The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

News Items by thesweetcheat

Latest Posts
Showing 1-20 of 54 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Lincolnshire and Humberside

Archaeologists unearth massive 5,000-year-old structure near Lincoln industrial estate

Archaeologists from Network Archaeology Ltd have teamed up with Lincolnshire Live to reveal more about the incredible artefacts from a dig along part of the route of Lincoln's Eastern Bypass

Oldbury Camp (Hillfort)

Archaeologists unearthing secrets of ancient hillfort in Oldbury-on-Severn

Little is known about the Iron Age fort, with mysteries and theories around when it was built and why it was built on the low land rather than, as the name suggests, on a hill.

The two-week excavation dig, which is being led by archaeologists DigVentures and A Forgotten Landscape, a South Gloucestershire Council-funded landscape partnership, is hoping to turn back the hands of time to find out more about the purpose of the hillfort.

More here:

Grime's Graves (Ancient Mine / Quarry)

Grime's Graves to open a second pit to the public

A challenging descent by ladder, winch and harness into a prehistoric underworld will open to the public for the first time this year, allowing exploration of shafts and galleries cut deep under Norfolk heathland more than 4,000 years ago.

The extraordinary surface landscape of Grime’s Graves, pockmarked with hundreds of shallow depressions, puzzled people for many centuries until they were identified about 150 years ago as neolithic flint mines.

More at

Wales (Country)

Wales heritage bodies reject formal merger

Welsh heritage bodies have rejected a formal merger of any of their functions.

But government-controlled Cadw will become independent in recommendations to Economy Secretary Ken Skates.

An independent review of National Museum Wales (NMW) will also be held and will be published by the summer.

It follows strong opposition to proposals to merge some commercial functions of heritage bodies into a new organisation Historic Wales.

Stonehenge and its Environs

Highways England A303 consulation

Lots of paperwork here:

Grayling gives go-ahead for tunnel

A tunnel is to be built under Stonehenge under plans announced by ministers, in a move that will reignite the controversy over improving major roads around the ancient site.

Chris Grayling said he was taking a “big decision” to transform the A303, one of the main arteries to the south-west and a notorious bottleneck for lorries and holidaymakers, as part of a £2bn investment.


Prehistoric tombs may have enhanced astronomical viewing

Astronomers are exploring what might be described as the first astronomical observing tool, potentially used by prehistoric humans 6,000 years ago. They suggest that the long, narrow entrance passages to ancient stone, or 'megalithic', tombs may have enhanced what early human cultures could see in the night sky, an effect that could have been interpreted as the ancestors granting special power to the initiated.

Full story:

Chauvet Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter)

Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave art 10000yrs older than thought

"Some of the world's oldest prehistoric artwork, located in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave in southeastern France, is actually 10,000 years older than previously thought, researchers said Tuesday.

The red and black cave drawings contained in the cave are more than 30,000 years old, according to a radiocarbon dating study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal."

More here:

Anglesey (County)

Largest Neolithic site in Wales found on Ynys Mon

More than 2,000 artefacts possibly dating back as much as 6,000 years have been discovered on the site of a new school in Anglesey .

It is the largest ever Neolithic discovery in Wales after being discovered by archaeologists investigating the site at Llanfaethlu.

The ruins of three buildings have also been uncovered by the CR Archeology team who have been on site since November 2014.

Archeologist Cat Rees told the Daily Post : “Until about 50 years ago all we knew about this period in North Wales came from the megalithic tombs and chance finds but this changed with the discovery at Llandegai, Bangor of a single house.

'Unlike anything else in North Wales'
“To date less than five have been found in the whole of North Wales.

“This settlement (at Llanfaethlu) has the best preserved houses and is the only one which has more than one house.”

Speaking from the site Matt Jones said: “The number and quality of artefacts is unlike anything else in North Wales.

“The main excavation started and we found one building, which we originally thought was it.

“That alone was fantastic but we soon discovered two others, this may have been a village.”

Cat continued: “So far we can tell from the finds that people were using the site for at least 1,000 years and we have found more than 2,000 flint, stone and pottery artefacts.

“We also have burnt hazelnuts, acorns and seeds which will allow us to radiocarbon date the site and reconstruct the Neolithic diet.”

Archaeologist Vicky Hudson and Matt Jones.Archaeologist Vicky Hudson and Matt Jones.
Matt said there was even a chance the site may have been a stone axe factory, with high-quality stone from Penmaenmawr discovered.

But the dig almost never happened when a pit group was initially discovered in a small evaluation trench.

But the group returned to examine a larger area as the houses extended beyond the excavation limit.

'Discoveries have been astonishing'
Cat said Anglesey Council have been "so supportive" of their discoveries.

“The council backed us and the discoveries have been astonishing, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In April last year a mysterious copper artefact was discovered at a Neolithic tomb near Brynsiencyn.

Neolithic pottery found at the site.Neolithic pottery found at the site.
The find was able to add weight to one of archeology’s burning questions on whether or not there was a British Copper Age.

Anglesey is rich with ancient monuments with approximately 30 Neolithic and Bronze age burial chambers on the island, several ancient settlements and standing stones.

The find at Llanfaethlu however is unlike any other in terms of the number of artefacts which will now be analysed and soil to be carbon dated.

CR Archeology, who will wrap up the site in the next few days have had locals visit the site every week and held public talks on their discoveries.

Pupils from the schools which the Llanfaethlu super school will replace have also been to visit.

Ness of Brodgar (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

New decorated stone found in Ness of Brodgar dig

‘One of the most remarkable decorated stones we’ve ever seen’

On this remarkable, sunny day we can do one of two things. We can ransack our box full of superlatives to describe what has happened, or just ask you to look at the photographs. Go for the pics, kindly supplied by Ola Thoenies (thank you Ola!)

Lincolnshire and Humberside

Bronze Age trackway unearthed on Cleethorpes beach

A prehistoric trackway that could be more than 4,000 years old has been discovered on a beach in Cleethorpes.

The wooden track would have been used to cross a boggy landscape and is believed to be from the early Bronze Age, said archaeologists.

It was found during a coastal survey for a project into threatened archaeological sites.

More on BBC website:

England (Country)

Environment Agency LiDAR - open data

"From September 2015 all our LIDAR data will become Open Data and everyone will be able to use it for free."

Although primarily used for flood risk assessment, there will be lots of archaeology to see.

Bryn Celli Ddu (Chambered Cairn)

Prehistoric Anglesey tomb to be excavated for archaeology event

"Residents will get the chance to see the dig in action at the Neolithic Bryn Celli Ddu site during a fortnight-long event which ends with a Summer Solstice celebration.

An ancient tomb on Anglesey will be excavated this summer as part of a two-week long archeology event.

The Neolithic passage tomb of Bryn Celli Ddu is one of Wales’s best-known prehistoric monuments.

The fortnight-long event starts on June 9 and will culminate in a public open day and celebration of the Summer Solstice from June 19-22.

The excavation of the tomb will be led by the Welsh Government’s historic environment service Cadw and Manchester Metropolitan University.

It is hoped it will break new ground exploring the landscape’s ‘rock art’- a term used in archaeology to describe the human-made markings discovered in natural stone."

More at Daily Post:

Maen Penddu (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Maen Penddu defaced with Cross

GGAT have reported that someone has scratched a cross into the surface of Maen Penddu.

Not dissimilar from the cross on one of the stones at The Druid's Circle nearby. Seems there's still some people who think pagan monuments need to be "Christianised"


Devon archaeological dig reveals "exciting" prehistoric finds

Follow up to news story from October.

"A Stone age knife, a Bronze age arrow head and a Roman nail are just some of the surprises uncovered by a new archaeological dig in Devon.

The idyllic fields around Spriddlestone, near Plymstock, were first identified as a potential area of historical interest by amateur archaeologist Howard Jones.

But what began as an armchair project to find a prehistoric settlement – with Google Maps as his only tool – has now progressed into a two-week on-site exploratory dig."

Read more:

Highland (Mainland)

Bronze Age "bowman" found in Drumnadrochit cist

A bit more exciting than Nessie!

"DRUMNADROCHIT'S earliest-known resident, who lived around 4500 years ago, wore a stone guard on his wrist when using a bow and arrow and favoured geometric designs on his kitchenware.

Following the discovery last month of an early Bronze Age burial cist in the village, archaeologists have found shards of pottery and a wrist guard on the same site."

Continues here:


Bronze Age Rudham Dirk saved for museum

A spectacular new Norfolk treasure has been unveiled - after years of being used as a doorstop.

The 3,500-year-old Rudham Dirk, a ceremonial Middle Bronze Age dagger, was first ploughed up near East Rudham more than a decade ago. But the landowner didn’t realise what it was and was using it to prop open his office door.

And the bronze treasure even came close to being thrown in a skip, but luckily archaeologists identified it in time.

Now the dirk has been bought for Norfolk for close to £41,000 and is now on display in Norwich Castle Museum.

Dr John Davies, Chief Curator of Norfolk Museums Service, said: “This is one of the real landmark discoveries.”

The dirk - a kind of dagger - was never meant to be used as a weapon and was deliberately bent when it was made as an offering to the gods.

Only five others like it have ever been found in Europe - including one at Oxborough in 1988, which is now in the British Museum. But thanks to a £38,970 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, following a £2,000 donation from the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, the Bronze Age treasure will now stay in the county.

Dr Tim Pestell, who is Curator of Archaeology with the NMS, has been negotiating with the (unnamed) landowner for almost a year. He said: “As soon as my colleagues told me about it we started to plan how we could acquire it, so it could stay in Norfolk and be on display here.”

Dr Andrew Rogers, whose team first identified the dirk, said he never expected the Oxborough discovery would be repeated. “It’s absolutely incredible. Gosh - to have a find like this twice in a lifetime - this is unbelievable,” he said.

The 1.9kg (4lb) dirk is made from bronze, which is nine-tenths copper and one-tenth tin. The nearest source for the copper is Wales, while the tin may have come from Cornwall.

Straightened out, it would be 68cm long, slightly shorter than the Oxborough example. It may even have been made in the same workshop, maybe even by the same craftsperson.

Sophie Cabot, president of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, added: “We’re really excited - it would have been a great shame if we’d have lost it.”


Devon treasure hunter locates Bronze Age settlement using Google Earth

A Devon treasure hunter has stunned professional archaeologists by locating a Bronze Age settlement using Google Earth.

Howard Jones shunned the usual methods of finding ancient communities and relied on the internet instead.

He trawled satellite images for the sort of terrain that would have offered food, water and shelter for a prehistoric settlement.

Howard used Google's overheard mapping site to zoom in on fields and farmland before pinpointing a spot in the South Hams.

The former Royal Marine then sought permission from the local landowner before heading down there to scour for remains.

He soon unearthed old flint tools, pottery shards and scraps of metal thought to date back 5,000 years.

Howard called in Devon County archaeologist Bill Horner who carried out a geophysical survey using ground-penetrating radar equipment .

The two men found two large buried structures that they believe are farm buildings dating back to the bronze or iron age.

Howard, a commercial diver from Plymstock, said: "Night after night I looked at Google Earth asking myself the question 'if I was alive 3,000 years ago where would I live'.

"I would need food, water, shelter, close to Dartmoor for minerals, close to a river to access the sea and trade routes .

"After a few weeks I put an 'X marks the spot' on the map - that was where I would live."

Not knowing who the site belonged to, Howard was initially unable to test his theory until he tumbled across the landowner by chance.

He said: "At kids rugby training one night I remembered that one of the other coaches was a farmer and I asked him if I could field walk and detect on his land.

"As I didn't know where his farm was, I arranged for my family and I to meet him and he gave us a tour of his fields.

"It was then I found out that my 'X marks the spot' was on his land - it was unbelievable."

Howard has previously searched for ancient artefacts underwater and in 2010 he was involved in the discovery of the 300-year-old Dutch merchant vessel the Aagtekerke off the Devon coast.

But after deciding to switch his search inland because of this year's storms he hopes his latest find will prove his best yet.

Mr Horner has arranged for a series of trench digs, which could take place as early as February next year.

He says Howard's web-inspired find could offer new insights into Bronze Age trading outposts.

Mr Horner said: "The survey shows two or three probable farmsteads which look to be late prehistoric, bronze age to iron age.

"Other parts of the underlying settlement possibly continue to the Romano-British period, around 1,500-2,000 years ago.

"The images also show tracks and enclosures, as well as a number of pits, which alongside Howard's findings, looks like evidence of metal works."

"We know that Devon's mineral resources were being traded along the coast and along the channel in prehistoric times.

"While Dartmoor is famous for preserved historic sites, the same is not true of coastal areas. So this could be the missing link between those moorland sites and the evidence we have of trading."

Carwynnen Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

1920s picnic picture recreated at ancient monument

A photograph of picnickers enjoying lunch at an ancient monument in Cornwall has been re-enacted almost a century after the original party packed up their hampers.

Photographer Andy Hughes, who has a studio in St Ives, was invited to recreate the scene by members of Sustrust, a history group responsible for rebuilding Carwynnen Quoit, near Camborne, earlier this year.

Using an old glass plate camera, the Truro College photography lecturer set up the shot as the original group had been arranged in 1925. He is currently processing the image and will be revealing the results in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, a number of professional photographers, including Colin Higgs, of the Western Morning News, were on hand to capture the reconstruction process.

“Andy was meticulous in his preparations,” said Colin. “It was fascinating to watch.”

The Neolithic structure, known locally as the Giant’s Quoit, had been a forlorn pile of stones for some 50 years before members of Sustrust began a five-year project to rebuild it. Watched by several hundred enthusiasts and supporters, its 10-ton capstone was finally hoisted back into place on Midsummer’s Day. Measuring 11ft by 8ft by 1ft, the great granite slab was dropped into position by crane.

Pip Richards, who has been the driving force behind the venture to re-erect the 5,000-year-old burial chamber near Troon, said the photographic re-enactment was part of a number of associated activities, including the production of a book and app.

“It is quite a famous photograph and comes from the collection of David Thomas,” she said. “It was a great day and I’m confident the results will be exceptional because the weather was not too bright so people weren’t squinting.”

Among those posing as 1920s picnickers were archaeologists James Gossip, Jacky Nowakowski and Richard Mikulski, Tony Boshier, who was part of the reconstruction team, Sustrust chairman Andy Norfolk, along with volunteer diggers and supporters.

“People just love to dress up and have some fun,” said Pip. “The director, James Kitto, did a great job organising everyone into their positions. If anything was different it was the attitude of those being photographed. In 1925, it was only seven years after the Great War, and there is a sombre air about the picture.”

Carwynnen Quoit – which has also been known as The Giant’s Frying Pan and Pendarves Quoit – might originally have been covered by a large mound of earth. More than a dozen similar structures can be seen elsewhere in Cornwall, including Trethevy Quoit, Lanyon Quoit and Chun Quoit.

Numerous groups were involved in the reconstruction project, including several schools which took part in outdoor lessons at the site. Children from Troon, Crowan, Kehelland, Penponds and Archbishop Benson schools chose items for a time capsule, which has now been buried deep beneath the ancient monument.

“We decided to let the children decide what should go in it,” said Pip. “So among the objects is a teddy bear, a jar of local honey to help people in the future identify the plants of today, hair from members of the team to help with DNA identification, 2014 coins, a serpentine heart pendant, a golf ball, badges from Troon Cricket Club and Camborne Rugby Club, a St Piran’s flag, a pasty key-ring, and a cartoon telling the story of the quoit.”

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sita Cornwall, the excavation revealed around 2,300 objects – many of them Neolithic – in the surrounding area. For more information visit

Yr Wyddfa (Cairn(s))

Part of the Snowdon massif for sale

A large part of Wales’ highest mountain is being prepared for sale.

The 500-acres on the northern slopes of the mountain comprises Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, regarded as one of the premier rock climbing areas in Britain, and rough pasture land from below the cliffs to the Halfway station on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

A website created by agents acting for farmer Dafydd Morris states: “This famous mountain is regarded as one of the wonders of Wales, the jewel in the crown of Snowdonia and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK.

“Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh is the highest mountain in Wales and is the home to a number of rare plant and bird species including the world renowned Snowdon Lily artic-alpine plant, treasured by the Welsh nation.

“A large part of the Snowdon massif is up for sale and Dafydd Morris is calling on all conservationists and the public in general to grasp the opportunity to buy a part of Snowdon to help conserve and cultivate its natural beauty for generations to come.”

It is understood Mr Morris is planning to sell Clogwyn Du’r Arddu in one lot and the remainder of the land in smaller parcels.

Mr Morris was not available for comment but a spokesman said no final decision has been taken yet as to whether the sale will go ahead.

“All the necessary components for a possible sale have not been finalised and a final decision whether or not to sell the land has been taken,” he said.
Showing 1-20 of 54 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20
"The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body." Alfred Wainwright

My TMA Content: