FRANCE – Rennes - A lead coffin housing the remarkably well-preserved body of a 17th century noble woman -- still wearing her shoes and cap -- has been unearthed in the northwestern French city of Rennes. The 1.45 metre (5 feet) corpse was discovered in a stone tomb in the chapel of the Saint-Joseph convent in March last year. The remains are most likely those of Louise de Quengo, a widow of Breton nobility who died in 1656 when she was in her 60s. The heart of her husband, Toussaint de Perrein, was found nearby, said archaeologists at a press conference Tuesday. The body was found at a construction site for a future convention centre. Four other lead coffins dating back to the 17th century were also found in the convent, along with 800 other graves, but they only contained skeletons, unlike the fully preserved Louise de Quenga.
ROYAUME UNI – Dun Deardail - The partnership will also be part of an archaeologic investigation in nearby Glen Nevis. It will join members of Forestry Commission Scotland and AOC Archaeology in excavations at Dun Deardail in August. The site is an Iron Age fort overlooking the glen. Its stones have been vitrified by the application of heat which archaeologists say must reach at least 1,000C. It lies just a couple of hundred metres from the route of the West Highland Way.
USA – Boston - Beginning tomorrow, June 2, Old City Hall will be the site of a new archaeological dig looking to unearth parts of the 17th century Boston Latin School and its Schoolmaster's house. The Boston Latin School, though it has since been relocated, is the oldest public school in the United States. Erected less than a decade after Boston's founding, the school has seen numerous notable names pass through its halls including Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The dig is focused finding the foundations of the Schoolmaster's house, where headmasters took residence from the 17th through 19th centuries, as well as the yard behind it. Archaeologists are hoping to uncover clues surrounding the families who lived there, some of whom are integral to Boston's history, and provide a clearer picture of what Boston was truly like during that time period. What they're exactly hoping to find, though, is a little more odd.
USA - Greenup - University of Kentucky anthropology doctoral students and professors played an instrumental role in the donation of a prehistoric Native American mound in Greenup County to the Archaeological Conservancy, a national nonprofit dedicated to acquiring and protecting endangered archaeological sites. Because the UK Office of State Archaeology did not have an Indian mound identified at that location, Kary Stackelbeck, site protection administrator at KHC; George Crothers, Kentucky's state archaeologist, associate professor of anthropology at UK and director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology; and UK doctoral student Stuart Nealis visited the site to determine if the mound was prehistoric. Their investigation indicated the mound was not a recent feature and at least one other smaller mound was located nearby. The elliptical mound measures approximately 20 feet high by 80 feet long. UK doctoral students Nealis and Barry Kidder examined sediment cores from the mound in UK anthropology professor Christopher Pool’s geoarchaeology class using geochemical, magnetic susceptibility and x-ray fluorescence techniques to study the construction history. Nealis and Kidder presented the results of their work at the Society for American Archaeology meetings last year in Austin, Texas. Preliminary results indicate the mound was last occupied 600 years ago, but may have been built as early as 2,000-2,500 years ago. Additional radiocarbon dating is planned to determine a more exact date for its initial construction. The Office of State Archaeology and UK students will continue their work this summer.
USA – New Orleans - New Orleans is a city that knows a bit about finding silver linings. So, when a historic building collapsed last October, the University of New Orleans’ Dr. Ryan Gray also received an opportunity. The urban archaeologist is now leading a team of students in a rare excavation within the French Quarter. he owners of 808 Royal Street reached out to the professor and invited him to see what he could find. So, Gray and a team of students performed some tests on the site and then started digging today. As Gray showed NoDef around the dig, he clutched a ream of historic maps and overlays, noting that the area was previously home to several structures. He explained, “One of our goals is to identify remains from these 18th Century buildings that extended into this lot. The lot lines have changed over time.” The UNO team believes that two formal constructions plus some temporary structures existed on the land. “The best case scenario would be to find really well preserved levels that we can differentiate between a 1731 structure that was here, a 1722 structure, and that earliest off-grid development when people were clearing the land.” The expert says that the building that collapsed was built around 1800 or 1801, but “because it was in place for so long, we’re hoping that it actually preserved the 18th century components really well.” The collapsed building essentially acted like a cork on a wine bottle and the crew is in the process of decanting the artifacts.