Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Later Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Friday, 27 July 2018


Archaeologists were hoping to find the first hermitage built in Cacela Velha, in Algarve, after the Christian conquest, but the remains that were unearthed in the area belonged instead to a medieval Christian necropolis and to an earlier Islamic settlement.

Cristina Garcia, from the Regional Direction of Culture (DRC) of Algarve, explains that the work is a continuation of the excavations undertaken in 1998 and 2001, in which the remains of what was thought to be the hermitage were detected, but it soon became apparent that the existing walls were, in fact, part of an Islamic bath abandoned by the Arabs before the Christian conquest and that they were later covered by a medieval Christian necropolis.

"Because the walls appeared to lie above the Christian necropolis, it was thought that they belonged to the hermitage, but only more burials of the medieval Christian cemetery were found, which had been used until the 15th or 16th century, and now we need to determine what the precise boundaries of this cemetery are", says Cristina Garcia.

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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Old Theban port of Chalcis: A medieval maritime crossroads in Greece

Medieval ceramic article from Chalcis typical of main Middle Byzantine Production (MBP), 
in the collection of the Musée National de Céramique and the Manufacture de Sèvres 
(Cité de la Céramique) [Credit: S. Y. Waksman]

Showcased in museums the world over, Byzantine ceramics are the vestiges of an ancient empire that dominated the Mediterranean region for nearly ten centuries. One CNRS researcher, in cooperation with Greek colleagues, has focused her attention on a widely disseminated style of ceramics called the “main Middle Byzantine Production,” found in all four corners of the Mediterranean. Its origins had remained a mystery until these scientists traced it back to Chalcis (Khalkís), the former port of Thebes. They determined that the town had been a maritime hub from which goods were shipped to Marseille, Acre (in modern-day Israel), and beyond—as far as Chersonesus in Crimea. The team's findings have just been published online by the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

In the 12th century, the Byzantine Empire was flourishing and the city of Thebes--between Corinth and Athens--was a bustling center of commercial and cultural exchange. Its outlet to the sea was the port of Chalcis, part of a vast maritime trade network. In addition to agricultural products and silk, ceramic tableware was shipped from Chalcis throughout the Mediterranean. Most of this tableware has been assigned to the main Middle Byzantine Production (MBP) ceramic type.

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New DNA sample could prove whether Richard III was guilty of murdering the 'Princes in the Tower'


New scientific research could finally solve one of Britain’s most controversial historical mysteries.

Geneticists have succeeded in obtaining a sample of DNA that could ultimately prove whether the medieval English King Richard III was guilty or innocent of murdering the two children of his predecessor, Edward IV – the so-called Princes in the Tower.

The discovery of the crucial modern DNA is revealed in a new book, The Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, published this week.

Richard III – whose skeleton was discovered in Leicester just six years ago and whose identity was confirmed through DNA testing, was portrayed as a villain by Shakespeare and the Tudors.

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Polish archaeologists discover medieval graves in Sicily


Polish archaeologists discovered over 800 years old burials during excavations near the medieval church of San Michele del Golfo near Palermo in Sicily. According to the scientists, the graves could belong to the Normans, descendants of the Vikings.

"Some of the dead buried in the cemetery were undoubtedly members of the elites or the clergy, as the form of some of the graves indicates" - says head of excavations Prof. Sławomir Moździoch from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wroclaw.

This year, archaeologists found a total of 10 burials, including three graves of women and two graves of children. The remaining skeletons were difficult to identify. According to the discoverers, the cemetery was associated with the church hospital mentioned in a document from the 12th century. Unfortunately, no equipment was found in any of the graves.

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Archäologen entdecken mittelalterliche Steinarchitektur im Zentrum von Minden


Bei aktuellen Ausgrabungen im Zentrum von Minden haben Archäologen unter Leitung des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) die Mauern nobler Bürgerhäuser aus dem Mittelalter entdeckt. Wo ein Fundamentgraben für den Neubau entstehen sollte, stieß der Bagger unerwartet auf mittelalterliche Häuser. Dank der Umsicht der Mindener Denkmalbehörde untersuchen nun Wissenschaftler diese Gebäudereste.

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Thursday, 26 April 2018

12th century castle moat unearthed during Newark sewer work

The moat uncovered during work by Severn Trent in Newark

A 12th century castle moat has been unearthed during work on a £60m project on Newark's serwers.

Archaeologists working as part of Severn Trent’s water and waste improvement scheme in the town made the discovery recently.

Severn Trent Programme Engineer Nick Wallace said: ‘It’s really exciting we’ve been able to reveal these glimpses of Newark’s hidden heritage during our work.

"We’re unveiling new information which adds to the already rich story of the development of this historic town.”

Severn Trent is working in Newark until 2020, and has a resident archaeologist on hand to oversee the work to make sure that the heritage remains undisturbed.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

St Albans Abbey 'one of England's early Norman cathedrals'

Remains of the original apse built in 1077 was unearthed during excavation work at 
St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Abbey has been confirmed as one of England's early Norman cathedrals after experts uncovered foundations of the early church.

Remains forming part of the early Norman abbey have been identified after foundations of the 11th Century church were revealed during excavation.

Site director Ross Lane said: "We knew it was probably there but this confirms it."

Other Norman cathedrals in the UK include Durham and Canterbury.

The Hertfordshire abbey is dedicated to Britain's first saint, St Alban - a citizen of Roman Verulamium - who was martyred by the Romans.

The first church at the site was probably a simple structure over St Alban's grave, making this the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain.

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