7,000-year-old Native American burial site found off Florida
The site was discovered by an amateur diver who was looking for shark teeth but stumbled on an ancient jawbone.
Archeologist Ryan Duggins noticed a worn – down molar tooth attached to the jawbone in a picture sent from the diver. This suggested it belonged to a prehistoric person.
State officials in Florida called finding an “unprecedented discovery.” The site began to be investigated by Duggins and his team from the “Archaic Period” located 900 ft (275 m) from the shore.
The burial grounds are expected to cover about 32,000 sq feet (3,000 sq meters) off the coast of Manasota Key.
Underwater, the team discovered densely packed organic remains, human bones, and sharpened wooden stakes and textile fragments, according to National Geographic.”
Seeing a 7,000-year-old site that is so well preserved in the Gulf of Mexico is awe-inspiring,”
In a Florida State Department press release, Mr. Duggins said, “We are truly humiliated by this experience.
“The site is believed to have been preserved in a freshwater pond thousands of years ago when water levels were 30ft (9m) lower, according to the press release.
The pond had a bottom covered in peat, which reportedly slowed the process of organic decay and allowed for the preservation of human remains.
“Our hope is that this discovery leads to more knowledge and a greater understanding of Florida’s early peoples,” said Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
The state said they are working closely with Native American tribes to ensure the proper treatment of the bones.
“We are happy to be working, shoulder to shoulder, with the Bureau of Archaeological Research and the residents of Manasota Key to identify a preservation plan that will allow the ancestors to continue to rest peacefully and without human disturbance for the next 7,000 years”, the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s historic preservation officer Paul Backhouse told the Bradenton Herald newspaper.
“The highest priority of all involved is to honor tribal beliefs and customs with respect to this ancestral resting place,” said the Florida Department of State.
Florida archaeologists have discovered other evidence of the Archaic period but say this discovery is remarkable because the site survived offshore through hurricanes and erosion.
“The vast majority of underwater archaeological projects have historically been focused on shipwrecks,” Mr. Duggins told National Geographic.
An archaeological report on findings from Roman fort at Hadrian’s Wall
Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum—A new archaeological report hailed as the definitive full account of the excavations of Hadrian’s Wall at its eastern end has just been published.
Hadrian’s Wall at Wallsend is written by Paul Bidwell OBE, former Head of Archaeology at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), and encapsulates the knowledge gleaned from 28 years of intermittent excavations around Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend in North Tyneside.
Taking place between 1988 and 2015, these digs culminated in the Treasury-funded project that saw the rediscovery of the fort’s baths as well as the public display of the full stretch of Wall remains.
The Hadrian’s Wall at Wallsend report represents an account of one of the most comprehensively excavated sections of Hadrian’s Wall anywhere along its 73-mile length.
Paul Bidwell, author, and President of The Arbeia Society said: “It has been a privilege to draw together the results of so many years work by so many people.
The results are a great advance in our understanding of how Hadrian’s Wall was built and of its later history.
They also show that the remains of the Wall in urban Tyneside are just as important as the better-preserved lengths in rural Northumberland.”
Paul Bidwell was Head of Archaeology at TWAM until retirement. He has led and published excavations in Exeter and along Hadrian’s Wall, including at South Shields, Vindolanda, Newcastle, Chesters and Willowford; and has been a contributor to many other publications on aspects of Roman Archaeology, including Roman ceramics.
The driving force behind one of the UK’s most ambitious and controversial reconstruction projects at Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort, 31 years ago Paul Bidwell led the charge to recreate a fort gate house in its original foundations.
The report has been published by TWAM with The Arbeia Society, a registered charity established in 1992 to support research into and promotion of Roman archaeology in North East England.
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “We welcome the publication of this report.
It is a significant achievement by Paul and one that will help to enrich our knowledge and understanding of one of our most precious heritage sites.” Iain Watson, Director of TWAM said: “This is a very significant contribution to the body of knowledge of Hadrian’s Wallsend, a huge undertaking, bringing together and translating into contemporary context 28 years of archaeological findings.
We congratulate Paul and look forward to the report’s reception.”Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum is now a visitor attraction incorporating a museum and an extensively excavated Roman ‘archaeological park’ fort site, overlooked by a 35m viewing tower attracting around 50,000 visits a year.
1,900 years ago it was the edge of the Roman Empire, the very cusp of the eastern end of the Empire’s northern frontier. Segedunum – meaning ‘strong place’ – sat on a plateau overlooking the north bank of the River Tyne, the spot was chosen strategically to command views east down the river to the coast at South Shields and 2 miles up the river toward Newcastle upon Tyne.
The 73-mile wall, now a World Heritage Site, was constructed on the orders of Emperor Hadrian in AD122 and originally ended at the River Tyne’s lowest bridgeable point – Newcastle upon Tyne – until 2 or 3 years later when it was extended to Wallsend.
Only 7% of the original wall is visible today and only about 0.5% of its entire length has been excavated using modern archaeological techniques, though much more can be seen of the forts, milecastles, turrets, and bridges along its line.
The 80 meter stretch at Wallsend that has been scrutinized by archaeologists over the years lies 50 meters west of the Segedunum fort. Its first contemporary digs were led by the late Charles Daniels of Newcastle University in the mid-1970s. The Wall at Wallsend, 2.26m wide, was built without mortar but with carefully-laid courses of stonework.
Separate groups of legionaries built lengths of 30 Roman feet (about 9m). They were also tasked with building an aqueduct which ran through the Wall and supplied the baths outside the fort.
Markers for building plots running up to the back of the Wall were also found. They show that a settlement containing civilian and some military buildings were laid out at the same time that the Wall and the adjacent fort were built.
In the early 3rd century, the Wall at Segedunum was destroyed by a catastrophic flood which also washed away part of the baths and undermined the fort wall.
The aqueduct was replaced and the Wall rebuilt, probably on the instructions of Septimius Severus in about AD 208; this emperor, rather than Hadrian, was credited by late-Roman writers as the original builder of the Wall. Shorter lengths of the Wall collapsed and were rebuilt on three subsequent occasions. One of these later reconstructions reused masonry from various buildings, including one of the fort gates, a temple possibly dedicated to Diana, and a bathhouse.
The volume also includes an account of the building of the replica section of Hadrian’s Wall at Segedunum, constructed in 1996.
It is a rare day when archeologists find an ancient burial that has not been destroyed by natural processes, ravaged by war, or plundered by hunters of artifacts.
It is why King Tut’s untouched tomb was so significant and why archaeologists are going gaga over the tomb of a Greek warrior discovered in Pylos.
Add another to the list; archeologists uncovered an untouched Roman tomb in Rome several weeks ago that they call the Athlete’s Tomb. Local Italy reports.
The tomb was found in the Case Rosse area west of the center of Rome by an earthmover working to extend an aqueduct about 6 feet underground.
Inside lay the undisturbed remains of 4 people, including a man in his 30s, a man in his 50s, a man between the age of 35 to 45, and a woman of undetermined age.
Francesco Prosperetti, who oversees archaeology in Rome, tells Elisabetta Povoledo at The New York Times that finding the tomb was sheer luck. “Had the machine dug just four inches to the left, we would have never found the tomb,” he says.
The discovery also unearthed an assortment of jugs and dishes, a bronze coin, along with dishes of chicken, rabbit and another animal believed to be a lamb or goat, likely offerings to sustain them in the afterlife.
Among the trove were two strigils, blunt hooks that Romans used to clean themselves and wipe off oil while bathing and that athletes used to scrape away sweat.
In fact, the strigil was considered the symbol of an athlete in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.
Still, calling the find the “Tomb of the Athlete,” is more or less a marketing move, Fabio Turchetta, one of the archaeologists working on the site, tells Povoledo since all the men inside are over 35 and would have been well past their prime by classical standards. “To say there was an athlete is a bit of stretch, but it works journalistically,” as he puts it diplomatically.
Based on the coin found in the tomb, which includes an image of Minerva on one side and a horse head with the word “Romano” on the other, the tomb dates between 335 and 312 B.C.E. during the heyday of the Roman Republic.
Researchers have begun the process of removing the bodies from the tomb, which will be sent to the laboratory for analysis and DNA testing to determine if they are a family.
A paleobotanist also collected samples of pollen and plant material to help figure out the flora of the area when the tomb was constructed.
The structure itself has been documented by a laser scan and will be sealed up once excavations are complete.
Turchetta tells Povoledo that the area the tomb was found in has been heavily surveyed and excavated in the past, so finding the intact chamber was surprising and emotional.
This isn’t the first time that construction in Rome has uncovered amazing finds. Just last year, while expanding the metro system, archaeologists found that the bones of a dog inside the remains of an aristocratic home that burned down during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus in the 2nd century C.E.
The same construction project also uncovered the military barracks of emperor Hadrian’s Praetorian Guard.
Traces of three courtyards surrounded by a ditch marks out an area, which archaeologists have interpreted as the center of a village dating back to the Middle Ages in Tollerup, East Denmark.
Historical sources suggest that the farms belonged to the village rulers. A cellar in the largest farm was probably used to store tax revenues in the form of objects collected from the villagers.
“The interesting thing about this find is that we have some very old written sources that [give us] an entirely new understanding from what we can interpret from the excavation alone,” says Gunvor Christiansen, an archaeologist at Roskilde Museum, Denmark.
The excavated farmhouses date back to the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance (around 1400 to 1600 CE), and it is rare to find such well-preserved remains from this period, outside the large market towns in Denmark, says Christiansen.
A vanished village
Archaeologists do not know why the village was abandoned but they knew it existed as it is mentioned in a number of written sources.
A letter from King Canute IV first records the gifting of a village at this location to a bishop in 1085. The excavated houses were built later. A number of tax rolls from Tollerup also refer to six farms and a manor on the site, which was possibly used to store the collected taxes.
A gravel pit alongside the three farms could explain why they did not find the remains of the other three farms, says Christiansen.“Compared with other farms of the same period, we can see that one of the farms must have been the manor house, referred to in the written sources. It’s a qualified guess because the farm is so large,” she says.
The three farms are approximately five meters wide and 15 to 20 meters long, but the manor has a cellar area of 50 square meters. The foundations of the outer wall of the manor suggest that it was a two-story building.
Exceptionally well preserved
The archaeologists were pleased to see that the cellar remains were buried so deep. This would have protected them from a disturbance at the surface, for example by farming equipment turning the land over the years.
It’s rare to find houses from the Middle Ages in Denmark, says archaeologist Nils Engberg, curator at the National Museum of Denmark.
“We have lots of excavations from earlier periods. For example from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. But unfortunately not from the Middle Ages because the houses were built in a different way,” he says.
It was at this time that people began to construct houses with stone foundations after a law was passed to prevent felling of trees. Previously, all houses were timber constructions which led to a timber shortage throughout the country.
But the remains of stone houses could be easily looted and the materials used elsewhere in subsequent buildings, meaning that few were preserved to this day.
Christianity had a foothold in the community
When in use, the cellars would have been full. Archaeologists found evidence of two grinding stones from a mill, plough equipment, and many more everyday objects.
Moreover, they found traces of clay flooring, an oven, and pieces of tile with religious motifs, including a priest.“Religious motifs were very typical of the 1500s,” says Christiansen. Engberg agrees.
This was when Christianity gained momentum, he says.“In this period we had a permanent royal power and a centralized administration.
The country was split into dioceses such as Roskilde and Lolland Falster diocese. Soon, a government formed and we begin to slowly see a societal structure similar to that of today,” he says.
Roskilde’s bishop had connections to Tollerup
Archaeologists suspect that the village fell under the Diocese of Roskilde.“The Bishop of Roskilde received the taxes during this period and he may well have rented the manor for a vassal to administer it.
In the end, all taxes from Tollerup went to the bishop up until the Reformation after which the king took control,” says Christensen.
It is not yet absolutely certain that the town is the disappeared village recorded in the old tax rolls and the king’s letters. Archaeologists and historians will continue to study the site to find out for sure.
Oxford medieval road discovered under a field near Willow Walk
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
Two Ancient Egyptian Kingdom Tombs Opened in Luxor, Egypt
Two tombs of unidentified officials dated to Egypt’s New Kingdom era have been opened at Luxor’s Draa Abul-Naglaa necropolis years after they were initially discovered by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in the 1990s.
The opening of the tombs was announced at an international conference attended by the governor of Luxor, the minister of social solidarity, the director-general of the International Monetary Fund, members of the international media, foreign ambassadors, members of parliament, and Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany.
“It is a very important discovery because both tombs contain very rich funerary collections, and one of them has a very distinguished painted statue of a lady in the Osirian shape,” with this most recent discovery being the third Draa Abul-Naga alone.
“It seems that our ancient Egyptian ancestors are bestowing their blessing on Egypt’s economy as these discoveries are good promotion for the country and its tourism industry,” El-Enany told Ahram Online.
Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and head of the Egyptian excavation mission, explains that both tombs were given special numbers by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in the 1990s.
The first tomb, named “Kampp 161,” was never excavated, while excavation work on the second, “Kampp 150,” was undertaken by archaeologist Kampp short of entering the tomb itself.
The tombs had been left untouched until excavation started during the recent archaeological season.
Most of the items discovered in Kampala 161 are fragments of wooden coffins.
The most notable discoveries are a large wooden mask that was originally a part of a coffin, a small painted wooden mask, a fragment of a gilded wooden mask in poor condition, four legs of wooden chairs that were among the deceased’s funerary equipment, as well as the lower part of a wooden Osirian shaped coffin decorated with a scene of goddess Isis lifting up her hands.
“The owner of Kampp 150 is not yet known, but there are two possible candidates,” Waziri told Ahram Online.
He said that the first possibility is that the tomb belongs to a person named Djehuty Mes, as this name is engraved on one of the walls.
The second possibility is that the owner could be the scribe “Maati,” as his name and the name of his wife “Mehi” are inscribed on 50 funerary cones found in the tomb’s rectangular chamber.
The tomb has only one inscription on one of its northern pillars. It shows a scene with a seated man offering food to four oxen, with the first kneeling in front of the man, who is giving it herbs. The scene also depicts five people making funerary furniture.
The entrance of the long hall is inscribed with hieroglyphic text with the name of “Djehuty Mes.” The ceiling of the chamber is inscribed with hieroglyphic inscriptions and the cartouche of King Thutmose I.
The objects uncovered inside include 100 funerary cones, painted wooden masks, a collection of 450 statues carved in different materials such as clay, wood and faience, and a small box in the shape of a wooden coffin with a lid.
The box was probably used for storing an Ushabti figurine 17 cm tall and 6 cm large. Also found was a collection of clay vessels of different shapes and sizes, as well as a mummy wrapped in linen with its hands on its chest in the Osirian formStudies, suggest that the mummy, which was found inside the long chamber, could be of a top official or another powerful person.
Denmark barbarian battle: Archaeologists Just Discovered the Mangled Remains
A ragtag troop of about 400 Germanic tribesmen marched into battle in Denmark about 2,000 years ago against a mysterious adversary and were slaughtered to the last man. Or at least that’s the story their bones tell.
Exhumed from Alken Enge — a peat bog in Denmark’s Illerup River Valley — between 2009 and 2014, nearly 2,100 bones belonging to the dead fighters have given archaeologists a rare window into the post-battle rituals of Europe’s so-called “barbarian” tribes during the height of the Roman Empire.
In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark dug into the bloody details.
“The ferocity of the Germanic tribes and peoples and their extremely violent and ritualized behavior in the aftermath of warfare became a trope in the Roman accounts of their barbaric northern neighbors,” the authors wrote in the new study.
Despite these historical accounts, little evidence of these practices has ever been discovered in archaeological finds — until now.
In the Alken Enge find, archaeologists unearthed 2,095 human bones and fragments from the peat and lake sediment across 185 acres of wetlands in East Jutland.
These bones belonged to 82 distinct people — seemingly all men, most of them 20 to 40 years old — but likely account for just a fraction of the bones initially deposited in the area, the researchers wrote.
After analyzing the geographic distribution of the bones, the team estimated a minimum of 380 skeletons were originally interred in the water.
This population “significantly exceeds the scale of any known Iron Age village community,” the researchers wrote, suggesting the men were recruited from a large area to participate in a common battle.
Using radiocarbon analysis, the team dated the bones to between 2 B.C. and A.D. 54 — sometime between the reigns of the Roman emperors Augustus (27 B.C. to A.D. 14) and Claudius (A.D. 41 to 54).
During this time, Rome expanded its empire north into Europe but met fierce resistance from the scattered tribes who lived in modern-day Germany and Denmark.
Some tribes allied with the Empire, and infighting between tribes was common.
The bones of the men at Alken Enge are thought to be the casualties of one such tribal battle.
Ancient weapons like axes, clubs, and swords were found scattered about the site, and it was clear to the researchers that many of the skeletons had sustained critical battle wounds before dying.
“The relative absence of healed sharp force trauma suggests that the deposited population did not have considerable previous battle experience,” the researchers wrote. Indeed, the scrappy group of soldiers met “comprehensive slaughter.
“Ritual burial or hasty cleanup?
Finding boneyards of dead soldiers is no rarity in archaeology; what truly excited the researchers about Alken Enge was the seemingly ritualistic way in which the skeletons were buried.
For starters, it appears that the skeletons were deposited in the lake after they had decomposed in the wild for anywhere between six months and a year.
Nearly 400 of the bones were hatched with gnawing tooth marks probably left by scavenging animals such as foxes, wolves or dogs.
Moreover, the absence of bacterial decay on the bones suggests that the men’s inner organs were removed, decomposed or eaten by scavengers before their ultimate burial, the researchers wrote.
Whether it was a friend or foe who did the burying is still unclear. The man’s arm and leg bones were severed from their torsos.
Few intact skulls were present, but many cranial fragments appeared to have been smashed with a club or other bludgeoning tool, the researchers said.
Four pelvic bones hung around a single tree branch with deliberate intent.”Alken Enge provides unequivocal evidence that the people in Northern Germania had systematic and deliberate ways of clearing battlefields,” the researchers concluded.
The find certainly “points to a new form of postbattle activities” in Germanic tribes at the dawn of the current era — but what it all means is still a mystery.
London: Crossrail dig unearths 13,000 Victorian jam jars
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.
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.