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

Facility Reviews by pure joy

Latest Posts

City Museum & Art Gallery (Bristol) (Museum, Bristol)

Has a decent (permanent) section on the Ground Floor entitled "Archaeology of South West Britain".

Easy to find at the top of Park St / bottom of Queen's Rd. Open every day, 10am-5pm. Free. Covers art, history and the natural sciences. Shop and cafe as well.
31st December 2004ce

Bristol Bookbarn (Library, Bristol)

An enormous warehouse/barn...full of books!! Opened in March 2004, as a sister to the Country Bookbarn at White Cross (see 'facilities'). As usual, the only 'shop' I know where you have to zip your jacket UP when u walk in; it can be freezing in there!

The Bristol Bookbarn is situated on the Central Trading Estate (1 mile from Temple Meads station) just off the A4 Bath Road, close to the Arno's Vale Cemetery.

Seems bigger than the Country Bookbarn at first, but actually is probably smaller. One good thing is that the shelves aren't as high, so looking is easier. But not all the shelves are full, so does seem to have a lot less books. Has archaeology section but didn't seem as good the other Bookbarn.

Note - not a library! Best category I could think of. Not easy to find Internet info about this - it is obviously a hidden gem! Website does now work and is useful.
29th December 2004ce

Kingston Museum (Museum, Kingston)

Good modern displays in a nice old building. The Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age each have their own small cabinets, before the museum then moves through the ages. The Stone Age display is the largest, mainly consisting of Neolithic flint axes found locally (primarily in the Thames). It also shows two Paleolithic axes, one from England and one from Africa, and has an interesting early Bronze Age flint axe (circa 2000BC) that seems to mimic a bronze axe. There are also three Neolithic flint axes that you can touch, which is a nice touch (excuse the pun). A separate case has part of a 10,000 year old Mammoth tusk [Happy Birthday to the mammoth tusk, Happy Birthday....etc - an old Spike Milligan gag].

There is also an excellent 1911 stained glass window depicting a May Pole scene. It says the window was founded on a 16th Century window to commemorate "the old Kingston-Upon-Thames maypole and Morris dances"
22nd March 2004ce

Gull Rock (Holiday Cottage, Perranporth)

A nice late Victorian house, now made into 5 self catering apartments ranging in size. Great elevated position giving views over Perranporth. A couple of minutes walk to the beach and the town. May be a bit basic / bland for some tastes, but that is reflected in the very low prices. Excellent website, with pictures and plans of the flats so you know exactly what you are getting. 28th October 2003ce

Museum of Oxford (Museum, Oxford)

The Museum is small and from my memory the pre Christain stuff is downstairs so disabled access is very poor. The Museum is dedicated to the history of the City and University but does have a bit on ancient history and is worth a quick visit.

"The introductory audio-visual presentation is narrated by Time Team's Tony Robinson". Oh, can I have my money back please (not because of the Time Team but because he's a Bristol City fan).

Surprisingly for a Council owned Museum it is not free (£2 for adults when I went). That's Oxford for you. Can't even fart for free.

Basic info at this webpage -
2nd September 2003ce

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology (Museum, Oxford)

Free and easy to find, just off St.Giles, close to the Martyr's Monument, the Ashmolen is one of the most famous museums in England. If you just want pre-Christain history, head straight for Room 29 on the east side of the First Floor. Loads and loads of artefacts from all over Europe, including some local stuff. Several cases are 'in arrangement' and they are obviously (slowly) trying to make it a bit more kiddy friendly, but it doesn't detract from a still fascinating room.

Good website at -
2nd September 2003ce

Museum Of Richmond (Museum, Richmond, Surrey)

Not that much to see but still interesting for this bit of London. Pre-Roman exhibits are basically limited to one case close to the door with finds from the local area, plus a couple of reconstructions of flint axes - I can imagine kids cracking each others' heads open with them. Then the rest of the small museum covers the rest of Richmond's history, and covers it pretty well. 21st August 2003ce

Heathrow Airport Visitor Centre (Museum, Heathrow)

ok, ok, not a museum but I couldn't find much else to put it under. Listed here solely because there are a few excellent archaelogical artifacts on display and a wall of limited info about the ancient history of the area before agriculture, gravel pits and the airport helped tear it to pieces. The rest of the small centre is a desolate place that sorely needs an excitement make-over. Maybe kids like it, but I doubt it somehow, especially all the BAA backslapping; 'oh, look how great we are' stuff and how quiet the planes are now (I write this at 11.30pm on a sunday night with very noisy planes taking off illegally over Hounslow). The view across the airport isn't even particularly good. Good artifacts though, and at least they tried!

web stuff at -
18th August 2003ce

St Austell Brewery (Museum, St. Austell)

Not quite a Museum - it's actually the working brewery but it included a vistor's centre where you can purchase the produce (hurrah!) and go on a tour of the brewery (£4 in April 2003, including a couple of sample drinks). Tours are available for individuals and group’s twice daily 11.00am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday. Visitor Centre is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Website at - 11th April 2003ce

Royal Cornwall Museum (Museum, Truro)

I knew that the famed cup marked stone from the Tregiffian Burial Chamber was there, as was a copy of the Rillaton Cup, and other things. I didn't even have time to look at the rest of the displays (i.e post Iron Age). There is a huge amount to see and as they are a registered charity it is £4 well spent (and please fill out a Gift Aid form, so they can reclaim your tax!). Open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am - 5.00pm, Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays. Fully accessible to people with disabilities. Decent website at 11th April 2003ce

Trenannick Cottages (Holiday Cottage, nearest is Launceston)

Five cottages have been well converted from 18th Century farm buildings - one has full accessibility for people with disabilites. The three acre grounds include attractive lawned gardens with picnic tables and barbecues, a large playing field with swings, and a copse for the excercising of dogs. Close to Bodmin Moor and the North Cornwall coast. Very close to the fabulous Warbstow Bury Hill Slope Fort. Really cheap off season (especially when I went in April - most other cottages start putting their prices up from March onwards). Real fires. Nice owners and wandering cats. Good website at 10th April 2003ce

Museum of Witchcraft (Museum, Boscastle)

Like it or loathe it, you can't ignore it. I was glad to see the Museum asking people not to have fires, leave rubbish or ‘inappropriate offerings’ at ancient sites. The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, houses the world's largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia. Good website at - 10th April 2003ce

Boturnell Farm Cottages (Holiday Cottage, LISKEARD)

Boturnell farm (SX209619)

4 nice self-catering cottages on a no longer working farm of 25 acres run by Ian & Sue Jewell. The owners are animal mad so if you want to take pets, horses, zebra etc with you they seem to be able to accomdate just about anything! Just south of Liskeard and Bodmin Morr, close to the A38. If you manage to navigate the back lanes well, you can be at Duloe Stone Circle in 10 minutes.

Web site -
22nd March 2003ce

Burnbake campsite (Camping Site, Corfe Castle,)

Visited September 2002

Burnbake campsite, Isle of Purbeck (near Rempstone Stone Circle)

Explorer OL15 map - 996835

This campsite is on a dead end country road about 2 kilometres North from the B3351 (the turning is 3 kilometres East from Corfe Castle). I'm not an experienced camper but the people I went with tell me that it is an excellent campsite. It seemed very good to me, but I have nothing to compare it with. It has an excellent shop, ok showers, washing facilities, all sorts of interesting things to buy or hire (you could hire a huge picnic table or buy a fluffy sheepskin rug whilst we were there), the only public phone for miles around, is situated in lovely woodland, has a stream running through part of it, and generally seemed a relaxed and nice place. It is also just a short wooded walk (less than a two kilometres) to Rempstone Stone Circle.
3rd December 2002ce
My real name is Martin, but there is already a Martin vigorously posting on this fantastic web site so I decided to use 'Pure Joy'; which was the title of the Teardrop Explodes and Julian Cope fanzine that I set up in 1988 and ran until 1991/2. Strangely my interest in ancient sites pre-dates the knowledge that Julian was also into them. However Julian's book has certainly led me to visit more, and plan holidays and pit-stops around places to visit! Studying History (and International Relations) at Uni and coming from the West Country led to a healthy fascination with ancient sites and the countryside.

I was born in 1970 in Colerne, a historic village between Bath and Chippenham (mentioned in the Domesday Book) and have spent time in Bath, Reading, Manchester, West Africa, and Ethiopia. I'm currently living near London, but itching to live in the countryside, preferably Cornwall, or Africa. Reality check! little money and inertia creep.

Most of my working life has been in the voluntary sector, usually by supporting voluntary and community groups with advice and information. I enjoy doing quite a bit of voluntary work with our Credit Union, and as an elected Council member of the National Trust.

I'm no photography expert but I like to take photos (nearly always black and white) of places I visit. Some of the earlier ones looked good but it was only with a £25 point and shoot camera that was amazing unreliable. I've now got an old Pentax SLR, but at the moment I refuse to use filters and special effects. You get what you see.

Up side of ancient site = the sense of history, the countryside, the walk, the sense of adventure, the tranquillity, and the weird things that sometimes happen.

Downside = the loneliness, territorial cows, and the cravings to get back to the countryside

My TMA Content: