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

News Items by Littlestone

Latest Posts
Showing 1-20 of 79 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Stonehenge and its Environs

We will learn more about Stonehenge…

In his letter to The Times (Saturday, 16 September) Mike Pitts, Editor of the British Archaeological magazine, writes –

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 -


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 - and here -

King Arthur's Hall (Stone Setting)

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 -


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

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region)

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 -

Pembrokeshire (County)

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 -

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 -

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 -

Avebury (Stone Circle)

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 -

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 -

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region)

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 -

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 -

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

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 -

Rouffignac (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

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 - and a good pic here -

Stonehenge (Stone Circle)

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 -

Coate Stone Circle

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 -

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle)

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 -

Marlborough Mound (Artificial Mound)

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 -


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 -
Showing 1-20 of 79 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20
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: North Yorkshire, ENGLAND


Avebury Matters
Megalithic Poems

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

My TMA Content: