Anglo-Saxon helmet cheek piece from the Staffordshire Hoard
 
BBC News England reports that -
 
Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths knew how to treat gold to make it appear more golden, fresh research has revealed. Analysis of the Staffordshire Hoard showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects. The finding exposes the flaws in archaeological methods used to calculate an object’s gold content by analysing its surface, experts said. It comes as a new display of the items opened in Birmingham. “Relatively little is known about Anglo-Saxon goldsmithing, but achieving this surface treatment would have been a skilled task, one we now know they were familiar with,” a museum spokesman said.
 
About 200 objects were scanned using X-ray technology to determine their elemental composition during the British Museum study. Gold was highly valued in Anglo Saxon society and may also have been believed to have magical or sacred qualities. It is not known how the inferior metals were removed.
 
Full BBC article and video here. See also the article by Maev Kennedy in the Guardian here.
   

Heritage is identity, don’t steal it! A UNESCO video

Dear tourist, make sure that the souvenir you take home from South East Asia [or from any other part of the world] hasn’t been looted from a museum or illegally excavated from an archeological site. Please check its provenance and verify that it can be exported out of the country! Keep in mind that a cultural object is not simple merchandise: it embodies history and has a symbolic value for the local people. Help stop illicit trafficking!

 

 
The iconic Cornish tri-stone of Louden stone circle with the equally iconic Roughtor as the backdrop. Does the former replicate the latter?
©
Roy Goutté
 
Louden stone circle is just one of three large ‘ceremonial’ circles in close proximity to each other to the north-west of Bodmin Moor, the others being Stannon and Fernacre circles. They all feature a major tri stone in their settings and are all overlooked by Roughtor and will be featured in an article shortly by Roy Goutté. We’re also pleased to announce that Mr Goutté’s work at King Arthur’s Hall on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall has been included in English Heritage’s PastScape resource here  (see under Related Text on the PastScape page).
 
 
 
Image when the taller of the two Bamiyan Buddhas was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001
Source Wikipedia
 
 
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai
 

9781137357502

Heritage Crime: Progress, Prospects and Prevention

Heritage crime is an area of growing interest for scholars, but also for enforcement agencies and heritage managers, as well as the communities affected. Whether it is the looting of cultural objects, theft of lead from churches, or vandalism of historic monuments, this timely collection brings together debate and international examples to demonstrate the diversity but also commonality of heritage crime across the globe.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Mark Harrison FSA, National Policing and Crime Advisor, English Heritage and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Kent, Great Britain.

1. Introduction; Suzie Thomas and Louise Grove

Section I: Heritage Crime around the World
2. South African Perspective on Thefts from Museums and Galleries: 2006-2010; Bernadine Benson and Henri Fouché
3. Archaeological Heritage in Peru: Definitions, Perceptions and Imperceptions; Henry Tantaleán
4. Forestry as Heritage Crime: Finland; Vesa Laulumaa
5. Archaeological Heritage Crimes in Romania and Moldova: A Comparative view; Sergiu Musteata
6. Threats to Cultural Heritage in the Cyprus Conflict; Sam Hardy

Section II: Tackling Heritage Crime
7. A Situational Approach to Heritage Crime Prevention; Louise Grove and Ken Pease
8. Understanding and Preventing Lead Theft from Churches: A Script Analysis; Victoria Price, Aiden Sidebottom and Nick Tilley
9. Understanding and Attitudes – Heritage Crime in Norway; Brian Kristian Wennberg
10. Developing Policy on Heritage Crime in Southern Africa; Helene Vollgraaff
11. Improving the Treatment of Heritage Crime in Criminal Proceedings: Towards a Better Understanding of the Impact of Heritage Offences; Carolyn Shelbourn
12. The Global Trade in Illicit Antiquities: Some New Directions?; Kenneth Polk
13. Conclusion; What’s the Future for Heritage Crime Research?; Suzie Thomas and Louise Grove

Published this month by Palgrave Macmillan. Details here.

 

   

A gold pin from the Dumfries and Galloway Viking Hoard
©
Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland reports yesterday that -

A hoard of Viking treasure described as the largest found in modern times has been discovered on land owned by the Church of Scotland. The historically significant find was made by Derek McLennan, a committed metal detector enthusiast who has been searching around the area in Dumfries and Galloway for the last year. The hoard contains more than one hundred artefacts, many of which are unique. They are now in the care of the Treasure Trove Unit and considered to be of international importance.

The hoard falls under the Scots law of treasure trove, and is currently in the care of the Treasure Trove Unit. The law provides for a reward to be made to the finder which is judged equivalent to the market value of the items. The Church of Scotland General Trustees, as the landowners, have reached agreement with Derek about an equitable sharing of any proceeds which will eventually be awarded. Secretary to the General Trustees, David Robertson said “We are very excited to have been part of such an historic find and we commend Derek for the spirit in which he has worked with us and the other agencies involved in making sure everything is properly registered and accounted for. Any money arising from this will first and foremost be used for the good of the local parish. We recognise Derek is very responsible in pursuing his interest, but we do not encourage metal detecting on Church land unless detailed arrangements have been agreed beforehand with the General Trustees.”

The location of the find is not being revealed. The Scottish Government, Treasure Trove Unit and Historic Scotland are all involved in ensuring the area is properly protected while the full historical significance of the site is established. The objects within the hoard will now undergo painstaking conservation work, revealing their secrets and preserving them for future generations.

Full Church of Scotland article here.

   

A Nature Video documenting a cave in Indonesia that’s home to some of the oldest paintings and hand stencils in the world

 
The earliest known cave paintings have been discovered in a rural area on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesian. Using stalactite-like growths that cover some of the paintings and hand stencils experts have been able to date them from 40,000 years – 13,000 years before the present.
 
Pallab Ghosh, Science Correspondent for BBC News, reports Dr Maxime Aubert as saying that -
 
“The minimum age for (the outline of the hand) is 39,900 years old, which makes it the oldest hand stencil in the world. Next to it is a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old, and this is one of the oldest figurative depictions in the world, if not the oldest one…”
 
There are also paintings in the caves that are around 27,000 years old, which means that the inhabitants were painting for at least 13,000 years. In addition, there are paintings in a cave in the regency of Bone, 100 km north of Maros. These cannot be dated because the stalactite-like growths used to determine the age of the art do not occur. But the researchers believe that they are probably the same age as the paintings in Maros because they are stylistically identical.
 
The discovery of the Indonesian cave art is important because it shows the beginnings of human intelligence as we understand it today.
 
 
Painting of a variety a wild endemic dwarfed bovid from Bone, Sulawesi, in Indonesia. The animal is found only in Sulawesi and was probably hunted by the inhabitants.
Image credit Dr Maxime Aubert
 
Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, London is quoted as saying, “This find enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe.”
 
Full BBC article here. Read the research paper here. See also our earlier feature, Do the hand stencils found in prehistoric cave paintings belong to women?
    
 
Facade of one of the Mayan cities recently discovered in a Mexican jungle. According to Ivan Sprajc, expedition leader, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the entrance represents the open jaws of an earth monster, a Maya earth deity related to fertility. Such doorways ‘symbolised the entrance to a cave and, in general, to the watery underworld. The place of the mythological origin of maize and the abode of the ancestors.’
 
Image credit Ivan Sprajc
 
April Holloway, writing for Ancient Origins, reports on the discovery and rediscovery of two ancient Maya cities -
 
In an amazing new discovery in the jungles of Mexico, archaeologists have uncovered two ancient Mayan cities, including ruined pyramid temples, palace remains, a monster mouth gateway, a ball court, altars, and other stone monuments, according to a new release by Discovery News. One of the cities had been found decades ago but all attempts to relocate it had failed. The other city was previously unknown and is a brand new discovery, shedding new light on the ancient Mayan civilization.
 
More here.
     
 
 
First World War soldiers training at Stonehenge
 
Soldiers at Stonehenge: Salisbury Plain and the journey to the First World War, is the title of a new exhibition due to open at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre on the 5 November 2014. The exhibition will tell the story of the (then) world’s largest military training camp at Stonehenge and the estimated one million men who, between 1914 and 1918, were trained there.
 
Dermot Martin, writing in the Salisbury Journal, reports that -
 
Records show 180,000 men were stationed at any one time on the plain during the First World War. Their personal stories, photographs and original objects will form the basis of the exhibition but evidence of their presence can still be seen across the wider Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain landscape.
 
Robert Campbell, head of interpretation at English Heritage, which is staging the exhibition, said: “The task of these men was to overcome the horrific stalemate of trench warfare and to replicate conditions on the Western Front, soldiers dug intricate networks of trenches which were then pounded by shellfire. The exhibition will explore this aspect.” The war left its mark on the ancient archaeology of Salisbury Plain and the exhibition includes finds on loan from Wiltshire Museum including cap badges, rifle cartridges, aircraft parts and highly personal items such as a spoon and even part of a bottle of Australian hair tonic.
 
Full Salisbury Journal article here.
 
 
A French postcard (circa 1916) depicting a Bristol Monoplane flying over Stonehenge
Private collection Great Britain
   
We’re often asked where the megalithic tomb (which we use for our banner image) is located. The tomb (of the sub-megalithic type) is located north of Whitesands Bay at St Davids Head, Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales and is known as Coetan Arthur. Here’s a full frame photo of the tomb.
 
 
Coetan Arthur sub-megalithic tomb
©
The Heritage Trust
 
 
Another taken with Whitesands Bay in the background
©
The Heritage Trust
 
 
And another with Carn Llidi in the distance
©
The Heritage Trust

Rising from ruins. Pentre Ifan as it may have originally looked
©
 
The third in a new series of videos that use CGI technology to restore some of Wales’s most iconic landmarks to their former glory. This video gives you an idea of how Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber in Pembrokeshire would have looked when it was first built.
 
For more information, visit http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/pent
 
Dyma’r trydydd mewn cyfres newydd o fideos sy’n defnyddio technoleg CGI i adfer rhai o dirnodau mwyaf eiconig Cymru i’w hen ogoniant.Mae’r fideo’n rhoi syniad i chi sut byddai Siambr Gladdu Pentre Ifan yn Sir Benfro wedi edrych pan gafodd ei hadeiladu am y tro cyntaf.
 
I gael rhagor o wybodaeth, ewch i http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/pent
 
 
Pentre Ifan today
©
The Heritage Trust
 
 
The £15.75 million needed to save the 80,000-piece Wedgwood Collection for the Nation has been achieved
 
At the beginning of last month we highlighted the Appeal to save the Wedgwood Museum. Today BBC News Stoke & Staffordshire reports that -
 
The Wedgwood Museum collection has been “saved for the nation” after reaching its £15.75m target in a month. The collection features 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts, letters and photographs. It faced being sold to help pay off the pottery firm’s pension bill, inherited by Wedgwood Museum after Waterford Wedgwood plc collapsed in 2009.
 
The collection is expected to remain on display at the museum in Barlaston, Staffordshire.
 
More here, and well done to all involved in raising the £15.75 million target in a month!
 

Keep off our Worms by Banksy

A mural by street artist Banksy, possibly worth tens of thousand of pounds, has been scrubbed from a wall in Clacton-on-Sea (south-east England) by the local council. BBC News Essex reports that the mural, “…showing a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration banners has been destroyed following a complaint that the work was “racist”.”

The mural appeared this week in Clacton-on-Sea where a by-election is due to take place following the local Conservative MP’s defection to the United Kingdom Independence Party. “It showed four pigeons holding signs including “Go Back to Africa”, while a more exotic-looking bird looked on. The local council, which removed it, said it did not know it was by Banksy. Tendring District Council said it received a complaint that the mural was “offensive” and “racist”.”

It would appear that both Tendring District Council and the complainant might benefit from a crash course in the ‘art of irony’.

More here and here. See also our other features on Banksy via the search box above.

   

Great Gold Cross from the Staffordshire Hoard

Discover the hidden secrets of the Great Gold Cross, one of the Staffordshire Hoard’s most iconic objects. View other films in this series and find out more about the history of the West Midlands, on the History West Midlands website: http://www.historywm.com

 

 
22,000 copper-alloy coins dating from 260ce-340ce found in Devon, England
©
The Trustees of the British Museum
 
Ben Miller, writing for Culture24, reports that -
 
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum has launched a public appeal to buy the largest hoard of 4th century coins ever found in Britain.
 
Laurence Egerton discovered 22,000 copper-alloy coins near a known Roman villa at Honeyditches, in East Devon [England], last November. Experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which announced one of the coins as its millionth find in its annual report today, praised Egerton’s “prompt and responsible” decision to report the hoard, which ensured the artefacts were properly excavated and recorded.
 
The asking price for the hoard will be decided by the British Museum’s Treasure Valuation Committee later this year. “This extraordinary hoard will add greatly to our picture of life in Roman Devon,” said Rosie Durham, Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture, praising the “exemplary co-operation” between Egerton, the landowner and the authorities. “It would be a wonderful addition to the museum’s collection of local Romano-British objects, which includes finds from Honeyditches. “We hope that public support will enable us to acquire the hoard. It has so many exciting stories to tell.”
 
Full Culture24 article here. See also The Telegraph article here.
   

The Inscribed Strip from the Staffordshire Hoard

Dr David Symons reveals the secrets of another object from the Staffordhshire Hoard – The Inscribed Strip…

More on the Staffordshire Hoard here.

 

Katherine Baxter, Curator of Archaeology at Leeds City Museum, holding a terracotta antefix of Medusa. 300-200bce from Lanuvium, Italy

Stephen Lewis, writing in The Press reports that -

Some of the British Museum’s finest Roman treasures have come to Leeds as part of a touring exhibition examining the lives of Romans in Yorkshire.

Roman Empire: Power & People features stunning objects from throughout the Roman world, from Egypt to Italy, Germany and, of course, Roman Britain. The Leeds City Museum has combined the British Museum treasures with Roman objects from its own collection and from other museums in Yorkshire, including York’s own Yorkshire Museum. The result is an exhibition that reflects the power, vastness and might of the Roman Empire, but also considers Britain’s – and Yorkshire’s – place within that empire, says Katherine Baxter, curator of archaeology at Leeds City Museum. It also aims to give a personal insight into what the lives of Romans living here were like: and whether ‘being Roman’ was the same for people in Yorkshire as it was for those in Rome.

To coincide with the exhibition, which runs until 4 January 2015, there will be a series of lectures and family events including talks about rural life in Roman Yorkshire, and a lecture on Roman York.

Full article and further details on the exhibition here.

 
The Didcot Iron Age Mirror
 
In May this year we reported that the Iron Age Didcot Mirror (discovered near Didcot in southern England by a metal detectorist) had been sold to an anonymous overseas buyer. Due to its historical importance however Culture Minister and Wantage MP Ed Vaizey temporarily blocked its export to see if a buyer could be found in the UK. Vaizey was reported as saying, “The Didcot Mirror is a beautiful object dating from the Iron Age and would be a tremendous addition to any one of our many outstanding national, regional and local museums. I hope the export bar I’ve placed allows time for a UK buyer to come forward and secure it for the nation.”
 
We learn today that Oxfordshire County Council’s Museums Service has been successful in its appeal to raise £33,000 to purchase this rare bronze Iron Age mirror. They report that -
 
The mirror, which dates from the 1st century BC, is decorated with a highly unusual and beautiful curvilinear La Tène style pattern. These particular mirrors are unique to Britain and only 18 complete ones are known to exist. The only one to have been found in Oxfordshire, the mirror was discovered near Didcot some years ago, by a metal detector user and was recently sold to an anonymous bidder and would have been exported had the appeal not reached its target.
 
Hours to spare
 
The Friends of the Oxfordshire Museum had until September 12 to raise the local funds needed to keep the mirror in the country and to put it on display in Oxfordshire. The target was therefore met with only hours to spare. The Appeal, launched by the Friends of the Museum, remains open to receive further donations to contribute towards the costs of conserving and displaying the Mirror and undertaking further research which aims to reveal more of its hidden story.
 
For further information or to make a donation please visit – http://www.friendsoftom.co.uk/
 
To make a donation online through Just Giving – http://www.justgiving.com/oxfordshiremuseum
 
Full Oxfordshire County Council’s Museums Service press release here.
   
 
 
Japanese Archaeology in the Digital Age
The Launch of A New Online Resource for teaching about Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (ORJACH)
 
 
Japan has one of the best archaeological resources in the world. And yet many of the treasures that archaeologists have uncovered throughout the archipelago over the past 150 years remain little known to the outside world. As well as being a valuable research resource, Japan’s archaeology and cultural heritage can contribute to education in many different ways. To help teachers and students, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, supported by Hitachi Europe Ltd and Hitachi Solutions Ltd, has developed a new English-language Online Resource for Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (ORJACH).
 
A draft version of ORJACH is currently available at (http://www.orjach.org/) and everyone is invited to submit comments and statements of interest via that website, which will help us complete the final version.
 
ORJACH will be formally launched at a public seminar at the Japan Foundation in London on Tuesday September 23rd, on Japanese Archaeology in the Digital Age, which will set ORJACH in context of other digital archaeology initiatives, including the new free open-access online Japanese Journal of Archaeology published by the Japanese Archaeological Association (www.jjarchaeology.jp) the Digital Repository of Japanese Archaeological Reports, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
 
Programme:
 
6pm:       Registration

6.30pm:  Seminar
– Introductory remarks: Dr Simon Kaner
– Presentation about the Online Resource for Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (Don Henson, Ben Hui, Nakamura Oki)
– Digital developments in Japanese archaeology (Professor Miyamoto Kazuo)
– Discussant: Professor Julian Richards

8pm:        Drinks reception
 

Booking:

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please e-mail the Sainsbury Institute at d.clinciu@sainsbury-institute.org

Venue: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 from 6pm at the Japan Foundation London Office, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EH.
 
 
4,000 year-old Japanese dogū figurine
 
A 4,000 year-old figurine, found in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, 14 years ago, has been officially designated as a National Treasure by the Japanese Government. Known as dogū, the figurine stands 34 centimetres tall and weighs 2.7 kilograms. Made of coiled clay it was found in an almost perfect condition in Nagano’s Nakappara site on the  23 August 2000. The figurine is thought to date from the end of the Jōmon Period (12,000bce-300bce). The Japanese Council for Cultural Affairs recommended that the figurine be designated a National Treasure in March.
 
The figurine is currently on display at the Togariishi Museum of Jōmon Archaeology and will appear at the National Treasures of Japan exhibition to be held at the Tokyo National Museum from 15 October – 7 December 2014.
 

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