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Natalie McCaul, Curator of Archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, with the gold torc (right) that the Museum is hoping to buy and reunite with one found metres from it at Towton (left) already in the Museum’s collection
Dan Bean, writing in The Press yesterday, reports that –
One year after the death of astronomer and Sky at Night presenter Sir Patrick Moore, the BBC is reviewing the future of the programme. The plans to potentially axe the iconic show have caused outrage among the stargazing community
Hurler’s Update: 22 September 2013 by Roy Goutté
The northern end of the pavement petering out well short of the northernmost circle
Finally I got to visit personally what I had been waiting months to see and take part in… the excavation at the acclaimed quartz pavement or walkway first discovered back in 1938 between the two northernmost of the three stone circles known as The Hurler’s at Minions in Cornwall. However, I was in for a couple of surprises, for once fully exposed, the pavement proved to be predominantly of locally sourced granite stones and not quartz at all. Further to that, the pavement did not extend to either circle, falling short by some 12-15ft to the southern end and some 25-30ft to the north. After speaking at length to Cornwall Historic Environment Projects archaeologist James Gossip, I felt this was not expected and has now cast doubt on its real purpose!
A mid section of pavement showing very lumpy ‘locally’ sourced granite stones and not quartz as expected
James is a very enthusiastic and open minded archaeologist who it is a pleasure to talk to and work alongside and always up for a challenge, something that now seems much more likely at the Hurlers because, as the following short video clip will show, the ‘pavement’ would be quite a challenge in itself to survive without turning an ankle or two if trying to walk its length.
Uncovering the pavement while James Gossip comments on the work
On viewing the clip (which is just a small part of a more extensive one) you will notice the red sweater draped over the closest stone to the southern end of the pavement and the distance between it and the end of said pavement. It is a purposely finished end indicated by the clean cut of the stones and just beyond it an area has been cleared exposing the original untouched surface level. Soil analysis is taking place today (23 September) with material taken for dating if available. The vid clip will show a much taller pointed upright stone set amongst the pavement stones and it is possible that a section may be removed here for further study on the day. A metre either side of the original 1938 trench was opened up this time and in quite a few places areas of ‘activity’ could be seen with different coloured soils evident amongst sections of stones which all adds to the mystery as to what exactly we have here.
The precise southern end termination of the ‘pavement’ showing the original reddish ground surface beyond it
I would like to thank James personally for allowing me to enter the site and film at will and to discuss things with him and also to Ann Preston-Jones, Senior Archaeologist, Historic Environment (Projects) Cornwall Council, for keeping me informed as to the various projects taking place in this area. This was my first day out after my recent health problems and I couldn’t think of a more pleasant way to spend an hour or two and to meet up with James again. Thanks James and also to my son Oliver who accompanied me on my first tentative steps out.
Update by Roy Goutté.
After two wet and windy days at Minions, the weather was to relent yesterday (18 September) which coincided nicely with the commencement of the excavation for the quartz pavement. Due to health issues I was unable to attend the dig as previously arranged so am very grateful to Mike Honey for generously providing me and the Trust with the following video clip which is copyright.
I hope to follow this later with a selection of still photographs provided again by Mike and further video clips as the dig progresses.
Video courtesy Mike Honey
See also our earlier feature here.
The myths of El Dorado
For centuries Europeans were dazzled by the legend of El Dorado – literally ‘the golden one’. Many different stories were told of El Dorado – sometimes it was imagined as a lost city of gold, sometimes as a man covered in powdered gold who plunged into the middle of Lake Guatavita (near modern Bogotá). The exhibition uncovers the fascinating truth behind some of these myths. Unlike in Europe, gold was not valued as currency in pre-Hispanic Colombia. Instead it had great symbolic meaning, facilitating all kinds of social and spiritual transformations. It was one way the elite could publicly assert their rank, both in life and in death.
Welcome to our new feature – Putting you in touch.
Why have we started this? Well, we’re constantly astonished by the variety and very high standards that you, our Followers, maintain in your own blogs, campaigns and endeavours. You may be a large institution, or an individual working alone, but the dedication you show to your core interests is truly inspiring.
You are scattered across the globe, from Alaska to New Zealand, and your interests range from the general history of your region through to art, archaeology, poetry, photography, conservation and many other interests in-between. One thing however that you have in common is that you follow The Heritage Trust – thank you – and because of that we thought we’d like to do something in return by putting you in touch with each other.
So, starting with Paige Doerner from Rochester, New York who joined us just a few hours ago, here is a list of the first twenty of our most recent Followers. Over coming months we’ll publish more links and feel sure that among them you’ll find many other bloggers with similar interests to your own.
New finds from the Staffordshire Hoard
Aethelflaed (eldest daughter of Alfred the Great), the Lady of the Mercians, will be honoured in a special ceremony in Tamworth Castle Grounds today, September 15th.
It is 1100 years since the Lady of the Mercians built a fortified settlement or burh in Tamworth. These defences stopped the Vikings from conquering Mercia and imposing Danelaw in 913. The ceremony, which will see her statue rededicated and a new inscription added, will start at 12.45pm with Saxon re-enactors carrying out a ritual march to honour the Lady of the Mercians.
This is just one of many events and activities taking place as part of Tamworth’s Heritage Open Day, which sees Tamworth’s heritage on view for all to see and for free. Visitors to Tamworth Castle will be able to see pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard on display and learn more about its Saxon heritage.
More here. Please consider donating to the Staffordshire Hoard Appeal so that work on conserving and researching the new finds, along with the remainder of the treasure, may continue and enable their display across the region and beyond. The video below gives some idea of the work conservators are carrying out on the Hoard and the interest shown in the project by the public.
This video shows the conservation cleaning event which took place in the Activity Zone at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th August. The Staffordshire Hoard conservation team cleaned some of the newly acquired Staffordshire Hoard finds in view of the public and visitors had the opportunity to see the thorns in action [thorns are used to clean objects such as those that form the Staffordshire hoard] and experience the excitement of objects being revealed after more than 1400 years.