You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site


Sir John Lubbock is remembered in passing today as a nineteenth century archaeologist and politician who championed the 1882 Ancient Monuments Act and saved Avebury from development.

“Darwin’s Apprentice” is a unique book that looks beyond these headlines to reveal an important yet forgotten Darwinist through the eyes of his prehistoric archaeological and ethnographic collection. Both man and collection are witnesses to an extraordinary moment in the history of science and archaeology – the emotive scientific, religious and philosophical debate on human antiquity triggered by the publication of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” in 1859.

It will be published by Pen & Sword Archaeology in April 2013 to mark the centenary anniversary of John Lubbock’s death. Further details can be found here

Janet Owen


This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Smart fundraising
A novel way to let visitors contribute to the care of the country’s most famous chalk giant has been set up by the National Trust. Visitors snapping photos of themselves near the Cerne Abbas Giant with their smartphones will now also be able to text a donation to support his upkeep. 

Charity fundraising in this way is likely to be the next big thing, it seems. Combined with QR codes it could prove to be an unobtrusive and secure way of financing the upkeep of lots of ancient sites. What’s not to like?

“Jaw-dropping & beguiling”
So said Lord Avebury about this aerial video of Silbury. It’s a must-see.″>

The solution to everything!
It seems that after each Glastonbury Festival the organiser Michael Eavis uses 14ft metal detectors to ensure his cows don’t ingest coins and other metal waste. Could British archaeology learn from this? Archaeologists could clear ploughed fields of metallic artefacts using Mr Eavis’s hoovers rather than having to rely on random people with 9 inch coils and uncertain propensities to report. Not just some but all metal finds could be delivered in large sacks direct to the BM where PAS could sort though them.

Cynics in Saville Row suits or cheap Tesco’s army gear who claim this idea is ridiculous could have it slowly explained to them that it’s exactly what they’ve been striving for, but far better. The fields would be emptied of their artefactual content in a far more thorough and speedy fashion than at present and the PAS database would greatly expand and contain much more accurate data – all of which have been the aims of British portable antiquities policy for 15 years.

There would be additional massive benefits as well. 100% not 30% of finds would get reported. Find spot data would be perfectly accurate. No-one would dig into archaeology. No farmer would be hoodwinked. Millions in Treasure payments would be saved. Everything that ought to be in a museum would go to one and everything else could be sold for good causes rather than being annexed for the benefit of individuals. What’s not to like? Oh, and PAS could run telly programmes – “What’s in the Sack?“. They’d be ever so educational.


STOP PRESS: This very morning the pending TV programme “Hoard Hunters” has launched a website. See for yourself what it’s going to be about. Remarkably it has described both itself and the rock-bottom level the public presentation of archaeology has been reduced to in this country in 8 succinct words:

“A sort of Top Gear meets Time Team”

Britain’s requirement for green energy is to be met by the erection of 2,500 giant wind turbines in clusters of 50 across the Midlands. They’ll each be much higher than Blackpool Tower and, thanks to special government rules, they can all be built less than a third of a mile from any house. Protestor Henry Fingleton said: “As we perceive it, the scale of the plan is so enormous that it will be the biggest transformation of the midlands counties since deforestation. It will ruin the landscape”. Nine community associations have banded together to demand “a more socially acceptable scale of wind-farm development“.


We should perhaps point out though it won’t happen in the Midlands of England but of Ireland – although the power will go to Britain and in fact it’s a British idea, fuelled by subsidies from the British government. Here’s the plan: “UK to outflank objectors with wind farms in Ireland: Faced with fervent and growing opposition to onshore wind farms in the UK, Tory MPs are backing a plan to site those facilities in Ireland – and then export the renewable energy generated back to Britain using cables running under the Irish Sea, to Wales”.

So it looks very similar to buying cheap trainers from Asia produced in a way that wouldn’t be acceptable over here.

The Bog of Allen, an archaeological and natural treasure described by one Irish public body as “as much a part of Irish natural heritage as the Book of Kells” where 700 turbines are to be built using British Government subsidies to the developers. Each landowner will be paid many thousands to agree so effectively the British government will be providing the bribes to enable Ireland’s landscapes to be ruined.


by Sandy Gerrard

In March last year 18 questions relating to the archaeological situation on Mynydd y Betws were asked. During May the answers provided by Cadw were published here. I also asked my local Assembly member (Mr Rhodri Glyn Thomas) to ask the Dyfed Archaeological Trust (DAT) the same questions and he kindly did this on my behalf. Having had no response in October I asked Carmarthenshire County Council for a copy of the DAT response and this was passed to both Mr Thomas and myself shortly afterwards. A commentary on the DAT response was then produced and sent to Carmarthenshire County Council. This series of articles present DAT’s responses in black and my own comments upon them in green. See part 1 of the series here.


16. Why has a fence post been inserted into the edge of a mound not recorded by the evaluation report at SN 6894910712?

The two evaluation trenches within the vicinity of Turbine 15 were excavated within the proposed access road corridor and the turbine base. No evidence of a mound, nor other archaeological features, excepting the non-scheduled cairn centred on SN 68819 10653, were identified during the preceding walk-over survey in this location.

This response does not remotely deal with the question unless of course it is saying that because the feature was not identified during the walk-over survey it therefore does not exist. There is a mound at this location and a fence post has been inserted into its edge. At the very least one might have assumed that DAT might have checked to see whether it was there and put in a place a strategy to ensure that it was not damaged any further when the post is removed in the near future.

Mound “overlooked” by the planning process

Mound “overlooked” by the planning process

17. Why have the developers been permitted to dig a new drain to carry water from the new road across the stone row?

This drain was part of the permitted development and did not adversely affect the stone alignment.

Allowing copious amounts of water to cascade across the stone alignment has only not adversely affected it because the developers kindly agreed to move the drain when I pointed out the situation to them. Why did DAT not raise this concern?

18. Why have the developers’ vehicles been allowed to damage substantial areas beyond the permitted development area?

This Trust has no knowledge of substantial damage done to areas outside the permitted development. Dr Gerrard is advised to provide better information and address this particular matter directly to the planning authority.

This answer suggests that DAT are not closely “monitoring” the work for the County Council, otherwise they would for example be aware that a length of historic bank and ditch has been destroyed by vehicular movements associated with the construction of the nearby new road. Why is the DAT suggesting that I contact the County Council about an archaeological matter when they are aware that County Council have already asked that I address this question to them?


We trust that these responses are helpful. In the meantime, if we can assist you further with information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me or our Senior Planning Archaeologist.


The extensive survey has, by giving equal weight to remains of all periods, highlighted the significance of the later sites in addition to the already well-documented earlier sites. It has also highlighted the potential for improving our understanding of upland settlement. These issues must be incorporated into the interpretation and management of the Blaenafon landscape to ensure that they receive adequate protection.”  – ‘The Archaeology of the Welsh Uplands’ by RCAHMW , Eds. David Browne & Stephen Hughes, 2003, pp. 76

Why has this sensible approach been totally disregarded by the DAT who instead seem to have arbitrarily chosen which heritage assets were worth recording and those which deserved not a second look. The result is a report that is entirely biased and therefore does no justice to the multi-period archaeological landscape which has been damaged with little consideration being given to elements which contribute to making this place special. The Amman Valley owes much of its character to the coal industry and to completely ignore this in the work carried out on Mynydd y Betws is a travesty.


Dr Sandy Gerrard



For all previous and subsequent articles put Mynydd Y Betws in our Search Box.

See also this website and Facebook Group

Here’s the latest installment of Heritage Action member Sue Brooke’s story concerning Caerau Hillfort in Wales.  New readers should start at Part 1 or see here for all previous installments and get right up to date.

To say I was not a happy bunny was probably an understatement. I know I had formed the most ridiculous attachment to the area and had kind of allowed it to become emotionally mine, and it could even be said I was guarding it jealously. But that’s not the point.

The CAER Heritage Project had allowed for work to be done locally that I could never have achieved. My local history website couldn’t compare with the all singing, all dancing one that Cardiff University was able to build professionally and maintain properly and regularly. I knew this.

But do you know what; Time Team is just three days. They come in, they make a few ditches, smile at the cameras, drink some local beer and then put it all together for one programme. Then it’s gone. Done. Over with. This area was important and very few people knew about it. It was, for me personally in my work, as much about the ‘people’ as it was about the ‘place’. I didn’t want it to have been laying there for all these hundreds of years just to be flashed up on the telly for an hour and then left at the mercy of whoever walked through the field gates next.

Then we met again. People were going on about how good it would be for the community. How good it would be to show the area in such a positive light. How brilliant it would be in taking the CAER Heritage Project further – gaining more funding, doing more good things, teaching more people more skills. The work being done could be linked in to other areas locally with heritage trails, the local kids could have the work included in their curriculum and gain so much from it. Worse, everyone but me was very excited about it.

I asked questions about what would happen up at the site. Some references were made in relation to Alan Melton, leader of Fenland District Council, and his comments about ‘bunny huggers’. I liked that – I own five real live bunnies – but I wasn’t standing in the way of development, I was questioning the need to dig up a scheduled ancient monument for a TV show. When I asked about finding human remains it was pointed out to me that there had been a group of people campaigning for the return of human remains at various sites. I liked that too – I have been a follower of Arthur at Stonehenge myself for some time and I actually agreed with the principal that these people should have been allowed to lie in their final resting place and most definitely not end up as a museum exhibit – such as The Red Lady of Paviland exhibited in the National Museum of Wales. What about the vulnerability of the site? How could that all be kept secure, especially whilst the digging was taking place? What would happen to any finds? More questions, some answers.

I didn’t give in. Contrary to some comments made, I didn’t sell out. I just had no real option but to kind of agree to it going ahead – it would have anyway, the landowner was the one who had the final say, obviously. But I did have the option of making sure I was there.

So amidst all the excitement of being on the telly there was one party pooper. Me. Having said all that, there was still that nice man Jon from CADW who didn’t appear overly excited at all. Well, if he was he managed to keep a lid on it. So, once all the interim arrangements were made and everyone was sworn to secrecy the meeting ended.

On my way out I spoke quietly with Jon from CADW and said something like ‘you won’t let them dig it all up will you’. A one word answer, spoken directly into my eyes was good enough for me. ‘No’.

So, it seems, Time Team are coming….

As ever, the story continues next time, stay tuned folks!…

SAM_0582 - Copy

The problem of unauthorised climbing of Silbury persists. In January Avebury Parish Council noted that “The fence around Silbury Hill had broken down and there was no warning sign ‘do not climb’” and in March the Chairman reported he had attended a meeting there with English Heritage staff and that a decision had been made to mend the fence around the base of the Hill, improve signage and place dead blackthorn branches in selected places to deter access. (It had been put to them that hawthorn hedging could be planted to make access more difficult but EH staff on site were concerned this would give cover for burrowing animals such as rabbits.) As can be seen from our photograph taken last weekend neither fences nor signs nor anything else seem to deter some people.

EH had also noted that “the grass surface of the Hill had recovered remarkably rapidly due to the track to the north side of the monument currently being under water.” However, that’s no great comfort as the water will soon be gone and in any case the issue is not damage to the grass but to the surface of the hill, which will never recover. In addition, as can be seen at the top left of our photograph, yet another new footpath has been formed, leading straight up to the summit.

If anyone has any ideas how to discourage those who do this we’d be glad to publish them. We can’t help thinking the key is in the wording on the notices. The two young fellows on the photograph were being watched by four girls they arrived with and it’s possible there is very often an element of “showing off” involved so our own suggestion for the wording would be this…..

Sil sign

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site


“Had no one announced his presence, those who are acquainted with the portraits of his uncle, the Great Napoleon, would at once have recognised him.” Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte had raised local eyebrows when visiting Wiltshire in October 1860, even though predictably “a more peaceful visit than his uncle’s might have been had he succeeded in crossing the channel”. The Prince had brought with him a letter of introduction to Edward Kite, a grocer and historian, employed as Assistant Secretary and Curator by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society. Kite would act as the Prince’s guide to Devizes as well as Silbury Hill and Avebury, “at which place his royal highness spent some time” having previously visited Stonehenge.

The Prince, who had been born in England due to his family being intercepted at sea when making their way to America, was a renowned philologist and his approach to Kite concerned a translation of the Song of Solomon in the Wiltshire dialect. The translation would appear in print the following year.   

Edward Kite, The Song of Solomon in the Wiltshire Dialect, as it is Spoken in the Northern Division. From the Authorised English Version, by Edward Kite, for Louis Lucien Bonaparte (Strangeways & Walden, 1861).



This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

A better Round Table?
A lot of people are unhappy about the Stonehenge Round Table, the monthly meetings to discuss solstice and equinox access to the stones. The cost of petrol… the distance …. the failure of English Heritage to give people what they want….

“It is a joke really The Round Table is only 1 and a half hours, to discuss EVERYTHING, It takes 4 hours to get to Salisbury, English Heritage are having a laugh at everyones expense !! a total waste of money, time !! When English Heritage and the attendees that think English Heritage are there friends start thinking about the all, i might go back one day, Until then there Round Table meetings are FAKE and not GENUINE.”

For their part English Heritage probably find the cost of laying on the meetings a bit burdensome too, so here’s an idea: do it online! That would save lots of petrol, time and money and would enable far more people to take part and get heard in a controlled, comfortable environment.

“Hurrah!” [says the taxpayer!]

A Bronze Age raft
Talking of Bronze Age boats and transporting blue stones …. here’s another interesting video, this time of the restoration of a remarkably preserved bronze age river raft in Brigg, Lincolnshire

A Stonehenge miracle?
There’s talk of the main A303 past Stonehenge being made into a dual carriageway – although the mayor of Amesbury wisely said the town was “not holding its breath”. English Heritage said they welcomed the possible upgrade, but that it was important the improvements were done in a way that was “sensitive to the ancient setting of Stonehenge and other parts of the historic environment that might be affected”.

And that’s a problem, for what sort of miracle would it need for loads of interesting and unique sites, integral to the understanding of the whole complex not to be discovered in that location as the works progressed? EH are good with words. Does being “sensitive to the ancient setting of Stonehenge” include landscaping and preservation by record? Yes it does. But does it preclude physically destroying everything that’s found on the line of the widened road? No it doesn’t. They’d have used different words if they’d meant that.

Compiled by Sue Brooke

The following events will be taking place next month, why not add one or two to your diary and join in the fun?


Cornwall Archaeological Society

Regular walks and talks of interest:

The Society was formed in 1961 – it grew out of the West Cornwall Field Club, itself founded in 1935 by a group of enthusiasts who were studying the archaeology of West Cornwall.

WALKS – Every month there is an archaeological walk somewhere in Cornwall led by members or an invited expert.

TALKS – During winter months talks are given at centres in Truro and Liskeard by speakers, national and local (and including members) who are specialists in their field of interest.

ACTIVITIES – The Society gives opportunities for those interested in practical archaeology to participate in fieldwork and learn archaeological techniques. Members often take part in excavations run by the Cornwall County Council’s Historic Environment Service (HES).

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’

CASPN Pathways to the Past, Cornwall are holding a whole weekend of walks and talks amongst the ancient sites of West Penwith:

Saturday May 25th 2013 10.00-12.30pm – ‘Curiouser and Curiouser! ‘   Cheryl Straffon and Lana Jarvis visit enigmatic sites on a guided walk. Meeting at Gurnards Head [SW436 375] and finishing there for lunch if wished.

Saturday May 25th 2013 2.004.30pm  – ‘A stank around the Gump’   A guided walk with archaeologist David Giddings around Portheras Common & Chûn Downs. Meet at North Road layby (near Pendeen) [SW394 334]

Saturday May 25th 2013 8.00 – 10.00pm  – ‘Art of the Ancestors’    An illustrated talk by Paul Bonnington about Palaeolithic cave art.     At the Count House at Botallack.

Sunday May 26th 2013 2.00 – 4.30pm  – ‘Sanctuaries: a lan and a circle’  A guided walk with archaeologist Adrian Rodda, exploring the church at St Buryan, followed by a walk to the Bronze Age circle at Boscawen-ûn.     Meeting  at St.Buryan church (parking  available nearby).

Sunday May 26th 2013  8.00 – 9.00pm  ‘ Place names of West Penwith’  – To round off the weekend, local researcher and historian Craig Weatherhill will be chatting about his new research into the original meanings of some of Penwith’s intriguing place names.   At the North Inn, Pendeen

NOTE: Each individual event costs £3 but is free to members of FOCAS (Friends of Cornwall’s Ancient Sites). You can join FOCAS at the beginning of an individual event.

For further information see the CASPN web site.

hut circle

Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network/ Lizard Ancient Sites Network 

Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network has a sister Group covering sites in the Lizard peninsula called LAN [Lizard Ancient Sites Network]. With initial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, a group was set up, consisting of representatives from CASPN, Historic Environment Service, Cornwall Archaeological Society, Meneage Archaeological Group, Natural England and the National Trust. Work continues at these sites and some new ones, and volunteers are always very welcome at the monthly clear-ups These events are 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.  Please note that suitable footwear and clothing is needed although tools or any necessary equipment will be provided.

Tuesday May 14th 2013 –  12.00 noon – Poldowrian Hut Circle [SW 7550 1690]

Meeting at Poldowrian  [off the minor road near Ponsongath off B3293]

See website for more details.


Barnstaple – North Devon Archaeological Society was established in 1959, and for many years concentrated on providing lectures and visits for members. The society merged with North Devon Rescue, a campaigning organisation which had been instrumental in ensuring proper recording and excavation in the area,

Little Potheridge Excavation 11th – 26th May 2013

Starting on 11th May and running until the 26th, there will be a unique opportunity to take part in the excavation of an area known to have been used for clay pipe production. As this is an NDAS project, first priority will be given to NDAS members but we do need people to sign up as there is already outside interest. NDAS don’t need a commitment for both weeks – one week, week-ends or odd days will be fine. If current members could let them know roughly their availability by the end of March at the latest, it will give them time to recruit reinforcements, if necessary.



West Essex Archaeology Group, Woodford Green

WEAG’s aim is ‘to promote the advancement of knowledge and education by a study of archaeology, history and kindred subjects ‘.

13th May 2013 at 7:45pm RUDGE LECTURE:’ The Archaeology of the Thames ‘   Jon Cotton, Consultant Archaeologist

Further information:

Essex Historical Congress

‘Essex Historical Congress was founded in 1964 to bring together all the organisations in the country interested in Archaeology, local history and civic life. Today Essex Congress has over 100 member groups and actively promotes awareness and study of the rich heritage of the County’  

The Annual General Meeting will be held on 25th May 2013 at Saffron Walden Museum at 10.00 am.

Further details on the work of the group can be found on their web site.


For something just a little bit different – The next Megalithomania will take place in Glastonbury on 18th – 19th May 2013, plus 5 days of tours. Keep your calendar free for seven days of pure Megalithomania this May.

Early-Bird Tickets and further information on the Megalithomania web site.


Council for Kentish Archaeology

The Society was founded in 1857 and is now a registered charity with the following objects: To promote the study and publication of archaeology and history in all their branches, especially within the ancient county of Kent. Much of the County has been lost to London since 1857 so the “ancient county” is treated as including the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham, as well as Medway and the administrative county. The Society’s interests are not confined to fieldwork. Its objects cover archaeology and local history in the widest sense.

For 6 weeks running from 22 April  2013 ‘Kent and the River. ’ The River Thames has played a vital part in the history of Kent, in peace and war, in work and leisure. This class will look at aspects of the history of the river and its shipping, and the riverside communities.

Lectures in the Library – Morning: 10.15am – 12.15. Afternoon: 2.00pm – 4.00pm


Mortimer History Society

‘The Aim of the Mortimer History Society is to provide a forum for all those who are interested in the medieval Mortimer dynasty, both to study, enjoy and to publicise its eventful history’.

An academic and a practical appreciation of the local and national history associated with the Mortimer family. The activities of the Society are aimed at a wide and diverse audience with a special emphasis on Herefordshire, Shropshire, Powys, and in particular young people.

11 May 2013 – Mortimer History Society May Meeting

18 May 2013 – Blanche Mortimer Dress Display




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.

Sunday 12th May 2013 – ‘Archaeology in the Landscape: Langwith-Elmton’

Friday 17th May 2013 – ‘Archaeology of the Hardwick Estate’

Saturday 18th May 2013 – ‘ Hidden Heritage in the Peak’

Costs vary. For further details see the MBArchaeology web site.


Flag Fen Archaeology Park. The Droveway, Northey Road, Peterborough, PE6 7QJ

Flag Fen is open daily from 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm) from April to October and is a marvellous opportunity to see the work undertaken.


Wiltshire Heritage Museum runs a large number of events, exhibitions and activities both for the general public and members of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.

29th March to 1st. September 2013– ‘The Splendour of Stonehenge’ – an exhibition from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum’s extensive collection of paintings, drawings, engravings, prints and photographs of Stonehenge.  These date from the 18th century to the present day.


National Museum of Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP

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?

Visit the Origins – In Search of Early Wales webpages for more details.


8 May 2013 1.05pm. Archaeology Lunchtime Talk

‘Technology or Design?  Decorating metalwork in the 1st century AD’   Mary Davis, Senior Conservator, Department of Archaeology.

Why and how was metalwork decorated within regions of Britain in direct conflict with Rome? Studying such objects can tell us anything about the varied indigenous societies that produced them, as they adapted to massive social, political and economic changes, accelerated by influences from the continent. This talk will concentrate on analysis of the Seven Sisters Hoard to illustrate some points about style, technology and Late Iron Age practices in Wales.


22 May 2013 1.05pm. Archaeology Lunchtime Talk

‘Archaeological excavation of experimental roundhouses’. With Professor Martin Bell, Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Reading.


25 May–2 Jun 2013 11am – 4pm. Activity.  ‘Pots from the Past’. Make a piece of art inspired by the pots and beakers used to prepare food in ancient times.


St. Fagans: National History Museum. St. Fagans, Cardiff.

25 – 26 May 2013 ‘There’s Something Useful in the Woodland’ an opportunity to find out more about how Iron Age people uses plants to make food, clothing, medicines and beer.

St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open-air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction. It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. Please check the website for more details in relation to the timings of talks as these sessions are held both in English and Welsh.

Please note: Redevelopment Project – St Fagans: National History Museum has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Welsh Government to completely transform the visitor experience.  Indoor galleries are currently closed as new exhibition spaces are built. The Celtic Village is also closed to prepare the site for a new eco-friendly exhibition space.

There is still plenty to see and visit.

St Fagans: National History Museum is located 4 miles west of Cardiff City Centre, just off the A4232. For satellite navigation purposes use the post code CF5 6XB.

FREE ENTRY but there is a small car parking fee.

For more information, see the Museum of Wales web site.

National Roman Legion Museum

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: Town Centre, Caerleon, Gwent. 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 see the Museum of Wales web site.:

6 May 2013 National Roman Legion Museum.  ‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry!’

Celebrate a Roman festival – just like the Roman festival, Floralia, in Roman times, there will be eating, drinking, games to play, fighting to watch and contests to take part in.

18 and 19 May 2013 National Roman Legion Museum. ‘Do something different’. Learning new things isn’t just for kids and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be fun as well! Join in and try a new skill.

Saturday 18th May 2013 – Gladiator training. Unleash your inner warrior! Footwork, guard positions and hitting things included.

Sunday 19th May 2013 – Roman cooking. Use Roman recipes and ingredients to create a simple meal

*Adults only*

Saturday 18 May 2013 Archery  – Jonathan Thomas is an experienced traditional archer. His talk will cover methods and manufacture of bows and the history of bows through archaeology and literature. Illustrated throughout with hands on examples of bow parts, and finishing with an outdoor demonstration of different types of bows and shooting.



Caldicot Castle Country Park

May 5th and 6th 2013  From 10am – 5pm. Fortress Wales 2013 – Multi-period living history re-enactment and military vehicle show.  Really good fun with lots happening.

For updates please check the Living History web site.


Dear Fellow Landowners,

This is just bonkers! On Rally UK detecting forum they’re discussing the Twinstead rally. That was where perhaps £100,000-worth of gold sovereigns  were taken home without the farmer or anyone else being told and the police were called in and the organiser announced “If you all think your getting away with it think again….the offence carries a custodial sentence”. Many were returned and declared Treasure but it seems museums don’t want to buy them so finally the farmer will get them. You’d think. But the detectorists hope not:

“The farmer will be contacted and unless he has any objection the coins will be returned to their original finders. Seeing as he has a half share agreement in all the coins collected two days later when the top layer of soil was removed hopefully he will not mind letting the few honest detectorists who handed them in have their coins back!!!!” 

So despite the fact they took them home without telling him they now think he should give them the ruddy coins! Amazing! Do Tesco’s have that policy? And bear in mind, according to the police at least 100 other sovereigns were taken home by other detectorists at the rally and have never been returned (forum talk at the time said one of them had 70) so if he gives away the returned ones he’ll be ending up with NONE of the coins found that day. Detectorists will have had them all!

Silas Brown


(PS, I’d love to know what this “half share agreement in all the coins collected two days later” is all about. An agreement with whom? And why?)



For more from Farmer Brown put Silas in the search box.


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting



April 2013

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