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Timelines of Ancient Europe => History of Britain => Topic started by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:17:10 pm



Title: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:17:10 pm




                                                          E N G L A N D







Prehistoric Britain
 


Bones and flint tools found in Norfolk and Suffolk show that Homo erectus lived in what is now England around 700,000 years ago.


 At this time, England was linked to mainland Europe by a large land bridge.

The current position of the English Channel was a large river flowing westwards and fed by tributaries that would later become the Thames and the Seine. This area was greatly depopulated during the period of the last major ice age, as were other regions of the British Isles.

In the subsequent recolonisation, after the thawing of the ice, genetic research shows that present-day England was the last area of the British Isles to be repopulated, circa 13,000 years ago. The migrants arriving during this period contrast with the other of the inhabitants of the British Isles, coming across land from the south east of Europe, whereas earlier arriving inhabitants came north along a coastal route from Iberia.

These migrants would later adopt the Celtic culture that came to dominate much of western Europe.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:21:41 pm






STONE AGE HUNTERS





The first people lived in England about 450,000 BC. At that time England was much warmer than it is today. Animals like elephants, lions and rhinoceros lived in England alongside deer, horses, bear and wolves. The humans made simple stone tools and lived in caves.

In 15,000 BC people were still living in caves but they made much more sophisticated tools of bone and stone. They also made clothes from animal skins and they made 'jewellery' of animal teeth and shells. These early people hunted animals like horse, deer and wild cattle.

In those days England was covered in tundra but about 8,500 BC the climate grew much warmer. Forests spread across England. At the same time England was cut off from Europe.

About 7,500 BC a group of humans lived at Star Carr in Yorkshire. They were hunter-gatherers. They hunted deer, wild cattle, pigs and elk. They also ate birds, fish and shellfish. By this time humans had also domesticated dogs. They may also have made boats.


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:22:57 pm






STONE AGE FARMERS





Then about 4,500 BC farming was introduced into England. Using stone axes the farmers began clearing the forests that covered England. They grew crops of wheat and barley and they raised herds of cattle, pigs and sheep. However as well as farming they also hunted animals such as deer, horse, and wild boar and smaller animals such as beavers, badgers and hares. They also gathered fruit and nuts.

At the same time the early farmers mined flint for making tools. They dug shafts, some of them 15 metres (50 feet) deep. They used deer antlers as picks and oxen shoulder blades as shovels. They also made pottery vessels but they still wore clothes made from skins. They erected simple wooden huts to live in.

Moreover the early farmers made elaborate tombs for their dead. They dug burial chambers then lined them with wood or stone. Over them they created mounds of earth called barrows. Although where stone was easily available they made mounds of stones called cairns. Some of these barrows still survive.

From about 2,500 BC England the Neolithic (new stone age) farmers made circular monuments called henges. At first they were simple ditches with stones or wooden poles erected in them. The most famous henge is, of course, Stonehenge. It began as a simple ditch with an internal bank of earth. Outside the entrance stood the Heel Stone. The famous circles of stones were erected hundreds of years later. Stonehenge was altered and added to over a thousand year period from 2250 BC to 1250 BC before it was finished.

After 2,500 BC a new culture had spread across England. The inhabitants are known as the Beaker People because of the pottery beakers they made. They were bell shaped and were often decorated with bone or cords. However it is not known if the Beaker People were a new race who migrated to England from Europe or if the people of England simply adopted a new culture.


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:24:11 pm







BRONZE AGE ENGLAND





At any rate by 2,000 BC English society was changed by the invention of Bronze. Metal artefacts appeared in England as early as 2,700 BC although it is believed they were imported. By about 2,000 BC bronze was being made in England.

Bronze is made of 9 parts copper and one part tin. It is, of course, harder than stone and provided more efficient tools and weapons. The Bronze Age people also rode horses and they were the first people in England to weave cloth. Bronze age women held their hair with bone pins and they wore crescent shaped necklaces.

In the late Bronze Age (1,000 BC-650 BC) forts were built on hills so warfare was, it seems, becoming common. This may have been because the population was rising and fertile land was becoming harder to obtain.

Meanwhile the Bronze Age people continued to build barrows, although cremation was practised. The dead were buried with useful artefacts. Presumably the living believed the dead would need these in the afterlife. Unfortunately since they had no written records nothing is known about the Bronze Age religion.

We know that Bronze Age people lived in round wooden huts with thatched roofs but nothing is known about their society or how it was organised. However there were almost certainly different classes by that time. Tin and copper were exported from Britain along with animal hides. Jet and amber were imported for the rich.


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:27:18 pm









                                                           LIFE IN CELTIC TIMES





Then about 650 BC iron was introduced into England by a people called the Celts and the first swords were made.

Warfare was common during the iron age and many hill forts (fortified settlements) were built at that time. (Although there were also many open villages and farms). The Celts fought from horses or light wooden chariots. They threw spears and fought with swords. The Celts had wooden shields and some wore chain mail.

Most of the Celts were farmers although were also many skilled craftsmen. Some Celts were blacksmiths (working with iron), bronze smiths, carpenters, leather workers and potters. (The potter’s wheel was introduced into Britain c.150 BC). Celtic craftsmen also made elaborate jewellery of gold and precious stones. Furthermore objects like swords and shields were often finely decorated. The Celts decorated metal goods with enamel. The Celts also knew how to make glass and they made glass beads.

Celtic society was hierarchical. At the top was a class of nobles headed by a king or chieftain. Below them were the craftsmen (of whom metalworkers were the most important). Then came the farmers who provided the food supply and also fought for the chief. There was also a class of slaves in Celtic England. However the Celts were divided into tribes. There was no political unity among them and a great deal of fighting.

Trade with Europe was common. Metals like copper, tin, iron and lead were exported from England. Wool, cloth, skins and grain were also exported. Luxury goods like fine pottery and expensive metal goods were imported from Europe. At first the Celts used iron bars as a form of currency but by about 50 BC they were using gold coins.

The Celts lived in round houses. They were built around a central pole with horizontal poles radiating outwards from it. They rested on vertical poles. Walls were of wattle and daub and roofs were thatched. Around the walls inside the huts were benches, which also doubled up as beds. The Celts also used low tables.

Celtic men wore tunics and trousers and women wore long dresses and mantles. They used bronze mirrors. Women wore belts around their dresses made of cloth, leather or bronze rings. Celtic men soaked their hair in limewater to make it stand up straight. They wore moustaches but not beards. Wealthy Celts wore gold ornaments around their necks called torcs or torques.

The Celts made dyes from plants, woad, for blue, madder, for red and weld for yellow.

For amusement Celts played board games. They were also very fond of music and played flutes and lyres. In good weather they held horse or chariot races. The Celts also enjoyed hunting wild boar on horseback.

The Celts had priests called Druids. The Druids were very important in Celtic society. As well as being priests they were scholars, judges and advisors to the kings. The Celts were polytheists (they worshipped many gods and goddesses). They did not build temples but instead worshipped at natural sites such as groves of trees, springs, rivers and lakes. Sometimes the Celts sacrificed valuable goods by throwing them into lakes and rivers.

In Celtic times the practice of building barrows died out. Instead people were interned in individual graves. They were still buried with grave goods showing the Celts had a strong belief in an afterlife.

They believed that when you died your spirit went to a place called the Otherworld. It was possible to die there as well. If you died in the Otherworld you were reborn in this one.

Unfortunately although the Celts did have system of writing most of what we know about their religion comes from Roman writers. Since they conquered the Celts the Romans were likely to have been biased. According to Roman writers the Druids practiced human sacrifice.

The main Celtic festivals were Imbolc at the beginning of February at the start of the lambing season, Beltane at the beginning of May, when cattle were sent out to graze in the fields after being kept indoors and fed on hay during the Winter, Lughasad in August when the crops were growing ripe and Samhain at the beginning of November. That was the time when animals were brought in from the fields for the Winter. The Celts could not grow enough hay to feed them all so those not needed for breeding were slaughtered.

The Celts grew crops in rectangular fields. They raised pigs, sheep and cattle. They stored grain in pits lined with stone or wicker and sealed with clay.

The Celts also brewed beer from barley.

Although the Romans despised the Celts as barbarians they created a sophisticated and advanced society. Women certainly had more rights than in Roman society and Celtic craftsmen were superb.


http://www.localhistories.org/prehistengland.html


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:41:09 pm







                                           Tools unlock secrets of early man 





By Mark Kinver
Science reporter,
BBC News website 
Wednesday, 14 December 2005

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41122000/jpg/_41122046_tool203harrytaylor_nhm.jpg)
Researchers are confident the tools are 700,000 years old

New research shows early humans were living in Britain around 700,000 years ago, substantially earlier than had previously been thought.

Using new dating techniques, scientists found that flint tools unearthed in Pakefield, Suffolk, were 200,000 years older than the previous oldest finds.

Humans were known to have lived in southern Europe 780,000 years ago but it was unclear when they moved north.

The findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

A team of researchers from the UK, Italy and Canada found a total of 32 flint tools in a fossil-rich seam at Pakefield. They say it represents the earliest unequivocal evidence of human activity in northern Europe.





Human hallmarks



One of the team, Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum's Department of Palaeontology, said the discovery of evidence of early human activity in Britain was startling.

"Until recently I certainly would not have believed that there would have been humans this far back," he said.

Professor Stringer told reporters at a media briefing in central London that the tools displayed all the hallmarks of human workmanship, and were not the result of natural erosion.
 
(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41122000/jpg/_41122052_tools203many_taylor_nhm.jpg)
 The tools were used for scraping, cutting and sawing

"One of the worries is that perhaps things like this can be produced by rocks bashing together in a river bed. These are not in this context, so we are confident that these are stone tools."

The scientists said they were happy that the artefacts were 700,000 years old because there was a range of evidence that all converged on the same age.

One factor was the discovery, at the same location, of teeth from a species of water vole that existed in this period.

Professor Anthony Stuart, from University College London, told reporters this played a key role in dating the site.

"A modern water vole has molar teeth that grow all the time and have no roots. Its ancestor, called Mimomys savini, had rooted teeth which did not grow.

"Nobody in northern Europe has before found any evidence of humans in association with this older water vole."

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41125000/gif/_41125362_europe_fossils2_416.gif)
How northern Europe looked 700,000 years ago

Until this find, it was thought that humans arrived in northern Europe 500,000 years ago, after archaeologists unearthed a shin bone and two incisor teeth along with a number of flint tools at Boxgrove in southern England.

The earliest evidence of human existence in southern Europe dates back 800,000 years at sites in Spain and Italy.

It was thought that humans did not move to the colder north because they were unable to adapt to factors such as longer winters and shorter growing seasons.





 SUFFOLK 700,000 YEARS AGO
 


(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41122000/jpg/_41122044_suffolk203nhm.jpg)
"It was significantly warmer so people could move north without adaptation"
Professor Chris Stringer

However, Professor Stringer said soil samples from the Pakefield site revealed that the climate 700,000 years ago was similar to the present day Mediterranean region.

"We have learned from Pakefield and its fantastic biological evidence that it was significantly warmer so people could move north without adaptation.

"They also had the same sort of plants and animals to exploit."

The megafauna that would have roamed Europe during this period included rhinoceroses, elephants, sabre-tooth cats and hippopotamuses.

The geography was also very different from the present day. Britain was connected to the continent by a land bridge, which would have allowed early humans to move in and out easily.

The land was low with no steep hills. Very large rivers dominated the landscape and could have been used as tracks by migrating humans.





'Stone Age gold'



The Pakefield site was on the floodplains of the River Bytham, which was Britain's largest river before it was destroyed by glaciers some 450,000 years ago.

Commenting in Nature, Wil Roebroeks of the Netherlands' Leiden University, said the team's data was "Stone Age gold" but it did not provide evidence of colonisation.

"The Pakefield artefacts probably do not testify to a colonisation of the colder temperate environments of northern Europe, but more to a short-lived human expansion of range, in rhythm with climatic oscillations."

Professor Stringer said the discovery opened up a whole new area of research.

"The fact that we know that there were people in Britain at this early date means we can start to look for further evidence of them and perhaps one day be lucky enough to find fossil remains of these people."


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 07:59:36 pm







                                                          Filling in missing Britain





(http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1565000/images/_1565002_stone300.jpg)
 
The first Britons may have used such tools
Image by Dudley Museum & Art Gallery



A history of the human occupation of the British Isles is to be pieced together, thanks to a major grant of over £1m.
Scientists from London's Natural History Museum, The British Museum, Royal Holloway and other institutes hope to establish when precisely these lands were inhabited - and when they were evacuated because environmental conditions were so hostile.





"Out of the last 500,000 years, we don't have evidence for people being here for more than half of that time"
 Professor Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum 



The Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project, which will take five years to complete, will pool the resources and expertise of researchers working in many different disciplines.

"We hope eventually to have a 'calendar' of human occupation," Professor Chris Stringer, the project director, told BBC News Online. "Out of the last 500,000 years, we don't have evidence for people being here for more than half of that time. We need to find out why.

"One of the reasons is obviously climate change - that because of our position in relation to the North Atlantic, Britain can experience very severe weather. At the peaks of the ice ages, Britain was probably uninhabitable. People were cleaned out; they couldn't survive the coldest times - even modern humans.

"Another possibility is that there were times when Britain was heavily forested and some peoples may have found that less than favourable; they might have preferred more varied and open landscapes. Another factor would have been sea levels and how often in the past Britain was an island."

Actual fossils of humans are very rare in Britain, but evidence of human occupation is scattered over the landscape, preserved in ancient river deposits, and stored in caves, in the form of stone tools and animal bones.





Making progress



Fossil remains can tell scientists what the people looked like; stone tools can reveal details of their behaviour and adaptations; while associated sediments and animal remains can be analysed to unlock the secrets of ancient climates and environments.

Much of the evidence required to build the timeline is already in the possession of researchers, said Professor Stringer, who is head of human origins at The Natural History Museum (NHM).

"For instance, we've got a huge collection of fossil mammals. And then, of course, The British Museum has a huge collection of artefacts - many of them recovered from the same sites. Amazingly, it's rare for people to actually study them together.

"So, the project gives us a chance to bring these collections together, and also to look at collections that have been perhaps neglected in museums outside of London."

The project will exploit the very latest scientific methods and draw on the knowledge of some of the UK's leading researchers. "We've got a great team of people," the professor said. "We've got archaeologists, palaeontologists, we've got isotope workers, dating specialists - bringing these people together allows us to focus on problems we've been working on for a long time and finally make some progress."

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded The Natural History Museum and its partners a grant of £1.2m for the five-year study. The AHOB project intends to update its progress on a public website hosted at The NHM's website.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1565002.stm


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 08:07:00 pm






                                          Channel's key role in pre-history 





By Paul Rincon
Science reporter,
BBC News, Gibraltar 
Sept.16, 2006


(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42095000/jpg/_42095454_ac_ahob_203b.jpg)

The remains we find today tell a story of Britain's ancient past


A study of prehistoric animals has revealed the crucial role of the English Channel in shaping the course of Britain's natural history.

The Channel acted as a filter, letting some animals in from mainland Europe, but not others.

Even at times of low sea level, when Britain was not an island, the Channel posed a major barrier to colonisation.

This was because a massive river system flowed along its bed, UK researchers told a palaeo-conference in Gibraltar.

Today the English Channel is 520km long, 30-160km wide, about 30-100m in depth and slopes to the south-west.

Even now, the bed of the Channel is incised by a network of valleys, the remains of the river system, which may have been cut by catastrophic drainage of meltwater from further north.

"It would have been an incredible barrier at times of high sea level, but it would also have been a formidable barrier at times of low sea level for populations trying to move south to north," said Chris Stringer of London's Natural History Museum.

Professor Stringer presented the results here at the Calpe conference, a meeting of pre-history experts from all over the world.





The big flood



The evidence comes from the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project (AHOB). This five-year undertaking by some of the UK's leading palaeo-scientists has reassessed a mass of scientific data and filled in big knowledge gaps with new discoveries.

Chris Stringer's co-researchers Andy Currant, Danielle Shreve and Roger Jacobi have been studying how the mammal fauna of Britain has changed over the last 500,000 years.

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/06/sci_nat_enl_1158439242/img/laun.jpg)






 See how the English Channel changed through time



(http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/06/sci_nat_enl_1158439242/img/1.jpg)
(a) A great land bridge once connected England and France. (2) The Channel may have formed when meltwater from an ice sheet formed a lake, which then overflowed in a catastrophic flood and cut the bridge. (3) Even in more recent times, with low sea levels, great rivers restricted access.




 
During that period, animals have colonised, abandoned and re-colonised Britain many times as the climate shifted from warm to cold and back to warm.

The Channel is thought to have formed during a cold period 200,000 years ago or more.

Meltwater from an ice sheet formed a lake, which then overflowed in a catastrophic flood - cutting through a chalk ridge that previously connected Britain to France.

Changes in climate were accompanied by changing sea levels. At the height of an ice age, these would have been low. During interglacial periods, when the climate was warm, sea levels rose.

But even when water was locked up in the ice sheets and sea levels plummeted, the Rhine and the Thames rivers dumped meltwater into a major river system that flowed along the floor of the Channel.





Unusual collections



This means that once the Channel formed, there was never again a simple land crossing to be made from northern France to Britain.

"We find we're getting only a selection of the mammals during the British interglacials that there are in mainland Europe," said Professor Stringer.

For example, at one pre-historic site, researchers found hippopotamus and fallow deer; but unlike mainland Europe at the time, there were no horses and no humans.

"This suggests that the Channel, or the Channel river system, is acting as a filter to prevent the movement of some of these [mammal] forms into Britain," Professor Stringer added.

Once sea levels rose high enough for Britain to be an island, the select fauna that had made it across from mainland Europe could develop in extraordinary ways.

During one warm stage, about 80,000 years ago, fossils from Banwell Cave in Somerset show Britain was populated by some very unusual animals. These included reindeer, bison, and a giant bear similar to a polar bear.

Interestingly, there are no hyena fossils at Banwell Cave, as there were in mainland Europe. Instead, it appears, their role in the food chain may have been taken up by wolves.

"The wolves were developing much larger jaws. Their teeth show incredible signs of breakage and wear as if they're chomping bones like hyenas," said Professor Stringer.

The mammals at Banwell seem to be the kinds of animals normally found today in cold regions. But they lived in Britain during a warm stage and seemed to be adapting to their new environment.

The team thinks the antecedents of these animals must have arrived in Britain when the climate was cold. But when conditions warmed up, sea levels rose and isolated Britain, marooning this cold-adapted fauna in a warm land.





THE HISTORY OF HUMANS AND OTHER ANIMALS IN BRITAIN



 (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42150000/gif/_42150626_human_occupation2_416x226.gif)
Major incursions were possible during periods of warmth
A number of important palaeo-sites mark the periods of influx
Extreme cold made Britain uninhabitable for thousands of years


Title: Re: ENGLAND
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 08:27:28 pm







                                          Lost world warning from North Sea 





By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education 
April 23, 2007




(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42836000/jpg/_42836795_prehistorichouse203.jpg)
 
How a homestead might have looked in the flooded area



Archaeologists are uncovering a huge prehistoric "lost country" hidden below the North Sea.



(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42836000/jpg/_42836827_map203.jpg)
This lost landscape, where hunter-gatherer communities once lived, was swallowed by rising water levels at the end of the last ice age.



University of Birmingham researchers are heralding "stunning" findings as they map the "best-preserved prehistoric landscape in Europe".

This large plain disappeared below the water more than 8,000 years ago.

The Birmingham researchers have been using oil exploration technology to build a map of the once-inhabited area that now lies below the North Sea - stretching from the east coast of Britain up to the Shetland Islands and across to Scandinavia.





'Terrifying'



"It's like finding another country," says Professor Vince Gaffney, chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics.

Prehistoric rivers, hills and valleys are mapped off the east coast

It also serves as a warning for the scale of impact that climate change can cause, he says.

Human communities would have lost their homelands as the rising water began to encroach upon the wide, low-lying plains.

"At times this change would have been insidious and slow - but at times, it could have been terrifyingly fast. It would have been very traumatic for these people," he says.

"It would be a mistake to think that these people were unsophisticated or without culture... they would have had names for the rivers and hills and spiritual associations - it would have been a catastrophic loss," says Professor Gaffney.

As the temperature rose and glaciers retreated and water levels rose, the inhabitants would have been pushed off their hunting grounds and forced towards higher land - including to what is now modern-day Britain.


(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42836000/jpg/_42836913_map300.jpg)
The rising water levels began to remake the coastline



"In 10,000 BC, hunter-gatherers were living on the land in the middle of the North Sea. By 6,000 BC, Britain was an island. The area we have mapped was wiped out in the space of 4,000 years," explains Professor Gaffney.

So far, the team has examined a 23,000-sq-km area of the sea bed - mapping out coastlines, rivers, hills, sandbanks and salt marshes as they would have appeared about 12,000 years ago.

And once the physical features have been established, Professor Gaffney says it will be possible to narrow the search for sites that could yield more evidence of how these prehistoric people lived.

These inhabitants would have lived in family groups in huts and hunted animals such as deer.

The mapping of this landscape could also raise questions about its preservation, says Professor Gaffney - and how it can be protected from activities such as pipe-laying and the building of wind farms.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6584011.stm


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehitory
Post by: Bianca on November 26, 2007, 08:38:53 pm
(http://www.iaa.bham.ac.uk/research/fieldwork_research_themes/projects/North_Sea_Palaeolandscapes/images/Europe.gif)
NORTH SEA PALAEOLANDSCAPES


http://www.iaa.bham.ac.uk/research/fieldwork_research_themes/projects/North_Sea_Palaeolandscapes/index.htm



Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on November 28, 2007, 11:20:31 am
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/417A7CAFXKL._SS500_.jpg)


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 07:45:10 pm










                            T H E   S E A R C H   F O R   T H E   F I R S T   B R I T O N S







The search for the first Britons  Cannibalism, climate change and interspecies copulation – the human history of the British Isles has it all. Professor Chris Stringer talks to Andrew Brackenbury about trying to unravel this extraordinary tale:

 

Holding his victim’s head in his left hand, the powerfully built man took hold of his stone knife and began to slice into the skin at the top of the skull. With each cut, flesh peeled from the bone, fresh blood dripped to the cave floor and the anticipation of the hungry crowd grew ever more intense…No, this isn’t a scene from a horror movie, it’s a reconstruction of an event that took place some 14,000 years ago in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset.

Evidence found there, including a skull fragment with cut marks on it and bones apparently broken for their marrow, suggests that early British Homo sapiens were, at least on occasion, fond of the meat of their own.But while there’s something darkly fascinating about the thought that our primitive ancestors may have indulged in cannibalism, it’s a mere subplot in an extraordinary new prehistory of Britain that has emerged in recent years thanks to the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project.

Born in 1999, the project gathered together 30 archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists and sent them on a quest to find Britain’s earliest inhabitants. Led by Professor Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum, the project represents the first time that such a collaborative investigation has been attempted.

The results have been astonishing,as revealed in Stringer’s book, Homo britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain. One find in particular captured the headlines – a collection of 700,000-year-old flint tools discovered at Pakefield in Suffolk. To the untrained eye, the flakes would be barely discernable from any other piece of flint, but the researchers are convinced that humans crafted them. “They have all the hallmarks of human workmanship,” Stringer explains. “When humans strike flint, they are very focused – they hit the flint in a particular way and leave marks that show they were doing this.” The tools may have been simple, but their significance was immense, adding some 200,000 years to the known occupation of Britain.

Before Pakefield,it was thought that conditions in Britain 700,000 years ago – in particular the shorter growing seasons and severe winter conditions – would have been too harsh for such primitive people. But, as Stringer says, “Pakefield broke the mould. It’s also the earliest good evidence of people in Northern Europe.”So how could such primitive people have survived here? Well, the Britain that emerged as the AHOB specialists sifted the evidence wasn’t quite the place they expected to find. The human occupation of Pakefield took place during a period known as an interglacial – the relatively warm patch between two ice ages.

But evidence from everything from fossilised beetles to isotope ratios in sediments suggested the climate was warmer than anything seen before. “The suggestion was of really hot summers and mild,wet winters – a Mediterranean climate,” Stringer says. “That’s unlike any of the later interglacials – they have a climate roughly similar to that of the present day.”This warm climate supported flora and fauna more akin to that of Africa than the East Anglian coast. Hippos swam in swampy rivers; elephants grazed on open grassland. Researchers have dubbed the region the Costa Del Cromer, and while it may be going too far to imagine primitive Europeans holidaying on the balmy Suffolk coastline, it does seem that humans were crossing what is now the English Channel at various times during our prehistory.  “During this period, there was a permanent land bridge between Britain and Europe,” Stringer explains. “At the time of Pakefield, the winters were mild, so people probably stayed here all year round.

Later on, however, the climate became more seasonal, and people may have left Britain during the winters by crossing the land bridge.”Because no human fossils were found at Pakefield, this land bridge holds the key to establishing just who these primitive Britons were. Rather than the island nation we know today, for most of the past million years, Britain was effectively a remote peninsula of Europe.

Hence, to find the earliest Britons, we need to look to our continental neighbours. “At sites in Italy and Spain, we have fossils of people from this time that have been assigned to a species known as Homo antecessor – Pioneer Man,” Stringer explains. So what do we know about these people? “Well, the remains we have of this group are fragmentary,” says Stringer, “but we do know that the brain size was smaller than the present day but bigger than earlier species such as H. erectus. The face was large and the teeth were larger than we find later on. If we could have seen these people, we would have had no doubt they were human beings – they walked on two legs, they would have looked basically human.”   


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 07:48:02 pm










Comings and goings



They may have looked human, but can we consider H. antecessor our ancestors? Well, not in a literal sense. As far as we know, they were the first British humans (although Stringer and his team are currently searching for evidence of older settlements), but if you are looking for an unbroken chain of habitation, the roots of the modern British people can only be traced back about 11,500 years – far later than those of our European neighbours or the native peoples of the Americas, Australia and Japan.“We knew that there were gaps, that the human inhabitation of Britain was episodic before the project began,” says Stringer, “but we wanted to test the evidence.

We now think that between 500,000 and 12,000 years ago, Britain was only inhabited by humans for around 20 per cent of the time.”Climate change seems to have been behind this episodic inhabitation. At Pakefield, H. antecessor’s stay probably lasted no more than 20,000 years before the returning ice drove them from our land for good. They were replaced by a species known as H. heidelbergensis – about 500,000 years ago they appeared to be flourishing at Boxgrove in Sussex, butchering horse, deer and rhino with beautifully carved hand axes.

Fifty thousand years later, they too had gone, driven away or to localised extinction by the onset of Britain’s worst ice age. This fate was shared by the early ancestors of the Neanderthals at Swanscombe, North Kent, about 380,000 years ago, and again by those who followed.Yet no matter how harsh conditions were, humans always found their way back.

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand why they bothered – even during the interglacial periods, the holiday-resort conditions of Pakefield were very much the exception.This was certainly the case for the Neanderthals who settled at Lynford in Norfolk some 60,000 years ago. There, along with mammoth bones and more than 40 beautifully carved flint hand axes, the AHOB team uncovered a very different environment.

Beetles again helped retell the story – more than 160 species were uncovered, including some now found only in Siberia. This was clearly a very cold climate: the researchers believe that temperatures rarely exceeded 13°C and would have dropped as low as –10°C in winter.Long caricatured as knuckle-grazing brutes, the Neanderthals have always had something of an image problem. Yet they were the dominant or only species of human in Europe for several hundred thousand years.

Clearly resourceful and adaptable, they were able to survive in a range of different climates and on a variety of diets.Like us, they buried their dead, a trait not seen in earlier humans. “To us, care of the dead is a very human characteristic,” says Stringer, “so the fact the Neanderthals were doing it indicates their ‘humanity’.”

The Neanderthals may have shared many traits with us, but researchers now believe that far from the ‘missing link’ they’ve often been portrayed as, they were actually the end of a completely separate evolutionary line.

Since the 1970s, Stringer has devoted much of his time to studying these people and their relationship with us. “The Neanderthals were too different to be our ancestors,” he begins. “During the ’70s, when I first looked at this, the general classification was that they were a specialised form of H. sapiens. I’m now convinced that they were a separate species.”


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 07:49:34 pm








Branch meeting



Around 35,000 years ago, as H. sapiens emerged from its African birthplace and spread around the globe, into Europe and then Britain, these two branches of the human evolutionary line may well have met.

However, evidence of such encounters, in Britain or elsewhere, remains sketchy. “We can’t place our dating evidence so precisely – we can’t say that they were in exactly the same place at the same time,” says Stringer. “But they undoubtedly overlapped in Europe for thousands of years, so they must have encountered each other. What would they have thought when they saw each other – would they have seen each other as friends, as enemies, as food? At this stage we just don’t know, and the interactions might have been different in different places, so there could have been warfare between groups, there could have been peaceful co-existence, even trading.”

Some believe that the relationship between the species may have been even closer. Features normally associated with Neanderthals were recently found in H. sapiens skeletons discovered in a cave in Romania, leading to claims the two may have interbred. Stringer believes that this was a possibility, arguing that although Neanderthals and humans were distinct enough to be considered a separate species, they were probably closely related enough to allow interbreeding.

So, were H. sapiens to blame for the extinction of the Neanderthals? It seems likely that it was more than coincidence that our arrival coincides with their decline, but the work of the AHOB team suggests that climate change could also have played a role. It has found that between 45,000 and 12,000 years ago, the European climate was highly unstable, with rapid and extreme shifts in and out of ice age conditions.

These shifts could even have occurred within the lifespan of a single generation, and would have put the Neanderthals under immense pressure. Yet they had proved themselves adaptable many times before, and Stringer argues that as the ice age approached and food became more scarce, the presence of competing groups of H. sapiens – with their more advanced tools, social structures and hunting techniques – was enough to push the Neanderthals over the edge.

For the first British H. sapiens, known as the Cro-Magnons, this unstable climate would also prove impossible to endure. Around 25,000 years ago, as an ice cap formed over most of the country, all traces of them disappear. As the ice advanced, people would have been forced to retreat to the milder climes of Southern Europe or die trying to hold on to their homeland.

As the climate warmed, they returned and flourished, but even after more than 10,000 years of continuous settlement, they succumbed to the climate once more.“Near the end of the last ice age – around 13,000 years ago – the Cro-Magnons vanished from Britain,” says Stringer. “South of the ice sheet, it would have been a polar desert, there would have been very little food. It’s extraordinary to think that climate change has driven our own species from Britain twice before.”

Only on their return, around 11,500 years ago, did the Cro-Magnons establish themselves to the extent that we can now trace an unbroken chain of human habitation of Britain. It’s these people who represent the earliest true ancestors of the modern British people.   


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 07:51:13 pm









Artistic streak



So what were the Cro-Magnons like? Well, anatomically they were essentially like us, but slightly larger bodied and larger brained. Their technology and society were far more advanced than anything seen before them.

Beautifully carved harpoons made of red deer antler and jewellery made of stone and amber dating from around 11,500 years ago have been found at Starr Carr in Scarborough. Even more remarkable was the discovery there of 21 masks made from deer skulls, originally thought to have been worn during hunts but now believed to be part of some kind of ritual.

At sites all over Eurasia, from Portugal to the Urals, the arrival of H. sapiens has been linked with an explosion in cave art. Until recently, however, early British H. sapiens was thought to have missed this early artistic flowering, their struggles with the environment held to have diminished their desire for self-expression.

But in collaborative research involving a member of the AHOB team, 90 possible engravings, including depictions of horse, bison, bear, birds and women, were found on the walls of Church Hole cave in Creswell Crags, Derbyshire. Other caves in the same region have also revealed art on their walls. These finds not only raise early British H. sapiens to the same artistic level as their peers elsewhere, but as the style of the images is similar to that of finds elsewhere in Europe from this time, it suggests that groups may have been linked via a land bridge where the North Sea is now located.

While these early British H. sapiens were relatively advanced, this was still a primitive world, as illustrated by the apparent evidence of cannibalism at Gough’s Cave. The skull fragment, found in 1987, clearly shows cut marks made as a stone knife was used to scalp it. As more human fossils emerged, the picture looked darker still. “I think the evidence of cannibalism here is very strong,” says Stringer. “It looks as if the butchery is for meat. They are cutting out the tongues, smashing the long bones open to get the marrow out – that makes it look as if this was done for nutritional purposes. Of course, these people may simply have been starving and someone died and they did this – in my view ‘crisis cannibalism’ such as this must have happened from time to time.

But it isn’t only the Cheddar site, there are others with similar evidence, so I think it was a more widespread activity, probably groups killing and eating each other.”As exciting as many of the AHOB researchers’ finds have been, one particular piece of the puzzle still eludes them. “It’s still my dream to find an early human fossil in Britain,” says Stringer. “But in Europe as a whole, human fossils are rare. There weren’t that many people around, and that isn’t surprising. Humans were carnivorous by this time, so they are at the top of the food chain.

There are always fewer carnivores than herbivores, and look at the competition, there were lots of very successful predators around – lions, sabre-toothed cats, several species of hyenas, wolves…” he pauses, laughing at the gravity of the situation facing our distant ancestors. “Humans, especially in the earlier stages, weren’t yet that successful – they were thin on the ground – in many ways you just have to admire them for surviving at all.”



http://www.geographical.co.uk/Features/Chris_stringer_-_Mar_2007.html


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 07:55:08 pm



Behold, I am Death, Destroyer of Worlds

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Posts: 124



                                             Putting the clock back 10,000 years




« on: February 02, 2008, 09:24:09 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Putting the clock back 10,000 years
02/02/2008 12:29:48 AM EST
WESTERN DAILY PRESS

Chock-full of famous Roman Baths, Celtic kings, Georgian crescents and Jane Austen, the history of Bath already ran to quite a weighty tome.

But archaeologists admitted yesterday that two new chapters would have to be written after amazing discoveries made while a new sewer was being dug.

At the very depths of the site of a new GBP350 million shopping centre in the heart of the ancient city, archaeologists found new evidence that extends the history of the city thousands of years further back.

The archaeologists found the first evidence of human activity near the banks of the River Avon dating back to 8,000BC, that's before any kind of recorded history and even before the idea of farming had reached the British Isles.

The first Bathonians were hunter- gatherers, following herds of deer and other game along the river valley, attracted by the hot springs and the plentiful fish in the River Avon.

And on the spot where people would later settle and use the hot springs, they made tools, fished and left scraps of archaeological evidence, according to Bath and North East Somerset archaeologist Richard Sermon.

"Previously, archaeological interest has been on the Roman and medieval times in Bath, but this has given us a glimpse right back into the very first people who would have come to what is now Bath," he said.

"The hunter-gatherers would have been attracted by the game here and the fishing, and possibly by the micro-environment caused by the hot springs. It takes the history of Bath right back to 8,000BC.

"It's not perhaps rewriting the history of Bath, but giving us a new chapter. It tells us that people came here that long ago. Flint tools and other items were found in the alluvial deposits." The archaeologists also found evidence that Alfred the Great viewed Bath as part of his chain of fortified towns right across southern England, as he built a line of defences against the Danes.

Back in 880, two years after Alfred returned from the Somerset marshes to defeat the Danes and push them out of Wessex, he ordered a chain of towns to have their defences beefed up. So such towns as Malmesbury and Cricklade in Wiltshire, and Barnstaple in Devon became effectively huge castles with defensive ramparts to repel any Viking invasion.

And while Bath's Dark Age history has remained elusive, Mr Sermon said the exciting evidence showed that Bath was part of his plans too.

"Here we have found evidence of a very early ditch which would have been defensive and crossed where Southgate Street later ran.

"It was actually found while work went on to construct a combine sewer outfall for the new shopping centre. We dated it and discovered it was late Saxon, which would match the defensive work in other places at the time of King Alfred," he added.

The evidence for new chapters in Bath's history has captured the imagination of 21st-century Bathonians. A lecture held last month in which the archaeologists revealed their findings, was so popular people had to be turned away.

So heritage bosses are holding a repeat on Monday, February 11, at 7pm in the Guildhall.



Copyright © 2008 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd, Source: The Financial Times Limited

http://www.hoovers.com/free/co/news/detail.xhtml?ID=10152&ArticleID=20080201670.4_a11d000c355487ac&source_type%5B%5D=n


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:01:17 pm








Golethia Pennington



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    Older than the pyramids, buried for centuries – found by an Orkney plumber
« on: March 20, 2008, 10:27:46 pm » Quote 

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                 Older than the pyramids, buried for centuries – found by an Orkney plumber






By Tristan Stewart-Robertson

A RARE piece of Neolithic art has been discovered on a beach in Orkney.

The 6,000-year-old relic, thought to be a fragment from a larger piece, was left exposed by storms which swept across the country last week.

Local plumber David Barnes, who found the stone on the beach in Sandwick Bay, South Ronaldsay, said circular markings had shown up in the late-afternoon winter sun, drawing his attention to the piece.

Archeologists last night heralded the discovery as a "once-in- 50-years event". But they warned that a search for other fragments in the area would be hampered by a lack of funds.

"At first, I just thought it was an interesting pattern from the erosion," said Mr Barnes, 44. "Then I knew it was fairly rare. It's a miracle I spotted it."

He said he realised the find could be significant after he read more about the local history of the area.

Archaeologists compared the discovery to the Westray Stone, a Neolithic carved stone discovered in 1981 during routine quarrying work.

It has been in Orkney Mus-eum for more than 25 years but is due to be returned to the area this week and exhibited in the new Westray Heritage Centre in Pierowall.

The Westray Stone was once part of a Neolithic chambered cairn which is thought to have been destroyed in prehistory. A second part, and two smaller carved pieces, were found the following spring in a dig led by Niall Sharples, of the University of Cardiff.

Mrs Julie Gibson, Orkney county archaeologist, said the latest discovery must be the result of erosion from recent storms, as the carved patterns would not have successfully survived so many thousands of years' exposure on soft sandstone.

She said: "This piece is really a once-in-50-years discovery. I was very pleased to find out David really had such a piece of Neolithic art. It's not something that happens every day.

"Natural stones always have patterns in them and quite often people mistake patterns for art. It was surprising David was able to see this on the beach.

"The stone is perhaps from a chambered tomb and could be as old as 5,000 or 6,000 years, and would have possibly been used as a ceremonial, sacred object. This is art made in the same style as art from the Newgrange stone tomb in Ireland or tombs in Brittany. It's part of this Neolithic world linked by the Irish Sea."

The world heritage site at Newgrange in County Meath is estimated to be 600 years older than the Giza pyramids in Egypt.

The concentric circles in the latest find indicated "something special", said Mrs Gibson.

She added that the Sandwick Bay beach now warranted more investigation but she feared that would be constrained by a lack of resources.

She said: "The budget for 'rescue' archaeology has been flat-lined since Margaret Thatcher's time, and it's gone down since then by £200,000 a year, down to £1.5 million in Scotland each year for all rescue archaeology.

"We would like to do more, but the chances are pretty slim."

The stone will now be passed to Orkney Museum and brought to the attention of the Queen and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer to determine if it is a treasure trove or not. Ancient objects without an owner are automatically property of the Crown.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:03:41 pm








Golethia Pennington
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Posts: 145



    Re: Older than the pyramids, buried for centuries – found by an Orkney plumber
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 10:28:47 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



But Mrs Gibson added: "An object like this becomes the property of everyone."





                                 TREASURES FIND THEIR WAY TO THE CROWN






ALL historical finds – whether made by chance, fieldwalking, metal detector or archaeological excavation – are subject to the laws of Treasure Trove in Scotland.

The objects become the property of the Crown and may be claimed as treasure trove, and must be reported so they can be assessed.

The Queen and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer is the Crown Office employee responsible for claiming objects for the Crown under the law of Treasure Trove.

The role of the QLTR also includes deciding on the allocation of objects to museums and the payment of rewards to finders.

The Crown Office, on behalf of the Scottish Government, is given the first chance to claim the object for the overall benefit of the nation. Small museums, including Orkney Museum, can also bid for the found objects to stay in the area where they were found.

Finds not claimed by the Crown are returned to the finder along with an individually numbered certificate stating that the Crown is not exercising its right to claim.



The full article contains 767 words and appears in
The Scotsman newspaper.
Last Updated:
17 March 2008 12:04 AM



http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Older-than-the-pyramids-buried.3883464.jp


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:12:32 pm








Nikkohl Gallant
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Posts: 55



    6000-Year-Old Trade Link Between Clare & Cumbria Identified
« on: May 22, 2008, 12:17:42 am » Quote 

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                            6000-Year-Old Trade Link Between Clare & Cumbria Identified
 





2008-05-20 10:20:32 -
Tuesday, 20 May 2008

- Clare Museum and the Irish Stone Axe Project (ISAP) at University College Dublin have uncovered evidence of a 6000-year-old trade link between Ireland and Great Britain.


A stone axe uncovered in Doolin, County Clare in 2000 was this week confirmed as having likely originated in the Great Langdale and Scafell areas of Cumbria.

According to John Rattigan, Curator of Clare Museum, 'The linking of this stone axe with Cumbria suggests there was contact between Neolithic people in Ireland and in mainland Great Britain.'

The Neolithic or ‘New Stone
Age' (4000-2500BC) is generally regarded as the period in which Ireland became a predominantly agricultural-based society.

As well as being the first Irish farmers, the people of this period were the creators of field systems and the builders of great tombs such as those found in the Burren in County Clare. Tools, usually in the form of stone axes, were used to clear great tracts of oak and elm woodland, which covered most of the country.

'Studies on the finely polished implement have found that it is different to the typical dark grey shale axes produced at a site close to the cobble beach at Doolin. More significantly, petrological analysis indicates that the pale green axe was of a type of stone known as tuff, which is typical of the tools produced in Cumbria. This discovery reinforces suggestions that trade links existed between the west of Ireland and western Britain during the Neolithic era', stated Mr. Rattigan.

The stone axe will be on display at Clare Museum in Ennis from tomorrow (Tuesday May 20). Also included for display will be a recently conserved bronze axehead acquired by the museum in 2004.

Mr. Rattigan explained, 'This socketed and looped axehead was discovered at Knockliscrane in Kilmurry-Ibrickane, County Clare. Although badly damaged by time and weathering the metal has been conserved and stabilised, thus ensuring its survival into the future.'

Clare Museum acquired a collection of archaeological objects from Doolin townland in North Clare in 2000.

As a designated museum under the National Monuments Act the museum was legally entitled to retain these objects on behalf of the state. Wishing to know a bit more about the axes in its care and wanting to contribute to a national study, the implements were sent to Irish Stone Axe Project (ISAP) at UCD in Dublin for analysis in November 2007.

The aim of the ISAP is to establish a database of all known Irish stone axes and analyse the data to enhance knowledge of the different types, roles and significance of stone axes in Ireland.

-ENDS-



Notes to Editor:

- Mr. John Rattigan (087-2065404) is available for interview and further comment.
- High-resolution images of the artefacts are available on request. Please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy PR on

086-8534900 or media@dunphypr.com



- Clare Museum is located in a restored former convent built by the Sisters of Mercy congregation in 1861. The museum exhibition 'The Riches of Clare: its people, place and treasures' occupies two galleries and incorporates the traditional method of displaying original artefacts from the county with modern interpretive tools such as colourful display panels, audio visual and computer interactive presentations, models, some replicas and commissioned art pieces. The collection comprises a large display of archaeological material of local provenance on loan from the National Museum of Ireland, the De Valera Museum collection transferred from the Clare County Library, and locally collected artefacts never seen before in public.



http://www.pr-inside.com/year-old-trade-link-between-clare-r598088.htm


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:17:22 pm








Courtney Caine
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    Archaeologists piece together prehistoric Mann
« on: July 01, 2008, 03:25:20 am » Quote 

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                                     Archaeologists piece together prehistoric Mann







Video
Watch footage from the site and an interview with Manx National Heritage head of professional services Andrew Foxon RONALDSWAY DIG: Given the likelihood of new finds being made, experts from Oxford Archaeology were drafted in from the outset and were there to see the first finds being unearthed

« Previous « PreviousNext » Next »View GalleryADVERTISEMENTPublished Date:
 


30 June 2008
By ADRIAN DARBYSHIRE

AS aircraft soar into the sky, a team of archaeologists are busy piecing together the lives of prehistoric Mann.
The contrast between the new and the very, very old could not be greater.

Within hours of work starting on the multi-million runway extension project, Ronaldsway was beginning to reveal fascinating and remarkably well preserved evidence of human habitation that had remained unearthed for 5,000 years.

As heavy machinery scrapped away the top soil, a human skull was found in a cairn hidden just beneath the surface. A second skull was later discovered in the same cairn.

Nearby a series of circular constructions were uncovered with charred earth showing evidence of cremation.

>> Click here to view photo slideshow
>> All pictures available to view and buy at photostoday.co.uk

The discoveries, described as being of British and possibly European significance, were not unexpected as Manx National Heritage's head of professional services Andrew Foxon explained.

He said: 'We know Ronaldsway is one of the most significant archaeological areas in the Island. Finds from the earliest settlements have been found there.

'When the airport was built in the 1940s remains of a Neolithic house and an Iron Age village were found. We provided the Department of Transport with advice on what might be there and how best to cope with it. The information proved right and there is significant archaeology there.'

MNH had been involved right from the very beginning of the project, ensuring the scheme was designed to reduce collateral damage to archaeology by reducing the number of equipment compounds, for example.

Given the likelihood of new finds being made, experts from Oxford Archaeology were drafted in from the outset and were there to see the first finds being unearthed.

Pointing to fragments of prehistoric pottery in what appears to be a Neolithic building, archaeologist Julian Thorley said: 'It's amazing archaeology - absolutely extraordinary. No excavations I've done before could compare to this.'

MNH field archaeologist Andrew Johnson said the skulls had now been removed from the site: 'Human remains are human remains, it doesn't matter how old they are - you need to treat them with as much respect as possible under the circumstances.'

He said the remains of habitation were well preserved.

'There is very very little damage,' he said. 'In some way this site has been protected by the fact that it's not farmland. The only ploughing there has been here was by horse plough which can't plough any more than six inches.'

The finds were unearthed on a 60-metre stretch of a proposed taxiway extension in the north east of the airfield. So far the discoveries have not delayed work on the runway scheme.

But the field archaeologists believe they are working on just a small sample of a much-wider settlement and there is a chance that further finds will be uncovered.

Mr Johnson said the team were working to a time limit and were expecting to be off the site by mid to late July to ensure the project was not held up.

Artefacts removed from the site are expected to go on display at the Manx Museum, Douglas, but it is hoped that a display could be arranged in the atrium at the airport.

The remaining archaeology with everything of interest removed will then be buried again for many hundreds more years to come.

Transport Minister David Anderson said a contingency fund in excess of £100,000 had been included in the capital budget for the scheme to cover the possibility of archaeological discoveries.



The full article contains 600 words and appears in n/a newspaper.Page 1 of 1

Last Updated: 30 June 2008 12:15 PM
Source: n/a
Location: Isle of Man



http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/Archaeologists-piece-together-prehistoric-Mann.4235659.jp


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:29:37 pm









                     Prehistoric child is discovered buried with 'toy hedgehog' at Stonehenge






By Daily Mail Reporter
10th October 2008

This toy hedgehog, found in a child's grave at Stonehenge, is proof of what we have always known - children have always loved to play.

The chalk figurine was probably a favourite possession of the three year old, and placed next to the child when they died in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, around 3,000 years ago.



(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/10/10/article-1073210-02F3149D00000578-890_468x286.jpg)

 Can you guess what it is yet?
This carved toy hedgehog was found
by archaeologists digging near Stonehenge


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:31:12 pm



              (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/10/10/article-1073210-02F3129400000578-61_468x286.jpg)








Archaeologists who discovered the grave, where the child was laying on his or her side, believe the toy - perhaps placed there by a doting father - is the earliest known depiction of a hedgehog in British history.
The diggers were working to the west of Stonehenge in what is known as the Palisade Ditch when they made the remarkable discovery last month in the top of the pit in which the child was buried.
Archaeologist Dennis Price said: 'It is not difficult to envisage the raw emotion and harrowing grief that would have accompanied the death of this child.

'Amid the aura of gloom that surrounds Stonehenge, it comes as a beam of light to find a child's toy lovingly placed with the tiny corpse to keep him or her company through eternity.

'I'm not aware of hedgehogs having any significance in pagan tradition so the discovery must rank as yet another unique and baffling aspect of one of the most famous and instantly recognisable prehistoric monuments on Earth. To my mind, the hedgehog possesses a real charm and an innocent beauty. '


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:33:03 pm



              (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/10/10/article-1073210-02F313A200000578-704_468x286.jpg)

               Burial ground: The toy hedgehog was dug up here





Dr Joshua Pollard, of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, said: 'Representational art from this period is very rare and so far as I'm aware, if the identification is correct, it's the only known prehistoric depiction of a hedgehog from Britain.'

Fay Vass, of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said: 'We are very excited to hear about this find. It shows humans have taken hedgehogs to their hearts for a very long time.'


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:35:50 pm
(http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/images/081021-stonehenge-toy_big.jpg)








                                  Britain's Oldest Toy Found Buried with Stonehenge Baby?






James Owen in London
for National Geographic News
October 21, 2008

A carved animal figurine found buried alongside a prehistoric baby at Stonehenge may represent Britain's earliest known toy, researchers say.

The unique chalk relic of a hedgehog or pig, thought to be at least 2,000 years old, was unearthed in September near the stone monument on southern England's Salisbury Plain.

"Whether it's a hedgehog or a pig you can argue about, but I like the hedgehog idea myself," said the dig's co-leader, Joshua Pollard of the University of Bristol.

The Bronze Age figurine was likely made as a toy or in memory of the baby being stillborn or dying in infancy, the archaeologist said.

The discovery was made during the Stonehenge Riverside Project, a seven-year archaeological investigation of the Stonehenge area supported by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

The burial was uncovered during the excavation of an ancient palisade—or timber wall—and ditch, the latter of which is thought to have stretched eastward from the megalithic circle.

Archaeologists have speculated that the estimated 6-meter-tall (19.5-foot-tall) timber structure served as a boundary fence to Stonehenge.

"We thought it might be related to the stone [portions] of the monument, but in fact it turned out to be a much later feature," Pollard said.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:37:32 pm








Very Rare Find



Evidence of toys during this period in British history is "extremely scant," Pollard said.

"In fact, it's very rare to find any kind of representational art in British prehistory—almost to the extent where you get the impression there's a bit of a taboo on making images of animals or people."

The young child's grave, tentatively dated to between 800 B.C. to 20 B.C., included a pottery vessel, which may have contained food intended for the child's journey to the afterlife, the team said.

The excavation of the palisade also revealed the body of a second infant and the skeleton of a sheep or goat.

A pile of stones had been placed over the animal's head, indicating a sacrificial burial, Pollard said.

While it's possible the two infants were human sacrifices, more than likely they died naturally, he said.

"You're dealing with a period when infant mortality was very high, so there would have been a lot of natural death," Pollard added.

The newfound artifact "is, as far as we know, without parallel," according to Stonehenge expert Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology magazine.

Pitts agrees that it appears to have been "made for a child as a personal toy."

However he strongly disagrees with those who say it depicts a hedgehog.

"I would say it's without doubt a pig," said Pitts, who noted that both domestic and wild pigs were widespread in the region at the time.

Later, from the start of the Iron Age in 1200 B.C., animal figurines become relatively commonplace, Pitts added.

"And once we get into historical times, we know the pig is quite important in Celtic mythology, though not—to my knowledge—hedgehogs," he said.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:39:19 pm









Stonehenge Fence?



Initial results indicate the palisade—of which only a short timber section was found—was constructed 1,000 to 1,500 years after Stonehenge's famed stone circle. An older ditch appears to form part of a longer boundary system that runs for about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers), dig co-leader Pollard said.

The new findings hint that Stonehenge was still in use as a religious site until much later than previously suspected.

"The monument is in a reserved part of the landscape that was probably being regarded with a degree of veneration or significance," Pollard said.

(Related: "Stonehenge Partiers Came From Afar, Cattle Teeth Show" [September 12, 2008].)

"It's telling us something about the attitude of later communities to the presence of what by that stage would have been quite an ancient monument," he added.

But Pitts of British Archaeology said that the new dating evidence suggests the palisade and ditch may have little connection to Stonehenge.

"It may actually have more to do with a network of new land-boundary divisions that spread across Salisbury Plain, in common with much of southern England in the Bronze Age after Stonehenge was going out of active use," Pitts said.

People and animals were often buried in such ditches, he said.

"For example, we have a number of curious burials of cattle and horse heads and parts like that in ditches elsewhere on Salisbury Plain. It may be part of the way in which boundaries are marked as land is being parceled up into different units." 


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:44:37 pm
(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/12/07/article-0-02BA9E7A000005DC-295_468x302.jpg)








                 Stone Age string: Unearthed, the twine that was twisted into shape 8,000 years ago






By Neil Sears
7th December 2008
MailOnLine.uk


How old is a piece of string? In this case, 8,000 years  -  making it the oldest length of string ever found in Britain.

Our ancestors made it by twisting together what seem to be fibres of honeysuckle, nettles, or wild clematis, and used it in their struggle for survival as the last ice age ended.

This early piece of technology, measuring about 41/2in must have been a revolutionary advance at the time, useful for binding together weapons or tools.


It has only survived thanks to the huge floods that followed the melting of the ice caps that once covered much of Britain.

It was discovered by archaeologists examining an undersea site 200 yards off the coast of the Isle of Wight, some 30 feet below sea level.
The experts say that 8,000 years ago, in the Stone Age, hunter gatherers had a camp there. They believe the string was found in the remains of what could be Britain's oldest boat yard.

When the glaciers melted, however, the whole area was inundated as sea levels rose  -  a scenario repeated in coastal areas across the globe, providing, some claim, the source of the Noah's Ark story.

This underwater dig was carried out by the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology, led by Gary Momber.

The prehistoric village  -  wooden remains of which were seen by chance by divers  -  seems to have been close to where the Solent estuary once was.

Divers cut blocks of sediment from the sea bed and brought them to the surface for analysis. Preserved within one was the string.

The results of the underwater dig have now been published in British Archaeology magazine.

Editor Mike Pitts said of the string: 'It is a fantastic find. I don't think the average person realises what an important piece of technology string has been over the ages.'

Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology expert Jan Gillespie said: 'The string was found with wooden planks and stakes and some pits containing burnt flint.
We believe they may have been heated up to help work timber into boats.

'This inundation followed the retreat of glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. It is a fascinating time in our pre-history.'


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:52:12 pm



              (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45334000/jpg/_45334755_bones3.jpg)

              The remains are being taken
              back to Oxford to be examined








                                                   Ancient burial ground uncovered 
 





BBC NEWS
Dec. 30, 2008

More than a dozen skeletons thought to be thousands of years old, have been found by Oxford archaeologists working at an ancient burial site in Dorset.

Excavations are taking place at the site in Weymouth before builders move in to build an access road to the Olympic sailing centre for 2012.

Archaeologist David Score said they had catalogued finds from almost every period of human life.

He said it "really added to knowledge of the Bronze and Neolithic eras".

"Building the relief road has given archaeologists an excuse to excavate and record finds dating back thousands of years," Mr Score said.

"I think it is very important because it's not very often that you get the opportunity to excavate an area of this size, in a location of such importance with so many burials from a wide span of time.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:54:51 pm


              (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45334000/jpg/_45334755_bones3.jpg)

              The remains are being taken
              back to Oxford to be examined








                                                   Ancient burial ground uncovered 
 





BBC NEWS
Dec. 30, 2008

More than a dozen skeletons thought to be thousands of years old, have been found by Oxford archaeologists working at an ancient burial site in Dorset.

Excavations are taking place at the site in Weymouth before builders move in to build an access road to the Olympic sailing centre for 2012.

Archaeologist David Score said they had catalogued finds from almost every period of human life.

He said it "really added to knowledge of the Bronze and Neolithic eras".

"Building the relief road has given archaeologists an excuse to excavate and record finds dating back thousands of years," Mr Score said.

"I think it is very important because it's not very often that you get the opportunity to excavate an area of this size, in a location of such importance with so many burials from a wide span of time.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:56:07 pm









                                         Why Did Ancient Britons Stop Eating Fish?







John Roach
for National Geographic News
September 24, 2003

When cattle, sheep, pigs, and wheat arrived on the shores of Great Britain about 5,000 years ago, fish quickly fell off the Neolithic menu, according to an analysis of human bones scattered throughout the island.

The research helps resolve a debate over whether the adoption of domesticated plants and animals introduced to Great Britain from the European mainland was a gradual or rapid process, said Michael Richards, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford in England.

"The traditional archaeological evidence is somewhat ambiguous, hence the debate," he said.

By 4000 B.C. the archaeological record shows that pottery and large stone-built tombs and domesticated plants and animals were present in Great Britain, but it is not clear whether they replaced the marine-based hunter-gatherer lifestyle quickly or piecemeal over several hundred years.

Mark Copley, a chemist at the University of Bristol in England who studies the Neolithic diet by analyzing residues left on shards of ancient pottery, said understanding how quickly diet changed in England provides insight to what happened to the people who lived in Great Britain during the Mesolithic (9,000 to 5,200 years ago). The ensuing Neolithic period (5,200 to 4,500 years ago) is the last phase of the Stone Age.

"Farming really took off in Britain during the Neolithic. The main questions concerning the speed of change relates to how quickly Mesolithic peoples adapted—or otherwise—to the new farming methods and/or the spread of farming into Britain by new farming communities," he said.

The research by Richards and colleagues Rick Schulting at Queen's University Belfast and Robert Hedges at the University of Oxford tracks the shift in diet by examining the dietary signature stored in the bones.

They find that the shift was rapid and complete at the onset of the Neolithic. "Marine foods, for whatever reason, seem to have been comprehensively abandoned," the researchers conclude in the September 25 issue of the journal Nature.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 08:57:56 pm








You Are What You Eat



As the maxim "you are what you eat" goes, our bones and bodily tissues are made up of elements taken from the food we consume. As a result, our bones and bodily tissues contain a record of the food we have eaten over the course of our lives.

When we die, our skin usually decomposes, leaving behind bones. By examining the elements in the bones of a person long dead, researchers can determine the main constituents of that individual's diet.

Richards and colleagues looked at the dietary signatures left behind in bones of inland and coastal-dwelling inhabitants of Britain during the Neolithic and the preceding 3,800 years (Mesolithic) to determine what they ate.

Specifically, the team looked at the ratios of stable carbon isotopes. Marine foods and land-based foods have distinct stable carbon isotope signatures, said Richards.

"We determined that after the introduction of domesticates, as well as the other artifacts associated with the Neolithic, the isotope values showed that marine foods were not used anymore," he said. "We then infer that this is a switch from wild foods such as fish and shellfish to the new domesticates that arrive at this time."

While the bone analysis alone does not directly say the shift was from seafood to domesticates, it coincides with their arrival. Richards and colleagues say this suggests that the arrival of the new farming lifestyle must have been very attractive, even to coastal dwellers who had a well-established marine economy in the Mesolithic. 


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on January 18, 2009, 09:04:30 pm









Changing Diet



Richards said there are three plausible reasons why the British abandoned seafood from the beginning of the Neolithic: the domesticated plants and animals presented a steady source of food; the shift was forced by a climate change; or cultural pressure.

Of those, Richards said a climate change is the least likely since there were several climate changes during the Mesolithic yet marine foods continued to be used.

"The previous hunting-fishing-gathering way of life was extremely successful for humans—it is the main way we have obtained food for most of our existence—so it seems strange that we would give this up so readily to start farming and stock-keeping within a generation or two," said Richards.

According to Copley, this research highlights how advantageous the Neolithic diet of farm animals, dairy products, and cereals must have been. For example, he said, it allowed populations to boom and larger, more complex societies to emerge.

"Of course, it poses more questions," he said. "For example, are marine foods still consumed during the Neolithic but in much lower abundances? And why is there this very quick shift in diets?"

The carbon isotope signatures are not sensitive enough to rule out the possibility that the British had an occasional fish fillet at dinner, but it clearly shows a shift from a high-level of marine food consumption in the Mesolithic, said Richards.

Fish once again became an important force in the British diet when the Romans invaded Great Britain during the first century A.D., but even then it was likely seldom eaten and only then by the upper classes.

"In the medieval and later periods we see much more use of fish, but in Britain we never see the levels of fish consumption seen in the Mesolithic period," said Richards.

Fish and chips, the world-famous British dish, became popular in the 19th century. The battering and deep frying of the fish killed off bacteria and kept it warm for long periods of time to feed mill workers, said Richards. 


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 07, 2009, 08:31:21 am










                                             Lost world warning from North Sea 






By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education 
Apr. 23, 2007


(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42836000/jpg/_42836795_prehistorichouse203.jpg)
 
How a homestead might have
looked in the flooded area


Archaeologists are uncovering a huge prehistoric "lost country" hidden below the North Sea.

This lost landscape, where hunter-gatherer communities once lived, was swallowed by rising water levels at the end of the last ice age.

University of Birmingham researchers are heralding "stunning" findings as they map the "best-preserved prehistoric landscape in Europe".

This large plain disappeared below the water more than 8,000 years ago.

The Birmingham researchers have been using oil exploration technology to build a map of the once-inhabited area that now lies below the North Sea - stretching from the east coast of Britain up to the Shetland Islands and across to Scandinavia.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 07, 2009, 08:35:07 am










'Terrifying'



"It's like finding another country," says Professor Vince Gaffney, chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics.

 
(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42836000/jpg/_42836827_map203.jpg)

Prehistoric rivers, hills and valleys
are mapped off the east coast


It also serves as a warning for the scale of impact that climate change can cause, he says.

Human communities would have lost their homelands as the rising water began to encroach upon the wide, low-lying plains.

"At times this change would have been insidious and slow - but at times, it could have been terrifyingly fast. It would have been very traumatic for these people," he says.

"It would be a mistake to think that these people were unsophisticated or without culture... they would have had names for the rivers and hills and spiritual associations - it would have been a catastrophic loss," says Professor Gaffney.

As the temperature rose and glaciers retreated and water levels rose, the inhabitants would have been pushed off their hunting grounds and forced towards higher land - including to what is now modern-day Britain.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 07, 2009, 08:38:32 am



              (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42836000/jpg/_42836913_map300.jpg)

               The rising water levels began
               to remake the coastline







"In 10,000 BC, hunter-gatherers were living on the land in the middle of the North Sea. By 6,000 BC, Britain was an island. The area we have mapped was wiped out in the space of 4,000 years," explains Professor Gaffney.

So far, the team has examined a 23,000-sq-km area of the sea bed - mapping out coastlines, rivers, hills, sandbanks and salt marshes as they would have appeared about 12,000 years ago.

And once the physical features have been established, Professor Gaffney says it will be possible to narrow the search for sites that could yield more evidence of how these prehistoric people lived.

These inhabitants would have lived in family groups in huts and hunted animals such as deer.

The mapping of this landscape could also raise questions about its preservation, says Professor Gaffney - and how it can be protected from activities such as pipe-laying and the building of wind farms.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 07, 2009, 08:45:42 am









                           North Sea yields secrets of early man's happy hunting ground






Ian Sample,
Science Correspondent
The Guardian,
Tuesday 24 April 2007

A lost landscape where early humans roamed more than 12,000 years ago has been uncovered beneath the North Sea. A map of the underwater world reveals criss-crossing rivers, giant lakes and gentle hills around which hunter-gatherers made their homes and found their meals toward the end of the last ice age.

The region was inundated between 18000 and 6000BC, when the warming climate melted the thick glaciers that pressed down from the north.

As the waters rose the great plain vanished, and slowly the contours of the British Isles and the north-west European coastline were established. Now the primitive landscape is submerged and preserved, tens of metres beneath one of the busiest seas in the world.

Scientists compiled 3D seismic records from oil-prospecting vessels working in the North Sea over 18 months to piece together a landscape covering 23,000 sq km, stretching from the coast of East Anglia to the edge of northern Europe. They identified the scars left by ancient river beds and lakes, some 25km (15mls) across, and salt marshes and valleys.

"Some of this land would have made the perfect environment for hunter gatherers. There is higher land where they could have built their homes and hills they could see their prey from," said Vince Gaffney, director of Birmingham University's Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, who lead the project with Ken Thomson, a geologist.

The recreation of the ancient landscape shows that the land beneath the North Sea was probably more than merely a land bridge. People moving north into Europe as the worst extremes of the ice age receded could have lived comfortably on the land, with what is now Britain marginalised and distant.

"People think this was a land bridge across which people roamed to get to Britain, but the truth is very different. The places you wanted to live were the big plains next to the water and the coastline was way beyond where it is now. This was probably a heartland of population at the time," Prof Gaffney said. "This completely transforms how we understand the early history of north-western Europe."

The northernmost point of the map falls just short of the south coast of Norway, where rising water levels swamped the land around 18,000BC.

"This is the best preserved prehistoric landscape, certainly in the whole of Europe and possibly the world," said Prof Gaffney.


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on February 07, 2009, 09:10:36 am




                       (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/59/Doggerbank.jpg/458px-Doggerbank.jpg)


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on April 13, 2009, 07:47:41 am








                                         Airport dig unearths 1500 BC settlement





By Nigel Baudains
The Guernsey Press
March 30, 2009


(http://www.thisisguernsey.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/0749133.jpg)

The area highlighted shows the fields by La Route de Plaisance and La Rue de la Mare bought by the States for £135,000 last year and where the discovery was made. (0749133)


EVIDENCE of a prehistoric settlement has been discovered in fields that could be used for an airport runway extension.

Archaeologists working for the Public Services Department have uncovered signs of life in St Peter’s some 3,500 years ago on land at the west end of the current landing strip.

‘We don’t tend to find archaeology of where people lived - we only seem to get the places where the dead were buried with dolmens and suchlike,’ said States archaeology officer Phil de Jersey.

‘There was certainly late Bronze Age occupation here from 1500 BC to 1000 BC with pottery and flints present from the remains of the structures, postholes, and at least one ditch where there had been a lot of burning, for some reason.’

There was also a scattering of medieval pottery. However, there was no real evidence of structures, which might show the area had been farmed.

The States bought the fields, which are bordered by La Route de Plaisance and La Rue de la Mare, last year for £135,000.

An option under consideration for upgrading the airport runway is to extend it into them.

Article posted on 30th March, 2009 - 3.30pm


Title: Re: ENGLAND - Prehistory
Post by: Bianca on April 13, 2009, 07:50:46 am








                                                  Rare Iron Age bowls unearthed






Mar 19 2009
WalesOnline


Rare Iron Age artefacts buried as part of a religious offering have been unearthed by an amateur treasure hunter.

Two bronze bowls and a bronze wine strainer, described by an expert as of “great importance for the UK,” were found by Craig Mills in his home city of Newport, South Wales.

The 35-year-old security guard came across the items in the Langstone area in December 2007, only nine months after he took up metal detecting.

It is believed the objects were used by ancestors for eating or drinking and were deliberately buried intact as a religious offering.

The items are believed to have been made around AD 25-60 and were buried at the time of the Roman army’s campaign against the Iron Age Silures tribe of South Wales, between AD 47 and 75.

The two near-complete bowls have rounded bases, carefully formed rims and decorated fittings with rings for hanging them up and the strainer has a rounded bowl-shaped body with a wide, flat rim and a similar suspension ring.

The decoration on all the vessels is of the late Celtic or La Tene style of the late Iron Age.

Adam Gwilt, curator of the Iron Age Collections at the National Museum of Wales, said: “This discovery is of great importance for Wales and the UK. Similar bowls have been found in western and southern Britain, but few find-spots have been carefully and recently investigated by archaeologists.

“It seems these valued and whole containers were carefully buried at the edge of an ancient bog or lake, as part of a ritual offering.

“We are looking forward to researching and investigating further during 2009, in order to reveal the full story of how these impressive decorated pieces were made, used and buried.”

Mr Mills said: “I didn’t realise how significant it was and I didn’t have a clue how old they were.

“I was detecting for nine months before that and I have found nothing like it.”

The items were declared treasure by Gwent coroner David Bowen under the Treasure Act of 1996.

It is hoped the bowls and wine strainer will be displayed at the National Museum of Wales in 2010 in the Origins: In Search of Early Wales gallery.