• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

Iron Age Discoveries & Heritage

Pretty savage massacre.

Attacked from behind and at times dismembered, the fallen residents of an ancient Iberian village add to evidence that prehistoric Europe was a violent place.

Violence in ancient Europe isn’t unheard of, with some unearthed massacres attributed to power struggles after the fall of the Roman Empire around 1,500 years ago (SN: 4/25/18). But a new analysis of bones from 13 victims suggests that a violent massacre occurred at a site in what’s now Spain centuries before the Romans arrived, researchers report October 1 in Antiquity.

Finding “partially burnt skeletons and scattered human bones with unhealed injuries caused by sharp weapons demonstrated that this was an extremely violent event,” says archaeologist Javier Ordoño Daubagna of Arkikus, an archaeological research company in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Ordoño Daubagna and colleagues examined nine adults, two adolescents, a young child and one infant who died sometime between 365 and 195 B.C., in the ancient village of La Hoya. One of the adults was decapitated in a single blow, the team found. And one of the adolescents, a female, had her arm cut off. The researchers found the arm bones nearly three meters away from the girl’s skeleton, with five copper-alloy bracelets still attached. ...

Im trying to think where I read that the Iron age folk were peaceful.
I'm asking for bringing back respect for the dead—before they're dead!
If you're going to stick someone with a spear or chop off their feet or tie their hands behind their backs so you can do them in, at least let them know it's for a special occasion.
A hoard of Ironage coins has been found at an HS2 excavation.

"Hundreds of rare Iron Age coins have been discovered during a dig on the HS2 route in west London.

The hoard of 300 potins, which are an early version of a coin, were found in Hillingdon, following a storm which helped reveal their position.

Archaeologists have dated them to the 1st century BC, at a time when the Romans were beginning to establish themselves in Britain.

The discovery has been described as a "once-in-a-lifetime find".

Each of the potins are about 3cm (1.2 in) in diameter and are based on coins struck in Marseille, France, about 2,175 years ago."

A Dane using his newly acquired metal detector discovered one of the largest Iron Age gold treasures ever found in Denmark.
Treasure hunter finds gold hoard buried by Iron Age chieftain

An amateur treasure hunter wielding a metal detector has discovered a stunning gold hoard buried by an Iron Age chieftain in the sixth century in what is now Denmark. The stash includes lavish jewelry, Roman coins and an ornament that may depict a Norse god.

The treasure hunter, Ole Ginnerup Schytz, uncovered the Iron Age hoard on land owned by one of his former classmates in the town of Vindelev, earning the stash the name "Vindelev hoard." Within a few hours of surveying the area with his newly acquired metal detector, Schytz heard the telltale beeping of possible treasure. It turned out to be one of the "largest, richest and most beautiful gold treasures in Danish history," representatives of Vejle Museums said in a statement released Sept. 9.

The 1,500-year-old hoard contains nearly 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of gold, including large, saucer-sized medallions known as bracteates. An excavation of the site by archaeologists from Vejle Museums, in collaboration with the National Museum of Denmark, revealed that the gold valuables were buried in a longhouse, which may indicate that Vindelev was a powerful village during the Iron Age. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/gold-hoard-sixth-century-denmark
Rare amber bead found.

Up to 60 local volunteers have been helping archaeologists excavate an iron age fort site dating back to 400 BC.

For three weeks Dyfed Archaeological Trust has been working on Pen Dinas hillfort in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion after receiving funding from Cadw. Archaeologists have made a number of finds including an amber bead and stone wheel thought to be a spindle whorl for weaving.
It is only the second time in its history the site has been excavated.

Leading the excavation, Fran Murphy said: "I think they'd been lost - they were found on a hut platform where someone lived and they'd probably fallen through beneath the floor if you like. The amber is quite a rare find and the person whoever lost these objects would have been quite annoyed."

Iron-age boxer statues’ torsos discovered in Sardinian necropolis.

Bare torsos of two warrior statues are latest finds of ‘giants of Mont’e Prama’ dug up since 1970s.

The torsos of two statues of boxers, dating back to the iron age, have been discovered at the Mont’e Prama necropolis in Sardinia.

The latest finds, sculpted in limestone by the Nuragic civilisation, add to several other statues of boxers, wrestlers and archers dug up at the site since the 1970s and which have become known as “the giants of Mont’e Prama”.

The bare torsos, along with their fragments, have been identified as depicting Cavalupo boxers, due to the shield wrapped around their bodies. They are similar to two other statues found a few metres away at the site in Cabras, on the Italian island’s west coast, in 2014.

The discovery comes after fresh excavations in the southern area of the huge necropolis began in early April.

“It’s an exceptional discovery,” said the Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini, adding that it would shed further light on ancient Mediterranean culture. “Two new jewels add to the mysterious charm of this group of statues,” he said.

Archaeologists have also unearthed a major burial road, along which tombs dating between 950BC to 730BC have been found.
(C) The Guardian. '22
Mass frog burial baffles experts at iron age site near Cambridge.

An unprecedented trove of 8,000 bones presents archaeologists at a road dig with a prehistoric mystery.

Archaeologists working near the site of an iron age home near Cambridge were perplexed when they uncovered a vast trove of frog skeletons. Quite why more than 8,000 bones had been piled up and preserved is a prehistoric mystery.

They were all recovered from a single 14-metre-long ditch, right next to the site of an iron age roundhouse at Bar Hill, where there was a settlement during the middle and late iron age (400BC-AD43). The discovery was made by the Museum of London Archaeology (Mola) Headland Infrastructure, conducting excavations as part of the National Highways A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon road improvement scheme.

Although it is not unusual to find frog bones at ancient sites, archaeologists are baffled by the sheer quantity of those unearthed at Bar Hill.

Dr Vicki Ewens, Mola’s senior archaeozoologist – a specialist in ancient animal bone – told the Observer: “In my experience, mainly working on sites from London, we don’t get that many frogs. To have so many bones coming from one ditch is extraordinary.”
(C) The Guardian. '22
Maybe those frogs had been bred in captivity for food purposes, much like the French do today?
Or maybe it was for some unknown ritual? <----- An explanation many archaeologists would jump at.
But if they ate the legs - why would all the skeleton be in the same place? Bodies in one place, once legs were removed (a midden or general rubbish dump) and then leg bones somewhere else (or, if dumped in the midden, sufficiently distant from the rest of the bodies).

Just thinking it over...
But if they ate the legs - why would all the skeleton be in the same place? Bodies in one place, once legs were removed (a midden or general rubbish dump) and then leg bones somewhere else (or, if dumped in the midden, sufficiently distant from the rest of the bodies).

Just thinking it over...

Cook frog.

Discard everything but legs in midden.

Eat legs at communal meal/feast, throwing leg bones into basket/pot.

Empty basket/pot into midden.

Saves having to have two or more decomposable food disposal sites.

maximus otter
Cook frog.

Discard everything but legs in midden.

Eat legs at communal meal/feast, throwing leg bones into basket/pot.

Empty basket/pot into midden.

Saves having to have two or more decomposable food disposal sites.

maximus otter
Yes, but the legs would be on a different layer to the rest of the frog. Bodies all together, then probably other layers of other stuff, THEN the remains of the legs. Or the legs would all be together in one deposit whilst the bodies were in another. I think archaeologists can tell if the frogs were disarticulated when they were buried, can't they?
Duropolis: Dorset Iron Age settlement skeletons unearthed.

The remains of five inhabitants of a pre-Roman settlement have been unearthed during an archaeological dig on farmland.

The Durotriges tribe is thought to have occupied the settlement from about 100BC, near the present-day village of Winterborne Kingston, Dorset.
Archaeologist Dr Miles Russell said the latest dig had revealed "an insight into lifestyles" during the Iron Age.
Members of the public can view the site on at an open day on Sunday.

The Durotriges tribe is thought to have occupied the bustling farming settlement with hundreds of roundhouses, dubbed Duropolis.
A team of archaeologists from Bournemouth University began investigating the site in 2009, setting out to investigate how Britons and the Roman invaders interacted.
(C) BBC. '22.
Chariot of Fire.

Part of an "exceptionally rare" Iron Age wooden axle from a chariot or cart has been found in a waterlogged pit.

The fragment was uncovered in 2021 at Eastbridge, Suffolk, ahead of tree planting for the Sizewell C nuclear power station project.
Recent analysis revealed the hazel wood axle was made between 400BC and 100BC.

Archaeologist Chris Fern said it joins a handful of finds "from British later prehistory, such as the axle found at Flag Fen, Peterborough".

Pit where axle found
IMAGE SOURCE, COTSWOLD ARCHAEOLOGY Image caption, It was discovered in a waterlogged pit, along with charred boards which might also have been part of the chariot or cart

The dig unearthed two Iron Age pits, which experts believe were most likely used as watering holes for livestock.

As they were waterlogged, they provided "ideal preservation conditions for wood", said Mr Fern, a Cotswold Archaeology post-excavation manager.

The base of the axle had been broken, burned and reused and was found with charred boards, which might also have come from the same chariot.


What scale is that? Cm or M?
D’you mean the stick? I think it’s safe to assume it’s not cm. Why would you have a 3cm stick? If it’s cm it would make the axle around 5cm long - wouldn’t support much of a wheel..
Used as an amulet rather than an accessory.

An "incredibly rare" ancient comb made from human skull has been identified among thousands of artefacts recovered during archaeological excavations.

The accessory, dubbed the Bar Hill Comb, was found by scientists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). It was among 280,000 items of interest collected between 2016 and 2018 during the A14 improvement scheme.

Michael Marshall, the finds team lead, described the Iron Age discovery near Cambridge as "truly astonishing".

He said only two other comparable examples have ever been found in Britain - both within 15 miles (24km) of the Bar Hill Comb.

Skull comb found at Bar Hill
IMAGE SOURCE, MOLa. Image caption, Scientists believe it may never have been used as a comb but was worn around the neck

The team has been analysing artefacts recovered during the archaeological excavations that preceded the construction of the £1.5bn National Highways A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme.

The ancient bone comb, dating from the Iron Age (750 BC - 43 AD), was found at Bar Hill, four miles (6.4km) north-west of Cambridge.

Skull comb found at Bar Hill
IMAGE SOURCE, MOLA Image caption, The presence of a hole in the comb suggests it was worn as an amulet, rather than used as an accessory

Researchers said despite taking the shape and form of a comb, the exact use is not apparent but it does shine new light on ritual and belief in Iron Age Britain including "how human remains were looked after and sometimes modified within local communities".

Objects made from human bone may have been used in special rituals relating to the dead, but others were part of everyday life, including tools.
"The Bar Hill Comb may have been a highly symbolic and powerful object for members of the local community," Mr Marshall said. "It is possible it was carved from the skull of an important member of Iron Age society whose presence was in some way preserved and commemorated through their bones.nTo be able to see such hyper-local influences in groups of people living over 2,000 years ago is truly astonishing." ...

Warrior Princess.

Archaeologists in England used a tooth enamel analysis to confirm that a 2,000-year-old burial contained a female warrior.

A sword and mirror from the Iron Age.

The Iron Age sword and mirror found in a 2,000-year-old burial on the Isles of Scilly. (Image credit: Historic England Archive. PLB K000684)

A 2,000-year-old burial unearthed in England has stumped archaeologists since its discovery more than 20 years ago; interred alongside the human remains were a sword, a weapon associated with male warriors, but also a mirror, an object frequently buried with women.

Now, a new tooth analysis of the remains reveals that the person buried at the site, located on Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off of England's southwestern coast, was an Iron Age woman, likely a warrior, according to a study published July 27 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Archaeologists originally found the mysterious, first-century-B.C. burial site in 1999. Because the cist, or stone-lined grave, contained an iron sword, researchers at the time concluded that the person buried there was likely a man. However, since the grave also contained a bronze mirror equipped with a handle, experts were perplexed about the individual's sex, according to a statement. The burial also contained a metal brooch, spiral ring and the remains of a shield.

During the Iron Age, mirrors held an important significance and had multiple uses. If the individual was a female warrior, perhaps she used the mirror to communicate, reflecting light off its surface to signal to fellow warriors to attack, the researchers wrote. The reflective objects also had ritualistic purposes and may have been used to communicate with the supernatural world to ensure a raid's success or for the safe return of warriors going into battle, according to the study.

"Our findings offer an exciting opportunity to re-interpret this important burial," study co-author Sarah Stark, a human skeletal biologist at Historic England, an organization that preserves historic sites in the country, said in the statement. "They provide evidence of a leading role for a woman in warfare on Iron Age Scilly."