11-12 JANVIER 2014 NEWS: Bouldnor Cliff - Nottingham - Beverley - Katmai National Park -
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ROYAUME UNI – Bouldnor Cliff - Excavating sites of historical interest that lie under the Solent is a race against tim.e. That is the concern from charity the Maritime Archaeology Trust which says shipwrecks and important sites such as Bouldnor Cliff on the Isle of Wight have been impacted by the high winds, strong tides and rain. The Trust says more evidence of our past has been eroded and recorded at the location, which has revealed a unique 8,000-year-old Middle Stone Age landscape submerged under the Solent. Bouldnor Cliff has been monitored by the Trust for over ten years and discovered evidence showing it was an area that saw some of the earliest settlers in the British Isles, enjoying cooking, hunting and boat building. But the Trust warns more research and excavation is needed to find further evidence which could eventually confirm the Solent as the oldest boat-building site in the world.Gary Momber, Director of the Maritime Archaeology Trust said: "Although a handful of shipwrecks are protected by law against damage by humans, we sadly can't control the weather. With these types of submerged landscapes, erosion can be close to a metre a year and the recent storms will only exacerbate this situation. Land underwater is unique in that it can actually preserve delicate man-made materials - that is until it is exposed to harsh seas. This is a land that fell fowl of climate change 8,000 years ago and can give an insight into those changes. I would like to see us learn from events in the past rather than just sit by and watch these unique sites get washed away. I'm very concerned at the moment that recent weather could be destroying sites of archaeological significance or washing away precious artefacts. Because of this, we archaeologists need to work harder and faster than ever. "
ROYAUME UNI - Nottingham - A mass burial ground dating to the medieval period has been identified in Nottingham city centre by an archaeologist. Scott Lomax has been researching the site, on the east side of Cranbrook Street, since 2008. A burial ground was excavated by amateur archaeologists on the east side of Cranbrook Street in 1963. Approximately 70 skeletons were discovered and it appeared they had been buried hurriedly, at the same time, with no orientation and with bodies laying on top of one another at angles inconsistent with Christian burial. At that time, their date and circumstances of death and burial were not known. Mr Lomax won funding from a scheme operated by the Council for British Archaeology and submitted two samples from a skeleton for radiocarbon dating to the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at Oxford University. The results show it dates from between 1415 and 1450. Mr Lomax believes the skeletons represent victims of an epidemic who were buried outside the town to reduce the spread of the disease. Mr Lomax added: "These people were hurriedly buried for a reason. "They were also buried outside the town at a time when there were three churches with burial grounds, two friaries and a hospital, all of which had space for these burials. "It all points to the very real possibility that these people were victims of some epidemic and bubonic plague has to be a strong consideration for further investigation. He added: "I am hoping to secure funding to work with an international team of experts to determine if this is the case."
ROYAUME UNI - Beverley - It appears early settlers in Beverley may have been partial to a bit of bling. Part of a 2,000-year-old ornamental blue glass bangle was among finds unearthed by archaeologists digging along the route of the town's new bypass. Hundreds of historic relics, from handmade pottery to evidence of roundhouses and burial sites, have been found in excavations on the southern edge of Beverley. The elaborate blue and clear glass bangle, dating from the first century AD, was likely to have been made nearby, at Thearne.The excavations revealed multiple phases of activity over the centuries, primarily Iron Age and Romano-British occupation, as well as a possible Bronze Age cremation. Among the unexpected finds were Iron Age and Bronze Age barrow cemeteries – burial sites consisting of a small, square or round ditched enclosure surrounding a central burial. Square barrows are arguably the most characteristic monuments of the Iron Age of East Yorkshire. The concentration unearthed in the Beverley excavation was low compared to the classic cemeteries on the Yorkshire Wolds but is still considered significant. Skeletal remains were also found at the burial sites. Dr Evans said: "You either get crouched skeletons or cremations. "Christian burials tend to be laid out flat, full length but these are on their side and with their knees flexed up towards their chest. This might be so you can fit them into a smaller space, it's more practical." Dr Evans said: "We have parts of two distinct farmsteads or little hamlets along the route of the bypass, which are later Iron Age going into the beginning of the Roman period, first century BC and first and second century AD. "There is also evidence of some sort of iron or metal working going on in the Roman period and we may also have some salt working in that area in the Roman period. "During the Iron Age and Roman period, you would have had mixed farming, both livestock rearing and growing crops. "During the Bronze Age period, it would have depended on what the climate was like at the time but there may have been more exploitation of fish, birds and game in the wetlands of this area." The archaeologists, who started their excavations in August, have now finished on site but their work is continuing.
USA – Katmai National Park - Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska is world-renowned for its brown bears that while away their days fishing in the Brooks River. But the park also has a rich archaeological history, one that shows human life there dating back at least 4,500 years. In a recent blog post on the park's website, Kathryn Myers points out that the Brooks River area is a National Historic Landmark and an Archeological District consisting of 20 different prehistoric sites. The so-called "Cutbank site" is one of the largest archaeological sites in the Brooks River area. According to archaeologists, dozens of houses once stood there. A decade ago, the remains of the houses were little more than depressions in the ground, which the river was steadily eroding. Digs were started then to recover what artifacts and insights into the past could be obtained before erosion claimed the site. "Some of the artifacts found during this excavation were delicately designed incised pebbles," Ms. Myers noted in her post. "Thirty-eight incised pebbles were found during excavation—34 of which were from one feature. All of these local indurated sedimentary pebbles have stylized intricate anthropomorphic designs incised onto them. While all of the designs are of a similar style, no two pebbles are exactly the same. While it is impossible to postulate what design elements such as arcs, clusters, lines, dots, triangles, diagonals, and tree-like patterns might mean, archeologists have suggested that they could represent facial features such as eyebrows, eyes, or mouths or clothing and personal adornment such as headgear, necklaces, or jewelry. It is also possible these designs are not anthropomorphic at all but rather part of a counting or tallying system; or perhaps they represent mythical or magical creatures. Along the same lines, the function of these pebbles is impossible to determine. They do not appear to be tools, so perhaps they were either of a ceremonial function or game pieces. What is very interesting is that hundreds of these artifacts have been recovered from Kodiak Island in various sites, and similar pebbles have been excavated in Aniakchak National Monument. While the designs of the Kodiak and Aniakchak pebbles have different elements in them, they are similar, suggesting a similar function. Generally, the Kodiak and Aniakchak incised pebbles date to the Koniag period (AD 1300-1500). These similarities suggest a past connection between the people at Brooks River, Kodiak, and Aniakchak: Could the people of Brooks River be from Kodiak? Could the designs have been inspired by meetings between the Brooks villagers and those from Kodiak or Aniakchak? If so, did they meet frequently? Rarely? Were the meetings friendly?"