Rhinos found in UK

OK, so they’re a long time dead, but they’re woolly rhinos!

BBC News story:

The remains of four woolly rhinos have been unearthed in an English quarry. Scientists describe the group find at Whitemoor Haye in Staffordshire as “extraordinary” and one of the best Ice Age discoveries of its type in Northern Europe in recent years.

The initial woolly rhino (Coelodonta antiquus) discovery was made by quarryman Ray Davies, who pulled up a massive skull in the bucket of his digger.

Sutton Hoo

I saw my first dead body at Sutton Hoo. True, the chap had been dead for centuries, and was little more than a dark, man shaped bulge against the orange soil, but to a six year old, that’s still pretty darned cool. That and the fact that the man giving us the tour insisted I come right to the front, and held everything down for me to see.

Sutton Hoo web site:

Sutton Hoo is a group of low grassy burial mounds overlooking Woodbridge and the River Deben in SE Suffolk, England. In 1939 excavations brought to light the richest burial ever discovered in Britain, an Anglo-Saxon ship containing the treasure of one of the earliest English Kings, Rædwald, King of East Anglia. Further excavations, completed in 1992, proved the site to be a complex collection of burials, some royal, others possibly the victims of judicial execution. Most recently, excavations in advance of building work in 2000, uncovered the remains of another, earlier cemetery, 500m north of the main mound cemetery.

Rædwald was king of East Anglia from 599 AD to about 625 AD. The gold belt buckle was found in the 1939 dig, and the ship they unearthed was 27 metres (90 ft) long.

The buckle was made from nearly 15 ounces of solid, high karat gold. It was pretty big for a buckle. I’ve got a soft spot for Sutton Hoo.

St Louis has no Saxon burial grounds. I do miss the feeling of knowing that under your feet there is probably something of archaeological significance. No-one was very surprised that the new Waterstone’s book store in Guildford (used to live there) excavated their site before building, it was more a question of what they would find. The store opened with display cases on the walls showing pottery fragments, a pipe, and other bits and pieces. There is a church in Reading (used to go there a lot) that was build in 979 AD, and still used today. Ipswich (where I grew up) had a decent collection of Constable paintings, because he was a local man. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London pinched the best ones, like the Haywain, but we had some housed in Christchurch Mansion, the centrepiece of a 100 acre park in the town centre. Colchester, the oldest Roman settlement in the country, has a castle with a museum in where I saw my second dead body, a mummy in a casket. Bury St. Edmunds has the ruins of an abbey, Framlingham Castle is pretty well preserved, as is Orford Castle. Then there’s the more recent WWII tank training ground at Landguard Point in Felixstowe, all ridges, hills, ditches and mounds.

In many British towns, if you look above the shop level to the next floor, there is some stunning architecture, Tudor timbers, elaborate carvings, elegant brickwork. There is also some horribly ugly concrete and bland modern brickwork, but you learn not to see that. When we visit England, I get my architecture fix, especially in London. We have a painting of Guildford that people often assume is a historical view of the town, but it’s actually modern. They just didn’t change much, the electrical cables are kept out of sight, and the cobblestone road was turned into a pedestrianised zone.

Belated Friday Five

The Friday Five. It’s been a busy weekend.

  1. If you could eat dinner with and “get to know” one famous person (living or dead), who would you choose?

    Define famous. I would love to sit down with God and find out once and for all how the heck Quantum Mechanics and turbulence work, why the duck billed platypus was built the way it was, and what I’m supposed to be doing here.

    When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.

    (Attributed to Werner Heisenberg, Horace Lamb, and Albert Einstein. Who actually said this?)

  2. Has the death of a famous person ever had an effect on you? Who was it and how did you feel?

    The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died on Saturday 30th March 2002. I’m not a Royalist, but she was the national Grandmother of Britain, you couldn’t dislike her, and now she’s gone. There’s a hole in the Monarchy where she used to be.

  3. If you could BE a famous person for 24 hours, who would you choose?

    Someone who lives in a country I haven’t been to yet. Not an explorer, I hate not knowing where I am. Maybe Marie Curie, but without the radiation poisoning. I don’t think I want to be famous.

  4. Do people ever tell you that you look like someone famous? Who?

    No-one famous. I’ve been told I look French, and there’s one memorable occasion when I was described as a “dark and sultry beauty” by a Messianic Jewish Anglican minister. I look like me.

  5. Have you ever met anyone famous?

    When I was a small enough child to be carried on Dad’s shoulders, Princess Diana came to the Suffolk show, and I was within smiling distance. I waved.