We're kicking off our regular interview features with our good friend and colleague Dr. Rick Pettigrew of the Archaeological Legacy Institute in Eugene, Oregon.
The photo above is of Rick standing in front of West Kennet long barrow back in September this year when we were on the 'Backbone of Neolithic Britain' tour. The tour was instigated by Rick and we were delighted to collaborate with him organising this huge adventure and we're delighted to say that we'll be doing it again next year. The point is though that we got to know Rick rather better and found out that (as well as being a great guy!) he's quite a mover and shaker in the world of archaeology and very much aligned to our way of thinking in terms of how it gets communicated.
And communication is really something that shines out in this conversation as (via the Columbia River, obsidian dating, Iran, prehistoric migration, and Malta) we arrive at the subject of the development of language in prehistory.
Does our ancient landscape lie to us? Well, there is a sense in which we are deceived ... or is it we who deceive ourselves? Michael and Rupert discuss how our natural instinct for creating meaning out of what we see might lead us a little astray.
All this and the regular magazine slots in the latest episode of what is now THE PREHISTORY GUYS podcast!
When things don't seem so great in the present, it's easy to idealise the past.
Not so fast!
Archaeology has thrown light on some remarkable and truly brutal events in European prehistory recently. It seems that 7,000 years ago a particular phase of angst and conflict in the Neolithic 'Linearbandkeramik' (LBK) culture of central Europe was kicking off and led to some horrific examples of man's inhumanity to man being left in the archaeological record.
Rupert and Michael duck the crime scene tape and take a peek under the sheet ...
If we're talking about standing stones and the Neolithic, then we have to talk about origins ... and if we talk about origins we have to talk about the Middle East and Anatolia. If we talk about the Middle East and Anatolia, the names Çatalhöyük and Göbekli Tepe seem to come up. But Tell Qaramel? Tell es-Sultan? Motza? Maybe nearer to home on the Danube; Lepinski Vir?
By merely scratching the surface of the subject of ancient settlements, Michael & Rupert have their minds quietly blown taking on the implications of the timescales involved in relation to our own, home-grown developments in the British Neolithic.
It seems ages since we last posted a podcast. But it's only just over a month - it must be that we've been incredibly busy! And some of that business is down to Michael's excursion to Orkney to take part in a three-day field archaeology course at the Cairns Broch dig on South Ronaldsay.
Yes, the new trowel was well and truly broken in and in this episode, Rupert grills Michael about his adventure and actually manages to extract some interesting information from him about the dig and his hands-on archaeological experience. (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition).
NOTE: if you're interested in following up on the background to the topics covered in this podcast, for the monthly subscription rate of $1 a month, you can have access to the show notes for this show, and much more content besides, by becoming a member on Patreon. Go to the Patreon page for this podcast and become one of our valued Patreon supporters now!
Since we began this podcast in March 2018, archaeological facts and finds have been coming at us fast and furious - so much so that it's becoming hard to keep track of what happened where and in what order!
So, in an effort to claw back some clarity, we've begun compiling a Timeline of Prehistory.
The simple question: "what was going on in the rest of the world when megalith building was happening in Britain?" has thrown up some surprising facts. In order to give some context to the Neolithic and early Bronze Age this side of the Channel, we explore what was going on in the world from 8,000 to 2,000 BC.
We hope you find it as eye-opening as we did!
Back in November 2018, we found ourselves sitting on the front row for the a lecture in the Wiltshire Museum by Dr. Katharine Walker of Bournemouth University entitled 'Taking Sides, Scandinavian Flint Axe type in Britain'. This wasn't really an accident because, as you probably know, the subject of axe-heads, their meaning, production and trade is one that we find ourselves returning to often in the podcast. We kept in communication with Dr. Walker after the talk and we were very pleased when she agreed to do a Standing with Stones podcast interview with us.
In it, we chat about her work, her experiences and the insights that pursuing her fascination with neolithic axeheads has given her.
Dr Katharine Walker is a prehistorian specialising in the Neolithic of northwest Europe and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Bournemouth University. She gained a first class degree in Archaeology from the University of Bristol; an MA in the European Neolithic from Cardiff University, funded by the AHRC; and a PhD from the University of Southampton entitled ‘Axe-heads and Identity: an Investigation into theRoles of Identity Formation in Neolithic Britain.’
And that’s about all you need to know for the time being - Oh, that and the fact that we recorded the interview in the saloon of a 43 ft sailing boat in Southampton marina.
We tend to thing of our ancient monuments as being special, unique places. But when you begin to count them, it slowly dawns on you that for our ancestors, they were commonplace. In Standing with Stones podcast number 14, Michael and Rupert discuss this aspect of our heritage - and ask whether appreciation of their ubiquity changes our appreciation of them.
As well as our regular features, 'Question Time' this month sparks a debate as to the utility of the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge; were they used to predict lunar and solar eclipses? Or is there number and form merely contingent on chance and location?
NOTE: if you're interested in following up on the background to the topics covered in this podcast, for the monthly subscription rate of $1 a month, you can have access to the notes for this show, and much more content besides, by becoming a member on Patreon. Go to the Patreon page for this podcast and become one of our valued Patreon supporters now!
As you'll have guessed already, this month we're off to Cumbria and the Lake District to wander the Great Stone Circles, ponder their purpose and hopefully enlighten you about their grandeur and importance. Oh, and of course, there'll be a boundary pushed, some news, a new stonehead, a question answered and a little whimsey.
By the way, if you're interested in the show notes, we've moved them to the Patreon page for this podcast and will be continuing to do so in the future. Patreon supporters will have exclusive access to them from now on as a reward for their support (along with many other perks!). If you want to access the show notes, follow the link and become one of our valued Patreon supporters now! It needn't cost you more than $1 a month. SHOW NOTES HERE.
"Dartmoor is one of my favourite places in the whole of England, and I've been exploring here for over twenty years. Three hundred and sixty five square miles of rolling moors, with a huge variety of prehistoric structures. It's so unspoilt - in archaeological terms - it gives us a much clearer idea of what the whole country used to be like".
So says Rupert at the beginning of the Dartmoor segment of our 2008 film 'Standing with Stones'. Twelve years on from the making of the film, we muse on what's special about this magical place and give some useful pointers about getting the most out of a visit to the moors.
PLUS: domesticated dogs from 14,000 years ago; megaliths of the Westrn Sahara; Secrets of the Ice; 12,000 year old petroglyphs from India - and, of course, our regular features.
SHOW NOTES AT STANDINGSTONES.NET