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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Archaeology news updates
    Posted: 21-Jul-2015 at 07:35
King Philip II's tomb uncovered in Greece: Analysis confirms skeleton belongs to the father of Alexander the Great



Forty years after the bones of suspected royalty were found in Greece, experts have confirmed they belong to Alexander the Great's father, King Philip II.

Philip is known to have suffered a leg wound that crippled him three years before his assassination in 336BC.

Now researchers have found evidence of this injury, as well as signs of lameness, in the skeletal remains found in the tomb in Vergina, Greece.

They believe the female and infant found buried with the skeleton may also be the remains of King Philip II's wife Cleopatra and their newborn child.

King Philip II had Alexander the Great with his fourth wife Olympias.

He later met and fell in love with teenager Cleopatra Eurydice, the niece of his general Attalus and reportedly had two children - a boy called Caranus and a girl called Europa.

Europa was born just days before Philip's death.

Philip was king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359BC until he was assassinated in 336BC by the captain of his bodyguards, Pausanias, in the town of Aegae, now known as Vergina.

Upon Philip's death, Alexander became king at the age of 20.

In 1977 and 1978 two male skeletons were excavated in what were later dubbed Royal Tombs I and II in Vergina, central Macedonia in northern Greece.

Tomb I also contained another adult, believed to be female, and a newborn skeleton.

Since the discovery, many experts had assumed Philip was the male skeleton in Tomb II, and it is commonly referred to as the 'Tomb of Philip'.

He would have been approximately 45 years old when buried and his leg bones showed a stiffened knee joint and signs of bone fusion - a hole through the knee growth indicating it suffered a piercing wound.

There was also evidence of trauma-related inflammation, and asymmetrical bone lesions that suggest wryneck - a side effect of head tilting linked to having an uneven gait.

These findings are consistent with what the researchers know about the king.

Using the same technique, the researchers concluded that the other remains belonged to an 18-year-old female, and a newborn infant of unknown gender.

Following Philip's death, Alexander the Great's mother Olympias is said to have murdered both Europa and Caranus so her son could take the throne.

Cleopatra then took her own life.

Hence, the authors reason that the remains of King Arrhidaeus and his wife Eurydice, as previously suggested, are in Tomb II and King Philip II, his wife Cleopatra, and their newborn child - likely Europa - are the occupants of Tomb I.

A third tomb found in the mound had been looted but a wall painting of the Rape of Persephone remained along with bones.

Professor Arsuaga said: 'The current view is that Philip II was buried in Tomb II. However, the male skeleton of Tomb II bears no lesions to his legs that would indicate lameness.

'The male individual in Tomb I displays a conspicuous case of knee ankylosis (stiffness) that is conclusive evidence of lameness. Right through the overgrowth of the knee there is a hole.

'There are no obvious signs that are characteristic of infection.

This evidence indicates the injury was likely caused by a severe penetrating wound to the knee, which resulted in an active inflammatory process that stopped years before death.'

He added this knee stiffness and the hole through it 'conclusively identifies Philip as the occupant of Tomb I'.

'Thus, a nearly 40-year-old mystery concerning the Royal Tombs of Vergina has finally been solved that puzzled historians, archaeologists and physical anthropologists', he continued.

The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 



 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3168479/King-Philip-II-s-tomb-uncovered-Greece-Analysis-confirms-skeleton-belongs-father-Alexander-Great.html#ixzz3gWdpDLP4 



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 21-Jul-2015 at 07:40
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2015 at 20:34

Dundee experts recreate face of Saxon man at Lincoln Castle

Facial reconstruction experts at the University of Dundee have recreated the face of a Saxon man whose skeleton was discovered on the site of an old church at Lincoln Castle.

On Monday 8th June, the new-look castle will be officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal. On that day, a new exhibition will be revealed in the Victorian Prison, sharing some of the archaeological finds unearthed during the Lincoln Castle Revealed project.

As part of the exhibition, experts at the University of Dundee have recreated the face of an Anglo Scandinavian man whose skeleton was discovered on the site of an old church within the castle grounds. The skeleton was one of ten sets of remains discovered.

The work has been carried out by specialists in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee, one of the world’s leading centres for facial reconstruction.

Caroline Erolin, Lecturer in Forensic and Medical Art at CAHID, said, “His grave lay slightly under an important sarcophagus burial, which had resulted in excellent preservation of his skull making it the best candidate among the skeletons for facial reconstruction.”

Caroline and the CAHID team worked with field archaeology specialists FAS Heritage and Lincoln Castle to piece together the likely history of the man and how he would have looked.

“The burial of this man was one of eight burials which were interred inside a small stone church or chapel which predates Lincoln Castle and was previously unknown,” said Cecily Spall from FAS Heritage.

“Osteological analysis identified the skeleton as that of a man aged between 36 and 45 years old. He had suffered from a range of degenerative bone diseases suggesting an active and strenuous lifestyle. His body was buried in both a wooden coffin and cloth shroud.

“High-precision radiocarbon dating indicates he died between AD1035 to 1070, just before the Norman Conquest. Isotope analysis of his bones and teeth suggests that he originated in eastern England and could well have been born and bred in Lincolnshire.”

Other significant finds at Lincoln Castle include a limestone sarcophagus that once lay under the floor of the church, a rare discovery which attracted national media attention. 

There is also a Roman bronze eagle's wing from the late 1st century AD, possibly part of a grand imperial statue that stood in the nearby forum, and a stone scratched with the names of prisoners awaiting transportation to Australia.

CAHID, which is headed by Professor Sue Black and based at the University of Dundee, is one of the world’s foremost institutions for the study and application of human anatomy, forensic human identification, disaster victim identification and forensic and medical art. It was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education 2014. http://cahid.dundee.ac.uk/

http://www.dundee.ac.uk/news/2015/dundee-experts-recreate-face-of-saxon-man-at-lincoln-castle.php

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2015 at 01:12

Rare Viking relic discovered at Perthshire dig

ARCHAEOLOGISTS delving into Scottish history believe they have discovered a rare object at a Viking-age longhouse in Perthshire

The small circular stone, with a central hole - thought to be a spindle whorl - was found by Diana McIntyre, who was on a dig with Glenshee Archaelogy Project at Lair in Glenshee.

A spindle whorl, was a weight fitted to a spindle while hand spinning textiles to increase and maintain the speed of the spin.

The stone, which is only around 5cm in diameter, has been carefully shaped to be symmetrical, but what has interested the team are the symbols and designs carved onto one surface.

David Strachan, of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust explained the possible significance of the find.

He said: “Through the ages spindle whorls have often been covered in abstract shapes and the spinning action would bring life to these shapes, much like the old spinning top toy.

“While we certainly have abstract shapes on this example, some of the symbols look like they could be writing, perhaps Viking runes or Ogham inscription a form of early medieval Irish script.”

The project which began in 2012, has been investigating rare examples of early medieval turf long houses, engaging with communities to experience archaeology first hand.

The team are awaiting experts to carefully study the find to confirm the nature of the symbols but, whether Viking runes or Ogham inscriptions, they know it is a rare artifact.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/rare-viking-relic-discovered-at-perthshire-dig-1-3813795



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 29-Jun-2015 at 01:15
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2015 at 19:05
excellent finds.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2015 at 05:44

ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND PREVIOUSLY UNEXPLORED FORTRESS IN BULGARIA’S BANYA WAS DESTROYED BY HUNS, CRUSADERS

The first ever archaeological excavations of the Late Antiquity fortress “Kaleto” near the centralBulgarian town of Banya, Panagyurishte Municipality, Plovdiv District, have been wrapped up helpting the archaeologists confirm the hypothesis that it was built in order to protect the Balkan provinces of the Later Roman Empire from barbarian invasions from the north.

The excavations of the Late Antiquity, Late Roman and Early Byzantine fortress have been led byAssoc. Prof. Valeri Grigorov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, with Lyubka Todorova, archaeologist from the Pazardzhik Regional Museum of HistoryGeorgi Abdulov, former Director of the Panagyurishte Museum of History, and Vasil Katsarev, curator at the Panagyurishte Museum of History.

The archaeological team has discovered a large amount of weapon artifacts and ceramic vessels.

Historians and archaeologists think that the fortress Kaleto near Banya (“kale” is a Turkish word meaning “fortress” left over from the Ottoman period commonly used for the numerous ruins ofancient and medieval fortresses all over Bulgaria whose proper names are sometimes unknown) was originally an Ancient Thracian settlement.

The first stone masonry on the site and the construction of the fortress wall date to the 4th century AD, and there are indications that it was destroyed during the barbarian invasion of the Huns in the 5th century AD.

After that, the fortress near Banya was rebuilt, but in the 12th century AD it fell prey to an invasiononce again – this time it was destroyed by the crusader knights from the Third Crusade (1189-1192 AD).

The Kaleto fortress near Banya was important in ancient and medieval times because of its strategic location between the Valley of Zlatitsa and Pirdop, and the Upper Thracian Plain (in today’s Southern Bulgaria).

The initial partial excavation of the Kaleto Fortress near Banya is funded with BGN 15,000 (app. EUR 7,600) of EU funding under Operational Program “Rural Development”.

The project has been initiated by a Local Initiative Group, a NGO, active in the towns of Panagyurishte,Strelcha, and Lisichovo.

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/06/08/archaeologists-find-previously-unexplored-fortress-in-bulgarias-banya-destroyed-by-huns-crusaders/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 09-Jun-2015 at 05:49
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2015 at 20:40

Bulgarian archaeologists reveal beautiful early Christian floor mosaics amidst unpleasant present-day 'finds' in Plovdiv's great basilica.


Bulgarian archaeologists and restorers have revealed beautiful Early Christian floor mosaics in the 5thcentury AD Great Basilica whose re-excavation, restoration, and conservation started two weeks ago in the southern city of Plovdiv.

The Early Byzantine Great Basilica in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv was discovered in the 1980s but its ruins andunique floor mosaics have been re-buried with soil and sand as a means of preserving them in anticipation of the resolution of legal disputes over the property, and the securing of sufficientfunding for the further excavation and conservation of the site.

The project for the excavation and restoration of the 5th century Great Basilica in the Southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv is going to focus on the recovery, restoration, and conservation of its Early Christian mosaics.

The restoration and excavation of the Great Basilica of ancient Philipopolis, as Plovdiv was known after the conquest of Ancient Thrace by King Philip II of Macedon in 342 AD, is a long awaited project which will be funded with a grant of BGN 4.9 million (app. EUR 2.5 million) by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, a Bulgarian-U.S. NGO.

Lead archaeologist Elena Kisyakova, who first found the Early Christian church in 1982, has made it clear that the project will focus on the restoration, conservation, and exhibition of the Great Basilica and its mosaics, and only partial excavations will be done on an “as needed” basis.

During their current re-excavation of the floor mosaics in the Early Byzantine temple, the Bulgarian archaeologists and restorers have come across some rather “unpleasant” present-day “finds” such as wallets with credit cards and IDs, some of them belonging to foreign nationals, empty vodkabottles, and abandoned bras and underwear, reports local news site Plovdiv24.

These finds are scattered all over the place due to the fact that the site of the Great Basilica in Plovdivhad been largely neglected during the 25-year post-communist period, and, sadly, had turned into a meeting ground for drug addicts and homeless people. The discovered IDs and credits cards were probably stolen from foreigners as well as Bulgarian citizens, the archaeologists believe.

The total of 2000 square meters of Early Christian floor mosaics at the basilica, which was built at the beginning of the 5th century AD, will be restored and exhibited in situ, and ready to welcome visitors by the summer of 2017.

The new tourist center will have a roof, an inner yard, and a performance space which will be used for different types of events.

Recently, Plovdiv Municipality has moved to seek from Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture a transfer of property rights over the entire site of the Early Christian Great Basilica. Plovdiv Municipality owns only part of the site.

Back in 2002, under then Mayor Ivan ChomakovPlovdiv Municipality sold the property to a private firm even though it contained a formally recognized monument of culture. As a result, once the scandalous deal unraveled, it took the municipality and the central government seven years of court battles to regain the ownership of the Great Basilica site. Plovdiv Municipality even had to pay the private owners BGN 500,000 (about EUR 255,000) as a compensation for a plot of 1,500 square meters.

The project for Plovdiv’s Great Basilica, which is sometimes likened to similar historical monuments from ancient Constantinople and Ravenna, the last capital of the Western Roman Empire, is the second of this kind, after in 2010-2014 Bulgaria Culture Ministry, Plovdiv Municipality, and the America for Bulgaria Foundation collaborated for the excavation and restoration of another Early Christian monument, the so called Small Basilica dating back to the 5th century AD.

The Small Basilica project was financed by the America for Bulgaria Foundation with a BGN 1 million (app. EUR 511,000) grant, and was formally opened for tourists in May 2014.

Background Infonotes:

The Early Christian Great Basilica (or Bishop’s Basilica) is located in the center of the ancient city of Philipopolis, which is itself in the downtown of today’s Plovdiv in Southern Bulgaria. It was discovered in 1982 by a team of archaeologists led by Elena Kisyakova. The excavated remains of the Great Basilica were fenced off as part of conservation efforts but have not been excavated further ever since. Back in 2002, Plovdiv Municipality sold the property to a private firm even though it contained a formally recognized monument of culture. As a result, once the scandalous deal unraveled, it took the municipality and the central government seven years of court trials to regain the ownership of the Great Basilica site. The Philipopolis Bishop’s Basilica is impressive in size – its length totals 86.3 meters (the combined length of its naos with the apse is 56.5 meters), and its width is estimated to be 38.5 meters. The entire floor of the three-nave basilica is paved with unique Early Christian mosaics covering a total area of 700 square meters. The mosaic floors were created in two construction stages. The color mosaics feature primarily geometric motifs and images of birds typical of the second quarter of the 5th century. About 70 different species of birds have been identified, some of which appear to be unknown to contemporary ornithology. Based on the mosaics, the Early Christian Bishop’s Basilica in the ancient city of Philipopolis is dated back to the first half of the 5thcentury BC, the Late Roman – Early Byzantine period. It was destroyed in the middle of the 6th century, possibly during a barbarian invasions. It was built on the foundations of an earlier building of similar size and potentially with similar functions.

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/05/20/bulgarian-archaeologists-reveal-beautiful-early-christian-floor-mosaics-amidst-unpleasant-present-day-finds-in-plovdivs-great-basilica/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 22-May-2015 at 20:59
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2015 at 23:28
Flood caused the decline of Cahokia?
"...Sediment cores from Horseshoe Lake, located in the Mississippi floodplain near the center of Cahokia, and Grassy Lake, roughly 120 miles downstream, provide clues to the rise and fall of the ancient city, according to geographers Samuel Munoz and Jack Williams of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Radiocarbon dating of plant remains and charcoal within the sediment cores helped to create a timeline that includes evidence of frequent floods in the Mississippi River valley between A.D. 300 and 600. Archaeological evidence shows that people moved into the floodplain and began to farm during the arid period after A.D. 600, when Cahokia rose to prominence. But after a major flood event in A.D. 1200, the city began to decline. “We are not arguing against the role of drought in Cahokia’s decline but this presents another piece of information,” Munoz said in a press release..."
http://archaeology.org/news/3262-150505-cahokia-sediment-cores
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2015 at 18:37
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2015 at 15:51
An Iron Age bronze clasp shaped like an owl has been found in Denmark:

"...BORNHOLM, DENMARK—An enameled bronze clasp has been unearthed near the east coast of the island of Bornholm, located in the Baltic Sea. Shaped like an owl, the clasp, which has large orange eyes and colorful wings, dates to the Iron Age, and would have been used to fasten a man’s cloak. “There are very few of these types of buttons,” archaeologist Christina Seehusen of Bornholm Museum told The Copenhagen Post. It was probably made along the Roman frontier, in Cologne or another nearby town. “There have been a number of discoveries in graves and settlements on the island that show there was contact with many parts of the world including frequent contact with parts of the Roman Empire,” Seehusen said...."




Edited by Don Quixote - 21-Apr-2015 at 15:55
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Apr-2015 at 22:43

Archaeologists Uncover Ancient ‘Spooning’ Couple in Greece


Almost 6,000 years ago, the man was placed behind the woman with his arms around her body, and their legs were intertwined. They were buried.

Why they were interred in this manner is not yet determined, but the international team that discovered them in Greece is still searching for answers, according to team member Michael Galaty, a Mississippi State University archaeologist.

"There've only been a couple of prehistoric examples of this behavior around the world, but even when couples are buried together, they're beside each other and not typically touching," he said. "This couple was actually spooning. We assume they were partners of some kind, and because of DNA analysis, we do know they are male and female." Not only does Galaty head MSU's anthropology and Middle Eastern cultures department, but he also serves as interim director of the university's Cobb Institute of Archeology.

Another question for the researchers to examine is how the couple died, which happened around 3800 B.C., Galaty said. While archaeologists are unsure whether the man or woman died first, they are sure the couple's times of death are close together.

"This is unique in Greece, and we're analyzing the skeletons and bones to find out more about what was going on, how they died and why they may have been placed there," he said.

The location of the couple's burial site -- Ksagounaki, a rocky promontory, or cliff, on Diros Bay near Greece's Mediterranean coast -- is adjacent to Alepotrypa Cave, one of the largest ancient settlements yet discovered in southern Europe, Galaty said. The cave, first explored in the 1950s, was excavated by Giorgos Papathanassopoulos. It was occupied during the late portion of the Neolithic Age, approximately 5000-3000 B.C. The bodies were discovered at Ksagounaki near a Neolithic house that was dated to the same time as the couple's death around 3800 B.C. The area adjacent to Alepotrypa Cave was discovered in 2011 after the archeological team surveyed the land around the cave.

"The cave was occupied for a limited period of time, around the time when people started farming. People became more sedentary and built houses at a site outside the cave. It became a pretty big village," he said. "People were buried within their homes. Keeping your ancestors close to you was important, and their remains served as a title to the land."

Galaty said one of the team's biggest discoveries was that 2,000 years after the Neolithic Age, the Mycenaeans -- who comprised the human cast in Homer's epic "Iliad" chronicling the Trojan War -- returned to Ksagounaki. They dug into the earlier village-mortuary complex to rebury their dead.

"The bones were gathered somewhere else and brought to this feature around 1200 B.C. The Mycenaeans dug down into the old village and filled the pit they dug with bones," Galaty explained. "There were a lot of wealthy objects -- ivory hair pins, lots of beads, a Mycenaean dagger made of bronze."

He hypothesized that knowledge of Alepotrypa Cave may have been passed down through the civilization's memory of tradition.

"It's not just a coincidence that these people chose to rebury their dead here. There are 2,000 years of memory in this place," Galaty said. "Mycenaeans chose to come here to rebury their dead. They may have come from far away to bury special people. "We're going to look at where they might have lived before they were buried and what kinds of interesting rituals related to death and burial may have been used."

In addition to Galaty, a University of Wisconsin doctoral graduate in anthropology, archaeologists on the team were Anastasia Papathanasiou, with the Ephorate for Speleology and Paleoanthropology in Athens, Greece, and Panagiotis Karkanas, of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. Others included William A. Parkinson, with Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, and Daniel J. Pullen, of Florida State University.

Funding was provided by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, along with grants from the Archaeological Institute of America's Cotsen Excavation Fund, the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research's International Collaborative Research Grant program. The Field Museum Women's Board and private donors also supported the archaeologists' work.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150407171540.htm



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 07-Apr-2015 at 22:44
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2015 at 21:27

AncientBiotics - a medieval remedy for modern day superbugs?

A one thousand year old Anglo-Saxon remedy for eye infections which originates from a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the modern-day superbug MRSA in an unusual research collaboration at The University of Nottingham.


Dr Christina Lee, an Anglo-Saxon expert from the School of English has enlisted the help of microbiologists from University’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences to recreate a 10th century potion for eye infections from Bald’s Leechbook an Old English leatherbound volume in the British Library, to see if it really works as an antibacterial remedy. The Leechbook is widely thought of as one of the earliest known medical textbooks and contains Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments.

Early results on the 'potion', tested in vitro at Nottingham and backed up by mouse model tests at a university in the United States, are, in the words of the US collaborator, “astonishing”. The solution has had remarkable effects on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs costing modern health services billions.

The team now has good, replicated data showing that Bald’s eye salve kills up to 90% of MRSA bacteria in ‘in vivo’ wound biopsies from mouse models. They believe the bactericidal effect of the recipe is not due to a single ingredient but the combination used and brewing methods/container material used. Further research is planned to investigate how and why this works.

Historical curiosity

The testing of the ancient remedy was the idea of Dr Christina Lee, Associate Professor in Viking Studies and member of the University’s Institute for Medieval Research. Dr Lee translated the recipe from a transcript of the original Old English manuscript in the British Library.

The recipe calls for two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and oxgall (bile from a cow’s stomach). It describes a very specific method of making the topical solution including the use of a brass vessel to brew it in, a straining to purify it and an instruction to leave the mixture for nine days before use.

The scientists at Nottingham made four separate batches of the remedy using fresh ingredients each time, as well as a control treatment using the same quantity of distilled water and brass sheet to mimic the brewing container but without the vegetable compounds.

Triple threat testing

The remedy was tested on cultures of the commonly found and hard to treat bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, in both synthetic wounds and in infected wounds in mice.

The team made artificial wound infections by growing bacteria in plugs of collagen and then exposed them to each of the individual ingredients, or the full recipe.  None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe the Staphylococcus populations were almost totally obliterated: about one bacterial cell in a thousand survived.
 
The team then went on to see what happened if they diluted the eye salve – as it is hard to know just how much of the medicine bacteria would be exposed to when applied to a real infection.  They found that when the medicine is too dilute to kill Staphylococcus aureus, it interfered with bacterial cell-cell communication (quorum sensing).  This is a key finding, because bacteria have to talk to each other to switch on the genes that allow them to damage infected tissues.  Many microbiologists think that blocking this behaviour could be an alternative way of treating infection.

Arts informing science

Dr Lee said: “We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab. We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge, which is largely contained in non-scientific writings. But the potential of these texts to contribute to addressing the challenges cannot be understood without the combined expertise of both the arts and science.

“Medieval leech books and herbaria contain many remedies designed to treat what are clearly bacterial infections (weeping wounds/sores, eye and throat infections, skin conditions such as erysipelas, leprosy and chest infections). Given that these remedies were developed well before the modern understanding of germ theory, this poses two questions: How systematic was the development of these remedies? And how effective were these remedies against the likely causative species of bacteria? Answering these questions will greatly improve our understanding of medieval scholarship and medical empiricism, and may reveal new ways of treating serious bacterial infections that continue to cause illness and death.”

“Genuinely amazed”

University microbiologist, Dr Freya Harrison has led the work in the laboratory at Nottingham with Dr Steve Diggle and Research Associate Dr Aled Roberts. She will present the findings at the Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology which starts on Monday 30th March 2015 in Birmingham.

Dr Harrison commented: “We thought that Bald’s eyesalve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity, because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab – copper and bile salts can kill bacteria, and the garlic family of plants make chemicals that interfere with the bacteria’s ability to damage infected tissues.  But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was.  We tested it in difficult conditions too; we let our artificial ‘infections’ grow into dense, mature populations called ‘biofilms’, where the individual cells bunch together and make a sticky coating that makes it hard for antibiotics to reach them.  But unlike many modern antibiotics, Bald’s eye salve has the power to breach these defences.”

Dr Steve Diggle added: “When we built this recipe in the lab I didn't really expect it to actually do anything. When we found that it could actually disrupt and kill cells in S. aureus biofilms, I was genuinely amazed. Biofilms are naturally antibiotic resistant and difficult to treat so this was a great result. The fact that it works on an organism that it was apparently designed to treat (an infection of a stye in the eye) suggests that people were doing carefully planned experiments long before the scientific method was developed.”

Testing in the US

Dr Kendra Rumbaugh carried out in vivo testing of the Bald’s remedy on MRSA infected skin wounds in mice at Texas Tech University in the United States. Dr Rumbaugh said: “We know that MRSA infected wounds are exceptionally difficult to treat in people and in mouse models. We have not tested a single antibiotic or experimental therapeutic that is completely effective; however, this ‘ancient remedy’ performed as good if not better than the conventional antibiotics we used.”

Dr Harrison concludes: “The rise of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria and the lack of new antimicrobials in the developmental pipeline are key challenges for human health. There is a pressing need to develop new strategies against pathogens because the cost of developing new antibiotics is high and eventual resistance is likely. This truly cross-disciplinary project explores a new approach to modern health care problems by testing whether medieval remedies contain ingredients which kill bacteria or interfere with their ability to cause infection”.

The AncientBiotics team at Nottingham is seeking more funding to extend this fascinating research which combines the arts and sciences, past and present.
 

The University of Nottingham is committed to the principles of the 3Rs of reduction, refinement and replacement. For each project it ensures, as far as is reasonably practicable, that no alternative to the use of animals is possible, that the number of animals used is minimised and that procedures, care routines and husbandry are refined to maximise welfare. The University is a signatory member of the UK Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2015/march/ancientbiotics---a-medieval-remedy-for-modern-day-superbugs.aspx



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 30-Mar-2015 at 21:31
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Mar-2015 at 17:26
Originally posted by Don Quixote

The first recorded toilet in history - from Crete, 2800 years ago. Thank you, King Minos!



Just a correction - This is not from Crete, nor is it 2,800 years old.

It's a 3rd Century latrine from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.

It's got carved wheels on the side, as if to make it look like a chariot!

Perhaps 'going for a chariot ride' was the ancient Rome equivalent of 'going to the office' as a euphemism for using the toilet (among others)!




Edited by Sidney - 26-Mar-2015 at 20:15
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Mar-2015 at 00:52
revolutionary indeed!Essential move in history.Regards Don.Big smile
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Mar-2015 at 14:45
The first recorded toilet in history - from Crete, 2800 years ago. Thank you, King Minos!



Edited by Don Quixote - 24-Mar-2015 at 14:46
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2015 at 22:55

BULGARIAN ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND ANCIENT PITHOI, MEDIEVAL BYZANTINE SEALS AT UPPER VODEN FORTRESS

Several ancient pithoi (large clay vessels for food and drinks) as well as medieval lead seals belonging to Byzantine dignitaries have been discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists in the excavations of theUpper Voden Fortress, also known as Voden or Votina, near the southern town of Asenovgrad.

While the Upper Voden Fortress itself rose to prominence in the High Middle Ages, the artifacts found there by the team of archaeologist Rositsa Moreva also include items from the Charcolithic or Cooper Age (also known as Eneolithic Age) and the AntiquityIvan Dukov, director of the Asenovgrad Museum of History, has told the Bulgarian National Radio.

The most impressive finds from different time periods discovered over the past year at the Upper Voden Fortress are to be presented to the public next week but Dukov has revealed some of them in advance. In the same interview, he has also revealed some of the finds discovered at the nearby Asen’s Fortress.

“It is very important that this year we found several lead seals that shed light on the residents of thefortress and their correspondence,” Dukov says, adding that one of the seals belonged to Gregory Kurkua who was the Byzantine Duke of Plovdiv in the 11th century, after the Byzantine Empire defeated the First Bulgarian Empire (680-1018 AD) in 1018 AD, and conquered most of the Bulgarian lands.

In his words, the Byzantine Duke of Plovdiv Gregory Kurkua probably had correspondence withGregory Pakourianos (Gregorius Pacurianus), a powerful 11th century Byzantine politician of Georgian origin who is known as the founder of the Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo, one of the most revered monasteries in today’s Bulgaria also located near the town ofAsenovgrad.

“[The Byzantine Duke of Plovdiv] was probably exchange letters with Gregory Pakourianos, and probably lived and died at roughly the same time as him,” Dukov notes, adding that the archaeologistshave found two other Byzantine seals – one anonymous, and another one that belonged to a man called Constantine Xenothynos.

“These seals are interesting from the point of view of sigillography. This diplomatic correspondence is important to us because it can enrich our historical knowledge of this period,” says the director of theAsenovgrad Museum of History.

He has also announced that the archaeologists excavating the medieval Upper Voden Fortress have discovered several ancient pithoi (pithos is the Ancient Greek word for a large clay vessel for storing grain, wine, and other food) as well as a tandir, a medieval oven based on these vessels.

Tandir is a specific type of oven which resembles a pithos but has more vertical walls. Fire is lit inside the tandir, and foods are baked in there. This technique is still used today in some parts of Asia. Some parts of the Rhodope Mountains [in Bulgaria] also use this method for roasting meat,” Dukov explains.

Back in November 2014, the archaeologists excavating the Upper Voden Fortress announced the discovery of a rare 4th century BC coin minted by Alexander the Great.

The prehistoric, ancient, and medieval artifacts that the Bulgarian archaeologists have found at the Upper Voden Fortress and at Asen’s Fortress are to be presented to the public in Asenovgrad on Monday, March 23, 2015.

Background Infonotes:

The Upper Voden Fortress, also known as Voden or Votina, located near today’s southern Bulgarian town of Asenovgrad is connected mostly with the role of Byzantine politician of Georgian origin Gregory Pakourianos (Gregorius Pacurianus), the founder of the nearby Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo, which he established in 1083 AD. The Upper Voden Fortress was first excavated in the 1960s by Dimitar Tsonchev, and since 1976 – by renowned Bulgarian archaeologist Rositsa Moreva, who is also in charge of the current excavations. Evidence indicates that the Upper Voden Fortress (located on a strategically important mount with an altitude of 516 meters, overlooking the Thracian plain) was first built in the 9th-10th century but on the foundations of a previously existing Early Byzantine fortress. In modern-day Bulgaria, not unlike all otherarchaeological sites, it has been damaged by treasure hunters but also by locals wishing to mine stones from it for house construction.

Gregory Pakourianos (Gregorius Pacurianus) was an 11th-century Byzantine politician of Georgian origin who is said to have been the second most powerful man in the Byzantine Empire after the Emperor himself. Gregory Pakourianos is known as the founder of the Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo, one of the most revered monasteries in today’s Bulgaria also located near the town of Asenovgrad. It was established by him in 1083 AD. Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos appointed him “megas domestikos of All the West” meaning he was the supreme commander of Byzantine forces in Europe. He died in 1086 AD fighting the Pechenegs at the Battle of Beliatoba (today’s Bulgarian town of Belyatovo).

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/03/19/bulgarian-archaeologists-find-ancient-pithoi-medieval-byzantine-seals-at-upper-voden-fortress/

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2015 at 22:52

ARCHAEOLOGISTS DIG UP ANCIENT SKELETON FROM UNDER ODESSOS FORTRESS WALL IN BULGARIA’S VARNA

Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered a tall man’s skeleton during rescue excavations of the ancient Greek and Roman city of Odessos in the downtown of the Black Sea city of Varna.

The large human skeleton has been found in a grave partly located under the fortress wall of Odessos, which is being excavated by archaeologists from the Varna Museum of Archaeology (also called Varna Regional Museum of History).

The skeleton is dated back to the late 4th century or the early 5th century AD, according to Dr. Valeri Yotov who is in charge of the rescue excavations of Varna’s ancient city of Odessos.

It has been found near the St. Nikolay Church, just 20 meters away from the site where a 5th century earthen jar was discovered in January 2015 by construction workers during water supply and sewer rehabilitation, an event that triggered the rescue excavations of the so called Varna Largo, the passenger zone on the central Knyaz Boris I Boulevard.

Last week, the Varna archaeologists found a previously unknown part of the Odessos fortress wall as well as part of another earthen jar and a hand mill from the late Antiquity.

“As we started to uncover the ancient fortress wall, we started asking ourselves a lot of questions, and, of course, we had to keep digging to reach the wall’s foundations. That’s how we stumbled upon theskeleton,” explains Yotov, as cited by Varna Utre.

The working hypothesis of the Varna archaeologists is that the skeleton belongs to a man who died during the construction of the fortress wall of ancient Odessos, and that his remains were laid in a pit originally dug up as a construction ditch for the wall foundations which was also “utilized” as a grave.

The man’s death might have been caused by a work-related accident or a different type of occurrence at the time the wall was being erected, according to Yotov...

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/03/17/archaeologists-dig-up-ancient-skeleton-under-odessos-fortress-wall-in-bulgarias-varna/

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2015 at 22:47

BULGARIAN ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNEARTH NEOLITHIC BONE NEEDLE, 100-METER FORTRESS WALL AT MEDIEVAL ASEN’S FORTRESS

A bone needle from the Neolithic as well as the uncovering of 110-meter fortress wall are some of the latest discoveries made by archaeologists at the medieval Bulgarian fortress known as Asen’s Fortress (Asenova Krepost) in Southern Bulgaria.

Asen’s Fortress located on a high and isolated rock near the southern Bulgarian town of Asenovgraddates back to the height of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD) and the Asen Dynasty (1185-1256 AD), and is best known for the well preserved 12th-13th century Church of the Holy Mother of God.

For the first time Bulgarian archaeologists led by Rositsa Moreva have excavated the southwestern section of Asen’s Fortress uncovering a 110-meter fortress wall, Ivan Dukov, director of the Asenovgrad Museum of History, has told the Bulgarian National Radio.

While the most impressive finds from different time periods discovered over the past year at Asen’s Fortress are to be presented to the public next week, Dukov has revealed some of them in advance. In the same interview, he has also revealed some of the finds discovered in the excavations of the nearby Upper Voden Fortress.

He explains that the newly discovered 110-meter fortress wall serving to protect Asen’s Fortress from attacks from an open plain to the south is to be excavated further; it was modified in three discernible phases judging by the nature of the construction

“The southern sector is very dangerous because it is very steep. But after further excavations this can be turned into a very convenient place for visitors,” says the director of the Asenovgrad Museum of History, adding,

“We have established that this fortress wall was modified several times, with three main construction periods. It was first built with huge stone blocs, up to a meter in size. The latest modification was made with smaller stones, with no cementing that we used as a filling for some caverns that had opened up in the fortification wall.”

In his words, the fortress wall in question served to protect the residents of Asen’s fortress from attacks from an open space to the south from the 9th century onwards.

The archaeologists excavating the medieval Asenova Krepost have discovered items from different time periods, as there had been earlier settlements on the same site.

“The more interesting artifacts that we have found [at Asen’s Fortress] took us back to the oldest settlement there dating back to the Neolithic period. We have discovered fragments from pottery vessels and a bone needle dating back to the Neolithic,” Dukov explains.

They have also dug up some ancient finds, most notably, a coin from the Ancient Greek city of Parium (or Parion) in Anatolia, on the south coast of the Sea of Marmara, as well as a coin minted by Philip II, King of Macedon (r. 359-336 BC).

The prehistoric, ancient, and medieval artifacts that the Bulgarian archaeologists have found at Asen’s Fortress and the Upper Voden Fortress are to be presented to the public in Asenovgrad on Monday, March 23, 2015...

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/03/19/archaeologists-unearth-neolithic-bone-needle-100-meter-fortress-wall-at-medieval-bulgarian-fortress/

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2015 at 22:45

ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND BYZANTINE COINS, ROMAN INSCRIPTION IN AQUAE CALIDAE – THERMOPOLIS PRESERVE IN BULGARIA’S BURGAS

A new batch of various ancient and medieval artifacts has been discovered during the excavations of the Aquae Calidae – Thermopolis Archaeological Preserve in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas, the Burgas Municipality has announced.

The latest finds from the Ancient Thracian and Roman city of Aquae Calidae – known as Therma or Thermopolis in the Middle Ages – which was famous for its mineral springs, include a large number ofByzantine coins, a fragment of an Ancient Roman inscription on a marble slab, an ancient marble statuette as well as part of the city fortress wall.

The Aquae Calidae – Thermopolis Archaeological Preserve is currently being excavated in rescue digsfunded by the Burgas Municipality not only as part of its plans to turn the site into a major tourist attraction, but also because of the ongoing rehabilitation of the water supply and sewerage system inBanevo and Vetren, the two Burgas quarters located on top of the ancient and medieval city. Thearchaeologists are exploring the strata at a depth of 3 meters.

A total of 80 artifacts from different time periods have been found, including 45 coins. Some of theByzantine coins are “cup-shaped”, the so called scyphates, dating back to the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century. They were minted by the Byzantine Emperors from the Komnenos Dynasty (1081-1185 AD) and the Angelos Dynasty (1185-1204 AD).

The archaeologists have also found Byzantine coins dating back to the 7th century, before theestablishment of Danube Bulgaria, i.e. the First Bulgarian Empire (680-1018 AD), in the Balkans.

Perhaps the most interesting new find from Aquae Calidae – Thermopolis is a fragment from a marble slab inscription from the early imperial period of Ancient Rome, i.e. the 1st-2nd century AD. Similar marble slab inscriptions have been found in the nearby area known as Manastir Tepe. A marble statuette dating back to the 2nd-3rd century AD has also been found...

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/03/18/archaeologists-find-byzantine-coins-roman-inscription-in-aquae-calidae-thermopolis-preserve-in-bulgarias-burgas/

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2015 at 20:59

Archaeologists Find Rare Bronze Mask of Pan

Israeli archaeologists from the University of Haifa have uncovered an enormous bronze mask of Pan (Faunus, Satyr) – the Greek/Roman god of the woods, shepherds, and fertility – at the archaeological site of Hippos-Sussita, located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

“Bronze masks of this size are extremely rare and usually do not depict Pan or any of the other Greek or Roman mythological images. Most of the known bronze masks from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are miniature,” said Dr Michael Eisenberg of the University of Haifa’s Department of Archaeology and the Zinman Institute of Archaeology.

Archaeological excavations at the site of the ancient Greco-Roman city ofHippos-Sussita (3rd century BC – 7th century CE) are usually conducted in the summer. However, a series of intriguing structures on the ridge of the city, where the ancient road passed, led to a one-day dig in the winter of 2015.

The dig focused on a basalt structure that Dr Eisenberg and his colleagues assumed was a type of armored hangar for the city’s projectile machines. The archaeologists then decided to search the structure for coins to help them date the other finds.

“After a few minutes we pulled out a big brown lump and realized it was a mask. We cleaned it, and started to make out the details. The first hints that helped us recognize it were the small horns on top of its head, slightly hidden by a forelock,” Dr Eisenberg said.

“Horns like the ones on the mask are usually associated with Pan, the half-man half-goat god.”

A more thorough cleaning in the lab revealed strands of a goat beard, long pointed ears, and other characteristics that led the scientists to identify the mask as depicting a Pan (Faunus, Satyr).

“The first thought that crossed my mind was: ‘why here, beyond the city limits?’ After all, the mask is so heavy it could not have just rolled away. The mask was found nearby the remains of a basalt structure with thick walls and very solid masonry work, which suggested a large structure from the Roman period. A Pan altar on the main road to the city, beyond its limits, is quite likely,” Dr Eisenberg said.

“After all, Pan was worshipped not only in the city temples but also in caves and in nature.”

“The ancient city of Banyas (Paneas), north of Hippos-Sussita, had one of the most famous worshipping compounds to the god Pan inside a cave. Because they included drinking, sacrificing and ecstatic worship that sometimes included nudity and sex, rituals for rustic gods were often held outside of the city.”

http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/science-bronze-mask-pan-hippos-sussita-israel-02602.html

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2015 at 20:54

Spain finds Don Quixote writer Cervantes' tomb in Madrid

Forensic scientists say they have found the tomb of Spain's much-loved giant of literature, Miguel de Cervantes, nearly 400 years after his death.

They believe they have found the bones of Cervantes, his wife and others recorded as buried with him in Madrid's Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians.

Separating and identifying his badly damaged bones from the other fragments will be difficult, researchers say.

The Don Quixote author was buried in 1616 but his coffin was later lost.

When the convent was rebuilt late in the 17th Century, his remains were moved into the new building and it has taken centuries to rediscover the tomb of the man known as Spain's "Prince of Letters".

"His end was that of a poor man. A war veteran with his battle wounds," said Pedro Corral, head of art, sport and tourism at Madrid city council.

The team of 30 researchers used infrared cameras, 3D scanners and ground-penetrating radar to pinpoint the burial site, in a forgotten crypt beneath the building.

Inside one of 33 niches found against the far wall, archaeologists discovered a number of adult bones matching a group of people with whom Cervantes had been buried, before their tombs were disturbed and moved into the crypt.

"The remains are in a bad state of conservation and do not allow us to do an individual identification of Miguel de Cervantes," said forensic scientist Almudena Garcia Rubio.

"But we are sure what the historical sources say is the burial of Miguel de Cervantes and the other people buried with him is what we have found."

Further analysis may allow the team to separate the bones of Cervantes from those of the others if they can use DNA analysis to work out which bones do not belong to the author.

Investigator Luis Avial told a news conference on Tuesday that Cervantes would be reburied "with full honours" in the same convent after a new tomb had been built, according to his wishes.

"Cervantes asked to be buried there and there he should stay," said Luis Avial, georadar expert on the search team.

The convent's religious order helped pay for his ransom after he was captured by pirates and held prisoner for five years in Algiers.

The crypt will be opened to the public next year for the first time in centuries to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Cervantes' death.

Mr Corral told the BBC that the project had not just been about finding the bones of the author but of honouring his memory and encouraging people to learn more about him.

Many people may be rediscovering Cervantes because of the search, he said.

Born near Madrid in 1547, Cervantes has been dubbed the father of the modern novel for The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, published in two parts in 1605 and 1615.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31852032

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