Thursday 31 January 2008

Viking burial site found

ONE of South Yorkshire's most significant archaeological finds ever has been unearthed during work to build a multi-million pound special school.

Experts have discovered the remains of 35 ancient bodies - thought to be Vikings or Saxons - in a burial site which could date back as far as the fifth century.

They have been found as part of site preparations for the construction of the new North Ridge Community School in Adwick, in the grounds of North Doncaster Technology College.

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Builders dig up 35 skeletons

BUILDERS working on the site of a new school have stumbled across what could be one of the most historic finds ever unearthed in Doncaster.

Archaeologists have confirmed that an ancient burial site containing 35 graves could date back to the days when the area was occupied by Saxons then Vikings.

The exciting find comes seven years after the discovery of the grave of a Viking woman who tests showed had travelled to Doncaster from Norway as an immigrant, proving for the first time that Vikings had settled in the area.

The latest discovery, in the grounds of North Doncaster Technology College in Adwick le Street, is believed to be the only one of its kind in South Yorkshire and is attracting interests from archaeologists across the region.

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Monday 28 January 2008

Minister rules out 'nonsense' chessmen bid

A SCOTTISH Government campaign to house the historic Lewis chessmen north of the Border has been branded "a lot of nonsense" by UK Culture Minister Margaret Hodge.

Most of the 13th-century figurines are housed at the British Museum in London, but First Minister Alex Salmond recently backed calls for their return to Scotland.

They were found on a beach near Uig on the Isle of Lewis around 1830. But Ms Hodge said the artefacts were made in Norway about 850 years ago and buried on Lewis for safekeeping, a position held by experts.

She also questioned whether the SNP policy would mean the repatriation of valuable artefacts from Scottish museums.

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Sunday 27 January 2008

Piece talks over ancient chessmen

The culture minister has visited the British Museum in London in an attempt to have the historic Lewis chessmen returned to Scotland.

The 13th Century figures were found on a beach on the Isle of Lewis in about 1830 and most are kept at the museum.

Linda Fabiani asked the museum's deputy director to consider their return.

The British Museum said the figures probably originated from Norway and had frequently been loaned to museums in Scotland.

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Hodge attacks Salmond's Chessmen gambit

UK CULTURE minister Margaret Hodge has dismissed Alex Salmond's demand for the Lewis Chessmen to be returned to Scotland as "nonsense".

Writing in today's Scotland on Sunday, she accuses the First Minister of "creating conflict, not culture" with his call for the artefacts, found on a beach in Lewis in the 19th century, to be "seized" from their home in the British Museum in London.

And she suggests that the chessmen do no necessarily belong in Scotland anyway, pointing out that they were made in Norway and buried in Lewis at time when the Western Isles belonged to Norway, and were on their way to Ireland.

Hodge's intervention came as Scottish Culture Minister Linda Fabiani yesterday travelled to London to view the chessmen and met museum officials to discuss the artefacts' "repatriation".

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Friday 25 January 2008

Latest "Sea Stallion" Newsletter Online

The latest Newsletter about the Havhingsten, or Sea Stallion replica Viking ship is now online.

You can find the newsletter here...

Viking Warship receives DKK 2m

The Sea Stallion from Glendalough, a 30 metre Viking Warship recently featured in a BBC One documentary, has benefited from a 2 million Kronor donation from the Shipowner Carston Brebol Foundation.

This follows an earlier DKK 2m donation, made last year by the foundation. The director of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Tinna Damgard-Sorensen, said "We still have a lot of funds to raise if we are to fulfil our own ambitions for the project and the voyage, so the wonderful donation from the Shipowner Carsten Brebol Foundation will not make us stop fund-raising - it just gives us all tremendous motivation to make more efforts to find the rest of the money. We know it's out there somewhere!

1.9 million people tuned in to a BBC Timewatch programme charting the Sea Stallion's progress as it sailed from Roskilde in Denmark to Dublin in 2007. The Viking Ship Museum has announced that the vessel will leave Dublin on 30th June this year and return to Roskilde, via the south coast of England.

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Saturday 19 January 2008

Lewis Chessmen line gives hope for St Ninian treasure

HIGHLANDS and Islands SNP MSP Dave Thompson has welcomed First Minister Alex Salmond's calls for the "repatriation" of the Lewis Chessmen as being a positive sign for the return of Shetland's St Ninian's Isle treasure.

Mr Thompson has been working closely with the campaign, backed by The Shetland Times, to secure the return of the St Ninian's Isle Treasure to a display in the new Shetland Museum, and said that this sends a welcome message of support to all local museums.

Mr Thompson has written to both culture minister Linda Fabiani and National Museums Scotland director Gordon Rintoul regarding the plight of Shetland Museum, with copies also being sent to Mr Salmond's office.

He said: "I am pleased the First Minister has decided to raise the matter of the Lewis Chessmen. I think it opens up an interesting debate on how we support our local museums.

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