I am always on the lookout for interesting archaeological finds or digs in the UK. I have three today:
The first is the ongoing quest for the grave of Richard III: http://www.northwalesweeklynews.co.uk/conwy-county-news/uk-world-news/2012/08/24/archaeologists-in-richard-iii-dig-55243-31688154/
“King Richard III, the last Plantagenet, ruled England from 1483 until he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. It is believed his body was stripped and despoiled and brought to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as Greyfriars.”
Richard III is the king defeated by Henry Tudur, the descendent of Ednyfed Fychan, the seneschel to Llywelyn the Great. Henry became Henry VII. The interesting problem in this case, and it has happened all over the UK, is that they lost the location of the original church where they think he is buried! You wonder how that could have happened but over time, people forget, or lose interest, or the church is burned to the ground and not rebuilt.
And then it turns out the dig was successful and they think they’ve found his body! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-19561018 or here http://www.hinckleytimes.net/news-in-hinckley/local-news/hinckley-news/2012/09/20/skeleton-discovery-of-king-killed-at-battle-of-bosworth-is-vital-to-country-s-past-105367-31868296/ Thanks to Ian in the comments for pointing me to the news! I have to say to find anything at all–not to mention something this momentous–in a three week archaeological dig is nearly unheard of!
A second story is about the continuing excavation at the Pillar of Eliseg (where I visited in May! http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/the-pillar-of-eliseg/): http://www.denbighshirefreepress.co.uk/news/115663/archaeologists-in-quest-to-unearth-mysteries-of-past.aspx
“The Pillar of Eliseg was originally a tall stone cross but only part of a round shaft survives set within its original base.
It once bore a long Latin inscription saying that the cross was raised by Concenn, ruler of the kingdom of Powys, who died in AD 854, in memory of his great-grandfather, Eliseg.
Phase one of the project, in 2010, focused on the mound, which was identified as an early Bronze Age cairn.
The archaeologists completed the second phase in September 2011, by revealing for the first time details of the cairn’s composition and evidence of many stages in its history.
The experts found possible cremated remains and bone fragments dating back to the Bronze Age and diggers found pieces of Roman pottery as well as shards of post medieval pottery and a spindle whorl at the top of the mound on which the pillar stands.
The undisturbed mound in this trench was then partially excavated revealing a likely early medieval long-cist grave in the section as well as evidence suggesting the interment of cremations during the Bronze Age.
This is now the focus of the third phase.”
And to make our round-up of UK countries complete, Archaeologists are on a quest to uncover the site of the battle of Bannockburn (also lost to time): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/9552291/Archaeologists-dig-to-find-site-of-Battle-of-Bannockburn.html
“Archaeologists launched a bid to uncover the site one of the most famous battles in Scottish history — in the grounds of a police headquarters.
Central Scotland Police’s headquarters at Randolphfield, Stirling, is named after Sir Thomas Randolph, one of the commanders of Robert the Bruce’s army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The first major skirmish of the two-day battle occurred on Sunday 23 June when Randolph routed around 300 English cavalry, who were attempting to relieve Stirling Castle.
A pair of small standing stones near the entrance to the current police headquarters is believed to mark the site of the fighting, but until now there has been no other physical evidence.
Stirling Council archaeologist Murray Cook said ground-penetrating radar would be used to locate the Roman road on which King Edward II’s army marched on Stirling and the famous spike-filled pits that played a crucial role in the outcome.”