Historic England has published a new edition of its online research magazine. It‘s devoted to new research around Stonehenge. You can read it here – excavations (covered in news reports in British Archaeology), surveys, artwork and finds. I’m just going to pick up on one thing… Martyn Barber and Fiona Small write about mapping the … Continue reading A guide to siting new roads around Stonehenge
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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!
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