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Printed the first round of the bones pattern last night and I am delighted with the final result! I can’t wait to do the glow-in-the-dark ink round!


@thebrainscoop - this may be pertinent to your interests :-)

This is such a fantastic design!!!!!! i WANT TO WEAR IT ON MY BODY

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Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Twice a week I publish videos of presentations from conferences I help film. This week I have another session the EAA conference, this one on archives:

Session Abstract:

In this session we are exploring theoretical and methodological approaches to archive-based studies as well as the conceptualization and use(s) of archives. The importance of archives for archaeological research and field practice is undisputed in present-day archaeology. Nevertheless archival sources are often neglected and/or underused. Archives are essential for historians of archaeology, but at the same time they are also invaluable for the everyday practice of archaeologists. The process of archiving is one of the most important features of archaeology and it has had a great influence on the professionalization of the discipline. However, various archival aspects are often overlooked. For example, it has been common practice to separate documents and artifact collections when archiving when they should in fact be included in the archives together as equally important archaeological data. This greatly impacts anyone who studies the past of a particular site, biography of an archaeologist or the history of archaeology in general. In addition, the archive can work as a resource connecting the past, present and future of our discipline. Archives can also provide a starting point for research projects.
The starting point for this session is the broad definition of an archive: archaeological records including documents, finds and museum collections. We welcome papers from scholars working with historic as well as contemporary archival sources and we also encourage broad-based humanistic views and interdisciplinary perspectives on archives. By exploring the archive as a concept and by combining various types of archival materials, we can redefine the archive as a resource and gain a new perspective on archive-based research studies.

Author – Gustavsson, Anna, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Mihajlović, Vladimir, Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, Serbia
Co-author(s) – de Tomasi, Francesca, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici, Naples, Italy
Keywords: archives, collections, history of archaeology

Renovating practices in the history of archaeology


Author – Prof. D az-Andreu, Margarita, ICREA, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (Presenting author)
Keywords: archives, history of archaeology, methodology, archives and archaeology

In the last two decades the history of archaeology has changed beyond recognition. Long gone are the days when a look at the past of the discipline was only undertaken on the basis of publications and anecdotal memories and limited to building an account of the main discoveries and events. The much wider variability of perspectives that historians of archaeology are employing today is also related to – and indeed in many cases requires – a change in the methods once used. Taking advantage of archives as a source of information is one of the main ways in which historians of archaeology have renovated their practice. However, their work is usually hindered by the fact that archaeologists are rarely trained for this. This may well, at least partially, explain the huge differences among those of us who search archives for information.
In this paper I will analyse my own experience of working in archives. I have been researching in archives on and off since 1995 and the experience gathered over the years has allowed me to refine several data compilation techniques. I have found that checking and cross-referencing the information I have gathered from archives over the years is one of the most challenging tasks I have faced. Interestingly, however, I soon realised that looking at archives was not only a question of new methods, but also of how questions were posed. Initial questions had to be revised to be able to use the considerable potential of the newly found documentation. In my own research on how politics influences archaeology I found that most of the time the answers were much more complex than expected. Working with correspondence, for example, allows researchers to get a much more intimate knowledge of the individuals under study than with any other method (with the exception of oral history, which is only possible for most recent events). However, this privileged position makes us aware that overarching ideologies are put into practice in banal ways that are sometimes not easy to detect. I will illustrate my talk with examples from my own work in the archives of correspondence relating to archaeologists such as Gordon Childe, Christopher Hawkes and Llu s Pericot.

Archaeological archives – A deconstruction

https://youtu.be/GL8cnrICnCI Author – Frydenberg, Hilde Sofie, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (Presenting author)
Keywords: archaeological archives, archaeological processes, theory of science and methodology

In this paper, I propose a critical examination of the archaeological archive. Using my personal experience as an archaeologist working in the archives at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo as a point of departure and a case study, I intend to explore the concept of the archaeological archive from two different angles:
1. In archaeological research, archaeological contexts are always being interpreted with a conscious and reflective view on past research paradigms and history of science. Archaeological practice however, is very rarely subject to the same meta-archaeological scrutiny. Nevertheless, archaeological archives are historical artefacts with complex conditions of production, which, in the same way that archaeological artefacts can be read and interpreted as remnants from prehistory, can be read and interpreted, both as a historical source for the context and provenience of archaeological artefacts, as well as remnants of the theoretical and societal circumstances and conditions that have, in different ways, influenced the archaeological processes.
2. What has and has not been documented and kept in the archaeological archives is a product of changing paradigms and selective memory, whether conscious or unconscious. Even so, because of the destruction and displacement caused by an archaeological excavation, the original documentation is the closest we will ever get to the original situation, and archaeological archives, in general, will offer a description of how and why it came into being. From the point of view of research, an archaeological archive will also be the least biased source of information, as every re-interpretation from previous research adds a new layer of preconceptions.

Ontology of archaeological sources and the possibilities of archive – based research of Greek pottery


Author – MA Miścicki, Wawrzyniec, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Kraków, Poland (Presenting author)
Keywords: archives, pottery of ancient Greece, theory of archaeology

In this paper I want to develop a very simple linear line of thought about the significance of the archives and archaeological documentation. In one of his papers James Deetz proposed that archaeological documentation, field reports and similar works should be treated as archaeography seeing that they stand in a similar relation to archaeology as ethnography does to ethnology. One could push this idea even further and claim that archaeography, description of the artifacts, and not the artifact itself is the source of archaeological research. During fieldworks artifacts are collected, measured, described and interpreted, and only the result of this process and not the excavated object could be called an archaeological source. Site and artifact documentation published in various reports and papers is then applied to other papers and the process is repeated indefinitely. Adopting this notion should switch scientific attention to the archives as they hold not only the aforementioned sources, but also artifacts-objects, and thus they provide the only context for reconstructing excavation process and reference point for the discourse. The nature of archaeological site allows full contact with the artifacts in its context, but as a price of being confined to the excavated area, so that the view upon explored culture or community is restricted only to the actual size of the site. Any additional information is obtained via archaeographical sources, which makes properly maintained archives one of the most important factors for conducting studies. In my paper I will explore this inductive nature of the research by presenting the possibilities enabled by the introduction of joined archives for Greek painted pottery. Focusing on their main features like standardization of documentation, accessibility and others I will discuss benefits and drawbacks of archive-based research.

Archives – Can You Dig It? Time, Materiality, and the Archaeology of Archives


Author – De Armond, Thea, Oakland, CA, United States of America (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Duray, Anne, Stanford University, Stanford, United States of America
Keywords: archives, history of archaeology, materiality

Archaeology and the archive occupy similar metaphorical space. Both are regularly invoked as specific modes of historical thinking (consider, e.g., Foucault 1969, Derrida 1995, Olivier 2008), not only for their cultural resonance but also for the particular practices that underlie both archaeological and archival work – preservation, organization, and so on. And recently, both have been portrayed as (more or less intentional) materializations of memory, as palimpsestic accretions, as memory practices (see, e.g., Lucas 2012, Shanks 2012). That archaeological practice quite literally entails the creation of an archive – that the archaeological process involves collecting, selecting, organizing, and preserving materials – will not be surprising to any of its practitioners. But, despite archaeologists’ familiarity with the archiving of archaeology – as well the acknowledged conceptual overlap between archaeology and the archive – practical considerations of what archaeology might bring to the archive have been relatively rare (Baird 2012). What is archaeology of the archive?
Following historians of science, Nathan Schlanger has argued that, “To reach the science in the making as much as the applauded result, to grasp the quotidian as much as the extraordinary, historians of archaeology need to turn to … the archives of the discipline” (2004: 166). Archives, more than published results contain the traces of scientific practices – of course, they are, at the same time, the traces of another set of practices. And so, historians of archaeology are in an exceedingly advantageous position to consider the conceptual overlap of archaeology and the archive.
In this paper, we ask what – beyond metaphor – archaeological practice might bring to archival work. We consider this question via two very different archives, the archive of the Nichoria excavations, housed at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (ASCSA), and the personal archive of the Czech philologist and archaeologist Antonín Salač (1885–1960), housed at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AVČR). The former compiles materials produced during the Nichoria excavations – field notebooks, end of season reports, photographs – in an “organized” typology; the latter contains a great mass of textual ephemera, essentially unprocessed – the residue of Salač’s life. What does it mean to approach these archives, archaeologically? What do considerations of materiality – concomitantly, of context, of temporality – bring to these archives? Recent conceptualizations of archives and archaeology as assemblages, as memory practices, are often attended by the idea that archaeology’s approach to the past is necessarily different from that of history – that history is sequential, perhaps, and that archaeology, because it is material, is multitemporal. But archives – the sources of “historical” work – are, themselves, material – and, so, they are also multitemporal. Ultimately, then, approaching our archives with specific reference to their materiality – their “archaeology” – we create histories of archaeology that destabilize boundaries between the “historical” and the “archaeological”.

Archive and Archaeological Economy


Author – Gomes, Sérgio, Porto, Portugal (Presenting author)
Keywords: archaeological economy, archive

The concept of the archive came to me at different moments whilst I was investigating archaeology under the Estado Novo dictatorship in Portugal (1933–1974). In this research, I experienced archives “as a source” and “as a subject”. They were “a source” in the sense that archives were the “places” where I could find the raw materials to develop my work. They were “a subject” because, in picking up and ordering documents, I was constructing a “landscape” through which I was setting a research path; a “landscape” offering me clues and suggesting directions I hadn’t envisaged at the outset. This experience, the way archives were questioning me, led me to read Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever (1998) to try to understand this experience. Derrida shows us the archive as a place of two principles: the principle of commencement, since the archive is the place of physical, historical or ontological origin; and the principle of commandment, because the archive is also the place from which laws are exercised. This made sense to me because I was experiencing archives both as a source and as a subject, a place of “origins” (of documents) and “laws” (to re-organize my research). But, more importantly, with Derrida’s notion of the archive, I realized how this experience of using archives in doing “history of archaeology” was so close to the experience of doing archaeology itself, and how Derrida’s work could be read while thinking about the conditions under which we do archaeology. This perspective on Derrida’s work became clearer after reading Gavin Lucas’ Understanding the Archaeological Record (2012) where Lucas argues archives can be discussed as a translation process based on the interaction between “the site” and “the copy” (ibid.: 237–239). In this paper, I aim to look in detail at the intertwining of Derrida and Lucas’ ideas, with a view to discussing the limits and possibilities of the ways we shape our “archaeological economy” (ibid.: 231).

Searching the archives in pursuit of ancient Cyrenaica


Author – Dr. Hab. Rekowska, Monika, Institute of Archaeology University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland (Presenting author)
Keywords: Cyrenaica, history of archaeology, socio-politics of archive records

Albeit Cyrenaica, being one of the prominent regions of the Greco-Roman civilization, attracted the attention of scholars from the medieval period onwards, its political isolation after the Arab and later, Ottoman conquest, gave reason to the visible delay in archaeological recognition of this area. Europeans could not visit it before the 18th century and, even in the 19th century, travels were still not numerous. Nevertheless, the travelers’ accounts, only partially published, constitute an invaluable source for the research on history of archaeology. They reflect the increasing knowledge of the region and, at the same time, they illustrate the archaeology in transition from its pre-scientific to the scientific stage. The first topographical identifications were successively complemented by descriptions of the undertaken excavations and considerations about the ancient art. The history of discovering Cyrenaica enables us to capture and follow significant stages in the evolution of archaeological interests, pursued by scholars active both on the sites and behind their desks. However, this story could not be fully understood if deprived of the broader, political and social perspectives. From the beginning of the 19th century, when archaeological activities ceased to be purely private ventures, public authorities used archaeological travels to achieve their own purposes, including non-scientific ones. On one hand, archaeology was served as a political tool to justify an expansion in North Africa and the Middle East, on the other hand – the results of archaeological exploration: artefacts enriching museum collections, testified the prestige of the state. This political context can be reconstructed thanks to the archive queries of unpublished documents kept in various state institutions, mainly in England and France. Since those documents reveal various undercover activities, their studies create an excellent starting point for further sociopolitical reflections not only on archaeology. The aim of this paper is to show several advantages of adopting different approaches to studying archive records in the British Museum and Musée du Louvre. Analysis of letters, notes about monuments, reports, minutes of the committee and other original papers allows making several observations concerning the development of archaeological methodologies. Apart from their obvious archaeological value, those documents allow also to reconstruct wider, political and social background of the journeys to Cyrenaica in the 18th and 19th centuries. Among the travellers, a special role was reserved for diplomats, for whom official activities created an opportunity to undertake their own research (e.g. Joseph Vattier de Bourville, George Dennis), and agents of the state institutions (e.g. Beechey brothers, Porcher and Smith). The support of the Admiralty or museums helped those travellers to fulfil both, scientific, as well as any other significant goals.

Archives Vs Archaeology: the case study of the building beneath Via di San Nicola de’ Cesarini, Rome


Author – Vladimir Mihajlovic
Keywords: Archaeology, Classical Archaeology, Ancient Topography, Topography of Ancient Rome, Ancient Rome, History of
Archaeology, Archives Data, Historical Archives, Roman Architecture, Campus Martius

In this paper, I will try to shed new light on the discovery of a building excavated during the 1920s and 1930s beneath Via di San Nicola de’ Cesarini, Rome, by means of both archival data and archaeological evidence. Surveying the historical archives of Rome (i.e., unpublished notes, drawings, tracings of brick stamps, and period photographs) allows for both a reconstruction of the appearance of the building at the moment of its discovery, as well as the dating of its phases. The old cadaster of the city, the Catasto Pio Gregoriano, and the Cabreo delle fognature della citt di Roma, a limitless collection of plans and drawings of the ancient and modern drainage system of the city, are also invaluable tools for the completion of this task. Thanks to this work, it will be possible to reconstruct the building in all its phases and to attempt an identification of it, drawing a new and up-to-date archaeological map in order to facilitate future work on the surrounding area.

Digging in Archives: Writing the Scientific Biography of Archaeologist Zsófia Torma


Author – PhD Candidate Coltofean, Laura, Brukenthal National Museum, “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania (Presenting author)
Keywords: archival materials, scientific biography, Zsófia Torma

Zsófia Torma (1832–1899) was a pioneering Hungarian archaeologist who had a significant contribution to the development of prehistoric archaeology in nineteenth-century Transylvania, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She is most notably known for her research conducted at the prehistoric settlement of Turda-Lunc (Hunedoara County, Romania) which is one of the most important archaeological sites in today’s Romania, as well as for the international academic network that she developed through her vast scientific correspondence with well-known scholars of the time, such as Archibald Henry Sayce, Francis Haverfield, Johannes Ranke, and Albert Voss. After Zsófia Torma’s death, her activity was underestimated and ignored by most Romanian and Hungarian archaeologists for almost a century. However, the systematic excavations conducted at the site of Turda-Lunc between 1992 and 1998, as well as the preventive ones in 2011, have revealed the necessity of re-evaluating her archaeological activity and writing her scientific biography.
This paper is a case study about the experience of working with archival sources in the process of writing Zsófia Torma’s scientific biography, within a complex research that has been undertaken during the past three years, in seven Central and Eastern European institutions. These institutions are as follows: The National Széchényi Library (Budapest, Hungary), The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest, Hungary), The Hungarian National Museum (Budapest, Hungary), The National Archives of Hunedoara County (Deva, Romania), The National History Museum of Transylvania (Cluj-Napoca, Romania), The Brukenthal National Museum (Sibiu, Romania) and The Szekler National Museum (Sfântu Gheorghe, Romania). Overall, these institutions are the richest in archival materials concerning Zsófia Torma’s personal and scientific life. The first part of this paper aims to trace the differences and similarities between the archival materials from Romania and Hungary, by taking into consideration various aspects ranging from the content and relevance of the documents to their accessibility, way of preservation and even state of conservation. In addition to this, the second part of the paper focuses on the methodology employed in this research, as well as its main results and conclusions. Finally, the paper emphasizes the importance of archival materials in establishing Zsófia Torma’s place and role in the history of Hungarian, Romanian and European archaeology.

Archives and shipwrecks in the Baltic


Author – PhD Student Alvik, Riikka, The National Board of Antiquities, Helsinki, Finland (Presenting author)
Keywords: archives, maritime accidents, shipwrecks

The brackish waters of the Baltic hide thousands of shipwrecks from different eras. Most known wrecks of sailing vessels are from historical times and later than medieval. How can we compare and combine the sources from archives and archaeological data from shipwrecks to make their story complete and also scientifically valid?
Shipwrecked sailing vessels are often far away from their home harbor. Before becoming a shipwreck, a ship’s “life” can have several phases from building to re-building, re-use, abandonment or destruction by an accident or conflict. With shipwrecks, multidisciplinary research is needed to collect the data. When there is an idea of the port of origin of the find, there is a chance to start the research in archives. Sometimes an archival source – a document like an accident report or an announcement in the newspaper – leads to a systematic search for a possible place of wreckage. As archaeologists, we must learn to read both the material culture and archival sources, which possibly relate to each other. In this paper, two cases from Finnish waters will be presented, which have both archaeological findings and written sources associated with them.
The first case is that of a remarkable medieval maritime accident with quite a lot of written documents telling its story. The possible site of the accident is in the brackish waters of the Gulf of Finland. How might we interpret the scattered pieces of a wreck in the area, and how might we reconstruct the accident from the late 15th century? The other case is related to two shipwrecks of 18th-century merchant ships. Would it be possible to combine written documents, like toll and salvage records, to find a shipwreck? Is it possible to identify a shipwreck, and what methods should beused in the archaeological research process?

The relationship between archive documents and archaeological material of a naval conflict


Author – Mäkinen, Johanna, University of Helsinki, Sipoo, Finland (Presenting author)
Keywords: naval conflict, wreck sites, written documents

This research questions the role of archive documents in conflict archaeology. The second naval battle of Svensksund took place on 9 July 1790 on the south coast of Finland, outside the modern city of Kotka. The battle was part of the Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790), and it is the largest naval battle ever fought in Northern Europe. The focus of this research is the apparent contradiction between archival documents about the battle, and existing archaeological material. The general view, based on written sources, is that a large number of the vessels of Russia’s rowing fleet shipwrecked near Lehmäsaari Island, on the east side of the naval battle area, after being disadvantaged, partly due to weather conditions. However, only eight wreck sites have been located so far in the vicinity of Lehmäsaari Island. The small number of the wrecks has been explained by site formation – especially non- cultural – processes, but no comprehensive research has been published about this subject. The aim of this paper is to study this imbalanced relationship between archival documents and underwater archaeological material. The body of material interrogated consists of the archive – both primary and secondary sources – as well as archaeological material.

Analysing Archived Material to Unravel Wheelhouse Chronologies in the Western Isles, Scotland


Author – Dr. Krus, Anthony, University of Glasgow, East Kilbride, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Brown, Lisa, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Co-author(s) – Goldberg, Martin, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Keywords: Archival Analysis, Bayesian Chronological Modelling, Scottish Iron Age

The site of Bruthach a’Tuath on the Isle of Benbecula was investigated as part of rescue excavation which was undertaken in 1956 and 1957 in advance of the building of a Rocket Range in the Uists; the results of which were never published. In the 60 years since, the finds material and paper archive has found its way into the collections of a number of different institutions, including the National Museums Scotland, Kelvingrove Museum, Historic Environment Scotland, and the National Archives. Collation and analysis of this fragmented record has brought to light previously unrealised information about the excavated features, showing the presence of at least two wheelhouses and numerous related features.
Details for the excavated deposits were lacking, although the location of the artefacts and the date they were found was recorded on the finds boxes; consequently, a finds matrix formed the basis for interpreting the stratigraphy on site. A radiocarbon dating program was undertaken to identify the timing and sequence of activity related to the wheelhouses. Twenty-six radiocarbon measurements were taken from single-entities of wood charcoal, animal bone, human bone, and pottery residue. A Bayesian approach that considered stratigraphic contexts and feature formation processes was used to estimate the site chronology and sequence. Results demonstrate that activity occurred primarily in the 2nd–1st centuries BC. The chronological analyses have also helped identify ancient curation and provide evidence addressing if Iron Age activity may have been more extensive than the two dwellings. Further, this demonstrates the potential that artefacts in older archives have for producing new chronologies and for refining archaeological interpretations. Similar approaches could be taken to help maximise the potential of old archives that may be incomplete or not recorded according to modern standards.

The Aerofototeca Nazionale of Rome: a photographic archive for the study of Italian heritage


Author – Foa, Lisa, Roma, Italy (Presenting author)
Keywords: archive, aerial archaeology, Adamesteanu

Today, with the use of commercial drones, aerial pictures of archaeological sites and landscapes can be easily obtained and, thanks to more or less user-friendly software, easily processed – as it was recently discussed at the 2nd International Aerial Archaeology Conference that took place in Rome in February 2016 – and present-day records can be compared with “preeconomic boom” images to better understand what has changed in our landscapes and single sites.
Since its creation, the Aerofototeca Nazionale, based in Rome, has acquired several different collections of aerial photographs. Today it houses aerophotographic materials that date from the very end of the 19th century (e.g., the images taken by G. Boni during his excavations in the Roman Forum) to recent years. The core of the collections are the thousands of images taken by the Allied air forces while surveying war zones during WWII; despite their often precarious preservation state, those images depict several areas of the Italian Peninsula that look totally different today, due to the growth of urban areas and the development of infrastructures.
The Aerofototeca, founded in 1958, is a historical photographic archive of the ICCD – Istituto Centrale del Catalogo e Documentazione – part of the Italian Ministry of Culture (MiBACT). The archaeologist Dinu Adamesteanu was the first director of the Aerofototeca. He organized the first body of archival materials and designed the archive as an instrument for the collection, preservation, cataloguing and study of aerial photographic records. The Aerofototeca is an essential source for archaeological research and the safeguarding of our heritage. The author of this paper, during an 18-month internship at the Aerofototeca, followed by field research, worked on the rearrangement of a group of more than 4,000 slides, the so called “fondo Adamesteanu” (a focus on a selection of those slides was published on the periodical Archeologia Aerea VI, 2012). The aim of this paper is to show a few examples of the potential of this archive as a fundamental source for understanding the development of our fast-changing landscapes and as a tool for the safeguarding of Italian archaeological sites.
In particular, starting from the pioneering 1908 aerophotographic survey of a stretch of the Tiber River, some areas along the river will be analyzed on the basis of the materials available at the Aerofototeca, retracing phases of ancient and recent history of the landscape.

Endangered Archaeology in the Archives: utilizing historical aerial photography to assess heritage


Author – Banks, Rebecca, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Keywords: aerial photography, databases, heritage under threat

The Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project aims to locate, document and monitor archaeological sites and any damage to those sites in an online platform for the Middle East and North Africa region utilising remote sensing and networks of professionals. The threat to archaeological sites due to political and social upheaval in the MENA region has drawn much attention and is being effectively monitored remotely by a number of projects, but the more gradual threats to sites from development and agriculture over the last century are less well documented. Historical aerial imagery collections from the first half of the 20th century are a fantastic resource that has captured landscapes and sites before modern development, population increase and conflict drastically changed the region and accelerated heritage loss. The collections however are scattered between institutions and many are poorly documented. The paper will present how EAMENA with the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME) has begun working with these collections to not only utilise a fantastic resource for the documentation of heritage, but to digitise and facilitate knowledge sharing of what these collections hold.

Another kind of archive: on the preservation of publications and born-digital material


Author – O’Riordan, Emma Jane, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Osborne-Martin, Erin, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Keywords: archaeology, digital, publications

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland has been publishing since 1792 and has produced the journal Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (PSAS) annually since 1851. These volumes provide a record of research excavations, rescue excavations, archaeological surveys, studies of objects, overviews of historical records, publication reviews and more. Physical copies of the Proceedings are sent every year to Fellows of the Society as well as to libraries and institutions across the world. In 2001, the Society began scanning our PSAS archive and since 2003, PDFs of papers more than a year old have been available to view freely online via the Archaeology Data Service (http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/psas/index.cfm); since 2011, users have downloaded PSAS articles more than 386,000 times. We also host the full text of our out-of-print monographs and Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports (SAIR) with the ADS. The sheer amount of archaeological knowledge that our publications represents makes it an indispensable resource for anyone studying the history of antiquarianism and archaeology in Scotland, as well as a treasure trove of detailed information on archaeological sites and artefacts. As these publications cover hundreds of years of research, thousands of different objects and sites and hundreds of authors, their single common link is often the Society itself. How can the Society best use its own heritage and archives to inform future work? One of the research projects of the Society is the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF). This free-to – use online resource (www.scottishheritagehub.com) summarises what the acknowledged experts in their fields – not only archaeologists but also those in related disciplines such as geosciences, environmental sciences, history and museums – thought about Scottish archaeological knowledge at the time of the first reports in 2012. The work is divided by time period and each period ‘panel’ made a series of recommendations for future research. Now, in 2016, the panels are beginning work on the next version of these reports. This will mean that the 2012 reports become, in effect, an archive themselves. One of the challenges moving forward will be to ensure that as the first set of questions posed are answered, that the archaeological information that led to them are not forgotten but archived so that in the future, contemporary trends and lines of thinking can be studied. It is planned that the new reports will contain links to more of the raw data and archives used in their creation and it is possible that many of these data and archives will be available online. However, the ability to view these will only be a useful addition if they are openly accessible. The Society has a privileged position from which to think about the long-term survival of our archaeological heritage as it has been around since 1780 and, as long as there Fellows with an interest in Scottish archaeology and history, will remain for the decades and centuries to come. How can we ensure that our rich history and archives will remain visible and relevant for as long as they are needed?

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Sensational find of chamber graves from the later part of the Viking Age at Fregerslev south of Hørning in Jutland in Denmark will hopefully witness to the ethos of the Viking warriors in the 10th century.

Fregerslev is a small settlement located a few km south of Hørning in the midst of Jutland near the town of Skanderborg. It lies down to a lake at an old crossing point. At the periphery of Hørning close to the road towards Fregerslev, a Viking burial ground was discovered in 2012, consisting of two inhumation graves and a tomb with two (or maybe three) chambers. While the two inhumation graves have been excavated, the chamber graves were left in situ for later excavation. However, intensive studies carried out using metal detectors as well as electromagnetic surveying left the archaeologists with tantalising glimpses of what might be a very rich picking ground for future excavations. Also, a magnificent headgear for a horse gave an inkling of what hopefully lies beneath. During the next years funding was sought while the find was kept hidden for fear of “night-owls”. Now, However, the time has come.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The organization of bead production during the Aurignacian has significant implications for understanding the role of these artifacts in Upper Palaeolithic societies, and the evolution of symbolic behavior and social organization more generally.

French Upper Palaeolithic beads [Credit: University College London]

In a special issue of the Quaternary International on The Role of Art in Prehistoric Societies a case study of Early Aurignacian beads in ivory and soapstone are presented, and related production debris, from four sites (Abri Castanet, Abri de la Souquette, Grotte des Hyènes at Brassempouy, Grotte d’Isturitz) in the Aquitaine region of France.

The data from the case study are used to evaluate three hypothetical models of production and exchange in the given regional context, and are evaluated in terms of the current, common criteria for the recognition of craft specialization in the archaeological record.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

One of the beautiful, gilded fittings (photo: Museum of Skanderborg)

In what is being described as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Denmark in recent times, archaeologists have uncovered several chamber-graves in the hamlet of Hørning near Skanderborg in Jutland.

What is of particular interest is that one of the chamber-graves contains the remains of a high-level person from the early Viking Age, as well as a number of spectacular items that confirm the individual’s high standing. He has been dubbed the ‘Fregerslev Viking’.

“The artefacts that we’ve already found are exquisite gilded fittings from a horse bridle. This type of bridle would only be available to the most powerful of people in the Viking Age, and we believe it might have been a gift of alliance from the king,” said Merethe Schifter Bagge, a project manager and archaeologist at the Museum of Skanderborg

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The lost townscape of sixteenth-century Edinburgh has been brought back to life by researchers at the University of St Andrews.

Digital reconstruction of Edinburgh [Credit: University of St Andrews]

The new digital reconstruction is the first to be created of the period, and is based on a drawing from 1544, thought to be the earliest accurate depiction of the capital.

The virtual time travel technology – which will be released as an app in May – provides a unique window into the capital around the time of the birth of Mary Queen of Scots.

The technology is the result of a collaboration between St Andrews historians, art historians, computer scientists and University spinout company Smart History. The result is an interactive tour of the capital as it appeared in 1544, just before the city was sacked and burned by an English army led by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.

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Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

For your weekend viewing pleasure here is a session we recorded at the EAA conference on all that glitters:

Ostentatious burials remain the primary means by which we understand socio-economic structures and elite/non-elite binary identity formations. Seemingly, such burials lend themselves to easier modes of quantification as well as qualification given their ‘obvious’ connections between numbers, types, and placement of grave goods as well as treatment and/or modification of the deceased individual’s body with status. In addition, the construction and use of large burial mounds (tumuli or kurgan in regional nomenclature) are also often taken at surface value as signaling elevated status and political importance among local and possibly regional communities, with the result being single (often anomalous) mounds being used to support ideas of regional systems of (possibly) institutionalized social inequalities. The focus of this session is to consider alternative theoretical frameworks and methodologies that have great potential to tease out more nuanced information regarding the mortuary practices from Western Europe to the Eurasian steppe. In particular, we are interested in combinations of vibrant theoretical frameworks and robust methodologies, including analyses such as isotopic, metallographic, GIS-based, ceramic, and multivariate statistics to name only a few. Ultimately, we seek not to necessarily overturn inferences regarding ostentatious burials and elite status. Rather we encourage session participants to more critically interrogate how these formulations are arrived at and what new
information can be gleaned from burials and burial mounds that have already been excavated and analyzed.

Author – Dr. Fern ndez-Götz, Manuel, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Prof. Johnson, James, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States of America
Keywords: Sumptuous Burials, Identity, Power, Performance

Is it gold that matters? The role of sumptuous burials of women in Bronze and Iron Age Europe

https://youtu.be/Gk2Hv4aqfrM Author – Prof. Dr. Metzner-Nebelsick, Carola, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany (Presenting author)
Keywords: sumptuous burials of women Bronze Age Iron Age

Ostentatious burials are often exclusively seen within a close typo-chronological framework in time-space related cultural units. Thus archaeologists often analyze sumptuous graves in relation to burials of seemingly lesser importance from the same cultural unit either in order to reconstruct social hierarchies or in order to distinguish specific cultural traits.
In these traditional analyses of ostentatious burials female graves have played little or no role. Analyses which have dealt with female graves dating between the 2nd and first half of the 1st millennium BC have mainly concentrated on gender specific topics such as the importance of costume in relationship to age-groups, regional identities and social standing. Sumptuous female graves are however rarely themetized systematically.
In this paper I will examine ostentatious graves of women in a wide chronological as well as geographical scope in order to ask under which conditions sumptuous female burials occur, how they relate to contemporary male burials in quantitative as well as qualitative aspects and why in some cases they seem to be absent in the archaeological record? I will focus on case studies ranging from the Early Bronze Age in western and Central Europe, the late Bronze Age in Central Europe to the early Iron Age between the so-called western Hallstatt Culture and the Scythians princely graves of the east European steppes.

Scarcity and dearness: an obvious link? Elite’s graves (1300-300 BC) in north-alpine world


Author – Dr. Trémeaud, Caroline, UMR 8215 Trajectoires, LYON, France (Presenting author)
Keywords: Bronze and Iron Ages, Hierarchies, Methods

During the Late Bronze Age to La T ne B, in north-alpine societies, we see a multiplication of elite’s graves. These ones, characterized by an impressive funerary hoarding and so called “princely graves” ask a lot of questions about hierarchisation, status of these individuals and social structures. These questions are supported by a key issue: how deal with the funerary data to express the wealth notion?
Such an approach needs to take into account the difficulties to estimates values. In preliterate societies, emic approach is not possible; the etic approach is the only one. Thus we need to develop methodological tools in order to class graves against each other.
The focus of my presentation will be to present a methodology developed during my PhD of ranking funerary data, so as to detect social structures. This work is based on a database from more than 1000 graves with 721 elite’s graves, from Late Bronze Age to La T ne B, spread over north-eastern France, southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Bohemia, which allows multivariate statistics.
The ranking approach depends on a method of weighting graves, to reveal wealth and characterize graves to each other.
This method necessitates estimating value of each grave (grave good but also architecture and location), and so applying an emic framework to funerary data. I want to have a critical look of this analysis grid used to value graves, in order to see the validity and the impact on multivariate statistics developed after.
In fact this method shows possibilities for looking beyond the binary understanding of societies (elite vs. non elite). These more forensic, qualitative approaches make it possible especially to develop a gender approach and a characterization of social structures and their evolution on a long term perspective.

(Inter)regional identities – performance in EIA sumptious burials of the Low Countries


Author – Dr. Schumann, Robert, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Van der Vaart-Verschoof, Sasja, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Keywords: Early Iron Age, Low Countries, Sumptious Graves

The emergence of the lavish burials known as Hallstatt chieftains’ or princely graves reflects one of the most noteworthy developments in Early Iron Age Europe. These elaborate elite burials of the Hallstatt C period contain beautiful weaponry, bronze vessels and elaborately decorated wagons and horse-gear and are found primarily in Southern Germany and Bohemia. There is, however, also a small cluster of these burials in the Low Countries. These Dutch and Belgian burials contain many of the same objects, all imports from the Hallstatt Culture in Central Europe. New finds and research, including the comprehensive study of all the Dutch and Belgian burials offer new insights into those graves. The elite burials of the Low Countries not only contain far more Central European ‘princely’ paraphernalia than thought, they also appear to contain high-quality items, challenging the established interpretation of these burials being feeble derivatives. These imported items, however, appear to have been recontextualized in a regionally specific manner through a destructive burial practice that involved the transformation of both the dead and their grave goods through fire, manipulation and fragmentation.
While the burial rituals seem to differ between the Hallstatt Culture and the Low Countries, detailed examination of rituals in both areas shows similarities as well. The objects interred in these ostentatious graves of the early Hallstatt Period in the Low Countries and those of the early Hallstatt Culture in southern Germany, western Austria and Bohemia also testify large-scale contacts as well as a potentially increasing social differentiation (or at least its representation in burials). The relationships that must have existed between these and other areas in the early Hallstatt period can be addressed and considered on a large scale. In this paper we present the possibilities of analyses by looking at the ostentatious burials from the Low Countries both from the regional and the international perspective, an approach that leads to a much better understanding of the performance of those exceptional burials.

The Grave’s A Not-So-Private Place: Elite Multiple Burials in Early Iron Age West-Central Europe


Author – Prof. Arnold, Bettina, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Shorewood WI, United States of America
Co-author(s) – Fernandez Goetz, Manuel, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Keywords: Iron Age, mortuary analysis, multiple burials

In his 1984 survey of multiple burials in prehistoric Europe Claus Oeftiger noted that burials containing more than one individual are frequently found in richly outfitted chamber graves. The sample of multiple burials has expanded significantly in the intervening years and it may be time to revisit this mortuary category in light of new evidence. While most multiple burials contain two adults, often a female and a male, male/male, female/female and male/child or female/child combinations are also known. These configurations have traditionally been interpreted as reflecting familial relationships but recently excavated burials indicate that more complex associations for this category of burial are likely. We argue that the early Iron Age elite multiple burial category should be re-evaluated with reference to ethnographic anaology, archaeological evidence from other areas of westcentral Europe, and recent burials excavated in the vicinity of the early Iron Age Heuneburg hillfort.

Discernable Traces in Textil Archaeology


Author – Dr. Banck-Burgess, Johanna, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Esslingen, Germany (Presenting author)
Keywords: mortuary ceremonies, princely grave Hochdorf-Eberdingen, Textile Archaeology

The uniqueness of the late Hallstatt-period textile assemblage from the princely grave at Eberdingen-Hochdorf (SW-Germany) is not limited to its highlighting textile manufacturing as an economic focus in this region, providing differentiated insights into burial customs, the sequences of mortuary ceremonies or insights into concepts about the afterlife.It is relevant that this finds assemblage demonstrates that textiles can only function as indicators of socio-economic structures when they are considered within their archaeological context. This means that conclusions, based on isolated observations of details of manufacturing technique but disregarding the context, remain of limited value with regard to contents and may even be questionable. Deriving from the function of the textiles in the grave the question is not only for what and with which intention this function was associated, but also whether it is at all sensible to distinguish between burial textiles and the textiles of the living.

Barbarian chief’s “secret” burials in the forest-steppe zone of Eastern Europe


Author – Doctor Shcheglova, Olga, Insitute for the History of the Material Culture, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Radush, Oleg, Institute of Archaeology RAS, Moscow, Russian Federation
Keywords: burials, prestigious gold objects, Great Migration period, sumptuous complexes, kings and military leaders

By the beginning of the Great Migration period Chernyakhov archaeological culture (its last stage) was spread in the left bank of the Dnieper in forest-steppe zone. At the same time (periods D1 and D2 European chronology — 360 / 370-440 / 450’s. AD) on the same area occur several extremely rich sumptuous complexes consisting of prestigious gold objects (brooches, bracelets, neck-rings), the Byzantine silverware production, gold-embroidered garments, ceremonial weapons and horse harness. Findings of individual objects belonging to a prestigious culture of the time are known too. These complexes are not associated with burial grounds of Chernyakhov culture. They were found by chance and were considered hoards. Only one of them (Bol’shoy Kamenetz) was published by L.A. Matsulevich in 1934. The study how complexes have been discovered reveals that they are the burials. In Bol’shoy Kamenetz burial was in a stone crypt, built at the base of a high bank of a creek, which flows into the river Sudzha. Mapping of all finds indicates their exclusive relationship with the sources of large creeks flowing in deep canyons and at the same time associated with the watersheds of river systems. Discussed sumptuous complexes are very different from the burials of the Chernyakhov culture, even at it’s highest level examples. There are simple common explanations for this difference:1.”Chronological”, when the sumptuous burials attributed to later Hun period (the period D3, ie, 450-470 / 480’s AD), when the Chernyakhov culture no longer exists. 2.”Ethnic.”Both of these explanations are not satisfactory: 1. Late burials at Chernyakhov cemeteries in the area between the Dnieper and Don rivers dated to stages D1 and D2 of European chronology. The presence of glass cups (as set for the feast) is a feature that distinguishes prestigious burial of odinary cemeteries. 2. There are no grounds for attributing elite single burials to the Hun’s neither by ritual, nor by the inventory. Prestigious items belong to a common in Hunnic time polychrome decorations. Rather we can speak about a direct links with the Late Antique Bosporus whence come the closest analogues of prestigious weapons, harness and silver vessels.Discussed finds belong to the common European horizon of burials of the nobility, the leaders of the barbarian kingdoms, which arose at the beginning of the Great Migration period on the periphery of the ancient world. Often death caught up with kings and military leaders of the Great Migrations in the territory and the environment in which they had no historical roots, nor stable relations. Their tombs and grave structures are unlikely to be perceived as a place of worship and a landmark of the traditional movement. Perhaps this explains the absence of grave structures and the great efforts spent on to hide the burials of high-level persons, moving it beyond the ordinary general cemetery in protected, perhaps a sacred place. The exceptional volume and value of inventory corresponds to the rank of the deceased in his lifetime. The concept of “center of power” is applicapable to the single “princes” and “military chiefs” burials.

Commoners and Elites in Southeast Kazakhstan: Kurgans and Settlements of the Iron Age society


Author – Dr. Chang, Claudia, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, United States of America (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Tourtellotte, Perry, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, United States of America

The spatial distribution of Iron Age kurgan and settlement sites from the Talgar alluvial fan (ca. 550 sq km) derived from survey reconnaissance and Soviet period site inventories indicates the presence of both commoner graves and elite kurgan burials. The GIS database of the Talgar sites also includes valuable information such as the natural hydrological system, dated geological terraces, and other important topographic features. Our goal is to model a socio-natural system that describes the Iron Age socio-economic agro-pastoral system and its demographic components. In addition to understanding the relationship between the natural-physical landscape and a mortuary and settlement landscape, we also wish to set the foundation for understanding social hierarchy and the nature of commoner-elite relations.
This mortuary landscape, often robbed in antiquity and destroyed by Soviet agriculture, lacks information on individual burial inventories or skeletal material. Therefore our model relies upon kurgan size dimensions, locations, and density counts in order to model the ancient demography of the Talgar region and its surrounding environs. Future research in Talgar and neighbouring alluvial fans will test demographic models for: (1) population pressure on farming and herding resources; (2) territorial boundaries that define socio-political units within nomadic confederacies; and (3) the rise of social hierarchy within circumscribed regions such as the Talgar fan and its surrounding areas.
By focusing upon landscape features, burial mounds and graves as demographic indicators, new approaches can be developed for modeling changing social landscapes across a branch of the Silk route. This circumscribed region can serve as the first step for building a regional settlement system that incorporates demography, social hierarchy, political organization of territories, and ideological and ritual landscapes that cross-cut diverse regions through an aesthetic known as ‘animal-style’ art.

Miniaturization in the Production of Funerary Aesthetics in the Pontic Iron Age, ca. 600 – 300 BC


Author – Dr. Johnson, James, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States of America (Presenting author)
Keywords: Aesthetics, Burials, Iron Age

Funerary performances, including processions, construction of burial mounds, and the deposition of bodies and grave goods, are the primary means by which Iron Age social structure continues to be investigated and inferred. However, the scholarly focus on single massive burial mounds and the amount of interred grave goods, such as found at Alexandropol or Solokha in presentday south-central Ukraine, skew our sense of the importance of the ‘produced’ nature of funerary performance and aesthetics in favor of static (and more easily quantifiable) monumental and ostentatious displays. Few studies of Eurasian Iron Age mortuary practices critically explore how a different approach utilizing the lens of production (in a perfomative/theatrical sense) might highlight often hidden political facets of burial in Iron Age contents, as well as more broadly.
I draw upon Susan Stewarts’ (2007) notion of the ‘remarkable’ (elements of identification chosen to be indexical of certain periods and events assigned to individuals) to demonstrate how burials are acts steeped in political intentionality and manifest power relations. I contend that funerary performances, including audience participation, were miniaturized sensory, and perhaps more importantly sensual, engagements carefully crafted in grander scale cosmologies of meaning that were themselves crucial constituents of social and political life in the Pontic Iron Age, ca. 700 – 300 BCE. During the course of this presentation, I explore the remarkable nature of Pontic Iron Age funerary performances through a careful diassembling and reassembling of grave good assemblages, mound construction, and mortuary landscapes. Utilizing data gleaned from a modest population of mounds and burials from across south-central Ukraine, I focus in particular on how burials and funerary activities were produced and intentionally manipulated as means to legitimize, and reinforce, the cosmological and social ordering of Pontic Iron Age communities through carefully designed and produced aesthetic displays.


Friday mystery object #300

Mar. 17th, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by PaoloViscardi

Another milestone for the Friday mystery object – the 300th I’ve shared since it started in July 2009. That means I’ve posted either an object or answer every single Friday for almost 8 years. The FMO has allowed me to share collections from … Continue reading
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

 A large international research team, directed by the Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão and including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam, has found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neandertals.
The cranium represents the westernmost human fossil ever found in Europe during the middle Pleistocene epoch and one of the earliest on this continent to be associated with the Acheulean stone tool industry. In contrast to other fossils from this same time period, many of which are poorly dated or lack a clear archaeological context, the cranium discovered in the cave of Aroeira in Portugal is well-dated to 400,000 years ago and appeared in association with abundant faunal remains and stone tools, including numerous bifaces (handaxes).
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

A Viking grave in Randers shows evidence of early globalisation

Ernst Stidsing, an archaeologist and the curator at East Jutland Museum, has discovered that the body of a woman buried in a Viking grave in Randers was born in Norway.

The remains of her teeth were subjected to a strontium analysis, which can show where a person is born and grew up. The results of the analysis, together with jewellery found with the body, pointed to the fact that she grew up in southern Norway.

Ernst Stidsing added that people have always travelled and emigrated. However, the exact circumstances of her coming to Denmark are unknown. It isn’t clear whether she came of her own free will, was a party in an arranged marriage, or if there was another reason for her presence in Denmark.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

ARCHAEOLOGICAL excavations have revealed a busy Medieval pottery operation existed in north Colchester.
Excavation work is taking place on fields off Nayland Road, Colchester, where developer Mersea Homes is due to build hundreds of homes.
As a condition of the planning permission from Colchester Council, the developer was asked to commission the excavation.
It has been taking place on a slice of land measuring about 150 by 50 metres over the past six weeks by the Colchester Archaeological Trust.
The team has been painstakingly using hand tools to uncover a rare pottery kiln dating back to the 15th century and pottery which would have been discarded if it was not deemed up to standard.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The mix of traits on this new specimen found in Portugal has encouraged researchers to rethink their way of describing and classifying ancient human fossils.

At one point, any new human fossil from hundreds of thousands of years ago might have drawn intrigue. If the new bones looked different from others that had been found before, they may have even been hailed as a new archaic human species, and given a taxonomic name in the genus Homo.

But some scientists say evidence is mounting that paleoanthropologists in the past may have been too quick to categorize hominin fossils as distinct species. 

So when a chunk of a 400,000-year-old skull was unearthed at the Gruta da Aroeira archaeological site in Portugal, the scientists who reveal its discovery in a paper published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences didn't try to assign a taxonomic name to the specimen as a reflection of that new thinking.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Leopards may have roamed across Italy alongside Neanderthals, a new study finds.
Scientists analyzed an ancient, well-preserved bone discovered by amateur scientist Renato Bandera in the summer of 2014 and donated to the Paleoanthropological Museum of Po in San Daniele Po, Italy. The gray-brown fossil was the slender right shinbone of a leopard, and was found along the right bank of the Po River in northern Italy, near the harbor entrance of the city of Cremona. [In Photos: Rare and Beautiful Amur Leopards]
The region where this bone was discovered is well-known for its fossils. Other bones from this site have suggested that the area was once home to straight-tusked elephants, steppe bison, woolly mammoths, giant deer, rhinos and elk. However, fossils of carnivores such as bears, wolves, hyenas, foxes — and now, leopards — are very rare.
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

An extensive Roman building has been unearthed during archaeological excavations in via Virgilio in the town of Merano located in the province of Bolzano in Trentino- Alto Adige region, Northern Italy. 

The finds, including finely decorated fibulae (pins for clothing), which are now being analyzed, clearly show that the Roman house "was inhabited by a rich family”, says to Catrin Marzoli, director of the local provincial Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape.

“A hoard of coins was buried in the ground and hidden under a millstone of the kitchen of the house – a treasure which was buried and never recovered", explains Catrin Marzoli.

"In total 3187 coins dating from the late third/early fourth century AD were recovered. The coins are in fact from the period of the Tetrarchy, when Emperor Diocletian, to stem the crisis of the Roman Empire, divided it into two parts - a western and an eastern - ruled by two senior emperors with the title of Augustus and two younger emperors with the title of Caesar. On the coins we found at Maia Alta in Merano, Maximianus Augustus, Constantius Clorus Caesar, Diocletianus Augustus and Galerius Caesar are immortalized."

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Geoff Wainwright obituary

Mar. 15th, 2017 07:10 pm
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Influential archaeologist who helped to change the public experience of Stonehenge

Geoff Wainwright at Stonehenge, the proving ground for many of his ideas about the management of the historic environment. Photograph: Timothy Darvill

The young Geoff Wainwright once nervously approached Dame Kathleen Kenyonto inquire about employment prospects in archaeology. She apparently told him that without an inheritance or private income he had no hope. Luckily, he disregarded her advice and went on to become a big influence on archaeology in Britain and Europe.
Geoff, who has died aged 79, was fascinated by archaeology from an early age and in 1956, while still a student, excavated a Mesolithic settlement at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire, two miles from his family home. His early excavations were traditional affairs, but led him to a realisation that empirical research required clearly defined questions, and methods that matched the scale of the problem.
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Recreating the Egtved Skirt

Mar. 15th, 2017 09:54 am
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Posted by Cathy Raymond

A day or two ago, I rediscovered the Facebook page of the Friends of Archaeological Textiles Review, which I recommend to historical costume buffs, particularly those interested in early period costume.  There is pure gold in some of the URLs posted on that Facebook page.

The most interesting item I have discovered on the Friends of ATR page so far is the video that appears to the left.  This video shows Professor Ida Demant, an archaeologist at Sagnlandet Lejre in Denmark, making a reproduction of the Egtved skirt, and explaining what she is doing, in English, while she is working.  The basic technique is to make a tablet-woven belt, leaving long weft loops, and twisting the loops together to make the thick fringe.  The video concludes with a few seconds of footage showing a young woman modeling the finished product for an outdoor audience.

To watch Professor Demant make this skirt is to acquire a new appreciation for the skills of textile workers in ancient times.  I commend it to anyone interested in the making of textiles as well as to persons interested in Bronze Age costume.

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Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

It’s Wednesday so the weekly release of conference videos I have filmed. This weeks videos are from the EAA conference:

At the same time as the parish system was taking shape in Christian Europe – in the 10th and 11th centuries AD – Christianity was spreading among the colonists of newly settled lands in the North Atlantic. A well known characteristic of the ecclesiastical landscape of the North Atlantic islands is the high number of small churches associated with individual farms. The majority of these did not acquire parochial functions and most were closed down in the course of the Middle Ages. In their heyday, in the 11th and 12th centuries, they were however a very conspicuous aspect of the religious landscape of the North Atlantic. The study of these small churches has progressed in recent years – with comprehensive mapping and identification of such sites and several excavations – but many questions remain. A major issue is how different this pattern was from the Scandinavian and British homelands – or if it was different at all. Other questions relate to architectural influences, the use of space, location and settlement context, but also broader patterns and themes, like continuity from pre-Christian practices, medieval community organisation and ecclesiastical hierarchies, pastoral care in regions of dispersed settlements, medieval religiosity and its long-term development. Taking its cue from the relatively well documented small-church landscapes of the North Atlantic Islands – Greenland, Iceland and the Faroes as well as the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland – this session also aims to discuss also the religious landscapes of Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland and welcomes papers addressing comparable cases and questions in other parts of medieval Christendom.
Author – Arneborg, Jette, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark (Presenting author)
Co-author(s) – Arge, Simun, F royar Fornminnissavn, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Co-author(s) – Vesteinsson, Orri, Universty of Iceland, Reykjav k, Iceland
Keywords: Early churches, Ecclesiastical landscape, North Atlantic

The bishop’s grave in St. Alban Church in Odense, Denmark

https://youtu.be/7prrEcd36a4 Author – PhD Hansen, Jesper, Odense City Museums, Odense C, Denmark (Presenting author)
Keywords: 11th century bishop, Odense, Old bishop – new church

When King Canute was killed in 1086 in the church of St Alban’s in Odense it “…was at that time the bishop’s church…” (”… tunc temporis sedes erat episcopalis…”). This reference by an unknown author in a commemorative text of King Canute the Holy indicates that St Alban’s church functioned as a bishop’s cathedral until 1095, when the king’s body and St Alban’s relics were transferred 75 metres to the newly built St Canute’s church. In the fall of 2015 Odense City Museums excavated a hitherto unknown bishop’s grave in St Alban’s, supporting the designation of St. Alban’s as a cathedral in 11th century. This is the period of the foundation of the Danish Church, and a number of questions emerge when analyzing the bishop as well as the grave and its context. The paper will primarily address two questions: What are the origins of the bishop in the grave and with which archbishopric and/or kingdom is he most likely associated? In the beginning of the 11th century, the Danish Church had close relations to Canterbury and thus to the Anglo-Saxon Church. In the middle of the 11th century, ties were close to the German Church, and Danish bishops were appointed by the archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen. Attempts to answer these questions are based on traditional archaeological methods as well as DNA and strontium analyses. Additionally an attempt will be made to explain why the bishop was not moved into the new cathedral together with St Alban’s relics and Canute the Holy in 1095, or in connection with, for example, Canute’s canonization and translation only five years later in the year 1100.

An abundance of chapels: the pre-parochial religious landscape of the Isle of Man

https://youtu.be/rUt9tqNxbvg Author – Johnson, Andrew, Manx National Heritage, Douglas, Isle of Man (Presenting author)
Keywords: early chapels, Isle of Man, landscape

The Isle of Man is a small island of just 580 square kilometres, yet it boasts the remains of about 200 medieval chapels (in Manx Gaelic, ‘keeills’). In the 1930s Carl Marstrander, the leading Celtic scholar of his day, visited the island to study its many Celtic cultural and linguistic facets.
Marstrander was intrigued by the widespread distribution of early medieval burial grounds and chapels, which predate the establishment of a parish system on the island during the 12th century. He proposed and published a highly-influential thesis that the distribution of these chapels was associated with a pre-existing land division system which functioned throughout the island. Several theories have since been advanced which have suggested alternative explanations for the distribution of these chapels, and have been based, for instance, on concepts of peripheral or central location. It is worth taking stock of these, and of Marstrander’s work, in the light of recent discoveries and new dating evidence for some chapel sites, not all of which were known at the time of earlier surveys.
Together, the development of GIS and the resulting ability to investigate and characterise historic landscapes, offer an enhanced opportunity to study the location and distribution of these chapels, particularly in relation to routes through the landscape. As a result, it is becoming possible to propose some new ideas about their location and about the nature of the medieval religious landscape of the Isle of Man.

A landscape of belief: Orkney’s medieval churches


Author – Dr. Gibbon, Sarah Jane, University of the Highlands and Islands, Kirkwall, United Kingdom (Presenting author)
Keywords: church, landscape, Orkney

Over two hundred churches were founded in Orkney in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This paper will explore the various functions of these churches by considering them in their landscape contexts as a means of overcoming the lack of contemporary written sources relating to them.
The churches can be grouped according to three different landscape settings: proprietary churches located in close proximity to central places within settlement units (townships); isolated churches located some distance from known settlements; and churches (possibly monastic) separated from settlement foci but not isolated. In addition to identifying different types of church, some sense of chronology and religious development within the Orkney Earldom will be presented, mapping the transition from the forced conversion of the islands by Olaf Tryggvasson in 995 to the creation of an urban diocesan centre, part of the newly created archdiocese of Nidaros, in 1152/3.

Chapels, Church sites and Settlement in Medieval Faroe Islands


Author – Arge, Simun Vilhelm, Faroese National Heritage, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Presenting author)
Keywords: chapels, church sites, settlement

In the Faroes a group of sites has, because of their characteristics and associated placenames, been interpreted as medieval chapels – maybe even remains representing the early Christianisation process. But because of the lack of church archaeological investigations our knowledge of the Faroese Medieval church is quite limited. The paper will discuss the characterisation of the archaeological material at hand based on an ongoing project involving surveys and investigations of possible church ruins. In an attempt to understand these relics – their relation and function within the Medieval church in the Faroes – they will be placed in a settlement-historical as well as in a North Atlantic context.


The geography of a cemetery – the early Christian cemeteries of Skagafjör ur, North Iceland

https://youtu.be/IpK-8j9GUzg Author – Zoega, Gudny, Skagafjordur Heritage Museum, Saudarkrokur, Iceland (Presenting author)
Keywords: burial customs, cemeteries, churches

In the last decade early Christian churches and cemeteries in the region of Skagafjör ur, North Iceland, have been the object of extensive archaeological research. A thorough regional survey has suggested the possibility of at least 120 farms with early churches/cemeteries. Of those, 15 have been further examined and four have been extensively excavated. The research indicates that these cemeteries come into being around the date of the official conversion to Christianity in AD999/1000 and that their majority was discontinued just before or after AD1104. A small number ultimately evolved into parish or communal cemeteries and in some instances churches retained their function and boundary walls were rebuilt after the cemeteries were no longer being used for burial. In their outward appearance these cemeteries seem to have been remarkably similar in size and form suggesting that from the outset, they were being managed and structured according to a particular set of laws or customs. Burial customs that have been considered an 11th-12th century development, for instance sex segregation, also seem to have been in place right from the beginning of the 11th century. These cemeteries are adding a new dimension to our understanding of the early ecclesiastical landscape in Iceland and how and when important changes may have occurred. In this paper I will explore the differences and similarities that can be found in the layout and organisation of these cemeteries and how they compare with contemporary funerary data from outside Iceland.

Hofstaoir in Myvatnssveit. An early Icelandic religious landscape


Author – Dr. Gestsdottir, Hildur, Institute of Archaeology, Reykjavik, Iceland (Presenting author)
Keywords: church, Iceland, religion

In 2015 the excavation of the early Christian church and cemetery at Hofsta ir in M vatnssveit, northern Iceland, was completed.
The site which dates from the mid 10th to the early 12th century was typical for the early Christian cemeteries of the period in
Iceland, several phases of a central church surrounded by typically Christian graves, inhumations oriented west-east, all without
What is noteworthy however is that only 100m away from the church and cemetery are the remains of a substantial Viking
age feasting hall (excavated between 1995-2002). The hall, which has clear pagan symbols, not in the least that its exterior
was decorated with at least 23 cattle skulls, was in use for a relatively short period, constructed in the late 10th century, and
abandoned by the mid 11th century.
The Christian church and the pagan feasting hall at Hofsta ir were therefore contemporary for a while. This brings a new
perspective to the discussion of early religion in Iceland, where much of the focus has been on attempting to identify a conversion
process thorough the archaeology, in particular burial archaeology. The story suggested by Hofstaðir is quite different, where
there seems to be a period of coexistence of these contrasting religions.
In this presentation the results of the two excavations at Hofsta ir will be discussed, and placed within the context of the
archaeology of early religion in Iceland in particular, and the North Atlantic in general.

Communities of death in medieval Iceland


Author – Prof. Vésteinsson, Orri, University of Iceland, Reykjav k, Iceland (Presenting author)
Keywords: church, Iceland, Medieval

In Iceland, the introduction of Christianity around 1000 AD was associated with fundamental changes in burial customs. In pre-Christian times each farm had had its own cemetery but under the new custom only about a half of the farms had churches with cemeteries. Farms without a church and cemetery are as a rule those of lower status and their occupants presumably buried their dead either in their neighbours’ cemeteries or (if different) in the cemetery of their patron or landowner. Already within the first century of Christian practice the small farm-based churches began to lose their number and the 12th and 13th centuries are characterized by their continued decline and by increasing centralisation of functions in churches which would eventually become parish centres. The paper will explore how this development, from private to communal cemeteries, reflects fundamental changes in community organisation and social structure.

”Small churches” in Norse Greenland – what became of them?


Author – Dr. Arneborg, Jette, Danish National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark (Presenting author)
Keywords: Churches and church-farms, Norse Greenland, reorganisation of ecclesiastical landscape

Greenland was settled in the later part of the 10th century when Christianity had been introduced in northern Europe. Christianity was a part of the settlers’ kit, and churches and churchyards were built on the farms from the very beginning of settlement. The churches were built close to the farmhouses, and they were characterised by their “secular” architecture, small size, and a surrounding circular, or sub-circular, enclosure. During the 13th century the early churchyards were taken out of use, as were apparently the church buildings, and a number of farms lost their status as church farms. In the same period new and larger churches were built either on earlier church farms or on newly established ones, now adapting “traditional” church building architecture known in Scandinavia. Based on archaeological excavations of “small churches” 2001 – 2010 I will explore the changes in Norse Greenlandic church building in the context of ecclesiastical and community organisation.


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January 2017

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