You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2014.
The Lia Fáil before being vandalised
Image credit Germán Póo-Caamaño. Source Wikimedia Commons
The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) on the world famous Hill of Tara site in County Meath, Ireland, was badly vandalised last night. Some time between 5pm yesterday and 10am this morning two tins of thick gloss paint (one red and one green) were poured over the stone. Minister Jimmy Deenihan expressed his outrage, “I condemn in the strongest terms the damage that has been caused to one of our most iconic ancient monuments. This act of mindless vandalism, on one of our premier archaeological sites, is truly shameful.”
Two years ago the Lia Fáil was damaged when pieces were hacked out of it with an axe. More here.
Little did Peter Adams know, when he pulled a metal object from the ground in 2004, that he had made one of the most exciting discoveries in Viking-age archaeology in England for many years. He had been metal-detecting, with permission, on farmland to the west of the quiet village of Cumwhitton in the Eden Valley and, until then, it had been a fruitless search.
The object was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and proved to be a brooch that was identified as a rare Viking oval brooch of ninth – or tenth – century date. These are mostly found in pairs and in a burial context. He therefore returned to the site and did, indeed, find a second brooch.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme commissioned Oxford Archaeology North to investigate the site as it was under immediate…
View original post 546 more words
English Heritage’s new map of the Stonehenge and Avebury areas is now available –
The Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site is internationally important for its outstanding prehistoric monuments. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world, while Avebury is the largest. Around them lie numerous other monuments and sites, which demonstrate over 2,000 years of continuous use. Together they form a unique prehistoric landscape.
There is no better way to learn about an experience the monuments than to go out and explore the World Heritage Site on foot. This map is ideal for walkers and others wishing to explore the fascinating landscape of the two areas of the World Heritage Site. The map uses an Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 base and draws upon information from the English Heritage Archive and recent archaeological investigations. With Stonehenge on one side and Avebury on the other, the map shows and describes both visible and hidden remains, with information about where you can find out more.
We’ve discussed the question of displaying and/or reinterring human remains before (please see our The question of reburial… feature) but this 2014 video about the debates and decisions concerning the re-interment of Anglo-Saxon remains excavated at Whitehall Farm throws a slightly more sensitive (and perhaps more sensible) light on the issue. As Moss (one of our members) says, “There has been an interesting discussion elsewhere about the reburial of nine Anglo-Saxon skeletons. The group have obviously discussed the implications of what is taking place. You may find the vicar slightly intrusive, but she keeps Christianity at bay. Fifteen minutes long, but a thoughtful approach by all concerned…”
Click on any of the links above to watch the video.
The Didcot Iron Age Mirror
Leslie Webster, from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), has described this rare and beautiful mirror as, “…an outstanding example of Celtic art in the later Iron Age… particularly unusual in the way that its delicately incised ornament challenges some of the conventional design rules for the decoration of these high-status objects.” Now, unless some £30,000 can be raised to buy the mirror for the Museum of Oxford, it risks being taken out of the country.
The Oxford Mail reports that the mirror was discovered near Didcot by a metal detectorist and has now been sold to an anonymous overseas buyer. Due to its historical importance however Culture Minister and Wantage MP Ed Vaizey has temporarily blocked its export to see if a buyer can be found in the UK. Vaizey is 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.”
Below we reported on Cambodia’s campaign to have seven precious stone statues returned to their country from the United States. Today we report on the possible loss to the nation of this rare British Iron Age mirror – an object that could very well be ‘exported’ to an overseas buyer if funds cannot be raised to keep it in Britain. This surely cannot be right. The Japanese have a system of designating important works of art as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. Other countries have similar designations and such objects are not only prohibited from being exported but must also be conserved and preserved to the highest standards. Is it not time for Britain to have similar standards to protect its cultural property?
Those interested in securing the mirror for the nation should call 0845 300 6200 for further information. See also the fund raising event organised by Dumnonika at the Museum of Oxford on Saturday, 12 July 2014. For more on Celtic mirrors Celtic Mirrors.org may be of interest.
Video credit Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey reports this month that –
An auction house in the US state of New York has agreed to return an ancient statue that was looted from a remote Cambodian temple in the 1970’s. The statue is among seven missing statues that have been traced to the United States. Cambodia says it wants all of the statues back to be displayed together at the country’s national museum.
Source Al Jazeera English.
The Next Bus to Imber: A lecture in aid of The Churches Conservation Trust
There will be a special fundraising event for The Churches Conservation Trust at Bristol St John’s church on the evening of Thursday 29th May 2014. The Churches Conservation Trust is a UK national heritage and conservation charity protecting historic churches at risk. They have saved over 345 beautiful buildings which attract almost 2 million visitors a year. With their help and the support of their volunteers and supporters these buildings are kept open and in use – ‘living once again at the heart of their communities’. For more information please visit http://www.visitchurches.org.uk
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Commissioner of Transport for London, will give a lecture on his fascinating association with Imber, the former village on Salisbury Plain, now at the centre of a military firing range. Imber boasts a fine medieval church, St Giles, conserved by CCT, cared by the Friends of Imber church and open on those few occasions each year when the public can gain access to this normally restricted area. Many visitors to the church now arrive on vintage buses arranged and driven by Peter and fellow enthusiasts.
The event includes wine, soft drinks and canapés served from 6pm and conducted tours of 14th-century St John’s church and crypt, led by conservationist Dr Neil Rushton, from 6.30pm. St John’s is a Grade I Listed building with the tower and steeple over St John’s Gate, the last remaining gateway built into the medieval city wall.
Tickets cost £18 per head and can be booked online here.
Black on Maroon by Mark Rothko
The painting Black on Maroon (1958) by Mark Rothko is back on display at London’s Tate Modern after 18 months of conservation. The painting was vandalised in 2012 by Wlodzimierz Umaniec who subsequently spent almost a year and a half in prison. The original estimate for conserving the painting was £200,000. BBC News Entertainment & Arts reports –
Mark Rothko’s painting Black on Maroon has gone back on public display at London’s Tate Modern gallery, 18 months after it was vandalised with graffiti. The 1958 painting was defaced by Wlodzimierz Umaniec in October 2012. He was sent to prison as a result but has now apologised for his actions.
The Tate’s conservators have spent 18 months repairing the painting. Conservator Rachel Barker said: “It’s definitely better than I could have hoped at the beginning of the project.” She added: “The nature of the damage was such that we did think the worst.”
Ms Barker told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz the graffiti had covered “an area about the size of an LP” and some had seeped right to the back of the canvas. A vinyl record measures 12in (30cm) in diameter. The conservators first created a replica of the painting and added graffiti before cutting it into strips and testing different types of solvent to see which was most effective at removing the graffiti. They then retouched the damaged area.
Full article here.