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Rock art

This campaign is an attempt to prevent… Annihilation of a landscape involving 3000sq km of the Upper Damodar catchment including agricultural lands, forests, Tribal sacred sites, wildlife corridors, two hundred villages practicing Khovar and Sohrai ritual mural painting traditions, paleo-archaeological, megalithic and rock-art sites – by 31 new proposed and 3 operative opencast coal mines covering approx. for each mine of 300 feet and more deep. The Campaign began almost 23 years ago and is now entering its final phase. It was begun by Bulu Imam, Convener, INTACH Hazaribagh Chapter in 1987 and still continues under his guidance. The campaign is closely associated with the Tribal Women Artists Cooperative (TWAC) a non-registered organization under the aegis of INTACH and consists of women of the villages resisting mining which has several times been represented in Geneva at the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations on the issue of Karanpura opencast coal mining.

A unique palaeo-archaeological stone tool evidence of Early Man known as the Damodar Valley Civilization, prehistoric megalithic sites, and one dozen rockart sites, the pride of Jharkhand, dated to over 8,000 years back will be gouged out into 300 feet mine pits running shoulder to shoulder down the Karanpura Valley, which will be in a stark lunar landscape incapable of supporting human or animal life.

Heritage Action occasionally strays from home ground, as there are many other megalithic sites threatened by destruction, and there is nothing worse than to find a whole area of a beautiful and sacred landscape to its people, trashed by open-cast mining. This is happening in Karapura Valley, apart from the environmental issues of mining and burning this coal, the impact on the wild animals, such creatures as the elephants and tigers and the flora of the valley are utterly destroyed, as is the rich farming land. In many ways the loss of rock art and megalithic sites are relatively unimportant compared to the loss of an enormously rich and diverse culture that the  indigenous people represent.

Sadly the Indian government is able to grab this land for free because of an unfortunate Land Acquisition Act – and guess who left them this legacy, it was instituted under the colonial British in 1895 for mineral-bearing areas. There is also the added tragedy of  a traditional culture that is lost;   Intangible Cultural Heritage covers many aspects such as language, art etc; see below* Here in the villages of the Karanpura Valley traditional painting of houses in age old designs will be lost. The loss of a culture is in many ways just as important as the loss of a historical site, that these things are  then replaced by damaging environmental mines and coal-fired power generation, which will of course result in the proliferation of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere beggars belief.   The following two photographs highlights a ‘before’ and ‘after’  scenario…

karanpura 1

karanpura 2

  • *Oral traditions and expressions; including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage.
  • Performing arts (such as traditional music, dance and theatre).
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events.
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.
  • Traditional craftsmanship.


    See also

    How sad that the Textile Conservation Centre – in Winchester now seems certain to close –
    In an age where members of the House (elected and non-elected) seem eligible for ‘allowances’ (of the most dubious kind) something as valuable as our Textile Conservation Centre goes quietly down the drain.
    As a society with a heritage worth preserving and, through the Textile Conservation Centre which helps to train textile conservators from all over the world to preserve their heritage, the Centre should now be considered so inconsequential.
    See also –

    Ancient artworks from Jordan – some of them never before seen outside Petra and Amman – are going on display today at Rome’s Quirinal Palace. The star attraction at the exhibition is a statue found at the site of Ayn Ghazal near Amman dating from 7500 BC, one of the oldest surviving statues of its kind and size.”

    More here –

    By Gordon Kingston, Heritage Action

    By 2007 Ireland’s booming economy and growth in demand for construction materials, was causing increased capacity pressure at the ten ports along its Eastern seaboard. One obvious consequence of this was the “Port Tunnel”, a new access to the largest port, in Dublin, which was constructed at enormous public expense, €752 million, to ease the traffic congestion caused by heavy goods vehicles in the city. A further modification proposed to address the capacity problem was an expansion of the port, a concept requiring the infilling of 52 acres of Dublin Bay. This idea, initially suggested in 1988, is currently under consideration by An Bord Pleanala.

    In the meantime Drogheda Port Company came up with its own proposal, a new large-capacity, deep water port at Bremore and entered into a government-approved joint venture for the project with Castle Market Holdings Ltd.. Castle Market Holdings is owned, via Real Estate Opportunities Ltd., by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan’s Treasury Holdings, one of the largest developers in Ireland and a company with a long track record of “unwillingness to back down in the face of legal threats”.

    A recent study, by Indecon International Economic Consultants, on the future of Dublin Port and this sector in general, contained the following conclusions (report numbering used):

    1. The level of port capacity requirements will be influenced by economic growth
    and by developments in consumer expenditure;
    2. There is potential to improve the capacity utilisation of ports in Ireland and
    this should be pursued as a priority;
    3. There is a need to develop additional port capacity in Ireland by 2025 – 2030
    and this would require the expansion of Dublin Port or the development of the
    proposed Bremore Port or some equivalent facility to provide additional
    capacity for the Irish economy;
    4. Both Dublin Ports’ proposed 21h development and the development of new
    port capacity such as the proposed Bremore Port would have positive net
    present values;
    5. Nothing should be done at a policy level to block either the proposed
    expansion of Dublin Port or the proposed development of Bremore at this
    6. The proposals for the development of Bremore and Greenore and other ports
    combined with the continuation of Dublin Port would have a higher net
    economic benefit than the complete closure of Dublin Port;..”

    Although the immediate picture is unclear and port traffic is at present declining due to the recession, the expectation, according to the report, is that expansion will be necessary in the longer term and it states that: “we believe that there would be a significant economic cost for Ireland if sufficient port capacity was not available.”  This study was conducted under the National Development Plan 2007 -2013 and has been published by the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey.

    In 2005 240 acres of land in Gormanstown, adjacent to Bremore, were rezoned by Meath County Council for Industrial and logistics development, “due to the potential synergies with the ports development.” In 2008 the joint venture announced its choice of Hutchison Westports Ltd., “the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator” as a partner in forming a Port Master Plan. In September, of this year, the Drogheda Port Company applied to move its boundary southwards to incorporate the Bremore area.

    Quo Vadis?

    This same area that is marked for the port, besides being a green-field area of great natural beauty, is also the location of a passage tomb complex, a ‘cemetery’ that contains at least five other versions of the nearby, more internationally famed, monuments at Brú na Bóinne. Professor George Eogan, the excavator at Knowth, has spoken out against their assimilation by the proposed development, as has An Taisce and Dr. Mark Clinton, chairman of their national monuments and antiquities committee.

    To use the words of Professor Eogan, while speaking to the Balbriggan Historical Society, in 2008; “the area on both sides of the Delvin River from Gormanston to Bremore is a large Megalithic cemetery dating from 3,500BC.” Furthermore, according to local historian Bernard Matthews; “…in the immediate vicinity of the proposed deep-water port, there are the remains of at least five megalithic tombs or burial chambers, while to the north of Bremore there are the remains of at least another six tombs scattered over a wide area from Knocknagin to Lowther Lodge.”

    It’s clear then, that something vital will be lost to us, forever, if this plan goes ahead.

    Unfortunately, successful challenges to major development, on environmental grounds, are rare and the situation was rendered more problematic lately by a ruling on the Galway city outer bypass road. To quote Mr. Justice George Bermingham, of the High Court; “The (EU Habitats) directive and regulations also made clear, even if the site was adversely affected, it was possible some projects might still proceed for imperative reasons of overriding public interest.” Overriding public interest is maintained by the Indecon study; “a need to develop additional port capacity”, and is what will be claimed for the port development.

    Where can we go?

    It can be persuasively argued that future economic growth, given finite world fuel and resources, cannot be based on large-scale import-export and that additional port capacity will never be needed. However, the Government, already committed to this concept and locked into a dependency on continuous growth, is unlikely to ignore the study’s recommendations, particularly if key private enterprise players are also involved. Unfettered building fertilised, but ultimately poisoned, the Irish economy and external trade is now being put forward as the only hope of renewal. Much of the wording on Drogheda Port’s website, perhaps tactically, refers to the development as a certainty.

    The ratings agency, Fitch, recently marked down Real Estate Oppurtunities Ltd.‘s property portfolio by 40%. John Bruder, managing director of Treasury Ireland, told the Irish Times in August, of this year, that; “It’s our expectation that a lot, if not all, of our portfolio will end up being subsumed into Nama,” or, in other words, that the state will take over the loans that Treasury Holdings owes to the banks. It might therefore be expected that the state, or its government, would have an interest in the success of ventures that it is now funding. Bizarrely, NAMA’s  address is ‘Treasury Building, Grand Canal St., Dublin 2’, which is owned by Treasury Holdings. The Drogheda Port Company, like the Dublin Port Company, is already owned by the state.

    Despite the recommendation that; “nothing should be done at a policy level to block either the proposed expansion of Dublin Port or the proposed development of Bremore at this stage”, some headway might yet be made. The Indecon study considers the need for additional capacity to be long term, 2020 to 2025, at the earliest and, although insisting that tandem, competing developments would be preferable, implies that the Bremore proposal may not be absolutely necessary. To quote (with my underlines); “this would require the expansion of Dublin Port or the development of the proposed Bremore Port or some equivalent facility to provide additional capacity for the Irish economy”. In the course of the Bord Pleanala inquiry, architect and town planner Terry Durney stated that Bremore was not a natural harbour and was significantly inferior, as a choice, to Dublin Port.

    Working against this, as previously suggested, is the fact that the Bremore proposal provides the government with a neat, ready-made and financially advantageous solution, which can be pushed through and to hell with the ancient landscape, by citing the ’national interest’. Aside from any other, as yet unidentified, alternative, the infilling proposal for the extension of Dublin Port poses its own environmental difficulties and is itself strongly opposed, but in this case by potentially useful members of the Dáil.

    Eo Romam…

    These people, I think, deserve our admiration and, everywhere possible, help in their task.

    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
    Matthew 16;26

    by Littlestone, Heritage Action 

    The “Celtic Temple” at Winterbourne Bassett. From William Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiousum of 1724. Note Silbury in the background

    A mile or so along the lane from the White Horse Inn at Winterbourne Bassett are the remains of a stone circle, described by William Stukeley in Abury, a Temple of the British Druids, with Some Others Described of 1724 thus, “At Winterburn-basset, a little north of Abury, in a field north-west of the church, upon elevated ground, is a double circle of stones concentric, 60 cubits diameter. Many of the stones have late been carried away. West of it is a single, broad, flat, and high stone, standing by itself. And about as far northward from the circle, in a ploughed field, is a barrow set round with, or rather compos’d of large stones. I take this double circle to have been a family chapel, as we may call it, to an archdruid dwelling near thereabouts, whilst Abury was his cathedral.”

    All that is now visible above ground are three fallen stones in a field. The standing stone on the verge of the T-junction opposite the field was erected in the last decade of the 20th century and was originally pink in colour, indicating that it had probably never formed part of a stone circle.

    The Winterbourne Bassett Stone Circle today; only three stones from the circle now remain. Image credit Chris Brooks 

    This feature first appeared on Avebury Matters  and is republished here with the author’s kind permission.

    Only in America? Take a look at the pictures. Awful (though perfectly legal).

    Not like British metal detectorists, who are small in number, do no harm, don’t run “pay farmers to let thousands of us gather to strip land of finds and keep them for ourselves” rallies, never dig deeply or into undisturbed archaeology or sites, faithfully report all they discover, don’t sell hundreds of thousands of items on EBay, do it for us not them and are deeply admired throughout the rest of Europe.

    Or is it?

    Someone should tell the British archaeological resource how lucky it is to be being removed, most without anyone being told, by our local heroes compared with what happens to the one preyed upon by the unspeakable Austin Diggers!

    (And guess what? The same dealers buy vast quantities of stuff from both places!).


    I looked away for a second and when I looked back they were gone.
    “Quick lads, he’s not looking, lay down in the crop!”

    No, we don’t believe in them either but the following news article in the Telegraph brightens up a rainy day…

    A police officer contacted British UFO experts after seeing three aliens examining a freshly made crop circle near Avebury, Wiltshire.
    The sergeant, who has not been named, was off-duty when he saw the figures standing in a field near Silbury Hill, and stopped his car to investigate.
    However, as he approached the ‘men’ – all over 6ft tall with blond hair – he heard “the sound of static electricity” and the trio ran away ”faster than any man he had ever seen”.
    The officer returned to his home in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and contacted paranormal experts and told them he had spotted a UFO…

    Photograph taken with thanks from Wikipedia Commons

    Article by Moss

    The Circus

    The Circus – Bath

    John Wood the Elder – Stanton Drew Circle and Stonehenge.

    Bath is famed for its neo-classical architecture but what underpins the thinking of the 18th century architect John Wood when he drew the designs for The Circus is a strange mish-mash of legend and myth, this of course is the age of the new ‘druidism’ that took hold when such figures as William Stukeley called such places as Stonehenge the Druidical Temple.

    Fertile imaginations played with the ideas of sacrificial wicker constructions filled with victims, and Wood took it much further and in his book – A Description of Bath, he writes a history for Bath that is at once absurd yet full of that energetic imaginings that are still to be found in today’s new age books.

    To understand why Wood designed The Circus as he did one must go back to the myths that formed the literature of the 18th century. Wood, though including neo-classical forms in the building, was not returning to a Roman past but a pre-Roman past steeped in the myths of a Britannic origin. The myth can be found in the 12th century writings of Geoffrey of Monmouthshire, and according to (R. S. Neal – Bath, A Social History) a 16th century edition of Monmouth’s book written in Paris was very much alive in the oral tradition of Bath. Putting stone circles and Druids together seems rather strange, but Wood thought that the chief ensign of the Druids was a ring.

    So as he began to plan his city on paper, he incorporated the pagan elements, but also he was relating the pagan symbol of the circle back to Jewish symbolism, therefore Christian, and then British and Greek, which led quite nicely to the “Divine Architect” who was of course God. This is all creative flummery, a mixing of ideas, so when we look at The Circus we see classical lines, but with little touches of druidism – in the acorns that sit atop the surrounds of the roofs – and the frieze which incorporates specific symbols of Masonic details.

    First  though must come the story of Bladud, the founding father of Bath, an exiled prince because of his leprosy, whilst out herding pigs one day happened to notice that the pigs loved to roll in the hot muds of the spring. Bladud also tried this and was cured, and then went on to found the city of Bath on the spot. Our mythical King Bladud is given a date of 480 BC, and as Wood saw it Bladud created the city about the size of Babylon. Bladud was a descendant of a Trojan prince, a high priest of Apollo and a ‘Master of Pythagoras’. Therefore this high priest was a devotee of the heliocentric systems of the planets from which the Pythagorean system was derived. That the Works of Stantondriu (Stanton Drew) form a perfect model of the Pythagorean system of the planetary world…………

    At Stanton Drew it must have taken him many hours, with his assistant wandering round taking measurements of the circles, which were probably at this time partly covered in orchards. There was a precedence for this fascination with megalithic stones, Stukeley and Inigo Jones were all entranced by these heathen stones of an earlier age, and the development of myths round druidic religions were already forming and capturing imaginative minds – a bit like today.

    Now Stanton Drew was, according to Wood, the university for British Druids, which thereby made Bath the metropolitan city seat of the British Druids. ‘And since there is an apparent connection between the ancient works of Akmanchester (Bath) and those of Stantondriu, it seems manifest that the latter constituted the University of the British Druids; that this was the university which King Bladud, according to Merlyn of Caledon planted; that it was at Stantondrui the king feated his four Athenian colleagues and that they were not only the heads of the British Druids in those early ages, but, under Bladud, the very founder of them‘ 

    The Circus is based on a diameter of 318 feet, Wood’s rough measurements of the circumference of the stone circle at Stonehenge, the terraced houses form a perfect circle around a ‘timber’ circle of planted trees in the centre. There is an early drawing by J.R.Cozens which shows hitching stone post for the horses arranged symmetrically round the The Circus which would give the allusion of stones.

    Wood also incorporated into his thinking the hills around Bath, giving them various titles such as Sun and Moon Hill, and The Parade is also aligned on Solsbury Hill which had an Iron Age settlement on top. The Royal Crescent built by his son John Wood the Younger, was crescent shaped representing the moon.

    Where you might ask is the masonic symbolism, well it is only seen from the air, taking The Circus as the round part of the key walk down Gay Street to Queens Square which is square, and you will see the ‘key’ of Bath.

    Ref – R. S. Neal – Bath, A Social History.

    John Wood – A Description of Bath, 1765.

    by Littlestone.

    Tom Robinson

    Tom Robinson

    William Stukeley (1687-1765) felt sufficient disgust at the destruction of the stones at Avebury to parody farmer Tom Robinson by christening him “The Herostratus of Avebury” and producing this tailpiece for his Aubury book in 1743. On the left smoke rises from one of the burning pits where the stones were first heated and then dowsed with water to crack them. A bat hangs ominously above Robinson, while on his right a hag presides over the dark and tragic scene of even more stones awaiting destruction.

    Tom Robinson’s headstone is in Avebury’s churchyard.

    and from the H M J Underhill Archive here –


    October 2009
    S M T W T F S

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