MADRID / BNE announces exhibit on the Beatus “Commentary on the Apocalypse” corpus this autumn

b_facundus_43v1MADRID [©EP- Minima Medievalia/Perceval Archeostoria] – The BNE, Biblioteca Nacional de España, has announced a special exhibition dedicated to Beatus of Liébana’s Commentary on the Apocalypse to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the great exposition that reunited for the first time a great number of codices of the so-called “Beatus”. The exposition,  Beato. El misterio de los siete sellos (Beatus. The mystery of the Seven Seals), will be hosted by the BNE this autumn beginning on September 23rd and proposes to unlock all secrets of the most well known Commentary on John’s Book of Revelation.
Written in the eighth century by the Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana, the book is world famous for its splendid and icastic illuminated miniatures, which can be seen in  26 surviving copies decorated between the Xth and the XIth century. The illuminated versions represent the best known works of Mozarabic art, and had great  influence on the medieval art of the rest of Europe.

VISIONS OF A JUDGEMENT – As reported on the World Digital Library, around the year 776, a monk by the name of Beato or Beatus, possibly the abbot of the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, wrote a work entitled Comentarios al Apocalipsis (Commentary on the apocalypse), which had an extraordinary success in the following five centuries. Thanks to his great erudition, Beato combined in this text, as a summa, many commentaries on the topic of the apocalypse by such authors as Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Isidore of Seville, and the 4th-century scholar Ticonius. The genre of apocalyptic literature appeared in the Jewish tradition in the second century BC and had never ceased to be practiced. Obsessed like his contemporaries with the imminent coming of the end of the world, which, according to the calculations of the six ages was to take place in the year 800 (838 in the Spanish era), Beato wrote this work for the edification of his monks. He emphasized that, after the final terrifying catastrophes announced by Saint John the Evangelist, good would triumph over evil.
The original codex, which most likely was illuminated, has not been preserved. Even though the dreaded date passed without the world coming to an end, copies of Beato’s work continued to be made in the monasteries of the peninsular north (only one extant manuscript was written abroad). Then came the terrifying year 1000 and other feared dates, so the text, linked to a fixed cycle of illustrations, continued to appeal to readers. Thirty-five manuscript copies dating from the ninth century to the 13th century have survived. By semantic extension, these manuscripts are called beato, and 26 of them are illuminated. Two are preserved at the BNE, the National Library of Spain.
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Beatus by Facundus, f°233v (Wikipedia)

EXPO & WEBSITE – The BNE exposition will mainly feature the most iconic manuscript of the corpus, the Codex Vitr/14/2, commissioned in 1047 by King Fernando I of León and Castille and Queen Sancha, and possibly done byFacundo in San Isidoro de León. Its 98 miniatures, endowed with amazing expressiveness, are distributed mostly on colorful horizontal stripes in a unique and unmistakable style that blends the Romanesque with various Mozarab and North African influences. Prominent among them are the Four Horsemen, the vision of celestial Jerusalem, the seven-headed snake, and the destruction of Babylon. The manuscript, owned by the Marquis of Mondéjar in the late 17th century, was confiscated with the rest of his library by Philip V during the War of the Spanish Succession.

The BNE has also announced the creation of a website entirely dedicated to the  corpus of manuscripts. The series of the Beatus codexes have been included in the Unesco Memory of the World Register in 2015.

minima medievalia

#MADRID / BNE announces exhibit on the Beatus “Commentary on the Apocalypse” corpus this autumn
#medieval #manuscripts @bne @BNE_museo @BNE_directora  

b_facundus_43v1 Beatus by Facundus, f°43v (Wikipedia),

MADRID [©EP- Minima Medievalia/Perceval Archeostoria] – The BNE, Biblioteca Nacional de España, has announced a special exhibition dedicated to Beatus of Liébana’s Commentary on the Apocalypseto commemorate the 30th anniversary of the great exposition that reunited for the first time a great number of codices of the so-called “Beatus”. The exposition,  Beato. El misterio de los siete sellos (Beatus. The mystery of the Seven Seals), will be hosted by the BNE this autumn beginning on September 23rd and proposes to unlock all secrets of the most well known Commentary on John’s Book of Revelation.
Written in the eighth century by the Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana, the book is world famous…

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Bronze Age barrow and Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered at Rothley, Leicestershire

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LEICESTER (UK) – Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have recently excavated a Bronze Age barrow and Anglo-Saxon cemetery under former allotments at Rothley in Leicestershire.

The project has offered a rare opportunity to investigate how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places, with Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon people possibly making connections with Bronze Age barrow builders in order to create their own sense of place in the landscape.

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Site during excavation (Credit: University of Leicester)

A team of archaeologists, led by Dr Gavin Speed from University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) has spent the winter investigating the site and uncovering exciting new evidence for Rothley’s ancient past dating back some 6,000 years. The project was funded by Persimmons Homes in advance of a new housing development off Loughborough Road, Rothley.

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Neolithic stone  axe (Credit: University of Leicester)

The earliest activity dates to the Neolithic period (4000-2000 BC) – a stone axe found redeposited in the backfill of the barrow ditch and a near-complete Middle Neolithic ‘Peterborough Ware’ pottery vessel located in a pit close by. Important Neolithc settlement sites (excavated by ULAS in 2005 and 2010) are known nearby and these new glimpses of activity will add further to our understanding of the bigger picture of occupation in the region.

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Neolithic  “Peterborough Ware’ pottery (Credit: University of Leicester)

One of the main focuses of the excavation was a Bronze Age barrow measuring over 30 metres in diameter. The earth mound had not survived subsequent generations of ploughing but the surrounding near-circular ditch was still present with cremation burials close to the ditch edge. The monument broadly dates to 2000-700 BC and more precise dating will be possible following future detailed finds analysis and scientific dating.

The barrow is positioned close to the confluence of the Rivers Soar and Wreake, on high ground with a prominent outlook over the intersection of the Soar valley and the Rothley brook. To the east, a little over a mile away, around the village of Cossington, are other barrows forming part of a small barrow cemetery excavated by ULAS between 1999 and 2001.

Results of the project show that the Rothley barrow has been used repeatedly, creating a long history of activity in the vicinity which shows that it must have acted as an important landmark in the local area.

Dr Gavin Speed, Senior Supervisor at ULAS said: “By the Iron Age the barrow had partly eroded and its ditches had silted up but much of the mound was likely still upstanding, making it a visible landmark in the local landscape even if its original purpose and meaning had changed.”

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During this period (700 BC – AD 43), a large rectangular enclosure ditch was dug partly along the alignment of the barrow ditch, avoiding the central area of the mound. Iron Age farmers appear to have utilised the area as enclosed fields with an entrance on the eastern side of the enclosure on top of the mound and a busy area of pits dug ‘behind’ the mound to the west. The Iron Age inhabitants may not have had any knowledge of the barrow’s original use and meaning but their respect of the surviving earthwork may show that they understood that the area held some significance.

Much later, in the early Anglo-Saxon period (AD 410-700), the barrow became the focus for a small inhumation cemetery. This area of Leicestershire, the Soar valley and its tributaries, has a high density of Anglo-Saxon settlements and cemeteries and an Anglo-Saxon building has been found in an adjacent field in 2010 by ULAS (now under the aptly named Saxon Drive).

Re-use of round barrows during the Anglo-Saxon period is a fairly common occurrence in England. However, there are very few known instances in Leicestershire and the recent discovery at Rothley, with at least twelve burials, is only the second and largest confirmed example to be excavated. Within the barrow mound were six burials, a seventh burial was dug into the backfilled ditch, whilst a further five burials were found in the immediate surrounding area. Unfortunately, the acidic soils have destroyed virtually all evidence of the skeletons, apart from some teeth and tiny bone fragments, but accompanying some of the bodies were metal objects – spears, knives, a ‘spike’, an annular brooch and the boss and studs from a shield. A complete pottery vessel was also found in one grave. These had all been placed with the bodies at burial as grave goods.

The act of Anglo-Saxon people burying their dead close to Bronze Age barrows is seen in numerous examples throughout England. This could simply be due to convenience; however, recent studies have shown that it may be evidence of emergent elites displaying their power by connecting to ancestors of the past through monument re-use. They and their followers would understand the meaning, thus securing control of the landscape.

Via University of Leicester.

Sensational archaeological discovery in Norway confirms Viking saga

(Via Niku) – Archaeologists working in Trondheim in Norway are amazed by the discovery of a human skeleton in the bottom of an abandoned castle well. The skeleton provides evidence that confirms dramatic historical events mentioned in the Sagas.

The location and contents of the well are mentioned in Sverre’s Saga, a chronicle of one of the kings of Norway, and one of very few historical manuscripts describing events in the Norwegian Viking age and medieval period.

Scholars have questioned the chronicle’s trustworthiness as a historical document. But now, at least one part of the saga seems to hold truth – down to the tiniest detail.

– This is truly astonishing. As far as I know there is no known example of the discovery of an individual historically connected with an act of war as far back as the year 1197. And the fact that this actually corroborates an event described in Sverre’s saga is simply amazing, says lead archaeologist at the site, Anna Petersén.

Sensational archaeological discovery in Norway confirms Viking saga

A unique time capsule: The body was thrown in from where the man is standing. The stone rubble directly above the body are clearly visible.Man left in castle well for 800 years
In 1197 King Sverre Sigurdsson and his Birkebeiner-mercenaries were attacked and defeated in his castle stronghold, Sverresborg, by his rivals, the Baglers. According to the Saga, the Baglers burned down buildings and destroyed the castle’s fresh water supply by throwing one of King Sverre’s dead men into the well, and then filling it with stones.Now, following a trial excavation in the well, archaeologists can confirm this dramatic story. Archaeologists managed to retrieve part of the skeleton they found in the well in 2014. A fragment of bone produced a radiocarbon date that confirmed that the individual lived and died at the end of the 12th century, the same time as the incident described in the Saga.

Skeleton and well structure
The archaeologists from The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research have returned this year to conduct a full excavation of the well with the goal of removing the layers of dumped stone and ultimately the whole skeleton.

The excavation of the stone debris down to the very first stone that hit the Birkebeiner’s body has given the archaeologists additional insight into the nature of events in 1197. In addition, it exposed the timber posts and lining for the large castle well.

– This is a unique glimpse of an important historical event. You can almost feel it. Its almost as if you were there, enthuses Petersén.

The archaeologists at Sverresborg are being supported by a forensic specialist from the Trondheim police district, which adds to the feeling that we are witnesses to the result of a brutal crime.

The excavation is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

Photos:

Sensational archaeological discovery in Norway confirms Viking saga
The body

 

Sensational archaeological discovery in Norway confirms Viking saga
Archeologists from NIKUnorway working in the well

 

Sensational archaeological discovery in Norway confirms Viking saga
Overview of the Castle site
Sensational archaeological discovery in Norway confirms Viking saga
The possible appearance of the Castle in 1197. Information plaque from the site.

New Discovery Pushes Back Date Of Human Existence In Ireland By 2,500 Years

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A remarkable archaeological discovery in a Co. Clare cave has pushed back the date of human existence in Ireland by 2,500 years.

This discovery re-writes Irish archaeology and adds an entirely new chapter to human colonisation of the island – moving Ireland’s story into a new era.

Radiocarbon dating of a butchered brown bear bone, which has been stored in a cardboard box at the National Museum of Ireland for almost 100 years, has established that humans were on the island of Ireland some 12,500 years ago – 2,500 earlier than previously believed.

Since the 1970s, the oldest evidence of human occupation on the island of Ireland has been at Mount Sandel in Co. Derry. This site has been dated at 8,000 BC, which is in the Mesolithic period, indicating that humans had occupied the island for some 10,000 years.

However, new analysis of the bear patella – or knee bone – originally found in Co. Clare in 1903 gives us undisputed evidence that people existed in Ireland during the preceding Palaeolithic period at 10,500 BC, some 12,500 years ago.

This is a major breakthrough for archaeologists who have spent decades searching for earlier signs of human occupation on the island.

The discovery was made by Dr Marion Dowd, an archaeologist at IT Sligo, and Dr Ruth Carden, a Research Associate with the National Museum of Ireland.

Read the whole story on IT Sligo News

Full article with evidence is published on Quaternary Science ReviewsVolume 139, 1 May 2016, Pages 158–163.

American Journal of Archaeology (AJA): New issue out

AJA, American Journal of Archaeology: April 2016 issue out.
SITE: http://www.ajaonline.org

AJA (American Journal of Archaeology): April 2016 (120.2)

Table of Contents

Articles

Reconsidering Technological Transmission: The Introduction of the Potter’s Wheel at Ayia Irini, Kea, Greece (pp. 195–220)

Includes Open Access Supplementary Content

Evi Gorogianni, Natalie Abell, and Jill Hilditch

The Fate of Temples in Noricum and Pannonia (pp. 221–238)

Includes Open Access Supplementary Content

David Walsh

Forum

Politics of Periodization and the Archaeology of Early Greece (pp. 239–270)

Open Access

Antonis Kotsonas

Field Reports

The Basilica, Bouleuterion, and Civic Center of Ashkelon (pp. 271–324)

Open Access
Includes Open Access Supplementary Content

Ryan Boehm, Daniel M. Master, and Robyn Le Blanc

Review Articles

Ontology, World Archaeology, and the Recent Past (pp. 325–331)

Open Access

William Caraher

Online Necrology

Khaled al-As’ad, 1934–2015

Open Access

Andreas Schmidt-Colinet

Book Reviews

Open Access

Reviewed by P. Nick Kardulias

Open Access

Reviewed by Eric M. Moormann

Open Access

Reviewed by Andrew Stewart

Open Access

Reviewed by Philip Sapirstein

Open Access

Reviewed by Peter J. Holliday

Open Access

Reviewed by Olivier Hekster

Open Access

Reviewed by Ine Jacobs

Books Received

Description: The American Journal of Archaeology, published by the Archaeological Institute of America, was founded in 1885 and is one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished and widely distributed archaeological journals. The AJAreaches more than 50 countries and almost 1,000 universities, learned societies, departments of antiquities, and museums. It is published quarterly in print and digital formats. TheAJA regularly publishes open access content on its website.

Stories from the grave: audiobook reveals 1,000 years of lost Irish history

A new storytelling project about life through death in medieval Donegal, Ireland, is out. It’s called “Ballyhanna, Stories from the Grave” and it’s an audiobook, produced by Abarta Audioguides on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Ballyhanna Research Project,  a companion to the new publication: “The Science of a Lost Medieval Gaelic Graveyard, The Ballyhanna Research Project”.

The Ballyhanna Research Project is a cross-border collaborative research project that was established to investigate a medieval church and burial ground on the outskirts of Ballyshannon in County Donegal. The audiobook gives an account of the archaeological excavation of a forgotten graveyard which contained the burials of over 1,200 individuals, representing over 1,000 years of history. The remains of these individuals were scientifically studied by the Ballyhanna Research Project, whose remarkable findings are now detailed in the new publication.

 

The site was lost from local knowledge for centuries, rediscovered in 2003 and subsequently excavated. One of the primary aims of the project is to show how scientific research may aid our interpretations of archaeology and reveal new insights into past societies. The project research tells us about this community through death and burial traditions, and by examining these aspects, it also tells us about the people that lived in this medieval community, who, over the course of a millennium, were laid to rest in a small graveyard by the banks of the River Erne.

The chapters of this audiobook are broken into tracks, with each track discussing a particular aspect of the story of Ballyhanna. Five of these tracks are written from the first-person perspective of individuals whose remains were discovered during the excavation, or who were likely to have lived and worked at Ballyhanna in the past. These first-person accounts are fictional, but attempt to recreate their time, surroundings and lives, based on the information retrieved during the excavation and analysis, and from contemporary historical records.

This new archaeology audiobook, Ballyhanna; Stories from the Grave, is available free on Abasta Audioguides website and SoundCloud.

Please find more info here.