Again? Ancient Roman cemetery found under parking lot
Hidden beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, archaeologists have discovered a 1,700-year-old Roman cemetery that seemed to show no religious bias.
The new discovery, found at the junction of Newarke and Oxford Streets, includes numerous burials and skeletal remains from 13 individuals, both male and female of various ages. The cemetery is estimated to date back to around A.D. 300, according to University of Leicester archaeologists who led the dig.
I’ve been trying to think of reasons there would be cemeteries under parking lots and even if they are so preferentially. They could be since land use is often fairly consistent across time, with people building where older buildings were and leaving land flat and unbuilt where it was flat and unbuilt before. Very often cemeteries (at least in the US) were placed on the outskirts of settlements and on sloping land that was otherwise ill-suited for agriculture or on cruddy land. But just speculating, I’m not sure the current raft of parking lot cemeteries is anything other than coincidence.
Unmarked Graves Found in Lynchburg Cemetery
There was an incredible find Friday at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg.
It’s way back from the Civil War Era. Archaeologists uncovered around 50 confederate soldier grave sites, and they expect to find dozen more.
“We are making discoveries in these last couple hours that have puzzled people for decades,” said Ted Delaney, assistant director of the cemetery.
Old City Cemetery is filled with graves, but most grave sites are not properly honored and marked.
There’s a video that goes with the text (mostly the same stuff), but it’s worth playing the vid as it gives at least some idea of how individual graves are being located, not by high-tech GPR, but simply by observing the changes in sediment character. Which you could probably do most anywhere except it means stripping off an awful lot of sod and dirt and is rather time intensive. Wonder who’s paying for it? It’s a nice idea though, since they have records that could/should allow identification.
UPDATE: WaPo story.
Digging Into Hartland’s Past: Archaeologists Detail Cemetery Findings
A team of archaeologists hired by the president of VTel to exhume a cemetery located on his 173-acre estate have unearthed fragments of Upper Valley history nearly two centuries old, but not without dredging up some new questions too.
The relocation of the cemetery, which occupied land purchased by VTel CEO and President Michel Guite, stirred up resistance from residents and led to a three-year legal battle over the rights of descendents to access the burial plot.
The case went all the way to the state Supreme Court, which sided with Guite in late 2011. Jerome King, a Hanover resident who has since died and whose family owned the property for 33 years, sued to prevent the unearthing of the cemetery where the ashes of his cremated parents were laid to rest.
Now this seems to me to be what conservation archaeology ought to be all about. The landowner paid to have the work done properly (despite some controversy), the archaeologists got a good amount of information out of it, and involved the public in the results. Good on them.
Archaeologists in West Bromwich find grave robbing evidence
Archaeologists have found evidence of grave robbing while digging at a 19th Century burial ground in West Bromwich.
A team working at the former Providence Baptist Chapel site found a mortsafe – a metal cage fixed around a coffin to stop people stealing the body.
Empty coffins and one filled with scrap metal were also discovered which archaeologists said was evidence of attempts to deter body snatchers.
Pretty neat, they were after the actual bodies, not any valuable placed in the graves which is the norm.
Counting souls: Archaeologist investigates dead of 1928 storm
They are the ghosts of Port Mayaca. On that long-ago day in 1928, when the big water took them, the world was a different place.
Most of them didn’t have a telephone, or a car, or even a radio when the storm hit. And few could have imagined the orange box on a stick, filled with strange noises and images, bolted to a tire, that a young archaeologist named Shawn Patch would roll across their graves 85 years later.
On Tuesday, Patch was using a futuristic tool to solve one of the great mysteries of our past: How many are buried here?
Good long article, read the whole thing. It seems unlikely that the true number of bodies will ever be known: they suggest many were burned and then deposited. It’s Florida so preservation of even those remains is likely to be pretty poor, unless it’s waterlogged for some reason. That’s too bad, it’s not a terribly famous disaster.
Minnesota’s state archaeologist investigates missing cemetery
Minnesota’s state archaeologist is investigating the disappearance of a pioneer cemetery near Herman.
Scott Anfinson says he used Department of Natural Resources aerial photos and satellite mapping to confirm that the Boerner family cemetery was gone.
So it looks like some persons unknown had removed trees and many/all(?) of the headstones for reasons unknown. No word on how recently this may have happened though. This is a fairly significant problem these days as various construction activities on formerly private land will be affecting either known or unknown family and other private cemeteries. Frankly, it’s an area I’d like to get more into.
Thracian gold hoard
The discovery of a gold hoard in a tomb in Bulgaria, may belong to the first known ruler of the Thracian Gatae tribe, Cothelas.
The new golden artifacts are dated back to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC and were found in the biggest of 150 ancient tombs of a Thracian tribe, the Getae, that was in contact with the Hellenistic world.
The findings also included a golden ring, 44 applications of female figures as well as 100 golden buttons.
“These are amazing findings from the apogee of the rule of the Getae,” said Diana Gergova, head of the archaeologist team at the site of the ancient Getic burial complex situated near the village of Sveshtari, some 400 km northeast from Sofia.
There have been a lot of stories about the discovery of the tomb of a 5th Dynasty princess in Abusir, Egypt (south of Cairo, just north of Saqqara), and a set of related elite burials. The best photographs are on the official Czech posting on the subject (but with no English version of the text) and a set of English language links at the end. Another good source is the Luxor Times (with brief description and a good selection of photographs).
There has been some confusion over the identification of a new king called Men-Salbo in the hieroglyphs on columns in the courtyard of the princess’s tomb, but this was a mus-interpretation of the lower part of the text (thanks to Aayko Eyma on EEF for that clarification).
A new book has suggested that the field that has been commemorated for hundreds of years as the site of the Battle of Hastings may be a somewhat embarrassing case of mistaken identity. Historian John Grehan has reconsidered the evidence for the circumstances leading up to the battle and believes that it actually took place a mile away from the field that, in spite of a lack of 10,000 bodies or associated artefacts, has been accepted as the battlefield. It’s an interesting story, but needs to be tested by an excavation at the proposed new site. Still, I’m surprised that metal detector enthusiasts haven’t found anything yet if there’s something there to be found – it must be one of the areas where they are most active.