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TOPIC: Ancient Britains


L

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RE: Ancient Britains
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An ancient Shetland settlement at risk of crumbling into the sea has been rebuilt - despite fears that it will soon be eroded.
The work on the burial site in Sandwick Bay, Unst, follows an excavation led by the Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problems of Erosion Trust (Scape).
It teamed up with the Council for Scottish Archaeology's Adopt-a-Monument scheme for the rebuild project.
The new structures will allow visitors to see the excavation findings.

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L

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Aberdeenshire
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An online version of the Aberdeenshire Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) contains records of the current known sites in the Aberdeenshire region. New sites are being found all the time and the database is updated once a month.

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L

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Lindow Man
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Riddle of the bog
A murder mystery preserved in peat is at the heart of the British Museum's revamped prehistoric galleries.
A single brown fingernail lies on the leather bag of his chest, which tapers to nothing where the peat-cutting machine chopped him in two. His arm lies next to him, but these fragments of a body would mean nothing, were it not for the look on his face. A face that is 2,000 years old is not expected to have a "look". Death destroys individuality - but not his. When the remains came rising out of a Cheshire bog in 1984, that deflated torso would turn out to be packed with biological information, clues to a violent death, but it's all there for anyone to see, the full horror of it, in his face. It is the face of the eternal victim, bound and garrotted and thrown into the marsh.

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Longhowe
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A two-week excavation in search of evidence of Orkneys Mesolithic past got under way on Monday.
The Mesolithic period, dating from 8000-4000BC, is renowned in Orkney for the scarcity of evidence. The Mesolithic inhabitants of Orkney were nomadic hunter-gatherers and much of the archaeological evidence for this period may be lying below more recent sites, as seems to be the case at Longhowe, by Minehowe.

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2.85448W_58.93810N
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Longhowe
Latitude: 58.938412N Longitude: 2.854821W

Minehowe
Latitude: 58.936651N Longitude: 2.849565W

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L

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RE: Ancient Britains
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Unst beach excavation comes to end
A prehistoric archaeological site eroding beside the beach at Sandwick on Unst is giving up its last secrets this month.
The Unst Amateur Archaeology Group, along with staff from Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division and The SCAPE Trust, are finishing their three-year excavation of the Iron Age building, which featured in a recent episode of BBC2's Coast programme.

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L

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Ancient Scottish sites at risk from erosion by the sea
Key coastal sites which tell the story of Scotland's ancient past are in danger of being washed away, experts warned. Archaeologists said that historic treasures could be lost forever unless action is taken now. The most endangered sites include Iron Age remains in Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides - where rare dry-stone brochs are threatened by global warming, rising sea levels, storms and erosion.
Researchers from the charity SCAPE - Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion, based at St Andrews University - expressed concern over the situation. The charity is working with Historic Scotland to compile a list of significant historical and archaeological landmarks at risk from the waves. Almost a third of the coastline has been surveyed already, in an audit which names several sites as 'perilously close' to disappearing. They include two prehistoric settlements at Baleshare, North Uist, which contain the remains of a circular stone house and pieces of pottery, bone and metal. An ancient settlement at Sandwick Bay, Shetland - where a 2,000-year-old skeleton was recently uncovered - is also thought to be at risk. The village, thought to have been inhabited between 3200 BCE and 2200 BCE, was uncovered after a huge storm and high tides in the 1850s. When inhabited, the village would have been some distance from the sea, but as a result of relentless erosion it now stands right on the shore.

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Tom Dawson, project officer at SCAPE, said climate change and an increase in stormy weather in Scotland could see more sites threatened.

"It could take just one period of adverse weather to lose pieces of Scotland's history forever. It's been predicted that within 100 years, because of climate change, there will be much more stormy weather in Scotland and as a result, the coast will get battered even more than now. We need to build defences or we are just abandoning what is there. We don't know when they will be destroyed, but it could just take one big storm" - Tom Dawson.

About 27 surveys of Scotland's coastline have been carried out since Historic Scotland began sponsoring periodic audits of the coast in 1996. But only now are experts starting to analyse the data.

"In total, about 30 per cent of the coast has been looked at, and about 11,500 archaeological sites have been found within 100 metres of the shoreline. Around 3,000 are in need of further assessment. The problem is that as there are so many sites we have to prioritise them" - Tom Dawson.

Source: The Scotsman


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L

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Stone Age pottery
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The first stage of a project looking at the practicalities of Stone Age pottery came to a conclusion at the weekend.
On Saturday morning, a massive turf-walled kiln was lit to test-fire a number of pots created as part of the Orkney Prehistoric Pottery Research Associates (OPPRA) experiment on the making of Neolithic pottery.

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Edinburgh Castle
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Some of the earliest Iron Age defences at Edinburgh Castle have been unearthed during excavation work for the attraction's new visitor centre.
Archaeologists discovered two huge, 2000-year-old ditches underneath the Castle Esplanade, which would once have protected the ancient hill fort on the site.
A team of experts drilled a series of small bore holes through the Castle's car park and analysed soil samples from many metres below the ground.

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L

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RE: Ancient Britains
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Researchers from The University of Nottingham want the public to get involved in a project which could tell us how our ancestors came to Britain and Ireland. Experts from the School of Biology need people living in Ireland and Scotland to get involved in collecting snails.
By studying the genetic make-up of these creatures which are often targeted as garden pests scientists can trace their origins and find out how they colonised our islands. This in turn could shed light on where our ancestors originally came from, because snails may have arrived by hitching a ride with people.
By using a combination of genetic techniques and fossils, researchers at The University of Nottingham already know that snails arrived in the mainland of Britain around 10,000 years ago. Now they want the public to help in the collection of snails from specific locations which have a special human and archaeological interest.
Dr Angus Davison from The School of Biology says snails could be important in helping us trace our past.

Snails are normally considered a bit of a menace for bedding plants and shrubs, but we are hoping to turn peoples knowledge of them into a more useful purpose. Although people have moved around a lot, snails move so slowly that descendents of the original snails should still be the same place. We can use information from them to help understand where the people came from.

A lot of questions remain unanswered about some of the plants and animals of Ireland and the Scottish Islands. Many are clearly distinct from the equivalent organisms in England and Wales and it is not clear how they got there. Using genetics to trace the origins of snails suggests that one species of snail in Ireland came from the North of Spain, meaning that the very first settlers of Ireland were Spanish. In Scotland a Viking link could be strengthened.
Scientists want snails from many areas, but would particularly like them from some specific sites: In Ireland: Co. Mayo (Swinford, near Knock) and Dublin (Newlands Cross). In Scotland: Skye, the Hebrides, Shetland, Orkney.
Dr Davison is asking anyone prepared to help collect snails to contact him for an information pack.

Source

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L

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Ancient artefacts discovered during excavations along an 11km pipeline route are now being studied in the laboratory.
Teams from Wessex Archaeology found the archaeological remains along the pipeline route between Foreness Point at Margate and Weatherlees Hill near Sandwich, during work last summer on a 80 million environmental improvement project by Southern Water.
Now the finds are being studied by experts so that as much as possible can be learnt about how people have lived in Thanet since the Stone Age.
The earliest finds are more than 5,000 years old and the most recent date back to the World War Two.

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