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

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Pembroke Castle study uncovers possible Henry VII birthplace

Researchers believe they might have uncovered the location of Henry VII's birthplace at Pembroke Castle.
Aerial photographs from 2013 gave glimpses of what lay beneath the surface, with parch marks revealing possible buildings.
geophysical survey has now confirmed the outline of a late-medieval building in the outer ward, where the king could have been born.
Neil Ludlow, consultant archaeologist, said it shone new light on the castle.
Much of the interior of the castle, which dates from the 11th Century, was destroyed after the Middle Ages.

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Black Death burial pit found at site of medieval abbey in Lincolnshire

Carbon dating shows skeletons are from mid-14th century, while DNA tests of teeth find presence of plague bacterium

The presence of such a burial site suggests the local community was overwhelmed by the number who died. Photograph: University of Sheffield/PA

A mass burial pit of victims of the Black Death dating back to the 14th century has been discovered near Immingham in Lincolnshire.
Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield were searching the site of Thornton Abbey, once one of the country’s biggest medieval abbeys, for evidence of a post-medieval building when they came across the grave containing 48 skeletons, 27 of them children.
Carbon dating shows the remains are from the middle of the 14th century, when the Black Death, which was most probably bubonic plague, killed an estimated 75 million to 200 million people across Europe and Asia.
Teeth samples were sent to Canada where DNA was successfully extracted and tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the plague, which is documented to have reached Lincolnshire in the spring of 1349.
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Thornton Abbey Black Death plague pit excavated

Dr Hugh Willmott said the mass burial was "completely unexpected"

A Black Death burial pit containing 48 skeletons, including the remains of 27 children, has been found at the site of a 14th Century monastery hospital.

The bodies were excavated at Thornton Abbey in North Lincolnshire.

Between 1347 and 1351 the "Great Pestilence" swept westward across Europe killing millions of people. It later became known as the Black Death.

It arrived on Britain's shores in 1348 and is believed to have wiped out up to 60% of the population at the time.

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Did Shakespeare write Henry V to suit London theatre's odd shape?

The newly excavated Curtain theatre in Shoreditch is believed to be where Henry V was first performed

An archaeologist works on the exposed remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain theatre. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The battle scenes of Shakespeare’s Henry V may have been written to suit the long, narrow stage of the Curtain, one of the earliest purpose-built theatres in London.
The foundations of the theatre in Shoreditch have been excavated, revealing that it was a rectangular building with a stage about 14 metres long and five metres deep – a different shape from the “wooden Os” of Shakespeare’s more famous theatres on the South Bank, the Globe and the Rose.
Archaeologists have discovered traces of a tunnel structure, accessed by doors on either end of the stage, which would have allowed actors to exit from one side and come on again from the other without being seen by the audience.
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Monday, 7 November 2016

'Cursed' Medieval Well Found in England

The well was once believed to wash away sins; then it became the site of a curse.

A Medieval well that was once believed to wash away sins, while healing eye and skin diseases has been recovered in England. Legend has it that the well was also cursed and records indicate a strange death occurred there.

St. Anne's Well was found on the lands of a private farm on the border between the townships of Rainhill and Sutton St Helens, near Liverpool, UK.

According to Historic England Heritage, which commissioned the excavation, "the well had become completely filled with earth due to ploughing."

"When we first got to the well we found that there was very little indication of it on the surface, but after excavation it was found to be in reasonable condition," Jamie Quartermaine, an archaeologist who supervised the dig, told Discovery News.

The well was built of local sandstone blocks and consisted of a shallow square basin with two steps leading down into the bottom.

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Avant la construction par GRTgaz d'une canalisation de transport de gaz reliant la Méditerranée à la mer du Nord et passant notamment par la Champagne, l'Inrap a réalisé en juin-juillet 2014 une fouille sur 1 469 m2 à la sortie sud de La Villeneuve-au-Châtelot (Aube). L’opération a permis d’étudier des structures en creux antiques, ainsi que la partie orientale d’une ferme entourée de fossés datée du Moyen Âge.


L’occupation antique consiste en 124 faits anthropiques associés aux années 30-35 à 65-70 apr. J.-C. La majorité sont des fosses, trous de poteau et tronçons de fossé, mais on trouve aussi un puits, un silo, et des ornières. La plupart se concentrent dans la partie ouest d’une emprise déjà très étroite (10 m au plus large) : il est très probable que la quasi-absence de faits antiques dans la moitié est soit due à une destruction par le creusement des fossés successifs ceignant l’occupation médiévale ultérieure. L’organisation spatiale de l’occupation antique nous échappe ; aucun plan de bâtiment n’a été identifié. Le mobilier recueilli oriente vers une activité agro-pastorale. Cette interprétation est confirmée par les données carpologiques, qui indiquent une polyculture des céréales d’hiver et d’été.

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