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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

One hundred years ago, thousands of British and Australian troops trained with shovels and explosives along a miles-long network of trenches in the Salisbury Plain. They were learning the roles of sappers and miners and soldiers as they prepared for the fight of their lives on the Western Front of World War I. Now some 8 kilometers of the former training tunnel network at Larkhill have been excavated by archaeologists. It has yielded a picture of the past – even some of the signatures of heroes and deserters who left their mark on history, according to the Wessex Archaeology firm. “This is the first time anyone has found and excavated tunnels used to train the sappers and miners before they were deployed overseas,” said Martin Brown, a consultant to the Army Basing Project. “West have found them as part of the largest single investigation of First World War training trenches anywhere in the world.” The trenches were found during digging in advance of new planned housing for the military at the Larkhill site. The archaeologists found dugouts, underground mines, counter-mines and listening posts. The training to dig and blow up German tunnels underneath no man’s land was underway beginning in 1915, until the end of the war in 1918. The archaeologists said the kind of training was what enabled the first underground explosions to kick off the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and also the Battle of Messines on June 7, 1917. The archaeologists had to work alongside bomb disposal specialists, since some grenades used in training were still live, even after a century out in the elements, they said. Also found were a trove of signatures. A chalk plaque included the names of about 100 soldiers from the Australian Bombers who trained at Larkhill before crossing the English Channel to battle the Germans. Of note is one particular inscription. The name is Private Lawrence Carthage Weathers. The young soldier would go on to win the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of Mount Saint-Quentin, during which he captured guns and 180 prisoners from a German machine-gun trench. “The chalk plaque and the large number of grenade fragments found show that Weathers learned his deadly skills here, on our site,” said Brown. “He was one of the thousands who learned soldiering at Larkhill.” (Weathers would never learn he had been given the Victoria Cross. He was killed later that same month, during an artillery barrage). “Larkhill has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our Wessex Archaeology teams, said Si Cleggett, the project manager for Wessex. “It has been a humbling experience for archaeologists to stand and read the names of young soldier in the very spaces they occupied before embarkation to the horrors of the trenches.”


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

One hundred years ago, thousands of British and Australian troops trained with shovels and explosives along a miles-long network of trenches in the Salisbury Plain. They were learning the roles of sappers and miners and soldiers as they prepared for the fight of their lives on the Western Front of World War I. Now some 8 kilometers of the former training tunnel network at Larkhill have been excavated by archaeologists. It has yielded a picture of the past – even some of the signatures of heroes and deserters who left their mark on history, according to the Wessex Archaeology firm. “This is the first time anyone has found and excavated tunnels used to train the sappers and miners before they were deployed overseas,” said Martin Brown, a consultant to the Army Basing Project. “West have found them as part of the largest single investigation of First World War training trenches anywhere in the world.” The trenches were found during digging in advance of new planned housing for the military at the Larkhill site. The archaeologists found dugouts, underground mines, counter-mines and listening posts. The training to dig and blow up German tunnels underneath no man’s land was underway beginning in 1915, until the end of the war in 1918. The archaeologists said the kind of training was what enabled the first underground explosions to kick off the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and also the Battle of Messines on June 7, 1917. The archaeologists had to work alongside bomb disposal specialists, since some grenades used in training were still live, even after a century out in the elements, they said. Also found were a trove of signatures. A chalk plaque included the names of about 100 soldiers from the Australian Bombers who trained at Larkhill before crossing the English Channel to battle the Germans. Of note is one particular inscription. The name is Private Lawrence Carthage Weathers. The young soldier would go on to win the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of Mount Saint-Quentin, during which he captured guns and 180 prisoners from a German machine-gun trench. “The chalk plaque and the large number of grenade fragments found show that Weathers learned his deadly skills here, on our site,” said Brown. “He was one of the thousands who learned soldiering at Larkhill.” (Weathers would never learn he had been given the Victoria Cross. He was killed later that same month, during an artillery barrage). “Larkhill has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our Wessex Archaeology teams, said Si Cleggett, the project manager for Wessex. “It has been a humbling experience for archaeologists to stand and read the names of young soldier in the very spaces they occupied before embarkation to the horrors of the trenches.”


Fyfe R.M.,University of Plymouth | Twiddle C.,University of Aberdeen | Sugita S.,Tallinn University | Gaillard M.-J.,Linnaeus University | And 12 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2013

The vegetation of Europe has undergone substantial changes during the course of the Holocene epoch, resulting from range expansion of plants following climate amelioration, competition between taxa and disturbance through anthropogenic activities. Much of the detail of this pattern is understood from decades of pollen analytical work across Europe, and this understanding has been used to address questions relating to vegetation-climate feedback, biogeography and human impact. Recent advances in modelling the relationship between pollen and vegetation now make it possible to transform pollen proportions into estimates of vegetation cover at both regional and local spatial scales, using the Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm (LRA), i.e. the REVEALS (Regional Estimates of VEgetation Abundance from Large Sites) and the LOVE (LOcal VEgetation) models. This paper presents the compilation and analysis of 73 pollen stratigraphies from the British Isles, to assess the application of the LRA and describe the pattern of landscape/woodland openness (i.e. the cover of low herb and bushy vegetation) through the Holocene. The results show that multiple small sites can be used as an effective replacement for a single large site for the reconstruction of regional vegetation cover. The REVEALS vegetation estimates imply that the British Isles had a greater degree of landscape/woodland openness at the regional scale than areas on the European mainland. There is considerable spatial bias in the British Isles dataset towards wetland areas and uplands, which may explain higher estimates of landscape openness compared with Europe. Where multiple estimates of regional vegetation are available from within the same region inter-regional differences are greater than intra-regional differences, supporting the use of the REVEALS model to the estimation of regional vegetation from pollen data. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Redfern R.C.,Center for Human Bioarchaeology | Dewitte S.N.,University of South Carolina | Pearce J.,King's College London | Hamlin C.,University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee | Dinwiddy K.E.,Wessex Archaeology
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2015

In the Roman period, urban and rural ways of living were differentiated philosophically and legally, and this is the first regional study of these contrasting life-ways. Focusing on frailty and mortality risk, we investigated how these differed by age, sex, and status, using coffin type as a proxy for social status. We employed skeletal data from 344 individuals: 150 rural and 194 urban (1st-5th centuries A.D.) from Dorset, England. Frailty and mortality risk were examined using indicators of stress (cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, nonspecific periostitis, and enamel hypoplastic defects), specific metabolic and infectious diseases (rickets, scurvy, and tuberculosis), and dental health (carious lesions and calculus). These variables were studied using Chi-square, Siler model of mortality, Kaplan-Meier analysis, and the Gompertz model of adult mortality. Our study found that overall, mortality risk and survivorship did not differ between cemetery types but when the data were examined by age, mortality risk was only significantly higher for urban subadults. Demographic differences were found, with urban cemeteries having more 0-10 and >35 year olds, and for health, urban cemeteries had significantly higher frequencies of enamel hypoplastic defects, carious lesions, and rickets. Interestingly, no significant difference in status was observed between rural and urban cemeteries. The most significant finding was the influence of the skeletal and funerary data from the Poundbury sites, which had different demographic profiles, significantly higher frequencies of the indicators of stress and dental health variables. In conclusion, there are significant health, demographic, and mortality differences between rural and urban populations in Roman Britain. Am J Phys Anthropol 157:107-120, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Fuller D.Q.,University College London | Allaby R.G.,University of Warwick | Stevens C.,Wessex Archaeology
World Archaeology | Year: 2010

The origins of agriculture involved pathways of domestication in which human behaviours and plant genetic adaptations were entangled. These changes resulted in consequences that were unintended at the start of the process. This paper highlights some of the key innovations in human behaviours, such as soil preparation, harvesting and threshing, and how these were coupled with genetic 'innovations' within plant populations. We identify a number of 'traps' for early cultivators, including the needs for extra labour expenditure on crop-processing and soil fertility maintenance, but also linked gains in terms of potential crop yields. Compilations of quantitative data across a few different crops for the traits of non-shattering and seed size are discussed in terms of the apparently slow process of domestication, and parallels and differences between different regional pathways are identified. We highlight the need to bridge the gap between a Neolithic archaeobotanical focus on domestication and a focus of later periods on crop-processing activities and labour organization. In addition, archaeobotanical data provide a basis for rethinking previous assumptions about how plant genetic data should be related to the origins of agriculture and we contrast two alternative hypotheses: gradual evolution with low selection pressure versus metastable equilibrium that prolonged the persistence of 'semi-domesticated' populations. Our revised understanding of the innovations involved in plant domestication highlight the need for new approaches to collecting, modelling and integrating genetic data and archaeobotanical evidence. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.


Last J.,English Heritage | Brown E.J.,Natural England | Bridgland D.R.,Durham University | Harding P.,Wessex Archaeology
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association | Year: 2013

This paper explores the links between the study and conservation of Palaeolithic archaeology and Quaternary geology, using examples from England. In Britain, human occupation is believed to have started approximately 800,000 years ago, thus giving rise to significant overlap between sediments studied by Quaternary geologists and those of interest to Palaeolithic archaeologists. Given the scientific importance of understanding environmental change and its impact on previous populations, along with the cultural significance of studying past human communities, there is an equal need to understand the opportunities and challenges for conservation. There are long-standing legislative, resourcing and methodological differences between geological and archaeological conservation, which we review here, as well as different approaches to site selection and management. There are also differences between the treatment of Palaeolithic and more recent archaeology, which strengthen the need for a closer alliance with Quaternary geoconservation. Ultimately, successful conservation of Palaeolithic archaeology and Quaternary geology should use both heritage protection and geoconservation measures to best advantage, for which mutual understanding is essential. Here, as a contribution to furthering such understanding, we explore the opportunities and challenges for conservation, and set out key areas and priorities for effective collaboration, which is illustrated by a case study from Cannoncourt Farm Pit SSSI (Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK). © 2013 The Geologists' Association.


Tizzard L.,Geoservices | Bicket A.R.,Wessex Archaeology | Benjamin J.,Flinders University | Loecker D.D.,Leiden University
Journal of Quaternary Science | Year: 2014

The potential for Middle Palaeolithic sites to survive beneath the sea in northern latitudes has been established by intensive investigation within Area 240, a marine aggregate licence area situated in the North Sea, 11km off the coast of Norfolk, England. The fortuitous discovery of bifacial handaxes, and Levallois flakes and cores, led to a major programme of fieldwork and analysis between 2008 and 2013. The artefacts were primarily recovered from Marine Isotope Stage 8/7 floodplain sediments deposited between 250 and 200 ka. It is considered that the hand axes and Levallois products are contemporaneous in geological terms with taphonomically complex sedimentary contexts, as observed in several north-west European sites. The Early Middle Palaeolithic (EMP) lithics have survived multiple phases of glaciation and marine transgression. The investigations confirm that the artefacts are not a 'chance' find, but indicate clear relationships to submerged and buried landscapes that, although complex, can be examined in detail using a variety of existing fieldwork and analytical methods. The palaeogeographical context of the finds also offers expanded interpretations of the distribution of EMP hominins in the southern North Sea, not predictable from onshore archaeological records. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Bicket A.,Wessex Archaeology | Bicket A.,Loughborough University | Tizzard L.,Geoservices
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association | Year: 2015

Significant progress has been made on the investigation of Quaternary submerged prehistory in the British Isles. Mainly through collaboration with industry, a considerable knowledge base has been developed on the distribution and nature of preserved palaeolandscapes of the last 1 million years in UK waters. A diverse array of material has been recovered from the seabed including bone and stone artefacts, extinct fauna, peat deposits, submerged forests and other remnants of relict landscapes from around the British Isles. Archaeological sites are rarer but Palaeolithic and Mesolithic examples are providing critical resources to reinterpret early prehistory in association with Quaternary palaeogeography. © 2015 The Geologists' Association.


Lymer K.,Wessex Archaeology
Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage | Year: 2015

Contemporary rock art researchers have a wide choice of 3D laser scanners available to them for recording stone surfaces and this is complimented by numerous software packages that are able to process point cloud data. Though ESRI's ArcGIS primarily handles geographical data, it also offers the ability to visualise XYZ data from a stone surface. In this article the potential of ArcGIS for rock art research is explored by focusing on 3D data obtained from two panels of cup and ring marks found at Loups's Hill, County Durham, England. A selection of methods commonly utilised in LiDAR studies, which enhance the identification of landscape features, are also conducted upon the rock panels, including DSM normalisation and raster data Principle Component Analysis (PCA). Collectively, the visualisations produced from these techniques facilitate the identification of the rock art motifs, but there are limitations to these enhancements that are also discussed. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cripps P.,Wessex Archaeology
GIM International | Year: 2012

The article describes how the archeological survey was conducted on Sandsfoot Castle built in the 1530s, during the reign of King Henry VIII, on a cliff overlooking Portland Harbor, Dorset, UK. Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to undertake recording and survey work to contribute to a Conservation Management Plan that was being drawn up by the council and the 'Friends of Rodwell Trail and Sandsfoot Castle' local society. The aim of the archaeological survey and recording work was to provide an accurate and current record of the state of the site in order to inform the repair and restoration program necessary to stabilize the structure before any further work could take place and to support the design proposals for the improved visitor access, including a new raised walkway around the inside of the castle.

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