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31st December: Review of the Year


2012 has been a major year for Britain with the Queen's jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has also been a very busy third year here at Ancientcraft, with more events attended, a greater online presence and new equipment developed.


17th November: Flintknapping with the North Downs YACs


I joined the North Downs YACs at Maidstone Museum (Kent) for an afternoon full of lithics, for my last public flintknapping event of 2012.


9th October 2012: Filming for Channel 4


I was asked by Oxford Scientific Films to participate in a 90 minute documentary for Channel 4 with the working title of ‘The People of Stonehenge’. It is being made with the assistance of Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who I worked with during at the Stonehenge Riverside Project (Clatford, Wiltshire) in August 2012.

 


15th September 2012: Fernhurst Scout Group


I was invited to give a flintknapping demonstration by the Fernhurst Scout Group at the Fernhurst Furnace and Iron works (Sussex).


27th August 2012: Ashwell Show


This was my second year at the annual Ashwell Show and just like last year, I was located in the craft area. The weather forecast was not great for the Bank Holiday and I was deciding if I should go inside the craft tent.

I eventually stayed just outside the tent and despite a few light showers, the organisers estimated the succesful event attracted about 6,000 visitors.


11th August 2012: Own Project Development (Woodcraft School)


The final part of my Primitive Technology course (NCFE Level 3 qualification) was called "Own Project Development". The course (run by the Woodcraft School) has been spread over three years and this last session was for the students to put into practice all we have learned, by creating primitive objects of our own - I decided to make arrows.


6-24th August 2012: University Fieldwork


As part of my first year at Southampton University, I joined a 3 week summer fieldwork project lead by Dr Josh Pollard at Signet Hill causeway enclosure in Burford (Oxfordshire) and on the Stonehenge Riverside Project at Clatford (Wiltshire), with Prof Mike Parker Pearson (for the last 2 weeks).


28th July 2012: Prehistoric Olympics


Now that the London Olympics have started, it got me thinking about what sort of sporting events could have taken place during prehistory and how they would have worked.


27th July 2012: Harrow Hill Neolithic Flint Mine


Harrow Hill (near the village of Patching in West Sussex) rises 168m above sea level and is a triangular shape. On top of the mound is the second most important Neolithic flint mine in UK, after Grimes Graves and a small Bronze age settlement.


21st-22nd July 2012: 5,000 Years at West Stow


The annual 5,000 Years of West Stow event saw living history reenactors covering periods from Stone Age, Celts, Romans and Anglo-Saxons come together to celebrate the Anglo-Saxon village. The warm, dry weather made a very welcome change from the wettest spring/summer period for many years.


22nd June 2012: Ancientcraft is 3 years old today


Much has happened over the last 12 months, most significant was starting my BSc Archaeology degree at Southampton University. A major event was my appearance on BBC 1's "The Great British Countryside" in March, when I filmed a flintknapping and archery session with Julia Bradbury. This was both great fun and helped to publicise Anicentcraft with the wider general public.


6-9th June 2012: Whole of the Animal (Woodcraft School)


The fourth part of my Primitive Technology course (NCFE Level 3 qualification) called "Whole of the Animal" was held at the Woodcraft School in West Sussex. Leaders John Rhyder and Stephen Lawson showed the students how an animal carcass can be fully utilised. We learned how to butcher a complete Fallow deer and transform the various elements into usable products.


9th May 2012: Visit to Swanscombe Heritage Park


On my way back to Southampton University, I was able to visit the world famous Palaeolithic Swanscombe site (Kent) which was made into a Heritage Park in 2005 and opened by Phil Harding. The park lies in a former gravel quarry known as Barnfield Pit and is very close to the Baker's Hole site to Swanscombe's east. It is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a National Nature Reserve (NNR).


5th May 2012: Britainnia at Pensthorpe May Spring Festival


For my first late Roman reenactment event of the year, a section of Britannia attended the annual Pensthorpe May Spring Festival in North Norfolk, to put on a show for the crowds in the Reserve area.


14th April 2012: Flintknapping at Southampton Seacity Museum


As a joint venture for the Southampton YACS and the newly opened Seacity Museum, I did a flintknapping demonstration for the many visitors. This was the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic hitting an iceberg, after she left the Southampton White Star Dock (later renamed the Ocean Dock) from Berth 44 on 10 April 1912.


3rd April 2012: Test Tench at Fowlmere RSBP Reserve


After a preliminary visit in September 2011, archaeologist and mentor Sylvia Beamon and I revisited Fowlmere RSPB Nature Reserve to continue our investigation into the Mesolithic evidence that was first uncovered during an excavation in 1993. This area was toward the end of the reserve at a ridge known as “Black Peak”, thought by many to be part of the original ancient Icknield Way track (as marked on the 1836 O.S map Sheet LI).


31st March 2012: Flintknapping Workshop at West Stow


Eight keen members of the general public joined me at West Stow (Suffolk) on a chilly March afternoon to learn about the age old art of flintknapping and some very creditable knapping was performed by the novices.


20th March 2012: Stanton Drew Stone Circles & Worlebury Camp Iron Age Fort


A day trip to the south west allowed me to visit Stanton Drew - the third largest Neolithic stone circle in Britain, at 113m in diameter. It probably originally consisted of 30 stones, however only 27 survive today and most have now fallen down.

I also had a quick look at another Scheduled Ancient Monument - Worlebury Camp Iron Age Fort, on the hill above Weston Super Mare.

 


1st March 2012: BBC1 - The Great British Countryside


I appeared in BBC1 The Great British Countryside (on the South Downs) and was on with Julia Bradbury around 42mins into the episode. Filming took place on 17th January at the Kingley Vale Nature Reserve.

View some images from The Great British Countryside episode.

 


23rd February 2012: Report from River Thames Survey


I finally completed my initial report on the survey that I did on River Thames during January 2012. I have passed this to Thames Discovery Programme (TDP), the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group (FROG) and Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS).

>> Read the Survey Report

 

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16th February 2012: BBC1 - The Great British Countryside


The Great British Countryside starts on BBC1/BBC1 HD at 8pm on 16th February and is hosted by Countryfile's Julia Bradbury and Outnumbered's Hugh Dennis. The 4 part series starts in Cornwall and Devon, when Hugh retraces the steps of King Arthur at Tintagel Castle and Julia ventures to the spookiest part of Dartmoor, featured in Sherlock Holmes.

  • Cornwall & Devon (shown on 16th February)
  • Yorkshire (shown on 23rd February)
  • South Downs (shown on 1st March)
  • Scottish Highlands (shown on 8th March)

My filming took place at the Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, with Julia Bradbury on 17th January.


25-27th January 2012: Mudlarking on the River Thames


I had three mornings of mudlarking on the River Thames at Vauxhall and Bermondsey. On the 25th I came across some of the FROGs that I had trained with in 2011.

(New TV series of Mud Men starts on History)

 


17th January 2012: BBC Filming - Naked Britain / Britain Beneath Our Feet


BBC Scotland invited me to take part in the filming of an episode of Britain Beneath Our Feet (working title) - a four-part series featuring the South Downs, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Devon and the Scottish Highlands, exploring how geology has affected British landscapes and the people who live there.

I was asked to do some flintknapping and archery with presenter Julia Bradbury at the Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, near Chichester.


7th January 2012: 6th Experimental Archaeology Conference


I attended the second day of the 6th annual Experimental Archaeology Conference hosted by York University Archaeology Dept in King's Manor with around 30 other enthusiastic archaeologists and presenters.

The morning consisted of five interesting lectures, followed by a choice of two different practical experimental sessions in the afternoon. I joined the session on butchery and was soon dissecting a rabbit with one of my flint tools.

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