Monthly Archives: January 2014

Rescue

The photographs included here are from a small prehistoric monument on the coast of Sligo. It is classed as a Cist – pronounced “kissed”. This is generally a stone line box in the ground whose purpose seemed primarily for burial. This cist is something like 15cm wide and over 3m long so it stretches the theory. But then again Archaeology is well full of theories. Perhaps the body was hammered flat and posted in to the “grave”. Nevertheless it appears to be in possibly immanent danger of destruction and if that happens we will never know.
On a broad basis we see damage like this daily but primarily it is manmade – Bahn and Renfrews book on Archaeology in its theories, methods and practises (a very good book deserving of very good shelves) set aside a chapter on Archaeology and the Public. This chapter has a fair component of “stop breaking it and stop stealing it” type of thing. It puts the quote from Indiana Jones “It belongs in a museum” into the context of – only if we already know everything about it. Once the destruction has taken place the artefacts lose the majority of their point and after complete examination they boil down to (i) awesome or nice looking stuff, (ii) interesting and or informative stuff, (iii) shock and horror stuff and (iv) I don’t want to see it stuff.
Currently reading The Scientific Investigation of Copies, Fakes and Forgeries by Paul Craddock (along with How To Drive A Steam Locomotive by Brian Hollingsworth, but that’s another story). Wonderful book by a curator from the British Museum. From the book on fakes and forgeries – it would be far easier and cheaper to have artefacts made than running the risk of buying them at full price in the market – and there are a lot out there. I remember another book by Judith Miller on the antique trade (she of Millers Antiques Handbook and Price Guide fame) where she stated that more 18th century oak furniture left England each year than was ever made in the 18th century.
Rambling, back to disappearing monuments. I sometimes get the feeling that I need to qualify quickly and find my lost city before they are all gone – joking, somewhat. The monument in question is easier to look at fully because people are not involved – it is the environment – specifically the sea. Last year I took a photograph as it appeared close to the edge of the sea. This year after the storms I checked and it is still there though the sea stripped the land away no more then 20 feet up the coast from it. It needs a rescue so I will pass on the information. A Rescue is a dig that will remove the monument in a dig before the sea does – rescuing what is most important – knowledge of what happened in the past.

Cist in early 2013

Cist in early 2013


Cist early 2014

Cist early 2014

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Just a quick comment on photos in a blog

Firstly I know that this post would be more popular if it had pictures in it. I post using my own photographs because it’s easier to use them and put them into a post as they are usually a direct feature. There may be better (ego prevents me from stating that of course there are better) pictures to put across a message available but I have no right to them. As bloggers we have all come across a picture that has grabbed us in a way we would like to express here but I am something of a black and white person in certain respects. Things get a wee bit grey on occasion and one such was where I say two photographs in a 1940 copy of a National Geographic magazine. They are of the Venus and Winged Victory being manhandled into underground storage in case the German army made it as far as shelling Paris (the April issue of that year). Finding them chimed so well with me looking forward to the upcoming film Monument Men so I decided to contact National Geographic and ask if it was ok to post them here – with proper credit of course. The reply to me was quick and to the point. $200 for each picture. So it’s going to be homegrown, ok, but in context photographs on an ongoing basis here. If you do come across an April 1940 copy of National Geographic it is worth a look though.

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Christmas

Though I did read for pleasure (Dangerous Women – a group of short stories and a reread of some of Butchers “Dresden” books) and for my exams (starting tomorrow) Christmas was about fitness as well as enjoyment and study. It was wonderfully thoughtful of our Neolithic predecessors to build their megalithic monuments a good walk away from our carparks.
The pictures are from Knocknarea mountain. When I say mountain – the carpark is half way up it. The cloud was low so the views from three quarters up it were replaced by grey ghosts of monuments. It made it interesting that the easiest thing to find at the top was the edge.
The path up to the monuments from the carpark had turned into a small stream as you can see from one of the photos. Another shows Chert which is a dark to black stone that could be broken to give a working edge – its not as smooth as flint (more of a granular texture) but it is the best available to work into tools in the locality.
A more fit body gives a sharper mind, which means more reading before falling asleep.
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