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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

THE DYSNES SITE The exploration of the site has barely begun. Photo/Auðunn

Archeologists working at a dig in Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland have announced they have discovered a shield, human bones and two spear points from two of the boat burials. Previously they had uncovered the bones of what appears to be a Viking chief who was buried with his sword and dog at the site. The dig has barely started. Four of the graves have yet to be explored at all, and more could still be discovered at the site.

According to the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service the artifacts found today came from two separate boat burials. The spear points were recovered from a burial which has been badly eroded by the ocean. The waves have already washed away half of the boat, and any items it might have contained.

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[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed


There’s a new paleontology-themed series in town!

Also, this trailer shows loads and loads of images from our artists!

It’s almost as though someone with strong connections to Hank’s production team is a big fan of @252mya and name dropped big time ;) I’m so excited for this show!

Friday mystery object #307

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] zygoma_feed

Posted by PaoloViscardi

The last few months have been particularly busy for me as I’ve been working on a lighting project in the Irish Room of the Dead Zoo in Dublin, so I’ve not had much opportunity to dig out mystery objects and … Continue reading
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Bryn Celli Ddu, a Neolithic passage tomb on the Isle of Anglesey. 
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Previously unknown Anglesey landscape possibly includes cairn cemetery in what experts described as ‘really exciting stuff’

Archaeologists have uncovered a prehistoric ritual landscape that possibly includes a cairn cemetery around a 5,000-year-old burial mound aligned with the summer solstice sun on Anglesey.

Though far less famous than Stonehenge, the spectacle of sunlight shining down a long narrow passage to light up the inner chamber of Bryn Celli Ddu on the longest day of the year is unforgettable. Excavation now suggests the site had significance for prehistoric people that lasted for millennia after the earth mound was raised over a stone passage grave.

The monument, whose name translates as the mound in the dark grove, was first excavated in 1865 and heavily reconstructed in the 1920s, but excavations over the last three summers – with members of the public joining archaeologists – are unveiling 5,000 years of human activity in the landscape. 

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Brewing Viking Beer — With Stones

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:08 pm
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

When archaeologist Geir Grønnesby dug test pits at 24 different farms in central Norway, he nearly always found thick layers of fire-cracked stones dating from the Viking Age and earlier. Carbon-14 dating of this evidence tells us that ago, Norwegians brewed beer using stones.

There’s nothing archaeologists like better than piles of centuries-old rubbish. Ancient bones and stones from trash heaps can tell complex stories. And in central Norway, at least, the story seems to be that Vikings and their descendants brewed beer by tossing hot rocks into wooden kettles.

“There are a lot of these stones, and they are found at most of the farmyards on old, named farms,” says Geir Grønnesby, an archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s University Museum.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

AT THE SITE Archaeologists at work excavating the Dysnes site. Dysnes translates as "Burial-ness". Photo/Auðunn

Yesterday archeologists, who are working at a large burial site in Eyjafjörður fjord in north Iceland, announced that they had discovered the remains of a ship burial dating back to the Viking age. A wealthy chieftain seems to have been buried in one of his boats along with some of his worldly possessions, including a sword and his dog. More unexplored burial sites are believed to be located at the site.

The grave is believed to date back to the 9th or 10th centuries. The sword, which was found close to the surface is in very poor condition. The archeologists expect to remove the sword from the ground today.
A site of regional significance during Viking Age 
The archeological dig takes place north of the town of Akureyri at a site which is believed to have been of enormous local importance during the Viking age. A few hundred meters south of the burial site is Gáseyri, which was the primary trading post in Eyjafjörður fjord during the Viking age.   
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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Yesterday archaeologists discovered a second boat burial at an archaeological site at Dysnes ness in Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland. On Tuesday a burial site where a Viking age chief was buried in his boat, along with his sword and dog had been discovered. Two other graves dating to the Viking Age have been found at the site. Archaeologists working at the site are optimistic to find more, as the dig has only just started.

Undisturbed graves

Neither boat burial has been disturbed by grave robbers, as many Viking age burial sites have been. Most Viking Age burial sites seem to have been opened up relatively early, only decades after the burial, and valuables, especially swords, removed. The reasons for such grave robbing are not known.

Archaeologists working at Dysnes have now found four different Viking age graves at the site. Two were boat burials. An archaeologist working at the dig told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV that they expected to find more. "Everywhere we stick a shovel into the ground we seem to find something". 

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Even More Diamond Twill Sources

Jun. 18th, 2017 01:49 pm
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Posted by Cathy Raymond

Recently, I've found a few more sellers of diamond twill cloth on the Internet.

The Mulberry Dyer, a seller of natural dye substances and naturally dyed yarns and fabric in the United Kingdom, sells madder red, yellow, and blue diamond twill wool "off the peg" at £35 per meter and cochineal red, green, and black diamond twill wool for £45. Go here for the fabric purchase page. 

Plateau Imprints Archaeology and Heritage Consulting sells a diamond twill blend, 50/50 silk and wool, using dyed and woad-dyed fiber, from their Facebook page. A piece 70 cm by 200 cm costs £30.

Nornilla on Etsy sells fine diamond twill wool fabric for $45.51 USD per meter.  All of the fabrics of this type are two-toned and in the photographs appear to have a slight sheen.

Finally, and surprisingly, Wooltrade.cz advertises two-toned diamond wool twill fabric for 400 Czech Koruna--about $17.00 USD--per meter! At that price, it's not surprising that they are currently sold out of this product.

In other news, I have learned that the diamond twill wool sold by Stas Volobuev, who sells fabric from his Facebook page, has very small diamonds indeed.  The photograph I've seen appears to indicate that three diamond motifs can fit across the diameter of a U.S. penny (a length of a bit more than a centimeter).  My understanding is that the price is about $30.00 USD per meter, but you can always check with Stas yourself.

I still have my rose-red herringbone twill to make into an apron dress, but it's good to see that diamond twill is slowly becoming easier and cheaper to obtain.

[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed
Museum Specimens in the Service of Science: RE: this post I made a few weeks ago about the U.S....

Friday mystery object #306 answer

Jun. 16th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] zygoma_feed

Posted by PaoloViscardi

Last week I gave you this interesting skull to identify: I didn’t mention that top of the cranium had been removed, probably as part of a postmortem, which is quite common for zoo specimens. Of course, this made the identification … Continue reading

Menswear of the Lombards

Jun. 14th, 2017 05:56 pm
[syndicated profile] cathyscostumeblog_feed

Posted by Cathy Raymond

Paul the Deacon, from a period MS  Artist unknown
 MS from Laurentian Library, Plut.65.35, fol 34r
(Wikimedia Commons)
As I previously posted, I recently learned of, and obtained, an ePub copy of the following book:
Gordino, Yuri. Menswear of the Lombards. Reflections in the light of archeology, iconography and written sources. (Bookstone, Dec. 25, 2016).
The Lombards were a Germanic people who conquered and ruled substantial portions of Italy between the mid-sixth and late eighth centuries CE.

My only regret is that I do not have a printed, paper copy of this book instead of an electronic copy. The book is lavishly illustrated, mostly with photographs of reproduction fabric, weapons, accessories, and clothing from the Lombard culture between roughly 550 CE and 770 CE that are based upon the research in the book.  Many of the illustrations show reproductions in lovely, primary colors that look as though they were made with period-available dyes. Despite the book's title, some of the photographs show women in period Lombard clothing, as well as men.  It would be wonderful to see those images as color photographs printed on good paper. 

The book is so beautifully illustrated that it is difficult to focus on the text.  It would be wrong to consider either text or illustrations in isolation, however, because examination of period art forms a critical element of Mr. Gordino's conclusions.  According to Mr. Gordino, information about Lombard clothing has to be derived from multiple sources, including "archaeological data, written sources and iconographic evidence" since surviving items of clothing from the region are nonexistent and only small textile scraps have been recovered from archaeological sites.  Consequently, a number of sketches based upon the most important pieces of period art appear in the book as illustrations, highlighted to demonstrate information about particular garment types. The text also discusses clothing information from Paul the Deacon's history of the Lombards, which is a major source of information about the Lombards in general (see the image in the photograph above).  In addition, the author has reviewed the available evidence in light of what is known of other Germanic people's clothing during the period of the Lombards' rule, though little explicit discussion appears on this point.

For those who are familiar with the known information about contemporary Germanic races associated with other parts of Europe, the book's conclusions will not be surprising.  They include the following:
  • Lombard men typically wore undershirts and drawers made from linen.  The drawers were made with a drawstring with legs extending to just above the knee, like the underbreeches that appear in the art of the later Middle Ages in northern Europe.
  • The most commonly found weaves are tabby, herringbone twill, diamond twill, and repp. Higher status men tended to wear the diamond and herringbone twill weaves, which were dyed in bright colors.
  • There is some evidence for trousers as outerwear, decorated with a broad ornamental band at the hem.
  • There is also evidence that other men wore leg wrappings, as did the Anglo-Saxons and various northern European peoples.
  • Outer tunics were long-sleeved and A-shaped.  They came to about the knee and were decorated with broad bands of contrasting cloth, either in a straight line from shoulder to shoulder (including the neck area) or with a broad band from shoulder to shoulder and a perpendicular band starting from the neck and running down the middle of the torso to about the waist level.  
  • The outfit was completed with a short (no longer than to the hem of the tunic) cloak, fastened with a brooch on the right shoulder, with the opening exposing the right side of the body.  
  • There is evidence for two different types of hat:  a pillbox style, and a felted hat shaped like an inverted modern flowerpot with a small brim.  
  • There is also evidence that low, slipper-like shoes were worn by Lombard men.
The book concludes with an essay on the type of sword belt of which evidence is most often found in Lombard graves.  

Menswear of the Lombards has a few drawbacks.  It is short, especially given the breadth of subject matter covered. Possibly in consequence, long descriptions of the evidence or of the analysis leading to the author's conclusions do not appear.  In addition, the book is written in English, which judging from the grammatical constructions used does not appear to be the author's primary language.  Thus, it's important to read the text slowly at first, making frequent reference to the illustrations based upon the period art evidence in order to absorb the author's meaning.  There is a significant bibliography, but note that many of the sources listed are written in Italian.

In conclusion, Menswear of the Lombards is well-worth its modest EPub price for costumers and other amateur scholars interested in the region and period, though it is far from the final word about Lombard costume.
[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed



2013 World Taxidermy Championships

If you are in Springfield, Illinois right now, count me incredibly jealous: the 2013 World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships started yesterday and run through the weekend. The WTC is the olympic equivalent of competitive animal preparation, and the event offers the sculptors and artists the opportunity to showcase their work, view advancements in taxidermy technology, and appreciate one another’s efforts over the last year.  There are competitions for every division from Youth and Novice, to achievements in Freeze-Drying, and - of course - the Master Division, where the winner is awarded a $4,000 prize, some amazing live-mount eyes by Karl Lange and Tohickon (like the Rolls-Royce of glass-blown, hand-crafted eyes), and the honor of knowing you created the most beautiful taxidermy mount in the world. 

There’s also the honorable Carl Akeley award granted to the sculptor who can best exhibit that, indeed, wildlife taxidermy is a valid form of art, and the practice is still alive and well today. 

About the images:

Lowell Shapley keel-billed toucan won the Carl E. Akeley Award in 2011.

Ken Walker’s panda was awarded Best in Show in the Recreations category - the ‘panda’ is actually comprised of the dyed skins of multiple American black bear specimens, seeing as how giant pandas are protected. 

Dennis Harris - “Air Zebra” Lion and zebra won Best in World at the 2009 WTC.  The lioness is only supported in one area, where her tail touches the arm of the zebra.  If that isn’t an incredible feat in animal engineering, I don’t know what is. 

Karl Lange glass eyes

!!!! We are going to the World Taxidermy Championships this week to film a few episodes for The Brain Scoop and i AM SO EXCITED I’ve been wanting to go for yeeaaarrrs this post is from 2013 bahaha

Dream accomplished.

[syndicated profile] dougsarchaeology_feed

Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Do you like Landscapes? Well I have got a great session we filmed for you:
Session Abstract
In recent years there have been many developments in techniques and philosophical approaches that can assist those engaged in historic landscape research and management. These include not only digital datasets integrated through GIS (e.g. aerial imagery, remote sensing, historic characterisation) but more fundamentally the inclusion of heritage within broader landscape management using green infrastructure and ecosystem services approaches. The purpose of this session is to explore these and other innovative themes as they are applied in an international context. The session aims to appeal to a wide range of professionals who are engaged in historic landscape work, whether through research or management. Examples of good practice are encouraged, with the intention of sharing learning to encourage global best practice.

Organisers: Caron Newman and Sam Turner, Newcastle University

Dissolving borders in landscape study and digital professionalism

https://youtu.be/JX0kU25AVj4 Freya Horsfield, Durham University; David Astbury, Newcastle University

This paper aims to stimulate debate on the theme of ‘digital professionalism’ in the context of historic landscape research. In combination, historic landscape study and digital technologies offer the potential to dissolve borders in archaeology. Realising this potential entails an acknowledgement that geopolitical boundaries are not the sole borders facing our profession. The process of landscape research can, if appropriately designed and conducted, increase our knowledge about the past, offer pathways to lifelong learning, enable a better evidence base for societal decisions and engage diverse stakeholders. Such research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, and also increasingly dependent on competence in such interlinked areas as data science, digital analysis, big data and statistics. How can digital research and practice be harnessed to increase the dynamic between commercial, academic and community-based archaeology pursuits? How can we prevent an archaeological digital skills and practice divide, not just in the UK but also globally? To illustrate the potential and challenges, examples will be given from a number of recent and current projects which use new approaches to recording, understanding and conserving historic landscapes.

Are we forgetting something? Engaging stakeholders with the management of European cultural landscapes at a local level

https://youtu.be/vykMntbLKe4 Gemma Tully and Tom Moore, Durham University

Article 5c of the European Landscape Convention suggests the sustainable management of landscapes requires ‘procedures for the participation of the general public, local and regional authorities, and other parties with an interest in the definition and implementation of the landscape policies’. Dialogue is called for beyond traditional management stakeholders to ‘address the values attaching to landscapes and the issues raised by their protection, management and planning’ (Article 6B.c), and yet public involvement in policy-making appears to be under-explored outside the organisational level, or is undertaken at national rather than local scale (e.g. NE 2009, 2010). Through discussion of a current pan-European cultural landscape project with a strong heritage theme (REFIT), this paper hopes to build on the value of adhering more closely to the recommendations of the ELC by integrating other landscape stakeholders at the outset of the management process in order to better represent the dynamic nature of landscapes, their communities and histories.

Agricultural terraces in Catalonia: an interdisciplinary approach towards an understanding of historic landscape change

https://youtu.be/j4DGwLmfZbY Professor Sam Turner, Head of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Director of McCord Centre for Landscape, Newcastle University

To understand why historic landscapes changed in the past, researchers need to identify when and where changes took place, but in rural landscapes the origins and development of many historic elements including field systems, roads, terraces and other earthworks remain poorly understood. This paper outlines an innovative interdisciplinary method using luminescence profiling and dating to underpin GIS-based historic landscape characterisation (HLC). I focus on case studies of terraced agricultural landscapes in western Catalonia and demonstrate for the first time that existing terrace systems there often have medieval or early modern origins.

Summer dairying and the history of upland landscapes: the importance of traditional cheese-making practice for landscape management in the Alps

https://youtu.be/lMvs-MvxrsQ Francesco Carrer, McCord Centre for Landscape, Newcastle University

Although it is widely acknowledged that pastoralism has shaped mountainous landscapes since the Neolithic, the environmental impact of its different productive goals is poorly understood. Cheese production, for example, is very important for the economy and identity of mountain communities, but its role in the traditional management of vulnerable high-altitude environment is virtually unexplored. In this paper three study areas from the Alps will be investigated: Valgerola (central Italian Alps), where Bitto cheese production has been rescued by the Slow Food Foundation, with beneficial effects for the environment; Val Maudagna (western Italian Alps), where the modernisation of the long-lasting Raschera cheese production, and the conversion of the area to winter tourism, have triggered erosion and rewilding; Silvretta massif (eastern Swiss Alps), where the first prehistoric evidence of cheese production corresponds to a phase of increasing human-induced upland landscape transformation. These case studies will show how traditional summer dairying can contribute to sustainable landscape management at high altitude.

Ecosystems services and green infrastructure approaches to land management in the UK: threat or opportunity for the historic environment

https://youtu.be/hdvmHtfXvhk Dr Richard Newman, Wardell Armstrong Archaeology

In recent years much environmental planning and management work across the globe has been undertaken using concepts such as ecosystems services and green infrastructure. Archaeologists working in both the private and public sectors have sometimes struggled to engage with these concepts, which originated in the natural environment and economic development sectors, but it is essential that archaeologists are engaged with and understand them. Moreover, it is critical that archaeologists and other historic environment professionals understand both the opportunities offered and the challenges posed to historic landscapes by these concepts and associated initiatives, such as new woodland creation and rewilding. Many fellow professionals working in the environmental sector are both informed about and sympathetic to the needs and aims of the historic environment and its curators, but this is not the case with all. Opinion makers such as George Monbiot promote views that are anything but sympathetic to these aims and needs. How then do historic environment professionals meet these challenges and remain solidly embedded within the green movement?

[syndicated profile] poweredbyosteons_feed

Posted by Kristina Killgrove

Today's installment of "Who needs an osteologist?" comes courtesy bioarchaeologist Megan Perry, who was watching a Science Channel clip on the skeletons found in the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan.

Here's the clip: (if the embedded YouTube video doesn't work for you, this one might)

So, what did you notice? I rolled my eyes at the radii, which were upside down when being held, and the os coxae, which are mis-sided. 

Then raised my eyebrows at the overabundance of lumbar vertebrae. 

Then heaved a deep sigh for the incorrectly placed clavicles. 

Anything else I'm missing? Pretty sure those humeri have issues. And the foot bones. But it's hard to tell in the video...

Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?

A Midsummer Crop of Short Tutorials

Jun. 11th, 2017 11:45 am
[syndicated profile] cathyscostumeblog_feed

Posted by Cathy Raymond

Because it's been a while since I published links to short tutorials, today seemed a good time for a new collection of them.  Although I can't say for certain that all of these qualify as "one-afternoon" projects, none of them should take weeks or months to complete, even for a beginner.
  • From Kristine Risberg at the Náttmál blog comes this detailed tutorial on how to make your own wooden-handled Hedeby type bag (see this post of mine from a few days ago).
  • If your interests run more to the Italian Renaissance, here's a post from Lady Ydeneya de Baillencourt with instructions on how to make a simple partlet.  I have posted other partlet tutorials in the recent past, but this one is even simpler and thus more versatile in application.
  • Here is a tutorial on how to make a fontange, a late 17th century lace cap. It is without illustrations, and the author admits that she had to "wing it" because she could find little useful material on fontange construction, but it may be amusing to see whether one can improve on her effort.  A fontange might well qualify as a "ridiculous" fashion for the Historical Sew Monthly's August theme.  
  • Finally, here is a tutorial on how to make this hood, referred to as a London hood, based upon a late 14th century CE find from London, England. nbsp;
Have fun!


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