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Sherlock

Turkey: Hundreds of Undiscovered Artifacts Found at Gallipoli

More than 100 artefacts from the First World War have been uncovered in an archaeological fieldwork survey on the Gallipoli battlefield, leading to some interesting theories about life on the frontline according to University of Melbourne survey archaeologist Professor Antonio Sagona.

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© Department of Veterans' Affairs
Bully beef tin with lid
The discoveries were made as part of a second season of fieldwork undertaken as part of the Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey - the only systematic survey of the battlefields of Gallipoli since the First World War.

The survey covered the northern frontline areas on the Turkish and Allied sides. One of the most significant finds was the Malone's Terraces area at Quinn's Post.

William Malone commanded New Zealand's Wellington Infantry Battalion. Malone's men relieved the Australians at Quinn's Post in June 1915. This was a key position, where even the smallest advance by the Turk's would have forced the evacuation of the Anzacs.

Sherlock

UK: Nevern Castle ancient inscriptions to 'ward off evil'

Experts believe rare 12th Century slate inscriptions found on a castle were probably made to protect against evil.

The dozen scratchings were uncovered during a three-week excavation at Nevern in Pembrokeshire.

Archaeologists think the stars and other designs were made by a serf, labourer or soldier some time between 1170 and 1190 when the castle was built.

They say they also give an insight into the beliefs of medieval working men.

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© Unknown
Experts believe the scratchings were made by a peasant some time between 1170 and 1190
Dr Chris Caple of the University of Durham led the archaeological dig at the site and said the slates were from a late 12th century cut-stone entranceway.

"They were found in only one place in the castle and were probably intended to ward off evil," he explained.

"In the late 12th century, Nevern would have been an impressive looking castle and entrance, especially from the south side, and it was clearly visible to all passing along the road between St David's and Cardigan.

Sherlock

Mexicannibals: The ancient tribe who ate each other in the belief that 'bone rituals' would help improve the harvest

A cache of cooked and and carved human bones has been discovered in Mexico - backing up fables that cannibalism was practised by an ancient tribe.

The bones were found in El Salto, Durango State, northern Mexico, in a cave hamlet built into a cliff.

The site - called Cueva del Maguey - dates back to around 1425 and was formerly home to the Xiximes tribe.

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© EPA
Bone house: Archaeologists excavate Cueva del Maguey, Mexico, where a cache of human bones was discovered which proves the Xiximes tribe were cannibals
The archaeological trove included more than three dozen human bones which showed evidence of having been defleshed, cooked and then ritualistically marked with stone blades.

Rumours of cannibalism among the 5,000-strong Xiximes have long existed due to the historical accounts of Jesuit missionaries, which labelled the tribe 'the wildest and most barbarian people of the New World'.

Magic Wand

The French Resistance Myth

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© Rialto Pictures
Army of Shadows, 1969 movie about the French Resistance (that never was, apparently)
The Heroic French Resistance, the underground movement against the Nazis in World War II that we recall from countless movies, never existed except as a myth embellished by Hollywood.

One of the most persistent wartime images has selfless French men and women in berets and leather jackets blowing up bridges and ambushing columns of German soldiers on lonely country roads.

But a new book by historian Douglas Porch, The French Secret Services, contends almost nothing of the sort actually happened. His account has set the French seething - all the more so since many of them are aware that what he says is absolutely true.

According to the book, even those few French who helped downed airmen often did so for the money. The standard reward for getting an escapee into Spain was about $50,000 in today's money.

Sherlock

Vietnam: Tay Son Dynasty Coin Unearthed

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© Pham Huu Cong
A Minh Duc Thong Bao coin from the Tay Son dynasty found in a mandarin's tomb.
The Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology has announced new discoveries unearthed during the recent excavation of Thoai Ngoc Hau and his wives' tombs, including a coin dating back to the Tay Son dynasty (1778-1802).

Thoai Ngoc Hau (1761-1829), a famous general, helped Nguyen Anh found the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). He and his wives were buried in the southern province of An Giang. The excavation of their tombs was carried out on September 19 by local experts. They discovered a number of artifacts buried near the tombs of Chau Thi Te and Truong Thi Met, his first and second wives.

The name on the coin was Minh Duc Thong Bao, minted under the reign of Nguyen Nhac (1788-1793). The discovery in the tomb of the high ranking mandarin's wife has been seen as a possible breakthrough by archaeologists.

According to Pham Huu Cong, it could relate to a secret that had never been made public. "Perhaps the couple had a relationship with the Tay Son movement, the Nguyen kings' foes, and kept the coin as a memento, despite the trouble it could cause. When Chau Thi Te died in 1826, the mandarin buried this coin with her," he said.

Sherlock

Scotland: Excavation in Camelon Reveals Hidden Roman Past

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© The Falkirk Herald
The dig continues in Camelon
Archaeologists have uncovered precious Roman artefacts in what is described as the most important find locally for generations.

Specialists say they have found evidence of at least two Roman forts dating back to the first and second centuries AD.

They would have been used extensively as the Antonine Wall was built.

Archaeologist Martin Cook who is working on the project said the find is one of the most important in the Falkirk area for "decades".

Among the artefacts dug up are bones, jewellery, leather shoes, ceramics, ovens and coins,

The Camelon site, home to the former Wrangler factory, is being cleared to make way for a Tesco store by contractors Barr Construction.

AOC Archaeology, which excavated the land for them, uncovered a rich bounty of archaeological relics.

Sherlock

Ireland: EirGrid Finds Medieval Burial Site

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© eircon.net
Early Christian remains have been uncovered by contractors working on the largest energy project in the country.

The medieval burial ground was discovered on farmland in Rush, north Dublin, in June as EirGrid laid piping for a high voltage direct current (HVDC) underground power line.

Radiocarbon tests at Queens University, Belfast, have revealed the site dates back to the seventh century, from between 617 to 675 AD.

Archaeologists would not speculate on the number of remains on the site but confirmed they were pre-Viking and from the conversion period of Christianity.

John Fitzgerald, project director with Eirgrid, said: "It is an interesting historical discovery for the project, local archaeologists and the local community.

Info

World's Earliest Christian Engraving Shows Surprising Pagan Elements

Pagan Inscriptions
© Left: © Zach123 | Dreamstime.com; Right: Christian Archaeology, Charles Wesley Bennett
Scholars have identified what appears to be the world's earliest Christian inscription, dating to the second century. It is in the collection of the Capitoline Museums in Rome which could not release an image at press time. Also shown, examples of other early Christian inscriptions, copied in 1880.

Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world's earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.

Officially called NCE 156, the inscription is written in Greek and is dated to the latter half of the second century, a time when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power.

An inscription is an artifact containing writing that is carved on stone. The only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink. Stone inscriptions are more durable than papyri and are easier to display. NCE 156 also doesn't quote the gospels directly, instead its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs.

"If it is in fact a second-century inscription, as I think it probably is, it is about the earliest Christian material object that we possess," study researcher Gregory Snyder, of Davidson College in North Carolina, told LiveScience.

Sherlock

Texas, US: Drought Uncovers Treasure for Looters on Lake Whitney

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© WFAA
Sinking lake levels have exposed some of Hill County's hidden secrets.

Fossils and Native American tools from eight thousand years ago are easy to find at Lake Whitney, and looters are taking advantage.

They used to be buried in underwater caverns, but the drought has evaporated that protection.

"The looter and scavenger comes and digs up the site," said U.S. Army Corps Engineer Brad Demsey. "They just destroy all that and leave it to the side."

Even in remote parts of Lake Whitney that were once buried under concrete for security, scavengers unearth and discard valuable history.

There are fossils and Native American tools from prehistoric times.

Texas and federal laws ban the removal of Native American artifacts from archaeological sites, but burial grounds have been disturbed.

Palette

Stone-age toddlers had art lessons

Stone age toddlers may have attended a form of prehistoric nursery where they were encouraged to develop their creative skills in cave art, say archaeologists.

Research indicates young children expressed themselves in an ancient form of finger-painting. And, just as in modern homes, their early efforts were given pride of place on the living room wall.

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© University of Cambridge/PA
Artworks such as this were created 13,000 years ago by children in caves in the Dordogne, research suggests.
A Cambridge University conference on the archaeology of childhood on Friday reveals a tantalising glimpse into life for children in the palaeolithic age, an estimated 13,000 years ago.

Archaeologists at one of the most famous prehistoric decorated caves in France, the complex of caverns at Rouffignac in the Dordogne known as the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths, have discovered that children were actively helped to express themselves through finger fluting - running fingers over soft red clay to produce decorative crisscrossing lines, zig-zags and swirls.