Sunday, 16 December 2012

University of Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology



Now is the time to enrol for Hilary term online courses in Archaeology.

Each courses lasts for 10 weeks, with the expectation of c. 10 hours study a week.  Students submit two short assignments.   

Successful completion of the courses carries a credit of 10 CATS Points.

CATS Points from these courses can now be used as part of the requirement for the new Certificate in Higher Education offered by the University of Oxford.

The following courses are available: (click on the title for further information)


Greek Mythology                  Origins of Human Behaviour               Pompey and the cities                                                                                                         of the Roman World

Ritual and Religion in Prehistory                          Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers

You can find general information about University of Oxford courses here...

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Evidence of world's 'oldest' cheese-making found

The cheese thought to have been made was likely to be a soft, cow's milk type

Scientists may be one step closer to uncovering the origins of cheese-making, as evidence thousands of years old has been uncovered. What would a Neolithic cheese have tasted like?

Truly an ancient art, no-one really knows exactly when humans began making cheese.
But now milk extracts have been identified on 34 perforated pottery vessels or "cheese-strainers", which date back 7,500 years that have been excavated in Poland.

It is unambiguous evidence for cheese-making in northern Europe during Neolithic times, scientists believe, and the findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

"We analysed some fragments of pottery from the region of Kuyavia [Poland] pierced with small holes that looked like modern cheese-strainers," says Melanie Salque, a postgraduate student at the University of Bristol's Department of Chemistry.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Researchers find clues to the Baltic Crusades in animal bones, horses and the extinct aurochs

Stanford Assistant Professor Krish Seetah and Reading University student Rose Calis analyze animal bones in the basement of Riga Castle, Latvia. Credit: Aleks Pluskowski

Stanford researchers have discovered that pagan villages plundered by medieval knights during the little-known Baltic Crusades had some problems in common with the modern-day global village. 

Among them: deforestation, asymmetric warfare and species extinction. 

According to a research paper published in Science, a project investigating the Baltic Crusades' profound environmental legacy could yield valuable insight into colonialism, cultural changes and ecological exploitation – relevant issues not only throughout history, but especially in today's increasingly globalized society.

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Archaeology: Basilica from the time of Constantine the Great found at Sofia’s Serdica West Gate


Archaeologists in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia have found a basilica said to date from the time of emperor Constantine the Great in the area of the West Gate of Serdica, as the city was known in Roman times.

The basilica is 27 metres wide and about 100m long, according to Yana Borissova-Katsarova, head of research at the site. It featured multi-coloured mosaics. Further exploration of the find will be difficult because of its location under the modern city.

Sofia deputy mayor in charge of culture, Todor Chobanov, said that the discovery of the basilica may be proof that Constantine intended to establish the city as a centre of Christianity.

Constantine, who ruled from 306 to 337 CE, was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Sofia, as Serdica, was under Roman rule from 29 BCE and remained under Roman and later Byzantine rule, with some interruptions because of Hun invasions and destruction, for a number of centuries.

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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Gypsies arrived in Europe 1,500 years ago, genetic study says

Gypsies in a shanty town in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Navia/Cover/Getty Images

Migrants from India came to continent much earlier than previously thought, analysis suggests, and arrived in the Balkans

In parts of Europe they are still shunned as disruptive outsiders or patronised as little more than an exotic source of music and dance, but Gypsies have ancient roots that stretch back more than a millennium, scientists have proved.

A genetic analysis of 13 Gypsy groups around Europe, published in Current Biology journal, has revealed that the arrival on the continent of their forebears from northern India happened far earlier than was thought, about 1,500 years ago.

The earliest population reached the Balkans, while the spread outwards from there came nine centuries ago, according to researchers at Spain's Institute of Evolutionary Biology and elsewhere.

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