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Mmm, cheese!

Evidence of world's 'oldest' cheese-making found
By Hannah Briggs, BBC Food

Scientists may be one step closer to uncovering the origins of cheese-making, as evidence thousands of years old has been uncovered. What would a Neolithic cheese have tasted like?

Truly an ancient art, no-one really knows exactly when humans began making cheese.
But now milk extracts have been identified on 34 perforated pottery vessels or "cheese-strainers", which date back 7,500 years that have been excavated in Poland.

It is unambiguous evidence for cheese-making in northern Europe during Neolithic times, scientists believe, and the findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

"We analysed some fragments of pottery from the region of Kuyavia [Poland] pierced with small holes that looked like modern cheese-strainers," says Melanie Salque, a postgraduate student at the University of Bristol's Department of Chemistry.
"They had been thought to be cheese-strainers because of the peculiar presence of holes on the surface.
"However, they could well have been flame covers, chafing dishes, honey strainers or used for beer-making, to strain out chaff.

Ms Salque and her team then analysed lipid residues on the vessels and detected milk residues, which they say provides a link to cheese-making.
"The evidence was stunning," explains Professor Richard Evershed, of Bristol University.
"If you then put together the fact that there are milk fats in with the holes in the vessels, along with the size of the vessels and knowing what we know about how milk products are processed, what other milk product could it be?"

Although scientists have not identified a compound of cheese they have put together a convincing case.
Is it possible that prehistoric people were making cheese much earlier than 7,500 years ago?

"The most important ingredient for cheese-making is milk and only domesticates can be milked. Thus, it is unlikely that the origins of cheese-making predates the Neolithic," says Ms Salque.

Earlier examples of milk residues have been detected on pottery vessels from the Near East, dating back 8,000 years, although the evidence did not suggest that they were used for milk processing activities, explains Ms Salque.
The only other written evidence for cheese-making activity occurs much later in the archaeological record, around 5,000 years ago.

"The question is how long did it take for people to figure out the technology of transforming that milk into fermented products and eventually into cheese, and that's really hard to say," says Dr Peter Bogucki of Princeton University.
"I think we can say that it's a key Neolithic innovation to be able to produce a storable product from something perishable and hard to handle like milk, and to do it routinely and repetitively, with continual refinement and that within a few millennia after the domestication of cattle, sheep, and goats we can talk about cheese production."

What would have prompted Neolithic people to start making cheese?
Neolithic farming communities were lactose intolerant, so transforming raw milk into cheese made the milk easier to digest, and also easier to preserve and transport, scientists believe.
"Processing milk into cheese allow the lactose content of milk to be reduced. And genetic and computer simulations have shown that at that time, people were largely lactose intolerant," explains Ms Salque.
"So making cheese allowed them to consume dairy products without the undesirable health effects."

"It also shows that humans were not only killing animals for their meat, but also using what animals could produce and go on producing," says Andrew Dalby, author of "Cheese: A Global History."

Creating cheese from milk was also thought to be a much more economical way of farming in Neolithic times, following the domestication of cattle in the Near East.
"You can get milk but you can't store milk, so the really important invention is how to store the food value of milk and that really means making cheese," says Mr Dalby.

The discovery of cheese could also have been accidental, as humans began storing milk in animal stomachs for transportation.
"The introduction of salt into cheese might have started right from the beginning... perhaps without any conscious thought because you need rennet [a complex of enzymes] to curdle your cheese," says Mr Dalby.

"If you're in the Near East and you've milked your cow and you put it in a pottery vessel, leave it at 40C in the hot summer heat of Turkey, after two or three hours you've got yoghurt. You can imagine serendipity playing a huge role in this," says Prof Evershed.

So what might a prehistoric cheese have tasted like?
"The study of animal bones... shows that cattle were the most common domesticates at the sites. So - cow's milk cheese," says Ms Salque.
"I guess it would have been like the traditional cheese you can get, maybe made simply by curdling milk with rennet.

"In France we have the Picodon, traditionally made in farms with cow or goats milk, that you curdle and then strain in a cheese strainer... I would imagine that the Prehistoric cheese would have been like this.
"It's likely to have been a softer cheese."

Andrew Dalby says the taste of the cheese may have changed according to the season.
"Similar to those they make in the region of France where I live, the result can be quite different depending on the season.
"Sometimes they harden and would in fact keep and still give good value months later.
"It would have been a very long series - hundreds, thousands of years of experiment and that's what resulted in the vast range of cheeses that we have now."

rynner2 said:
Mmm, cheese!

Evidence of world's 'oldest' cheese-making found
By Hannah Briggs, BBC Food

Scientists may be one step closer to uncovering the origins of cheese-making, as evidence thousands of years old has been uncovered. What would a Neolithic cheese have tasted like?


More Mature cheese.

Clay pot fragments reveal early start to cheese-making, a marker for civilization
January 10th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

The presence of milk byproducts found in clay fragments from central Europe provides compelling evidence that farmers used the perforated pots to separate cheese curds from whey, said Bogucki, whose early theory was substantiated by recent research in Europe. Credit: Mélanie Salque

(Phys.org)—As a young archaeologist, Peter Bogucki based his groundbreaking theory on the development of Western civilization on the most ancient of human technology, pottery. But it took some of the most modern developments in biochemistry—and 30 years —finally to confirm he was right.

While working as director of studies at one of Princeton University's residential colleges in the 1980s, Bogucki theorized that the development of cheese-making in Europe—a critical indicator of an agricultural revolution—occurred thousands of years earlier than scientists generally believed. His insight, based on a study of perforated potsherds that Bogucki helped recover from dig sites in Poland, promised to change the scientific understanding of how ancient Western civilization developed.

Bogucki published his theory in a 1984 article in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology. Although his detective work was extensive, it was impossible to prove the bits of pottery were the remains of a cheese maker, rather than some other type of strainer.

There the matter lay, until researchers at the University of Bristol used a new type of test to measure ancient molecular remnants embedded within the pottery.

"Lo and behold, it was chock full of dairy lipids," said Bogucki, who is now the associate dean for undergraduate affairs at Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science. The discovery of milk lipids, a type of molecule signaling milk processing, was a smoking gun.

In an article published last month in the scientific journal Nature, Bogucki and his fellow researchers explain that the presence of milk byproducts found in the pottery provides compelling evidence that farmers used the perforated pots to separate cheese curds from whey. It also explains how Neolithic Europeans, who were generally unable to digest lactose, were able to use milk for food—the whey retains most of the lactose in milk, allowing the farmers to eat the low-lactose cheese.

"The discovery provides evidence of the manufacture of long-lasting and transportable dairy products as well as the consumption of low-lactose dairy products at a time when most humans were not tolerant of lactose," said Mélanie Salque, a researcher at the University of Bristol and the lead author of the Nature article.

The discovery has attracted notice from around the world. Bogucki has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the BBC, and has been interviewed on National Public Radio. Polish national newspapers, such as Gazeta Wyborcza, have also run articles on the work.
"It is a new experience to be in the midst of a media frenzy," Bogucki said. Although it can be a little distracting, he said "it sharpens your way of talking about what you have done and that is often very useful."

Bogucki's expertise is the prehistoric archaeology of central Europe; he is writing a book on early European farming. Like most border regions, areas such as modern-day Poland are of great interest to social scientists studying the interaction of cultures.

"The sites we are dealing with are in north central Poland," he said. "They are on the northern fringe of the earliest farming settlements. To the north of them lay the hunter gatherers of the Baltic basin."

In the early 1980s, archaeologists began narrowing their estimates of when key farming developments occurred in ancient Europe. In 1981, Andrew Sherratt at the University of Oxford published a seminal paper describing his theory of a "secondary products revolution," a leap in civilization in which ancient farmers began using livestock for more than just meat. Anthony Legge, then at the University of London, published papers arguing that farm communities had adopted dairying sometime between 4,000 and 3,500 B.C., earlier than previously thought.

"Tony was studying animal bones from sites in the British Isles and noticed the patterns at which the cows were slaughtered—lots of young males and older females—were consistent with what you would find in a dairying economy," Bogucki said.

A sketch of a sieve reconstructed from ancient potsherds that may have been used in early cheese-making. Credit: Mélanie Salque

At the time, Bogucki was serving as director of studies of Princeton Inn College, now Forbes College, and continuing his archaeological work. He had noticed an unusual type of pottery at a number of sites around Poland: fragments of pots that had been perforated with small holes. But he did not think too much about them until a chance visit in Vermont.

"My wife and I were driving back from a wedding in Canada, and we stopped at a friend's house," Bogucki said. "She had a lot of artifacts from the 19th century that she had gathered from the area and one of them was a ceramic strainer. It intrigued me because the only other strainers of this type that I was familiar with were the ones from Poland.

"I said, 'What did they use these for?' And she said, 'Cheese-making, of course.'"

In his 1984 article, "Ceramic Sieves of the Linear Pottery Culture and Their Economic Implications," Bogucki developed his argument that dairying developed far earlier than generally accepted. He based his argument on potsherds from archaeological sites of the Linear Pottery Culture, a European Neolithic civilization whose remains are characterized by distinctive incised lines on its pottery.

Bogucki noted in his paper that the sieve sherds were frequently found at sites dating to the Neolithic period, well before the time Legge suggested. But the sherds received little attention from archaeologists, who often focused on more spectacular artifacts. When sieves were mentioned in scientific literature, a variety of uses were proposed ranging from honey strainers to braziers. Bogucki found them unconvincing.

"Why raw honey should require straining in the first place is difficult to answer, for it would seem that it is perfectly usable straight from the comb," Bogucki wrote. "The case for the Neolithic perforated vessels as braziers or ember-holders is equally difficult to support but maddeningly tough to demolish, although it seems rooted in a somewhat romantic view of prehistoric rural life."

Vindication is often sweet; this time, it's savory
Using data he collected from dig sites in Poland, Bogucki analyzed animal remains from Linear Pottery Culture settlements and concluded that Linear Pottery settlers seldom hunted for food and relied heavily on cattle. There were also almost no remains of pigs, a far more efficient meat source than cattle.

Bogucki also determined that raising cattle for meat alone would have made no economic sense for the Linear Pottery farmers who carved grain fields from dense forests. He estimated that the herds would have consumed too much food over too long a time to justify raising them simply for slaughter. Cheese, on the other hand, allowed for a storable and continuing food source.

"Linear Pottery communities clearly had access to milk; to ignore such a resource would negate any economic advantages gained from keeping domestic cattle in the central European forests," he wrote.
But production of milk alone would not justify dairy farming, as Bogucki explained recently.

"It only makes sense if you can convert it into something that is storable and will get you through the winter and into the next season," he said.
Bogucki's theory was solid, but it was also controversial. For one, it meant that the secondary products revolution—in which humans began using animals for things like milk, wool and traction power rather than just for meat—developed over a much longer period.

Bogucki said that his colleagues felt his argument was interesting, but impossible to prove. "No one really knew where to go with it."

That remained the case until recent years when a British biochemist, Richard Evershed, developed a technique to analyze lipid remnants trapped in ancient pottery. Evershed, a professor at the University of Bristol, was able to identify the remains of milk lipids that had bonded to pottery shards.
Salque was one of Evershed's students.

"I came across Bogucki's work from the 1980s that I found fascinating," Salque said. "I think he was very pleased that someone could finally test his hypothesis."

After hearing from Salque, Bogucki contacted colleagues in Poland and arranged for samples to be transferred to Bristol for testing. Then he waited.
"Mélanie sent me an email saying 'you will be very happy with the results,'" he said. The research team reported its findings in Nature on Dec. 12.

Besides Bogucki, Salque and Evershed, the authors are: Joanna Pyzel, of the University of Gdansk; Iwona Sobkowiak-Tabaka, of the Polish Academy of Sciences' Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology; Ryszard Grygiel, of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography in Lodz; and Marzena Szmyt, of the Poznan Archaeological Museum.

Bogucki said he would like to pursue similar research in the future, perhaps studying the nutrition of the Linear Pottery farmers or their interaction with the hunter gatherers in the region. And, although he is gratified to see his theory validated, he wouldn't mind moving on to a different subject.

"I actually hate cheese. I don't like the taste, I don't like the texture," Bogucki said. Making a breakthrough around his preference for mint chocolate-chip ice cream, however, seems unlikely. "I suppose I am destined to have my career forever linked with cheese-making," he said.
Provided by Princeton University

"Clay pot fragments reveal early start to cheese-making, a marker for civilization." January 10th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-01-clay-pot-f ... early.html
Stone Age hunters liked their carbs

The Stone Age hunter’s food contained large amounts of protein from fish, lean mean, herbs and coarse vegetables and has formed the basis of one of today’s hottest health trends: the paleo diet.

The modern version of the Stone Age diet excludes foods rich in carbohydrates. This exclusion of carbs is based on the idea that Stone Age hunters didn’t have access to bread, rice or pasta.

But is it true that Stone Age hunters and gatherers didn’t eat any carbohydrates at all?

Sabine Karg, an external lecturer at Copenhagen University’s Saxo Institute, specialises in archaeobotany. She says that Stone Age hunters, unlike many followers of the modern Stone Age diet, joyfully munched away at carbs when the opportunity presented itself.

“Carbohydrates have been part of their diet. In flooded settlements from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods, traces of roots and seeds from various aquatic plants and wild grasses have been found.”
Stone Age hunters were not picky

The modern version of the paleo diet forsakes everything that’s reminiscent of bread, rice, pasta, legumes and milk.

But according to Karg, the Stone Age hunters were nowhere near that fastidious about their food.

Easily digestible food with high energy content is a welcome feature if you have to make the effort of finding the next meal yourself, and traces of foods containing carbohydrates have also been found in the old settlements.

“What archaeologists find in their excavations is dependent on both the preservation conditions and how the people had prepared their food,” says Karg. “For us, the conditions are particularly good in flooded settlements where organic material is well preserved, or in burn layers or fireplaces where we can find charred plant residues,” she says, giving an example:

“We have found seeds of wild grasses, aquatic plants and root vegetables, all of which have formed part of the hunters’ diet. Especially after an unsuccessful hunt, they had to go out and dig up roots.”

http://sciencenordic.com/stone-age-hunt ... heir-carbs
Kingsmead Quarry dig unearths Neolithic settlement

Four Neolithic houses found in a Berkshire quarry are thought to make up one of the oldest permanent settlements ever found in England.
Archaeologists unearthed the 5,700-year-old foundations at Kingsmead Quarry, near Windsor.
The site is from a time when the people of Britain were switching lifestyles from hunter-gathers to settled farmers.

Researchers said it was the first time more than one house from this time had been found on a single site in England.
Dr Alistair Barclay, of Wessex Archaeology, which has been excavating on the site for 10 years, said: "Unfortunately only the ground plans have survived as any timber would have rotted away long ago.
"However, we have a good idea of what these structures may have looked like from the many house finds in Ireland, from experimental work reconstructing prehistoric buildings, and from wood working techniques from timber-built walkways of the same date.
"These finds add to our knowledge of life in Neolithic times and how buildings at that date were constructed."

He said excavations were still ongoing and there could be more houses within the settlement that have not yet been discovered.
All four houses were rectangular in shape, with the largest being 15m by 7m, (50ft by 23ft) and situated close to the River Colne.
Two were constructed out of upright oak planks set into foundation trenches, while the others were built using wooden posts.

Pottery, flint tools, arrowheads, rubbing stones for grinding corn and charred food remains, including cereal and hazelnut shell, were recovered from the buildings, indicating the inhabitants were farmers.
Radiocarbon results for one of the houses showed it dated from between 3,800 and 3,640 BC.
Further tests are being carried out on the other houses but they are thought to date from the same period.

The excavations are part of Cemex's £4m archaeological programme on the quarry site.
Andy Spencer, sustainability director of Cemex, said: "As well as getting valuable building materials from the land that go into construction projects, quarrying has given us some wonderful archaeological finds that tell us more about our ancestors and how they lived.
"At Kingsmead, the scope of the finds covers thousands of years and has provoked some probing questions about the people who lived there."

Archaeologists demolish Neolithic houses built at Old Sarum

Neolithic House at Old Sarum, Wiltshire

One hut has been left partially intact as an ongoing experiment into the erosion of prehistoric buildings over time

Neolithic building methods compared
Three Neolithic houses built at Old Sarum to test out prehistoric building techniques have been demolished.

The prototype huts, made of chalk and straw daub and wheat-thatched roofing, were based on a settlement found at Durrington Walls near Stonehenge.

Project leader Luke Winter said: "It took nine weeks to put them up and about three days to take them down - so it's been quite quick."

The huts are due to be re-built at Stonehenge visitor centre next January.

The temporary Neolithic huts were completed and open to the public during the two May bank holidays.

But last week the volunteers who built them began to dismantle the reconstructed buildings.

Despite the dwellings being "experimental and temporary", Mr Winter said he had not expected the demolition to be emotional.

"We're scientists so I didn't think it would be," he said.

"But it is the first time I've built something and taken it down almost immediately."

'Erosion experiment'
Based on the foundations of buildings, discovered as part of a large settlement under earthworks 3km (2 miles) from the stone circle, one hut has been left partially intact.

Neolithic House at Old Sarum, Wiltshire
It took volunteers nine weeks to build the temporary Neolithic huts
"We've removed the roof that's it and we've left the walls intact and the floor to see how they erode over time," said Mr Winter.

"It's an ongoing experiment to try and find out if Durrington Walls fell down or was taken down."

Having learnt from building the prototypes, the recreated Neolithic huts are due to be re-built at the new visitor centre at Stonehenge next year.

The buildings will form part of an "interactive and experiential" external exhibition at the 3,500-year-old World Heritage site.
Neolithic 'halls of the dead' found in Herefordshire

Dorstone Hill archaeological dig

Archaeologists believe they were deliberately burnt down after construction

Two 6,000-year-old "halls of the dead" found in Herefordshire have been called "the discovery of a lifetime" by archaeologists.

Teams from the University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council made the find on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch.

The team also found possible links between Neolithic communities in Herefordshire and Yorkshire.

Professor Julian Thomas said the "very rare" find was of "huge significance to our understanding of prehistoric life".

The remains of the halls were found within prehistoric burial mounds.

Yorkshire link
Archaeologists believe they were deliberately burnt down after they were constructed and their remains incorporated into two burial mounds.

They think the timber buildings may have been "halls of the dead" similar to others from the Neolithic period found in Europe.

Find from Dorstone Hill archaeological dig
Stone artefacts from Yorkshire may have been placed at the site as part of a ceremony
Bodies may have been placed in the halls before being moved to nearby chambered tombs.

Prof Thomas said: "These early Neolithic halls are already extremely rare, but to find them within a long barrow is the discovery of a lifetime."

The halls are thought to be have been built between 4000 and 3600 BC.

A flint axe and a finely-flaked flint knife found on the site have "close affinities" with artefacts dating from around 2600 BC found in eastern Yorkshire, the team believe.

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire Council's county archaeologist, said the axe and knife may not have been traded, but placed there as part of a ceremony or an ancestral pilgrimage.

He added: "These subsequent finds show that 1,000 years after the hall burial mounds were made, the site is still important to later generations living 200 miles away - a vast distance in Neolithic terms."
Archaeologists discover 'finest ever' piece of Neolithic art that was part of vast temple complex built in 3,500BC

Archaeologists have found an astonishing piece of Neolithic artwork that was buried for 4,500 years.

The stone creation - which is decorated on both sides and has been described as one of the ‘finest ever’ to be found in Britain - was uncovered last night on the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney, Scotland.

It was found at the base of the south-west internal corner of the Neolithic ‘cathedral’ at the site, which covers 2.5 hectares and is believed to have been occupied from as early as 3,500BC.

Neolithic man built a vast temple complex at the Ness of Brodgar, with some parts constructed more than 5,000 years ago, even before the Ancient Egyptians had started building the pyramids.

Excavations began in 2003 at the site, which has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, and a large building described as a Neolithic cathedral.

Once protected by two giant walls, each more than 330ft long and 13ft high, the complex at the Ness of Brodgar contained more than a dozen large temples, with one measuring almost 270 sq ft.

They were linked to outhouses and kitchens by carefully constructed stone pavements. The bones of sacrificed cattle, elegantly made pottery and pieces of painted ceramics lie scattered there.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z2b3LoB23j
Zilch5 said:
Archaeologists discover 'finest ever' piece of Neolithic art that was part of vast temple complex built in 3,500BC

Archaeologists have found an astonishing piece of Neolithic artwork that was buried for 4,500 years.

The stone creation - which is decorated on both sides and has been described as one of the ‘finest ever’ to be found in Britain - was uncovered last night on the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney, Scotland.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z2b3LoB23j
There are earlier posts on this thread (and possibly elsewhere) about Brodgar finds.
rynner2 said:

There are earlier posts on this thread (and possibly elsewhere) about Brodgar finds.
True. Might be worth finding them and creating a separate thread.

True to my word, here's the new Ness of Brodgar thread. Doesn't seem like thirty years since we had that drunken Midsummer's Eve party at the Ring of Brodgar and chased each other back across Harray Loch in little boats powered by 1hp Seagull engines.


The latest on the dig on the Ness and the discovery of a 'carved stone ball'. It's discovery in context makes it a rare find.


What were these carved artefacts? Abstract sculptures? Mace heads? Loom weights? Weights for nets? My personal theory is that they were used in the twisting of stuff like leather, gut, or yarn, to make rope and cord. But, that's only my opinion.
Thanks for the link to the blog - great reading!
Also well worth watching, an illustrated lecture by Nick Card, senior project manager for the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), on progress at the Ness of Brodgar site, given to the Glasgow Archaeological Society (GAS), last year.


A good overview, that gives some idea of just how big, important and complicated the site actually is.
Pietro_Mercurios said:
You might find this doc. interesting, then.


Oh I did and thank you. Thanks to the ABC (our version of the BBC) we get to see these programs. About the only thing I watch these days. Well, Vikings on SBS is looking good too - but that's a different story.
'Significant' Neolithic pottery found at site on Scilly Isles
By The Cornishman | Posted: October 06, 2014

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered one of the largest hauls of Neolithic pottery in the south west on St Martin's in the Isles of Scilly.
Thousands of pottery shards, dating back between 3,500 and 3,000 BC, have been uncovered thanks to a project run by volunteers.

Reading University lecturer and archaeologist Dr Duncan Garrow headed the Stepping Stones project with Fraser Sturt, of Southampton University.
Dr Garrow called the find of an age that preceded the Bronze Age "significant and intriguing ".

He said: "In 2013 we mainly dug small two metre by two metre test pits and this time we were looking for buildings and made a much larger 10 by 12 metre trench.
"We found about 30 post holes which might have been successive structures. There weren't any coherent buildings, however, like neat rectangles, which is always a bit annoying, but is the way it is.
"Also found were thousands of pottery shards and flint, and one pit yielded thick layers of charcoal about which we are not sure – containing material, rock crystals and a pierced pebble necklace or amulet."

A series of test pits in an adjoining field "had more post holes and absolutely loads of material" but overall the best find was "a nice Cornish greenstone stone mace head, like a Neolithic axe, with a hole through the middle".
"This process would have taken hours of work," said Dr Garrow, "as at the time people did not have metal tools and would have had to grind out the hole using a wooden bow drill and abrasive sand from the beach.
"The 'mace-head' may thus have been an important prestige object."

Dr Garrow called it "the first substantial and significant Neolithic site in Scilly, although in the Eighties two pits were dug on Samson. It indicated a substantial neolithic presence on Scilly which hitherto had not been known.
Radio carbon dating would be done on this year's finds.

Dr Garrow said Neolithic pottery expert Henriette Quinell had called it "one of the biggest assemblies of Neolithic pottery in the whole of the South West, not just Scilly."

The encroachment down the years had pitched the site "literally on the coastal uplands" from what was then a central plain. There would have been a big flat, possibly marshy terrain in the middle when Scilly was one with all the islands.

There was no real reason why a Neolithic site had been found on St Martin's and nowhere else in the islands "other than luck".

The excavation team thanked Steve Walder, the Duchy of Cornwall and Natural England for permission to excavate the site, and the AHRC and Society of Antiquaries of London for funding

http://www.cornishman.co.uk/Significant ... story.html
Couldn't find a more suitable thread for this interesting find.

'Ice Age' wolf bones found in Thornton Cleveleys garden

27 May 2015
From the section Lancashire
The remains of a wolf believed to date back to the Ice Age have been found in a back garden in Lancashire.
The family has given the skeleton to Manchester Museum, whose experts are to carry out carbon-dating tests to verify its estimated age of 20,000 years.
The bones were unearthed by Simon Ferguson and his sons as they dug a hole for a pond in Thornton-Cleveleys.
Just read this interesting little excerpt via facebook today.
Unusual Neolithic Burials Unearthed in Egypt
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
At a cemetery in Gebel Ramlah, an area of Egypt’s Western Desert near the border of Sudan, archaeologists led by Jacek Kabaciński of the Polish Academy of Sciences unearthed the 6,500-year-old burials of 60 adults. One of the graves contained the remains of two individuals. Deliberate cuts on the femur, which have not been seen in other Neolithic burials in North Africa, were found on one of these skeletons. Another unusual grave had been lined with stone slabs, and in a third burial, the team found the remains of a man whose body had been covered with pottery fragments, stones, and lumps of red dye.
The excavation of an Iron Age hillfort in Cardiff has revealed the "most compelling evidence yet" the city dates back 6,000 years, archaeologists said.

A dig at Caerau Hillfort revealed a Neolithic causeway enclosure and one of the largest collections of pottery from the period ever discovered in Wales.

Animal bones, stone axes, flint tools and a Roman brooch were also found.

Cardiff University archaeologists said the finds "surpassed" expectations.

The excavation of an Iron Age hillfort in Cardiff has revealed the "most compelling evidence yet" the city dates back 6,000 years, archaeologists said.

A dig at Caerau Hillfort revealed a Neolithic causeway enclosure and one of the largest collections of pottery from the period ever discovered in Wales.

Animal bones, stone axes, flint tools and a Roman brooch were also found.

Cardiff University archaeologists said the finds "surpassed" expectations.


I'm slacking in my local history... I live less than 20 miles from this and never heard of it... The shame! Specially as one of my interests is old churches built on hill forts... Short road trip coming up.
I'm slacking in my local history... I live less than 20 miles from this and never heard of it... The shame! Specially as one of my interests is old churches built on hill forts... Short road trip coming up.
Take a camera - we shall want a full report!
I'm slacking in my local history... I live less than 20 miles from this and never heard of it... The shame! Specially as one of my interests is old churches built on hill forts... Short road trip coming up.

I second Rynners suggestion of a report & pics!
Tomb thought to be more than 5,000 years old discovered
Site on Sligo/Leitrim border may not have been found until now due to mountain setting

A hilltop tomb recently discovered close to the edge of Tievebaun mountain on the Sligo/Leitrim border may be more than 5,000 years old , according to the archaeologist who found it.

Michael Gibbons said a series of discoveries in this area – including animal enclosures, field systems, and booley settlements – suggests that there are layers of history spanning the Neolithic period, the iron age, the bronze age and the post medieval period on these uplands.

Mr Gibbons, who discovered other tombs in this area a decade ago, said that the hilltop tomb, which was a sacred site up to 3,500 BC, was probably not discovered before now because of its dramatic setting on the edge of the mountain.

This is being classed as Mesolithic.

Yorkshire Stone Age pendant goes on display
An 11,000-year-old Stone Age pendant discovered in North Yorkshire is to go on display at a museum in the county.
The piece of shale measures 31mm by 35mm and features a series of lines engraved on its surface.
The Yorkshire Museum, in York, claimed it was "the earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain." The pendant was discovered during an archaeological dig at Star Carr, near Scarborough, in 2015.
It was studied by research teams from the Universities of York, Manchester and Chester.

Ancient figurines were toys not mother goddess statues, say experts as 9,000-year-old artefacts are discovered
By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 9:08 AM on 10th September 2009

They were carved out of stone and squeezed out of clay 9,000 years ago, at the very dawn of civilisation.
Now archaeologists say these astonishing Stone Age statues could have been the world's first educational toys.

Nearly 2,000 figures have been unearthed at Catalhoyuk in Turkey - the world's oldest known town - over the last few decades. The most recent were found just last week.

Made by Neolithic farmers thousands of years before the creation of the pyramids or Stonehenge, they depict tiny cattle, crude sheep and flabby people.

In the 1960s, some researchers claimed the more rotund figures were of a mysterious large breasted and big bellied "mother goddess", prompting a feminist tourism industry that thrives today.

But modern day experts disagree.

They say the "mother goddess" figures - which were buried among the rubbish of the Stone Age town - are unlikely to be have been religious icons.

Many of the figures thought to have been women in the 1960s, are just as likely to be men.

Archaeologist Prof Lynn Meskell, of Stanford University, said: "The majority are cattle or sheep and goats. They could be representatives of animals they were dealing with - and they could have been teaching aides.

"All were found in the trash - and they were not in niches or platforms or placed in burials."

Out of the 2,000 figurines dug up at the site, less than five per cent are female, she told the British science Festival in Surrey University, Guildford.
"These are things that were made and used on a daily basis," she said. "People carried them around and discarded them."

Catalhoyuk is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Established around 7,000 BC, it was home to 5,000 people living in mud brick and plaster houses.

Their buildings were crammed so tightly together, the inhabitants clambered over the roofs and used ladders to get into their homes.

The town dwellers were early farmers who had domesticated a handful of plants and kept wild cattle for meat and milk. Cattle horns were incorporated into the walls of their homes.

The town contains the oldest murals - paintings on plastered walls. Unlike later towns, there is no obvious hierarchy - no homes for priests or leaders, no temples and no public spaces.

The dead were buried in spaces under homes, rather than in cemeteries.

Some researchers believe it was an equalitarian society.

The town survived for around 2,000 years. It is not known what happened to its inhabitants, but they may have been killed by invaders or driven away by the loss of nearby farmland.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... z0QhXg8BRO

Neolithic figurine, over 7,000 years old, unearthed at Turkey’s Çatalhöyük


Archaeologists at Turkey's neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia have unearthed a "unique" complete female figurine, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday.

The statuette, measuring 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) long and weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds), is considered unique due to its intact form and fine craftsmanship; it dates back to about 5500-8000 BC, a statement said.

The figurine, which is made of marmoreal stone and considered to be part of a ritual, was discovered by the international team of archaeologists working on site led by Professor Ian Hodder, anthropologist at Stanford University in the U.S. ...

World's Oldest Snowshoe Found in Alps

The 5,800-year-old artifact was created in the late Neolithic age.

The world's oldest snowshoe was found in the Italian Alps, near the border of Austria.

The 5,800-year old artifact was described on Monday at a press conference in Bolzano, Italy, as belonging to the ancestors of Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300-year-old ice mummy found 25 years ago near a melting glacier in the Ötztal Alps in South Tyrol.

Simone Bartolini, a cartographer from the Military Geographical Institute in Florence, found the perfectly preserved snowshoe in the summer 2003, while doing a survey on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier at 10,282 feet above sea level in the val Senales.

"I thought it was a 100-year-old snowshoe that was lost by a farmer. I kept it in my office for years," Bartolini said.

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Only last year, after talking to Angelika Fleckinger, director of the South Tyrolean Museum of Archaeology, Bartolini realized the artifact could have been much older.

Indeed, carbon dating from two labs determined the snowshoe was created in the late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC.

The artifact was made entirely from birch wood, bending a 5-foot-long branch to an oval frame measuring 13 inches in diameter. Several strands were stretched inside the frame. ...