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          Those members of the Society who participated in the 1997 Study Tour of southern Sweden will remember the visit to Frännarp, a rock carving site in woodland. The carvings have been known for a century or so and were first published by C. Althin in 1945. The site is unique in that almost all of the carvings are of two-wheeled carts and detached wheels. Our former President Stuart Piggott used the evidence in his masterly surveys of European prehistoric waggons, carts and chariots, writing in 1983 "The carvings are....the most detailed chariot depictions in Western European rock art". Göran Burenhult carried out a survey of the rock surface at Frännarp in the 1970's, using a new method of recording (as devised for the Val Camonica carvings) and added some details and hitherto unseen carvings to the record.
          As part of a long-running and intermittent study of south Scandinavian rock carvings, I returned to Frännarp in spring 2001 to make a new plan of the carvings, having been granted permission by the regional authorities. With the assistance of Steve Minnitt (Taunton) and aided by Bo Gräslund (Uppsala) and Lars Larsson (Lund), we made rubbings of most of the surface using my normal 65g paper sheets and also a thinner paper of about 50g per square metre. I hoped by this method to recover some new details of carvings, thereby adding to the evidence which so enthused Stuart Piggott.

At work on the rocks
At work on the rocks
Some of the carvings and surface eroison
Some of the carvings and surface eroison

          The carvings as known prior to our work included about 15 carts, 60 wheels or discs and many cupmarks. Several of the carts have a pair of draught animals, probably horses. Others have no animals recorded. After five days of work cleaning the rock of mud, leaves and other debris, drying it, experimenting with various ways of recording by paper and carbon sheet rubbing, we managed to identify and record over 20 very faint 'new' images. These consist of two pairs of (previously invisible) animals attached to already-known carts, a number of discs or wheels, cupmarks and an unfinished cart design.

          The rock surface at Frännarp may still retain some traces of carvings that we cannot now detect. Some degradation has probably occurred in the past decades and it may be that only very sophisticated high-tech methods will be able to pick up the faintest of images now. Meantime our basic archaeological work has managed to record enough new information to warrant a full publication of the site and work proceeds towards this. Funding for the 2001 study was provided by the British Academy. I am also grateful to the small team who helped in the work and to Lars Larsson for negotiating access to the site and its immediate surrounds.

John Coles

A rubbing of one of the carts
Some of the carvings and surface eroison


        These amazingly warm Autumn days must be providing some much-needed opportunities for fieldwork denied earlier in the year due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth. I have yearned to be out there myself whilst at the same time thoroughly enjoying my first chance to edit PAST. Linda has been busy carrying out a Teaching Quality Assessment in wait for it my own Department! Life can be ironic!
        Despite the lack of fieldwork this summer, everyone I have spoken to has remained very positive. The autumn round of conferences gave an opportunity for people to catch up and to look forward to next year. The biggest problem earlier in the year was choosing which one(s) to attend, as all too often important meetings clash. At the Archaeological Prospection Conference in Vienna in September the lament was heard that so few archaeologists were attending only of course the European Archaeologists Association was gathered not so very far away in Esslingen. Bob Bewley and Otto Braasch were yo-yoing between the two at a phenomenal rate.
        On October 24th the Society held the first Sara Champion Memorial Lecture. At the very last minute the speaker, Dr Mike Richards was called away on urgent family matters. Sitting in the preceding Council meeting we were pondering how to still stage this very important event and almost as one heads turned towards someone who has access to material close by. So with a wry grin JD Hill returned to the British Museum from whence he had just come, gathered his slides and delivered a superb lecture on the female cart burial at Wetwang (PAST 38). What a star! Meanwhile we extend our best wishes to Mike and eagerly await his lecture in the near future.

Gill Swanton



         Southern Morbihan is an area of international archaeological importance. Although famous primarily for the Carnac Alignments, there are hundreds of passage graves and earthern long mounds in the area, as well as smaller alignments and standing stones. Although the typology of the Neolithic monuments and associated material has been extensively studied (eg Boujot and Cassen 1993), the landscape contexts of the monuments have received little systematic archaeological attention.
         The landscape is topographically subtle, rising gently from the coast with small undulating features. Research using GIS techniques to analyse monument locations (based on published surveys and contours from 1:25000 maps) has shown that the monuments were located carefully by their builders, making use of small rises and false crests (Roughley 2001). A more detailed digital terrain model was required to investigate the relationship between monument location and topography further. Digital photogrammetry allows accurate terrain models to be generated from stereo aerial photographs or satellite images.
         Sixty-six 1:20000 scale photographs were taken by the NERC Airborne Remote Sensing Facility, covering a 16 x 15 km area of the study area which is being considered in more detail. The photography was flown in the spring to minimise the impact of vegetation. In order to locate the photographs accurately, one hundred ground control points, points identifiable clearly both on the photographs and in the field, were collected using differential GPS during a week of fieldwork. Where possible, archaeological features were used as control points to check the accuracy of the site database.

         Digital photogrammetry software was used to create digital terrain models from each pair of overlapping photographs. The individual terrain models were mosaicked together to generate a single terrain model for the entire area. There is a much greater level of detail present in the new terrain model than can be obtained from published maps. The current terrain model has an accuracy of at least 1.5 metres, and it is hoped that this will soon be improved further. Orthophoto maps (photographs which have the geometric properties of maps) were created, using the terrain model to provide information on the height of each point in the photograph. Due to the high quality of the aerial photographs, the locations of many monuments are visible clearly and their locations can be ascertained accurately. The aerial photographs also enable both the total area covered by the monument and the location of individual standing stones, to be plotted, rather than the single points recorded for most sites by published surveys.
         The accurate terrain model and orthophotos can be viewed with dynamic 3D visualisation software to allow interactive exploration of the landscape. Subtle landscape features have been discovered, which have significant impact on the changing views of the monuments to people moving within the landscape. The repeated occurrence of particular features in association with specific monument types suggests that the observed characteristics were important in the choice of locations for the construction of the Neolithic monuments in the region.


Differential GPS reading being taken at Kerguerhan
Differential GPS reading being taken at Kerguerhan

Corinne Roughley and Colin Shell
Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DZ

         We would like to thank the Airborne Remote Sensing Facility for taking the aerial photographs and to Cambridge University Committee for Aerial Photography for printing them. This research has been funded by NERC, with additional fieldwork funding from Corpus Christi College Cambridge. The Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge kindly loaned their differential GPS kit. Gill Swanton provided invaluable assistance with the collection of ground control points.

Boujot, C. and Cassen, S. (1993). A pattern of evolution for the Neolithic funerary structures of the west of France. Antiquity 67: 477-491.
Roughley, C. 2001. Understanding the Neolithic Landscape of the Carnac Region: a GIS approach, in Z. Stancic and T. Veljanovski.(eds) Computing Archaeology for Understanding the Past, CAA 2000 (BAR 931). Archaeopress, Oxford.



         The Archaeological Investigation team from the York office of English Heritage is half way through a three year field project which will provide detailed survey and analysis of twelve hillforts in the Cheviot Hills. This partnership with the Northumberland National Park Authority forms part of the Park's long term project 'Discovering our Hillfort Heritage' which aims to increase the understanding of these monuments as the basis for addressing conservation, management and access issues. So far the team have investigated seven sites, ranging from the well-known hillfort at Yeavering Bell, which at 5.6 ha is the largest in the region, to comparatively small and obscure sites such as Fawcett Shank, less than 8 km away to the west, which has never previously been planned or analysed in any detail. Through a process of accurate survey and careful analysis in the field, the English Heritage team is already achieving a new level of insight into the evolution and architecture of the settlements and enclosures which dominate the hilltops of the Cheviots, as well as examining their impact on the development of the surrounding landscapes.
         Although all the sites included in the project have traditionally been termed hillforts, in actual fact most have space for only around six to eight house sites and each is unlikely to represent more than the defended homestead of a single extended family. The one exception is Yeavering Bell, where the survey recorded 125 house platforms, suggesting a site of much higher status whose population was perhaps as socially and economically diverse as those of the larger hillforts in the south of England. The same survey has also found new evidence for the development of the defences, establishing that the so-called 'annexes' at opposite ends of the site pre-date the main rampart and are therefore probably the remnants of an earlier defensive perimeter. Similarly, surveys of the hillforts at West Hill, at the mouth of the College Valley and at Great Hetha on the valley's western flank, have found traces of earthworks pre- dating the more obvious stone-built ramparts, potentially extending the chronology of these sites into the Late Bronze Age. One of the few multivallate hillforts in the Cheviots, on Castle Hill, Alnham, at the head of the Aln Valley, has a particularly complex sequence of development with four phases of Iron Age defences overlain by a series of Romano-British livestock enclosures and round houses. Castle Hill is not alone in having evidence of post-Iron Age occupation, since all the sites so far surveyed have undergone some degree of later re-use. The evidence has often been overlooked in the past or the later features uncritically accepted as Iron Age. For example, the survey of West Hill has established that an outer enclosure previously thought to be part of the Iron Age defences is very probably contemporary with a complex of Romano-British round houses within the hillfort.

         None of the hillforts so far surveyed have widespread or incontrovertible evidence of a contemporary Iron Age landscape surrounding them despite, the fact that at West Hill and to a lesser extent at Alnham, the surveys encompassed a wide area around each site. Possible prehistoric cultivation terraces and boundaries at West Hill may be as early as the Bronze Age and probably continued in use during the Iron Age. At Alnham prehistoric features surviving as earthworks are largely absent from the surrounding landscape but a small Romano-British settlement of enclosed and unenclosed round houses spreads away from the hillfort. Several terraced trackways probably served as drove roads bringing livestock to and from the large compounds within the fort itself.
         There are clearly more factors influencing the design and layout of the hillforts than the practical needs of defence. For example, the degree to which certain hillforts tilt across the contours has been revealed through the detailed analysis of each of the sites using terrain modelling software. The deliberate positioning of several enclosures asymmetrically on hill summits meant they could be more clearly seen from particular directions emphasising their symbolic as well as defensive roles. The hillfort builders were also adept at using the natural terrain to increase the visual impact of the defences. At Alnham, the final phase of the Iron Age defences involved the heightening of the outer rampart for a short distance either side of the main entrance but this brought little additional practical protection. Rather the rebuilding, when combined with the natural topography, was carefully contrived to create the illusion of massive defences on the approach to the entrance. Similarly at Glead's Cleugh, a small hillfort less than 2 km to the east of Yeavering Bell, the ramparts are far more massively constructed at the north-west angle of the fort for no particular defensive purpose. However, they do create an impressive silhouette against a far hillside on the natural route up to the entrance.
         Of the sites so far investigated, the most puzzling is the small enclosure at Hethpool Bell on a prominent shelf overlooking the entrance into the College Valley. It is poorly sited for defence for it is overlooked by higher ground less than 100m away and its ramparts lack the strength of the other hillforts and settlements in the district. The architecture of its enclosing walls, the geometry of its shape and the very impractical topographic situation for a settlement suggest this enclosure should no longer be considered a hillfort. However, its precisely chosen location in relation to the wider topography suggests it may be a symbolic monument 'guarding' the entrance to the fertile upper reaches of the College Valley. Whilst this interpretation remains speculative, it is an example of how analytical field survey is challenging the traditional acceptance of all of the hilltop enclosures in the Cheviots as hillforts.

The location of sites investigated
Differential GPS reading being taken at Kerguerhan
         Full interpretative reports, including surveys, analysis, photographs and ground models are available from the National Monuments Record, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2GZ. It is planned to mark the completion of the project with a book drawing together the results of the research.

For more details contact:
Stewart Ainsworth, Al Oswald or Trevor Pearson
(01904 601901)



         During the first week of July the national press and the web gave us the first pictures of the latest discovery of a decorated cave in France. The cave of Cussac, we are told, was actually discovered last September and contains some 40 images of engraved animals and symbols. Doubtless, we will learn more, although full analysis may take some time (below). Nonetheless, the announcement seems a suitable stimulus to look at some other recent developments in the study of palaeolithic art in Western Europe.

La Grotte Chauvet, France
         The cave of Chauvet in the Ardèche valley of central France was discovered in December 1994. A well-illustrated and readable account of the discovery was promptly published (Chauvet et al 1995) but you may well ask yourself "What has happened since at this remarkable site?". The answer is intriguing and complex, with progress beset by legal issues and fierce competition amongst those who felt they were best suited to take on the prestigious role of recording the new site. In 1995 the Ministry of Culture invited tenders for the scientific study of the cave and in May of the following year the judging panel unanimously awarded the project to a multidisciplinary team under the direction of Jean Clottes. The unanimity of that decision clearly said much about the quality of the respective proposals and the belief in Dr Clottes' abilities to do the best job possible.
         Work at the cave started in the Spring of 1998. Study of this amazing cave and deliberation of its significance may never be concluded but a major step towards the provision of sound information which will inform greater understanding has been taken with the publication in May 2001 of a substantial new book. It bears the authorship of the thirty members of the project team (Clottes et al 2001) a clear indication of the collaborative approach to the study and is once again published in lavishly illustrated style by Editions du Seuil. The 225 page volume starts with extensive extracts from the original project proposals and, as we might hope to see, sets out a series of research questions which the investigators hope to answer. The prompt publication is a mark of the desire of the project team to share their results and thoughts as quickly as possible, so that an informed dialogue can begin.
         The new volume offers much more information than it was possible to give at the time of discovery: a complete plan of the cave, description of its physical and archaeological context, a list of 31 radiocarbon dates, description of the preserved animal and human footprints as well as the archaeological and faunal debris on the floor. A substantial part of the book is dedicated to a detailed description of the morphology of each successive chamber and the positions of the symbols within them, followed by considerations of the techniques used in the art and of the subjects themselves by species and form, concluding in a number of different opinions from anthropologists and archaeologists. The text is a narrative and is descriptive without being analytical and technical - and is all the more readable for it. Doubtless by the end of the current period of study the authors will have amassed as many data as anyone could wish but the current text is unencumbered by detailed description of each representation or discussion of, for example, comparanda or meaning. Specialists will wish to know more but this volume is clearly not produced solely for them.
         Throughout, the volume is illustrated with superb photographs of the highest quality, together with several interpretative drawings and sketches of the cave interior. These offer a real sense of the extent, complexity and inherent beauty of the art, as well as a feeling for its situation on the cave walls. The publishers have managed to market the book at a very reasonable price (350FF) doubtless counting upon a high volume of sales, which this book is sure to generate. I sincerely hope they will be rewarded in this strategy so that we continue to benefit from their superb books.

The debate on Shamanism
         For many years David Lewis-Williams and his collaborators have suggested that much of the rock art of Southern Africa portrays the experiences of shamans during trances. This work has been extremely influential and we now find the practice of shamanism being suggested in many fields of archaeology and prehistory (for example, Shenfield 1998). Five years ago, Clottes and Lewis-Williams (1996) co-authored a book which pointed out similarities between the use of animal and abstract symbols in the art of both the European Palaeolithic and that of the San bushmen of Southern Africa, with the suggestion that both might have been stimulated by practices which induced an altered state of consciousness. The basic theory is simple: because the human body reacts in a similar way, whatever the cultural context, similar experiences would produce similar sub-conscious effects and if portrayed in art might appear similar. These suggestions have inevitably provoked considerable discussion, some commentators clearly finding the suggestions provocative. Elements of the debate have appeared in many different journals but now it has been synthesised by Clottes and Lewis-Williams (2001) and is conveniently set out in a paperback. The first part of this book is a reprint of the entire text of the original Seuil volume in a much more modest format, without the large format photos of the original, while the second half covers the debate. The authors give tribute to new evidence and to the different perspectives offered by commentators but by the end conclude that these only reinforce, rather than diminish, their views.

         The engravings of the new cave of Cussac, near Perigieux, may have just been discovered but it has taken ten years of careful study at another before a comprehensive account can be presented. The cave of Pergouset, discovered in 1964, is situated on the right bank of the River Lot near the village of Bouziès-bas. Although Leroi-Gorhan had published an initial assessment in 1971, Michel Lorblanchet's (2001) study increases the number of recorded images in the cave from 20 or so to 153. The study reveals that the floor of the cave comprises archaeologically sterile sediments from the frequent floods of the River Lot and although the entrance was utilised during the medieval period, there are no palaeolithic deposits. Nonetheless, charcoal from a ledge beneath some of the engravings has been dated to more than 32,000 uncal. BP: it is not suggested that this charcoal is related to the engravings which are probably Middle or Late Magdalenian. Lorblanchet suggests that the cave served as a sanctuary, difficult of access, and reserved for the use of the 'initiated'. Notable amongst the images, which are dominated by those of horse, ibex and reindeer, is an exceptional group of 'monsters', human figures (one headless) and vulvas. Bearing in mind the permanence of water and the incision of feminine signs, it is suggested that the cave may have had a symbolic role associated with birth and the origins of life.

Research and Conservation
         New discoveries as well as research into known sites refreshingly change our understanding of Palaeolithic art, as the discovery of La Grotte Chauvet (above) or the open air sites of Spain and Portugal (Past 36, 6) clearly show. One of the most important developments in research has been the application of AMS dating to paint, thereby enabling us to be far more precise about the age of the paint than relying upon its assumed association with other cultural remains, such as those on a cave floor. The first of these dates, published in 1992, compared dates from the 'classic' sites of Altamira, El Castillo and Niaux (Valladas et al 1992). There are now 29 AMS dates from Chauvet alone (above) suggesting two principal periods of frequentation of the cave, the older between 32,000 and 30,000 uncal. BP and the more recent 27,000 and 25,000 uncal. BP, ie they are twice as old as the three 'classic' sites first dated by this method.

         The use of the technique is also becoming more widespread. For example, the distribution of decorated caves in Europe reaches as far south as Andalucia. Although this art has long been known, it tends to be sidelined by the better known regions for palaeolithic art, such as Perigord or Cantabria, or confused with later traditions. Nonetheless, there are some 25 palaeolithic decorated sites in Andalucia, two of which have recently produced AMS dates: 20,130 +/- 130 uncal. BP for the depiction of an aurochs at La Pileta (together with other more recent dates), and 19,900 +/- 210 uncal. BP for charcoal close to the painting of a stag at Nerja. Stylistically, these figures have been attributed to the Spanish Solutrean, and the dates seem to confirm this cultural association (Sanchidrián et al 2001).
         The extensively decorated cave of La Pileta, near Ronda, was first published by Breuil et al in 1915. Since its discovery, visitors have been shown round the cave by three generations of the Bullón family. They continue to escort visitors in small groups, using only paraffin lamps to light the way, and have resisted any attempt to commercialise the site. By contrast, at the cave of Nerja, the network of concrete paths and stairways are electrically lit and the main chamber contains a grandstand for viewing theatrical performances: guides do not show the important art. But now, in the interests of conservation, the Junta de Andalucia (the local council) has used its legal powers to force Sr Bullón to give-up his traditional Tilley lamps in favour of electric lamps. Sr Bullón cares passionately about the cave and fears that the real motive of the local council is to exploit the cave and to encourage a greater number of visitors. As has been shown at Lascaux and other sites, each cave can only tolerate a certain capacity and the effect of a greater number of visitors would have a much greater effect than Sr. Bullón's Tilley lamps. Both La Pileta and Dõna Trinidad, near Ardales, (the latter carefully looked after by Pedro Cantalejo at the local museum) are worthy of far greater recognition and support. We trust that the best possible care will be taken of their fragile art.

Sr José Bullón
Sr José Bullón at

Andrew J Lawson

Clottes, J, and Lewis-Williams, D, 1996, Les Chamanes de la Préhistoire: ISBN 2-02-128902-4 (review in Past 25)
Clottes, J, and Lewis-Williams,D, 2001, Les Chamanes de la Préhistoire: Texte intégral, polemique et responses: La maison des roches: ISBN 2- 912691-11-7
Clottes, J, at al (30 authors) 2001, La Grotte Chauvet. L'Art des Origines: ISBN 2-02-04648-2; (350FF special offer of 290FF before end of September).
Chauvet, J-M, Deschamps, E B, and Hillaire, C, 1995, La Grotte Chauvet, ISBN 2-02-028902-4
Lorblanchet, M 2001, La Grotte orneé de Pergouset: D.A.F. No.85: ISBN 2 7351 0802 3,(230FF)
Sanchidrian Torti, J S, Marquez Alcantra, A M, Valladas, H, and Tisnerat, N, 2001, 'Direct dates for Andalusian rock art (Spain)', International Newsletter on Rock Art 29, 15-19.
Shenfield, L 1998, 'Plato's ìáíßá at Delphi again?' Pegasus (J. of the Univ. of Exeter Dept. of Classics and Ancient History) 41, 15-24
Valladas, H, et al (7 authors) 'Direct radiocarbon dates for prehistoric paintings at the Altamira, el Castillo and Niaux caves', Nature 357, 68 70.




         Most of you will be aware of the collapse of an eighteenth century mineshaft at the top of the Neolithic site of Silbury Hill, Wiltshire. This mineshaft was excavated in 1776 on behalf of the Duke of Northumberland and opened up again in late May 2000 at the top of the Mound. English Heritage and National Trust structural engineers designed a robust protective cover, designed to shed water away from the shaft and to prevent accidents. This was in place two days after the discovery of the hole.
         Assessments and an archaeological programme of recording were undertaken and proposals for backfilling the shaft were being finalised when a second major collapse of the shaft occurred early in December 2000. This collapse lead to a large wide hole being formed around the shaft, partly backfilling it.
         New assessments and further research were undertaken, including the excavation of two small trenches in May 2001 by Fachtna McAvoy of the Centre for Archaeology, English Heritage. These were designed to assess the archaeology of the top of the Hill near the hole and to record the loss to date. A bonus of this excavation and a subsequent cleaning of the hole (under full health and safety conditions) was that fragments of two antler picks were discovered in secure stratified contexts. Fragments of picks have been discovered before on the hill by antiquarians but were destroyed as part of Richard Atkinson's radiocarbon dating programme in the late 1960s (the dates were unfortunately unreliable). The only other picks recovered in controlled conditions have been from the ditch.
          The newly excavated picks are being dated by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit and will provide the first secure radiocarbon dates for the Hill itself. The results from the first pick to be dated (which came from a chalk wall within the formal excavation trench excavated by Fachtna McAvoy) have just been released and are as follows:

OxA -10818
3953±34 BP
OxA -10819
3918±36 BP


          These measurements are statistically consistent and calibrate to cal BC 2490 - 2340 (at 95% confidence), firmly placing the chalk wall at the top of Silbury Hill in the later Neolithic. It is now clear that a similar "crater" or crown hole was open during part of the 1920s and 1930s, indeed it appears that the 1776 shaft has been backfilled (or capped), opened up again, backfilled and opened up once more for much of its existence. Structural engineers have indicated that the stability of the monument is less certain than it had appeared, and a seismic survey was then commissioned to identify any voids within the hill in order to inform a repair programme.
          This summer, during August to October, Cementation Skanska undertook the seismic survey having first backfilled the crown hole. The hole was cleaned and recorded by archaeologists, lined with a geotextile, backfilled with light polystyrene blocks and then covered with a cap of chalk. Polystyrene was chosen instead of chalk as, being light, it is unlikely to cause further collapses. Four small cores were then drilled from the top of the hill to a depth of 50m in order to assist the survey. The soil and rock cores have been archaeologically recorded and will be retained, and the boreholes themselves are being kept open (although sealed) and will allow us to monitor the stability of the hill in future.

The current editor
The current editor testing the polysytrene packing. To the left the installation of the framework for the drilling rig.
          The seismic survey technique, known as 3D Tomography, produces three-dimensional images through the ground, and can identify structures and major features such as voids and cavities. The seismic data is recorded and is being processed using state-of- the art computer technology in the USA as I write. The first results are expected in early November, and it is planned to make the 3D images available to the public in future. Once English Heritage has this information, we will be in a position to assess the problem and take forward a repair programme.
          Further details on the repair of Silbury Hill are available on the English Heritage website and will be updated as the project progresses. As usual, for health and safety reasons, there is no public access to Silbury Hill although the monument can viewed from the car park off the A4. English Heritage plans to publish a new monograph on Silbury Hill once the repair programme is finished which will include all the results of recent work.

Amanda Chadburn
Inspector of Ancient Monuments
English Heritage



          The brainchild of Justin Claxton, the first Iron Age Research Student Seminar was held at the University of Wales, Newport in 1998. Its aims were to provide a showcase for current Iron Age research and to provide an alternative arena for that research in a relaxed and informal environment. IARSS 2001 saw a record turnout of almost 50 delegates, testimony to its growing reputation and the hard work of organisers in previous years.
          Hosted by the Iron Age postgraduates of the Department of Archaeology at Durham Rachel Pope, Mairi Davies, Imogen WeIIington, Tom Moore and Beverley Still - IARSS 2001 was deemed a success by all who attended. Most institutions were represented in the audience and as in previous years the support IARSS has received by those already established in the field was beyond expectations.
          IARSS 2001 began with drinks and a meal to welcome those arriving in Durham on Friday night, an event which rather took its toll on all involved the following morning. The meeting began on Saturday morning with a brief address about IARSS 2001by Rachel Pope on behalf of the organising team, in which Tessa Poller (University of Glasgow) was introduced as the host of IARSS 2002. This was followed with an introduction by Colin Haselgrove (University of Durham) who talked of the need for a review of our research aims in Iron Age studies.
          The first session of the day, concentrating on the settlement evidence, was chaired by Ian Armit (Queen's University Belfast). The first paper was by Tom Moore: his analysis of the LrIA settlement record of the south west Midlands identified the 2nd century BC - 1st century AD as a period of localised shift in settlement. He suggests that the forcing of settlement evidence into an overly simplistic chronological framework for the LrIA may be masking what are essentially fairly subtle indicators of social change. Similar concerns were addressed by Mairi Davies whose work in Stirling, Perth and Angus has isolated over-generalisation in the settlement record for her area. Andy Wigley (University of Sheffield) provided an historically-placed consideration of hillfort rampart construction. These papers reinforce the idea that earlier work on the subject, with its tendency to over-generalise, has masked the real complexities of human action.
          After coffee, Shelly Werner (University of Edinburgh) provided a Powerpoint presentation which indicated the real potential of GIS Geographical Information Systems in revealing spatial patterns regarding settlement location in NE Scotland. To our disappointment Leo Webley (University of Cambridge) had unavoidably to cancel his paper on 'Artefact deposition and the presentation of social groups in Iron Age Jutland'. Fortunately, Imogen Wellington kindly volunteered her recent TRAC paper on votive deposition in southern Britain and northern France. The paper addressed the potential of coins for reassessing the LIA/ER transition and the belief systems in operation at that time. Imogen's paper was well-placed, as it turned out, to provide a link between the morning and afternoon sessions. Ian Armit drew the first session to a close, praising the standard of papers and welcoming the wide range of approaches now being applied to Iron Age settlement studies across many parts of Britain. Much of the discussion focused on the need to rethink current approaches to fieldwork practice if we are to move towards a more rounded picture of Iron Age settlement landscapes.
          After a very good lunch, the afternoon session began. This session, chaired by Richard Hingley (University of Durham), concentrated on the non-settlement evidence, the first three papers looking at different aspects of the evidence for Iron Age ritual practice. Alison Brookes (University of Wales, Newport) began with her work which considers the location of funerary sites within the landscape of SE England and explores the themes of ceremony, ritual segregation and the demarcation of space. Use of landscape was also addressed by Tessa Poller who talked about continuity of landscape transformation regarding the prehistoric monuments of Tara, Co. Meath. Rebecca Craig (MoLAS) gave a fascinating presentation on the human remains from Danebury with their evidence for combative cuts, decapitation and fragmentation as well as their utilisation, along with animal bones, as tools.
          After tea Mark Curteis (University of Durham) presented his statistical analyses of the Iron Age coinages of the South Midlands attempting to identify patterns of deposition for both IA and Roman contexts. This was followed by the extensive work done by Melanie Johnson (University of Edinburgh) in her production of an Iron Age ceramic sequence for West Lewis. Her work reveals the desirability for absolute dating of ceramics assemblages and also the shift towards pots as evidence for human activity rather than just classificatory tools. Richard Hingley summed up by complimenting the speakers and by exploring some areas of overlap between the papers presented in the afternoon. He argued that we need to break down some of the barriers between different types of specialism in Iron Age studies and that several of the contributions had been particularly valuable from this perspective.
          The decision to have John Barrett as discussant turned out to be an excellent one. His plea for us to take seriously our responsibility to write histories and not simply continue to catalogue material was well-received by the audience. In the general discussion academics and students alike shared concerns about the current state of Iron Age research and where to take it in the future. There was a strong sense that there is a 'new generation of Iron Age research' in our midst, with young researchers - students of post-processual theory making a return to the data and being more broad-minded in their approaches to the material. One concern was how the results of this new work can be used to represent the Iron Age to a wider audience. How do we go about using our local and regional studies to write informed narratives of the Iron Age without falling into the traps which previous generations have encountered?
          Four main themes could be identified in the papers, the questions and the discussion. The first of these took the form of questions regarding the reassessment of methodological, chronological and typological frameworks. The second concern was involved in gaining a real understanding of taphonomic and depositional processes. Third was the role of landscape and environment regarding settlement location and funerary activity. Underlying all the papers, however, even when it went un-stated, was a real sense of changing our approaches to the material in an attempt to identify human action in the Iron Age.
          In his summing up, John Barrett mentioned the importance of rapid publication. After two very successful meetings in Southampton and Leicester in 1999 and 2000, we are pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of our first monograph of proceedings. The monograph is entitled Re-searching the Iron Age and is edited by Jodie Humphrey (University of Leicester) and Justin Claxton (University of Wales, Newport). The title underlines the dominant theme of IARSS to date: that the vast majority of current research in Iron Age studies is involved in re-addressing our data and re-assessing our methodologies. The volume is the first in a planned series of bi-annual monographs to be published by Leicester University Press. To order a copy please email Jodie Humphrey at: The Durham proceedings will be published along with those of Glasgow in the summer of 2003.
          The overall standard of presentation at IARSS 2001 was good, as was the general discussion, both factors aided, it is hoped, by the informal nature of the setting. The day ran surprisingly smoothly, mostly due to the help of several non-Iron Age postgraduates in the Durham department who gave their help freely and helped ensure the day's success. Unfortunately, the trip to Stanwick - which had been planned for Sunday morning - had to be cancelled due to Foot and Mouth restrictions. This was, however, more than made up for on the Saturday night with post-discussion drinks and a rather raucous meal.
          One of the most important aspects of IARSS is that it provides the opportunity for Iron Age research students to meet and exchange ideas. Already, in several cases, strong friendships have been forged as a result of IARSS and this can only be a good thing for the future of Iron Age studies. Communications after the event have stressed their enjoyment of the day and attention now turns to IARSS 2002 which will be held in Glasgow next June.

IARSS 2001 was supported by the Rosemary Cramp Fund.

Rachel Pope
Dept. of Archaeology, University of Durham



         Irish archaeology is becoming increasingly easier to track down on the web with university departments, research institutions and archaeological companies all making an effort to make their information widely available. It might be said that only a few of these sites are particularly innovative, while only one or two make any use of the interactive capacities of the medium but they do all provide useful information.
         All Irish university archaeology departments provide quite detailed web pages with extensive information on staff, courses and research projects. These include the websites for University College, Dublin (, University College, Cork (, NUI Galway (, Queen's University, Belfast ( and the Department of Medieval history, Trinity College, Dublin ( Most attractive of all is the site for the newly established Centre for Maritime Archaeology at University of Ulster at Coleraine ( Members of the Prehistoric Society intending to travel to TAG in Ireland 2001, to be held in UCD, can also view the conference website at
         The website of the Discovery Programme (the Irish government funded archaeological research institute) is attractively designed and provides a wide range of information on its research projects past, present and future as well as its staff and publications. Look, for example, at the computer reconstructions of the Bronze Age houses uncovered in the Chancellorsland excavations. A website for the Network for Underwater Archaeology (NUA the Irish word for new) can be seen at with extensive accounts of marine geophysics, intertidal survey projects and underwater excavations.
         In recent years, the explosion of development in the Irish landscape has lead to an increased number of archaeological companies. Some of these have attractive websites providing details not only on services, but also exciting results of recent excavations. They include the websites of Margaret Gowen and Co. Ltd (, Eachtra Archaeological Projects (, Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd ( and John Channing and co. ( Indeed, Thaddeus Breen's excellent website ( on Irish archaeology provides a range of links for other companies and individuals.
         The Heritage Council, which has funded several archaeological projects in recent years, can be virtually visited at The website for Duchas the Heritage Service ( provides access to databases on monuments in state care and the Sites and Monuments Record for the republic that can be downloaded. The database for Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record can be searched at the Archaeological Data Service at Even more useful is the remarkable website that provides a fully searchable database of all archaeological excavations carried out in Ireland 1985 - 1999 at It gives access to over 4000 reports, and can be browsed or searched using multiple fields including Year, County, Site Type, Grid Reference, Licence No., Sites and Monuments Record No. and Author. It's well worth exploring.
         If you want to buy books on Irish archaeology, then certainly the best place to look is the Wordwell website at It is possible to search their catalogue and to order books online. Similarly, the Royal Irish Academy's publications can be found at
         The Irish Archaeology & History Mailing list Suite (IAHMS) is a comprehensive group of moderated discussion groups covering all periods of Ireland's past up to 1900AD. One group is Irish Archaeology, encompassing any and all aspects and periods of archaeology in Ireland. To subscribe, email Finally, if you're trying to track down an Irish archaeologist, then its possible that his or her email may be found at the email directory of Irish archaeologists to be found at (

Aidan O'Sullivan



Margaret Jones
         Margaret Jones, best known for her excavations at Mucking, Essex, died last March. She came into archaeology while reading Geography at Liverpool University, working on sites in Cheshire and Yorkshire as a volunteer and after the war on the Isles of Scilly. Turning professional in the mid-1950's, she worked at Stanton Low, Aldborough and Old Sleaford. In 1970 she and her husband Tom took on the massive responsibility of excavating the multi-period site at Mucking. Her meticulous records allow the continuing work on publishing the findings from the project. She was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1974.

Peter Reynolds - mould-breaker
         Peter, best-known for his Experimental Iron Age Farm at Butser in Hampshire, sadly died in September while in Turkey. His determination to push at the boundaries of "current" thought, to bring experiment into the mainstream of archaeology, to insist on best practice when recording and to encourage good science made him a larger-than-life figure in the discipline. While fiercely independent in many ways, he was always generous with his time and his ideas: we have lost a remarkable person. Apart from Butser, always seriously underfunded, Peter was involved in many other projects, usually centred around processes in the agrarian and domestic landscape. Along with others we worked closely with Peter both on the Butser project and his less well-known Experimental Earthworks, the latter associated with the programme run by the Experimental Earthworks Committee. We will all miss his many skills, his careful thinking and his inimitable way of quietly listening to a discussion and picking up a point which had somehow evaded others. There is great hope that Butser will continue and that as yet unpublished work will become available to stand as a tribute to an unforgettable, practical intellectual.

Peter Fowler and Gill Swanton



         This Group was set up in July 2001 and is asking all organisations and individuals who have an interest in archaeology to submit comments on the current state of archaeology in the UK. "Areas of concern may include legislation, organisational matters and issues relating to culture, tourism, the environment and economy". Points raised should not exceed 250 words and should be sent to (preferred option) or sent to Lord Redesdale, Secretary, House of Lords, London SW1A OPW. The deadlines are Nov 30th 2001 for individuals and January 15th 2002 for groups. More information on the Group, which is chaired by Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, can be found at The Society's Council debated the matter at its recent meeting and will be making a submission.



         This document - Understanding the British Iron Age: An Agenda for Action has been prepared for publication by Julie Gardiner and is now in press, due for publication in November. Published by Wessex Archaeology on behalf of the Iron Age Research Seminar and the Prehistoric Society, it carries the Society logo and will cost £2.00 to members inc. p&p.



Proceedings Volume 67, 2001
         Members will be aware that Council have been looking at ways to make the running of the Society more cost-effective and to cut down on expenditure where appropriate. I thought I should just put a short note in PAST concerning the 2001 issue of the Proceedings so that there is no misunderstanding about where these cuts in expenditure might have occurred! Volume 67 of the Proceedings, due to come thumping through a letterbox near you in time for a bit of light yuletide reading, will be considerably shorter than the previous few issues. While Council has taken the decision to limit the number of non-grant-aided pages published each year, let me reassure Members that this issue is unusually slim because of the last minute withdrawal of one substantial paper and the failure to meet my final, absolutely final and I really mean it's your last chance final deadline for another. Unfortunately none of the papers due for Volume 68 was ready to slip in instead.
         The good news is that this will help considerably to balance the Society accounts for the year but rest assured that we have no intention of short-changing our membership with a drastically reduced Journal it's just the way it happened this year.

Julie Gardiner, Editor

The current prices for back numbers are as follows: Up to and including 1979 £10.00
1980 - 2000 £20.00
2001 (Vol 67 forthcoming) £30.00
These prices include p&p.
Obtainable from Derry Print, Glaisdale Parkway, Bilborough, Nottingham NG8 4JQ. Cheques made payable to The Prehistoric Society.

Christmas is coming so don't forget those last minute, all important "must have it" presents for yourself and your loved ones. Society merchandise is still available from Julie Gardiner, Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury SP4 6EB; cheques made out to the Prehistoric Society, all prices include p&p.
Teeshirts £8.00 and Sweatshirts £18.00: one size, available in light blue, green, red, gold and grey (please state order of preference).
Ties: polyester: £7.95; silk: £14.95.
Silver jewellery: Pendant/Brooch: £28.00; Earrings (stud or clip): £26.00; Tie/Lapel pin: £26.00; Cufflinks: £32.00.

The Prehistoric Society needs your help.......
We are operating on a financial knife-edge and if we are to maintain the Society's activities and fund research grants and bursaries we must build up more capital. Did you know that charitable gifts in your Will are exempt from Inheritance Tax? This means that if you leave the tax-free portion of your estate to family and friends and the balance to charities such as the Prehistoric Society, you avoid Inheritance Tax altogether.
Please think about including the Prehistoric Society in your Will. The Society's registered Charity number is 1000567. The Treasurer will be glad to advise you.

Society of Antiquaries Library
The Society has put on-line its Library Catalogue since 1988. Reach it on:



Just a taste of three new titles. Book reviews, co-ordinated by John McNabb, will soon be appearing on the Society's web site

European Landscapes of Rock-Art.
Edited by George Nash and Christopher Chippindale.
November 2001: 246 x 174: 240pp: illus. 50 b+w photos & 50 linedrawings
Hb: 0-415-25734-4: $65.00
Pb: 0-415-25735-2: $19.99

This study of the non-portable record of how prehistoric Europeans viewed themselves within their surroundings uses a number of case studies from many countries to examine landscape as an essential part of rock-art construction, emphasising location, the intentionality of the artist and the needs of the audience. It also considers more recent graffiti, challenges traditional recording methods and looks beyond the art to the society that made it. An exciting addition to the lively debate that surrounds the subject.

Prehistoric Sites of Breconshire
George Children and George Nash
Includes some 100 photographs, maps, plans & drawings
Pb: 1-873827-57-1: £7.95

Divided into three sections, Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, the volume considers evolving land use and settlement patterns, man's reaction to changing climatic conditions and considers lifestyles, beliefs and customs. Following each section is an individual guide to the more important and often more accessible sites. For those who enjoy landscape something to go on the Christmas list!

Potterne 1982-5: Animal Husbandry in Later Prehistoric Wiltshire
Andrew J Lawson
Wessex Archaeology Report No 17 £30.00 incl p&p
ISBN 1-874350-28-0
ISSN 0965-5778
Obtainable directly from Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB.

The volume describes the first relatively extensive excavation of a Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age "midden" site. Notoriously difficult to spot in the landscape due to their sheer size and melding into the local topography, several have now been recognised but Potterne is the only site so far to have been researched in such detail. Written by a one-time Meetings Secretary to the Society, look out for a full review on the web site soon.


A Prehistoric Society/Sheffield University Archaeology Society conference at the Students' Union, University of Sheffield, on 8-9 February 2002.

Call for Papers
         In the last 20 years landscape archaeology has developed in many directions, exploring phenomenological and experiential approaches, and providing increasingly sophisticated understandings of place, movement, time, tradition and belonging. Yet, in the main, this has been a landlubbers' occupation, working with our backs to the sea or ignoring its significance in past lives.
         This conference will present the work of research students and professionals interested in prehistoric people's relationships with land and sea. Sea and river movement has profound implications for conceptions of space and time in pre-industrial societies. Water serves to join and to separate, to nourish and feed, or even to cause danger and elicit taboo. The theme of the conference is not limited to Britain or Europe and there should be some room for papers on historical or contemporary aspects.
         If you would like to contribute a paper, please contact Mike Parker Pearson at the Dept. of Archaeology & Prehistory, University of Sheffield, Northgate House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 4ET

         If you would like an application form and further details of the conference, please contact the Sheffield University Archaeology Society at the same address or email

         There will be further information and an application form available on our website at

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