Dinosaur or whale? No argument, it has to be the one we live with

I saw my first whale in Hawaii. I was driving along a remote cliff road. Rounding a bend I saw a bubbling of white water close to shore. I stopped the car. It was a group of humpback whales, frolicking, it seemed, in the otherwise still azure sea. And as I watched one of them … Continue reading Dinosaur or whale? No argument, it has to be the one we live with

Drowning in the swamp of bad TV: Unearthed at Stonehenge

The Science Channel posted a link to a film clip a couple of days ago, to promote a new film, apparently called Skeletons of Stonehenge. The piece is headed, “Clues found in ancient skeletons buried at Stonehenge reveal a series of murders.” (Hint as to where this is going: the bone above is not from … Continue reading Drowning in the swamp of bad TV: Unearthed at Stonehenge

What would Trump do with Stonehenge?

This is not a polemic, but a long reflection on Stonehenge, archaeology, conservation and the modern world. So as not to interrupt the read, I have put no links in the text. There are some at the end. In 2014 the president of the United States visited Britain’s most famous ancient monument. Barack Obama was … Continue reading What would Trump do with Stonehenge?

Another old Avebury excavation

The wonderful HEIR Project in Oxford has prompted me to follow up my previous post about Avebury. I showed two images there, said to be dated 1895 (a photo) and November 15–18, 1895 (a painting). HEIR helpfully pointed out in a tweet that Underhill dated the painting August 23 1895, which makes more sense than … Continue reading Another old Avebury excavation

A surprising and charming Avebury discovery

Long ago when I was curator of the museum in Avebury, I came across a pencil sketch in the museum in Devizes that showed a section through the great henge bank around Avebury’s stone circle. It’s an extraordinary document of an excavation in 1894, that was never published at the time. Something quite unexpected has … Continue reading A surprising and charming Avebury discovery

Wilmington Man in Morley College

There’s a fascinating little film on Liss Llewellyn’s website, about the lost Morley College murals, The Pleasures of Life, created by three prominent inter-war artists in the late 1920s. Charles Mahoney worked in the Concert Hall, and Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious in the student Refreshment Room. Their theme was theatrical fantasy, suggested by William … Continue reading Wilmington Man in Morley College

Richard Long in Norfolk

It was a cold and wet day in Norfolk yesterday when I visited Houghton Hall, where Richard Long has a new exhibition in the house and in the grounds. I talked to the artist about his inspirations and the ancient landscape references in his work, which you will be able to read about in a … Continue reading Richard Long in Norfolk

The Larkhill car burial

There’s a nice piece in the Guardian by Maev Kennedy about the first world war training trenches found by archaeologists at Larkhill. The cultural significance of historic military remains should not be underestimated. They are numerous and varied, and have enormous power to engage people in different ways with events we should never lose touch … Continue reading The Larkhill car burial

Moving stories worth a stop

Here’s a little thing really worth seeing if you are in central London. The British Museum runs a series of Asahi Shimbun Displays in a small gallery immediately to the right of the main south entrance. They are thoughtful, simple shows of contemporary art and antiquity, and always worth a quick pause (though for now … Continue reading Moving stories worth a stop

What did the world heritage site mean to people who built Stonehenge? Nothing

Yesterday I walked in the landscape around Stonehenge. In a recent short video headed The Stonehenge Tunnel Begins, Tom Holland stands on Bush Barrow, near Stonehenge and one of the country’s iconic prehistoric monuments, and addresses the camera. He describes “vans and lorries employed by the Highways Agency who are testing out the ground for … Continue reading What did the world heritage site mean to people who built Stonehenge? Nothing