Tag Archives: World Heritage Site

Our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues: K to M

CBA North News
Our alphabet of archaeology is back covering letters K to M – with a series of M’s we have to hand. Again we cover as much of the CBA North region we can for news of interest to all Members and Followers. We start with the killing of a bull – Taurean readers “may wish to look away now” as the news sports reports start, have a quick announcement on the Lake District in case anyone missed it and also notice a further Festival of Archaeology event that covers the Mesolithic to the Medieval.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 18.07.2017

Mithras: Roman Religion from the Thames to Tyne
At the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle, Members will recall we had our AGM this year – indeed seeing specially loaned exhibits associated with the Roman cavalry Turma project. Members interested in the Roman period now have another reason to visit the museum to see further specially loaned exhibits associated with the sun god Mithras, appropriate as we are now finally into the summer perhaps. Jonathan Loach of Tyne and Wear Museums has kindly provided us with both the press release and pictures detailing this exhibition.

“This exhibition runs from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 27 August. It brings together for the first time objects found in the 1950s during excavations of two important temples to the god Mithras, at Carrawburgh on Hadrian’s Wall and Walbrook in London.


The three main altars from the Carrawburgh Mithraeum © Tyne and Wear Museums

The Carrawburgh finds – owned by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and on show in the Great North Museum: Hancock – include three altars to Mithras as well as sculptures and religious utensils. They are joined by three exquisite marble heads of Mithras, Minerva and Serapis found at Walbrook [see at the base of today’s articles],…


Profile of a Roman marble head of Mithras © Museum of London

…and a sketch reconstruction of the interior of Carrawburgh temple by artist Alan Sorrell.

Reconstruction by Alan Sorrell of the interior of the Temple to Mithras © Museum of London

Caroline McDonald, Manager at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:
“This is a once in a lifetime chance for anyone interested in archaeology to see these two internationally important Roman Mithras collections side by side. It’s never happened before and is not to be missed.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work with the Museum of London, my home for many years, on making this display a reality.”

Mithras was an ancient Persian god adopted in the Roman Empire as the main deity of a mystery religion that flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The religion was open only to men and some scholars believe its worshippers were highly secretive about their rituals and beliefs.

Mithras was both a sun god and a creator god. Iconography found in his temples often focuses on the act of creation in which Mithras kills a bull and life – in the form of ears of wheat – emerges from the slain animal’s tail. The god is frequently depicted as being born of a rock or egg, and the Great North Museum: Hancock holds a unique carving found at Housesteads Roman Fort showing the birth of Mithras from the cosmic egg.


The unique stone from Housesteads described above © Tyne and Wear Museums

Andrew Parkin, Keeper of Archaeology at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:
“This exhibition provides us with the unique opportunity to tell the story of the worship of Mithras in Roman Britain from two different perspectives. As a god worshipped both in the provincial capital of London and on the northern frontier of Hadrian’s Wall.”

The excavations of the Mithraic temples at Carrawburgh and Walbrook in the 1950s captured the public imagination and stimulated interest in Mithras and the cult-like religion bearing his name.

The London temple was discovered during building work in 1954 and revealed the fine marble sculptures of Mithras, Minerva and Serapis. Around 400,000 visitors came to see the temple in just a fortnight and a campaign to save it was started. Even then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill was involved in discussions about its preservation. The eventual outcome saw the temple moved to a nearby location where the public could see it.

Roy Stephenson, Head of Archaeological Collections at the Museum of London, said:
“We are delighted to be able to share these incredible sculptures with the people of the north-east of England, more especially as the collection at the Great North Museum: Hancock made such a formative impression on me as a child. I encourage everyone to go and see these important artefacts together while they can.”


The marble head of Serapis as found carefully buried under one of the floor levels of the Walbrook Mithraeum © Museum of London

By the 4th century AD, Roman Mithraism was in decline as Christianity spread across the Empire. The discovery of the heads of Mithras and Serapis at Walbrook – carefully hidden, buried underneath the temple flooring – may attest to the fact that the temple switched its worship to the god Bacchus”.

A pair of events will take place on this Friday, 21 July, at the museum in connection with this exhibition. At 12.30 there will be a gallery talk Why do Museums create imitation Mithraea? and at 17.30 there will be a public talk Staging religious experience in the Mithraeum: Mystagogues and Meanings both by Professor Richard Gordon of Erfurt University. Further details can be found here.

Additionally there is also another gallery tour on Friday, 28 July, as part of this exhibition whose details can be found here.

The Lake District as a World Heritage Site
Members and Followers will have doubtless heard or seen the news that the Lake District National Park is Britain’s newest (and 31st) World Heritage Site. Details on this can be found on the pages of the National Park here.

This now means that there are four World Heritage Sites within the CBA North region. Uniquely, at the moment, this also means that Ravenglass Roman fort and bath house are located in two World Heritage Sites. There are also four National Parks and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well – there is much happening in all of these areas. We hope to report upon something from these soon.

The Mesolithic to Medieval at Cresswell: another Festival of Archaeology Event
Members and Followers will recall that we publicised something on the fieldwork around the village and tower at Cresswell, Northumberland, earlier in the year.


Excavations underway at Cresswell Tower earlier in the year

Next week sees a talk, as another within the Festival of Archaeology, which will summarise the findings – thus far – of the project. In a surfeit of M’s for our alphabet will be present with finds from the Mesolithic to the Medieval recorded, by a further M. Barry Mead will describe all in his talk on Wednesday, 26 July, at Cresswell village hall. Details for this event are on the Festival of Archaeology pages here.

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Creative archaeology – November in CBA North-land

CBA North News

We apologise for the lateness of this issue in reaching you, but hope that the up to the minute information below is some recompense. In answer to our earlier question for a collective noun of Roman conferences we were quite taken for a “Convivium” suggested by Dave Barter, one of our many Twitter Followers.

This time the theme is ‘creation’ with notice of a recent publication, of objects from Neolithic stone axes to Victorian stained glass within the local group lectures, and the creation of our shared archaeological heritage in the construction of Hadrian’s Wall itself, the development of archaeology from antiquarianism (with reference to ‘The Wall’) as well as for a World Heritage Site and its own unique challenges.

We are gathering materials reviewing the year from local groups – if you would like to send in what your group has been up to please do – as well as looking ahead to 2017 (we already have the programmes of three local groups). These emails tend to be the most widely read, and circulated, of the year (420+ that read the email, whilst 300 viewed the website events page one day and the Twitter notice was circulated to over 16000). So it is well worth a quick note to promote your work to us, everyone else of the other local groups and members of no affiliation other than to CBA North as well.

You could be out almost everyday this week at one or other event that we’ve listed for you here!

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
06.11.2016

Northern Archaeology
The Northumberland Archaeological Group (NAG) have recently published a volume of their journal Northern Archaeology in memory of Ian Colquhoun, well-known regionally and internationally as an expert for the Bronze Age, in particular of metalwork and specifically swords.

This contains a range of articles which CBA North Members and followers might be interested in – two cover Bronze Age swords with one written by Ian from his MA thesis on the findspots of Northumbrian Bronze Age swords and one with a member of his lifelong learning group on a single sword from near Durham. An obituary of Ian and bibliography of his publications are also included.
The results of two landscape surveys on the moors of Hexhamshire and near Chatton, and an article on Northumbrian stone circles, complete the volume. This can be bought for £12, whilst back numbers of the journal containing a range of articles – not just on Northumbrian archaeological sites or finds – can also be bought by non-members at a range of prices.

Contact details for NAG, as well as the contents of previous volumes of Northern Archaeology, can be found through these links for their website and Facebook pages.

Events this month
Below the usual listing of all the regular local group lectures still to come this month that we know of. Please let us know an additions to the list to let everyone else know.

7 November – Pagan Viking Burial in Scotland, Dr Colleen Batey [BAS]
9 November – Annual General Meeting and Grimes Graves and the Neolithic Flint Mines of the UK, Pete Topping [NAG]
10 November – Recent excavations at Vindolanda, Marta Alberti [APPLEBY]
12 November – Light without Morris: alternative perspectives on Victorian stained glass, Dr Neil Moat [ARCH & ARCH]
12 November – The Arbeia Society Conference: ‘An Exceptional Construction’: the building of Hadrian’s Wall [ARBEIA]
26 November – Annual Study Day and AGM: The Theban West Bank Tombs: new Research and Directions [NEAES]

The Birley Lectures
The creation of the archaeological past is to be covered in this lecture on Tuesday. All are invited to hear Durham’s own Professor Richard Hingley at this lecture – one of a new series – at Durham.

Durham WHS 30th Events
Also in Durham, though on Wednesday night, is another lecture on the creation of heritage. Like others in the series we’ve publicised earlier in the year this lecture will also cover the challenges – in this case for an area even more remote than the remotest parts of CBA North.
We, of course, cover have two World Heritage Sites – Durham Castle and Cathedral is one, whilst Hadrian’s Wall is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire as the other. Might we yet cover a third in the Lake District in 2017?

Durham WHS events this week

Join us in Celebrating Durham World Heritage Site’s 30th Anniversary this November!

“What Makes Durham World Heritage Site Great”– 2nd-30th November, WHS Visitor Centre, an exhibition showcasing the 30th anniversary photo postcard competition winning entries.

Heritage at Risk – A public debate, Friday 4th November, 5pm, Prior’s Hall, Durham Cathedral, with colleagues from across the world. Free event. Booking Required.

Lecture by local historian John Grundy – “Saints and stones: the rich and varied joys of Durham” Saturday 5th November, 7pm in the Cathedral.    £5-00, Booking Required.

Family Fun Day – Sunday 6th November. Join us for family events and activities across the World Heritage Site, including:

  • Stonemason demonstrations in the Visitor Centre
  • “Come and Sing” Scratch choir for 7 to 13 year olds and concert in the Cathedral
  • Tours of Palace Green with our Young Heritage Ambassadors
  • Children’s trails and activities in the Cathedral
  • Children’s activities in Palace Green Library

We still have places for our WHS Anniversary Conference “The Stories Within the Stones – Intangible Heritage” 4th to 5th November.  Booking Required.

BOOKING:
For more information and booking, visit thewebsite at Durham World Heritage Site and click on the orange banner, pop into the WHS Visitor Centre on Owengate or contact Jane Gibson.

Durham World Heritage Site lecture series – 30th Anniversary Celebrations

The next lecture of the Durham World Heritage Site lecture series will be “Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site: 30 Years of Challenges, Responses and Change in a Cultural Landscape” by Sarah Simmonds, who is World Heritage Site Co-ordinator for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. A poster is attached here giving a quick overview of the lecture.

This lecture will be on Monday 21st March, 6pm, in Room PG20 of the Pemberton Building, Palace Green Library, Durham. The lecture is free of charge, but as places are limited, booking is necessary.

Sarah is one of the two coordinators who make up the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Coordination Unit. Before working in World Heritage Site management in the UK she worked abroad in development and education as a specialist in capacity building for the UN in East Timor and Afghanistan and before this with VSO in Indonesia. Sarah has worked for almost a decade as a World Heritage Site coordinator developing a special interest in partnership working, participatory management planning, community engagement, landscape scale strategies and planning policy. She has a Masters degree in Cultural Heritage from the Institute of Archaeology at UCL.  Her dissertation focussed on the issues and ethics related to the engagement of international agencies with local cultural projects in Ethiopia. Her most recent challenge has been writing the first joint World Heritage Site Management Plan for Stonehenge and Avebury which was published in 2015.  She has been  a member of the ICOMOS-UK Executive Committee since 2014.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception at the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre.

Please reserve your place by writing to the organiser at raffaella.aliprandi@durham.ac.uk or contact the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre using the contact details below. (If possible please would you let me know if you intend to attend the drinks reception too, for catering purposes).

I am looking forward to seeing you at the lecture.

Kind regards,

Raffaella Aliprandi
WHSVC Lecture Series Organiser
Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre
7 Owengate
Durham
DH1 3HB
Email: raffaella.aliprandi@durham.ac.uk 
Tel: 0191 334 3805

Durham World Heritage Site Research Strategy Launch Event

The Durham World Heritage Site Research Framework was published January last year.  It aims to promote rigorous, academically informed research to progress our understanding and appreciation of the Cathedral, Castle and their environs.

To view the Strategy click here.

This launch event will provide an opportunity for interested researchers to discuss the priorities for research identified in the Strategy and aims to provide a space for the initial discussions which will lead to future research projects and funding proposals for them.

Please click here to see the programme for a full schedule of the planned activity for the afternoon.

This event will be on Wednesday 24 February 2016 at 1.00pm in the Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Durham.

If you would like to attend please register your details with Kelly Guy at: admin.imems@durham.ac.uk.

Two UNESCO lectures next week

Next week series a pair of UNESCO lectures are to be held. However both on the same day at the same time but in Durham and Newcastle. Details of both lectures are given below.

Professor Peter Stone, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University

This lecture, Cultural Property in Conflict and Peace, is part of the Newcastle University Insights lecture series. Admission is free with no pre-booking required.

This starts at 17:30 and will be just over an hour. It will be held at the Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University. Further details of this lecture can be found here,

Meanwhile;

Professor Robin Coningham, UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage at Durham University

The lecture, ‘Ships of Gold’: UNESCO, Pilgrimage and Preservation in South Asia, is part of the Durham World Heritage Site lecture series. Admission is free but booking is required for this.

This also starts at 17:30. It will be held at the Palace Green Library Learning Centre. Further details of this lecture can be found here.

Heritage at Risk: the Long Game

Durham World Heritage Site -Architecture and Conservation Series

The next lecture in this series will take place on Wednesday 18th November 2015, at 6.30pm.

Venue: Room PG20 Pemberton Building, Palace Green, Durham

Robin Dower: “Heritage at Risk: the Long Game”

Buildings and Sites are identified as Heritage at Risk because they have been underused and unvalued, perhaps for many years, and their management and maintenance has consequently been neglected. Decay has brought them to a state requiring a significant effort to rescue. This talk will illustrate case studies of Heritage at Risk sites of widely different cultural origins, the aim being to recognise their significance and to understand the causes of decay in order to develop an affordable conservation strategy for each building.

For 40 years Robin Dower has been a partner in a small architectural practice in the North East. He regards himself as a countryman, previously being a member of the Northumberland National Park Committee and Regional Council for Sport and Recreation in the 1970s and the Countryside Commission for England and Wales throughout the 1980s. He has been a member of the Newcastle Diocesan Advisory Committee since 1982 and is Chairman of Durham Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee and a member of the Cathedral’s Open Treasure Project Board. He talks occasionally of retirement but is not in a hurry to make such a move.

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception in the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre.

To register, contact Raffaella Aliprandi: raffaella.aliprandi@durham.ac.uk