Lost and found Lost and found Lost and found
Lost and found Further chance finds, at the University of Bristol and London’s Natural History Museum, have brought two lost archaeological collections to light.
The first is a set of early human fossils. Thought to date back 50,000 years, the bones were excavated by pioneering archaeologist Dorothy Garrod in the 1920s and 1930s, at Shukbah Cave in what is now Israel. They were subsequently lost, with a description in a 1939 publication the only testament to their existence.
The bones were relocated among the personal possessions of Sir Arthur Keith, an anthropologist who examined the fossils for Garrod shortly after their excavation. Following his death in 1995, many of his collections had been transferred to the Natural History Museum, but it was not until they were examined for a paper on his legacy, newly published in Quarternary International, that these specimens’ significance was realised.
‘Some of the fossils date back to a key period where Neanderthals and modern humans may have co-existed in the Middle East and Europe,’ said co-author
Dr Isabelle De Groote of Liverpool John Moores University. ‘There are very few early modern human fossils dating from the late Middle Palaeolithic, so this material is very significant, with potential to answer important questions about the dispersal of anatomically modern humans out of Africa.’
Over in Bristol, staff working to clear laboratory space for the university’s new radiocarbon dating facility made the second find: an enigmatic box of seeds, pottery, and 4,500-year-old food offerings.
Keywords written on index cards among the objects – including ‘Predynastic’, ‘Royal Tombs’, and ‘Sargonid’ – suggest that the finds may come from Sir Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur in southern Iraq in the 1920s and 1930s, the team says.
How these items came to Bristol remains a mystery, but anyone with any information is invited to contact Dr Tamar Hodos on firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr Alexandra Fletcher on email@example.com l of Bristo iversity
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comprising heaps of charcoal and heatcracked stones with associated troughs and hearths, which have been radiocarbon dated to c.2100 BC. An Iron Age ring-ditch, dated to c.300 BC, has also been identified close to the Mesolithic structure.
ABOVE Archaeological work ahead of the construction of the A26 in Co. Antrim has uncovered evidence of human activity spanning 8,000 years, including a Medieval souterrain, and a Mesolithic house (INSET).
THROUGHOUT SEPTEMBER Scottish Archaeology Month Across Scotland This annual celebration of Scottish archaeology sees a wealth of heritagethemed events take place across the country – see p.52 for more details. www.archaeologyscotland.org.uk/ourprojects/scottish-archaeology-month
14 SEPTEMBER Tour Reculver’s Saxon Shore Fort Information centre, Reculver Visit the remains of 3rd-century Regulbium with Dr Brian Philp, who began the excavations and his archaeological career here in 1952. www.the-cka.fsnet.co.uk
28 SEPTEMBER Visit Keston Roman Tombs Brambletye, Keston This open day gives the rare opportunity to explore these monumental tombs, dating to c.AD 200 and seldom open to the public. Come and explore them with volunteers from Bromley and West Kent Archaeological Group, and KARU. www.the-cka.fsnet.co.uk
18 OCTOBER Endings and New Beginnings North Cadbury Village Hall, Yeovil Hosted by South Somerset Archaeological Research Group, this single-day symposium explores the transition between the Late Roman and Early Medieval periods in the South West, with a host of expert speakers. www.ssarg.org.uk
5-7 DECEMBER Rewley House, University of Oxford Medieval Archaeology conference This year’s Society for Medieval Archaeology conference discusses Medieval Europe’s temporary and seasonal sites, from fishing bases to Viking camps. How do we recognise and date them, and what do they tell us about economic development, landuse, and military strategy? www.medievalarchaeology.co.uk ilts
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