The new British Archaeology is out today, and will be in the shops on Friday. It’s fabulous. I’ll get onto that soon, but first a diversion. With all that’s going on, sometimes I’m tempted to wonder why we should think so hard about the distant past. But no, it matters. It’s who we are, it’s … Continue reading The best of British archaeology
Bloomberg opened its new European HQ in London this morning. It’s a fabulous, innovative building whose neighbourhood-friendly exterior hides some extraordinary, inspiring spaces – and what must be one of the city’s best office views, of St Paul's Cathedral seen through a giant picture window. Archaeologists will know the construction site as the source of … Continue reading Down with the Roman city at Bloomberg
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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