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Rievaulx Abbey by William Westall (1781-1850)
©
The Trustees of the British Museum
 
Since relocating from the south to the north of England, exactly one year ago today, The Heritage Trust has been busy exploring this part of the country (North Yorkshire) and is pleased to announce that its Outreach Event this year will focus on the medieval Christian Heritage of the area. The Heritage Trust’s 2016 Outreach Event will take place over two days beginning Saturday, 13 August and ending Sunday, 14 August. Our itinerary includes a visit to the spectacular ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, and its new museum, followed by lunch at a nearby 15th century pub. We will then travel on to the charming market town of Pickering and visit the church of St Peter and St Paul there to view its world-famous medieval murals. In past Outreach Events The Heritage Trust has tried to combine culinary delights with the heritage issues we are concerned with. The first day of the Event will therefore conclude with an evening meal in one of North Yorkshire’s finest Chinese restaurants – The Queens Head at Amotherby.
 
On day two of the Event we plan to meet at 9am in the new Costa Coffee shop in Pickering. From there we’ll take a quiet back road over the stunning North York Moors to Whitby. The route will travel through part of  the North York National Park and will take us past a section of the Wheeldale Roman Road, the Three Howes Bronze Age barrows on Murk Mire Moor and several of the enigmatic Wheeldale standing stones.
 
 
Section of the Wheeldale Roman Road in the 1960s
 
 
The Three Howes Bronze Age barrows on Murk Mire Moor
©
The Heritage Trust
 
11 
 
One of the Wheeldale Stones that stand along the Roman Road between Egton Bridge and the ford at Wheeldale Gill
©
Littlestone
 
On arrival in Whitby we will make our way up the 199 Steps, made famous by Bram Stoker in his Gothic horror novel Dracula, to St Mary’s Church and the stunning remains of its nearby 16th century Benedictine abbey. Here the Event will end, although participants might want explore the rest of Whitby as they wish. There is much to see in Whitby, including the Captain Cook Museum, the Whitby Museum in Pannett Park and the town’s many unique and charming little ‘yards’. There is no charge for participating in the Event, although those who do will need to provide their own transport to and from sites and pay for their own meals, admission to sites etc. Please email us if you are interested in participating, or click on the Forthcoming Events link above for updates. Otherwise just meet us outside the English Heritage gift shop at Rievaulx Abbey on Saturday, 13 August at 10am (look out for people wearing The Heritage Trust badges).
 
 
 
The 199 Steps leading to St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey
©
The Heritage Trust
 
 
 
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.
    
 
Stonehenge in Winter by Walter Williams (1834-1906)
 
A Stonehenge: Winter Archaeology Walk will take place on Saturday, 15 February 2014 from 2:00pm to 4.30pm. In this guided, three mile walk (with views of Stonehenge) participants will visit some of the ancient earthworks that have revealed much about the people who once lived or visited the area. Other points of interest will include the Stonehenge Cursus, the many and varied barrows in the area, and an ancient Avenue that perhaps once connected ceremonial centres.
 
Booking required. Further information here.
   
 
The two stones that now make up the Cove in Avebury, Wiltshire England
©
Moss
 
On the way to Stonehenge at the end of last year, to see the newly-opened Visitor Centre there, two of our members stopped off briefly at Avebury. There was only time for a quick walk over to the Cove where they took some photos. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Bright, low sunlight raked across the stones from the west. Later, when they looked at their photos, there was something on one of the Cove stones that they hadn’t noticed before. On the stone on the right in the photo above there’s a circular feature resembling a millstone. The feature is probably natural (or natural and perhaps slightly enhanced) but if it was visible when the stone was in its natural recumbent position (before being erected as a standing stone) it might have been even more distinctive. Was the stone selected for both its size, shape and its ‘millstone’ feature? Perhaps the stone was selected for all three characteristics and also erected in its present position to take advantage of the low winter sunlight which might have helped enhance this curios circular feature.
 
 
 
Detail of the ‘millstone’ feature on one of the Cove stones
©
Moss
 
We know that some stones were selected for their distinctive appearances (the stone at the entrance to the Stoney Littleton long barrow in Somerset for example has a large fossilised ammonite in it) and perhaps the circular feature on the Avebury Cove stone is another example.
 
 
 
Entrance to the Stoney Littleton long barrow, Somerset England
©
The Heritage Trust
 
 
 
Detail of the Stoney Littleton entrance stone showing the fossilised ammonite
©
The Heritage Trust
 
 
 
The Hurlers, Cornwall
©
The Heritage Trust
 
Visit South East Cornwall has announced details for its, The Hurlers: Mapping the Sun event from the 16-23 September 2013 –
 
For the first time in nearly 80 years we have the chance to carry out archaeological work on the Hurlers Stone Circle at Minions on Bodmin Moor. As well as the actual dig there will be plenty of events taking place that the public can get involved in.
 
16th September
Astronomy workshop 2 hour
With Roseland Observatory
Mapping the Sun, Archaeological Field Trip – Minions area – 2 x 2 hour
field trips- am and pm Jacky Nowakowski open to all. Minions
landscape – Hurlers, Rillaton, Barrow, Stowes Pound etc.
 
Details and full itinerary here.
 
 
 
 
The Herefordshire Halls site during excavation. Image credit Manchester University
 
ScienceDaily reports yesterday that –
 
The remains of two large 6000-year-old halls, each buried within a prehistoric burial mound, have been discovered by archaeologists from The University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council — in a UK first.
 
The sensational finds on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch in Herefordshire, were thought to be constructed between 4000 and 3600 BC. Some of the burnt wood discovered at the site shows the character of the building’s structure above ground level- in another UK first. The buildings, probably used by entire communities, are of unknown size, but may have been of similar length to the Neolithic long barrows beneath which they were found — 70metres and 30m long. They were, say the team, deliberately burnt down after they were constructed and their remains incorporated into the two burial mounds.
 
The buildings were likely to have been long structures with aisles, framed by upright posts, and with internal partitions. Professor of archaeology from The University of Manchester Julian Thomas and Dr Keith Ray Herefordshire Council’s County Archaeologist, co-directed the excavation Professor Thomas said: “This find is of huge significance to our understanding of prehistoric life- so we’re absolutely delighted. “It makes a link between the house and a tomb more forcefully than any other investigation that has been ever carried out.”
 
Full article here. See also the BBC News feature and video here.

 

 
1910 photograph depicting the excavation of the Coldrum Stones
Kent Archaeological Society
 
Writing in Kent News on Monday, Joe Bill reports on the digitization of old photographs recording the excavation of the Coldrum Stones in Kent, south-east England, undertaken by Benjamin Harrison and Flinders Petrie in 1910 –
 
Now a series of 100-year-old pictures of the stones have finally been committed to a digital format to be enjoyed by future generations. Previously held on glass plate negatives, they record the 1910 excavation of the structure and the human bones that were unearthed at the site.
 
Denis Anstey, head of IT for the Kent Archaeological Society, said: “The pictures are among thousands of images of Kent dating from the early 18th century to the late 20th century that the KAS has collected since it was founded in 1857. “Some of them are now very delicate and they will inevitably continue to deteriorate with time, so it is very important we keep them in digital format. This will enable us to offer the images to local historians, researchers and publishers long after the originals become too fragile to copy.”
 
Full article here.
 
 

The Hurlers Stone Circle. The Cheesewring formation is just visible on the skyline
©
The Heritage Trust

Our 2013 Outreach Event began on Friday, 21 June with a misty, early morning visit to the Hurlers Stone Circle, just a short walk from our base at the Cheesewring Hotel at Minions. The mist lent an eerie feel to the circle (actually three separate circles although little now remains of one) the stones standing clear one moment and then shrouded the next. Ditto the Cheesewring outcrop in the distance, which we were to visit later in the day. Close by to the Hurlers are the two solitary Pipers Stones which we visited before heading back to the hotel to meet our friend and guide, Mr Roy Goutté.

The two solitary Pipers Stones
©
The Heritage Trust

Roy arrived at 11:30 with his dog Chief and, after introductions, we set off to Trethevy Quoit. Roy has researched Trethevy Quoit extensively and written about it in his book Trethevy Quoit: Cornwall’s Megalithic Masterpiece. It was a delight to stand in front of this megalithic masterpiece and listen to Roy explaining how it might have originally looked.

Trethevy Quoit
©
The Heritage Trust

Lunch at the Crows Nest pub and then back to the Minions for the hike up to the Cheesewring outcrop, stopping off on the way to inspect the Rillaton Barrow and the strange effervescent lichen that inhabits its interior.

Rillaton Barrow
©
The Heritage Trust

The natural rock formations of the Cheesewring are something to behold, and it’s astonishing that they were nearly totally destroyed by quarrying during the 19th century. As it is the quarrying stopped just short of the Cheesewring formations (and associated earthworks) and have now become well-known both nationally and internationally. The Cheesewring itself was well worth the visit but if it hadn’t been for Roy we would probably have missed the Neolithic cups (natural?) and man-made channels carved out of one of the upper stones.

Two of the natural Cheesewring outcrops (the rubble in the foreground is a manmade Neolithic defence work)
©
The Heritage Trust

Neolithic cups and channels carved out of one of the upper stones of the Cheesewring
©
The Heritage Trust

Day two of our Event started with a visit to the small but beautiful Duloe Stone Circle. The circle (the smallest in Cornwall) was first recorded in 1329. It consists of eight stones of white quartz, the largest weighing up to nine tons.

The Duloe Stone Circle
©
The Heritage Trust

Day three of our Event involved travelling further south to West Penwith and Lanyon Quoit. The quoit is tucked behind a hedge and the small layby is easily missed as it is not clearly signposted.

Lanyon Quoit
©
The Heritage Trust

On the fourth and last day of our Event we met up with Roy again who kindly guided us to the enigmatic King Arthur’s Hall on Bodmin Moor. Roy has researched and filmed King Arthur’s Hall extensively (see his King Arthur’s Hall and King Arthur’s Hall: A new discovery? features) and both he and others present on the day all agreed that it is something much more than a pound or watering hole for animals. There were some interesting suggestions on what it might be but until more archaeological work is done there the place remains a mystery.

From left to right. Moss, Geoff, Sue and Roy at King Arthur’s Hall
©
The Heritage Trust

The Event finished with a picnic (kindly provided by Roy) at the Trippett Stone Circle (see report below) where some of the sites we had seen over the last few days were discussed and promises made for another visit to Cornwall as soon as possible. We hope those who were unable to join us this year will be able to do so on our next visit to Cornwall, or on our 2014 Outreach Event next summer or autumn.

Just a note.
 
This is our 400th post since we first got going in November 2011. We’ve had 32,382 hits since then and are attracting a steadily increasing number of followers from around the world. So, a really big thank you to all who have contributed features, photos etc, or have left comments, done background research or ‘just’ typed things up for publication.
 
Hoping that, together, we can continue to raise awareness of our precious heritage and the on-going need for its care and protection.
 
 

4,000 year-old gold lozenge from Bush Barrow, Wiltshire England

This is Wiltshire reports on the 21 October that –

A priceless prehistoric gold lozenge excavated in the 19th century will be put on public display for the first time when the new Neolithic gallery at Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes opens next year. The museum was awarded a £370,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this year to finance the new gallery, which will be built at the rear of the museum and is due to open in May. Secure display units will enable the museum to show items that were thought too valuable for public display.

Foremost of these is the large gold lozenge that was found in the Bush Barrow grave near Stonehenge, dating from around 1900BC, which was excavated by William Cunnington in 1808. David Dawson, director of the museum, said: “A replica of the lozenge has always been on display here but as far as I am aware the original has never been put on show. “The HLF grant has now enabled us to afford high- security measures.”

Other items from the grave to be put on show are a mace, the head of which was made from a rare flecked fossil stone from Devon, while the handle was embellished with bone zigzag mounts, and a smaller lozenge, which may well have been mounted on the handle of the mace.

Full article here.

 

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