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We’ve just had a message from WordPress saying Congratulations, English Heritage has started following The Journal and from now on they’ll get an email every time a new post is published.
It could be all part of the fact English Heritage are currently advertising for a new “Stonehenge Social Media Content Executive” part of the job description for which is to: “Work closely with Corporate Communications to manage the reputation of the English Heritage brand through Stonehenge social media channels” and “Track and report on relevant website and social media activity using a variety of reporting systems including Google Analytics“.
We think EH are wonderful!
Well, well well!
We’ve banged on about how the Staffordshire Hoard site has been nighthawked and how more security is needed so we were interested to find that the far less well-known Corbridge site has been nighthawked a shocking number of times.
The staff thought it was down to the fact it was monitored so much rather than that there was necessarily more nighthawking there than at other sites elsewhere but in one year there were seven instances of nighthawking and 122 ‘individual intrusions’ into the ground. At the Staffordshire Hoard site, over 4 years, that would equate with 28 possible instances of nighthawking and 488 ‘individual intrusions’ into the ground – were it not for the fact the latter is infinitely better known and infinitely more attractive to nighthawks.
We were also interested to read that since the research at Corbridge in 2005 “English Heritage have consistently employed a security firm on site. This seems to have greatly reduced the number of nighthawking incidents” ….
A study has indicated that Language and tool-making skills evolved at the same time.
Makes sense to us.
188 houses to be built next to Stonehenge
A Councillor said: “The latest proposal seeks to strike a balance between preserving and improving this historic landmark, and meeting the local need for development”.
Not Stonehenge actually. Old Oswesty Hill Fort. Still….
Aliens being crowded out by humans in Wiltshire
According to the Crop Circle Information and Coordination Centre there have been only 25 crop circles in the area so far this year – 15 fewer than usual. However, far from wishing there were more they want there to be less. Charles Mallet, from the centre, said he wished amateur crop circlers would quit because they were “clouding a genuine and real phenomenon”. Quite how many crop circles would be left in Wiltshire if the ones made by humans were eliminated hasn’t been made clear..
Stonehenge subjected to sensibleness!
Visitors wishing to celebrate the Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge this year (on Monday 23 September) will be given access into the monument “when it is considered sufficiently light and therefore safe to do so”. This is likely to be from approximately 6.15am, about three quarters of an hour before sunrise. http://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co. … inox-2013/ It naturally prompts the question: should the same approach be adopted at the Summer event as well where the safety issues are far greater? What is the point of tens of thousands gathering there for hours in the pitch dark?
Satan at Stonehenge
It is reported that a group that was let into Stonehenge to greet the sunrise a few Sundays back (on Midsummers Day, not at the main solstice gathering) was heard from some distance away loudly chanting “Hail Satan”. If so, should it be welcomed as an excellent manifestation of “inclusivity and multivocality”? Or is it just bonkers? Not the fact the Dark Lord was being greeted (or called to appear, who knows?) but the fact that they were let in for free. Does it mean anything at all gets you in gratis? Will they get a free land train ride as well next year? What about followers of the Great Biscuit in the Sky? Pass the bourbons, I’ve always fancied an out-of-hours visit at someone else’s expense…
It was a “landmark ruling” http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/abou … tagecrime/ when a Northamptonshire nighthawk was given a metal detecting ASBO – the first of its type – but it has now been reduced to a 5 year period http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/ … 24#mdnesds because the original one was ruled “disproportionate”. Presumably the Judge felt that if you keep a fox out of the chicken coop for 5 years he’ll be safe to be let in after that. Bet he doesn’t keep chickens.
A partner for Northumberlandia?
Banks Mining who brought us the the world’s largest human figure, Northumberlandia, are talking of starting another massive opencast mine and are in talks with Northumberland Tourism and Northumberland Wildlife Trust about opportunities to enhance the area.
Reports that they’re planning to construct a companion for Northumberlandia, an even larger figure of a naked man, are nonsense but it is thought that he will be named Cock o’ the North.
Ten years ago today, at the suggestion of our much-missed friend Rebecca van der Putt, a diverse group of ordinary people interested in prehistoric sites met at an extraordinary place for a picnic.
From that first meeting grew Heritage Action which subsequently morphed into The Heritage Journal which aims to promote awareness and therefore the welfare of ancient sites. It has perhaps filled a gap as it seems to have struck a chord with many people, both professional and amateur. 140 archaeologists have contributed articles to it and it is currently followed by more than 4,500 people on Twitter (including Nelson Mandela!).
We can’t claim the Journal always says things that everyone agrees with – that would be impossible bearing in mind how many individuals contribute content to it but we can claim two things – first, that everyone that puts it together or writes anything in it has their heart in the right place when it comes to ancient sites and second that anyone with an interest in prehistory who reads it regularly is likely to find at least something to pique their interest. At least, that’s the aim. The guiding principle is to try to make it like a magazine, updated nearly every day and with articles that are as diverse as possible. If you don’t like Stonehenge you could scroll down or use the search box to read about the last black bear on Salisbury Plain, the Hillfort Glow experiment, the stony raindrops of Ketley Crag, the policeman who spotted three aliens in Avebury or indeed that the Uffington Horse may be a dog!
Now that we’ve reached this milestone (which coincides with this year’s Day of Archaeology - do please join in there too, if you can!) the question arises – where does the Journal go from here, and for how long? It’s a matter for conjecture for it depends entirely on the efforts of contributors and the wishes of readers. A number of veterans from the original picnic are still involved and we’ve also been joined by a number of excellent new contributors but we’re always on the look out for still more. Please consider helping (an article, many articles or a simple news tip-offs and a photograph – whatever you like) as it’s a worthy cause that is only truly valid if it’s a communal entity with multiple public voices. In addition, any suggestions for future innovations or improvements will be gratefully received (brief ones in the Comments or longer ones at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Better still, we’ll shortly be holding a pow-wow and lunch (details to be announced) to discuss how the Journal should progress from now on. You’re more than welcome to come.
Woodland Trust fails to mince words…
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has just approved a planning application for a controversial quarry extension into ancient Oaken Wood near Maidstone. This is the first real test of whether the Government’s recent planning reforms would offer sufficient protection to ancient woodland and by extension, heritage sites. It’s looking like a “no” then.
Woodland Trust Chief Executive, Sue Holden, said: “This is a landmark decision, but for all the wrong reasons. This so-called ‘greenest Government ever’ stated that the new National Planning Policy Framework1 would give sufficient protection to irreplaceable habitats such as ancient woodland. It clearly does not. We are extremely concerned now that this outcome could define the level of protection given to ancient woods in all future planning decisions across England”. http://www.woodlandtrust.presscentre.co … s-ed1.aspx
Heritage Crime – Expand the definition!
“Last week the (Welwyn and Hatfield) borough council, with a number of other authorities, signed a memorandum to help protect listed buildings. This comes as part of the national Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH). Councillor Mandy Perkins, executive member for business and planning, said:
“Heritage crime, by which I mean things like lead theft from church roofs and damage caused to listed buildings, is a serious problem nationwide. Heritage assets are not only irreplaceable but places like Hatfield House promote tourism and jobs in the borough.”
Yes, but it’s not just church lead and listed buildings, is it? Welwyn has a large concentration of Roman and Iron Age sites. What about those?
This ancient monument to the dead has intrigued people for centuries. Learn about its secrets and how it fits into the wider landscape. Details: http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/events/381
ANOTHER 5,000 year old pyramid attacked.
http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-5000-y … ima-100260
The state protected structure was knocked down and later burned by several clandestine groups that entered the site in Lima, Peru. Archaeologist Marco Guillén Hugo said there was reason to believe two private building companies were behind the destruction.
New Light On The Iron Age Hillforts Of North Ceredigion, Mid Wales http://heritageofwalesnews.blogspot.co. … s+News&m=1
Announcing a new book published by Archaeopress, Oxford, in collaboration with the Royal Commission, Wales.The Iron Age hillforts of north Ceredigion (Cardiganshire), mid Wales, are among the most striking and interesting fortifications of pre-Roman Wales. A new book by Dr Toby Driver, of the Aberystwyth-based Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, examines their architecture and landscape settings, to bring a new understanding of the Iron Age communities who occupied this part of mid Wales in the last centuries before the Roman conquest.
Superb Neolithic polished stone axe unearthed
See the image here, the Find of the Month of Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group.
A further blow for English Heritage – and England’s heritage….
As well as providing them with what all agree is an insufficient fund of £80 million to set up a charity the Goverment has continued it’s reduction in heritage funding: DCMS has been cut back by 7% so DCMS has cut resource funding to EH by 10%….
A wind turbine is to be built near the Scottish home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother despite planning officials admitting that it will have an “unwelcome” visual impact.
One strange aspect of the affair is that it is reported that the councillors approved the planning application after deciding that most of the protesters did not live in the area – so they appear to be saying that unless you live next to a protected place you have no business complaining about it being subjected to unwelcome visual impacts. The Government will love that! Bribe a few yokels with cheap electricity or a new village hall, discount moans from further afield, job’s a good un, loadsa development opportunities and the heritage lobby written out of the script!
A second (and third) sign of the Government’s love-affair with development. Last week we had a cabinet minister revealing himself on the telly as a climate change denier. Now we have the Planning Minister, saying if a field is “boring” it might as well be built on!
Germany still ahead on penalties
And then there’s this. Five years ago in July 2008 we wrote in the Journal: “Britain shamed by Germany ….. German Ebay has just introduced new rules on the sale of archaeological artefacts. Anything sold must be accompanied by proper documentation showing the seller’s title and proof that it has been properly reported to the authorities”. Seems a sensible idea. Yet Ebay UK hasn’t followed suit. Why? Are there people in Britain who are totally against the idea? Who would benefit from resisting openness about the origins of artefacts? It’s a puzzle.
It was with very heavy hearts that we heard the news yesterday of Mick Aston’s passing.
No doubt there will be many worthy obituaries over the coming days, as befits a man who inspired so many. But mere words cannot do justice to his work. In reaching out to millions of viewers on Time Team, he has left a very tangible legacy for generations of landscape archaeologists. Rest well Professor, our thoughts are with your family and friends at this difficult time..
Stonehenge delay may prompt legal action
Work to upgrade a road junction near Stonehenge has been completed six months later than originally intended so English Heritage is considering legal action against the contractors. It is not known whether the public is considering legal action against the Government due to the fact that work to sort Stonehenge out is five decades late!
An inspector in Northumbria has ruled that 3 holiday tree lodges would be “incongruous” with a “discordant appearance” that would “detract from local character and distinctiveness”. It’s a fact though that worse things have been allowed elsewhere and it makes one wonder how inspectors measure these things. They don’t explain, they just say that’s what they think. So a tip: if you want to get your tree lodge through, try putting a dirty great wind turbine on it’s roof. The Inspector might like it.
Incidentally, this arose from an original refusal by Northumberland County Council. Yes, Northumberland, the place where they gave permission for the world’s largest human figure to loom over the landscape….