Tag Archives: wales

Buried Celtic chariot discovered by amateur treasure hunter in Wales

An amateur treasure hunter using a metal detector has uncovered what is thought to be the first Celtic chariot burial ever uncovered in Wales.

A terret ring that would have guided the chariot reins. Image credits: Mike Smith.

The UK is by far one of the best countries for archaeology and treasure hunters alike. Not only does it have a lot of history, from Roman to medieval and even modern sites, but they are also relatively close to the surface (due to the country’s environmental conditions). Policy also encourages amateur archaeologists, as they are given a share of any valuable findings they are able to (legally) discover. This has created a national love story with archaeology — with amazing results.

Amateur treasure hunters are relatively common in the UK, and it’s not surprising that they occasionally come across some remarkable stuff. Mike Smith is a long time treasure hunter, and has been using a metal detector for about three decades. Recently, he found what he initially thought was a medieval brooch; however, when he emailed an expert, he learned it was a piece of a Celtic horse chariot dating from 600 BC. So he immediately went back to the site and searched until he found several more pieces, all of which seemed to be pieces of a chariot.

Diggin up one of two bridle bits being unearthed, indicating a pair of ponies. Image credits: Mike Smith.

It was the best finding he could hope for.

“I knew the importance of them straight away,” said Mr. Smith who has been prospecting for around 30 years. “It was just instinct. I’d read all about chariot burials and just wished it could have been me, so finding this has been a privilege.”

Initially, other archaeologists were skeptical of his finding, because no Celtic chariot has ever been found in the area. However, by June, the Dyfed Archaeological Trust and National Museum Wales were convinced to carry out a preliminary excavation and confirmed that it was indeed a chariot — they even found its wheels.

This bronze and enamel decoration would have been worn by the chariot’s ponies. Image credits: Mike Smith.

“Often the wheels were laid flat,” said Mr Smith. “But this one appeared to have been buried intact. It could have had the chieftain or queen sitting in it. There would have been a mound over it but that has gone.”

The full significance of this site, however, is still not clear. Smith suspects that there might be a massive settlement nearby, which was confirmed by additional prospection. A Ground Penetrating Radar (a geophysical method commonly used in archaeology to “see” what lies underground) survey revealed what seems to be a complex of ditches and walls.

British surfers are more prone to be antibiotic resistant bacteria carriers

A new study shows that surfers are three times more likely to harbor very resistant types of E.coli.

Surfers swallow almost ten times more seawater than the average swimmer, researchers at the University of Exeter report. Since many sewage collections drain into the sea, they sometimes bring along various types of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (ARB). Researchers suspected that surfers ingest a worrying amount of such bacteria.

Source: Pixabay/andyperdana69

Dr Anne Leonard, lead author of the paper said: “This research is the first of its kind to identify an association between surfing and gut colonisation by antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

Unfit antibiotic treatments for viral infections and not respecting the full length and dosage of such treatments, are catalysts for bacterial resistance, a problem which is becoming more and more worrisome.

Bacteria are living organisms and the laws of evolution apply to them just like other creatures. When you take a treatment that kills most but not all bacteria, you’re accelerating their evolution. The survivors will be super trained to resist treatment. In a way, antibiotic resistance is their only way of surviving and adapting.

Via Pixabay/geralt

Surfing with the bugs

Scientists isolated many genes responsible for allowing Enterobacteriae (the family which includes E. coli) to survive antibiotics. One group, the blaCTX-M genes, confers resistance to multiple beta-lactam antibiotics.

Researchers analyzed 97 bathing water samples from England and Wales, noting the proportion of E. coli harboring blaCTX-M.They discovered that 11 out of the 97 bathing water samples were contaminated with the super-bug.

After they identified surfers as being at risk of exposure to ARB, scientists compared surfers and non-surfers to see whether there was an association between surfing and gut colonization by blaCTX-M- bearing E. coli.

The scientists discovered that 9 out of 143 (6.3%) surfers were colonized by blaCTX-M-bearing E. coli, as compared with 2 out of 130 (1.5%) of non-surfers.

Professor Colin Garner, founder and manager of Antibiotic Research UK — the only charity in the world set-up to tackle antibiotic resistance — said this was a “pioneering finding”.

He said that antibiotics enter the environment from farms or sewage. Environmental samples “have higher antibiotic concentrations than patients being administered antibiotics”.

“Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health,” Professor Garners added.

“We know very little about the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes between our environment, farm animals, wild animals and humans.”

Source: Pixabay/n4pgw

“This research helps us understand better the movement of resistant bacteria in surfers,” he said, but the next step should be testing if surfers and those in close contact with them are at greater risk of serious infection.