Kilmartin is one of the UK’s top prehistoric landscapes.
The neolithic mines at Grime’s Graves are in the care of English Heritage. Barbara Green prepared the Young People’s Guide to Grime’s Graves (1964), in parallel to the souvenir guide to the site. The cover is by Alan Sorrell, and the guide was printed by Brown Knight & Truscott Ltd., London and Tonbridge.
The guide poses a two questions before addressing wider questions:
- why were the mines dug?
- what was the flint used for?
- mining at Grime’s Graves
- Exploring the mines (‘… it is often necessary to wriggle on one’s stomach’).
There is little in the text to make it more accessible for the younger visitor.
Inside the cover is a note: ‘Visitors wishing to crawl along the galleries are advised to wear old clothes and take an electric torch’. Those galleries are now closed to the public.
My copy was a handwritten note of the opening times on the back cover. The site was open until 7.00 pm from May to September (5.30 pm, March, April, October; 4.00 pm, November – February).
The 2016 figures for Leading Visitor Attractions have been published. They include figures for properties in the care of Historic Environment Scotland (Historic Scotland).
The properties are:
- no. 16: Edinburgh Castle, 1,778,548
- no. 68: Stirling Castle, 481,970
- no. 84: Urquhart Castle, 396,397
- no. 103: Glasgow Cathedral, 296,062
- no. 177: Skara Brae, 93,375
- no. 182: Doune Castle, 90,279
- no. 188: St Andrews Castle, 77,038
- no. 190: Linlithgow Palace, 74,428
- no. 194: Iona Abbey, 65,092
- no. 198: Fort George, 60,924
- no. 200: Melrose Abbey, 52,073
- no. 203: Argyll’s Lodgings, 49,197
- no. 210: St Andrews Cathedral, 46,488
- no. 212: Tantallon Castle, 42,708
- no. 215: Caerlaverock Castle, 35,633
- no. 219: Elgin Cathedral, 30,502
- no. 220: Blackness Castle, 30,053
Significant rises were seen in the numbers for Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, Glasgow Cathedral (62%), Doune Castle, Linlithgow Palace, St Andrews Cathedral, Elgin Cathedral and Blackness Castle.
English Heritage has announced that it will opening up Canon Greenwell’s Pit at Grime’s Graves. A short video is available from the BBC (“Neolithic flint mine to open to public for the first time“, BBC News 11 March 2017). Access will be by guided tour. Pit 1 will continue to be open.
Canon William Greenwell (1820-1918) excavated at Grime’s Graves in 1868, following earlier work at the flint mines at Cissbury in Sussex.
English Heritage has issued a guidebook written by Professor Michael Fulford, excavator of the Roman town (2016). It replaces a series of earlier guides to the town.
Inside the front cover is a foldout plan indicating walking routes around the site. Inside the back is a plan of the Roman town and earlier Iron Age defences.
The guidebook includes a tour of the site, and is followed by a history. There are special features on: religion; the water supply and the force pump; dogs; diet; industry; the Ogham stone; the Victorian rubbish pit; and the Silchester collection at Reading Museum.
The iron age hillfort at Old Sarum was taken into State Guardianship in February 1892. It contained a later medieval castle as well as the remains of a cathedral started in 1078.
Excavations by the Society of Antiquaries were conducted in 1909. The site is now managed by English Heritage.
The Ministry sign was originally mounted on the side of the custodian’s hut.