Tuesday, December 04, 2012

For those of you who are interested in all things Xmassy, I thought you may like to read this excellent blog, entitled Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary, about the origins of mistletoe

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Just wanted to bring to peoples attention a mighty fine new little tour company opening up in the Highlands of Scotland. Specialising in archaeology and history tours, I'd drop them a line if you are thinking of visiting Scotland any time soon.........

                           ANCIENT SCOTLAND TOURS


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Read my new article entitled 'The Symbolic Burial of Osiris' in the first edition of the innovative new The Heretic Magazine


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just to let you good folks know that I am away from my desk at present. Normal service will be resumed on the 1st September 2012.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I just wanted to share the news with you all. I have just been offered a PhD scholarship, which I have accepted and am now an official Research Fellow at the IIPSGP. Naturally, I am really 'chuffed' about this. The topic of my research degree will be a comparative study of Maat, the ancient Egyptian notion of truth and justice, as illustrated in the goddess image above. Further details to follow :)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

There are many misconceptions about what someone like myself does on a daily basis. Quite a few people have visions of me leading some kind of constant rock 'n' roll Indiana-type lifestyle. I will not lie, at times it can be so. However, bar the extensive hours spent researching and writing, more often than not you simply find yourself standing in the middle of nowhere, holding a spirit level for hours whilst being buffetted by the wind! And I wouldn't change it for the world :)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Whilst watching the Royal Jubilee Pageant in my old town I just wanted to wish everyone a fun-filled and joyous Jubilee week-end. What a wonderful occasion, no matter what the detractors might say. Raising a glass of bubbly to you Ma'am....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Am I the only one who is becoming rather concerned nowadays at how people in both archaeological/​anthropological and alternative circles are using DNA testing as absolute irrefutable proof??? For peoples information, DNA does NOT prove anything. DNA results are only as good as those responsible for the testing. There are some excellent people involved in this particular field. But there are also as many, if not more, complete deviants/numpties! For example, here are three DNA tests I know full well about...

1) The group already had a preconceived agenda so the DNA sample was tested three times until the group achieved the result they desired

2) When the DNA tests were inconclusive, a vote was taken amongst the testing group to decide what results should be considered 'proof' and released into the public domain.

3) The sampling equipment had not been cleaned from the previous test, so all results were contaminated and inaccurate (this was by a supposedly Government backed private genetic testing company). It did not stop the agency from releasing the contaminated results though.

So folks, if you do read something about how DNA has proven this or that, have the common sense to ask a few questions first before believing what you read.....:)

Friday, May 18, 2012

A little taster of what I have been writing about over the past couple of weeks. Dating to the later periods of Egyptian history, these are referred to as 'Osiris Bricks', not to be confused with 'Osiris Beds'. Very little is known about their origins, probably only thirteen of them are today in existence, and they would serve as a receptacle for soil and grain, the germinating grain representing the resurrection of the god Osiris.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Alas, due to personal reasons, I am unable to travel to Egypt this year and much of the intended research I wished to share with you all has now been put on hold until a later date. But all not is lost, as there appears to be a million other things to do. So I thought it would be a good idea to list them rather than write one long paragraph......

1) I am now recording the various ‘grave-markers’ I come across on my respective travels. So I ask you all to have a little patience with me as I indulge in my new found passion for skull and cross bone iconography, swords, shovels, trumpets, skeletons and other relative symbols of mortality. The results will be published in an on-going 'Symbols of Mortality Monograph Series'.

2) I have now set up a new tour company called Ancient Scotland Tours, providing a variety of day tours around the north of Scotland. It is still in its infancy mind you, but things appear to be going well. Please make a note of the address - www.ancientscotlandtours.com. Contact email is info@ancientscotlandtours.com. Please feel free to make contact if you are thinking of a trip to bonnie Scotland and would like some advice.

3) A local Scheduled Ancient Monument recently collapsed, not entirely unexpected if I'm honest, and I will be a member of the related work-party tasked with something archaeological I am guessing. I will take a series of pictures to share the comings-and-goings of said monument, so you can gauge the problems archaeology faces during these troubling times.

4) Five new pieces of work will be published in a variety of magazines in the next month or so. Not all about Egypt, but the majority are. I will keep you posted to as and when they are available to read.

5) If all goes well, I will be joining an excavation throughout the summer searching for the remains of prehistoric settlements in mountainous areas. More to follow on this.

6) Ye ole Warrior Women is now set for a total re-vamp, and a new title, and will be released in 2013. In all honestly, it will be an entirely new book and will bear no relation, whatsoever, to the old Osprey titled one.

7) Bookings for lectures are now coming in at a steady pace, very flattering, so please feel free to contact me if you would like a talk for your society. The two favourite subject matters appear to be ancient Egypt and warrior women! No surprise there!

8) Oh and don't forget, Murder at Medinet Habu is now out! So, until the next up-date I send best wishes to you all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Throughout Egyptian history only a handful of rulers can be considered truly remarkable kings. Of these Ramesses III was the last great Pharaoh to sit upon the throne. Son and heir to Sekhnakhte, Ramesses III was the second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty. His reign can be dated provisionally to around 1184-1153BC and was one of considerable turmoil, both at home and abroad, culminating in one of ancient Egypt’s darkest episodes, his eventual assassination at the hands of his harem women.

The following Heritage Tour Guide is ideal for first-time visitors and has been written specifically to appeal to the download market, in particular mobile applications whilst on-site. It is a perfect accompaniment to any Egypt guide-book and consists of a series of specially chosen landmarks, with accompanying images, which take the reader on a natural progression around the temple and its environs.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

For those of you who are unaware of the fantasy comic genre, you may not know that the basis of Kingdom of the Ark and the tale of Scota was once transformed into comic format by the mighty Pat Mills, Godfather of the comic world. Entitled Slaine: Book of Invasions, the said trilogy has just been re-released in hardback by 2000AD comics and the graphics are truly astounding. You will be amazed when you see Scota!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just to let folks know that my personal website has had some major up-dates, which include a new 'Guest Slot'. My very first 'Guest' is the very talented Irish illustrator JG O'Donoghue. So pop on over to the site and take a look!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Again, I appear to be rushed off my feet, so apologies for radio silence of late. At present, on my desk, I have three Kindle books to edit and complete, three magazine articles that require immediate attention, website overhaul and up-dates, the collation of an archaeological collection, endless requests for information and so on and so on. Not that I am complaining. It is very flattering to be asked to do these things but, at times, I just wish there were at least three of me!! It would also help if the money was rolling in with all this work. But as any professional Egyptologist/Archaeologist will tell you, the vast majority of work is unpaid and you do it for the love of the subject matter. And with the huge mountain of work in front of me, that's a whole lot of loving!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ormond Castle was a mighty stronghold, overlooking the coastal village of Avoch on the Black Isle. Home to the De Moray family, the castle became a focal point during the initial Scottish Wars of Independence against the English King Edward I. The head of the family, Andrew de Moray, became the leader of the rebellion in the North, eventually combining his forces with those of the legendary William Wallace and became, with Wallace, 'Joint Commanders of the Army of the Kingdom of Scotland'. Each year the official De Moray standard is raised high above the castles ramparts to celebrate the feats of Andrew de Moray.

A 'Visitors Guide to Ormond Castle' has been especially designed to appeal to the download market. It provides a comprehensive, yet condensed overview of the historical and archaeological matter complete with directions and images.A Visitors Guide to Ormond Castle is available on Kindle, PC Download, Android, Smartphones, Blackberry etc

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Well, the past few weeks have been very busy indeed, having been commissioned by Ancient Scotland Tours to write a series of condensed 'Visitors Guides' to sites of interest around Scotland. These guides have been written especially to appeal to the download market, whether on Kindle, Smartphones, Androids, Blackberry and so on.

The first such guide will be released on Amazon Kindle in 48 hours and is entitled 'A Visitors Guide to Clava Cairns'. Clava Cairns is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age burial ground consisting of two passage graves, a ring cairn, a kerb cairn and some wonderful standing stones.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Over the past week I have received a number of interview and speaking requests. In all honesty, I find it rather humbling to think that someone would wish to hear me speak about my work. As such, I have decided it is time to return to the so-called speakers circuit. Therefore, please feel free to contact me about bookings or interviews. I will also be announcing the dates of some up-coming lectures in the next few days. Stay tuned, as they say!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Well todays little burial ground adventure consisted of recording a few skull and cross bone grave markers. I am hoping to commence a study of such emblems in the not too distant future. So if anyone is interested in finding out more, please drop me a line!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OK, nothing to do with archaeology or ancient history but I have just been informed by a future colleague that you can see the NASA Space Station fly past the house at specific times of the day and month. I thought he was pulling my leg, so to speak, but no, he is quite correct. Go and take a look at the NASA website and it will tell you if and when the space station does a fly past your general abode. So cool....:)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The New Hermopolis (Thoth City) is an Independent Trust registered by the Charity Commission England and Wales. The main objective of the New Hermopolis is to develop middle Egypt, economically and culturally, through the active promotion of both conventional and alternative forms of tourism. For further details: www.hermopolis.org

Seafaring before the Neolithic - circa 7th millennium BCE - is a controversial issue in the Mediterranean. However, evidence from different parts of the Aegean is gradually changing this, revealing the importance of early coastal and island environments. The site of Ouriakos on the island of Lemnos (Greece) tentatively dates to the end of the Pleistocene and possibly the beginning of the Holocene, circa 12,000 BP.
A team formed by N. Laskaris, A. Sampson and I. Liritzis from the Laboratory of Archaeometry, University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies, Rhodes; and F. Mavridis from the Ephorate of Palaeo-anthropology and Speleology of Southern Greece suggested that obsidian sources on the island of Melos in the Cyclades could have been exploited earlier. Studies of material from Franchthi cave in the Argolid indicated Melos as its origin, but obsidian hydration dating was not applied to the artefacts recovered.
Obsidian, or 'volcanic glass', has been a preferred material for stone tools wherever it is found or traded. It also absorbs water vapour when exposed to air - for instance, when it is shaped into a tool - and absolute or relative dates can be determined for that event by measuring the depth of water penetration. In 10,000 years, the expected hydration depth is about 10 mm from the tool surface.
Two routes for the obsidian found at Franchthi have been considered: a direct one of around 120 kilometres with islets in between, and another one through Attica including crossings of 15 to 20 kilometres between islands. The presence of obsidian in mainland and island sites indicates that these voyages included successful return journeys.
Sites in Ikaria, in Sporades, and on Kythnos demonstrate that, during the Mesolithic, a well established system of obsidian exploitation and circulation existed - a phenomenon that has its routes even earlier, as dates from sites in Attica indicate. Furthermore, obsidian artefacts have recently been found in two other Mesolithic sites in Greece, one in the island of Naxos and the other one in the small island of Halki. Exchange systems therefore brought obsidian to the eastern and the north-west Aegean, and even reached coastal inland sites of mainland Greece such as Attica, though not yet found in mainland sites. Possibly through sites in this latter region obsidian was also brought to the Peloponnese.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


The tomb of Amun Re singer Ni Hms Bastet was discovered in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s West Bank. A deep burial well was found during a routine cleaning carried out by a Swiss archaeological mission on the path leading to King Tuthmosis III’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The well leads to a burial chamber filled with a treasured collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State for Antiquities, said that further inside the chamber, excavators stumbled upon a wooden sarcophagus painted black and decorated with hieroglyphic texts, and a wooden stelae engraved with the names and different titles of the deceased.

Early studies carried out by the Swiss team revealed that the tomb dates back to the 22nd Dynasty (945-712 BC) and it belongs to the daughter of Amun Re, lecture priest in Karnak temples and also the singer of the God Amun Re.

Excavations are now in full swing in order to reveal more of the tomb’s treasured collection.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Some more fascinating footage.........

For those with a particular interest in Akhenaten and his city at Akhetaten, take a look at this very early film from the Egypt Exploration Society. Wonderful stuff!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Friday, January 06, 2012

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson

John Gardner Wilkinson was born in 1797, the son of John Wilkinson, a clergyman, of Hardendale in Westmorland, and Mary Anne Wilkinson (ne Gardner). Through his mother he was related to the Crewe family of Calke Abbey in south Derbyshire; Georgiana Crewe (ne Lovell, c.1824-1910), wife of the ninth baronet Sir John Harpur Crewe (1824-86), was his second cousin.

Wilkinson's mother and father had died by the time he was ten years old. He was entrusted to a guardian, and was educated at Harrow and at Exeter College, Oxford. His love of travel began with visits to the Continent in 1817 and 1818. In 1819 he set off on a 'Grand Tour' through France, Germany, and Italy, where he met the antiquarian and student of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sir William Gell. Gell encouraged Wilkinson to engage in Egyptological study under his guidance; and in October 1821 Wilkinson left Italy for Alexandria.

Wilkinson remained in Egypt until 1833. He travelled extensively in that country, learnt Coptic and Arabic, continued his study of hieroglyphics, and surveyed and recorded the remains of ancient Egyptian society, notably the tombs at the site of Thebes. He began to publish his research, and continued to do so after his return to England. Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, his most extensive work, was first published by John Murray in two series in 1837 and 1841; a second edition appeared in 1847. This work enhanced Wilkinson's reputation as an Egyptologist, which resulted in his knighthood in 1839, and in membership of many learned societies.

He revisited Egypt four times: in 1841-2, 1843-4, 1848, and 1855-6. Partly because of these visits, as well as through undoubted inclination, he also travelled widely in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, and in the early 1840s toured Dalmatia and Montenegro, part of Asia Minor, the Levant and North Africa. (John Murray published Wilkinson's account of his travels in the Balkans as Dalmatia and Montenegro in 1848.)

In 1856 Wilkinson married Caroline Catherine Lucas (1822-81), a keen botanist and antiquarian, the companion of Augusta, Lady Llanover. The couple lived first at Tenby in Pembrokeshire, on the South Wales coast. In 1866 they moved to Brynfield House, at Reynoldston on the Gower peninsula. Brynfield and the surrounding area provided Wilkinson with ample opportunity to indulge his interest in ancient British remains; he had already published several articles on British archaeology and antiquities.

Wilkinson's Egyptological work contributed to the foundation of that discipline in Britain, but his research and publications ranged beyond Egypt into architecture, aesthetics, international relations and the classics, as well as travel and the study of ancient Britain. Moreover, in his detailed water-colours and drawings, as in his extensive notes and 'journals', he recorded his impressions of the architecture, costume and contemporary society of all the countries he visited.

On his death in 1875 Wilkinson's library and papers were bequeathed to Sir John Crewe and his family, and were sent to Calke Abbey. It was known that his publications represented only a small proportion of his work, and interest in his papers continued. In 1925 many of the manuscripts relating to Wilkinson's Egyptological research were lent to Francis Llewellyn Griffith, professor of Egyptology at Oxford; after Griffith's death in 1934, these items passed with his library to the Griffith Institute in Oxford. They were used by Bertha Porter and Rosalind Moss in the preparation of their Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings (Oxford, 1927-51; revised and reissued, 1960-95), and were given reference numbers used in that work.

In 1984 the National Trust became the owner of Calke Abbey and its contents, including all Wilkinson's manuscripts, which were soon afterwards placed on deposit at the Bodleian and which this catalogue describes. (Wilkinson's library remains at Calke.) They were used by Professor Jason Thompson in his biography of Wilkinson (Sir Gardner Wilkinson and his Circle, Austin, Texas, 1992).

Further details with regards to his papers can be found at:

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Well it's a busy start to the New Year. Firstly, for those interested in Ancient Egyptian Warfare a colleague of mine, Sarah Shepherd, has just set up a new interest Group on Facebook. Called the Ancient Warfare Research Associates, I recommend those with a Facebook account to join us.