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 22 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Lewis and Harris

Diver finds 5,500 year old cup in Loch.

Also here.

And here.

Traprain Law (Hillfort)

Traprain Law Silver 100th Anniversary of its discovery

Had the fantastic pleasure of a brilliant lecture from Dr Fraser Hunter with stunning slides (in amazing resolution) at Lanark on Monday 9th December.

There is a new, rather pricey book coming out. The images are simply stunning and the finds shed new light on the context of Traprain from Bronze Age through to the Iron Age. Maybe one for the Santa wishlist.

Another very recent find (from some lovely Detectorists) over in Fife.

Southern England

London Treasure - Havering

South Lanarkshire

The Howburn Book "Reindeer Hunters at Howburn Farm, South Lanarkshire"

The Book of Howburn published towards the end of last year...

Full report of the late Upper Paleolithic findings from from Howburn Farm a little North of Biggar. Over ten years in the making, the work is dedicated to the memory of Alan Saville of the National Museums of Scotland who was a great supporter of Biggar Archaeology Group's prehistoric work and who died during the preparation of the book. Alan should have been co-author of the lithics side of the project. The book is dedicated to his memory. Similarly, some of Biggar Archaeology Group have also sadly passed away in the interim; Fiona Christison, Denise Dudds, Ian Paterson and Janet Ward, all stalwarts of BAG, and all fondly remembered.{4ED1A69D-996A-4D30-A92A-5FC7CFD6099F}

Hard copies are £25.

Free PDF of full publication from this link.{F70B0E82-8EC0-4A15-8E8A-C9CE826C2AF8}

What a story.


Long Barrow business rates for storage

You couldn't really make this up.

South Ayrshire

Council celebrates staffing cuts by building a "Stonehenge" style monument on a roundabout

Couldn't make it up.

Perth and Kinross

Big Nosed Pict found at the A9/ A85 Interchange

Big Nosed Pict found at the A9/ A85 Interchange


"The IKEA of Neolithic sites"

Skara Brae made Number Nine in The Daily Record's top ten of Trip Advizer scathing reviews of Scottish Tourist Attractions.


England (Country)

Uffington White Duck

Those zany National Truss People really had me going then.

Baildon Moor

Rock Art on Baildon Moor (carved into a 4,000 year old stone!)

N AMATEUR archaeologist believes he has stumbled across Yorkshire’s first selfie, carved into a 4,000-year-old stone on Baildon Moor.

Gordon Holmes, from Shipley, first became interested in carved cup and ring stones on the district’s moors when his father pointed one out to him when he was about 12.

Now aged 64, retired design engineer and IT technician Mr Holmes has dedicated his life to studying the weathered ancient carvings which he believes could date to the late Stone Age.

But he says it had dawned on him recently that one carving he had been studying was of the artist himself.

“I realised that I was looking at a Stone Age selfie,” he said.

“There are many cup and ring stones around the moors, carved into millstone grit, but there are at least five such rocks with carvings representing aspects of the night sky which are on Baildon Moor.

“It seems that only Baildon Moor carvings correlated to patterns of star constellations. The other moors of Ilkley, Rivock Edge, Harden and Bingley only have the odd example of astronomical significance.

“What’s more, these five appear to have a particular style, a bit like handwriting, and I am convinced they are by the same artist.

“My father said to me all those years ago that no-one knew what the markings were, so I made it a mission to find out. I discovered the carvings showed the Pole Star, Cassiopeia, Hyades and Pleiades.

“One particular stone shows Cassiopeia, distinctive in the night sky because it forms a clear ‘W’ shape.

“It also shows a stick figure, which I presume is the artist, sitting or standing in the local landscape or round a fire with almost like a speech bubble above their head showing Cassiopeia above him. It is as if he has carved a selfie of himself,” said Mr Holmes.

“I know there could be earlier interpretations of selfies, such as those drawn in hieroglyphics by the Ancient Egyptians, but this stone carving selfie on Baildon Moor may well be the earliest example in Yorkshire.”

Mr Holmes is also interested in astronomy and has taught the subject at Bradford College.

He is also known for his search for the Loch Ness monster. In 2007 he filmed a large moving object in the loch. Almost a decade later, US-based software firm DreamFactory was able to analyse the footage and confirmed Mr Holmes’s suspicions that he had filmed a giant eel swimming in the loch.


Orkney BBC Series - "Not weird enough"

This is lovely.


Carnoustie's Golden Sword

Intriguing find under footie pitch.

South Lanarkshire

Bronze Age Rapier Found

For those who know Blackhouse Burn this find is only a few hundred yards away at Cloburn Quarry.

Stonehenge and its Environs

Superhenge at Durrington Walls?

Roll up... get your restored Stonehenge here...


Ancient grave found in Orkney

Archaeologists have been excavating the site of a child's grave on an Orkney island.

The grave - which it is believed could be up to 4,000 years old - was uncovered on Sanday's shoreline by winter storms and high tides.

It is thought the skeleton could be that of a child aged between 10 and 12.

The find was made by Carrie Brown, of See Orkney tours, who called in local archaeologists.

Historic Scotland was alerted, and experts were sent to Sanday on Saturday.

The skeleton will be analysed by an osteoarchaeology team in more suitable climatic conditions.

The remains were found on 3 February.


Massive Siberian Geoglyph

This is a bit enormous and a bit old.

Castle-an-Dinas (St. Columb) (Hillfort)

Castle An Dinas

PDF Reoprt on Management and Restoration of Hillfort - illustrated by Jane Stanley.

Jane Stanley Paints Castle An Dinas

Follow link to see the artwork.

Jane Stanley is an extremely talented archaeological reconstruction artist, based out of Cornwall. Castle-an-Dinas is an Iron Age fort in the middle of that county, a six-acre site second only, in terms of its natural charisma, to South Cadbury in Somerset. Put Jane and Castle-an-Dinas together and you get some of the best historical fiction around, though historical fiction by brush stroke.

Cornwall Council commissioned Jane to do a series of paintings of Castle-an-Dinas. What makes this series (to the best of my knowledge) unique is that they are not just different aspects of the site (a deer kill, a burial, a hosting…) They are the site over perhaps twenty five centuries. We put them up here with a link to Jane’s facebook page, hoping that neither she nor Cornwall Council will send a cease and desist order: they are available in a pdf online; also given the quality of Jane’s work we take pleasure in pointing out a recent book, A Brush with the Past. Beach’s credit card has presently maxed out but as soon as everything is back up and functioning… The image at the head of the post shows the creation of the two bronze age tombs at the head of Dinas: the second picture immediately below shows, instead, the Iron Age fort that followed on. As is typical of these sites the Iron Age was all too happy to leave the Bronze Age in place. The stronghold was crowned by two tombs from centuries before.

So far this is the normal fare of archeaeological art (albeit it at the best end of the market). Now though we turn to more recent times. In the first days of March 1645 a mauled Royalist army camped out in old Iron Age vallum. Cornwall was an overwhelmingly Royalist area, but here the decision was made to surrender. The fight was impossible by this date and two days later the Royal Standard was given up to the Parliamentarians at Bodmin: a black day. Britain would labour under the ‘Protector’ for fifteen wasted years.

The next picture is a curiosity. Cornwall is mining country, but it was not until Britain’s straitened circumstances in the First World War that the decision was made to sink a shaft here in search of Wolfram of all things. Love the combination of Edwardian industrial might and Iron Age landscape.

Then my favourite picture of them all. In the 1960s a Pennsylvanian archaeologist, Bernard Wailes carried out a multi-year professional dig at the site. Bizarrely, though this sometimes happens in archaeology, he never got his act together to actually publish the findings. There were two brief notes in a Cornish journal. Castle-An-Dinas waits another archaeological hero, preferably one though that has time to dig and write.

Here are the pictures that Jane missed or that Cornwall Council did not commission. First, there are Arthurian rumours about the fort: a bit of desperate Romano-British sheltering might have been fun. Second, the fort was used by smugglers in the modern period: barrels being rolled out of the way of excise? Third, there are reports of great furze fires in the modern period at night. By all accounts the whole countryside could see Castle-an-Dinas in flames for miles around.

Uffington White Horse (Hill Figure)

Uffington White Horse re-chalked by volunteers
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I live in Scotland with my other half and my twelve year old son.
I grew up looking across the Firth of Clyde to Arran. I first visited the island in 1980. I've gone back a few times every year since.

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