Wednesday, 30 May 2012

BASS is going to Flag Fen!

Archaeoawesome logo
First of all, an apology for the radio silence over the past few months. BASS have been extremely busy flogging off the last remnants of the SEAT merchandise to the denizens of the archaeological community, usually located at the back at whatever pub is nearest the finds tent.

We've managed to send T shirts all over the world; the UK, Austria, Cyprus and America to name a few places. The legacy of SEAT has extended to the furthest corners of the globe, and BASS is proud to carry on their honoured traditions.

Thanks to you and your generous parting of your cash in support of the T shirts, BASS has raised £100 for DigVentures! That's £100 that goes straight into the back pocket of whoever's handling the running of things up at Flag Fen. Tidy.

Not content with just throwing money at things, BASS are going to travel up to Peterborough to oversee the goings on at Flag Fen to make sure that the money - your money - is well spent. We expect the best bottle of stout and the promise of a lock-in on our arrival. Our thanks to DigVentures for allowing us to help out on this very important project.

We've got a few things in the pipeline for the next few months, so watch this space for more BASS action. In the meantime, here's another tip of archaeology for you student types:

Archaeology tip #31: Always pack a spare trowel. You never know when one might be used as a makeshift bottle opener.

Friday, 16 March 2012

BASS gains possession of contraband! Help support DigVentures

Super Extreme Archaeology Team
In celebration of reaching 500 friends on their Facebook profile, BASS have some exciting news:

The previously contraband Super Extreme Archaeology Team T shirts are once again available to the public!

These T shirts are extremely limited (as in, they're not supposed to even have these ones, so they're kind of rare). More details to follow, but the gist of it is that we're flogging these off for £10 a piece. An archaeological bargain.

To all you skeptics who think that BASS will spend all the money on booze, think again. All the cash that comes in from these T shirts will go straight to help DigVentures reach their goal. Every penny will go to a very very worthy cause in archaeology. If BASS raise enough, they might be able to take part in the dig itself, giving you all updates from the road.

So in summary, you can nab a super limited edition (as in Black Market limited edition) SEAT T shirt for a tenner, and all of that cash goes towards DigVentures. How does that sound?

Interested? Let us know. We'll get some more details soon!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Three things you didn't know about Welsh history

Happy St. David's Day to all of our Welsh archaeologists, enthusiasts and ex-pats! It's a day of celebration and a great day to be Welsh, and BASS is already celebrating with a double pint of Brains SA. We've heard that there are many pluses to being Welsh, but here's a few things about Welsh history that you were probably unaware of.

  • Ancient Welsh cannibals inhabited the South Wales Valleys
Nestled deep in the Cynon Valley, archaeologists have uncovered a hasty pit burial with at least sixteen incomplete skeletons. The bones show tool and teeth marks, indicating that the meat had been picked clean off the bones. Incised into one of the bones was the proto-Welsh phrase,

"ar yr amod ein bod yn bwyta'r Saesneg"
which roughly translates in our modern tongue as "So long as we eat the English". The significance of this find is yet to be determined.

Cheers, Billy!
  • Wales lets itself get 'invaded' whenever it needs new buildings 

Ever the quick thinking, industrious people, the Welsh don't see the need to create their own strongholds when they can have others do it for them. In CE 47, the Welsh conspired to allow Roman governor Publius Ostorius Scapula access into the country on condition that he get cracking on building some forts. This he did in earnest and when the Romans buggered off again in CE 410 they had a country's worth of free forts.

When the forts started to get into a bit of disrepair, they let the English in. Taking advantage of William the Conqueror (a.k.a Billy Bastard)'s enthusiasm to run around building stuff, the Welsh opened its doors to him and let him crack on with Chepstow Castle in 1067. Now the Welsh had a country's worth of castles. That's ingenuity right there. The fact that Cardiff Castle has a Norman castle built on top of foundations of a Roman fort pretty much proves this.

Don't hitch your horse there, milord!
  • Medieval Welshmen figured out what Stonehenge was all about
A little known passage from The Mabinogi was discovered in a 14th Century wine cellar in Gwynedd, in which the Prince of Dyfed speaks of the 'circle of blue stone'. The tattered parchment has revealed a few, faded words,
"y cylch o gerrig glas, o bosib y mwyaf a gynlluniwyd yn wael sefydlog awyr agored a welais erioed"

which roughly translates as, "The cirlce of blue stones, possibly the most poorly designed open-air stable I have ever seen"

Friday, 24 February 2012

Stonehenge confirmed to visually represent being pissed

New research by B.A.S.S. at Salisbury has revealed that when you imbibe a minimum quantity of 9 tankards of Wiltshire's finest scrumpy, you start hearing things. If you imbibe said scrumpy in the middle of a field, the sounds start forming shapes. If you're both religious and completely Fatty's Leg* in this field, well, you start building circular monuments. Makes sense, when you think about it.

These rigourous tests were confirmed by science-types who believe that Stonehenge's shape is based on the shape of a sound when in the middle of a field. They say that there would have been two instruments on either side of the field playing the same note to create this. We know this to be nonsense.

Scenario: It's 3,500 BCE. You are a Druid high priest, and you've had a skinful of the chief's finest fermented goat's piss. You get completely lost and end up stonking drunk in the middle of a field. On your right, your best mate is calling you over to him for another snifter. On your left, your wife is calling you over to give you an earful. Your carefully god-kissed and inebriated mind swirls the two sounds together and makes this circular pattern before your eyes. Then you pass out on top of a fox.

B.A.S.S. has cordoned off the entire site of Stonehenge for further investigation. 40 tonnes of nitroglycerin have been ordered from EBay, and we expect to get at least 3 feet down by tea time. Our aim is to find some Neolithic tankards buried beneath the Heelstone to corroborate with our theory.

*the state of being completely beyond repair i.e. "f**king f**ked as f**k"

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

(Super Extreme) Archaeologists

The Super Extreme Archaeologist is an elusive yet highly volatile member of the academic community. If you spot a wild Super Extreme Archaeologist, do not approach or feed them.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's gifts for that special archaeologist in your life

B.A.S.S. are nothing but a bunch of old softies, really. When it comes to Valentine's Day, they sit in front of the letterbox waiting for the love post to roll in. After they've sorted through the mass of lingerie (seriously, whoever keeps sending their knickers, please stop. Or at least wash them first).

The Aztecs were history's greatest romantics. What gift says "I love you" more than a human heart? Casanova, eat your ...never mind.

Here's some of the best Valentine's presents that B.A.S.S. have received in the post today, and make for some good last minute gift ideas for that special archaeologist in your life.

Trowel/Bottle opener combo
 Archaeologists are busy people; they can't be expected to walk out of the trench and into the finds tent to get a bottle opener. This little gizmo saves them the bother.

 Danger: Explosives sign
Absolutely vital if you're planning on digging with B.A.S.S. This little wonder will stop any unsuspecting members of the public from poking their nose into the archaeology where it's not wanted.

A Super Extreme Archaeology Team T-Shirt
 If you can get one of these mysterious gems, then your better half will be yours for life. These rare T-Shirts were available for all of 2 months before the mysterious disappearance of the Super Extreme Archaeology Team. Rumours are that these shirts are currently circulating on the Black Market.

Did we miss anything?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Deconstructing the Ringlemere Cup

B.A.S.S. aren't shy when it comes to deconstruction. "Don't you mean 'reconstruction?'", we hear you cry. Well, no. You see, reconstruction is very 'now' and every archaeologist under the sun is having a bash at it. Deconstructing something takes a bit more time and effort, and B.A.S.S. have done us proud in doing a fine job with the Ringlemere Cup.

B.A.S.S. discovered the cup hidden inside a chicken and bacon sandwich at the Dog and Duck pub in Kent, probably on its way to being smuggled to Cornwall. After some extensive exploratory fieldwork in said pub, B.A.S.S. found the original context of the cup had been some bloke's barrow not too far up the road. They stocked up on pork scratchings and pale ale and headed out; two days later they also uncovered half a wall (it was a full wall but one of the student volunteers knocked over a can of nitroglycerin).

The cup itself is pretty bashed in, and one of the main questions posed at their lecture (again in the Dog and Duck pub) was "how did it get so damaged?".

The popular theory is that the cup was the victim of extensive ploughing in the area, but B.A.S.S. didn't believe it for a second. Half a dozen golden cups were forged and they spend a full week destroying them as best they could. Eventually, the truth was found.

At the test lab, B.A.S.S. confirmed that the damage was the direct result of a Neolithic 'test your strength' contest amongst tribal leaders; a tradition that still exists among the locals of the Dog and Duck pub. Judging by the extensive damage on this cup, we imagine that whoever had a crack at this one was a clear winner.