LONDON: Frogs’ legs are considered a French delicacy, but new archaeological evidence suggests Britons were the first to discover their culinary qualities — up to 8,000 years ago.
Archaeologists at a site close to Stonehenge in southwest England have discovered the charred leg bone of a toad among other food remains dating back to between 6250 BC and 7596 BC.
This makes the discovery “the earliest evidence of a cooked toad or frog leg found in the world”, said the team from the University of Buckingham in a statement late Tuesday. Read more.
The dark secrets of the legend of Beowulf, England’s oldest work of epic literature, are gradually emerging from under a field in eastern Denmark.
Archaeologists in the country’s earliest royal ‘capital’ – Lejre, 23 miles west of modern Copenhagen – are investigating the joys of elite Dark Age life in and around what was probably the great royal feasting hall at the violent epicentre of the Beowulf story.
The archaeologists – led by Tom Christensen, director of the Lejre investigation – have so far managed not only to find, excavate and date the late 5 or early 6 century building most likely to have been Lejre’s first royal hall (described in Beowulf as `the greatest hall under heaven’), but have also succeeded in reconstructing what was on the menu at the great feasts held there. Read more.
It sounds like a case for Sherlock Holmes: a 900-year-old medieval manor mysteriously vanishes, only to be uncovered later by British archaeologists.
The ancient site has been stripped of its materials except for the foundation — and there is no record of it ever existing.
Got chills? So do the archaeologists who discovered it.
"This is a significant find and therefore very exciting, particularly as there are no documentary records that such a site ever existed here," said Wessex Archaeology’s senior buildings archaeologist Bob Davis, who participated in the excavation. Read more.
A search is to be launched for the wrecks of dozens of ships from the Age of Sail lost off the coast of England.
English Heritage has drawn up a list of 88 vessels known to have sunk within territorial waters over the three centuries from the Tudor period until the advent of iron-hulled steam ships in the Victorian era.
Although the locations of some of the shipwrecks have already been established, others must first be discovered before marine archaeologists can dive onto them to carry out surveys.
The vessels cover a period in which Britain emerged as the world’s most powerful maritime nation and range from sixteenth century armed merchant vessels to warships from the era of Lord Nelson. Read more.
Archaeologists are about to break fresh ground in the place where the long-lost remains of King Richard III were discovered.
Last summer, excavators found the monarch’s battle-scarred bones underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, in the medieval ruins of Grey Friars church. On Monday (July 1), the same archaeologists will begin a four-week dig at the site, hoping more discoveries lie in Richard’s final resting place.
Three other tombs were exposed during the zealous search for the king, including a 600-year-old lead-lined stone coffin. In the expanded excavation, the University of Leicester team will investigate this grave; they believe it may contain the body of Sir William Moton, a knight thought to have been buried at Grey Friars in 1362, more than 100 years earlier than Richard III’s death in 1485. Read more.
In Shakespeare’s England, many kids were coerced into acting careers not by stage moms but by “child catchers,” new research shows.
Elizabethan-era boy players were prized in adult theater companies for their prepubescent looks and high-pitched voices, which allowed them to act in female roles alongside men. But some boy players were put into all-children acting troupes, and not all of them voluntarily; rather many were systematically exploited and abused, according to an Oxford University scholar.
While writing his new book “Shakespeare in Company” (Oxford University Press), Bart van Es found that child catchers seized young boys on their way to school, handing them over to theater company bosses that forced the kids to perform on stage or else face whipping. Read more.
Located near the small coastal town of Maryport in northwestern England, remains of the ancient Roman fort of Alauna were first uncovered by amateur archaeologist Joseph Robinson in the late 19th century. Among the finds were an assemblage of no less that 22 stone altars, some bearing inscriptions, that tell a story of successive Roman commanders who commanded this, one of Imperial Rome’s northernmost outposts during the height of the Roman Empire’s expanse. The altars now grace the nearby Senhouse Museum, which serves as a popular tourist attraction.
Now a team of archaeologists and volunteers have returned to the site where the original stone altars were found to uncover more clues about the layout of the fort and its associated settlement, and about the lives of the military officers and soldiers who manned this remote garrison. Led by Newcastle University’s Professor Ian Haynes and site director Tony Wilmott, the archaeologists have been here before. Read more.
A September 1935 article heralding the potential discovery of the bones of King Richard III is among the haul of newspaper articles newly digitized by a genealogy website.
The project, collaboration between findmypast.com and the British Library, is an effort to scan 50 million pages of newsprint from more than 200 years of history. Of course, history has proven the Richard III article mistaken — the likely discovery of the king’s real bones was just announced Feb. 4 in Leicester, England — but the find illustrates the long history of fascination with the dead monarch, who ruled for only two years. Read more.