Perth buckle

perth-buckle.jpgMedieval belt buckle discovered

Archaeologists unearthed a medieval belt buckle in Perth following work to repair a collapsed sewer.
The group were allowed to examine the area in the Kirkgate as Scottish Water repaired the network.
The copper alloy buckle is believed to date back to the 12th Century and was found along with animal bones, shells and pottery.
A panel of experts will decide where the buckle should be housed, but it is hoped it will end up in Perth Museum.
Catherine Smith from SUAT archaeological consultants told the BBC Scotland news website how they discovered the treasure.
“We found this encrusted buckle which had been folded over, but was obviously something nice,” she said.
“So we brought it back here and carefully unfolded the copper and discovered this most beautifully designed medieval buckle, which we think probably dates back to the 12th Century.
“It’s such a piece of work that it probably belonged to somebody with a bit of money.
“We suggested maybe a merchant in the medieval burgh because of course Perth was quite an important trading post.”
The buckle is similar to work found in Scandinavia, but it is believed it was made in Perth or elsewhere in Scotland.
A padlock, also dating from about 1150 onwards, was also found at the site, but it is not in such good condition.
Historical objects are often well preserved under the streets of Perth because the area is very water-logged.
The water stops oxygen getting in and decomposing items like leather and wood.
Also, Perth has not been subject to as much modern development as other towns, so the archaeology has lain almost undisturbed.
Ms Smith said: “Perth is actually a treasure house for this kind of material.
“The only comparable place in Britain is probably York, where they have the same problems with floods. We see it as a modern problem but in a way it magically preserves all the archaeology.
“In fact, any time you dig a hole in the High Street you’re liable to hit archaeology.
“People walk along these streets every day and just don’t realise what a wealth of information about the past is under their feet.”

HUMAN BONES FIND
Human remains have been found near a housing development in Mansfield Woodhouse.
The partial skeleton, thought to be at least 100 years old, was discovered between Portland Street and Poplar Street by archaeological contractors. Notts County Council’s assistant archaeology officer Chris Robinson said police would not be involved as the bones were so old.He said: “It is unlikely we will find the date or much more.”Archaeologists will check for more bones and find out if the plot was used as a burial site.
National Science and Engineering Week 2008 (7-16 March): a week of science and engineering events for everyone!
A poem for Harry
Inside Out West has commissioned the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to compose a new work in honour of Harry Patch, our last survivor of the World War One trenches.
£5m donation will open the Bodleian Library’s collections

The largest single cash donation ever made to a university library in the UK has been given to the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
Julian Blackwell has donated £5m towards the redevelopment of the New Bodleian Library in Oxford City centre. The renovation will transform the housing of the Bodleian’s priceless collections and will open up its treasures to the public. The 10,000 square feet main hall of the redeveloped New Bodleian Library will be named Blackwell Hall in honour of Julian Blackwell.
The donation launches the fundraising campaign for the redevelopment of the New Bodleian Library building into a major research centre, and a significant new cultural centre, where scholars, citizens of Oxford, and visitors to the city can view some of the University’s greatest treasures, and gain insights into the research activities of the University.
The gift cements the relationship between the Bodleian Library and the University of Oxford with Blackwell’s, the library’s neighbour and long-established partner, which opened its Broad Street store in 1879. Blackwell’s operates over 60 bookshops throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
The donation will be officially announced during the Bodleian Founder’s Lunch on 8 March, an annual event honouring the memory of the Library’s founder, Sir Thomas Bodley, and his legacy of philanthropy. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Minister for the Arts, is attending the lunch and will give an address. For the twentieth time, the lunch will generously be sponsored by Blackwell’s, as part of its support for the University of Oxford.
The 400-year old Bodleian is globally acknowledged to be one of the greatest libraries in the world. Its collections include the papers of six British prime ministers; a Gutenberg Bible; the earliest surviving book written wholly in English; a quarter of the world’s original copies of the Magna Carta; the original manuscript of Frankenstein; and over 10,000 medieval manuscripts.

Dr Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian, said: ‘Julian Blackwell’s gift will help transform the New Bodleian from a book fortress into an inviting and inspiring space for readers. The Blackwell Hall will welcome visitors to exhibitions and events that celebrate the book, and will serve as the entrance to the New Bodleian for those doing advanced scholarly research. ‘
Julian Blackwell, President of Blackwell’s said: ‘The Bodleian is unique; it not only has the largest and most important University collections in the world, but it is leading the development of cutting-edge information services which are so vital to academic research. I am proud that my personal Trust can support the Bodleian and thereby enable its neighbour, Blackwell’s, to be a shared destiny lifetime partner.’
Cllr John Goddard, Leader of Oxford City Council said: ‘I warmly welcome the proposal to make the New Bodleian – and the treasures of the University’s libraries – accessible to Oxford residents and the public at large.’
Founded in 1602, the Bodleian Library is home to over 9 million volumes and a large number of manuscripts and rare printed books. It is the largest university library in Britain and the second largest library in the UK.

Cash opens up literary treasures

Other treasures include an embroidered handwritten book by Queen Elizabeth I.
Four original copies of the Magna Carta, written in the 13th Century, and one of only eight Gutenberg Bibles are among the artefacts held by the library.
The earliest complete book written in English, Gregory the Great’s Pastoral Care, translated by King Alfred in about 890 AD is another of the treasures.
There are also many original handwritten texts of popular classics such as Frankenstein, as well as more than 10,000 medieval manuscripts.

 Campus development to unlock archaeology treasures

Ancient agriculture, prehistoric roundhouses and the remains of a Roman masonry building are just some of the archaeological treasures waiting to be uncovered on the edge of the University of York’s expanded campus.
A survey by the York Archaeological Trust, in 2003, uncovered traces of at least 2000 years of human settlement, close to the site of the University’s campus extension to the east of Heslington village.
“Exciting archaeological discoveries very often follow hot on the heels of planned commercial developments” Steve Roskams
Current excavation work has resulted in the remarkable discovery of an Iron Age waterhole with preserved wickerwork lining, containing a range of wood fragments indicative of the landscape of the time.
Now the University’s Department of Archaeology is planning how best to investigate the discoveries – which include a prestigious Roman building, previously unknown and probably dating from the third or fourth century AD.
The University plans to open the site to local archaeological community groups as well as allowing students access to the live dig.Steve Roskams, of the Department of Archaeology, said: “Exciting archaeological discoveries very often follow hot on the heels of planned commercial developments. That’s what has happened here. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about what our local landscape was like thousands of years ago, and we intend to make the most of it.”
The existence of Iron Age, Roman and medieval remains all on the same site could provide valuable clues about the impact of the Roman conquest on local people. Initial analysis suggests that the only evidence of high-status Roman architecture dates from quite late in the Roman period.
If this is confirmed, it could indicate that York was essentially little more than a military enclave during the early part of the Roman occupation, only developing into the full-scale imperial settlement of Eboracum centuries later.
Steve Roskams added: “The potential for historical discovery is only part of what can be achieved here. Our plan is to run a live archaeological dig for community groups, students and research archaeologists while working hand-in-hand with the University developers on the Heslington East site. We want to demonstrate that, when it comes to this kind of work, academic, educational and commercial interests can be made to coincide.”

Iron Age remains uncovered at site of new campus

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