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8 December 2009
Lectures at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum

Among the lectures planned for the next few weeks at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum (Devizes, England) we mention 'Illicit Antiquities: A scandal of our age' by Christopher Chippindale and 'Silbury Hill: the Archaeology of a Monumental Mound' by Jim Leary.
     The world's great museums continue to unveil and show off ravishing new antiquities, especially from the Classical world. Where do these treasures come from? In a growing scandal, it becomes increasingly clear these are not forgotten curios, excavated long ago and recently gathering dust in the attics of Swiss bankers, but new finds recently looted and illicitly exported from their countries of origin. Why? How? Dr Christopher Chippindale, Reader in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge is a pioneering researcher in this troubling field and will talk about it on Saturday 19 December 2009 at 2:30 PM. Booking is recommended and the cost is £4.00 (£3.00 WANHS members).
     In 2007-08 English Heritage undertook major works to stabilize Silbury Hill, parts of which were collapsing due the effects of the several tunnels and shafts which had been dug in to the hill over the last 200 years, particularly the large tunnel dug by R.J. Atkinson in conjunction with the BBC in the 1960s, and which were never backfilled. Before the tunnels were filled with chalk to prevent further erosion, the opportunity was taken to make an archaeological record of the inside of the hill. The sides of the tunnel were cleaned and recorded using high-resolution photographs and environmental samples were taken including biological remains such as insects, pollen and snails, and a number of artefacts including flint and antler tools were recovered. Radiocarbon dating of this archaeological material will allow specific dates to be attributed to the different stages of construction.
     Jim Leary has been working since the survey on the analysis of the data. The full report of the work, which is being prepared for publication, should answer some of the questions about this important and enigmatic monument such as - How was it built? When was it built? How long did it take to build? Jim will talk about it on Saturday 23 January 2010 at 2:30 PM. Booking is recommended and the cost is £5 (£3 WANHS members).
     Booking: Contact the Bookings Secretary on 01380 727369 or send an e-mail to wanhs@wiltshireheritage.org.uk

Source: Wiltshire Heritage Museum (December 2009)

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