Ten of the best discoveries from Culture24's archaeology coverage in June 2014
Tomb food offerings in Bristol
© Dr Tamar Hodas
Institutions in London, Pennsylvania and Baghdad sponsored the excavations leading to food offerings from a 4,500-year-old royal tomb, carried out by Sir Leonard Woolley in southern Iraq during the 1920s and 1930s. Their appearance in Bristol is, as Dr Tamar Hodas, who contacted the British Museum after finding them during a university lab clearance puts it, a mystery.
Long-awaited Roman gold coins at Vindolanda
© Vindolanda Trust
“You actually have more chance of winning the lottery than finding a gold coin on a Roman military site,” said Dr Andrew Birley, the Director of Excavations at Vindolanda, along Hadrian’s Wall, flummoxed at a miraculous discovery in Cumbria. The lucky finder was volunteer French archaeologist Marcel Albert.
Saxon skeletons within Lincoln Castle
© Lincolnshire County Council
Medieval Lincoln Castle’s current £22 million restoration unearthed a booted Saxon buried in a wall, preserved in a limestone sarcophagus and wrapped in linen. Four men, three women and three children were also found, one of whom – a teenager – may have been killed by a stab wound.
A Flinders find in a Cornish garage
© Petrie Museum
The link between TV documentary The Man who Discovered Egypt, a 1950s taxi driver, a Cornish garage and a late 19th century Egyptian cemetery excavation by Flinders Petrie turns out to be a cracked vessel. “The pot is particularly significant as it marks the discovery of a new era in Egyptology,” said Alice Stevenson, a curator at the Petrie Museum who is intent on discovering more of the explorer’s hidden finds.
An incredibly rare medieval abbey in Wales
© Courtesy University of Wales Trinity Saint David
One of only two known medieval examples in Wales, this nunnery left behind glazed floor tiles indicative of lavish decoration and building designs. Perhaps more intriguing is the amount the wetland site could reveal about the nuns, who were farm owners, the subjects of poems and the recipients of post-conquest compensation awards, among other things.
Condiments at a Scottish Prisoner of War camp
© GUARD Archaeology Ltd
A substantial Prisoner of War camp fence, marked out by 24 postholes around a square originally used for training the Tank Corps, set this Scottish site out as the place where Germans and Italians would have been held before it became a Polish repatriation centre. The discoveries suggested they enjoyed ketchup, fish paste, preserves and tea.
Pottery from a pub on haunted Scottish lands
© GUARD Archaeology Ltd
A drover left behind the horse harness here, clad in copper alloy having slipped off his horse during a visit to a rural Scottish pub 200 years ago. This was a place of ghostly sightings and new roads, with archaeologists consulting old ordnance survey maps and pondering whether a 19th century coin could represent the demise of the inn which once stood there.
Viking grave accompaniments in Cumbria
© Oxford Archaeology Ltd
Axeheads, horn handles and more were left at the graves of these generations of 10th century Vikings, found in six burials on farmlands in a small village south of the border. Spurs, knives, beads and a wooden box of textiles are now being examined as part of the English Heritage investigation into discoveries with national importance.
Coins from a Roman mint in Leicester
© Adam Slater
The Blackfriars site in Leicester, as archaeologist Chris Wardle observed, is “quite complex”: an industrial hub, it contained rubbish pits during the Middle Ages, had buildings half-completed upon it and was plundered for stone by later townsfolk. These coins came from the important Roman mint which once stood there.
4,000-year-old pottery in Aberdeen
© Aberdeen City Council
Small pits, post-holes and the residues of metal working and pots revealed the Bronze Age beginnings of a relatively undisturbed site which remained in use until the 19th century. On grounds producing 4,000-year-old pottery and roundhouses, the plans for future excavations are full of potential.
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