Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Richard III's DNA throws up infidelity surprise


Analysis of DNA from Richard III has thrown up a surprise: evidence of infidelity in his family tree.
Scientists who studied genetic material from remains found in a Leicester car park say the finding might have profound historical implications.
Depending on where in the family tree it occurred, it could cast doubt on the Tudor claim to the English throne or, indeed, on Richard's.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Read the rest of this article...

Richard III DNA shows British Royal family may not have royal bloodline


When the body of Richard III was discovered in a car park in Leicester in 2012 archaeologists knew it was a momentous find.
But little did they realise that it might expose the skeletons in the cupboard of the British aristocracy, and even call into question the bloodline of the Royal family.
In order to prove that the skeleton really was Richard III, scientists needed to take a DNA sample and match it to his descendants.
Genetic testing through his maternal DNA proved conclusively that the body was the King. However, when they checked the male line they discovered something odd. The DNA did not match showing that at some point in history an adulterous affair had broken the paternal chain.
Read the rest of this article...

Questions raised over Queen’s ancestry after DNA test on Richard III’s cousins


Kevin Schurer and Turi King of the University of Leicester explain that a DNA analysis and other evidence confirms with almost 100% certainty that the bones are those of King Richard III. Video: University of Leicester
The bones of the king under the car park have delivered further shocks, 527 years after his death and more than two years after his remains were discovered in Leicester: Richard III was a blue-eyed blond, and the present Queen may not be descended from John of Gaunt and Edward III, the lineage on which the Tudor claim to the throne originated.
Five anonymous living donors, all members of the extended family of the present Duke of Beaufort, who claim descent from both the Plantagenets and Tudors through the children of John of Gaunt, gave DNA samples which should have matched Y chromosomes extracted from Richard’s bones. But none did.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 1 December 2014

EMAS Easter Study Tour to North Scotland and the Isle of Skye


EMAS Easter Study Tour to North Scotland 
and the Isle of Skye
2 - 8 April 2015

The 2015 EMAS Easter Study Tour is to the North of Scotland, including one day on the Isle of Skye.

We will travel from London Embankment by coach, staying overnight at Carlisle on the 2nd and 7th April.

We shall be based at a hotel in Inverness, which is a very good central point from which to explore the region.

The itinerary includes a wide range of prehistoric and medieval sites, including some of the famous Pictish symbol stones.



Monday, 22 September 2014

Engineers found Teutonic axes in the Forest District Wipsowo


Three Teutonic battle axes from the late Middle Ages have been found by engineers who remove World War II artillery shells left the forests in the Forest District Wipsowo (Warmia and Mazury). Historic weapons will be donated to the museum.
Engineers stumbled upon the historic axes by chance, while searching the woods metal detectors. The weapons have been initially identified by an archaeologist as late-medieval Teutonic battle axes.

Iron axes were close to each other, shallow underground, among the roots of trees. "It can be assumed that this is a deposit that someone left for better times. Perhaps the person fled, hid the weapons and never returned to this place" - told PAP Agata Trzop-Szczypiorska, responsible for archaeological supervision of the engineers’ work.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

King Richard III killed by blows to skull

Forensic teams studied the skeleton to determine the nature of the injuries and weapons that were used

King Richard III was probably killed by two blows to the head during a "sustained attack", according to new scientific research.
The English king was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August, 1485.
Forensic teams at the University of Leicester have now revealed he suffered at least 11 injuries, some possibly inflicted after death.
CT scans were used on his 500-year-old skeleton to help determine his injuries and the medieval weapons used.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Richard III reburial court bid fails


Distant relatives of King Richard III have lost their High Court battle over where his remains should be reburied.
His remains were found in a Leicester car park in 2012 and the city's cathedral was lined up for his tomb, but some wanted him reburied in York.
But a group claiming descent from the king's wider family were granted a judicial review, arguing more views should have been taken into account.
Judges at the High Court said there was "no duty to consult".
Read the rest of this article...

Nottingham: The city where they keep finding caves


Rock Cottage is built into Nottingham Castle's wall (top left) as is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (bottom left); Mortimer's Hole (right) is a popular tourist destination

Nottingham's 544 caves have been used as everything from dungeons to bomb shelters throughout history but 100 of them were only discovered in the past four years. Take a look at how many of the caverns are still in use today.

In 1330, the young King Edward III and a group of conspirators crept through a secret tunnel into the city's castle and took prisoner Roger de Mortimer, a nobleman who had until then effectively been England's ruler.
The tunnel later became known as Mortimer's Hole but this daring coup was made possible by the city's network of man-made caves within the sandstone rock.
The caves appear to have existed for as long as Nottingham and as far back as 868, a Welsh monk named Asser referred to the settlement as Tig Guocobauc, which means "house" or "place of caves".
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, 23 May 2014

Skeleton executed by sword blows to head poses questions on Norman Conquest

A potentially groundbreaking discovery has been announced as part of the 750th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Lewes in Sussex
© Courtesy Sussex Archaeological Society

An unusual set of battlefield burials have led to the skeleton of the first ever human discovery directly related to the 11th century Norman Conquest

A brutally-murdered man, executed by six sword blows to the back of the skull during a vicious 11th century battle on hospital grounds in Sussex, is compelling archaeologists to reconsider Norman war burials after becoming the first ever skeleton to be related to the 1066 invasion.

Originally discovered during a dig at a former medieval hospital more than 20 years ago, the individual has been carbon dated to within 28 years of 1063.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Vikings Online Course


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers 

12 May to 25 July 2014


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers is an online archaeology course run by the University of Oxford's Department of Continuing Education.
The course runs for ten weeks and successful completion carries an award of ten CATS points. Students write two short assignments as part of the course.
Online forums for each unit enable students to discuss the topic being studied, and help from the online tutor is always available
You can find more details here...
You can find details of other online archaeology courses here...

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Community dig sheds new light on Wark Castle in Northumberland


A community dig has shed new light on a castle which for centuries was in the front line of the conflict between England and Scotland.
It has shown that Wark Castle on the Northumberland side of the River Tweed was more of a heavyweight prospect than previously believed.
The excavations are the latest in a series by the Flodden 500 Archaeological project.
The venture began in 2009 with a grant from English Heritage in the run-up to last year’s marking of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.
Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Syria Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers has war scars

A Syrian soldier looking at the castle on Thursday

Government troops in Syria have recaptured the historic Crusader castle of Krak des Chevaliers from rebels, close to the border with Lebanon.
An officer said the army had killed 93 rebels in fierce fighting in the area on Thursday, while there appeared to be heavy damage to a nearby village.
Journalists allowed to visit the Unesco World Heritage site on Friday found signs of a hasty retreat.
Walls of the hilltop castle showed signs of damage from bombardment.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Dig at Scottish Abbey yields 600 year old coins


Coins from the rules of Henry III and Edward I and II, minted in London between the 13th and 14th centuries, could have been the spoils of battle swiped from the pockets of the defeated English army at Bannockburn, say archaeologists investigating 17 acres of land around Cambuskenneth Abbey. 


Coins found at Cambuskenneth Abbey could be the spoils of war from the Battle of Bannockburn say archaeologists [Credit: © GUARD Archaeology] 

Working at one of the few places singled out in contemporary accounts of the Battle of Bannockburn, metal detectorists, geophysicists, historians and poets have been exploring the Abbey where Robert the Bruce kept his army’s baggage before the battle. Founded by David I in 1140 the site was originally known as the Abbey of St Mary of Stirling.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

800 years of Irish history unraveled in N Ireland castle archaeological dig


Excavation work has started at Carrickfergus Castle in Co Antrim, Ireland’s best preserved Anglo Norman castle, in a bid to find out more about the 800-year-old fortification.

Archaeologists began test excavations at the site last week as part of the ongoing work by the Department of the Environment to uncover more of the landmark’s history and to help guide future development of the castle to improve visitor experience, the Irish Independent reports.

The castle boasts a long and storied history. 

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Capturing Windsor Castle - a free app for iPhone and iPad


A new app is giving visitors to Windsor Castle's an enhanced experience of Capturing the Castle: Watercolours of Windsor by Paul and Thomas Sandby, a new exhibition opening tomorrow.
Aimer Media created an app with Royal Collection Trust to support the Capturing the Castle exhibition at Windsor Castle, featuring the watercolours of Paul and Thomas Sandby. Capturing Windsor Castle helps you get the most from the exhibition at Windsor Castle from 7 February - 5 May.
Download the free iOS app to see forty-five of Sandby's finest views of Windsor Castle and town, paired with photographs of the same views as they appear today. With retina-quality images of the watercolours at your fingertips, all helpfully geo-located, users can navigate around the different views during, and after, their visit.
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Richard III DNA mapping: historic first lets experts look into eyes of Plantagenet king


Richard III is to become the first historical figure to have his full genetic code sequenced, in a project that will reveal his hair and eye colour.
Archaeologists have already confirmed that the last Plantagenet king was a hunchback after finding a twisted spine when they recovered his skeleton from beneath a car park in Leicester.
Now they will be able to check whether portraits of a dark-haired brooding monarch are accurate. “It is an extremely rare occurrence that archaeologists are involved in the excavation of a known individual, let alone a king of England,” said Dr Turi King, from the University of Leicester, who is leading the gene sequencing project.
Read the rest of this article...

Richard III: Scientists to sequence DNA

Skull of Richard III
The project will allow DNA testing to take place before the remains are reburied

he DNA of Richard III is to be mapped, potentially revealing details like hair and eye colour, researchers have said.
The project is to be led by the University of Leicester geneticist who helped identify the remains.
His remains were found in a Leicester car park in 2012.
The £100,000 study, expected to last at least a year, aims to provide an archive of DNA information for historians, scientists and the public.
Details of Richard III's appearance are not known for certain because all portraits of him were done long after his death.
Read the rest of this article...

Richard III's DNA to be analysed to create complete genome sequence

Reconstruction of Richard III's face. The sequencing could reveal his susceptibility to diseases and whether the scoliosis which contorted his spine was genetic.
Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The bones of the king under the car park have more to tell: scientists are to analyse the DNA from the remains of Richard III to create the world's first complete genome sequence for a named historical figure.

The process could reveal his hair and eye colour, his susceptibility to conditions including Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, whether he was lactose intolerant, and whether the scoliosis that contorted his spine was genetic. It could also show if any of the surviving portraits, all completed years after his death, are accurate.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Excavation work begins at Carrickfergus Castle to probe more of its history


Historical secrets locked within the walls of Ireland's best preserved Anglo Norman castle could be uncovered through a new archaeological excavation.

Experts started work at Carrickfergus Castle today in a bid to find out more about the 800-year-old fortification on the shores of BelfastLough.
Built in 1177 by Anglo Norman knight John de Courcy soon after his invasion of Ulster, the castle lies on the stretch of coastline where King William III landed in Ireland before the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Its storied history includes sieges by King John in 1210 and Edward Bruce in 1315 and capture by the French under Captain Francois Thurot in 1760.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Summer Courses in Archaeology


The Oxford Experience Summer School



Courses in Archaeology


The Oxford Experience Summer School is held at Christ Church, Oxford

The Oxford Experience Summer School offers a number of one-week courses in archaeology as part of its programme.

Participants live in Christ Church - the largest of the Oxford Colleges - and take their meals in the Great Hall, which is the hall that inspired the Hogwarts Hall in the Harry Potter films.

Courses are limited to a maximum of twelve participants and tend to fill up rather quickly, so early application is advised.


Youcan find out more about the Oxford Experience here...

Training Digs for 2014



Now is the time to start thinking about training digs for the summer.

If you are planning to go on a training dig, take a look at our list here...

If you would like to submit details of a training dig (or any other archaeological event), please use the contact form here...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Hilary Term Online Courses in Archaeology


Hillary Term begins tomorrow at Oxford, but there is still time to enrol for one of the online courses in archaeology.

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.

These 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.

The following courses are available: