06/02/2020 NEWS




IRLANDE – Image 6 Connemara -  An archaeologist has said a site recently discovered in Connemara, Co Galway may have been a crannóg dating back over 4,000 years. Michael Gibbons said the site by the sea appeared to show signs it was a previous dwelling. “There may have been a lake here in the Bronze Age . . . There are crannóga around here, further west, so people lived here,” he said. A crannóg is a round dwelling built on a lake, typically found in marsh areas. Mr Gibbons said it would be very rare to find the remains of such a dwelling along the coast, due to the impact of rising sea levels over the centuries. Mr Gibbons, who previously worked as an archaeologist for the Office of Public Works, said the possible dwelling could date between 4,000 and 6,000 years old. Details of the archaeological find on the coastal location near Spiddal, Connemara, was first reported by RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. At “first glance” the wooden structure appeared to be a “crannóg type” dwelling, he said.nThe structure appeared to be wider than a bog road but needed to be excavated and examined further, he said. “Sometimes you find a bog road like this in the middle of the county, around Ballinasloe. it may be a bog road, but I think it’s more likely to be a dwelling place,” he said.


ROYAUME UNI – Coombe bisset Coombe Bisset - An English metal detectorist has found a rare coin proving old London did not fall to the West Saxons until later than currently thought. Buried about four inches deep, Andy Hall, 55, found the 1,300-year-old coin in January of 2016 on Wiltshire farmland at Coombe Bisset, to the southwest of Salisbury in  England. While the artifact’s authenticity had been doubted, with even the finder suspecting that it may have been a contemporary forgery, or what he calls a “19th century fantasy piece,” scientific tests on the silver coin have confirmed it is “95% per cent silver,” which is consistent with coins of the time. The controversy arises because the rare silver piece depicts the face of the Saxon king Ludica of Mercia who ruled for just one year from 826–827 AD. This little known Saxon king, Ludica, who ruled the kingdom that included London, or 'Lundenwic' as it was called at the time, challenges the mainstream historical theory that London had fallen to the Wessex King Ecgberht after the Battle of Ellendun in 825 AD. Mr. Hall's treasure determines Mercia still retained London in 826 AD and the city didn’t fall to the West Saxons until 827 AD. Featuring the bust of Ludica facing right, with the legend LUDICA REX MER, the reverse side of the coin has the inscription LUN/DONIA/CIVIT across three lines.  The coin shows that Mercia still retained London in 826 AD and that it did not fall under Ecgberht's control until after Ludica was killed in 827 AD


MEXIQUE – Tulun  Tulun - A new skeleton discovered in the submerged caves at Tulum sheds new light on the earliest settlers of Mexico, according to a study published February 5, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wolfgang Stinnesbeck from Universität Heidelberg, Germany. Humans have been living in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula since at least the Late Pleistocene (126,000-11,700 years ago). Much of what we know about these earliest settlers of Mexico comes from nine well-preserved human skeletons found in the submerged caves and sinkholes near Tulum in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Here, Stinnesbeck and colleagues describe a new, 30 percent-complete skeleton, 'Chan Hol 3', found in the Chan Hol underwater cave within the Tulum cave system. The authors used a non-damaging dating method and took craniometric measurements, then compared her skull to 452 skulls from across North, Central, and South America as well as other skulls found in the Tulum caves. The analysis showed Chan Hol 3 was likely a woman, approximately 30 years old at her time of death, and lived at least 9,900 years ago. Her skull falls into a mesocephalic pattern (neither especially broad or narrow, with broad cheekbones and a flat forehead), like the three other skulls from the Tulum caves used for comparison; all Tulum cave skulls also had tooth caries, potentially indicating a higher-sugar diet. This contrasts with most of the other known American crania in a similar age range, which tend to be long and narrow, and show worn teeth (suggesting hard foods in their diet) without cavities Though limited by the relative lack of archeological evidence for early settlers across the Americas, the authors suggest that these cranial patterns suggest the presence of at least two morphologically different human groups living separately in Mexico during this shift from the Pleistocene to the Holocene (our current epoch). The authors add: "The Tulúm skeletons indicate that either more than one group of people reached the American continent first, or that there was enough time for a small group of early settlers who lived isolated on the Yucatán peninsula to develop a different skull morphology. The early settlement history of America thus seems to be more complex and, moreover, to have occurred at an earlier time than previously assumed."


ISRAEL – Babydates all x - Scientists have cultivated plants from date palm seeds that languished in ancient ruins and caves for 2,000 years. From those date palm saplings, the researchers have begun to unlock the secrets of the highly sophisticated cultivation practices that produced the dates praised by Herodotus, Galen, and Pliny the Elder. "The current study sheds light on the origins of the Judean date palm, suggesting that its cultivation, benefiting from genetically distinct eastern and western populations, arose from local or introduced eastern varieties, which only later were crossed with western varieties," "These findings are consistent with Judea's location between east-west date palm diversification areas, ancient centres of date palm cultivation, and the impact of human dispersal routes at this crossroads of continents." In an ancient palace fortress built by King Herod the Great, and caves located in southern Israel between the Judean Hills and the Dead Sea, archaeologists retrieved hundreds of seeds from the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). First, they collected fragments of the seed shells still clinging to the roots of the plants. These were perfect for radiocarbon dating - which confirmed the seeds date back to between 1,800 and 2,400 years ago. Then, the researchers could conduct genetic analyses of the plants themselves, comparing them to a genetic database of current data palms. This showed exchanges of genetic material from eastern date palms from the Middle East, and western date palms from North Africa. This suggests sophisticated agricultural practices - deliberate breeding to introduce desirable traits into the cultivated trees. "Described by classical writers including Theophrastus, Herodotus, Galen, Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and Josephus, these valuable plantations produced dates attributed with various qualities including large size, nutritional and medicinal benefits, sweetness, and a long storage life, enabling them to be exported throughout the Roman Empire," the researchers wrote. "Several types of Judean dates are also described in antiquity including the exceptionally large 'Nicolai' variety measuring up to 11 centimetres (4.3 inches)." Indeed, the researchers found that the ancient seeds were up to 30 percent larger than date seeds today, which probably meant the fruit was larger, too. The research has been published in Science Advances.


ROYAUME UNI – 3874 Lindisfarme - A tiny piece of worked glass unearthed during an excavation on Lindisfarne has been revealed to be a rare archaeological treasure linking the Northumbrian island with the Vikings, from the very beginning of one of the most turbulent periods in English history. Archaeologists believe the object, made from swirling blue and white glass with a small “crown” of white glass droplets, is a gaming piece from the Viking board game Hnefatafl, or a local version of the game. Whether dropped on the island by a Norse raider or owned by a high-status local imitating their customs, the gaming piece offers a rare tangible link between Lindisfarne’s Anglo-Saxon monastery and the culture that eventually overwhelmed it. Lindisfarne is arguably best known for its spectacular illuminated gospels, which were created in the early eighth century in the island’s first monastery. But to historians, “Holy Island” also has immense significance as the site, in AD793, of the first major Viking raid in Britain or Ireland, launching almost three centuries of destruction and occupation that dramatically shaped English history. The exact location of the early wooden monastery is not known – ruins visible on the island today are from a later priory – but recent excavations on the island by archaeologists and volunteers from. DigVentures have located a cemetery and at least one building. The gaming piece, discovered last summer, came from a trench that has been dated to the eighth to ninth centuries, according to the project’s lead archaeologist, David Petts, putting it squarely in the most notorious period of the island’s history, around the time of the raid. Even if the game was being played by wealthy monks or pilgrims before the Vikings attacked, he says, it shows the influence that Norse culture already had across the north Atlantic.