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

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Stonehenge and its Environs — News

Toad's leg found at Blick Mead dig


The Irish Independent reports that -

“A dig at the Blick Mead site, just a mile from Stonehenge, near Amesbury, Wiltshire, led to the discovery of a charred toad's leg alongside small fish vertebrate bones of trout or salmon as well as burnt aurochs' bones (the predecessor of cows).

“According to the researchers from the University of Buckingham, the find, which dates back to between 6250BC and 7596BC, is the earliest evidence of a cooked toad or frog anywhere in the world and 8,000 years earlier than the French and even before the Czechs who recently claimed it as a traditional dish.”

More here - http://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/toads-leg-found-at-blick-mead-dig-29661413.html

Devon — News

William Stukeley: Saviour of Stonehenge exhibition opens in Devon


William Stukeley, Saviour of Stonehenge exhibition, opens tomorrow (9 June) at Hartland Abbey, Hartland, Bideford, North Devon and runs until 6 October.

Details here - http://www.hartlandabbey.co.uk/exhibition.htm and here - http://www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/exhibition-William-Stukeley-goes-display-Hartland/story-19271727-detail/story.html#axzz2WArN9bxi

King Arthur's Hall (Stone Circle) — News

King Arthur’s Hall: A new discovery?


Roy Goutte writes -

"On the 16th April I joined a working party from TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) of Cornwall to clear some of the gorse off the banked enclosure known as King Arthur’s Hall on King Arthur’s Down, a part of Bodmin Moor. Always a fascinating place to visit, the day turned out to be far more exciting than I ever imagined!"

More here - http://theheritagetrust.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/king-arthurs-hall-a-new-discovery/

News

Archaeology: A Secret History


Archaeology: A Secret History. Episode one: In the Beginning.

Reviewing in the 27 April-3 May edition of The Radio Times, Gill Crawford writes -

“Archaeology isn’t a new, rigidly scientific discipline. According to Dr Richard Miles (presenter of 2010’s Ancient Worlds), the first person to set out to dig up the past was the Emperor Constantine’s aged mother Helena, who searched the Near East in the early fourth century for physical evidence of the life and death of Christ.

“Richard Miles charts the history of archaeological breakthroughs in a mission to understand the ancient past. In the first programme [the first of three], he explores how the profession began by trying to prove a biblical truth.”

The series begins Tuesday, 30 April from 9:00-10pm on BBC4 television. More here http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/wfnkr/archaeology-a-secret-history--series-1---1-in-the-beginning

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — Links

The Heritage Trust


Silbury Hill by Jake Turner.

"Jake Turner was born and bred in Swindon, Wiltshire, England and has been a keen photographer for around 2 years..."

Sea Henge (Timber Circle) — Links

The Heritage Trust


The Seahenge Gallery, Lynn Museum

"On a recent visit to the Lynn Museum in Norfolk to see the Seahenge Gallery, it was noticed by Bucky's wife Loie, that in each of the trunks that make up the circle there is a wedge-shaped cut extending the whole width of each trunk, and one or two inches into it. Bucky writes that, “Loie noticed a horizontal band of discoloration on one timber. When she pointed it out to me, I started looking at all of them and finding similar bands, at different heights. At first, I thought they might be strips of metal helping hold the timbers to the support posts: there was a tiny bit of space between some of the bands and the wood, as if the bands weren’t tight. Looking at the bands from as close to the timber sides as was possible, it was soon apparent the bands were not connected to the metal posts: light was visible between them. So the bands were in or on the wood. I soon saw that where the bands met the sides of the timbers, they continued around the sides. And the continuations were all triangular. It became apparent that the only explanation for all the different aspects we had noted would be horizontal wedges cut into the wood, and then inexpertly filled with some kind of painted putty.”

"The cuts had indeed been filled and in-painted so, in the subdued lighting of the Gallery, they are not easily seen (which actually contravenes accepted conservation practice as restorations should be clearly visible). Staff on the reception desk at Lynn Museum didn’t know what the cuts were (and hadn’t even noticed them before) but after telephoning one of the museum curators it appears that English Heritage’s original intention was to leave the circle in situ to naturally degrade. In order to get as much information as possible before that happened however a wedge was cut out of each timber (not just the infamous chainsaw chunk from the central bole) for dendochronological cross-dating. English Heritage’s decision to leave the circle in situ was then reversed and all the timbers were subsequently removed for safety and conservation (now unfortunately with slices taken out of them – slices which subsequently needed to be filled in and ‘restored’)."

More here - http://theheritagetrust.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/observations-at-the-seahenge-gallery-lynn-museum/

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region) — News

Great Stone Way hits stumbling block


"Fears about the number of visitors a new 45-mile walking route will bring means proposed improvements to some rights of way cannot go ahead.

"As a result, a grant offer from the European Union of £27,700 for the scheme linking the World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Avebury has been withdrawn.

"The Great Stones Way would run from the Iron Age hill fort of Barbury Castle on the Ridgeway National Trail, past the current end of the trail at Overton Hill near Avebury, along the Avon Valley to Amesbury, to end at historic Old Sarum near Salisbury."

More here - http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/10225316.Avebury_stone_Way_hits_stumbling_block/

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — Links

Vimeo - Highviz


"Aerial views of Silbury Hill. This hill dates back to around 2400BC and is the largest man made mound in Europe. No-one can say what purpose it had, but as usual with pre-historic sites, there are lot's of theory's!

"Filmed with own design hexacopter and Sony CX730."

Pembrokeshire (County) — News

Dream Island: The Archaeology of Skokholm


“Recent investigation of Skokholm by the Royal Commission using LiDAR has revealed extraordinary new details about the prehistoric and medieval occupation of this remote and beautiful Pembrokeshire island. The Commission’s own Olly Davis describes some of these recent discoveries in the fifth episode in the ITV Wales series Dream Island on Friday 19th at 8pm.”

More here - http://heritageofwalesnews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/new-discoveries-reveal-hidden.html

New Discoveries Reveal the Hidden Archaeology of Skokholm Island


Heritage of Wales News reports today that -

“Skokholm is a small island half a mile across located off the south western coast of Pembrokeshire, about two miles south of its larger island neighbour Skomer. Using innovative new survey techniques a small team from the Royal Commission has been investigating how people lived and farmed these Pembrokeshire islands in the past – much of the focus has recently been on Skomer, – but now, the fascinating story of Skokholm is beginning to be revealed.

“In the early twentieth century archaeologists recorded flint scatters on the island – probably the waste from the production of flint blades and scrapers by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. But now, guided by an extraordinary new LiDAR survey of Skokholm, which uses a laser mounted on an aircraft to create a highly detailed terrain model of the island’s ground surface, we’ve been able to reveal the fields and settlements of the Iron Age and Medieval inhabitants and begin to tell their story.”

More here - http://heritageofwalesnews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/new-discoveries-reveal-hidden.html

Stonehenge's Preseli link


"Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries surrounding Stonehenge is the origins of the stones themselves. How did bluestones from the Welsh Preseli Mountains become the construction material for the site of Stonehenge built some 5000 years ago?

"Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London is leading a collaborative project involving universities from across the UK in looking at this enigma. Their work has brought them back to Preseli in search of the quarries and sites that may be the start of the longest journey for megaliths anywhere in prehistoric Europe.

"Following initial investigations in 2011 the team have returned to excavate a quarry site at Brynberian, North Pembrokeshire,

"On Tuesday 18th of September at 7pm, at Brynberian Old School, Professor Mike Parker Pearson will be presenting a talk on the results of the project so far. Everyone is welcome to attend and there will be a small charge to cover refreshments."

Tivyside Advertiser - http://www.tivysideadvertiser.co.uk/news/9922213.Stonehenge_s_Preseli_link/

Avebury (Stone Circle) — News

Future management of Avebury


Nigel Kerton writing in the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald today reports that -

"People who live in Avebury or who visit the village and would like to have a say about the way the village famous for its stone circles and Silbury Hill is managed, will be given an opportunity when the World Heritage Site Management Plan is updated. World Heritage Site officer Sarah Simmons said it was vitally important that those with an interest in the village were involved in revising the last management plan created in 2005.

"There will be two opportunities for the public to put forward their ideas and suggestions, at the Avebury Social centre next Tuesday. Ms Simmonds will be available to answer questions and listen to ideas at drop in sessions in the Social Centre on Avebury High Street next Tuesday between 2 -7 pm and in Marlborough Library on Monday, August 13, between 2 -7pm."

More here - http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/9846872.Share_your_views_on_future_management_of_Avebury_World_Heritage_site/

2012 Summer Solstice Observance


The National Trust has announced that -

“The summer Solstice observance at Avebury is expected to be very busy and there will be limited car parking as a result. From Wednesday 20 June until mid-afternoon on Friday 22 June there will be a temporary campsite alongside the car park opening at 9am on Wednesday 20 June and closing at 2pm on Friday 22 June.

“There'll be less than one hundred tent spaces, allocated on a first come first served basis. They are expected to be in high demand. There'll be no camping available on the weekends either side of the Solstice.”

More here - http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury/page-1/

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region) — News

Julian Richards to lead series of walks around the World Heritage site of Avebury


Lewis Cowen writing in the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald today reports that -

TV archaeologist Julian Richards is to lead a series of walks around the World Heritage site of Avebury this summer and autumn. Dr Richards, who presented BBC’s Meet the Ancestors, is a noted expert on the archaeology of Avebury and Stonehenge and will be leading the Wessex Walks on Wednesday, June 6, Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, October 21.

The Wessex Walks are part of a programme of study days running at museums, galleries and sites all over Britain throughout 2012.

More here - http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/9730600.TV_archaeologist_Julian_Richards_to_lead_walks_around_Avebury/

Landscape with Stones: Paintings and woodcuts by Nick Schlee


"An exhibition of oil paintings and woodcuts by British landscape artist Nick Schlee, focusing on Avebury and the Ridgeway. This new exhibition features some of Nick Schlee's most bold and vivid work portraying the ancient monument of Avebury and the nearby Ridgeway. 80 year old Nick says of the exhibition -

"More than half of the pictures in the exhibition feature those mysterious ancient stones that mean little to most of us, but must have meant a great deal to our forebears.

"Painting them, without being able to share the feelings they engendered for the people who erected them, is a problem. I can only describe their outside appearance. The spirit within is closed to me. It is as if I were recording the skin of a peach without any idea of its taste, its texture and delicious succulence."

Venue: The Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes from Saturday, 14 January to Sunday, 2 September 2012.

More here - http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/events/index.php?Action=2&thID=692&prev=1

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — News

On the move again?


"It now appears the the Stone will be on its travels once again, although this time not across the road, but a few doors along. Diamond Geezer, one of the prolific London bloggers, has been delving into the planning application from the owners of the building where the stone now resides:"

More here - http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/the-london-stone-on-the-move-again/

Rouffignac (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — News

Prehistoric children's 'finger painting' discovered


Writing in The Guardian today Caroline Davies reports that -

"Stone age toddlers may have attended a form of prehistoric nursery where they were encouraged to develop their creative skills in cave art, say archaeologists. Research indicates young children expressed themselves in an ancient form of finger-painting. And, just as in modern homes, their early efforts were given pride of place on the living room wall. A Cambridge University conference on the archaeology of childhood on Friday reveals a tantalising glimpse into life for children in the palaeolithic age, an estimated 13,000 years ago."


More here - http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/sep/30/stone-age-toddlers-art-lessons and a good pic here - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8798392/Childrens-prehistoric-cave-paintings-discovered.html

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — Links

English Heritage


3D Model Unveiled

"A detailed survey of every stone that makes up Stonehenge using the latest technology, including a new scanner on loan from Z+F UK that has never before been used on a heritage project in this country, has resulted in the most accurate digital model ever produced of the world famous monument. With resolution level as high as 0.5mm in many areas, every nook and cranny of the stones' surfaces is revealed with utmost clarity, including the lichens, Bronze Age carvings, erosion patterns and Victorian graffiti. Most surprisingly, initial assessment of the survey has suggested that the 'grooves' resulting from stone dressing on some sarsen stones (the standing stones) appear to be divided into sections, perhaps with different teams of Neolithic builders working on separate areas."

Orkney — Links

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish adventure: Part 8. Broch of Gurness and Cuween tomb. Day 5.


"Today started with a trip into Kirkwall as I wanted to visit some of Orkney's amazing islands and the main booking office was there. It is not difficult to find, sited close to the ferry port in Kirkwall harbour and is signposted Orkney ferries."

Chris Brooks.

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — News

Researchers recreate the sound of a ritual heard there 4,000 years ago


"Visitors to Stonehenge in Wiltshire rarely experience the historic site without the rumble of traffic noise from the nearby A303. But UK researchers have managed to recreate the sound of a ritual there, as heard by our ancestors 4,000 years ago. The research - which starts in an echo-free recording chamber and uses latest computer modelling techniques - has also been used to recreate the acoustics of Coventry Cathedral before it was destroyed in World War II."

Hearing the Past can be heard on BBC Radio 4 at 1102 BST on Monday 12 September, and on BBC iPlayer.

More here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14746589

Orkney — Links

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish adventure: Part 7. Stenness and Brodgar. Day 4 - Part 2.


"Unstan is a neatly kept chambered tomb not too far from Brogdar on the other side of Stenness Loch along the A965. There is adequate visitor parking in a set-aside area and the tomb is a short walk along a marked path. The chamber is beautifully sited, near and surrounded on three sides by Stenness Loch. It is covered with a well kept grassy mound and surrounded by the normal wire fencing but looks quite small compared to the other chambers such as Wideford."

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish adventure: Part 7. Stenness and Brodgar.


"Well, return I did. After a good night sleep I got up and drove straight back to Brodgar but again it was occupied by the maintenance team cutting the grass. Just checking my map, there were a couple of other places in the area I could visit and so drove down to the Barnhouse Stone."

Coate Stone Circle — News

Battle for Jefferies' land: How a 19th-century naturalist became a cause célèbre in Wiltshire


Writing in The Independent today Jack Watkins reports that -

"Jefferies grew up and, until he married aged 25, lived on a tiny farm at Coate, near Swindon. Here his father kept a small dairy herd, but while Jefferies showed little interest in helping out on the farm, he inherited his father's love of nature, and spent his days exploring the surrounding meadows and hills, studying flora and fauna and seeking out archaeological sites, while honing the distinctive earth philosophy that elevated his work beyond mere observation.

"Today Coate farmhouse, its outbuildings and orchard, all so vividly described in his novel Amaryllis at the Fair, survive as the Richard Jefferies Museum. Beyond the ha-ha, dug by Jefferies Snr to prevent the cattle straying into the orchard, is the ancient hedgerow recognised by Jefferies in Wild Life in a Southern County as "the highway of the birds". Over the ridge beyond is the reservoir of Coate Water, the scene for the mock battles of his children's novel Bevis. On the skyline is Liddington Hill, crowned by an iron-age hillfort, one of the numerous tumuli of the North Wiltshire hills which the writer memorably wrote of as being "alive with the dead". It was while lying on the slopes of Liddington Hill that Jefferies experienced the first of what he termed the "soul experiences" leading to his extraordinary autobiography, The Story of My Heart.

"Developers have been eyeing the area around Coate Water for years, however, encouraged by a general refusal of the council's planning department to recognise Jefferies as "a major writer". A current proposal to build 900 homes and a business park was recently rejected by councillors – stunned by the strength of an opposition campaign which has seen protest letters written in the Times Literary Supplement and a petition signed by over 52,000 people. While that rejection was the first time, says Jean Saunders, secretary of the Richard Jefferies Society, that there had been any recognition of the cultural landscape value of Coate, the developers have appealed and a public inquiry is to be held."

Full article here - http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/battle-for-jefferies-land-how-a-19thcentury-naturalist-became-a-cause-clbre-in-wiltshire-2332054.html

Orkney — Links

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish adventure: Part 6. Stenness and Brodgar


"The route back was quite hard going against the wind and now the rain had started again. In fact at times it was hitting my face so hard it felt like riding a motorbike in a hailstorm with the helmet visor open (trust me, not recommended)."

Chris Brooks

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish Adventures: Part 5. Crantit and Grain Souterrains etc


"The weather had turned wet and windy, and while checking my programme of events I decided I would visit some of the more local sites that day. Now I was staying in Finstown, which is very close to some of the local sites that would be on most people's 'Top 5 Orkney places to visit' list."

North Yorkshire — Links

The Heritage Journal: Rock Art Walk and Prehistoric Nidderdale


Sunday, 17 July.

"Dr Keith Boughey leads this fascinating walk to find hidden prehistoric carvings in Nidderdale. A moderate two-part walk of about 3 miles."

Monday, 18 July.

"From Bronze Age rock art to Iron Age hut circles, come along to find out more about Prehistoric Nidderdale."

Scotland (Country) — Links

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish Adventures: Part 4. Tomb of the Eagles


"I left Banks very happy and made my way to the Tomb of the Eagles. In comparison to Banks this place seems better organised in terms of signage and parking. I paid my entry fee (£6.80 I think it was) and was led into an adjoining room where a member of the staff was talking to a small group of visitors about the tomb."

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish Adventures: Part 3. Banks Tomb


"I was awoken at 5am by some other person arriving and parking right next to me with their radio blasting out… what is it with people and their need to make as much noise as possible regardless of what other people might think… I was very glad when the ferry arrived and I booked in, boarded and sat down somewhere quiet."

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle) — News

Call for volunteers at the Rollright Stones


"Hello to all supporters of the Rollright Stones. Just to update you all on the progress at the Rollright Stones and to let you know of up and coming events.

"Since re-starting the Wardens at Easter we have been able to cover most weekends with a Warden on site for a greater part of the day which has resulted in an exceptionally positive reaction from the public who appreciate someone to be able to talk to about the monuments. This has also increased our income through the sale of pamphlets etc. Whilst we have a core of people we are still looking to expand our number of Wardens over the summer – if you are still interested in becoming involved please get in touch or come up to the Stones on a dry day and have a chat. It may be that you might prefer to help out as a volunteer, to this end we have scheduled in a 'site clearance' weekend on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th July. We plan to clear the site of rubbish including the wooded areas, get rid of any barbed wire on the fences, repair some fencing by the lay-bys and any other jobs that need doing. We will supply everything from gloves to food. If you think you may be able to spare a couple of hours or more to come along , either as a Warden or a Volunteer, you will be most welcome – and it is great fun."

Robin Smitten of The Rollright Trust

More here - http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/a-call-for-volunteers-at-the-rollrights-stones/

Scotland (Country) — Links

The Heritage Journal: Scubi's Scottish Adventures: Part 2


"After successfully transferring from train to bus and finally plane, I arrived in a reasonably sunny Inverness. It was about 4pm and after picking up the hire car I made my way towards the Bronze Age Clava Cairns, a short distance east from the city. On the way I noticed a sign for the Culloden battle field and decided to take a quick look (well, I was already going past it after all)..."

Beauchamp Roding (Christianised Site) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Beauchamp Roding</b>Posted by Littlestone<b>Beauchamp Roding</b>Posted by Littlestone

Marlborough Mound (Artificial Mound) — News

The Marlborough Mound: Prehistoric origins confirmed!


Jim Leary, who led the recent archaeological investigations for English Heritage at nearby Silbury Hill, and is co-author of the recently published The Story of Silbury Hill, coordinated EH's contribution to the investigation of Marlborough Mound, the initial results from which have been made public today.

More here - http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/the-marlborough-mound-prehistoric-origins-confirmed/

Wiltshire — News

Landscapes of Thomas Hardy's Wessex


"An exhibition of works by Rob Pountney, Dave Gunning and David Inshaw depicting the spectacular landscapes and ancient archaeological sites that feature in the novels and poems of Thomas Hardy.

"These contemporary artistic representations of Hardy's fictionalized 'Wessex' are highly evocative, focusing attention on the physical and atmospheric qualities of the landscape, in much the same way that Hardy used prose to generate melodrama and set the scene in his work."

The exhibition is on show in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum's Art Gallery from Saturday, 28 May until Monday, 29 August 2011. More here - http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/events/index.php?Action=2&thID=631&prev=1

Award to Wiltshire Heritage Museum


Writing in the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald yesterday, Lewis Cowen reports that,

"The Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes has been awarded £58,200 to work on plans to create new Bronze Age galleries. The money has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund and now the museum will progress to the second stage of the HLF application process. The project will cost more than £200,000 and the museum, in Long Street, will have to contribute between £20,000 and £30,000. The new galleries will feature the rich finds from burials in the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. The project will feature the unique gold and amber finds that define the Bronze Age Wessex culture and are currently locked away in the museum's vaults. The most famous of these are the 4,000-year-old finds from Bush Barrow, including a gold lozenge, belt hook, stone mace and richly decorated bronze dagger. The new displays will also include objects excavated from Upton Lovell and Manton as well as recent finds from Marden Henge, near Devizes."

More here - http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/8938471.__58_000_bronze_age_windfall_for_Wiltshire_museum/ and here - http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/good-or-bad-news-for-wiltshire-heritage-museum/

Eire — Links

Megalithomania


"Megalithomania is the story of one man's journey across 10 years (and counting) around the stones of Ireland. Tom Fourwinds' site is a catalogue of over 2200 sites, containing more than 10,000 photographs of Irish sites, and is a testament to his stamina and zeal."

Alan S.

http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/web-focus-on-megalithomania/

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — Links

The Stones of Stonehenge by E. Herbert Stone


Reporting on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology website, Audrey Pearson writes of the 1924 book, The Stones of Stonehenge: A Full Description of the Structure and of its Outworks by E. Herbert Stone that -

"MIT's copy of this illustrated book on Stonehenge is something special. It belonged to Harold "Doc" Edgerton (1903-1990), the MIT Institute Professor who perfected the electronic stroboscope. Edgerton has pasted many of his own photographs of Stonehenge into his copy, turning it into a volume that's been "extra-illustrated" by a notable figure in the history of photography."

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — News

Laser scan for Stonehenge


"Stonehenge is being scanned using modern laser technology to search for hidden clues about how and why it was built. All visible faces of the standing and fallen stones, many of which are obscured by lichen, will be surveyed. Some ancient carvings have previously been found on the stones, including a famous Neolithic "dagger". The survey is already in progress and is expected to finish by the end of March. "The surfaces of the stones of Stonehenge hold fascinating clues to the past," said English Heritage archaeologist Dave Batchelor. The team will be looking for ancient "rock art", but also for more modern graffiti, in a comprehensive survey of the site."

More here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12688085 and here - http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/stonehenge-in-high-definition/

And a video here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxAnanfB_rg

Wittenham Clumps and Castle Hill (Hillfort) — News

Centenary celebration of Nash's Wittenham Clumps


"Throughout his career as an artist, Paul Nash (1889-1946) had a special affinity for the wooded hills in South Oxfordshire called The Wittenham Clumps.

"First encountering them in his late teenage years, he was immediately caught by their atmospheric shapes and mystical associations. The Clumps became a rich source of inspiration for him and he returned to paint them many times during his life."

More here - http://www.nashclumps.org/index.html

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — News

Stonehenge rocks definitely came from Wales...


...but how?

Reporting for BBC News Wales, Neil Prior writes -

"New research has cast fresh doubt on the journey which the Stonehenge Bluestones took from Pembrokeshire to the site of the pagan monument. Since the 1920s, geologists have strongly suspected that the 'spotted dolerite' Bluestones, which form Stonehenge's inner ring, originated from Mynydd Preseli in the north of the county. However, whilst the new findings have also linked a second type of stone - rhyolites - to the area, they call into question how the stones arrived in Wiltshire."

More here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-12544924

Uffington White Horse (Hill Figure) — News

Ravilious's White Horse in latest Tate Britain show


Writing in the Observer today, Laura Cumming reports on the Watercolour exhibition now showing at Tate Britain and running until the 21 August.

The exhibition includes a watercolour of The Vale of the White Horse (circa 1939) by Eric Ravilious. Something, "...conjured entirely out of cross-hatchings, strokes, dabs and striations of faint colour, frail contour against pale line, with the white page breathing airily in between, is almost nothing, a see-through dream. But it is uniquely strange, starting in reality and ending in its own radiant elsewhere."

More here - http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/feb/20/watercolour-tate-britain-review-cumming

Stonehenge and its Environs — News

Stonehenge and Avebury revised research framework


"This project will provide a united historic environment research agenda and strategy for the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The two parts of the World Heritage Site currently have separate research frameworks that were created at different times and in different formats. The project will update and harmonise the existing frameworks to create a single research framework comprising a resource assessment and a single research strategy with a five-year currency."

More here - http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/projects/wiltshire/stonehenge-avebury-rrf

Avebury (Stone Circle) — News

Avebury Landscape Photography Workshop


The National Trust will be holding an Avebury Landscape Photography Workshop on Saturday, 26 March 2011.

"Professional photographer Mark Philpott will help you look at landscapes in an exciting new way. Learn how to get the best from your camera and be inspired by the Avebury landscape, its stone circle, cosy cottages, fine church and ancient trees."

More here - http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/event-search-2/events/show?id=2108046427&direct=1

Kit's Coty (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Links

The Heritage Journal


"The Medway Megaliths consist of two clusters of sites either side of the River Medway in Kent. These sites are the only groups of megaliths in eastern England. They all date from between 2500 and 1700 BCE and are largely the remains of burial chambers and long barrows."

By Alan S

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — Links

The Heritage Journal


A Guernseyman among the English megaliths by Mark Patton.

"When, in 1865, Sir John Lubbock and James Fergusson argued, in the pages of the Athenaum magazine, as to whether the Roman road passed around Silbury Hill (as Lubbock thought, making the hill itself prehistoric) or beneath it (as Fergusson insisted, making the hill post-Roman), far more was at stake than simply the dating of one of England's iconic monuments. The argument, fundamentally, was about whether archaeology should be seen as an adjunct to history, its discoveries sterile unless they could somehow be related to the written record; or as an essentially scientific pursuit, allowing prehistoric cultures to be understood on the basis of the material evidence alone."

Gwal-y-Filiast (Burial Chamber) — Links

The Heritage Journal


"I visited this gorgeous little cromlech in May 2010 during my 3 day tour of South West Wales. It's a dramatic part of the country, with both mountainous regions and spectacular coastlines. It also just happens to have a concentration of prehistory equal to anywhere in the country. A burial chamber called Gwal-y-Filiast or 'The Grayhound's Kennel' is one such place and a fine example to boot!"

Chris Brooks

Cornwall — Links

The Heritage Journal


Cornwall: West Penwith Wanderings (Part 1)

"If you ever find yourself in West Penwith (Cornwall) with 3 hours or so to spare, this walk should satisfy the Megalithic cravings of most people as it takes in half a dozen or more sites of different types."

Part 1 of a 3 part feature by AlanS.

Fyfield Down (Natural Rock Feature) — News

Geology and Landscape walk


This an opportunity to learn more about Fyfield Down (Site of Special Scientific Interest) with Peter Keene, formerly senior lecturer in geomorphology at Oxford Brooks University.

"The ability to 'read' landscapes or to have 'an eye for the country' adds a new dimension to our appreciation of our surroundings. On this walk, from Avebury via Overton Down to Clatford Bottom across the Fyfield SSSI we shall learn through discussion and investigation of the evidence that is observable in the field how the landscape, with its layers of chalk, sarsen rocks, streams and dry valleys, evolved in this part of the Marlborough Downs."

The walk begins in Avebury at 10:30am on Saturday, 16 July 2011. More here – http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/events/index.php?Action=2&thID=607&prev=1

Avebury (Stone Circle) — Links

On This Deity. The re-discovery of Avebury


"Today, we must celebrate John Aubrey's dramatic rediscovery of Avebury – the world's largest prehistoric stone circle – whilst out hunting with fellow royalists during the English Civil War, exactly three hundred and sixty-two years ago. For Aubrey's heroic retrieval of this vast but (by then) long forgotten Stone Age temple confronted the then-accepted notion that only the coming of the Romans had forced a degree of culture upon the barbaric Ancient British, and also confounded the then-popular 17th-century belief – propounded by the highly influential Scandinavian antiquaries Olaus Magnus and Ole Worm – that all such megalithic culture had its archaic origins in Europe's far north. Indeed, so rich were the cultural implications of John Aubrey's re-discovery that – come the fall of Oliver Cromwell's 11-year-long Commonwealth and the subsequent Restoration of the Monarchy – even the returned King Charles II would himself insist on taking one of Aubrey's celebrated tours of the Avebury area. But how could the world's largest stone circle have suffered such a total cultural extinction in the first place? "

More here - http://www.onthisdeity.com/7th-january-1649-%E2%80%93-the-re-discovery-of-avebury/

The Ridgeway (Ancient Trackway) — News

Ridgeway under threat from high-speed rail link


Laura Barton, writing in the Guardian yesterday, reports on the route of the high-speed rail link that -

"At stake, too, is the preservation of the Ridgeway, Britain's oldest road — a pathway followed since prehistoric times by herdsmen, travellers and soldiers, running from Wiltshire, along the chalk ridge of the Berkshire Downs and on to the River Thames at the Goring Gap. It passes the stone circle at Avebury and the White Horse at Uffington, as well as Grim's Ditch, Wayland's Smithy and Barbury castle. It runs, too, right down Wendover high street, past the clock tower, built in 1842 and now repurposed as the visitor centre, then out towards Wendover woods. There is an ancient feel to this land, something rich and deep and solemn."

More here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/20/heartache-over-high-speed-railway
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Studied art and design at Swindon School of Art, Wiltshire, England and afterwards Japanese painting and calligraphy at Kyoto University of Fine Arts, Kyoto, Japan.

In 1966 I was a lay monk at the Zen Buddhist temple of Ryozen-an in Kyoto and practiced under the guidance of its Director, Ruth Fuller-Sasaki and senior monk Dana R Fraser (co-translator of Layman P'ang: A Ninth Century Zen Classic).

Also present at Ryozen-an was the author and poet Gary Snyder. Gary Snyder was one of the first Westerners in Japan to study Zen Buddhism and was the inspiration for Jack Kerouac's book, The Dharma Bums.

I was assistant conservator (paintings) at Kyoto National Museum from 1969-1980 and Chief Conservator (Eastern Pictorial Art) at the British Museum from 1980-1986. Japan Foundation Fellow 1973-1974 and Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works since 1985.

Interests include ancient history, classical music, comparative religion, the fine arts, poetry and writing.

Home: Chelmsford, Essex ENGLAND

weblogs:

Avebury Matters http://aveburymatters.blogspot.com/
Megalithic Poems http://megalithicpoems.blogspot.com/
Silbury
http://silbury-hill.blogspot.com/

The moral right of the author with regard to text, illustrations and photographs has been asserted.

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