Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Friday, 29 May 2015

Brumath-Brocomagus, Civitas Capital of the Triboci

Brumath-Brocomagus, Civitas Capital of the Triboci

Exhibition at Musée Archéologique, Strasburg

until 31 December 2015

Occasioned by urban redevelopment projects involving housing schemes and business parks, the numerous successive archaeological excavations of recent decades in the town of Brumath and its surrounding area have helped to renew and considerably widen our knowledge of the antique city. Today, the wealth of discoveries prompts us to make an initial assessment of the settlement's development and the history of the territory of Brumath from Prehistory to the early Middle Ages. Central to the exhibition will be a review of the expansion of the Gallo-Roman city: urban topography, public and private buildings, aspects of daily life, production and trade, beliefs and religion, graveyards and funeral rites. The visitor will thus be offered an overall vision of the different aspects of Romanization and urban life in Alsace under Roman rule. 

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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Secrets of Staffordshire Hoard Revealed

  • Hundreds of fragments grouped together to reveal remains of incredibly rare high status helmet
  • Unique form of sword pommel also uncovered
  • Historic England gives £400,000 towards research but £120,000 still needed

Ground breaking research and conservation of the Staffordshire Hoard has uncovered two internationally important objects that link us to an age of warrior splendour, and further our knowledge of seventh century Anglo-Saxon England.

Historic England, has given £400,000 to help reveal the secrets of the Staffordshire Hoard

and increase public understanding of this unique archaeological treasure. The research will culminate in an online catalogue, launched in 2017. The following year will see a major publication exploring the Hoard in more depth, the objects’ meanings and how they relate to each other. The owners of the Hoard, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils, and Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery who care for it on their behalf, have also contributed towards the research.

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Staffordshire Hoard sword and helmet reconstructed

Thousands of metal fragments from the Staffordshire Hoard have been reconstructed into two "significant" new 7th Century objects. 

Front view of the sword pommel reconstructed from 26 fragments  found in the Staffordshire Hoard [Credit: Birmingham Museums Trust] 

Researchers have pieced together parts of a silver helmet and a previously unseen form of sword pommel. 

The hoard, which is valued at £3.2m, was found in a field near Burntwood, Staffordshire in July 2009. 

Both items have been put on display at Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery from Tuesday. 

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Orkney Islanders are 25 percent Norwegian

This is how the populace of the Orkney Islands lived 5,000 years ago. The Stone Age settlement Skara Brae is preserved so well that it is referred to as “Scotland’s Pompeii”. Recently it was discovered that the Orkney Islanders still have a surprising amount of DNA from the people who dwelled there long before the Vikings arrived. (Photo: Georg Mathisen)

They are proud of their Viking ancestors but are not as Norwegian as they might think. The lion’s share of the genes of Orkney Islanders can be traced to the native peoples who lived their several millennia before Norwegians invaded and annexed the islands in the 9th century.
Mapping genes
British and Australian researchers have mapped the genetic structure of today’s Brits. They found that the only place where the Viking inheritance is genetically strong is the Orkney Islands. Orkney were under Norwegian rule for centuries and as a result, 25 percent of Orkney Islanders’ genes can be traced to Norway.
The locals tend to be enthusiastic about their Viking heritage, which has now also been strongly identified in their genes:
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Unique Early Christian floor mosaics have been re-excavated by Bulgarian archaeologists working on the restoration of the 5th century AD Great Basilica in Plovdiv. Photo: Plovdiv24

Bulgarian archaeologists and restorers have revealed beautiful Early Christian floor mosaics in the 5thcentury AD Great Basilica whose re-excavation, restoration, and conservation started two weeks agoin the southern city of Plovdiv.
The Early Byzantine Great Basilica in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv was discovered in the 1980s but its ruins andunique floor mosaics have been re-buried with soil and sand as a means of preserving them in anticipation of the resolution of legal disputes over the property, and the securing of sufficientfunding for the further excavation and conservation of the site.
The project for the excavation and restoration of the 5th century Great Basilica in the Southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv is going to focus on the recovery, restoration, and conservation of its Early Christian mosaics.
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Archaeological find at Norton Bridge turns out to be from Saxon period

RCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered a wooden butter churn lid unearthed at Norton Bridge is from the Saxon period following scientific tests.
Evidence of prehistoric activity was uncovered in the same area of the site and archaeologists believed the butter churn could be from the same period.
But radiocarbon tests have revealed the lid of the butter churn dates from the early medieval period when the area was part of the Mercian kingdom.
The tests have put a fragment of wood found with the lid as dating between AD715-890, so the lid is from the same period as the Staffordshire Hoard.
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The Viking’s grave and the sunken ship

Mapping archaeological digs takes plenty of time and a lot of measuring, photographing, drawing and note taking. Now, most of this work can be done with a technique called photogrammetry. 

Detailed image of a shield boss found in what is likely a Viking’s  grave in Skaun 
[Credit: NTNU University Museum] 

Photogrammetry is a method that uses two-dimensional images of an archaeological find to construct a 3D model. 

You don't need and special glasses or advanced equipment to use make use of this new technique. Together with precise measurements of the excavation, photogrammetry can create a complete detailed map of an archaeological excavation site. 

"This is still a very new technique," say archaeologists Raymond Sauvage and Fredrik Skoglund of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's University Museum. 

Photogrammetry is in many ways much more precise than older, more time-consuming methods.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Fashionable Vikings loved colours, fur, and silk

The year is 873 and Frida is deciding what to wear. Her new red dress is finally ready, as are her freshly polished shell-shaped brooches designed to hold it in place at her shoulders. The dress is the newest cut in Viking fashion.
Of course, we don’t know exactly how such a scenario played out. Nevertheless, to a Viking woman, Frida’s dress in vibrant red with matching brooches could have been hugely popular. In fact, red and blue were among the most popular colours in the Viking Age.
But did the Vikings really have fashion on the mind?
"Yes," says Ulla Mannering from the Centre for Textile Research at the National Museum in Copenhagen.
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Monday, 4 May 2015

Viking 'forest' language set for Nordic preschool

A rare Nordic language used by a tiny forest community is set to be taught in a preschool in central Sweden. Elfdalian, which shares some similarities with Old Norse is a hot topic at an international linguistics conference in Copenhagen this week, as Scandinavian language experts campaign to stop it dying out.

It might sound like something from Lord of The Rings or The Local's recent April Fool's Day prank but Elfdalian is a real language currently used by around 2500 people in central Sweden and is understood to date back to Viking times.

Previously regarded as a Swedish dialect, leading linguistics experts now consider it a separate language and are battling to save it, after figures emerged that less than 60 children can currently speak it.

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17th Medieval Dublin Symposium

The 17th Medieval Dublin Symposium will be held on Saturday, 16 May 2015.

There is no registration, admission is free and all are welcome.

Further information...