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Sherlock

UK: Rare 18th century iron foundry unearthed in archaeological dig on Church Street in Ormskirk

Image
© Unknown
An archaeological dig has unearthed an 18th century iron foundry in the heart of Ormskirk.

A site at the back of Church Street was stripped and excavated over three weeks by archaeologist Stephen Baldwin and his team in March 2009.

The final report has now been released and the foundry is thought to have dated back to as early as 1796.

The discovery was made after the land belonging to Aughton developer Alan Stockton was surveyed as part of the requirements of planning permission to develop the site.

Stockton Properties plans to develop the land into a wine bar and student accommodation.

Alan told the Advertiser: "I wasn't happy when they told me I'd have to dig up the site first. But when I realised what Steve had found, I got quite interested.

"It's an historic find and it's nice to part of that."

Sherlock

Rarest of Ancient Oil Lamps Proven to be Authentic

Ancient oil lamps are not terribly rare in the archaeology of Israel. They are one of the more frequent types of Biblical artifacts found during archaeological excavations in the Holy Land. About ten years ago, however, a very special lamp surfaced in the archaeological world.

The lamp is made of stone, not clay, and has seven nozzles rather than the single nozzle typically found on ancient oil lamps made of stone. This lamp is unique - there are no other lamps of this type known among the thousands of Biblical artifacts found in the land of Israel.

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© Unknown
This stone oil lamp, once believed to be a forgery, has been proven to be one of the rarest types of ancient oil lamps.
Ten years ago, Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) editor Hershel Shanks was approached by the lamp's owner, who wanted to have the rare artifact published in BAR. At the time, Shanks declined the offer, since the authenticity of the object - one of the rarest ancient oil lamps from the Biblical world - could not be confirmed.

Sherlock

Inca takeovers not usually hostile

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© V. Andrushko and E. Torres/American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2011
A missing piece of bone above the left eye socket and adjacent fracture lines likely represent war wounds suffered by this man when the Inca conquered his settlement sometime between 1400 and 1532. Skeletal evidence of imperialistic Inca warfare is rare, a new study finds.
South America's ancient Inca rulers didn't establish the largest empire in the New World by being sweethearts. But their reputation as warmongers, at least according to some influential 16th- and 17th-century Spanish accounts of Inca history, appears to be undeserved, a new study of skeletal remains suggests.

It's more likely that Inca bigwigs adopted a range of largely nonviolent takeover tactics starting around 1000, say anthropologists Valerie Andrushko of Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and Elva Torres of the National Institute of Culture in Cuzco, Peru, once the capital of the Inca empire. Head injuries suggestive of warfare appear on only a small proportion of skeletons previously excavated at Inca-controlled sites located near Cuzco, the researchers report in a paper published online September 30 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

"It appears that the Inca relied less on warfare to conquer other groups and more on political alliances, bloodless takeovers and ideological control tactics," Andrushko says.

An Inca conquest gambit mentioned in some Spanish accounts involved sending a diplomatic team to offer local groups gifts and military protection. Accepting this proposal required groups to submit to Inca rule. The Inca army waited nearby to make clear what happened to those who declined the offer.

Magnify

Dog fossils show early relationship with humans

dog fossil
© Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
This skull of a dog found with a bone in its mouth may be an early indication of man's relationship with his best friend.
Palaeontologists have unearthed the remains of three prehistoric dogs, including one with the bone from a mammoth in its mouth, a finding they claim could be an early indication of man's relationship with his best friend.

A team, led by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, claims that the brains of the paleolithic dogs were also removed after their death which could indicate a human's attempt to release the animals' spirits.

This is because the dog skulls show evidence that humans perforated them in order to remove the brains, and as better meat was available, it's unlikely that the brains served as food, the team says.

Sherlock

Top archaeologist decries Jerusalem dig as unscientific 'tourist gimmick'

Dr. Eilat Mazar, who worked in close cooperation with the group - which promotes the 'Judaization' of East Jerusalem - says excavations carried out in violation of accepted procedures. An archaeologist who worked with the Elad association in Jerusalem's City of David claims that the association and the Antiquities Authority are carrying out excavations "without any commitment to scientific archaeological work."

Dr. Eilat Mazar - a Hebrew University archaeologist who worked in close cooperation with Elad over past years, and who is considered one of the most productive researchers in Jerusalem and in the City of David area in particular - has castigated Elad for the excavation of a large subterranean pit, called "Jeremiah's Pit," at the entrance to the City of David visitors' center complex.

In a sharply worded letter she sent 10 days ago to Prof. Ronny Reich, chairman of the Archaeological Council, Mazar demanded an urgent discussion of the excavations, which she says are being carried out in violation of accepted procedures.

Mazar's claims against Elad are being leveled at a crucial time as a proposed law to privatize public parks is being considered. If approved, the bill will enable Elad, a private association which excavates, maintains and conducts tours of the City of David, to maintain control of the historic site - situated in the predominantly Arab village of Silwan, adjacent to the Old City.

Magnify

US: Large Field of Dinosaur Tracks Uncovered in Southwest Arkansas

Arkansas dinosaur tracks
The discovery of a large field of dinosaur tracks in Arkansas has researchers busy using cutting-edge technology and traditional techniques to learn all that they can about the animals and environment that existed there 120 million years ago.

The track site, found in southwest Arkansas, covers an area of about two football fields and contains the fossilized tracks of several species and tracks from multiple animals of the same species, some of which have never been previously documented in Arkansas. The site will help researchers learn not only about the creatures that once roamed through the area, but also about the climate during the Early Cretaceous period 115 to 120 million years ago.

"The quality of the tracks and the length of the trackways make this an important site," said Stephen K. Boss, who led the National Science Foundation-funded project. Based on the rock in which the footprints were found, researchers have a good idea of what the climate would have been like.

Magnify

Archaeologist argues world's oldest temples were not temples at all

Gobekli Tepe recreation

Gobekli Tepe recreation - just houses?
Ancient structures uncovered in Turkey and thought to be the world's oldest temples may not have been strictly religious buildings after all, according to an article in the October issue of Current Anthropology. Archaeologist Ted Banning of the University of Toronto argues that the buildings found at Göbekli Tepe may have been houses for people, not the gods.

The buildings at Göbekli, a hilltop just outside of the Turkish city of Urfa, were found in 1995 by Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute and colleagues from the Şanlıurfa Museum in Turkey. The oldest of the structures at the site are immense buildings with large stone pillars, many of which feature carvings of snakes, scorpions, foxes, and other animals.

The presence of art in the buildings, the substantial effort that must have been involved in making and erecting them, and a lack of evidence for any permanent settlement in the area, led Schmidt and others to conclude that Göbekli must have been a sacred place where pilgrims traveled to worship, much like the Greek ruins of Delphi or Olympia. If that interpretation is true it would make the buildings, which date back more than 10,000 years to the early Neolithic, the oldest temples ever found.

However, Banning offers an alternative interpretation that challenges some of Schmidt's claims.

He outlines growing archaeological evidence for daily activities at the site, such as flintknapping and food preparation. "The presence of this evidence suggests that the site was not, after all, devoid of residential occupation, but likely had quite a large population," Banning said.

Shoe

20 Roman Shoes Found in U.K.; "Substantial" Fort Find

Leather footwear found among jewelry, coins at supermarket construction site.

About 60 pairs of sandals and shoes that once belonged to Roman soldiers have been unearthed at a supermarket construction site in Camelon, Scotland (see map), archaeologists say.

The 2,000-year-old leather footwear was discovered along with Roman jewelery, coins, pottery, and animal bones at the site, which is located at the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

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© Martin Cook
The site of an ancient fort contains a cache of discarded Roman footwear, archaeologists say.
The cache of Roman shoes and sandals - one of the largest ever found in Scotland - was uncovered recently in a ditch at the gateway to a second century A.D. fort built along the Antonine Wall. The wall is a massive defensive barrier that the Romans built across central Scotland during their brief occupation of the region.

Dollar

Silver treasure worth $18 million found in Atlantic

Sea explorers announced Monday the discovery of a new sunken treasure that they plan to retrieve from the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Off Ireland in 1917, a German torpedo sank the British steam ship Mantola, sending the vessel and its cargo of an estimated 20 tons of silver to the seabed more than a mile down. At today's prices, the metal would be worth about $18 million.


Pharoah

UK: Egyptologist discovers 'royal' coffin in seaside museum

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© Torquay Museum
The extremely rare Egyptian coffin, possibly belonging to the son of a king.
An extremely rare Egyptian coffin, possibly belonging to the son of a king or a very senior official, has been 'discovered' at Torquay Museum by an archaeologist at the University of Bristol.

Dr Aidan Dodson, a senior research fellow in Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology made the discovery while undertaking a long-term project to catalogue every single Egyptian coffin in English and Welsh provincial museums.

Dr Dodson said: "When I walked into Torquay Museum for the first time I realised that the coffin was something really special. Not only was it of a design of which there is probably only one other example in the UK (in Bristol), but the quality was exceptional.

"Cut from a single log of cedar wood, it is exquisitely carved, inlaid and painted. For a child to have been given something like that, he must have had very important parents - perhaps even a king and queen. Unfortunately, the part of the inscription which named the boy and his parents is so badly damaged that we cannot be certain.