Daventry District Council planning committee has approved plans to build a ‘Living History’ visitor centre to the south of the registered English Civil War battlefield of Naseby in Northamptonshire. Work will now start on the detailed planning of the building, its content and the 36-acre site pledged to the charity by a small group of supporters. The battle of Naseby was fought on the morning of the 14 June 1645, during which parliament’s New Model Army destroyed the main field army of King Charles I.
You can read more about the English Civil War and the battle of Naseby in our Where History Happened feature.
More than 3,000 Roman coins dating to the third century have been discovered in a field in Montgomery, Powys, 900 of which were unearthed by a member of a Welshpool metal detecting club. According to the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, most of the copper alloy coins were found buried in a ceramic pot just a few miles away from where a Roman fort once stood. It is thought that the coins may have been buried for safekeeping but were never recovered.
A wall carving discovered in a cave on the Gower peninsula in south Wales could be Britain’s oldest example of rock art, according to the archaeologist who found it. Dr George Nash, a part-time academic at Bristol University, discovered the faint scratchings of a speared reindeer in September 2010 and believes they were carved by a hunter-gather in the Ice Age, more than 14,000 years ago. It is thought that the discovery of flint tools in the cave during the 1950s, which date to between 12,000 and 14,000 BC, could hold the key to the carving’s true date – similar designs found at Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire have also been dated to the same period.
Somerset County Council has revealed that Somerset was the site of the UK’s oldest open-air cemetery, following recent investigations into two skulls found at a sand quarry in Greylake nature reserve near Middlezoy in 1928. Radiocarbon dating of the remains has shown them to be around 10,000 years old and indicates that by around 8300 BC, hunter-gatherers were burying their dead on what was once an island amid the Somerset Levels. Other remains from the Mesolithic period have been found inside caves, making this the only known open-air cemetery in the UK.
Maritime archaeologists studying Second World War tanks lying on the seabed between the Isle of Wight and Selsey, West Sussex, have been investigating ways in which the artefacts can be properly protected. The tanks have lain underwater since 1944 when the landing craft carrying the equipment in preparation for the D Day landings capsized – none of the crew were lost. Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology is now looking at how land legislation can be applied to the sea in a bid to protect these remains and other shipwrecked vessels.
Scientists examining DNA taken from the bones and teeth of the skeleton of South American independence hero and former president of Venezuala Simon Bolivar have been unable to determine the cause of his death. Historically, records state that Bolivar died from tuberculosis in 1830, but his grave was exhumed in 2010 on the orders of the country’s current president, Hugo Chavez, to assess whether there was any evidence he had been murdered. Neither cause of death has been ruled out.
Photographs from the First World War have been used to discover the whereabouts of a German bomber plane that was shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Engine parts of the Heinkel, which was shot down in August 1940, were found 1.5 metres beneath a garden in Somerset after the site was identified using First World War photographs of the wreckage. Archaeologists believe that parts of the plane broke off as it was pulled out of the ground, and were then buried under a bungalow built in 1955. The garden’s owner Alan Jennings commented: “It’s not everyday you get someone knock on the door and say there’s a German bomber in your back garden.”
A brass telescope that once belonged to Edward John Smith, captain of the ill-fated Titanic that sank in 1912, is to be sold at auction in Liverpool. The brass eyepiece, which was discovered in an attic, bears the captain’s name and is expected to fetch around £20,000 at auction. A walnut cigar box once owned by Smith recently sold for £25,000 at auction after being discovered on a bedroom cabinet in Merseyside.
The top half of a sculpture of the ancient Greek demigod Herakles, bought by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1982, is to be returned to its native Turkey. Turkish archaeologists have claimed that the bust was looted and taken from the country; the bottom half of the statue was discovered at Perge in southern Turkey in 1980. It is thought, however, that the full statue will return to Boston on a short-term loan.
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