U3A JOINT ARCHAEOLOGICAL GROUP

NEWS PAGE & LOCAL EVENTS

LAST UPDATED 02/10/18

LOCAL NEWS (CBA Wessex):

Shifted sands reveal Roman settlement in Alderney,  (SEPT).  A "substantial" Roman village has been found preserved beneath sand in the Channel Islands. Excavations on Longis Common in Alderney revealed walls, a stone courtyard, pottery and coins. The site is thought to date back to the 2nd Century BC, which is "considerably earlier" than previous discoveries.  Read the full article here.

WIDER ARCHAEOLOGICAL NEWS:

 

University of Southampton (OCT)

Neanderthal Homes Were at The Cutting edge of Modern Living. Research led by the University of Southampton’s Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO) has been looking into the minds and lives of some of our early ancestors by investigating where they lived.

The research, focused on the 220,000 year old cave site of La Cotte de St. Brelade on the Channel Island of Jersey, has begun to bring a period of important change in way early human organised their lives under examination. Detailed studies of key parts of the site have revealed how Neanderthals used the site as a home base, part of more complex lifeways emerging on the edge of the human world. Now, their new book, Crossing the Human Threshold, the team have brought together this evidence alongside the work of a team of international experts looking at similar sites across the early stone age world to reinterpret how our ancestors used caves and the broader landscapes they moved through. What emerges is a remarkably consistent picture right across the Old World; that different populations of early humans that included Neanderthals, began to properly occupy caves and rock shelter only after 600,000 years ago. Before this time there is remarkably little evidence for anything approaching a hominin ‘home’, but after it there is an explosion of evidence for early humans structuring their lives around fixed places in the landscape which offered a physical refuge from the challenges of the Ice Age world and a new social space which may have played an important role in human evolution.  Read the full article here.

 

AKSON Russian Science Communication Association (OCT)

Siberian palaeontologists discovered the oldest macro-skeleton remains.  The oldest skeleton remains known to fossil chronicle of the Earth belonged to the microorganisms that lived 700-650 million years ago. International research team proved that a larger organisms of the same period, such as Palaeopascichnus linearis up to 20 centimetres long, also had a skeleton.  Palaeopascichnus resembles a series of spheres or ellipsoids, which are placed one by one and called chambers. They have been known for a long time and can be found all across the world since for that time period they were one of the most widespread living organisms.  Read the full article here.

 

University of the Witwatersrand (OCT)

Ledumahadi mafube -- South Africa's new jurassic giant.  A new species of a giant dinosaur has been found in South Africa's Free State Province. The plant-eating dinosaur, named Ledumahadi mafube, weighed 12 tonnes and stood about four metres high at the hips. Ledumahadi mafube was the largest land animal alive on Earth when it lived, nearly 200 million years ago. It was roughly double the size of a large African elephant.  Read the full article (and see drawing) here.


Zoological Society of London (OCT)

The world's largest ever bird -- Vorombe Titan.  After decades of conflicting evidence and numerous publications, scientists at international conservation charity ZSL's (Zoological Society of London) Institute of Zoology, have finally put the 'world's largest bird' debate to rest. Published today (26 September 2018) in Royal Society Open Science - Vorombe titan (meaning 'big bird' in Malagasy and Greek), has taken the title reaching weights of up to 800 kg and three metres tall, with the research also discovering unexpected diversity in these Madagascan creatures.  Read the full article (and drawing) here.

 

Radiological Society of North America (OCT)

CT technique expands possibilities of imaging ancient remains.  Researchers in Sweden using computed tomography (CT) have successfully imaged the soft tissue of an ancient Egyptian mummy's hand down to a microscopic level.  Non-destructive imaging of human and animal mummies with X-rays and CT has been a boon to the fields of archaeology and paleopathology, or the study of ancient diseases. Imaging studies have contributed to a better knowledge of life and death in ancient times and have the potential to improve our understanding of modern diseases. Read the full article here.

 

Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters (OCT)

Chinese Cretaceous fossil highlights avian evolution.  Newly identified extinct bird species from a 127 million-year-old fossil deposit in north eastern China provides new information about avian development during the early evolution of flight.  The analysis of this early Cretaceous fossil shows it is from a pivotal point in the evolution of flight - after birds lost their long bony tail, but before they evolved a fan of flight feathers on their shortened tail.  The scientists named this extinct species Jinguofortis perplexus. The genus name "Jinguofortis" honours women scientists around the world. It derives from the Chinese word "jinguo," meaning female warrior, and the Latin word "fortis" meaning brave.  Read the full article here.

 

Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters (OCT)

Chinese-led team shows mass extinction happened in geological 'instant'. It took less than 30,000 years and maybe only thousands, to kill more than 90% of sea creatures and most land species, according to the most precise study ever published about the mass extinction marking the end of the Permian Period. Earth's greatest mass extinction, also known as the "Great Dying," occurred about 252 million years ago. By some estimates, over 90% of sea creatures and most land-dwelling reptiles disappeared. Even usually resilient plants and insects suffered near annihilation. Scientists from China, the USA and Canada combined new high-resolution radiometric dating of seven closely spaced layers of volcanic material from South China's Penglaitan section with detailed biostratigraphy and geochemical analyses. Results show the duration of the end-Permian mass extinction to be about 31 thousand years, essentially instantaneous by geological standards.  Read the full article here.

 

University of the Witwatersrand (OCT)

Drawing on a piece of silcrete found in Blombos Cave in South Africa predates previous human-made drawings by at least 30,000 years. The earliest evidence of a drawing made by humans has been found in Blombos Cave in the southern Cape in South Africa.  The drawing, which consists of three red lines cross-hatched with six separate lines, was intentionally drawn on a smooth silcrete flake about 73 000 years ago. This predates previous drawing from Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia by at least 30 000 years. Read the full article here.

 

Penn State (OCT)

Evidence of 7,200-year-old cheese making found on the Dalmatian Coast. Analysis of fatty residue in pottery from the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia revealed evidence of fermented dairy products -- soft cheeses and yogurts -- from about 7,200 years ago, according to an international team of researchers.  "This pushes back cheese-making by 4,000 years," said Sarah B. McClure, associate professor of anthropology. Read the full article here.

 

McMaster University (OCT)

Strands of hair from member of Franklin expedition provide new clues into mystery. A new analysis of human hair taken from the remains of one of the members of the Franklin expedition, is providing further evidence that lead poisoning was just one of many different factors contributing to the deaths of the crew, and not the primary cause, casting new doubt on the theory that has been the subject of debate amongst scientists and historians for decades. All 129 crew members died when two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, vanished in the Canadian Arctic in 1845, while searching for an elusive north-west passage to the Pacific. While those lead levels were high by today's standards, researchers found the toxicity was not high enough to worsen other mental and physical symptoms the men were suffering as they attempted to survive the harsh conditions.  Read the full article here.

University of York (OCT)

Coastal strip in Brazil sheds new light on early farming. Humans may have been cultivating plants on a narrow coastal strip in Brazil as far back as 4,800 years ago, according to a new study.  The results reveal that the individuals, who lived around 4,800 years ago, were eating a diet rich in carbohydrates, suggesting that they may have cultivated plants like yams and sweet potatoes.  Read the full article here.

 

CBA Wessex (SEPT)

 How a detectorist uncovered one of the largest Roman villas ever found in Britain.  A detectorist has uncovered one of the largest Roman villas ever discovered in Britain – and with it, a wealth of artefacts including coins, coffins and ever an enormous boar tusk. The 85m by 85m villa’s foundations lie beneath a crop in a field a stone’s throw from Broughton Castle near Banbury in Oxfordshire, on one of the estate’s farms.  Magnetometry scans showed the outline of the terraced villa is not much smaller than Buckingham Palace.  Read the full article here.

 

CBA Wessex (SEPT)

Stonehenge: First residents from West Wales.  Researchers have shown that cremated humans at Stonehenge were from the same region of Wales as the stones used in construction.  While it is already known that the "bluestones" that were first used to build Stonehenge were transported from 150 miles (240 km) away in modern-day Pembrokeshire, almost nothing is known about the people involved. The scientists' work shows that both people and materials were moving between the regions and that, for some of these people, the move was permanent. When their lives ended, their cremated remains were placed under the ancient monument in what is now Wiltshire. Read the full technical article here. 

 

Northumbria University (SEPT)

Cold climates contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals.  A team of researchers from a number of European and American research institutions, including Northumbria University, Newcastle, have produced detailed new natural records from stalagmites that highlight changes in the European climate more than 40,000 years ago.  They found several cold periods that coincide with the timings of a near complete absence of archaeological artefacts from the Neanderthals, suggesting the impact that changes in climate had on the long-term survival of Neanderthal man.  Read the full article here.


University of Bristol (SEPT)

New study reveals evidence of how Neolithic people adapted to climate change.  Research led by the University of Bristol has uncovered evidence that early farmers were adapting to climate change 8,200 years ago.  The study centred on the Neolithic and Chalcolithic city settlement of Çatalhöyük in southern Anatolia, Turkey which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC. During the height of the city's occupation a well-documented climate change event 8,200 years ago occurred which resulted in a sudden decrease in global temperatures caused by the release of a huge amount of glacial meltwater from a massive freshwater lake in northern Canada. Read the full article here.

University of Illinois (SEPT)

Ancient African herders had lasting ecological impact on grazed lands.  Ancient animal herders added to the ecological richness and diversity of the African savanna thousands of years ago - an effect that persists to the present day, a new study finds. The herders' practice of penning their cattle, goats and sheep at night created nutrient-rich grassy glades, called hotspots, that still attract wildlife and have increased habitat diversity in the region, researchers report in the journal Nature.  Typically, the African savanna is scrubby, with small trees and shrubs and lots of bare soil, said University of Illinois anthropology professor Stanley Ambrose, who led the new research with Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St. Louis. The herding hotspots appear on the landscape today as dense, grassy areas several acres in diameter, he said.  Read the full report here.

Chinese Academy of Sciences (SEPT)

How did alvarezsaurian dinosaurs evolve monodactyl hand?  Digit reduction occurs many times in tetrapod evolution, and the most famous example is the 'horse series' of North America. An international research team announced the discovery of two new Chinese dinosaurs: Bannykus and Xiyunykus, in the journal Current Biology, which shed light on how alvarezsaurian dinosaurs reduced and lost their fingers. The new dinosaurs are based on two fossils collected by a joint research team.  The new Alvarezsaurian dinosaurs are among the most bizarre groups of theropods, with extremely short, robust forelimbs with a single functional claw and gracile, bird-like skulls and hindlimbs.  Read the full article here.

PLOS (SEPT)

Archaeological evidence for glass industry in ninth-century city of Samarra.  The palace-city of Samarra, capital of the former Abbasid Caliphate, was home to an advanced industry of glass production and trade, according to a study published August 22, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.  Located in Iraq about 125km north of Baghdad, Samarra was the Abbasid capital from 836-892CE. Noted for its abundance of decorative architectural glass, the city represents an important source of archaeological information on early Islamic art and architecture. However, details of the production of Samarra's glass artefacts, as well as their role in the city's economy, have been elusive.  In this study, the authors examined 265 Samarra glass artefacts housed in museum collections in Germany and England, including bowls, lamps, bottles, decorative and architectural glasses, and more. Trace elements in the glass, identified using mass-spectrometric analysis, offered clues to the geographic origin of the raw materials used in the making of the different types of glass artefacts.  Read the full article here.

University of Kent (SEPT)

Stone tools reveal modern human-like gripping capabilities 500,000 years ago.  This research is the first to link a stone tool production technique known as 'platform preparation' to the biology of human hands. Demonstrating that without the ability to perform highly forceful precision grips, our ancestors would not have been able to produce advanced types of stone tool like spear points. The technique involves preparing a striking area on a tool to remove specific stone flakes and shape the tool into a pre-conceived design.  Using sensors attached to the hand of skilled flint knappers (stone tool producers), the researchers were able to identify that platform preparation behaviours required the hand to exert significantly more pressure through the fingers when compared to all other stone tool activities studied. The research demonstrates that the Boxgrove hominins (early humans) would have needed significantly stronger grips compared to earlier populations who did not perform this behaviour. It further suggests that highly modified and shaped stone tools, such as the hand axes discovered at Boxgrove and stone spear points found in later prehistory, may not have been possible to produce until humans evolved the ability to perform particularly forceful grips. Read the full article here.

 

University of York (SEPT)

Prehistoric mummy reveals ancient Egyptian embalming 'recipe' was around for millennia.  It is the first time that extensive tests have been carried out on an intact prehistoric mummy, consolidating the researchers' previous findings that embalming was taking place 1,500 years earlier than previously accepted. Dating from c.3700-3500 BC, the mummy has been housed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin since 1901, but unlike the majority of other prehistoric mummies in museums, it has never undergone any conservation treatments, providing a unique opportunity for accurate scientific analysis. Like its famous counterpart Gebelein Man A in the British Museum, the Turin mummy was previously assumed to have been naturally mummified by the desiccating action of the hot, dry desert sand. Using chemical analysis, the scientific team led by the Universities of York and Macquarie uncovered evidence that the mummy had in fact undergone an embalming process, with a plant oil, heated conifer resin, an aromatic plant extract and a plant gum/sugar mixed together and used to impregnate the funerary textiles in which the body was wrapped.  Read the full article here.

Australian National University (SEPT)

Laziness helped lead to extinction of Homo erectus.  An archaeological excavation of ancient human populations in the Arabian Peninsula during the Early Stone Age, found that Homo erectus used 'least-effort strategies' for tool making and collecting resources.  This 'laziness' paired with an inability to adapt to a changing climate likely played a role in the species going extinct. "To make their stone tools they would use whatever rocks they could find lying around their camp, which were mostly of comparatively low quality to what later stone tool makers used," he said. At the site we looked at there was a big rocky outcrop of quality stone just a short distance away up a small hill. But rather than walk up the hill they would just use whatever bits had rolled down and were lying at the bottom.”  Read the full article here. 

PUBLICATIONS:

"New Forest: the forging of a landscape" by Hadrian Cook.  List price £34.99.  Copies available on Amazon.

"Blick Mead: Exploring the First Place in the Stonehenge Landscape". David Jacques, Tom Phillips & Tom Lyons.  £35 from Peter Lang.

"The Hidden Bones" is an archaeological novel by Nicola Ford (aka Dr Nick Snashall - National Trust archaeologist for Stonehenge & Avebury WHS).  £19 from Allison & Busby.

“Megalith” is published by Wooden Books.

"Hillforts and the Durotriges" A geophysical survey of Iron Age Dorset  by Dave Stewart and Miles Russell. Published by Archaeopress price £30.  Miles is Senior Lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology at Bournemouth University and a Trustee of CBA Wessex.

"50 Finds from Hampshire" finds of PAS from Amberley Press.  £13-15

"Winchester: An Archaeological Assessment" by Patrick Ottaway will be available shortly from Oxbow Books.  £40

"Arthur and the Kings of Britain" by Dr Miles Russell.  Published 15 March 17: £20. Pre-order now through Amazon.

"50 Finds from Hampshire: Objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme” by Katie Hinds (Hants PAS officer).  Available from Amazon from £6.55 plus postage

 Thames Valley Archaeological Services Publications.  New monographs:

Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon occupation and Bronze Age burial at Ibsley Quarry, Ibsley, Ringwood, Hampshire.

Roman occupation at Chapel Farm, Blunsden, Swindon, Wiltshire (Lower Widhill Farm), Excavations 2004-2012.

Archaeological excavations at Latton Quarry, Wiltshire.  Click here for website

 

"Neolithic Horizons: monuments and changing communities in the Wessex Landscape".  Dave Field and Dave McOmish.  From £10 on Amazon

Iron Age Hillfort Defences and the Tactics of Sling Warfare by Peter Robertson. 2016.  £25.00. eBook £19.00 from Archaeopress.

Exploring Avebury the Essential Guide by Steve Marshall with 400 photographs, maps and diagrams. Price around £15.

Stonehenge: The Story of a Sacred Landscape. Francis Pryor. Available mid-July £16.99

Gardens & Gardeners of the Ancient World: History, Myth & Archaeology.  Tracing the beginning of gardening from Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia to the Minoans, Greeks and Romans right up to the Middle Ages. £25 Oxbow Books

 “Rescue Archaeology: Foundations for the future”, edited by Paul Everill and Pamela Irving, published by RESCUE The British Archaeological Trust, as part of the celebrations of RESCUE's 40th anniversary.  Examines current challenges faced by archaeologists in Britain.  Full details from RESCUE.

 "Stonehenge: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery".Parker-Pearson, Pollard, Richards & Thomas.  £14.  Oxbow Books.

 

SALISBURY MUSEUM LECTURES:

Click here for the full Salisbury Museum programme.

 

WILTSHIRE MUSEUM TALKS & EVENTS:

Click here for full programme and joining details

· Friday 5th October 2018 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. Lecture and book signing: From Roman Civitas to Anglo-Saxon Shire by Bruce Eagles. Lecture Hall, Wiltshire Museum £7 (£4.50 WANHS members).  Booking essential.

Saturday 27th October 2018  9:30 am - 4:30 pm  Conference: Industrial Archaeology – Buildings.  Devizes Town Hall.  £15 (£13 WANHS members).  The ticket price includes morning coffee and afternoon tea, but not lunch. There are many cafes, pubs, restaurants and sandwich bars in the town where lunch may be taken. For those bringing their own lunch Hillworth Park is 400 yards away up Long Street.  No parking at the Town Hall or Museum.  Long stay parking – Station Road car park – at the very far end, Pay and Display. Book on-line here

Saturday 10 Nov 2018, 14:30. LECTURE: Taking Sides.  Scandinavian Flint Axe type in Britain by Dr Katharine Walker.  Neolithic connections between Scandinavia and Britain have been largely dismissed in recent years, and characteristic rectangular-sectioned axe-heads have been written out of accounts of prehistory as modern collectors’ losses. An axe-head from Julliberries Grave non-megalithic long barrow, Chilham, Kent, is cited as one of the few ‘credible’ examples. This talk is a presentation of the evidence and the detective work needed to ascertain the credibility of the axe-heads, and situates it in the ‘bigger picture’ of cross-sea connections.  Book on-line here.

Saturday 24 Nov 2018, 14:30.  LECTURE: Recovering Lost Music in Medieval Wiltshire by Graham Bathe.  A detective story unravelling how early medieval musical manuscripts became used as covers for manorial court records in Wiltshire. They include a piece of music from the 1200s hitherto unknown in England.  This is an onion-layer sequence of detection, with recorded examples of the music once performed at Old Sarum, and not heard in 800 years.  Book on-line here.

CBA WESSEX STUDY DAYS AND EVENTS

(Members of U3A are welcome at all these events although there may be a small charge for non-members of CBA Wessex) Contacts for bookings, expression of interest and further details:   

Study days, Wessex Weekend & Conference - Andy Manning   events@cba-Wessex.org.uk : Tel.  03303 133406.  C/o Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, SP4 6EB

Walks: Steve Fisher: walks@cba-wessex.org.ukTel. 02380 227191

or book through the new website  http://www.cba-wessex.org.uk/

CBA Members can now benefit from a 15% discount on outdoor clothing, footwear, books, maps and equipment from Cotswold Outdoor. For details of how to claim your Member's discount and all of our other member offers go to our offers and discounts page.

Walks:

 

Study Days:

Both days led by pottery and finds expert Lorraine Mepham 10.30am to c 4pm  at Wessex Archaeology, Old Sarum Park Salisbury. SP4 6ED.  Price: Members £25, non-members £30.  Places limited to 14. Book onlineemail Andy Manning:  call Andy on 03303 133406

 

EAST DORSET ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY

2017/18 PROGRAMME - all meetings take place on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm in St Catherine’s Church Hall, Wimborne.  Click here for more details.

2018

PROGRAMME - all meetings take place on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm

  • 10 Oct

The Honour of the Nation - black prisoners of war at Portchester Castle by Abi Coppins of English Heritage

  • 14 Nov

The Lost Soldiers of Fromelles - naming the dead by Professor Margaret Cox, Osteoarchaeologist

  • 12 Dec

Chess - Air war over Britain and Germany by Phil Judkins of University of Buckingham

2019

  • 9 Jan

Please note that the programme leaflet has an incorrect date. Neolithic Imports or Collectors? - Continental axe-heads in Britain by Kath Walker, Visiting Research Fellow at Bournemouth University and Project Officer at the New Forest Centre

  • 13 Feb

Orkney and Beyond by Ben Buxton, Archaeologist

  • 13 Mar

AGM followed by Andrew Morgan and Geoff Taylor on the 2018 EDAS Field Trip to S E Wales

  • 24 April

NOTE NOT 2nd WEDNESDAY Talk by special guest speaker AT BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY

  • 8 May

Once upon a Hill - a study of Dorset hillforts by Dave Stewart, EDAS member

 

SOUTH WILTSHIRE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

All meetings are held on Mondays at the Methodist Church, St Edmunds Church Street, Salisbury. Doors open at 7.00 pm and the meeting starts at 7.30 pm. Non-members are welcome to attend.

 

AVON VALLEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY (AVAS)

MEETINGS: 7.30 pm at Ann Rose Hall, Greyfriars Community Centre, Christchurch Road, Ringwood BH24 1DW (Members £2.00, Visitors £3.50; annual subscription: adult £10.00, full-time Student £5.00.  Enquiries to: - The Chairman, Mark Vincent 01425 473677 or use the Contact Us page on the website: https://avonvalleyarchsoc.wordpress.com/


2019

 

SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY

Seminars:  All seminars are on Thursday evenings in the John Wymer Lab Building, 65a Faculty of Humanities Avenue, Campus Southampton SO17 1BF. All welcome.

 

WINCHESTER UNIVERSITY

 

BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY The Fusion Building on Talbot Campus