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Tractor lines ploughing through the Trippet Stones Circle in Cornwall
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Roy Goutté

Close on the heels of the damage created by horses and tractors at Trethevy Quoit (see Trethevy Quoit put at risk) the stone circle known as the Trippet Stones on Manor Common, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall has now come under attack by an inconsiderate (tractor) driver. On a recent visit to the Stones, Trust members were appalled to see tractor lines going right through the circle. Rather than simply avoid the circle altogether the driver drove through its centre from two different directions and in doing so destroyed archaeology by churning up the ground immediately over some missing stone holes. It beggars belief that in this informed day and age there are still people about who don’t care a fig for our heritage.

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Tractor lines ploughing through the Trippet Stones
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Roy Goutté

This seemingly ever increasing couldn’t-care-a-less attitude by some farmers/farmhands/contactors is very worrying and unless some seriously severe fines or custodial sentences are handed out it’s difficult to see how they will be stopped other than by securely fencing these areas off from vehicle access. I have reported the damage to English Heritage who will hopefully follow it up.

Roy Goutté

 

Archaeologist Dr Steve Sherlock talks about his discoveries at Street House with Kirkleatham Museum curator Alan Pearce (above) ahead of the major exhibition at the museum that will display the ‘Princess Treasure’.

More here.

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Trevethy Stone, Cornwall, by Charles Knight (circa 1845)
Also known as King Arthur’s Quoit, The Giant’s House and Trethevy Quoit
Private collection, Great Britain
 
The Heritage Trust will be holding its Outreach Event in Cornwall this year. The event will begin with lunch (for those wanting one) at the Cheesewring Hotel in Minions, Liskeard on Friday, 21 June. We’ll meet at the hotel around 11:30am, leaving there around 1pm for a visit to Trethevy Quoit, then back to base at Minions for visits to The Hurlers, Pipers, Rillaton Barrow and Stowe’s.
 
There’s no charge to attend (and lunch, transportation etc is not included in the Event) just an opportunity to share ideas and socialise with likeminded people. Mr Roy Goutté, author of Trethevy Quoit: Cornwall’s Megalithic Masterpiece, will be our guide at Trethevy (and the other sites) and will be pleased to discuss his findings of the quoit while there (look out for a table with Roy’s book on it if you’re not sure who we are).
 
 
 
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The British Museum, London
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The Heritage Trust
 
Pompeii Live from the British Museum will be screened today (19 June 2013) in a unique live broadcast to cinema audiences in Britain and Ireland, and with a special offer to school groups.
 
The first live cinema event ever produced by the British Museum, offering an exclusive private view of the major exhibition, Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Introduced by British Museum director Neil MacGregor this event will use a line-up of expert presenters to create a one-off experience including contributions from historian Mary Beard, Rachel de Thame revealing life in the garden, Giorgio Locatelli in the kitchen and Bettany Hughes in the bedroom.
 
This unique live broadcast event will take cinema audiences round the major exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum 28 March – 29 September 2013 in the company of renowned experts and practitioners who, alongside live performance – music, poetry and eye-witness accounts – will bring to life extraordinary objects, some never seen outside Italy before. Interviews throughout the exhibition will be intercut with stunning specially recorded films in Italy, showing Pompeii and Herculaneum and the sleeping Vesuvius.
 
Details here and video preview here.
 
 
As early as 2007 Reuters and the Nanjing Morning Post reported that some ten ancient tombs, dating back nearly 1,800, years had been destroyed by construction workers building an IKEA branch in Nanjing, south-eastern China –
 
The tombs — from the “six dynasties” period from AD 220 to 589 — were uncovered on the outskirts of the ancient capital in Jiangsu province, the Nanjing Morning Post said. City archaeologists told the newspaper the tombs might have been those of a wealthy family of the period as the workmanship was of high quality. The tombs were constructed of green bricks embroidered with ornate lotus patterns.
 
The tombs were destroyed by excavation machines and bulldozers making way for an outlet for the Swedish IKEA home furnishings chain, according to the report. “The tops of some of the tombs were chopped off by bulldozers, disclosing some green bricks,” it said, citing a witness. “The situation of another tomb was even more miserable, because it was dug from the centre by an excavator, leaving only part of the coffin hanging on the mud wall,” it said.
 
A spokesman for IKEA was not immediately available for comment.
 
Then in 2012 The Guardian reported  on “China’s tomb raiders laying waste to thousands of years of history. Bulldozers and dynamite used to strip priceless artefacts from remote sites, with booty sold on to wealthy collectors.” The damage and desecration to China’s ancient sites continues with today’s report by Zheng Caixiong in the China Daily that –
 
Five ancient tombs were destroyed overnight in Guangzhou’s Luogang district to make room for a metro project on Saturday, raising concern over the protection of relics as economic construction in the Guangdong provincial capital speeds up. Zhang Qianglu, an official with the Guangzhou Archaeological Institute, said the destroyed tombs were pre-Qin (the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, 770-221 BC) era and were valuable for archaeological study and research of the city’s ancient past.
 
Many archaeologists and workers were still investigating at the site in Luogang’s Dagong Mountain area on Friday afternoon, before the tombs were found to have been bulldozed on Saturday morning, with many artifacts destroyed or damaged, Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Sunday.
 
More here and here.
 
 

Ian Constantinides, a leading figure in architectural conservation
17 September 1955 – 15 April 2013

Clementine Cecil, writing in The Guardian yesterday and on the 28 May, reports on the death of Ian Constantinides, a leading figure in architectural conservation –
 
Ian Constantinides, who has died of cancer aged 57, was one of the most innovative figures in recent British architectural conservation. Through his company, St Blaise, he brought together the worlds of building and conservation at a time when the latter was seen as marginal and impractical. With St Blaise he worked on a huge variety of projects, from great castles to bridges and follies. He helped to restore Windsor castle after the fire of 1992 and rebuilt St Ethelburga’s church in Bishopsgate, London, after its destruction by IRA bombing in 1993. Ian, a tall, wiry man with huge energy, also trained a large number of others – in his adventurous, hands-on style – who continue to play a central role in conservation.
 
He believed that each building held the answers about the best way to repair it if you looked closely enough. The human eye was the best tool, he would say, “better than the tape measure, the set square and the water level”. The test of a good repair, he said, was whether it functioned and was beautiful. “If it fails in either, then it is not a good repair.” He invited people from all the trades on to each building site and encouraged them to learn from each other.
 
Ian set up St Blaise in 1982. Under his direction, it was involved in the repair of some 150 historic buildings. The company tended to operate at the highest academic end of building conservation, for English Heritage, Cadw (the Welsh historic environment service), Historic Scotland, the National Trust and the Landmark Trust, as well as major sites such as the British Museum, where it was involved in the conservation and restoration of the stone. At the time of his death, Ian was consultant to a conservation project for the James Gibbs building at King’s College, Cambridge.
 
For his funeral, Ian gave instructions that his coffin be made of scaffolding planks with rope handles.
 
Full obituary here.
 
 
 
 
Mural (circa 55-79ce) unearthed at Pompeii and portraying the baker Terentius Neo and his wife
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DeAgostini/SuperStock
 
A lecture ‘Meanwhile, in Britain…’: women under the Roman Empire, by Lindsay Allason-Jones, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, will take place on Friday, 5 July from 13.15 until 14.15 in the BP Lecture Theatre at the British Museum.
 
In AD 79 Britain was a new province of the Roman Empire and a very different place to mainland Italy. In this lecture, Lindsay Allason-Jones, considers the changes that the invasion made on southern Britain and how these changes affected the lives of the women of Britannia.
 
The lecture is free but booking is advised. More here.

 

 
The Adunqiaolu relic site and tombs in Wenquan County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Experts believe the site dates from 1,900-1,700bce and belongs to the Bronze Age
 
Image credit China Daily
 
 
Liu Xiangrui, writing in the China Daily, reports that –
 
Chinese cultural heritage authorities announced the 10 most important archaeological discoveries in 2012 on Tuesday, with the earliest dating back to the Paleolithic era. At the news conference, Yan Wenming, an archaeologist from Peking University, highlighted the Shimao Ruins in Shaanxi province, which is rich in relics.
 
Archaeologists discovered ruins of a three-layered knoll town, which consists of an elevated core, and inner and outer city walls. The 2.5-meter-wide, 5,700-meter-long inner wall, built mostly on hill ridges, is relatively well preserved. The city covers an area of more than 4 million square meters. Yan said the relic site is the largest town site known in China from the Longshan Period (2350-1950 BC) to Xia Dynasty (c.21st century-16th century BC). Jade pieces, pottery and painted patterns have been found at the site, with some colored patterns remaining on the city wall.

Clay head discovered in the Xishanpo Buddhist temple ruins of the Liao Dynasty’s Imperial City. The city was the capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region from 916-1125ce

Image credit China Daily
 

Full article here.

 
Japanese archaeologist, Dr Nishimura Masanari (4th from left), with villagers of the Kim Lan ancient village and excavation site in Hanoi
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Nishino Noriko
 
Japanese archaeologist, Dr Nishimura Masanari, who dedicated 23 years of his life to Vietnamese archaeology, was tragically killed in a road accident in Vietnam on the 9 June; he was on his way from Hanoi to a new excavation site in Hai Phong Province. Dr Nishimura was 48 and married to linguist and fellow archaeologist Nishino Noriko.
 
Full article here.
 
 
 
The 16th century tombs and gardens of Isa Khan Niyazi and Bu Halima, part of the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb. The site has now been restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and funds from the World Monuments Fund
 
Image Wikipedia 
 
Madhur Tankha, writing for The Hindu last month, reports that –
 
“For conservation to be successful in our country it is necessary that we return to a craft-based approach where master craftsmen are empowered to match the work of their forefathers using traditional materials, tools and building craft traditions,” said Aga Khan Trust for Culture project director Ratish Nanda, who has been associated with the restoration work of the two Mughal era garden tombs of Isa Khan Niyazi and Bu Halima over the past two years.
 
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Nanda said traditional materials were used while carrying out the restoration work on the two tombs. Restoration was a daunting task as it involved in-depth research, and experts from India and abroad had to be roped in. It was a challenge to produce authentic parts which could fit in the broken areas of the tombs. “It was driven by the understanding of the multi-disciplinary project team that the outstanding universal value of the Humayun’s Tomb world heritage site – of which these monuments are a part – lies in it being an ensemble of 16th Century garden-tombs,” said Mr. Nanda.
 
The conservation work was undertaken to successfully restore the dignity of the Mughal era garden tombs and create an understanding of these sites as well as to establish a model conservation philosophy.
 
According to landscape architect of the project Mohammad Shaheer, during the Mughal period the ground around the tomb was used for maintaining orchards. “The produce would be sold and used for the upkeep of the tomb.”
 
Apart from working on the conservation of the two tombs, the AKTC also involved the local community of Hazrat Nizamuddin basti in the conservation work which has been carried out on these tombs and the garden setting with co-funding from the World Monuments Fund and in constant dialogue with the Archaeological Survey of India.
 
Full article here.
 
 
 
The William StukeleySaviour of Stonehenge exhibition is now open at Hartland Abbey, Hartland, Bideford, North Devon and runs until 6 October.
 
Details here and here
 
 
 
The fallen Wade’s Stone in March 2008ce
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David Raven
 
Weighing in at 3,000kg and standing 2.12 metres high this 4,000 year-old megalith came crashing down in 2008 (due, is said, to a combination of ploughing and people climbing on it). Wade’s Stone, as it is know, is located at East Barnby near Whitby on the North York Moors has now been re-erected with the help of English Heritage, the North York Moors National Park Authority’s Monument Management Scheme and Tees Archaeology and once again stands proud along with its twin megalith some 1.4km away. Access to the stone is not possible although it can be seen from the A174 near East Barnby Outdoor Education Centre.
 
 
The re-erected Wade’s Stone in May 2013ce
Access to the stone kindly permitted to Trust members by the tenant farmer
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The Heritage Trust
 
See the Resurrection of a fallen giant on the North York Moors National Park website for more on the re-erection of Wade’s Stone.
 
 

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

Cover with Spine

The Staffordshire hoard makes a dramatic front cover for the new British Archaeology, which features the first extensive look at the continuing research into the thousands of pieces of jewelled gold and silver found four years ago. They hope to finish cleaning it all by the end of this year, and then move on to stage two: reconstruction and scientific analysis. We are beginning to see just how remarkable this hoard is. ARTICLE

Other stories include Britain’s oldest early medieval helmet, conserved at the British Museum; a mesolithic flint axe from the North Sea; springs around Silbury Hill; neolithic house reconstructions under trial for the new Stonehenge visitor centre; and a military analysis of early medieval earthworks in Cambridgeshire.

I interviewed Jeremy Deller and Museum of London curator Caroline McDonald, for a feature about Deller’s work for the Venice Biennale, just before they left for Italy. (And elsewhere, Deller asked…

View original post 70 more words

 
 
The Heritage Journal (ISSN: 0219-8584) has published, “…research articles on the history, culture and the art practices of Asia, with an emphasis on material culture, cultural resource management and museum practice…” since 2004 and is an arm of Singapore’s National Heritage Board.” The Journal’s inaugural article (Volume 1, 2004) by Cheryl-Ann Low, Curator, Singapore History Museum, deals with Sawankoloke-Sukhothai Wares from the Empress Place Site, Singapore. The abstract for the article reads –
 
Textual records suggest that Singapore and Thailand had a political relationship in the 14th century. Wang Dayuan, a Chinese traveller who visited Singapore in the 14th century recorded an attack by the Siamese sometime before 1349. A 16th-century account records that a local ruler in Singapore was a relative and vassal of the Siamese king. The former was murdered and his position usurped by a renegade prince from Palembang. the Siamese consequently drove the usurper out of Singapore. An archaeological excavation was conducted at the Empress Place Building site in 1998. The discovery of ceramics produced by the kilns of Sawankoloke and Sukhothai in the 14th and 15th centuries adds another dimension to the knowledge about the trading relationship between Singapore (Temasek) and Thailand (Ayutthaya).
 
More here.
 
 
The Huffington Post reports this afternoon that Banksy’s ‘Slave Labour’ mural sold at a private London auction last night for £750,000 (see our feature below).
 
The auctioneers had received three bids of more than £750,000, the London-based dealer Robin Barton, who was representing the restored mural’s owners, said in an email to Bloomberg.
 
The 2012 work ‘Slave Labour, depicting a child in a sweatshop sewing Union Jack bunting, was hacked off the wall of the Poundland, and appeared at Fine Art Auctions in Miami, to [a] wave of protests from Haringey Council, Lynne Featherstone MP and thousands on social media.
 
The freeholder of the building where the piece was painted is Wood Green Investments, a property firm owned by Essex-based businessmen Robert Davies, 60, and Leslie Gilbert, 49. Speaking to The Sunday Times, the pair refused to confirm or deny whether they were involved in removing the work or even whether they owned the building. “We’re businessmen, so our primary concern is making money, and I can’t see the benefit for us of setting the record straight about this at the moment,” said Gilbert.
 
Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry said the work had been “destroyed” when it was removed from the wall of the Poundland. Speaking at an event to celebrate 100 years of conservation at Historic Royal Palaces, Perry said: “The most interesting thing about it for me was that Banksy said the minute they dug it off the wall it wasn’t a Banksy any more.”
 
Full article here.
 
 

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