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Scottish heritage bodies to merge
TWO of Scotland's main heritage bodies are to merge, it has been confirmed.
The Scottish Government published a strategy document for the "historic environment" yesterday as Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, launched a Bill to address the management of the nation's built heritage.
The Historic Environment Scotland Bill will bring together Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).
The new body will be called Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
The organisation will "be expected to play a key role in delivering the strategy, developed in partnership with stakeholders" which include the Built Environment Forum Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, the Society of Antiquaries, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and others.
The new strategy, Our Place in Time - A Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland, is now online.
The new Historic Environment Scotland body is expected to be launched in 2015 if the Bill, which has been welcomed by the National Trust for Scotland, passes through parliament.
It will be established in two stages, with the inauguration of the body and a board appointed in April 2015, and the transfer of powers to the new body in October 2015.
Ms Hyslop said: "Combining the skills, expertise and professional experience of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS, HES will take a lead in protecting Scotland's rich historic heritage to ensure it can be enjoyed now and the future."
Posted by thesweetcheat
7th March 2014ce
Brecon beacons rock art found - volunteers wanted
Very similar to the beeb story posted yesterday which I suspect was based on this. With the following at the end which may be of interest to some:
The National Trust’s Council for British Archaeology Community Archaeologist, Charlie Enright will be arranging a number of archaeological and survey days in the area in the coming weeks. He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to get local people involved in an exciting archaeological project. They’ll be working alongside and learning from professional archaeologists and other likeminded people, acquiring new skills and contributing to our understanding of this fantastic site. If people are interested then they should contact me straight away to book – places are limited!”
Volunteers will be undertaking a range of archaeological activities including:
Recording the stone with Dr George Nash.
Conducting a geophysical survey in the area surrounding the stone to see if we can find any evidence of past human activity below the surface.
Condition monitoring and a topographical survey of the surrounding archaeology.
If you are interested in taking part – places are limited so please book by contacting Charlie Enright, Community Archaeologist at the National Trust, at: email@example.com
Posted by juamei
7th March 2014ce
Bronze Age rock art uncovered in Brecon Beacons
Rare, prehistoric rock art which could be more than 4,000 years old has been discovered in the Brecon Beacons.
The Bronze Age discovery was made late last year by national park geologist Alan Bowring.
Experts claim the stone probably served as a way marker for farming communities.
Similar stones have been found in other parts of Britain but they are thought to be rare in mid Wales.
Its exact location in the Brecon Beacons is being kept a secret and news of its discovery comes after archaeologists found a similar ancient rock in the Scottish Highlands.
The Welsh stone is about 1.45m (4ft 9in) long and half a metre (1ft 8 in) wide, with 12 cup (hollow) marks of various shapes and sizes on the face.
It now lies flat on the ground but experts say it could have once stood upright.
There are no other later prehistoric standing stones within this part of Wales that are cup marked, making this one rather unique”
Mr Bowring was working on land maintained by the National Trust when he spotted the rock.
Sensing it was unusual, he sought advice from national park archaeologist Natalie Ward, who had experience of recording similar artefacts in the north of England.
"I often find myself working and walking in remote locations, and encountering hidden features in the landscape of south and mid Wales that few others will have seen," said Mr Bowring.
"But this chance discovery, made whilst looking for clues to the site's exciting geological history, appears to be significant in our understanding of human cultural history in the region."
The National Trust's own archaeological survey had already highlighted Bronze Age features in the area, giving some context to the stone's past.
Dr George Nash, archaeologist and specialist in prehistoric and contemporary art at Bristol University, confirmed Mr Bowring had discovered the first prehistoric rock engraved panel recorded in the Brecon Beacons.
Dr Nash added that based on the shape of the stone and its engravings it probably came from the early to middle Bronze Age period - 2500 BC to 1500 BC - and it probably served as a way marker.
"We might have been able to predict a discovery of this kind considering the large amount of prehistoric ritual sites in the Brecon Beacons but this is the first evidence of prehistoric rock art to be ever recorded [in the Beacons]," Dr Nash said.
"There are no other later prehistoric standing stones within this part of Wales that are cup marked, making this one rather unique."
He said the cup marks were the most common later prehistoric rock art form in Britain and Europe, but their occurrence in mid Wales was rare.
Posted by moss
6th March 2014ce
Stonehenge bluestones had acoustic properties, study shows
"The giant bluestones of Stonehenge may have been chosen because of their acoustic properties, claim researchers.
A study shows rocks in the Preseli Hills, the Pembrokeshire source of part of the monument, have a sonic property.
Researcher Paul Devereux said: "It hasn't been considered until now that sound might have been a factor." "
Posted by 1speed
4th March 2014ce
Six-week consultation on a new proposal for the Heritage Bill
The Welsh Government would like your comments on a new proposal to give more effective protection to scheduled ancient monuments.
Between 2006 and 2012, Cadw received reports of 119 cases of unlawful damage to scheduled ancient monuments in Wales. However, there has been only one successful prosecution under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 in the last 25 years.
A number of respondents to last year’s consultation on proposals for the historic environment, ‘The future of our past’, expressed concerns about the rarity of successful prosecutions. Some called for changes to the Act’s permitted defence of ignorance of the status or location of a monument to make it easier to secure convictions for illegal damage.
Accordingly, the Welsh Government would now like to receive your views on a proposal to amend the offences and defences in the 1979 Act to modify the ‘ignorance defence’.
More details on the proposal are contained in a consultation document, which is available, along with a response form, on the consultation pages of the Welsh Government website.
Since responses are only being sought on a single proposal, the consultation period will be limited to six weeks running from 3 March to 14 April 2014. The consultation results will be available while there is still time to shape the provisions of the Heritage Bill, which is scheduled for introduction to the National Assembly for Wales in spring 2015.
Your thoughts on this proposal could help to improve the protection of scheduled ancient monuments in Wales, so be sure to take part in the consultation by submitting your reply by 14 April.
Posted by thesweetcheat
3rd March 2014ce
National experts talk about Oswestry hillfort’s future
TV archaeologist Stewart Ainsworth has claimed ancient hillforts should be “treasured” – and insisted surrounding fields should also be protected from development.
The Time Team archaeologist said areas surrounding the likes of Oswestry’s Iron Age hillfort – which he described as “spectacular” – were just as important as the hills due to their historical and religious significance.
He made the comments while attending a seminar event at Oswestry Memorial Hall, which was held by campaigners fighting plans to build 117 homes near the town’s hillfort.
More than 100 people attended to hear a number of expert speakers from across Europe discuss the the context of the hillfort, its historical significance and some of the archaeological finds made at the site.
The homes off Whittington Road have been included in Shropshire Council’s Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) plan, which will see more than 20,000 homes built across the county by 2026. Two further proposals to build homes near the hillfort were last week omitted from the planning blueprint, which had initially proposed about 200 homes would be built in the area.
Mr Ainsworth, a regular on the Channel 4 programme, said: “This is a spectacular hillfort. One of the impressive things about it is there are some unusual features which we don’t quite understand, which makes it unique and really quite unusual.”
“It’s important that we treasure the past. The zones around the hillfort, the penumbra, are just as important as the hill. Even in prehistory these areas had meaning for religion and history.”
Mr Ainsworth, who lives in Chester, has been studying Iron Age hillforts for 40 years and said he had long had an interest in the hillfort in Oswestry. “I’ve got a professional and personal interest in any development which potentially affects a major Iron Age centre,” he said.
Among the speakers at Saturday’sevent was Dr George Nash, professor of archaeology and anthropology at IPT in Portugal. He said: “Judging by the audience that turned out, clearly there’s an opposition against this ridiculous planning proposal. We’ve got to keep our green and pleasant land free of development for future generations.”
Maggie Rowlands, one of the organisers of the seminar, said: “We had a fantastic turnout. ”
Town councillors are due to meet tomorrow to form a response to the proposals.
Posted by moss
3rd March 2014ce
Rare Neolithic or Bronze Age rock art in Ross-shire
Seeing as nobody else has posted it... ;)
"A rare example of prehistoric rock art has been uncovered in the Highlands.
Archaeologists made the discovery while moving a boulder decorated with ancient cup and ring marks to a new location in Ross-shire.
When they turned the stone over they found the same impressions on the other side of the rock. It is one of only a few decorated stones of its kind.
John Wombell, of North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS), said: "This is an amazing discovery."
Susan Kruse, of Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), first discovered the stone at Heights of Fodderty several years ago when out walking.
The second set of cup and ring marks were uncovered recently when archaeologists were moving the stone to a new site at nearby Heights of Brae Neil Gunn Viewpoint.
From the Neolithic or Bronze Age, the art was created between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago."
Full story and pics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-26366644
Posted by goffik
28th February 2014ce
Edited 1st March 2014ce
Irish Early Christians, Not So Christian After All?
Excavations at Caherconnell in the Burren region of county Clare on Ireland’s western coast are revealing some interesting practices undertaken by Ireland’s early Christians.
It is traditionally accepted that Christianity arrived in Ireland some time before the middle of the 5th century AD. You might be forgiven, then, for assuming that Christianity and Christian practices could be found throughout Ireland within a century or two of this date.
On a low rise to the side of a shallow valley in a place that later became known as Caherconnell in western Ireland an elderly woman and two babies were buried. Their remains were placed in two carefully constructed stone boxes called cists, both covered by a single low mound of earth and stone. This took place in the second half of the 6th century AD / first half of the 7th century AD.
Recent excavations by the Caherconnell Archaeology Field School are proving otherwise. It was discovered in the summer of 2013 that Caherconnell cashel or ‘caher’ (a circular drystone enclosure containing dwelling houses and other domestic structures) had been deliberately constructed over the top of an earlier burial mound.
This small mound covered two limestone cists. Although disturbed at one end, their contents were still present. The smaller of the two cists contained the remains of a young child, between one and two years of age, and the bones of a baby who was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. The larger cist was only partially present inside the cashel, the rest of it being buried beneath the 3m-wide cashel wall. It contained the skeleton of a woman, at least 45 years of age. She suffered from joint disease, probably as a result of much physical labour over the course of her lifetime.
The results of radiocarbon dating have just arrived, dating the human remains to 541-645 AD and 535-649 AD. This places them well within the chronological bounds of what was once termed ‘Early Christian Ireland’. Clearly, though, these people were not buried in a purely Christian fashion, rather in a mixture of traditional pagan and newer Christian burial practices.
Following the Christian tradition, the bodies were unaccompanied by grave goods and were laid out almost east-west. They were not, however, interred in a Christian cemetery. Instead, they were placed in slab-built cists beneath a low stony mound. Such cists and mounds are commonly found in the pre-Christian prehistoric past. These people appear to have combined their traditional belief system with elements of the ‘new’ religion – hedging their bets maybe?!
The story of these people does not end there. Several centuries after their deaths, in the 10th/11th century AD, the high status cashel settlement called Caherconnell (the caher or cashel of Conaill) was built at this location.
The builders of this new home did not clear this mound and its contents out of their way, nor did they site their enclosure so as to avoid the mound. Instead, they built the drystone wall of their enclosure directly over the top of the mound, leaving approximately half of the mound intact and visible inside the new enclosure. It seems probable that knowledge of the mound and what it contained survived into the 10th/11th century AD, and that the new occupants of the spot deliberately incorporated these ancestors into their settlement. Was this, perhaps, an attempt to legitimize their rule of the area? Like the earlier burials themselves, this practice also has pre-Christian associations.
It seems that being linked with the ancestors, whether by using the same burial method or by physically including them in your home, was a practice that survived the introduction and establishment of the Christian religion in Ireland. Some might say that an obsession with ancestors and where we come from is just as important to us today…
Summer 2014 will see the Caherconnell Archaeology Field School excavate the centre of Caherconnell cashel. The main dwelling house is typically located in this part of the settlement enclosure. With almost 700 artefacts recovered from ‘open’ space inside the enclosure entrance, hopes are high for a very rewarding season this year!
Posted by bawn79
21st February 2014ce
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