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

News Items by Chris Collyer

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DNA study deals blow to theory of European origins

From the BBC-

'A new study deals a blow to the idea that most European men are descended from farmers who migrated from the Near East 5,000-10,000 years ago.

The findings challenge previous research showing that the genetic signature of the farmers displaced that of Europe's indigenous hunters.

The latest research leans towards the idea that most of Europe's males trace a line of descent to stone-age hunters.'

So the argument continues to go back and forth but the most telling line in the article is -

'But the authors say more work is needed to answer this question'


Man builds Romano-British home in his garden

A Nottinghamshire farmer is building a Romano-British dwelling in his back garden in Calverton. Grahame Watson said he had started the project because he wanted to learn more from experimental archaeology.

Photo story from the BBC. Apparently he's already built an Iron Age round house - for his universiry dissertation. Obviously doesn't do things by halfs.


Early Bronze Age battle site found on German river bank

"Fractured human remains found on a German river bank could provide the first compelling evidence of a major Bronze Age battle.

Archaeological excavations of the Tollense Valley in northern Germany unearthed fractured skulls, wooden clubs and horse remains dating from around 1200 BC.

The injuries to the skulls suggest face-to-face combat in a battle perhaps fought between warring tribes, say the researchers."

Full story-

United Kingdom

What caused Britain's Bronze Age 'recession'?

A large gap in pre-history could signal that Britain underwent an economic downturn over 2,500 years ago.

In history lessons, the three ages of pre-history - Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age - seem to flow together without a gap.

But there is a 300-year period in British history between around 800 BC and 500 BC where experts still struggle to explain what happened, where bronze is in decline and iron was not widely used.

"By 1000 BC the bronze axe had become almost a proto-currency," says historian and presenter Neil Oliver.

"It was wealth that was divorced from its use as a metal. And, a little like economic bubbles that we see today, it spelt danger."

Interesting piece from the BBC that seems to be a promo for A History of Celtic Britain


Archaeologists look to protect rare prehistoric site

A group of amateur archaeologists are hoping to help protect a rare prehistoric site in Nottinghamshire.

They are bidding for funding to further investigate the fields around Farndon, where archaeologists have unearthed hundreds of Ice Age flint tools.

Spain (Country)

Neanderthal family found cannibalised in cave in Spain

Archaeologists in Spain have unearthed the remains of a possible family of 12 Neanderthals who were killed 49,000 years ago.

Markings on the bones show the unmistakeable signs of cannibal activity, say the researchers, with the group having probably been killed by their peers.


Bronze Age hoard found intact in Essex field

"Archaeologists have unearthed a collection of Bronze Age axe heads, spear tips and other 3,000-year-old metal objects buried in an Essex field."

From the BBC


Neanderthals were 'tech savvy'

From the BBC website-

Neanderthals were able to 'develop their own tools'

Neanderthals were keen on innovation and technology and developed tools all on their own, scientists say.

A new study challenges the view that our close relatives could advance only through contact with Homo sapiens.

Full story at


Artefacts hint at earliest Neanderthals in Britain

"Archaeologists have found what they say is the earliest evidence of Neanderthals living in Britain.

Two pieces of flint unearthed at motorway works in Dartford, Kent, have now been dated to 110,000 years ago. "

Full story from the BBC -


Neanderthal genes 'survive in us'

'Many people alive today possess some Neanderthal ancestry, according to a landmark scientific study. . . The genomes of 1% to 4% of people in Eurasia come from Neanderthals.'

from the BBC -

Bradup (Stone Circle)

Mystery surrounds vanishing circle

Found this news item from 1998 concerning Bradup circle.


"A historic moorland stone circle has vanished.

Walkers and local residents are unable to find the Bradup circle - dubbed 'Riddlesden's Stonehenge' - which used to be a few yards off Ilkley Road on Rombalds Moor.

Hilary Simpson, who lives near the bronze age site, is appealing to Keighley News readers for information about its disappearance. She believes it was disturbed by contractors digging a gas pipeline across the moor almost three decades ago.

Other theories put forward by residents and visitors include:

theft by pagan worshippers

rockery thieves

their removal by a former landowner.

Mrs Simpson, of Bradup Farm, says sun worshippers visited the site after she moved in 12 years ago, but couldn't find the circle. "Every so often someone knocks on my door and asks where it is," she says. "The stone circle will have been here for thousands of years. Friends and locals remember it clearly up to about the late 1960s. Somebody must be responsible for it being removed, and for the sake of heritage someone must be made to reinstate it."

Former Riddlesden resident Ken Pickles, who has walked the moors all his life, also believes the circle vanished around the time the gas pipe was laid. "I first walked this moor in 1945," he says. "In the late 1960s there were definitely 12 there. It was a perfect stone circle. It offends me that children should be denied things like this. It was Riddlesden's Stonehenge."

The stone circle has been marked on Ordnance Survey maps for many years though recent editions have described it as 'remains'. There were originally 18 stones but by 1929 just 12 remained, the others used in the construction of nearby Bradup Bridge.

A stone circle expert who visited in the early 1990s found what he believed to be the site, but just one stone remained next to a pile of rubbish and oil drums. Another possible site is a few yards west, where several large stones lay strewn in the thick heather.

Gavin Edwards, Bradford council's archaeology officer, says he tried to survey the circle 20 years ago as a student, but his team was unsure it had found the right place. He says: "It was a bit enigmatic. It's a few stones. Even reports in the 1930s described it as very damaged."

Mr Edwards says the Bradup site could not strictly be called a 'stone circle' but was more likely a prehistoric burial ground. He believes his council predecessors liaised with British Gas to ensure the pipeline avoided historic sites on Rombalds Moor.

British Gas spokesman John O'Grady says workmen laying the pipe in 1971 could not have damaged the stone circle because they worked within a strict 45-foot-wide corridor containing all their machinery. He says the original contractors' map shows the Bradup circle as 'remains', 100 feet south of the edge of their corridor.

But Mrs Simpson claims the only access from Ilkley Road to the construction site would have been from a farm gate on the other side of the stones. A direct route from the gate to the work site would have been across land occupied by the circle."


Several of us (including me) have been quick to point a finger of suspicion at the owners of the local farm concerning the disappearance of these stones but it seems that they are just as concerned about what happened to them as us. Apologies are duly offered.


Germany: DNA used to trace modern descendants of Bronze Age remains.

BBC video clip of interview with a scientist who used DNA analysis to trace the modern descendant of Bronze Age skull remains found in a cave in Germany.

Neanderthals 'Not Close Family'

From the BBC -

'The Neanderthals were not close relatives of modern humans and represent a single species quite distinct from our own, scientists say.
3D comparisons of Neanderthal, modern human and other primate skulls confirm theories that the ancient people were a breed apart, the researchers report.

Others claim Neanderthals contributed significantly to the modern gene pool. '

Those scientists just can't seem to agree on Neanderthals. Full story at -

Neanderthals 'Almost' Human?

From the BBC-

Neanderthals were shedding their sturdy physique and evolving in the direction of modern humans just before they disappeared from the fossil record.

Newly-identified remains from Vindija in Croatia, which date to between 42,000 and 28,000 years ago, are more delicate than "classic" Neanderthals.

One controversial explanation is that these Neanderthals were interbreeding with modern humans in the region.

Full story at -

Neanderthal 'Face' Found in Loire

From the BBC-

A flint object with a striking likeness to a human face may be one of the best examples of art by Neanderthal man ever found, the journal Antiquity reports.
The "mask", which is dated to be about 35,000 years old, was recovered on the banks of the Loire at La Roche-Cotard.
It is about 10 cm tall and wide and has a bone splinter rammed through a hole, making the rock look as if it has eyes.

Commentators say the object shows the Neanderthals were more sophisticated than their caveman image suggests.

"It should finally nail the lie that Neanderthals had no art," Paul Bahn, the British rock art expert, told BBC News Online. "It is an enormously important object."

Full story on the BBC website at-

Satellites could spot ancient remains

From the BBC -

'Satellites really could be used to spot ancient archaeological treasures buried underground, two researchers in Israel have shown.'

Stonehenge (Circle henge)

30000 Solstice revellers watch sunrise

'More than 30,000 people gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to mark the summer solstice....' rest of story at -

That's a lot of people. I wonder who'll be first back with fieldnotes and photos.

Great Orme Mine (Ancient Mine / Quarry)

Prehistoric cavern unearthed

The largest prehistoric man-made cavern in the world may be hidden under a north Wales peninsula.
The cavern is part of a Bronze Age copper mine complex which was first uncovered in 1987 at Great Orme's Head near Llandudno.

Archaeologists excavating the 4,000-year-old site made their latest discovery 130ft below ground in December and have estimated it is at least 50ft in length.

They know the roof area is large, but will have to dig down through many layers of silt before they discover exactly how deep it is.

Full story at -

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