Othe surface,Oppenheimlooks like your typical German town resting along the banks of the Rhine River. But there's more to Oppenheim than beer halls and a Gothic-style cathedral from the Middle Ages. Beneath its narrow cobblestone streets lies something deeper—an entire labyrinth of tunnels and cellars.
“The town is practically honeycombed with cavities,” Wilfried Hilpke, a tour guide with Oppenheim’s tourism office, tells Smithsonian.com.
Hilpke should know. For the past ten years, he’s spent much of his time leading hour-long hardhat tours of Oppenheim’s elaborate tunnel system, taking visitors through a journey that covers just a fraction of the 25 miles of known tunnels residing beneath the surface. (It’s believed that there could be more than 124 miles of tunnels underneath the town, which is located 30 miles southwest of Frankfurt. However, many sections remain uncharted; they are thought to lead to private cellars beneath residents’ homes.)
Not only are the Kellerlabyrinth tunnels long in distance, but their history is equally deep. According to Hilpke, some of the oldest tunnels date back to 700 A.D. The tunnels got their start as food and wine storage cellars, and workers carved out the bulk of them using pickaxes and shovels during the 1600s, when residents were in need of extra storage space and channels to transport goods like wine. The tunnels took on a secondary purpose when the city's inhabitants used them to hide from Spanish troops during theThirty Years' War. (They also used them to store Katharinenkirche cathedral’s stained glass windows to protect them during that war's bombardments.)
A new archaeological excavation in Denmark reveals the remains of graves and buildings that span the Stone Age, Bronze Age, the Vikings, and right up to the Middle Ages.
Archaeologists are busy unearthing the traces of three thousand years of activity at Silkeborg, west Denmark.
Excavations have already revealed pit-houses, which were typically used as workshops during the Viking era, and residential homes in the so-called Trelleborg style (see Fact Box), together with several graves.
At least two of the graves could have accommodated high-status Vikings.
“There’s been activity here at least since the Stone Age,” says one of the archaeologists involved in the dig, Maria Thiemke, from the Silkeborg Museum, Denmark.
“There’s at least 14 houses and five graves from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, right up until the Middle Ages,” says Thiemke.
From the excavation site in Stöðvarfjörður. Photo: Screenshot from Stöð 2
A recent archeological find in Iceland suggests that the country may have been inhabited as early as the year 800, or 74 years earlier than its official settlement date, Vísir reports. Four weeks of excavation in Stöðvarfjörður, the East Fjords, under the direction of archeologist Bjarni F. Einarsson, have revealed some of the most interesting signs of human presence found i the country. They suggest a longhouse was built there shortly after 800, but until now, Iceland’s first permanent Nordic settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, is said to have arrived in 874.
“The C-14 dating method shows a date shortly after the year 800,” Bjarni explained. “I have no reason to doubt that analysis.”
Signs of human presence from a similar time have been discovered before in Kvosin, Reykjavík, in Hafnir, Reyjanes, and in Húshólmi by Krýsuvík.
“We’ve started detecting a longhouse-shaped structure with thick floor layers,” Bjarni stated. The long-fire is missing, but a fireplace is coming into view by one of the gables, by the wall.
Hunters tracking geese in the wilds of southern Iceland have returned with an unexpected catch - an incredibly well-preserved 1,000 year old Viking sword. The group of hunters fortuitously stumbled upon the weapon in Skaftárhreppur, south Iceland, a region badly hit by floods last year. Pictures of the Viking weapon of war - a double edged sword - show it to be in remarkably good condition, save for the tip which has broken off. The sword is slightly curved at the point and due to years of exposure the metal blade has partially corroded. But despite years out in the open, splinters of wood can still be observed around the handle. Read the rest of this article...
A few friends hunting for geese accidentally discovered an impressive Viking sword this weekend which they handed over to the Cultural Heritage Centre of Iceland. The sword was found in Hrífunes, South Iceland. Only 20 such swords have been found in Iceland and this one is in a very good condition. Experts believe it dates from between 900 - 1000 AD and that it was placed in a pagan grave. Read the rest of this article...
Les archéologues étudient les vestiges de l’Abbaye Saint-Faron (VIIe-XIXe siècles) établie sur un quartier antique. La fouille permettra d'appréhender les états médiévaux de l’abbaye et d’analyser les modalités de son implantation sur les vestiges antiques. Rue Saint-Faron, préalablement à la construction d’un immeuble d’habitations, l’État (Drac Île-de-France) a prescrit des recherches archéologiques menées par l’Inrap de juillet à décembre 2016, sur 1570 m2. Les archéologues étudient les vestiges de l’Abbaye Saint-Faron (VIIe-XIXe siècles) établie sur un quartier antique. Fondé au VIIe siècle par Faron, évêque de Meaux, le monastère est d’abord dédié à Sainte Croix. Il prit ensuite le nom de son fondateur canonisé. Disparue du paysage urbain meldois avec la Révolution française, l’abbaye a fait l’objet de deux interventions archéologiques. L’une, en 1990-1991, a permis de repérer l’église abbatiale (Danielle Magnan, SRAIF), l’autre en 2012 de dégager une portion du cloître (Erwan Bergot, Inrap). La fouille actuelle, porte sur la partie sud de l’établissement monastique qui, d’après les sources historiques, est réservée à l’abbé. Son objectif est de pouvoir appréhender les états médiévaux de l’abbaye et d’analyser les modalités de son implantation sur les vestiges antiques. Read the rest of this article...