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A monumental mix-up in Aberdeenshire

27 January 2019

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Strange news from rural Aberdeenshire, where a recently identified stone circle that was initially believed to date to the Bronze Age has been discovered to be of a rather more recent vintage. The site in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie appeared to be a recumbent stone circle, many of which have been found across the north east of Scotland.

However, an investigation into the site has revealed that the stone circle is a replica built in the 1990s. Archaeological analysis was interrupted when a former owner of the farm on which it is located came forward to spill the beans.

‘These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date,’ said Nick Ackerman of Aberdeenshire Council, adding that he was ‘disappointed’ by the findings of the investigation. ‘I hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed – while not ancient it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.’

In other news…

German-Namibian artist Max Siedentopf has created a work that will play Toto’s Africa on a loop for all eternity. Installed at an ‘undisclosed location’ in the Namib Desert, the installation consists of six solar-battery powered speakers hooked up to an MP3 of the 1980s soft-rock classic, ensuring that it continues to play until the end of days. According to Siedentopf, local reaction has been somewhat divided. ‘Some [Namibians] love it and some say it’s probably the worst sound installation ever,’ he told the BBC. ‘I think that’s a great compliment.’


Art students in Britain may gripe about the lack of hands-on instruction in their colleges, but things could be worse. As reported in the South China Morning Post, pupils at the Beihai College of Art and Design in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region were flummoxed when presented with an exam paper that posed questions which they deemed excessively intrusive.

After sitting a paper entitled ‘Mao Zedong Thought and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics Ideology’ (such courses are compulsory for higher-education candidates in China), students complained that the questions presented to them were more than a little off topic: ‘Have you ever had sexual relations with the opposite gender?’; ‘Have you made marriage preparations yet?’; and ‘Can you discuss what it feels like to give birth?’

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