Second Anglo-Saxon cemetery with fascinating grave goods unearthed near Stonehenge

Second Anglo-Saxon cemetery with fascinating grave goods unearthed near Stonehenge

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For the second time in one month archaeologists have found an Anglo-Saxon cemetery near the prehistoric Stonehenge monument on the Salisbury Plain in England. The cemetery is about 1,300 years old. Stonehenge is believed to be much older, and researchers have speculated that later people wanted to be buried near the gigantic, ancient wonder.

The Anglo-Saxon cemetery has about 55 skeletons buried in it. Most of the graves contain personal items placed with the bodies upon their burial to accompany them into the afterlife.

Archaeologists have found beads, combs, coins, bone pins and spearheads. Some of the coins were perforated, and it’s believed they were used in necklaces. The most common item in the graves were little iron knives, according to an article about the dig in the Daily Mail.

A decorated bone comb found during the excavation of a grave. ( Wessex Archaeology )

The researchers have narrowed down the dates of the cemetery to between the late 7 th and early 8 th century AD. It is near the modern village of Tidworth.

The cemetery was discovered when archaeologists did a survey to prepare for a subdivision of homes for military personnel. In England as in many other countries, developers must commission archaeological surveys before construction to determine whether there are significant historic features that must be preserved.

“The earliest documentary evidence we have for Saxon settlement at Tidworth dates to 975 AD,” Simon Flaherty, site director for Wessex Archaeology, told the Daily Mail. “This excavation potentially pushes the history of the town back a further 300 years.”

Just last month (April 2016), archaeologists uncovered the other Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Bulford, Wiltshire. It had about 150 graves and beautiful grave goods.

Archaeologists will have now have an opportunity to compare the burial practices of two neighboring communities whose members likely knew each other, project manager Bruce Eaton told the Daily Mail.

Some of the Tidworth graves contained goods that pointed to their occupants’ occupations or social status. For example, one grave of an apparent warrior contained a man who had stood 1.8 meters (6 feet), who had with him an unusually large spearhead and a conical shield.

Another burial, of a woman, had beads, a bone comb, jewelry, a decorative belt and a fine bronze work box.

A workbox found in the grave of a woman. (Wessex Archaeology)

Some of these small cylindrical boxes have been found at other Anglo-Saxon graves in the British Isles and Rhineland, but their use has confounded experts.

The objects have been dubbed variously as work boxes, thread boxes or relic boxes. Some earlier researchers thought they had practical applications, such as for sewing items. A few of the boxes had pins, pieces of fabric or threads in them.

But others have speculated they were used to hold magic spells, drugs or Christian relics, says the Daily Mail. A scan of the small, cylindrical container showed it has traces of copper-alloy fragments.

The graves at Bulworth had burials dating from the mid-Anglo Saxon period of 660 to 780 AD and is also being excavated. Archaeologists also found Bronze Age or Neolithic monuments nearby, though no evidence of houses nearby where the buried people may have lived.

In the April case too archaeologists were called in to investigate the site before homes were built. Wessex Archaeology issued a statement last month that said:

A further phase of excavation is planned to examine the two adjacent prehistoric monuments beside which the Saxon cemetery was established. These appear to consist of Early Bronze Age round barrows that may have earlier, Neolithic origins. They are to be granted scheduled monument protection by Historic England and will be preserved in situ in a part of the site that will remain undeveloped.

The people in this cemetery were buried with personal items and grave goods giving indications of their social status, including jewelry of glass beads and brooches, knives, and cowrie shells from the Red Sea, which indicate far-reaching trade. One grave had a large comb made of antlers and decorated with dots, rings and chevrons.

Featured image: Skeleton found near Stonehenge. Credit: Wessex Archaeology

By Mark Miller

Atlantis found? ‘Clear and obvious evidence’ Plato’s lost city sunk near Britain

ATLANTIS may have been discovered and, according to the statements of a historian researching the geological past of the Atlantic Ocean, it was hiding off the coast of Britain all the along.

Many have dedicated their lives to trying to find Atlantis, without success, for hundreds of years.

However, according to the reports of the British historian Matthew Sibson, it may have been hiding off the coast of Britain all along.

Rockall’s location in comparison to the UK

In a YouTube video posted on his channel Ancient Architects, the expert claimed in 2019: “Rockall is the most likely location for Atlantis and there are clear and obvious manmade features that leave no doubt of a lost ancient civilisation.

“The description of Atlantis should be our starting position when looking for it.

“First of all, to simplify his words, Plato says that beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, in the Atlantic Ocean is an island as big as Libya and Asia put together.

“From this island, you could pass to yet more islands before ending up at the opposite continents that surround the Atlantic Ocean. There has been a lot of geological activity in the area

“The opposite continent has to be the Americans, it is on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean and therefore this piece of information must rule out the Americas as a possible location.” Mr Sibson went on to narrow down the search.

He added: “With this in mind, geologically speaking, there is no huge sunken supercontinent within the Atlantic Ocean, between the Strait of Gibraltar and the Americas that match the description.

Mr Sibson argues Rockall could be the location

“Therefore, in my opinion, Plato, or whoever this piece of information came from, was exaggerating the size for political reasons.

“If any specific place fits Plato’s words, I would say that this area is Rockall.

“For a start, Plato is explicit that Atlantis isn’t a city, but an island, that leads to other islands, then to the enormous opposite continent, which can only be the Americas.

Historical maps show what the area would have looked like

“The other islands he refers to must be situated between the Americas and sunken continental landmass of Atlantis, close to Europe and Africa as Plato says it is outside of the Pillars of Hercules.”

Mr Sibson went on to identify Rockall, an uninhabited granite islet off the coast of the UK, as a possible candidate.

He continued: “The only sizeable piece of continental crust under the sea our side of the Pillars of Hercules is Rockall.

What could have happened in the region

“Furthermore, you can island hop from Rockall to the Americas via Iceland and Greenland.

“Plato goes on to say that a wonderful empire had arisen in Atlantis, which had rule over the island, as well as many others.

“I would suggest that the islands that belonged to Atlantis were the ones that connected it to the Americas.

“Plato says there was a time of extraordinary earthquakes and inundations, and in one terrible storm the warriors of Atlantis were swallowed and Atlantis likewise sank into the sea and vanished.

“He says this is why the ocean in this part can not be navigated or explored, owing to the great depth of mud caused by the subsiding of the island.”

Mr Sibson explained why geological activity near Rockall may have caused it to fall into the Atlantic.

He added: “It is still the case that the sea is too shallow to sail over, with numerous ships in history caught in the rocks.

“This part of the northern Atlantic has quite a complex geological history and there is clear evidence that Rockall was torn apart through numerous faults.

“The highly faulted Atlantic Ocean would have been forced into moving geologically both vertically and horizontally, leading to increasing volcanic activity and major water displacement in the form of tsunamis.

“Interestingly, the northernmost part of the ridge loo

ks somewhat different to the main rift valley, in that there is one enormous fault zone in the ocean crust.”

Mr Sibson concluded by providing some images he had obtained of the seabed near Rockall.

He stated: “This is called the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone and today it remains active, cutting across the Atlantic for 2,000 kilometres in an east-west direction.

“Here are some underwater images from R

ockall and many of these features look too regular to be natural.

“These could be the true remnants of Atlantis, whatever the truth, my opinion is it could certainly be a location for future study.”

While present-day philologists and classicists agree on the story’s fictional character, there is still debate on what served as its inspiration.

An underwater map of the area

As for instance with the story of Gyges, Plato is known to have freely borrowed some of his allegories and metaphors from older traditions.

This led a number of scholars to investigate possible inspiration of Atlantis from Egyptian records of the Thera eruption, the Sea Peoples invasion, or the Trojan War.

Others have rejected this chain of tradition as implausible and insist that Plato created an entirely fictional nation as his example, drawing loose inspiration from contemporary events such as the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC or the destruction of Helike in 373 BC.

Ancient Roman Temple Unearthed Below Kent Building Site

Historians in Kent have vowed to painstakingly restore a 2,000-year-old temple to prevent it from being demolished by developers.

Few months after archaeologists discovered the Romano-Celtic temple in April, it was scheduled to be reburied. Foundations of the inner temple discovered by archaeologists under a building site

When developers found the abandoned town in Newington, Kent, they were planning a plot of land next to the main road for a housing project.

It was inhabited by Romans when they arrived in Britain in 43AD but it is thought to pre-date this. A 2000 year old coin was among the items discovered at the site

The 18-acre site was in exceptional condition and has been hailed as one of the most significant finds in regional archaeological history.

The temple at the site, close to what is now the A2, has since been named Watling Temple – making it one of only 150 such sites in England.

Archaeologists also uncovered an ancient 23 foot (7 metre) wide road which ran from London to the Kent coast.

Rare coins, several tons of pots and jewellery dating back as early as 30BC were found at the Persimmon Homes development which sits next to a major road near Sittingbourne. A Roman pot was also found on the site

Ancient stones were lifted and placed into storage a few days ago after Newington History Group (NHG) asked to re-site the flint remains in the village.

The group sought permission from Kent County Council archaeologists and experts at Swale and Thames Archeological Survey who excavated the foundations in April.

Dean Coles, chairman of NHG, said: ‘We’re excited and proud to have obtained Watling Place Temple for the village. An Iron age smelting kiln was also unearthed

‘When news of the finds became public, villagers were upset at the thought of them being buried again.

‘We looked at how we could save the temple, recognising its unique and immense historic value to the village.’

He added: ‘Now the temple will be a physical reminder of Newington’s long and fascinating heritage.’

It is hoped the temple will become a focal point in Newington and illustrate how the village developed as a Roman town.

A flint lined well at the site of the ancient temple

Dr Paul Wilkinson, director of SWAT Archaeology, said the discovery strengthens the likelihood that Newington could be being the long-lost Roman town of Durooevum, often thought to have been near Faversham.

He said: ‘The industry, residential quarter and temple tell us that Newington could be Durolevum.

‘It is wonderful that part of our Roman heritage is to be rescued and preserved by the efforts of the local community.’

The rarity of Roman temples in England, with only some 150 recorded sites, means that all Romano-Celtic temples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national importance.

The first exhibition of the excavations will be unveiled to the public on September 14 and 15 at NHG’s Newington Uncovered as part of the National Heritage Open Days event.

Chapter XXXVII


It was not until near the end of October that we decided to go. We hadplanned to remain for another winter, but the aspect of things did notimprove as the weeks passed. With nine tenths of Europe at war and theother tenth drilling, there was a lack of repose beneath the outwardcalm, even of Vevey. In the midst of so many nervous nations, to lingeruntil spring might be to remain permanently.

Furthermore, our occupations were curtailed. Automobiles wererestricted, the gasoline supply cut off. The streets had a funereallook. I was told that I could get a special permit to use the car, butas our gasoline supply consisted of just about enough to take us overthe Simplon Pass into Italy, we decided to conserve it for that purpose.The pass closes with the first big snow, usually the 15th of October.The presence of many soldiers there would keep it open this year alittle longer. It could not be risked, however, later than the end ofthe month.

We debated the matter pretty constantly, for the days of opportunitywere wasting. We wasted ten of them making a little rail and pedestriantrip around Switzerland, though in truth those ten glorious days ofOctober tramping along the lakes and through [Pg 337] the hills are not likelyto be remembered as really wasted by any of us. When we returned I got amilitary pass to take the car out of Switzerland, but it was stillanother week before we packed our heavy baggage and shipped it to Genoa.We were a fair example of any number of families, no longer enthralledby Europe and not particularly needed at home. I think hesitation musthave nearly killed some people.

It was the 27th of October&mdasha perfect morning&mdashwhen for the last time Ibrought the car to the front of our hotel, and we strapped on our bagsand with sad hearts bade good-by to the loveliest spot and the bestpeople in Europe. Then presently we were working our way through thegay, crowded market place (though we did not feel gay) down through thenarrow, familiar streets, with their pretty shops where we had boughtthings, and their little pâtisseries where we had eaten things downthrough La Tour, and along the lake to Clarens and Montreux, and pastChillon, and so up the valley of the Rhone to Brigue, the Swiss entranceto the Simplon Pass.

We had new tires now, and were not troubled about our going but theworld had grown old and sad in three months, and the leaves were blowingoff of the trees, and the glory had gone out of life, because men weremarching and killing one another along those happy fields that such alittle while before had known only the poppy stain and the marching ofthe harvesters&mdashalong those shady roads where good souls had run withthe car to hand us cherries and wish us “Gute reise.“ [Pg 338]

We crossed the Simplon in the dullness of a gray mist, and at the top,six hundred feet in the peaks, met the long-delayed snowstorm, and knewthat we were crossing just in time.

Down on the Italian slope the snow turned to rain and the roads were notgood. The Italians dump rock into their roads and let the traffic wearit down. We were delayed by a technicality on the Swiss border, and itwas dark by the time we were in Italy&mdashdark and rainy. Along the roadare overhanging galleries&mdashreally tunnels, and unlighted. Our prestolitehad given out and our oil lamps were too feeble. I have never known amore precarious drive than across that long stretch from Gondo toDomodossola, through the night and pouring rain. It seemed endless, andwhen the lights of the city first appeared I should have guessed thedistance still to be traveled at forty miles. But we did arrive and welaid up three days in a hotel where it was cold&mdashoh, very cold&mdashbutwhere blessedly there was a small open fire in a little sitting room.Also, the food was good.

It had not quit raining even then, but we started, anyway. One can get agood deal of Domodossola in three days, though it is a very good town,where few people stop, because they are always going somewhere else whenthey get there. Our landlady gave us a huge bunch of flowers at parting,too huge for our limited car space. A little way down the road I had toget out and fix something an old woman came and held an umbrella overme, and, having no Italian change, I gave her the flowers, and a Swissnickel, and a German five-pfennig piece, and she [Pg 339] thanked me just as ifI had contributed something valuable. The Italians are polite.

We went to Stresa on Lake Maggiore, and stopped for the night, andvisited Isola Bella, of course, and I bought a big red umbrella whichthe others were ashamed of, and fell away from me when I opened it as ifI had something contagious. They would rather get soaking wet, theysaid, than be seen walking under that thing. Pride is an unfortunateasset. But I didn’t have the nerve myself to carry that umbrella on thestreets of Milan. Though Stresa is not far away, its umbrellas areunknown in Milan, and when I opened it my audience congested traffic. Ididn’t suppose anything could be too gay for an Italian.

We left the car at Milan and made a rail trip to Venice. It was stillraining every little while and many roads were under water, so thatVenice really extended most of the way to Milan, and automobile travelwas thought to be poor in that direction. All the old towns over therewe visited, for we were going home, and no one could say when Europemight be comfortable for tourists again. A good deal of the time itrained, but a good deal of the time it didn’t, and we slept in hotelsthat were once palaces, and saw much, including Juliet’s tomb at Verona,and all the things at Padua, and we bought violets at Parma, andsausages at Bologna. Then we came back to Milan and drove to Genoa,stopping overnight at Tortona, because we thought we would be sure tofind there the ices by that name. But they were out of them, I suppose,for we could not find any. [Pg 340]

Still we had no definite plans about America but when at Genoa we foundwe could ship the car on a pretty little Italian vessel and join thesame little ship ourselves at Naples, all for a very reasonable sum. Itook the shipping man to the hotel garage, turned the car over to him,and the thing was done.

So we traveled by rail to Pisa, to Florence, to Rome, to Naples andPompeii, stopping as we chose for, as I say, no one could tell whenEurope would be a visiting place again, and we must see what we could.

So we saw Italy, in spite of the rain that fell pretty regularly, andthe rather sharp days between-time. We did not know that those rainswere soaking down to the great central heat and would produce a terribleearthquake presently, or we might have been rather more anxious to go.As it was, we were glad to be there and really enjoyed all the things.

Yet, there was a different feeling now. The old care-freedom was gonethe future had become obscure. The talk everywhere was of the war inevery city soldiers were marching, fine, beautiful regiments, commandedby officers that were splendidly handsome in their new uniforms. We weretold that Italy would not go to war&mdashat least not until spring, but itwas in the air, it was an ominous cloud. Nowhere in Europe was anythingthe same.

One day our little ship came down from Genoa, and we went aboard andwere off next morning. We lay a day at Palermo, and then, after somedays of calm sailing in the Mediterranean, launched out into theAtlantic gales and breasted the storms for [Pg 341] nearly two weeks, pitchingand rolling, but homeward bound.

A year and four months from a summer afternoon when we had stood on theupper deck of a little French steamer in Brooklyn and looked down intothe hold at a great box that held our car, I went over to Hoboken andsaw it taken from another box, and drove it to Connecticut alone, forthe weather was cold, the roads icy. It was evening when I arrived,Christmas Eve, and when I pushed back the wide door, drove into thebarn, cut off the engine, and in the dim winter light saw our capableconveyance standing in its accustomed place, I had the curious feelingof never having been away at all, but only for a winter’s drive,dreaming under dull skies of summertime and France. And the oldcar&mdashthat to us had always seemed to have a personality andsentience&mdashhad it been dreaming, too?

It was cold there, and growing dark. I came out and locked the door. Wehad made the circuit&mdashour great adventure was over. Would I go again,under the same conditions? Ah me! that wakens still another dream&mdashfordays ahead. I suppose one should not expect more than one real glimpseof heaven in this world, but at least one need not give up hoping.

Watch the video: Time Team - Anglo Saxon Cemetery - Part 1


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