Two ‘vampire’ skeletons dating back to the Middle Ages have been unearthed by archaeologists in the Black Sea town of Sozopol, Bulgaria. The skeletons are so-called because they were discovered with iron rods penetrating through their chests and into the grave itself.
A common pagan practice until a century ago in some villages, piercing the heart of the deceased was based on the belief that it would stop the bad rising from their graves to feed on human blood.
Around 100 such ‘vampire’ burials have been discovered in Bulgaria, with similar sites also unearthed in Balkan countries such as Serbia.
Experts from the Museum of London Archaeology have discovered the remains of the Curtain Theatre. Archaeologists working on the site have unearthed the yard and gallery walls of the Elizabethan theatre where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is thought to have first been performed. The remains were found during regeneration work behind a pub in Shoreditch, east London.
The Curtain was home to Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in 1597, but disappeared from all records in 1622.
It is hoped that in the future the site will be opened to the public, and there is a possibility that plays will once again be staged there.
Thick, grouped hazel rods have been found in the Baltic Sea by marine archaeologists from Sodertorn University in Stockholm. The rods are thought to be the remains of fishing basket traps. Archaeologists have found the remains of seven traps; one has already undergone carbon dating and has been found to be approximately 9,000 years old.
The specific purpose of the sticks is unclear; experts believe they may have been used to trap fish or lead them into a creel. The discovery supports the theory that the 8th millennium BC marked the beginning of agriculture for Stone Age man.
Researchers have suggested that fossils discovered in Myanmar in 2005 could prove that humans originated in Asia, rather than Africa. The claim would mean that monkeys and apes also evolved in Asia.
The fossils, which are thought to be 38 million years old, include pieces of jawbone and teeth, that are characteristically similar to those of primates.
However, it has been argued that, although the fossil discovery of a new primate is highly important, it contributes little to the question of whether humans and primate evolved in Africa or Asia.
State-run news agency Xinhua has reported, after an extensive archaeological survey in 2007, that the actual length of the Great Wall of China is 21,196.18km, the most definitive and specific measurement yet. The last reported length of the Great Wall of China was 8,850km, in 2009, and previous estimates have been determined from historical records.
The Great Wall consists of many walls and structures, and although work began in 500 BC, the walls only started to become linked around 220 BC. Less than 10 per cent of the wall remains intact today.
Artefacts dating back 3,000 years have gone on show at Swansea University. The collection consists of over 30 objects, including amulets, scent bottles, figurines and two glass bottles from the era of Cleopatra.
The collection has been loaned to the Swansea University Egypt Centre by Woking College, Surrey, to encourage students studying ancient history, and to promote higher education.
The Royal Welsh Regimental Museum is launching an appeal to raise £1 million in order to display some of its most precious artefacts. The Grade II listed museum in Brecon, curated by Bill Cainan, is home to some rare and highly valued artefacts, which are currently not on display due to museum conditions.
The collection of pieces includes objects from the Anglo-Zulu War, 17 Victoria Crosses and a Union Jack flag from 1879, which was raised at the battle of Rorke’s Drift.
The museum plans to spend the money on modern technology to help present the collection so that it can be fully appreciated by generations to come.
A year of celebrations costing £750,000 has been announced for 2014 to mark the centenary of Welsh writer Dylan Thomas’s birth, made up of activities and events emphasising the impact of Thomas’s work.
A separate project has also been announced for the erection of a statue of Thomas in the Uplands suburb of Swansea, where he lived for over two decades.