Monthly Archives: March 2015

A new heritage protection system announced for Wales

The Heritage Journal

Over the years the Heritage Journal has highlighted various issues regarding the protection of archaeology in Wales. It now seems that the Welsh Assembly Government agree with most of our concerns and have acknowledged problems with the existing system.

A Heritage Bill designed to tackle these problems is to be introduced in late Spring 2015 and amongst the proposed changes is the idea of making the designation process “more open and transparent by introducing formal consultation with owners and establishing mechanisms to review decisions”. Currently the process sometimes gives outsiders the impression that it is very secretive, inconsistent and often ill-informed. The move to a more transparent system should be welcomed by everyone with an interest in protecting Welsh heritage. Clearly as well as ensuring the creation of a designation system that works it is crucial that it is funded adequately. Providing that the Welsh Assembly can deliver on their…

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Searching for the Lady Well of Wombourne

Fantastic review of thus site, I really enjoyed this!


One of the great pleasures in researching our sacred springs is the field work. In a world where the internet is said to have all the answers and this blog is just as responsible for forwarding the information, it might be surprising to find that not all the information is available.  As I am close to completing my work on Staffordshire Holy Wells and the weather is getting nicer I thought it as a good idea to share one of the more interesting sites.

A few years back at the beginning of my Staffordshire research I came across a site a Wombourne. The site according to Hope’s Legendary Lore of Holy Wells  (1893) was a spring was ‘known by the name of “Our Lady’s Well” or “Lady Well”. Hope (1893) states:

Another famous local well, which has fortunately escaped the destructive hand of time, is that near Wombourne…

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Can Curiosity Kill the Corpse? An Argument for ‘Morbid Curiosity’

Thought provoking article Howard….some engaging ideas on the concept of the ‘morbidly curious’. Certainly the idea that museums can hold a pivotal role in the display, interpretation and education of mortuary archaeology is one that needs further study!


File:Chantier de fouilles à Morigny-Champigny en juin 2012 69.jpg Medieval skeleton from Morigny-Champigny. Source: wikimedia

I am sick to death with a worn-out archaeological cliche. In archaeological writing, and media discussions of mortuary archaeology, the ‘straw man’ we want to avoid is apparently the disgusting uneducated public showing ‘morbid curiosity’ in the archaeological study of ancient human remains, graves, tombs, cemeteries and other funerary traces. Of course there are manifold emotional, religious, social and political dimensions to digging up, displaying and interpreting mortuary remains in the modern world. It might be sometimes useful to contrast good archaeological and heritage practice with voyeurism and sensationalism as well as the flagrant robbing and destruction of mortuary contexts for economic gain. However, it is often bang out of order to criticise non-archaeologists for displaying morbid curiosity.

I am not alone. Faye Sayer and Duncan Sayer criticise this phrase’s use in archaeological literature in a forthcoming chapter in a book I am co-editing called Archaeologists…

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King Arthur slams the Heritage Journal

The Heritage Journal

It seems that King Arthur Pendragon has “slammed” the Heritage Journal in the press (see here). Yet we’ve been very supportive of him over the years and have described him as “brave” here and “affable and amusing” here and “in his own way one of the sanest men in Britain” here.

But he has got it wrong in this case. He says “As for the Heritage Journal, calling for an end to managed open access, they’ve been doing that since they were formed in the first place.” Not so. What we’re against is damage and all we’ve ever wanted is an end to that by redesigning the event so it’s far less crowded and some proper protective control can be applied. Ten years of damage is witness to the fact we have a point and our pagan members all agree. If Arthur can stop the damage…

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Dactyl & Skelly Pad: Apps for Digital Bone Identification and Inventorying

These Bones Of Mine

Updates have been somewhat sparse on this site as of late due to varying workloads, both archaeological and osteological in nature, that have thus far maintained the focus of my free time.  So this is just a quick post highlighting new digital applications that have recently been released that have a specific focus and use for bioarchaeologists, palaeopathologists and forensic anthropologists, and that may be of interest amongst other related disciplines.

The first of these is the Dactyl application that has been produced by forensic anthropologists at the University of Teesside, spearheaded by Professor Tim Thompson (with a bit of help from my friend and doctoral researcher David Errickson) through the Anthronomics business.  Dactyl is a 3D viewer with photo-realistic models of actual scanned human skeletal elements that aids in the identification, siding and pathological analysis of osteological material from archaeological sites or forensic contexts.  Further to this the…

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Bancbryn: The dangers of Twitter!

The Heritage Journal

Having asked Cadw if they would keep us in touch with developments at Bancbryn there was no news. Instead the only snippets emanating from the organisation were a few tweets from a Cadw officer who had been copied into internal correspondence and who clearly despite having never visited the site felt confident enough to announce to the world:

The Mynydd Y Betws wind farm stone row fiasco – a field boundary not neolithic but hey what do I Know? dlvrit/17rD8J


Mynydd y Betws stone row is conveniently placed next to a sheep track—- Mhmm those sheep must like neolithic archaeology!

These comments provide a window into Cadw’s  “balanced” approach  to heritage protection whilst at the same time illustrating a total failure to understand basic fundamentals of field archaeology. Cadw now accept that there is no evidence to support the field boundary interpretation and even after all this time there…

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