Television Review: Into Africa with Henry Louis Gates

IT'S ALWAYS healthy for traditional orthodoxies to have to fight for their place in the sun. So you can't overestimate the usefulness of a series like Into Africa with Henry Louis Gates (Sat BBC2), which sets up against Eurocentric versions of history an African alternative, in which the "Dark Continent" is a place of sophisticated, ancient civilisations, monumental buildings and huge wealth.

Seahenge move defeats protesters

FINALLY, AFTER 4,000 years in the ground and almost two months of wrangling over it, the central oak stump of the Seahenge Bronze Age memorial was excavated from a Norfolk beach yesterday.

Seahenge left to the waves again as protester halts the removal men

THE SAGA of Seahenge descended into near farce yesterday, when work to excavate the 4,000-year-old Bronze Age monument from a Norfolk beach was halted again, after a protester sought support from the Health & Safety Executive.

ECLIPSE OF THE SUN; `We had seen the world dead'

On 29 June 1927, three million people went to the north of England to see 25 seconds of total eclipse. Virginia Woolf described the event in her diary

Comment: The moon is the real star

Monday Book

Court move on oak circle

SCIENTISTS TRYING to move an ancient oak circle known as Seahenge said yesterday they would seek an injunction to stop druids occupying the site.


NEW D-G. The appointment of Greg Dyke as the Director-General of the BBC raises an important question: what happened to his beard? Was he forced to shave it off by the Board of Governors, or has it just been digitally retouched out of photos, like Prince William's frown? It's possible that after his glorious ascension to D-G, G D will now try to pretend that he never had a beard, which perhaps isn't such a bad idea. As for that other matter - his pounds 55,000 donation to the Labour Party - the opposition need not worry about bias or undue influence. Everybody knows it takes a lot more than that to turn the Labour Party's head.

Letter: Stonehenge for all


Poetic Licence


Do the right thing, please

No wonder these people feel frustrated, with so much they want to tackle and no party to support

Mayhem at midsummer's dawn as travellers storm Stonehenge fence

HUNDREDS OF people granted special permission to visit Stonehenge for the summer solstice had it withdrawn last night after police clashed with New Age travellers who stormed the sacred stone circle.

After 10 years, Druids return to Stonehenge

DRUIDS CELEBRATED the summer Solstice at Stonehenge early today after police ended a four-mile exclusion zone around the sacred stones. For the first time in a decade, worshippers were allowed to assemble at dawn behind a perimeter fence a few yards from the ancient site.

A quarter of the nation's top listed buildings are in a state of disrepair

A QUARTER of Britain's most important listed buildings have fallen into such serious disrepair that they could be lost for ever unless millions of pounds can be found to save them.

Historical Notes: Witches go on-line, off-broomstick

IN 1937 a retired civil servant called Gerald Gardner, having recently moved to the New Forest, met a wealthy spinster with the rather wonderful name of Dorothy Clutterbuck. After they had got to know each other, she confessed a secret: she belonged to a nearby coven of witches, which had existed in hiding for nearly 2,000 years. Their rituals were not concerned with the traditional broomsticks and potions, but with the worship of an ancient nature-goddess called Aradia.

Letter: Rites, not riots

Sir: For the summer solstice this year, 21 June, eight druid orders volunteered to cut their traditional combined sunrise ceremony down to 20 minutes only, to allow time for other Pagan groups to do their own ceremony.
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