Viking buckle discovery in the Netherlands


The Oudewater viking buckle, photo by Caio Haars

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Viking buckle found in Oudewater

Today, 12:54

Amateur archaeologist Caio Haars from Oudewater found three weeks ago a buckle from the Viking Age, reports RTV Utrecht. He found it with his metal detector.

The buckle is from the 10th to the 12th century. Typical are the inwardly rolled rank ornaments. The lion’s head with outstretched tongue (buckle thorn) was often used in the Nordic art world, especially in sculptures in churches.

The buckle will be exhibited in the town hall of Oudewater. The amateur archaeologist does not say where he made his discovery. He fears that other people will scour the meadows. Farmers may be affected by that, he says.

Dutch medieval counts ate swans and godwits


This video shows black-tailed godwits and marsh sandpipers.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Heron bones, skeletons and child soldier‘s button lay bare Counts’ Courtyard

Today, 16:29

When the counts and countesses [of the medieval county Holland] of the house ‘Die Haghe’ – the current Binnenhof – ate, swans, herons and black-tailed godwits were on the menu. Already in the 12th century there was skating on the Hofvijver. And right next to the existing tram line #1 Stadtholder Prince Maurice in 1620 had a pleasure garden built to find relaxation behind a brick wall with his mistresses.

These are just some suggestive facts from the book Het grafelijke en stadhouderlijke hof Den Haag [The counts’ and stadtholders‘ court in The Hague], which was presented today. The archeology department in The Hague has summarized 300 years of archaeological excavations and that gives a very detailed picture of life around the historic Courtyard, where Count Floris IV about 1230 founded the court Die Haghe. …

One of the most beautiful discoveries according to [archaeologist] Van Veen is a cuff button of a child soldier from the time of [King of Holland, 1806-1810] Louis Bonaparte. Around 1806 boys of about nine years were taken from the orphanages to fight. On the Malieveld field they were taught to handle weapons.

16th century pirate’s skull and bones discovery under Scottish playground


A reconstructed image of what the recently discovered man could have looked like (left) and a digital image of the skull, photo: City of Edinburgh Council

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Skeleton found under school playground could have belonged to a 16th-century pirate

The school’s headteacher said the pupils thought it was ‘fantastic’ that a pirate skeleton could have been found under their school

Doug Bolton

A human skeleton found under the playground of an Edinburgh school could have once belonged to a 16th-century pirate, archaeologists have said.

The skeleton was found by council workmen at Victoria Primary School in the Newhaven area of Edinburgh, and later carbon dated by experts to the 16th or 17th century.

The school is near Newhaven Harbour, the closest port to Scotland’s capital, which was once the site of a gibbet in which the bodies of executed criminals were displayed as a warning to others.

At first, archaeologists thought the man’s skeleton was from the Bronze Age, due to the poor condition it was found in.

However, further investigation and carbon dating revealed the man had died much more recently. Due to the condition of the skeleton and its proximity to the harbour and gibbet rather than any of the three nearby graveyards, it is believed he was executed, either for piracy or another crime, and displayed in the gibbet before being buried in a shallow, unmarked grave.

The firm which uncovered the skeleton, AOC Archaeology, worked with forensic artist Hayley Fisher to create a reconstruction of the face of the man, who is believed to have been in his fifties when he died.

Laura Thompson, the headteacher of the primary school, said: “The pupils think it’s fantastic that a skeleton was found deep underneath their playground.”

“The archaeologists will hold a special lesson with some of the children about how they have used science to analyse the remains and it will be a good learning opportunity for them.”

Pre-Viking settlement discovery in Norway


A delicate blue glass bead found during the recent dig in Norway. Photo: Age Hojem, NTNU University Museum

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

1,500-year-old Viking settlement discovered underneath Norwegian airport

The site discovered expands across an area roughly the size of 13 football pitches

Will Grice

A 1,500-year-old Viking settlement has been discovered underneath an airport in Norway.

1,500-year-old means 6th century AD. So, well before the Viking age, of Scandinavian attacks in non-Scandinavian countries, is said to begin, about 790 AD. I would call it a pre-Viking settlement, not a Viking settlement.

During expansion work on the Ørland Airport, archaeologists found a plot of ancient land that reportedly to expand across 91,000 square metres – just under the size of 13 football pitches.

Some of the artefacts pulled from the excavation site include jewellery, animal bones and a shard from a green glass goblet.

It is believed the area was inhabited by a fishing community, with a large proportion of the site acting as an Iron Age rubbish tip, known as a midden.

This is the first time materials of this age have been discovered in Norway, with many of the archaeologists believing the remains were in good condition due to the soil in the area having low-acidity.

Historians have long anticipated the area to be rich with ancient artefacts but have previously been unable to excavate it due to government restrictions on archaeological digs.

The law require[s] archaeologists to wait for an opportunity to excavate an area to arise before commencing a dig, meaning the government’s plan to purchase 52 F-35 fighter jets and expand Ørland Airport came at exactly the right time.

Buying expensive warplanes, and especially super-expensive F-35 aka Joint Strike Fighter planes with all their scandals and problems, never comes at the right time. Though this time, it happened to help archaeology. The Iran-Iraq war happened to help leopards. Israeli-Syrian warfare happened to help wolves. That does not make these wars any less bloody and horrible.

“This as a very strategic place,” Ingrid Ystgaard, the dig’s project manager told Ars Technica.

“It was a sheltered area along the Norwegian coastal route from southern Norway to the northern coasts. And it was at the mouth of Trondheim Fjord, which was a vital link to Sweden and the inner regions of mid-Norway.

“Nothing like this has been examined anywhere in Norway before.

“Now our job is to find out what happened here, how people lived. We discover new things every day we are out in the field. It’s amazing.”

Julius Caesar’s genocide in the Netherlands discovery


Julius Caesar sculpture, AFP photo

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Julius Caesar fought battle near Oss

Today, 19:02

Archaeologists say they found the final proof that Julius Caesar has marched around in what is now the Netherlands. They have identified the location of a battle in 55 BC in which Caesar defeated two Germanic tribes. Which took place at the present village Kessel in the municipality of Oss.

These two tribes were the Tencteri and Usipetes. It is uncertain whether they were Germanic or Celtic.

According to archaeologist Nico Roymans of VU University Amsterdam this is the first time that the presence of Caesar in the Netherlands has been confirmed. Until now the site of the battle, described by Caesar himself in Book IV of his De Bello Gallico, was unknown.

Archaeologists used historical, archaeological and geochemical data to arrive at their discovery. In the soil at Kessel they found large numbers of skeletal remains, swords, spearheads and a helmet.

Genocide

The two Germanic tribes came from an area east of the Rhine and explicitly asked Caesar for asylum. Caesar did not accept that request. His troops then butchered the two tribes in an action that today, according to the scientists, would be described as genocide.

According to archaeologists, this is now also the earliest known battle on Dutch soil.

Ancient tomb discovery in China


This 9 December 2014 video says about itself:

The 2,000 Year-Old Mummified Body of Lady Xin Zhui HD – Archaeology Documentary

Mummies from various dynasties throughout China’s history have been discovered in several locations across the country. They are almost exclusively considered to be unintentional mummifications. Many areas in which mummies have been uncovered are difficult for preservation, due to their warm, moist climates. This makes the recovery of mummies a challenge, as exposure to the outside world can cause the bodies to decay in a matter of hours.

An example of a Chinese mummy that was preserved despite being buried in an environment not conducive to mummification is Xin Zhui. Also known as Lady Dai, she was discovered in the early 1970s at the Mawangdui archaeological site in Changsha. She was the wife of the marquis of Dai during the Han dynasty, who was also buried with her alongside another young man often considered to be a very close relative. However, Xin Zhui’s body was the only one of the three to be mummified. Her corpse was so well-preserved that surgeons from the Hunan Provincial Medical Institute were able to perform an autopsy. The exact reason why her body was so completely preserved has yet to be determined.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ancient Chinese tomb dating back 2,500 years uncovered to shed light on obscure kingdom

The little-known Luhun kingdom existed between 638BC to 525BC

Matt Payton

6 December 2015

Chinese archaeologists have uncovered a 2,500-year-old- tomb thought to contain the skeletons of an ancient royal family.

The tomb in Luoyang city, Henan province, is believed to originate from the relatively-unknown Luhun Kingdom, which only lasted 113 years between 638BC and 525BC, according [to] People’s Daily Online.

Thought to be the tomb of a Luhun nobleman or royal – copper belts and ceremonial pots were discovered along with a nearby burial pit complete with chariots and whole horse skeletons.

The excavation began in 2009 after a spate of grave robbing in the area, which hosts around 200 different ancient tombs, <a href=”http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1885832/chinas-ancient-treasures-under-siege-army-tomb-raiders&#8221; target=”_blank”>South China Morning Post reports.

Due to the tomb’s size, which is at 21 feet long, 17 feet wide and 28 feet deep, experts believe it to be the resting place of a royal family who wielded little political power.

The tomb had suffered from damage caused by water and grave robbers, but the interior coffin was protected by plaster and a coffin board.

The horse burial pit contained the skeletons of 13 horses and six chariots. The horses had been carefully arranged on their sides, with decorations placed on their carcasses.

It is hoped the tomb will help historians gain a better understanding of the movements of the migratory Rong people, an ethnic minority which made up the population of the short-lived Luhan kingdom.

Ice age saber-toothed cats and hominins


This video says about itself:

Homotherium PowerPoint

8 Dercember 2014

They Look Like Hyenas But They Are Big Cats And Apex Predators Too, Also In North America.

From the Journal of Human Evolution, 23 October 2015:

The European saber-toothed cat (Homotherium latidens) found in the “Spear Horizon” at Schöningen (Germany)

Abstract

The 300,000 year old Lower Paleolithic site Schöningen 13 II-4 became world famous with the discovery of the oldest well-preserved and complete wooden spears. Through ongoing excavations, new archaeological discoveries of scientific importance are still being made from the same archaeological layer where the spears were found. In this context, remains of a rare carnivore species, the European saber-toothed cat (Homotherium latidens), were recovered. Here we present five teeth and one humerus fragment that are unambiguously from two individual saber-toothed cats. The humerus is a unique specimen; it shows evidence of hominin impacts and use as a percussor.

The Homotherium remains from Schöningen are the best documented finds of this species in an archaeological setting and they are amongst the youngest specimens of Homotherium in Europe. The presence of this species as a carnivore competitor would certainly have impacted the lives of late Middle Pleistocene hominins. The discovery illustrates the possible day-to-day challenges that the Schöningen hominins would have faced and suggests that the wooden spears were not necessarily only used for hunting, but possibly also as a weapon for self-defense.

See also here.