Remains of a huge, 2,000-year-old Roman theatre, thought to be the first of its kind in Britain, have been discovered in Kent.
Paul Wilkinson, director of the nearby Kent Archaeological Field School, and his team uncovered the remains of a cockpit-style outdoor auditorium built into a hillside in Faversham. Around 150 such theatres have been discovered across northern Europe, according to Wilkinson, but the remains are the first to be found in the UK.
In addition to the orchestra pit – in which choruses would have performed – the ruins also include a narrow stage, featuring holes that are thought to have allowed flooding for aquatic displays. Read more.
Details of one of the few “vampire” burials in Britain have emerged as a new archaeological report details the long forgotten discovery of a skeleton found buried with metal spikes through shoulders, heart area and ankles.
Dating from 550-700 A.D., the skeleton was unearthed in 1959 in the minster town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, during excavations in preparation for a new school. The dig also turned up Roman remains.
Archaeologist Charles Daniels immediately recognized the skeletal remains as being out of the ordinary, but no further investigation was carried out at that time.
"Daniels did jokingly comment he had ‘checked the eye teeth,’ clearly associating the skeleton with the vampire being," Matthew Beresford, of Southwell Archaeology told Discovery News.
"However, the skeleton had largely been forgotten about since then," Beresford said. Read more.
Amateurs using metal detectors have discovered a trove of Roman artifacts, including a bust possibly depicting a male lover of a Roman emperor, a silver and gold brooch of a leaping dolphin and a penis-shaped animal bone.
The wide array of art, found across Britain, dates back about 1,600 to 2,000 years, when the Romans ruled the island.
This art is among almost 25,000 Roman artifacts (the bulk of them coins) reported in England and Wales in 2011. They were documented as part of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and published recently in the journal Britannia. Read more.
IT IS one of Britain’s most intriguing archaeological finds. When two almost perfectly preserved 3000-year-old skeletons were dug up on a remote Scottish island they were the first evidence that ancient Britons preserved their dead using mummification.
The scientists who uncovered the skeletons also found clues that one of them, apparently a man buried in a crouching position, was not a single individual, but had been assembled from the body parts of different people.
The discovery began a 10-year investigation into what had led the Bronze Age islanders to this strange fate. Now, a study using the latest technology has found that the two skeletons together comprise the remains of at least six individuals who died several hundred years apart. Read more.
(Phys.org) — Excavations are underway to unearth the mysteries of Devon’s newly discovered settlement dating back to Roman times.
Following the recent discovery of over 100 Roman coins in fields several miles west of Exeter, evidence of an extensive settlement including roundhouses, quarry pits and track ways was found from a geophysical survey. The site covers at least 13 fields and it the first of its kind in Devon which could force us to rewrite the history of the Romans in Britain.
Dr Ioana Oltean and Dr Martin Pitts, the University of Exeter’s Roman archaeology specialists, together with Danielle Wootton, Devon Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, and Bill Horner, County Archaeologist at Devon County Council are leading the archaeological research which is proving to show the influence of Roman culture to be greater than previously thought. Read more.
In 1995 archaeologists made a surprising discovery beneath the floorboards of the Georgian wheelwright’s workshop at Chatham Historic Dockyard – the remains of an 18th-century flagship.
Now after almost two decades of research, the mystery vessel has been named as the Namur, a second-rate ship of the line that played a key role in the battle that eliminated the threat of French invasion and left Britain ruling the waves.
Described as ‘the single most important warship discovery in Northern Europe since the Mary Rose’, the Namur was launched at the Kent dockyard in 1756, and served with the Royal Navy for 47 years, taking part in nine fleet actions, including three major worldwide conflicts. Read more.
ScienceDaily — A three-year study into a set of manuscripts compiled and written by one of Britain’s earliest feminist figures has revealed new insights into how women challenged male authority in the 17th century.
Dr Jessica Malay has painstakingly transcribed Lady Anne Clifford’s 600,000-word Great Books of Record, which documents the trials and triumphs of the female aristocrat’s family dynasty over six centuries and her bitter battle to inherit castles and villages across northern England.
Lady Anne, who lived from 1590 to 1676, was, in her childhood, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. Her father died when she was 15 but contrary to an agreement that stretched back to the time of Edward II — that the Clifford’s vast estates in Cumbria and Yorkshire should pass to the eldest heir whether male or female - the lands were handed over to her uncle.
Following an epic legal struggle in which she defied her father, both her husbands, King James I and Oliver Cromwell, Lady Anne finally took possession of the estates, which included the five castles of Skipton, where she was born, Brougham, Brough, Pendragon and Appleby, aged 53. Read more.
By the gap in a hedge bordering the entrance off a muddy lane in Hampshire, the young diggers on one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Britain have made a herb garden: four small square plots. The sudden blast of sunshine after months of heavy rain has brought everything into bloom, and there’s a heady scent of curry plant and dill, marigold and mint.
Many of the plant seeds are familiar from Roman sites across Britain, as the invaders brought the flavours and the medical remedies of the Mediterranean to their wind-blasted and sodden new territory, but there is something extraordinary about the seeds from the abandoned Iron Age and Roman town of Silchester.
The excavation run every summer by Dr Amanda Clarke and Professor Michael Fulford of the archaeology department at Reading University, using hundreds of volunteer students, amateurs and professionals, now in its 15th season, is rewriting British history. Read more.