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

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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

Another British Archaeology!

The new magazine has our biggest ever feature, on the Westminster world heritage site: distinguished writers review the extraordinary history and archaeology of the abbey and the palace, and we urge parliament to move out to allow the palace restoration-and-renewal programme to proceed as soon as possible. I’ve written a separate blog to introduce this. And … Continue reading Another British Archaeology!

Britain’s fabulous totem poles

What connects Berkhamsted, Salford and Edinburgh with remote forests on the Pacific coast? Sixteen totem poles, traditionally carved in cedar. They are informed by beliefs, values and artistic conventions that evolved on the north-west coast of Canada and America and reach back into the 19th century and earlier. Like all traditional poles, they have nothing … Continue reading Britain’s fabulous totem poles

Save the Palace!

They had probably the worst clients in history. Parliament needed a new home after the medieval Westminster Palace burnt down in 1834. Charles Barry got the job of designing and building it, and he brought in Augusts Pugin to help him. They created one of the greatest 19th-century buildings in the world, that now represents … Continue reading Save the Palace!

Ancient flowers

I wrote earlier about the hoard of bronze pans found near Pewsey. Ruth Pelling, senior archaeobotanist at Historic England, tweeted “My wonderful flowers – most exciting material I've ever worked on”. I asked her more about them, a very unusual find. The principle plant material is grassland vegetation and bracken. Pelling counted 23 Centaurea flower … Continue reading Ancient flowers

Peter Lord talks to British Archaeology about Early Man

The new British Archaeology has three great exclusives. I’ve already written briefly about two of them: new discoveries at Stonehenge, and some Roman pans buried with flowers which were preserved by the corroding bronze. Here’s the third. Last year I went to Bristol to talk to Peter Lord, co-founder of Aardman. We talked about archaeology, … Continue reading Peter Lord talks to British Archaeology about Early Man

Roman bronze pots and pans buried with flowers

Here’s another great story from the new British Archaeology, which went live online today (February 8). Conservation of a hoard of late Roman bronze pots and pans found near Pewsey, Wiltshire, has revealed they were packed with plants, among which were bracken and knapweed flowers. Eight mostly plain vessels had been carefully nested inside each … Continue reading Roman bronze pots and pans buried with flowers

Stonehenge finds tell of divided society

The new British Archaeology, which went live online today (February 8), reports significant new discoveries near Stonehenge, among them the grave of a man who might have seen the earliest megaliths erected at the site. Cremated remains of over 100 people were buried at the first Stonehenge, from 3100BC – the largest cremation cemetery in … Continue reading Stonehenge finds tell of divided society

The 7 Ages of Hockney

Immediate thoughts on seeing Tate Britain’s David Hockney exhibition. Oh my. It’s uplifting and beautiful. My memories of his work when we were younger – he’d paint, I’d see them in colour supplement features – made me think this show might have a bit of a gay narrative (We Two Boys Together Clinging, A Bigger … Continue reading The 7 Ages of Hockney