New excavations at Church Hole
Sheffield archaeologists are working with the British museum at Creswell Crags for the next two weeks, in the first major investigation at the site since the 1920s. Church Hole was excavated in the 1870s - the archaeologists will be examining the Victorian spoil heap outside the cave entrance, which will be full of vital clues to the lives of the people and animals that used the cave during the Ice Age. The museum will be running a series of activities including regular tours to the site.
summarised from the article at
Iron Age discoveries at Two-Mile-Borris. Or not.
Interesting excavations have been made at Two-Mile-Borris, near the river behind Black Castle. A large central structure with surrounding huts has been discovered - houses for a chieftain and his family? There also seems to be evidence of some Iron Age technology - a water irrigation system. There are also fulachta fia, wood-lined cooking pits which are usually found near water. A cremation area and graves have also been unearthed.
The settlement has been revealed as part of excavation on the Thurles link road, part of the N8 Cullohill to Cashel motorway project. But of course, the road must prevail and although local Dail deputy, Michael Lowry, said the find "is of huge important historical and archaeological significance for the area" he then added that it would not "in any way hinder progress on the link road". What a relief, eh.
Landowner Pierce Duggan was suitably amazed and said he was "certainly not aware that a find of such significance was on his doorstep".
But since the announcements, another archaeologist has disputed there's anything exciting there at all, as you can read at
Summarised from the article at
Round house to be built at Barbury
"Construction work begins on Monday and volunteers are invited to help and also learn about archaeological theory on roundhouse design.
Throughout the building work, which is due to be completed by the end of July, there will be a series of walks and talks for families, schools and colleges to find out more about the project."
Important pottery finds at Kincardine
Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe is the broadest range of elaborately decorated prehistoric pottery ever found in Scotland, at the site for the new Kincardine Bridge. Other finds included ceremonial and working axes made with stone from the Ochil Hills.
The finds demonstrate just how far the River Forth has receded, as the "highly cultivated" site, which is three-quarters of a mile inland, was once on the waterfront.
see the rest of the article by George Mair at the Scotsman.com
Tour of Newly Excavated Bedfordshire Hillfort
It seems you can go on a tour of the fort on the 29th June:
also, from Biggleswade Today
Excavations to try and unearth buried secrets of an Iron Age fort began at a Sandy nature reserve this week.
Archaeologists are carrying out a one-week dig on Sandy Warren's Galley Hill Fort in a joint project between English Heritage and the RSPB.
It is hoped the £12,000 project will shed light on who lived there and what the area, believed to date back to 250BC, was used for.
Peter Bradley, RSPB site manager, said: "The reason for the work is, as far as we know, it has never been dug in the past and we would like to know more about it, particularly for when it is opened up to the public in a couple of years' time.
"The idea is it would be seen from a very long way away by other tribes. It could have been defensive or a market place, or where people lived. We don't know yet what use this fort had."
A JCB digger is being used to excavate the banks and bore holes will be dug to uncover any remains.
[Lots of the land at the RSPB site here is being cleared of trees to return it to heathland - so it should be easier to see how it fits into the local landscape?]
New Carvings Found
A new pecked chevron design has been found at Barclodiad y Gawres - bringing the total of decorated slabs at the site to six. It was initially discovered by amateur archaeologists Maggie and Keith Davidson, and officially recorded by rock art experts this month. The carving is very faint, which is why it was probably overlooked when the tomb was excavated in the 1950s.
Coming Soon: Thornborough Theme Park
(Well. Probably not.)
The man who created the Lightwater Valley theme park wants to turn the ancient Thornborough Henges into a tourist attraction.
Landowner Robert Staveley outlined his ideas at a public meeting called by West Tanfield Parish Council on Wednesday.
Mr Staveley said he aimed to create a car park and visitor centre, build a 'transport system' around the site and recreate the southernmost henge so visitors could see how it would have looked when it was built more than 5,000 years ago.
He said the henge mound would be covered in a membrane and earth added on top so as not to harm the archaeology.
"At the moment, when people come here they are so disappointed because there is so little there," he said.
He added his plans were at a very early stage and more discussion would need to take place.
George Chaplain, of heritage campaign group, TimeWatch, who was at Wednesday's meeting, said: "Mr Staveley's proposals were not quite as frightening as they could have been.
"But I am concerned about recreating the southern henge. I would like to see entry to Thornborough Henges remain free of charge – I worry he is looking at it purely from a commercial perspective."
Last week quarry firm Tarmac was refused planning permission to expand its current operations near the henges because of the importance of the site.
Commenting on Mr Staveley's tourism scheme, a spokesman for the firm said: "We see no conflict in principle between tourists visiting the henges and continuation of our quarry at Nosterfield with the useful employment it provides.
"Visitors already come to the Nosterfield Quarry visitor centre and viewing area which opened last year – it is free and is popular with birdwatchers and walkers."
03 March 2006
Iron Age boat goes on display
A boat dating back to the Iron Age has gone on show at a Lincoln museum. The log boat, which has undergone four years of conservation work, is now on display at the city's new archaeological museum - The Collection.
It was discovered in Fiskerton, Nottinghamshire in 2001, while the Environment Agency was carrying out improvement work on flood defences.
The 7m-long (23ft) oak boat will complete the museum's display of Iron Age finds from the region.
The gallery's website is
There is a search facility so you can see some of their archaeological objects.
Oldest European cave paintings found
From the TimesOnline article at
At the Fumane cave on the southern edge of the Alps, an occupation with tools of Aurignacian type has been radiocarbon dated to between 34,000 and 32,000 years ago. In the Aurignacian deposits painted rock fragments were found which had spalled off the walls of the cave because of the freezing of water in cracks: erosion of the paint showed that the art, in red and yellow ochre lines, had been on the walls for some time before it fell and was buried.
Among the motifs is an "anthropomorph", a humanoid figure, according to Dr Alberto Broglio. It is full face, with two horns which "may be a mask" on its head; the arms are by its side and the legs are spread. "The right hand is holding something which is hanging downwards, probably a ritual object," Dr Broglio says. Another figure shows a four-legged animal seen from the side and "resembles the profile of a small statuette from Vogelherd". Radiocarbon dates from the Vogelherd caves, near Ulm on the upper Danube, also give dates between 36,000 and 30,000 years ago...
Timewatch expresses dismay at latest plan
Groups campaigning to stop quarrying around Thornborough Henges have slammed a recently published conservation plan. TimeWatch is disappointed with the proposed Thornborough Henges Conservation Plan announced last week, saying it neither includes the entire Thornborough complex nor addresses all the important issues.
"The consultation group and the proposed conservation plan are a response to a number of concerns raised by many people regarding the preservation and appearance of the Thornborough Henges complex," said George Chaplin, TimeWatch chairman.
"In particular, people are concerned that the wider archaeological landscape is being quarried and many thousands have signed the petition calling for a one mile 'no quarry zone' around the henges. The proposed area fails to address this."
TimeWatch says that in early consultations the conservation plan area was shown to cover a stretch of the landscape from Kirklington to West Tanfield. Now they say the proposed conservation area is barely larger than the scheduled areas at Thornborough and omits Ladybridge Farm (the proposed site for further quarrying by Tarmac) and other areas known to hold archaeology related to the henges.
"In addition, there are concerns about the ongoing impact of the landfill site next door to the central henge, on the setting of the national monument in terms of looks and smell," said Mr Chaplin. "This landfill site is outside of the conservation area."
The group says it will be responding to the consultation and requesting that the plan be redrawn so that it addresses these fundamental concerns.
More of the article at Ripon News
RSPB warn against tunnel alternatives
The RSPB says that the two proposed overground routes would destroy nesting and roosting sites of the stone curlew, which only has two UK strongholds.
"The southern route would destroy two-thirds of the RSPB's Normanton Down Reserve and split the remainder, reducing its value to wildlife. The reserve is part of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and boasts Britain's most important Bronze Age barrow cemetery. The site is also an invaluable feeding ground for stone-curlews before they leave on migration. Last year 19 birds were seen together, using the area as a direct result of improved habitat management.
The northern option would run close to the Salisbury Plain Special Protection Area (SPA), a site protected by European wildlife laws. The road scheme would damage the potential of that land for increasing stone-curlew numbers.
Stonehenge lies close to the SPA, which together with Porton Down and Normanton Down forms north-west Europe's largest network of chalk grassland. Corn bunting, skylark and lapwing are amongst declining birds using the area together with butterflies such as the grizzled skipper, one of several disappearing chalkland specialists. The harebell and dropwort are amongst thriving plants that are rare elsewhere.
The RSPB believes the government should not consider the northern or southern over-ground routes as viable options and hopes that the review process will lead to the adoption of route less damaging for the area's wildlife.
Timewatch calls for international support
TimeWatch has called for international support in the battle to save the Thornborough Henges from the threat of quarrying nearby.
Quarry company Tarmac Northern Ltd was granted a delay to the planning process while it carried out further archaeological investigations at its proposed quarry site at Ladybridge Farm, half a mile from the triple henge complex. These have now been completed and there is a new consultation process ahead of the the North Yorkshire County Council planning meeting on February 21 which will determine the firm's application.
"As a result of Tarmac's latest work, English Heritage have confirmed that the proposals will destroy archaeology of national importance," said TimeWatch chairman George Chaplin this week. "This has vindicated our position and proves the area needs to be regarded as part of the setting of the Thornborough Henges complex".
"NYCC have already confirmed there is no need for the gravel, and that the application fails several planning policies, but we are still concerned that any perceived drop in public concern may have a detrimental outcome on the decision. We are therefore asking the international community to show support for our campaign".
Responses to this latest consultation should be sent to Mr Shaw, at the Minerals and Waste Planning Unit, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AH by February 3 February.
Bog bodies from Dublin area unveiled
The two men (one a giant 6'6" compared to the other who was 5'2") met their sticky ends (no pun intended) in bogs at Clonycavan and Croghan in the Iron Age. They were both found in 2003.
There will be a 'Timewatch' programme about them on the BBC on 20th January.
Bronze Age hoard from Silk Mills Bridge
Archaeologists are currently studying the hoard found at Silk Mills Bridge near Taunton in the summer, before the items go on public display.
"Steven Membery, archaeologist for Somerset County Council, said of the site: "It appears to be an island in a large river. It was used seasonally probably for hunting ducks and fish. It's rare to find hunter gathering communities like this anywhere so this is an important discovery."
This hill, it has a meaning that is very important for me, but it's not rational. It's beautiful, but when you look, there's nothing there. But I'd be a fool if I didn't listen to it.
-- Alan Garner.
...I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn...
-- William Wordsworth.
I'm currently mad on visiting Anglo-Saxon and Norman carvings and enjoy the process of drawing them:
and I've been helping digitise the Schools' Collection of the National Folklore Collection of Ireland... you can also at