News

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Science Notes – Identifying vitamin D deficiency in the Roman Empire

Several previous ‘Science Notes’ have featured osteological analysis tangentially (see CA 337, 338, 342, and 344), but we have not explored it in depth – until now. This month’s column considers the effects of vitamin D deficiency, how it can be identified in skeletal remains, and what it can tell us about past populations.

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Revisiting the Mote of Urr

Some 65 years after it concluded, the results of Brian Hope- Taylor’s excavation of the Mote of Urr – a motte-and-bailey castle near Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway (shown above) – have finally been published.

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Further chariot burial discovered at Pocklington

When archaeologists from MAP Archaeological Practice discovered a remarkable Iron Age chariot burial during the final stages of an excavation at Pocklington, East Yorkshire, in 2017, along with an impressive 164 burials and 74 square burials, they did not realise that more amazing discoveries were to come. At the end of last year, though, another seven-month excavation on the site – undertaken in advance of a 200-house development by Persimmon Homes Yorkshire – revealed two Iron Age barrows, the contents of which archaeologists on site have described as ‘most impressive, with no British parallel’.

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Anglo-Saxon cemetery found in Lincolnshire

A previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery has been revealed in Scremby, Lincolnshire. On a chalky outcrop of the Lincolnshire Wolds, it was found by a local metal-detectorist, who discovered a number of Anglo-Saxon artefacts, including copper gilded brooches, iron shield bosses, and spearheads.

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Another record year for the Portable Antiquities Scheme

A record number of Treasure finds have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) for the second year running. At the launch of the 2016 Treasure Act Annual Report and the 2017 Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report, held at the British Museum last December, it was announced that 1,267 Treasure items had been recorded across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2017.

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Winners of 2018 Heritage Angel Awards announced

The winners of the 2018 Heritage Angel Awards – a programme established in 2011 and supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation – have been announced. The aim of the awards, as outlined by the Foundation, is to ‘celebrate the achievements and determination of “unsung heroes”, the individuals and groups who show passion, commitment, and initiative in tackling often challenging restoration projects, who work tirelessly to protect their local historic buildings, and who keep our heritage alive and thriving for the next generation.’

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Orkney bowl shows signs of repair

Post-excavation analysis of the oldest wooden bowl yet found in Orkney (see CA 343), has revealed details of its Iron Age use. Found by a team from UHI Archaeology Institute, during last summer’s excavation at the Cairns site in South Ronaldsay, the bowl was discovered in a stone chamber known as the ‘The Well’, beneath an Iron Age broch. As little is known about the function of this ‘well’, it was hoped that the bowl could provide some clues.

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Science Notes – Getting to the core of it: examining silver mining through ice-core analysis

This month, we are discussing something new for Science Notes: ice-core analysis. This technique is based on the fact that, as atmospheric particles settle on glaciers – whether through precipitation or wind – they become trapped in the outermost layer of ice. As these layers accumulate each year, they create a sequential time capsule. By extracting cores from these glaciers, the layers can be separated and the particles analysed, providing evidence for global climate and pollution fluctuations through history.

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Investigating London’s man of mystery

The skeleton of a man wearing thigh-high leather boots and buried face-down in the mud has been discovered in the Thames. The individual’s remains were found near Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey by MOLA Headland archaeologists working in advance of construction for the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a ‘super sewer’ intended to stop sewage pollution in the Thames.

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