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Iron Age Discoveries & Heritage


Aug 19, 2003
Orkney skeleton reveals ritualistic side to Iron Age

Orkney skeleton reveals ritualistic side to Iron Age

A HUMAN skeleton from the Iron Age with white teeth and wearing ornate green copper toe rings has been unearthed almost completely intact by archaeologists on Orkney, in what is seen as a discovery of international importance.
For 1,500 years the remains of what is believed to be someone in their late teens or early 20s has lain undisturbed half a metre below the topsoil of a farmer’s field at Mine Howe, Tankerness, on the island.

What has baffled archaeologists is that the body appears to have been ritualistically buried with a set of antlers resting on its chest and a toe ring on each foot, beneath the floor of what would have been in from AD200 to AD600 a busy Iron Age workshop.

The business of smelting and moulding metal and glass into jewellery, sword handles and other intricate objects would have gone on as normal just a few feet above the shallow grave, experts believe.

Yesterday Nick Card, from the Orkney Archeological Trust and a co-director of the dig at Mine Howe, which is now in its fourth season, said the discovery was immensely important in terms of advancing understanding of European Iron Age society. The fact that the skeleton is complete is also extremely rare for this period of history.

“Until relatively recently Iron Age society was seen a very secular in nature,” said Mr Card. “But we have now started to recognise ritualistic elements in certain structures and this site is quite unique in Britain in that respect. It is immensely exciting.”

It is not yet known if the 5 ft tall skeleton, whose sex is still to be established, died of natural causes or was the victim of a pagan sacrifice to placate the spirit world. Early in the first millennium, metal workers had a special status. Their work was viewed as dangerous and magical and experts believe this could be the key to the placing of the body. Jane Downes, an archaeologist and another co-director of the dig, said: “Fragments of human beings have sometimes been found within Iron Age houses, but this is a formal burial of an entire body dressed with jewellery within what would have been a busy workshop. The grave was cut through the floor and paved over with flag stones, so the people would have been well aware that the body was there while they were working.

Rare burial from the Iron Age is found on Scottish island

An Iron Age skeleton has been found after an archaeological excavation on an island off the west coast of Scotland. The burial, thought to be of a young female, is the first one discovered on the Isle of Skye. Excavations made in the High Pasture Cave near Kilbride unearthed animal bones (radiocarbon-dated to 390 and 160 BC) and artefacts last year. The burial was found recently when the research team re-opened the sealed cave, close to stone-built structures on the surface. Archaeologist Martin Wildgoose said: “We now know that at some stage during the Iron Age this former entrance was deliberately sealed to the outside world and the hollow above the entrance filled with an intricate sequence of archaeological deposits in excess of 4 metres in depth.” The grave is stone-lined and the body was covered with soil and larger stones and an unusual ring-headed bone pin was found just above the skull. George Kozikowski, a member of the project team, stated: “The discovery of the human remains at the High Pasture’s site is a very important find and will provide a unique opportunity to study a wide range of aspects of Iron Age life and death in the region.” Isotope analysis of the bones may provide evidence of the person’s diet and where they originated from. Patrick Ashmore, Head of Archaeology with Historic Scotland, said: “Given how rare burials of this period are, it is very exciting to be able to do research into origins and diet.” Further details of the High Pasture Cave Project excavations are available at www.high-pasture-cave.org and open days at the site will be run from October 5th to 12th.

Iron Age Woman's Skeleton Found in Denmark

Iron Age Woman's Skeleton Found in Denmark

Wed Sep 28, 8:44 PM ET

Danish archeologists said Wednesday they found the well-preserved skeletal remains of an Iron Age woman while excavating an ancient grave site in a suburb of Copenhagen.

The woman, who was between 20 and 40 when she died, probably lived around the year A.D. 400, said Tom Giersing of the Kroppedal Museum in Taastrup.

"What we find interesting is her bones are well-preserved and she had jewelry — glass pearls and a metal chain — which could indicate that she was wealthy," said Giersing, who headed the excavation.

Denmark's best known Iron Age findings are the well-preserved bog bodies of the so-called Tollund man and Grauballe man, named after the two villages where they found. The Iron Age in Denmark lasted from about 500 B.C. to 750 A.D.


edited by TheQuixote: hyperlink created to stop page break
Derbyshire Iron Age bones were of pregnant woman
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 691348.stm

Peak District dig site
The remains were found during the dig at Monsal Dale in the Peak District

Tests carried out on a skeleton discovered at an archaeological dig in Derbyshire have found it was that of a pregnant woman.

Experts said they were surprised by the female find because the site, near Monsal Dale in the Peak District, had been believed to be a military scene.

Now, extra lottery funding means there can be a second dig at the Fin Cop hill fort site to find out more.

Archaeologists unearthed the Iron Age skeleton last August.

During the excavation, the woman was uncovered among the jumbled stone of a collapsed rampart.

When you get back to the lab, throw the scientific techniques and analysis at them, that's when you start to get the story out
Jim Brightman, project manager

The main focus of the dig was to find how the ramparts of the hill fort were built and when they were erected and archaeologists described the skeleton find as "unexpected".

Experts said it was evident the woman had been thrown into the ditch as the stone wall of the hill fort was being pushed in.

Specialist analysis of the bones revealed the woman to have been about 21 to 30 years of age when she died between 300 and 200 BC.

The Longstone Local History Group has now been awarded a grant of nearly £50,000 to continue to research the area with the help of Archaeological Research Services Ltd.

One of the project managers, Jim Brightman, said: "Quite a lot of very important finds cannot look like much on site.

"But when you get back to the lab, throw the scientific techniques and analysis at them, that's when you start to get the story out.

"The bones are a great example of that, we found out so much more by analysing them."
Iron Age road found in Shropshire by archaeologists
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sh ... e-12762426

Bayston Hill quarry Bayston Hill quarry still manufactures stone for roads

Related Stories

* Ancient Britons: Iron Age riches

Archaeologists think they may have found evidence that Iron Age Britons were capable of building roads - before the Romans arrived.

Environmental consultants SLR examined a road, thought to be built in the 1st century BC, at Bayston Hill quarry, Shropshire.

Director Tim Malim said the age of the find suggested its construction was not a result of Roman influence.

However, an academic who has also seen the road said it seemed "doubtful".
River cobbles

The discovery of the metalled and cambered roadway was made at a Tarmac quarry, from where stone is transported to be used in roads and motorways.

Stone from the quarry has also been used in Grand Prix circuits at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

"It could well indicate that Iron Age Britons were sophisticated road engineers in their own right and had developed the technological expertise to build sophisticated all-weather roadways for wheeled traffic," Mr Malim said.

The road was more than 1.5m (5ft) high and 6m (19.5ft) wide, and surfaced with imported river cobbles.

Up to 400m (1,312ft) of it has been uncovered.

Mr Malim's team believe it may have connected the Wrekin, the capital of the Cornovian tribe, with a hill fort near Oswestry.

Finds of animal dung and dung beetles indicate that before the road was built, it was used as a livestock droveway, they said.
'Roman instinct'

Dr Roger White, senior lecturer in archaeology and Academic Director of the Ironbridge Institute, said he could go along with the idea that this was an Iron Age route which was then re-used by the Romans.

"But I have to part from the idea that they had these structured roads in the Roman sense," he said.

He accepted that dating results had put the road in the Iron Age period but said he just did not believe structured roads would have happened in that period.

"If it is an Iron Age road, what is it doing? Where would it go to and from? I just can't see where it fits in with everything we know about the Iron Age," he said.

"My instinct is that it is Roman."

Following completion of archaeological studies the road has been covered up.
Stanwick Lakes Iron Age roundhouse damaged in fire
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-no ... e-12774672

The roundhouse after the fire. The thatched roof was completely destroyed

Related Stories

* Evidence of Iron Age road found

A replica Iron Age roundhouse built as a feature in a community project about heritage in east Northamptonshire has been severely damaged in a fire.

Firefighters were called to Stanwick near Rushden at 2000 GMT on Wednesday.

The fire completely destroyed the thatched roof which took four days to build.

The heritage project attracted more than 500 volunteers, including schools, youth groups and was due to be completed by 26 March.

The Iron Age house was being created as part of the Rose of the Shires project which researches the heritage of local areas.

Organisers are hoping to be able to restore the roundhouse.

Liz Williams, education co-ordinator for the project, said: "We are assessing the damage to the roundhouse but at the moment we are not quite sure what we'll do next."
North Wales hillfort test of Iron Age communication
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-nort ... s-11832323

Map of 10 Iron Age hillforts Map of 10 Iron Age forts involved in the project to try to communicate

Related Stories

* Iron Age hilltop test's 'success'
* Up and over Moel Famau

An experiment has shed light on how Iron Age people communicated from their hilltop homes 2,500 years ago.

About 200 volunteers stood on the summit of 10 hillforts in north Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire, and signalled to each other with torches.

Their aim was to learn if communities used the summits to warn each other.

"It was a success," said archaeologist Erin Robinson. "It captured the public's imagination and we made extra links we did not think were possible."

Saturday night's Hilltop Glow event was rescheduled after December's severe weather.

The ancient sites used were on the Clwydian Range; Halkyn Mountain, near Holywell, Flintshire; a lowland site at Wirral; and the Sandstone Ridge, Cheshire.
Summit of Penycloddiau The view towards Moel Arthur and Moel Famau from Penycloddiau which is the location of one of the fires

Beacon fires have previously used on hilltops around the UK to mark the Queen's golden and silver jubilees.

"Most of the hill forts across the surrounding landscape can be seen from each other," explained Ms Robinson from Denbighshire's Heather and Hillforts project.

"The experiment was aiming to see if the glowing fires could have been seen across the hills and acted as a communication or warning system."

Ms Robinson, who climbed to the Moel y Gaer hillfort, near Mold, Flintshire, said she was able to see signals from high-powered torches from all but one hill top.

"It was fantastic," she said. "We saw all the way to a hilltop in Cheshire, which we weren't sure we'd be able to do."

Ms Robinson said the furthest link was made between hills at Burton Point on the Wirral and Maiden Castle, at Bickerton Hill in Cheshire, a distance of approximately 25km (15.5 miles).

"It was a hard thing to organise but it seems to have captured the imagination of the communities involved. We brought the hills alive."

Both the Heather and Hillforts and Habitats and Hillforts projects are Landscape Partnership Schemes funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Money raised for Iron Age gold treasure find
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-t ... l-12804543

Iron Age gold The neck ornaments date from between the 1st and 3rd Century BC

Related Stories

* Reward for Iron Age treasure find
* Torc finder detects medieval seal
* Amateur 'stunned' after £1m find

An Iron Age gold hoard found near Stirling by an amateur treasure hunter has been secured for the nation after a fundraising campaign.

The four neck ornaments - or torcs - were unearthed in a field by David Booth in September 2009.

Mr Booth will now receive a payment of £462,000 after National Museums Scotland secured the necessary funds.

The treasure trove, discovered at Blair Drummond, dates from between the 1st and 3rd Century BC.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, the Scottish government and National Museums Scotland all contributed to the funds needed to acquire the ornaments.

They will now go on display in the National Collections.

Mr Booth's reward was set by the Queen's and Lord Treasure's Remembrancer after he reported his find to the Treasure Trove Unit.

The chief game warden at Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling, was using his metal detector for the first time when he found the torcs buried just six inches below the surface.
Continue reading the main story

* The National Heritage Memorial Fund: £154,000
* The Art Fund: £100,000
* National Museums Scotland: £123,000
* Scottish Government: £85,000

Source: National Museums Scotland

He has since discovered an 800-year-old medieval seal near Stirling.

National Museums Scotland said the neck ornaments were "exquisite examples" of Iron Age craftwork, with a unique braided gold wire torc showing "strong Mediterranean influences".

Museums' director Dr Gordon Rintoul said: "We are delighted to have secured this stunning hoard for display in Scotland's national museum.

"We already attract over 600,000 visitors a year from Scotland and across the world, and expect many more when the fully redeveloped museum opens this summer.

"The hoard is certain to become one of the highlights of a visit to the museum."

Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said the torcs were the most important Iron Age gold hoard ever found in Scotland.
No ownership rights

She added: "I congratulate the National Museum of Scotland on its successful fundraising campaign to ensure that it remains here and will be on free display for the general public."

The torcs will go on temporary display in Hawthornden Court, the main courtyard of the National Museum of Scotland.

A permanent display will eventually be created in the Early People gallery.

Under Scots law, the Crown can claim any archaeological objects found in Scotland.

Finders have no ownership rights and must report any objects to the Treasure Trove Unit.
But the Iron Age Road netword was wll documented by classical sources

And did they have high powered torches??????
Mass burial suggests massacre at Iron Age hill fort

Archaeologists have found evidence of a massacre linked to Iron Age warfare at a hill fort in Derbyshire.
A burial site contained only women and children - the first segregated burial of this kind from Iron Age Britain.
Nine skeletons were discovered in a section of ditch around the fort at Fin Cop in the Peak District.
Scientists believe "perhaps hundreds more skeletons" could be buried in the ditch, only a small part of which has been excavated so far.

Construction of the hill fort has been dated to some time between 440BC and 390BC, but it was destroyed before completion.
The fort's stone wall was broken apart and the rubble used to fill the 400m perimeter ditch, where the skeletons were found.
A second, outer wall and ditch had been started but not finished.

The findings provide a rare insight into warfare in pre-Roman Britain, according to Dr Clive Waddington of Archaeological Research Services, who directed the excavations.
"There has been an almost accepted assumption amongst many archaeologists that hill forts functioned as displays of power, prestige and status and that warfare in the British Iron Age is largely invisible," he said.
"For the people buried at Fin Cop, the hurriedly constructed fort was evidently intended as a defensive work in response to a very real threat."

The skeletons are of women, babies, a toddler and a single teenage male. The archaeological team believe they were probably massacred after the fort was attacked and captured.
All were found in a 10m long section of ditch, the only part to be excavated so far. The ditch was 5m wide with 2m deep vertical edges and would have guarded a 4m high perimeter wall.

Animal bones, also found in the ditch, suggest the fort's inhabitants kept cattle, sheep and pigs. There were also remains from horses which indicate some of the fort's inhabitants were of high status.

The human and animal remains at Fin Cop are relatively well preserved, at least partly due to the limestone geology - the alkaline chemistry slows down decay of organic material including bone.
This may also help explain why similar evidence of Iron Age warfare has not been found at other sites; many hill forts are built on gritstone or sandstone whose acidic soil accelerate the decay of organic matter.

Archaeologists discover evidence of prehistoric settlement on remote Scottish island
http://news.stv.tv/scotland/highlands-i ... sh-island/

'Incredibly significant find' on tiny island of Boreray is 'is further evidence of the international importance of the St Kilda archipelago'.

17 June 2011 00:01 GMT
Comment (1)

Isolated: The tiny island of Boreray is remote but beautiful. Pic: © Doc Searls

Evidence of a permanent Iron Age settlement on one of Europe's most inhospitable islands has been uncovered by archaeologists.

It had been thought that the St Kildan island of Boreray, 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean, had never been populated.

Inhabitants of nearby Hirta island only visit Boreray in the summer to hunt birds and gather wool.

But the new discovery suggests that people may have lived on the steep slopes of the island back in prehistoric times.

The last 36 inhabitants of the St Kilda archipelago left the islands in 1930.

Archaeologists from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland made the discovery on an eight-day research trip to Boreray.

Surveyor Ian Parker said: "This is an incredibly significant find which could change our understanding of the history of St Kilda.

"Until now we thought Boreray was just visited for seasonal hunting and gathering by the people of Hirta. But this new discovery shows that a farming community actually lived on the island, perhaps as long ago as the prehistoric period.

"These agricultural remains and settlement mounds give us a tantalising glimpse into the lives of those who lived for a time on Boreray.

"Farming what is probably one of the most remote and inhospitable islands in the North Atlantic would have been a hard and gruelling existence. And given the island's unfeasibly steep slopes, it's amazing that they even tried living there in the first place."

The team found remnants of an agricultural field system and crop terraces. Three possible settlement mounds were also uncovered. One of these contained the intact remains of a stone building with a "corbelled" roof, sealed by soil over the centuries.

The archaeologists think some of the remains date to the Iron Age.

St Kilda is one of 27 locations in the world with dual World Heritage Status by Unesco in recognition of both its natural and cultural heritage. Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, it is home to tens of thousands of seabirds, including 45,000 gannets, and a few hundred wild sheep.

Hirta is the largest island in the archipelago.

Jill Harden, who is under contract with the National Trust for Scotland, said: "New discoveries and interpretations are fundamental to people's understanding of ways of life associated with all the islands and stacs that make up the St Kilda archipelago.

"It is refreshing to know that there is still so much to learn about these islands."

The team were on the island last summer and have spent the past year analysing their findings.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "This extraordinary discovery is further evidence of the international importance of the St Kilda archipelago, reinforcing its value as one of Scotland's five World Heritage Sites."
Isnt this amazing?

People lived on north Rona, but not that far back
Water pipe evaluation leads to Pinhoe Iron Age remains

An ancient Iron Age settlement has been uncovered by archaeologists working for South West Water in Devon.
It was found during an archaeological evaluation of the route of a new water mains between Beacon Hill reservoir, near Exeter, and the town of Cranbrook.
Archaeologists were investigating a large prehistoric enclosure below the ground which was discovered by carrying out surveys from the air in 1996.
Among the finds were shale bracelets and an iron-working furnace.

Excavations showed the enclosure would originally have had a massive bank inside a ditch.
James Field, South West Water's (SWW) ecologist and environmental planner, said it was an important settlement
"Someone went to a lot of trouble to construct this ditch in the days before JCBs," he said.
"In the lower layers of the ditch we have found a pile of broken bracelets made of shale - an oily, soft rock.
"Within the enclosure was an Iron Age iron-working furnace, which again is rare in the county.
"It is probable that the shale itself comes from as far as Kimmeridge in Dorset, which poses important questions about the significance and nature of this enclosure."

Devon County Council archaeologist Frances Griffith said: "It is of great interest to see this site partially excavated.
"The shale finds are an important discovery, as yet unparalleled in Devon."

The trenches will be refilled when the evaluation is complete and all finds analysed and archived.

Iron Age road link to Iceni tribe
By Louise Ord, Assistant producer, Digging for Britain

A suspected Iron Age road, made of timber and preserved in peat for 2,000 years, has been uncovered by archaeologists in East Anglia.
The site, excavated in June, may have been part of a route across the River Waveney and surrounding wetland at Geldeston in Norfolk, say experts.

Causeways were first found in the area in 2006, during flood defence work at the nearby Suffolk town of Beccles.
It is thought the road is pre-Roman, built by the local Iceni tribe.
Exact dating has yet to be carried out but tree-ring evidence suggests a date of 75BC.
That dates the timber road to more than 100 years before the Roman invasion, which saw the Iceni and their leader Boudicca lead a revolt which threatened to end Roman rule.
In AD60, the Iceni ambushed one Roman legion and sacked Roman settlements at London and Colchester before being defeated.

The timber structures, usually lost on archaeological sites, are marked out by the posts which have been preserved in remarkable detail. As they are dug up, they look almost modern, and it is still possible to clearly see tool marks in the timbers.

University of Birmingham archaeological researcher Kristina Krawiec, from the dig team, said: "Instead of getting post holes, we're getting the posts that would have gone in them. We're understanding more about the technology and skills that went into these sort of things."

John Davies, chief curator at Norwich Castle Museum, added: "This particular track way is very interesting to us because we have tools... which may actually tie in with some of the tool marks and methods of construction we are turning up in the excavation."

Discovered in June last year, the recently excavated timbers form a 4m-wide (13ft) route, running for 500m across wetland right up to the river. There have been two previous linked finds nearby including one on the other side of the river and another running alongside it.
"We perhaps have evidence that these alignments were designed to indicate a crossing or access route to the River Waveney," said University of Birmingham archaeologist Ben Gearey.

As well as providing practical ways of getting across the wet flood plain, the archaeologists believe the roads may have been a way of marking territory to traders and travellers from afar, and spiritual gathering places where the tribe that built them could go to the river to make offerings.
Items such as swords, shields and spearheads are often found in rivers - probably gifts to the gods or to long-dead ancestors.

In a world without roads, rivers were the motorways of the time and it is thought the Waveney formed part of a major metal trading route from Europe.
The timber structures would probably have been an impressive sight to any passing travellers.

'Britain's first pre-Roman planned town' found near Reading
By Louise Ord, Assistant Producer, Digging for Britain

Archaeologists believe they have found the first pre-Roman planned town discovered in Britain.
It has been unearthed beneath the Roman town of Silchester or Calleva Atrebatum near modern Reading.

The Romans are often credited with bringing civilisation to Britain - including town planning.
But excavations have shown evidence of an Iron Age town built on a grid and signs inhabitants had access to imported wine and olive oil.

Prof Mike Fulford, an archaeologist at the University of Reading, said the people of Iron Age Silchester appear to have adopted an urbanised 'Roman' way of living, long before the Romans arrived.
"It is very remarkable to find this evidence of a planned Iron Age layout before the arrival of the Romans and the development of a planned, Roman town," he said.
"Indeed, it would be hard to see a significant difference between the lifestyles of the inhabitants of the Iron Age town and of its Roman successor in the 1st Century AD."

He said they seem to have been drinking wine and using olive oil and a fermented fish sauce called garum in their cooking, all imported from abroad.

Silchester is famous for the most complete Roman town walls in Britain.
After the Roman invasion, the town was used by its military, and there is evidence that Roman buildings were very swiftly built on top of Iron Age structures.

Prof Fulford believes that shortly before this, the town may have been taken over by the British Iron Age chieftain Caratacus - a leader of the Catuvellauni tribe - as his stronghold.
The evidence comes from coins minted by Caratacus in the area.
"Both their tight distribution in central southern England and their style point to Calleva as being the source of Caratacus' coins," he said.

Caratacus was a hero of the British resistance to Roman rule. He famously took on the invading Roman army at the Battle of Medway and after his capture was taken to Rome where he appeared so fearless that the Emperor Claudius was moved to spare his life.

As for the fate of the Roman town, a scorched layer within the archaeology suggests that it was actually burnt to the ground, and seems to have been abandoned for about 20 years.
It is possible that this destruction was carried out by the Queen of the Iceni tribe, Boudicca, or at least at the time of her anti-Roman rebellion in 60 - 61 AD.

It is known from the Annals of Tacitus that Boudicca and her army laid waste to the Roman towns of Colchester (Camulodunum), London (Londinium) and St Albans (Verulamium), but could Silchester have been a fourth, previously unknown Roman settlement to fall victim to Boudicca's rebellion?

If these theories are correct, then within a single generation Silchester went through a period of turbulent evolution from a prosperous and sophisticated Iron Age town, to being under direct Roman army control to being burned to the ground and deserted.

I know this place well. Luckily for the archaeologists, there's a pub on the hill :D

Somerset's Ham Hill iron age fort excavation under way

A major excavation has begun at Ham Hill, Somerset - Britain's largest Iron Age hill fort.

A major excavation is under way to explore the unclear history of Britain's largest Iron Age hill fort.

The purpose of the Ham Hill site in Somerset is not known but researchers are now hoping to gain a deeper insight into life 2,000 years ago.

A joint team from the universities of Cambridge and Cardiff have begun a dig at the 88-hectare site to learn more.

Work is due to continue until September 2013 by which time the team hope to have a clearer map of its interior.

Niall Sharples, from Cardiff University, said: "It's a bit of an enigma. Ham Hill is so big that no archaeologist has ever really been able to get a handle on it.

"People think of these places as defensive structures, but it is inconceivable that such a place could have been defended.

"Thousands of people would have been required; militarily, it would have been a nightmare.

"Clearly, it was a special place for people in the Iron Age, but when did it become special, why, and how long did it stay that way?"

Researchers believe the site may have been a monument and was somehow meant to create a sense of community, collective identity, or prestige.

'Communal identity'

Christopher Evans, from the Cambridge archaeological unit, said it was a rare opportunity to tackle the site's big issues on the scale they deserve.

"We don't know if the site's development was prompted by trade, defence or communal identity needs," he said.

"Equally, should we be thinking of it as a great, centralised settlement place - almost proto-urban in its layout and community size?"

One of the key aims of the current excavation will be to pin down the rough date of the hill fort's construction.

Smaller scale digs at the site have produced a number of finds, including human remains, the skeleton of a dog, pottery, iron sickles and the remains of a house.

BBC Source
Wilberforce College's Iron Age finds halt building work

Circular marks were spotted in the field by a teacher in the 1960s

Builders at a college in East Yorkshire have stopped work after finding objects dating back to the Iron Age.

The workers constructing a sports court at Wilberforce College, Hull, have made way for experts from Humber Field Archaeology to inspect the site.

Digs at the site in the east of the city date back to the 1960s and there was archaeological work there in 2010.

David Cooper, vice-principal at the college, said: "This is a really important site."

It is thought the objects found are shards of Iron Age pottery.

Circular field marks
Mr Cooper, who also teaches archaeology at the college, said: "The last dig significantly advanced our understanding of the Iron Age in Hull and East Yorkshire."

He said it was "very early days" in the current dig.

Mr Cooper also said that the site used to be a school in the 1960s and a teacher had spotted circular marks in the school's field and recognised it as a potential archaeological site.

The field remained unscathed during floods in 2007.

Mr Cooper said: "Iron Age farmers knew exactly where to stick their farm, this is a well drained site.

"We are custodians of a tremendous piece of local heritage."
New 'Iron Age' discoveries made in Inverness
By Steven McKenzie, BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

New discoveries made in Inverness have fuelled speculation among experts that north east Scotland was an important area of prehistoric iron production.
Rare finds of well-preserved metalworking hearths, or furnaces, have been uncovered at Beechwood during work by Edinburgh-based AOC Archaeology.
Archaeologists believe the discoveries date to the Iron Age.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is spending £25m on preparing the land for the new Inverness Campus.
The University of the Highlands and Islands and businesses will eventually occupy buildings constructed on the former farmland.
HIE commissioned AOC Archaeology to evaluate and record any buried historical sites and artefacts at Beechwood, before bulldozers moved in earlier this year.

Excavations were done in 2011 and work is now being undertaken to understand what those digs revealed.
Several timber roundhouses of possible Iron Age date - around 700BC to AD400 - as well as evidence of earlier activity in the area stretching back thousands of years into the Neolithic period 3500BC were uncovered.

Examinations of Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery fragments, quern stones for grinding grain and significant quantities of iron slag are still in the early stages.
But AOC Archaeology said the finds provided "tantalising hints" of Beechwood's important past.

A spokesman said: "The metalworking evidence from Beechwood is providing clues that there were two ironworking areas on site.
"One is a possible clay-lined ironworking hearth or furnace and a dump of waste material, and the other, a spread of debris from smelting and blacksmithing which appears to come from an area now lost to modern urban expansion.

"Iron slag, the waste material left behind after smelting and blacksmithing, is not an uncommon find on archaeological sites but the survival of metalworking hearths or furnaces is much rarer.
"Radiocarbon dates from charcoal found in pits and postholes associated with the iron slag suggest that this activity took place between 400 and 100BC, making it Iron Age in date."

He added: "This new discovery is just one of an increasing number of ironworking sites in the area found over the last 15 years which is leading experts to speculate that north east Scotland may have been an important focal area for iron production in later prehistory."

The metalworking at Beechwood may have been taking place at the same time as that at nearby Culduthel, AOC Archaeology said.
Well-preserved Iron Age furnaces and roundhouses were found at Culduthel in 2005.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-18840754
Vid at link.

Iron Age bronze helmet found on Canterbury farmland

More or less intact helmets of the era are very rare finds, said University of Kent archaeologist Dr Steven Willis

A rare Iron Age helmet unearthed by a metal detector enthusiast on farmland near Canterbury has been described as a significant find by the British Museum.

The bronze helmet was found with bone fragments, and had been used to hold human remains after a cremation, Canterbury Archaeological Trust said.

The finder contacted archaeologists because he was confident he had made a significant discovery, the trust said.

University of Kent experts have found it dates back to the 1st Century BC.

Andrew Richardson, finds manager at the trust, said the person who found the helmet wanted to remain anonymous.

Registered as treasure
A brooch that would have fastened a bag holding the cremated bone was also unearthed, he said.

Julia Farley, Iron Age curator at the British Museum, said it was one of a handful of Iron Age helmets found in Britain.

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The secrets of this helmet are only just beginning to emerge”

Dr Steven Willis
University of Kent
She said it was not unusual to bury cremated remains in a bag fastened with a brooch in late Iron Age Kent.

But she said: "No other cremation has ever been found accompanied by a helmet."

She added: "The owner of this helmet, or the people who placed it in the grave, may have lived through the very beginning of the story of Roman Britain."

Dr Steven Willis, senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Kent, said laser-scanning technology had been used to analyse the helmet and establish details of its manufacture, decoration and use.

He said: "The secrets of this helmet are only just beginning to emerge but we will know much more as the work progresses."

Dr Willis also said more or less intact helmets of the era were very rare finds.

He said one was known of in Belgium that had also been used as a cremation container.

The objects have been registered as treasure, reported to the coroner, and will remain at the British Museum, the university said.

But academics said it was hoped Canterbury Museum would be able to acquire the finds so they could be permanently displayed in Kent.

Experts from the British Museum, Canterbury Archaeological Trust and the University of Kent talk about the importance of the find
Storms Reveal Iron Age Skeleton

A series of storms that hit Scotland's Shetland Islands over the holidays revealed what archaeologists believe could be 2,000-year-old human remains.

Police were initially called to the scene when storms eroded a cliff at Channerwick and exposed the skeleton, but officials soon determined that they wouldn't have to open a homicide investigation.

Local archaeologist Chris Dyer said the ancient skeleton looked as if it were contemporary with the remains of Iron Age structures revealed nearby. Researchers then identified evidence of one or possibly two more burials at the site, but another storm caused a further chunk of the cliff to crumble, covering up the discovery.

"The original burial now lies under several tons of fallen bank, and the Iron Age structures have also disappeared from view," Dyer said in a statement from the Shetland Amenity Trust.

Regarding the new finding, officials have not planned further archaeological work at the site, but said a small piece of bone was recovered and will be analyzed using radiocarbon dating to confirm the skeleton's age.

http://www.livescience.com/26311-storms ... leton.html
Volunteer army drafted to map every ancient hill fort
By Judith Burns, BBC News education reporter

Archaeologists are drafting a volunteer army to help map every ancient hill fort across Britain and Ireland.
It is part of a project to create an online atlas of around 5,000 of these Iron Age monuments.
Prehistory enthusiasts are being asked to identify and record features such as ramparts, ditches and entrances.
Prof Ian Lock, of Oxford University, said: "We want to shed new light on why they were created and how they were used."

Despite their large numbers there has been little academic work on hill forts, how they were used and how they varied across Britain and Ireland, the researchers say.

Prof Lock, who has studied and excavated a number of the forts in England, said that despite their name archaeological evidence suggests they were not primarily used for military purposes.
"We have found pottery, metalwork and evidence of domestic activities like spinning and weaving, also of agriculture, crops like wheat and barley and of keeping pigs, sheep and cattle," he told BBC News.
Researchers believe they may have been meeting places for religious festivals or market days.

The oldest hill forts are in Ireland and Wales and are up to 3,000 years old. Many were abandoned after the Romans arrived in Britain, but in areas that the Romans did not occupy they were used for longer.

The research team want information not only on well-preserved forts but also on sites where only crop marks indicate their existence. The idea is to build a free online database.
"We are hoping that local archaeology societies will get involved," said Prof Lock.
"Rather than going to a hill fort on your own, it would be better, with a group of people, to talk about what you are looking at, which should make it easier to identify the various details," he said.

Dr Jon Murden, director of the Dorset museum in Dorchester, which is owned and run by the county's natural history and archaeological society, told BBC News: "We would love to be involved.
"There are at least 50 hill forts to explore and understand on the South Dorset Ridgeway alone."

Volunteers will be able to feed information on their local hill fort into an online form on the Atlas of Hillforts project website from Monday.
"We are keen to see what the citizen science approach may reveal," said Prof Ian Ralston, of Edinburgh University, the project co-director.

"We hope that the public, including archaeological societies, will get behind this project as it should lead to the discovery of new sites and new information about sites that are considered to be well known. We expect the results of this project to change our vision of these iconic monuments."

The four-year project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The maps will be freely available to the public, searchable by region and linked to Google Earth to show the hillforts in the context of the landscape.

17 August 2013 Last updated at 12:10

Ipplepen Iron Age settlement 'one of most significant' finds

An Iron Age settlement unearthed in Devon has been described as one of the most important finds of its kind.
It was prompted by the chance discovery of Roman coins in fields at Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot about four years ago.
Archaeologists, who have recently started examining the site, said it is the first of its kind in the county.

The excavation is being funded by the British Museum, Exeter University, the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and Devon County Council.
Sam Moorhead from the British Museum said he believed the Ipplepen site was "one of the most significant Roman discoveries in the country for many decades".

The site was discovered by local metal detector enthusiasts Jim Wills and Dennis Hewings, who contacted archaeologist Danielle Wootton, the Devon finds liaison officer for the PAS.
Ms Wootton said local people had been involved in the project, with about 40 volunteers helping at the excavation site.
"When we announced the find at a community meeting about three years ago, the hall was absolutely packed with local people and there was an electric atmosphere," she told BBC News.
"The bit we've excavated at the moment is prehistoric - it's Iron Age - but we have picked up traces of some Roman Romano-British field boundaries," she said.

"It's probably going to take us a very long time for us to fully understand the nature of the settlement and how long it was occupied for.
Ms Wootton said the important discovery should be credited to Mr Wills and Mr Hewings who had painstakingly recorded "every scrap of metal" they found.
"Jim and Dennis have been absolutely first class in recording what they've found and it's a result of them being responsible with their metal detecting that we've discovered this site," she said.

Mr Wills said the oldest coin he found dated back to 117BC,
"The very first Roman coin I found strangely enough - and this is out of more than 100 coins we found subsequently - is still the oldest of all the coins," he said.
"I've been detecting for many years, but it's always thrilling to dig up something you recognise is really important."

Part of the settlement excavation site will be open to the public on Sunday.

Iron Age fortifications from 8th century B.C. unearthed in Israel

A 3D rendering of the fortification found on the Israeli coast. Credit: Philip Sapirstein/American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Published: Aug. 19, 2013 at 5:24 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Archaeologists say they've discovered the remains of massive ancient fortifications protecting an Iron Age Assyrian harbor in present-day Israel.

Unearthed in an archaeological dig in the contemporary Israeli coastal city of Ashdod, the heart of the well-preserved fortifications is a mud-brick wall more than 12 feet thick and 15 feet high, researchers from Tel Aviv University reported.

Stretching for hundreds of feet, the fortifications would have formed a daunting crescent-shaped defense for an inland area covering more than 17 acres, they said.

"The fortifications appear to protect an artificial harbor," archaeologist Alexander Fantalkin said. "If so, this would be a discovery of international significance, the first known harbor of this kind in our corner of the Levant."

When the fortifications were built in the 8th century B.C., the Assyrians ruled the southeastern part of the Mediterranean basin, including parts of Africa and the Middle East.

The fortifications may have been built during a local rebellion against Sargon II, the king of the Assyrian Empire, which was brutally put down by the Assyrians, researchers said.

"An amazing amount of time and energy was invested in building the wall and glacis [embankments]," Fantalkin said.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/08 ... z2cVgyXqhb
Mixed bag, Neolithic artefacts as well.

Ancient artefacts found in melting snow
By Melissa Hogenboom
Science reporter, BBC News

The well-worn tunic was incredibly well preserved and was made from wool

An Iron Age tunic is amongst the discoveries found under melting snow on Norwegian mountains.

Other findings include Neolithic arrows and bow fragments, thought to be about 6000 years old.

Snow on the Norwegian mountains, and elsewhere, is rapidly melting due to climate change, which is now unveiling a world of well preserved new discoveries.

The findings are published in two papers in the journal Antiquity.

"The new find is of great significance for dress and textile production and how these reflect the interplay between northern Europe and the Roman world," said Marianne Vedeler from the University of Oslo, Norway, who analysed the garment.

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As the climate continues to heat up and the snows melt away, one wonders what long-term price there will be to pay for these glimpses of the frozen past”

Martin Callanan
The tunic, found on the Norwegian Lendbreen glacier, was partly bleached from sun and wind exposure. It showed hard wear and tear and had been repaired with two patches.

It was made between 230 and 390 AD and is one of only a handful of tunics that exists from this period. Two different fabrics were present and the fibre tips revealed that both were made of lamb's wool or wool from adult sheep.

"The Lendbreen tunic is a first glimpse of the kind of warm clothing used by hunters frequenting the ice patches of Scandinavia in pursuit of reindeer. It had no buttons or fastenings, but was simply drawn over the head like a sweater," said Dr Vedeler.

Snow patches
Snow patches are rapidly melting due to a changing climate
"The patching shows that this was not the first stage of the tunic's life; indeed, the hunter who abandoned it may not have been its first owner."

The arrows and bow fragments were much older and also found in snow patches - natural areas of snow which grow when it snows and melt in the sun.

Martin Callanan of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, who authored the arrows and bow fragments paper, said: "When people lost their arrows they lost them in the snow patches."

"These are unique finds, they are a signal that something is changing up there. As snow patches are starting to melt, people are finding archaeological artefacts in all sorts of different places and they are often quite well preserved," added Mr Callanan.

The Neolithic arrows were shorter than earlier Mesolithic shafts found in Europe, possibly due to the heavy weight of the points which were made out of slate.

The artefacts were extremely well preserved for their age and fragility, but as the changing weather increases the speed at which the snow melts, other artefacts may degenerate before they are found.

"The number and antiquity of some of these artefacts is unprecedented in the almost century-long history of snow patch surveying in the region," said Mr Callanan.

"At the same time, as the climate continues to heat up and the snows melt away, one wonders what long-term price there will be to pay for these glimpses of the frozen past."

Arrow heads
Arrow heads were thought to be lost by Neolithic hunters
Iron Age camp unearthed at Potgate Quarry, Ripon
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-yo ... e-24506936

Roman pottery discovered at Potgate Quarry

Pottery discovered suggests the site was in use until the early Roman period


Archaeologists have unearthed an Iron Age enclosure while excavating land at the edge of a working quarry.

It is thought the encampment discovered at Potgate Quarry, near Ripon, was home to several families from as early as 130BC before being abandoned.

Dig leader Steve Timms said the site was later brought back into use in the early Roman period as a paddock.

Artefacts including a stone bead, quern stones used for milling and Roman pottery have been discovered.

Mr Timms said: "Within the next 12 to 18 months it will end up being quarried away so in some ways it's a bit of a rescue excavation.

"These sort of sites are quite common in Yorkshire but few have been excavated near Ripon; the Iron Age is not well understood in this area.

"It's been a really good dig because we have found something interesting and we have been able to work with local community."

The excavation was carried out at the request Lightwater Quarries, which owns the site.

An open day is taking place at the quarry between 10:00 and 16:00 BST.
Iron Age woman's footless body found near West Knoyle

A skeleton of an Iron Age woman with her feet chopped off has been discovered in a field in Wiltshire.
The remains were found along the A303, near West Knoyle, by archaeologists ahead of a new water main being laid.
Wessex Water said the woman's feet were found "reburied alongside her" along with the carcasses of at least two sheep or goats "on her head".
Peter Cox, from AC Archaeology, said: "We're unsure why - but it must have some link to beliefs at the time."

The female skeleton was found alongside the remains of a child aged about 10 and two males with sword wounds to their hips.

Wessex Water is currently building a 40-mile (64km) pipeline to carry water from a Dorset treatment plant into Wiltshire.
It was during a pre-work survey of the West Knoyle area that AC Archaeology unearthed the Iron Age burial site.
"Human remains from these periods are very rare and indicate the long period of settlement that has occurred in the area," said Mr Cox.
"But we're unsure why the female skeleton has been found without her feet or why she may have been buried with sheep, but perhaps it was to protect her soul from bad spirits."

The bones have been removed from the site and will undergo radiocarbon dating to determine their age.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gl ... e-26636144
Iron Age human remains uncovered in the Cotswolds

The remains are thought to date from the Iron Age
Human remains dating from the Iron Age have been found during archaeological excavations in Gloucestershire.

The skeleton was found at nature reserve on the outskirts of Bourton-on-the-Water near Salmonsbury Camp, an ancient hill fort.

The work also revealed what is thought to be a roundhouse and a series of pits that may have been used to store grain.

Tom Beasley-Suffolk, Cotswolds reserves manager, said the remains will be cleaned and then analysed.

"It has been fascinating to see what were slightly dark areas of ground being excavated to reveal pot and human remains that probably last saw the light of day 2,500 years ago," he added.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-glou ... e-27210411
Iron Age settlement unearthed at Swindon building site

Archaeological digging at Ridgeway Farm near Swindon

Further digging at Ridgeway Farm is expected to continue for up to three weeks

A small Iron Age settlement has been found during excavations at the site of a new housing development near Swindon.

A number of "round houses" with hundreds of pits for storage are among the discoveries at Ridgeway Farm, where Taylor Wimpey is building 700 homes.

Other items found include loom weights for weaving, quern stones for grinding corn and various personal items.

Andrew Manning from Wessex Archaeology, which is carrying out the work, said the find was of local significance.

Archaeological digging at Ridgeway Farm near Swindon
Wessex Archaeology said the discovery was of local significance
He added that some evidence of Roman life, notably a large clay quarry pit, had been unearthed as well.

The archaeological digging is expected to continue for a further three weeks.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: "We scheduled the archaeological investigation into our programme of work, as it is a vital step of the process.

"The work will continue until our contractors are completely satisfied that they have thoroughly investigated and recovered everything which they need for further analysis."