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

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Stonehenge (Stone Circle)

Stonehenge wasn't so hard to build after all, archaeologists discover

It is an archaeological conundrum that has baffled generations of experts.

Just how did prehistoric Britons manage to transport the huge bluestones of Stonehenge some 140 miles from the Presili Mountains in Wales to their final home on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.

The answer is surprisingly simple. The feat really isn’t as hard as everyone imagined......

and so on,
moss Posted by moss
24th May 2016ce

Nine Ladies of Stanton Moor (Stone Circle)

More damage to the stones

Some scrote had carved more graffiti into a stone at nine ladies :(
juamei Posted by juamei
14th May 2016ce

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region)

Archaeology - from Dig to Lab and Beyond - Free Online Course

Get an introduction to studying archaeology, exploring exciting discoveries in the Vale of Pewsey, near to Stonehenge and Avebury.

Join now – starts 20 Jun

Join us at the University of Reading as we chart the progress of an archaeological excavation from dig to lab and beyond on this free online course.

Take a virtual field trip to the Vale of Pewsey

We’ll be showing you around our field school – a month-long excavation at the Vale of Pewsey, which is a relatively untouched site compared to its world-famous neighbours, Stonehenge and Avebury.

The Vale of Pewsey is an archaeological treasure chest and the jewel of its crown is Marden. Built around 2,400 BC, Marden is the largest henge in the country and one of Britain’s most important but least understood prehistoric monuments.

Every object has a tale to tell and we’ll investigate how archaeologists paint a vivid picture of what life was like in Neolithic times through the astounding assortment of discoveries made in this beautiful part of England.

Explore every aspect of archaeology

An archaeological excavation isn’t just turning up with a trowel to dig. Drawing on case studies from our field school, you’ll find out about every aspect of archaeology, from deciding where to dig to the collection, recording and storage of artefacts.

We’ll investigate excavation techniques such as topographic surveying and scientific coring. And through distinctive discoveries at the Vale of Pewsey, we’ll take a closer look at what you can do with an artefact once you’ve found it.

Learn how archaeology can study the dead

One of the most intriguing and eye-opening finds of all is a burial site or grave, which provides fascinating insights into the past. In Week 2, we’ll examine the archaeological methods employed in the study of the dead. What can skeletal remains tell us about where someone lived, their occupation and their health?

University of Reading
FREE online course
Duration: 2 weeks
3 hours pw
Certificates available

No prior experience of archaeology is needed. This course is designed for anyone interested in studying an archaeology degree at university. However, anyone with an enthusiastic interest in archaeology is very welcome to join us too.

Join the conversation on social media

Use the hashtag #FLdigtolab to join and contribute to social media conversations about this
Chance Posted by Chance
13th May 2016ce

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

London Stone to go on show in museum

An ancient and obscured piece of limestone has long guarded Cannon Street. It's called simply London Stone (never 'the' London Stone). It might be a Roman milestone or druidic monument. Nobody knows. Very few people ever notice the venerable rock, which has long languished in a woefully unworthy niche opposite the station.
From this Friday, the mysterious artefact will finally get some attention when it goes on show as part of the the Museum of London's War, Plague & Fire gallery.
London Stone was once much larger and more prominently positioned. The monument is mentioned in Shakespeare, and was first referenced in the 12th century. It is undoubtedly much older, and has been incorporated in the foundation myths of our city.
Display at the museum will finally bring London Stone back into public awareness after its long slumber. It will remain at the museum while work is carried out to rebuild its existing home.
The stone is shifting to the museum for temporary display, while its existing home is knocked down and rebuilt.
See London Stone at the Museum of London from Friday 13 May 2016. Entrance is free.
tjj Posted by tjj
10th May 2016ce


Two Finds in One at Harray Chamber

From the Orcadian:

"A prehistoric underground structure has been rediscovered in Harray – rediscovered in that the archaeologists found it to be full of Victorian rubbish!

But although it had obviously been opened, entered and used in the 19th century, the chamber appears to have gone unrecorded.

Martin Carruthers, of the Archaeology Institute UHI, and county archaeologist Julie Gibson made their way out to the site, near the Harray Manse, last weekend.

Martin explained: “It’s either a souterrain or a ‘well’ and, given similar examples elsewhere in the county, probably dates to the Iron Age"

Read More:
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
6th May 2016ce

The Burren

Mystery surrounds Burren settlement excavated by archaeologists

When a prehistoric people built a large settlement in the Burren up to 3,000 years ago, why did they choose a mountain-top with no running water?
Was it the closest point to a sky god, or was the location selected for some type of ancient gathering or “Dáil”?
“Truly one of the most enigmatic places in Irish prehistory” is how NUI Galway (NUIG) archaeologist Dr Stefan Bergh describes the exposed summit of Turlough Hill in northeast Clare.

moss Posted by moss
2nd May 2016ce


Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’

Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in Europe following the Stone Age, sweeping away the previous egalitarian Neolithic period and replacing it with hierarchical societies which were ruled by a powerful elite.
It is likely his power stemmed from advances in technology such as metal working and wheeled transport which enabled organised warfare for the first time.
Although it is not known who he was, or where he lived, scientists say he must have existed because of genetic variation in today’s European populations.
Dr Chris Tyler-Smith, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “One of the most novel and exciting things we have found in the study is the extraordinary explosion in numbers of males at specific times.
“In Europe there was huge population expansion in just a few generations. Genetics can’t tell us why it happened but we know that a tiny number of elite males were controlling reproduction and dominating the population.
“Half of the Western European population is descended from just one man. We can only speculate as to what happened. The best explanation is that they may have resulted from advances in technology that could be controlled by small groups of men.
“Wheeled transport, metal working and organised warfare are all candidate explanations that can now be investigated further.”
The study analysed sequence differences between the Y chromosomes of more than 1200 men from 26 populations around the world using data generated by the 1000 Genomes Project.
The Y chromosome is only passed from father to son and so is wholly linked to male characteristics and behaviours. Mutations reveal which are related to each other and how far apart they are genetically so that researchers can build a family tree.
Dr Yali Xue, lead author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, explained: “This pattern tells us that there was an explosive increase in the number of men carrying a certain type of Y chromosome, within just a few generations.
“We only observed this phenomenon in males, and only in a few groups of men.”
The team used the data to build a tree of the 1200 Y chromosomes. It shows how they are all related to one another. As expected, they all descend from a single man who lived approximately 190,000 years ago.
The most intriguing and novel finding was that some parts of the tree were more like a bush than a tree, with many branches originating at the same point.
The earliest explosive increases of male numbers occurred 50,000–55,000 years ago, across Asia and Europe, and 15,000 years ago in the Americas.
There were also later expansions in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, South Asia and East Asia, at times between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. The team believes the earlier population increases resulted from the first peopling by modern humans of vast continents, where plenty of resources were available.
Dr David Poznik, from Stanford University, California, first author on the paper, said: “We identified more than 60,000 positions where one DNA letter was replaced by another in a man with modern descendants, and we discovered thousands of more complex DNA variants.
“These data constitute a rich and publicly available resource for further genealogical, historical and forensic studies.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Sarah Knapton, science editor
25 APRIL 2016 • 6:14PM
Chance Posted by Chance
28th April 2016ce

Great Orme Mine (Ancient Mine / Quarry)

The Ancient Copper mines dug by children

From the summit of the Great Orme, the landscape looks as peaceful as it is striking – all rolling green hills and farmland stretching out to the blue Irish Sea.

But the headland that rises over Llandudno, Wales has a secret, one that lay buried for thousands of years.
More than five miles (8km) of tunnels run beneath the hill's surface. Spreading across nine different levels and reaching 230 feet (70m) deep, some are so narrow that only children would be small enough to access them.
These are the tunnels of a copper mine: one that was first dug out some 3,800 years ago and that, within a couple of centuries, was the largest in Britain.

moss Posted by moss
25th April 2016ce

Scotland (Country)

Nan Shepherd to appear on Scottish bank note

Great news! Scientist Mary Somerville too.

Robert Macfarlane, writer and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, welcomed the choice of Ms Shepherd for the £5 note.
He said: "It is thrilling to see Nan Shepherd celebrated and commemorated in this way.
"Nan was a blazingly brilliant writer, a true original whose novels, poems and non-fiction broke new ground in Scottish literature, and her influence lives on powerfully today."
tjj Posted by tjj
25th April 2016ce

The Ridgeway (Ancient Trackway)

NT Crackdown on Ridgeway during Avebury Solstice

Western Daily Press

The National Trust and Wiltshire Police are to crack down on the 'number and behaviour' of people camping on Britain's oldest roads – the ancient Ridgeway near Avebury – for the summer solstice.

A new plan has been drawn up by the Trust, which owns the stone circle in the Wiltshire village, to clamp down on the growing numbers of people staying outside the village and blocking the Ridgeway, which runs along the hillside just to the east of the village.

The crackdown will also see more enforcement of tighter new parking restrictions at Avebury village itself, as the National Trust aims to curb the excesses of the revellers who gather there.

The move follows hugely controversial measures put in place by English Heritage for the summer solstice at Stonehenge, including charging £15 to park cars in the temporary car park, and banning alcohol on the site for the night.

While the crowds can reach 40,000 at Stonehenge to see the sunrise on the longest day in June, the solstice at Avebury is a much smaller affair. Crowds there can reach 5,000, and there already has been one major crackdown on what went on there.

There was absolute chaos in 2005 and 2006 when so many people parked all over the village that they completely blocked the main A361 Swindon to Devizes road, which runs through Avebury. During the 2000s, residents also complained consistently of drunken, loutish behaviour by revellers, including finding people vomiting, sleeping, urinating or defecating in their gardens. Many residents still go away for the two days either side of the solstice to avoid the event.

The National Trust and police clamped down on parking. It is no longer allowed anywhere outside the existing visitors' car park, which fills up almost as soon as it is opened on the eve of the solstice, and camper vans are banned.

But increasing numbers of people are heading to Avebury – anecdotally to avoid increased regulation at Stonehenge – and many camp wild along the Ridgeway, which is a short walk across the fields from Avebury village, and affords amazing views over the stone circle and Silbury Hill.

The Ridgeway there is the start of an ancient road that runs all the way to East Anglia and dates back to at least the creation of the Avebury stone circle more than 5,000 years ago.

The Trust said it wanted to make 'Solstice a more peaceful occasion', and its plan would make the celebrations at Avebury 'safe for everyone and respectful of the World Heritage Site'.

As part of the plan, the Police and Wiltshire Council will increase patrols on the Ridgeway – a byway east of Avebury where the number and behaviour of people gathering during Solstice has become a problem.

The National Trust said regular patrols of the byway 'will ensure safety, keep access along the byway open and prosecute and remove those found to be breaking the law'.

Jan Tomlin, the National Trust's General Manager in Avebury, said: "We want the Solstice at Avebury to continue to be known for being a peaceful, respectful occasion which all those who care most about the henge and the village would want it to be – that is why we are taking this action."

"As landowner we are concerned about the safety of anybody using our land – including the Ridgeway. A robust management plan as proposed and enforced by the council and Police is the right thing," she added.

Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire council's highways boss, said he was 'delighted' action was being taken. "I am delighted we are taking a real partnership approach to tackling the challenges the Summer Solstice brings to Avebury," he said. "It is a real team effort, and I look forward to another successfully managed event."

Read more:
Chance Posted by Chance
22nd April 2016ce
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