BU academic uncovers Stonehenge truths in BBC documentary

Dr. Miles Russell, an academic from Bournemouth University (BU), has given comment on Stonehenge during a BBC documentary, Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath.

In the programme, archaeologists take a high tech approach to discovering the history of Stonehenge and have started to explore the surrounding areas using 21st century technology to study over ten thousand years of human development.

Dr. Russell’s research has discovered that flint found underground in Grime Graves were also found in the form of prehistoric tools when the digging up of the surrounding areas of the Stonehenge.

The mining of the flint was an incredibly complex and dangerous process with the mines reaching sizes of 12 and a half metres deep. Russell said during the documentary: “These mines are quite an achievement when you think the people excavating these mines were only using stone and bone tools.”

Russell, who is also director of Regnum and co-director of the Durotriges Project, has given evidence that shows these prehistoric communities who built the mines were capable of large scale and complicated projects, furthering the discoveries of how the Stonehenge was created.

The programme is available to watch again on BBC iPlayer.

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

BU MA Journalism graduate wins BBC Student Innovation Award


A Master’s journalism graduate from Bournemouth University has won a BBC Student Innovation Award for his work looking at ethnic tensions in Kosovo.

Joshua Longmore, who recently completed the MA Multimedia Journalism degree at BU, was awarded the accolade by the BBC College of Journalism, for his multimedia project Crossing the Bridge.

Joshua undertook the project as part of his MA course, going undercover in northern Kosovo to explore the ethnic tensions that exist between Albanians and Serbians in an area called Mitrovica.

“Crossing the Bridge is an in-depth multimedia project exploring ethnic tensions in Kosovo between its ethnic Albanians and Serbs as the Brussels Talks sought to normalise relations between Pristina and Belgrade,” said Joshua, 26.

“I actually completed my undergraduate degree dissertation on nationalism in Kosovo, so when the talks started towards the end of my MA, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take everything I’d learned and apply it in the field of independent foreign reporting.”

Joshua filming out in Kosovo

Joshua filming out in Kosovo

The final project consists of a website which includes video footage and audio interviews, alongside text and photography explaining the situation in the region and its history.

Joshua faced a number of challenges while working on it out in Kosovo, but said he is “really proud” of the final piece of work.

“Taking on such a big project by myself was really challenging,” he said.

“It took months and months or preparation and execution. However, filming and just practicing journalism in northern Mitrovica, still a volatile part of Kosovo, was difficult.

“I crossed into the Serbian-controlled north with some Albanians to interview an inter-ethnic couple, which was fairly dangerous.

“The whole thing has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to carry out though.”

Judges for the BBC College of Journalism’s Student Innovation Award praised Joshua’s work – describing it as “a strong, comprehensive and atmospheric piece of story-telling” with “excellent original content which demonstrates a high degree of multi-skilling and innovation.”

Joshua, who has recently secured a position as a broadcast assistant for new local TV platform London Live, said he was pleased to receive the accolade and exposure for his work.

“I’m enormously proud of winning this award and having my first piece of independent foreign reporting recognised by the BBC. Some really important people at the BBC have seen my work which can only do me good in the future.”

Joshua received around £1,250 from BU’s Global Horizons Fund to work on the project, which allowed him to travel to Kosovo and pay for things like flights, accommodation and a translator.

He said “I literally couldn’t have done this project without the support of Bournemouth University, both from the Global Horizons Fund and my course tutors. It’s been an amazing experience.”

Visit the Crossing The Bridge project website

BU’s Andy Ford explains Lulworth landslide on BBC national news

Andy Ford, Lecturer in Geoinformatics at BU, was on the national BBC News at 6pm talking about landslides near Lulworth Cove in Dorset.

A large section of the coastline had collapsed, leaving the beach below covered in thousands of tons of rock, and more than 30 landslips have occurred across the South Coast over the past few weeks.

Andy took to a boat with reporter Jon Kay to explain why the landslides had occurred.

“We’ve had an awful lot of excessive rain over the last year and this spring as well, and what we are looking at here is a very tall chalk cliff,” he said.

“It is very porous and a lot of rainwater will permeate into that rock and will make it a lot heavier than it is normally.

“The water will also get into the little joints and the cracks in the rock, and will promote large, catastrophic events such as this, which are very, very dramatic.”

He said that the coastline had been actively eroding for the last 10,000 years since sea levels rose, but that the levels of erosion varied from day to day.

“Some days you get very little erosion and some days you get very dramatic events like this,” he said, adding that the landslide was the largest he’d seen on the Jurassic Coast.

He said that the landslides can also happen without warning.

“This can happen very suddenly, without much warning at all – particularly in these kind of chalk cliffs,” he said.

“It’s very, very difficult to predict and the coastal path does tend to run very close to the cliff line, so it can be very dangerous.”

Watch Andy’s interview in full

BU virtual reality bystander research featured on BBC London TV news

Richard Southern, Research Lecturer in Computer Animation at BU, was featured on BBC London TV news talking about using virtual reality to investigate the bystander effect.

Richard and a team from BU have been working with University College London to create a virtual reality simulation of an altercation in a bar, to see how people react when they witness a violent situation.

Participants wear special glasses which create a 360 degree virtual experience, and are confronted with a conflict between two men in the bar – one of whom is wearing an Arsenal football shirt.

The research found that people were more likely to intervene if they were fellow Arsenal fans or if the simulated person made eye contact, seen as an appeal for help.

BBC London reporter Sara Orchard tried out the simulation, for a report which appeared on both the lunchtime and evening bulletins.

Richard said: “A lot of people were frustrated that they couldn’t intervene, but I think in general, most people were surprised by how emotionally involved in the event.”

The research is now being looked at for potentially uses by the prison service, the Ministry of Defence and the police.

You can watch the BBC London report here.

David Kilburn talks to BBC about the retail picture in Christchurch

David Kilburn, Associate Professor in Enterprise at BU, was featured on local BBC TV and radio programmes talking about the fact that Christchurch appears to be bucking current retail trends.

Christchurch has a much lower rate of shop vacancy than anywhere else in the South, and many believe it is due to the affluent older generation who live there.

David told BBC South Today: “I think a lot of them have lived here for quite some time, they have already paid the mortgage off, they may have held quite good jobs and therefore, they have got a reasonable pension.

“So they are reasonably well-off – some very well-off – and they like to spend their money.”

He also featured on BBC Radio Solent’s breakfast show speaking about the issue.

As part of a live broadcast from the Dorset town on Julian Clegg’s breakfast show, David said: “Certainly, Christchurch is a very dynamic town and it’s very appealing to all demographics and, of course, got ‘grey pound’ shoppers.

“You’ve got more time if you’re not working, but it’s a recreational activity as well as the shopping.”

But he added that it was not necessarily true that the older population was less likely to shop online, and so stick to the traditional high street shopping.

“I think with the older demographic, many of them really do have the time to spend learning about how to go online, so it’s not that difficult, but clearly there are some people – perhaps in their 80s – who might not really go for it quite as much.”

He said that other places could learn lessons from Christchurch, and recommended half price rent to fill empty shop units in areas that were having less success.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s a question of having a really good mix of retail outlets, which are both either national or independent.”

You can watch David on BBC South Today here

You can listen to him on on BBC Radio Solent here

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BBC South Today’s Roger Finn visits BU


BBC South Today presenter Roger Finn was at BU to talk to Media School students about a career in broadcasting.

The presenter spoke about his career and offered tips to current students looking to move into the broadcasting industry, including how to write brilliant scripts for television.

In the afternoon, Roger was invited to take part in, and provide feedback for, a newsroom mock–up, where students were asked to report on a news story.

On coming to Bournemouth University, Roger said, “It’s a great opportunity; I have done it a couple of times before. I think it’s always really interesting to hear what they are interested in and what aspects excite them. Also, I think the profession is changing so fast at the moment that I think it is really vital that they know what the reality is.”

After the initial lecture, Roger and the students went through a recent episode of South Today, looking at how the programme is constructed and why certain language is used.

On the experience of talking to students, Roger continued, “It’s unusual, most nights I am talking to 500,000 people but I can’t see anyone so I might as well be talking to myself. So to be faced with 50 or 60 people is a really interesting experience, people who are asking questions immediately – it’s fantastic!”

Roger Finn’s visit also provided another example of the links the university has with industry as students were able to take note of advice given by a current industry professional.