Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the remains of walls dating back to 700 to 500 BC at Nybster in Caithness, one of Scotland’s most important mainland broch* settlements. If the structure’s age is confirmed, it could prove that the site may have provided habitation to various communities for 1,000 years. The remains of a cannel coal bracelet also found at the site could indicate trade between ancient inhabitants of Nybster and other parts of the Highlands, since the nearest source of cannel coal is 50 miles away in Brora, Sutherland.
*An Iron Age dry-stone hollow-walled structure found only in Scotland
Divers who located a shipwreck off the Dominican Republic coast last autumn have announced finds that could be worth millions of pounds. Captain Billy Rawson and his crew, who are continuing to dive to the site, have so far recovered 700 silver coins, jade figurines and a mirrored stone that some believe could have been used in Shamanic rituals. The ship itself is thought to date to the 1500s and may have sunk during a hurricane; the team believes the vessel was heading back to Spain with a haul of newly minted coins when it encountered adverse weather conditions.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has launched aerial surveys over Skye to help archaeologists investigate a 12th-century Viking shipbuilding site uncovered at Loch na h-Airde on Skye’s Rubh an Dunain peninsula. To date, boat timbers, a stone-built quay and a canal have been uncovered at the site, but it is hoped that the air surveys will pinpoint new sites for investigation. It is thought that the loch and canal could have been used for protecting boats during winters, as well as for their construction and maintenance.
A grave belonging to an aristocratic Celtic lady is to be taken apart by experts in Germany to help find out more about the Celts’ way of life, 2,600 years ago. The entire grave, weighing around 80 tonnes, was removed in its entirety a few months ago to allow the team to use the most modern resources of analysis, such as X-rays. The woman, who was buried with a young child, is thought to have been a princess due to the amount of gold and jewellery in the grave, but the find has also revealed specks of cloth or food and other organic matter, which, it is hoped, might reveal other aspects of Celtic life.
An AD 2nd-century Roman mausoleum has been discovered under an illegal toxic waste dump near Naples, Italy. The tomb, which includes stucco work and decorations, was found beneath nearly 60 tonnes of refuse piled up illegally in the 17th-century ruins at Pozzuoli. The owner of the site, as well as the man who leased it, is now being investigated for crimes against the environment and Italy’s cultural heritage.
Archaeologists working at the site of a Roman settlement near the A2 in Kent have uncovered the body of a girl thought to have been murdered by Roman soldiers around 2,000 years ago. The girl, who was probably between 16 and 20 when she was killed, was found face down in what is thought to have been a hastily dug grave and buried facing north-south, the custom for pagan graves. It is believed that the girl was killed by a sword stabbing her in the back of the head – the director of the excavation, Dr Paul Wilkinson, stated that the position of the entry wound meant “she would have been kneeling at the time.”
Claude Choules (“Chuckles”), the last First World War combat veteran, has died in Australia at the age of 110. Choules, who joined the Royal Navy at just 15 after he lied about his age, served on HMS Revenge, and saw action in the North Sea at the age of 17. He also witnessed the surrender of the German fleet in the Firth of Forth in November 1918, as well as the scuttling of the fleet at Scapa Flow. Choules also served in the Second World War as chief demolition officer for the western half of Australia. In later life he became a pacifist and celebrated his 110th birthday in March this year.
A wooden bust by 19th-century artist Paul Gauguin has sold for £6.8 million at auction in New York – a record price for one of the artist’s sculptures. Jeune Tahitienne (Young Tahitian) hasn’t been seen in public since 1961 and was expected to fetch between £6 million and £9 million.
Replicas of what some believe to be the hand and skull-cap of a yeti have been given to the Pangboche Monastery in Nepal from where the original artefacts were stolen in the 1990s. The artefacts first came to light at the monastery during a 1950s expedition to find the mythical yeti. The leader of the expedition, Peter Byrne, stated that the hand did not match the skeleton of a human or primate, and a professor at Oxford University who examined one of the bones smuggled out of the monastery by Byrne, was unable to conclusively say what type of bone it was.