CPD the Wessex Way

Wessex Archaeology - Wed, 2014-09-17 13:32
Infrastructure and construction engineers from Laing O’Rourke gathered together at the Wessex Archaeology South office today to learn about all things archaeological.  The one-day CPD seminar focused on the role of archaeology within the planning process and featured presentations from WA specialists on a range of topics including geophysical surveys and historic building recording as well as a concise dash through time, from the Palaeolithic to modern day! A highlight was the session on community engagement for construction schemes delivered by our Chief Executive Chris Brayne, which used our Longforth Farm outreach project as a case study. The day was rounded off by an interesting presentation on identifying and managing ecological constraints from Phil Lomax, Principal Ecologist with our partner organisation Thomson Ecology.  This course was specifically designed to suit the CPD needs of the Laing O’Rourke team. To discuss the ways in which we can support your organisation please contact us.  By Laura Joyner  
Categories: General

AUDIO: 'I found migrant under my campervan'

BBC test - Wed, 2014-09-17 12:29
A driver describes the moment he found a migrant "clinging on with his fingernails" to the bottom of his campervan.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Should 'vaping bars' be banned?

BBC test - Wed, 2014-09-17 09:36
As new research shows most young people do not plan to smoke e-cigarettes, experts are divided over the safety of "vaping".
Categories: General

New analysis says Stonehenge treasures were made by children

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-09-17 00:00
A new analysis of prehistoric artefacts found near Stonehenge suggests that children as young as ten were blinded by the ultra fine microscopic gold craftwork used in the making burial gift decorations.
Categories: General

New analysis says Stonehenge treasures were made by children

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-09-17 00:00
A new analysis of prehistoric artefacts found near Stonehenge suggests that children as young as ten were blinded by the ultra fine microscopic gold craftwork used in the making burial gift decorations.
Categories: General

Archaeologists find 2,000-year-old foal skull and skeleton of Roman woman in Buckinghamshire

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-09-17 00:00
A skull has been found near a Roman road as part of a major excavation carried out at Aston Clinton by Buckinghamshire County Council and University of Leicester archaeologists.
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Arches Political Party to throw artist-led bash on night of Scottish independence vote

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-09-17 00:00
Insisting that their night is non-partisan, Glasgow's Arches will unite VJs, artists, actors, performers and Irn Bru after the polling booths close.
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How the British treated ‘hardcore’ Mau Mau women

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-09-16 23:39
New research on the treatment of ‘hardcore’ female Mau Mau prisoners by the British in the late 1950s sheds new light on how ideas about gender, deviancy and mental health shaped colonial practices of punishment.

The research, published in the Journal of Eastern African Studies, was conducted by Gates Cambridge Scholar Katherine Bruce-Lockhart and is the first study to make use of new material on a camp in Gitamayu used to hold “hardcore” female detainees.

The treatment of the Mau Mau by the British has led to compensation claims in the courts. Last year the British government agreed to pay out £19.9m in costs and compensation to more than 5,000 elderly Kenyans who suffered torture and abuse during the Mau Mau uprising in the 50s. Two of those involved in the recent case were women and further female compensation cases are pending.

Bruce-Lockhart is interested in the treatment of “hardcore” Mau Mau women in the final years of the Emergency Period, one that was marked by uncertainty, violence and an increasing reliance on ethno-psychiatry.

From 1954 to 1960, the British detained approximately 8,000 women under the Emergency Powers imposed to combat the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya. The majority of female detainees were held in Kamiti Detention Camp and its importance has been widely acknowledged by historians. However, new documentary evidence released from the Hanslope Park Archive since 2011 has revealed the existence of a second camp established for women at Gitamayu, created in 1958 in order to deal with the remaining “hardcore” female detainees.

The Archive contains over 1,500 files and was uncovered in 2011 by historians working on the London High Court case between the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Kenyan plaintiffs who were held in detention camps during the Emergency Period. The files were considered too sensitive to fall into the hands of the Kenyan government, and were taken out of Kenya by the British prior to independence. The files have been pivotal in the London High Court Case, as their contents show how senior British officials sanctioned the use of systematic force against Mau Mau detainees in the camps, stretching the legal limits of legitimate violence. The documents relating to Kamiti and Gitamayu reveal how this systematic use of violence was extended to hardcore women and the multiple ways colonial officials tried to hide it.

The intensity of this struggle with hardcore detainees, and the trajectory it took, has been overlooked by previous scholarly works on Mau Mau women, which have provided a general overview of female involvement in the movement, as well as their detention at Kamiti. Much more is known about hardcore men, who have authored over a dozen Mau Mau memoirs and are the subject of extensive scholarly analysis. The stories and identities of these men, from Jomo Kenyatta to J.M. Kariuki, are well known. The hardcore male camps, such as Manyani, Athi River, and Hola, are remembered as the sites of intense struggles between detainees and warders. Recent work from historian David Anderson has detailed the British policy toward hardcore males, which became more brutal and systematic from 1957 onwards.

Bruce-Lockhart says: “In contrast, the history of women’s detention has not been investigated in detail, especially in the latter years of the Emergency Period. Women’s punishment broadly followed a pattern similar to that of their male counterparts, with increasing severity of treatment characterising the final phase of incarceration as the British endeavored to compel inmates to confess their crimes. But the story of the female detainees at Gitamayu and Kamiti also reveals unique elements that were determined by colonial ideas about female deviancy, these ultimately becoming the defining feature of incarceration for Mau Mau’s hardcore women.

“The Hanslope archives reveal the strategies that the colonial administration employed to deal with hardcore women in the late 1950s. Whereas previously there was an assumption that women were malleable and could be easily persuaded away from the Mau Mau cause this expectation greatly diminished during this time, and was replaced with a discourse of madness, as certain elements of the colonial administration pressed for hardcore women to be classified as insane. This move was instrumental rather than genuine, meant to explain away women’s physical ailments in order to cover up mistreatment in the camp.”

She adds: “Debates about how to deal with this group of women engaged and perplexed the highest levels of the colonial administration, generating tensions between legal, political, and medical officials. At the centre of these debates was the question of the female detainees’ sanity, with some officials pressing for these women to be classified as insane. Examining the British approach to these detainees illuminates how ideas about gender, deviancy, and mental health shaped colonial practices of punishment.”

For more information, click here

University of Cambridge

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Categories: General

Volunteers hope to unearth hidden history at medieval church in Hopton

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-09-16 23:31
Residents will seek to unearth hidden history at a community archaeological dig to be held at a medieval ruined church in Hopton-on-Sea.

St Margaret’s Church, in Coast Road, – also known as Hopton Ruined Church – burned down in 1865 and is now a dangerous structure which is on the English Heritage buildings at risk register.

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, a registered charity, working with Hopton-on-Sea Parish Council, which owns the church, is leading a £140,000 project to conserve and repair the grade II*-listed structure as a safe ruin.

As part of the two-year project, archaeologist Giles Emery, of Norwich-based Norvic Archaeology, will lead a three-day community dig, where residents will use trowels, sieves and brushes to uncover and record the secrets of Hopton’s past.

The dig will involve three different groups of about 12 people on each day – Sunday, August 31, Monday, September 1 and Tuesday, September 2 – with work taking place from 10am to 3pm. A limited number of spaces are still available.

Residents are also invited to attend as spectators and bring along their own finds from the Hopton area to be identified by Giles, his colleague John Percival, and Claire Bradshaw, a community archaeologist at Norfolk Historic Environment Service.

The dig has several key aims. The team will examine the internal fabric, including a joint in the building and a blocked-in doorway, to try to understand the changing form and layout of the church over the centuries. Keyhole trenches will be made to find the original floor level.

It is hoped the dig may identify evidence for an earlier ecclesiastical building and perhaps even find evidence for prehistoric or Roman activity at or around the site. The team will also seek to rediscover the entrance to the vault of the Sayers family, patrons of the church, which was last uncovered in 1981. The team will seek to avoid disturbing any human remains on the site.

Giles said: “This is the first archaeological investigation at the church, the only remaining medieval structure in Hopton, so I hope this community dig will unearth some interesting artifacts which will answer some long-standing questions about the church and site.

“For example, much of the church has been identified as a later 13th to 14th century construction, although it is possible that some of the fabric could be of an earlier date. The origins of the church are unclear, with no reference to a church in Domesday but some recorded evidence of a possible religious site here from as early as 1087.

“We would also like to talk to as many villagers as possible, and inspect any finds from their gardens, to try to understand what the medieval village was like, because no detailed maps for this area go back past the 1600s and almost no artifacts have been recorded.”

Franziska Callaghan, the lead project officer, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for residents to literally unearth their area’s history. Places on the dig are very limited, but we still welcome spectators and those with their own finds.

“And the dig hopefully will help bolster our appeal for volunteers to take part in the vital conservation work continuing above-ground as part of this project, which aims to save this important piece of Hopton’s history, culture and heritage, and also provide vital training opportunities in traditional building skills.”

Since April, trainees and volunteers have completed surveying the walls, and have made swift progress on the main conservation work on the inside walls, working alongside the trust’s network of experts to learn buildings conservation skills, such as flint-knapping and lime-mortaring.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Pilgrim Trust, and other sources.

Guided tours of the site will run as part of the Heritage Open Days on Friday, September 12 and Saturday, September 13, from 10am to 2pm.

For more information about training opportunities on the project, or to enquire about places on the dig, email either of the project managers via or, or call the preservation trust office on 01493 846195.

Great Yarmouth Council

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Categories: General

FREE COURSE Hadrian’s Wall – Life on the Roman Frontier

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-09-16 23:17
Hadrian’s Wall stretches over 73 miles (117 km), from coast to coast in what is now Northern England.

The Wall, complemented by a sophisticated system of outposts and coastal watch stations, offers a remarkable glimpse of ancient society. In addition to housing one of the largest concentrations of Roman soldiers anywhere in the Empire’s provinces, Hadrian’s frontier system was home to an incredibly cosmopolitan array of civilians.

This six week course offers a comprehensive introduction to Hadrian’s Wall and its people and raises fascinating issues concerning colonisation, cultural transformation, immigration, integration and imperialism.

We will explore life in the region before the construction of the Wall, the arrival of the Roman army and its impact on the local population. Detailed case studies will consider the different features of the Wall and its surroundings, considering the way in which the frontier system evolved throughout the Roman period.

The changing face of both the Roman army and indigenous populations is richly illuminated through archaeological finds and reconstructions. To appreciate the range and character of native people, soldiers’ families, slaves, merchants and migrants, we will examine their homes, dress, diet, rituals and religious beliefs.

Drawing on the very latest research, we will investigate how archaeologists interpret evidence, considering:
  • the factors that determine the survival of evidence
  • the different methods of archaeological prospection used to detect settlement locations and better understand their organisation
  • the planning of archaeological projects
  • excavation techniques
  • and the detailed study of structures and artefacts.

As part of the course you can test your understanding of these methods with real case studies and participate in a series of archaeological experiments designed to help you appreciate the complexities of daily life on Rome’s most famous frontier.

This course will give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

You can use the hashtag #FLHadrian to join and contribute to Twitter conversations about this course.

More Information –

The post FREE COURSE Hadrian’s Wall – Life on the Roman Frontier appeared first on HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News.

Categories: General

Mosses survive climate catastrophes

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-09-16 23:11
Mosses have existed on Earth for more than 400 million years. During this period they survived many climate catastrophes that wiped out more robust organisms such as, for example, dinosaurs.

Recently, British scientists brought single moss plants back to life after they had been frozen in the Antarctic ice for 1,500 years. Why are these small plants so resilient to climate changes? The biologists Professor Ralf Reski and Professor Peter Beyer and their teams discovered that mosses have specific genes that are activated quickly at low temperatures. Their results have just been published online in the research journal “New Phytologist”.

The members of the cluster of excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany, analysed the moss Physcomitrella patens, which since many years is the main research object in Reski’s plant biotechnology team.

Initially, the scientists determined the activities of more than 27.000 moss genes in plants grown at room temperature and for different periods of time on ice. Subsequently, they analysed different signal and protection molecules from these plants with biochemical and physical methods. “Moss recognizes a decline in temperature, uses the stress hormone ABA as a signal, which leads within a short period of time to three waves of gene activities”, Reski reports. “As a result, moss plants produce highly complex protection molecules.” Stunningly, the scientists found out that among the quickest responders were many genes not known from any other organism.

These moss genes may contribute significantly to the remarkable resilience of these plants.

The post Mosses survive climate catastrophes appeared first on HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News.

Categories: General

VIDEO: Stephen Sutton's £5m charity legacy

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 21:42
Plans for spending almost £5m raised by teenage cancer sufferer Stephen Sutton have been revealed.
Categories: General

VIDEO: S Yorks PCC Shaun Wright quits

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 20:37
South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has resigned over the Rotherham child abuse scandal.
Categories: General

NOAA team reveals forgotten ghost ships off Golden Gate

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-09-16 17:11
San Francisco area divers provided valuable assistance to help identify long-lost wrecks.

A team of NOAA researchers confirmed today the discovery just outside San Francisco’s Golden Gate strait of the 1910 shipwreck SS Selja along with an unidentified early steam tugboat wreck labelled the “mystery wreck”. The researchers also located the 1863 wreck of the clipper ship Noonday, currently masked by mud and silt on the ocean floor.

These and other shipwreck investigations mark the first impression of a two-year project to locate, identify and obtain a better understanding of some of the estimated 300 wrecks in Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and the adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Wikimedia

“The waters of the sanctuary and the park are one of the great undersea museums in the nation,” said James Delgado, director of the Maritime Heritage for the Office of National Maritime Sanctuaries. “These wrecks tell the powerful story of the people who helped build California and opened America to the Pacific for nearly two centuries. Finding the remains of these ships links the past to the present.”

NOAA’s Office of National Maritime Sanctuaries and the U.S. National Park Service, which began researching the wrecks back in the 1980s, published the first detailed inventory and history of the submerged heritage of the region in 1990. Since 1990, Robert Schwemmer, project co-leader and NOAA maritime archaeologist, has conducted new research in archives around the world, and interviewed fishermen and pioneering wreck divers like Bruce and Robert Lanham of San Francisco.

The Lanham brothers have unveiled a number of historic Bay-area wrecks. Bruce Lanham joined the recent NOAA expedition, and with his brother led the NOAA team to a widely scattered wreck site they believed was the Selja. In 1910 the steamer Selja sank in a lethal collision, which featured prominently in a legal case that ultimately was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court over a key aspect of maritime law, the “rule of the road”.

“Bruce and Bob were crucial to the success of the mission as was volunteer Gary Fabian, who re-analysed hours NOAA sonar data to pinpoint wreck sites,” said Schwemmer.

One of the targets Fabian pointed out was the correct locations and size to be the clipper ship Noonday, lost in 1863 and part of the fleet of fast-sailing vessels that brought men and supplies to California during and after the Gold Rush. “Noonday Rock,” north of the Farallones, was named for the wreck.

As well as the newly identified ships, Vitad Pradith, a researcher with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey Navigation Response Team 6, completed the first-ever sonar survey of the submerged portions of the wrecks of the tankers Frank H. Buck and Lyman Stewart. The engines of both vessels are visible at low tide off San Francisco’s Lands End, inside the waters of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

“Buck and Stewart are probably the best known wrecks in the park,” said Stephen Haller, park historian, who joined the project team on this mission. “We now have a better understanding of how the two wrecks lie next to each other, and what has survived beneath the surface.”

THE NOAA team used remote controlled cameras and sensing equipment and will continue to analyse data from the recent dives, conduct additional research, and plan for the next phase. Brian Johnson, Gulf of the Farallones sanctuary department superintendent, said findings from current future research expeditions will be shared with the public.

“The shipwrecks off the Golden Gate are places to explore, discover and appreciate our country’s maritime cultural heritage,” Johnson said. “Through the study, protection and promotion of this diverse legacy, Americans can learn more about our shared past.”




Contributing Source: NOAA Headquarters

Header Image Source: WikiPedia

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Categories: General

VIDEO: Passport delay victims 'need refund'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 15:57
Passport applicants who paid more than £30 extra for a "fast-track" service in an attempt to avoid processing delays should get refunds, MPs have said.
Categories: General

VIDEO: UK party leaders sign No vote pledge

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 14:01
The three main UK party leaders - David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg - have signed a pledge promising "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament.
Categories: General

AUDIO: Blinded in one eye 'for being gay'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 13:56
A photographer says he will continue his career despite being blinded in one eye in a homophobic attack.
Categories: General

VIDEO: 'Number of suspects' in Thai deaths

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 13:50
Police investigating the deaths of two Britons in Thailand say they are focussing on the Burmese migrant community, reports Jonathan Head on Koh Tao.
Categories: General

AUDIO: Violin or guitar: Which is easier?

BBC test - Tue, 2014-09-16 13:23
Following comments on Today that the violin is more "difficult" than the guitar, two musicians have spoken out in defence of their instruments
Categories: General

The Gulf Stream kept going during the last Ice Age

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-09-16 11:05
The warm Atlantic water continued to flow into the icy Nordic seas during the coldest periods of the last Ice Age.

An Ice Age may sound as a stable period of cold weather, but the name can be deceiving. In the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, the period was characterized by considerable climate changes. Cold periods (stadials) switched abruptly to warmer periods (interstadials) and back.

It is considered by many that during cold periods of the last Ice Age the warm Atlantic water had terminated its flow into the Nordic Seas during the glacial period, says Mohamed Ezat, PhD at Centre for Arctic Gas hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway.

The study, published in Geology, documented that bottom water actually grew to a temperature of up to 5⁰C at 1200m depth in the Nordic Seas during the cold stadials. Cold bottom water temperatures of 0.5⁰C was detected during the warm interstadials, which is not dissimilar to what we experience today.


How was this possible?

So the air was getting colder, but the deep ocean water was getting warmer during some of the coldest periods of the Ice Age. How is this possible?

Colloquially referred to as the Gulf Stream, the warm North Atlantic Current is partly to blame for our mild North European winters. It flows into the Nordic seas, where it cools down in winter and releases heat into the atmosphere. It becomes denser and sinks to the bottom of the Nordic seas. It creates a significant part of the global circulatory system of ocean currents.

Cold, deep water from the small area of the Nordic seas, less than 1% of the global ocean, travels the entire planet and returns as warm surface water. This has remained a fairly stable process for the last 10,000 years. The events here are significant for the entire ocean system. However, if we go back to the Ice Age things were quite different, says professor Tine Rasmussen from CAGE. The reason that ice sheets across Scandinavia and North America produced a substantial amount of fresh melt water from icebergs. This means that the surface water could not reach the required density to sink‒ this is a process that relies on salinity. The warm Atlantic water was saltier, and thus heavier and subducted at depth and reached to the bottom, actually heating up beneath a lid of ice and melt water, that prevented the release of heat into the atmosphere.

Warm water was present, but deep under the cold, icy surface. So the climate experience was colder, as the atmospheric records from Greenland ice cores display. But what eventually happened, is that warm water reached a critical point, surged upwards to the surface, and contributed to the abrupt warming of the surface water and atmosphere, says, Ezat.



Prof. Rasmussen suggested this previously in 1996 and a conceptual model was published in 2004.

The results were debated because they didn’t contain the exact temperature and measurements. Ezat and co-authors applied a new method to measure the exact temperature from the sediment cores collected north of the Faroe Islands, says Professor Rasmussen.

The temperature is measured in the shells of single celled organisms called benthic foraminifera. When they die the shells become part of the ocean sediment. The temperature of their lifetime stays engraved in the chemistry of their shells, making them micro-thermometers that reveal the climate of the ages long gone.


Foraminifera fossils: WikiPedia

The amount of magnesium in the shells of specific species of foraminifera depends primarily on temperature. By measuring the ratio of magnesium to calcium the changes in temperature can be estimated. According to Ezat, they were lucky to find a continuous record of well-preserved benthic species for the analyses.


Significant for future climate

Understanding what happened with our ocean systems during the Ice Age, aids in our understanding of what may happen to them if ice on Greenland and Antarctica melts in the future. Fortunately, the ice sheet over Greenland is a lot smaller than the ice sheet during the Ice Age and thus with less potential to seriously disturb the system.

Ezat points out that it is however, imperative to consider recent localised changes around Greenland and Antarctica in light of the results. The basal meeting due to subsurface warming represents an important component of the current ice mass loss.

Also, increase of melt water in the East Greenland Current can possibly cause a weakening in the deep convection in the Nordic Seas. This may cause a warm subsurface inflow that may reach bottom on the East Greenland slope. Such a scenario, though very uncertain, has the potential to influence the stability of gas hydrates on the slope.

Gas hydrate is essentially frozen methane gas under the ocean floor. If it melts it has the potential to release massive amounts of this hyper potent greenhouse gas.




Contributing Source: Tromso, University of (Universitetet i Tromsø – UiT)

Header Image Source: WikiPedia


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