since there isn’t really any soft tissue preserved. But still cool: Windover’s Ancient ‘Bog People’ Among Most Significant Archaeological Finds In North America
There’s a video at the site of an old(?) Science Channel thing. Also it is apparently owned by the Archaeological Conservancy which I think is a good idea for preserving sites on private property.
Archaeologists Discover a Neolithic Burial Ritual Like No Other
During excavations at Shkārat Msaied, in southern Jordan, a strange burial site was unearthed revealing a ritual unlike any the archaeologists had previously encountered. After the dead were buried and the bodies had decomposed to the point only their skeletons remained; the bones were removed from their grave, the skeletons dismantled and then bones of similar types – and from similar age groups – from multiple skeletons were combined and reburied together.
This isn’t actually all that unusual, bodies were often left to decompose and then the bones gathered up and placed elsewhere, often combined with others.
Nether Heyford graves of girl and soldier could shed light on Dark Ages
Two graves found in Northamptonshire could shed light on ordinary people’s lives after the Romans left Britain.
The graves, near a Roman villa at Nether Heyford, contain a girl and an armed man buried in the Dark Ages.
They were discovered by metal detector experts working with the Community Landscape And Survey Project (CLASP).
Steve Young, former NFL quarterback, ex-lecturer at Northampton University and archaeologist in charge, said the woman was probably a Christian and the man possibly an Anglo Saxon.
I may have edited that slightly.
A Pompeii of China? Archaeologists discover heartbreaking remains of mum who died protecting her baby boy from an earthquake
Archaeologists have discovered the skeletal remains of a mum who died trying to protect her child.
Anthropologists studying the Lajia archaeological site in Minhe County, in north-west China’s Qinghai Province, came across the mother and her son while unearthing a large-scale burial caused by a devastating earthquake some 4,000 years ago.
Some really nice photos. They don’t appear to have been staged (that is, excavated, removed, cleaned, and then repositioned) and if not someone did a fabulous job excavating them.
Archaeologists dig up thousands of skeletons under London’s Liverpool Street Station
Archaeologists in London believe they may have uncovered a mass grave of plague victims buried beneath one of the city’s busiest train stations.
The find at Liverpool Street Station is part of one of Britain’s most important archaeological digs, with a team of more than 60 scientists working double shifts since March to excavate around 3,000 skeletons.
The bodies were interred in a cemetery attached to the notorious Bedlam mental asylum, with the site being used for burials for at least 170 years.
At first I thought it was going to be all plague victims but apparently it’s just a big ol’ cemetery with some plague victims.
So hectic around here. Actually, hectic anyway, I have three days of Global Health work to finish, then head to Portland for my talk. Plus fieldwork next week. Plus trying to arrange a v-a-c-a-tion (in the summer sun) in three weeks’ time. Yeesh.
Anyway, the faaaaaaabulous Kristina over at PoweredByOsteons posted this link:
Gruesome Find: 100 Bodies Stuffed into Ancient House
The remains of 97 human bodies have been found stuffed into a small 5,000-year-old house in a prehistoric village in northeast China, researchers report in two separate studies.
The bodies of juveniles, young adults and middle-age adults were packed together in the house — smaller than a modern-day squash court — before it burnt down. Anthropologists who studied the remains say a “prehistoric disaster,” possibly an epidemic of some sort, killed these people.
Kind of odd. From the article it seems like some were whole interments and others were partials? That seems odd for an epidemic, you’d think they’d just toss the whole bodies in, unless maybe some were found later after decomposition had already taken place. It’s a poster abstract so there’s no way to see if there is pathology to go along with it. Also odd that there aren’t any old folks there, so hmmmm. . . . . .
Bones With Names: Long-Dead Bodies Archaeologists Have Identified
Half of them are kind of trivial that most have probably know about before, but some are a bit new (most have been linked to here over the years). I vaguely recall Xin Zhui being buried in mercury, but that may be a different memory.
French archaeologists uncover ‘exceptional’ tomb of 350 year old corpse, believed to be noblewoman Louise de Quengo
The “exceptional” tomb of a noblewoman who lived during the 17th Century has been uncovered in France.
The remarkably preserved remains were unearthed by a team in the north-western city of Rennes, at the excavation site of the convent of the Jacobins, before the area is built over with a convention centre.
The 1.45 metre (five foot) corpse is believed to be that of Louise de Quengo, wife of the powerful noble Toussaint Perrien, who died in 1656 when she was in her 60s. Various local media reported that much of her hair, skin, internal organs and brain were still intact.
She also, apparently, had her husband’s heart in with her. No explanation as to why the preservation was so good though.
UPDATE: Guardian says it was a sealed lead coffin which could explain it.
UPDATE II: Video here. I’m a little surprised they didn’t really try to quarantine it while working to decrease the risk of contamination in case they want to do any genetic testing, etc.
Archaeologists unearth medieval graveyard beneath Cambridge College
The Hospital cemetery, dating from the early 13th century, contained the bodies of approximately 1,300 people, most of which were buried in neatly laid-out rows, or deposited in a charnel house on the site. The team, from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, found the cemetery to have six “cemetery generations”, defined as the time taken to fill all available space before burying other bodies in the same locations.
. . .
Of the various human remains excavated by the team, 400 individuals were closely analysed to discover clues as to the nature of the cemetery and the surrounding community. The vast majority of burials took place without coffins, many even without shrouds, suggesting the cemetery was primarily used to serve the poor. Grave-goods such as jewellery and personal items were only present in a handful of burials.
No word on whether they were viciously not laid back in the ground where they were found.
Literally: Crossrail archaeology: the story so far
It is one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever undertaken in the UK.
Crossrail currently operates over 40 worksites and archaeological investigations which will be carried out at each site ahead of main construction works to build the stations.
A project spanning over 100 kilometres with more than 40 construction sites has the potential to uncover many finds.
To date Crossrail has found more than 10,000 artefacts spanning many years of London’s past across more than 40 construction sites. It is the UK’s largest archaeology project.
They’re expecting up to 3,000 burials to remove. Which will provide a tremendous amount of demographic and pathological data. And all of it’s rescue archaeology.