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BY Tony Robinson






English Heritage

The Heritage from the Orkney Islands

The Limes from the Romans

Archeology team finished for season in Canada. down on this page (14 dec 2006)

It is often difficult to find some news about the most recent archaeological meetings, digs and breathtaking discoveries. As we are particularly interested in prehistoric and megalithic monuments, we are trying to collect every bit of information about them and to put it inside this website. In these pages you can find the latest news about those special events, people and places mainly related to Europe's most ancient heritage.

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'First' Sicilian woman gets face
She lived 14, 000 yrs ago in a cave near Messina
PALERMO (ANSA) - The face of a late Stone Age woman who lived in Sicily has been reconstructed by a sculptor working with anthropologists at Palermo University.

The skeleton of the woman, who lived 14,000 years ago, was discovered in a cave near Messina in 1937, along with the incomplete skeletons of six other humans, presumably her family.

The face was reproduced using reconstruction techniques that calculate the appearance of features from the form of the cranium. The same techniques have been used recently to recreate the faces of Egyptian pharaohs and Italy's own Count Ugolino, a 13th-century Tuscan noble whose bones were found in 2001.

Artistic licence was used when deciding to give the ancient Sicilian the same black hair common in modern women from southern Italy.

Thea, as she has been nicknamed, spent most of her life hunting, or gathering fruit and plants. At 165 cm, she was tall for her time. Experts estimate that when she died she was about 30, much older than the normal life expectancy in the late Stone Age.

"This means that she must have had a healthy and regular lifestyle," said Valerio Agnesi, director of the 'Gemmellaro' museum where the face, along with a recreation of her cave environment, is now on display


 Ritual piece of Stonehenge discovered

Feb 20 2007

Sam Burson, Western Mail


A MISSING stone which could be an integral part of rituals at Stonehenge may have been discovered by a Welsh archaeologist.

Dennis Price, pictured below, who has done years of research on the mysterious stone structure, believes he has tracked down a previously lost altar stone, identified during one of the first studies of the site in the 17th century.

He is convinced it is now in two pieces on either side of a road in a Wiltshire village, just a couple of miles from Stonehenge itself.

Mr Price, who is from Monmouthshire, and now based in Exeter, has studied the archaeology of Stonehenge for years, and in 2003 filmed the excavation of the graves of the Welsh Boscombe Bowmen who helped build Stonehenge.

He believes the stones found used to be the altar stone which was named and described by 17th century architect Inigo Jones.

Jones, one of his era's most prominent architects, was the first person known to have carried out detailed measurements of Stonehenge. He did so in 1620.

Now Price, 47, says he can account for the altar stone's history.

The stones are made of Jurassic limestone - found in Dorset and the Cotswolds, but not locally. It is known not all stones used in Stonehenge were Welsh Preseli bluestone.

And the stones, if put together, would look remarkably similar to one in a Victorian woodcut picture he has acquired. Price believes the stone was taken from the site in the Victorian era, when such raids were commonplace.

He said, "We have a woodcut of an easily carved stone with a distinctive shape being cut in two at Stonehenge, and we have accounts of a curious altar stone as described by Inigo Jones being transported to somewhere called St James. We have drawn a blank at the Palace of St James, but when we look at the nearby village of Berwick St James, we find two standing stones that once formed two bridges across a stream, and if we mentally reunite the parts, they bear an uncanny resemblance to the stone in the woodcut.

"There is always the possibility, however remote, that a few centuries ago, someone trekked either to Dorset or to the Cotswolds and back again with two ungainly and extremely heavy pieces of stone to make two bridges across a small stream in a tiny village in Wiltshire, while ignoring the established and well-documented practice of retrieving perfectly suitable stone from Stonehenge, just a few miles north."

He added, "On the balance of probabilities, there can be little doubt that Inigo Jones's fabled and once-lost altar stone from Stonehenge now stands in two pieces in a nearby village either side of a small lane, in plain view of anyone who wishes to inspect them. There can also be little if any doubt that our ancestors went to great pains to select this stone and to transport it from either Dorset or the Cotswolds to Stonehenge, where it formed an integral part of the ancient observances and ceremonies there over four thousand years ago."

Dr Julie Gardiner from Wessex Archaeology, a leading authority on Stonehenge, said many stones had been taken from the site.

She said, "Lots have been broken up and taken away, especially by the Victorians."

She added one "altar stone" was already accounted for, but admitted there could be more.

Dr Gardiner said, "There is a stone called the altar stone, which is still at the site. It's under a larger stone and would have been knocked over when it fell.

"But a lot of stones have been removed, and may have been given any number of names."

A brief history of Stonehenge

8,000BC - Before the stones themselves were in place, a wooden structure had been erected nearby.

3,000BC - A series of ditches and timber circles were created, possibly for cremations.

2,600BC - Stone first used, with about 43 huge rocks

1,600BC - Last known construction at Stonehenge.

1620 - Inigo Jones carries out a study, concluding that it was a Roman temple.

1640 - John Aubrey declares that it was druids who built Stonehenge.

January, 2007 - Archaeologists discover what could be an ancient village near Stonehenge 







Time team members:

Presentatie: Tony Robinson

Professor/archaeologist: Mick Aston

Field- archaeologist: Phil Harding

Field- archaeologist: Carenca Lewis

archaeologist/Geoloog: Stewart Ainsworth

Geoloog: John Gater

Archivaris: Robin Bush

Geschied-tekenaar: Victor Ambrus


Digging at the Palace

Time Team... royal palaces... bank holiday weekend... what's that all about then? Find out here...

What's it all about?

The Time Team Big Royal Dig marks a double celebration. Not only is the dig timed to help celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday but the dig also marks the 150th excavation by the team so they decided to arrange something pretty special.

"This is an exciting opportunity to get beneath the historical skin of three iconic and important buildings. This is practically the first time that archaeologists have been able to excavate properly at the palaces – before now archaeologists have only been on hand during building work to record finds, but not choosing where to dig.

Buckingham Palace is the largest garden in Central London and, as it's hardly been touched, it's a rare time capsule of the earlier history of London not only from the 18th Century when the original Buckingham House was built, but also way back to the English Civil War and even earlier.

Windsor is the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world, and with nearly a thousand years of history, there are some fascinating puzzles that we hope to answer, such as the location of the building Edward III had constructed to house his recreation of the Knights of the Round Table.

Holyroodhouse has a fascinating, and often bloody history, and we hope to be able to bring that story to life through looking at its development as a palace."

As well as uncovering new finds the team will be using 3D graphics to tell the stories of the evolution of these historic buildings over a millennium.

Experts from
Oxford Archaeology will be supervising excavations at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and advising on the history of the royal residences.








'Time team' return in search of Iron Age roundhouse

Fields near Forfar (Angus, Scotland) are slowly giving up some of the
secrets of the past-but with this harvest comes new mysteries.
Amateur archaeologists will be back there as part of a major
excavation of the site. Experts believe they might have stumbled
across an Iron Age roundhouse after combing the field inch-by-inch as
they try to piece together the area's history. This latest discovery
is in a field where searchers organised by Kinnettles and District
Heritage Group found ring-marked stones and a Neolithic mace head.
     Last month, John Sherriff, archaeologist from the Royal
Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland,
supervised the digging of a large trench in the area where the mace
head was picked up during field walking in February. "We discovered a
stone surface a very short depth below the field," said heritage
group spokesman Dave Walsh. Although there were some large slabs
lying on the surface, similar to those ploughed up frequently, they
found what they believe to be a cobble paved area. He said an earlier
aerial survey suggesting there are 'earth houses' or souterrains,
usually Iron Age, elsewhere in the field. After discussions with
colleagues at the Royal Commission in Edinburgh, Mr Sherriff believes
there is an Iron Age roundhouse there.
     A geophysical survey of parts of the field was carried out last
month by Peter Morris, a geophysicist who lives in Fife and was
originally with the British Antarctic Survey. Although it did not
give many clues about the most fruitful places to excavate, it gave
members of the heritage group and other enthusiasts an interesting

Source: The Courier (20 October 2006)


The map above was drawn up in 1849 and it shows a number of tumuli or prehistoric burial mounds of varying sizes close to the western end of the Cursus, the vast earthwork to the north of Stonehenge. In addition, the small circular marking closest to the lower edge of the Cursus denotes the position of a small henge or prehistoric earthwork that is still concealed by trees and undergrowth within the Fargo plantation 


The excavations in the centre of the giant henge at Durrington Walls this summer have revealed a great number of interesting discoveries, but it is going to take us a while to present them and do them justice. For now, we shall mainly alert you as to their existence, then we shall look into what has been found in greater depth in the future



Archeology team finished for season in Canada

The archaeology team has completed its field work for the season on
the dispute Caledonia site in southern Ontario (Canada). This fall, a
crew of field directors and field assistants from Timmins Martelle
Heritage Consultants along with archaeological monitors and field
assistants from Six Nations re-surveyed a portion of the Douglas
Creek Estates property. The archaeological survey involved walking
the plowed, ungraded portion of the property to look for artifacts on
the surface. Artifacts that were found were marked and mapped and a
sample of these was collected.
     The crew also assessed top soil piles on the property to look
for artifacts. Test excavations were also conducted on two small
campsites in the northwest corner of the Douglas Creek Estates
property that were investigated during the previous archaeological
work and date to approximately 3,000 to 4,000 years ago and 5,000 to
6,000 years ago. Artifacts unearthed at the site are currently being
catalogued and stored in a laboratory established at Six Nations. No
evidence of human burials has been found to date. More work is to be
completed in the spring.

Source: First Perspective (20 December 2006)