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Cover of British Archaeology

Issue 77

July 2004



Coins find could test ancient monuments law

Restoration 2

Pipes may be oldest wooden musical instrument

Medieval quay found

Henge update

Roman graves and mosaics in danger

In Brief


Black wall
Richard Benjamin has a special interest in Hadrian's Wall

White man
Martin Bell and Ronald Hutton on the Wilmington mystery

For the children
Jo Catling and Towse Harrison find archaeology can inspire

Must-have accessories
Justine Bayley and Sarnia Butcher on a major Roman study


Roman fort, teeth,place names and Prittlewell kings


Emma Restall Orr wants a spiritual side to archaeology


Neil Mortimer prepares Lycra battle with English Heritage


Bronze & the Bronze Age: Metalwork & Society in Britain c 2500-800 BC by Martyn Barber

Medieval Archaeology: Understanding Traditions & Contemporary Approaches by Christopher Gerrard

Voices in the Past: English Literature & Archaeology by John Hines

Excavations on Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth (1986-1999) by Simon Timberlake

An Iron Age Timber Causeway with Iron Age & Roman Votive Offerings by Naomi Field & Mike Parker Pearson

Roman Carmarthen: Excavations 1978-1993 by Heather James

TRAC 2002: Proceedings of the 12th Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Canterbury by Gillian Carr, Ellen Swift & Jake Weekes

Medieval Building Techniques by Günther Binding, trans Alex Cameron

Monastic Landscapes by James Bond

The Archaeology of Reformation by David Gaimster & Roberta Gilchrist

Barley, Malt & Ale in the Neolithic by Merryn Dineley

The Archaeology of Twentieth Century Tameside by Michael Nevell & John Walker

CBA update

tv in ba

Columnists find Time Team harder than it looks


Chief archaeological scientist Sebastian Payne's new column

my archaeology

Philip Beale left his job for an archaeological experiment


ISSN 1357-4442

Editor Mike Pitts


Wotta waste

Brace yourself for a top-drawer example of archaeological journalism taken from a newspaper leader headed ‘Brown’s loony Henge scheme will have us stone broke’. This seething rant about the Stonehenge tunnel project surely takes some beating: ‘All it will do is make the view prettier for tourists and please a handful of beardies whose main love is for rocks in the middle of nowhere… Just imagine how that £192 million digging up Salisbury Plain could be better spent. How many grannies with new hips, so they can walk to the shops unaided? How many kiddies freed from cramped and crumbling classrooms? How many more coppers on the beat? …And the green beardie-weardies are certain not to be happy with whatever scheme the Highways Agency comes up with. Why? Because these nutters are never happy, that’s why! Even before the plans are finalised the bunny-huggers are demanding a longer tunnel – a tunnel that avoids even more piles of old rock’. Thank you English Heritage chief beardie-weardie David Miles for that clip from the Daily Sport.


For the benefit of those not subscribing to the BritArch email list, the ‘Enigmalith’ is a pebble-sized stone found by Mr John J Williams of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with what appears to be a manmade electrical component embedded in it. The Enigmalith has featured in recent issues of UFO Magazine and Fortean Times and there is a website dedicated to the mysterious artefact: ‘Rock with Embedded Manmade-Like Electrical-Like Component Revealed! Where did this mystery rock come from? What was/is its purpose? Is it of Alien or UFO origin? Was it made by an Advanced Lost Civilization? Is it a Healing Stone? Or a Crosse ‘God Stone’? (clear photos & much more below!)’. The interesting website includes amongst other things Mr Williams’ doleful report on the 2003 International Skeptics Conference held last year in his hometown: ‘…I posted dozens of my free flyers on the free CSICOP [Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal] table… and for several hours, picketed the Conference. Each day, I also drove by the Conference four times just to see if anyone else was also picketing it. Apparently, I was the only one there demonstrating support of UFO/alien and lost advanced civilization viewpoint.’ Wild Archaeology thrillseekers should point their browsers at

Oo arr

Delegates at the recent Institute of Field Archaeologists’ conference in Liverpool touched on the dodgy standard of some archaeology on television. Among the various carry-ons under discussion were on-screen trenches not meeting health and safety requirements and diggers being advised by programme makers to get agents. Apparently the team behind one particular series (think ‘hot young archaeologists’) wanted the farmer on whose land they were about to dig to greet the arriving archaeologists. The farmer refused, so instead of revising the script a camera assistant was dressed up in suitably rustic garb and acted out the part of the recalcitrant son of the soil.

Silbury fool

‘Slopes of Silbury Hill set to become mecca for ski enthusiasts’. Top marks to Nigel Kerton’s April Fool’s Day spoof for the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald: ‘There could be a bit of a clash at solstice times when the new age travellers come to celebrate and the lovelies are here in their Lycra ski suits’. But did the apparently light-hearted piece contain a more serious subtext? ‘English Heritage is likely to have strong objections, but if these take as long to be lodged as it’s taking to fill in the huge hole that appeared in the monument four years ago, the skiing facilities will be up and running before it reacts.’ I say!

Druidical cup

Travelling through border country recently Spoilheap was attracted by a headline in the Monmouthshire Beacon: ‘Druids through to cup final’. Apologies to Monmouthshire readers who probably find nothing amusing in the fact that it turns out the Druids are of the brawny, scary rugby football type rather than the brawny, scary robe-wearing type for whom Glyn Daniel didn’t much care. Another dream dashed…

No wheels

After the TV screening of One Million Years BC (how many now ageing male archaeologists thought their careers would bring Raquel Welch and dinosaurs?) came news from Idaho. ‘It looks’, said diving attorney Mark Jones on finding a logboat in a lake, ‘like Barney Rubble’s car with no wheels’.

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