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

Monday, 30 November 2015

Byzantine mosaics of the Great Palace to be restored

Multiple 1,500-year-old mosaics discovered on the floors of the Byzantine Empire's Great Palace of Constantinople in 1932 will undergo conservation work for the first time in 28 years. The work will be carried out by experts from the Istanbul Restoration and Conservation Laboratory. As a part of the project, the Great Palace Mosaic Museum, which displays the mosaics, will be restored for a modern exhibition. 

Dating back 1,500 years, the mosaics of the Great Palace of Constantinople, which  were discovered in 1932, will finally undergo detailed restoration for better  preservation and display
[Credit: Daily Sabah] 

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Harullah Cengiz, the director of Hagia Sophia Museum with which the Great Palace Mosaic Museum is affiliated said the Grand Palace mosaics are the first and only historical artifacts that are being displayed at the site where they were originally discovered. The museum welcomes about 100,000 tourists annually, and that number increases every year, indicating how much the museum is recognized at home and abroad.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015


The real history of Glastonbury Abbey, renowned for its links to the legendary King Arthur, has finally been uncovered thanks to ground-breaking new research from the University of Reading.
The four-year project reassessed and reinterpreted all known archaeological records from excavations at the Abbey between 1904 and 1979, none of which have ever been published. Analysis revealed that some of the Abbey’s best known archaeological 'facts’ are themselves myths - many of these perpetuated by excavators influenced by the fabled Abbey’s legends.
Research revealed that the site was occupied 200 years earlier than previously estimated - fragments of ceramic wine jars imported from the Mediterranean evidence of a ‘Dark Age’ settlement. The analysis also showed how the medieval monks spin-doctored the Abbey’s mythical links to make Glastonbury one of the richest monasteries in the country.
Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset holds a special place in popular culture. It was renowned in the early middle ages as the reputed burial place of the legendary King Arthur and the site of the earliest Church in Britain, thought to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea.
The project, conducted with partners Trustees of Glastonbury Abbey and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, involved a team of 31 specialists.

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Monday, 16 November 2015

Byzantine 'flat-pack' church to be reconstructed in Oxford after spending 1,000 years on the seabed

Centuries before the Swedes started flat-packing their furniture, the Holy Roman Emperor Justinian had his own version, sending self-assembly churches to newly conquered parts of his empire. 
Now one of the “Ikea-style” churches, which spent more than 1,000 years on a seabed after the ship carrying it sank, is to be reconstructed for the first time in Oxford.
The Byzantine church will be on display at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology as part of the exhibition Storms, War and Shipwrecks: Treasures from the Sicilian Seas, opening in June.
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Viking link to the North East of Scotland

Their exploits are more linked to the Northern Isles and the west coast of Scotland, with monastries raided, islanders murdered and gold and silver plundered. But new research - and a clutch of archaeological finds - has now suggested that the North East may not have escaped the fury of the Norsemen afterall. 

Vikings in Scotland have been more associated with the Northern Isles and the west coast, but research suggests they may have had a foothold in the north east too  [Credit: The Scotsman] 

Academics at Aberdeen University have been working to fill the “blank space” of Viking activity in Aberdeenshire and Moray, with written history barely touching on the area so far. Using finds recorded through the Treasure Trove system and the input a team of metal detectors in the North East, a picture of possible Viking activity in the old Pictish Kingdom of Fortriu during the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries is now emerging. 

Dr Karen Milek, senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We tend to think of Viking activity in Scotland as linked to the Northern Isles or the raids on monasteries such as Iona. We have such a good understanding of Norse culture from the Atlantic coast but no one has been talking about the North East.”

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Explore 4,500 British Museum artifacts with Google's help

The British Museum in London holds an array of beautiful and historically significant artifacts including the Rosetta Stone, which helped historians to understand the ancient hieroglyphics used in Egypt. Today, the organisation is teaming up with Google to bring its various collections online as part of the Google Cultural Institute. The search giant has been developing this resource for years by continually visiting and archiving exhibits around the world. With the British Museum, an extra 4,500 objects and artworks are being added to its collection, complete with detailed photos and descriptions.
The most important addition is arguably the Admonitions Scroll, a Chinese text which dates back to the 6th-century. The piece is incredibly fragile, so it's only visible in the museum for a few months each year. Through the Cultural Institute, you can take a peek whenever you like -- and because it's been captured at "gigapixel" resolution you can zoom in to see some extraordinary details. All of the objects are searchable on Google's site, along with a couple of curated collections about ancient Egypt and Celtic life in the British Iron Age.
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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Detectorist finds hoard of 5,000 Anglo-Saxon coins

A hoard of more than Anglo Saxon 5,000 coins have been unearthed, including what may be a unique penny. The discovery, near Lenborough, Buckinghamshire is said to be the biggest hoard of coins in modern times. 

A hoard of more than Anglo Saxon 5,000 coins have been unearthed, including what  may be a unique coin. The 5,248 coins were found by Paul Coleman on  December 21 last year [Credit: Kerry Davies/INS News Agency Ltd] 

It includes a uniquely-stamped coin which may be the results of a mix-up at the mint, more than 1,000 years ago. No valuation has officially been placed on the coins, which have formerly been declared as treasure trove, but some experts believe they could be worth more than £1 million. 

The 5,248 coins were found by metal detector enthusiast Paul Coleman on December 21 last year. He almost decided not to dig the site when his metal detector beeped, believing he had come across a hidden manhole cover.

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Viking longhouse discovered in East Iceland

Archeological excavations have pointed to the discovery of a Viking longhouse from the age of settlement in Iceland in Stöð, Stöðvarfjörður in East Iceland. 
On the local website, Fjarðarbyggð, it says that clues about extremely important archeological findings had appeared. An archeologist at the site says that all conclusions point to the fact that the longhouse is the settlement longhouse mentioned in the ancient Landnáma, the medieval book of settlement. The farm at Stöð is thought to be the first settlement longhouse in East Iceland.
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