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Batsworthy Cross Open Day

Wessex Archaeology - Wed, 2014-07-16 13:36

FREE ENTRYWednesday 23rd July 20142pm – 6pm

 

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding an open day at our excavations at Batsworthy Cross, Knowstone, Devon.Come and discover a previously unknown settlement, including a stone-built structure,  which has been providing further information as to how this part of Devon was occupied during the medieval period. Contact details and more information see right.  

 

Categories: General

Barrow Clump 2014: Week 3

Wessex Archaeology - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:59
As we reach the halfway point of this season on site we are making excellent progress. So far we have excavated and recorded seven of the 13 Anglo-Saxon graves. Initial analysis of the skeletal remains is already revealing much detail about the lives of the individuals who lived, and were subsequently buried, in the area. One male skeleton was particularly informative to Wessex Archaeology’s Osteoarchaeologist Jackie McKinley. The size of the bones clearly indicated that this was a large man, with the areas of muscle attachment to the bone showing that he must have been of muscular build. On closer inspection it was revealed that he would have suffered from a condition known as DISH (diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis). This leads to ossification of spinal ligaments resulting in a ‘dripped candle wax’ appearance to the spine. He was also suffering from arthritis in his neck. Studying the condition of the bone allowed Jackie to assess the age of the individual as between 50 and 80 years old, one of the older individuals found on site.   Further excitement regarding the Anglo-Saxon graves came in the form of 25 beads from a female burial. These were found alongside the left arm and were highly decorated. Activity this week also involved the careful lifting of the second Bronze Age cremation urn. It is now awaiting the delicate process of excavating the deposits within it. Written by Angus Forshaw
Categories: General

VIDEO: Cabinet women role models - McVey

BBC test - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:50
One of the new members of who will sit in the cabinet has said the female ministers named in David Cameron's reshuffle can act as role models to young women.
Categories: General

Welcome to Wessex

Wessex Archaeology - Wed, 2014-07-16 12:03
Saturday saw the grand opening of Salisbury Museum’s new Wessex Gallery, and what an event it was! Over 2,000 people turned out to witness Professor Alice Roberts open the new state-of-the-art gallery, and experience the wide range of activities, displays and demonstrations on offer. These included falconry, Saxon battle techniques, traditional woodworking and many other ancient crafts. Local heritage societies and organisations also had interactive displays for the day. The Wessex Archaeology stand featured mini digs and pottery jigsaws for children, examples of the work that we do and a selection of mystery artefacts to put visitors to the test. The day was brought to a conclusion with the drawing of a raffle to raise money for the museum and the Young Archaeologists’ Club. Winners were drawn by Alice Roberts, with the star prize being a beautiful hand axe knapped and donated by our own Phil Harding.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Work needed for eagles' return

BBC test - Wed, 2014-07-16 11:15
Experts say attempts to increase the Golden Eagle population in the Scottish Borders is dependent on making the environment safer for them.
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New Feathered Predatory Fossil unearths new information on dinosaur flight

Heritage Daily - Wed, 2014-07-16 11:10
Discovered in China, “Four-Winged” fossil helps explain how larger dinosaurs took to the air.

A new raptorial dinosaur fossil with remarkably long feathers has unveiled exciting insights into dinosaur flight, especially that of larger winged dinosaurs. An article published in Nature Communications on July 15, 2014 asserts that the fossil- discovered by an international team led by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHN) palaeontologist Dr. Luis Chiappe- has a long feathered tail that Chiappe and co-authors believe was vital for decreasing descent speed and assuring safe landings.

The 125-million-year-old dinosaur, which has been named Changyuraptor yangi, was discovered in the Liaoning Province of northeastern China. This particular location has seen a substantial increase of discoveries in feathered dinosaurs over the last decade. The newly discovered, remarkably preserved dinosaur boasts a full set of feathers cloaking the entirety of its body, including extra-long tail feathers. “At a foot in length, the amazing tail feathers of Changyuraptor are by far the longest of any feathered dinosaur”, said Chiappe.

Analyses of the bone microstructure by University of Cape Town (South Africa) scientist, Dr, Anusuya Chinsamy, shows that the raptor was a fully grown adult, and at a whopping nine pounds, the four-foot-long Changyuraptor is the largest of all the four-winged dinosaurs. These microraptorine dinosaurs are dubbed “four-winged” because of their long feathers attached to both legs and arms and have led researchers to conclude that the four-winged dinosaurs were capable of flight. “Numerous features that we have long associated with birds in fact evolved in dinosaurs long before the first birds arrived on the scene,” said co-author Dr. Alan Turner from Stony Brook University in New York. “This includes things such as hollow bones, nesting behaviour, feathers… and possibly flight.”

However, how well these creatures used the sky as a thoroughfare has remained controversial. The new discovery explains the role the tail feathers undertook during flight control. For larger flyers, safe landings are of particular importance. “It makes sense that the largest microraptorines had especially large tail feathers- they would have needed the additional control”, added Dr. Michael Habib, a researcher from the University of Southern California and co-author of the paper.

An example of a microraptor: WikiPedia

The discovery of Changyuraptor consolidates the idea that flight preceded the origin of birds, being inherited by the latter from their dinosaurian forerunners. “The new fossil documents that dinosaur flight was not limited to very small animals but to dinosaurs of a more substantial size,” said Chiappe. “Clearly far more evidence is needed to understand the nuances of dinosaur flight, but Changyuraptor is a major leap in the right direction.”

 

Contributing Source: Natural History Museum Los Angeles County

Header Image Source: Wikimedia

Categories: General

VIDEO: Major changes in Cameron's cabinet

BBC test - Wed, 2014-07-16 00:32
Education Secretary Michael Gove is to become the new chief whip in the most wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle of David Cameron's premiership.
Categories: General

Artist’s Statement: Antony Gormley on Feeling Material, his iPad work for Art Everywhere

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-07-16 00:00
Antony Gormley on his downloadable commission for Art Everywhere, the campaign taking works chosen by the public to more than 30,000 billboards and outdoor sites.
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Festival of Archaeology 2014: Medieval rings, Bronze Age hoards and Iron Age discoveries

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-07-16 00:00
Jennifer Jackson, the Finds Liaison Officer for Kent, chooses three formidable archaeological discoveries found across the region, including the Boughton Malherbe hoard.
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VIDEO: Pupils 'unprotected from extremism'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 19:43
A school is not protecting its pupils from the possible risks of extremism and should go into special measures, an Ofsted report has said.
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AUDIO: Shaun the Sheep tops character poll

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 17:34
Richard Starzak, creator of TV show Shaun the Sheep, reacts to the character being voted the nation's favourite.
Categories: General

Meet the gomphothere: UA archaeologist involved in discovery of bones of elephant ancestor

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-07-15 16:01
An animal once thought to have disappeared from North America before the arrival of humans might have actually roamed the continent longer than previously thought-and it was likely on the list of prey for early humans, researchers from the University of Arizona and elsewhere have found.

Archaeologists have uncovered artifacts of the prehistoric Clovis culture mingled with the skeletons of two gomphotheres-an ancestor of the elephant- at an archaeological site in northwestern Mexico.

The discovery implies that the Clovis-the earliest widespread group of hunter-gatherers to reside in North America- likely hunted and ate gomphotheres. It was already known that the members of the Clovis culture were hunters of gomphothere’s cousins, mammoths and mastodons.

Although humans were known to have hunted gomphotheres in Central and Southern America, this is the first time a human-gomphothere connection has been established in North America, says archeologists Vance Holliday, who co-authored a new paper on the findings, which was published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This is the first archaeological gomphothere found in North America, and it’s the only one known,” said Holliday, a professor of anthropology and geology at the UA.

Holliday ad his colleagues from the U.S. and Mexico began their excavation of the skeletal remains of two young gomphotheres back in 2007 after ranchers alerted them that the bones had been found in northwestern Sonora, Mexico.

At the beginning of their excavation it was unclear what kind of animal they were dealing with.

“At first, just based on the size of the bone, we thought maybe it was a bison, because the extinct bison were a little bigger than our modern bison,” Holliday said.

Then, in 2008, they unearthed a jawbone with teeth, buried upside down in the dirt.

“We finally found the mandible, and that’s what told the tale,” Holliday said.

Gomphotheres were smaller than mammoths-approximately the same size as modern day elephants. At one time they were widespread in North America, but until now they appeared to have disappeared from the continent’s fossil record long before humans arrived in North America, which happened about 13,000 to 13,500 years ago, during the late Ice Age.

However, the bones that Holliday and his colleagues discovered date back 13,400 years ago, making them the last known gomphotheres in North America.

The remains of the young gomphotheres wasn’t the full extent of Holliday and his colleagues discoveries at the site, which they dubbed El Fin del Mundo- Spanish for The End of the Word- because of its remote location.

As their excavation of the bones progressed numerous Clove artifacts were also unearthed, including signature Clovis projectile points, or spear tips, as well as cutting tools and flint flakes from stone tool-making. The Clovis culture is so named for its distinctive stone tools, first discovered by archaeologists near New Mexico, in the 1930s.

Clovis Tools: WikiPedia

Radiocarbon dating, conducted at the UA, puts the El Fin del Mundo site at approximately 13,400 years old, making it one of the two oldest known Clovis sites in North America, the other being the Aubrey Clovis site in north Texas.

The position and proximity of the Clovis weapon fragments relative to the gomphothere skeletons at the site suggests that humans actually killed the two animals there. Of the seven Clovis points found at the site, four were in place among the bones, including one with bone and teeth fragments above and below. The other three points had clearly eroded away from the bone bed and were scattered nearby.

“This is the first Clovis gomphothere, it’s the first archaeological gomphothere found in North America, it’s the first evidence that people were hunting gomphotheres in North America, and it adds another item to the Clovis menu,” Holliday said.

 

Contributing Source: University of Arizona

Header Image Source: WikiPedia

Categories: General

AUDIO: 'I have Alzheimer's, please be patient'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 15:45
A woman with dementia describes being diagnosed on her 55th birthday, and the difficulties she faces in everyday life.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Suicides linked to arrests of teenagers

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 14:11
The suicides of three teenagers have been linked to the failure to treat 17-year-olds in custody as children rather than adults, as Jim Reed reports for BBC Newsnight
Categories: General

10 must see sites along Hadrian’s Wall

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-07-15 13:30
Hadrian’s Wall is the most famous tourist attraction in the whole Northern England and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These accolades are well deserved as along the wall you can discover a multitude of historical sites. Hadrian’s Wall dates back 2000 years ago to the days of the emperor Hadrian, one of the Five Good Emperors to rule the empire. The wall exposes the beautiful northern landscape as well as ancient forts, ruined temples and historical towns.

1   Arbeia Roman Fort

Arbeia Roman Fort is located in South Shields on the River Tyne and contains the only permanent stone-built granaries yet to be discovered in Britain.

Arbeia Roman Fort: WikiPedia

The fort was constructed around AD160 and is a must-see because it is the only fort along Hadrian’s Wall where visitors have the opportunity to see the archaeologists at work.

2 Walls End

Also known as Segedunum Walls End is located at the eastern end of the wall near the River Tyne.

Walls End: Flickr

Interestingly Walls End functioned as a garrison for 300 years. The fort is also home an excavated baths site and a museum. Currently it is the most excavated fort along the wall and exposes the barracks, stables and the commander’s house.

3 Vindolanda

Vindolanda is located south of Hadrian’s Wall near the village Bardon Mill.

Vindolanda: WikiPedia

Vindolanda is famous for the Vindolanda tablets, which are described as one of the most important military discoveries in the Roman Empire. The museum also offers a fantastic insight into the garrison town, along with a fascinating insight into artifacts such as Roman helmets and other military finds.

4 Chester’s Roman Fort

Chester’s Roman Fort is the best-preserved calvary fort in Britain today.

Chester’s Roman Fort Barracks: Wikimedia

The historic city of Chester is home to the famous fort that also contains the well-preserved baths and steamroom, as well as a museum containing a vast array of roman artifacts. The fort is located near the River Tyne and boasts some of the most beautiful northern landscapes.

5 Housestead’s Roman Fort

Also known as Vercovicium, Housestead’s Roman Fort is located at Housesteads, Northumberland and was originally an auxiliary fort.

Housteads: Wikimedia

Housestead’s Roman Fort is considered one of the wall’s most dramatic sites with its well-preserved fort and spectacular views of Northumberland National Park.

6 Birdoswald Roman Fort

Also known as Banna, Birdoswald Roman Fort is located at the western end of Hadrian’s Wall.

Birdoswald Roman Fort: Wikimedia

Interestingly, Birdoswald Roman Fort is the only location along the wall where significant occupation in the post-Roman period has actually been proven.

7 Lanercost Priory

The ruins of Lanercost Priory are located in Cumbria and what remains of the building was founded in 1166.

Lanercost Priory: Wikimedia

Due to its location close to Hadrian’s Wall the building suffered a multitude of attacks in the Anglo-Scottish wars, but has managed to remain as one of the best preserved Cumbrian monasteries.

8 Brocolitia Fort

Also known as Carrawburgh, Brocolitia Fort is located in Northumberland and was originally an auxiliary fort.

Brocolitia: Wikimedia

During excavations the Temple of Mithras was discovered. The temple dates back to the third century.

9 Heddon-on-the-Wall

Heddon-on-the-Wall is a village located near Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

Heddon-on-the-Wall: Flickr

The village contains a consolidated section of the wall that is two meters thick in some parts. This village is a favourite of walkers along the wall as for many it marks the end of the journey and boasts a picturesque location.

10 Corbridge Roman Fort and Town

Corbridge is a town located 2.5 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall.

Corbridge Roman Ruins: WikiPedia

The town is home to the remains of granaries, a fountain house, workshop and temples.

Header Image Source: Flickr

Categories: General

VIDEO: More people getting married

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 13:19
After decades of decline, getting married is more popular, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
Categories: General

VIDEO: BBC boss: Licence fee system works

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 13:18
BBC Director General Tony Hall appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport select Committee at the House of Commons to discuss the future of the BBC on Tuesday
Categories: General

Archive Intern Week 6: Appreciating Pottery

Wessex Archaeology - Tue, 2014-07-15 12:25
 Getting to know your CHARN from your BERTH  How often have you picked up a broken piece of pottery and thought nothing of its history or context? Unless you have a trained eye for that sort of thing the chances are…not much. Normally it’s the shiny or gruesome things that attract the layman or the media but I think fresh appreciation should be awarded to those sherds and orangey broken pieces.   The finds we’re depositing will end up in Leicestershire Museums so each find has been marked in accordance to their set of requirements. This means that on any one of the bags of pottery I can find something along the lines of ‘BERTH (EA2)’ or ‘CHARN (SX)’ or a myriad of other perplexing combinations, but what does this mean? Essentially its museum generated short hand for what type of pottery it is; BERTH is Brown glazed earthenware whereas CHARN is Charnwood ware. Look at the two sherds – which one looks more “important” to you? Perhaps the top one with its shiny glaze and distinct shape? The top one is Brown glazed earthenware with a date range of AD 1550–1800, but the bottom one, the Charnwood ware, is dated to AD 450–800.  With more context about the date and the age of the sherds you may have reviewed your preferred object – I certainly did! So the next time you’re faced with a pottery sherd, dull and weathered by time and earth, or a shinier piece, don’t discard the duller one on aesthetics alone as who knows, it could have been around longer than you had imagined! By Emma Carter   
Categories: General

Little too late: Researchers identify disease that may have plagued 700 year-old-skeleton

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-07-15 11:38
European researchers have recovered a genome of the bacterium Brucella melitensis from a 700-year-old-skeleton discovered in the ruins of a Medieval Italian village.

Reporting this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the authors used a technique called shotgun metagenomics to sequence DNA from a calcified nodule in the pelvic region of a middle-aged male skeleton excavated from the settlement of Geridu in Sardinia. It is thought that Geridu was abandoned in the late 14th century. Shotgun metagenomics has the ability to allow scientists to sequence DNA without looking for a specific target.

From this particular sample, the team of researchers recovered the genome of Brucella melitensis, which causes the infection brucellosis in livestock and humans. In humans, brucellosis is typically acquired through the ingestion of unpasteurized dairy products or direct contact with infected animals. Symptoms of the infection include fevers, arthritis and swelling of the heart and liver. The disease can still be found in the Mediterranean region.

Brucella melitensis: WikiPedia

“Normally when you think of calcified material in human or animal remains you think about tuberculosis, because that’s the most common infection that leads to calcification,” says senior study author Mark Pallen, PhD, professor of microbial genomics at Warwick Medical School in Coventry, England. “We were a bit surprised to get Brucella instead.”

Following further experimentation, the research team unveiled that the DNA fragments extracted had the appearance of aged DNA-they were shorter than contemporary strands and characteristic mutations at the ends. The researchers also discovered that the medieval Brucella strain, which they called Geridu-1, was closely related to a recent Brucella strain called Etheer, which was identified in Italy in 1961, along with two other Italian strains identified in 2006 and 2007.

Pallen and others have used shotgun metagenomics previously in order to detect pathogens in contemporary and historical human material. Last summer, Pallen published a report in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the recovery of tuberculosis genomes from the lung tissue of a 215-year-old mummy from Hungary. Pallen also managed to identify Eschericia coli from stool samples during a 2011 outbreak in Germany.

Pallen’s team is currently testing the technique on a range of additional samples from different time periods and locations. These include historical material from Hungarian mummies, Egyptian mummies, a Korean mummy from the 16th or 17th century, contemporary samples from the Gambia in Africa and lung tissue from a French queen from the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled France from the 5th to the 8th centuries.

“Metagenomics stands ready to document past and present infections, shedding light on the emergence, evolution and spread of microbial pathogens,” Pallen says. “We’re cranking through all of these samples and we’re hopeful that we’re going to find new things.”

 

Contributing Source: American Society for Microbiology

Header Image Source: Wikimedia

Categories: General

VIDEO: Police launch new code of ethics

BBC test - Tue, 2014-07-15 08:04
From today a new code of ethics for all police officers and staff in England and Wales will come into being.
Categories: General
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