Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Discovery of Bronze Age Woman

Image from The Scotsman
From Past Horizons:
In March 2012, a GUARD Archaeology team, led by Maureen Kilpatrick, undertook a rescue excavation when a cist was inadvertently disturbed during landscaping works following the construction of an access track through Cullaird Wood in West Torbreck, south-west of Inverness in Scotland.
The cist, which was capped with a small cairn, contained the remains of a crouched inhumation burial, whose grave goods included seven fragments of flint and a plain Beaker vessel. The burial appeared consistent with a period of use in the early Bronze Age, which has recently been confirmed by radiocarbon dating of 1982-1889 cal BC provided by a sample of the human bones.
Maureen Kilpatrick, who is one of GUARD Archaeology’s Osteoarchaeologists, undertook post-excavation analysis of the human bones recovered from the cist and discovered that these were the remains of an adult female individual who had attained the age of 40 – 44 years at death.

From Herald Scotland:
THE remains of a physically active woman with poor dental hygiene, who died 4000 years ago, have been found.
The discovery, along with others, is said by experts to underline the archaeological significance of the area around Inverness, which was important for prehistoric groups from early times.
Two years ago, a team from GUARD Archaeology, which has bases in Glasgow and Edinburgh, was led by Maureen Kilpatrick to undertake a rescue excavation when a cist, or tomb-like box made of stone, was disturbed during landscaping works for an access track through Cullaird Wood.
The cist contained the remains of a crouched burial, whose grave goods included seven fragments of flint and a plain beaker vessel.

From The Scotsman:
A BRONZE Age grave uncovered in the Highlands has revealed the remains of a woman in her forties who was suffering from toothache before she died 4,000 years ago.
Osteoarchaeologist Maureen Kilpatrick analysed the bones and discovered that they belonged to a woman aged between 40 and 44.
She said: “As the radiocarbon date demonstrates, this occurred at some point between 1982BC and 1889BC.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blanche Mortimer Found

Blanche Mortimer
From Medievalists dot com:
The discovery of a body inside a church memorial has caused amazement in the world of archaeology and surprised experts. Michael Eastham, a conservator of sculpture has been working on the memorial in a Herefordshire Church for nearly two years but was taken aback when a mysterious coffin was discovered jammed inside the tomb-chest.

“We could not work out what it was when we first took the stone panels from the front of the memorial,” said Michael. “We thought it might be a layer of slate but as we explored further we realised it was a lead coffin. It’s the first time in more than thirty years as a Conservator that this has ever happened.”

Originally it was feared the coffin had been hidden during the construction of the tomb in the late 14th century or possibly even added at a later date. It has now been decided that it is almost certainly the coffin and remains of Blanche Mortimer whose memorial it is, wife of Sir Peter Grandison and daughter of Roger Mortimer, the powerful noble who had Edward II murdered and was the de facto ruler of England for three years before being himself overthrown by Edward’s eldest son, Edward III.

Blanche was born around 1316 at Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire, and was the youngest child of Sir Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville. She became the wife of Peter de Grandison , but died in 1347. They had one son, Otto.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Discovery of Maiden Crown

From Past Horizons Archaeology:
During excavations in Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark, archaeologists found burials dating between 11th – 17th centuries and included a grave that obviously belonged to a noblewoman. She had been buried with her head resting on a pillow sewn with gold threads and had been wearing a maiden crown.
The crown was found at the head of the grave and had initially been interpreted as a headband. Most of the decoration consists of many small flowers made of twisted copper wire wrapped with silk thread. The metal salts in the copper have ensured the silk thread has been preserved.
Detail of a family painting showing the difference between married (left) and unmarried (centre and right) headgear. Photo:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wanted: Adriana Rivas

Adriana Rivas with Manuel Contreras
From the Australian:
AUSTRALIA is being asked by Chile's Supreme Court to extradite a woman accused of involvement in torture and murder during Chile's 1973-1990 military dictatorship.
The court requested the extradition of Adriana Rivas overnight.
She is wanted for her role in the 1976 murder of a Communist Party leader who was held in a secret prison before he was suffocated and thrown into the ocean.
Ms Rivas was assistant to Manuel Contreras, the head of the DINA secret police during General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.
She moved to Australia in 1978 but was detained during a visit to Chile in 2006.

Ms Rivas was released after some months on probation and escaped to Australia.

In an interview last year with SBS, she insisted she was innocent of the charges.

From SBS: The Other 9/11

Obit: Professor Halet Çambel

One of the most important figures in the archaeology world, Istanbul University’s retired academic Professor Halet Çambel, has died aged 98. Turkish archaeologist and writer Çambel was found dead in her house on Jan. 12. 
After a ceremony to be held tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Bosphorus University, Çambel will be buried next to the grave of her husband in the western province of Muğla. 
She played a key role in the understanding of Hittite hieroglyphics by discovering a tablet with the Phoenician alphabet, which allowed philologists to decipher the inscription. 

Medieval Women & Armour

Rather interesting article from  - What Kind of Armour Did Medieval Women Really Wear:

We know that skimpy armor that shows off a woman's cleavage is rather impractical for combat and that sculpted "boob plate" armor can be a hazard to your health, but on occasions that women did don armor in medieval Europe, what kind of armor did they actually wear? And is shapely, feminine armor a modern convention, or does it have some roots in the Middle Ages?
Even if they aren't necessarily historically accurate, depictions of armor worn by men in European historical fictions or European-inspired fantasies tend to have at least some basis in fact, whereas women's armor is often depicted in a more fantastical manner. There are, of course, the infamous body-bearing suits of armor with scale mail bras and chain mail loin clothes that seem to scream, "Please, stab me in my fleshy stomach!" And then there is the overly sculpted boob-plate breastplate for suits of plate mail, which gives fictional woman warriors the appearance of femininity, but places a rather dangerous metal protrusion right at the wearer's sternum.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

History of the Hennin

Nothing says “princess” like a pointy, cone-shaped hat. From kids’ costumes to medieval paintings, the cone hat—more formally known as a hennin (or henin)—is a sure sign of royalty. But here’s something you might not know about the hat that adorn the heads of pale-skinned ladies: they were actually modeled after the hats of Mongol warrior queens.

Medieval PoC points to the book Secret History of the Mongol Queens, where author Jack Weatherford writes:
The contraption struck many foreign visitors as odd, but the Mongol Empire had enjoyed such prestige that medieval women of Europe imitated it with the hennin, a large cone-shaped headdress that sat towards the back of the head rather than rising straight up from it as among the Mongols. With no good source of peacock feathers, European noblewomen generally substituted gauzy streamers flowing in the wind at the top.

Monday, December 23, 2013

More on St Ketevan

Further on from my post "Mystery of Saint Ketevan" in June 2011, comes this article from Past Horizons - Search for relics of martyr Queen Ketevan:

DNA analysis has confirmed that a relic discovered by archaeologists amongst the ruins of St. Augustine’s Church in Goa, southeast India, is likely to be that of 17th century Queen Ketevan from the Kingdom of Kakheti in eastern Georgia.
Since 1989, various delegations from Georgia have worked together with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to locate Ketevan the Martyr’s relics within the Augustinian church which was founded in 1572. There have been several unsuccessful attempts at locating the relics, but finally the continued searching has paid dividends for the team.
As per the literary sources, the relic box of Queen Ketevan was expected to be at the second window of the chapter chapel towards the Epistle side. Therefore, this area was systematically explored in 2004 for a stone sarcophagus, which was found broken into pieces due to the collapse of the wall. Whilst clearing the rubble the team also found an arm bone. Two other bone relics were recovered from outside the second window area, within intact stone boxes.
See also this post on the "Wordcraft & Statecraft" blog: Queen Ketavan's Bones Discovered & Identified

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Nadia Mehr

From the Malaysia Sun - First Pakistani girl gets doctorate in medieval history in Indian Kashmir:
Nadia Mehr has scripted history by becoming the first Pakistani female to complete a doctorate in medieval history from the Kashmir University here.

She completed her thesis titled: "The Development of Science, Technology, Arts and Language during the Sultanate period in Kashmir". Hailing from Kasur near Lahore, 31-year-old Mehr was selected under the South Asia Foundation programme.

See also the articles from -
A Pakistani girl Nadia Mehr daughter of Mehr Din of Lahore, Pakistan has completed her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in History from Kashmir University. She is the first Pakistani girl to have completed the doctorate from this Srinagar-based varsity under the South Asia Foundation (SAF) program.
The KU officials said Nadia pursued the research program vide University Registration No: 52-PhD-2010 from the Institute of Kashmir Studies. She did her thesis on “The Development of Science, Technology, Arts and Language during the Sultanate Period in Kashmir”, under the supervision of Prof Gulshan Majeed, Institute of Kashmir Studies.

The Tribune:
After a difficult visa process, bouts of violence and four years of hard work, Nadia Mehr Din has completed her PhD in history from the University of Kashmir, Srinagar. She is the first Pakistani woman to have completed the doctorate from Indian-administered Kashmir under the South Asia Foundation (SAF) programme, report Kashmiri newspapers.
Her dissertation was titled “The Development of Science, Technology, Arts and Language during the Sultanate Period in Kashmir”, under the supervision of Prof Gulshan Majeed, Institute of Kashmir Studies and she received her degree on December 9.