Royal Mail is celebrating Britain’s prehistory with the release on 17 January 2017 of a set of eight commemorative stamps accompanied by presentation materials written by BU’s Professor Timothy Darvill. Four stamps feature well-known prehistoric sites: Skara Brae village in Orkney (3000-2500BC); Avebury henge and stone circles in Wiltshire (c.2500 BC); Grime’s Graves flint mines in Norfolk (c.2500 BC); and Maiden Castle hillfort in Dorset (c.400BC). The other four stamps feature spectacular prehistoric objects: an antler headdress from Star Carr in North Yorkshire (9000BC); the gold cape from Mold in Flintshire (c.1900-1600BC); bronze horns from Drumbest in County Antrim (800BC); and the richly decorated bronze shield from the Thames at Battersea in London (350-50BC). Designed by True North and illustrated by Rebecca Strickson all the images combine aspects of original use with how the sites and objects appear today.
The presentation pack includes an illustrated summary of Britain’s prehistoric past, while the information card accompanying first-day covers and souvenir sets provides brief descriptions of the sites and objects featured on the stamps. Handstamps on first-day covers show a flint arrowhead on the standard cancellation from Edinburgh, and a distinctive archaeological trowel as an alternative postmark linked with Avebury near Marlborough.
Individual stamps can be purchased from Post Offices across the UK, while presentation packs and souvenir issues can be obtained from the Royal Mail on-line shop.
Collaborative research between Professor Tim Darvill in the Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology at BU and Professor Fritz Lüth of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin was featured in a short television programme made by ARD, the first German channel, first broadcast on 26 November. The programme focuses on the extensive high resolution geophysical surveys being undertaken within the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and was filmed during the 2016 fieldwork season in September. Click here to view the programme.
Following the government’s ratification of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1984 the first clutch of sites in the UK were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986. These comprised: the Castle and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd; Durham Castle and Cathedral; Ironbridge Gorge; Stonehenge and Avebury and associated sites; Studley Royal Park including the remains of Fountains Abbey; the Giant’s Causeway; and St Kilda. Celebrations are planned at many of these sites; that for Stonehenge and Avebury includes an international conference looking at how understandings of these iconic prehistoric monuments and their landscapes have changed over the last 30 years. It will be held in the Corn Exchange in Devizes, Wiltshire, on Saturday 19 November 2016, and contributions include a lecture by BU’s Professor Timothy Darvill entitled ‘Stonehenge: Beyond rock and roll’.
Pupils at the Jewell Academy in Bournemouth have built a scale-model of Stonehenge in the school grounds using 80 house-bricks. The work was as part of an outreach visit by Professor Tim Darvill from the Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science to introduce young scholars to the results of recent research at Stonehenge. Orientated on the mid-winter sunset the model should survive long enough to help celebrate the end of term and the start of the winter festival in six weeks time!
Current Archaeology, the UK’s best-selling archaeological magazine, features news of BU’s discovery of a previously unrecorded Neolithic long barrow in the Cotswolds in its December issue that goes on sale today. The excavations, directed by Professor Tim Darvill and Dr Martin Smith from the Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science, revealed a large stone-built mound dating to around 3800 BC. Such mounds served as territorial markers as well as burial places for communities living in the area. The work forms part of a larger study looking at the history and development of the Cotswold landscape since prehistoric times and includes collaboration with staff from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.
Professor Timothy Darvill OBE will deliver the 2013 Corfield Nankivel Memorial Lecture on Thursday 5 December 2013 in the Truro Baptist Church, Chapel Hill, Truro, at 7:30 pm. The title of his lecture is ‘Stonehenge Rocks’ and in it he will discuss findings from excavations at Stonehenge and in the Preseli Hills of Southwest Wales.
The lecture is hosted by the Cornwall Archaeological Society (http://www.cornisharchaeology.org.uk/winterlectures.htm)