Listening to tales told by his blacksmith grandfather in the semi-darkness of his fire-lit forge, Alan Garner absorbed the Cheshire folklore that he then transformed into a classic work of fiction — The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. Inspired by Garner’s story, archaeologists have recently begun to unravel the truth behind the legends of Alderley Edge, as […]
Pee for the Planet Despite having a woman as its Director General, the National Trust has issued some surprisingly sexist advice on saving the planet: they want men to pee on their compost heaps. Doing so will make better fertiliser and save the water that would have been used to flush the lavatory. The result […]
Bye bye nursery rhymes?; The ancient origins of fairy tales; From Lucy to Language; William Brown; Nighthawking
Bye bye nursery rhymes? The readers of the Daily Telegraph thrive on apocalyptic stories predicting the end of civilisation as we know it, usually because of a European directive — banning the sale of ‘traditional’ 100 watt light bulbs, for example, or forbidding the sale of fruit by the imperial pound (never mind that the […]
Will the media’s recent glamourisation of the Staffordshire Hoard’s monetary value cause a rise in illegal metal-detecting? Dr Pete Wilson puts his point of view. The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard and the subsequent Birmingham Archaeology project to examine the findspot, undertaken in co-operation with the finder and the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) with funding […]
On Monday, 12 October 2009, Sir David Attenborough participated in the Cambridge University Personal-Histories in Archaeology project. I was there, along with a capacity crowd of over 700 guests, to listen to one of television’s great pioneers.
It is always a little dangerous to revisit old friends. What will they be like? Will you still like them when you have not seen them for a long time? It was with some trepidation that I returned to Oxford for the opening of the new Ashmolean Museum on 28th October after a major rebuilding […]
I attended the launch yesterday of the 2007 Portable Antiquities Scheme annual report. Held at the BM in the new temporary exhibit space housing the few objects from the Staffordshire Hoard that are on display to the public, the meeting was full of the usual luminaries as well as Fred Johnson and his wife – […]
When I went on holiday this year, I took with me some archaeological books for a little light reading. One of them was particularly interesting: Barbarians: an alternative Roman History by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira, which is the book of the television series and is published by BBC Books. It is based on a […]
Teenage girls wed old men shockIt sounds like a salacious headline from one of the red-tops, but actually this story comes from the ultra-respectable Antiquaries Journal, whose just-published Volume 89 reveals that young brides, only just old enough to be legally wed, were routinely married to old men not quite on their deathbeds (because they […]
The Los Angeles Times recently reported (29 May 2009) that eBay has reduced the demand for looted antiquities. The story is based on the research of Charles Stanish (University of California) who has been studying the online trade in antiquities.