Did ‘the Anglo-Saxon migrations’ take place, and were Romano-British leaders replaced by those of Germanic descent? Susan Oosthuizen’s new book, The Emergence of the English, is a call to rethink our interpretations of the 5th and 6th centuries AD, reflecting on whether many of the assumptions we make about the period are actually supported by evidence. Interpretations that cannot be upheld should be discarded, she says, and all viable alternative interpretations should be explored for the strongest arguments to be identified. Chris Catling reports.
Author: Chris Catling
The latest contribution to our understanding of Neolithic lifestyles in the British Isles comes in the form of a wide-ranging book by Keith Ray and Julian Thomas. In it, they demonstrate that many Mesolithic sites of gathering continued to be regarded as special places throughout the Neolithic. This deliberate commemoration of the past gives important insights into the minds of the first farmers. Chris Catling investigates.
Are we all Druids now?; National Trust lacks soul?; Carlisle Castle; Socks with sandals; World Heritage diet
Are we all Druids now? Tuning in to the BBC’s religious affairs programme on 1 October, Sherds was amused to hear Emma Restall Orr, founder of the Druid Network, talking about the ‘long hard struggle’ to persuade the Charity Commission for England and Wales to grant charitable status to the Druids. This was a frustrating […]
State of play Believing that things are not what they used to be is a viral disease that strikes as you enter adulthood and gets worse with age, says folklorist Steve Roud. One symptom is the perennial complaint that children do not play proper games any more. In 1804, the demise of childhood games was […]
Rock and roll; The Dunster cobbles; Historic Scotland; stonemason sparks cathedral row; Berlusconi's appendage
Rock and roll Bits of rock, in various guises, form a running theme in this month’s Sherds, starting with Neolithic ball bearings. Numerous attempts have been made to explain how the slabs of stone used in the construction of Stonehenge got to their destination. Could these huge blocks, weighing up to 4 tonnes, have been […]
Contradictory policies; Coastal delights; Ringo's house; Museums 'best place to lose wallets'; London Lives 1690-1800
Contradictory policies David Cameron marked the beginning of the holiday season (now but a distant memory) with a speech on tourism that included some startling statistics: did you know that Britain is only 22nd in the list of most popular destinations for Chinese tourists — by comparison, Germany is 10th. Or that the UK is […]
Plans to ‘de-regulate’ Britain ‘Help us repeal bad laws,’ said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on 1 July, asking the public for feedback on unnecessary legislation the British people would like to see scrapped. One response, published in the Independent on 5 July 2010, was so witty, it deserves a wider audience. ‘In Hereford’s Cathedral […]
Heritage plaques; Heads at Westminster; Even infamy in fleeting; How much for Stonehenge?; How towns attract tourism.
Heritage plaques Strict rules govern the erection of Blue Plaques, the circular memorial tablets in Wedgwood blue that mark the residences of celebrated historical figures. The person commemorated must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the centenary of their birth; should be considered eminent by other members of their profession or calling; […]
A group of 51 fit and battle-ready Scandinavians met a brutal death in the years between AD 910 and 1034; crudely beheaded, their remains were thrown into a mass grave near Weymouth in Dorset. Chris Catling asks how this discovery fits in with our picture of the Vikings. Recent discoveries such as the Dorset Ridgeway […]
Freudian dating parties; Glamorous heritage; Archaeologist Sienna Miller?;The heritage buffs' anthem; Early Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
Freudian dating parties Responding to the news that the National Trust and Mills & Boon have formed a partnership to publish bodice rippers set in historic houses, several CA readers have pointed out that the link between heritage and romance is far from new: museums and galleries have been exploiting their potential as trysting places […]