Neolithic ‘halls of the dead’ found in Herefordshire

The remains of two Neolithic halls have been discovered by archaeologists working on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch in Herefordshire. The ‘halls of the dead’, which are thought to have been built between 4000 and 3600 BC, were found within prehistoric burial mounds by teams from the University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council and are believed to have been used to store corpses.

Professor Julian Thomas, from the University of Manchester, said: “[This find is of] huge significance to our understanding of prehistoric life. These early Neolithic halls are already extremely rare, but to find them within a long barrow is the discovery of a lifetime”.


Evidence of ‘lost village’ found in Nottinghamshire

Artefacts unearthed beneath a Nottinghamshire town could point to the existence of a settlement on the site in the 12th and 13th centuries, according to archaeologists. The finds, in the Burgage area of Southwell, include fragments of medieval pottery and the remains of cobbled surfaces.


Queen’s speech drafted in case of nuclear war

Civil servants drafted a speech for the Queen to give to the British people in the event of imminent nuclear war, according to documents from 1983 released this week by the National Archives. The speech, which blames “the deadly power of abused technology”, was part of a planning exercise carried out at the heigh of the Cold War.

Incan child mummies fed drugs and alcohol

Scientific tests on the mummies of three children found in Argentina in 1999 suggest that young sacrifice victims may have been fed alcohol and coca leaves in the months before their deaths. The results of a study of chemicals found in the children’s hair, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, also suggest that they were heavily sedated before being placed still alive in their tombs.


Iron arrowhead discovered at Scottish castle

An iron arrowhead discovered during a dig at a ruined Scottish castle could help archaeologists learn more about conflicts on the site. Although Mingary Castle, near Kilchoan, dates back to the 13th century, experts believe that the artefact may have been used in an attack in later centuries.

Lead coffin unearthed at Richard III burial site

Archaeologists working in the Leicester car park where the remains of Richard III were discovered in 2012 have found a lead coffin inside the stone casket already unearthed at the site. The coffin’s existence came to light after the stone lid was removed from the outer coffin in the last week of July.


Meat used to lure parachuting dogs in Second World War

British paratroopers dropped meat out of aircraft to encourage dogs to parachute behind enemy lines during the Second World War, according to new research. The animals, which would be given only small amounts of food and water before a mission, were trained to jump up to 80 feet and become familiar with loud noises and strong smells such as cordite.


Image credits: © University of Leicester (Richard III)