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It’s all very well English Heritage selling cute little furry birdies at their new Visitor Centre but what is to become of the REAL ones?

Jackdaws that have been gathering on the stones for many a year, regularly nesting in the crevices, certainly as far back as the 18th century. In recent times every night when the site closes they’ve been flying down to feast on bits of food left by the visitors but since the old visitor centre and carpark closed a week ago they have been having to go without their supper.


combined 3.

Legend has it that if ever the ravens leave the Tower of London the kingdom will fall. Does the same apply to the jackdaws of Stonehenge? What arrangements have English Heritage made to feed them so they stay at Stonehenge? The public should be told!!

Callanish, Isle of Lewis



Callanish – Image Copyright Dr Julian Paren and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to All Men


We’d like to extend our thanks to all our readers, friends and social media contacts for their support throughout this year. If you’re new to the site, please stick with us through the coming year, and maybe think about submitting some articles or helping us out in other ways. Enjoy the day, and don’t overindulge!

Arbor Low, Derbyshire


Arbor Low

Arbor Low – Image Copyright Des Blenkinsopp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Traditionally in the Christian church, tomorrow sees the beginning of the ‘12 Days of Christmas‘, a period of ‘giving’ as celebrated in the eponymous song. Bang up to date, Apple have recently released an iOS ‘app’, presenting a free gift to users for each of the twelve days: music, apps, e-books etc. We wait to see if there are any gems there, but somewhat doubt that any heritage related items will be presented.

However that may be, in this spirit of giving (and as an apology for not having seen our Advent Calendar idea through to completion) we have decided to share with our readers an image a day, over and above our usual daily posts. Each image has been taken from, a project which was set up to photograph every kilometre square on the UK’s National Grid. All pictures have been freely given to the project, and are available for re-use under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. The pictures we’ve selected have been chosen to show the variety and scope of our ancient heritage, covering sites from Cornwall in the south, through to Scotland in the far north.

So starting from tonmorrow morning, check out the Heritage Journal to see which photos and sites we’ve selected. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed selecting them!

In the meantime, we’ve knocked together a short quiz to occupy you whilst waiting for a large gentleman in a conspicuous red suit to break into your house via the chimney tonight, and whilst overindulging in all that tomorrow has to bring. Answers will be published in a couple of days’ time. How many can you get right? (To keep the kiddies off your back whilst you’re thinking, here’s something to print out for them to colour in!)



  1. In March, one of the Time Team regulars was named ‘Archaeologist of the Year’. But which team member gained the honour?
  2. Who first proposed the ‘Three Ages’ (Stone, Bronze, Iron) dating scheme as used in modern archaeology?
  3. Which of the following have not appeared in our ‘Antiquarians’ series: a) W. Stukeley, b) W. Camden,  c) J. Leland, d) W. C. Borlase, e) J. Aubrey, f) R. Colt-Hoare.
  4. Richard Carew was famous for his ‘Survey of Cornwall’. In which year and where was he born?
  5. Professor Mick Aston sadly passed away earlier this year, but (without looking it up!) in which month did he leave us?
  6. What do Roger Penny, Tom Robinson and William The Conqueror have in common?


  1. Wayland’s Smithy, Hetty Pegler’s Tump and Belas Knapp are all types of which class of barrow?
  2. Which ancient monument is said to be the birthplace of Queen Guinevere?
  3. Which ancient site is known as “The Druid’s Wheel” ?
  4. From a stone at which ancient monument is Arthur said to have drawn Excalibur?
  5. A Bronze Age “crystal” pavement was uncovered for the first time in almost 80 years in September this year. Where?
  6. Name at least 4 of the iron age hill forts / enclosures visible from the Clifton Suspension Bridge.


  1. In which year was the Piltdown Man hoax perpetrated?
  2. What was built sometime in the winter/spring of 3807/3806 BC?
  3. What was found this year at the Ness of Brodgar earning it’s discoverer a bottle of Whisky?
  4. The worlds oldest Bog Body was discovered in 2011, it was revealed this year that he suffered a typically violent bog body death. Where was he found?
  5. What was the name of the expedition and cave where an excavation revealed over 1000 hominid fossils in South Africa in October and November of this year?

No prizes, it’s all just a  bit of fun!


In Britain you need an official licence to play a harp in the street….

but you have official license to metal detect our heritage onto eBay!

And not just if you’re British. Everyone in the world is free (nay, welcome) to do it. Here’s a Polish metal detecting rally. Not in Poland, where they’d be locked up, but in Bedfordshire.



More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting



Doug Rocks-Macqueen’s Blogging Carnival continues, and this month’s question concerns the Good, Bad and Ugly aspects of Archaeological Blogging.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: most of us here are not actually archaeologists, just ordinary people with a strong interest in the pre-Roman heritage of Britain. Why do we do it? See our response to last month’s question.  So, what about this month’s question(s)?

The Good

From our perspective, the Heritage Journal gives our team an opportunity to comment on topical items. We have the freedom to say what others may not – there are no career implications for us. It’s an outlet to rail against some of the injustices we perceive to be failing our heritage. But it’s also a chance to build relationships, discuss common concerns with like-minded people (that’s one of the main reasons we set up Heritage Action in the first place), and more importantly, to learn. Learn more about why others think the way they do – and sometimes why we think the way we do!

The Bad

I think Kelly M’s carnival entry for this month sums up many of the main downsides, but for me, the following are particularly stressful:

  • Time – Speaking personally, I’m often teeming with ideas for blog posts – I have a Trello board full of potential blog posts. What I don’t have is the time to see them through. We are a small team here at the Journal, and several of us hold down full time jobs away from the blog – my own commute (50% walking, 50% train) is too noisy/short to be able to get anything worthwhile done. We could always do with more people writing posts, but where to find them? Then there’s the research neccessary to make sure what we’re writing isn’t total tosh (what Kelly calls the Impostor Syndrome). More time needed there too!

Imposter Syndrome – I’m probably one of the few bloggers taking part in the Blogging Archaeology blog carnival who isn’t an archaeologist so occasionally I feel like I’m venturing into unfamiliar territory and that I have no business writing about a subject that I’m not really qualified to comment on.

  • Writer’s Block – the actual process of writing. Having an idea is all well and good, but turning that idea into an article that makes sense and is something people will want to read is an art in itself. We try to publish one article a day, but occasionally skip a day if the well is dry.
  • Reader worry – Are people actually reading the stuff we produce? What can we do to increase our reach? How much will improving the quality of our content increase the time pressures? And to a lesser extent, how well are we doing compared to other sites? Hit statistics are one of those ephemeral things that no-one really trusts or talks about.

And the Ugly

No contest on this one. It’s a hole that to an extent we’ve dug for ourselves (pun intended) with our stance on the erosion of the archaeological resource by metal detectorists. In a word, Thugwits. In two words, Thugwits and Trolls. Suffice to say that in the past, due to personal details of our members’ addresses and phone numbers having been posted on detectorist’s forums, our members have been subjected to verbal abuse and physical threats, to the extent that the police have had to become involved on more than one occasion.

The carnival topic this month could also be used to describe the feedback we receive from our reader base and social networks:

The Good – agreeing with what we say, or providing a contrary viewpoint in a logical and civilised discussion.
The Bad – not responding to requests for feedback or assistance at all.
The Ugly – the aforementioned Trolls and Thugwits.

To read other blogs participating in the carnival, search Twitter for the hashtag #blogarch.

good job.

The feedback from the new visitor centre yesterday was nearly all positive. The architecture works well (whatever happened to the holes in the roof?!), the exhibits are impressive (although rather limited in scale) and of course the location, just out of sight from the stones, is a huge relief. It still remains to be seen how things will work out when maximum tourist numbers turn up but the general consensus seems to be: so far, so good ….

One issue did seem to keep coming up though – the fact that as from February it will be necessary to book in advance. A lot of people are complaining about that, saying an  element of spontaneity has been removed. They have a point, so the question arises, why? There’s plenty of room inside the visitor centre and at the stones so if there’s any lack of capacity it must be the parking or the land trains. Surely the answer is to increase the supply of both of them rather than cause irritation by imposing a system of pre-booked timed tickets? With gate receipts of £15 million a year, it’s hard to see why there should be a shortage of anything crucial to a good visitor experience. Or have we missed something?



This is not something prehistoric but it IS about heritage. It’s a child’s burial stone that used to be at St Mary’s Church in Foy, Ross on Wye. The top half was stolen two years ago and the bottom half last month.

Whatever the penalty, it’s not enough.

If you have any information please contact the police on 101


December 2013

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