You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2012.

The Fortune’s Kippers Smokehouse
The Heritage Trust
This may seem an unusual feature for us to comment on, but The Heritage Trust is not only about reporting on the state of ancient and well-known sites of cultural and historic importance, we are also concerned with less well-know local crafts and traditions found in every corner of every country of the world.
In the North Yorkshire harbour town of Whitby (made famous by the remains of its 16th century Benedictine abbey, Captain Cook and Bram Stoker’s Dracula) the long-established and internationally well-known Fortune’s Kippers Smokehouse is in danger of closing down after 140 years run as a family business. Due to heavy rainfall throughout Britain this year, Fortune’s smokehouse may become the latest casualty from flooding and landslides.
A smoky early morning on Henrietta Street in Whitby. Fortune’s smokehouse is the house on the left
The Heritage Trust
The Whitby Gazette reports today that –
A 140-YEAR-OLD kipper smokehouse in Whitby may become the latest victim of heavy rainfall after a serious landslide occurred on Thursday night. Now Barry Brown, owner of Fortune’s Kippers on Henrietta Street, fears he may have to close the business if any more earth falls away from the cliff above. He said: “I’m worried it’s going to come down, and I don’t know what sort of damage it’s going to do. “If anything more comes down we are going to have to shut the shop because it will be too dangerous.” Throughout the week debris had fallen away from the cliff, including human bones from a burial at St Mary’s churchyard.
Full article here.

Reconstruction of a crannog built approximately 5,000 years ago on Loch Tay. Source Wikimedia. Image credit Christine Westerback

BBC News Northern Ireland reports on the imminent destruction of a historical site in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The site contains the remains of a crannog – an ancient type of loch dwelling found throughout Ireland and Scotland. The site represents one of the most important and interesting archaeological digs in Northern Ireland ever undertaken and will be revealed to the public during an open day tomorrow, 1 December. BBC News Northern Ireland reports that –

Workers at the crannog – an artificial island in a lake – in County Fermanagh have been making discoveries almost weekly since the dig began in June.

The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) had raised concerns about “the apparently imminent destruction” of the historical site. They regarded the crannog as too fragile to preserve rather than excavate after the nearby engineering works for the road scheme drained water from the site. The new A32 Cherrymount link road near Enniskillen will eventually be built on top of the crannog.

Following a review of progress in July, archaeologists were given more time to recover the information from the site, which has turned out to be of international significance.

Full article and details of the open day here.


Female figure sculpture approximately 20,000 years-old
The British Museum announces its Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind exhibition which begins on the 7 February 2013 and runs until 26 May 2013.
Discover masterpieces from the last Ice Age drawn from across Europe in this groundbreaking show. Created by artists with modern minds like our own, this is a unique opportunity to see the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits.
Ice Age art was created between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago and many of the pieces are made of mammoth ivory and reindeer antler. They show skilful, practised artists experimenting with perspectives, scale, volumes, light and movement, as well as seeking knowledge through imagination, abstraction and illusion.
Details of the exhibition here.


A World Monuments Fund Video

Each year, the World Monuments Fund presents the Hadrian Award to an international leader who has advanced the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of the world’s art and architecture. The 2012 recipient of the Hadrian Award is Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express.

The Snettisham Torc in the British Museum. Source Wikimedia Commons. Image credit Ealdgyth

Under the title “The World of the Celts. Centres of power – Treasures of art”, the Baden-Württemberg State Museum of Archaeology and the Württemberg State Museum are showing a special exhibition dedicated to the Celts of the first millennium BC and their role as one of the formative forces in European history.

From 15 September 2012 to 17 February 2013, visitors can experience what will probably be the largest exhibition of Celtic artefacts in the last thirty years. The special exhibition will present outstanding original finds, in some cases objects never before exhibited in Germany, in two large topical blocks on display at two locations near Schlossplatz at the very centre of Stuttgart.

Details here.


Buseoksa Temple. A production

As the head temple of Korea’s Hwaumjong sect, it was first erected by the High Priest Uisang during the reign of the Silla King Munmu.

Buseoksa Temple is a temple where one can experience the characteristics of traditional Korean architecture and it is also the home to five National Treasures and three Treasures. You can take a breathtaking view of the unique spatial structure, magnificent stone walls, and bold and graceful buildings.

Buseoksa Temple also contains, within its grounds, the Muryangsujeon (National Treasure Number 18). The Muryangsujeon is the oldest wooden building in Korea and was erected during the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392). The oldest wooden building in the world is thought to be the Hōryū-ji Temple in Japan – itself heavily influenced by Buddhist thought, architecture and culture transmitted to Japan from Korea.


Writing in The Northern Echo on Wednesday, 21 November, Stuart Minting reports that –

A BRONZE Age monument has been commemorated after a long-running campaign.

The 4,000-year-old Quernhow burial mound, which was obliterated by the upgrading of the A1(M), has been marked with a plaque and stone by the Quernhow Café, near Ainderby Quernhow, by the Highways Agency. Archaeologists say the site was “of primary importance in prehistoric times” as it stood on the plain between the three great henges of Thornborough to the north and those on Hutton Moor to the south, accompanied by a number of other tumuli nearby. When it was unearthed in the 1950s, archaeologists found an imposing flat-topped stone cairn with four small pits in its centre, a number of small cremations and broken remains of pottery, human bones and foods vessels. Near the centre of the cairn, which was initially damaged by roadworks in the 1950s, was a “curious four poster” of upright stones placed near to its north, south, east and west points.

Full article here.


An archaeologists’ camp sits beneath a recently excavated Buddhist monastery at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan. Source Wikimedia Commons. Copyright holder Jerome Starkey
The Khaleej Times reports on the 20 November that the ancient Buddhist site of Mes Aynak  in Logar Province, Afghanistan is threatened by mining activity –
Huge riches lie buried below the dusty plains and mountains of Afghanistan – both mineral wealth and historical treasures accumulated over thousands of years. As the country seeks to build a prosperous and peaceful future after more than 30 years of war, it is facing a dilemma between exploiting the resources that can make it rich and preserving its archaeological heritage.
At Mes Aynak, an ancient Buddhist site around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Kabul, the Afghan government has chosen: in 2007 the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) successfully bid for the rights to lease the area for 30 years and exploit an 11.5 million tonne copper ore deposit. The fourth-century site, home to ancient villages, temples and Buddhist statues, faces destruction as the mine project progresses.

Detail of a seated Buddha at Mes Aynak. If you feel strongly about this threatened site please consider signing The Petition to Save Mes Aynak 

Full article here.


The Heritage Trust is one year old today.
Wondering how we might mark the occasion we thought the following photo and the poem by John Ormond (possibly dedicated  to Alexander Thom) sums up much of what we, at The Heritage Trust, hold dear and strive to promote and preserve. We hope both the photo and the poem will resonate with our readers, while at the same time thanking them for their continued support, input and encouragement over the last twelve months.
Carreg Samson. Pembrokeshire, Wales
The Heritage Trust
Free to use for non-commercial heritage issues
Ancient Monuments
They bide their time of serpentine
Green lanes, in fields, with railings
Round them and black cows; tall, pocked
And pitted stones, grey, ochre-patched
With moss, lodgings for lost spirits.
Sometimes you have to ask their
Whereabouts. A bent figure, in a hamlet
Of three houses and a barn, will point
Towards the moor. You will find them there,
Aloof lean markers, erect in mud.
Long Meg, Five Kings, Nine Maidens,
Twelve Apostles: with such familiar names
We make them part of ordinary lives.
On callow pasture-land
The Shearers and The Hurlers.
Sometimes they keep their privacy
In public places: nameless slender slabs
Disguised as gate-posts in a hedge; and some,
For centuries on duty as scratching posts,
Are screened by ponies on blank uplands.
Search out the furthest ones, slog on
Through bog, bracken, bramble: arrive
At short granite footings in a plan
Vaguely elliptical, alignments sunk
In turf strewn with sheep’s droppings;
And wonder whether it was this shrunk place
The guide-book meant, or whether
Over the next ridge the real chamber,
Accurate by the stars, begins its secret
At once to those who find it.
Turn and look back. You’ll see horizons
Much like the ones they saw,
The tomb-builders, millennium ago;
The channel scratched by rain, the same old
Sediment of dusk, winter returning.
Dolerite, porphyry, gabbro fired
At the earth’s young heart: how those men
Handled them. Set on back-breaking
Geometry, the symmetries of solstice,
What they awaited we, too, still wait.
Looking for something else, I came once
To a cromlech in a field of barley,
Whoever framed that field had real
Priorities. He sowed good grain
To the tombs doorstep. No path.
Led to the ancient death. The capstone,
Set like a cauldron on three legs,
Was marooned by the swimming crop.
A gust and the cromlech floated,
Motionless at time’s moorings.
Hissing dry sibilance, chafing
Loquacious thrust of seed
This way and that, in time and out
Of it, would have capsized
The tomb. It stayed becalmed.
The bearded foam, rummaged
By wind from the westerly sea-track,
Broke short not over it. Skirted
By squalls of that year’s harvest,
That tomb belonged in that field.
The racing barley, erratically-bleached
Bronze, cross-hatched with gold
And yellow, did not stop short its tide
In deference. It was the barley’s
World. Some monuments move.
John Ormond

Writing in The Los Angeles Times on the 18 November, Louis Sahagun reports on the theft, damage and desecration of 3,500 year old petroglyphs on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra –

BISHOP, Calif. — Ancient hunters and gatherers etched vivid petroglyphs on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that withstood winds, flash floods and earthquakes for more than 3,500 years. Thieves needed only a few hours to cut them down and haul them away.

Federal authorities say at least four petroglyphs have been taken from the site. A fifth was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides. A sixth had been removed and broken during the theft, then propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot. Dozens of other petroglyphs were scarred by hammer strikes and saw cuts.

The region is known as Volcanic Tableland. It is held sacred by Native Americans whose ancestors adorned hundreds of lava boulders with spiritual renderings: concentric circles, deer, rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep, and hunters with bows and arrows. For generations, Paiute-Shoshone tribal members and whites have lived side by side but not together in Bishop. But desecration of the site, which Native Americans still use in spiritual ceremonies, has forced reservation officials and U.S. authorities to come together and ask a tough question: Can further vandalism be prevented?

Full article and video here. For photos see The Daily Mail article here.


The Great Sphinx of Giza with the Pyramid of Khufu in the background. Source Wikimedia Commons. Image credit w:es:Usuario:Barcex

Cavan Sieczkowski writing in The Huffington Post on the 13 November reports that –

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Egyptian jihadist who claims he has links to the Taliban, has called for the “destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt.”

Al-Gohary, an Islamist leader and jihadist sentenced twice under President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, urged Muslims to “destroy the idols” in Egypt — specifically the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx — during a television interview on Saturday on Egypt’s Dream TV, according to Al Arabiya News. “God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols,” he said, according to Al Arabiya News. “When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”

Adding, “All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues,” according to the Egypt Independent. The jihadist refers to when the Taliban blew up a pair of Buddha statues and smashed other art forms in Afghanistan in 2001, according to The Jerusalem Post. These were symbols of the country’s long Buddhist history.

Full article here. See also our earlier feature The Bamiyan Buddhas: Eleven years on…



Bulguk Temple before restoration

In February of this year we ran a feature entitled, Not all is doom and gloom… on the restoration of Bulguk Temple in South Korea. One of our Far Eastern correspondents has sent in this video of Bulguk Temple today – enjoy!


Bulguk Temple now. A production


Detail of one of the Koguryo Tombs murals. Pyongyang, North Korea
The Nihon Shinbun Kyokai announces that –
Kyodo News and the Japan Newspaper Museum will jointly hold a press photo exhibition featuring the Koguryo Tombs and their wall paintings. The Complex of Koguryo Tombs, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, offers a unique testimony to Koguryo culture, its burial customs, and religious practices as well as daily life and beliefs, especially through the mural paintings. The paintings notably include images of hunting, women in colorful clothes and the Four Deities.
These artworks that flourished in ancient East Asia are believed to have connections to Japan’s Takamatsuzuka Tumulus and Kitora Tumulus. Kyodo News in 2010 and 2011 exclusively covered five tombs in Pyongyang and its vicinity, shooting numerous photographs. On display at the exhibition will be photographs of the ”Four Guardian Deities” murals at the Kosan-dong No. 1 Tomb in Pyongyang which was excavated in 1936 by Japanese researchers, and recently-discovered images of people at the Okdori Tomb in Nampo. Kyodo News became the first foreign media organization to cover the Okdori Tomb. Other photos to be shown include those of the Tokhungri Tomb, the Anak No.3 Tomb and the Kangso Great Tombs and their mural paintings to introduce the essence of Koguryo culture. Life-size replicas of stone chambers of the Kosan-dong No. 1 Tomb and Takamatsuzuka Tomb will be on display as well.
Details here.
Kay Blundell writing in yesterday reports that –
The Historic Places Trust and a Maori wahi tapu trust have strongly opposed the planned Kapiti expressway running through a registered sacred site just north of the Waikanae River.
Presenting its submission to a board of inquiry hearing yesterday, the Historic Places Trust said the proposed McKays Crossing to Peka Peka section of the expressway would physically sever the Takamore wahi tapu (sacred) area between two significant sites: a macrocarpa tree and the Takamore urupa (burial site.) The expressway would also run through a Ngahuruhuru cultivation area and Tukurakau village, said Aleyna Hall, a lawyer acting for the trust. “These sites will be affected by the construction of the expressway. It is very likely archaeological material will be discovered.”
The trust opposed New Zealand Transport Agency consent applications to build the expressway through the wahi tapu area, but supported the rest of the proposed road. “The Takamore wahi tapu area is a major part of the Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai ancestral landscape . . . of great significance . . . and national importance to New Zealand’s history and heritage.” Human remains had been found on the western edge of the area. The macrocarpa known as the Maketu was planted on the grave of a Whanganui chief of the same name. A wetland area connecting the tree with the urupa would be destroyed, she said.
Acting for Takamore Trustees, Leo Watson said the trustees accepted the road designation in general, including an alternative access across the Waikanae River, but believed the adverse effects on their cultural wellbeing, ancestral lands and wahi tapu could not be adequately mitigated by NZTA’s proposals. “Takamore Trustees are staggered by [NZTA’s] view that their proposal would enable cultural wellbeing. It has left a sense of cultural alienation,” Mr Watson said.
Full article here.


A Sacred Land Film Project

Satish Kumar brings a Hindu, Buddhist and Jain perspective to the definition of “sacred place.” We found his explanation so compelling that we edited a three-minute piece incorporating some of our best b-roll images, asked Jon Herbst to compose a musical score, and we present it here as a teaser of things to come, to give our friends and supporters a taste of the film series we are shaping. Enjoy!

Sacred Land Film Project (SLFP)’s mission is to create and distribute media and educational materials to deepen public understanding of sacred sites, indigenous cultures and environmental justice. A sponsored project of Earth Island Institute in Berkeley, California since 1984, SLFP is a 501(c)3 non-profit funded entirely through grants and individual donations. If you enjoy this clip, please consider making a donation to SLFP. Your contribution will make it possible for us to complete our newest documentary series, Standing on Sacred Ground, which will bring the stories of these indigenous communities to a national television audience.



November 2012
Follow The Heritage Trust on
%d bloggers like this: