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Spur of the moment: lost defences at Edinburgh Castle C

onstruction works by Edinburgh Military Tattoo Ltd at Edinburgh Castle have led to the discovery of 16th century walls that formed part of the castle’s lost outer defences. This massive structure appears in 16th and 17th-century drawings and plans, including Holinshed’s Chronicles, but until now the precise location had remained unknown.

Archaeologists working at the castle have now found the gun platform that Ubaldini built. Called the Spur, this was shaped like an arrow-head in plan, with the point of the arrow facing aggressively out from the castle, bristling with big guns. It was used to defend the castle behind on the rock time and again before being demolished in 1649.

The newly discovered walls date from 1548, when Scotland and England were at war (again!). Henri II, the French king, helped his Scottish allies not only by sending soldiers and guns – he also despatched an Italian called Signor Ubaldini, one of Europe’s best military engineers, who designed a new artillery defence for the castle using state-of-the-art castle construction ideas from Renaissance Italy.

Peter Yeoman, Historic Scotland’s Head of Cultural Resources, said that the remains had been buried for some 250 years, ever since the esplanade was formed in 1753, to create amilitary parade ground. Enormous dumpsof earth were deposited on the area in front of the castle, covering up earlier structures, which are nowburied too deep down (4m) to be displayed, though they will be preserved in situ.

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frOM 30 JAnuArY 2010 rediscovering Greece & rome The fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge This splendid exhibition of Greek and Roman antiquities is reopening following an18 month makeover, costing £950,000. The new display, arranged in a loosely chronological order, explores the life-styles and rituals of people in the Classical world, both Greek and Roman. www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

Roman antiquities is reopening following an18

explores the life-styles and rituals of people in the Classical world,

26-28 fEbruArY 2010 Kingdom of Ife: sculptures from West Africa british Museum, london On display are some of the beautifully refined and sophisticated sculptures produced during the 12th15th centuries when Ife (pronounced ee-fah) flourished as a wealthy and cosmopolitan state in what is now Nigeria. www.britishmuseum.org

Ife (pronounced ee-fah) flourished as a wealthy and

19 MArCH 2010 rome: City and Citizens Ian Jones, EAS Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage lane, Enflield Part of the Enfield Archaeological Society Lecture Programme Contact: Chairman Mike Dewbrey michael@haydens.uk.com www.enfarchsoc.org

9-11 APrIl 2010 International romanesque Conference, london Conference for all interested in Romanesque art and architecture. See website for times and venues. www.britarch.ac.uk/baa/conferences.html

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