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.
Artefacts and human skeletons found at Viking burial sites go on display later in a major new exhibition in York.
The Valhalla exhibition claims to reveal more about the life of Vikings in Britain and the Isle of Man using the latest forensic techniques.
The York Archaeological Trust display opens at Jorvik Viking Centre.
It is the result of collaborations with York Minster and Manx National Heritage (MNH). Allison Fox, of MNH, described it as “incredibly exciting”.
Included in the exhibition is evidence of Viking burials across the British Isles, bringing together key findings and exploring the latest research techniques.
On show are Viking skeletons from the Hungate dig in York and the York Minster stones found in excavations carried out by York Archaeological Trust. Read more.
A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in south Wales has been confirmed as the oldest known rock art in Britain.
The image in Cathole Cave on Gower, south Wales was created at least 14,000 years ago, said Bristol University. Archaeologist Dr George Nash found the engraving while exploring a rear section of the cave in September 2010.
He said uranium dating showed it was the oldest rock art in the British Isles, if not north-western Europe.
The reindeer was engraved over a mineral deposit known as a speleothem, carved using a sharp-pointed tool, probably made of flint, by an artist using his or her right hand.
The animal’s elongated torso has been infilled with irregular-spaced vertical and diagonal lines, whilst the legs and stylised antlers comprise simple lines. Read more.
But a new study by researchers from five British universities suggests Stonehenge may in fact have been built as a sign of peace between people from the east and west of the country after a period of conflict.
The stones, which come from different locations as far afield as southern England and west Wales, may have been used to represent the ancestors of some of Britain’s earliest farming communities, researchers suggest. Read more.
A team of archaeologists, students and volunteers led by Newcastle University’s Professor Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott has returned to continue excavations at the site of a massive ancient timber complex associated with the 2nd century Roman military fort complex in Maryport near the coast of northwestern Britain.
Part of the groundplan of the timber structure (or structures) was unearthed in 2011, raising questions and providing new clues related to the discovery of Roman altar stones uncovered there over 140 years ago.
Said Haynes: “Until last year’s excavation it was accepted by Roman scholars worldwide that the 17 Maryport altar stones excavated in 1870 at the site - Britain’s largest cache of Roman altars - had been buried as part of a religious ceremony. It turns out they were re-used in the foundations of a large Roman timber building or buildings.” Read more.
Archaeologists will be leading a group of pilgrims to the site of Britain’s oldest-known leprosy hospital on Thursday.
The walk gets underway at Winchester Cathedral at 5:30pm and will end at the site of the Hospital of St Mary Magdalen at Magdalen Hill a short distance away.
Dr Phil Marter from the archaeology department at the University of Winchester has been excavating the former hospital site at Magdalen Hill for four years and is one of the organisers of Thursday’s pilgrimage.
He said the uniqueness of the find had inspired the charitable pilgrimage in memory of the community of St Mary Magdalen Hospital.
“The project at Magdalen Hill represents the most extensive excavations of a medieval leprosy hospital and cemetery in the country,” he said.
“Out of almost 60 excavated burials, there is evidence of leprosy in 70 per cent of the cases. Read more.
The full uninterrupted grave of a Cistercian abbot has been discovered by archaeologists at the ruins of Furness Abbey, one of Britain’s most influential medieval monasteries.
The skeleton was found by Oxford Archaeology North who were carrying out excavations during emergency repairs at the Cumbrian site.
The rare find could date as far back as the 12th century. The abbot’s body was buried with a very rare medieval gilded crosier and jewelled ring.
English Heritage curator Susan Harrison told Channel 4 News: “This is really significant because it’s the first time under modern conditions that an abbatial or abbot burial has been discovered intact with so much detail and information - from the skeleton to the mark of his office, his crosier, his ring, but also fragments of textile in there.” Read more.