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Silbury TV

July 7th, 2008
post #109 
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Some time ago, the chaps over at Eternal Idol asked me to compare English Heritage’s extensive write-up1 about Silbury Hill with the BBC’s Silbury - The heart of the hill.

On second viewing its clear the show has less to do with the Hill than I’d previously thought. Rather it uses the Hill -aptly- as a jumping off point for a whistlestop tour of the complex, making a couple of stops for reconstruction footage before closing with a possible date for the mysterious mound’s construction. With that in mind it’s difficult to compare infotainment telly with comprehensive analytical survey.

“We can’t say that the Beaker People built Silbury Hill”

the show stresses the importance of Beaker folk to Silbury and their influence on changing times in Britain. Mike Parker-Pearson explains common Beaker burial techniques, with accompanying 3-D clip while Mary-Ann Ochota is shown some typical examples of Beakers found in the British Isles.

It must’ve been the Beakers then? Yet they conclude that: “We can’t say that Beaker people built Silbury Hill”.

We can say “In view of the amount of evidence for Beaker activity within the Wider landscape it is surprising that no beaker evidence comes from the mound itself.” (Analytical survey, page 69)

The striking thing is that the survey is more entertaining. Full of the detail archaeos, students and amateur megalith botherers like myself would love, but laced with references to anecdote and folklore, the old petrol station at the foot the Hill, countless stylised depictions and descriptions through history, and even attempts to make Silbury into a garden feature!

I’m currently reading Mike Pitts’ Hengeworld, and came across this interesting little statement which puts some perspective into the BBC show’s obsession with foreigners “who swept across Europe with their fine pots, loosing arrows into the air”[2]:

“it would be true to say that though Beaker People can still be found in books or heard about in guided tours, for the past twenty years or so few practising archaeologists have believed in them. Instead the fine pots and other artefacts are thought to be a still visible manifestation of some lost fashion, ritual practice or social phenomenon that spread from one community to another, subtly changing as it passed.” (Pitts, page 88).


  1. The investigation and analytical survey of Silbury Hill. Archaeological Investigation Report Series AI/22/2002.
  2. Pitts, M. Hengeworld. Arrow Books. 2000. Archaeological Investigation Report Series AI/22/2002.

The Bangles at Carling Academy, Liverpool

July 4th, 2008
post #108 
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Bassist Abby Travis

Megameet T-Shirt design

June 28th, 2008
post #105 
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The Modern Antiquarian Megameet 2008

This is my design for this year’s ‘Megameet’, an informal gathering of people with themodernantiquarian.com in common. It’s been a while since I designed anything for print, and given a little over a week to realise it I ought not to complain about the outcome. Somewhere between those old Railway posters of sunny England and a Clarice Cliffe pot.

The image is oil on cardboard, with some colour adjustments (the sky was originally signal red!), taken into Illustrator for the typography, which uses the ‘Pete-Boy Vikings’ font, seriously but sympathetically cut up for my own use.

Tesco Chicken out

June 27th, 2008
post #104 
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Tesco shareholders have not backed proposals to improve welfare standards for chickens championed by TV cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The chef wanted investors to adopt new standards for rearing birds, but the plan got fewer than 10% of votes at its annual general meeting in Solihull.

Hugh’s Speech is available here at Chickenout.tv.

42 days

June 12th, 2008
post #103 
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I’d never envisaged I’d be bigging-up a Tory MP, but the reason he’s doing this after this serious and terrible mistake is bloody good to see:

Shadow home secretary David Davis has resigned as an MP.

He is to force a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency which he will fight on the issue of the new 42-day terror detention limit.

update: 4 hours later, the Party machine has rolled on. The top news item at conservatives.com reads “Dominic Grieve appointed Shadow Home Secretary” (Yawn).

Interestingly their site became quite flakey when the story broke, impying they’re not used to much traffic - is it any wonder.

Acoustic Festival of Britain

May 28th, 2008
post #101 
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Foul weather, stages shut down, but marvellous. The Acoustic Festival of Britain (photos from Sunday).

He likes Black Jacks

Ed Tudor-Pole. He likes Black Jacks.

Ade Payne

Ade Payne

Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull

Meanwhile, in the Capital of Culture…

February 5th, 2008
post #95 
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Henry Bohn books closing down

Affleck’s, saved!

February 2nd, 2008
post #94 

Iconic Afflecks saved by owners

Councillor Joe Anderson on Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008

June 15th, 2007
post #62 
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“Sadly, I now feel that 2008 is very little about the people of Liverpool and community involvement and I am increasingly alarmed at the vast sums of money that have been spent and that are still required, with very little to show for it so far.”


Shire…. horses

May 22nd, 2007
post #52 
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Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre

Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre

May 2007