U3A JOINT ARCHAEOLOGICAL GROUP

NEWS PAGE & LOCAL EVENTS

LAST UPDATED 02/08/17

ARCHAEOLOGICAL NEWS:

LOCAL NEWS:

SUMMER HOLIDAY EVENTS:

Dig it! at King Richard III visitor centre Leicester - This summer younger visitors can discover the techniques used by archaeologists during the Greyfriars dig, which took place in 2012 and uncovered the remains of King Richard III.

Visit Fishergate Postern Tower, York - Volunteer guides will show you around the 500 year old tower, where the Postern gatekeeper lived with his family. Visitors can climb the narrow spiral staircase to see the rooms on three floors with a garderobe, mullioned windows, timber roof, battlements, look-out tower and masons' marks.

Victorian Coalmines and 16 century coalgetting area, Swannington Coalville - Visit two 18 century coal mine sites with bases for engines, winding drums inverted beam pumping engine, boiler bases, rare wrought iron "Haystack" boiler Circa 1720 and miners’ cottages, all now exposed and being conserved with new presentation and interpretation.

The Arthurian Centre's Slaughterbridge dig - Come and visit an ongoing excavation of a 13-century village with information of the site provided and the chance to see some of the exposed excavated buildings. With the opportunity to see an inscribed 6 century stone and explore an 18-century garden restoration there is plenty to discover. 

With thanks to Wessex CBA

WIDER ARCHAEOLOGICAL NEWS:

University of Zurich (AUG)

Large-mouthed fish was top predator after mass extinction.  The most catastrophic mass extinction on Earth took place about 252 million years ago - at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geological periods. Up to 90 percent of the marine species of that time were annihilated. Worldwide biodiversity then recovered in several phases throughout a period of about five million years. Until now, palaeontologists have assumed that the first predators at the top of the food chain did not appear until the Middle Triassic epoch about 247 to 235 million years ago.  Swiss and U.S. American researchers have discovered the fossil remains of one of the earliest large-sized predatory fishes of the Triassic period: an approximately 1.8-meter-long primitive bony fish with long jaws and sharp teeth. This fish belongs to a previously unknown species called Birgeria americana. This predator occupied the sea that once covered present-day Nevada and the surrounding states already one million years after the mass extinction.  Read the full article here.

 

University of York (AUG)

Archaeologists find key to tracking ancient wheat in frozen Bronze Age box.  A Bronze Age wooden container found in an ice patch at 2650m in the Swiss Alps could help archaeologists shed new light on the spread and exploitation of cereal grains following a chance discovery.  The team of archaeologists were expecting to find a milk residue left behind in the container -- perhaps from a porridge-type meal wolfed down by a hunter or herder making their way through a snowy Alpine pass.  But instead they discovered lipid-based biomarkers for whole wheat or rye grain, called alkylresorcinols.  The team say the discovery of these biomarkers in the residue could be used as a new tool to help archaeologists map and trace the development of early farming in Eurasia.  Read the full article here

Binghamton University (AUG)

Easter Island not victim of 'ecocide', analysis of remains shows.  Analysis of remains found on Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island) provides evidence contrary to the widely-held belief that the ancient civilization recklessly destroyed its environment, according to new research co-conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.  "The traditional story is that over time the people of Rapa Nui used up their resources and started to run out of food," said Binghamton University Professor of Anthropology Carl Lipo. "One of the resources that they supposedly used up was trees that were growing on the island. Those trees provided canoes and, as a result of the lack of canoes, they could no longer fish. So they started to rely more and more on land food. As they relied on land food, productivity went down because of soil erosion, which led to crop failures...Painting the picture of this sort of catastrophe. That's the traditional narrative." Lipo and a team of researchers analyzed human, faunal and botanical remains from the archaeological sites Anakena and Ahu Tepeu on Rapa Nui, dating from c. 1400 AD to the historic period, and modern reference material. These findings point to concerted efforts to manipulate agricultural soils, and suggest the prehistoric Rapa Nui population had extensive knowledge of how to overcome poor soil fertility, improve environmental conditions, and create a sustainable food supply. These activities demonstrate considerable adaptation and resilience to environmental challenges -- a finding that is inconsistent with an 'ecocide' narrative.  Read the full article here

 

 

DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (AUG)

New studies of ancient concrete could teach us to do as the Romans did.  A new look inside 2,000-year-old concrete - made from volcanic ash, lime (the product of baked limestone), and seawater - has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbour structures to withstand the test of time. The research has also inspired a hunt for the original recipe so that modern concrete manufacturers can do as the Romans did. A team of researchers working at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) used X-rays to study samples of Roman concrete - from an ancient pier and breakwater sites - at microscopic scales to learn more about the makeup of their mineral cements. The team's earlier work at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS), an X-ray research centre known as a synchrotron, found that crystals of aluminous tobermorite, a layered mineral, played a key role in strengthening the concrete as they grew in relict lime particles. The new study, published today in American Mineralogist, is helping researchers to piece together how and where this mineral formed during the long history of the concrete structures.  Read the full article here.

 

Southampton University (JUL)

Secret square’ discovered beneath world-famous Avebury stone circle.  A research team used a combination of soil resistance survey and Ground-Penetrating Radar to investigate the stone circle.  Dr Mark Gillings, Academic Director and Reader in Archaeology at the University of Leicester, said: “Our research has revealed previously unknown megaliths inside the world-famous Avebury stone circle. We have detected and mapped a series of prehistoric standing stones that were subsequently hidden and buried, along with the positions of others likely destroyed during the 17th and 18th centuries. Together, these reveal a striking and apparently unique square megalithic monument within the Avebury circles that has the potential to be one of the very earliest structures on this remarkable site.”  Read the full article here

 

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (JUL)

New studies of ancient concrete could teach us to do as the Romans did.  A new look inside 2,000-year-old concrete - made from volcanic ash, lime (the product of baked limestone), and seawater - has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbour structures to withstand the test of time. The research has also inspired a hunt for the original recipe so that modern concrete manufacturers can do as the Romans did.  A team of researchers working at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) used X-rays to study samples of Roman concrete - from an ancient pier and breakwater sites - at microscopic scales to learn more about the makeup of their mineral cements.  Read the full article here.

 

University of Leicester (JUL)

University of Leicester develops pioneering X-ray technique to analyse ancient artefacts. A pioneering X-ray technique that can analyse artefacts of any shape or texture in a non-destructive way has been developed by an international team of researchers led by the University of Leicester.

The technique, which has been showcased in a paper published in the journal Acta Crystallographica A, uses X-ray diffraction (XRD) in order to determine crystallographic phase information in artefacts with very high accuracy and without causing damage to the object being scanned.  Using the technique, researchers can identify pigments in paintings and on painted objects - which could potentially be applied in the future to help to clamp down on counterfeit artwork and artefacts and verify authenticity. Images of analysed samples using the technique are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4xt5ozhtrbvhr3m/AADu_PYV6iuEYVJUXzsXClEwa?dl=0.  Read the full article here.

 

Tel Aviv University (JUL)

3,000-year-old textiles are earliest evidence of chemical dyeing in the Levant. Tel Aviv University archaeologists have revealed that cloth samples found in the Israeli desert present the earliest evidence of plant-based textile dyeing in the region. They were found at a large-scale copper smelting site and a nearby temple in the copper ore district of Timna in Israel's Arava desert and are estimated to date from the 13th-10th centuries BCE.  The wool and linen pieces shed light on a sophisticated textile industry and reveal details about a deeply hierarchical society dependent on long-distance trade to support its infrastructure in the unforgiving desert.  Read the full article here

 

University of Kansas (JUL)

Analysis of Neanderthal teeth grooves uncovers evidence of prehistoric dentistry.  A discovery of multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations by a Neanderthal of 130,000 years ago are evidence of a kind of prehistoric dentistry, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher.  "As a package, this fits together as a dental problem that the Neanderthal was having and was trying to presumably treat itself, with the toothpick grooves, the breaks and also with the scratches on the premolar," said David Frayer, professor emeritus of Anthropology. "It was an interesting connection or collection of phenomena that fit together in a way that we would expect a modern human to do. Everybody has had dental pain, and they know what it's like to have a problem with an impacted tooth.".  Read the full article here

 

 

University of Zurich (JUL)

Previously unknown extinction of marine megafauna discovered.  The disappearance of a large part of the terrestrial megafauna such as sabre-toothed cat and the mammoth during the ice age is well known. Now, researchers at the University of Zurich and the Naturkunde Museum in Berlin have shown that a similar extinction event had taken place earlier, in the oceans.  "We were able to show that around a third of marine megafauna disappeared about three to two million years ago. Therefore, the marine mega-faunal communities that humans inherited were already altered and functioning at a diminished diversity".  Above all, the newly discovered extinction event affected marine mammals, which lost 55 per cent of their diversity. As many as 43 per cent of sea turtle species were lost, along with 35 per cent of sea birds and 9 per cent of sharks.  Read the full article here


University of Basel (JUL)

A wooden toe: Swiss Egyptologists study 3,000-year-old prosthesis.  It is likely to be one of the oldest prosthetic devices in human history: Together with other experts, Egyptologists from the University of Basel have re-examined an artificial wooden big toe. The find is almost 3000 years old and was discovered in a female burial from the necropolis of Sheikh ´Abd el-Qurna close to Luxor. This area is currently being studied using state-of-the-art methods.  Read the full article here (and see the amazing photo)

 

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (JUL)

The first of our kind. An international research team uncovered fossil bones of Homo sapiens along with stone tools and animal bones at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. The finds are dated to about 300 thousand years ago and represent the oldest securely dated fossil evidence of our own species. This date is 100 thousand years earlier than the previous oldest Homo sapiens fossils.  Read the full article here

 

NEW PUBLICATIONS:

"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

Saturday, 19 August 2017 2:00 pm.  WALK: East Knoyle and Windmill Hill.  A 4 mile (3 hour) walk led by Isobel Geddes (along footpaths, tracks & lanes) looking at geology, landscape and building stones. The varied geology with steeply dipping rocks makes the terrain hilly but there is a spectacular view over the Stour valley. Meet Saturday 19th August 2017 at 2 pm. at Windmill Hill: ST 872 311.   Stout footwear, protective clothing to suit the prevailing weather conditions and reasonable mobility will be required (participants must be able to walk at least four miles at a reasonable pace). Walk includes 'varied geology with steeply dipping rocks' and is expected to take about 3 hours. Cost:   £10 (£8 WANHS members) Booking essential (1) Telephone – 01380 727369 (2) Visit – Wiltshire Museum, 41 Long Street, Devizes

Thursday, 24 August 2017 6:30 pm, WALK: West Kennet Longbarrow.  An evening walk, meeting at Gunsite Road, West Kennett - led by David Dawson.  Cost: £10 (£8 WANHS members). Booking essential (1) Telephone – 01380 727369 (2) Visit – Wiltshire Museum, 41 Long Street, Devizes

Friday, 15 September 2017 10:30 am WALK: Salisbury Plain at War. Tour of the Museum, followed by a light lunch and guided walk on Salisbury Plain led by Richard Broadhead.  Cost:  £40 (£35 WANHS members). Booking essential (1) Telephone – 01380 727369 (2) Visit – Wiltshire Museum, 41 Long Street, Devizes

Saturday, 30 September 2017 0:30 am WALK: Stonehenge landscape - Walking the Dead.  A guided tour of the amazing collections of the Wiltshire Museum, followed by a guided walk from Durrington Walls to Stonehenge. This full day tour will be led by Museum Director, David Dawson.  The morning tour at the Museum starts at 10.30am and the walk begins at 2pm.  The day begins with coffee and a guided tour of the Wiltshire Museum. The early story of Wiltshire is told in new galleries featuring high quality graphics and leading-edge reconstructions. On display are dozens of spectacular treasures dating to the time of Stonehenge and worn by people who worshiped inside the stone circle.  The tour is followed by a light lunch.  The walk will take approximately 3.5 hours, and starts at Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, close to the River Avon. The route passes the Cuckoo Stone, a megalithic standing stone, before following the Apple Track - a WW1 light railway. The route then passes the prehistoric Cursus, before passing the Bronze Age barrows of Kings Barrow ridge. Cost:  £40 (£35 WANHS members). Booking essential (1) Telephone – 01380 727369 (2) Visit – Wiltshire Museum, 41 Long Street, Devizes

Saturday, 07 October 2017 2:30 pm.  LECTURE: Wor Barrow - Dr Mike Allen.  Wor Barrow is an iconic Neolithic barrow excavated by General Pitt Rivers (the father of modern archaeology) in 1893-4. 100 years later, recent research led by Mike Allen on the archive, the human bones, and radiocarbon dating provide some fascinating insights and new insights of the barrow, and of Neolithic life, Neolithic communities, and the selection and treatment of the dead. New information about the date, the bodies, and the burial of people in barrow was surprising, unexpected and confounded general wisdom - making us rethink this monument and Neolithic Society.  Booking essential Cost: £6.50 (£4 WANHS members)

 

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: 

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   

 

SOUTH WILTSHIRE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

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

 

AVON VALLEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY (AVAS)

MEETINGS: 7.30pm 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 The Hon Secretary, C.W.Atkinson 01722 326978.  Website: https://avonvalleyarchsoc.wordpress.com/

 

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

 Admission to all seminars is free. For further information, see our website http://www.winchester.ac.uk/wcha. To receive notifications of our programme with email newsletter, contact Ryan.Lavelle@winchester.ac.uk with subject header WESSEX MAILING LIST.

 

BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY

The Fusion Building on Talbot Campus