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Cheer up, Spring is here!
Here’s how they celebrated Spring Equinox at “The Henge”, Australia, “a Stone Circle formed as an artistic circle for the enjoyment of its admirers and passers by. Built by Robbie & Tracey Wallace”
It’s a weekend of Megameets!
Firstly on Saturday, there is an informal meet in the depths of Cornwall, at the stone circle in Duloe, south of Liskeard as part of the Mines and Megaliths walk. Combine a love of all things prehistoric with chat about the industrial archaeology of Cornwall – famed for it’s mining.
Mines and Megaliths. A walk in the shadow of Caradon Hill on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Footpaths and quiet country lanes lead to some well known sites, but also some hidden industrial remains that make up part of Cornwall’s World Heritage sites. Meet Outside the Crows Nest Inn (Please don’t use their carpark). 10am 574 Western Greyhound from Liskeard at 9.56am; 573 service from Looe at 9.02am connects with this. Walk will last approx 3 hours.
Then on Sunday, it’s a final call for those intending to come along to the Rollright Stones for our annual ‘Megameet’. Meet at 12:00 midday, just south of the circle (or the Red Lion at Long Compton if inclement). Bring a book (or several) to swap, have a chat with lots of lovely like minded people and enjoy the King Stone, the King’s Men and the Whispering Knights. Oh, and don’t forget a snack to eat or share! See you there!
Just to remind you. On Sunday 14th September you have a choice:
You can pay £13.90 to slowly circumnavigate Stonehenge at a respectful distance with thousands of others in a scene reminiscent of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow but less cheerful…
Or you can pay just a pound to walk right inside the much more complete, much more atmospheric Rollright stones and then sit down next to them for a picnic of quails eggs and truffles (maybe) and a chinwag and book-swap with a bunch of fellow megalith enthusiasts.
Tough choice. Up to you. And whilst Stonehenge is the focal point of a World Heritage Site, don’t forget that the Rollrights also has a wealth of prehistoric sites within easy reach.
Please be at Stonehenge or our Rollrights picnic about midday.
As July rolls on, it’s time look again at the ‘Festival of Archaeology‘, co-ordinated once again by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) running this year from 12th to 27th of July, and preceded by this year’s Day of Archaeology on Friday 11th, where archaeologists from all over the world blog about what they’ve been up to, showing the sheer diversity of activitities in the archaeological world – it’s not just about digging!
The CBA has been organising an annual UK-wide celebration of archaeology and heritage since 1990. The ‘Festival for British Archaeology’ grew out of ‘National Archaeology Week’ (NAW). Before that, the event took place over one weekend and was called ‘National Archaeology Days’ (NADS).
The Festival includes hundreds of special events individually organised and held by museums, local societies, national and countryside parks, universities, and heritage organisations across the UK. The Festival presents everyone the opportunity to learn about their local heritage, to see archaeology in action, and to get involved, from formal lecture sessions to hands-on archaeology to family fun events.
To this end, the CBA have once again updated their website for the festival, allowing searching for events across the country. The headline suggests over 1000 events are available to chose from, but the actual number from the search results seems to be down on my recollections of previous years. Running an open search on a region by region basis shows a total a little shy of 600 events, so unless the total (‘over 1000′) includes multi-day events such as museum exhibits, there is something wrong once again with the search algorithm.
The region with the biggest number of events is the SouthWest with 109 – no surprise there as I suspect it’s the biggest region – followed by the East Midlands with 73. I could find no results for Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man.
Looking at our main focus here on the Heritage Journal – Prehistory, there are 152 events listed across the country, which is a good percentage compared to previous years!
Once again, the range of events is wide, from talks, walks and excavation visits, through re-enactments, demonstrations and exhibitions to hands-on activities and family fun. So there really is something for everyone to enjoy. Why not take a look at the website and see what’s on in your area?
There are just two months to go before this year’s Day of Archaeology, which this year falls on July 11th.
The idea behind the Day is for those working, studying or volunteering in archaeology to submit photographs, videos and written blog posts covering the work they’ve been involved in during the day. In this way, a picture can be produced, showing the vast range of work being undertaken across the world in all fields of archaeology – it’s not just about the digging, after all! In this way, those behind the project hope to raise public awareness of the archaeological profession and it’s relevance and importance to societies around the globe.
Now in it’s third year, the Day was first mooted by Matt Law and Lorna Richardson whilst attending a Day of Digital Humanities conference in March 2011. Others were brought on board, and the first Day was held on July 29th, 2011. Run entirely by volunteers, participation in the project is completely free. The whole Day of Archaeology relies on goodwill and a passion for public engagement.
So. If you are involved in an archaeological project in any capacity – working, studying or volunteering – please consider taking part this year and help make the project a success. It’s simple to register as a participant and contributions can be as long or as short as you want. Here at the Heritage Journal we certainly look forward to reading the posts from this year’s event!
And. If you’re not involved in archaeology, but are intrigued to know what goes on during an archaeologist’s ‘typical’ day, why not keep an eye on the project web site and Twitter feed? You might just learn something interesting!
Starting next week, the next stage of the project to restore the Giant’s Quoit at Carwynnen will be taking place. The plan is that on Friday 2nd May the remaining two supports, or orthostats, for the capstone will be raised. The public are welcome to watch this event, which should start at about 11am.
The completion of the raising of the uprights will mark the culmination of a week of education events at the quoit – the capstone itself will be raised and placed later in the year (this is currently planned for Midsummer, Saturday 21st June).
Five schools will be visiting the quoit during next week, when the students will be taught a little about the archaeological processes of excavating, searching, sieving, and cleaning finds by professional archaeologists from the Historic Environment Service. They will be taught about the importance of Neolithic monuments in the Cornish Landscape, the age and weight of the stones and how the ancients made use of their surroundings to live, eat and clothe themselves. Art activities will take place in the marquee, along with an exhibition and quiz. A basic snapshot of the activities each day is as follows:
- Guess the Weight of the Stones – An introduction with all the team
- Gory Neolithic Demonstration – by Experimental Archaeologist Sally Herriet
- Honeysuckle Rope-making – by Experimental Archaeologist Jacqui Woods
- Sieving, Searching and Trowelling – with Community Archaeologist Richard Mikulski
- One Timeline, One book, One Spinning Image – with Artist and Designer Dominica Williamson
- Time Capsule Brainstorm – with Project Leader Pip Richards
Finally, on Sunday May 4th, Julian Richards, “Archaeologist and Broadcaster” will be de-mystifying the ancient art of moving large stones, utilising wooden levers, sledges, rollers and honeysuckle ropes. This will be a free workshop starting at around 10am. If you would like to participate, please register your interest with firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the Sustainable Trust on 01209 831718 – safety or stout boots and a hard hat will be required for all those taking part.
“The Sustainable Trust is grateful for the support of The Cornwall Heritage Trust, Sita Cornwall Trust and The Heritage Lottery Fund who are currently financing this work. We also thank all the volunteers who have made this project possible.”
There are now less than two weeks to go before the Current Archaeology Live conference, to be held at Senate House in London in league with the UCL Institute of Classical Studies, on February 28th and 1st March. Once again, the Heritage Journal will be present and live-tweeting the event (#CALive) across the two days. This will be our third year covering the event in detail.
The line-up for this years event, as previously, covers a range of time periods. The Friday morning session starts with the prehistoric period, covering the sites at Starr Carr in Yorkshire, Dorstone Hill in Herefordshire and Garn Turne in Pembrokeshire. The Roman session will take us up to lunch, looking at the Roman countryside (Neil Holbrook), the Durtriges Project digs by Bournemouth University and the work at Caerwent carried out by Operation Nightingale.
The Friday afternoon session looks at ‘Rescuing the Past’ with Mesolithic Ronaldsway, Kingsmead Quarry, Horton and London’s Pompeii all covered before the keynote speech by Francis Pryor, which leads into the Current Archaeology Awards ceremony in the evening (voting is now closed!)
The conference continues on Saturday with a session on the Archaeology of the First World War (sponsored by sister magazine Military History Monthly), a Current World Archaeology session entitled ‘Back to the Beginning’ which includes a look at Early Hominins (topical with the current exhibition on Neanderthals at the Natural History Museum in London), Gobekli Tepe and Early Domestication.
After lunch, Early Medieval England gets a look in, with Martin Carver talking about Sutton Hoo and talks about Spong Hill and Torksey thrown in for good measure!
Finally to wrap up, John Gater will be telling us all about Time Team and Geophysics.
All in all, an interesting two days of talks lined up, with hopefully something for everyone, not forgetting the Archaeology Fair held during the conference, where there will be a dozen stalls packed with books, equipment, and much more for everyone to browse between sessions. It’s not too late to book your tickets! We’ll see you there…
Next month in Worcester there’s a Practitioners Forum on Prehistory and the National Curriculum. It is “An initial meeting open to everyone who is interested in supporting schools in delivering the the National Curriculum topic of Prehistory for Key Stage 2. This is a big leap for schools, especially since most teachers will never have learned prehistory themselves.” More prehistory in schools is a theme we’ve been banging on about since the day we were formed (see Reclaiming Prehistory which pretty much comprises our founding statement, written by one of our members in May 2004, almost 10 years ago) so it’s great to see some of the developments that have come about in the past few years (excluding PAS’s reprehensible resource showing kids how they can use a metal detector to grab stuff of course).
A few years ago in our Inside the Mind series we asked Julian Richards what he’d say to Parliament if he could address them for 30 seconds and he said “I would ask why school pupils in this country are taught nothing about their pre-Roman heritage”. At about the same time English Heritage’s draft Research Strategy for Prehistory explained how education about sites is key to their preservation ….
The same document also quoted the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group which noted that prehistory didn’t feature in the English school national curriculum and remarked that “the UK is the only European state to neglect prehistory in this way”. But now thank goodness things are changing and there are a number of initiatives connected with educating children about their local prehistory. It was interesting to see there were children amongst the attendees at Oswestry Town Council’s recent meeting about Oswestry Hill Fort and even the Council welcomed the fact. Maybe the Heritage Cycle is working!
There are also some great Prehistory teaching resources out there, things to excite kids of any age, including us. Perhaps the best is “a Teachers Index on Prehistory” called “Show Me” which says “We show you the FUN stuff from the UK’s museums and galleries”. Who could resist some of their news stories – “Woolly Rhino Skull Found In A Digger Bucket”, “Could Hobbits Have Been Real After All?” and “Should the setting of Oswestry Hill Fort be messed up?”.
That last one’s a lie of course, but it does beg the question, just how political should education about local prehistory be? English Heritage says education promotes preservation (“by understanding the historic environment people care for it”) so should the National Curriculum be actively promoting preservation or coyly skirting round the issue of whether building houses close to monuments is damaging them? Maybe the Worcester Forum will issue a closing statement on the question!
Every year, the Current Archaeology Awards celebrate the projects and publications that have made the pages of Current Archaeology magazine over the 12 months, and the people judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology.
The nominations have been public for a while now, and there are only a few days left to register your vote, as voting closes on the 7th February!
There are four categories to vote in, and winners are decided purely on the number of public votes received. Click the following links to see the nominees in each category:
Winners will be announced at the Current Archaeology Live! 2014 conference, to be held on the 28th Feb – 1st March at Senate House, London. The Heritage Journal intends being at this event once again (our third attendance), to tweet, report on the talks, mingle, and attend the awards. So say hello if you see our ‘blue dolmen’ logo. See you there!
The eagle-eyed among you will notice a new item in the navigation bar above, a link to an Events Diary. This new page displays our Google Diary entries, and lists on a monthly basis the various prehistory-based events that we’ve uncovered as being of potential interest to our readership.
It is our intention to populate the calendar each month with basic details of the following types of events:
- Site Clearups
- Community Events
- Open Days
However, we cannot possibly check every archaeology or museum web site to collate information, so that’s where you come in! If you are an events organiser, or involved with a local archaeology society and would be prepared to help us by adding your own prehistory events, please contact us and let us know. We can talk through the process if necessary, and thus potentially increase the audience for your events. Similarly, if you’re a regular speaker and would like some exposure for your talks, get in touch.
If you have a Google account and would like to copy an existing event to your own calendar, just click on the event to see the details, and then click on the ‘copy to my calendar’ link provided.
The Events Diary will not totally replace our regular ‘Diary Dates’ postings, which are maintained by Sue Brooke, and will continue to highlight events such as exhibitions which may open across a range of dates (weeks or months).