A right pig’s ear Many thanks for spotlighting the use by the British of pillboxes during the littleknown Boar (sic) War (Odd Socs, CA 241).
These structures must have saved the bacon of many of the rasher individuals who went the whole hog to brave the crackling fire from the snouts of the enemy guns rather than get the chop – no doubt their comrades thought them streaky to have got away with their exploits but on returning home, like Piglet, told porky pies about their own actions. Gammon, I say! Nick Davis NickJohnDavis@aol.com
Sweetening the pot It was pleasing to note in CA 241 that the Medieval bridge timbers at Hemington have at last emerged from their sticky pools.
I was closely involved in both the Waterfront Museum Iron Age boat project, and the bridge timber preservation, and feel that credit should be given to British Sugar plc, who provided approximately 110 tonnes of liquid sugar for the two projects. The cost of the sugar was in the region of £44,000. Whilst probably cheaper than other means of preservation, it still represents a considerable investment in a method which, until then, was untried on anything larger than a stick. David Sharp Formerly Technical Services Manager, British Sugar plc email@example.com
Footwear factory found Further to Dr Robert Anthony’s letter in CA 241, the Bata footwear factory is in East Tilbury, not Stanford-le-Hope. I grew up in Stanford-le-Hope at the end of the 20th century. I don’t recall the excavation work there, though! Frank Bartlett firstname.lastname@example.org
Hnefatafl kerfluffle With reference to the article in CA 239 on the Lewis Chessmen, the suggestion that they may have been used to play Hnefatafl seems unlikely.
The 78 pieces consist of a likely proportion for several chess sets – eight Kings,
eight Queens, 16 Bishops and Knights and 12 Rooks, but only 19 pawns of various sizes. Hnefatafl, on the other hand, has pieces in an unequal proportion of 2 to 1 – 48 coloured and 24 white, plus one King.
In all board games for which there are records, the pieces are designed to indicate two major characteristics: firstly, the direction or length of the move, and, secondly, the power of capture. There are no known instances of indiscriminate variation of shape that would merely confuse the players. For instance, were the
Pawns to be used as ‘Swedes’ attacking the King and his army of Honours pieces, one would expect the proportion of Pawns to Honours to be very different to the existing Lewis Chessmen – incomplete though they are.
The Museum of Scotland’s claim to the Chessmen would seem to be based on their shipwreck only, as they appear to have been made in Scandinavia and to have been lost while in transit to Ireland or another uncertain destination. J M Crowe email@example.com
Is this the future for the archaeologically rich Dogger Bank?
Dogger Bank archaeology at risk? UK politicians aim to establish a huge offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The Dogger Bank is fairly shallow, between 18m and 63m deep, and is the obvious choice to site huge turbines (none of which will be manufactured in the UK).
The cost is estimated to be between £135 and £200 billion pounds spread over ten years. It may be that neighbouring European countries will be part of the scheme and the costs will be shared; but as estimates usually end up being doubled when it comes time to dip into the pocket, we are talking about a lot of dosh.
However, on top of the magic money numbers, the developer has another consideration: the archaeology that lies on the Dogger Bank. Known as Doggerland, it was dry land until around 6000 BC and is therefore a treasure trove of information about human migration and settlement in Britain. The question is: in their haste to be seen to be green, will the government give permission to developers to ride roughshod over the archaeology? Will just a nominal piece of the past be held up as an example of green economics being kind to the environment, while the rest of the seabed ends up torn to shreds? Is archaeology about to lose one of its most fascinating and significant regions of study, in the name of big bucks tied to green activism? Have climate scientists exaggerated their data in order to kick-start political enthusiasm, solely to end up soiling the backyard of another scientific discipline – archaeology?
Should we all grit our teeth and accept that destruction of the Dogger Bank will help save the planet? Phillip Clapham High Wycombe HP15 7DS
| Issue 243
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