Monday, 30 December 2013

We found a king, we lost a hero: archaeology in 2013

So another year is over and it's time to reflect on the discoveries, excavations and projects of the year past. It's hard to single out only a few events that have shaped the archaeological landscape in the last twelve months and I'm sure you all have your own individual triumphs and losses that make 2013 memorable for you. The following have resonated with us...

Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king's

After an ambitious project led by the University of Leicester, it was announced to the world in February 2013 that King Richard III's remains had been found in a car park in Leicester. Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard." Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. Mr Buckley said the bones had been subjected to "rigorous academic study" and had been carbon dated to a period from 1455-1540. Dr Jo Appleby, an osteo-archaeologist from the university's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, revealed the bones were of a man in his late 20s or early 30s. Richard was 32 when he died.

Archaeologists find escape tunnel at Sobibor death camp in Poland

A series of historic archaeological findings were made in May and June 2013 at the Sobibor Nazi death camp in what was occupied Poland. Archaeological excavations carried out at the site by Israeli and Polish researchers unearthed an escape tunnel, a crematorium, human skeletal remains, a substance that appears to be blood and the identification tag of a Jewish boy who was murdered in the camp. The findings shed new light on the camp, where around 250,000 Jews were killed between 1942 and 1943.

Professor Mick Aston: 1946-2013

Professor Mick Aston died on 24th June 2013. He was most famous for his work on Channel 4's Time Team, which has been sold into over 30 countries and has had a huge impact on the public understanding of archaeological field practice. Professor Aston also enjoyed a lengthy and successful academic career including government posts at Oxford and Somerset Councils and academic roles at Bristol, Oxford and Birmingham Universities. Throughout his career he engaged with the public wherever possible and through any means available, particularly through extramural teaching.

Wishing you a happy and successful New Year from the CUDI team!

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