Category Archives: Community

Stonehenge bypass back on the agenda. Or not.

The Stone Circle at Stonehenge; just one of the c. 700 sites which together form part of the landscape inscribed as a World Heritage Site

The Stone Circle at Stonehenge; just one of the c. 700 sites which together form part of the landscape inscribed as a World Heritage Site

I was dismayed to find the latest copy of the Valley News arrive through my letterbox featuring a front page article entitled Stones bypass back on the agenda. The article comprises the opinion of a single Wiltshire councillor, Cllr. Ian West, regarding what he thinks should be done about the A303 around Stonehenge. Having worked on many of the A303 and Visitor Centre proposals over the years, I find it sad to see such a rehash of old, stale views put forward as news in such a way as this.  Continue reading

Day of Archaeology 2015

Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr.

Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr.

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Time for the annual Day of Archaeology. And once again, my day does not involve any temples in remote jungles, crystal skulls or raiding any tombs. Indeed, as has become the norm, it does not even involve any digging of holes, artefacts or suchlike.

Yep, archaeology involves a much broader range of activities than many folk believe, many of which are lab based and/or computer based with the result that some archaeologists (myself included) rarely get to see daylight let alone travel to distant far off lands in search of ancient peoples. And this is one reason why I love the Day of Archaeology so much as the range of posts each year covers just about every aspect of archaeology and cultural heritage and goes a long way towards showing what we, as professional archaeologists, really get up to, shattering stereotypes perpetuated by the likes of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft.

Anyway, here’s my post for this year which focusses on the usual range of geospatial and geosemantic stuff and not being chased by angry tribespeople or making dramatic and implausible escapes from imminent danger and almost certain death (although I did get a small electric shock off a laptop power supply this morning…)

Stonehenge déjà vu; the A303, tunnelling, dualling and the feeling we’ve been here before…

Stonehenge: a World Heritage Site, a complex landscape not just an isolated stone circle

Stonehenge: a World Heritage Site, a complex landscape not just an isolated stone circle

Stonehenge is back in the news again. Following the unceremonious dropping of the last major scheme on grounds of cost, the government have now announced the A303 will get an upgrade, including a tunnel at Stonehenge.

This blog post has been hanging around for some time now so is rather less current than once it was. But unfortunately, blogging on topics other than research and commercial activities are necessarily lower on my priority list at present… Continue reading

The United Kingdom; a sense of place

Slightly off topic…

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the goings on in Scotland; the referendum and the idea of independence. It’s been a hot topic on Twitter and Facebook and with many Scottish friends on both sides of the debate and with obvious ramifications for the UK as a whole, it’s hard not to take an interest. And whilst I am very much English as English can be (excepting my Geordie heritage and ultimately Scandinavia origins), do not live in Scotland and never have and therefore, some might suggest, I do not have much of a claim to speak on this matter, I do feel there is some deeper relevance of ideas relating to space and place of the kind often discussed by eminent scholars such as Yi-Fu Tuan. This is my tangential hook into the debate. So whilst not strictly pertaining to the usual technological topics of this blog, I do feel a bit of humanistic geography is directly relevant to the broader debate regarding the future of Great Britain and United Kingdom. Continue reading

ScARF Directory of Archaeological Scientists

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

ScARF is the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework, yet another forward thinking move from our heritage colleagues north of the border. I never cease to be amazed by the good work emanating from up there; Scotland certainly blazes a trail for cultural heritage, a shining example of how to crack on and get good things done.

ScARF is described as follows:

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) reflects the current state of knowledge regarding Scotland’s past. As understanding of the past changes, so too will ScARF. It should be seen as a live document that will be constantly updated, edited and improved. The people developing ScARF are the people who use it: those who research Scotland’s past for enjoyment, employment, or frequently both.

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Day of Archaeology

Day of Archaeology

Day of Archaeology

Last Friday was the Day of Archaeology and judging by the number and quality of posts, this year’s event looked to be one of if not the most successful yet. Massive congratulations and thanks to the organising team who do all the hard work, so much of it in their own time! Continue reading

A consultation on the future of local government archaeology services

Mess office by Javier M.

So many files, so little time…

There is an ongoing consultation on the future of local government archaeology services, open till February 14th 2014. The text of the consultation, with some informative descriptive narrative, has been made available by Henry Rothwell so I shall point you towards the text and his commentary on it. In short, the Inquiry wishes to address the following themes:

1)   The consideration of options for improving the sustainability of local services providing (i) curatorial advice, and (ii) HERs &  archaeological archives, drawing on best practice from local authorities in England and elsewhere in the UK;

2)   Whether the knowledge and enthusiasm of third sector organisations could be  harnessed to help supplement public involvement in archaeology;

3)   The consideration of (i) how the impending creation of Historic  England could provide opportunities to forge closer links between local services and their national counterparts, and (ii) if current sector-produced standards and guidance provide the necessary rigour to underpin such a diversity of provision.

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BRITARCH RIP. Long live BRITARCH…?

Grave monuments

Grave monuments

The BRITARCH mailing list has long been a place where one could ask a question and some friendly, helpful person would either know the answer or know someone who does or just offer some friendly advice or tips from their own experience. Ideas could be kicked around, there was a whole load of people willing to help and get involved in things. The community was diverse, including folks from all walks of life and this was one of its strengths. The list is described thus:

For the circulation of information, queries and general discussion of issues relating to archaeology in the United Kingdom. This list will be used by the Council for British Archaeology information service to announce relevant items of news or information.

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