Category Archives: ENGLAND

Rare Bone Disease Detected in Medieval Skeletons

Medieval skeletons reveal an ancient and unusual form of bone disease that caused people to die as young as 35 Uncovered at Nottingham, England

Paget's disease of bone is a common disorder that interferes with the body's natural bone recycling process. It causes new bone to be generated faster than normal — but such is softer and weaker than it should be (Pictured: a collarbone showing visible signs of the condition)
Paget’s disease of bone is a common disorder that interferes with the body’s natural bone recycling process. It causes new bone to be generated faster than normal — but such is softer and weaker than it should be (Pictured: a collarbone showing visible signs of the condition)

According to a new archeological study, skeletons excavated from Norton Priory in England contain a rare and unusually aggressive form of bone disease similar to the disease of Paget.

Paget’s bone disease is a chronic disorder that gradually replaces old bone tissue with new bone tissue. The new replacement tissue, however, is weak, making some bones easy to fracture, break, and damage.

The earliest reports of Paget’s disease were found in ancient Roman remains, but little is known about the history, origin, and evolution of the disease.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham and a team of collaborators analyzed excavated remains from the priory dating back to the Medieval period. Six out of the 130 skeletons excavated contained a strange form of Paget’s.

As much as 75 percent of the skeletons of some individuals were affected by the disease.

The researchers also calculated an age of death as low as 35 for some of the individuals directly due to the disease.“We identify an ancient and atypical form of Paget’s disease of bone (PDB) in a collection of medieval skeletons exhibiting unusually extensive pathological changes, high disease prevalence, and low age-at-death estimations,” the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team sequenced DNA from the preserved remains and used RNA and protein analysis to identify an ancient protein similar to one called p62, which plays a fundamental role in Paget’s disease today.“

Detection of ancient p62 as one of the few noncollagenous proteins in skeletal samples (bones and teeth) based on a combination of peptide sequencing and Western blotting is strongly indicative of a diagnosis of PDB…,” the researchers wrote.

Paget’s disease is believed to have originated in Western Europe and the UK.

Part of Hadrian’s Wall is discovered in Newcastle city center in England

Part of Hadrian’s Wall is discovered in Newcastle city center in England

It’s been 65 years since Hadrian’s Wall was last discovered in the city
It’s been 65 years since Hadrian’s Wall was last discovered in the city

During site investigations, Hadrians ‘ Wall was uncovered as part of a scheme to revive a historic building in downtown Newcastle.

The section of the wall has been revealed outside the Mining Institute on Westgate Road. It was reportedly last seen during an excavation on the site in 1952.

But Simon Brooks, acting general manager of the Mining Institute, said: “There was some controversy about whether the Wall had been found. A lot of people were sceptical but now we have proof positive and we are delighted.”Site investigations are being carried out by Newcastle-based The Archaeological Practice.

Archaeologist Alan Rushworth said: “Various people had cast doubts about what had been found in 1952 but this now adds a lot more precision about the course of the wall.”

Nick Hodgson, the author of the new book, Hadrian’s Wall on Tyneside, said: “It is wonderful to see the wall again in the center of Newcastle.”

Simon Brooks showing the section of Hadrian's Wall that's been found on Westgate Road outside the Mining Institute (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
Simon Brooks showing the section of Hadrian’s Wall that’s been found on Westgate Road outside the Mining Institute

The wall has also been previously located under the Coopers Mart building at the bottom of Westgate Road, now occupied by Ryder Architecture.

The remains of a milecastle – a small Roman fort – have also been found near Newcastle Arts Centre on Westgate Road. The investigations have also uncovered the 6ft wide foundations of Westmoreland House, which was demolished to make way for the Mining Institute building in Neville Hall, which opened in 1872.

The origins of the house, which was the property of the powerful Neville family, date from the 14th century and what has been revealed is probably the base of a wing from the 17th century.

A dig inside the institute has revealed a cellar of Westmoreland House, which had been filled in with slag to level the ground after the demolition of the building probably from industrial works in what is now known as the Stephenson Quarter.

Mixed with slag is waste such as animal bones, oyster shells and clay pipes.“It looks like they are using whatever they could get their hands on to fill in the cellars,” said Alan.

It was unearthed outside the Mining Institute in Newcastle
It was unearthed outside the Mining Institute in Newcastle

Last year, the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers won a £600,000 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to pave the way for a bid next year for more than £4m for a project which involves:

1. The restoration of the exterior of the institute’s grade II-star listed Neville Hall along with the renovation of interior rooms, including the sumptuous Nicholas Wood Memorial Hall and the Edwardian lecture theatre 

2. The preservation and celebration of the institute’s industrial and engineering heritage and the genius of the early pioneers and entrepreneurs whose skill, knowledge and invention were exported around the world

3. Digitization of its unique archive, creating online access for research into one of the most important collections in the world for the study of the Industrial Revolution

4. Exploration and development of a programme aimed at ensuring that the institute and its heritage are better understood by the communities of the North, as well as the promotion of engineering careers and apprenticeships

5. Securing a future role for the institute through a proposed Common Room of the Great North to provide meeting spaces for the region and promoting – in the building and online – a programme of debates, conferences, seminars and events that contribute to the economic, social, environmental and cultural life of the North East.

A Massive Roman Villa Has Been Found In Oxfordshire, England

A Massive Roman Villa Has Been Found In Oxfordshire, England

In Oxfordshire, the second largest Roman villa ever found in England, the remains of a huge Roman villa dating back to 99 AD have been discovered.

As part of a four-month excavation project, archeologists excavated the remains of the historic building, which is believed to be larger than the Taj Mahal mausoleum.

The foundation measures 278 feet by 278 feet. The findings so far include coins and boar tusks alongside a sarcophagus that contains the skeletal remains of an unnamed woman.

“Amateur detectorist and historian Keith Westcott discovered the ancient remains beneath a crop in a field near Broughton Castle near Banbury,” according to HiTech.

Westcott, 55, decided to investigate the site after hearing that a local farmer, John Taylor, had plowed his tractor into a large stone in 1963. Taylor said he saw a hole had been made in the stone and when he reached inside, he pulled out a human bone.

Broughton Castle.
Broughton Castle.

This was the woman’s body — experts believe she died in the 3rd century. The land previously belonged to Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, the parents of Martin Fiennes, who now owns the land.

The Daily Mail reports that Martin Fiennes “works as a principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation and is the second cousin of British explorer Ranulph Fiennes and third cousin of actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.”

According to the Daily Mail, Westcott had a “eureka moment” when he found “a 1,800 year-old tile from a hypocaust system, which was an early form of central heating used in high-status Roman buildings.”

The 85m by 85m (278ft x 278ft) foundations date back to 99 AD and were discovered beneath a crop in a field near Broughton
The 85m by 85m (278ft x 278ft) foundations date back to 99 AD and were discovered beneath a crop in a field near Broughton.

Using X-ray techniques such as magnetometry, the walls, room outlines, ditches, and other infrastructures were revealed. The villa’s accommodation would have included a bath-house with a domed roof, mosaics, a grand dining room, and kitchens.

The largest Roman villa previously found in England is the Fishbourne Palace in West Sussex, which dates back to 75 AD.

Archaeological excavation
Archaeological excavation

The palace at Fishbourne was one of the most noteworthy structures in Roman Britain. Only discovered in the 1960s, the site has been extensively excavated, revealing that it was originally a military site. Lying close to the sea, Fishbourne was ideal as a depot to support Roman campaigns in the area.

Built on four sides around a central garden, the site covered about two hectares, which is the size of two soccer fields. The building itself had about 100 rooms, many with mosaics. The best-known mosaic is the Cupid on a Dolphin. Some of the red stones are made from pieces of red gloss pottery, most likely imported from Gaul.

Roman conquest of Britain.
Roman conquest of Britain.

The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD, during the reign of Claudius. For the Claudian invasion, an army of 40,000 professional soldiers — half citizen-legionaries, half auxiliaries recruited on the wilder fringes of the empire — were landed in Britain under the command of Aulus Plautius.

Archaeologists debate where they landed. It could have been Richborough in Kent, Chichester in Sussex, or perhaps both. Somewhere, perhaps on the River Medway, they fought a great battle and defeated the Catuvellauni, the tribe that dominated the southeast.

By the middle of 3rd century AD, however, the boom was over, and the focus was defense. Walls were built around the towns, transforming them into fortresses. Inside the complexes, a slow decline began.

Public buildings were boarded up and old mansions crumbled. By about 425 AD at the latest, Britain had ceased to be in any sense Roman. Towns and villas had been abandoned, and barter had replaced the money.

Source: dailymail

Oldest hand-written Roman document discovered in London

An oldest hand-written Roman document discovered in London

This tablet was found in a layer dated by MOLA to AD 43-53 so is thought to have been from the Romans' first decade of rule.
This tablet was found in a layer dated by MOLA to AD 43-53 so is thought to have been from the Romans’ first decade of rule.

Archeologists announced the findings of a dig in London as the first ever written roman record in a recent discovery. The record is handwritten and is Britain’s oldest written roman document discovered.

The nature of the contents of the documents was revealed after The Museum of London Archaeology undertook the project of deciphering the document; the record is dated January 8, AD 57. The discovery was made in a dig at Bloomberg’s new headquarters.

MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) has also claimed that a team of experts has successfully translated the documents with oldest reference to the modern city of London.

The dig at the Bloomberg’s produced some 700 big and small artefacts; including financial transactions and some schooling referencing. All artefacts and their translation will go on display by the Museum of London Archaeology.

The significance of the documents is paramount; according to MOLA these writings shed light on the early life of the London city. These documents also provide a detailed understanding of the mindset of the early inhabitants of the city who worked, lived and practically made the early London.

The recent findings containing the earliest reference to the city of London beats the Tacitus’ mention of London which was written some 50 years later from the Bloomberg’s documents.

he letters on this tablet show part of the alphabet: “ABCDIIFGHIKLMNOPQRST”

he letters on this tablet show part of the alphabet: “ABCDIIFGHIKLMNOPQRST” 

The director at MOLA Sophie Jackson said that the findings far exceeded the earlier expectations by the experts. She added that archaeologists now have a plethora of documents to form a framework of understanding about the early Roman Britons.

One of the most talked about and perhaps the most readable of all tablets, is thought to have been produced between 43-53 AD according to MOLA experts. It is also highly likely that it is from the first decade of the Roman’s rule over Britain and provides a glimpse into people’s behaviour towards financial transaction.

The documents is an excerpt of a letter perhaps written to a lender in which the scribe is warning the lender to be more mindful of the fact that he has given some loud mouth people loan for their business in the market; and that those people are now boasting around exposing his status.

Unlike the other ancient tablets, these tablets are mostly made of wood, which are then covered with blackened beeswax. The beeswax did not survive the wear and tear; however it did serve as a protection over the wooden tablets and leaving the marking of the writings over the wax on the wooden surface below.

Another factor that highly contributed towards the protection of the tablets was the fact that these were mostly buried under the mud created by the water from Walbrook River.

Over 400 tablets were found at the site, 87 of which have been deciphered

Over 400 tablets were found at the site, 87 of which have been deciphered 

After the initial excavation was finished, the tablets were kept in water for some period before they were thoroughly cleaned and freeze-dried; in order to get the better sight of the etching on the wood.

The head of the translation project at MOLA Dr. Roger Tomlin who translated most of the tablets expressed immense gratitude on eavesdropping on the lives of the earliest Brits. Members of the public could see these tablets on display along with their translation in The London Museum Exhibition in autumn 2017.

Decapitated bodies found in Great Whelnetham’s Roman cemetery in u.k

Decapitated bodies found in Great Whelnetham’s Roman cemetery in U.K

Archeologists excavating a Roman burial ground said it was a “rare find” to discover a series of decapitated bodies.

On a site in Great Whelnetham, Suffolk, a dig took place ahead of a planned housing development.

Of the 52 skeletons found, about 40% had their skulls detached from their bodies, many placed by their legs.

Archaeologist Andrew Peachey said it gave a “fascinating insight” into Roman burial practice.

The work has been undertaken on behalf of the Havebury Housing Partnership and was monitored by the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service

The work has been undertaken on behalf of the Havebury Housing Partnership and was monitored by the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service

The Roman cemetery, which dates to the 4th Century, includes the remains of men, women and children who had probably lived in a nearby settlement.

The fact that up to 40% of the bodies were decapitated represents “quite a rare find”, particularly having the “statistical anomaly of having so many decapitations there”.”

We are looking at a very specific part of the population that followed a very specific tradition of burial,” he said.

Roman Suffolk

The Mildenhall Treasure, a hoard of 4th Century Roman silver, including the Great Dish (pictured), was found in 1942
The Mildenhall Treasure, a hoard of 4th Century Roman silver, including the Great Dish (pictured), was found in 1942

The county of Suffolk was under the control of the Iceni tribe when the Romans invaded in the 1st century

From the mid 1st Century to the early 5th centuries AD it was an intensely populated area between the major Roman settlements of Colchester and Caistor, near Norwich

A hoard of 4th Century Roman silver, including the Great Dish, was found in Mildenhall in 1942.

One of the most significant Roman sites in Suffolk is the villa complex at Castle Hill in Ipswich, comprising several buildings, perhaps arranged around a courtyard

The Roman settlement Great Whelnetham may date back to the 1st Century

Mr. Peachey, of Archaeological Solutions, said he did not believe there had been executions.

The heads were likely to have been removed “carefully” after the individual had died, he added.

The team are analysing the bones to find out as much as possible about the population.

Great Whelnetham is a known Roman settlement and Roman burials were typically placed as we would place them, said Mr Peachey.

The skeletons will go to a museum archive.

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