Bones In Lakes

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Mounted skull from Motala. Source: Stiftelsen Kulturmiljövård Mälardalen

Bones in Lakes are making the news in Sweden and in India. Work on railroad construction at he edge of Lake Motala in Sweden uncovered the remains of a grisly display of skulls once posted on stakes. They represented men, women and even children. Archeologists determined that the skulls were once in the lake itself. The initial discovery was made in 2011 and archaeologists have yet to determine the true nature of the site. It may be a reburial site of venerated ancestor bones—or perhaps the sacrifice of members of an enemy tribe. The Archaeology Hour will cover the latest news with Frederik Hallgren of the Swedish heritage foundation Stiftelsen Kulturmiljövård Mälardalen in an upcoming feature in its podcast.

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Motala Lake Digsite Source: Stiftelsen Kulturmiljövård Mälardalen

Roopkund Lake tells a very different story. The lake is high in the Indian Himalayas and at 16,000 feet it is frozen for most of the year. There is one month a year when the lake melts—and during one of those months years ago passers by discovered the bones of more than 300 people sticking above the surface as the lake dried. It was at first thought the bones belonged to Japanese soldiers. Later research determined that the bones had first been noted in the 19th century. According to India Today the bones have now been dated to approximately 850 B.C. Examination of the skulls has shown a common injury-indentations made by a round object the size of a baseball. Some have concluded that the group of people died in a severe hailstorm!  While a possible explanation, it would seem more likely that some sacrificial killing process is involved. The isolated lake is considered sacred by local tribes and is still an area of annual pilgrimage.

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Bones at Roopkund Land. Source: India Times.

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The Lake during the annual thaw. Source: India Times

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Saxon Hoard-Osiris Temple-Amphipolis Bones – and more

Saxon Hoard:

The British Museum (BM) is currently cleaning and evaluating the 5200 silver pennies found by Paul Coleman in Buckinghamshire, England. According to my sources at the Bucks county museum, the BM may have an announcement to make about the coins by February 10th. That is the day the BM issues its “Annual Treasure Report,” a document that details the previous year’s finds by avocationals through the British Isles.  Included may be the final evaluation of the coins. Brett Thorn, Keeper of Archaeology at the Bucks County Museum said, ” We do know that there are just over 5200 coins, and so far, all the cleaned coins are of Ethelred II and Cnut. They are all ion very good condition, due to having been buried wrapped in a lead container. The container did not survive well, but it preserved there coins.” The mainstream media has mentioned evaluations well over $1.5 million but, according to Thorn, no official figure has been issued yet.

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Photo: Daily Mail UK-the coins as discovered.

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Greek Bones:

Bone fragments have been recovered from the Amphipolis tomb being excavated in Macedonia. This important development means that researchers may be able to learn the sex and age of the person buried in the once magnificent complex within Kasta Hill near Seres, Greece. There is much speculation as to the burial. It dates to the time of the death of Alexander the Great–and since he was buried in Egypt (upcoming story) it is thought the person in the Amhipolis tomb may be that of Alexander’s mother Olympias. The Archaeology Hour is seeking an interview with Katerina Peristeri, the lead archaeologist for the project and developments will be posted here. A full interview will appear in The Archaeology Hour podcast. The website for the dig reports that a geoscan of the Kasta Hill indicates that there may be other burials within the mound. This opens up the possibility of other royal tombs–perhaps not targeted by looters.

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Geoscan of Kasta Hill. Source:amfipolinews.blogspot.com.au

The archaeology hour podcast can be found at:

http://archaeologyhour.podomatic.com

The Archaeology Hour: The Pilot

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Ten of the 5,200 silver coins just after being unearthed. Source: Daily Mail

“The Archaeology Hour” is a project in development that will provide a podcast and eventual video program of information and background on major archaeological projects and news around the world. It will be hosted by Mark M. Newell PhD, a British underwater and terrestrial archaeologist currently working in the United States. Newell has a distinguished record of archaeological accomplishment over the past forty years including leading the successful search for the C.S.S. Hunley in Charleston SC, discovery of the remains of the historic Santee Canal, recognized by the US Secretary of the Navy for preservation work on the U.S.S. Constitution, discovery of the Baynham pottery hoard near Edgefield, S.C. and discovery of the only known Edgefield African face jug site near Trenton S.C.  Newell has lectured at major venues throughout the US and the UK and has appeared on numerous television programs and documentaries.

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I can’t think of a more exciting time in Archaeology to be involved in launching a podcast and eventual video program on new discoveries. Looking almost anywhere in the world, I find fascinating new projects and discoveries every day. Most of these are covered to some extent or another by the news media — from the mainstream press to specialist websites like Ancient Origins–but there are always more questions to ask, greater insights to develop, new views to express and that elusive ‘insider” story that rarely gets told. I will be working with CSquared Communications and The Archaeology Hour to do just this. I will bring together my background in archaeology and journalism to develop unique insights on breaking stories and present an insider’s view that the general media cannot. There is clearly a huge interest in archaeology snd history as indicated by magazines, television programs, internet sites, documentaries and even movies (ok, that’s entertainment not education).

Posts will be on a frequent if not daily basis until the first pilot podcast is launched this Spring. Projects we are looking at hint at the  range of a topics we will cover this year: the amazing Saxon silver coin hoard found in Buckinghamshire, England, a lost city discovered off the Egyptian coast by a French archaeologist, Two entirely new tombs found in Egypt, not to mention a new find at the pyramid of Giza. The Norway scientists have found a dried lake bed with a mysterious deposit of skulls once impaled on stakes. The Greek ‘find of the century’ a massive tomb at Amphipolis may turn out to be even more spectacular, a city of the dead rather than a single burial. Herod’s Palace, the place where the trial of Jesus is supposed to have occurred, has been found during a new dig. A veritable catalog of ancient ships built over a 5000 year period has been discovered in Turkey.

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French diver by lost stelae Source: Christoph Gerigk, Daily Telegraph

The Archaeology Hour will cover these topics and more in the coming months. You will also find links to the project websites and other features of interest to the general public, working archaeologists, volunteer and archaeology/history tourists.

News, views & features on world archaeology