Monday, 18 February 2013

ARCHI The Archaeological Sites Index

ARCHI, the online searchable archaeological database, has added a new feature that allows users to add sites to their world-wide database.

The online form is easy to use and should prove to be an extremely useful addition to this site.

You can find the online form at:

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Archaeology Summer Courses at Oxford

The Oxford Experience is offering a number of archaeology courses this summer.

Each course lasts for one week and participants stay in the 16th century college of Christ Church.

The courses offered are:

Cathedrals of Britain by James Bond
An Introduction to Archaeology by David Beard
The Black Death by Trevor Rowley (course full)
Bishop Odo and the Bayeux Tapestry by Trevor Rowley
Colleges of Oxford by Julian Munby
The Architecture and Archaeology of Medieval Churches by David Beard (course full)
Cotswold Towns by Trevor Rowley
Treasures of the British Museum by Michael Duigan (course full)
Churches of England by Kate Tiller
Treasures of the Ashmolean Museum by Gail Bent
The Age of Stonehenge by Scott McCracken
The World of the Vikings by David Beard

You can find further details here...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

EMAS Easter Study Tour to Yorkshire

There are still a few places available on the Easter archaeological study tour to Yorkshire.

The Study Tour is organized by EMAS, the University of London Extra-Mural Archaeological Society, and is open to any one.

You can find further details here...

Richard III wounds match medieval Welsh poem description

Could a medieval Welsh poem help solve the mystery of who killed Richard III?
Academics from Aberystwyth have contacted the team who found his remains under a Leicester car park to offer evidence that a Welsh warlord may have killed the king.
Gwenfair Griffith reports.

Watch the video...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Tracing a Royal Y Chromosome

Researchers last week developed DNA evidence to help identify the remains of a skeletonfound under a parking lot in Leicester, England, as those of Richard III, the last English king to die in battle, in 1485. But the researchers’ work is only half-done. They have made a strong but not conclusive link through the female line, and are now turning to the male side for corroboration.

Turi King, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, found a match in the mitochondrial DNA extracted from the parking lot skeleton and that of two living descendants of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister. About 1 percent of the English population carries this type. Mitochondrial DNA is bequeathed exclusively through the female line.

Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge, said the mitochondrial DNA type identified by Dr. King was “rare enough to be interesting, but not rare enough to be conclusive.”        

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, 8 February 2013

Richard III exhibition opens in Leicester

A new free exhibition dedicated to the search for Richard III opened today (8 Feb) at Leicester’s Guildhall.
Richard III: Leicester’s search for a king reveals the archaeological detective work that led to therediscovery of Greyfriars church, the location ofRichard’s grave, and the identification of his remains.
Displays place these findings in their historical context, exploring what written sources tell us about the king’s life and death, and compare these to clues provided by analysis of his bones, from scoliosis to battle wounds.

Read the rest of this article...

Reconstructing Richard III’s resting place

wo days after unveiling a reconstruction of the face of Richard III, Leicester experts have now recreated how Greyfriars, his final resting place, might have looked.

Built in 1230, Greyfriars was one of the first Franciscan friaries to be established in England, just 6 years after the order came  to Britain, but it was completely demolished during the 16th century Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Now artist and archaeological illustrator Jill Atherton has recreated the friary church, as well as the choir where Richard’s grave was located, in sketches based on similar Medieval buildings, together with archaeological evidence from the recent excavation , including window fragments and pieces of lead, suggesting stained glass, together with stonework, pieces of a large window frame, and roof and floor tiles.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Face to face with Richard III

More than 500 years after his death, members of the public can look King Richard III in the eye once more, following the unveiling of a reconstruction of how he may have looked.
Based on human remains found beneath a carpark in Leicester city centre by University of Leicester Archaeological Services, and recently identified as those of England’s last Medieval monarch, the model was created by Caroline Wilkinson, Professor of craniofacial identification at the University of Dundee and unveiled yesterday (5 Feb) at the Society of Antiquaries in London.
Beginning with a 3D scan of the king’s skull, layers of muscle and skin were built up digitally on a computer. The result was then used to create a plastic model, which was painted and dressed in period-appropriate clothing.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The face of King Richard III to be unveiled today

A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is to be unveiled today, following yesterday's announcement that his skeleton had been found, under a car park in Leicester.
Based on a CT scan, taken by the team behind the archaeological dig, the 'face' will be revealed today at The Society of Antiquaries in London.
Last September The University of Leicester discovered a skeleton, thought to be that of the former King, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
Due to extensive DNA tests, it was not confirmed until yesterday, that the skeleton did in fact belong to Richard III.

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Richard III dig: Facial reconstruction shows how king may have looked

The reconstruction was revealed earlier for the first time

A facial reconstruction based on the skull of Richard III has revealed how the English king may have looked.
A skeleton found under a car park in Leicester has been confirmed as that of the king.
The reconstructed face has a slightly arched nose and prominent chin, similar to features shown in portraits of Richard III painted after his death.
Historian and author John Ashdown-Hill said seeing it was "almost like being face to face with a real person".
The development comes after archaeologists from the University of Leicester confirmed the skeleton found last year was the 15th Century king's, with DNA from the bones having matched that of descendants of the monarch's family.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 4 February 2013

Richard III: found!

At a Leicester press conference today (4 Feb), experts announced that the human remains found beneath a city centre carpark last August are ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ those of Richard III.
Addressing over 100 journalists from all over the world, the panel reported that the skeleton was that of an adult male, aged in his late 20s or early 30s when he died. Richard III was 32 when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Two radiocarbon dates obtained from the remains also pointed towards the skeleton being that of England’s last Medieval king, giving a range of AD 1455-1540.
The crucial detail, however, was whether the researchers had been able to extract DNA from the 500-year-old remains, and whether these had shown a link with Michael Ibsen, a known descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York.

Read the rest of this article...

Richard III: The Royal Armouries' Bob Woosnam-Savage on the violent death of the King in battle

Bob Woosnam-Savage (third from left) with (left to right) Philippa Langley (Richard III Society), Dr Stuart J Hamilton (Deputy Chief Forensic Pathologist, East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, University of Leicester)  and Dr Jo Appleby (Lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology, University of Leicester)

Richard III: The Royal Armouries' Curator of European Edged Weapons Bob Woosnam-Savage, who was part of the team which investigated the Grey Friars skeleton, on the final moments of Richard III's life...

“What we have is a very tentative, first attempt to try and create a possible narrative reconstructing the last minutes and death of Richard III, the last king of England to die in battle.

It is extremely important to bear in mind that this is exactly that; a first attempt. It will no doubt evolve as more is discovered.

My narrative that follows is a synthesis, based upon various elements from the historical accounts - and what we presently understand the evidence the skeleton may possibly suggest. The scenario offered suggests just one possible scenario:

Richard III discovery shows scientists playing to the media gallery

Jo Appleby From Leicester University during a press conference confirming the discovery of the remains of King Richard III. Photograph: Andy Weekes/Rex Features

The "king in the car park" story has proved irresistible for the media. The discovery of the body of Richard III is a huge coup for archaeologists at Leicester University who can be rightfully proud of their find. But the way it's been reported raises some uncomfortable questions about news values and history.
Charlotte Higgins has blogged that it's all about "impact", the dreaded pressure on academics to demonstrate public engagement with their work. But it's also about the media and what news organisations want to print, promote and broadcast. Can you really blame universities for picking out those bits of their research that will interest the press, and putting them out there in the most media-savvy way possible?
This is a historical story that ticks lots of news boxes. It has royalty and celebrity – controversial royalty at that, given Richard's historical reputation as a "bad king". It has a nice touch of the ordinary: the discovery in the mundane urban environment of a car park. It has a supporting tale by the screenwriter and member of the Richard III Society, Philippa Langley, who says in the Daily Mail, that she "felt a chill on a hot summer's day as she walked through the area where it was thought he was buried". Not just history, but ghosts. And the big reveal of the results has been thoroughly stage-managed, with live TV coverage and a Channel 4 documentary.

Read the rest of this article...

Desecrated remains of King Richard III discovered under parking garage

Last August, an archaeological dig in Leicester, England uncovered skeletal remains beneath a parking garage. Mitochondrial DNA taken from the remains were matched with Canadian cabinetmaker, Michael Ibsen, who turned out to be a direct descendent of Anne of York, King Richard III’s sister, thus confirming that the remains are of none other than King Richard III himself. If the DNA tests weren’t enough, researchers note that the battle wounds found on the remains, as well as evidence of scoliosis, support the identification of King Richard III. Radiocarbon dating was also used to suss out the age of the remains, and found that they were from 1455 to 1540, and belonged to a man in his 20s or 30s — Richard died at the age of 32 in 1485. Historical remains of royalty discovered under a parking lot.
The parking lot was built on top of the Greyfriars friary, which was built in Leicester around 1255 and survived until the late 1530s when it was demolished when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries. This is where King Richard III was buried.

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Skeleton found under car park is King Richard III

DNA points to a skeleton found under a car park in Leicester being that of King Richard III, the University of Leicester has confirmed.
There were cheers from media who had gathered from around the world as the announcement was made at the University of Leicester.
University archaeologist Dr Jo Appleby said the skeleton was found in good condition with its feet missing in a grave.
Its hand were crossed over the front of the pelvis and there was no evidence of a coffin or shroud found with the skeleton.
Dr Appleby, an osteoarchaeologist based at the University’s School ofArchaeology and Ancient History, said: “Taken as a whole the skeletal evidence provides a highly convincing case for identification as Richard III.

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Das Schwert des Fürsten

Ende der 1990er Jahre entdeckten Archäologen in Usedom das prachtvolle Kammergrab eines slawischen Fürsten aus dem späten 11. Jahrhundert. Diese aufwändig gebaute Kammer befand sich inmitten eines Gräberfeldes und enthielt neben wertvollen Schalen und Münzen auch ein kostbares Schwert. Für die große CREDO-Ausstellung in Paderborn wird dieses Kammergrab mit Beigaben im Museum in der Kaiserpfalz rekonstruiert und erstmals einem breiten Publikum gezeigt. Die Exponate sind Eigentum des Landesamtes für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Schwerin.
Das Schwert und weitere Beigaben werden vor ihrer Präsentation in den Werkstätten des Landschaftverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) restauriert. In einem komplizierten Prozess wird das wertvolle Schwert konserviert, wobei die eigentliche Substanz nicht beschädigt werden darf. "Ein in seiner organischen Substanz so gut erhaltenes Schwert hatten wir bislang nur selten in unseren Werkstätten. Zudem zeigen der Schaft und die Klingenform eine Form, die sich in Westfalen so nicht findet", sagt Andreas Weisgerber, Restaurator der LWL-Archäologie für Westfalen Lippe.

Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, 2 February 2013


The castles of Europe still hold many secrets – and now a new charity, the Castle Studies Trust, is being set up to help unlock them.
Castles continue to capture the imagination of young and old alike, little is known of the vast majority although they are often still central to their local communities hundreds of years after they were built. Even with those which are well known, there is still a lot to learn about them.
With many badly damaged – or even lost altogether – simple questions such as what they looked like or when and why they were built remain riddles.
Now the Castle Studies Trust has been set up to fund research projects to help answer some of those questions – and it is appealing for donations from organisations, businesses and members of the public.
Castle Studies Trust joint patron John Goodall said: “Castles great and small litter the land and townscapes of the British Isles. Despite the public interest they arouse, the vast majority remain very little studied. By the careful application of funds The Castle Studies Trust promises to help enable further research into these buildings.
And Edward Impey, another joint patron, said: “'Castles are with us everywhere - in reality, in the imagination and in literature. They are mighty reminders and documents of the past. What they can tell us is staggering - but so much remains to be learnt. The Castle Studies Trust stands to make a major contribution in this field.
People can donate in a number of ways: either by credit card at; by cheque; direct debit or payroll giving. For further information about how to donate people can go to
Grants will initially focus on new work on castles such as architectural and geophysical surveys or scientific tests such as radio-carbon dating. Places for which grants could be considered range from sites in major cities, such as London where little is known of Baynard’s Castle, to smaller historically important locations such as Pleshey in Essex.
View the Castle Studies Trust Website...