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Stowe’s Hill report by Roy Goutté.

The tower building continues but with further concerns…

Image credit and © Roy Goutté

Stowe’s Pound is sited atop a prominent granite ridge to the north of Minions village in the south-eastern sector of Bodmin Moor. The hill itself is perhaps best known as the site of the Cheesewring, famous in folklore, and of Cheesewring Quarry, which has taken a massive bite out of the hill’s southern tip. The hill is sited at the edge of the moorland, overlooking Rillaton Moor and Witheybrook Marsh, to the south and west, and the upper reaches of the River Lynher to the east; the tors of Dartmoor can be seen on the distant skyline.

Two massive stone-walled enclosures encircle the summit of the ridge, a small tear-drop shaped primary enclosure, encircling the tors at the southern end of the hill, and a larger subsidiary enclosure which encloses the large whale-backed summit ridge of the hill. These enclosures are similar in many ways to the excavated tor enclosures at Carn Brea and Helman Tor, which are dated to the early Neolithic period (4000 – 3500 BC).

Though very ruinous, the ramparts of the smaller enclosure still stand in places up to 5 metres in height and are between 5 and 15 metres wide. It must once have been a very imposing structure. The larger enclosure, though clearly secondary, might still be contemporary with the other. Its ramparts are noticeably slighter and vary between 5 and 10 metres in width. It has two clearly identifiable entrances on the west and east sides and several other smaller gaps and later stone quarries along the walling in between. There are traces of at least two roughly concentric outer ramparts, best seen on the north-eastern side, and other outworks flank the hill slopes. Curiously, there are no identifiable entrances through the walls of the small enclosure, and no gate or passage providing a link between the interiors of the two enclosures.

(Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council)

In 2014, I and other members of the TimeSeekers volunteer clearance group, were asked to help with the removal of the illegal ‘towers’ being built on Stowe’s Pound’s rampart defence walls (see above photo). Granite blocks were being removed from where they have lain for 1000’s of years making up the defensive ramparts, a simple but ingenious method of keeping an enemy at bay in this age of very basic weaponry. They were not removed far however, as in the main the towers were being built on top of the ramparts itself, but nevertheless, it was an illegal act as they were damaging a Scheduled Monument.

We spent quite a few hours not just pulling them down, but placing each stone back carefully into the areas that had suffered the most. The ones that had been most exposed to the elements over the years had growth on them, so selecting the top and side stones were made much easier. It may not sound that important but the fact was that the monument was being damaged even though we are supposed to be living in an ‘enlightened age’. What made matters worse was that schoolchildren were encouraged to build them and helped by their parents. Even as we were pulling them down others were being built nearby so those responsible received a friendly warning. What was really worrying was the common reply, ‘Well they’re only stones aren’t they’.

2015 was a ’quiet’ year in comparison with a few towers appearing spasmodically and much the same in 2016 although it did see the commencement of a new approach by the ’builders’ which is slowly growing.

As the following short video will show, the rampart stones are now also being removed and carried over to the large natural granite stones lying around within the Pound and towers erected on them. On completion, they are then left standing or pushed over and the builders walk away leaving the stones lying in the grass or in the gulleys created by those large stones being close together. The result, if left like that, are the ramparts slowly diminishing in height in places and the removed stones scattered around the inside of the Pound! This cannot be allowed to continue!

Video credit and © Roy Goutté

If asked to help out again, members of TimeSeekers will be pleased to assist in the re-gathering of the removed stones – of which there are many more than shown – and return them to their rightful location. In the meantime, in my opinion, suitable signage should be seriously considered by the powers that be to ensure that this outrage should not be continued.

However, to finish on a more pleasant note, enjoy the serenity of a quadcopter fly-over above Stowe’s Hill, the Cheesewring and the Pound. Wonderful.

Drone Video
Devon & Beyond 2016
Cheesewring Minions Bodmin Moor Cornwall from above DJI Phantom 4 drone

 

 

Leigh’s Message: Not Anywhere
 
It’s not often that The Heritage Trust involves itself in political or economic issues but, since relocating to North Yorkshire, the issue of fracking in this part of the world (and elsewhere) has been thrown into sharp focus. The need for a sustainable energy source is undeniable but we cannot support a source that relies on fossil fuel as being the one. The economic arguments in favour of fracking may, or may not, be good but both the short- and the long-term environmental arguments for it are, in our opinion, zero.
 
Please take a moment to listen to Leigh’s Message. We don’t ask you to do anything, if you think she’s right then the time may come when your voice will matter.
 
 

The Taisho Photographer’s House by Hamish Campbell

Hidden in an old and collapsing home, an incredible discovery sheds light on the lives of a Japanese family during Japan’s Taishō Period (1912–1926). As this remarkable family home, and its contents, slowly disintegrates and disappears Australian photographer Hamish Campbell captures what still remains.

The Heritage Trust strongly urges the appropriate Japanese authorities to take steps to protect and preserve this unique and invaluable house and its contents for future generations.

Nexus – Genkan I
A superimposed image showing the condition of the Taisho Photographer’s House today, with a Taisho family bride entering the house’s genkan (hallway)
Image credit Hamish Campbell

See also Hamish Campbell’s I Found 100-Year-Old Glass Plates in an Abandoned Japanese Home here.

 

The Huge History Lesson
©
Trustees of the British Museum
 

Created by Dimitrios Tsalkanis
©
2014
 
A digital 3d reconstruction of the newly discovered tomb in Kasta hill of ancient Amphipolis, in Macedonia, Greece. Published on 13 December 2014. Disclaimer: The reconstruction is an artistic representation, based on the details published so far by the Greek Ministry of Culture.
 
For more info:
 
 
Pablo Picasso, 1917-18, Portrait d’Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), oil on canvas
130 x 88.8 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, France
Image credit Agence Photographique de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux. Source Wikimedia Commons
 
BBC News Entertainment & Arts
 
Paris’s world-renowned Picasso museum is reopening after being closed for five years for renovations and expansion. The Musee Picasso houses thousands of works that were in the artist’s possession when he died in 1973, and were made over to the state by his family in lieu of taxes.
 
BBC Video here.
    

Heritage is identity, don’t steal it! A UNESCO video

Dear tourist, make sure that the souvenir you take home from South East Asia [or from any other part of the world] hasn’t been looted from a museum or illegally excavated from an archeological site. Please check its provenance and verify that it can be exported out of the country! Keep in mind that a cultural object is not simple merchandise: it embodies history and has a symbolic value for the local people. Help stop illicit trafficking!

 

The Staffordshire Hoard: Unveiling the story so far…
Video History West Midlands

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. In this film we find out about the first stage of conservation work on the artefacts …and what secrets have been revealed.

From History West Midlands. See also the Staffordshire Hoard website. Though not connected directly to the Staffordshire Hoard this may also be of interest (click on photo for details) –

An example of Anglo-Saxon folded (woven) sword steel in the Sutton Hoo Exhibition Hall at Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge (see LS’ comment above)
Image
The Heritage Trust

Hordron Edge Stone Circle. Produced by terrybnd for Peak District TV

 

Ground damage and disruption at Trethevy Quoit, Cornwall
Narration and video by Roy Goutté
©
Roy Goutté

Earlier this month we ran a feature by Mr Roy Goutté on the disruption (and potential damage) caused by horses/ponies and vehicles to the ground immediately surrounding Trethevy Quoit in Cornwall. The video above shows startling and dramatic new evidence of that recent damage.

 

Staffordshire treasure 
 
Part of a helmet discovered near where the Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon artefacts was found in 2009
Image credit Staffordshire County Council/PA
 
The Guardian reports today that –
 

Most of a collection of new items found close to where the Staffordshire hoard was previously discovered have been declared a treasure trove. The 81 items of gold and silver, which date from the seventh century, will now be handed to the British Museum’s valuation committee, which will assess their worth, the South Staffordshire coroner, Andrew Haigh, told an inquest in Stafford. It will then be up to Staffordshire county council and neighbouring councils to raise the money to buy the items for the nation. If the money is raised, the pieces are likely to end up in museums with the original Staffordshire hoard, which was found in a field near Lichfield in 2009 by metal detectorist Terry Herbert.

Full story here. See also the video on BBC NEWS UK here.

 

 

 

Silbury Hill, Wiltshire. Photos and Video © Graeme Field

Composed mainly of chalk and clay excavated from the surrounding area, the mound stands 40 metres (131 ft) high and covers about 5 acres (2 ha). It is a display of immense technical skill and prolonged control over labour and resources. Archaeologists calculate that Silbury Hill was built about 4,750 years ago and that it took 18 million man-hours, or 500 men working for 15 years (Atkinson 1974:128) to deposit and shape 248,000 cubic metres (324,000 cu yd) of earth and fill on top of a natural hill. Euan W. Mackie asserts that no simple late Neolithic tribal structure as usually imagined could have sustained this and similar projects, and envisages an authoritarian theocratic power elite with broad-ranging control across southern Britain.

The base of the hill is circular and 167 metres (548 ft) in diameter. The summit is flat-topped and 30 metres (98 ft) in diameter. A smaller mound was constructed first, and in a later phase much enlarged. The initial structures at the base of the hill were perfectly circular: surveying reveals that the centre of the flat top and the centre of the cone that describes the hill lie within a metre of one another. There are indications that the top originally had a rounded profile, but this was flattened in the medieval period to provide a base for a building, perhaps with a defensive purpose.

The first phase, carbon-dated to 2400 BC ±50 years, consisted of a gravel core with a revetting kerb of stakes and sarsen boulders. Alternate layers of chalk rubble and earth were placed on top of this: the second phase involved heaping further chalk on top of the core, using material excavated from an encircling ditch. At some stage during this process, the ditch was backfilled and work was concentrated on increasing the size of the mound to its final height, using material from elsewhere. The step surrounding the summit dates from this phase of construction, either as a precaution against slippage, or as the remnants of a spiral path ascending from the base, used during construction to raise materials and later as a processional route.

According to legend, Silbury is the last resting place of a King Sil, represented in a lifesize gold statue and sitting on a golden horse. A local legend noted in 1913 states that the Devil was carrying a bag of soil to drop on the citizens of Marlborough, but he was stopped by the priests of nearby Avebury. In 1861 it was reported that hundreds of people from Kennett, Avebury, Overton and the neighbouring villages thronged Silbury Hill every Palm Sunday.

Source Wikipedia.

 

 

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 HERITAGEchanel.tv production

 

Historic Scotland TV writes –

The chambered tomb of Maeshowe is in The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Along with the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, the Barnhouse settlement and Skara Brae prehistoric village, it allows visitors to understand the landscape and monuments of our ancestors more than 5000 years ago.

In 2011 laser scanners were used to record the site and create a three dimensional model to show the intricacies of this incredible site.

Writing in Current Archaeology, Carly Hilts reports that –

Orkney is world-famous for its spectacular Neolithic archaeology, and now visitors from all over the globe will be able to explore one of its most enigmatic monuments, after a new virtual tour of Maeshowe chambered tomb went live today (29 August).

In a video unveiled yesterday by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the structure of the 5,000 year old monument has been recreated using 3D laser-scans carried out by the Scottish Ten project – a collaboration between Historic Scotland, Glasgow School of Art and CyArk, to document Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and five international sites using cutting-edge digital technology. This data will be used to help research and conserve the monuments.

Maeshowe is shown at the winter solstice, when the setting sun shines directly down the monument’s entrance tunnel to illuminate its central chamber. Covering every inch of the inner rooms of the tomb, the animation also tours the outside of the mound and reveals how it was constructed in a detailed cut through.

Full article here.

 

The Los Angeles Times reports on Thursday the unveiling of The World Wonders Project by Google

The World Wonders Project uses the same Street View technology that allows people to virtually navigate their neighborhoods through Google Maps, but the cameras are focused on historic and treasured sites such as Florence, Stonehenge and ancient Kyoto instead. Although many of the images are gathered with cars that have a camera mounted on top, more difficult-to-reach spots, or publicly inaccessible sites, have been recorded on a pedestrian “trike” and other devices.

“With advancements in our camera technologies we can now go off the beaten track to photograph some of the most significant places in the world so that anyone, anywhere can explore them,” the company announced on the new website. The project, unveiled Thursday, includes 132 famous spots in 18 countries. Historic and notable spots on the website include Shark Bay in Australia, the Golden Gate Park Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco and a smattering of sites across Europe.

The U.N. cultural agency UNESCO and the World Monuments Fund are partnering with the company to provide information about the treasured spots. Videos, photographs and interactive models also spangle the site; people can submit snapshots of the famous places for possible inclusion on the website as well.

Full article here.

 

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