Posted in June 2016

Roman Ballistics

I did  post a while back on early weaponry, including that of the sling. In the latest Current Archaeology is an article on Burnswark, Scotland, where the Romans assaulted a hill fort using such primitive but effective weapons. Three types of lead bullets were found there: shaped as a lemon, as an acorn, and a … Continue reading

Mummy Foetus

Here’s a strange tale from the latest Current Archaeology A miniature coffin housed by the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, has been found to contain the youngest example of a human foetus embalmed and buried in ancient Egyptian culture. The cedar coffin, thought to date from c664 – 525 BC, was excavated in Giza in 1907 and … Continue reading

Sunshine Dangers

Once in a while I come across a story that makes me wonder why any of us bother to get out of bed in the morning. This is from yesterday’s i paper: A school’s annual beach day was cancelled and concerns about the dangers of sunshine. Yes, readers, that health giving light from the thing … Continue reading

Hunt Saboteur Does U-Turn

I have always struggled with the practice of fox hunting; as a vegetarian I respect all animals, but as a historian I value the survival of country traditions, and as a realist I respect the need for farmers to protect their animals from predators. That said, it is odd that fox hunting is only in … Continue reading

The English Way of Grief

The English, or perhaps the British, have a reputation for being withdrawn, unemotional, but this is to underestimate the reality. It seems to me we have fewer formal rituals, but a readiness to invent stuff on the fly. This is from Grace Dent in last weekend’s i paper, inspired by the murder of a popular member … Continue reading

Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill House

This country house at Twickenham is often mentioned in literature of 18th century England, but I thought it had been lost long ago. Incredibly, it has been rescued and is now open to the public. This gem was built by Horace Walpole, youngest son of Britain’s first Prime Minister. It was the first modern gothic … Continue reading

Offa’s Dyke

This is a wall – or monument, barrier, that is generally believed to have been built by the Mercian king Offa to separate Wales from England, and that, like Hadrian’s Wall, to have run from sea to sea. But the story is far less clear or straightforward. This is from an article by Chris Catling … Continue reading

William Wallace’s Kirk Found?

This is from the latest Current Archaeology: The remains of a medieval church, recently discovered in Selkirk, may be the remains of the ‘Kirk of the Forest’ where William Wallace was made Guardian of Scotland following his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, archaeologists suggest. Chris Bowles, Scottish Borders Council archaeologist, together … Continue reading

Funding Jan Svankmaer’s Last Film

Svankmaer has been called a genius by Terry Gillam, so that makes him rather special. His animation is like nobody else’s and this film will be based on a play by the Capek brothers, who are also extraordinary talents from the country that has thrown up more than its fair share of strangely talented artists. … Continue reading