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Showing posts from October, 2006

HLF new plans for museum collections

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced £3 million to be allocated in 2007─8 to support acquisitions, the development of curatorial skills, research and outreach activity. Grants will be from £50,000 up to a maximum of £200,000. It is envisaged that some twenty projects around the UK will be funded through this initiative. Salon IFA reported: 'The funding will encourage individual museums and galleries, or small consortia, such as local museums and galleries or those with a shared collecting interest, to apply for support to develop their collections'. The scheme will be launched in April 07

National Trust | News | Getting the best from amazing museums

The National Trust has just released a new policy in its role as one of the major museum providers. National Trust | News | Getting the best from amazing museums

Selling the Family Silver - Bury sells a Lowry

Simon Jenkins discusses the sale of a Lowry to support the revenue funding of Bury Council and places it directly in the debate about the North/South divide rather than highlighing the consequences of selling precious items to plug a temporary gap in funding. Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | The disgrace is not that this Lowry is being sold but the reason why

Sevsco - silver scandal at Bonhams

Lord Renfrew's letter to the Times records yet another arguably 'scandalous' auction by a leading UK auction house - this time Bonham's. Links Lord Renfrew's Letter - Comment - Times Online More information with image The legal view keywords = archaeology, museums

Age of Stonehenge illuminated at excavations at Durrington Walls

Salon, IFA reports on discoveries at Durrington Wells which is a remarkable henge close to Stonehenge. The henge has always been remarkable on account of the large timber round houses found inside the circle. Now, the magazine, 'British Archaeology' reports that the Stonehenge Riverside Project has uncovered nine rare well-preserved houses in excavations. 2 of the houses are inside the Durrington Walls henge and surrounded by ditches, banks and palisades. These houses have 'trapezoidal chalk plaster floors up to 6 metres square, with central hearths'. Archaeologists suggest that the nearest parallels are in Orkney. Grooves in the plaster floors are interpreted as footings for wooden furniture similar to the stone furnishings of houses at Skara Brae. Both sites are associated with Grooved Ware pottery. Large middens of pig bones have been found as well as a 20m. wide avenue (guly and external bank) aligned to the midsummer sunset. It may have formed a processi

Medical Heritage of Guys

I created first draft of proposal for a medical heritage project in the St Thomas/Guys area and posted to James Buxton, chaplain of Guys Hospital. The idea is that the area is a pioneer of urban health care - London's second oldest hospital and with a remarkable set of medical heritage sites, and that this should be celebrated with a project. Tour of the heritage area keyword = medhist

Disability histories - ideas for an exhibition

Kate-Louise Smith emailed asking about the Museum's collection relating to disability. I replied that as we deal with amputations we do have a strong connection with disability. However we do not have a large collection and so (apart from the tools that help make people disabled!) we only have a pair of crutches, a couple of interesting hearing aids and some prints and drawings which may be relevant. But it would be a really interesting project - a temporary/travelling exhibition on wheelchairs and crutches and hearing aids and glasses and false teeth, eyepatches, false eyes, prostheses of various kinds, strait jackets etc. It would be visually quite something. Kate is responsible for the untoldLondon.org.uk web site which describes where Londoners of many cultural groups can find their histories in the capital. Key words = museums medhist

History Matters Campaign

I signed up to the History Matters campaign because, although 'History is bunk' and people learn the wrong lessons from it, it can really give an insight into how the world works. About the campaign

CHR web site updated - publishing blogs

I have spent some time improving the look and the spelling of the CHR/And Did Those Feet web site. Firstly, a little bit of a redesign - firstly so it is more accessible with no fixed sized tables, secondly, with a new colour scheme - going from blue to red and reorganistion so looks better. On the design side I used as my inspiration the site at www.a-m-a.co.uk The most interesting improvement though is that I have used Feed Digest to publish my blog onto my web site thus adding content without much effort. I have used a keyword search for different pages so that only archaeology is mentioned on the archaeology page, museums on the museum page etc. I now have feeds from my blog, my furl and from the 24 hour museum. My next development is to see if I can publish using php pages because in this way the blog content gets indexed via google and will help market the site. Have a look here, as you will find interesting items on archaeology, museums and London.

The Enigma of the Dark Earth

Dark Earth is a horizon often as much as 2 - 3 ft thick which covers Roman remains in London and other Roman Cities. The strata (Archaeology) underlying the dark earth is often of a date varying from the 2nd to the 5th Century, and the strata overlying is often, in the city of London, 9th Century. The Dark Earth has little evidence of any structural activity in it or even of horizons, although tip lines are sometimes seen. The material is not particularly organic, it has bits of brick and tile in it. It probably represents vacant lots on the edge of urban centres and in London is evidence of the decline of Londinium's population. However, some people, the minority I believe, think it is reworked urban stratigraphy, maybe timber and earth floors reworked by worm action. They would argue that Cemetaries around London do not show a population decline compared with early London. A bibliography on the subject was compiled by Pete Clark and circulated on Britarch on th

London Museums Strategy

Went to meeting launching the London Museum Strategy today in City Hall. Meeting was opened by (Lord) ChrisSmith,and is the culmination of a long series of meetings and hard work. As a meeting of the London Museums Group, the London Museums strategy group and the Hub Advisory committee I felt I'd made my own contribution. Although BenTravers and Fiona Davison are the ones who hav e really done the hard work.-- Sent from my Treo

Narrative Environments new year first project

Today saw the projects put together by the new first year - in which they have to created a piece on one of their new colleagues. Very many very creative ideas, for example one piece was a large vertical slab of clay with peanuts stuck in it - when sliced open it contained rhubarb, artichoke and a kiwi fruit - all representative of the other person. Another was a person represented by a colour swatch.

'Myths of British ancestry' we are all Basques

Great article in Prospect Magazine about the ancestry of the British - it sums up all the Genetic studies that have been coming to contradictory conclusions over the last few years but promising to transform archaeology as we know it. To summarize: 75% of our blood-line comes from Hunter-Gathers who probably spread into Britain by the Atlantic route from Spain - our closest relations are the Basques. The Basque language is non-indo European and is probably the descendant of the language spoken by the indigenous inhabitants of Europe. Another wave of immigrants came over in the Neolithic. The Celts had their origin in West and SW Europe - not at all in La Tene or the Hallstatt so-called homeland - which is the origin of the art style but not the people. The mistake derives from Herodutus who said the Celts came from the Danube - Herodutus thought the Danube was near the Pyrenees! The Celtic homelands are therefore Iberia, France and the British Isles - there are few Celtic place

Updated London's history on Wikipedia

I revised the entry on Wikipedia which has grown a little 'baggy' with people added stuff that was sort of correct but not really, and adding out of date information. Its full of Anglos and Saxons and very dated really The Saxon portion has been improved with reference to Wessex, Mercia etc but still not very good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_London#Saxon_London

Hesiod - early calendars

Hesiod in his Works and Days gives a good idea of a non numerical calendar in his 'Works and Days.   Here is the part of the poem dealing with the agricultural year - note the variety of calendrical indicators he uses - stars, birds, sun, heat, rain, frosts, winds, sprouting, counting days off etc. Feed keyword = archaeology    Hesiod lived in the 8th century BC, about the same time as Homer   Kevin  Flude       Hesiod: Works And Days Translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/works.htm   When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising (10), begin your harvest, and your ploughing when they are going to set (11). Forty nights and days they are hidden and appear again as the year moves round, when first you sharpen your sickle. This is the law of the plains, and of those who live near the sea, and who inhabit rich country, the glens and dingles far from the tossing sea, -- strip to sow and strip to plough and strip to reap, if yo

JOURNEY OF MANKIND - The Peopling of the World

Excellent demonstration of the spread across the globe of Homo Sapien JOURNEY OF MANKIND - The Peopling of the World . Archaeology Feed

Covent Garden's Theatre Museum to Close

Apparently the V&A and the Royal Opera have decided they cannot afford to run the Theatre Museum, London and are planning to close it. Terrible news for Museums in London.

Middlesex Guildhall the new Supreme Court

The Government plans to turn the Middlesex Guildhall, London currently a court, into the new HQ of the Supreme Court. The Guildhall is in Westminster Square. This will involve damaging the beautiful interiors, campaigners complain.

We are all Celts Now!

According to Bryan Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics at Oxford University most people in Britain are decended from peoples often referred to as Celts. Celts are not a separate race living in the West of Britain and Ireland but are the ancestor of most of us. Sykes is publishing a book, called 'The Blood of the Isles ‘Exploring the genetic roots of our tribal history’. According to Salon IFA, the archaeology e-newsletter, he 'draws on the work of The Oxford Genetic Atlas Project which, with funding from the Wellcome Trust, has taken and analysed blood and saliva samples from 10,000 volunteers in order to settle scientifically questions about migration and interbreeding in these islands ..... all but a tiny percentage of the volunteers in his study were originally descended from one of six ‘clans’ who arrived in the UK in several waves of immigration prior to the Norman conquest. ' Salon IFa quotes Sykes ‘about 6,000 years ago Iberians developed ocean-going boats that e

Restoration by Edward Bond at the Hackney empire

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Edward Bond may be a colossus of British Theatre but this is a play to be avoided by anyone but a theatre historian. The only redeeming feature of the play, as performed at the Hackney Empire, is the earnest hard work of the cast and the cleverness of some of Lord Are's witticisms. The play uses the form of (pastiche?) a Restoration play for what one assumes the author thought would be a coruscating attack on the English class system. But is just shows the patronizing views of the 1980's leftwing. The innocent victim of the upper class is portrayed as simple to the extreme, Lord Are's has no redeeming features, Mr Hardache a stereotypical northern businessman, Lord Are's mother is a cartoon character and the rest of the characters are neither memorable nor sympathetic. The working class apparently have the option of crime or slavery. The play might have been tolerable but for the tuneless warbling of awful songs and their terrible lyrics. The actors tried very

Sir Nicholas Crispe and the Slave Trade

the Museum of London Archaeology service has recently done excavations on the Jacobean House of Sir Nicholas Crispe. His house was used for the manufacture of glass beads which he used in his extensive slave trading with Africa. The house was then used by General Fairfax and finally as a Sugar refinery. The Crispe Family and the African Trade in the Seventeenth Century R. Porter Journal of African History, Vol. 9, No. 1 (1968), pp. 57-77 View Article Abstract

Holbein's Lady with a Squirrel named!

Holbein's Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling - in the National Gallery has been named! She is thought to be Anne Lovell - the squirel refers to their coat of arms and the Starling may be a rhymning pun on East Harling, norfolk where she came from. Museums feed.

Mesolithic Round house found

A mesolithic round house - exactly like Bronze Age round houses has been found in East Lothian. the floor was full of thousands of struck flints and hazel nut shells. Radio Carbon dates the building 7th-8th millenia BC one of the oldest houses in Britain. Gooder, J W 'Excavation of a Mesolithic house at East Barns, East Lothian, Scotland: an interim view', in Warrington, C (eds) The Mesolithic of the North Sea Basin. Oxbow Books. Archaeology feed.

Beaker Folk - invasion of the Round Heads?

The discovery of later neolithic early bronze age pots of a distinctive nature, called Beakers combined with a change from long headed brains to round headed heads has long fed speculation that the Beakers represented an influx (invasion?) of new people into Britain. The idea fell out of favour in Archaeology as in our post-colonial times archaeologists hate to suggest any change takes place through invasion but recently the use of Isotope analysis on teeth has shown, for instance, that the so called Amesbury Archer was from somewhere near Switzerland and that 3 of the Boscombe Down Bowmen were from Wales or North West France. So a group have set up a Beaker People Project and Mike Parker Pearson has written a piece about it in 'The Archaeologist' Autumn 2006. Initial findings show no isotope differences in the diets of beaker and non beaker burials, although the Beaker folk had less pits and scratches on their teeth! The difference between the long and round head takes