Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

Earlier archaeologists in Exeter have discovered and excavated a Roman fortof the former St Loye’s campus, off the Topsham Road.

The idea of a fort on the location was started about three years ago from a trial excavation.
Ditches reveled a fort and newly excavated ditches shows good indications that there was a second fort as well. The second fort is dated to the middle of the first century.
Read more here

A newly found probable timber construction have been found by magnetic radar was interpreted as a new henge but that it had been a wooden one equal to the world-famous Stonehenge….

But now other archaeologists doubt it and Tim Darvill, from Bournemouth University in southern England, thinks it is most likely a barrow, or prehistoric tomb.

Since the place aren’t going to be excavated it will be hard to tell what it really is until there is an excavation. But the area around Stonehenge is rare to have excavations nowadays but it seems to have been quite a large area and much discoveries again and again.

Last year an another henge called the Blue Henge was found and you could read about it here and you could read about the new wooden henge/burial/burrow here

But whatever the examination shows it shows the great value in this case of combining archaeology and technology. To examine an area with a magnetic radar revealed the previously unknown monument even if the research have been going on in the area since the 18th century. By magnetic radar it is possible to discover much underground and it is also a undamaging technique which means the remains of a site is not destroyed in any way. But you get important information as well as if there will be an excavation archaeologists knows a lot better what to expect. I think georadar and magnetic radars will be more common as a preview of an area before excavations begin, in this way it is possible to better prepare for what the excavation will be about.

Because as we often notice in the field as archaeologist, wait the unexpected and often the last day and hours of an excavation….

A large multi-million £ project have started to discover how the landscape around Stonehenge looked like when the large monument was built.

It will require millions of measurements that needs to be analysed and also it will combined with gaming technology and the result will be 2D and 3D images. The whole project will take three years and this first year 4 kilometers will be covered this year and a total of 14 kilometers will be during the time of the project.

The project leader is Professor Vince Gaffney from the University in Birmingham and he says that the aim is to show people how the area around Stonehenge looked like when the monument was built.

Stonehenge is classified as a World Heritage Site and the whole site will be covered in this project! The money for this project is from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, in Vienna, and the University of Birmingham, and  the National Trust and English Heritage. The news is reported from the English BBC.

This will hopefully lead to something good and having hopefully a model of the area around Stonehenge will enable people to visit the site in their computer. Since the many people visiting Stonehenge each year damage the monument a virtual model with the surrounding landscape will both benefit the archaeologists, scientists as well as the public.

In the future models like this could maybe be done to apps both for the Apple products like the Ipad and Iphone but as well released on Xbox live. One possibility would be to use the Kinect (former Project Natal) to navigate and get a feeling of space and move around inside the model!

There are great potential in technology in combination  with archaeology and that haven’t been explored. One reason behind this network and homepage is increasing awareness about technology and archaeology in new ways and see new possibilities.

I will have a lot more posts about this in the future, there are much to investigate, test, build and above all see which technology could be useful for archaeology and to create a pipeline for it!

During an excavation this summer archaeologists made a remarkable find, a new Stonehenge not far from the world-famous one! The new Stonehenge got the name “Bluestonehenge” after the 25 Welsh stones the monument consisted of. The monument was discovered on the west side of the river Avon. The monument have probably been about 10 metres in diameter and was surrounded by a henge which was a ditch with an external bank. The leader of the excavation is the archaeologist and Professor Mike Parker Pearson from the University of Sheffield.

Even if this new “Stonehenge” isn’t  really big it has quite an interesting story to tell. The bluish Welsh stones gathered at Preseli mountains of Wales 150 miles away from the site was removed thousands of years ago. The monument have probably been a sign marking the end on a route from Stonehenge to the river Avon and was constructed during the end of the Stone Age. The henge surrounding the monument was built about 2400 BC but during the excavations arrowheads were founds. The arrowheads was typological dated to be 500 years older so it is probable that the henge was built about 2900-2400 BC. Carbon-dating have been taken from the site but the results are not finished but will reveal more dating material to the site.

I think we have found incontrovertible proof that the river was very important to the people who used Stonehenge. I believe that the river formed a conduit between the living and the dead and this is the point where you leave the realm of the living at the river and enter the one of the dead at Stonehenge” says Parker Pearson.

Even if it is quite likely that the river have been important to leave the realm of the living and enter the one of the dead it is very hard to say today. Talking about peoples feeling in the past several thousands years ago is very difficult and are often based on ethnology and what we know about more modern times. Nevertheless sometimes it can be important and necessary to at least try to discuss peoples feelings from the past to understand our history and how humans have developed religion, society, rituals and so on over time. And when talking about human feelings it is sometime the way we feel most connected with the prehistoric human.

When the monument was constructed the builders used deer antlers as pickaxes which is quite common. The use of deer antlers was quite common during in the Stone Age and was quite common in Scandinavia and other places as well. The “Bluehenge” might be a form of form of early hengemonument related to the Stonehenge. The blue stones could have been moved from the river bank to Stonehenge but results from carbon-dating hopefully show if that is the case. Stonehenge was rebuilt about 2500 BC which the stones from “Bluehenge” could have been removed and incorporated in the Stonehenge. At 2500 BC the Stonehenge became Britain’s largest burial ground and archaeologist Parker Pearson thinks it is possible that people were cremated at “Bluehenge” and the ashes were later buried at Stonehenge. But the new monument show that the river Avon most likely have been of great importance and seems to a have relationship with Stonehenge. Hopefully the new results will present more information about the new henge as well as making the knowledge about the Stonehenge and Stone Age more rich and complete.

Read the full article here

Picture from

Italian and British archaeologists in Italy have unearthed a large country villa which they believe to be the birthplace of Vespasian, the Roman emperor who ordered the beginning of the “Colosseums” construction.

The 2,000 year old ruins were found about 80 miles northeast of Rome near Cittareale. Some of the rooms in the villa had floors covered with marble slabs which was being imported from different places within the Roman Empire. The villa which is 150 000 square feet is at the center of the ancient village of Falacrine which was Vespasians hometown.

One of the archaeologists says about the doubt other archaeologists have if it is really the birthplace of Vespasian: “Let’s say that we are pretty confident that this is the villa where Vespasian was born – also given the fact that there are no other possible hypothesis“. The archaeologists also  says “even though there are no inscriptions to attribute it for certain, the villa’s location and luxury make it likely it was Vespasian’s birthplace“.

In part of the statements I tend to do disagree with the archaeologist. I agree with it could be the birthplace and it is possible and maybe as well be likely since it is a large villa and seem to be rather exclusive. But for one thing is there any ancient texts that mentions Vespasian’s villa where he grew up? Or does the archaeologist just presume that since he later became the emperor he most have grown up in the biggest and richest villa in Falacrine? It might be possible but there could as well be other undiscovered villas in the area which are even larger and more exclusive even if it’s not likely. As an archaeologist you have to expect the unexpected!

The lack of inscriptions also makes it harder to connect it to Vespasian but even if there was one, I would be surprised if it said “this is the birthplace of Vespasian who later become Emperor of Rome”. But the worst thing is when the evidence is presented as that it is the birthplace because there are no other possible hypothesis I’m almost scared. That’s is just some bad rhetoric. You are just going in circles, “there are no evidence that is more plausible than mine so mine is the most plausible and automatically is the right one”. You shouldn’t say that as a scientist we are meant to have a critical eye on things.  It is just as plausible that he lived somewhere else. If you would have done a total excavation of the village and this was the biggest and most luxuries house it might be a bit more plausible since he probably was from quite a wealthy family to later become the Emperor of Rome.

As an archaeologist and scientist it is important to do two things, you must be critical of your own and others research but as well sometime you have to jump off the cliff and take a chance. Put your foot down and say” according to what we know at the moment we think this is x and y but it might change. But our current theory is the most likely in this moment in our opinion but needs more research and debate”. So I give cred to the archaeologists on this excavation to stand up and say we think this is the birthplace of Vespasian. It is a lot better to say that than it is just a big villa or even worse we don’t know and don’t have any theories whatsoever.

You could read the full article here and there is also a video from the excavation

It can be tricky but great fun to be an archaeologist and a scientist!

According to previously unseen records, Tolkien trained with the top-secret Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) and this was just a few months before the Second World War began.

He spent three days at their London HQ in March 1939 and it was just 18 months after the publication of his first book the world famous The Hobbit.

But although he was ‘interested”, Tolkien who was a professor of English literature at Oxford University – declined a £500 a year offer to become a full-time recruit.

The reasons behind his decision are not known to us today.

Instead he went on to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of the most popular and influential works in 20th-Century literature which later became world famous movies.

Tolkien’s involvement with the war effort was shown for the first time this week in a new exhibition at GCHQ, the new name for GCCS, the Government’s spy base in Cheltenham, Glos.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, or ‘JRR’ Tolkien as he became known, was among a selected few of intellectuals that was chosen  for service by the Foreign Office.

The GCCS began preparing for a second World War in the late 1930s, and quickly knew the importance of establishing a code breaking centre to defeat the German forces.

The director of GCCS, known only as ‘Alastair G Denniston’, drew up a list of 50 possible candidates ”earmarked for service” in the event of a war.

Tolkien, a professor of Anglo Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959, was suggested.

Tolkien and 12 others agreed to a ”tester” day at GCCS HQ in London, where he  received training in Scandinavian languages and Spanish.

He visited the base for three days between March 27th and March 29th 1939.

A record of his training carries the word ”keen” beside his name.

Those who passed the course, and agreed to sign-up, were offered an annual wage of £500 – the equivalent of around £50,000 today.

But Tolkien – who is assumed to have passed the course with flying colours – rejected the offer.

The exhibition opened in a museum at GCHQ HQ this week and will remain on show for the next few months.

It also includes documents from the First World War, and a range of captured Enigma machines, but the exhibition is not open to everyone, the museum is strictly only open for GCHQ’s 10,000 staff.

Read the full article here

Picture from

At the Blue Planet in Cheshire the zoological team have successfully breaded the rare called anableps. The fish originally comes from the rivers in South America. Their pupil are divided which do that they have four-eyes!

They can use one pair looking for food below or at the surface while the other pair looks out for predators. The zoological team hope they will have more babies and more females are pregnant. It is one of the most popular species at the aquarium. They give birth after about 8 weeks and are about 5 centimeters when born but grow quickly within eight months to become 15-20 cm.

They feed on insects and other invertebrates.

Read the full article here

Picture from the