs) and simple language (grunting) we have stereotyped them as primitive beings – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, according to recent research, Neanderthals were no less intelligent than their modern human contemporaries.

After careful study of archaeological records, scientists in the Netherlands found evidence to suggest that Neanderthals were just as advanced in culture, weaponry and hunting as our human forebears. According to those scientists, the misunderstanding came about because people had been comparing Neanderthals to their successors, who had more advanced tools, rather than their contemporaries. Which is rather like assuming I am more advanced than my parents because I know how to work an iPhone. But this doesn’t make my parents any less intelligent … just obsolete and unable to function in this modern, fast-paced world.

So, what we have here is an ugly, ugly stereotype; a stereotype that needs to be quashed. As ever, the Guardian is the perfect place to start that process – and perhaps even to “rebrand” the Neanderthal. After all, when you really think about it, aren’t we the real club-wielding prehistoric creatures?

Take some of our most pressing modern concerns. To pick just one example, let’s look at the unpalatable truth about quinoa. All evidence suggests that Neanderthal food was both organic and locally sourced. But unlike modern man, Neanderthals were not “consciously ethical” consumers so preoccupied with “personal health, animal welfare and reducing their carbon ‘foodprint’” that they drove up the price of a staple grain beyond the grasp of local Bolivians. No.

Not for them, either, the errors of cupcake fascism. They refrained from such products which, as has been pointed out, “treat their audience as children, and more specifically the children of the middle classes – perfect special snowflakes full of wide-eyed wonder and possibility” and thereby “succeed as expressions of a desire on behalf of consumers to always and for ever be children, by telling consumers not only that this is OK, but also that it is, to a real degree, possible.” Which was really wise of them.

And neither were Neanderthal women held up to ridiculously high beauty standards. They were not impelled to shave their legs in order to live up to unreachable social ideals concocted by a controlling patriarchy.

And finally, Neanderthals had the skills that will really matter post-rewilding. When George Monbiot has his way and wolves, bears, bison and lynx roam Britain (sheep cast finally into the furthest pit of hell), we’ll be relying on our hunting nous. Only then, as we square up to a hungry grizzly, will we know who the club-wielding idiots truly are.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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May 22 2014

Britain’s oldest settlement is Amesbury not Thatcham, say scientists

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Woodhenge, Amesbury

Woodhenge, Amesbury

Pic: English Heritage

Britain’s oldest settlement is not where we thought it was, a team of archaeologists said on Thursday as they announced with confidence that Amesbury should now hold the distinction. It was previously considered that Thatcham in Berkshire held the distinction but researchers from the University of Buckingham are certain we need to look 40 miles west, to the parish of Amesbury, in Wiltshire, which also includes Stonehenge.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Britain’s oldest settlement is Amesbury not Thatcham, say scientists” was written by Mark Brown, arts correspondent, for The Guardian on Thursday 1st May 2014 17.38 UTC

Britain’s oldest settlement is not where we thought it was, a team of archaeologists said on Thursday as they announced with confidence that Amesbury should now hold the distinction.

It was previously considered that Thatcham in Berkshire held the distinction but researchers from the University of Buckingham are certain we need to look 40 miles west, to the parish of Amesbury, in Wiltshire, which also includes Stonehenge.

Carbon dating of bones of aurochs – the giant cattle that were twice the size of today’s bulls – at the Blick Mead dig site, has shown that Amesbury has been continually occupied for each millennium since 8,820BC. Older than Thatcham, occupied since 7,700BC, it is in effect where British history began.

David Jacques, research fellow in archaeology at the University of Buckingham, led the dig. He said: “The site blows the lid off the Neolithic revolution in a number of ways. It provides evidence for people staying put, clearing land, building and presumably worshipping monuments.

“The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself. The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people.

“For years people have been asking ‘why is Stonehenge where it is?’ Now, at last, we have found the answers.”

It was the same dig, at Blick Mead, which last year led to the discovery that Mesolithic Britons were enjoying eating frogs legs about eight millennia before the French.

At the time, Jaques expressed confidence that evidence would prove it was Britain’s oldest settlement. That has now been confirmed and on Thursday it was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.

The dig also unearthed the largest number of Mesolithic worked flints ever found; 31,000 were discovered in just over 40 days, all in a 16-sq-metre (172-sq-ft) area.

The discoveries put a date to the activities of those who built the first monuments at the Stonehenge site, using enormous pine posts. It shows their communities lived in the area for a further 3,000 years, close to the dawn of the Neolithic era when Stonehenge itself was built.

Archaeologists say the results provide something of a missing link between the erection of the posts, between 8,820 and 6,590BC, and of Stonehenge, in 3,000BC. The findings provide evidence which suggests that Stonehenge, rather than a Neolithic new-build sitting, at first, in an empty landscape should be viewed as a response to long-term use of the area by indigenous hunters and home-makers.

Bill Dunn, spokesman for the Amesbury History Centre, said: “We are naturally delighted at the confirmation of Amesbury’s longevity as the oldest continuously inhabited place in England. We have always known Amesbury as somewhere special and this confirms it. All the visitors to the museum are amazed at what they find, and we hope even more people will now visit.”

• This article was amended on 2 May 2014. An earlier version referred to Amesbury as being continually occupied for each millennia, rather than millennium, since 8,820BC.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

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Apr 07 2014

Celtic fish-bones may reveal trade routes

Fishbones
Pic: Utah Spearfishing

Old fish bones and dead insects could be the key to the story of Ireland’s transport system, 500 years before gridlock reports the Irish Herald.

The fish bones, insect carcasses and dead plant material are wedged in the timbers of a medieval boat recovered from the river Boyne, near Drogheda.

The boat has now been lifted from the river-bed and the Department of Environment is looking for experts who will be able to unravel the story from minute remains left in the vessel. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2009-06-21 08:43:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Nov 05 2012

6000-Year-Old Trade Link Between Clare & Cumbria Identified

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 – Clare Museum and the Irish Stone Axe Project (ISAP) at University College Dublin have uncovered evidence of a 6000-year-old trade link between Ireland and Great Britain.

This Looped and Socketed Axehead was found near Miltown Malbay in the townland of Knockliscrane in the civil parish of Kilmurry-Ibrickane in the barony of Ibrickane. It was found during field drainage operations and was brought to the surface by a mechanical digger employed in this task. The axe was found on the surface of the spoil heap and had not been more than three feet below the surface.

It is 6.5cm X 5.2cm wide. The axehead is in poor condition with the remains of only one loop still visible. It dates from the Bronze Age (2,400BC-600BC) and possibly had a more ritual than functional use. This axe was claimed for the state by Clare Museum under the National Monuments Act (1994) and the National Cultural Institutions Act (1997). Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2008-06-01 09:17:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Oct 01 2012

Stonehenge builders had geometry skills to rival Pythagoras


tarotastic
The Independent has just carried a fascinating article about the geometrical skills of the Stonehenge builders. David Keys, their Archaeology Correspondent writes:

Stone Age Britons had a sophisticated knowledge of geometry to rival Pythagoras – 2,000 years before the Greek “father of numbers” was born, according to a new study of Stonehenge.

Five years of detailed research, carried out by the Oxford University landscape archaeologist Anthony Johnson, claims that Stonehenge was designed and built using advanced geometry.

Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2008-05-28 07:33:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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May 25 2012

Archaeologist Suggests Fake Wall At Newgrange

boynewebimage
Pic: Newgrange Ireland
A new critical analysis has revealed that the world famous Irish passage-tomb mound Newgrange did look quite different in prehistory than hitherto believed. Newgrange is probably a multi-period mound with 5-6 phases spanning from the Passage Tomb Period to the Early Bronze Age.

This theory clashes with the traditional view introduced by Professor Michael O’Kelly, who led the excavation and the controversial restoration with the addition of a white wall around themound over the years 1962-75.

O’Kelly believed that Newgrange was a single-period mound, and that the great quantities of mound fill, which covered the kerbstones and extended far beyond them, had slid out from the mound when a wall, which held the mound fill in place, did collapse.

The new analysis, carried out by the Danish archaeologist Palle Eriksen in a paper called ‘The Great Mound of Newgrange’, is based on studies of the sections documented by O’Kelly. The mound fill comprises fist to head-size stones between 3-4 thin layers of turfs. According to O’Kelly these layers of turfs were laid by the megalith builders. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2009-02-16 10:35:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Oct 30 2011

The Secrets Of Knowth

Forty years ago, archaeologist George Eogan became the first person in centuries to see the underground passage tomb at Knowth in Meath (Ireland), part of Brú na Bóinne (Bend of the Boyne), now a Unesco World Heritage site.

A year earlier, in 1967, the Knowth excavation had uncovered a smaller underground passage leading in from the western face of the megalithic mound, but this larger east-side tomb surpassed it, recalls Eogan, a professor of archaeology at University College Dublin.

“The western tomb was stunning but the east one was huge,”

he says.

Pic: Spud Murphy

Knowth’s charms had lain undiscovered for hundreds of years before excavations started on the site 46 years ago, with Eogan present. The fourth volume in a series of books on the dig’s findings is published by the Royal Irish Academy later this month.

“We started at Knowth in 1962 and we have been there ever since,”

he says, detailing how the project has uncovered 18 satellite tombs around the great mound as well as unusual findings, such as a decorative flint macehead and a series of eight-century inscriptions within the passages and chambers.

But some of the findings pre-date all of that,

explains Eogan. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2008-11-29 10:50:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 03 2011

Welsh Rock Art Oldest in Britain


Reindeer Rock Art
Pic: BBC Wales
BBC Wales tells us :An archaeologist believes a wall carving in a south Wales cave could be Britain’s oldest example of rock art.The faint scratchings of a speared reindeer are believed to have been carved by a hunter-gatherer in the Ice Age more than 14,000 years ago.The archaeologist who found the carving on the Gower peninsula, Dr George Nash, called it

“very, very exciting.”

.

Dr Nash, a part-time academic for Bristol University, made the discovery while at the caves in September 2010.

He told BBC Wales:

“It was a strange moment of being in the right place at the right time with the right kit.

“For 20-odd years I have been taking students to this cave and talking about what was going on there.

“They went back to their cars and the bus and I decided to have a little snoop around in the cave as I’ve never had the chance to do it before.

“Within a couple of minutes I was scrubbing at the back of a very strange and awkward recess and there a very faint image bounced in front of me – I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

He said that although the characteristics of the reindeer drawing match many found in northern Europe around 4,000-5,000 years later, the discovery of flint tools in the cave in the 1950s could hold the key to the carving’s true date.

This drawing was done with the right hand and the niche is very, very tight”

Dr George Nash

“In the 1950s, Cambridge University undertook an excavation there and found 300-400 pieces of flint and dated it to between 12,000-14,000 BC.

“This drawing was done with the right hand and the niche is very, very tight and the engraving has been done by somebody using a piece of flint who has drawn a classic reindeer design.

“My colleagues in England have been doing some work in Nottinghamshire at Creswell Crags and got very nice dates for a red deer and one or two other images of around 12,000-14,000 BC.

“I think this [newly found carving] may be roughly the same period or may be even earlier.”

Glacial geology

The limestone cliffs along the Gower coast are known for their archaeological importance.

The Red Lady of Paviland, actually the remains of a young male, is the earliest formal human burial to have been found in western Europe. It is thought to be roughly around 29,000 years old.

It was discovered at Goat’s Hole Cave at Paviland on Gower in 1823 by William Buckland, then a geology professor at Oxford University.

The Rock Art is now being officially dated and verified by experts at the National Museum of Wales and Cadw.

Source

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Aug 20 2011

Iron Age Body Unearthed In Irish Bog


Bog body from Co. Laois
Pic: RTE News
Iron Age human remains have been discovered in a County Laois (Ireland) bog. The remains, understood to be those of a young woman, were found by an employee of Bord Na Móna – the company is responsible for the mechanised harvesting of peat – who was operating a milling machine in the Cul na Móna bog between Abbeyleix and Portlaoise.

This particular bog has been become somewhat of a hotspot of rare discoveries in recent years. Bog butter, leather shoes and axe heads dating back thousands of years have been found deep down in the bog.

Initial examinations of the prehistoric remains suggest the victim may have been a human sacrifice between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago. Archaeologists reckon the body is a victim of a ritual sacrifice after the remains were found in a leather bag. The National Museum of Ireland said the victim’s legs were well preserved but that the torso and head appeared to have been lost. The remains will be taken to the National Museum in Dublin for analysis and radio carbon dating.

There have been over 100 bog bodies found in Ireland, but many were not well preserved. According to Irish Peatland Conservation Council:

“For thousands of years the bogs, through their extraordinary preservative qualities have kept ancient remains intact that would have otherwise perished on dry land; such as the bodies of unwary travellers trapped in the bog, or prehistoric track ways; and sometimes even whole villages and farms.”

Bogs can be treacherous places and it is likely that some of the bodies found in the peat were those of travellers who slipped into bog pools and were trapped. Some ancient bodies found in the peat were supposedly found clutching heather or sticks as if attempting to haul themselves out. Other bodies found in bogs are deliberate burials.

Source

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