The Modern Antiquarian (TMA) web site was originally set up in March 2000 after the publication of the book of the same name by Julian Cope, and has grown significantly over the years. The book is imminently to be reissued, but sadly will not be updated from the original text.

The site has several components which come together to form a cohesive whole, presenting a comprehensive gazetteer of prehistoric sites across the UK, and most recently further afield into Europe.

Contributors can create their own blog entries on the site. These are mainly used for trip outlines and journals as well as for more far-reaching and thought-provoking ‘essay’ entries.

The main part of the site is the Gazetteer, which can be browsed by area, searched by various criteria, or located on a map. The original map became very slow and unresponsive as more and more sites were added, and while it’s still available for use, it’s much easier to use the supplied Google Earth KML file to search for site locations.

Each gazetteer entry consists of one or more components, each of which can have multiple entries: News, Images (photographs, maps/plans and artistic/interpretive), Fieldnotes, Folklore, Miscellaneous, Links and Discussions (which links in to the Forums). Separate links on the page header provide instant access to the latest News items, and to the latest Posts (everything else). Each entry also has basic information such as nearest town, map/grid references and lat/long references, and links to external sites such as a selection of mapping and imaging web sites. There are drop-down controls providing lists of nearby sites and facilities which link to the appropriate page, and an option to add an entry (if logged in) under any of the categories.

The problem with user-contributed web sites of this nature is that over time, entries can become very repetitive, particularly with regard to images. The site editors therefore occasionally ‘cull’ what they deem to be inappropriate or duplicate postings, in an attempt to keep the site fresh and informative.

The Forums, like any internet site, can be particularly lively and cover a range of topics. Contributors range from first-time visitors (who often become long-term users of the site), through seasoned amateur explorers (Modern Antiquarians, or ‘ModAnts’) with a wealth of local knowledge of many of the out of the way places that monuments are found, to professional archaeologists, documentary makers and other journalists. If you have a question about a particular site or area, the Forum will usually provide a wealth of useful responses.

It was on the TMA forum  in 2003 that several contributors first came together to put forward the idea of a ‘megameet’ that was eventually held at Uffington White Horse, and which resulted in the formation of Heritage Action in 2004. Here at Heritage Action, we still use TMA extensively in our site research, and take an active participation in the forums.

All in all, if you have an interest in prehistory, a link to this site is a must for your Bookmarks folder.