THE CELTIC ANTIQUITIES AND COINS BLOG HAS NOW CLOSED Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your interest.

Hope to see you elsewhere around the blogosphere!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Power work in Dales turns up Iron Age site

From The Yorkshire Post:

ENGINEERS burying power lines in the Yorkshire Dales have unearthed a piece of ancient history, which has baffled experts.

A long-buried strip of ash and burnt material was discovered in Kingsdale, near Ingleton, by an archaeologist working for United Utilities and Electricity North West.

Get the rest of is article here

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tide turns on Iron Age midden treasure trove

From News Scotsman:

AN ANCIENT rubbish tip – inhabited nearly 2,000 years ago – is disappearing into the sea, archeologists have warned.

The Iron Age midden on Skye's west coast has so far yielded bone fragments, stone tools, a button manufactured from horn and the top of a human skull.

But experts are battling the elements in a race to save the 1,900-year-old treasure trove from the elements.

The manmade tools and fragments are already under attack from lashing waves and strong winds, with significant amounts of material already lost to the sea. A report published by Highland Council's Historic Environment Record said that at the current rate of erosion, the site will not last beyond 2010.

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Ancient midden ‘unlikely to survive beyond 2010’

From the BBC News:

An ancient midden, or rubbish dump, thought to have historical importance is under serious threat from erosion, according to archaeologists.

They said it was doubtful if artefacts at Uamh an Eich Bhric on Skye's west coast would survive beyond 2010. Excavations at the site during 2008 and earlier this year were seen as the "only chance" to investigate it. A report published online by Highland Council's Historic Environment Record said it was key Iron Age site.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Iron-age dig hitch for planned 1,200 homes in Scarborough

From the Scarborough Evening News:

The discovery of a possible Iron Age or Roman settlement could scupper plans on land earmarked for a massive housing estate.

A 13.5-acre section of land owned by Scarborough Council – part of the planned 1,200-home scheme at Middle Deepdale – may cover the remains of an early Iron Age or early-Romano British ladder village.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heather and Hillforts new chairman

From News Wales:

Rod Williams, a hillfort and smallholding owner from Denbighshire has been named as the new Chairman of the Heather and Hillforts Landscape Partnership Scheme.

As the owner of Penycloddiau hillfort and a 40 acre smallholding on the edge of the Clwydian Range, Rod Williams has a deep rooted connection to the outstanding heritage of the Clwydian Range and Llantysilio Mountain.

He is currently a Council Member with the Countryside Council for Wales, governor at Llysfasi College, was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Agriculture Society for Services to Agri Business in Wales and is treasurer of Tŷ Croeso Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and the Royal Agri Benevolent Institution (Clwyd). He is also a frequent broadcaster on agricultural issues, especially on S4C and Radio Cymru.

The sudden death of the Project Chairman, Michael Griffith, earlier this year left a great void. Rod Williams shares Michael Griffith’s passion for the landscape and heritage and his belief that heritage conservation can go hand in hand with environmentally friendly farming.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Protest over hill fort land sale

From the BBC:

Hundreds of people have staged a protest on land near an Iron Age hill fort in a bid to stop it being sold and keep it in public ownership.

Worthing Council has already said it has suspended the sale and will also review the decision to sell farmland near Cissbury Ring, in West Sussex.

The council said the review was because of public concern about the site.

The South Downs Society said it was a famous archaeological site that needed to remain in public ownership.

The group, Stop the Cissbury Sell-Off (SCSO), said about 400 people gathered for the rally and walked across the land in question, letting off flares.

SCSO spokesman Trevor Hodgson said there was strong feeling and a "massive turnout" by people who had vowed to fight on until the land was fully protected for generations to come.

Get the rest of this article here

Monday, November 9, 2009

North Wales Iron Age fort given preservation facelift

From the Leader:

WORK to preserve an ancient relic in one of North Wales' most beautiful rural areas is expected to end this year.

Teams of country skills experts have been working on improving access to Moel Fenlli, an Iron Age hillfort, in Moel Famau country park, as well as trying to protect it from erosion.

The work has been carried out as part of Denbighshire Council’s Heather and Hillforts project, which centres around the Clwydian Range.

Samantha Williams, hillfort conservation officer, said: “The site is a scheduled ancient monument and a new innovative solution has been developed which means that nothing is put into the ground that could damage the archaeology.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time out for surgery

Just to let you know that there may not be any posts for a couple of weeks, as I need to take some time out for surgery. Posts will resume again as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Man finds treasure estimated to be worth of £1 million


A metal-detecting enthusiast has unearthed a 2,000-year-old treasure hoard worth an estimated £1 million, it was revealed today.

Four gold neckbands dating to the Iron Age were discovered in a field near Stirling by the amateur hunter.

The man, who has not been identified, informed Scotland's Treasure Trove Unit which sent a team to excavate the site, the Daily Record newspaper reported.

The bands, or "torcs", made from twisted gold, are thought to date from the 1st and 3rd century BC.

Get the rest of this article here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Iron Age treasure goes on show

From localhistoryonline:

You can now visit Harborough Museum in Leicestershire and see the Hallaton Treasure, described by a spokesman for the British Museum as a find ‘of national importance’.

This is the first time the Treasure has been publicly displayed. In 2000 metal detectorist Ken Wallace, and other volunteers from the Hallaton Fieldwork Group, came across some Roman pottery in a field outside their village. They were joined by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), which then found what turned out to be one of the most important Iron Age sites in Britain.

There is a suggestion that it may have been the location of a shrine. They discovered over five thousand silver and gold coins, the remains of an ornately decorated Roman parade helmet and some mysterious silver finds.

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EXCLUSIVE - Ancient Anglo Saxon and Iron Age artefacts and human remains found between Rudston and Boynton East Yorkshire

From Beverley Guardian:

ANCIENT human remains have been unearthed during an archaeological dig at the Caythorpe Gas Storage site between Rudston and Boynton.

Five human burials have been recovered by experts.

One set of remains dates to the late Iron Age and had been buried with a simple iron brooch.

Another dates back probably to the Anglo-Saxon period and had been buried with an iron knife.

Archaeologists have also found evidence of a settlement at the site, including an Iron Age round house and at least one Anglo-Saxon building.

Other finds recovered include a Roman brooch, an Anglo-Saxon coin, large fragments of a millstone and numerous fragments of pottery and animal bones.

Gas supply company Centrica believed during the early planning stages for its development that it would come across certain archaeological finds as part of the project.

Get the rest of this article here

Friday, October 9, 2009

“A New Approach to Early Celtic Art” – Journal Article

Archaeologists date artifacts via both scientific carbon dating methods and sometimes using typology (relative chronological sequence – to match an artifact already documented within a well-established typological scheme) in order to determine its specific period. The most useful is of course radiocarbon (C14), although it does have its limitations, especially with regard to accuracy (due to poor sampling measures and thus contamination, as well as careless interpretation). On the whole, however, it does offer a broad pattern with similar types of finds being found relative to particular time periods. With regard to studies of Iron Age Celtic art, a great emphasis is still put onto the work of Paul Jacobsthal, which was carried out more than six decades ago. Four main styles were identified in his classic Early Celtic Art (1944) that are now generally accepted for the La Tène period: the Early Style, the Waldalgesheim Style, the Plastic Style, and the Sword Style. However, since that study, there have been numerous new and unusual finds and it is important to discuss further the implications of such unearthings. There is an interesting paper (published in 2004) that discusses this issue, although you will have to register to gain access to the full journal article. It is, however, possible to view the abstract without any prior registration and I have also pasted relevant information below for ease of access:


“A New Approach to Early Celtic Art” from the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy – Volume 104, 2004, Pages 107-129:

Publisher The Royal Irish Academy
ISSN 0035-8991 (Print) 2009-0048 (Online)
Issue Volume 104, Volume 104 / 2004
DOI 10.3318/PRIC.2004.104.1.107
Pages 107-129
Online Date Friday, August 24, 2007

PDF (1.1 MB) Authors Otto–Herman Frey Abstract All modern studies of early Celtic art begin with the work of Paul Jacobsthal. In the sixty years since his magisterial study, however, there have been many new discoveries and there has been much discussion concerning the deeper meaning of Celtic art. Particularly significant in this regard are the two recently discovered Early La Tène burial mounds on the Glauberg in Hesse in Germany. Not only did these burials yield bronzes of major significance, but a unique, almost life-sized human carving displaying weapons and personal ornaments was also found. The finds from the Glauberg shed much new light on the nature of early Celtic art. The influence of the Estrucans of north Italy is especially evident.


Paul Jacobsthal’s work, “Early Celtic Art”, may be obtained by following this link:, although I must inform you that it is a little on the expensive side now that it has become a collector’s item.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UK mammals have 'Celtic fringe'

From the BBC News:

DNA tests on British populations of small mammals show a genetically distinct "Celtic Fringe", say scientists at The University of York.

Voles, shrews, mice and stoats in northern and western areas have different DNA from their counterparts in other parts of the British Isles.

The paper, in Proceedings B journal, says the different populations arrived at the end of the last ice age.

The authors say the work sheds light on the origins of the Celtic people.

The traditional view is that the ancestors of British Celts spread from central Europe during the Iron Age and were later displaced by the arrival of the Anglo Saxons.

However, recent genetic studies have challenged this theory, suggesting a much earlier origin, dating back to the end of the last ice age, 19,000 years ago.

This paper suggests that the study of small mammal populations could help resolve the controversy.

Get the rest of this article here

Monday, September 21, 2009

Contentious M3 is 90% complete, says NRA


THE CONTROVERSIAL M3 motorway in Co Meath, which has been the subject of several years of protests, is now almost 90 per cent complete, the National Roads Authority (NRA) has said.

At almost 60km of main motorway and a further 40km of link roads and interchanges, the it is one of the longest motorways under construction in Europe.

The M3 is not scheduled to open until July 2010. Work could still finish ahead of this scheduled date, but not before mid-spring next year, the NRA said.

Beginning at Clonee, north of the Dublin-Meath border, it runs to Kells where it switches to a motorway-grade dual carriageway for the last 10km to the Cavan border. It will have two toll booths, charging €1.40 for cars. Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells are bypassed along the route.

Controversially, the route runs just over 2km from the Hill of Tara, and adjacent to the Lismullin national monument and the hill fort of Rath Lugh.

Protesters have occupied these latter two sites, blocking the road’s construction at various times in recent years, most memorably in March last year when conservationist Lisa Feeney, known as “Squeak” shut herself inside a chamber at the bottom of a 33-foot tunnel at Rath Lugh for 60 hours.

Get the rest of this article here

Monday, September 14, 2009

Silchester dig hints at a larger Iron Age town

From the Times Online:

Renewed excavations at the Roman city of Silchester, near Basingstoke, have shown that the grid-planned Iron Age town discovered last year was much larger than initially thought.

Silchester, known as Calleva Atrebatum in Roman times, seems to have been at its largest and most densely populated before its destruction by fire in the later 1st century AD, possibly in the rebellion of Boadicea.

“Not only is there evidence of closely packed timber buildings . . . within our excavation trench, but there is also a great number of wells, greater than in any subsequent period,” said Professor Michael Fulford, of the University of Reading. “Indeed the total number of wells which predate the destruction is greater than the total number thereafter for the rest of the life of the town within our excavation trench.

Get the rest of this article here

How did 2,000-year-old feet find their way to a Dublin attic?

From the Irish Times:

EXPERTS FROM the National Museum are still trying to explain how two human feet dating from 2,000 years ago were found in an attic in a house in the Terenure area of Dublin last December.

The human remains, a foot from a young child and the foot of an adult male with part of the lower leg attached, turned up during renovation work on the house in south Dublin.

The builders informed the gardaí who in turn called in the Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell, who ordered the remains be sent to Dublin City Mortuary for postmortem examination.

According to a report in the autumn edition of Archaeology Ireland to be published this week under the heading “Not One Foot in The Grave but two Feet in the Attic”, the mystery is unresolved.

During his examination, Dr Farrell and other scientists concluded the two mummified right feet had come from an adult and from a child. There were no signs of antemortem injuries or cut marks.

The foot of the male adult had part of the lower leg attached although the stretching and tearing of the muscle fibres suggest it had been pulled off a body, said the report.

“It closely resembled a bog body in appearance, as it had the dark brown, almost black colour seen in recent bog bodies such as Oldcroghan Man and Cloneycavan Man,” the report continued.

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Historic Scotland leads rare tour of Angus hill forts

From the Press and Journal:

VISITORS to two Iron Age monuments in Angus at the weekend had the rare opportunity of taking a guided walk of the sites.

The tour of the Brown and White Caterthuns, about four miles north-east of Brechin, was organised by Historic Scotland as part of Archaeology Month, which runs throughout September. The hill forts perch on top of two prominent hills between Brechin and Edzell and are protected by systems of earthworks and ditches.

Until recently they had been considered as two separate sites but a report, commissioned by Historic Scotland and published last year, revealed there are more similarities between them than was thought. Archaeologists uncovered evidence suggesting that they are part of a single unit.

Get the rest of this article here

Friday, September 11, 2009

‘Rare and Significant’ find declared as treasure

Today, “TheComet” news for North Herts reported of a collection of Bronze, Iron Age and Roman artefacts that are considered both ‘rare’ and ‘significant’. Items dating back to the Iron Age include pieces of armour, but there are also a variety of other finds such as numerous coins, pottery and animal bone fragments.

You can read the article here

Archaeologists find remains of 2,000-year-old roundhouse

From The Press and journal:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered the floor and timber beams of a 2,000-year-old roundhouse in the heart of a Moray farm, it emerged yesterday.

Experts believe the structure unearthed at Dykeside Farm, Birnie, was once the multistorey-power centre of an Iron Age settlement.

Last night, the archaeologist leading the excavation said it was the best-preserved roundhouse discovered on the site.

National Museums of Scotland curator Fraser Hunter said the “huge, impressive building” had a diameter of 50ft and had stood nearly 30ft high and showed how sophisticated the Iron Age settlers really were. He added: “People tend to think they were scratching around living difficult existences and staying in huts, but this is no hut. This was a huge and impressive building.”

The archaeologist said he believed there had been lots of smaller structures around the roundhouse but this had been the major power centre. “It’s absolutely remarkable,” he said. “Each time we come here it throws up surprises. It just shows what an important place this was 2,000 years ago. It’s giving us completely new insights into the Iron Age.”

Get the rest of this article here

Norfolk Boudicca site ‘of national importance’

From EDP 24:

The Boudicca temple

One of the county's most important Iron Age and early Roman sites has been recognised as being of national importance.

The Boudicca Temple site in Fison Way on the outskirts of Thetford has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, recognising it as a site of national importance and protecting it from the threat of future development.

Artefacts from the Iron and Roman age were first discovered at the site in 1973 when an aerial photograph recorded the cropmarks of an enclosure, just beside the A11 Thetford Bypass.

Six years later a hoard of gold jewellery and silver spoons dating back to the 4th century AD, was found during the construction of the Travenol Factory on Wyatt Way.

It is thought the treasure may have been associated with a late Roman temple and the god Faunus, a woodland deity.

Norfolk County councillor and cabinet member for culture, Derrick Murphy, said: “Recognition that this site is of national importance is long overdue, and it is really good news for Norfolk and Thetford that after a long and concerted campaign it will now be protected from future development or damage.”

Get the rest of this article here

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hill fort dates back 3,000 years

From the BBC News:

Archaeologists have discovered that a hill fort in Denbighshire may be almost 3,000 years old.

Experts excavated Moel y Gaer in the Clwydian Range after tests suggested the Iron Age settlement (700 BC to 34 AD) might be older than first thought.

Samples of metal slag and dry stone facing taken from an entrance suggest parts may date back to the Bronze Age (2,300 BC to 700 BC).

It is hoped carbon dating will identify the exact age of the samples.

Get the rest of this article here

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Archaeological dig finds Iron Age and Roman artefacts in Norton

From The Comet:

THE summer archaeological dig at Norton ends this weekend with more progress made on the site.

Carried out under the direction of the Norton Community Archaeological Group the dig has been supervised by Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the archaeological officer at North Herts District Council.

Tonight (Thursday) members of the public interested in the dig should attend a special event at the site in Churchwick Field, Norton, at 7pm when the discoveries will be revealed.

The field is the site of a partially abandoned medieval village. During the current dig new road systems have been uncovered, Iron Age and Roman artefacts found and the group says it is close so finding the medieval house that was on the site.

Get the rest of this article here