The voice of archaeology in Britain and beyond

Cover of British Archaeology 84

Issue 84

September/October 2005



We found new megalith, say dowsers

Good news for Silbury Hill - if money is found

Orkney dig first to date gold and amber jewellery

Objectors scent victory at Stonehenge

Exeter bids for new students

Stone plaque is first neolithic face in over a century

In Brief


Saving the H Blocks - Long Kesh/Maze: An archaeological opportunity
The artefacts of fear...and why we should preserve them - Laura McAtackney questions Northern Island proposal

Cemetery requiem for a lost age
Roberta Gilchrist reveals extraordinary Christian practices

Lake rescue
Saving Llangors Crannog, a unique medieval Welsh royal island, from erosion

on the web

Recommended websites


Views and responses

CBA news

Headlines from the CBA office.


ISSN 1357-4442

Editor Mike Pitts

CBA news

Success for National Archaeology Week

The CBA's National Archaeology Week (NAW) ran soon after the well-received Big Roman Dig, generating yet more publicity for archaeology across the UK.

Sponsored by English Heritage, over 300 events joined under the NAW banner, a considerable expansion on last year. The number in Wales had doubled, and for the first time there were NAW events on the Isle of Scilly.

Culture minister David Lammy helped launch the week at a Museum of London excavation at Shoreditch Park, north London, joining archaeologists and Hackney residents, as he put it, "in tracing the lives of their neighbours from the past". Aided by the Big Lottery Fund, the excavation explored the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war by uncovering a former Georgian terrace bombed in the blitz. Residents on the excavation team learnt about their local history and the lifestyles of former neighbours. Schools, community groups and individuals picked up archaeological techniques including map work, object handling and interpretation.

"I commend the enthusiasm and dedication of the CBA, professionals and volunteers", said Lammy, "who work together to make this a tremendously successful week. The skills of archaeologists are vital in ensuring our historic environment is both cared for and understood. I am sure that the Young Archaeologists' Club and family events this week will play an important role in continuing the profession, and ensuring the appreciation of our historical legacy for future generations".

The theme was continued by other MPs in the House of Commons through early day motion no 573. "This house congratulates the Council for British Archaeology and its Young Archaeologists' Club on the organisation of the largest ever National Archaeology Week, which runs from the 16th to 24th July; notes that over 300 separate activities are taking place all over the United Kingdom; encourages the public to take this opportunity to find out more about the historic environment; and acknowledges that archaeology makes a major contribution to social, economic and cultural aspects of modern life".

Particularly noted in the media were tours of an archaeological archive and artefact store in a former us Air Force building, making your own silver "Celtic" bracelet, charcoal making, an art class centred around the neolithic portal dolmen at Zennor, and tours of an iron furnace.

National Archaeology Week 2006 will run from Saturday July 15-Sunday July 23. Jan Cox, CBA marketing and events officer, can provide further details.

Scotland participated in NAW, but their main "shop window" for archaeology is the September Scottish Archaeology Month, organised by the Council for Scottish Archaeology with financial support from Historic Scotland. Full details of SAM events can be found at or on 0131 247 4119.

Major henge proposals

The CBA recently commented on proposals at two major ancient sites: Stonehenge and Thornborough henges.

The Stonehenge roads inquiry result was released on July 20. The inspector upheld the proposal for the "short", 2.1km tunnel, but at the same time the Department for Transport announced that substantial cost increases made it necessary to see whether the scheme "remains the best option for delivering the desired improvements". The CBA strongly opposes the short tunnel, which removes the A303 from the immediate vicinity of Stonehenge but at the cost of damage to the World Heritage Site landscape.

On July 26 Salisbury district council reconsidered English Heritage's planning application for a new Stonehenge visitor centre and access scheme. The CBA had reiterated its support: the proposals meet most of the key criteria adopted in 1998 to guide our assessment. The CBA believes they achieve a good balance over reconciling the impacts of large numbers of visitors with preserving the whs and providing a rewarding visitor experience. Salisbury planning officers recommended the scheme for approval. However, its committee voted for refusal with concerns about the land train and the nearby A303 junction. Following these decisions, both again deferring action on the unacceptable situation at Stonehenge, the CBA has written to roads minister Stephen Ladyman and culture minister David Lammy. We have urged that the government, when reviewing road options, seeks a longer term more sustainable solution for the A303. The CBA believes the government should work positively with interested parties to make the new visitor centre a reality, with necessary road improvements for access, while alternatives are considered: a Department for Transport spokesperson was reported in The Times as saying "it might be cheaper to build a bypass to take [the A303] away from the monument".

The Thornborough henges complex is, according to the ex-chief archaeologist at English Heritage, "the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys". North Yorkshire county council is considering Tarmac's application to extend its Nosterfield Quarry onto the adjacent Ladybridge Farm. The company is also asking that its land immediately around two of the three henges be adopted as a "preferred area" for aggregates quarrying in the minerals local plan, which is being reviewed over 2004-6.

With other archaeological bodies, the CBA has objected to Tarmac's application, arguing for a positive change in agricultural land management. We believe the proposed quarrying would affect significant remains of international importance.

Online bibliography

The CBA's free online bibliography ( has been significantly augmented by over 1,000 abstracts to new publications. Enhancements to come include a table of contents, retrieval and alerting service for key archaeological journals and a digital library function to add direct links to all publications available through the Internet.

New Books

New CBA practical handbooks include Approaches to Archaeological Illustration (ISBN 1902771494 £14.95) by Mel Steiner and Garden Archaeology (ISBN 1902771486 £12.50) by Chris Currie, who sadly died shortly before publication. An updated reprint of Lindsay Allason-Jones's Women in Roman Britain is now available (ISBN 1902771435 £14.95).

Several research reports will appear soon. These include William Foot's Beaches, Fields, Streets & Hills: the Anti-invasion Landscapes of England, 1940 (ISBN 1902771532 £25) the result of a two-year English Heritage funded project combining documentary research with fieldwork. Work undertaken through the CBA's Defence of Britain project also features.

The first two Scottish Burgh Survey volumes, Historic Maybole (ISBN 1902771516 £9.50) and Historic Dunbar (ISBN 1902771524 £9.50), will be out soon, published by the CBA for Historic Scotland.

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