Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Alex and Hayley return

May 25th, 2012

Alex Vokes and Hayley Jedrzejewski have just returned from a five week secondment in Libya working with a team of specialists on one of the world’s top ten prehistoric caves.

The cave, called the Haua Fteah, is located on the lowest sea-facing escarpment of the Gebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain) of Cyrenaica. The Cyrenaican Prehistory Project, of which the Haua Fteah excavation forms part, is directed by Professor Graeme Barker of the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, Dr Chris Hunt of Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Tim Reynolds of the University of London with funding from a European Research Grant and the Society for Libyan Studies. The project is supported by the Department of Antiquities of Libya and by the staff and students of Omar Muchtar University Al Baida.
HayleyHayley and AlexAlex
The team is re-investigating the Haua Fteah cave some sixty years after the site was first investigated by Charles McBurney of Cambridge University. The 14m deep trench of the early 1950s has been emptied and the team has been throwing new science at the exposures, pushing the story of the Hau back over 150,000 and perhaps 200,000 years. The Haua Fteah is now an ‘Out of Africa’ cave with a sequence extending back to the origins of Early Modern Man. Our Libyan colleagues now call the Haua, ‘Umm Al Arth’ – Mother of the World.

Alex helped to set up this season’s environmental processing facility and has run the facility almost single-handed, whilst Hayley supervised the gargantuan task of processing and recording finds generated by the excavation.



Forthcoming exhibition

May 21st, 2012

We are working with the Kent Archaeological Society to mount an exhibition in Maidstone Museum for the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology fortnight, July 14th to 29th 2012.

Themes will include the current Boat 1550 BC project (Dover Bronze Age boat) and the Archaeology in Education Service, both of which are supported by the KAS. Displays will include finds, reconstructions and photographs and will reflect our successful work in the community.

The exhibition will be funded by Kent Archaeological Society.



Boat 1550 BC

May 17th, 2012

As many of you may have heard, we placed the replica boat in the water for the second time yesterday.  Although initially the vessel floated well, standing high in the water with significant freeboard, it started to take on water through the stitched seams.  Two team members boarded the boat (which was remarkably stable) and attempted to bale the water out, but the leaks got worse and we had to abandon the attempt.
In the water
Time has now run out for the boat building team, as the boat must travel to Boulogne next week to take its place in the exhibition.  The boat building team must wait until next year when the boat returns to England before finding a solution and conducting sea trials.  Though a little disappointing and frustrating, this last problem does not detract from the immense achievement of building the boat.  In the true spirit of experimental archaeology, the boat builders have faced many challenges over the last three months and solved many problems, resulting in a hugely significant increase in knowledge and appreciation of the technological abilities of our Bronze Age ancestors.  There is no doubt that this final issue of waterproofing the seams will be resolved, though the project timetable does not permit this at the moment.

I salute the boat builders (Richard Darrah, Robin Wood, Trevor Marsden, Rachel Head, Sam Curtis and Damian Sanders), whose hard work, professional expertise, enthusiasm and good humour have made the reconstruction such a success. They have created a boat of great beauty that will form the jewel in the crown of our wonderful exhibition.

Peter Clark



Boat 1550 BC: the launch

May 15th, 2012

After a busy week in the ‘boat shed’, tomorrow will see the second testing for seaworthiness of the half-size replica of Dover’s Bronze Age boat. Last week the boat was at the centre of hectic activity as the boat builders toiled under the the expectant eyes of press and media gathered for its launch. Amongst the visitors was the Time Team and, characteristically, Phil Harding was eager to get ‘hands on’.
Boat 1550BCBoat 1550BCBoat 1550BC
Initial plans to float the vessel with a small crew were abandoned when the boat shipped more water than had been anticipated – the crew was to have included a designated ‘baler’.
Manouvering through Market SquareArrives at marinaPoised for immersion
Touches the waterThe leaks are identifiedLifted
Consequently the boat’s naming ceremony took place on the esplanade. Heralded by music from Canterbury Christ Church University and christened with champagne, ‘Ole Crumlin Pedersen’ was then displayed to the crowds before retiring to dry dock to be prepared for sea.
Musicians from CCCU Seafront



Media Release

May 11th, 2012

Death of the Pharaoh

Murder Mystery fun for families

The great Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Cheops lies dead following a gruesome murder. Investigate the crime scene and explore the spooky galleries of Canterbury Heritage Museum after closing time in a search for clues to discover whodunnit!

Your mission: to complete challenges, gather clues, solve the crime and escape the building… or be encased forever by the Dark Lord!

Activities include an Ancient Egyptian artifacts identification game, Pyramid building, deciphering hieroglyphics, and a Rattle down the mummies skittle challenge.

Death of a Pharaoh takes place at Canterbury Heritage Museum, Stour Street on Saturday 12 May. The event is for children age 7 plus and their families.

Please book in advance on 01227 475 202. Admission is £5 per child. Accompanying adults free. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions last one hour with start times between 6pm and 8pm.

Media contact: Martin Crowther, tel 01227 475 204.

E-mail martin.crowther@canterbury.gov.uk



A Town Unearthed

May 3rd, 2012

Folkestone before 1500 presents ‘Earth and Vision’
Images of the Archaeology and Landscape of Folkestone 1538–2012

Curated by Bryan Hawkins, Senior Lecturer, Media, Art and Design, Canterbury Christ Church University, this is the first in a series of exhibitions for ‘A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500’.

The exhibition brings together images and artefacts from the archaeological and historical record of Folkestone including the archaeological excavations in 2010 and 2011 as well as material from S.E. Winbolt’s 1924 villa excavation. It also features archive material from the Folkestone Library collection, Canterbury Archaeological Trust and the work of local artists and volunteers.

PLEASE CHECK WITH KENT ARTS AND LIBRARIES FOR THE OPENING TIMES OF THE SASSOON GALLERY: 08458 247200
Stukeley print: 'View of Folkfton'Modern Interpretation of the Hare Brooch by Emma Richardson



Boat 1550 BC Project: The Launch

April 30th, 2012

Saturday 12th May at Dover Sea Sports Centre

Starts at 1 pm – Weather Permitting
Work on the replica boat has been progressing steadily these last few weeks and we are now looking forward to the launch before it begins its journey to the exhibition in Lille. The event starts at 1pm and there will be a chance to talk to the boat builders and the excavators of the original boat before the launch at 2pm off the Sea Centre Slipway. The original Dover Boat celebrates the 20th anniversary of its discovery this September, so watch this space for more events coming up throughout the year.

Come and see the boat builders in action every Wednesday and Saturday on the lawn behind Dover Library (the entrance is off Cannon Street, look out for the signs).
A selection of replica toolsThe base of the boat comes together



Life in Canterbury at the time of the Viking siege

September 27th, 2011

The last in a series of special events to mark the Viking siege of Canterbury in September 1011

Canterbury Heritage Museum, Stour Street
Thursday 29 September, 7.30 pm
An illustrated talk by Paul Bennett based on archaeological finds from Canterbury. With objects to see and touch.
Admission £6.00, including refreshments.
Advance booking only. Telephone 01227 475202. For adults and children age 12 plus.
Organised by Canterbury Museums and Canterbury Archaeological Trust



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