From Festivals to Garden Sheds…

When, at the IFA’s Liverpool conference in April 2004, I argued for a festival of archaeology to compare with the superb festivals of literature, history, science. jazz, folk and rock music that we already have in this country, I could find not a soul in the archaeological establishment to back the idea. Then, in 2007, […]


Archaeology Festival Cardiff 2009

After only two years, we are already beginning to establish some Festival traditions. One is to tackle a ‘difficult’ subject. Last year Alex Bayliss, of English Heritage, explained Bayesian statistics; at each step in her idiots’ guide, instead of declaring QED, she said ‘woof, woof’, like a school teacher keeping her class alert and amused. […]



The Staffordshire Hoard has thrown up a problem. It is it is all very well to say the finder or the landowner should receive an award, but when that award is £3.3m, who is going to pay for it? The museum that receives the hoard? The British Museum has already declined any interest, but local […]


Heritage Link revealed

How does Heritage Link work? Heritage Link is a strange organisation that aims to help heritage charities work better. It presents an image of the utmost political correctness, so as the AGM was to be held just round the corner from me at the old Hampstead Town Hall, I decided to go along and find […]


Heritage Protection Bill – RIP

In 2002, launching the first ever ‘Heritage Counts’ digest of statistics on the health of the historic environment, Tessa Jowell, then Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, pulled a surprise speech out of her back pocket: ‘I am launching a thorough review of heritage protection laws,’ she said, ‘with the aim of making […]


Stonehenge: class barrier or stock control?

  The world’s media reported in August that a huge timber fence was used to separate ordinary mortals from the privileged classes at Stonehenge. Josh Pollard, of Bristol University, whose team of diggers has found the post pits for a 20ft high fence snaking for nearly 3km (2 miles) around the stone circle, was quoted […]

Calling all independent archaeologists!

The Council for Independent archaeology is holding its annual get-together at Monmouth on Saturday the 30th August, and all archaeologists are invited to attend.



A new exhibition on Hadrian has just opened at the British Museum. At the same time, an exhibition on Skeletons has opened at the Wellcome Collections. Current Archaeology has visited them both. We report back


World Archaeological Congress part 3

Day three at WAC and the conference mates are well.Following our prehistoric musical interlude yesterday afternoon, I attended a session on development-funded archaeology in Ireland. As you can imagine, following the massive building boom in Ireland, the amount of such archaeology has climbed dizzy heights.


World Archaeological Congress part 2

As I type, it is lunch time. One thousand delegates are thronging around the coffee and sandwich tables. Suddenly, into the crowd emerge two archaeo-blokes (sandals mandatory) carrying a 5 foot-long curving metal object. One of them is blowing enthusiastically, and continuously, down the back end of the metal object. The crowd is stunned. How […]