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: West Kent Arc haeo
Otford Roman villa explored
Investigations by West Kent Archaeological Society have revealed a large late Roman villa at Otford, Kent. Inconclusive archaeological features and a scatter of Roman building material were initially uncovered in the 1930s, while more recent research by Operation Nightingale’s Sgt Diarmaid Walshe helped to pin down the likely location of a villa. Now geophysical surveys undertaken by WKAS have revealed the walls of a winged corridor building.
The full extent of the villa complex has not yet been established – WKAS only has access to a resistivity meter that
York’s rare Viking finds displayed
The skeleton of a Viking-period woman who lived in York 1,000 years ago has gone on display at the Jorvik Viking Centre, together with the rare wooden coffin in which she was laid to rest.
The remains of the woman – who was aged 26-35 when she died – were discovered in 1990, during a York Archaeological Trust (YAT) excavation in the Swinegate area, exploring the graveyard of the lost church of St Benet, which stood on the site between the 8th and 14th centuries. Work by the Trust revealed over 100 burials, many dating from York’s Viking occupation (AD 866-1066), a number of which included largely intact timber coffins.
‘For archaeologists studying Viking history, finding a skeleton preserved in a wooden coffin is a unique find indeed – as timber rarely survives for so long – but once again, as we found in the Coppergate dig of the late 1970s, York’s waterlogged soil conditions preserved the wood,’ said Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust.
BELOW The skeleton of a Viking Age woman from York and her well-preserved wooden coffin have gone on display at the Jorvik Viking Centre.
The cof fin appears to have been fairly fragile when it was put together – made from oak with pegged fastenings, it is so well preserved that YAT conservators could see that the lid had split during construction, and had been repaired using a baton fastened inside – which the team suggests might indicate that it had only been transported a short distance for burial.
Analysis of the woman’s remains has also yielded clues to her life, revealing signs of stress indicating that she suffered malnutrition or disease as a child, and degenerative joint disease in the spine and hips in adulthood.
Her skeleton and coffin have gone on display as part of planned new installations at the Jorvik Viking Centre to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the Danish king Cnut’s conquest of England and accession to the throne in 1016, a milestone that will form the focus of this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival in February.
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December 2013 |
February 2016 |