A community led excavation is documenting a recently discovered medieval village at High Hunsley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.
The excavation is being led by Ethos Heritage in partnership with Humber Timelines, under the direction of Richard Coates and Emma Samuel.
According to the Domesday book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales from the early Medieval period, the village is located 6 miles from the medial urban centre of Beverly.
Based on non-invasive geophysical surveys, Ethos heritage began excavating a suspected house platform in July 2022, revealing animal bones and teeth (amounting to 8.7kg), and the remains of a dog and pig mandible. Signs of butchery and burning were evidenced, suggesting that the area may have been part of a midden or yard.
Image Credit : Leon Corneille-Cowell
Approximately 12.7kg of pottery was uncovered, consisting of Medieval glaze and Green glaze, Coarse ware, Shell tempered Grey slip ware, and Shell tempered and Humber ware. The excavation also revealed a large quantity of jug handles, leading to the theory that the structure may have been a tavern or pub of some description.
Based on the recovered pottery, the team are able to construct a chronology of activity, indicating that the site was occupied between with the 14th and 15th century, with reduced activity in the 16th century.
A variety of metal and other miscellaneous objects were also found, including six iron knives, window lead, working tools, and several copper alloy personal items and pieces of jewellery.
Over 150 volunteers took part in the excavation, including university students, enthusiastic amateurs, children from a local special needs school and their families. Part of the project is to educate student volunteers on how to manage an archaeological site and run a community project, with the main aim of the project focused on using archaeology to aid those who are vulnerable or unemployed, or at risk of social exclusion.
Excavations will continue in the summer of 2023 to reveal further evidence of the building platform, a possible wall, and examine the relationship between further structures on the site to a Holloway.
A spokesperson for the project said: “This year will include not just locals, but participants from the USA and Japan. Projects like High Hunsley are a perfect demonstration of how wide the ‘community’ in community archaeology can be, not only including people from the local area but also bringing together participants from completely different cultures and time zones; with the one commonality being a passion for the past.”
Header Image Credit : Leon Corneille-Cowell
New chambers discovered in Ancient Egyptian pyramid of Sahura
An Egyptian-German archaeological mission has discovered several new chambers in the pyramid of Sahura, located in the Abu Sir Pyramid Field south of Giza.
Sahura, meaning “He who is close to Re”, was a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and the second ruler of the Fifth Dynasty (2465 BC to 2325 BC). Sahure’s reign is seen as one of economic and cultural prosperity, opening new trading links to the land of Punt and expanding the flow of goods from the Levantine coast.
Choosing not to follow the tradition of being buried in the royal necropolises of Saqqara and Giza, Sahura instead chose for his pyramid to be constructed at Abusir. Although smaller in size than the pyramids of his predecessors, Sahura’s pyramid complex was decorated with over 10,000 m2 of finely carved reliefs, some of which are considered “unparalleled in Egyptian art.”
The interior chambers of the pyramid were extensively damaged by grave robbers during antiquity, making it impossible to precisely reconstruct the substructure plan.
Image Credit : Mohamed Khaled
A restoration project led by Egyptologist Dr. Mohamed Ismail Khaled of the Department of Egyptology at Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU) has discovered a series of storage chambers and passageways. The northern and southern parts of these chambers are badly damaged, however, remnants of the original walls and parts of the floor can still be seen.
Using 3D laser scanning with a ZEB Horizon portable LiDAR scanner, the team conducted detailed surveys to map the extensive external areas and the narrow corridors and chambers inside.
According to the researchers: “Careful documentation of the floor plan and dimensions of each storage chamber has greatly enhanced our understanding of the pyramid’s interior. During restoration, a balance between preservation and presentation was pursued to ensure the structural integrity of the chambers while making them accessible for future study and potentially the public.”
During the restoration work, the project was also able to uncover the floor plan of the antechamber which had deteriorated over time. Consequently, the destroyed walls were replaced with new retaining walls. The eastern wall of the antechamber was badly damaged, and only the northeast corner and about 30 centimetres of the eastern wall were still visible.
Header Image – Pyramid of Sahura – Public Domain
Archaeologists identify runesmith who carved the Jelling Stone runes
Archaeologists using 3D scans have identified who carved the Jelling Stone runes, located in the town of Jelling, Denmark.
The first of the two Jelling stones was erected by King Gorm the Old in honour of his wife Thyra. Following this, a second stone was raised by King Gorm’s son, Harald Bluetooth, to commemorate his parents and to mark his victorious rule over Denmark and Norway, as well as his role in converting the Danish people to Christianity.
Researchers from the National Museum in Copenhagen have conducted 3D scans to analyse the carving tracks of the runes. Similar to handwriting, the carving techniques are relatively unique to each runesmith, as each stonemason holds the chisel at a certain angle and strikes with a certain force with the hammer.
By studying the angle of the chisel grooves and the distance between them, comparisons can be made with other rune stones, such as the Laeborg Runestone which stands approximately 30 kilometres southwest of Jelling
The analysis has revealed that the Laeborg Runestone has the same carving technique, which also has the inscription: “Ravnunge-Tue carved these runes after Thyra, his queen”.
Queen Thyra is mentioned in the two Jelling stones as the mother of Harald Bluetooth, wife of Gorm the Elder and “penitent of Denmark”, but Thyra’s name is also mentioned in two other runestones, that of Læborg, carved by Ravnunge-Tue in honor of Thyra, his queen, and that of Bække 1, which bears the inscription “Ravnunge-Tue and Fundin and Gnyple, the three made the stop of Thyra.”
For many years, researchers have debated whether Læborgstenen’s Queen Thyra is the same as the Thyra mentioned on the stones from Jelling.
According to the researchers: “The discovery in itself is interesting because it can link another person to the Jelling dynasty, but it is especially interesting because the realization brings with it another startling revelation, explains Lisbeth Imer, runologist and senior researcher at the National Museum.”
“It is an absolutely incredible discovery that we now know the name of the rune maker behind the Jelling stone, but what makes the discovery even wilder is that we know Ravnunge-Tue’s boss. It is Queen Thyra from Jelling, i.e. Harald Blåtand’s mother, there can no longer be much doubt about that, and that puts the discovery in a completely different light,” says Lisbeth Imer.
Header Image Credit : Shutterstock
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