06 DECEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Beckery - Llanfaethlu - Gila Bend - York - Ribe -
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ROYAUME UNI – Beckery – The remains of the earliest monastery in the British Isles have been unveiled in Somerset. Excavations at Beckery, near Glastonbury, and radiocarbon dating of bodies in the monastic cemetery have shown it began in the 5th or early 6th Centuries AD, before Somerset was conquered by the Saxon kings of Wessex in the 7th Century. It re-investigated the site of a medieval chapel that was first excavated in the 1880s by John Morland and again in the 1960s by Philip Rahtz.The 1960s excavation uncovered an extensive cemetery of at least 50 bodies. Almost all were adult males, leaving little doubt that this was a monastic graveyard. The only exceptions were two juveniles who may have been novices and a woman who may have been a patron or a visiting nun. The new excavation uncovered some of those skeletons to allow scientific dating. Seven individuals were dated, six from graves and one from human bone found in the backfill of the 1960s dig. The earliest monks died in the 5th or early 6th centuries AD, with burials continuing in the 7th to early 9th centuries. These dates provide the earliest archaeological evidence for monasticism in the British Isles. The monastic use of the site may have ended in the later 9th century when Somerset was attacked by Viking armies. The ancient origins of the Beckery site may explain why later medieval writers linked it to figures such as King Arthur and Saint Brigit.
ROYAUME UNI – Llanfaethlu: Two partial sets of human remains have been found at a massive neolithic site on Anglesey. Archaeologists have also unearthed a fourth house from the period at the Llanfaethlu dig. CR Archeology have been working at the site since late 2014 and have called the discoveries made there "unparalleled". More than 6,000 artefacts have been recovered which is the most of any Prehistoric site in North Wales and these include a massive range of pottery styles from both the neolithic and Bronze age. The discovery of two partial sets of human remains could cause a "revolution" in how historians view the origins of North Wales agriculture, say CR Archeology. Archaeologist Catherine Rees said: "Human remains are incredibly rare outside of megalithic tombs in this area as bone seldom survives in North Wales. "Several teeth have been recovered which will enable scientists to discover more about Anglesey’s first farmers." Teeth hold vital information about the individual’s diet and contain details of where the person grew up. Further analysis will show what the people of Llanfaethlu were eating 6000 years ago and whether they grew up in North Wales or had moved in from further afield.
USA – Gila Bend - A myriad of peoples have lived here over the centuries, like Yuman-speaking Native Americans and their ancestors, called the Patayan, but now there’s hardly any signs of civilization out here. For a while, a lone power line marked the path, but on top of the mesa that is serving as our parking spot, it truly feels like we’re out in the middle of nowhere. The cliff face is completely covered in humanoid figures, hands, snakes, big horn sheep, suns and so many more images that are indistinguishable. More than 100,000 are estimated to decorate the rocks along the lower Gila. Some are cut through with faint scratches. It’s not graffiti, Wright explains, but a possible indigenous tradition to access the spiritual power within the petroglyphs. Scratching through the art was intended to release the energy. Because of their color and proximity to village remnants in the floodplain, he estimates that the majority of the petroglyphs are between 500 and 1,000 years old.
ROYAUME UNI – York - Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an ancient wall in the courtyard of the Grand Hotel and Spa York. The wall is believed to date back to the early Roman era and was found during ground works for the hotels new extension - appropriately named Roman House.The wall has been assessed by a team from On-Site Archaeology and the City Archaeologist, and will remain buried to protect it from construction work. While only a short length of wall was uncovered, the surveying team believe it likely formed part of a large public building. Whether it would be intact is questionable, as a series of Victorian cellars were built on the site and could have disturbed the structure.
DANEMARK – Ribe - Archaeologists have today started extensive excavation works in a field near Ribe in south Jutland where three amateur archaeologists uncovered Denmark’s largest gold treasure from the Viking era earlier this year. On October 30, one of the amateur archaeologists found yet another golden artefact in the field: a broken pendant representing the upper part of Thor’s hammer. The pendant has been dated to around 950, and it is believed it was attached to a chain that was found in 1911. “It is of such a fine quality – unparalleled to anything we have found in Scandinavia,” Bo Ejstrud, the head of Sønderskov Museum, told Kristteligt Dagblade. . According to Ejstrud, the large amount of golden and silver objects uncovered at the site suggests that it used to be a very wealthy settlement. “The museum will now carry out a follow-up excavation that will hopefully give us more information about the place, and perhaps we’ll find even more treasures.” In June, three amateur archaeologists found seven 10th century arm bangles in the field between Fæsted and Harreby. Six of the bangles were made of gold and the other of silver, and their total weight was about 900 grams.