Category Archives: ENGLAND

Sunken 17th-Century ‘Pirate Ship’ Discovered in Cornwall coast of England

Sunken 17th-Century ‘Pirate Ship’ Discovered in Cornwall coast of England

The two hand grenades.
The two hand grenades.

Hand grenades and cannons from the pirate ship’s wreck were found along the Cornwall coast in the United Kingdom from the 17th century.

Divers spotted artifacts from the wreck of the Schiedam, which sank off the coast in 1684 after some storms disturbed the sand that covered the objects on the seafloor.

According to Live Science, the Schiedam, originally a Dutch merchant ship, was taken by Barbary Pirates as a prize in 1683 and was subsequently seized by the Royal Navy and used for transport.

IFL Science reported, “The last of her days were spent as a transport vessel in the English Royal Navy before sinking to the seabed amid a storm on April 4, 1684, while loaded with ammunition from a failed British colony in North Africa.

It’s believed locals looted most of the wreckage, however, evidently, some of its treasures remain.”

A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs by Laureys a Castro, c. 1681.
A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs by Laureys a Castro, c. 1681.

The wreck was rediscovered about two years ago.Local historian and author Robert Felce told Fox News that he found one hand grenade in November 2018 at Dollar Cove on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula.

Felce found a similar grenade at the site in May 2017.“I don’t use a metal detector – I use sight,” he explained. “I have become accustomed to what a lot of these things look like.”

The two 17th century hand grenades each consisted of a hollow iron shell filled with gunpowder.Felce told Live Science that he was a frequent visitor to the beach, which is exposed to strong waves from the Atlantic.

Both objects were heavily encrusted after lying on the seafloor for more than 300 years, and “Felce said he at first thought the latest grenade was an ordinary rock until he slipped and dropped it, and it broke open, revealing the two halves of the metal weapon and the explosive powder inside.”

Although the gunpowder in the grenade was damp and centuries’ old, he reported the find to the local police, who called in bomb-disposal experts from the Army to ensure that it was safe to handle.

The Schiedam was first discovered in 1971 by divers near the coast of Cornwall at a depth of 13 to 22 feet. Previous dives revealed an arsenal of weapons in the wreck, including numerous iron canons and carriage wheels.

A magnetometer survey in 1985 suggests that as many as 15 iron cannons may be buried under the sand.

David Gibbons of Cornwall Maritime Archaeology recently snapped a series of 3D photogrammetry images of the rediscovered wreckage.“The Schiedam is a fascinating wreck because it was carrying goods back in 1684 from the English colony of Tangier [Morocco], which had been abandoned to the Moors,” Gibbons told Cornwall Live.

“It represents a pivotal moment in history because the failure of Tangier led the English to look to Bombay instead.”Gibson continued: “Had the English succeeded in carving out a commercial enclave in North Africa and focusing their interests in the Mediterranean instead of in India, then the world would have been a very different place today.”

When the ship ran aground, there were no fatalities, which was unusual.“Because it was a government-owned ship by this time, they wanted to get as much of the cargo off, because it was ordnance,” Felce said in an interview.

“They had to draw on companies [of soldiers] from [the neighboring county of] Devon. These people salvaged as much as they could.”

3D photogrammetry of timber and stone from the ship’s wreck.
3D photogrammetry of timber and stone from the ship’s wreck.

British Soldiers Find The Remains And Sword Of A Rich Saxon Warrior

British Soldiers Find The Remains And Sword Of A Rich Saxon Warrior

Salisbury plains on a stormy summers day, Wiltshire, England.

Salisbury Plain is a large, open land area in Wiltshire, England covering approximately 300 square miles (775 square km).

In addition to being the British Army’s largest training ground, Stonehenge is also home to one of the UK’s most famous sites.

But Salisbury Plain also bears many other ancient sites, including Barrow Clump, which recently found the remains of ancient inhabitants.

About 3.5 miles from Amesbury, Barrow Clump is only one of what were once several barrows that made up what is called a bowl barrow.

It was built in the Bronze Age but was later re-used as an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the 6th century. Barrow Clump is the only surviving barrow, the others having long since been ploughed over.

Saxon spear from the burial.
Saxon spear from the burial. 

Recently, an archaeological dig was conducted in the area. What makes this dig particularly interesting is that is was done as a part of Operation Nightingale – an initiative by the military that uses archaeology to assist in the recovery of service personnel who were injured in recent conflicts such as Afghanistan.

Salisbury Plain is an important ecosystem, but also an incredibly significant historic site, and Wessex Archaeology has been working with the Defence Infrastructure Organization to protect it.

One of the major threats to the archaeological remains on the plain is not necessarily military exercises, however; it is burrowing animals, of which there are many, especially badgers.

This was the case at Barrow Clump, where the burrowing of these animals was bringing bones and grave items to the surface, and which would eventually lead to the destruction of the site altogether.

Wessex Archaeology was invited by the Defence Infrastructure Organization to oversee an excavation at the burial ground, the aim of which was to record and recover the Anglo-Saxon burials that were at risk, and investigate what Bronze Age burials were still there.

30 military personnel were involved in the dig, and 75 Anglo-Saxon graves were excavated – including that of an Anglo-Saxon warrior, found on the last day of excavation.

A skull excavated at Barrow Clump in Salisbury Plain.
A skull excavated at Barrow Clump in Salisbury Plain.

It was evident immediately that the remains were those of a warrior. He was found with a spear by his side, and a sword in his arms, which was actually still in one piece and included traces of the wood and leather scabbard.

His possessions included a belt buckle, knife, and tweezers, which were in a rather good condition despite having been underneath a military pathway. Also found with him were pattern-welded swords, which were indicative of the warrior once having a high status among his people.

Those who found him – participants in Operation Nightingale – were moved, as they felt they might have had some shared experiences.

According to Richard Osgood, senior archaeologist with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, “It was a classic last day of the dig find – there was such a buzz across the site, the soldiers definitely had a sense of kinship.”The warrior was found by using a metal detector for a final sweep of the site and gave off an unusually strong signal.

Osgood has stated that the site was generally better preserved than the ploughed fields outside of the army area: “We found one grave directly below the track, and the skull, only five centimeters down, hadn’t even been cracked – so from a curatorial point of view that was very reassuring.”

Remains of a young boy
Remains of a young boy

Together with the warrior, the excavation uncovered many other Saxon burials, including men, situated around the edges of the site, with women and children in the center.

Grave goods were also recovered, including weaponry, jewelry, and a large amber bead, buried with a young girl.

One of the graves without any other items simply and poignantly contained the remains of a young boy, curled up as if sleeping.

Osgood believes those buried at the site came from a settlement in a nearby valley: “It’s that Saxon thing of looking up the hill and knowing your ancestors are up there on a site that was already ancient and special.”Operation Nightingale has been so successful that several of its veterans have retrained as professional archaeologists.

The finds from the dig have been taken by Wessex Archaeology for more study and conservation, and will eventually find homes in the Wiltshire Museum in nearby Devizes. The Badgers are, according to Osgoode, “happily back in residence in the barrow now.”

Source: realmofhistory

Oxford medieval road discovered under a field near Willow Walk

Oxford medieval road discovered under a field near Willow Walk

The unearthed causeway is made of rounded river pebbles, limestone and chalk rocks
The unearthed causeway is made of rounded river pebbles, limestone and chalk rocks

A ‘REMARKABLY intact’ Medieval stone causeway with horseshoes still lying on top of it has been uncovered beneath a field in Oxford.

Made of rounded river pebbles, limestone and chalk rocks, the cobbled road still has ruts in its surface made by cartwheels more than 500 years ago.

The pathway, next to Willow Walk, between Oatlands recreation ground in Botley and North Hinksey Lane, is one of several surprising discoveries made by archaeologists working on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Over the past three months, the team from Oxford Archaeology dug some 200 trenches along the three-mile route of the proposed £120m flood channel from Botley Road to South Hinksey.

Another of the most exciting finds which could change the history of Oxford was evidence of Iron or Bronze Age roundhouses in a field near South Hinksey – which could date back as far as 4,000 years.

Oxford Archaeology project manager Ben Ford said: “This was a totally unexpected find.

“There are a number of roundhouses suggesting a small settlement which probably extends under South Hinksey.”

Fragments of pottery and animal bones will be examined over the coming weeks using radiocarbon dating, which will confirm the age of the discoveries.

Mr. Ford said: “We’re very excited about the prospect of further work on these roundhouse findings – especially the possibility they indicate that there has been a settlement at South Hinksey from the Bronze Age – we didn’t know that before.”In another area, the digging revealed an ancient track which seems to point towards New Hinksey.

The investigations are the first opportunity archaeologists have had to study this area of the Oxford floodplain in detail, and Mr. Ford said: “This gives us an unprecedented insight into the history of part of Oxford.”

The team found 6,000-year-old Mesolithic flints which will help develop an understanding of hunter-gatherers who lived in what is now Oxford.

With excavations now finished, the archaeologists hope to produce a final report early next year.

The archaeology has been funded by the Environment Agency in preparation for constructing the three-mile Oxford flood alleviation channel.

Uncertainty still hangs over the funding for the scheme, after the EA warned in September that it still needed to find the final £4.35m ‘by November’ or the scheme may have to be scrapped

Source: bbc

London: Crossrail dig unearths 13,000 Victorian jam jars

London: Crossrail dig unearths 13,000 Victorian jam jars

Marmalade was one of the condiments produced in the factory by Crosse & Blackwel

Marmalade was one of the condiments produced in the factory by Crosse & Blackwel

When the London Archeology Museum (MOLA) investigated the site of a proposed new London train station, they did not expect to find a stash of over 13,000 smashed pickling pots and jam jars dating back to the 1900s.

The stash was discovered during the construction of the railway station under an old nightclub. The area used to be a dumping ground for rejection from a factory that stood on the site until 1921 in Crosse & Blackwell (a British specialty food company).

The find included over 13,000 various containers. They ranged from bottles of mushroom catsup (a popular Victorian condiment) Piccalilli pots, and jars for marmalade and jam. All of them were discovered in a cistern that stood beneath the factory’s warehouse.

Nigel Jeffries, an archaeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology, explained that the cistern used to be filled with water during the factory’s production.

It was built in order to power the steam engines in the factory, but when the building was redesigned in the 1870s, the cistern became obsolete. After that, the cistern was used as a landfill by the Victorians.

Mushroom Catsup was popular with Victorians

Mushroom Catsup was popular with Victorians

While it may seem strange that archaeologists would want to dig up the Victorian trash pile, a person’s trash can tell us a lot about how they lived. Trash piles are a historian’s treasure.

This discovery is helping researchers learn more about “the tastes and palates of the Victorians”, Nigel Jeffries pointed out.

Crosse & Blackwell were based in this area of London between 1830 and 1921, right smack dab in the middle of the industrial revolution and the Victorian era.

Records of the factory say it produced “a very distinctive pungency to the surrounding atmosphere”, which is saying a lot considering it was hard to smell anything during that time period through London’s notorious smog.

The find was originally made by London’s Crossrail Project, a government-funded project that’s revolutionizing London’s train system and building a new railway for the city.

Due to the nature of the project, they have to do a lot of digging, and they’ve dug up all sorts of archaeological finds recently, including several skeletons dating back to the Black Plague, an entire mass-grave dating back to the Dark Ages, and some history of Bedlam Hospital. They’re taking great pains to ensure that no British history is lost in the construction of the new rail line.

These decorative jars were used to sell preserved ginger

These decorative jars were used to sell preserved ginger

Source: bbc

Traces of York’s First Railway Station Uncovered

Traces of York’s First Railway Station Uncovered

A fragment of the old York station.
A fragment of the old York station. 

During Construction Work on A New Housing Development in York’s historic English city, crews uncovered the remains of the very first railway station in the city.

According to Minster FM, a team from LS Archaeology, along with workers from Squibb Demolition, oversaw excavation of a layer of the site containing remnants of the historic structure, including platforms, train turntables, auxiliary buildings, and drainage systems.

The station was built in the 1840s, mostly from wood. The more durable remains were buried and preserved beneath more recent development.

Although the structure represented the vision of the 19th-century architect George Townsend Andrews, a man named George Hudson was the primary force behind the establishment of the station.

Known as “The Railway King,” Hudson was pivotal in framing and developing York as a transportation hub.

In 1833, Hudson became the largest shareholder in a railway line that would link his city to Leeds and Selby.

With this influence, he was able to route the line heading from Newcastle to London so that it passed through York.

Passengers would no longer simply bypass the walled city—a boon for its economic prospects.

By 1837, Hudson had become the chairman of the York & North Midland Railway Company, and within seven years, he controlled more than 1,000 miles of tracks.

The station eventually became obsolete; a new station was built around 1877.

One of the more pristine artifacts unearthed at the site, a train turntable, used to rotate entire locomotives and cars to go back the way they came or shuffle them off in another direction, will be included in the final landscaping of the new development.

Source: minsterfm

A 4,000-Year-Old skeleton discovered in Northern England

A 4,000-Year-Old skeleton discovered in Northern England

Workers uncovered the remains while converting a former stable block
Workers uncovered the remains while converting a former stable block

Builders working on a hotel in rural Northumberland have discovered human remains thought to be about 4,000 years old. 

The Tankerville Arms in Wooler was undergoing renovation work when they unearthed a Bronze Age stone burial chamber – or cist.

A digger driver was laying drainage pipes when he struck the stone made coffin before moving the cover slab back to see the hollow inside.

 Human remains thought to be about 4,000 years old have been discovered by builders working on a hotel in rural Northumberland. The Tankerville Arms in Wooler was undergoing renovation work when they unearthed a Bronze Age stone burial chamber - or cist
Human remains thought to be about 4,000 years old have been discovered by builders working on a hotel in rural Northumberland. The Tankerville Arms in Wooler was undergoing renovation work when they unearthed a Bronze Age stone burial chamber – or cist

Inside were human remains in a crouched burial position with a small, ‘beautifully fashioned flint knife’ found by the legs of the skeleton.

Archaeologists are examining it to find out the sex of the single skeleton and whether other remains lie around the site.

The team, from Northumberland County Council’s current estimates, suggest the cist dates from some time between 2,200BC and 1,750BC.   

Local archaeologist Roger Miket said the cist is formed of four upright stones with the cover slab on top.’ 

‘It may have been a woman because they were buried on their right side with their head to the west, although we can’t be certain until further analysis is done.

‘It also seems to have been charred so that is an interesting insight into the burial process, he said.

‘Of course, we have no idea of their religious beliefs but we have the symbols which give us some idea of what they thought so we know they believed in the afterlife. 

He said that the knife would have been a precious item at the time of the burial and was included in the grave for use in the afterlife.

Charlotte Lowery, the hotel manager said: ‘It’s been a very exciting few days here. It’s an amazing discovery. 

‘We’re having six self-contained holiday cottages built and the builders were just laying the last drain and came across a very flat, large stone and it became apparent it shouldn’t have been there.’ 

Northumbria has numerous archaeologically important sites from prehistoric cup and ring motifs, henges and hillforts including Ad Gedfrin, the palace of the ancient kings. 

Archaeologists are examining it to find out the sex of the single skeleton and whether other remains lie around the site. The team, from Northumberland County Council's current estimates suggest the cist dates from some time between 2,200BC and 1,750BC
Archaeologists are examining it to find out the sex of the single skeleton and whether other remains lie around the site. The team, from Northumberland County Council’s current estimates suggest the cist dates from some time between 2,200BC and 1,750BC

Source: bbc

The rare 13th century King John Royal Charter found in British Ushaw College Library

The rare 13th century King John Royal Charter found in British Ushaw College Library

 Dr Benjamin Pohl said the newly discovered charter could now be compared with an existing example
Dr Benjamin Pohl said the newly discovered charter could now be compared with an existing example

A rare original royal charter from the first year of King John’s reign has been discovered in Durham.

The document carries John’s seal, who reigned from 1199 to 1216, and was issued on March 26, 1200 in York — exactly 819 years ago.

It was found in the archives of Durham University’s Ushaw College Library.

Fewer than a dozen original charters have survived from the 1st year of King John’s reign.

Dr. Benjamin Pohl, a senior lecturer in Medieval History at Bristol University, came across the charter by chance while examining medieval manuscripts at Ushaw College.

He said the document was carefully prepared and written in what was known as a “court hand”, probably by a member of the king’s government department or chancery.

The charter was found in the library of Ushaw College

Dr. Pohl said: “Discovering the original charter is extremely exciting, not least because it allows us to develop a fuller picture of the people who were present at York on 26 March 1200 and eager to do business with the new king.

“Medieval charters are important not just because of the legal acts they contain, but also for what they can tell us about the society and political culture at the time.

“Our charter might best be described, therefore, as a kind of ‘who’s who’ of Northern England at the turn of the 13th Century.

“The document confirmed the granting of possessions in County Durham, namely the two hamlets of Cornsay and Hedley Hill, to Walter of Caen and Robert FitzRoger, Lord of Warkworth and Sherriff of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Walter and Robert were nephews of Simon, a chamberlain of Durham who had originally received the grants from his bishop, Hugh de Puiset, sometime before 1183, but who later decided to part with the bequests in order to provide for his two younger relatives.

Ushaw College Library is regularly used by visiting scholars
Ushaw College Library is regularly used by visiting scholars

Prof David Cowling, pro-vice-chancellor for arts and humanities at Durham University, said: “For one of our visiting fellows to identify an item from the collection as a previously uncatalogued medieval royal charter is a wonderful example of the benefits and advances that can be made by working and exploring our archives together.

“The bishop’s charter, recording the original grants to Simon, is also held at Durham, allowing the two original documents to be compared and studied side-by-side for the first time.

Source: chroniclelive