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More than 30,000 Roman coins were found by archaeologists working in Bath in 2007, it has been revealed.

The silver coins are believed to date from 270AD and have been described as the fifth largest UK hoard ever found.

The coins were found close to the Roman Baths

The coins were found close to the Roman Baths

The coins are fused together and were sent to the British Museum. Conservators are expected to take at least a year to work through them.

A campaign has now been started at the Roman Baths to try to raise £150,000 to acquire and display them.

The size of the find is not as large as the Frome Hoard in April 2010 when more than 53,500 coins were discovered by metal detectorist Dave Crisp near Frome in Somerset.

The coins found in this hoard date from a similar time and are thought to be the largest ever discovered in a Roman town in the UK.

Roman Baths spokesman Stephen Clews said: “We’ve put in a request for a formal valuation and then hope to buy the coins to display them at the baths.

“At the time there was a lot of unrest in the Roman Empire so there may be some explanation for why the coins were hidden away.

“The find is also unusual as it was discovered by professional archaeologists as opposed to an amateur using a metal detector,” he added.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-17480016

HisTOURies UK 

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An archaeological excavation currently being undertaken by Context One, on behalf of Ashford Homes, on the corner of Bathwick Street and Henrietta Road, Bathwick, have uncovered the remains of several Roman structures with associated features, as well as a Roman road surface.

Based on some of the finds recovered so far, it appears to be an early Roman site. A preliminary look at the structures suggests we’ve discovered at least one dwelling, divided into both domestic and industrial areas, the latter comprise various external surfaces and boundary walls.

We have also revealed a Roman road crossing the site. This is constructed from a number of layers that have built up over some time, suggesting the road was in continued use. Several exterior (possible yard) surfaces have also been uncovered adjacent to the road.

A large number of smaller features (including various pits) have been revealed during the initial cleaning of the site. Whilst some of these almost certainly post-date the structures and road surface, others may prove to be contemporary.

We are in the initial stages of our investigation and are likely to be on site for at least the next month. Updates on our progress will be forwarded to the local press but for more immediate information we will be posting here on their website. http://www.contextone.co.uk

HisTOURies UK

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For a 200-year-old literary figure, Charles Dickens has much to say about the issues of today.

So believes Queen’s University English Prof. Robert Morrison, who says Dickens — born Feb. 7, 1812 — was both a man of his times and a forward-thinker.

In his many novels — including such classics as “A Christmas Carol,” “David Copperfield” and “Oliver Twist” — Dickens wrote about issues that still resonate today.

Morrison says Dickens brought attention to child poverty, over-population, environmental degradation and greed.

The popular storyteller’s 200th birthday is being celebrated Tuesday by admirers around the world.

Morrison says Dickens, who visited Canada briefly while on a reading tour, was the most popular author of his day and known world-wide.

“He is a man of his time but … he does map in a lot of what still preoccupies us today.”

“One of the things that I find really compelling about Dickens is his discussion of and sympathy for the vulnerable in society, especially children.”

Dickens was able to depict 19th-century Britain as a powerful country at the forefront of progress and technology, Morrison said.

But as Dickens so cleverly put it: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“There’s a tremendous amount of wealth and there are a whole bunch of people who are not sharing in any of it,” said Morrison.

“That alienation and sadness in the lower classes among poor people, Dickens gives these people an incredibly powerful voice.”

While a master at creating entertaining stories, comical characters and biting caricatures, the 19th-century writer also had his finger on the pulse of his times, says Morrison.

“Dickens represents alienation and poverty with a vividness and a chillingness that is remarkable. He really is very socially minded.”

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca

HisTOURies UK – Who the Dickens

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Each year, the beautiful area between the stunning Bath Abbey and the internationally renowned visitor attraction, the Roman Baths, is transformed into a Christmas shopper’s haven – the Bath Christmas Market.  We are delighted to announce that the Bath Christmas Market is now running for an additional week – a total of 18 days! Dates for the Bath Christmas Market 2011 are 24th November – 11th December 2011. 
bath-christmas-market

Click here to view the opening times of the Christmas Market.

In the heart of Bath’s main shopping district, 129 traditional wooden chalets adorn the streets; each one offering unique, handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and food items – everything you will need for the perfect Christmas celebration. 

The World Heritage Site of Bath is one of England’s most beautiful places to visit, so why not make your visit to the Bath Christmas Market the focus of a private tour.  A populr itinereary from London is Stonehenge, Lacock Village in the Cotswolds and Bath.  We can also arrange tours from Bath os Salisbury.

Bespoke private guided sightseeing tours of Britain
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

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Scour the floor near most offices and there’ll be plenty of signs of the modern worker’s addiction to tobacco.

But archaeologists investigating a site in Bath have found evidence of the grip on life of smoking two centuries ago.

A dig at a city centre car park has unearthed clay smoking pipes.

The pipes were discovered by specialists exploring the area under the Sawclose car park.

They date back to the 19th century, when there was a factory at the site.

Senior project officer for Cotswold Archaeology Chiz Harward said: “We found quite a few clay pipes while digging. Pipes were the principal way of smoking tobacco until the late 19th century when cigarettes came in.

“Some of the bowls are still intact, which is good as clay pipes are very fragile.”

The dig is being carried out ahead of possible redevelopment in the area and the private car park behind the public spaces has been closed while the work takes place.

Meanwhile, an open day was held at the scene of a dig carried out by the Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society at Laverton near Norton St Philip.

The group is excavating a medieval building at Upper Row Farm as part of the Homefield Project, which aims to answer specific questions about settlement in the area.

The event was part of the National Festival of Archaeology, which will also see two free events at the Museum of Bath at Work this Saturday.

There will be a walking tour of the working heritage of Bathampton, presented by director of the museum Stuart Burroughs, starting at 11am from the car park of the Bathampton Mill restaurant. It will feature the Kennet and Avon Canal, and the site of the village’s Plasticine factory.

The second event is a discussion called Industrial Heritage at Risk: Bath and Beyond, led by Keith Falconer from English Heritage.

It starts at 2pm at the Julian Road museum, with a light lunch available from 1pm.
Join us on a private guided tour of Bath soon and discover more……….

The Best Tours of Stonehenge and Bath
HisTOURies UK – Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

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Bath | Stonehenge | Paganism | Ley Lines| Druids | Masonic Lodge

It is said that the Circus is joined to the Royal Crescent by a ley-line, that they

The Royal Circus is the same circumference as Stonehenge

represent the sun and the moon, and that Brock St which links them is the most paranormally active street in Bath!  The circumference of the Circus also matches – almost exactly – that of the inner circle of rocks at Stonehenge, the most famous druid monument of them all.

The Circus really does epitomise the elegance of Georgian Bath. Beautiful curved terraces of Bath limestone sweep round in a circle, and it doesn’t take much to imagine the ladies and gentlemen of society on this street. So charming and respectable – but look closer….

The Circus was designed by the architect John Wood, who had a fascination with Paganism. He incorporated his interest into the buildings around the crescent, all of which are adorned with Pagan and naturalistic carvings such as pan pipes and mystical figures, each one quite individual. At the top of each house is an acorn. The circular crescent represents the sun, and the Royal Crescent, which he also designed, represents the moon. It is said that the road that connects the two is an ancient ley line.

John Wood the Elder – Stanton Drew Circle and Stonehenge.

Bath is famed for its neo-classical architecture but what underpins the thinking of the 18th century architect John Wood when he drew the designs for The Circus is a strange mish-mash of legend and myth, this of course is the age of the new ‘druidism’ that took hold when such figures as William Stukeley called such places as Stonehenge the Druidical Temple.

Fertile imaginations played with the ideas of sacrificial wicker constructions filled with victims, and Wood took it much further and in his book – A Description of Bath, he writes a history for Bath that is at once absurd yet full of that energetic imaginings that are still to be found in today’s new age books.

To understand why Wood designed The Circus as he did one must go back to the myths that formed the literature of the 18th century. Wood, though including neo-classical forms in the building, was not returning to a Roman past but a pre-Roman past steeped in the myths of a Britannic origin. The myth can be found in the 12th century writings of Geoffrey of Monmouthshire, and according to (R. S. Neal – Bath, A Social History) a 16th century edition of Monmouth’s book written in Paris was very much alive in the oral tradition of Bath. Putting stone circles and Druids together seems rather strange, but Wood thought that the chief ensign of the Druids was a ring.

So as he began to plan his city on paper, he incorporated the pagan elements, but also he was relating the pagan symbol of the circle back to Jewish symbolism, therefore Christian, and then British and Greek, which led quite nicely to the “Divine Architect” who was of course God. This is all creative flummery, a mixing of ideas, so when we look at The Circus we see classical lines, but with little touches of druidism – in the acorns that sit atop the surrounds of the roofs – and the frieze which incorporates specific symbols of Masonic details.

First  though must come the story of Bladud, the founding father of Bath, an exiled prince because of his leprosy, whilst out herding pigs one day happened to notice that the pigs loved to roll in the hot muds of the spring. Bladud also tried this and was cured, and then went on to found the city of Bath on the spot. Our mythical King Bladud is given a date of 480 BC, and as Wood saw it Bladud created the city about the size of Babylon. Bladud was a descendant of a Trojan prince, a high priest of Apollo and a ‘Master of Pythagoras’. Therefore this high priest was a devotee of the heliocentric systems of the planets from which the Pythagorean system was derived. That the Works of Stantondriu (Stanton Drew) form a perfect model of the Pythagorean system of the planetary world

Do the 108 acorns on the parapets refer to the story of ‘Prince Bladud’ (the founder of Bath) or a reference to the Druids and oak trees ?

At Stanton Drew it must have taken him many hours, with his assistant wandering round taking measurements of the circles, which were probably at this time partly covered in orchards. There was a precedence for this fascination with megalithic stones, Stukeley and Inigo Jones were all entranced by these heathen stones of an earlier age, and the development of myths round druidic religions were already forming and capturing imaginative minds – a bit like today.

Now Stanton Drew was, according to Wood, the university for British Druids, which thereby made Bath the metropolitan city seat of the British Druids. ‘And since there is an apparent connection between the ancient works of Akmanchester (Bath) and those of Stantondriu, it seems manifest that the latter constituted the University of the British Druids; that this was the university which King Bladud, according to Merlyn of Caledon planted; that it was at Stantondrui the king feated his four Athenian colleagues and that they were not only the heads of the British Druids in those early ages, but, under Bladud, the very founder of them‘ 

The Circus is based on a diameter of 318 feet, Wood’s rough measurements of the circumference of the stone circle at Stonehenge, the terraced houses form a perfect circle around a ‘timber’ circle of planted trees in the centre. There is an early drawing by J.R.Cozens which shows hitching stone post for the horses arranged symmetrically round the The Circus which would give the allusion of stones.

Wood also incorporated into his thinking the hills around Bath, giving them various titles such as Sun and Moon Hill, and The Parade is also aligned on Solsbury Hill which had an Iron Age settlement on top. The Royal Crescent built by his son John Wood the Younger, was crescent shaped representing the moon.

Where you might ask is the masonic symbolism, well it is only seen from the air, taking The Circus as the round part of the key walk down Gay Street to Queens Square which is square, and you will see the ‘key’ of Bath.

What is a Ley Line?
Ley lines are alleged alignments of a number of places of geographical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths, natural ridge-tops and water-fords. Their existence was suggested in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, in his books Early British Trackways and The Old Straight Track. Watkins theorized that these alignments were created for ease of overland trekking by line of sight navigation during neolithic times and had persisted in the landscape over millennia.  In more recent times, the term ley lines has come to be associated with spiritual and mystical theories about land forms, including Chinese feng shui.

 I wonder if the fashionable Georgians who lived in these houses knew of the symbolism?
Links:
Stonehenge and Bath Tour Guide
HisTOURies – The Best Tours in British History

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A chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ at the Roman Baths Museum.

Roman Bath Tunnel Tours

The tour includes

·        The main museum stone store with material dating from Roman to Victorian times from all parts of Bath and the surrounding area

·        The King’s Spring Borehole supplying water to the Pump Room and the new Thermae Bath Spa buildings

·        Georgian vaults under Bath Street and the water pipe that supplies the spa

·        Rooms of the Roman bath house not on public display, including the unusual circular laconicum

·        The chance to handle some of the items which have been excavated in Bath and are now stored in the various vaults.

Although we do walk through most of the public areas of the site we do not stop in them and visitors are advised to visit them before or after the tunnel tour, during the normal public opening hours

A chance to look ‘behind-the-scenes’ at the stores of the Roman Baths Museum. See and handle objects in the reserve collections and find out why and how they care for them. 
Visit the vaults around the Roman Baths. See parts of the Roman Baths and temple not on public display and discover the hidden Georgian and Victorian history of the site. Numbers are strictly limited so advance booking is necessary on 01225 477779

http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/

The Roman Baths is one of the largest tourist attractions in South West England. Find out more about charges, opening times and the facilities that we offer at the Roman Baths in the links to the left. Please allow at least 2 hours to get the most from your visit.  Bath is often combined with a day trip to Stonehenge and the Cotswolds from London.  A private guided tour allows over 2 hours in Bath rather than the 45 minutes many coach operators allow.

Stonehenge and Bath Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

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Bath Abbey Tours

Bath Abbey Tours

As part of an on-going project, led by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, looking at possible future improvements to the Abbey, this month sees the start of a series of archaeological digs in and around the building, which dates back to 1499, (it’s the third church on the site, the original Anglo-Saxon Abbey Church was founded in 757).  There will be seven digs in total, six in the Abbey: choir vestry, shop, near the Montague Tomb, Alphege Chapel, South Transept, and one near the font; the seventh will be outside, between Kingston Buildings and the Abbey.

The digs, which will be carried out by two local firms, Emerys, who will be responsible for the building work and reinstatement, and Cotswold Archaeology, who will carry out the archaeological observation and recording.  The purpose of the digs is to discover what may or may not be possible in terms of ensuring the Abbey is fit for the 21st century.  One possibility to be explored is the installation of an underfloor heating system, drawing on the springs that feed the nearby Roman Baths.
The Abbey will remain open during the work, and whilst visitors may find a few views to be limited and some of the Victorian pews missing, it is also hoped that they will be able to observe some of the archaeological work, perhaps via closed circuit television.

There is an air of excitement at the Abbey as everyone looks forward to seeing ledger stones that have been invisible for 150 years and underground views that were hidden from their predecessors, as well as looking forward to new possibilities.

The work has been made possible due to a generous donation from the Friends of Bath Abbey, who are very interested in the Abbey Development Project.   If you are interested in becoming a Friend, or making a donation, visit http://www.bathabbey.org/friends.htm

 For further information about the Abbey, including the times of services, its history and information about visiting, please visit www.bathabbey.org

BBC – Historic Bath Abbey hosts big archaeological dig

Tower ToursBath Abbey

A Tower Tour gives visitors to the Abbey a chance to look at the building from a very different perspective. There are 212 steps to the top of the Tower

Neeldess to say we offer guided tours of the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey.  Visit our website for more details.
Bath Tourist Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

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Filming in Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a perfect loction for film and television productions. Working with South West Screen, VisitWiltshire and Wiltshire Council seek to encourage new productions and film making in the area, making it a very ‘film friendly’ part of England. Film Friendly

Wiltshire is a favourite with filmmakers, taking centre stage in a whole range of productions from swashbuckling adventures to Jane Austin classics. Wiltshire continues to be popular with television and film crews, making an ideal location for anything from traditional period dramas to gothic horror films featuring Hollywood stars.

The county was used as the backdrop in productions such as The Wolfman, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Creation, as well as TV series such as Lark Rise to Candleford and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Wilton House (photo: Will Pryce)Anyone who enjoyed the cinema version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, will recognise not only Wilton House – which doubled as Pemberley, the family seat of Mr Darcy – but also the magnificent gardens at Stourhead, where Lizzie initially rejects his proposal of marriage.

Filming The Young Victoria at WiltonThe film on the life of Queen Victoria: Momentum Pictures’ The Young Victoria, features Wilton House. Wilton was used to double for Rosenau Castle, Prince Albert’s Coburg and Buckingham Palace.

The National Trust’s Mompesson House in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close achieved celebrity status as the London home of Mrs Jennings in the 1995 Oscar-winning version of Sense and Sensibility, when the leading parts were played by Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman. Wilton House’s Double Cube room was also used for ballroom scenes in the film.

Channel 4's Team Team at Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral took centre stage in the TV production of Mr Harvey Lights a Candle and Old Wardour Castle experienced some modern-day drama when it was used for the filming of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, while other starring roles have been played by Breamore House and Church (Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders); Heale House (The Portrait of a Lady) and Houghton Lodge (The Buccaneers and Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage).

Stonehenge is an iconic location – used in the BBC production of Tess of the D’Urbervilles; the lake at Fonthill Bishop was used in the film Chocolat, and Trafalgar House near Salisbury has been used for several films including Amazing Grace.

Filming Cranford at LacockThe village of Lacock, with its cottages and inns dating back to the 15th century was the backdrop to the recent BBC production of Cranford. The village is much admired by film makers; the National trust village and nearby Abbey has played host to a variety of classic films and costume dramas including Pride and LacockPrejudice, Harry Potter and the 2008 film production of The Other Boleyn Girl.

Castle Combe has been called the “prettiest village in England”. A favourite with film makers this stunning village is located at the southern tip of the Cotswolds. The village has played host to many filming productions, the most famous of these being Doctor Doolittle filmed in and around the village in 1966, and recently the village had a major role in Stardust and The Wolf Man.

Lark Rise to Candleford (photo: BBC)Pride and Prejudice was also filmed at Luckington Court, Chippenham, the BBC Tess of the D’Urbervilles was also filmed in Corsham, Walk Away and I Stumble for ITV was filmed in Calne and Chippenham, and North Wiltshire is also the location for the BBC’s Lark Rise to Candleford. The unspoilt streets of  Bradford on Avon make the town a perfect location for films. Scenes from the Charles Darwin biopic, Creation, were filmed in the town.

Longleat house and safari park has been used for a number of film productions and is the location for the BBC’s Animal Park.

Wiltshire also has more unusual film locations: aircraft hangars and runways at Kemble and Hullavington, and with such a big presence on Salisbury Plain, the British Army has many locations available for filming. Swindon provides a useful urban location a short distance from London along the M4 motorway or by train, the STEAM railway museum and designer shopping village provides hstorical and contemporary locations. Swindon has been used as a backdrop for film, television drama and advertising. Norman Foster’s Renault building in West Swindon appeared in the James Bond film A View to a Kill and the Motorola Building in North Swindon was used as a filming location for the James Bond film The World is Not Enough. The National Science Museum outpost at Wroughton airfield, the house of Lydiard Park and the Cotswold Water Park provide unique locations near Swindon.

The Young Victoria filmed at Wilton House

Scenes from Saving Private Ryan were set on the Wiltshire Downs.Kennet“Africa and the plains of America are just over an hour away from London”, or so the movie makers have found. Rolling hills, majestic horizons, open skies and a real sense of space, together with a South West Screen “Film Friendly” star rated council are just some of the reasons for filming in the area.

VisitWiltshire staff will smooth the way for a hassle free shoot.

>>Read more about filming in Wiltshire in an article in Your Wiltshire magazine

Wiltshire can offer Neolithic monuments, stone circles, Saxon and Civil War battlefields, peaceful villages where the old rural traditions are still alive, or historic towns such as Devizes and Marlborough both with unique shopping quarters which make them stand apart. Marlborough has reputedly one of the widest high streets in Europe and is home to Marlborough College, while Devizes has an impressive Market Place.
The area has first class road and rail links with the rest of the country and over half of it is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is rich in industrial heritage related to the Kennet and Avon Canal and local industries such as brewing still survive today, with beer still delivered to local hostelries by dray. 

Filming near Marlborough and Devizes include: Time Team – Reconstruction of a timber structure that was excavated at Durrington, Walk Away and I’ll Stumble – Tamzin Outhwaite (2 part drama featuring Avebury), Flog it – Pewsey, How Long is a Piece of String – Savernake Forest and Kennet and Avon Canal, History Mysteries – Open University, and Derek Acorah’s Ghost Town – Devizes, and Wilton Windmill was used for The Victorian Farm produced by Lion TV for the BBC series The Victorian Farm.

The Wolfman filmed in Wiltshire

  Latest NewsCastle Combe
Steven Spielberg  filming War Horse in Castle Combe

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has to shot his most recent film in Castle Combe.  Based on the 1982 book by author Michael Morpurgo, the War Horse, it will feature Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Harry Potter star Emily Watson among the cast. The film is now in post-production and is due for release by Disney in 2011.

>>View coverage of the filming in The Daily Telegraph
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/

We offer private guided sightseeing tours of all these locations.
Wiltshire Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

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Wanted to claryfy that we have not misspelt our tour company name. HisTOURies comes from two words  ‘history’ and ‘stories’ – clever eh?
We operate guided historical (hisTOURical) sightseeing tours of Britain.  Our expert guides (historians or hisTOURians) bring Britain’s rich history (hisTOURy) alive with tales’s and stoiries (sTOURys or sTOURies) of ancient England.
‘It is not spelt incorrectly.’
Hope thats clear (clear as mud)……………..
Our award winning tours can depart from London, Salisbury, Bath or Glastonbury.  Please visit our website:
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in British History (hisTOURy)

Histories (Herodotus)

The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known around the Mediterranean and Western Asia at that time. It is not an impartial record but it remains one of the West’s most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established without precedent the genre and study of history in the Western world, although historical records and chronicles existed beforehand.

Perhaps most importantly, it stands as one of the first, and surviving, accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire, the events of, and causes for, the Greco-Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC. Herodotus portrays the conflict as one between the forces of slavery (the Persians) on the one hand, and freedom (the Athenians and the confederacy of Greek city-states which united against the invaders) on the other.

The Histories was at some point through the ages divided into the nine books of modern editions, conventionally named after the Muses.

Herodotus seems to have travelled extensively around the ancient world, conducting interviews and collecting stories for his book. At the beginning of The Histories, Herodotus sets out his reasons for writing it:

British Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK Stories in History

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