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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

A new study, published today in Antiquity journal, is challenging the previously understood narrative for prehistoric life on Orkney. It was led by Professor Alex Bayliss of Historic England and is based on the interrogation of more than 600 radiocarbon dates, enabling much more precise estimates of the timing and duration of events in the period c.3200-2500 BC. 

Excavating the Smerquoy Hoose [Credit: © Colin Richards]

The study is part of a much wider project, The Times of Their Lives, funded by the European Research Council (2012-2017), which has applied the same methodology to a wider series of case studies across Neolithic Europe. That project has demonstrated many other examples of more dynamic and punctuated sequences than previously suspected in 'prehistory'.

Neolithic Orkney is well-preserved and is a time of stone houses, stone circles and elaborate burial monuments. World-renowned sites such as the Skara Brae settlement, Maeshowe passage grave, and the Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness circles have long been known and are in the World Heritage Site (given this status in 1999). They have been joined by more recent discoveries of great settlement complexes such as Barnhouse and Ness of Brodgar.

The new study reveals in much more detail than previously possible the fluctuating fortunes of the communities involved in these feats of construction and their social interaction. It used a Bayesian statistical approach to combine calibrated radiocarbon dates with knowledge of the archaeological contexts that the finds have come from to provide much more precise chronologies than those previously available.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Evidence of one of the Roman Empire’s best-known rulers has been discovered near Basingstoke.
A team of archaeologists from the University of Reading has found three tiles bearing the stamp of Emperor Nero at a site in Little London.
The tiles date back almost 2,000 years, and were found earlier this month at the Roman Tile Kiln site.
Only 14 such tiles have ever been found in the UK, including another found at Little London back in 1925 and four discovered within a ritual put at a temple in nearby Silchester.
The University of Reading team is currently excavating a series of Roman kiln structures at the Little London site, which includes some huge brick and tile production facilities.
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The field near Kilmarnock where man settled some 6,000 years ago. PIC: Scottish Water.

The remains of a pre-historic dwelling older than Stonehenge or the Callanish Stones have been found in a field in East Ayrshire.

Archaeologists believe the site near Kilmarnock is 6,000-years-old and was settled as man moved away from nomadic existence towards farming the land.

The discovery has been described as one of the most important of its kind in recent years.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

THIS tiny piece of flint is barely an inch long, but it tells an incredible story.

A stone flake reveals that 6,000 years ago, for just a few short minutes, a tribe of Mesolithic hunters stopped in this field in South Hinksey to sharpen their tools.

The miniscule fragment is just the first of thousands of discoveries archaeologists are hoping to make in 200 trenches across South Oxford in the next two months.

The team from Oxford Archaeology are excavating the area that in due course will become the Environment Agency's £120m Oxford flood alleviation channel.

They are looking for evidence of Saxon huts, Norman roads and even the very Oxen Ford, which our city is named after.

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Viking Boat Burial Found In Norway

Sep. 26th, 2017 11:53 am
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

On one of the last days of the excavation in the market square, archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) became aware of a feature with a somewhat special shape.

The boat dates between the seventh and 10th centuries, around the time the Vikings began exploring and raiding Europe 
[Credit: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU)]

The feature, which was dug into the natural deposits, had been disturbed in several places by later pits and postholes, but it was quite clearly boat-shaped.

"Careful excavation revealed that no wood remained intact, but lumps of rust and some poorly-preserved nails indicated that it was a boat that was buried here", says archaeologist Ian Reed.

The remains of the boat show that it was at least 4 meters long and oriented more or less north-south.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Finally, the long wait was over and we were so ready for fieldwork!

We had chosen two large sites for the main fieldwork in 2017 – the Lauvhøe and Storfonne ice patches, both situated in the northeastern part of the Jotunheimen Mountains. More details on why these two particular sites were chosen can be found here.

he Storfonne ice patch, photographed in September 2014 during a major melt. Notice the light grey lichen-free zone surrounding the ice. This area was exposed by ice melt in the last 15-20 years. Photo: Lars Pilø, Secrets of the Ice/Oppland County Council.

Both sites had only seen short visits prior to this field-season. This had resulted in a number of artifact recoveries, especially arrows, found close to the melting ice. However, we knew that there were other finds on these sites, and that they were lying on the surface, exposed to the elements. The main job would be to rescue these artefacts. To achieve this, we planned to conduct a systematic and thorough survey of the lichen-free zone (where the ice has melted recently) surrounding the ice on both sites.

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Neanderthal brains 'grew more slowly'

Sep. 26th, 2017 11:30 am
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The skeleton of a boy that shattered our view of Neanderthal brain development

A new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than ours.

An analysis of a Neanderthal child's skeleton suggests that its brain was still developing at a time when the brains of modern human children are fully formed.

This is further evidence that this now extinct human was not more brutish and primitive than our species.
The research has been published in the journal Science.

Until now it had been thought that we were the only species whose brains developed relatively slowly. Unlike other apes and more primitive humans, Homo sapiens has an extended period of childhood lasting several years.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Burials at Mount Hora in Malawi yielded DNA used in the study

DNA from ancient remains has been used to reconstruct thousands of years of population history in Africa.

Researchers sequenced the genomes of 16 individuals who lived between 8,000 and 1,000 years ago.
The data shows how the invention and spread of farming had a major impact on the genes of people in Africa - just as it did in Europe and Asia.

The findings are published in the journal Cell.

The results suggest that populations related to the indigenous people of southern Africa had a wider distribution in the past.

This southern African-like genetic background is found in hunter-gatherers from Malawi and Tanzania in the east of the continent. These hunters lived between 8,100 and 1,400 years ago.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

When archaeologists found a tunnel under Mexico’s ‘birthplace of the gods’, they could only dream of the riches they would discover. Now its wonders – from jewel-eyed figures to necklaces of human teeth – are being revealed to the world

A skull statue that will be on display in Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire, at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Photograph: Photographer:Jesus Valdovinos Al/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Sunday 24 September 2017 18.52 BST Last modified on Monday 25 September 2017 12.43 BST
In 2003, a tunnel was discovered beneath the Feathered Serpent pyramid in the ruins of Teotihuacan, the ancient city in Mexico. Undisturbed for 1,800 years, the sealed-off passage was found to contain thousands of extraordinary treasures lying exactly where they had first been placed as ritual offerings to the gods. Items unearthed included greenstone crocodile teeth, crystals shaped into eyes, and sculptures of jaguars ready to pounce. Even more remarkable was a miniature mountainous landscape, 17 metres underground, with tiny pools of liquid mercury representing lakes. The walls of the tunnel were found to have been carefully impregnated with powdered pyrite, or fool’s gold, to give the effect in firelight of standing under a galaxy of stars.

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A new study has demonstrated how the latest aerial thermal imagery is transforming archaeology due to advancements in technology. Today's thermal cameras, commercial drones and photogrammetric software has introduced a new realm of possibilities for collecting site data-- field survey data across a much larger area can now be obtained in much less time. The findings serve as a manual on how to use aerial thermography.
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Bewondered by obsolete be- words

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:13 pm
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Posted by Stan Carey

The prefix be- has a wide range of meanings and applications. It can be added, forming transitive verbs, to nouns (befriend), adjectives (belittle), and other verbs (bespeak) and it can help turn nouns into participial adjectives (witch bewitched; suit besuited).

Prefixing a word with be- often lends the sense ‘about, around, all over’ or ‘completely’. It can also intensify it, as in the line ‘Snails, much despised, bekicked, and becrushed’ in George Kearley’s natural history book Links in the Chain (1863). Or it can suggest affecting or afflicting something greatly, as in bestench (1568) ‘to afflict with stench’.

The prefix was common in Old English, appearing in words like befealdan ‘fold round’ and behātan ‘promise’ (examples are from Burchfield’s The English Language) and becoming part of prepositions like before, behind, below, beneath, and beyond. In Middle English be- continued to spread, being added also to imports from French and other Romance languages: becalm, beguile, belabour, besiege.

Word formation with be- was prodigious a few centuries ago, far less so nowadays. Many of the words thus formed fell out of use, so the OED is bespattered (1674) with archaic be- words, some of them most besotting (1743). Susie Dent introduced me to bescumber ‘to scumber on’ (1599), i.e., ‘spray poo on’; it was even used by Ben Jonson, as I reported in a Strong Language post about Dent’s Guide to Swearing.

Becack and bedung, from the same era, are more or less synonymous. Beshit and beshite are over a thousand years old and, per the OED, were ‘common in Middle English and early modern English literature’. I got to bebrowsing (2017) these and less scumbersome examples after this bit of serendipitous bewonderment:

The coast road in north County Clare, Ireland, with the left-curving road overlooking a dark grey choppy sea, a thin sloping verge of rough grass and rock between them

Coast road in north County Clare, the horizon begloomed and beclouded.

Here are some others I like, with glosses and dates taken mostly from the OED:

bebass: to kiss all over (1582)

bebeast: to make a beast of (1640)

be-belzebubbed: bedevilled (1814)

bebishop: to make into a bishop

bebog: to entangle in a bog (1661) (‘His feet were fixed in Ireland, where he was not bebogg’d’ – Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England)

bebothered: very bothered (1866)

bebrave: to make brave (1576)

bebutter: to cover with butter (1611)

becomma: to sprinkle with commas (1881)

becurse: to cover with curses (1570)

bedark: to involve in darkness (1393)

bedinner: to treat with a dinner, give a dinner to (1837)

bedrowse: to make drowsy (1877)

bedusk: to shroud in gloom, as of twilight (1566)

befist: to belabour with the fists (1718)

begaudy: to make gaudy (1640)

beguilty: to render guilty (1628)

behate: to hate greatly, detest (c.1374)

beheaven: to endow with celestial bliss (1601)

beheretic: to call, stigmatize, or treat as a heretic (1539)

behoney: to smear or sweeten with honey, or (fig.) with honied words (1611)

beginger: to spice with ginger (1611)

behearse: to place in a hearse (1594)

behoot: to hoot at (1838)

behorror: to horrify (1857)

bejesuit: to initiate in Jesuitism; to work upon by, or subject to, Jesuits (1644)

beleper: to afflict with, or as with, leprosy (1625)

beletter: to serve with letters, to write to (1655)

belimb: to cut off a limb, to dismember, mutilate (c.1225)

bemad: to make mad, to madden (1655) (‘O god-detested! god-bemadded race!’ – Æschylus, Lyrical Dramas, tr. John Stuart Blackie, 1850)

bemercy: to treat with mercy, show mercy to (1660)

bemissionary: to pester with missionaries (1884)

bemonster: to make a monster of (1692)

bemurmur: to murmur at or against (1837)

benettle: to sting or rub with nettles (1611)

bepaw: to befoul as with paws (1684)

bepistle: to inflict epistles on (1589)

beprose: to turn into prose (1733)

besauce: to apply sauce to (1674)

beshag: to make shaggy (1604)

beslipper: to present with slippers (1866)

besnowball: to snowball soundly (1611)

besonnet: to address or celebrate in sonnets (1860)

bespurtle: to asperse or befoul with anything spurted on; also fig. (1616)

bestare: to stare at (1220)

bestorm: to storm on all sides (1651)

bestrut: to strut or walk pompously over (1594)

be-togaed: wearing a toga (1856)

betwattle: to bewilder (dial.) (1686)

bethwack: to thwack soundly (1598)

betongue: to assail with the tongue (1639)

bewhape: to bewilder, amaze, confound utterly (c.1320)

bewhisper: to whisper to (1674)

bewinter: to overtake or affect with winter (1647)

bewizard: to influence by a wizard (1862)

beyelp: to talk loudly of, boast of, glory in (c.1330)

There are hundreds upon bemazing hundreds of mostly forgotten be- words. Let us bepopulate the language with these beloves again – or beword new ones, whether necessary or not, to suit our fancy.

Filed under: etymology, grammar, language, language history, morphology, words Tagged: affixation, be, etymology, grammar, history, language, language change, language history, Middle English, morphology, OED, prefixes, word formation, words

Getting the measure of mud

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:47 am
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For the first time, researchers have been able to use mud deposited on the depths of the ocean floor to measure changes in the speed of deep-sea currents. Using mud as a current meter could help scientists to identify fluctuating patterns in ocean current speeds stretching back into prehistory, enabling climate change researchers to get a better sense of how currents behave over time.
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Illicit trade in cultural artefacts destroys historical knowledge and finances terrorism. "Professionals have to say no to authenticating cultural artefacts of questionable or dubious ownership history," says researcher Josephine Munch Rasmussen.


Sep. 25th, 2017 09:55 am
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詳しくは、わんblog にて 




ふふふ。 晴れ女パワ~炸裂よん。








今日はめちゃ混みだろうから明日にしよっ  (←あかん人)







相変わらずの冷酷人間なり。。 (本編でもそうなのよ


あぁ。。。アサシン ロスになりそ。

ママン。 チクチクはどうなってるでちか!?


Sep. 24th, 2017 09:44 pm
ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)
[personal profile] ossamenta
Last Tuesday was a fun day. One of our professors had recently retired, and as sort of a leaving present, a whole bunch of us at the department and lots of other people (ex-colleagues etc) went on an excursion to several sites that had been important to her in her career. Admittedly, this being archaeology, a lot of sites were passed by on the road as there is not much point in standing in the middle of a field looking at nothing. Prehistoric settlement sites in Scandinavia aren't really famous for visible above ground remains.

But we stopped the bus at two Bronze Age burial mounds, and at a peninsula with several Stone Age caves. One mound had to my knowledge not been excavated, but the other one had been and the burial chamber and entrance way had been recently restored. If I had brought a torch I would have been tempted to sneak in.

The Ålabodarna Bronze Age burial mound in its landscape, between sea and farmstead. (Click to embiggen.)

The very narrow entrance to the burial mound. (Click to embiggen.)

View from the top of the burial mound toward the sea. Denmark's coast is on the horizon. (Click to embiggen.)

The Stone Age caves (well, obviously formed in an geological age and not the Stone Age, but they were used in the Stone Age for temporary occupation) were the highlight. I had never been to one before, but now I want to go back and explore that area more. Scania is said to be flat as a pancake, but the Kullaberg peninsula is one of the not flat parts. Lots of people come here for rock climbing.

It was a long steep path down to the stony beach. Thankfully there were stairs (wood or natural stone, nothing fancy or easily walked), but my legs didn’t appreciate it as much as my eyes did. The beach was gorgeous, with lots of photo opportunities if you liked rock formations. There were several caves accessible from those stairs. The main one is at the beach itself, and you could get to another one at next beach along by stairs up a rocky formation and then a narrow path down the other side. The caves are all tiny, so they can only have been used for temporary shelter (annual seal hunts or sea bird egg collections?).

First part of the path. We're still in a lovely decidious wood. (Click to embiggen.)

The first stairs. Now you can (just about) see the beach! (Click to embiggen.)

A part without stairs, just a stony path. Still a long way to go until we're down on the beach. (Click to embiggen.)

The beach! Cliffs to the right...(Click to embiggen.)

... and more cliffs to the left. (Click to embiggen.)

The beach "next door". (Click to embiggen.)

A funny little plant growing on the cliffside. If you know what it is, please let me know. (Click to embiggen.)

Windswept heather growing on the cliffside. I wonder how old that plant is? (Click to embiggen.)


Sep. 24th, 2017 11:39 pm
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A Dartmouth-led study has demonstrated how the latest aerial thermal imagery is transforming archaeology due to advancements in technology. Today's thermal cameras, commercial drones and photogrammetric software has introduced a new realm of possibilities for collecting site data. The findings, published in Advances in Archaeological Practice, serve as a manual on how to use aerial thermography, as the co-authors hope to inspire other researchers to apply this methodology in their work.


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