thinking about archaeology

Archive for December, 2009

Meadowsweeet to the grave

Photot Crown copyright/Historic Scotland

Now for something more positive about British archaeology (and British Archaeology). This morning Huw Williams, of BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, reported the discovery of flower heads in a bronze age grave excavated at Forteviot, south of Perth, lying close to a bag and a small knife-dagger. The discovery came as work continues on the contents of the exceptional cist grave, whose large capstone was lifted in August to wide media attention. You can read the original story in the new British Archaeology.

The find settles years of controversy (more…)


There comes a time when you can’t resist it

Aubrey Hole 7 in 2008, as featured in Current Archaeology

I edit British Archaeology, undoubtedly the best such magazine Britain has ever seen. But there is another UK archaeology magazine, called Current Archaeology. Naturally we are often chasing the same discoveries and excavations, but I have always resisted referring to CA in BA (or here), tempting though it can be to point out CA’s errors, bloopers and the months (sometimes years) before it gets around to mangling a story first told in British Archaeology. That would just be rude.

Then along came their December issue, with (more…)


Remembering Timothy Bateson

Timothy Bateson (right) on Windmill Hill, with June Barrie and Martin Friend seated

One of the first things I did after leaving the Alexander Keiller Museum in 1984 was to write an Avebury guidebook. I hoped Shire might publish it, but John Rotheroe thought the market too small (though later he commissioned a guide from another author), so I decided to publish it myself – the start of what became Digging Deeper.

I had to get advance orders before the bank (more…)


Copenhagen isn’t everything, but my god I hope it delivers

I grew up with the double fear of nuclear annihilation and ecological catastrophe, and while the former brought a sort of horror entertainment (and in Dr Strangelove, one of my favourite movies of all time) the latter encouraged more thoughtful engagement. Famines, pollution, deforestation, over-fishing and the tearing of a new motorway through ancient fields and woodlands, such things were about us and (more…)


Following the Staffordshire hoard

The next British Archaeology is now with the printer (and will be out on December 11), so here’s a chance to catch up on the past month – though that was mostly of course devoted to the magazine.

The Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire hoard continues to fascinate me, with its mix of gorgeous art and craft, sensational discovery story, politics, gossip and, rather in the (more…)