Registered Office University College London, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY


Recent geophysical work at Tara has revealed a hitherto unknown monument on this complex site

Ongoing geophysical survey of Tara has recently revealed the existence of a huge henge-like enclosure (175m E-W, 210m N-S) comprising two rows of regularly spaced pits and an intervening fosse. There is slight topographical evidence of the fosse to the west of the Rath of the Synods, but elsewhere it has been erased by agriculture. The elliptical groundplan of this monument implies the deliberate incorporation of the Mound of the Hostages, suggesting a useful terminus post quem. A terminus ante quem is provided by the construction of Raith na Rig, built somewhere around the birth of Christ, which cuts through it.

A host of other interesting features has also come to light, such as the continuation (near the south end of the surveyed area) of a previously identified enclosure which, if projected, appears to surround the Forradh and Tech Chormaic, and also reflects the curvature of Raith na Rig. This survey is part of the ongoing work of the Discovery Programme on the Hill of Tara through collaboration with the Centre for Archaeological Survey at the Department of Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Conor Newman
Dept of Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway,
Galway, Ireland



The 'Eton' rowing lake is not at Eton, but in the parish of Dorney, Buckinghamshire. This minor detail in a review of the Society's Research Day on the Thames (PAST 32) might not have been worth mentioning had the accompanying map not also placed the rowing lake in the former county of Berkshire!
         Readers may have heard that even as the Research Day was proceeding, further exciting discoveries were being made in Buckinghamshire, this time at Taplow, home of the famous Saxon barrow. Here a splendid hillfort has come to light only a short distance from the rowing lake. This is the fourth new hillfort to be identified in the county in the last 25 years.
         It is appropriate both to acknowledge the skill of the staff of Oxford Archaeological Unit who have dealt with all of the recent Thames-side excavations in the county, and also to remind readers that PPG 16, through which so much has been achieved, is only a planning guidance note, not a law. Its implementation depends on local planning authorities having good up-to-date Sites and Monuments Records, coupled with effective curatorial advisors able to argue the case for archaeology. Sadly, not only my own former authority (Buckinghamshire) but also many other county and unitary authorities have experienced, or are facing, reductions to their archaeological services to the point at which their effectiveness is being seriously undermined.

Mike Farley


Just a brief note re the Husbands Bosworth causewayed enclosure, as featured in PAST 32. Our gazetteer of causewayed enclosures has it located at circa SP 635 825, not far from where the Ordnance Survey have placed Husbands Bosworth itself. The grid reference in Patrick Clay's article actually places the site in Nottinghamshire.
[Patrick agrees that his Grid Ref was in error, and should read as above - Ed]
         Our forthcoming monograph on causewayed enclosures will, of course, state that it includes all sites known up to January 1999 and predict that the next discovery will occur in Leicestershire!

Martyn Barber


The book "Bison of Clay" was indeed a translation by Robert Luther Duffus from the French original "Les Bisons d'Argile" by Max Bégouën, and was published in 1926 by Longmans, Green & Co. of New York and London (see PAST 32). The section of the text which Mike Eastham recollected is, I believe, the passage on p. 144 where Eye-of-Fire, the "shaman" of the tribe, actually draws the large sorcerer of Les Trois Frères: "He imagined him like a man, the body, in profile, clothed in the skin of a beast; the head, turned to face the spectators, hidden under a mask with a long beard and great horns; and the back ending in a horse's tail. He gave him the cautious pose of the hunter who steals along, stooping, with bent knees and arms swinging loosely". 1 hope that this clarifies the situation. Since, as I pointed out in my contribution to this discussion, the "Petit Sorcier" was first recorded and published in 1930, it stands to reason that it could not have been mentioned in the novel of some years earlier.

Paul G. Bahn



This issue of PAST says farewell to all those 'members' who did not renew their subscriptions for 1999. Despite frequent and personal reminders, we seem not to be able to reach you, so you will find the year 2000 less bright without the newsletter and the Proceedings to read. Only an immediate renewal, together with the membership fee for 2000, can save you from this horrible fate.
         On a happier note, we are pleased to welcome many new members, including an increasing number of students whom we hope are enjoying the benefits of membership at the special student rate. Please encourage other students to join the Society, and remember that the student membership rate is available to all students registered for University awards, whether they be full-time undergraduate degrees, postgraduate awards, or part-time University certificates and diplomas.
         Again we would like to thank those members who have covenanted their subscriptions: this costs you nothing, and brings the Society very welcome extra funding. We hope that more members will consider a covenant when they renew their subscription in January - please contact Tessa Machling for details.
         Finally, I apologise for the late arrival of this issue of PAST, which is due to a number of events both outside and (theoretically) within my control. I hope that we shall be back on target for the April issue.


HURRY! HURRY! Tickets are selling fast for the Millennium Picnic on 19th August 2000 - the more the merrier, but there will be a limit. The response has already been good enough to confirm the event and, even as I write, the brass band is practising, the theatre company are choosing their cast and the music hall singers are tuning up. Don't miss out on the event of the year (sorry, millennium), the more of you who want to come the more entertainment there will be. Advance bookings (£5 per head deposit except for under 4s) would be very helpful in planning the event so BOOK NOW via Tessa Machling. If you can't find your yellow form (with last issue of PAST) here is a reminder:

         The event is at the Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire from 12.00 noon to 7.00 pm. It includes a buffet lunch, cream tea and lots of entertainments. Come in (Victorian) period costume if you possibly can.

         Prices are: £25 per head, £10 ages 4-14, under 4s free. Family concessions available, please contact Tessa. Let us know if you plan to come by train as we hope to provide a coach service. Accommodation details for the local area will be available in the New Year. Genuine offers of help on the day would be much appreciated.

Julie Gardiner



Good quality cotton bearing the Society's logo in dark blue on light grey, gold, green, sky blue or red. One size only (XL). Please state choice of colours in order of preference. T-shirts are £8 inc p&p, sweatshirts £18 inc p & p. Available from Julie Gardiner at Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury SP4 6EB, or order via email to Cheques should be made out to the Prehistoric Society (sorry no credit cards).




Jack Scott with members of the Society on last years visit to Cairnholy
Jack Scott with members of the Society on last years visit to Cairnholy

One of Britain's leading prehistorians, Jack Scott will be remembered by many who visited and worked in southern Scotland. He spent much of his working life in the Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, where he became Keeper of Archaeology, Ethnography and History. He helped many young students who came to see the collections and who benefited from his wise advice. His knowledge of the collections and of Scottish prehistory was vast. He excavated at a number of megalithic monuments, and members of the Society were privileged to hear his explanations at Cairnholy in south-west Scotland only last year (see PAST 30).

He was President of the Glasgow Archaeological Society, and one of the major figures in Scottish archaeology for many years. His interests were wide, and among them were arms and armour. He published widely and well. This writer remembers with real affection his visits to the Museum to look at bronze age material, to talk with Jack and to have splendid lunches with him and his dear wife Margaret, also an archaeologist who worked with Jack on many of his digs. Jack Scott died in early summer this year aged 86. His papers have been left to the RCAHMS where they will provide much opportunity for research.

John Coles


News of a long overdue memorial to a man who might be considered the 'father of scientific archaeology'


The tablet illustrated has been placed in the chancel of St Bartholomew's Church at Finningham, Suffolk, a few miles north of Stowmarket. This is a much overdue tribute to a man who was the first person in Britain to recognise palaeoliths for what they were, and to realise the significance of their occurrence in Quaternary deposits well above the level of the floodplains of the rivers Dove and Waveney below them. This was in 1797. It is not unreasonable to regard him as the father of scientific archaeology. The situation of the finds in relation to the landscape prompted his inspired conclusion that these handaxes, as we should now call them, were "fabricated and used by a people who had not the use of metals", and had been made at "a very remote period indeed; even beyond that of the present world". This was, of course, totally at variance with contemporary thought, which on biblical calculations decreed that the world had been created in 4004 BC. The details of John Frere's discovery and report may not be known to all members of the QRA and this Society.

The memorial tablet of Welsh slate
The memorial tablet of Welsh slate with letters off-white and a replica flint handaxe, in Finningham Church, Suffolk. The slate was designed and cut by the Cardozo Kindersley workshop, Cambridge.

         It was by chance that John Frere was passing through Hoxne on his way to Eye and, at the top of the hill to the south of the village, he paused to watch the workmen digging clay for bricks in the pit now so well known as the type site of the Hoxnian Stage of the British Quaternary. He noticed that, at a depth of "twelve feet, in a stratified soil", the workmen were throwing out flints which he immediately recognised as being of human workmanship. He said that there were so many they were using them to fill ruts in the road! Furthermore, he thought that the overlying sediments were fluvial, and he put it thus: "the ground in question does not lie at the foot of any higher ground, but does itself overhang a tract of boggy earth, which extends under the fourth stratum: so that it would rather seem that torrents had washed away the incumbent strata and left the bog-earth bare, than that the bog earth was covered by them, especially as the strata appear to be disposed horizontally, and present their edges to the abrupt termination of the high ground."
         Looking behind him, as now, he realised that the present valleys of the Dove, Waveney and Gold Brook, with their floodplains well below him, had eroded since the deposition of the brickearth and other sediments above the palaeoliths. The vast volume of Norfolk and Suffolk which had been washed away since the handaxes had been covered by the sediments in the pit convinced him of the enormous amount of time that must have elapsed between their manufacture and the present day, thus the immense antiquity of mankind. He reported his observations in a letter to the Society of Antiquaries of London on 22 June 1797, where it received little response but a somewhat fatuous thanks from the Secretary for his "curious and most interesting communication". However, the letter was published in Archaeologia (Vol. 13, 204-5) in 1800; it likewise received little or no comment at the time.
         The letter is in fact a model of brevity, such as might nowadays be acceptable to the editor of a scientific journal. It stressed the significance of the geological situation in which the handaxes were found, and clearly separated the stratigraphical relations from conjectures about the antiquity of man.
         John Frere was a remarkable man, born in 1740 at Finningham, which was the ancestral home of the illustrious Frere family. He received his MA from Gonville and Caius College in 1766, and was Fellow of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. He later lived at Roydon Hall, near Diss, Norfolk. He was a man of many interests, and also held high positions such as High Sheriff of Suffolk and, in 1799, MP for Norwich. With his antiquarian interests, he was a friend of the noted antiquary Richard Gough. He married Jane Hookham in 1768, a rich woman of high intellect, and had seven sons and two daughters, all of whom became distinguished.
         On the bicentenary of his letter to the Antiquaries, i.e. 22 June 1997, a small party of people with special interest in the palaeolithic period or the archaeology of East Anglia met at Hoxne to celebrate the occasion. It included the authors of this note and a few other members of the QRA. The Hoxne brickpit was visited, long since unworked and now a contractor's yard, and Finningham Church. Within the chancel of the church are several memorials to past members of the Frere family, but none specifically to John Frere, let alone mention of his pioneer conclusions from his observations at Hoxne. This was deplored by the party, and it was unanimously agreed that this would be a fitting place to have one, if the Diocese would consent to it. Happily, the Diocese and the Parish Church Council agreed, and an appeal was made for funds to have a memorial made. Donations have been generously received from the Frere family, all the major archaeological societies and groups of Norfolk and Suffolk, various institutions including the Prehistoric Society, and from individuals. This has enabled the prestigious Cardozo Kindersley workshop at Cambridge to be commissioned to make the tablet, cut in Welsh slate, as illustrated. It is a beautiful production, and includes a fine replica of a handaxe as found by John Frere, made by Phil Harding. It would seem a suitable tribute to a man who perceived the antiquity of mankind sixty years before Evans and Prestwich were convinced of it by the discoveries at Abbeville. They reasoned that if such evidence occurred in northern France, there should be some in Britain. They consulted Archaeologia 13, went to Hoxne immediately, dug, and satisfied themselves that it was so.

J. J. Wymer
R. G. West


New work at Red Barns, a site which according to predicitive modelling "should not exist"!

The lower/middle palaeolithic site at Red Barns, Portchester, on the outskirts of Portsmouth (SU 608063), was re-investigated in summer 1999 by a team of students from the University of Southampton under the direction of Francis Wenban-Smith and aided by several local volunteers. Test-pits were dug at three locations, and one of these succeeded in relocating and exposing the artefact-bearing horizon first discovered in 1973 by JC Draper of Fareham and last seen in 1975. Draper noted concentrations of artefacts at three locations in the spoil from machine-excavated sewer trenches whilst monitoring construction of a housing development. The artefacts came from a dark grey loam exposed in places at the base of the sewer trenches, and sealed beneath a cemented breccia of fine chalk gravel. Following this discovery, an excavation was carried out in Easter 1975 by a team from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Southampton directed by Arthur ApSimon and Clive Gamble and with the help of members of the South Hampshire Archaeological Rescue Group.
         This excavation was notable for the 3-dimensional recording of every artefact, the sieving of all spoil through a 114 inch mesh to ensure total recovery and the quantity and quality of the section drawings reflecting the stratigraphic sequence in and around the excavated area. The resulting archive included seven sediment samples, 8678 flint artefacts, 2058 flint nodules (!) and a staggering 18,423 thermally fractured flint pieces. Preliminary analysis of this massive lithic collection was carried out and an interim report produced (Gamble & ApSimon 1986). In light of the potential of the sediment samples to date the archaeological occupation and investigate the associated climate and environment, and of further analysis of the worked flint collection to investigate early hominid behaviour at the site, English Heritage agreed in 1998 to fund further work on the material (Wenban-Smith et al. 2000). It is a tribute to the care and vision of the original excavators that the methodology applied in 1975 and the subsequent archiving of the material recovered allowed fruitful work almost 25 years later.
         The recent study of the 1975 material demonstrated that the site was older than previously thought, dating to at least 200,000 BP and probably to nearer 400,000 BP, and that lithic technology at the site was dominated by the production of pointed plano-convex handaxes. Study of the organisational structure of the lithic production gave an insight into the patterning of Archaic hominid behaviour, with the site apparently serving as a locale where handaxes were regularly made, but from which they were normally removed before being used and abandoned elsewhere. The study also led to several questions which required further fieldwork to address. Firstly, the extent and topography of the main archaeological horizon remained unknown. Secondly, more detailed sediment sampling for biological evidence was desirable from the main archaeological horizon and from the deep sequence of overlying Quaternary deposits. And thirdly, excavation of a further sample of lithic material with the orientation recorded could help understand how the main archaeological horizon was formed and whether it was undisturbed as indicated by the study of the 1975 material.
         Thus in June 1999 a party of students and two volunteers alerted by some publicity in the Portsmouth News descended upon the hitherto tranquil neighbourhood of Portchester and proceeded to dig several deep holes, much to the interest of the local residents, several of whom in fact remembered the 1975 excavation, and who made us very welcome and gave us much practical and moral support, not to mention tea and cake on one occasion. Two of the test-pits went down to soliflucted chalk deposits without any sign of artefact-bearing horizons, and some students needed some persuading that this was not in fact "failure" but a valuable addition to knowledge about the site. The test -pit immediately next to the estimated location of the 1975 trench did, however, produce better results with the cracked surface of the cemented breccia revealed after several days of heavy digging. In 1975 this was removed by levering out blocks with a pickaxe taking advantage of the existing cracks. In 1999 attempting this approach led to nothing more than a bent pickaxe and a frantic dash to hire a pneumatic drill (Fig. 1). After removal of the breccia further heavy digging reached the top of the dark grey loam, when mattocks were swapped for trowels (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1: Francis Wenban-Smith, Director of the Red Barns project, drilling through the breccia sealing the lower deposits
Fig. 2
Fig. 2: Volunteers from the Red Barns project trowelling the surface of the dark grey loam covering the main archaeological horizon
Fig. 3
Fig. 3: The main archaaeological horizon exposed
         Due to limited time, it was not possible to excavate the whole of the trench area and work was concentrated on a strip against the section. A densely packed surface was revealed containing mint condition flint flakes and a handaxe amongst frost-fractured flint nodules and pieces (Fig. 3). All objects >=2cm were planned and recorded in detail, and all spoil was retained for sieving. Molluscs were shown to be present in a pale chalk pellet gravel between the grey soil and the breccia (a layer not found in the adjacent 1975 trench), and also in the loams overlying the breccia (Fig. 4). None of these deposits has previously been sampled for biological remains and it is hoped that study of the samples taken will produce evidence which clarifies the sequence of environmental and climatic conditions represented at the site, and helps explain the formation of the breccia. The small size of the trench meant that no conclusions could be drawn about the local topography and extent of the breccia and the underlying sedimentary units and archaeological evidence. Although these data would be of great interest, the difficulties of chasing deposits at this depth (2.5m) suggest that they will remain a mystery for a while yet.
         As a final comment, it is worth noting that by all predictive modelling of the locations of palaeolithic sites in Pleistocene sediments, the site at Red Barns should not exist, and on top of that the location is mapped as chalk bedrock in the most recent British Geological Survey edition of the Fareham sheet (1998). This should serve as a warning against neglecting field evaluation for palaeolithic evidence even in apparently unpromising locations, and one can only pay grateful tribute to the voluntary work of Chris Draper which led to the discovery and recognition of the site, while trying not to lose sleep over sites which have not been similarly well served.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4: Stratigraphy at the base of the test-pit showing from the base: dark grey loam covering main artefact horizon (note sharp-edged flakes in section), pale chalk pellet gravel, cemented breccia and then a series of brown, reddish-brown and yellowish brown loams with trails of fine chalk gravel


British Geological Survey. 1998. Fareham. England and Wales Sheet 316. Solid and Drift Geology. 1:50,000. Keyworth, Nottingham: British Geological Survey.
Gamble, C.S. & ApSimon, A.M. 1986. Red Barns - Portchester. In S.N. Collcutt (ed.) The Palaeolithic of Britain and its Nearest Neighbours: Recent Trends, 8-12. Sheffield: Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield.
Wenban-Smith, F.F, Gamble, C.S. & ApSimon, A.M. 2000. The Lower/Middle Palaeolithic site at Red Barns, Portchester, Hampshire. Procceedings of the Prehistoric Society 66 (forthcoming).

I am very grateful to Karen Boothroyd of the Estates Section, Fareham Borough Council for giving permission for the project to take place, and to Jenni Chambers who supervised two of the testpits as well as organising the catering.

Francis Wenban-Smith
Department of Archaeology
University of Southampton


A well-preserved roundhouse allows detailed examination of how its inhabitants organised their living space


How often do British prehistoric settlements survive as deeply stratified mounds with house floors and walls? Who would expect to find a late bronze age-early iron age roundhouse with eight consecutive floor layers all preserved one on top of the other? A joint project involving Sheffield, Southampton and Bournemouth Universities has been investigating part of a LBA/EIA settlement mound at Cladh Hallan on South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. We have now recovered the well-preserved remains of three roundhouses and two small, double roundhouses. The three roundhouses were built together as a terrace, in a row north to south with east-facing entrances. They were sunken-floored dwellings, each about 6m in diameter, dug into the calcareous sand of South Uist's west coast, with internal walls of stone and sharing an unusual continuous 'party wall' of turf and sand between each roundhouse. There are possibly another three or four roundhouses in the southern part of this 'terrace'.
The third floor of roundhouse 401 at Cladh Hallan
The third floor of roundhouse 401 at Cladh Hallan

         The roundhouse on which we have done most work has seven re-flooring episodes, each separated by a levelling layer. The stratigraphic changes in pottery style suggest that it may have been continuously occupied for most of the first millennium BC, periodically modified by wall rebuildings and floor resurfacings. It has some very unusual special deposits buried in small pits and postholes below its floors. These include two dogs, one of them decapitated, buried by the doorway. There are also special burials of disarticulated and even cremated sheep skeletons on the house's north side. One of the most curious aspects of deposition within this house has been the enormous number of antlers and antler picks (over 30 so far) and cattle scapula shovels (over 25) recovered from floors and pits throughout the house's lengthy period of use. Single antlers were often placed vertically into the emptied postpipes of some of the larger postholes supporting the house's ring beam.
         Preservation on floor surfaces has been extremely good and gives a good idea of how the house was lived in. The southeast part appears to have been the kitchen or cooking area, with its spreads of ash from the central hearth, its stone furniture and smashed pots. Within one layer the debris of pots, bone waste and tools of bone, stone and antler were strewn around where they had been dropped. The southwest side also had deposits of broken pots including special pit deposits of smashed pots and clay oven linings. The west side seems to have been a place of deposition for antler picks and other tools. To the north, we have found traces of what we think are the sleeping areas. In one phase, this area was raised well above the height of the floor by piling up turf, held in place by a low retaining wall. The carbonized plant remains are concentrated in the house's northeast side, suggesting that winnowing and parching of the barley crop were performed here. Funnily enough, the floor was anything but flat and smooth with many bumps and obstacles for the unwary visitor blinded by the peat smoke and feeling their way through the darkness lit only by the fire and the doorway.
         Despite the long timespan of occupation and the numerous modifications of the house's shape beginning as a 'heart-shaped' building with a small circular annex outside its doorway and culminating as a classic roundhouse - the organization of space within the house seems to have remained remarkably constant. Our intensive sampling procedures on the floors, taking each 0.5m x 0.5m block for flotation and measuring phosphate and magnetic susceptibility at 0.5m intervals, will eventually give us a very detailed picture of life on the floor in the first millennium BC.

Pete Marshall, English Heritage
Jacqui Mulville, English Heritage
Mike Parker Pearson, University of Sheffield
Helen Smith, University of Bournemouth


An update on the ongoing project on rock art in Kazakstan (see PAST 29)


The 1999 season of the Joint Anglo-Kazak investigations of the petroglyphs in the Republic of Kazakstan was successfully concluded this past summer. Research was conducted in collaboration between the Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton and with Dr. Zainolla Samashev of the A.Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology, Almaty, Kazakstan. Our expedition was supported with the assistance of the Prehistoric Society's Research Fund and the University of Southampton.
         In June, a small expedition, comprising two Kazak archaeologists and myself, travelled to the Dzhungarian Alatau mountains of southeastern Kazakstan. The Dzhungarian range borders China and holds many concentrations of petroglyphs. Due to time and transport costs we focused our fieldwork at the two important petroglyph sites of Eshkiol'mes and Bayan Zhurek. The goals of our research were to re-confirm the accuracy of previously documented recordings, make necessary re-tracings and collect new petroglyph scenes for further study.
   Getting access to the petroglyphs involved driving over long highways that were tarmacs of swiss-cheese covered with numerous potholes. The off roads were long and winding with steep angled slopes that dipped into gullies full of water. Once camp was set up, we had to hike up steep rocky slopes in order to examine the petroglyphs. We were not alone as the hills were frequented by the local Kazak chabani, 'cowboys', herding their horses and goats. The petroglyphs at Eshkiol'mes and Bayan Zhurek were in a good state of preservation and, surprisingly, contemporary graffiti were minimal. The images were recorded by taking photographs, and new accurate tracings were made onto clear sheets of polyethylene plastic. Over 150 tracings were made onto the plastic including scenes ranging from tiny single images to large multi-figured scenes which could be up to 3-4 metres long.

         The first site we visited was the Eshkiol'mes hills found along the Koksu River not far from the city of Taldy-Kurgan in southeast Kazakstan. Out of the hundreds of images which cover four hillsides only a small selection of the petroglyphs have been published so far (eg. Mar'yashev & Rogozhinskii 1991; Maryashev 1994). Reconfirmations of the published scenes were made and new tracings were produced for incomplete and/or inaccurate scenes. There were many scenes of chariots and cattle from the bronze age (c.1200 BC), deers and eagles from Sako-Scythian times (c. 500 BC) and hunting scenes from the early Turkic period (after 500 AD). A new tracing was made of a fascinating chariot scene in which one of the horses was recarved in a later period into the shape of a large goat. New scenes of chariots, zigzags, squiggles and Sako-Scythlan deer were also found. In particular, one new cervid (fig. 1) was similar to the etching of deer on the back of a bronze mirror found in the Sako-Scythian kurgan in Central Kazakstan (Kadyrbaev 1974: fig. 11).

Fig. 1
Fig. 1 New image of Sako-Scythian deer from EshkiolÖmes
Fig. 2
Fig. 2 New retracing of the dancing shaman of Bayan Zhurek
         The second site investigated was found in the Bayan Zhurek hills near the town of Kopal (northeast of Taldy-Kurgan). The large body of petroglyphs has not been fully published yet but Bayan Zhurek has come to the attention of Kazak scholars with the discovery of two rare depictions of dancing shamans (Samashev 1998: figs 1, 2). One image was carved on a stone atop the highest hill, which commands a breathtaking view of the snow capped Dzhungarian peaks and the plains of the steppe. As an exclusive to PAST readers, our newly corrected version of this image is shown in fig. 2. There are many scenes from the bronze age including "solar symbols" (large images of circles connected to single lines), cattle, human figures and one chariot. There were Sako-Scvthian scenes of wild boar and goats and many scenes from the early Turkic period including images of horse-mounted warriors carrying flagged poles. Several new petroglyphs were also discovered this year including a couple of scenes associated with concentrations of dots, some scenes of human figures and a lichen-obscured scene with a meandering line close to the dancing shaman's stone.

         Animals such as horses, goats, bulls, camels and deer held many important aspects for ancient societies and they were commonly depicted in the rock art of Central Asia. By the close examination of the petroglyph sites of Kazakstan we can begin to explore the diversity of practices involving these animals and other important symbols. The images found at Eshkiol'mes and Bayan Zhurek are excellent examples of this diversity as they represent idiosyncratic practices conducted by members of an ancient community. Eshkiol'mes was full of scenes of chariots while out of the hundreds of images found at Bayan Zhurek there was only one chariot and it was directly associated with a camel (fig. 3). Eshkiol'mes also had a concentration of Sako-Scythian deer localised on one hillside while Bayan Zhurek had none. The complexity of these and other relationships will be further explored as part of ongoing doctoral research. The future will also see a joint Anglo-Kazak paper that will examine in more depth several petroglyph sites, including Eshkiol'mes and Bayan Zhurek, for an English speaking audience.


Fig. 3
Fig. 3 Chariot scene from Bayan Zhurek

Kadyrbaev, M.K. 1974. Mogil'nik Zhilandy na reke Nure. In K.A. Akishev, (ed.) V glub' vekov, pp. 25-45. Alma-Ata: Nauka Kazakskoi SSR. (In Russian).
Maryashev, A.N. 1994. Petroglyphs of South Kazakstan and Semirechye. Almaty: Institute of Archaeology. (In English).
Mar'yashev & Rogozhinskii 1991. Naskal'nye izobrazheniya v gorakh Eshkiol'mes. Alma-Ata: Gylym. (In Russian).
Samashev Z. 1998. "Shamanskie" syuzhety petroglifov Kazakhstan (kizucheniya mirovozzreniya drevnego naseleniya). In Z. Samashev (ed.) Voprosy arkheologii Kasakhstan, vypusk 2, pp. 197-205. Almaty and Moscow: Gylym. (In Russian).

Kenneth Lymer
Department of Archaeology
University of Southampton


Student Paula Gardiner describes the Prehistoric Society's Study Tour to Southern Sweden 14 - 21 June 1999


The 1999 study tour to Scania in southern Sweden was organised in conjunction with Andante Travel and was led by Professor Lars Larsson and Dr. Debbie Olausson from the University of Lund, with Professor John Coles guiding the rock art sites. The Society's president, Professor Paul Mellars, joined us for the final weekend. The tour was supported by 32 members of which I was the fortunate student to have been given a free place.
         An excellent field guide with copious maps and drawings was prepared by our Swedish lecturers. The first evening began with a visit to the Historical Museum of the University of Lund with a sherry reception and some background lectures to the prehistory of Scania. This gave us an opportunity to learn much from this teaching museum of the chronology of the area of Sweden we were to visit. The eight days contained an excellent mix of predominantly familiar prehistoric site types, ranging from passage graves and bronze age mounds to rock art and bogs, and the less familiar Viking ship-settings, runic stones, apsidal ended churches and castles.
Kivik tomb cist
Members examine the Kivik tomb cist with its decorated stones

         We visited several different neolithic sites. From the top of the Gillhög passage tomb we could see Denmark across the Öresund. The tomb is dated to the early middle neolithic period, but most of the finds are later. It had multi-use with later graves inserted into the mound. A curious inclusion is the packing of Funnel Beaker pottery at the entrance. Although there was no art, the pottery designs reflect the carving from the Brittany passage tombs. Only inhumation was found here with bone being deposited in designated areas within the chamber. Lars went ahead to light candles in the tomb and we had to crawl through a long, low passage which opened into a single chamber. The roof had an enormous capstone which could be seen from the top of the tomb. In neolithic times it must have been a remarkable site with the sea much closer and stretches of water around it.
         Two other megalithic examples were portal dolmens. At Skegri the dolmen was complete with its capstone, set upon slightly higher ground surrounded by arable fields; another on the beach at Haväng was silhouetted against the Baltic. This monument was only discovered after a sand-storm in the last century, although many others have barn found on the coast.
         The most stunning tomb of all, due to its sheer size, was Kivik, 75m in diameter and about 3m high. Dated to the middle of the late bronze age, it is the largest burial mound in Scandinavia. It was discovered in 1748 by two farmers who quarried into the 40,000 tons of water-rolled stone, but were imprisoned for their efforts. Although the farmers did not find any treasure they discovered a decorated cist of upright stone slabs. It was not until this century that the cist slabs were collected together and the tomb restored. The engravings on the slabs appear to be contemporary with rock carving elsewhere. One slab depicts hafted axes, which date the tomb to the bronze age, around 1000BC. Other engravings show horses, a boat, zig-zags and circles, a two-wheeled chariot reminiscent of the carving at Frännarp, as well as a ceremonial scene of men using horns. What is extraordinary is that no human bone was found in the cist.
         Close to Kivik was a multi-period site at Koarum, containing stone circles of the early bronze age, a ship setting from the late iron age, 130 cairns and square "cult" houses. There are 260 known graves in the area which make it the largest urn-field in Sweden. Although this site was used over a long period of time, its position in the landscape was not particularly imposing, as the stone settings would not have been very visible, unlike the elaborate ship-setting at Ales Stenar.
         This was the first ship-setting we had seen and its landscape position was dramatic. On the edge of cliffs overlooking the sea, Ales Stenar (Ale's stones) is a stone setting consisting of 52 upright stones in the shape of a dragon or fighting ship. This is the largest ship-setting in Sweden at 67m long and 19m wide. The bow and stern stones are quartzite, which is not a local stone, but the others are local granite. The setting looks towards Poland. There is a radiocarbon date of 650 AD. The only problem with its reconstruction is not knowing how many stones might have been removed in the past. This type of monument is unlike anything we have in Britain, and although there are many in Scania they are not on this scale. We viewed the monument in brilliant sunshine, but were told that the weather is not usually so kind. The site and its setting seemed appropriate for its context.
         Other monuments we were not familiar with were runic stones, which are pre-Christian and have a readable alphabet. Hundreds have been found in Scania. At Västra Strö five stones were set around a mound dated to c. 1000AD, and in the graveyard at Simris two runic stones depict a fight between a lion and a snake. At Tullstorp the runic stone, which was found in the wall of the church, shows a wolf, which is important in Viking mythology, together with a ship.

Lars Larsson
Lars Larsson at the Ageröd Bog mesolithic site
         We had the added bonus of visiting the mesolithic cemetery at Skateholm which Lars excavated in the 1980s when over 100 skeletons were found, together with dog burials and bones of cattle, goat and pig. One of the skeletons with its grave goods is on display in Lund museum. The Ageröd Bog site shows continuity from the late mesolithic to the early neolithic and is part of a larger bog complex covering 12 sqkm. Thousands of worked flints have been found, together with worked bone and antler. It was here that John Coles picked up a handle core in the ploughed field we were walking around.
         Probably the most thrilling experience was to see the rock art at Simris, Järrestad and Frännarp. Simris is a quartzite outcrop which runs parallel to the sea for about 10km, where there are carvings of animals, boats and battle-axes. Further inland at Järrestad is the largest rock carving site in Scania, also on quartzite. It must be viewed as part of a late Bronze Age landscape, with the Järrestad barrow being the focal point with the sea behind. The quartzite surface is ideal for carving and the natural cracks in the rocks have been used as frames for many of the carvings. There are spirals and geometric designs, feet in pairs, sickles, humans on horses with loose reins and "The Dancer" as the main focus. At Frännarp the art is quite different and shows horses and carts carved on a granular stone. Draught animals are 'folded out' to be viewed from above in 2 dimensions.
         In Sweden there is a superb attitude to hands-on teaching for children, and we visited two experimental sites: one where children could practise dyeing cloth with vegetable dyes in a Viking fort at Trelleborg, and another where they could sleep overnight on reindeer skins in a vast longhouse at the experimental Viking village at Hög.
John Coles
John Coles at the bronze age rock art site at Frännarp

         This study tour reflected both the continuity of early prehistoric sites and the wider landscapes of the bronze age. It introduced us to monuments we had no experience of, such as the ship-settings and the runic stones. It made us draw parallels with Britain and Ireland and prompted much debate about interpretation. Our guides were excellent and the tour was superbly organised.
         And what was the "Scania Experience"? Swimming (briefly) in the Baltic to say we had done it; making rock art rubbings at Järrestad; standing up to our waists in nettles at Ageröd and eating smoked reindeer at Lund. Crawling into the Gillhög passage tomb lit with candles, and John Coles finding the handle core which some of us had missed!
         I would like to thank the Prehistoric Society for giving me the opportunity of visiting Scania.

Paula Gardiner
Dept. of Archaeology
University of Bristol


A regular column featuring the best of Prehistory on the World Wide Web

The Sierra de Atapuerca Project: A set of pages about this important project in northern Spain, with information on the main sites, short discussions of some of the scientific results from research over the last 20 years, extremely full bibliographies, and a general review of some of the questions raised by the finds from the sites. Some of the many papers in the bibliographies have abstracts. In Spanish and English (this URL links to the English version).


Archaeology Online: News: Although not dedicated purely to prehistory, the online version of Archaeology from the Archaeological Institute of America runs a Latest News column that keeps up to date with breaking archaeological stories from around the world. Recent entries include a Neanderthal News page with several items, a page about the analysis of Upper Palaeolithic pigments from Troubat Cave, and an article about the re-opening to the public of parts of the Carnac monument. Under the Newsbriefs link is the story of the new Iron Age chariot burials from Charles de Gaulle airport. This is a site worth repeated visits.


Keltenmuseum Hochdorf: A well-illustrated set of pages about this famous chieftain's grave and the museum associated with it, including a very useful up-to-date bibliography. Although light on text, some excellent colour photographs of the material, and plans and reconstructions of the barrow make this site worth a visit. Contains details of the current special exhibition (through to 25 June 2000) of 'Fürstengräber der Späthallstatt- und Frühlatènezeit im Saarland'.


Harappa: The Indus Valley and the Raj: A chronologically mixed site with pages on the recent history of the Indus Valley, together with some highly illustrated and annotated sections on the ancient Indus valley. Using movies and sound as well as more traditional photographs, you can follow a 90-slide show, do an illustrated 'walkthrough' of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, and check up on the latest excavations. Click on 'Indus Valley' on the main page for a listing of these delights, or on the two buttons below ('The latest finds' and '90-slide tour') to go directly to these sections.



Bronze Age exhibition (from the CBA's Briefing): Dumfries to 31.12.99, Wrexham 6.1.00-1.4.00
As part of the Council of Europe initiative to publicise the value of archaeology a travelling panel exhibition on recent achievements of British Bronze Age studies has been assembled by the British Museum, in conjunction with the CBA and a number of other national archaeological organisations. The content of the exhibition is diverse, from landscapes to excavated sites, regional patterns to specific artefact studies, all copiously illustrated. The exhibition is currently on show at Dumfries Museum (to 31.12.99), and will then be travelling on to Wrexham County Borough Museum (from 6.1.00-1.4.00).

Food, culture and identity in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age: 4.2.00 - 5.2.00
A conference organised by the Prehistoric Society and Sheffield University Archaeology Society to be held at Sheffield University, bringing together current scientific approaches, social interpretations and inter-disciplinary research. There will be a special session for student presentations - we have a few lecture slots still available.


CAA UK 2k: 18.2.00-20.2.00
The 2000 meeting of the UK Chapter of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology will take place at the University of Durham. Offers of papers are welcome. Further details from
         Dr Andrew Millard,
         Dept of Archaeology,
         University of Durham,
         South Road,
         DH1 2LE

CAA 2000: 18.4.00-21.4.00
A joint conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (28th annual conference) and the Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques, Commission IV, hosted by the Centre for Scientific Research of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, to be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Further details from
         Zoran Stancic,
         Centre for Scientific Research of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts,
         Gosposka 13,
         1000 Ljubljana,
Fax +(386) 61 1255 253


Iron Age Research Student Seminar: 3.6.00-4.6.00
The third Iron Age Research Student Seminar provides a forum through which students can present papers in an informal atmosphere. The conference will be hosted by the School of Archaeological Studies at Leicester University. It is intended primarily for researchers engaged in existing postgraduate work, however the IARSS welcomes anybody who has an interest in current Iron Age research. Offers of papers welcome. The following day will be an optional trip to one of the local Iron Age spots with an informal picnic. Further details from
         Jodie Humphrey,
         School of Archaeological Studies,
         Leicester University,
         University Road,
Tel 0116 2522603

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