The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Stonehenge and its Environs

Stonehenge's most intricate archaeological finds were 'probably made by children'


Some of the most high status pieces of prehistoric ‘bling’, prized by Stonehenge’s Bronze Age social elite, are likely to have been made by children, according to new research.

An analysis of objects, found near the ancient stone circle, shows that the ultra-fine craftwork involved such tiny components that only children or myopic (short-sighted) adults could have made them.

The research into the human eyesight optics of micro-gold-working in the Bronze Age has considerable implications for more fully understanding the nature of society in Western Europe some 4000 years ago.

“The very finest gold work involved the making and positioning of literally tens of thousands of tiny individually-made components, each around a millimetre long and around a fifth of a millimetre wide,” said David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes where the world’s finest prehistoric micro-gold working achievements are on display as part of a major permanent exhibition of Bronze Age gold treasures.

“Only children and teenagers, and those adults who had become myopic naturally or due to the nature of their work as children, would have been able to create and manufacture such tiny objects,” said a leading authority on the optics of the human eye, Ronald Rabbetts, who has been assessing the human eyesight implications of Bronze Age micro-gold-working – implications that are examined in detail in a BBC Two documentary ‘Operation Stonehenge’, this evening, Thursday.
“The implication is that there would almost certainly have been a small section of the Bronze Age artisan class who, often as a result of their childhood work, were myopic for their adult life. They would therefore have been unable to do any other work apart from the making of tiny artefacts and would have had to be supported by the community at large,” he said.

The Stonehenge area object with the largest number of ultra-small gold components is a dagger made in around 1900 BC – and now on display in Devizes’ Wiltshire Museum. Crafted more than 1100 years before the invention of the first magnifying glass, the dagger’s 12 centimetre long handle was adorned with up to 140,000 tiny gold studs – each around a millimetre long and around 0.2 of a millimetre in diameter. Even the heads of each stud are just a third of a millimetre wide. They were set, with great manual dexterity and remarkable skill, into the surface of the wooden dagger handle - with more than a thousand studs neatly embedded in each square centimetre.

The prehistoric gold micro-working process appears to have had at least four stages. First, Bronze Age craftsmen manufactured lengths of extremely fine gold wire, almost as fine as a human hair. Then they flattened the end of a piece of wire to create the first stud-head – and cut the wire with a very sharp flint or obsidian razor a mere millimetre below the head. This delicate procedure was then repeated literarily tens of thousands of times – to decorate just one dagger handle! Next, a tiny bronze awl with an extremely fine point was used to create minute holes in the dagger handle in which to position the studs. Then a thin layer of tree resin was rubbed over the surface as an adhesive to keep the studs in place.

Each stud was then carefully placed into its miniscule hole – probably with the help of a very fine pair of bone or wooden tweezers, because the studs are too small to have been placed in position directly by the artisan’s fingers.

“We estimate that the entire operation – wire manufacture, stud-making, hole-making, resin pasting and stud positioning – would have taken at least 2500 hours to complete,” said David Dawson.

The dagger – and another probably less decorated similar weapon found with it – are believed to be the only such ultra-fine micro-worked artefacts to have survived from the prehistoric period anywhere in the world. But the high level of skill involved suggests that it was not a one-off creation, but was instead probably a product of a wider micro-gold-working tradition in at least part of Bronze Age western Europe. It is likely that the tradition was centred in Brittany in what is now western France.

It is also conceivable that Bronze Age craftsmen used comparable micro-working skills to create ultra-fine textiles.

The gold-studded daggers were discovered in 1808 inside Bush Barrow, a substantial Bronze Age burial mound, located almost a thousand metres from Stonehenge. However, it is only now that the eyesight and other human implications of its manufacture have been examined in detail.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/stonehenges-most-intricate-archaeological-finds-were-probably-made-by-children-9738993.html
moss Posted by moss
18th September 2014ce

Eire

Ancient remains found in Midlands bog


An ancient bog body has been discovered at a midland bog where a similar find was made two years ago.
The remains were found by a Bord na Móna worker at Rossan Bog on the Meath/Westmeath border on Saturday morning.
A Bord na Móna spokesman said: "The remains of a bog body were found in Rossan Bog two miles from Kinnegad on the Meath and Westmeath border."
The spokesman said the employee discovered the remains prior to beginning work and immediately put Bord na Móna's protocol in place.

More:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0916/644192-bog-body/
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th September 2014ce

Emmets Post (Cairn(s))

Public invited to see excavation of 4,000-year-old Bronze Age barrow on Dartmoor edge


Archaeologists are inviting the public to witness the excavation of a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age burial mound

Emmet's Post, named after one of several pillars built to divide Lee and Shaugh Moors in 1835, is being investigated as part of a government-approved quarry expansion on the edge of Dartmoor.

The mound of the post, on the boundaries of a china clay pit, was confirmed as a Bronze Age bowl barrow during a dig in 2011. Oxford Archaeology have been granted Scheduled Monument Consent by English Heritage in a bid to discover how the site was constructed and used over the centuries.

‘‘The barrow at Emmets Post, with its slightly hollowed-out top, is not the best-preserved of these Bronze Age monuments,” said Andrew Josephs, an archaeologist for Sibelco, the minerals firm paying for the project.

“The excavation has the potential to further characterise the full extent of the barrow and potential ditch, possibly identifying buried surface deposits and phased construction horizons.

“Environmental remains will add to the regional studies of the wooded prehistoric landscape that was very different to that today.”

Having offered a limited number of volunteer placements at the start of the project, which began on September 1 and will run until September 26, the team are inviting enthusiasts to enjoy an open day on Sunday (September 21), when experts will answer questions and discuss the Post’s history at the site.

Visitors can reach the barrow via a 1.5-mile unfenced single road track from Cadover Bridge. There is a small car park nearby, and waterproofs, warm clothes and stout footwear are recommended.

http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art499019-Public-invited-to-see-excavation-of-4000-year-old-bronze-age-barrow-on-dartmoor-edge
moss Posted by moss
16th September 2014ce

Avebury (Stone Circle)

AVEBURY'S WATERSCAPE


Steve Marshall will be giving a talk on springs, rivers & the Avebury monuments in Swindon!
Friday 26th Sept, 7.30pm, Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, Bath Road.
Museum Friends £3.50, Non-members £4.50
tjj Posted by tjj
13th September 2014ce

Wiltshire

Get to see what Obama missed - for free


As part of the national heritage open days scheme, Wiltshire Museum will be open for free to the public this Saturday, 13 September between 1000-1700

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/wiltshire-museum

The Museum and Library have been at their current location in Long Street since 1873, occupying first the old Victorian Devizes Grammar School, then the two Georgian houses on either side of the Entrance Hall. Further extensions have increased its size to the present day. It has overseen many of the famous excavations on Salisbury Plain and the Marlborough Downs made by the Cunnington family and is a repository of the artefacts and writings of earlier antiquaries such as Sir Richard Colt Hoare of Stourhead House.

Wiltshire Museum
Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1NS
Chance Posted by Chance
10th September 2014ce

United Kingdom

Free open Days - 11 to 14 Sep - UK Wide


Find out what's open in your local area - Every where listed is free for the day!

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/advanced-search

For more information about the European Heritage Days, visit www.ehd.coe.int

In the UK, there are altogether five open day schemes that are part of European Heritage Days:

England: Heritage Open Days (11-14 September 2014)
London: Open House London (20-21 September 2014)
Scotland: Doors Open Days (every weekend in September)
Wales: Open Doors (every weekend in September)
Northern Ireland: European Heritage Open Days (13-14 September 2014)

Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to the European Heritage Days.

A joint action by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the scheme was initiated in 1991 by the Council of Europe to raise appreciation for Europe’s rich and diverse cultural assets and their need for care and protection. The central principle was as simple as it was compelling: to throw open the doors to historic monuments and buildings, in particular those normally closed to the public. One of the key requirements was to offer free access to all properties taking part in the European Heritage Days.

Today, European Heritage Days are held annually in September in 50 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention. From the Baltic to the Balkans, from Iceland to the Iberian Peninsula, thousands of events not only highlight the dazzling diversity of Europe’s heritage, but also its intercultural links. As varied as the cultural landscapes are the approaches in putting the idea into practice.
Chance Posted by Chance
10th September 2014ce

Dartmoor

Brown bears 'roamed Dartmoor'


A fur pelt found in an ancient burial chamber suggests that bears once roamed Dartmoor, it has been claimed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-29067027
scubi63 Posted by scubi63
8th September 2014ce

Stonehenge (Stone Circle)

Obama visits Stonehenge


"How cool is this" - BBC Points West publish a photo of President Obama strolling around Stonehenge this evening.

On Facebook under Points West.
tjj Posted by tjj
5th September 2014ce

Nine Ladies of Stanton Moor (Stone Circle)

English Heritage satisfied pink drapes on Nine Ladies Stone Circle was not vandalism


Derby Telegraph
By Kelly Tyler


The Nine Ladies stone circle at Stanton Moor, near Bakewell, was mysteriously draped in pink fabric.


The striking dressing of the Nine Ladies monument, believed to have been built more than 4,000 years ago, was spotted by a walker on Monday.

A cryptic note left at the circle signed by the "Spirit Wrestlers" said the gritstone blocks were decorated as an "act of love and gratitude for their eternal being".

English Heritage, which owns the site at Stanton Moor, near Bakewell, said it is not known exactly why the material was placed over the stones.

A woman who came across the unusual sight said: "As I approached I thought the stones had been – as had happened a few months ago – vandalised with pink paint.

"However, as I neared the stone circle, it was apparent the Nine Ladies had been seemingly dressed in a bright pink fabric.

"A note had been left in the middle of the stones referring to the earlier attack and also the troubles in the world today. Interesting, I thought, if not a little strange.

"This is the Nine Ladies though, I suppose, so anything is possible."

The ancient monument dates back to the Bronze Age and is popular with walkers and pagan worshippers.

The stones were traditionally believed to be nine ladies turned to stone as punishment for dancing on Sunday.

The site was vandalised in March this year by offenders who sprayed yellow and green paint on the rocks.

A note left at the spot said the stones were wrapped as a "direct response to an act of vandalism on the Nine Ladies some months ago and the knowledge that the Universe must be realigned."

It went on to say: "The consequences of our actions will only become apparent over time.

"Do something to make the world a better place, whether this act is large or small matters not.

"Doing it is what drives us forward. Whatever next?"

An English Heritage spokesperson said: "Having been contacted about the sighting of pink material on the stones earlier yesterday, we visited the site to investigate this afternoon and it would appear it has since been removed without trace.

"We are not treating this as an act of vandalism"


http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/English-Heritage-satisfied-pink-drapes-Ladies/story-22870940-detail/story.html
moss Posted by moss
5th September 2014ce

News

Neanderthal 'artwork' found in Gibraltar cave


Mounting evidence suggests Neanderthals were not the brutes they were characterised as decades ago.

But art, a high expression of abstract thought, was long considered to be the exclusive preserve of our own species.

The scattered candidates for artistic expression by Neanderthals have not met with universal acceptance.

However, the geometric pattern identified in Gibraltar, on the southern tip of Europe, was uncovered beneath undisturbed sediments that have also yielded Neanderthal tools.

Details of the discovery by an international team of researchers has been published in the journal PNAS.

There is now ample evidence that Neanderthal intellectual abilities may have been underestimated. Recent finds suggest they intentionally buried their dead, adorned themselves with feathers, painted their bodies with black and red pigments, and consumed a more varied diet than had previously been supposed.

One of the study's authors, Prof Clive Finlayson, director of the Gibraltar Museum, said the latest find "brings the Neanderthals closer to us, yet again".

Continued on the link below...


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28967746
moss Posted by moss
2nd September 2014ce
Showing 1-10 of 2,151 news posts. Most recent first | Next 10