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

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Cissbury Ring (Hillfort)

Illegal treasure hunters damage ancient hill fort on South Downs


An ancient hill fort dubbed "one of the jewels in the crown" of the South Downs National Park has been damaged, police have said.

Illegal metal detecting is believed to be behind the disturbance to the ground at the 5,000-year-old Cissbury Ring site near Worthing in West Sussex.

More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/25/illegal-treasure-hunters-damage-ancient-hill-fort-south-downs/

Monpelier (Hell Fire Club) (Passage Grave)

Megalithic Art Discovered at the Hellfire Club


Sitting partially exposed in the hollow of the strange mound behind the Hellfire Club, a dark lump of igneous rock served as a handy border to many bonfires over the centuries. However, those who enjoyed the warmth of the fire while lying up against the comfortably curved bank of the mound may not have realised that the mound they rested upon was the remains of an ancient tomb, and that plain looking dark stone was carved with symbols and designs that are over 5,000 years old.

The discovery of the artwork was the result of incredible serendipity. The surface of the stone has been damaged by fires and weathering, so the artwork is almost completely imperceptible to the naked eye. Had we dug our trenches anywhere else on site we would not have discovered it, and had we excavated during the summer, the higher flatter sunlight may not have revealed the faint trace of the artwork.

As the stone was sitting in a disturbed modern layer of material relating to picnics and parties, it was outside of its original context. We removed it quite early in the dig, though due to the many fires that had been lit upon it, it fractured into four large fragments as we began to lift it from the trench. As we did not originally notice anything particularly unusual about the stone, we (with some difficulty) lifted it out of the trench and set it on the side, so it would be close at hand for when we began to backfill the trenches.

More here: http://www.abartaheritage.ie/megalithic-art-discovered-at-the-hellfire-club/

Brittas (Portal Tomb)

Investigation into Brittas Bay dolmen damage


Damage to an ancient dolmen in Brittas Bay has been reported to the gardaí and the National Monument Service.

The megalithic tomb named the Castletimon Dolmen dates back close to 4,000 years and is a protected monument.

Part of the structure appears to have been knocked down, while stones and earth have been pulled away.

Steven Brennan of the Brittas Bay Tourism Association said the destruction of the Dolmen has caused widespread local anger.

'I was pretty shocked when I first saw the damage. People are very annoyed. It's a very historic area and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves.

'People are embarrassed by this incident. It's one of Wicklow's oldest human structures and is one of only four on the east coast of Ireland.'

The whole area is of significant historical importance with a number of standing stones, cairns, a fourth century Ogham stone and a recently newly discovered standing stone. There is also a sixth century monastery nearby which was second in importance only to Glendalough.

More:
http://www.independent.ie/regionals/wicklowpeople/news/investigation-into-brittas-bay-dolmen-damage-34563576.html

Germany (Country)

Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle


By Andrew Curry
Mar. 24, 2016 , 9:30 AM

About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.

Struggling to find solid footing on the banks of the Tollense River, a narrow ribbon of water that flows through the marshes of northern Germany toward the Baltic Sea, the armies fought hand-to-hand, maiming and killing with war clubs, spears, swords, and knives. Bronze- and flint-tipped arrows were loosed at close range, piercing skulls and lodging deep into the bones of young men. Horses belonging to high-ranking warriors crumpled into the muck, fatally speared. Not everyone stood their ground in the melee: Some warriors broke and ran, and were struck down from behind.

When the fighting was through, hundreds lay dead, littering the swampy valley. Some bodies were stripped of their valuables and left bobbing in shallow ponds; others sank to the bottom, protected from plundering by a meter or two of water. Peat slowly settled over the bones. Within centuries, the entire battle was forgotten.

More: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/slaughter-bridge-uncovering-colossal-bronze-age-battle?utm_source=sciencemagazine&utm_medium=facebook-text&utm_campaign=bronzeagebattle-3174

Eire

Bear bone discovery pushes back date of human existence in Ireland by 2,500 years


Scientists were astounded when tests showed the fragment, from a butchered brown bear, confirmed that humans were active in Ireland 2,500 years earlier than previously suspected.

The fragment was stored in a cardboard box in the National Museum for over 100 years but had only been subjected to detailed forensic tests over the past two years.

The incredible discovery by Dr Marion Dowd and Dr Ruth Carden will now re-write Ireland’s settlement history with the bone indicating that humans were hunting in Ireland in 10,500BC – some 2,500 years earlier that previously thought.

Amazingly, the bear bone was discovered in Clare back in 1903 but was left for over a century in a storage box in the National Museum without being forensically tested.

Dr Dowd of IT Sligo and Dr Carden of the National Museum decided to examine the bear bone and subject it to radiocarbon dating.

More: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/bear-bone-discovery-pushes-back-date-of-human-existence-in-ireland-by-2500-years-34556770.html

Cambridgeshire

Bronze Age houses uncovered in Cambridgeshire 'best ever'


Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the "best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain".

More:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-35280290

County Sligo

Tomb thought to be more than 5,000 years old discovered


Site on Sligo/Leitrim border may not have been found until now due to mountain setting

A hilltop tomb recently discovered close to the edge of Tievebaun mountain on the Sligo/Leitrim border may be more than 5,000 years old , according to the archaeologist who found it.

Michael Gibbons said a series of discoveries in this area – including animal enclosures, field systems, and booley settlements – suggests that there are layers of history spanning the Neolithic period, the iron age, the bronze age and the post medieval period on these uplands.

Mr Gibbons, who discovered other tombs in this area a decade ago, said that the hilltop tomb, which was a sacred site up to 3,500 BC, was probably not discovered before now because of its dramatic setting on the edge of the mountain.

More: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/tomb-thought-to-be-more-than-5-000-years-old-discovered-1.2422061

County Westmeath

Bronze Age road in Midlands turned into potting compost


‘Scandal’ that oak road on Mayne Bog, dating to 1200-820 BC, not surveyed or preserved

The Midland bogs have always been places of mystery – vistas of burnt umber that every so often unearth prehistoric time capsules: vats of bog butter, golden hoards, the mummified remains of sacrificial corpses.

In Longford, the Iron Age road unearthed at Corlea Bog has become the county’s prime tourism attraction, with massive oak planks wide enough for two chariots to pass side by side. In 2005, the discovery of a grander and far longer oak road at Mayne Bog in Coole, Co Westmeath, was a cause of great excitement. The National Monuments Service established that it was no mere trackway, measuring up to 6m in width, and dating to 1200-820 BC – a 1,000 years older than Corlea.

Westland Horticulture, extracting peat from the site at the time, were expected to cease work immediately but the National Monuments Service did not issue a preservation order, nor record it in the Register of Historic Monuments.

More:
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/bronze-age-road-in-midlands-turned-into-potting-compost-1.2368920

County Fermanagh

Mud, lies and hazard tape: Reviewing The Report on the Drumclay Crannog


(Slightly out of our timeline being early-medieval, and very long and detailed, but of interest to archaeological activists all the same)

I’ve written before about how a simple, unattributed blog post … just 178 words long … kicked off an advocacy campaign to ensure the correct management and archaeological excavation of a crannog at Drumclay, Co. Fermanagh. I’d had reports from trusted, experienced colleagues that the site was poorly run and equipped. Worse than that, the excavation appeared to be in imminent danger of hitting its arbitrarily allotted time limit, declared ‘complete’, and whatever else remained allowed to be destroyed … all so the road could continue. Well, we weren’t going to stand for that and, a large number of archaeologists and concerned members of the public banded together to cause a fuss. We were joined by a significant number of professional organisations, including the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, and the BAJR Federation. We set up a Facebook page, we ended up on radio and television talking about it, we eventually presented a paper at the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland conference in Belfast, and even wrote pieces about it for Archaeology Ireland magazine [here & here]. The initial reaction of the relevant government departments was to close ranks and claim that they were satisfied with the conduct of the excavation and that everything was running according to plan. When that failed, it was claimed that they were aware of the issues and were already working hard behind the scenes to resolve them. The significant breakthrough came when then Minister for the Environment, Alex Attwood, visited the crannog, was convinced of its importance and subsequently ordered an exclusion zone around the site, along with instituting a competent regime of excavation and management. To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson’s obituary of Nixon: ‘That is Drumclay, in a nut, for people with seriously diminished attention spans.’

More:
http://rmchapple.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/mud-lies-and-hazard-tape-reviewing.html

News

World’s most inaccessible art found in the heart of the Colombian jungle


A British wildlife film-maker has returned from one of the most inaccessible parts of the world with extraordinary footage of ancient rock art that has never been filmed or photographed before.

In an area of Colombia so vast and remote that contact has still not been made with some tribes thought to live there, Mike Slee used a helicopter to film hundreds of paintings depicting hunters and animals believed to have been created thousands of years ago. He said: “We had crews all over the place and helicopters filming all over Colombia. As a photographer, Francisco Forero Bonell discovered and took the pictures for my movie.”

The extraordinary art includes images of jaguar, crocodiles and deer. They are painted in red, on vertical rock faces in Chiribiquete national park, a 12,000 square kilometre Unesco world heritage site that is largely unexplored. There are also paintings of warriors or hunters dancing or celebrating. “It is the land that time forgot,” Slee told the Observer.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/20/colombia-wilderness-film-maker-prehistoric-rock-art?CMP

Callaigh Berra's House (Passage Grave)

Slieve Gullion: Volunteers help repair ancient cairn


A group of volunteers has helped to repair a 5,000-year-old burial cairn on one of Northern Ireland's most significant mountains.

Around 30 of them trekked to the top of Slieve Gullion in south Armagh at the weekend to carry out the work, under the supervision of an archaeologist.

They helped to fix damage done to the huge passage grave by the weather and increasing numbers of hill walkers.

Stones had become dislodged from the top of the ancient cairn.

As a result, the entrance to the site was in danger of being blocked.

The burial chamber is lined up to illuminate with the light from the setting sun of the winter solstice on 21 December every year.

More:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-32778672

Boheh (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Megalithic rock-scribing found near Croagh Patrick


A rare sample of megalithic engraving or “rock-scribing” has been found on an ancient pilgrimage route to Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.

The prehistoric ornamentation resembles that found in Lough Crew, Co Meath, and is one of just of two rock art samples of its type to be identified west of the Shannon, according to archaeologist Michael Gibbons.

The panel had been concealed behind the outcropping at the Boheh townland known as St Patrick’s chair, which has some 250 petroglyphs or carvings on its surface. The carvings are believed to have been inspired by the “rolling sun” phenomenon, where the setting sun appears to glide down the flank of Croagh Patrick during the months of April and August.

More: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/megalithic-rock-scribing-found-near-croagh-patrick-1.2119328

Eire

Ancient remains found in Midlands bog


An ancient bog body has been discovered at a midland bog where a similar find was made two years ago.
The remains were found by a Bord na Móna worker at Rossan Bog on the Meath/Westmeath border on Saturday morning.
A Bord na Móna spokesman said: "The remains of a bog body were found in Rossan Bog two miles from Kinnegad on the Meath and Westmeath border."
The spokesman said the employee discovered the remains prior to beginning work and immediately put Bord na Móna's protocol in place.

More:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0916/644192-bog-body/

Cheshire

Lindow Man: Gruesome discovery who became 'international celebrity'


Thirty years ago, a peat cutter working in the Cheshire countryside spotted what he thought was a piece of wood trundling along a conveyor belt.

Tasked with the job of keeping the belt free of debris, he threw it away, but as it hit the ground, the dirt fell from it and the remains of a human leg lay in the summer sun.

That gruesome discovery on 1 August 1984 led to Rick Turner, the newly-appointed county archaeologist, being called to the site on Lindow Moss.

He says what followed were "the most exciting days of my archaeological career".

"I was taken out on to the moss and shown where the previous day's peat had been taken from," he says.

"Walking the uncut sections, I found a flap of dark, tanned skin projecting from below.

"Reporting my discovery to the police, we agreed I would be given a day to excavate the remains."

On 6 August, the site was recorded and sampled, the limits of the remains were established and "Lindow Man was lifted - within his block of surrounding peat - on his way to international celebrity", Mr Turner says.

More:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-28589151

Wardstown (Rath)

Digging Tlachtga: Getting into the trenches with Ireland’s past


HAVE YOU EVER wondered about how archaeologists discover the story of the past? In the second of three articles in an exclusive series for TheJournal.ie, archaeologist Neil Jackman will take you behind the scenes of the exciting excavations at Tlachtga (The Hill of Ward) in Co Meath.

A team of volunteer archaeologists led by Dr Stephen Davis from UCD and site director Caitríona Moore, are attempting to discover the story behind one of Ireland’s most enigmatic sites.

http://www.thejournal.ie/tlachtga-trench-1493408-May2014/

Lia Fail (Standing Stone / Menhir)

5,000-year-old standing stone vandalised in Meath


Gardaí are investigating vandalism to the Lia Fáil - the standing stone at the top of the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.
A garda spokesman confirmed that green and red paint was poured over the stone overnight.
At least 50% of the 5,000-year-old granite has been covered by the paint.
In 2012 the stone was damaged when pieces of it were hacked off with an ax.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan described last night's vandalism as "truly shameful".
"This is an act of cultural vandalism," said Ian Doyle, archaeologist and head of conservation with the Heritage Council.
He said local people and others "have a close relationship with the Hill of Tara and this is an assault on their sense of pride and the respect, love and affection they have for it."
Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.

http://m.rte.ie/news/touch/2014/0529/620400-hill-of-tara-vandalism/

County Galway

Log boat dating back 4,500 years found in Lough Corrib


A 4,500-year-old log boat is among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft that have been located in Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes and other weapons.
The vessels were discovered by marine surveyor Capt Trevor Northage while mapping the western lake to update British admiralty charts.
Investigative dives were subsequently carried out last summer by the underwater archaeology unit (UAU) of the National Monuments Service, and radiocarbon dating of samples was then conducted.

More: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/log-boat-dating-back-4-500-years-found-in-lough-corrib-1.1754885

Jersey

Jersey's place in Neanderthal history revealed in study


A study on a Jersey site that revealed a significant piece of late Neanderthal history has been published.

Scientists working on an archaeological dig in St Brelade said teeth found at La Cotte suggest Jersey was one of the last places Neanderthals lived.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-24593772

Eire

World's oldest bog body hints at violent past


Cashel Man has had the weight of the world on his shoulders, quite literally, for 4,000 years.

Compressed by the peat that has preserved his remains, he looks like a squashed, dark leather holdall.

Apart, that is, from one forlorn arm that stretches out and upward and tells us something of the deliberate and extremely violent death that he suffered 500 years before Tutankhamen was born.

Cashel Man is now being studied at the National Museum of Ireland's research base in Collins Barracks, Dublin. He was discovered in 2011 by a bog worker in Cashel bog in County Laois.

When the remains are brought out of the freezer, it is hard to tell that this was ever a human being.

More:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24053119

Co Laois bog body is world's oldest


New tests on the remains of a preserved body found in a Co Laois bog have revealed that it is the oldest bog body ever discovered in the world.

The body was found by a Bord na Móna worker milling peat in 2011.

It was initially believed that the remains were those of a young female which were around 2,500 years old.

However, a series of recent tests have revealed that it is the body of a male, which dates back as far as 2000 BC.

More here:

http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0802/466108-bog-body/
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Taxi-driving, graphic artist with a penchant for high hills and low boulders. Currently residing in Tallaght where I can escape to the wildernesses of Wicklow within 10 minutes.

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