Hunting for cave art
Archaeology of industry
Editor Simon Denison
Campaigns and reports from the CBA
Portable antiquities, Iraq and the 'Sussex'
The effects of the Iraq conflict and the case of the warship Sussex have raised a wide range of issues about how the UK's policies and international activities impinge on conserving the heritage (writes George Lambrick).
At the end of June, the CBA organised a meeting of national archaeological bodies which passed a series of resolutions on the continuing looting and illicit trade in antiquities arising from the conflict in Iraq. The first resolution, recognising that Iraq's cultural heritage is fundamental to regeneration in Iraq, called on the US and UK Governments to do more to bring the security situation under control and to provide resources to enable Iraqi experts, supported by British and international expertise, to re-establish the proper management and post-war restoration of Iraq's damaged cultural heritage.
Other resolutions supported Richard Allen MP's private member's Bill outlawing trade in illicitly acquired cultural property, and called on the Government to make rapid progress on signing up to the 1954 Hague Convention, following the commitment it gave to do so in correspondence between the CBA and ministers in advance of the Iraq conflict.
Following further media publicity about the Government's plan to raise bullion from the wreck of the warship 'Sussex', the Spanish Government has objected, challenging the UK's jurisdiction because the wreck's identity is unproven. Following a meeting with officials from the Treasury, the MOD and DCMS, the CBA has written, with other national bodies, to MOD ministers.
While we recognised that some of the archaeological aspects of the project have been improved, we expressed our continuing objection in principle to funding archaeological investigation by selling artefacts. We also warned that the Government's involvement may actually be sustaining rather than controlling the threat to the site, given the project's initial reliance on highly speculative venture capital.
CBA support for archaeological research online
The CBA's service to provide online support for archaeological research has recently been enhanced by two important developments (writes Mike Heyworth). The British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography is now available as an online fully searchable database (www.biab.ac.uk), comprising over 200,000 bibliographic records from 1695 to the present day. Thanks to added support from English Heritage, we are able to offer the enhanced service, including hard-copy biennial up-dates, at a substantially reduced subscription, payable either through the CBA office in York or directly on-line.
At the end of June Paul McClean joined the CBA to mastermind the development and trialling of a new online guide to archaeological research-in-progress. It is hoped that this one-year developmental project will lead to a service that will complement biab (the guide to published research) and other initiatives such as the online guide to careers and courses (TORC), which is being developed by the CBA for the Archaeology Training Forum, and the Archaeological Data Service's electronic archives and their development of an online guide to recent excavations (OASIS).
National Archaeology Days
Over 190 venues across England, Wales and Northern Ireland took part in National Archaeology Days, coordinated by the CBA, over the weekend of 19/20 July (writes Jan Cox). The wide range of events included looking at how communities lived in the past. Guided walks took place along heritage trails, industrial sites and archaeological landscapes. Special activities were organised in museums and visitors were able to view archaeological stores and handle artefacts. A number of excavations could be visited, and hands-on activities included making mosaics and medieval tiles, spinning and weaving, and working with wattle and daub.
More progress on Stonehenge
The Highways Agency have now published the Draft Orders and environmental statement for the A303 tunnel and road upgrading at Stonehenge. Discussions also continue about the development of access proposals for the proposed Visitor Centre, with two main alternative schemes under consideration for the route of the transit system - one immediately north of the Cursus, the other adjacent to the barrow cemetery on King Barrow Ridge.
A CD of the full environmental assessment for the A303 road proposals can be acquired for £20 from the Highways Agency's Bristol Office. Formal objections have to be lodged by 4th September. The details of the access proposals and their environmental assessment are still being developed, with a view to a planning application being lodged in September.
The CBA is liaising closely with other key non-government archaeological organisations in considering all these proposals, and would be pleased to receive the views of members. (GL)
New books from the CBA
The dramatic landscape of North Wales is the focus of the CBA's recent publication, Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road: the A5 in north Wales £17.50, by J Quartermaine, B Trinder and R Turner, Cadw), writes Jane Thorniley-Walker. This well-illustrated and readable volume provides the first full archaeological survey of the route and its structures, including the famous Menai and Conwy suspension bridges. The authors also explore the broader engineering significance of Telford's ambitious and innovative engineering schemes.
New from the 'Archaeology of York' series is a much needed practical guide on The analysis of urban animal bone assemblages (£15.95, Terry O'Connor), based on experience from urban excavations. The book also examines research opportunities and directions in the subject.
Forthcoming titles include the first in a new group of books offering readable overviews of the archaeology of National Parks, Archaeology in Northumberland National Park (£19.95, October, Paul Frodsham); and a summary of existing work and future priorities for 20th century military remains, Modern military matters: a strategic framework for studying the material culture of war in twentieth-century Britain(£5.95, John Schofield, August)
CBA web:Jan/Feb 2005