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

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dressed up with bling stolen in Viking raids

When a female Norwegian Viking died some time during the 9th century, she was buried wearing a status symbol: a beautiful piece of bronze jewellery worn on her traditional Norse dress.
In the summer of 2016, 1200 years after her death, the piece of jewellery was found by chance at Agdenes farm, at the outermost part of the Trondheim Fjord in mid-Norway. The well-preserved object is an ornament with a bird figure that has fish- or dolphin-like patterns on both "wings."
The decorations suggest that the jewellery was made in a Celtic workshop, most likely in Ireland, in the 8th or 9th century. It was originally used as a fitting for a horse's harness, but holes at the bottom and traces of rust from a needle on the back show that it had probably been turned into a brooch at a later stage.
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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Viking gold discovered in Denmark – on live TV

The new find was made in the same field that yielded these seven bracelets over the summer. Photo: Nick Schaadt, Museet på Sønderskov

A team of Danish archaeologists digging in a field east of Ribe knew they had a better-than-average chance of discovering a treasure trove.
They were, after all, digging in the same field that back in June produced the largest ever discovery of Viking gold in Denmark. Having discovered seven bracelets, six gold and one silver, that date to around the year 900 the archaeologists went back to the field on Monday. 
This time they had a production crew from regional broadcaster TV Syd in tow. 
Already by midday, the archaeologists and the TV crew had cause to celebrate. In front of rolling cameras, the excited diggers pulled out what appeared to be part of another Viking gold bracelet. 
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Rare 1,500 Year Old Odin Amulet Found In Denmark

A local treasure hunter named Carsten Helm, along with his 10 and 12-year-old sons, discovered a trove of gold on the island of Lolland that dates back 1,500 years.

The Odin amulet was called a "rare and exciting discovery" 
[Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster]

Among the gold discovered was a so-called bracteate, a thin gold medallion worn as jewellery during the Germanic Iron Age. Archaeologists at Museum Lolland-Falster believe that the image on the amulet depicts Nordic god Odin. Their conclusion was based on other finds of similar bracteates that include a rune inscription reading ‘The High One’, one of Odin’s nicknames.

“It is a very exciting find,” museum spokeswoman Marie Brinch said. “Even though it is a previously-known type, it is a rare and exciting discovery. Throughout history there have only been three found on Lolland, the latest in 1906, and in all of Northern Europe there are only around 1,000 of them.”

Helm and his sons also found an additional gold pendant, three gold pieces that were likely parts of a necklace, a gold ring and assorted pieces of silver.

Their finds will go on display at the Maribo County Museum on Friday.

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Friday, 9 December 2016

An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry by Trevor Rowley

An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry is the latest book by Trevor Rowley.

“An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry provides a unique re-examination
of this famous piece of work through the historical geography and archaeology of
the tapestry. Trevor Rowley is the first author to have analysed the tapestry through
the landscapes, buildings and structures shown, such as towns and castles, while
comparing them to the landscapes, buildings, ruins and earthworks which can be
seen today. By comparing illustrated extracts from the tapestry to historical and
contemporary illustrations, maps and reconstructions Rowley is able to provide the
reader with a unique visual setting against which they are able to place the events
on the tapestry.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


Si la première mention de La Rochelle apparaît dans une charte de l’abbaye Saint-Cyprien de Poitiers (998-1000), la ville ne se développe véritablement qu’à partir du XIIe siècle. La première enceinte de ville, probablement fondée dans les années 1160-70, permet d’asseoir le statut de cette nouvelle cité portuaire qui s’émancipe progressivement des pouvoirs locaux, notamment au début du XIIIesiècle en englobant deux nouveaux quartiers - Saint-Jean du Perrot et Saint-Nicolas.


Le quartier du Gabut, situé entre le rivage et le quartier Saint-Nicolas, est partiellement intégré à la ville à la fin du XIVe siècle, suite à la construction d’une nouvelle enceinte reliant la tour Saint-Nicolas à la porte du même nom. Ce secteur de la ville se développe ensuite progressivement. Des bâtiments très allongés (corderies, magasins pour l’artillerie) sont en effet représentés sur les plans de la période moderne et perdurent jusqu’au démantèlement de l’enceinte, à la fin du XIXe siècle.
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Somerset skeletons are oldest evidence of monks found in UK

Carbon dating of remains unearthed in Beckery chapel near Glastonbury indicate monastic life dating back to fifth or early sixth centuries

Skeletons excavated at a site near Glastonbury are the oldest examples of monks ever found in the UK, carbon dating has proved.
The remains, unearthed at the medieval Beckery chapel in Somerset, said to have been visited by legendary figures such as King Arthur and St Bridget, indicate a monastic cemetery dating back to the fifth or early sixth centuries AD, before Somerset was conquered by the Saxon kings of Wessex in the seventh century.
Archaeologists first located an extensive cemetery of between 50 and 60 bodies during an excavation in the 1960s. The fact all were male – apart from one female, thought to have been a visitor, nun or patron, and two juveniles, who may have been novices – left little doubt this was a monastic graveyard.
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Friday, 2 December 2016

Bitumen from Middle East discovered in 7th century buried ship in UK

Middle Eastern Bitumen, a rare, tar-like material, is present in the seventh century ship buried at Sutton Hoo, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on December 01, 2016 by Pauline Burger and colleagues from the British Museum, UK and the University of Aberdeen.
The seventh century ship found within a burial mound at Sutton Hoo, UK was first excavated in 1939 and is known for the spectacular treasure it contained including jewellery, silverware, coins, and ceremonial armour. The site is thought to be an example of the European ship-burial rites of the time, and also includes a burial chamber where a corpse was likely laid. Fragments of black organic material found in this chamber were originally identified as locally-produced 'Stockholm Tar' and linked to repair and maintenance of the ship. The authors of the present study re-evaluated these previously-identified samples, as well as other tar-like materials found at the site, using imaging techniques and isotopic analysis and found the samples had been originally misidentified.

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Sutton Hoo bitumen links Syria with Anglo-Saxon England

Analysis of black organic fragments found in the Sutton Hoo boat burial has revealed they are bitumen from Syria.
The Suffolk site was excavated in 1939. Gold and garnet jewellery, silverware and ceremonial armour were discovered. 
The small black objects scattered among the 7th Century finds were believed to be pine tar used for boat maintenance.
British Museum and Aberdeen University experts have revealed they are bitumen Andrew said they demonstrated the "far-reaching" Anglo-Saxon trade network.

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