On this page we highlight some of the most exciting heritage news, whether you're interested in archaeology, history or museums be sure to visit this page regularly to keep a eye on the latest news from the world of heritage. Scroll down the page to see previous news items.
March 2005 It may just be a friendly old cafe to many of its customers but the glorious Art-Deco interior of Pellicci's in London's East End has at last achieved historic recognition. English Heritage have given the formica furnishings, cream coloured vitrolite shop-front and interior marquetry panels grade II listed building status. The inspectors noted that it was "an architecturally strong and increasingly rare example of the intact and stylish Italian caf that flourished in London in the inter-war years". So next time you fancy a cappuccino why not seek out a 50's style cafe and do your bit to help preserve the country's real coffee heritage! (Visit www.classiccafes.co.uk for more information).
March 2005 Excavations associated with road improvements at the junction of the A1M and the M62 motorways may have uncovered the gathering place of British resistance to imperial Roman occupation. Upwards of 500 cattle had been driven to the site presumably to feed the thousands of potential warriors. Of possibly greater interest however is the earlier burial on the same site of an individual from the north of Scotland some 2,400 years ago. The nature of the burial and associated artefacts, including chariot fittings, suggest this was a very high status person. Archaeologists have suggested that he may have been a heroic figure whose burial site formed a natural focus for the proposed resistance movement.
February 2005 During January the Orkney's were lashed by some of the worst storms seen for many years, as a result an emergency excavation had to be mounted to record and recover a group of medieval burials associated with a church. The church is known locally as Tammas' Kirk and was dedicated to St Thomas. Excavations in the 1930s suggested that the building dated to the twelth century. A series of burials were exposed by the action of the waves and '', a commercial archaeological contractor was called in. AOC have what is termed a 'Call-off' contract with Historic Scotland making them available to investigate any chance discoveries of human remains.
February 2005 The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Museum Service have obtained funding from the Designated Challenge Fund to secure the future of a load of Tudor mud! The extensive mud and silt samples were recovered during the excavation and raising of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's great warship which sank in 1545. Microscopic analysis of the sediments has revealed much about the diet and enviroment the sailors experienced aboard ship. Although many of the samples have already been analysed more were held in storage conditions that were threatening to contaminate them. The funding will allow not only rehousing of the material but also support a new research project by the Mary Rose Trust and the University of Bournemouth.
January 2005 The year may only be a few days old but perhaps the most exciting archaeological discovery of the year has already been made! At Colchester, which now overlays the Roman city of Camulodunum, excavations in advance of a housing development have uncovered the partial remains of Britain's only known chariot racing arena or circus. The excavations by Colchester Archaeological Trust have confirmed that a series of parallel walls comprise elements of a circus that was at least 350 metres in length and about 70 metres wide. It is thought that upwards of 8,000 spectators could have been accommodated. The house builders, Taylor Woodrow, have agreed to modify their building plans to preserve much of the remains in situ.
January 2005 In another case of in situ preservation English Heritage have provided expertise and guidance in the restoration of over two square kilometres of moorland devastated by fire in 2003. The fire burnt away many layers of the peat moorland near Whitby in Yorkshire; as a result a complex prehistoric and later landscape was revealed. Extensive recording of the landscape has been followed by a controlled process of re-covering and biological recovery that will preserve the features of the buried landscape for the future. Of particular interest was a unique carved stone of Neolithic or Bronze Age date; unlike the curvilinear designs found elsewhere this stone displayed angular markings more reminiscent of Beaker style decoration. The stone was recorded by laser scanning before being reburied in situ.
January 2005 The University of Glasgow is to undertake a project to commemorate all members of the institution who served during the first world war, some 5,000 in all. What makes this commemorative project special is that it will comprise extensive digitisation of photographs, letters, press-cuttings and other documents drawn from university archives. The digitised archive will then be made available on the internet. The website will provide a valuable tool for both young and old engaged in a range of studies and research, but will also act as an electronic roll-of-honour of all those who served, including the 700 who lost their lives doing so. It is the type of project that similar institutions elsewhere should consider undertaking.
January 2005 In the world of heritage management a legal order has been made under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 to protect the wreck site of the prototype submarine Holland no.5, which was launched in 1902 and sank 10 years later. Andrew McIntosh, Minister for Heritage, made the order to protect the site from unauthorised diving and salvage activity. This vessel was the last of five prototypes built for the admiralty as it investigated the pros and cons of submarine warfare during the last decade of the 19th century. Holland no.1, the Navy's first submarine, was salvaged from the seabed in 1982 and carefully restored in an award winning project. That vessel is now on show at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport.