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

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Showing 1-20 of 57 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Mulfra Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Mulfra Quoit vandalised with painting of aliens

Trethevy Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Greenstone platform found at Trethevy

An archaeological excavation at Trethevy Quoit near Darite has made an exciting discovery which means that our understanding of the prehistoric site will have to be reassessed.

Between 9th and 13th July, more than thirty volunteers took part in the dig, which was supervised by Andy Jones and Ryan Smith of the Cornwall Archaeological Unit.

A geophysical survey had been undertaken in the field around the monument earlier this year and recorded a number of below-ground anomalies, which were targeted through excavation.

The largest below-ground feature was positioned close to the Quoit itself and, on investigation, this was found to be a significant platform of greenstone. The material had been quarried locally and brought to the site. It was clearly an integral part of the monument.


Barrow discovered near Looe

An Archaeologist at The Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a prehistoric Bronze-Age barrow, or burial mound, on a hill in Cornwall and is about to start excavating the untouched site which overlooks the English Channel.

The site dates back to around 2,000 BC and was discovered by chance when ANU Archaeologist Dr Catherine Frieman, who was conducting geophysical surveys of a known site outside the village of Looe in Cornwall, was approached by a farmer about a possible site in a neighbouring field.

"He told us about a 'lump' on his land and that nobody knew what it was, so he asked us to take a look at it," said Dr Frieman, who is a Senior Lecturer in the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology.

"So we ran our equipment over a 1,600 metre square area and sure enough we found a quite obvious circular ditch - about 15 metres across - with a single entrance pointing south east and a bunch of pits in the middle.

More here:

Wales (Country)

Cadw to remain in Government

The Welsh Government’s historic environment service Cadw will remain part of Welsh Government for the foreseeable future, Culture Minister Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas confirmed today.

As a government division, Cadw has put a greater focus on diversifying its appeal over recent years, becoming more economically sustainable and improving its ‘big 10’ attractions – something which has paid dividends, with record attendance numbers in 2017, up 8.4% on the previous summer.

Earlier this year a steering group report (Historic Wales – A roadmap towards Success, Resilience and Sustainability for the Heritage of Wales) included a specific recommendation relating to the future governance of Cadw. A robust business case was then taken forward to identify the best option.

The business case considered the steering group’s recommendations that Cadw should become ‘a charitable body or an executive agency outside of Welsh Government’. This was measured against the status quo, undertaking an in depth analysis of the functions of Cadw and the drivers for change.

The case was taken to Cabinet colleagues in October, with Dafydd Elis-Thomas happy to implement the decision to accept its core recommendation that the successes of Cadw are best built on and developed from within Government.

The Culture Minister said:

“I have long admired the good work done by Cadw in showcasing some of the magnificent heritage we have here in Wales, opening it up for all to enjoy.

“This has been done largely from within Government, and whilst it was appropriate at this juncture to explore all avenues as to how we can build on this success, I’m pleased to implement Cabinet’s decision to accept the business case’s clear recommendation that Cadw should remain part of Welsh Government.

“But it is also imperative that Cadw looks to evolve and progress, keeping up with best practices and having the flexibility and courage to make the best decisions for all its stakeholders and for the thousands of historic sites that comprise our unique historic environment.

“On this basis, I’m equally pleased to accept recommendations relating to increased autonomy for Cadw in certain aspects. These include establishing a formal system of delegation and internal freedoms, making best use of strategic partnerships between national organisations and establishing an internal operating board.

“These recommendations will maximise the contribution that Cadw can make to an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales. In particular they will help ensure that the public continues to have the best possible quality monuments, attractions and events to enjoy.”

Cadw is the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales. It looks after and opens to the public 129 monuments across Wales. Of these, 29 are staffed sites and the remainder are free open-access sites.

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:
Showing 1-20 of 57 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

"The movers move, the shakers shake, the winners write their history. But from high on the high hills, it all looks like nothing." Justin Sullivan

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