EXCAVATION in Somerset have revealed a gruesome glimpse of Iron-Age Britain.
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a massacre involving hundreds, if not thousands of people, with some of the slaughtered bodies being stripped of their flesh or chopped up.
Human remains unearthed from an ancient site near Yeovil have cut marks, often in multiple rows, and occurring at the ends of important joints.
"It is as if they were trying to separate pieces of the body", according to Dr Marcus Brittain, the Cambridge archaeologist and head of a major excavation of Britain’s largest Iron-Age hill fort, Ham Hill. Read more.
Archaeologists are drafting a volunteer army to help map every ancient hill fort across Britain and Ireland.
It is part of a project to create an online atlas of around 5,000 of these Iron Age monuments.
Prehistory enthusiasts are being asked to identify and record features such as ramparts, ditches and entrances.
Prof Gary Lock, of Oxford University, said: “We want to shed new light on why they were created and how they were used.”
Despite their large numbers there has been little academic work on hill forts, how they were used and how they varied across Britain and Ireland, the researchers say. Read more.
Windsor may have been popular with royalty rather earlier than generally thought.
Archaeologists, excavating near the Royal Borough, have discovered the 4400 year old gold-adorned skeleton of an upper class woman who was almost certainly a member of the local ruling elite.
She is the earliest known woman adorned with such treasures ever found in Britain.
The individual, aged around 40, was buried, wearing a necklace of folded sheet gold, amber and lignite beads, just a century or two after the construction of Stonehenge some 60 miles to the south-west. Even the buttons, thought to have been used to secure the upper part of her now long-vanished burial garment, were made of amber. She also appears to have worn a bracelet of lignite beads. Read more.
Four early Neolithic houses dating back to 3700 BC have been unearthed by archaeologists at Cemex’s Kingsmead Quarry in Berkshire.
They are thought to be even older than Stonehenge, which is dated to around 3000 BC.
The discovery is unprecedented on a single site in England and challenges current understanding of how people lived more than 5,700 years ago.
The find gives archaeologists a rare opportunity to learn more about the earliest permanent settlements in prehistoric Britain and how such sites developed as people switched lifestyle from hunter-gather to settled farmer. Read more.
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.