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TOPIC: Ancient Britains


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A Roman pendant of unmistakable shape was the subject of a Treasure Trove inquest in Norfolk, England. Made of gold and fashioned into the distinctive shape of a phallus, the pendant was found by metal detectorist Kevin Hillier earlier this year and reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme who confirmed it as a treasure find.
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A large gap in pre-history could signal that Britain underwent an economic downturn over 2,500 years ago.
In history lessons, the three ages of pre-history - Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age - seem to flow together without a gap.
But there is a 300-year period in British history between around 800 BC and 500 BC where experts still struggle to explain what happened, where bronze is in decline and iron was not widely used.

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Britain's oldest brain

The oldest surviving human brain in Britain, dating back at least 2000 years to the Iron Age, was unearthed during excavations on the site of the University of Yorks campus expansion at Heslington East.
Archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust, commissioned by the University to carry out the exploratory dig, made the discovery in an area of extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, trackways and buildings dating back to at least 300 BC.
And they believe the skull, which was found on its own in a muddy pit, may have been a ritual offering.

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'Talking fires' link iron age hillforts

A test to show how people in the Iron Age communicated using Welsh peaks was yesterday hailed a success.
Scores of volunteers flashed torches to each other from 10 hillforts in North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire. The furthest link spanned 15 miles, between hills at Burton Point on the Wirral and Cheshires Maiden Castle.

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An experiment has shed light on how Iron Age people communicated from their hilltop homes 2,500 years ago.
About 200 volunteers stood on the summit of 10 hillforts in north Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire, and signalled to each other with torches.
Their aim was to learn if communities used the summits to warn each other.

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UK cave yields ice-age skull cups

British scientists say they have uncovered three human skulls that ice-age Britons used as drinking cups.
Scientists from London's Natural History Museum say the 14,700-year-old skeletal remains found in a cave in southwest England were fashioned in such a meticulous way that their use as bowls to hold liquid seems the only reasonable explanation.

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7,000-year-old timbers found beneath MI6 Thames headquarters

When MI6 set up home on the banks of the Thames one secret escaped its watchful eyes. The oldest wooden structure ever found on the river, timbers almost 7,000 years old, have been discovered buried in the silt below the windows of the security services' ziggurat headquarters at Vauxhall, south London.
The archaeologists who uncovered the six hefty timber piles had to explain to the security services what they were up to when armed police turned up after they were spotted pottering about on a foggy day in the mud, armed only with tripods, cameras and measuring equipment - not, as one spectator had apparently reported, shoulder-mounted rocket launchers.

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Archaeologists are unearthing another fascinating glimpse of the island's prehistoric past.
A dig currently being carried out near the Balthane industrial estate in Ballasalla has uncovered remains of Neolithic urns dating back 4,000 years together with later Bronze Age burial cists.
Another excavation nearby has unearthed more cremation urns.
Both digs are being carried out by teams from Oxford Archaeology.

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When Hamish Mowatt decided to investigate a mysterious mound as he tidied an Orkney garden, he had little idea he would uncover a hoard of bodies that had lain untouched for around 5,000 years.
Archaeologists believe the tomb he discovered under a boulder outside a bistro in South Ronaldsay could lead to new insights into how our neolithic ancestors lived and died.

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A Bronze Age burial site has been uncovered at the planned location of the Highlands' first Asda supermarket.
Archaeologists found an area of cremation pits surrounded by a ring ditch at Slackbuie, in Inverness.
Almost 2,000 flints were also recovered from the field on the city's distributor road.

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