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Archive for December, 2014

British archaeologists have created a map of a medieval settlement using state-of-the-art scanning techniques without having to dig in to the ground.

Relying on magnetometry, ground-penetrating radar and electric resistive tomography, the team from the University of Southampton uncovered the footprint of a town located at the Old Sarum archaeological site near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Non-invasive survey methods such as ground penetrating radar have helped archeologist to create a detailed map of Old Sarum without any digging [Credit: Scriniary]

Non-invasive survey methods such as ground penetrating radar have helped archeologist to create a detailed map of Old Sarum without any digging [Credit: Scriniary]

“Archaeologists and historians have known for centuries that there was a medieval city at Old Sarum, but until now there has been no proper plan of the site,” said Kristian Strutt, director of archaeological prospection services at the University of Southampton.

“Our survey shows where individual buildings are located and from this we can piece together a detailed picture of the urban plan within the city walls.”

Old Sarum is believed to have been one of the oldest settlements in England. Located about ten miles from the iconic Stonehenge monument, the site was inhabited as early as the Iron Age and bears some evidence of the presence of Roman soldiers in the early centuries AD.

In the recent survey, the archaeologists focused on the area around the inner and outer baileys of what was once a fortification. They discovered foundations of multiple large buildings concentrated along the southern edge of the outer defensive wall, which probably used to serve military purposes.

Some of the structures are believed to date back to the 11th century, about the time when the Salisbury (New Sarum) cathedral was built.

The researchers also found a large open area behind the big buildings, residential areas in the south-east and south-west quadrants of the outer bailey and evidence of deposits indicating industrial features, such as kilns or furnaces as well as signs of quarrying after the 1300s.

“Our research so far has shown how the entire outer bailey of the monument was heavily built up in the Middle Ages, representing a substantial urban centre,” Strutt said. “Results have given us compelling evidence as to the nature of some of the structures,” he said, adding that additional non-intrusive work will have to be carried out to further expand the knowledge about the site.”

The medieval city is believed to had been inhabited for at least three centuries but was eventually abandoned as the importance of the neighbouring Salisbury grew.

“The use of modern, non-invasive surveying is a great start to further research at Old Sarum,” said Heather Sebire, property curator at English Heritage, which is managing the site.

“From this work we can surmise much about the site’s past and, whilst we can’t conclusively date the findings, it adds a new layer to Old Sarum’s story.”

The team hopes to perform the next phase of non-invasive surveying in Easter 2015.

The research was conducted as part of the Old Sarum and Stratford-Sub-Castle Archaeological Survey Project, directed by Kristian Strutt and fellow Southampton archaeologists Timothy Sly and Dominic Barker.

Similar technology was recently deployed by archaeologists and scientists from Birmingham University and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna to survey the landscape around Stonehenge. The results from there revealed that Stonehenge did not sit alone within its Neolithic landscape.

Full article by by Tereza Pultarova: http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2014/dec/old-sarum-non-invasive-archeology.cfm

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The Heritage Journal

It’s that time of year again. With just 3 months to go before the Current Archaeology Live! conference in London, the nominations for the Current Archaeology Awards have been released.

CALive

The awards are designed to celebrate some of the stories and people featured in the magazine throughout the course of the year. There is no panel of judges, the only votes that count are those from the readership in the public vote via the website, so it really is just down to you (collectively) as to who the winners are.

As in previous years, there are four main categories to vote for:

  • Research Project of the Year
  • Archaeologist of the Year
  • Rescue Dig of the Year
  • Book of the Year

The nominees in each category are as follows:

Research Project of the Year

  • How to build a dolmen: exploring Neolithic construction at Garn Turne
  • Maryport’s mystery monuments: investigating gigantic timber…

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The Making of a Roman Silver Cup

The Heritage Trust

The Making of a Roman Silver Cup. Getty Museum

Ancient Roman silversmiths developed their craft to the highest levels of refinement and beauty. Applying fire and basic tools to the shaping of precious metals, many of their sophisticated techniques are still used today. This video illustrates the making of a stunning silver cup that has survived from the first century, A.D.

This cup is on view at the Getty Villa from November 19, 2014 to August 17, 2015 in the exhibition Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville.

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