Carisbrooke: “Please do not feed the donkey”

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

The donkey-wheel is an unusual feature of Carisbrooke Castle. A donkey demonstrates for a limited time (c. 30 seconds) how water was drawn by this method. Each is named with a ‘J’: Jack and Jill feature here (see English Heritage).

A Pathé News clip shows the wheel in action. Notice that the Ministry sign has changed during the intervening period.

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

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Carisbrooke Castle © David Gill

Dog and cat in the Kerameikos

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Athens, National Museum 3476 © David Gill

In 1922 the marble base of a kouros was found built into Themistoklean Wall in the Kerameikos in Athens. On the right hand side four youths watch as a god and a cat confront each other.

The sculpture is dated on the orthodox chronology to c. 510 BC.

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Athens, National Museum 3476 © David Gill

Rendlesham Conference

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Rendlesham Conference © David Gill

Some 450 delegates attended a conference at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds to hear about the results of the survey and excavations (2008-14) at the vicus regius of Rendlesham in Suffolk. One of the themes explored was the relationship between this apparent elite site on the Deben with the ship-burial site at Sutton Hoo. A further discussion was on the place of the former Saxon Shore fort at Walton Castle (near Felixstowe).

Papers were:

  • Sir Michael Bunbury, The landowner’s perspective
  • Faye Minter, How Rendlesham has been investigated
  • Jude Plouviez, Results: the Roman period
  • Christopher Scull, Results: the Anglo-Saxon period
  • Andrew Woods, Interpreting the early medieval coins
  • Charlotte Scull, Beasts and feasts: the animal resources
  • Kelly Kilpatrick, The place-names of a royal Anglo-Saxon landscape: a toponymic survey of Rendlesham and the Deben valley
  • Tom Williamson, Rendlesham in context: the changing geographies of early medieval England
  • Andrew Rogerson, Not always a backwater, the northern half of the East Anglian Kingdom in the 5th-9th centuries
  • Christopher Scull, Suffolk, East Anglia and the North Sea: the importance of Rendelsham in the 5th to 8th centuries AD

Martin Carver chaired the final session and emphasised the international significance of the discoveries. Christopher Scull outlined plans for publication (including an article in Antiquity) and future grant applications.

The conference was organised by Suffolk County Council with support from the Sutton Hoo Society, Council for British Archaeology East, and University of Suffolk.

The conference was sponsored by Suffolk Archaeology, Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, Suffolk County Council, British Sugar and the National Trust.

Donkeys at Carisbrooke Castle

This is one of the more unusual features of Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. This comes from a British Pathe news bulletin of 1963. The castle was placed under state guardianship and is now part of English Heritage.

The well was dug after 1136, and is some 49 m deep. The first recorded mention of the use of donkeys to turn the wheel dates to 1696.

A more recent video from the BBC shows the revised conditions in 2011, although some of the older Ministry signage can still be spotted.