Unearthed in 1947 at Monkton Farleigh in Wiltshire England, this 4,400 year-old gold sun disc is one of only six ever found, and one of the earliest metal objects ever discovered in Britain
 
This rare and beautiful gold sun-disc (discovered 20 miles from Stonehenge) has gone on display to mark this year’s summer solstice. The early Bronze Age disc, thought to represent the sun, is on show for the first time at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, England.
 
More here.
 
On a separate note, The Heritage Trust is relocating from the south to the north of England. We hope to be up and running as normal by the beginning of July. Have a great summer wherever you are!
 

Just Listed: 20 Unusual Places given Protected Status this Year.

The Cotton MS. Augustus II. 106 of the Magna Carta. One of only four surviving exemplifications of the 1215 text Source Wikimedia Commons

The Magna Carta: “The greatest constitutional document of all times; the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”

Lord Denning.

See also our earlier feature Encasing the Magna Carta.

 

 
 
I Love Museums is a campaign led by the National Museum Directors’ Council to show the public support for museums
 
The Campaign
 
Our museums are facing challenging times. Local and national governments are making tough decisions about funding, and we want to show them how much museums matter by celebrating the public support for our wonderful cultural institutions. We need you to stand up and say ‘I Love Museums’!
 
Whoever is to blame for the financial and banking crisis, and as we all try to recover, it is clearer than ever that our Heritage – monuments, archaeology and museums – also underpins our recovery. Our heritage assets, and the beleaguered professionals who manage them.
 
More here.
   

Castlehill Heritage Centre in Castletown, Scotland
©
AOC Archaeology Group & Castletown Heritage Society 2015

Summer 2015 sees the launch of en exciting new community archaeology initiative from Castletown Heritage Society: A Window on the Hidden Bronze Age Landscape of Caithness. This innovative project represents a new chapter in the exploration of Caithness’ prehistoric past, using cutting-edge technology to identify and select features for investigation. Targeted archaeological survey and excavation will be carried out by volunteers under the guidance of archaeologists from AOC Archaeology Group, as part of a structure summer school. Training will be central to the project’s aims, with participants learning new skills or building on previous experience. Castlehill Heritage Centre will be the project’s central hub, with indoor learning sessions, evening events and crafts workshops taking place there throughout the summer and into the autumn.

More here.

   

 
 
The Rillaton Gold Cup. Early Bronze Age (1,800-1,600bce)
On loan to the British Museum from the Royal Collections
Image: The Heritage Trust
 
Was Cornwall the site of a prehistoric gold rush? David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent for The Independent, reports –
 
New archaeological research is revealing that south-west Britain was the scene of a prehistoric gold rush. A detailed analysis of some of Western Europe’s most beautiful gold artefacts suggests that Cornwall was a miniature Klondyke in the Early Bronze Age. Geological estimates now indicate that up to 200 kilos of gold, worth in modern terms almost £5 million, was extracted in the Early Bronze Age from Cornwall and West Devon’s rivers – mainly between the 22nd and 17th centuries BC.
 
New archaeological and metallurgical research suggests that substantial amounts were exported to Ireland, with smaller quantities probably also going to France. It also suggests that the elites of Stonehenge almost certainly likewise obtained their gold from the south-west peninsula, as may the rulers of north-west Wales, who took to wearing capes made of solid gold.
 
Full article here.
    
 
2,000 year-old Roman figurine of Mercury
©
Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)
 
Ben Miller, writing in Cuture24, reports on –
 
The 1,000th officially recorded archaeological find of the year in Yorkshire… Registered on May the 15th – the day of the festival of Mercury – a 2,000-year-old figurine of the Roman god, found by Dave Cooper while he was metal detecting in a field near Selby, is a remarkable reminder of Roman times.
 
“It honestly was pure coincidence – but a very happy one,” says Rebecca Griffiths, the Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the York Museums Trust.
 
Read more here. You can also discover more about the figurine here, and Public Finds Days will be held by the PAS at Hull and East Riding Museum on July 31, September 25 and November 27 from 11am-1pm and at the Yorkshire Museum on June 5, August 7, October 2, December 4 from 10am-1pm.
 


Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon sword pommel from the Staffordshire Hoard
©
Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Originally posted on Heritage Calling:

We have given £400,000 towards some ground breaking research into the Staffordshire Hoard. It will lead to an online catalogue detailing every one of the hundreds of objects in the Hoard. The plan is for the catalogue to be ready in 2017 with a major book about the collection published the following year. Working with the owners of the hoard, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils, and Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery who jointly care for the collection, we have already made some amazing discoveries. But £120,000 still needs to be raised to complete this incredibly important project.

Think you’d like to help? Here are six reasons to donate:

1. It’s the most important Anglo-Saxon find since 1939

The last significant discovery was the Sutton Hoo ship-burial in Suffolk more than 75 years ago.The Staffordshire Hoard was unearthed in July 2009 by a metal detectorist and is a spectacular mix of gold, silver…

View original 484 more words

 
Fred and Wilma Flintstone in their garden with Barney and Betty Rubble looking on
Image credit Everett Collection/Rex Features
 
Our prehistoric forebears are often portrayed as spear-wielding savages, but the earliest human societies are likely to have been founded on enlightened egalitarian principles, according to scientists.
 
A study has shown that in contemporary hunter-gatherer tribes, men and women tend to have equal influence on where their group lives and who they live with. The findings challenge the idea that sexual equality is a recent invention, suggesting that it has been the norm for humans for most of our evolutionary history.
 
Read the full article in the Guardian here.
  
 
 
Australopithecus afarensis, a species of hominin thought to be a direct ancestor of modern humans
Image credit Science Photo Library
 
Rebecca Morelle, Science Correspondent for BBC News, reports that scientists have unearthed a new species of ancient human in the Afar region of Ethiopia. “Researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth, which date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old. It means this new hominin was alive at the same time as several other early human species, suggesting our family tree is more complicated than was thought.
 
“The study is published in the journal Nature. The new species has been called Australopithecus deyiremeda, which means “close relative” in the language spoken by the Afar people. The ancient remains are thought to belong to four individuals, who would have had both ape and human-like features…”
 
More here.
   

View of the Great Orme’s limestone cliffs from the former lighthouse
Image credit FinnWikiNo. Source Wikimedia Commons

Cahal Milmo, writing for The Independent, reports on the National Trust’s purchase of 140-acres at the Great Orme archaeological site in North Wales –

A chunk of the Great Orme, the imposing limestone headland on the North Wales coast which is home to Britain’s largest prehistoric mine and a herd of Kashmiri goats acquired from Queen Victoria, has been secured by the National Trust. The £1m purchase of a large farm on the promontory overlooking the resort of Llandudno is the latest acquisition by the Trust’s 50-year-old Neptune campaign to protect special areas of coastline under threat of development.

The 140-acre Parc Farm will now be managed to promote the Orme’s status as one of Britain’s most important botanical sites as well as an area rich in archaeology, including the underground workings of the biggest Bronze Age copper mine in the UK.

Full article here.

   

Two 15th century painted panels in Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan, Devon, England before the theft. The two figures on the right, in the left panel, went missing.
Photo credit: The Churches Conservation Trust

Nearly two years ago we reported on the theft of two priceless 15th century painted oak panels from a church in Devon, England (feature here). The panels are said to be of national importance but had been viciously hacked out of a screen in the church and stolen. The panels were feared lost forever but now, thanks to a collector who recognised them from media coverage and who reported their illegal online sale to the police, the panels have been recovered and are currently in safe storage in Bristol.

Sadly, the damage done to the panels when they were hacked from the screen will cost in the region of £7,000 to repair and conserve. The Churches Conservation Trust therefore has launched and appeal to help restore this priceless masterpiece. Details here.

   

West Midlands History explores a mystery object from the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard

After hours of research, this is an object which still baffles the team of Anglo Saxon experts in the project team. As far as they know no comparable piece has ever been found and it has no immediately obvious use.

 
 
The Mên-an-Tol, Cornwall
Image © Roy Goutté
 
The Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network will be holding a weekend of walks and talks amongst the ancient sites of West Penwith in Cornwall on Saturday, 30 May 2015. The event starts at 10:00am on the Saturday with a guided walk led by Cheryl Straffon and Lana Jarvis. The circular walk will include visits to prehistoric sites that were aligned to the sun and moon, including the Mên-an-Tol, the Nine Maidens Barrow and Stone Circle and the Bosiliack Barrow.
 
Full details of the event here.
    

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