Megameet 2008

history / prehistoryJuly 1st, 2008
post #106 

Searching for Megameet on Flickr I got 1060 results, mainly to do with shiny cars and people running. I’d argue we have a stronger claim on the word. This year’s Mega(lithic)Meet went really well, the weather more or less held for us to meet at Avebury’s Cove and in addition to those well met last year, there were a few more faces to put to usernames.

That morning we’d arrived in Avebury hoping to locate those few stones that showed areas of tool polishing from before they were dragged to their current location. We found two examples, one from reading and the other by examination. Before long however we were being shown an even older aspect of the circle’s history - one of our party was a geologist, and guided us to a stone within the monument that displayed evidence of its formation, an area of petrified wood clearly visible in the upright sarsen.

Taking advantage of the weather a clutch (or is that a scatter?) of us headed off up the Herepath to seek out a circle previously unseen by most of us but known to our guide Moth. More accurately the remnants of a Bell Barrow known as Penning or Avebury Down Stone Circle.

Penning or Avebury Down Stone Circle / Bell Barrow

We had brought a copy of Pollard and Reynolds’ book Avebury, Biography of a Landscape to help us locate the polisher marked stones, and the cover of the book shows a map of the area as drawn by the Reverend A.C. Smith in 1844, which has many areas marked as ‘Penning’ (The Pennings, Penning, Waydens Penning) which I assume goes some way to explaining this barrow’s modern name. Sadly its location isn’t on the cover.

Overall a day of discoveries, renewed friendship and new acquaintance which ought to be repeated more often.

Megameet T-Shirt design

generalJune 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

generalJune 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

generalJune 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.

Twitterings »

Reading about Twitter when there’s work to be done.

post #102  June 8th, 2008

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Acoustic Festival of Britain

generalMay 28th, 2008
post #101 
general »

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

Silbury Dig

Silbury update 32

Blogged too soon, English Heritage Silbury Update 32 has now been released.

Imminent completion had me wondering yesterday about what would happen when all filling was complete, today my wondering’s over but my fears remain.

All repair works to summit, tunnels and sides are now complete, the sides repairs will be seeded and Skanska have begun to clear up the Hill by removing the entrance way they installed.

A fence has been erected (photo figure 2) around the summit infill area, so that it can be ‘allowed to completely dry out safely’.

I’m impressed that the Hill has been repaired. There were times its future didn’t look good at all, and even the recent updates reported new surface voids and collapse problems.

Given the weather so far this year and the wet forecast for Summer, I almost wish that they were keeping a small presence there until the next few months show the site to be truly safe and sound.

history / prehistory » Silbury Hill Repairs »
post #100  April 29th, 2008

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Silbury Dig

Silbury, a summary

It has been a while since I’ve read the updates on Silbury, let alone post about them.

Update 27 reports the seasonal shutdown in December/January, and three surface collapses, each up to 1.5m deep. The accompanying photograph is wonderfully captioned ‘ Hill side collapse features’. Archaeological recording will take place prior to backfilling.

Update 28 reports on more bad weather, resultant collapses and tunnel blocking. The ditch flooded (as sight I have yet to enjoy) so the monorail had to be relocated. Skanska and EH are confident that settlement from the Hill void may now be complete.

Update 29 charts backfilling continuance dogged by collapses ‘in the outer sections of the Atkinson tunnel’ related to January’s weather. Backfilling of East/West lateral tunnels completed 8th February 2008. The central Atkinson tunnel is now also filled, as have the Silbury 1 excavated areas: ‘have been filled with a combination of crushed chalk installed by hand and chalk paste which does not include any lime or other materials, thus providing an ncontaminated environment with the aim of ensuring the long term preservation of the central organic material’, good to know. The rest of this update examines the process of backfill into the ‘new’ tunnel, with photographs.

Update 30 reports on void fill completion and removal of Atkinson’s concrete portal (off to the museum with you!) . The entrance is carefully filled with a ‘large bank of chalk’ and then the void behind filled with paste. The total tonnage of chalk used to fill the tunnels is reported in this update, and the confidence that ‘all of the known voids have been infilled as well as practically possible to do with material of the same composition as the original hill construction’. The summit void fill begins (photos).

Update 31 is the latest, and reports on near completion of the summit void, with ‘crushed chalk…hauled to the top of the hill using the monorail’ as the final layer over the pumped chalk. Hill side works have begun - Figures 2 and 3 show a ‘3t 360 excavator’ removing the stacks following the creation of a’stable slope’ to facilitate it, and a dumper bringing chalk up for the infill. Stripping the side of the Hill to create this slope puts the odd evening trespasser into perspective on this SSSI, but I suppose it has to be done somehow. Archaeological recording of the surface craters has taken place.

That’s where we stand. The number of reported collapses during the backfill are a little worrying, but now there’s nowhere for collapsed material to go, and the unstable sections filled from above we can only hope that as her overhaul nears completion she’s now capable of shrugging off any weather the rest of the year may bring.

English Heritage updates on Silbury Hill

history / prehistory » Silbury Hill Repairs »
post #99  April 28th, 2008

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Olympic Relay, Paris

observationApril 7th, 2008
post #98 

French security officials have been forced to cut short the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay following anti-Chinese protests along the route.

news.bbc.co.uk: Protestors cut short Olympic Relay

News coverage of the Olympic Relay, London

observationApril 6th, 2008
post #97 

An exhilarating day for the 24-hour news channels.

I happened to be watching Sky News as the protestor who approached Konnie Huq was being dealt with. For some reason their camera suddenly diverted from the action to a shot of the crowd, but I wasn’t sure if this was deliberate or something to do with the officers approaching them moments before.

So I switched to BBC News 24, in the hope of better coverage.

Konniq Huq was reported to have been wavering on whether to take part, and had wanted to wear a ‘free tibet’ badge (the olympic rules preventing her from making political statement while taking part).

When interviewed on news 24 (following her tussle with a handy protestor) she seemed to imply both reports were untrue. That didn’t matter though, by the end of the interview she’d said ‘despicable’ - twice- when referring to China’s human rights record, and even managed to fit in a reminder that Tiananmen Square was 20 years ago, before summing up by saying that if good things came of the protests (presumably the particular one she’d been caught up in) then that could only be positive.

Following this event and numerous others, police numbers understandably intensified. From a whole afternoon’s hard work you have to be impressed with their actions. However, at 2:40PM ( as the torch made an unplanned change to a bus) the beeb news 24 sky cam picked up an incident - where a heated verbal exchange between an officer and a protestor moved from words and gestures to what appeared to be the officer quickly raising both arms and pushing the protestor backwards with some force. I wasn’t convinced that action was necessary or appropriate given what I’d seen previously. I logged the time so I can look out for it on repeats.

If you approach the three-layer (blue tracksuited officials, yellow jacketed officers and later blue uniforms) security detail you’re asking to be pushed back, restrained or otherwise dealt with. But running ahead of them, with your flag, and going in their direction (therefore not at the torch or it’s bearers, and going away from them) causing neither harm, aggravation or hindering progress - do you really deserve to be rugby tackled to the ground?

The question of rugby-tackling protestors was put to the commander of the Met on one of his numerous little slots throughout the day, the question was evaded with a re-statement of their obligations - and I agree that safety and progress was their job, and largely it appeared well handled, but these instances made grim viewing. I hope they will be followed up.

I’m trying to find blog entries to find out what people on the ground have to say. So far I’ve only got this: adambowie.com/weblog/archive/002400.html"https://philtaylor.org.uk/?p=1229" title="Torch Farce, Mayor's creature">https://philtaylor.org.uk/?p=1229

All in all a good day, point made without harm, PR event ruined. Some of the olympians got my back up though - some (not all) when interviewed seemed to think that protesting at an Olympic event wasn’t appropriate, Duncan Goodhew used the word ‘nasty’. They kept mentioning “kids”, “future”, “everyone”. . They forget that the torch will travel through territory occupied by the Olympic host. I doubt those kids, and that everyone, will be joining in. Being imprisoned or dead has a way of limiting your Olympic fervour. Keeping politics out of sport is like keeping people out of sport.

They don’t condone China’s actions, but they don’t want you to rain on their parade.

I am happy though - everyone’s played their part - the games go to China, which brings the torch here, which our Olympians carry, which those with a sense of danger - and a stronger sense of what’s right - use to tell the host nation that their actions in Tibet aren’t right. The police try to make sure no-one comes to harm and the event goes off as planned, The Government reiterates our freedom to protest peacefully (so long as we’ve got a license…) and our Olympians will go and participate ( as Sir Steve pointed out, previous boycotts by athletes had no effect) and hopefully do well. The job’s done.

The torch is off to Paris next, can’t wait!