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Following on from our recent forays into the world of music, looking at pieces entitled ‘Stonehenge’, comes a timely piece from the BBC, concerning acoustic research by London’s Royal College of Art upon the stones in the Preseli Hills, the source of the Stonehenge bluestones.
With this study, thousands of stones along the Carn Menyn ridge were tested and a high proportion of them were found to “ring” when they were struck.
“The percentage of the rocks on the Carn Menyn ridge are ringing rocks, they ring just like a bell,” said Mr Devereux, the principal investigator on the Landscape and Perception Project.
“And there’s lots of different tones, you could play a tune. In fact, we have had percussionists who have played proper percussion pieces off the rocks.”
A musical instrument where stones are used as an acoustic device is known as a ‘lithophone‘, or sometimes as a ‘stone marimba’. Though we’re not entirely sure that something of the size of Stonehenge could quite qualify for that name!
And a brief message for all our Cornish readers: Gool Peran Lowen! Happy St Piran’s Day!
In our previous article on music titled ‘Stonehenge’, we included some artists and songs that many antiquarians may well be familiar with. In this second article, we list 5 further songs called ‘Stonehenge’ which may not be quite so familiar!
The band came together in 1996 as members attended the New England Conservatory of Music and the Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. After constant gigging in the area, they recorded their debut album, Coalesce (1998), as a septet. The Miracle Orchestra, along with fellow Boston musicians and friends, the Slip, are part of a developing trend of jazz-rock revival. The music is both upbeat and improvisational. It is these attributes that the Miracle Orchestra successfully embodies. ‘Stonehenge’ was included on the album “Three Sets: Vol 3“, a live album of three differing jazz bands released in 2001. Uplifting.
Kellianna – Stonehenge (5:41)
Kellianna is a pagan artist who performs songs and chants inspired by myth, magic, sacred places and ancient times. ‘Stonehenge is included on the album “Lady Moon“, released in 2004. A relaxing, affirmative chant.
Ted Heath – Stonehenge (3:11)
No, not the Tory politician! Ted Heath was one of the most famous big-band leaders in Great Britain of the 1950s. His bands played modernized swing music that was always danceable but occasionally had worthwhile solos played in the tradition. A live version was included on the “Ted Heath at Carnegie Hall” album, first released in 1957, and re-released in 2005 as a double album with “Ted Heath’s First American Tour”. Laid back swing – time for cocktails!
King Missile – Stonehenge (1:29)
Essentially a vehicle for the musings of John S. Hall, King Missile merged off-kilter spoken word monologues with eclectic, mildly psychedelic rock & roll. Hall’s dry, absurdist sense of humor colored much of the group’s output, blurring the lines between comedy, Beat poetry, narrative prose, and simple rock lyrics. ‘Stonehenge’ appears on “They“, an album described as having ‘a warped sense of humor’, released in 1988.
Ruins – Stonehenge (3:51)
Japanese post-punk prog rock by Tatsuya Yoshida. Released in 1990 on an album also entitled ‘Stonehenge’, there’s not really musch can say about this one! Enjoy?
And that concludes our round-up of Stonehnege songs for now. From 1950′s Swing, through the free festival and post punk eras, to New Age noodling and dreaminess. there should be something there for everyone.
If you have a favourite ‘Stonehenge’ track that we missed, please let us know via the comments section.
Heritage Action and the Heritage Journal, as previously documented, had their beginnings on a web site forum “The Modern Antiquarian“, after the book of the same name written by Julian Cope. Mr Cope is possibly better known for his prime activity as a musician, and yet I don’t recall having had many musically themed entries here on the Journal.
A search on the major music sites for names of ancient monuments brings up a plethora of results, depending upon the monument selected. We decided to start with an obvious one – ‘Stonehenge’. This alone returns over 600 songs on AllMusic.com, with many more on Spotify and YouTube – although the YouTube results are somewhat skewed by videos of festivals, documentaries and travelogues, and duplicate entries. But here are five versions that may, or may not be familiar.
This tribute by the Norwegian comedy duo, brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker, from a few years ago created a minor stir amongst the antiquarian community at the time of it’s release in 2011. The absurdity of the lyrics, and the fact that the video is played ‘straight’ make it a classic of its type. Like Marmite, you’ll either love it, or hate it.
Hawkwind and their various offshoots have released more songs than you can shake a stick at, all with the name ‘Stonehenge’ in the title somewhere. This version of ‘Stonehenge decoded’ was recorded live at the 1984 free festival at the stones, and released on the subsequent ‘This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic‘ album released the same year. We cannot condone the desecration of the stones depicted in this video. Possibly best appreciated whilst ‘under the influence’.
Black Sabbath – Stonehenge (1:58)
You’d hope that a track called ‘Stonehenge’, from the band whose Stonehenge stage set, when it was discovered to be too large to fit inside most venues wound up serving as inspiration for the ultimate rock & roll spoof movie (This Is Spinal Tap) would be memorable. However, this track, taken from the “Born Again” album released in 1983, is nothing more than an experimental sound-bite instrumental filler. Disappointing.
Spinal Tap – Stonehenge (5:01)
Another ‘spoof’ band, Spinal Tap have had considerable success, both in the album charts and on live tours on the back of the original ‘rockumentary’, “This is Spinal Tap” (1984). The band members are portrayed by Michael McKean (as David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (as Nigel Tufnel) and Harry Shearer (as Derek Smalls), along with various temporary drummers who all meet with unfortunate ends. One of many high points in the film.
The Disrupters – Stonehenge (3:42)
The Disrupters were a British anarchist punk band who formed in late 1980. Originally influenced by the early punk bands of the late 70s (The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash etc.) the band were eventually drawn to the anarchist scene. The track, ‘Stonehenge’ was included on the album “Gas the Punx“, a ‘Best Of’ collection of studio recordings from 1981-1986, released in 2005. Energetic, if a bit repetitive.
Stay tuned for more, pop-pickers! (I’m showing my age now…)
And so the calendrical cycle begins again…
Last year, we suggested 6 New Year Archaeological Resolutions that people might like to take up. In a spirit of ‘practise what you preach’, how exactly did we do here? I can only write from my own personal viewpoint on these, but here’s how I fared:
Visit New Sites
I visited several new sites this year, mainly whilst on holiday in Cornwall it has to be said, but I didn’t quite manage the one-a-month required to meet this particular resolution. Two personal favourites were the Goldherring and Mulfra settlements in West Penwith. Both totally overgrown, the imagination has to work hard to see how things used to be, amidst the ‘lumps and bumps’. If you need some inspiration for new sites to visit, don’t forget our ‘12 Days of Christmas‘ posts, which may give you some ideas.
Join an Archaeological Society
No new ones here for me, but as a member of the CBA, the Cornwall Archaeological Society and RESCUE, I think I’m covered as I renewed all three memberships again this year. I’m currently considering up one or two local societies closer to home for 2014.
Take a course
Personal fail. I started the Coursera ‘Dirty Little Secrets‘ course which is to be held again this year, but family illness prevented me from keeping up with the schedule last year and I dropped by the wayside when I got too far behind to be able to upload my submissions on time. I doubt I’ll have time for anything similar in 2014 either as other projects are vying for my time, so I’ll drop this resolution from my personal list for 2014.
Attend a Conference
Involve the family
Whilst I didn’t attend any of the CBA events for their Festival of Archaeology, I’ve managed to drag my better half along to several community events and Open Days around the country (my kids are now far too grown up to drag them along with me!) She even met Archaeologist of the Year Phil Harding, Dr Francis Pryor and several of the Dig Ventures gang along the way too!
Contribute to the Heritage Journal
I’ve not personally written as much as I’d hoped this past year (a few posts each month), but it’s been gratifying to see some guest posts from our members and other readers scattered throughout the year, so a few of you have taken this one to heart! More please.
How did you do? Shall we all try to keep the same resolutions this year? Leave a comment if you managed all six, or have any ideas for other Resolutions.
We hope you all enjoyed the festivities of the last few days, however you decided to celebrate. Hopefully the head’s not too bad after last night?
Herewith, slightly later than we originally anticipated, are the answers to our small Christmas Eve Quiz, how many did you get right?
- In March, one of the Time Team regulars was named ‘Archaeologist of the Year’. But which team member gained the honour? – Phil Harding
- Who first proposed the ‘Three Ages’ (Stone, Bronze, Iron) dating scheme as used in modern archaeology? - Danish archaeologist Christian J. Thomsen (1788–1865)
- Which of the following have not appeared in our ‘Antiquarians’ series: a) W. Stukeley, b) W. Camden, c) J. Leland, d) W. C. Borlase, e) J. Aubrey, f) R. Colt-Hoare. – J. Leland
- Richard Carew was famous for his ‘Survey of Cornwall’. In which year and where was he born? – Richard was born in 1555, in Antony, Cornwall.
- Professor Mick Aston sadly passed away earlier this year, but (without looking it up!) in which month did he leave us? – June 2013.
- What do Roger Penny, Tom Robinson and William The Conqueror have in common? – They have all been responsible for the part destruction of a prehistoric site (Priddy Henges, Avebury and The Marlborough Mound respectively)
- Wayland’s Smithy, Hetty Pegler’s Tump and Belas Knapp are all types of which class of barrow? - Cotswold-Severn Long Barrows
- Which ancient monument is said to be the birthplace of Queen Guinevere? - Oswestry Hill fort
- Which ancient site is known as “The Druid’s Wheel” ? – The Rollright Stones, in Oxfordshire.
- From a stone at which ancient monument is Arthur said to have drawn Excalibur? – Mitchell’s Fold stone circle, Shropshire.
- A Bronze Age “crystal” pavement was uncovered for the first time in almost 80 years in September this year. Where? – The Hurlers, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
- Name at least 4 of the iron age hill forts / enclosures visible from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. – There are at least 8, pick any 4 from: Stokeleigh Camp, Clifton Down Camp, Burgh Walls, North Stoke, Freezing Hill, Stantonbury, Maes Knoll, Tunley.
- In which year was the Piltdown Man hoax perpetrated? – The ‘find’ was first announced in 1912, but denounced as a forgery in 1953
- What was built sometime in the winter/spring of 3807/3806 BC? – The Sweet Track, in Somerset
- What was found this year at the Ness of Brodgar earning it’s discoverer a bottle of Whisky? – A Carved Stone Ball.
- The worlds oldest Bog Body was discovered in 2011, it was revealed this year that he suffered a typically violent bog body death. Where was he found? – ‘Cashel Man’ was discovered in Cashel bog, Co Laois, Ireland.
- What was the name of the expedition and cave where an excavation revealed over 1000 hominid fossils in South Africa in October and November of this year? – The Rising Star Expedition in Sterkfontein Cave.
That’s your lot! We hope you enjoyed the quiz, and will return with another competition in the Spring/Summer of 2014 (unless we have any bright ideas before then!)
Traditionally in the Christian church, tomorrow sees the beginning of the ‘12 Days of Christmas‘, a period of ‘giving’ as celebrated in the eponymous song. Bang up to date, Apple have recently released an iOS ‘app’, presenting a free gift to users for each of the twelve days: music, apps, e-books etc. We wait to see if there are any gems there, but somewhat doubt that any heritage related items will be presented.
However that may be, in this spirit of giving (and as an apology for not having seen our Advent Calendar idea through to completion) we have decided to share with our readers an image a day, over and above our usual daily posts. Each image has been taken from www.geograph.org.uk, a project which was set up to photograph every kilometre square on the UK’s National Grid. All pictures have been freely given to the project, and are available for re-use under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. The pictures we’ve selected have been chosen to show the variety and scope of our ancient heritage, covering sites from Cornwall in the south, through to Scotland in the far north.
So starting from tonmorrow morning, check out the Heritage Journal to see which photos and sites we’ve selected. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed selecting them!
In the meantime, we’ve knocked together a short quiz to occupy you whilst waiting for a large gentleman in a conspicuous red suit to break into your house via the chimney tonight, and whilst overindulging in all that tomorrow has to bring. Answers will be published in a couple of days’ time. How many can you get right? (To keep the kiddies off your back whilst you’re thinking, here’s something to print out for them to colour in!)
- In March, one of the Time Team regulars was named ‘Archaeologist of the Year’. But which team member gained the honour?
- Who first proposed the ‘Three Ages’ (Stone, Bronze, Iron) dating scheme as used in modern archaeology?
- Which of the following have not appeared in our ‘Antiquarians’ series: a) W. Stukeley, b) W. Camden, c) J. Leland, d) W. C. Borlase, e) J. Aubrey, f) R. Colt-Hoare.
- Richard Carew was famous for his ‘Survey of Cornwall’. In which year and where was he born?
- Professor Mick Aston sadly passed away earlier this year, but (without looking it up!) in which month did he leave us?
- What do Roger Penny, Tom Robinson and William The Conqueror have in common?
- Wayland’s Smithy, Hetty Pegler’s Tump and Belas Knapp are all types of which class of barrow?
- Which ancient monument is said to be the birthplace of Queen Guinevere?
- Which ancient site is known as “The Druid’s Wheel” ?
- From a stone at which ancient monument is Arthur said to have drawn Excalibur?
- A Bronze Age “crystal” pavement was uncovered for the first time in almost 80 years in September this year. Where?
- Name at least 4 of the iron age hill forts / enclosures visible from the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
- In which year was the Piltdown Man hoax perpetrated?
- What was built sometime in the winter/spring of 3807/3806 BC?
What was found this year at the Ness of Brodgar earning it’s discoverer a bottle of Whisky?
The worlds oldest Bog Body was discovered in 2011, it was revealed this year that he suffered a typically violent bog body death. Where was he found?
What was the name of the expedition and cave where an excavation revealed over 1000 hominid fossils in South Africa in October and November of this year?
No prizes, it’s all just a bit of fun!
Our monthly listing, compiled, as always, by Sue Brooke.
‘In September 1992, archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust working alongside contractors on a new road link between Dover and Folkestone discovered the remains of a large wooden prehistoric boat thought to be some 3,000 years old, belonging to a period known to archaeologists as the Bronze Age. It was a find of both national and international significance which will shed new light on early seafaring and woodworking skills in Northern Europe. The boat is now displayed in a glass case as the centrepiece of a whole floor in the museum devoted to archaeology.’
Please note: the museum will be closed on Sunday’s from 1st. October 2013.
The Royal Archaeological Institute (RAI) is a leading national archaeology society, with a history dating back to 1844. Its interests span all aspects of the archaeological, architectural and landscape history of the British Isles. Monthly Lectures take place from October to May and are held at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. These are given by visiting speakers on recent research, current archaeological projects and new discoveries.
Date: 8 January 2014: the RAI debate – How and why did Britain become Neolithic?
Dr Alison Sheridan will debate with Professor Alasdair Whittle
Venue: Lectures are held in the rooms of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London at 5 p.m. preceded by tea at 4.30 p.m.
The Neolithic period marks a fundamental shift in lifestyles and settlement, one of the most important transformations to have occurred in the history of these islands. Hunting and gathering ceased to play a significant part in food procurement and farming was adopted, pottery was introduced and the stone tool kit changed. Were these novelties brought by incoming farmers from the Continent, where farming had been already been practised for many centuries, or did indigenous communities decide to take up a new way of life? These issues still engender heated debate amongst prehistorians; the three leading specialists of this period will air their views at the RAI!
Note: Members are welcome to bring a guest to lectures. Non-members are welcome to attend lectures but should contact the Administrator in advance.
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
Gallery talk: Thursday 9 January 2014 at 13:15 to 14:00
Slowing down the damage: preventive conservation at the museum
Melanie Keable and Capucine Korenberg.
Gallery talk: Friday 10 January 2014 at 13:15 to 14:00
Iron Age religion – Jody Joy
Gallery talks are free – just drop in.
Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas day
Opening times from 18 December 2013 to 15 March 2014
Monday to Sunday – open from 9:30 to 17:00
Gold from the time of Stonehenge – Telling Wiltshire’s Story
500,000 years of Wiltshire’s story told in a brand new £750,000 gallery featuring high quality graphics and leading-edge reconstructions.
On display for the first time are dozens of spectacular treasures dating to the time of Stonehenge and worn by people who worshiped inside the stone circle.
‘Britain’s greatest treasures from the mysterious golden Age of Stonehenge are to go on permanent display for the first time ever. This will be the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold ever put on public display in England. In a move that will transform public understanding of the Stonehenge era, the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, 15 miles north of Stonehenge, is exhibiting 500 Stonehenge period objects, including 30 pieces of gold treasure which have rarely been seen by the public before.
Amongst the ancient Stonehenge era treasures placed on permanent display for the first time, are a beautifully decorated gold lozenge, a magnificent bronze dagger with a gold- covered hilt, a golden fitting from a dagger sheath, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, ear-rings, pendants and other items of gold jewellery, a unique jet disc (used to fasten a luxury garment), rare traces of ancient textiles and two of the finest prehistoric flint arrow head ever found’
Museum opening times:
Tuesday – Saturday -10am to 17:00, Sunday – 12 noon to 16:00.
Open throughout the year.
Closed: Mondays from January to March (except half term)
Lecture: Romanised Egyptian Mummies by Professor Brian Sparkes
Date: 11 January 2014. 14:00 – 16:00
Location: Headley Road, Woodley
Date: 8 January 2014 – 13.05.
Archaeology Lunchtime Talk – ‘What lies beneath: The analysis of early Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous metalwork’ Matt Nicholas, PhD student, Cardiff University School of History, Archaeology & Religion.
Date: 22 January 2014 – 13.05.
Archaeology Lunchtime Talk – ‘Cardiff in the early post-medieval period: new finds from excavations at Mill Leat, Bute Park’
Date: 28 January 2014 – 13.05pm.
Behind the Scenes: Archaeology – Conservation Laboratory: Latest Work
These events are free but please book on your arrival. Some tours may be unsuitable for visitors with restricted mobility so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more detailed information.
If your local society or museum has an event that you’d like included in our listings, please contact us with the details, at least one calendar month in advance and we’d be pleased to include them.
Compiled by Sue Brooke.
LONDON: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Life and death, Pompeii and Herculaneum.
28 March – 29 September 2013 . Advanced booking essential
English Heritage Event: Lindisfarne Gospels
Inscribed in Stone Exhibition: Date: From 1st May 2013 to 30th September 2013. Lindisfarne Priory from 10am to 6pm
Lindisfarne Priory is introducing a new display looking at the importance of the priory and its inhabitants around the time of the production of the gospels. The display will celebrate the loan of the famous Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East. By displaying intricately carved original and colourful replica ‘naming stones’, some dating back to the 8th century, the display will answer many questions for visitors who will be making the journey to the original and spiritual home of the sacred text.
EXETER: Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter, Devon EX4 3RX
25TH September 2013. Lunchtime lecture – An introduction to Dartmoor National Park. Orlando Rutter, Senior Learning & Outreach Officer at Dartmoor National Park.
To explore some of the natural and human influences that have shaped the landscape of the National Park at Dartmoor. This lecture will also look at some of the work of Dartmoor National Park Authority.
Devon Archaeological Society – Members event
The Devon Archaeological Society, founded in 1928, is an active and friendly organisation with a membership of over 800. The archaeology of Devon is without equal in England: it includes the rich historic landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor and extends in time from the Palaeolithic axes of the East Devon river valleys to industrial remains from the extraction of tin and other minerals.
Sunday 1st September 2013 – Ham Hill Hillfort – Niall Sharples is currently excavating one of the largest hillforts in Southern Britain, at Ham Hill, Stoke sub Hamdon in Somerset. (ST 485 165) The site has produced a wide range of prehistoric and Roman finds when Ham Hill stone was quarried but only small scale excavation work has previously taken place. It’s siting and ramparts are clearly visible on the south side of the A303. Niall has kindly extended an invitation to visit to members of the DAS. Note that this is not a formal Society activity and will not be covered by DAS insurance: members should come prepared for visiting a site with an uneven surface and with footwear/clothing suitable for all eventualities. The site tour will last until lunchtime. Please check:
TOUR OF CROWNHILL FORT
Plymouth & District Archaeological Society (PDAS) consists mainly of amateur members with an enthusiastic interest in a wide range of archaeological disciplines. Visitors are invited to attend any of our regular meetings
Monday 2nd September 2013 – Crownhill Fort, one of the “Palmerston Forts” built in the 19th century to defend Plymouth against the threat of French invasion, is now operated by the Landmark Trust. Ed Donohue, Manager of the Fort, or one of his colleagues, will lead a private tour taking in the ramparts, tunnels and casemates. The tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties; sturdy shoes are advised. If the weather is kind there will be a cannon firing at the end of the tour. Meet in the lower car park outside the Fort at 6.15 for a 6.30pm start, SX 487 591, PL6 5BX. Cost of £3/head to meet Landmark Trust charges, to be collected on the day
Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network
‘A charitable partnership formed to look after the ancient sites and monuments of Cornwall. Currently working closely with local communities and official organisations to protect and promote our ancient heritage landscape through research, education and outreach activities’.
Volunteers are always very welcome at the monthly clear-ups. These events are always a really good opportunity to get a bit more hands-on, whilst helping to clear an ancient site in the landscape. This not only allows for physical preservation of the site itself but helps it to be kept safe for others to enjoy in the future
SEPTEMBER CLEAN-UP – The next clean-up will be held on Tuesday September 10th 2013 at 12.00 midday. Chynhalls Point cliff castle (SW785 175]) Park near Coverack School, to be collected.
*Please note that suitable footwear and clothing is needed although tools or any necessary equipment will be provided*
Ingleborough Archaeology Group (IAG) is based in Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales and has as its core area of operations the Ingleborough massif and the surrounding valleys of Kingsdale, Chapel le Dale and Ribblesdale. The Group was founded in 1996 under the direction of Alan King, one of the most active archaeologists in the Yorkshire Dales. It has been described as one of the most active and successful local archaeology groups in the North of England and has been involved in a broad range of excavations, ranging from a nineteenth-century industrial building within the Ribblehead Construction Camps through to a Romano-British settlement near Ingleton to a Mesolithic site at Kingsdale Head.
Last summer walk – Saturday 21st September 2013 – Baildon Moor:
‘8000 years of landscape change with Gavin Edwards’
Meet 10.30am Baildon Top Car Park (SE1428 4069) or Ashfield Car Park – Settle 9.15am or Community Centre Car Park – Ingleton 9.00am for car sharing. Approx 4-5miles – moderate – mainly on paths and open fell. Please bring packed lunch. No dogs please.
Lancashire Archaeological Society – encouraging and promoting interest in archaeology and history, particularly of the County Palatine of Lancashire.
1st September 2013 – Visit to the landscape of Smithills Hall Estate, Bolton. Dr Alan Crosby.
Please see http://www.lancsarchsoc.org.uk/ for more information.
PETERBOROUGH: Flag Fen
In the early 1980s, English Heritage funded a series of small dyke surveys in the Peterborough region. It was during this survey that Flag Fen was discovered, home to a Bronze Age monument over 3300 years old.
Flag Fen is open daily from 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm) from April to October and is a marvellous opportunity to see the reconstructions and the experimental archaeology.
MBArchaeology specialises in Community Archaeology, Education & Research. Based in Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire and offering educational talks, walks, workshops and courses on a whole variety of archaeological topics.
Derbyshire – full-day field visits that run throughout the summer to sites of historical and archaeological interest. Keep checking for events.
Archaeology in Marlow’s (AIM) aim is to investigate and discover the archaeology and pre-history of Marlow Town and its surrounding parishes. The Warren Wood site comprises a double enclosure earthwork believed to be medieval in date but neolithic artefacts and Iron Age pottery have also been found.
AIM would like to involve as many people as possible in practical archaeology and research and also to entertain them with talks on general and local subjects. Lists of activities to date are shown on the website pages covering projects and past events. Everyone is welcome to join and members enjoy research, fieldwork, training courses, talks and visits.
Event: Investigations at Warren Wood, Little Marlow, Bucks:
Dates and times: 1st September 2013 – 10:00
15th September 2013 – 10:00
29th. September 2013 – 10:00
For more information: http://www.archaeologyinmarlow.org.uk/
Groam House Museum. High Street, Rosemarkie, Ross-shire, Scotland IV10 8UF
An outstanding centre for Pictish and Celtic Art in Ross-shire. This unique display is focused on 15 carved Pictish stones which all originated in the village described as an important centre of early Christianity.
TALK: 5th September 2013 : The Nigg Old Trust Project, the re-display of the Nigg Cross-Slab and the Poor Loft. Dr Isabel Henderson, Caroline Vawdrey and David Alston
Museum opening times: From 29 March to 31 October 2013:
• Monday to Friday, 11am – 4.30pm
• Saturday, 2 pm – 4.30pm
Please note – space within the museum is limited so it is suggested that groups of over 12 people could contact the museum to arrange the visit
The museum can be visited via public transport using the Stagecoach 26A bus service from Inverness Bus Station.
The Newbarns Project – From 1st – 30th September 2013
Archaeological excavation of three prehistoric kerb cairns containing numerous cremation burials and deposits from the Early Bronze Age through to the Iron Age, also one Neolithic Passage grave on two of the cairns. With evidence of sporadic occupation, from prehistory through the Iron Age (Roman). Anglian and Medieval settlement evidence.
Open from 10:00 to 17:00 hours daily except Sunday.
Tours available: No charge but contributions towards running costs are welcome.
Finds on display.
Amateur diggers are welcome – 1 day or 1 month – with tools supplied. Please wear sensible clothing especially boots, as the cairns are in a bog. All welcome – children must be accompanied by a responsible adult if under 16. The site is off the A710 Colvend to Sandyhills Road MR Nx8812 5505.
All enquiries to – Tel: 01556 680478 or e-mail email@example.com
Check out http://www.sat.org.uk for further details.
NORTHERN IRELAND: North Down Museum – Town Hall, The Castle, Bangor, BT20 4BT, United Kingdom
The story of the North Down area, from the Bronze Age to the present day.
Museum opening times:
• Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00am – 4.30pm
• Sunday: 12.00pm – 4.30pm
(Closed on Mondays, except July and August and Bank Holidays)
Accessible for people with disabilities. Admission is free.
National Museum of Wales
Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
A static exhibition in The Archaeology Gallery – Origins: In Search of Early Wales.
This traces life in Wales from the earliest humans 230,000 years ago. Who were our ancestors, and how different were they from us? What has changed and what has caused these changes? A stunning and thought provoking exhibition where you get the chance to see things really close up.
Visit the Origins – In Search of Early Wales webpages http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/whatson/?event_id=2854
The Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society
The Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society was founded in 1905 and is one of the foremost County antiquarian societies in Wales. From its inception the founding members saw a need to record, publish and collect all things relating to the history, antiquities and natural history of ‘Carmarthenshire in particular, and West Wales in general’.
Monday, 9 September – 13 Friday, September – Field Excursion: Warwickshire
Wrexham County Borough Museum
Regent Street, Wrexham, LL11 1RB
Inside one of Wrexham’s landmark buildings, Wrexham County Borough Museum is the starting point for discovering the eventful history of this region on the English-Welsh border.
The museum’s displays and collections tell the stories of Wrexham County Borough and its people from prehistory up to the present day.
DUE TO RUN THROUGH SEPTEMBER – The Mold Cape – a unique ceremonial cape of gold, made during the Early Bronze Age, around 3,700 years ago. Probably one of the finest pieces of Bronze Age craftsmanship and gold-working technique in Europe, made with great skill from a single sheet of thin gold. It is unique in design with the embossed shapes copying strings of beads. Normally a highlight exhibit at the British Museum, the Mold Cape is on display at Wrexham Museum from 7th. August 2013.
Opening Times: Monday – Friday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.30am – 3.00pm
Closed Bank Holidays and Sundays
National Roman Legion Museum. Town Centre, Caerleon, Gwent.
Almost 2,000 years ago, the Roman Empire dominated the civilised world. Wales was its furthest outpost and, in AD 75, a fortress was founded at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. The National Roman Legion Museum displays a remarkable collection of finds from Roman Caerleon, the base of the second Augustan Legion.
Location: Follow the ‘brown helmet’ signs from the M4 (westbound junction 25, eastbound junction 26). For satellite navigation purposes use the post code NP18 1AE (recorded as ‘High Street’).
More information: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/caerleon/visit/
As mentioned in our recent article catching up on events in Caerau since Time Team left, Sue Brooke recently took the opportunity to speak with Dr. Oliver (Olly) Davis, who kindly agreed to take part in our Inside the Mind series.
Olly’s credentials include a BA in Archaelogy, an MA in British Prehistory and a PhD for an investigation of Iron Age communities in central and western Hampshire, all gained at Cardiff University.
He has worked for CADW, Dyfed Archaeological Trust and RCAHMW, and is currently co-director, along with Dr Dave Waytt, of the CAER Heritage Project.
His main research interests lie in the understanding of later prehistoric settlement (particularly hillforts), farming and social patterns through a consideration of landscape relationships identified through remote sensing techniques. He has taken a lead role in the development of LiDAR as an archaeological prospection tool in Wales and has published widely on the use of this technique for identifying archaeology. He is also particularly interested in the later prehistoric, Roman and early medieval settlement of Glamorgan and has undertaken extensive aerial reconnaissance and air photo mapping in the area.
As mentioned, he is a co-director of the CAER Heritage Project. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Caerau And Ely Rediscovering (CAER) Heritage Project is a collaborative project between Cardiff University, Ely and Caerau Communities First, local schools and local residents. The project is based around one of Cardiff’s most important, but little-known, archaeological sites, Caerau Iron Age hillfort, and seeks to engage local people and school children in their shared history and help challenge marginalisation.
Please visit the CAER Heritage Project website to find out more about the project.
The Ten Questions.
What sparked your interest in Archaeology?
When I was about 12 years old I had a computer game called ‘Civilization’ – you got to play as Vikings, Celts etc and build up your tribe from the Stone Age to the modern world – I was hooked on learning about the past from then on!
How did you get started?
I came to Cardiff University to study archaeology – the lectures were really interesting, but it was the excavations we were involved in at the start of each summer that really got me fascinated.
Who has most influenced your career?
It has to be Niall Sharples, my PhD supervisor and the man who taught me how to dig.
Which has been your most exciting project to date?
Only one answer here – definitely the CAER Heritage Project and our work at Caerau Hillfort.
What is your favourite British archaeological site… and why?
There are a few hillforts that are bigger and more spectacular, but the site I’m most passionate about is Caerau Hillfort – it’s one of the most significant sites in the whole of the Cardiff area, yet it’s never been explored…until now!
What is your biggest archaeological/heritage regret?
Never getting to dig at Danebury.
If you could change one thing about current heritage protection legislation, what would it be?
Having a single Historic Environment Record in Wales – it’s a nonsense having both the NMR and HERs as we do at the moment – it’s confusing for the public, researchers and developers alike.
If you were able to address Parliament for 30 seconds on archaeology what would you say?
Once it’s gone, it’s gone – archaeology doesn’t grow back.
If your career hadn’t worked out, what would you be doing now?
I’d have to have worked outside and been allowed to be as scruffy as I am now, so maybe a builder
Away from the ‘day job’, how do you relax?
My girlfriend would say I never relax…except perhaps after a cider or two
Many thanks to Olly (and to Sue). Previous articles in this series can be found here, or by using our Search Bar, and the term ‘Inside the Mind’.
If you work in community archaeology or heritage protection and would like to take part, or have a suggestion for a suitable willing subject, please contact us.
Continuing our Bank Holiday Heritage Drive from Andover to Salisbury (ignoring the 200 mile round trip from London!) Yesterday we covered our visits to the Museum of the Iron Age and Bury Hill Camp. We now leave Bury Hill Camp behind, heading southwest toward Danebury…
I’d heard quite a bit about the entrance to Danebury. How ‘labyrinthine’ it is, how imposing, about how so many bodies had been found in the ditches there. But no-one told me about the uphill climb to get there! Ok, it’s probably not that bad for 99% of people, but when you’ve got dodgy knees, it seems a bit of a hike…
The entrance certainly is imposing. ‘Labyrinthine’ may be over-egging it a little these days, seeing how the pathway is neatly gravelled, allowing no opportunity to get lost as it leads you to the interior. But the banks certainly hide what’s inside. Imagining these with wooden palisades, as seen on the museum mock-up earlier, any visitor would be impressed at the implied power and wealth on display.
I elected to climb the provided staircase to the top of the bank for my permabulations, unlike others who had clearly decided to forge their own path, causing erosion in the process. It seems that even at a ‘type’ site such as Danebury, all the information boards, outreach and education just cannot get through to some people. As well as the erosion, I saw a fairly large fire pit within the hill fort, by the outer bank.
Once on top of the bank, the scale of the fortifications became readily apparent. Walking around the inner bank, it felt at times as though I had a drop of 100 feet or more into the middle ditch below, a real test of my vertigo, as the bank is also some 20-30 feet above the inside of the fort in places, with quite steep sides.
An information board at the entrance to the site suggests that there are at least 7 other hillforts intervisible with Danebury, but as the majority of the site is surrounded by trees, it’s difficult to discern which ones they could be. I also found, on preparing this text, that 500m to the northwest are remains of at least three much older (Neolithic) Longbarrows, mostly ploughed out, none now surviving to a height of more than 1 metre. There are other barrows of various dates to the east and south too. I should have researched more before leaving home as I saw nothing of these…
Traversing across the internal space of the fort, there is a definite ‘high spot’ in the ground, now largely covered by trees. The information board on-site tells us that square structures were found during excavation at this high point – “These buildings were presumably the shrines or temples of the community, and as such would be home to a group of druids” !
On this far side away from the enclosure entrance, I noticed a lot of small squarish holes were the ground had been turned over. Although I saw no evidence of droppings (other than from the sheep which were set to graze in the fort), these could have been done by rabbits, foxes or badgers, or may have a more sinister purpose…
But Tempus was Fugit’ing and I still had a lot to do, so made my way back through the neatly clipped exit and set off back down the hill to the car park for the next stage of our journey.
In fact, time was against us from now on. Our next scheduled stop was to have been at Figsbury Ring, but as I’ve been here before, I made an executive decision to skip it and move on.
I had come to Old Sarum, not to see the hill fort and all it contains (there is an admission charge payable, I did not have sufficient time left in the day to make this worthwhile), but to see something both newer and very much older than the hill fort at the same time. For here, in the car park some experimental archaeology is currently taking place which will have a profound effect on millions of people every year. It is here that the designs, materials and techniques for the Neolithic houses which will be erected at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre are being worked upon.
Amazingly, as I entered the car park I spotted two old friends of mine that I’d not seen for some years. They were here with their children for an event within the fort later in the day, which was re-enacting a battle between Britons and Saxons, in which the children could take part (and which they thoroughly enjoyed!)
But the houses were what I’d come to see, and I must apologise here to the English Heritage volunteer, whose explanatory talk I interrupted when I arrived to my friends’ surprise.
There are three houses in total, two are essentially complete, one is still being worked upon. The two shown above are based upon post holes discovered in excavations at Durrington Walls, and the third is conjectured, being of a design that leaves little archaeological trace.
Of the two houses built on the post hole traces, different materials are being used on different parts of the houses to see how easy they are to work, how well they last, how efficent at heat retention etc they are. As you can see on the right above, different grasses and types of straw are being tried, in different laying patterns for the roofs. The house on the left has two different wall structures, one made of water, chalk and straw, the other a more traditional daub mix. Surprisingly, the daub wall has needed more ongoing maintenance and patching as it has dried out. Similar comparisons are undergoing trials on the house on the right.
One interesting point with these houses is that although the post arrangements are essentially rectanglar, the houses appear very rounded. This is due to the stresses placed by the weight of the roof causing the walls to ‘bow’ out, something which had not really been considered, or seen in this way before.
The third house is considered to be a possible earlier design, without substansive walls, but a roof that continues to floor level. As with the other house, despite windows the house is remarkable light inside, once your eyes adjust to the lower levels. Again different structuring techniques have been used on this house, as evidenced by the ridges and flat sections of the roof above, and the internal battening seen below.
Although the post hole houses have a series of smaller, internal post holes which have been interpreted as supports for a shelving arrangement, there are no such findings for the simpler buildings. I guess people in grass houses couldn’t stow tomes? (I’ll get me coat…)
But it will be very interesting to see which design elements from these experiments will be used in the final houses to be built at Stonehenge later this year.
Having seen as much as we could, it was time to grab a bite to eat, in the centre of Salisbury (which has extensive Heritage sites of its’ own, enough to fill several days’ visits but outside the remit of the Heritage Journal time period of interest) before heading back to the smoke of London. Whilst we could have driven via Amesbury and Stonehenge, this would have made our return home unfeasibly late, so we took the more direct route, retracing our steps up to Andover and home.
But there’s always next time!
All pictures © Alan S.