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From the Save Bremore Heritage Group;
“There will be a Demo outside the Fingal Co Co Offices Main Street Swords this Friday (April 2nd) 1-2pm
Please join with us on the day that the Draft Development Plan goes on display. We really need everyone who can possibly spare an hour of their day please.”
If you are able to get there at all, please consider it.
A lecture entitled, The green treasures from the magic mountains: the ‘life story’ of the magnificent Neolithic axehead from Breamore, will be given by Alison Sheridan at Devizes Town Hall, Wiltshire, from 7:00 pm on Tuesday, 15 June 2010.
“The ‘magnificant’ Neolithic jadeitite axehead was found at Breamore, just across the Wiltshire border in Hampshire, although its exact findspot is not known. Before being acquired by the Museum in 1916 it had been used as a paper knife – but because it tore more leaves than it cut it was thrown out of a window! It fell on a stone and the end was chipped.”
The Breamore axehead is on display at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes. More here -
Dr. Colmán Etchingham, a lecturer in the history department at N.U.I. Maynooth, has called for the full excavation of a major early Christian and Viking site at Woodstown, Co. Waterford. Or at least a commitment from the government to do the same. Speaking in his position as chairman of the final session of the “Viking Woodstown and Hiberno-Norse Waterford” conference, this week, Dr. Etchingham also stressed the crucial work of the “Save Viking Waterford Action Group” in rescuing the site from disappearance under the N25 Waterford City bypass;
According to Dr Etchingham, Government policy would have otherwise “allowed the road to run through the site”.
You don’t say?
…“The conference has shown that less than 5 per cent of the site has been subject to archaeological investment to date.
“What has been found is wonderful but it is tantamount to glimpses of what could be there.” Dr Etchingham said that the site is “one of the most important” sites to be found anywhere in western Europe.
“Public investment in excavation would provide jobs in the region and would help tourism in the area,” he added.
The site should be excavated over a long period of time to a high standard, he said.”
Here’s hoping that you get the commitment, but don’t hold your breath. Frankly, it seems amazing that they reprieved the site at all. Regarding the former, I note the following from An Taisce, back in June 2004 and whistling in the wind, as usual;
“1. The Minister’s Announcement: The Minister for the Environment, Mr. Martin Cullen T.D., has signalled his intention to sanction an excavation of the internationally important Viking site at Woodstown, Co. Waterford. An Taisce welcomes this declaration of intent.
2. An International Panel: The National Monuments Committee of An Taisce feels it is imperative that this excavation encompasses the entire site, rather than simply the ‘road- take’. The excavation of a site with the potential and significance displayed at Woodstown can only be credibly directed by an Internationally recognised group of experts. This formula has already been successfully used on major Viking excavations such as Birka ( Sweden) and Kaupang ( Norway).The acclaimed results of these excavations were achieved under the auspices of a pan-European group of experts, including the Irish representative, Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland and former Director of the Wood Quay Viking site. If the island of Ireland is to retain credibility regarding our shared European Heritage, it is imperative that such a body be tasked with conducting such prospective investigations of the Woodstown site.”
Keep trying though. That’s the thing.
According to the “Viking Waterford” website, the excavation to date - “much of it by JCB” (and whose textbook will carry a chapter on that ‘technique’?) - has uncovered; “over 600 features such as house-gullies, pits and fireplaces… and over 5000 objects, including silver ingots, ships nails, coins from Byzantium and Viking weaponry.” Not bad for less than 5% investigated - no wonder they’re itching to get in there properly.
Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, was founded by the Vikings in 914 CE. Its name, although it sounds both English and descriptive, is in fact an anglicisation of the Old Norse “Vedrafjord”.
Beware of ruins; the heart is apt to make
Monstrous assumptions on the unburied past;
Though cleverly restored, the Tudor tower
Is spurious, the facade a fake
From Beware of Ruins by A D Hope
Not within our usual sphere, although definitely prehistoric and we’re going to chance it. The Belfast Newsletter this week carried news of the proposed visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim;
“Work is set to start in the coming months on the long-awaited visitors’ centre at the Giant’s Causeway.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB] revealed it is to provide £9.25 million funding to deliver replacement visitor services at the World Heritage Site.”
In the same week that the “Keep the Staffordshire Hoard off Ebay” appeal was bumped past its target by £1.29 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund – it seems that big Heritage pledges are in vogue at the moment. The Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust have already promised about £7 million between them and the remainder of the £18.5 million needed for the Giant’s Causeway project must now come from public donations.
Of course, there’s money to be made as well;
“Mr Clarke added that the new North Coast centre will help promote tourist destinations beyond the Causeway.
“This will provide opportunities to grow the tourism sector by signposting visitors to other attractions in the region, increasing the time that visitors stay in the region and increasing the amount spent by visitors.”
He added: “As we will be able to offer a lot of things to see in a tight geographic area, we are going to need more hotel development.
“We are hoping to have a four-star hotel for visitors along the Causeway Coast and would encourage investors into the area.”
We’re also hoping that this proposed ancillary development won’t cover all surrounding. The centre itself, designed by Dublin architects Heneghan Peng, appears to be well considered and carefully unobtrusive - “hidden from the coastal landscape by a grass roof.”
The Cove, Avebury. Image credit Willow
A seminar at Devizes Town Hall on Saturday, 22 May 2010 from 10:00 am.
A joint research seminar organised by the Prehistoric Society and the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society in association with the Avebury Archaeological and Historical Research Group
Recent work in the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site has transformed our understanding of both landscapes, demonstrating how much we can still learn from well-focussed research about even the best-known aspects of prehistoric Britain. With major projects like the Stonehenge Riverside Project, the Longstones Project, and the Silbury Hill Conservation Project recently published or in the post-excavation stage, this seminar will present and assess what we have learnt, and discuss future research directions. It will also inform the revision of the Avebury Research Agenda and aid integration between the two parts of the WHS, which are too often treated entirely separately. A range of speakers, all of whom are currently engaged with research at Stonehenge or Avebury, will discuss what we know and what we still need to know about the landscapes, monuments and material culture of this most significant area for British prehistory.
The National Trust – Little Solsbury Hill is a walled village of the early Iron Age, occupied from about 300 bc to 100 bc. At first the area near the edge of the hill was cleared to a rock base, on which substantial timber framed houses were built. A 20 feet wide rampart was then made, faced inside and outside with well built dry stone walls and infilled with loose stones . The outer face was at least 12 feet. After a period some of the huts were burnt down and the rampart was overthrown, the site was never occupied again.
So says the National Trust sign that greets us at the gate to this hill fort. Solsbury Hill as it is better known, stands just outside Bath, it is on a high eminence and a walk up the steep lane, with the car parked down in the village of Northend, is the best way of getting to the top. It occupies a spectacular position, the Cotswolds are just coming to an end here, and the River Avon curves on its way past below. But it is the A46 road that lies in the valley under the hillfort that was the scene of a road protest in 1994, it is perhaps remembered best for. The controversy that surrounded the widening of the A46 road was to bring to a halt a further 300 road widening schemes which the conservative government of the time was trying to implement.
Sadly it did not stop the road widening scheme under the hillfort, and a grass maze today overlooking the road is a reminder of the ‘tree top’ protest of 1994. This was not the Stonehenge ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ spectacular, but it caused much controversy in Bath at the time because of the force used against the protesters by both the police and security guards.
It was beautifully documented in a book by Adrian Arbib, and this montag of photographs illustrates the young people who stood up against this road scheme. Today, a different generation of eco-warriors or protestors, will still take to tunnels or stand firm against the ‘might of the law’, as the protest against the motorway under the Hill of Tara showed, or in the case of the Prittlewell ‘Bling’ king protest at Southend, another road scheme.
There is of course the ‘eagle’ featured in Peter Gabriel’ music, he wrote a famous song about this hill, and though there are not many that have seen an eagle fly above this hill (if any in fact) it is well to record for posterity, the small histories of Solsbury and not to forget of course, that it maybe one of the (many) conjectured sites to have hosted the Arthurian Battle of Badon.
Article by Moss