Sutton Hoo: a dry summer

My photographs of Sutton Hoo taken in May and August of this year show how the high temperatures and low rainfall have had transformed the archaeological landscape of NT Sutton Hoo. The dry conditions are highlighting features.

Orford Ness Lighthouse and the sea

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Orford Ness Lighthouse © David Gill

Work is continuing to protect the lighthouse on Orford Ness, Suffolk from further encroachment by the sea (‘Orfordness Lighthouse: Volunteers’ battle against the sea‘, BBC News 12 August 2018).

The lighthouse is now managed by the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust. It was constructed in 1792.

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Orford Ness Lighthouse © David Gill

Leaving traces in the landscape

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Duntulm, Skye © David Gill

Concerns are being raised about visitors creating piles of cairns that detract from the landscape (Michael Cox, ‘Beaches ‘spoiled’: Should rock stacking be banned?‘, BBC News 11 August 2018). John Hourston of the Blue Planet Society is quoted: ‘The first rule of the environment is leave no trace … If we educated people to understand that philosophy I think then people would have second thoughts about making a personal statement with a rock stack.’

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Neist Point, Skye © David Gill

The issue is not just one for Scotland. This summer we observed the phenomenon on Lindisfarne, Northumberland.

Tourists need to leave the landscape as they find it.

Y Gaer (Brecon Gaer): guides

Brecon_Gaer_card

1973

The Roman fort of Brecon Gaer lies to the west of Brecon. It is probably to be identified with the Cicucium (Cicutium) from the Ravenna list. The fort was excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1924 and 1925, and the remains placed in State Guardianship in 1953. He suggested that the fort was constructed c. AD 75.

A funerary inscription, dating to c. AD 100, belonged to a trooper in the Cavalry Regiment of Vettonian Spaniards (RIB 403). Another tombstone for a trooper from another cavalry regiment is also known from the site (RIB 405). The same cavalry unit was based in Binchester in Co. Durham in the 190s (RIB 730; 1032; 1035). (The guide suggests that the unit was based at Bowes [see guidebook] but the confusion comes from a dedication made at Bowes.)

Oswin E. Craster prepared the short guide (1954). This consisted of a history followed by a description of the remains.

The later DOE guide is an updated version of the paper guide. The concertina card guide was also used for other Roman forts such as Hardknott, and the Saxon Shore Fort at Reculver.

Brecon_Gaer_MPBW

1954 (1969)

Crichton Castle: guidebooks

Crichton_blue

1957 (5th impress. 1971)

Crichton Castle, in Midlothian, was placed in State Guardianship in 1926. W. Douglas Simpson prepared the guidebook in 1957; contemporary with the one for Hermitage Castle. He made comparison with Craigmillar Castle that lies to the north-west: ‘The serious student of Scottish castles should compare Crichton with Craigmillar’.

The guide starts with a summary that serves as a statement of importance. It notes the link with Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion. This is followed by a description, and then the history. A series of black and white photographs were placed in the centre, and a fold-out plan inside the back cover.

Crichton_HS

1987 (2nd ed.; 2nd impress. 1990)

The Historic Scotland guide starts with an introduction, ‘On the steep of the green vale of the Tyne’. This was followed by the history, ‘A residence of Lordship’. The tour is provided next, ‘Remains of ride Magnificence’. Plans are provided inside the back card cover.

The text was prepared by Christopher J. Tabraham ‘from an original script by W. Douglas Simpson’. The history initially repeats Simpson’s text, but quickly parts company and expands on the background. The tour includes sections on the first castle; Chancellor Crichton’s lodging; Earl Bothwell’s work; and outbuildings.

Tantallon Castle: guidebooks

Tantallon_OoW

1937

Tantallon Castle was placed in State Guardianship in 1924. Its first official guidebook was prepared by J.S. Richardson, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland, and published in 1932 (and reissued in 1937). It was thus one of the earliest of the guides prepared for historic sites in Scotland. The guide starts with a description (pp. 3–11), followed by a history (pp. 12–31). A plan showing the outworks is printed opposite the title page, and a plan and cross-sections are printed on a fold-out sheet inside the back cover. The text is supported by black and white photographs.

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1950 (2nd ed.; 1966, 7th impress.)

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1950 (2nd ed.; 1972, 8th impress.)

Richardson’s guide continued into the 1970s as the blue guide. The format of description followed by history is the same. The fold-out plan continued to be placed inside the back cover. The side headings of the 1930s guide were turned into bold sub-headings.

Tantallon_HS

1994 (rev. ed. 2007)

Chris Tabraham revised the Historic Scotland ‘Official Souvenir Guide’. This contains a guided tour followed by a history. There is a section on the spectacular Bass Rock, home to gannets. There is no plan of the castle, but the guided tour has a number view from the air to help orientate the visitor.