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Original article:

BBC.com
Britain’s Pompeii” was just a few months old when it burnt down, it has emerged.
Analysis of wood used to build the settlement suggests it was only lived in for a short time before it was destroyed.
Despite this, archaeologists said the site gives an “exquisitely detailed” insight into everyday Bronze Age life.
Evidence of fine fabric-making, varied diets and vast trading networks has been found during the 10-month dig.

in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, has been compared to that seen at Pompeii, a Roman city buried by ash when Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.

At least five circular houses raised on stilts above the East Anglian fens have been found.
David Gibson, of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge, said the site allowed researchers to “visit in exquisite detail everyday life in the Bronze Age”.
“Domestic activity within structures is demonstrated from clothing to household objects, to furniture and diet,” he said.
“These dwellings have it all, the complete set, it’s a ‘full house’.


‘Pompeii of the Fens’
What the excavation reveals:
The people living here made their own high quality textiles, like linen. Some of the woven linen fabrics are made with threads as thin as the diameter of a coarse human hair and are among the finest Bronze Age examples found in Europe

Other fabrics and fibres found include balls of thread, twining, bundles of plant fibres and loom weights which were used to weave threads together. Textiles were common in the Bronze Age but it is very rare for them to survive today

Animal remains suggest they ate a diet of wild boar, red deer, calves, lambs and freshwater fish such as pike. The charred remains of porridge type foods, emmer wheat and barley grains have been found preserved in amazing detail, sometimes still inside the bowls they were served in

There were areas in each home for storing meat and a separate area for cooking

Even 3,000 years ago people seemed to have a lot of stuff. Each of the houses was fully equipped with pots of different sizes, wooden buckets and platters, metal tools, saddle querns (stone tools for grinding grains), weapons, textiles, loom weights and glass beads.

After the fire, the buildings sank into a river which has helped preserve them.

the oak structures, has suggested the circular houses were still new and had only been lived in for a few months.

The homes were, however, well equipped with pots of different sizes, wooden buckets and platters, metal tools, saddle querns (stone tools for grinding grains), weapons, textiles, loom weights and glass beads.

Archaeologists say beads found at the site originally came from the Mediterranean or Middle East.

chief executive of Historic England, said: “This has transformed our knowledge of Bronze Age Britain.

“Over the past 10 months, Must Farm has given us an extraordinary window into how people lived 3,000 years ago.

“Now we know what this small but wealthy Bronze Age community ate, how they made their homes and where they traded.

“Archaeologists and scientists around the world are learning from Must Farm and it’s already challenged a number of longstanding perceptions.”

Must Farm was named best discovery at the 2016 British Archaeological Awards.

Image caption

The charred remains of porridge type foods, emmer wheat and barley grains have been found preserved in amazing detail, sometimes still inside the bowls they were served in.

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The area surveyed included Lamb Lea scheduled monument, the land within the red line between Hampshire and the Arun river valley

The area surveyed included Lamb Lea scheduled monument, the land within the red line between Hampshire and the Arun river valley

 

Original Article:

bbc.com

July 12, 2016

 

Evidence of a prehistoric “farming collective” has been discovered after aerial laser scanning was carried out in the South Downs National Park.
Large-scale farming from before the Roman invasion suggests a high level of civilisation, archaeologists said.
The survey also revealed the route of a long-suspected Roman road between Chichester and Brighton.
It covered an area between the Arun river valley in West Sussex and Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire.

The “Lidar” survey technique uses an aircraft-mounted laser beam to scan the ground and produce a 3D model of features that survive as earthworks or structures in open land or woodland.
Images of land between Lamb Lea Woods and Charlton Forest showed that a field system already protected as a scheduled monument was just a small part of a vast swathe of later pre-historic cultivation extending under a now wooded area.
James Kenny, archaeological officer at Chichester District Council, said it suggested a civilisation closer to ancient Greece, Egypt or Rome than what is known of prehistoric Britain.
‘Organised farming’
“One of our biggest findings is the discovery of a vast area farmed by pre-historic people on an astonishing scale,” said Trevor Beattie, chief executive of the South Downs National Park Authority,
Mr Kenny added that the evidence raised questions about who was growing the crops, who was eating the food and where they were living.
“The scale is so large that it must have been managed, suggesting that this part of the country was being organised as a farming collective,” he said.
The route of the road suggests the Romans would have headed out from their settlement at Chichester on Stane Street, the road to London, before branching east towards Arundel.

“The recognition of the ‘missing link’ in the Roman road west of Arundel was a highlight in a project full of exciting results,” said Helen Winton, aerial investigation manager at Historic England.

 

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Shakespeare’s family home New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare’s family home New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon

 

 Shakespeare’s ‘kitchen’

Shakespeare’s ‘kitchen’

 

Original Article:

Shakespeare.org.uk

November 27, 2015

 

Historic finds unveiled during dig at Shakespeare’s family home New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has today announced that significant new findings have been unearthed during an archaeological dig, led by Staffordshire University’s Centre of Archaeology, at its ambitious New Place project. New Place was Shakespeare’s family home at the height of his career for almost two decades. The dig has enhanced and extended knowledge and understanding about what for too long has felt like a missing-piece in Shakespeare’s story. The latest discoveries include the site of Shakespeare’s ‘kitchen’ including the great dramatist’s ‘oven’ and ‘fridge’.

In addition to identifying Shakespeare’s ‘kitchen’, the dig has also helped establish the size of New Place. This has enabled the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to commission new evidence-based drawings of New Place, which depict an accurate version of how the house would have looked during Shakespeare’s ownership.

Shakespeare’s New Place was the largest single residence in the borough of Stratford-upon-Avon, and was purchased for the considerable sum of £120 in 1597 (a Stratford school teacher at this time would have earned about £20 per annum). It had an impressive frontage, a Great Chamber and Gallery, over 20 rooms and 10 fireplaces.

The ‘kitchen’ not only had the ‘oven’ (or fire hearth) and ‘fridge’ (or cold storage pit), but the team also found evidence of the brew house where small beer was made (drunk instead of unsafe water) and where pickling and salting took place. Fragments of plates, cups and other cookware were also found. Facsimiles of the cookware will be available for visitors to handle, and will be on display at New Place in the neighbouring Grade 1 listed Nash’s House (Tudor in origin), which is currently undergoing a major refurbishment as part of the project.

Alongside the findings contemporary to Shakespeare, the dig also revealed early medieval foundations and Iron Age archaeology. In order to preserve these finds for future generations, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has been meticulous in following best practice, and has redesigned key features of the construction and landscaping to work in harmony with the archaeology, whilst ensuring that all parts of the new heritage landmark will be fully accessible for the first time.

The latest dig was undertaken earlier this year in preparation for the re-presentation of Shakespeare’s New Place as an exciting, and modern, retelling of Shakespeare’s family home and the living, breathing man behind the great works – husband, father and son of Stratford. Shakespeare’s New Place is scheduled to open in July 2016.

The £5.25 million project – the most ambitious and permanent initiative to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death being celebrated throughout 2016 – is being funded with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England and through public donations raised through a host of initiatives spearheaded by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Dr Paul Edmondson, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Head of Research and Knowledge, said,“Finding Shakespeare’s ‘kitchen’ proved to be a vital piece of evidence in our understanding of New Place. Once we had uncovered the family’s oven we were able to understand how the rest of the house fitted around it. The discovery of the cooking areas, brew house, pantry and cold storage pit, combined with the scale of the house, all point to New Place as a working home as well as a house of high social status.

“A much richer picture of Shakespeare has emerged through the course of our excavations. At New Place we can catch glimpses of Shakespeare the playwright and country-town gentleman. His main task was to write and a house as impressive as New Place would have played an important part in the rhythm of his working life.”

Julie Crawshaw, Project Manager of Shakespeare’s New Place said, “The Trust knows just how powerful this site is, not just because of what will be seen above the ground, but also because of the history which lies underneath; layers of earth and foundations which have been untouched for hundreds of years.

“We have unearthed some significant archaeology which is all part of the story of New Place and its history. This will be shared in our exciting re-telling of New Place, where visitors will be able to discover Shakespeare on the very ground where his family home stood, imagined through specially commissioned, extraordinary art works, creative landscaping, and newly curated exhibitions, all shedding new light on the story of Shakespeare in Stratford .

“Meticulous work however, is not fast work, and we have had to reconfigure our original plans to accommodate the rich findings in previously unexplored ground. This has resulted in an unavoidable delay in starting groundworks, which will have a knock-on effect on our original schedule, particularly as we will now be building through the winter weather. It is thanks to the passion and skill of our team of designers, architects, engineers and conservation specialists that we are on track to open in summer2016.”

Shakespeare's Home

Shakespeare’s Home

Well

Contractors involved in the transformation of Shakespeare’s New Place, led by the Shakespeare Birthplace Project team include:

Archaeologists:Staffordshire University’s Centre for Archaeology, led by Kevin Colls and Will Mitchell.

Artistic Direction: Timothy O’Brien, RDI and Chris Wise, RDI (Expedition Engineering)

Structural Engineers (New Place): Expedition Engineering Ltd, Eva MacNamara, William Valla

Conservation Structural Engineers (Nash’s House): Ramboll UK Ltd, Roger Shaw

Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Lee Holcombe

Construction: Splitlath Building Conservation, led by Shaun Gay and John Dimbylow

Landscape Architects: Gillespies LLP, Phillip Smith, Ana Neto

Quantity Surveyors: Greenwood Projects Ltd, Matt Mctaggart, Jeremy Stone

Exhibition Design: Real Studios Ltd, Yvonne Golds, Alexandra Prescott, Alistair McCaw

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering: Qoda Consulting (Oxford) Ltd, Neil Whithead, Martin Merritt

Lighting Design: Speirs & Major, Mark Major, Kere Asfuroglu

Disability Access Advisor: Elizabeth Dixon

ENDS

For further information, access to high res images, or interviews please contact Flagship Consulting belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk or call Sophy Norris – 01392 248 934 or 07930 385 849, Belinda Hallworth – 020 7680 7114 or 07969 751 467, Adrian King – 020 7680 7112

 

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Experts in York compiled a detailed picture of food and cuisine near Stonehenge © Mike Parker Pearson

Experts in York compiled a detailed picture of food and cuisine near Stonehenge
© Mike Parker Pearson

 

Original Article:

culture24.org.uk

By Ben Miller | 13 October 2015

 

Milk, yoghurt and cheese eaten in exclusive ceremonies around Stonehenge feasts, say archaeologists

Evidence from settlement where Stonehenge builders lived suggests well-organised community feasting.

Milk, yoghurt and cheeses could have been seen as “exclusive” foods or eaten predominantly in public ceremonies around the time Stonehenge was built, according to archaeologists using pottery and animal bones to analyse food from organised feasts during the 25th century BC.

New evidence from Durrington Walls, a late Neolithic monument and settlement site where the builders of nearby Stonehenge are thought to have lived, shows that pots in ceremonial spaces mainly carried dairy produce. Barbeque-style roasted pork and beef was detected in the chemicals of cooking vessels found in residential areas from the period.

“Animals were brought from all over Britain to be barbecued and cooked in open-air mass gatherings and also to be eaten in more privately organised meals within the many houses at Durrington Walls,” says Professor Mike Parker Pearson, the University College London Professor who is the Director of the Feeding Stonehenge project.

“The special placing of milk pots at the larger ceremonial buildings reveals that certain products had a ritual significance beyond that of nutrition alone. The sharing of food had religious as well as social connotations for promoting unity among Britain’s scattered farming communities in prehistory. ”

“This new research has given us a fantastic insight into the organisation of large-scale feasting among the people who built Stonehenge.”

Together with researchers at the University of Sheffield, Parker Pearson’s team found “very little” evidence of plant food preparation across the site. They say mass animal consumption – particularly of pigs who were killed before reaching their maximum weight – presents “strong evidence” of planned autumn and winter slaughtering ahead of feasts.

“Evidence of food-sharing and activity-zoning at Durrington Walls shows a greater degree of culinary organisation than was expected for this period of British prehistory,” says Dr Oliver Craig, of the University of York, the lead author on the new paper in archaeological journal Antiquity.

“The inhabitants and many visitors to this site possessed a shared understanding of how foods should be prepared, consumed and disposed. This, together with evidence of feasting, suggests Durrington Walls was a well-organised working community.”

Feasting in the time of Stonehenge
The main method of cooking meat is thought to have been boiling and roasting in pots – probably around indoor hearths.

Larger barbeque-style roasting was found to have taken place outdoors, evidenced by distinctive burn patterns on animal bones.

Bones from all parts of the animal skeleton were found, indicating that livestock was walked to the site rather than introduced as joints of meat.

Isotopic analysis indicates that cattle originated from many different locations – some far away from the site. This suggests a large number of volunteers were likely to have been drawn from far and wide.

The patterns of feasting contradict suggestions of a slave-based society where labour was forced and coerced.

Three museums to discover Stonehenge stories in

Stonehenge – English Heritage, Amesbury
Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress. The true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was it a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar?

Wiltshire Museum, Devizes
Founded more than 150 years ago, the museum preserves the rich archaeological and historical treasures and records of Wiltshire, including the World Heritage Site of Avebury and Stonehenge.

The Salisbury Museum and Wessex Gallery of Archaeology
Home of the Stonehenge gallery, Warminster Jewel and famous Monkton Deverill gold torc, as well as displays of prehistory in Early Man; Romans and Saxons; the medieval history of Old Sarum and Salisbury (with the renowned Giant and Hob Nob); the Pitt Rivers (father of modern scientific archaeology) collection; ceramics and costume; a pre-NHS surgery and Turner watercolours.

 

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US Army sun cream and tins of bacon are among the finds on Salisbury Plain revealed by archaeologists, to mark US Independence Day.

Wessex Archaeology, based on the plain, said various US-issued provisions had been found in recent years.

Among the finds were tins of cooking oil, bottles of sauce and “even what appeared to be a block of lard”.

A group spokeswoman said: “The state of preservation of the provisions shows how well made they were.”

The Wiltshire plain has been used as a training ground by the British military since the early 20th Century.

It also provided a training area for US troops preparing for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe during World War Two.

“The military has been on Salisbury Plain for decades so it’s not been ploughed up or disturbed by developers,” said Matt Leivers, from Wessex Archaeology.

Among the other finds unearthed on the plain were spoons and plates and bottles of Camp coffee.

Speaking about the “cream sunburn preventive”, which is labelled for use in “hot or cold climates”, a Wessex Archaeology spokesman said: “It was a rare hoard of 16 tins of US Army sun cream – still with the contents intact.

“It’s evidence of US military presence on Salisbury Plain and the surrounding area.

“Sadly, there were no contents left in the tins of sliced bacon.”

The finds have been transferred to the Salisbury Museum.

Original article:

BBCNewsBacon from WW2

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Archaeologists found food from between 800-1000 BC in a set of pots, textiles and other material at a Cambridgeshire settlement destroyed by fire during the Bronze Age© Cambridge Archaeological Unit

An “extraordinary testimony” to the lives of prosperous people in Bronze Age Britain could lie under the soil of a 1,100-square metre site destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago, say archaeologists who are about to start digging within a brick pit near Peterborough.
Must Farm – part of the Flag Fen Basin, and the site where nine pristine log boats were famously unearthed in 2011 – was protected by a ring of wooden posts before a dramatic fire at the end of the Bronze Age caused the dwelling to collapse into the river.
Its submergence preserved its contents, creating what experts are describing as a “time capsule” of “exceptional” decorated tiles made from lime tree bark.
Rare small pots, jars complete with the remains of hastily-abandoned meals and “sophisticated” exotic glass beads are expected to provide a complete picture of prehistoric life during the nine-month excavation, which is part of a four-year, £1.1 million project at the site.
“We think those living in the settlement were forced to leave everything behind when it caught on fire,” says Kasia Gdaniec, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Senior Archaeologist.
“An extraordinarily rich range of goods and objects are present in the river deposits, some of which were found during an evaluation in 2006.

A Late Iron Age baldric ring with La Tène style decoration, probably part of a shoulder belt for carrying a sword, found in the peat which formed in the Must Farm palaeochannel when then the watercourse became entirely choked by sediment at the end of the first millennium BC© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
“Among the items was a charred pot with vitrified food inside it and a partially charred spoon, suggesting that the site had been abandoned quickly.
“We anticipate that more of the timber structure, a range of organic remains and fishing equipment and the whole gamut of personal, work and settlement paraphernalia will be found.
“But we are hoping not to find remains of people that may have suffered the impact of the fire, though this possibility cannot be ruled out.
The mass of preserved timbers were originall discovered during an excavation in 2006© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
“It’s an exciting excavation. The finds are well preserved due to the waterlogged sediments within this former river channel.”
The footprints of the settlement’s former residents still stand, although more discoveries are not expected to emerge until late summer.

 

“Usually at a Later Bronze Age period site you get pits, post-holes and maybe one or two really exciting metal finds,” says David Gibson, the Archaeological Manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
“Convincing people that such places were once thriving settlements takes some imagination. But this time so much more has been preserved.
“It’s a fantastic chance to find out how people in the Late Bronze Age lived their daily lives, including how they dressed and what meals they ate.”
The location of the site, at the edge of the quarry, meant attempts to preserve it in situ after it was discovered in 2006 proved unviable as a long-term historic record.
“The combination of sudden abandonment followed by exceptional preservation means that there is a real possibility of further exciting discoveries,” says Duncan Wilson, of Historic England.
“This could represent a moment of time from the Late Bronze Age comparable to the connection with the past made by the objects found with the Mary Rose.
“This site is internationally important and gives a fascinating insight into the lives of our ancestors.”
A rapier and sword were found at the clay quarry, now run by a building company, in 1969. The new discoveries will be displayed at Peterborough Museum and other local venues.

Original article:

Culture24.org.uk

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wooden butter churn lid unearthed at Norton Bridge is from the Saxon period following scientific tests.
Evidence of prehistoric activity was uncovered in the same area of the site and archaeologists believed the butter churn could be from the same period.
But radiocarbon tests have revealed the lid of the butter churn dates from the early medieval period when the area was part of the Mercian kingdom.
The tests have put a fragment of wood found with the lid as dating between AD715-890, so the lid is from the same period as the Staffordshire Hoard.

archaeologist at the site where Network Rail is building a new flyover and 11 bridges to remove the last major bottleneck on the West Coast main line as part of the £250m Stafford Area ImprovementsProgramme. The work is being delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance – a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail.
Dr Tetlow said she was surprised but delighted by the news as there was so little evidence of the period archaeologically.
She said: “During this period this part of Staffordshire was part of the Mercian heartland and was populated by a pagan tribe called the Pencersaete.
“Existing knowledge of this period for the north and east of the Midlands and the UK in general is very scarce, so this find is fantastic and of regional significance.”
Dr Tetlow, of Headland Archaeology, added the tribe would have experienced similar weather conditions to us with unsettled and stormy weather.
“This was a period of dynamic climate change culminating in the Medieval Warm Period. The weather patterns were similar to those we are experiencing today.
“It was increasingly unsettled and stormy with flooding and an increase in temperature.”

further evidence of worked wooden stakes and wood chips – were made in a section of waterlogged peat close to Meece Road.
A number of Victorian stoneware bottles bearing the names of breweries from Bristol to Manchester have also been unearthed.
Residents will have the chance to view some of the objects and discuss them with Dr Tetlow and other colleagues working on the site at an information day in June. She is also preparing a paper on the finds for the Stafford and Mid-Staffs Archaeological Society.
Staffordshire Alliance manager Matt Clark said: “Despite a challenging workload and at times some challenging weather we’ve worked hard with Emma to safeguard archaeology at the site and it’s been fascinating so see what she’s uncovered.
“We’re looking forward to sharing and discussing some of these finds with the community.”

By Staffordshire Newsletter

Original article:

Staffordshirenewsletter

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