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.

NEWS MONKEY

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

Letter:

Poetic Licence

STONEHENGE

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HUNDREDS OF people granted special permission to visit Stonehenge for the summer solstice had it withdrawn last night after police clashed with New Age travellers who stormed the sacred stone circle.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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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there