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

Friday, 17 May 2019

New research reveals what was on the menu for medieval peasants

Credit: University of Bristol

Scientists from the University of Bristol have uncovered, for the first time, definitive evidence that determines what types of food medieval peasants ate and how they managed their animals.

Using chemical analysis of pottery fragments and animal bones found at one of England's earliest medieval villages, combined with detailed examination of a range of historical documents and accounts, the research has revealed the daily diet of peasants in the Middle Ages. The researchers were also able to look at butchery techniques, methods of food preparation and rubbish disposal at the settlement Dr. Julie Dunne and Professor Richard Evershed from the University of Bristol's Organic Geochemistry Unit, based within the School of Chemistry, led the research, published today in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Julie said: "All too often in history the detail, for example food and clothing, of the everyday life of ordinary people is unknown.

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Mary Rose crew 'was from Mediterranean and North Africa'

The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard houses a cross section of the ship's hull as well as thousands of artefacts, including weapons and jewellery

The crew on board the sunken Henry VIII ship the Mary Rose was from the Mediterranean, North Africa and beyond, researchers have found.

Bone structure and DNA of 10 skeletons found on board were analysed by team at Cardiff and Portsmouth universities.

They said four of the skeletons were of southern European heritage, and one seems to have hailed from Morocco or Algeria.

The findings cast fresh light on the ethnic makeup of Tudor Britain.
The Mary Rose sank in 1545 in the Solent during a naval battle with the French, with the loss of between 400 and 600 lives.

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Monday, 25 February 2019

St Michan's, Dublin: Vandals decapitate 800-year-old crusader

The crusader's head was "severed from his body and taken away"

An 800-year-old "crusader" from a crypt in a Dublin church has been decapitated by vandals.

Archdeacon David Pierpoint told RTE the crusader's head has been "severed from his body and taken away".

The discovery was made as a tour guide was preparing to open the church for visitors on Monday afternoon.

Archdeacon Pierpoint said he was upset and disappointed that the church has been targeted again by vandals.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Helle's toilet: 12th-century three-person loo seat goes on display

Conservator Luisa Duarte working on the 12th-century toilet seat. 
Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Archaeologists know the names of the owners of the building where plank of oak sat
A rare 12th-century toilet seat built to accommodate three users at once is to go on display for the first time at the Museum of London Docklands.

Nine hundred years after the roughly carved plank of oak was first placed over a cesspit near a tributary of the Thames, it will form the centrepiece of an exhibition about the capital’s “secret” rivers.

The strikingly well preserved seat, still showing the axe marks where its three rough holes were cut, once sat behind a mixed commercial and residential tenement building on what is now Ludgate Hill, near St Paul’s Cathedral, on land that in the mid-1100s would have been a small island in the river Fleet.

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Monday, 18 February 2019

Sheela-na-gigs: The naked women adorning Britain's churches

This sheela-na-gig at Oaksey in Wiltshire boasts "pendulous breasts" and a vulva
"extended almost to her ankles"
For hundreds of years carvings of naked women have sat provocatively on churches across Britain. But who created them - and why?
Look at these, my child-bearing hips
Look at these, my ruby red ruby lips...
Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
The year is 1992 and the singer-songwriter PJ Harvey is performing Sheela-Na-Gig, the most successful single from her critically acclaimed album Dry.
But unless you're a fan of late 20th Century indie music, or an expert in Norman church architecture, there's every chance you've not been exposed to the sheela-na-gig - or have sauntered past one without even realising it.
Hidden in plain sight, these sculptures of squatting women pulling back the lips of their vaginas have for nearly a millennium aroused feelings of intrigue, shame and even anger.

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À Harfleur (Normandie), les équipes de l’Inrap ont mis au jour des éléments de fortification remarquables, dont une tour creuse et un ouvrage défensif avancé (casemate), ainsi que des vestiges d’habitation des XIIIe et XIVe siècles. Ces découvertes viennent enrichir l’histoire de ce port stratégique de l’estuaire de la Seine, supplanté seulement au début du XVIe siècle par le Havre.

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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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