Category Archives: FRANCE

Ancient Necropolis of 40 Tombs With Humans Buried in Pots Discovered in Corsica

Ancient Necropolis of 40 Tombs With Humans Buried in Pots Discovered in Corsica

An ancient necropolis with 40 tombs, including cylindrical jars filled with human remains, has been discovered on the French island of Corsica. The people buried in the cemetery range from infants to adults, the archaeologists said.

Located in the town of Île-Rousse on the island’s northern coast, the cemetery seems to have been used between the third and fifth centuries CE, a time in which the Roman Empire was gradually declining.

Many of the people were found buried inside amphoras, large vessels that would normally be used to carry goods such as olive oil, wine or pickles.

The design of the amphoras indicates that they are from North Africa, with some possibly being manufactured in Carthage.

Even so, the people buried in the necropolis, including those inside the amphoras, likely lived near the necropolis in Corsica, said Jean-Jacques Grizeaud, an archaeologist at the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) who led excavations at the site.

At the time, a lot of trade was happening across the Mediterranean, Grizeaud added.

Archaeologists also found that some of the burials were covered with terra-cotta tiles that the Romans called “tegulae” and “imbrices”. The Romans often used such tiles to cover the roofs of buildings and, at times, to cover burials.

The necropolis is located at the foot of the Immaculate Conception church constructed in 1893, the researchers said.

The head of one of the people buried.

Other burials found on the island, such as those at the sites of Mariana and Sant’Amanza, have been linked to buildings of worship, the researchers noted.

More research needs to be done to determine what ancient towns or cities were located near this necropolis.

“There is no real mention of a city in the ancient texts or, for example, in the map of [Corsica] made by Ptolemy,” a geographer who lived in the second century CE, Grizeaud said.

Over the next few months, archaeologists will conduct lab work to determine the people’s sexes, their exact ages and any illnesses or injuries they may have had, Grizeaud said.

A rural necropolis from Late Antiquity discovered in northeastern France

A rural necropolis from Late Antiquity discovered in northeastern France

Inrap archaeologists have unearthed a small rural necropolis from the late 5th century (Late Antiquity) at Sainte-Marie-aux-Chênes in northeastern France.

The necropolis, which is located along an ancient road, contains the remains of cremation structures as well as several richly furnished inhumations. The burial ground is most likely linked to the remains of an ancient Roman villa discovered nearby more than a decade ago.

In 2009, archaeological material was discovered during a survey of the site prior to the construction of a subdivision. Archaeologists discovered the remains of a 1st-century Roman villa’s pars Rustica (the farm buildings) and a Medieval hamlet occupied until the 12th century during the two seasons of excavations that followed.

Three Merovingian-era (mid-5th-8th centuries) tombs containing the remains of seven people, all from the same family, were found in the ruins of a Roman estate barn.

In 2020, when the subdivision planned to grow toward the former Ida mine and factory, excavations started up again. Test pits discovered the first early Iron Age remains at the site attesting that the area was settled earlier than previously realized and a continuation of the Medieval hamlet into the valley. In addition, a cremation pit dating to the 1st century and a secondary filling from the Gallo-Roman period were also unearthed.

A rural necropolis from Late Antiquity discovered in northeastern France

In contrast to the 2009–10 digs, the 2020 excavation investigated the opposite side of the valley. Although the soil has been severely eroded, this has had the fortunate archaeological side-effect of accumulating sediment layers over the necropolis, aiding in the preservation of the remains.

About ten cremation structures were found by archaeologists after they dug through those layers. In meticulously carved quadrangular pits and much rougher round niches that appear to be postholes but aren’t, fragments of charred bone remains were discovered.

There aren’t any cinerary urns left, and not much bone remains. Some nails, possibly from a coffin, and a square pit with a collection of blacksmithing equipment and forge remnants were discovered (tongs, metal scraps, slag).

Glass plate.

In the same area, ten Late Antiquity tombs were discovered. The pits were carefully dug in parallel rows. There was a single inhumed individual in supine position, adults of both sexes, and four confirmed young children in each grave.

Hairpins and necklaces were used to identify two adult women. While no coffins or burial beds were discovered in the graves, iron nails and wood traces indicate that the bodies were buried in or on wooden biers.

The deceased were buried with a variety of grave goods. Ceramic vessels made of local Argonne clay were discovered at the bodies’ heads and/or feet.

They are believed to have contained food offerings now long decomposed. High-quality and diverse glassware was also buried with the dead: cups, bottles, flasks, goblets, bowls, and dishes. The deceased was adorned with jewelry, mostly copper alloy pieces with beads, amber, and glass paste.

There were coins in the graves as well, some individual, some in groups, most likely held in organic material purses. Last but not least, two bone combs and a miniature axe were discovered next to a child’s head.

The excavation’s recovered remains are still being studied. Researchers hope to learn more about the deceased’s sex, age, and health records. The necropolis itself is still being studied to learn more about how it was organized and used, as well as to shed light on the funerary practices of the people who lived and died there in Late Antiquity.

In France, a burial with six ankle bracelets was uncovered

In France, a burial with six ankle bracelets was uncovered

In France, a burial with six ankle bracelets was uncovered

An individual bedecked in copper jewelry was discovered during the excavation of a protohistoric necropolis in Aubagne, southeastern France.

The necropolis, which served as a transitional site between the late Bronze and early Iron ages from roughly 900 to 600 B.C., was first unearthed in 2021.

Ten burials, including three cremation deposits and eight burials buried beneath a tumulus, were discovered at that time. Three additional burials were found during this year’s excavation, one of which was hidden beneath a 33-foot-diameter tumulus.

The tumulus is noteworthy because a deep ditch surrounded it, and it probably used to be marked by a ring of stones. However, the burial inside was not furnished.

The two additional graves discovered this season were: The first contained the skeletal remains of a person who was wearing a twisted copper alloy bracelet and a pearl and stone jewel on the left shoulder. Near the deceased’s head, two ceramic pots were buried.

Six bracelets were discovered at ankle level, during excavation.

The second non-tumulus burial is the richest found in this necropolis thus far.

The individual was buried wearing a tubular torc with rolled terminals around their neck, three ankle bangles, and three toe rings. A brooch and a large ceramic urn were placed next to the deceased.

The tumulus and the first burial are close together. The third was separated from the first two. Each space was clearly and purposefully delimited by structures that are now long gone.

A line of postholes separates the tumulus and the first inhumation, indicating a linear structure that once formed the boundary line of space reserved for the dead. The second burial was defined by a six-foot-long alignment of stone blocks.

Torque.

The discovery of these three graves has significantly increased our knowledge of protohistoric southern French funerary customs.

They also show that the necropolis was much larger than what early archaeologists had thought it to be.

The necropolis is estimated to have covered at least 1.3 hectares and probably even more, according to the new data.

Archaeology breakthrough: Scientists discover chilling ‘nest’ of ancient humans in the cave

Archaeology breakthrough: Scientists discover chilling ‘nest’ of ancient humans in the cave

The discovery was made in a cave in France, which contained the remains of prehistoric hunter-gatherers who died some 30,000 years ago. First discovered 20 years ago, the Grotte de Cussac cave is located in the southwest of the country. Frequented by members of the Gravettian culture of the European Upper Paleolithic, the finding shed fresh light on the burial rituals of Paleolithic humans.

The group left evidence scattered across the continent of Europe, appearing around 33,000 years ago. Particularly notable for its prolific cave art “Venus” figurines portraying voluptuous female figures and elaborate burial rituals, the culture has become famous among archaeologists.

Researchers studied the cave and published their study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here, an international team analysed the cave remains using photographs and 3D rendering.

Archaeology breakthrough: Scientists discover chilling ‘nest’ of ancient humans in the cave
Archaeology: France’s Lascaux cave and a crouched ancient skeleton found in Britain pictured
French cave: Grotte de Cussac cave is located in the southwest of the country.

They concluded that the site provided a “unique” setting for the dead in the Paleolithic. Previous papers had reported the presence of human remains inside the cave.

However, the newest study is the first to provide a detailed description of all of them and a comprehensive analysis of the mortuary behaviours that led to the particular distribution of the bones.

Contact with the cave’s surfaces is prohibited, forcing researchers to use indirect examination techniques. The researchers reported that the cave contained two areas of human remains.

Ancient humans: The Carnac Neolithic standing stones in western France erected by pre-Celtic people

The first included the skeleton of a young adult male in a shallow depression that was once a bear nest, as well as the fragmentary remains of at least two other individuals spread across two other former bear nests.

Deeper in the cave, the second area, containing the remains of at least three individuals—two adults and an adolescent—in hollows along a wall, which appeared to be sorted largely by lower and upper anatomy.

Some of the bones and underlying sediments featured a red pigment that the researchers have linked to the remains.

Stone Henge: Members of the Shakti Sings choir sing during the winter solstice, 2018
Ancient cemetery: A burial place in the ancient neolithic ruins of Aratane in Mauritania

Many of the burials were similar to traits discovered in other Gravettian sites. But the authors of the paper say a handful of characteristics appear unique to this ancient culture.

For example, the researchers said the remains were found much further inside the cave than is typical and are associated with abundant rock art— an unusual feature for Gravettian burial sites — with the cave containing more than 800 engravings.

“These human remains are located deep in the cave, which is a unique finding for this period—all previously known Gravettian burials are located in open-air sites, rock shelters, or cave entrances,” Sacha Kacki, with the French National Center for Scientific Research, told Newsweek.

Ancient humans: Neanderthals are our closest ancient human relatives

He added: “The Grotte de Cussac is not only a burial place, but also a decorated cave. It is quite rare that Gravettian human remains are found close to (cave) art, and the Grotte de Cussac is the first discovered cave where the mortuary rites and the art are very likely contemporaneous.”

According to the authors, the findings shed new light on the burial practices of Gravettian hunter-gatherers, providing evidence of significant social complexity during the Upper Paleolithic (roughly 50,000 to 12,000 years ago.)

Mr Kacki said: “Most of the human remains in Cussac are disarticulated due to human manipulations of bones or body parts after or during decomposition.

Stonehenge: Archaeologists believe the structure was built between 3000 and 2000 BC

“Although post-mortem manipulations of human remains have been previously documented for other Gravettian sites, some types of manipulations at Cussac are unknown elsewhere, including the removal of crania and the deliberate commingling of the remains of several individuals.

“These observations indicate diverse and complex mortuary behaviours during the Gravettian, which provides a window onto the social complexity of human groups from the Upper Paleolithic.”

Giant 1,100 Pound bone belonging to sauropod found in France

Giant 1,100 Pound bone belonging to sauropod found in France

The femur of a giant dinosaur was found this week by French palaeontologists at an excavation site in southwest France where, since 2010, remains of some of the largest animals ever to live on land have been excavated.

Maxime Lasseron inspects the femur of a Sauropod (AFP/Getty Images)
Maxime Lasseron inspects the femur of a Sauropod.

The thigh bone of a giant dinosaur was found this week by French palaeontologists at an excavation site in southwestern France where remains of some of the largest animals that ever lived on land have been dug up since 2010.

The two-meter-long femur at the Angeac-Charente site is thought to have belonged to a sauropod, an herbivorous dinosaur with long necks and tails which were widespread in the late Jurassic era, over 140 million years ago.

“This is a major discovery,” Ronan Allain, a palaeontologist at the National History Museum of Paris told Reuters. “I was especially amazed by the state of preservation of that femur.”

“These are animals that probably weighed 40 to 50 tonnes.”

Allain said scientists at the site near the city of Cognac had found more than 7,500 fossils of more than 40 different species since 2010, making it one of the largest such finds in Europe.

Scientists believe that the bones are from a sauropod, which is the largest herbivorous dinosaur and first appeared in the late Triassic Period.

These reptiles were the largest of all dinosaurs and the largest land animals that have ever lived, they had a small head a long neck and a very long tail.

Scientists believe they would spend their time wallowing in shallow water that would help support their bodies.

The dinosaur bone was found covered in clay by volunteers from the National Museum of Natural History.

1,300-year-old shipwreck found in France

1,300-year-old shipwreck found in France

Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a ship that navigated the Garonne river in southwestern France in the 7th-8th century. The wooden ship was unearthed buried under the bed of the Estey de Lugan, a silted-over stream outside the city of Bordeaux.

The thick, water-logged clay has preserved the organic materials of the ship, including some rope fittings, for 1,300 years.

There is almost no surviving written history chronicling navigation methods from the period, so the survival of this shipwreck is a unique testimonial to naval design in early medieval France.

1,300-year-old shipwreck found in France

The wreck is about 40 feet long, out of an estimated original length of about 50 feet when it was intact.

The keel and dimensions indicate it was a cargo ship capable of both river and coastal navigation. It has a flat floor that would have allowed it to carry bulk goods. Both oak and softwood were used to construct it.

INRAP archaeologists will first document the ship in meticulous detail with photogrammetry, a 3D virtual model numbering and recording every individual piece of wood.

The planks will be dismantled and numbered so that they can be reconstructed once stabilized and conserved.

The removal of the wreck will give archaeologists the unprecedented opportunity to study how it was constructed and how it navigated the waterways.

The team will also be able to study the waterways themselves.

The ship was found in a relatively remote area, a stream that was already non-navigable when it was documented in the 18th century. That a cargo vessel would take to a small stream off the Garonne attests to how these marshy areas near major waterways were used by trade vessels.

Magnificent Royal Celtic Tomb Discovered in France

Magnificent Royal Celtic Tomb Discovered in France

Archaeologists have uncovered an extraordinary 2,500-year-old grave of a Celtic royal outside the town of Lavau in north-central France.

The skeleton is believed to be the remains of a royal Celtic prince or princess

The team has not yet been able to determine the gender of the inhumed individual, but the luxurious jewellery and artefacts that the person was buried with indicate that the tomb belonged to a member of the Celtic royal family.

Magnificent Royal Celtic Tomb Discovered in France
The individual was buried wearing golden jewellery

The skeleton was buried with a two-wheeled chariot and was discovered wearing a 580g (1.2 lbs) decorated golden torque around its neck and two golden bracelets on its wrists.

A sheathed sword discovered nearby suggests that the person may have been a warrior or soldier.

Bastien Dubuis, chief archaeologist in charge of the excavation told the Daily Mail, “The presence of a chariot, a cauldron and bronze crockery are three typical characteristics of a princely tomb from this period.

They’re well-documented funerary objects, objects of prestige. They were used in religious ceremonies and as a way to show off the power of the elite.”

The tomb contained lavish Greek vases indicating the wealth of the buried individual

A statement from the National Archaeological Research Institute in France (INRAP) announced “The tomb contains funerary deposits worthy of the highest wealthy Hallstatt elites,” referring to the Hallstatt Celts, a culture that emerged in the Iron Age and spread across northern Europe.

The statement also explained, “The poor state of preservation of the bones means it is not yet possible to determine with certainty the sex of the individual.”

Archaeologists study crumbling 1,300-year-old shipwreck

Archaeologists study crumbling 1,300-year-old shipwreck

A 1,300-year-old shipwreck is so fragile that air could destroy it has been unearthed in southern France and archaeologists face a race against time to reveal its medieval secrets. The partial remains of the “extremely rare” 40-foot-long boat, which radiocarbon dates from between A.D. 680 and A.D. 720, were unveiled at Villenave-d’Ornon near Bordeaux on Wednesday.

Archaeologists study crumbling 1,300-year-old shipwreck
An archaeologist sprays water to maintain the moisture of an unearthed 1,300-year-old shipwreck near Bordeaux, France, on Tuesday.

The French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research said the boat was an “exceptional testimony to the naval architecture of the high Middle Ages” and could have navigated rivers, as well as the Atlantic coast of France.

“In order to limit the degradation of the wood of the wreck, especially at the moment with the heatwave in the southwest of France, we are watering the wreck every 30 minutes,” Laurent Grimbert, who is leading the excavation for the institute, told NBC News via email Thursday.

“The excavation and dismantling of the wreck should be finished by mid-September. For the moment we are on schedule and each piece of wood that is dismantled teaches us more about the shipbuilding techniques of the early Middle Ages.”

The boat was discovered in 2013, buried in the silted bed of a stream. But it is only now being painstakingly taken apart piece by piece to discover its true nature and purpose.

Because the beams of oak, chestnut and pine have not had contact with oxygen and light for so long, they must be watered to stop them from splintering. Once removed and cleaned, the wooden beams will be submerged in water.

The boat’s final fate is uncertain: The wood could be injected with resin to preserve it or it could be reburied where it was found.

Early investigations show the vessel was capable of carrying large cargo, the institute said on its website.

There is only one other boat from the period in France — found in the Charente River in southwestern France, it’s still underwater — and only a handful have ever been found in Europe.

The boat’s original size is estimated to be around 40 feet — why it sank remains a mystery.

Experts are keen to understand how and why the boat was in the stream alongside the Garonne River.

“The existence of a small port, near the mouth of a side stream of the Garonne, in a marshy area exploited since antiquity and throughout the medieval era, indicates that these apparently unattractive sectors are actually exploited for their many resources,” the institute said.

The boat dates to the time of the Franks, a tribal people who came to dominate large swaths of western Europe in the centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire.

The ruling faction of the Franks at the time, the Merovingians, were known for their kings’ long hair.

Clovis I, their most famous king, is credited as the first to unite the Franks under one kingdom. Former French President Charles de Gaulle is reported to have said that his country’s history began with his crowning. Clovis is also a forerunner of the most regal of French names: Louis.