Tuesday, 18 December 2012

King Richard III’s medieval inn recreated by archaeologists

Blue Boar inn rises again in model and digital form, recreated from detailed drawings found in Leicester family’s archives

The medieval inn in Leicester where King Richard III slept before riding out to meet his fate at the battle of Bosworth has been recreated by the team of archaeologists and academics who dug up a local car park this summer searching for his bones.

News of their discovery of the remains of a man with a twisted spine and a gaping war wound, in the foundations of a long demolished abbey, created ripples of excitement around the world. Results of the scientific tests on the remains have not been announced, though there have been rumours that they proved inconclusive. Although DNA has been extracted from far older bones, the success of the technique depends on the quality of their preservation.

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

University of Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology

Now is the time to enrol for Hilary term online courses in Archaeology.

Each courses lasts for 10 weeks, with the expectation of c. 10 hours study a week.  Students submit two short assignments.   

Successful completion of the courses carries a credit of 10 CATS Points.

CATS Points from these courses can now be used as part of the requirement for the new Certificate in Higher Education offered by the University of Oxford.

The following courses are available: (click on the title for further information)

Greek Mythology                  Origins of Human Behaviour               Pompey and the cities                                                                                                         of the Roman World

Ritual and Religion in Prehistory                          Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers

You can find general information about University of Oxford courses here...

Concert to tell story of King Richard III’s life through medieval music

The University of Leicester will hold a concert of medieval music which will tell the story of King Richard III’s life.

Members of the archaeological team behind the search for King Richard III are organising a concert featuring music from the times and places the King would have known.

The concert will be held on Friday 11 January at the Fraser Noble Hall in Leicester and will feature a trio of leading Early Music performers.

It coincides with the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, hosted by the University’s Centre for Historical Archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

Read the rest of this article...

You may also be interested in this Oxford Experience Summer School course "The Lifeand Times of Richard III"

Further information...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Winter of discontent as we await the truth

In the New Year we’ll learn if bones from a city car park really are those of Richard III. Michael Hickling reports on the future for the last King of the House of York.

History is written by the victors, or most memorably in this case by one of the inheritors of the victors’ story, William Shakespeare.

He created the Richard III we know, with a hump and a limp and a shrivelled arm, a character who gleefully confides to the theatre audience that he’s so ugly dogs bark at him. He’s a child murderer, a sexual predator, a psychopath crippled in mind and body. It’s a magnificent creation. But Shakespeare had no first-hand knowledge of the man he wrote about. 

His play Richard III was published just over a century after the naked body of this last Plantagenet monarch, newly-slain in battle at nearby Market Bosworth, was displayed at Leicester in the summer of 1485. To create his monstrous character, the playwright drew on unreliable sources which put a spin on scarce facts to suit the outlook of the victor of Bosworth, Henry Tudor and his successors.

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

A look round David's Tower - Edinburgh's first medieval 'high rise'

A medieval tower which housed kings and hid treasure was the first "high rise" in Edinburgh. 

David's Tower was itself hidden beneath Edinburgh Castle until its rediscovery 100 years ago. 

BBC Scotland's arts correspondent Pauline McLean has had a look around.

Watch the video...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Skulls, longbows, arrows … and nitcombs! Science sheds light on life aboard Tudor warship

Tudor skulls, bones, longbows, arrows and nitcombs were among the array of artefacts examined by Bishopston Comprehensive School pupils as Swansea University academics showed how 21st century technology is shedding new light about life aboard the 16th century warship The Mary Rose.


Nick Owen and Dr Sarah Forbes-Robinson from the Colleges of Engineering and Science visited the Year 8 pupils at the school to reveal how science and technology has helped them to discover more about the lives of the people on board Henry VIII’s warship which was sunk in 1545.

Mr Owen, a Sport and Exercise Biochemist who has been working with The Mary Rose Trust, showed pupils his work on samples of skeletons that were raised with the ship from the Solent in 1982.

Mr Owen’s research has focussed on the bones believed to be those of an elite company of professional archers who were known to have been on board the ship when it went down. Many of the skeletons show evidence of repetitive stress injuries of the shoulder and lower spine which are thought to be as a result of the shooting heavy longbows regularly.

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mary Rose: scientists identify shipwreck's elite archers by RSI

A company of elite longbow archers perished aboard Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose when it sank almost five centuries ago, scientists have discovered.

Researchers have identified the elite archers who died alongside sailors on Henry VIII's flagship, due to evidence of repetitive strain in their shoulders and spines.
The ship sank off Spithead in The Solent in 1545, while leading an attack on a French invasion fleet. It stayed on the seabed until it was raised in 1982 and put on public display.
Over the past two years, scientists from the University of Swansea have been working to identify almost 100 skeletons kept at the Mary Rose Museum, in Portsmouth.
DNA identification has been difficult because they have been contaminated by cockles, molluscs and algae.
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The Mary Rose archers were among the elite soldiers of the 16th century, research reveals

The archers who fought on Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, would have been elite soldiers for their time, standing over 6 feet tall and able to pull weights over 200 lbs. These findings come from a new research project being carried out by sports scientists at Swansea University and the Mary Rose Trust to discover more about the lives of the 16th century archers on board the ship.
When the ship was raised from the Solent in 1982, many thousands of medieval artefacts along with 92 fairly complete skeletons of the crew of the Mary Rose were recovered.
Nick Owen, Sport and Exercise Biomechanist from the College of Engineering at Swansea University said, “This sample of human remains offers a unique opportunity to study activity related changes in human skeletons. It is documented that there was a company of archers aboard when the ship sank, at a time when many archers came from Wales and the South West of England.
“These archers had specialist techniques for making and using very powerful longbows. Some bows required a lifetime of training and immense strength as the archers had to pull weights up to 200lbs (about 90kg).”
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Is it King Richard III? We we will know in January

The DNA and scientific testing to confirm whether or not the remains of an individual discovered in Leicester is that of England’s King Richard III will be known early in the new year, according to officials from the University of Leicester.
DNA testing, environmental sampling and radiocarbon dating are some of the tests being undertaken to determine whether the skeleton found in Leicester was once Richard III – and there are also plans to do a facial reconstruction.
Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services, explains “We are looking at many different lines of enquiry, the evidence from which all add up to give us more assurance about the identity of the individual. As well as the DNA testing, we have to take in all of the other pieces of evidence which tell us about the person’s lifestyle – including his health and where he grew up.
“There are many specialists involved in the process, and so we have to coordinate all of the tests so the analysis is done in a specific order. The ancient DNA testing in particular takes time and we need to work in partnership with specialist facilities. It is not like in CSI, where DNA testing can be done almost immediately, anywhere – we are reliant on the specialist process and facilities to successfully extract ancient DNA.”
Read the rest of this article...

You may also be interested in this Oxford summer school course about Richard:

The Life and Times of Richard III... 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Summer Courses in Archaeology

Oxford Experience Archaeology Courses

The Oxford Experience Summer School offers weekly introductory courses in the Sciences and Humanities.  Participants stay in Christ Church, the largest and one of the most beautiful Oxford Colleges.

You can find out more about the Oxford Experience here...

Richard III dig: Leicester archaeologists to reconstruct the face of Greyfriars skeleton

Archaeologists working to identify the Greyfriars remains are reconstructing the 500-year-old skeleton's face to give people a possible glimpse of King Richard III.

Scientists at the University of Leicester are using techniques similar to those which recreated Tutankhamen's face more than 3,000 years after the young Pharaoh died.

The Leicester skeleton, found at a council car park in August, has already been subjected to a CT scan which will allow a specialist team to build a 3D digital picture of the face.

They hope to reveal the results in the new year.

Professor Lin Foxhall, head of archaeology at the university, said: "We've provided 3D scans of all the bones, including the skull, to a specialist team, which will build up a picture of how he used to look.
"It will be very interesting, because of course there are portraits of him and if the images come back and they're similar it's another piece of evidence which will strengthen the identification process."

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Archbishop Desmond Tutu to meet University of Leicester team behind Search for Richard III

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is to meet key members of the Search for King Richard III when he visits the University of Leicester on Wednesday, November 14.

The Emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town and honorary graduate of the University of Leicester, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be brought up to date with all of the announcements from the Grey Friars dig.

Archbishop Tutu will have a meeting with staff in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History and the Department of Genetics before giving The Provost Derek Hole annual lecture 2012 on Public faith in a secular age.

The University of Leicester, in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, is leading the Search for Richard III. The University announced in September that it had discovered a set of articulated remains which are currently being subjected to rigorous laboratory examination.

Read the rest of this article...

You may also be interested in this Oxford summer school course about Richard:

The Life and Times of Richard III... 


How Medieval Arms Race Led to Swords Capable of Killing ‘Tin Can’ Knights

I grew up on an early edition of Dungeons & Dragons and John Boorman’s Excalibur. The image of the tin-can knight — clanking and rattling as he walked, hoisted onto his horse by a crane — was the first part of my childhood that had to go when I started working on The Mongoliad, an epic collaborative tale about the Mongol invasion of Europe in the early 13th century.

Part of our purview on the project, an interactive story that’s being turned into a book trilogy, was to portray Western martial arts correctly. Thus began my crash course in the evolution of arms and armor over several centuries of medieval life.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this education was charting the changes that occurred as a result of this medieval arms race. Let’s start with the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, as recorded by the Bayeaux Tapestry, which is more than 200 linear feet of embroidered pictures of men in armor.

They’re wearing hauberks, long shirts that hang nearly to their knees made from interlinked iron rings. They called it “maille,” plain and simple, and if the troubadours were getting all poetic about these battles, they might refer to this maille as a “net.” Never “chain.” Why? Well, because it was a net.

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‘It’s not like CSI’: the Science of the Search for Richard III

Complexity of tests being performed on Grey Friars skeleton mean answers will not come overnight

Search for King Richard III press portal: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/media-centre/richard-iii
DNA testing, environmental sampling and radiocarbon dating are some of the tests being undertaken to determine whether the skeleton found in Leicester was once Richard III - and there are also plans to do a facial reconstruction.

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services, has explained the schedule for the scientific processes the skeleton is being subjected to.

The complexity and rigorousness of the tests – along with the need to find specialist facilities for some crucial stages – mean that the results of the skeleton’s identity will not come overnight.

Read the rest of this article...

You may also be interested in this Oxford summer school course about Richard:

The Life and Times of Richard III... 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Chance to relive the battles of Richard III’s era

University of Leicester students will swap their pens and notebooks for the medieval swords, longbows and chainmail from the days of King Richard III.

Members of the public will be able to take part in a “Bringing History to Life” event at the University on Wednesday November 14, which will feature a day of authentic medieval combat organised by the University’s Re-enactment Society.

The day will focus on the 12th century as well as the 15th century, which covers the time of Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Society members will perform demonstrations of combat, and passers-by will be able to try out replica chainmail, embroidery, equipment and armour made by society members.

Visitors will also be able to hear from researchers at the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who have uncovered human remains at the possible site of the Richard III’s burial.

Read the rest of this article...

You may also be interested in this Oxford summer school course about Richard:

The Life and Times of Richard III...

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Caherduggan peytrel – a unique medieval find

Excavations at the former site of Caherduggan Castle, Co. Cork, have revealed a preserved composite leather and metal object that may be a unique survival in Ireland and Britain.

The dig was carried out in 2011 by Rubicon Heritage Services on behalf of Cork County Council, as part of a road realignment planned between the villages of Newtwopothouse and Doneraile in the north of the county.

A medieval well

The investigations revealed a number of features relating to the castle structure, including the footings of a tower house and an enclosing stone-revetted fosse. Within the castle confines a medieval well was excavated that contained a number of extraordinarily well preserved objects. Amongst the material lost or discarded in its depths were a 13th/14th century bone gaming die, a 13th/14th century indoor side-seamed shoe and a curious long leather strip with what appeared to be metal-studding along its length.

These objects underwent months of painstaking conservation and have recently returned to undergo specialist analysis.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 15 October 2012

Modern neutron techniques analyse Tudor firepower on the Mary Rose

Scientists and archeologists at the University of Huddersfield harness modern technology to learn about the weapons and ammunition on board Tudor battleship Mary Rose, dramatically raised back to the surface 30 years ago

THIRTY years ago – on  11 October 1982 –  the Tudor warship  Mary Rose was dramatically raised to the surface,  more than four centuries after she sank accidentally during an engagement with the French fleet in 1545.  But after three  decades of research into the ship and its contents,  there is still much that can be learned,  especially by the application of new technology,  and this is exactly what is happening at the University of Huddersfield, in collaboration with The Mary Rose Trust.

The University is home both to the International Institute for Accelerator Applications and an Arms and Armour Research Group. Their combined expertise is leading to new discoveries about the weaponry and ammunition on board the Henry VIII’s flagship.

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New excavations begin at Urvich fortress

Archaeologists began new excavations at the medieval Urvich fortress 20km from Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia at the beginning of October 2012, with the first finds including silver rings, earrings and bronze and iron personal items, Bulgarian archaeology professor Nikolai Ovcharov said.

Urvich fortress is near the banks of the Iskar River in the Pancharevo area close to the road from Sofia to Samokov.

The fortress is estimated to date from the 13th century CE, during the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

Ovcharov told a news conference that work was to begin at a large necropolis near the fortress and the monastery.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Archaeology Summer Courses in Oxford

The Oxford Experience, Christ Church, Oxford

The Oxford Experience summer school offers one-week introductory classes in the humanities and sciences, including a number of archaeology courses.

You can find details of the Oxford Experience summer school here...

You can find a list of the archaeology courses here...

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Greyfriars Project

The University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society, have joined forces to search for the mortal remains of King Richard III. 
Latest News
On Saturday 25 August 2012 – five hundred years after King Richard III was buried in Leicester - the historic archaeological project began with the aim of discovering whether Britain’s last Plantagenet King lies buried in Leicester City Centre.

The project represents the first ever search for the lost grave of an anointed King of England.
In 1485 King Richard III was defeated at the battle of Bosworth. His body, stripped and despoiled, was brought to Leicester where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as the Greyfriars. Over time the exact whereabouts of the Greyfriars became lost.

Read the rest of this article and watch the videos...

You may also be interested in this Oxford summer school course on Richard III ...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Oxford Experience on Facebook

The Oxford Experience - an Oxford University summer school that offers many courses in archaeology and history - now has a Facebook site.

You can find the site at: www.facebook.com/OxfordExperience

You can find out more about the Oxford Experience here...

Conservation work suggested for Lochindorb Castle

The ruined stronghold of a notorious 14th Century lord who was known as the Wolf of Badenoch could be in line for conservation work.

From Lochindorb Castle in the Highlands, Alexander Stewart and his forces made a raid across Moray and destroyed Elgin Cathedral in 1390.

A scheduled ancient monument, the fortification was built on a small island on a loch.
A wind farm developer said it could fund work to the castle's walls.

Infinergy has proposed constructing a 17-turbine wind farm at Tom nan Clach, near Tomatin, seven miles (11.2km) away from the castle.

The project is a joint venture with Cawdor Estates, which owns Lochindorb.

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War of the Roses experts hope to commission historic hunt for location of Battle of Barnet

Local historian Mike Noronha (right) inspects a model renactment of the Battle of Barnet

A medieval battle that took place in Barnet more than 500 years ago could hold the key to saving the economic prosperity of the modern borough. 

Historians are hunting for the exact location of the Battle of Barnet, a significant clash during the War of the Roses that shaped the country, and the borough, as it is known today. 

Its discovery, say trustees at the Barnet Museum, could put the area on the map in terms of historical interest and reinvigorate its dwindling high streets. 

The project is being commissioned by War of the Roses experts at the University of Huddersfield but digging will not commence unless money can be provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Angus field may hold church where Balliol abdicated

Archaeologists working at the site of the world's most northerly Roman fort may have found the remains of a key location in Scottish history.

The team at Stracathro believe they may have discovered the church where John Balliol abdicated his throne to Edward I in 1296.

Medieval ruins were found near a roman fort on the Gask Frontier in Angus.

Balliol's ceremonial disrobing has been described as one of the saddest hours in Scottish history.
The Gask frontier, was a line of forts and watchtowers which predates Hadrian's Wall and stretched from Doune, near Stirling to Stracathro, near Brechin.

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Weatherwatch: Climate helped Genghis Khan create the Mongol empire

Lush grasslands helped Genghis Khan fuel his armies in their conquest of Asia and parts of Europe. Photograph: North Wind Picture Archives /Alamy
The Mongol empire in the 13th century conquered great swaths of Asia, the Middle East and even parts of Europe at staggering speed, but how did Genghis Khan and his armies manage to conquer so much and so fast?  The answer may lie in some ancient dead trees found recently in an old volcanic lava flow in Mongolia. The trees were so well preserved that their annual growth rings were still visible and gave an astonishing insight into the climate of the 1200s. The wood rings were spaced wide apart showing that the trees grew well, thanks to plenty of rain. And because the trees did well, the chances are that the grasslands of the vast Mongolian plains also grew lush in the wet climate. Those rich grasslands would have fuelled the Mongol armies, giving plenty of grazing land for the thousands of horses that the troops relied on, and livestock to feed the soldiers.

But the tree rings also showed a sudden lurch into much colder, drier conditions around 1258, when the trees hardly grew. This was around the time the Mongol empire began to fall apart and the Mongols moved their capital into what is now Beijing. It was part of a global climate event, and a recent archaeological dig in London revealed that a catastrophic famine struck England at the same time, leading to thousands of deaths. The downturn in climate was caused by a massive volcanic eruption that blanketed the globe in ash and cut down sunlight across the world.

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Archaeologists probe police HQ for Bannockburn and Roman remains

Archaeologists are searching the grounds of a police headquarters for historic evidence of the Battle of Bannockburn and a Roman road.

Experts believe they are located at Central Scotland Police headquarters in Randolphfield, Stirling. Archaeologists from Stirling Council believe the land is of historical importance.

A geophysical survey is being carried out over an area surrounding two standing stones in front of the building. The stones are said to commemorate or may have been used in a skirmish during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Thomas Randolph, the Earl of Moray, led 500 Scottish horsemen into battle against a troop of English cavalry, under the command of Sir Robert Clifford. The skirmish was won by Randolph and the area, Randolphfield, was named after him.

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Skeleton could prove coup for maligned King Richard III

Karen Ladniuk of the Richard III Society cleans a path made from reused medieval tiles during an excavation.
University of Leicester via AP
The discovery under a parking lot of a battle-scarred skeleton may restore the reputation of arguably Britain's most maligned king and lead to a royal burial five centuries late.

"There has been a lot of debate on almost every aspect of Richard III's life, appearance, personality and death," said historian John Ashdown Hill, whose book, "The Last Days of Richard III," explores the final 150 days of the king's life before he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

"The remains won't clarify everything, but they will be part of the process of getting back to original, authentic, documentary evidence rather than being misled by the propaganda that spread after his death," he said.
Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tory MP calls for state funeral for King Richard III

 Men dressed as medieval knights at the Leicester site where a skeleton that researchers believe could be Richard III was found. Photograph: Gavin Fogg/AFP/Getty Images

DNA tests are being done to verify whether skeleton discovered under Leicester car park belong to last Plantagenet king

A Tory MP has called for a full state funeral for King Richard III, if remains discovered beneath a car park prove to be those of the medieval monarch.

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood and the author of a book about the king's bloody final battle, said he hoped DNA tests would show the skeleton found in Leicester was that of the Plantagenet ruler.

The skeleton, with a metal arrow in its back and severe trauma to the skull, was exhumed from a car park behind council offices in Leicester last week during an archaeological dig.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Richard III dig: 'Strong chance' bones belong to king

Archaeologists searching for the grave of Richard III have said human remains found in Leicester show similarities to the king's portrayal in records.

The English king died at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Archaeologists began a dig searching for his last resting place on 25 August under a car park in Leicester.

The remains found show signs of spinal abnormalities and a "cleaved-in skull" that suggest it could be Richard III, the University of Leicester team said.

A university spokesperson said "strong circumstantial evidence" including signs of a peri-mortem (near-death) trauma to the skull and abnormalities on the spine - severe scoliosis - were found after an initial examination of the skeleton.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Climate in Northern Europe Reconstructed for the Past 2,000 Years: Cooling Trend Calculated Precisely for the First Time

An international team that includes scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Professor Dr. Jan Esper's group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.

"We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low," says Esper. "Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today's climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods." The new study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Was the climate during Roman and Medieval times warmer than today? And why are these earlier warm periods important when assessing the global climate changes we are experiencing today? The discipline of paleoclimatology attempts to answer such questions.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Moving 4,000 Tons Using Only the Strength of Humans and Animals: Historians Accompany the Castle Construction in Friesach

Entirely in keeping with medieval construction methods, a castle is being erected in the Austrian town of Friesach. The project, which is scheduled to last 30 years, is being accompanied by a number of historians. On July 5th, the corner stone for the visitors' centre will be laid.

Medieval castles are regarded as buildings of particular stability: Even after 1,000 years, many have successfully withstood the ravages of time. Making the most of a construction site, where a castle is being constructed using medieval methods, historians are critically examining the existing knowledge about tools and materials, in an effort to gain new insights. "For example, a female expert in the history of construction is currently conducting research in Friesach in order to discover the secret of the medieval mortar mixture," Johannes Grabmayer, project leader at the Department of History at the Alpen-Adria-Universität explains. An understanding of this "perfect mortar" could also be of interest to today's manufacturers of construction equipment and materials.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

France: A Medieval Castle in the Making

The construction of Guédelon about 100 miles southeast of Paris has already been underway for 15 years, yet workers are proud about how long it’s taking. That’s because you don’t build a medieval castle in a day using 13th-century techniques only.

The project, begun in 1997, is the brainchild—or, as it was said at the time, the idée folle—of Michel Guyot, an architectural historian who restored the nearby Château de St.-Fargeau. In the process he discovered the remains of a castle that predated the elegant 17th manor. Fascinated by the building they suggested, he decided to recreate it in the forest a dozen miles from St.-Fargeau, enlisting experts who studied illuminated manuscripts, stained-glass windows and extant medieval structures to devise a fully authentic design.

With Guédelon now on the rise, no one’s calling Guyot crazy and the point of the exercise grows ever more apparent. Like one of those illustrated children’s books by David Macaulay—”Cathedral,” “Castle,“ “City,“ “Pyramid”—it is aimed at answering a question everyone asks when visiting remarkable edifices from the Middle Ages: How did workers do it without trucks, bulldozers and power tools?

Monday, 21 May 2012

New Look for the Current Archaeology Website

Current Archaeology now has a dedicated news editor in-house, and the news articles are now posted on our website as the stories break rather than simply published in the magazine.  You can also subscribe to receive an email newsletter, and there are RSS feeds for your newreader as well.

Go to the Current Archaeology Website...

NEWS RSS: http://www.archaeology.co.uk/category/articles/news/feed
Twitter Feed: https://twitter.com/#!/CurrentArchaeo

The Current World Archaeology website has also been updated.

Go to the Current World ArchaeologyWebsite...

NEWS RSS: http://www.world-archaeology.com/category/news/feed
ARTICLE RSS: http://www.world-archaeology.com/category/features/feed
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/#!/WorldArchaeo

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Archaeologists uncover medieval defences on grounds of historic castle

Archaeologists have made a surprising discovery on the grounds of an Aberdeenshire castle.

Experts excavating at Fyvie Castle, near Turriff, expected to uncover a 400-year-old garden.

Instead they have discovered what they believe to be an 800-year-old defence system which they believe will help them learn more about the castle's history.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology

The University of Oxford's online courses in archaeology for Trinity term are now open for enrolment.

"Cave paintings, castles and pyramids, Neanderthals, Romans and Vikings - archaeology is about the excitement of discovery, finding out about our ancestors, exploring landscape through time, piecing together puzzles of the past from material remains.
"Our courses enable you to experience all this through online archaeological resources based on primary evidence from excavations and artefacts and from complex scientific processes and current thinking. Together with guided reading, discussion and activities you can experience how archaeologists work today to increase our knowledge of people and societies from the past."
You can find the full list of courses here...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

New visitor centre opens at Conwy Castle

New visitor centre opens at Conwy Castle

A new 150sq m (1,615sq ft) retail and visitor centre has been unveiled at Conwy Castle in a move towards a new design concept to be implemented at Cadw-operated heritage attractions.

M Worldwide and Datum Contracts International were chosen by the historic environment agency last autumn to work on a flexible approach for Cadw's sites across Wales.

The concept aims to create retail units and visitor centres reflecting the "uniqueness" of the respective heritage site in order to improve visitor experience and attract more return visits.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Timber Castles: one day conference

To mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Higham and Barker’s seminal work, Timber Castles, the Castle Studies Group is holding a one day conference on the topic on Saturday 13 October 2012 at UCL in London.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Leith’s historic defences laid bare

A SECTION of Leith’s 16th century defences have been uncovered ahead of a proposed housing development.

The town ditch was constructed to protect the port from English sieges.

Archaeologists now hope to discover more about the history of Leith which hundreds of years ago was such an important port that it became pivotal to the control of Scotland

Monday, 26 March 2012

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers - Online Course

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education
Mon 14 May to Fri 27 Jul 2012

Ravagers, despoilers, pagans, heathens - the Vikings are usually regarded as bloodthirsty seafaring pirates, whose impact on Europe was one of fear and terror. As they plundered the British Isles and the north Atlantic, these pagan invaders were seen by their Christian victims as a visitation from God.

Yet the Vikings were also traders, settlers and farmers with a highly developed artistic culture and legal system. Their network of trade routes stretching from Greenland to Byzantium and their settlements, resulted in the creation of the Duchy of Normandy in France, the foundation of the Kingdom of Russia in Kiev and Novgorod as well as the development of Irish towns including Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

This course will use recent findings from archaeology together with documentary records, to examine these varied aspects of the Viking world and to give a detailed and balanced view of this fascinating period.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Slovakia's Krasna Horka castle destroyed in fire

A massive fire has swept through one of the best-preserved castles in Slovakia, destroying much of the historic building.

Smoke was spotted billowing from Krasna Horka after the final tour of the building on Saturday, and it is thought many precious artefacts kept at the castle may have been lost.

Watch the video...

Slovakian medieval castle burns down - video

Krasna Horka, a 14th century castle in eastern Slovakia went up in flames on Saturday. The accident is thought to have been caused by dry, cut grass that caught fire. The blaze, near Rožňava town in Kosice region, destroyed the building's roof, as well as its interior

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Monday, 13 February 2012

Exhibition marks custodian's death at Newark Castle

The death of a Newark Castle custodian who swallowed weedkiller after his collection of artefacts was removed is being marked by an exhibition.

John Mountney who died in 1912, was the second custodian of the Nottinghamshire castle and spent years collecting items to illustrate the history of Newark.

In a dispute with the council, the castle's owners, Mr Mountney lost the collection and was left "heartbroken".

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, 10 February 2012

Time Team: Mary-Ann Ochota quits Channel 4 archaeological show

Time Team has been thrown into disarray after Mary-Ann Ochota became the second presenter to leave the Channel 4 archaeological programme. 

Mary-Ann Ochota, 30, who holds a master’s degree in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University, has left the show after a row with Prof Mick Aston, the archaeologist.
Her leaving the show comes after Prof Aston, 65, also quit the show after producers hired Ms Ochota, a former model, as the programme’s co-presenter with Tony Robinson.
Prof Ashton, who has been on the show for 19 years, said he had been left “really angry” by changes which led to the introduction of co-presenter and some archaeologists being axed.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Reply to my complaint to Channel 4 concerning Time Team Changes

As expected, a wishy-washy response - but the more people who write in, the better!

"Dear Mr Beard,

Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding TIME TEAM.

We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the new format of the show and that Prof. Mick Aston has decided to leave. We are saddened by Mick 's decision to leave, he has been a fantastic member of the Time Team team and we wish him well in the future.

Please be assured your complaint has been logged and noted for the information of those responsible for our programming.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.


Doug Masterson

Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries"

Please take the time to send your own comments to Channel 4.  Use the link here...

See the original story " Mick Aston quits Time Team after producers hire former model co-presenter"...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Mick Aston quits Time Team after producers hire former model co-presenter

Mick Aston, the archeologist, has quit Time Team after producers hired a former model as the programme’s co-presenter. 

The 65-year-old, who has been on the show for 19 years, said he had been left “really angry” by changes which led to the introduction of co-presenter Mary-Ann Ochota and some archaeologists being axed.
In an interview with the magazine British Archaeology, Prof Aston, the show’s former site director, said: “The time had come to leave. I never made any money out of it, but a lot of my soul went into it. I feel really, really angry about it.”
He was responding to changes first proposed by producers at Channel 4 in late 2010, which included a new presenter to join Tony Robinson and decisions to “cut down the informative stuff about the archaeology”.

Read the rest of this article...

Click here to contact Channel 4 to tell them what you think of their decision.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Archaeology Courses at the Oxford Experience 2012

The Oxford Experience Summer School

1 July to 11 August 2012

The 2012 Oxford Experience Programme is now online.

The Oxford Experience is a residential summer school held at the college of Christ Church, University of Oxford.

The programme consists of 6 weeks of courses and participants attend for one or more weeks.
It offers a choice of twelve seminars each week over a period of five weeks. Participants do not need any formal qualifications to take part, just an interest in their chosen subject and a desire to meet like-minded people.

You can also find details of the various archaeology courses offered at Oxford Experience here...