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Brecon beacons rock art found - volunteers wanted
Very similar to the beeb story posted yesterday which I suspect was based on this. With the following at the end which may be of interest to some:
The National Trust’s Council for British Archaeology Community Archaeologist, Charlie Enright will be arranging a number of archaeological and survey days in the area in the coming weeks. He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to get local people involved in an exciting archaeological project. They’ll be working alongside and learning from professional archaeologists and other likeminded people, acquiring new skills and contributing to our understanding of this fantastic site. If people are interested then they should contact me straight away to book – places are limited!”
Volunteers will be undertaking a range of archaeological activities including:
Recording the stone with Dr George Nash.
Conducting a geophysical survey in the area surrounding the stone to see if we can find any evidence of past human activity below the surface.
Condition monitoring and a topographical survey of the surrounding archaeology.
If you are interested in taking part – places are limited so please book by contacting Charlie Enright, Community Archaeologist at the National Trust, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help wanted to create 3D modeling of megalithic sites
"HeritageTogether is an AHRC-funded project run by Bangor, Aberystwyth and Manchester Metropolitan Universities in conjunction with Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. Our aim is to use photographs of our heritage to create 3D models using a process called photogrammetry. We want to create an online library of our heritage, preserved digitally and accessible to everyone.
The project aims to provide new information about megalithic sites and their locations using 3D digital models, which can be generated from digital photographs.
The project aims to incorporate research by members of the public; we hope people will contribute to the project by uploading digital photographs of sites that they visit. Provided that the photos are taken in the correct way, from the images that people load up, we will be able to generate 3D models.
The “citizen science” aspect of the project will allow us to produce 3D models from a wide range of monuments from across North Wales. We hope that this way of gathering data will help us produce a representative (and perhaps comprehensice) catalogue of the heritage of North Wales, provide new research into the state of monument preservation, provide new views of monuments, and provide new evidence for monument use (in the form of rock art for example).
At the end of the project, the 3D models will be freely and publicly available to provide a research resource for members of the public and researchers, though the Historic Environment Record and via the Archwilio platform.
We will acknowledge the contributions of all individuals to the project, and contributors will be invited to the project exhibition, which will present the 3D modelling results. At the exhibition we will acknowledge a number of citizen scientists who we feel have made outstanding contributions to the project. "
English Heritage update on the Priddy repairs
PRIDDY CIRCLE 1 – STATEMENT ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL MITIGATION AND REINSTATEMENT
In May 2011, large-scale unauthorised damage took place on one of the four Priddy Circles, a group of large, circular earthworks of prehistoric date which are protected as Scheduled Monuments. In October 2012, following a prosecution brought by English Heritage, the owner of Priddy Circle 1, Mr Penny, pleaded guilty to carrying out the unauthorised works. He agreed to pay for repairs to the monument and other mitigation works at a cost of around £38,000. He was also fined £2,500 by Taunton Crown Court and ordered to pay costs of £7,500.
The circle is designated and protected under the Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and under this legislation it is a criminal offence to undertake works to a Scheduled Monument without the consent of the Secretary State (known as Scheduled Monument Consent).
In addition to a substantial fine and costs, Mr Penny signed a Voluntary Agreement committing him to funding a package of ‘reinstatement’ works, the detail of which was to be approved by English Heritage. Although we argued that some archaeological investigation should be an important part of an overall package of restorative justice works, the court was clear that the focus of the work funded by Mr Penny should be on aspects of physical reinstatement as opposed to archaeological investigation of the damaged areas.
ENGLISH HERITAGE PRESS STATEMENT
Given the national and international significance of the Priddy Circles, English Heritage felt it important that the damage caused to the monument should not be repaired without some archaeological investigation taking place. Therefore, a programme archaeological work was designed by English Heritage, focusing on the parts of the monument that had been either been damaged or disturbed. The work was commissioned to run alongside the evaluation phase of the reinstatement works, which was necessary to inform decisions on whether to restore areas of the circle that had been subject to earthmoving.
Over Spring and Summer of this year, English Heritage, together with archaeological contractors AC Archaeology, undertook a programme of assessment and evaluation, including a geophysical survey of the damaged parts of the site. The results of this work helped in the design of an archaeological excavation which was carried out in September and October 2013, and focused on an area of deep wheel-rutting caused by the creation of a track way through the site during the unauthorised works.
The fieldwork is now completed and post-excavation analysis and recording are currently underway, including the use of specialist scientific dating techniques by English Heritage at our laboratory in Portsmouth. The results will be published in due course, and it is hoped they will advance our knowledge and understanding of this rare and early monument type, in addition to helping inform management decisions for the Priddy Circles and similar monuments elsewhere.
The final part of the reinstatement works is due to take place early in the New Year, when some reconstruction of the bulldozed circle bank will take place. This is a limited piece of work with two objectives – firstly, to restore some of the form and legibility of the circle and secondly to cover over and protect important Neolithic archaeology which had been left exposed by the damage. When this work is completed, Mr Penny’s obligations under the Voluntary Agreement will have been met and the Scheduled Monument will once again be in a stable condition for posterity.
Drowned Landscapes exhibition at Royal Society 3 - 8th July
A huge area of land which was swallowed up into the North Sea thousands of years ago has been recreated and put on display by scientists.
Doggerland was an area between Northern Scotland, Denmark and the Channel Islands. It was believed to have been home to tens of thousands of people before it disappeared underwater. Now its history has been pieced together by artefacts recovered from the seabed and displayed in London. The 15-year-project has involved St Andrews, Dundee and Aberdeen universities.
The results are on display at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London until 8 July.
Watch the Transit of Venus from Mam Tor
On 6th June there will be a very rare astronomical event: a transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun. The last transit of Venus occurred on June 8th in 2004, and the next one visible from the UK will occur on 8th December 2125 (although there is another transit in 2117 which won't be visible from the UK). The 2012 transit of Venus will be in progress by the time the Sun rises in the UK at 4:50am, and will be over by 5:55am. This means that only the very final stages of the transit will be visible from the UK, weather permitting.
The National Trust has given permission for representatives of the Peak District National Park Authority's Dark Skies project to observe the 2012 transit of Venus from the summit of Mam Tor. Several astronomers will be on hand from 4:30am with telescopes and special glasses to allow members of the public, weather permitting, to view the transit of Venus.
Children dig into the past
Published on Tuesday 17 April 2012 09:00
Digging into the past have been pupils from primary schools around Buxton who have taken part in an archaeological project.
The dig has been taking place in a bid to uncover more about the history of the area around the henge of Arbor Low and Gib Hill situated near to Monyash.
The Arbor Low Environs Project, set to take place over the next five years, is a collaboration between archaeologists, students, volunteers and farmers.
It is being co-directed by Drs Ian and Catherine Parker Heath, independent research archaeologists and Dr Hannah Cobb of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Manchester.
Several test trenches, about a metre square, have been dug as experts try and find out more about the history of the site.
Running alongside the main dig Dr Catherine Parker Heath, of Enrichment Through Archaeology, has been ensuring that members of the local community can get involved.
Mike PItts reviewing the Heelstone - Pit news
Let's have a dispassionate look at the latest Stonehenge news. The Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project (University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection) continues its geophysical survey. So what's new?
The press release is titled "Discoveries provide evidence of a celestial procession at Stonehenge", which is pretty much what all the journalists who reported it said (often just copying the release). It includes a "podflash" interview with Vince Gaffney, and there is a video visualisation of the theory here.
The Independent really went to town, using words like "extraordinary" and "massive", suggesting the discoveries might "turn the accepted chronology of the Stonehenge landscape on its head", and that "Stonehenge site's sacred status is at least 500 years older than previously thought". The project as a whole is going to "transform scholars' understanding of the famous monument's origins, history and meaning". Golly.
I couldn't see where all this came from, so I contacted the Birmingham University press office, who very kindly gave me these geophysics plots. As no other news media anywhere as far as I can see has used them, I thought it would be helpful to post them here. Then we can see what is being talked about.
I mostly leave it to others to look at these plots and comment on the interpretations (please do). What I will do here is describe what Birmingham team found, and add a bit of context.
They pick on two geophysical anomalies, which they call pits, just south of the northern line of the Cursus:
Click through to see the pics
Mass burial suggests massacre at Iron Age hill fort
Archaeologists have found evidence of a massacre linked to Iron Age warfare at a hill fort in Derbyshire.
A burial site contained only women and children - the first segregated burial of this kind from Iron Age Britain.
Nine skeletons were discovered in a section of ditch around the fort at Fin Cop in the Peak District.
Scientists believe "perhaps hundreds more skeletons" could be buried in the ditch, only a small part of which has been excavated so far.
Construction of the hill fort has been dated to some time between 440BC and 390BC, but it was destroyed before completion.
The fort's stone wall was broken apart and the rubble used to fill the 400m perimeter ditch, where the skeletons were found.
A second, outer wall and ditch had been started but not finished.
Oldest evidence of arrows found
Researchers in South Africa have revealed the earliest direct evidence of human-made arrows.
The scientists unearthed 64,000 year-old "stone points", which they say were probably arrow heads.
Closer inspection of the ancient weapons revealed remnants of blood and bone that provided clues about how they were used.
Cyclist attacked by men and dog on Hackpen Hill
An 18-year-old cyclist suffered severe facial injuries after being attacked by three men and bitten by their dog.
The teenager was riding up Hackpen Hill near Broad Hinton, Wiltshire, on Sunday afternoon when he stopped at the top to have a cigarette.
Police said three men in their 40s approached him and punched and kicked him. Their dog, described as large and brown, then bit his arm and face.
The men stole his mountain bike before running off towards a nearby car park.
London's historic views 'under threat'
Through the carefully trimmed foliage, St Paul's majestic dome appears no larger than a thumbnail.
Seen from 10 miles away, London's iconic cathedral seems to hover in the distance like a mirage, shimmering in the heat.
This unique "viewing corridor" from King Henry VIII's Mound, down a specially maintained tree-lined avenue, has been a feature of Richmond Park in south-west London, since the early 1700s.
With the surrounding modern buildings carefully hidden by the holly hedging, this "key hole" view of the 18th Century landmark from the park is like a window to London's past.
But heritage campaigners fear new planning laws - introduced by Mayor Ken Livingstone and rubber-stamped by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly - mean Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece could end up crowded out by sky-scrapers.
Under the new planning rules, the so-called viewing corridor has been narrowed from a width of 150m to 70m.
Ancient hill's holes to be filled
Plans to stabilise the ancient Silbury Hill mound in Wiltshire have been unveiled by English Heritage.
The man-made monument, believed to date to the Neolithic period, developed a hole at the top five years ago after the collapse of infilling in a shaft.
There are proposals to remove an inadequate backfill from this and other cavaties and replace it with chalk.
English Heritage said it would preserve the long-term stability of the hill while minimising further damage.
Surveys have confirmed that the overall structure is stable, although there are pockets of instability resulting from tunnels dug in 1776, 1849 and 1968.
English Heritage is drawing up a brief for contractors to come forward with their proposals for how the work should be done.
The organisation is also looking at how to fund the project.
From the beeb: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/4477192.stm
Stonehenge tunnel plan cash blow
The government is to re-examine plans for a road scheme aimed at diverting traffic away from Stonehenge after the cost of the project doubled.
The scheme, which includes building a tunnel for the A303 near the ancient Wiltshire site, was estimated to cost £183m when it was announced in 2002.
But now the government says the project will cost around £470m
A detailed review of the tunnel plan, as well as other road proposals for the site, will now be carried out.
More at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/4699477.stm
DNA project to trace human steps
A project spanning five continents is aiming to map the history of human migration via DNA.
The Genographic Project will collect DNA samples from over 100,000 people worldwide to help piece together a picture of how the Earth was colonised.
Full story on the beeb
Arrest Over Stone Attack
A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage to the 3,500-year-old Rollright Stones, near Chipping Norton, which were vandalised with yellow paint.
The 26-year-old has been questioned and released on police bail until March 19.
The attack on the ancient stones caused £50,000 worth of damage on April 1, last year. A £1,000 reward was offered by the Pagan Society in a bid to find the person responsible. The stone circle, which has about 70 stones, is known as the King's Men, while another five across a field are known as the Whispering Knights. On the other side of the road is the King Stone.
They are the third most important stone circle in the country, after Stonehenge and Avebury, both in Wiltshire.
Coate development gets government go-ahead
CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn fields near Coate Water into houses and a university campus have taken a huge step forward.
A Government report published this week by an independent panel has given the go-ahead to the divisive development.
It says that the development of the new campus for the University of Bath in Swindon along with 1,800 new house on land between the Great Western hospital and Coate Water is appropriate and provides a good basis for development over the plan period of 1996-2016.
Nb: Apparently any development has to keep the circle but presumably will change its surroundings completely.
Swastika Stone is Actually a Carving of a Boomerang
A top children's writer is suggesting that the boomerang was invented in West Yorkshire rather than Australia.
Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories series, got the idea while out jogging on Ilkley Moor and spotted the famous Swastika Stone. The four-armed Bronze Age image is thought by most experts to have been used in the worship of sun or fire. But Mr Deary said: "It's the earliest representation of a boomerang. There's nothing else it could be."
The writer says the first boomerangs would have had four arms as it was easier to get them to return. But over time, the two-armed boomerang was developed. Mr Deary also sees his claim as something of an act of revenge.
"Australians have sent us Rolf Harris and Kylie Minogue. It's payback time," he said.
Stonehenge replica being built in... New Zealand
"The whole idea of the henge is that people can come out here and learn real basic astronomy, the real foundations of what astronomy is all about," says Richard Hall, the infectiously enthusiastic and indefatigable project manager and president of the Phoenix Astronomical Society, which is building the Kiwi henge.
The aim of the project, funded by a grant of NZ$56,500 from the Royal Society of New Zealand, is to generate interest in science among people who might not normally be keen on the subject.
"We came up with the idea of Stonehenge because it doesn't matter who you are -- everyone looks at the Pyramids and Stonehenge and structures like that (and asks) who built them, why did they build them?" says Hall.
A henge is a roughly circular flat area surrounded by a ditch and a bank of earth, sometimes with a ring of stones or wooden posts within the circular ditch. The New Zealand Stonehenge, due to open June 5, won't merely replicate what is in the Northern Hemisphere; the aim is to create an astronomical calendar for the southern skies.
"The original Stonehenge was very accurate," says Hall, "because, remember, they built that over a thousand-year period. You can see where they've actually had to move things, where things worked OK for a while and then they came out of adjustment. We've got a one-shot here. We're going to get it right."
One of the first jobs when the project started in earnest last September was to accurately survey the site, explains Kay Leather, the project's construction team manager.
"You have to work out, as (the stars) come up, where they will actually appear, as against where a computer says they'll appear, because they are not on the sea horizon," says Leather. "The lintel is actually governed by the hill line so that you've got the stars and things happening at the right point and the rest of the henge happening at the right point."
After the team finished surveying, it took months to fence, excavate and level the site. Late February's torrential rains in Wairarapa, in the southern half of the North Island of New Zealand, didn't help. The ditch kept collapsing. "I guess we dug heavy, sloppy, hard clay about three times, my daughter and I," says Leather, laughing now at the memory of the bad weather. "There were ducks swimming around over there."
Next they erected the pillars and lintels, hollow structures constructed using wood and cement board (hewn stone would have been too expensive and time-consuming to erect). But in a nod to the old, the finished henge will be coated with cement and covered in plaster sculpted to look like stone. Inside the "stones" will be some modern accoutrements: wires to allow a sound system to be installed. "We've already got two couples who want to get married out here," says Hall.
An obelisk inside the stone circle will mark the passage of the year as the shadow of the obelisk moves in a figure eight on a mosaic of 18,500 tiles below. The tiles will display the date and the constellations of the zodiac. Outside the circle, three pairs of standing stones will show where the sun will rise and set for each of the solstices and equinoxes. "So you can see the enormous distances the sun actually travels along the horizon," says Hall.
Every key point will have a plaque denoting its significance. "It may be a simple phrase like 'midsummer solstice sunrise.' The ones that are more seasonally oriented will have something like 'time to harvest the kumara (sweet potato),'" says Leather.
To make the henge truly of Aotearoa (the Mâori name for New Zealand), the astronomers have ensured that their creation links to the stars that Polynesian navigators used to cross the Pacific Ocean. "We've also turned this henge into a huge Polynesian star compass so people will see how people used the stars to navigate by," says Hall.
For those who want to learn even more, the Wairarapa site is home to the Phoenix Astronomical Society's recreational telescope and will eventually house a research observatory as well. But even if visitors only meander amid the Kiwi henge, the hope is that they will learn something new.
Says Hall: "We've got the ancient here, where our ancestors started from, which is just as valid as it was 10,000 years ago, and then we are going to have the modern astronomy here as well."
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