Saturday, 24 January 2015

800 Years Of Human Sacrifice In Kent

800 Years Of Human Sacrifice In Kent

Interesting article about possible late bronze age sacrifice  on the Isle of Thanet. Thanet had been traditionally known as an 'Isle of the Dead' and has many barrows. A possible original name is Tan-Ard, the High Fire (s), perhaps suggesting rituals. What is particularly interesting about the site is the variety of origins for the people living there. Native Britons mingled with Scandinavians and people from the Mediterranean

Saturday, 20 December 2014


The news was full of information on a Beaker Era burial the other day...Racton Man. Found nearly 30 years ago, his importance only came to the fore after new analysis had been done on his remains and on the unusual rivetted dagger buried with him.
 Racton man lived between 2100 BC- and 2300 BC, the 'Beaker' period and the era when the last re-arrangements to Stonehenge were being  made, with the Bluestones being reshuffled into an approximation of their current positions (at least one notable thinks one or two stones could have been fiddled with in the Romano-British period.). It is also the time the Stonehenge Archer was buried in the terminal of the ditch, a young man of  about 24 with his back pierced by many arrows, fired from different directions, each finding their mark...almost as this had been no chance shooting but something that deliberately involved many--an 'overkill.'
   Racton man, living in Sussex, was a 'big man' in every way, whoever he was. He was 6 foot tall and sturdily built and he had outlived most of his fellows, being over 45 years of age. (This left him with the unfortunate side of EBA life--chronic toothache from worn teeth/caries and backache from arthritis/degeneration that was common in almost everyone in the period. He also had a chronic sinus infection that would doubtless have given him annoying nasal congestion and cracking headaches!)
  Although he didn't have the mutiple beakers of the earlier Amesbury Archer, his gold hair tresses, or his masses of archery equipment, Racton Man's  knife was extraordinary. Longer than most of the others appearing at this period, analysis has shown that it was not the usual was mixed with Cornish was bronze. The bronze age proper, the heroic age of ancient Britain, had begun. It was also rivetted in an unusual way, which, apparently, would have been very diffuclt to accomplish; piercing with stones or metals does not seem to be able to adequately make the rivet-hole.
   There is some confusion over his origins--some reports saying his isotopic signatures showing he was from southern England, others that there was an chance he came from Cornwall or Brittany, even the outside chance he was from Ireland. (I will keep my ear to the ground on this point for further confirmation.) It would be interesting if they could test DNA samples as well, should the dna be viable. In Germany, tests of several Beaker Males have shown an abundance of y-Dna R1b (of the 'Atlantic' type rather than the 'Germanic' kind.) This is the most common type of male DNA  in all the British Isles today, as well as much of western/northwestern Europe. seemingly replacing or becoming dominant over the older G and I, despite the fact the Beaker migration was relatively small, though was certainly not the 'invasion' of metal-wielding genocidal warriors touted by some pre-50's archaeology books! Possibly it was the old story...these 'big men' with their great height, glittery hair tresses, metal daggers and 'cult of the individual' appealed to the local women! They were the 'rock stars' of prehistoric Britain and ended up producing the most surviving children..
   However, it was a hard life, and one thing I endeavoured to show in my novels, which did not go down very well in some quarters, was that it could be a violent and unpredictable time. Like our Stonehenge Archer, the tall man from Racton suffered a severe injury inflicted by another person or persons, which led to his death. He had taken a serious injury to one arm inflicted by a sharp impliment (described as a sword, but would have been a dagger doubtless similar to the one he carried), which would have caused massive and fatal bleeding. He also showed signs of having suffered another stab wound in life, from which he had recovered.
   It will be interesting to see if new technologies find us any more 'dagger princes'; with recent finds of an Irish style lunula in Dorset, tin beads in a rich female buurial on Dartmoor, and Wessex style implements in a grave in Scotland, it is clear to see this bronze age world has greater cultural contacts, and more wealth, than was ever imagined. Gone, certainly, are the days when we believed the ancient Britons, on their mist-shrouded isles, were isolated poor cousins to those on the continent.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Stonehenge Saga by J.P Reedman - A reimagining of the Arthurian legend in Bronze Age Britain

J.P. Reedman, inside Cairn L, Loughcrew Cairns, Southern Ireland.Early 2000's

Cairn L is one of the cairns in the Loughcrew complex, dating approx 3000 B.C.. It has megalithic art and, a rarity, a tall thin standing stone in the chamber. There seems to be an alignment on Samhain sunrise. Cremated remains were placed in a huge stone basin as at Newgrange and other Irish passage graves.
Unfortunately at the moment the landowner no longer allows access to the cairn.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


The Stonehenge short tunnel is all but a done deal unless EH/NT pull it back from the brink, and no matter what length of tunnel is agreed it is likely the east entrance will be projected between the Stonehenge Avenue and Vespasian's Camp
Aside from the aesthetics the hydrological changes will have serious implications for Blick Mead... think about what this means for the chances of preserving or recovering anything connected with that site!

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Works of J.P Reedman, Historical Fantasy Writer

Click below to view my range of books, from prehistory to folklore, historical fiction and poetry.

Thank you for dropping by.

Monday, 20 October 2014

8thC Anglo Saxon Poem - Oldest reference to Stonehenge, the Blick Mead Spring, also featured in Stone Lord

We had the pleasure to attend a last-minute talk by Dr Graeme Davis from the University of Buckingham last night on his new translation of The Ruin, an anglo-saxon poem contained in The Exeter Book.

Commonly mis-attributed(?) to the city of Bath, the lucid description appears to provide perhaps the oldest known mention to Stonehenge, with its lintels fallen, it's red stone and lichen, its white chalked bank & ditches, aptly named "The Old Ones."

Also mentioned is a nearby spring. Is this Blick Mead, at Vespasians Camp?

It was during the years as a member of the team looking at the Spring, that provided me with the idea to write a prehistoric novel centred around the area of Stonehenge. I had noted that there were few modern novels that had been able to bridge the gap between archaeology and fiction, that provided the reader of a realistic vision of the henge and its environs, that gave the people names and a function.

Vespasians Camp, of which not much is known, is a large 15hectare fortified hill commanding an imposing view at the elbow of the River Avon, 1 mile from Stonehenge, from its extensive western ramparts, looking out over Kings Barrow Ridge to the henge on the other side.
Bluestonehenge or West Amesbury Henge is less than 1/4 mile down stream, which includes further mesolithic activity. It's from this "holy" mother mound that gave birth later to all the other monuments in the landscape, of which Stonehenge is the dominant one.

Neglected and missed by archaeologists like Hawley, Atkinson & Parker Pearson, it was during a recent talk by Josh Pollard that further reinforced the camp as perhaps being Stonehenge's version of Silbury Hill.
Most prehistoric landscapes contain a holy hill, a spot of first creation, usually on the spot of a spring.
Avebury has Silbury. Marden had the Hatfield Barrow. Stonehenge is missing one - no more.

In the STONE LORD series, I not only site Vespasians Camp as Ardhu's main encampment, standing silent guardian over Stonehenge and Durrington, but mention the pool as the sacred lake where Ardhu gets his bronze sword from the Lady of the Lake (based on the body of an anglo saxon woman buried on an islet in Lake village, 3 miles into the Woodford Valley) Vespasians Camp would have been almost an island at certain times of the year. Stonehenge became The Round Table, a place that Mike Parker Pearson notes as being "a place of unity" of many different cultures.

(The name Vespasian’s Camp  originates from the 18th century antiquarian William Camden although personally I do prefer the name Lady Antrobus referred to it by in her article in the  1 March 1902 edition of Country Life, ‘Mount Ambrosius’ , profoundly hinting at the possible true significance this chalk hill played in the earliest founding days of the British nation and  not far removed from Geoffrey of Monmouth's  ‘Hill of Ambrius’ )

Birthplace of UK history

STONE LORD and MOON LORD Available in Kindle and Print

You can also buy signed copies of both books at:

Tuesday, 30 September 2014



FABLES OF THE FAE is a collection of short fantasy stories and poetry with an emphasis on the denizens of the celtic faerie realm. Old Gods returned to earth, lost Sidhe yearning for home, sinister dark elves manipulating mortals, strange guardian sprites who seek to mingle with mortal men. Haunting and strange, sometimes of hideous ugliness, other times shining with great beauty--the realm of the Fae.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Man killed by arrows at Stonehenge. Ritual sacrifice?

I was prompted to do another post here following the second-part of BBC2's excellent "OPERATION STONEHENGE" which outlines the many fascinating new discoveries made over the last year or two as part of the HIDDEN LANDSCAPES PROJECT.

This weeks programme shows a vivid re enactment of the life and death of the so-named "Stonehenge archer" a young man from the time the monument was in full swing. He was found in late 70's in the bank and ditch of the monument. Upon investigation, it had been found that he had been shot multiple times by arrows before being given a shallow burial.

I described a very similar ritualistic death scene in Moon Lord, based upon this much over looked burial, now in The Salisbury Museum.
I was prompted to release here another excerpt from Book Two of my Stonehenge Saga. So, here it is for you.

Mordraed craned his head toward the noise of the horses. He could see the dim shapes of men entering the stones…saw daggers drawn and bows with barbed arrows on the string. Ardhu’s warriors!
     Releasing Ardhu, he started to crawl on all fours toward the entrance of Khor Ghor, toward the Watchers and the Stone of Summer…toward the ghost Moon, the blessed Mother Moon to which he was sworn, as it soared higher into the night-time sky.
    Instinctively his hand went to the hilt of Carnwennan, pulling it free of his flesh; blood flowed with renewed intensity and he stared at it, streaking down his legs, covering his hands, shining in the bitter Moon-light.
     His life, slipping away, feeding chalk and stones and Ancestral bones buried deep beneath him.
    Coldness seeped through his limbs, a strange tingling; he struggled to breathe. An iron taste hung in his mouth and he felt something wet on his lips that was not saliva.
   Behind him he could hear shouts from Ardhu’s warriors, knew that they were preparing to leap upon him, to rend him limb from limb with their axes and daggers. They would take his head, they would take his heart; his pieces would be scattered on the plain and his spirit would never rest. An ignominious death, devoid of honour. A traitor’s death.
      He heard Ardhu’s voice rise, shaking, hoarse, as if from a great distance. “Men…finish him! But not with your blades. Give him to the Circle in the old way of our ancient forebears, to atone for his crimes against the Ancestors. Give him to the Circle that his spirit might be trapped here for eternity, guarding what he has tried to destroy.”
    Mordraed halted, mid-crawl. Behind him he could hear footsteps, heavy breathing.
    He knew what his fate would be now…both relief and a curse.
     Drawing himself up onto his knees through his pain, he flung his arms open wide in token of his submission and looked up toward the ascending Moon, the bone-white eye of She-Who-Guards, the Protectress of the Dead. On the pitted surface he swore he could see the face of Morigau gazing down at him, filled with love and hate and pride and mockery…
      Three arrows flew. Three arrows struck.
    One hit Mordraed’s breastbone and then glanced aside into his heart.
     Mordraed fell face first on the ground, arms still outstretched, and the men of Ardhu’s warband took his body by the arms and dragged it to the terminal of the henge-ditch near Heulstone, where they dug a hasty pit. They threw the corpse in with little care, taking his weapons as trophies but leaving his archer’s wristguard because he was a man of high status. They placed shards of bluestone around him, to bind his spirit with the power of the sacred Stones, then covered the crouched body with chalk and spoil and debris.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Stonehenge Saga : What next?

I hope as a visitor to this site you find that the information contained in it is of use and inspires you to investigate either your own sacred landscape, or that of Stonehenge & Avebury, where I have been lucky enough to not only live these past 7 years, but study on and off since 1984.

I was inspired to write The Stonehenge Saga, comprising of STONE LORD & MOON LORD after living,breathing, walking and working in its landscape. This often involved helping on excavations locally and being in the position to interpret & guide visitors around the wonderful monument of Stonehenge.

I have received wonderful feedback from readers and peer reviews from academics in the field citing that the books (albeit being a work of fiction) nevertheless pay a lot of respect and attention to archaeological detail.

This was one of the main reasons for writing this book. I wanted to bring the landscape alive as it had never been done before, literary speaking. To put flesh on to the bones of the people that built, used, and existed on those chalk downlands 5,000 years ago.

Anyone wanting to know about Stonehenge faces sometimes impenetrable scholarly text books & journals, but often the reverse -  pseudo intelligent astronomical mathematics which leaves you cold and tells you nothing about the people, or that which misrepresents those people in the case of new age, airy-fairy beliefs that pay no heed to any of its physical archaeology.

Save for a handful of novels, the most well known is Bernard Cornwell's Stonehenge. Most novels about the stones have always depicted ancient Britain as a primitive backwater, at the same time that fantastic achievements were going on elsewhere in the Middle and Near East, I've always fought that the British Megalithic Culture of the Neolithic & Bronze Age easily rivals Troy, and anything else going on in the world at that time. I've tried to highlight this in Blog posts here.

Cornwell's novel was excellent, but it had its flaws, notably not the same kind of access to information as I've been able to research. Not quite that same feeling for landscape either, that only a person living there could experience. Also that it was written before a  lot of the new studies were completed, namely the excellent work of Parker Pearson, Gaffney, Jacques, Darvill & Pollard, to name but a few.

Stone Lord was/is my first "baby," but as an author you also cannot hold on too long. You need to keep moving on and above all, keep writing. So, after these two full length novels I've dabbled with writing short stories inspired by my love of European Folk Tales, with Robin Hood, resurrected a few early forays into the British Prehistory, and set about tackling the divine kingship of King Richard III
Most recently, I've published a short anthology of Richard related short stories and poetry, called "Tales of the White Boar" click here for details.

A full list of my published works to date are available here.

The Stonehenge Saga will not be my final work involving the Stonehenge area.
I hope to write a fictional account of the journey of the Amesbury Archer; one of the oldest known, and richest early metal workers to be found in Britain. Also a piece on Amesbury's Queen - Eleanor of Provence, of which very little seems to be known (even her exact grave site is unknown and remains to be found) I want to do something with the Irish Sagas too in a new and interesting way, similar to Stone Lord.

I hope to also combine Stone Lord and Moon Lord into an Omnibus Edition, replete with new cover, and a few new chapters (perhaps containing a prequel.)

If you want to follow my activities better, I can be contacted on Facebook and I'm also on Twitter
There are Facebook Groups for Stone Lord and for Sacred King. I hope you can stop by and "Like" the pages.

As ever, thank you for your continued interest and support.



Sunday, 10 August 2014

KING RICHARD III FANTASY NOVELLA *NOW OUT* Anniversary of Bosworth Field 1485 :- Black Annis / Thomas the Rhymer

SACRED KING, a historical fantasy novella about King Richard III, the Battle of Bosworth, and its aftermath. 

In August, 1485, King Richard III rides on the hunt in Bestwood Park, near Nottingham, and sees a disturbing vision, a man being killed in ritualistic manner, his blood given to the hungry Land. Riding into Leicester with his army several days later, eager to face the invading Henry Tudor and defend his crown, he encounters yet more disturbing omens…
The old woman Agnes Black upon Bow Bridge, who prophecies his head will strike the stone upon his return from the field. On the day of battle, the King is betrayed and loses his life in a heroic last charge, his blood falling on the red soil of Redemore Plain…. but that is not the end. 

A Lady who walks between Heaven and Hell takes Richard Plantagenet to the Middle Kingdom, like the prophet Thomas the Rhymer many centuries before. 
Will he join her band of unearthly knights, or will he find a way to escape from what he sees as purgatory? 

Includes a climax featuring the latter day discovery of the body of Richard III in a car park in Leicester, on the actual anniversary of the King's burial at Greyfriars after Bosworth—the event of his 'return to the world' heralded by brooding storm clouds. 

A tale of sacrifice and redemption, weaving into the story not only the history of Richard III’s final days, but various underlying legends and pieces of folklore connected with the event. 

"Well-written, obviously well-researched, boldly imagined..."
"Flawless blending of the real and the mythical..."
"Loved, loved this book..."
"I have to warn you that once picked up - it's difficult to put down again..."

SACRED KING is a fantasy, but perhaps most of all it is a story of hope. It tries to ascribe deeper meaning and a greater heroism using powerful archetypes such as The Doomed Hero, prevalent in stories millennia old. 




5.0 out of 5 stars WowAugust 10, 2014
This review is from: Sacred King: Richard III: Sinner, Sufferer, Scapegoat, Sacrifice (Kindle Edition)
If I mention 'the Golden Bough', many amazon users many know what to expect when they read this. For those who do not, there is an appendix that explains many of the themes in the book, but . . . wow.

Well-written, obviously well-researched, boldly imagined and put together. It has the added advantage of pointing toward other, more scholarly books people might not otherwise explore. At one point I was even sure it was straying into 'Hamlet's Mill'. And yet the Bible is there too.

I read this on kindleunlimited, and come Monday I plan to buy it for my own library. Wow.