Cissbury Ring is a hill fort on the South Downs, in the borough of Worthing and about 5 kilometres from its town centre, in the county of West Sussex. It is the largest hill fort in Sussex, the second largest in England and one of the largest in Europe overall, covering some 60 acres; the earthworks that form the fortifications were built around the beginning of the Middle Iron-Age around 250 BC but abandoned in the period 50 BC - 50 AD. The site of the fort contains one of the first flint mines in Britain. Around 200 shafts were dug into Cissbury hill over around 900 years of use. Shafts were up to 12 metres deep with 7 metres diameters at the surface. Up to eight galleries extended outwards from the bottoms of the shafts interconnecting with one another. There is concern that the site is being irreversibly damaged "by illicit use of metal detectors", police say; the ditches and banks are the remains of a defensive wall. The ditches are said to be as deep as three metres and were filled with loosened chalk and covered with timber palisade.
The 600 foot hill is open to the public. From the top, one is able to see to the west Selsey, Chichester Cathedral, the Spinnaker Tower and the Isle of Wight. To the east, one is able to see the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Cissbury Ring is the highest point in the borough of Worthing. Several Bronze Age barrows have been found just outside Cissbury Ring. In the Romano-British period, farmers settled within the ramparts of the hill fort, it has been suggested that a medieval mint which produced coinage existed at Cissbury around the eleventh century. Coins have been found across Sussex from Chichester to Lewes bearing the name Sithe and Sithmes, taken to mean the former name of Cissbury in use at this time of'Sithesteburh'; the coins found are from the reigns of Ethelred the Cnut. Although it is quite possible that a mint existed at Cissbury, no trace of it has yet been found. In 1867–8 Augustus Lane-Fox excavated part of Cissbury Ring. During World War II, Cissbury Ring was used as a camp for the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in preparation for the Normandy landings.
At this time much of the fort within the ramparts was ploughed to provide food. While on manoeuvres, tanks destroyed the dew pond at the north side of the fort. A gap was made in the ramparts to accommodate a 100 lb gun, used to fire at ships in the English Channel and an anti-aircraft gun was sited by the gap. In 1953–1956 Cissbury and its flint mines was excavated by a team led by John Pull. Cissbury Ring is owned by the National Trust and is a protected Scheduled Ancient Monument, it lies within the area of the South Downs National Park. The site has been given the status of Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its nationally rare unimproved chalk grassland. Artefacts from Cissbury Ring can be found at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, the Museum of Sussex Archaeology and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Silver pennies from the reign of Ethelred II can be found at the British Museum. Once taken to mean Caesar's fort or Cissa's fort, both theories of Cissbury's meaning have been discounted.
In the early eleventh century in the reign of Ethelred the Unready, Cissbury was known as'Sithesteburh', taken to mean the'last or the latest fort'. This may mean that Cissbury was the last fort to be refortified, after another nearby fort such as that at Burpham, it seems that the name Cissbury was altered to accommodate the legend that the fort was linked to Cissa the South Saxon. Cissbury Ring was said to have been formed when the devil tried to dig a hole in the South Downs, to allow the sea to flood the Sussex Weald and all its churches; as the devil dug out Devil's Dyke, clods of earth fell to the ground forming Cissbury, Rackham Hill and Mount Caburn. Long before the hill was fortified, flint mines were being excavated in the area; some shafts went down as far as 40 feet. The shafts at Cissbury were excavated with antler picks, much like those at Grimes Graves and elsewhere. Flint was the common material for making stone axes for felling timber and working wood during the neolithic period.
The site was one of the first Neolithic flint mines in Britain and it was exploited throughout the period. It is part of a group of flint mines in Sussex. Other examples include Grimes Graves in Norfolk, Harrow Hill nearby. Cissbury was one of several important mining industries in the UK during the Neolithic and is thought to have been used into the Bronze age, the Iron Age though flint mining stopped during the late neolithic, but there is some evidence of re-use of flint for tools during times. Axes and Blades account for most of the tools produced at Cissbury and examples of Cissbury flint can be found as far as Italy. Axes were produced on site, as rough-outs, these were traded or used off site. Many other types of stone were in demand for stone axes such as the greenstone of the Langdale axe industry in the Lake District; the axes were essential for forest clearance for farming in the Neolithic period, found many other uses, such as wood working. Around 200 shafts were dug into the Cissbury hill over around 900 years of use.
Shafts were up to 12 metres deep with 7 metres diameters at the surface. Up to eight galleries extended outwards from the bottoms of the shafts interconnecting with one another. Excavation of the mine sha
Rathlin Island is an island and civil parish off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's northernmost point. Rathlin is the only inhabited offshore island of Northern Ireland, with a growing population of 150 people, is the most northerly inhabited island off the coast of the island of Ireland; the reverse L-shaped Rathlin Island is 4 miles from east to west, 2.5 miles from north to south. The highest point on the island is 134 metres above sea level. Rathlin is 15.5 miles from the Mull of the southern tip of Scotland's Kintyre peninsula. It is part of the Causeway Coast and Glens council area, is represented by the Rathlin Development & Community Association. Rathlin is part of the traditional barony Cary, of current district Moyle; the island constitutes a civil parish and is subdivided into 22 townlands: A ferry operated by Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd connects the main port of the island, Church Bay, with the mainland at Ballycastle, 6 miles away. Two ferries operate on the route – the fast foot-passenger-only catamaran ferry Rathlin Express and a purpose built larger ferry, commissioned in May 2017, Spirit of Rathlin, which carries both foot passengers and a small number of vehicles, weather permitting.
Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd won a six-year contract for the service in 2008 providing it as a subsidised "lifeline" service. There is an ongoing investigation on how the transfer was handled between the Environment Minister and the new owners. Rathlin is of prehistoric volcanic origin, having been created as part of the British Tertiary Volcanic Province. Rathlin is one of 43 Special Areas of Conservation in Northern Ireland, it is home to tens of thousands of seabirds, including common guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills – about thirty bird families in total. It is visited by birdwatchers, with a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve that has views of Rathlin’s bird colony; the RSPB has successfully managed natural habitat to facilitate the return of the red-billed chough. Northern Ireland's only breeding pair of choughs can be seen during the summer months; the cliffs on this bare island are impressive, standing 70 metres tall. Bruce's Cave is named after Robert the Bruce known as Robert I of Scotland: it was here that he was said to have seen the legendary spider, described as inspiring Bruce to continue his fight for Scottish independence.
The island is the northernmost point of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In 2008-09, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency of the United Kingdom and the Marine Institute Ireland undertook bathymetric survey work north of Antrim, updating Admiralty charts. In doing so a number of interesting submarine geological features were identified around Rathlin Island, including a submerged crater or lake on a plateau with clear evidence of water courses feeding it; this suggests the events leading to inundation - subsidence of land or rising water levels - were quick. Marine investigations in the area have identified new species of sea anemone, rediscovered the fan mussel and a number of shipwreck sites, including HMS Drake, torpedoed and sank just off the island in 1917. Rathlin was known to the Romans, Pliny referring to "Reginia" and Ptolemy to "Rhicina" or "Eggarikenna". In the 7th century Adomnán mentions "Rechru" and "Rechrea insula", which may have been early names for Rathlin.
The 11th-century Irish version of the Historia Brittonum states that the Fir Bolg "took possession of Man and of other islands besides - Arran, Islay and'Racha'" – another possible early variant. Rathlin was the site of the first Viking raid on Ireland, according to the Annals of Ulster; the pillaging of the island's church and burning of its buildings took place in 795 In 1306, Robert the Bruce sought refuge upon Rathlin, owned by the Irish Bissett family. He stayed in Rathlin Castle belonging to their lordship the Glens of Antrim; the Bissetts were dispossessed of Rathlin by the English, who were in control of the Earldom of Ulster, for welcoming Bruce. In the 16th century, the island came into the possession of the MacDonnells of Antrim. Rathlin has been the site of a number of massacres. On an expedition in 1557, Sir Henry Sidney devastated the island. In July 1575, the Earl of Essex sent Francis Drake and John Norreys to confront Scottish refugees on the island, in the ensuing massacre, hundreds of men and children of Clan MacDonnell were killed.
In 1642, Covenanter Campbell soldiers of the Argyll's Foot were encouraged by their commanding officer Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck to kill the local Catholic MacDonalds, near relatives of their arch clan enemy in the Scottish Highlands Clan MacDonald. They threw scores of MacDonald women over cliffs to their deaths on rocks below; the number of victims of this massacre has been put as low as one hundred and as high as three thousand. In 1746, the island was purchased by the Reverend John Gage. In the 18th century, kelp production became important, with Rathlin becoming a major centre for production; the shoreline is still littered with kilns and storage places. This was a commercial enterprise sponsored by the landlords of the island and involved the whole community. A 19th-
Peterborough is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, with a population of 196,640 in 2015. Part of Northamptonshire, it is 75 miles north of London, on the River Nene which flows into the North Sea 30 miles to the north-east; the railway station is an important stop on the East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh. The city is 70 miles east of Birmingham, 38 miles east of Leicester, 81 miles south of Kingston upon Hull and 65 miles west of Norwich; the local topography is flat, in some places the land lies below sea level, for example in parts of the Fens to the east of Peterborough. Human settlement in the area began before the Bronze Age, as can be seen at the Flag Fen archaeological site to the east of the current city centre with evidence of Roman occupation; the Anglo-Saxon period saw the establishment of a monastery, which became Peterborough Cathedral. The population grew after the railways arrived in the 19th century, Peterborough became an industrial centre noted for its brick manufacture.
After the Second World War, growth was limited until designation as a New Town in the 1960s. Housing and population are expanding and a £1 billion regeneration of the city centre and surrounding area is under way; as in much of the United Kingdom, industrial employment has fallen, with a significant proportion of new jobs in financial services and distribution. EtymologyThe town's name changed to Burgh from the late tenth century after Abbot Kenulf had built a defensive wall around the abbey, developed into the form Peterborough; the contrasting form Gildenburgh is found in the 12th century history of the abbey, the Peterborough version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and in a history of the abbey by the monk Hugh Candidus. Present-day Peterborough is the latest in a series of settlements which have at one time or other benefited from its site where the Nene leaves large areas of permanently drained land for the fens. Remains of Bronze Age settlement and what is thought to be religious activity can be seen at the Flag Fen archaeological site to the east of the city centre.
The Romans established a fortified garrison town at Durobrivae on Ermine Street, five miles to the west in Water Newton, around the middle of the 1st century AD. Durobrivae's earliest appearance among surviving records is in the Antonine Itinerary of the late 2nd century. There was a large 1st century Roman fort at Longthorpe, designed to house half a legion, or about 3,000 soldiers. Peterborough was an important area of ceramic production in the Roman period, providing Nene Valley Ware, traded as far away as Cornwall and the Antonine Wall, Caledonia. Peterborough is shown by its original name Medeshamstede to have been an Anglian settlement before AD 655, when Sexwulf founded a monastery on land granted to him for that purpose by Peada of Mercia, who converted to Christianity and was ruler of the smaller Middle Angles sub-group, his brother Wulfhere murdered his own sons converted and finished the monastery by way of atonement. Hereward the Wake rampaged through the town in 1069 or 1070. Outraged, Abbot Turold erected a fort or castle, from his name, was called Mont Turold: this mound, or hill, is on the outside of the deanery garden, now called Tout Hill, although in 1848 Tot-hill or Toot Hill.
The abbey church was rebuilt and enlarged in the 12th century. The Peterborough Chronicle, a version of the Anglo-Saxon one, contains unique information about the history of England after the Norman conquest, written here by monks in the 12th century; this is the only known prose history in English between the conquest and the 14th century. The burgesses received their first charter from "Abbot Robert" – Robert of Sutton; the place suffered materially in the war between King John and the confederate barons, many of whom took refuge in the monastery here and in Crowland Abbey, from which sanctuaries they were forced by the king's soldiers, who plundered the religious houses and carried off great treasures. The abbey church became one of Henry VIII's retained, more secular, cathedrals in 1541, having been assessed at the Dissolution as having revenue of £1,972.7s.0¾d per annum. When civil war broke out, Peterborough was divided between supporters of King Charles I and the Long Parliament; the city lay on the border of the Eastern Association of counties which sided with Parliament, the war reached Peterborough in 1643 when soldiers arrived in the city to attack Royalist strongholds at Stamford and Crowland.
The Royalist forces were defeated within a few weeks and retreated to Burghley House, where they were captured and sent to Cambridge. While the Parliamentary soldiers were in Peterborough, they ransacked the cathedral, destroying the Lady Chapel, chapter house, high altar and choir stalls, as well as mediaeval decoration and records. Housing and sanitary improvements were effected under the provisions of an Act of Parliament passed in 1790. After the dissolution the dean and chapter, who succeeded the abbot as lords of the manor, appointed a high bailiff and the constables and other borough officers were elected at their court leet. Among the privileges claimed by the abbot as early as the 13th century was that of ha
Geographic coordinate system
A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position. A common choice of coordinates is latitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection; the invention of a geographic coordinate system is credited to Eratosthenes of Cyrene, who composed his now-lost Geography at the Library of Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. A century Hipparchus of Nicaea improved on this system by determining latitude from stellar measurements rather than solar altitude and determining longitude by timings of lunar eclipses, rather than dead reckoning. In the 1st or 2nd century, Marinus of Tyre compiled an extensive gazetteer and mathematically-plotted world map using coordinates measured east from a prime meridian at the westernmost known land, designated the Fortunate Isles, off the coast of western Africa around the Canary or Cape Verde Islands, measured north or south of the island of Rhodes off Asia Minor.
Ptolemy credited him with the full adoption of longitude and latitude, rather than measuring latitude in terms of the length of the midsummer day. Ptolemy's 2nd-century Geography used the same prime meridian but measured latitude from the Equator instead. After their work was translated into Arabic in the 9th century, Al-Khwārizmī's Book of the Description of the Earth corrected Marinus' and Ptolemy's errors regarding the length of the Mediterranean Sea, causing medieval Arabic cartography to use a prime meridian around 10° east of Ptolemy's line. Mathematical cartography resumed in Europe following Maximus Planudes' recovery of Ptolemy's text a little before 1300. In 1884, the United States hosted the International Meridian Conference, attended by representatives from twenty-five nations. Twenty-two of them agreed to adopt the longitude of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England as the zero-reference line; the Dominican Republic voted against the motion, while Brazil abstained. France adopted Greenwich Mean Time in place of local determinations by the Paris Observatory in 1911.
In order to be unambiguous about the direction of "vertical" and the "horizontal" surface above which they are measuring, map-makers choose a reference ellipsoid with a given origin and orientation that best fits their need for the area they are mapping. They choose the most appropriate mapping of the spherical coordinate system onto that ellipsoid, called a terrestrial reference system or geodetic datum. Datums may be global, meaning that they represent the whole Earth, or they may be local, meaning that they represent an ellipsoid best-fit to only a portion of the Earth. Points on the Earth's surface move relative to each other due to continental plate motion and diurnal Earth tidal movement caused by the Moon and the Sun; this daily movement can be as much as a metre. Continental movement can be up to 10 m in a century. A weather system high-pressure area can cause a sinking of 5 mm. Scandinavia is rising by 1 cm a year as a result of the melting of the ice sheets of the last ice age, but neighbouring Scotland is rising by only 0.2 cm.
These changes are insignificant if a local datum is used, but are statistically significant if a global datum is used. Examples of global datums include World Geodetic System, the default datum used for the Global Positioning System, the International Terrestrial Reference Frame, used for estimating continental drift and crustal deformation; the distance to Earth's center can be used both for deep positions and for positions in space. Local datums chosen by a national cartographical organisation include the North American Datum, the European ED50, the British OSGB36. Given a location, the datum provides the latitude ϕ and longitude λ. In the United Kingdom there are three common latitude and height systems in use. WGS 84 differs at Greenwich from the one used on published maps OSGB36 by 112 m; the military system ED50, used by NATO, differs from about 120 m to 180 m. The latitude and longitude on a map made against a local datum may not be the same as one obtained from a GPS receiver. Coordinates from the mapping system can sometimes be changed into another datum using a simple translation.
For example, to convert from ETRF89 to the Irish Grid add 49 metres to the east, subtract 23.4 metres from the north. More one datum is changed into any other datum using a process called Helmert transformations; this involves converting the spherical coordinates into Cartesian coordinates and applying a seven parameter transformation, converting back. In popular GIS software, data projected in latitude/longitude is represented as a Geographic Coordinate System. For example, data in latitude/longitude if the datum is the North American Datum of 1983 is denoted by'GCS North American 1983'; the "latitude" of a point on Earth's surface is the angle between the equatorial plane and the straight line that passes through that point and through the center of the Earth. Lines joining points of the same latitude trace circles on the surface of Earth called parallels, as they are parallel to the Equator and to each other; the North Pole is 90° N. The 0° parallel of latitude is designated the Equator, the fun
Clare Fell was a British archaeologist. She was born in Ulverston, England, she read archaeology at Cambridge in the 1930s. The university did not allow women to take degrees at that time, she received her MA in 1948. After the Second World War she worked at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge before moving back to Ulverston in 1953. In 1949 she worked on Grahame Clark's excavations at the Star Carr Mesolithic site in Yorkshire. Around the same time she began studying the Langdale axe industry in Cumbria, the project for which she is best remembered, she was not the first person to notice that Neolithic axes had been produced in Great Langdale, but she was able to demonstrate the scale of the activity there, used the word "factory" to describe it. She guessed that other quarries would be found on outcrops of volcanic tuff in the Lake District. Fell kept up to date with scientific advances and collaborated with Winifred Pennington in the study of the effects of humans on the environment, resulting in pioneering pollen analyses for prehistoric artefact layers from sites in Cumbria.
Fell appeared in a discussion panel on the BBC television series Animal, Mineral? on 9 July 1953. The programme was directed by David Attenborough. Clare Fell, The Great Langdale stone-axe factory, Trans Cumberland and Westmorland Antiq and Arch Soc, 50, 1-13. David Barrowclough. Prehistoric Cumbria. 2010
Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world, it is a place of religious importance to contemporary pagans. Constructed over several hundred years in the Third Millennium BC, during the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, the monument comprises a large henge with a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles situated inside the centre of the monument, its original purpose is unknown, although archaeologists believe that it was most used for some form of ritual or ceremony. The Avebury monument is a part of a larger prehistoric landscape containing several older monuments nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Windmill Hill and Silbury Hill. By the Iron Age, the site had been abandoned, with some evidence of human activity on the site during the Roman occupation. During the Early Middle Ages, a village first began to be built around the monument extending into it.
In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, local people destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons. The antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley, took an interest in Avebury during the 17th century, recorded much of the site before its destruction. Archaeological investigation followed in the 20th century, led by Alexander Keiller, who oversaw a project which reconstructed much of the monument. Avebury is managed by the National Trust, it has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument, as well as a World Heritage Site, in the latter capacity being seen as a part of the wider prehistoric landscape of Wiltshire known as Stonehenge and Associated Sites. At grid reference SU10266996, Avebury is about 6 and 7 miles from the modern towns of Marlborough and Calne. Avebury lies in an area of chalkland in the Upper Kennet Valley that forms the catchment for the River Kennet and supports local springs and seasonal watercourses; the monument stands above the local landscape, sitting on a low chalk ridge 160 m above sea level.
The site lies at the centre of a collection of Neolithic and early Bronze Age monuments and was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in a co-listing with the monuments at Stonehenge, 17 miles to the south, in 1986. It is now listed as part of the Stonehenge and Associated Sites World Heritage Site; the monuments are preserved as part of a Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape for the information they provide regarding prehistoric people's relationship with the landscape. Radiocarbon dating and analysis of pollen in buried soils have shown that the environment of lowland Britain changed around 4250–4000 BCE; the change to a grassland environment from damp, heavy soils and expanses of dense forest was brought about by farmers through the use of slash and burn techniques. Environmental factors may have made a contribution. Pollen is poorly preserved in the chalky soils found around Avebury, so the best evidence for the state of local environment at any time in the past comes from the study of the deposition of snail shells.
Different species of snail live in specific habitats, so the presence of a certain species indicates what the area was like at a particular point in time. The available evidence suggests that in the early Neolithic and the surrounding hills were covered in dense oak woodland, as the Neolithic progressed, the woodland around Avebury and the nearby monuments receded and was replaced by grassland; the history of the site before the construction of the henge is uncertain, because little datable evidence has emerged from modern archaeological excavations. Evidence of activity in the region before the 4th millennium BCE is limited, suggesting that there was little human occupation. What is now termed the Mesolithic period in Britain lasted from circa 11600 to 7800 BP, at a time when the island was forested and when there was still a land mass, called Doggerland, which connected Britain to continental Europe. During this era, those humans living in Britain were hunter-gatherers moving around the landscape in small familial or tribal groups in search of food and other resources.
Archaeologists have unearthed evidence that there were some of these hunter-gatherers active in the vicinity of Avebury during the Late Mesolithic, with stray finds of flint tools, dated between 7000 and 4000 BCE, having been found in the area. The most notable of these discoveries is a densely scattered collection of worked flints found 300 m to the west of Avebury, which has led archaeologists to believe that that particular spot was a flint working site occupied over a period of several weeks by a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers who had set up camp there; the archaeologists Mark Gillings and Joshua Pollard suggested the possibility that Avebury first gained some sort of ceremonial significance during the Late Mesolithic period. As evidence, they highlighted the existence of a posthole near to the monument's southern entrance that would have once supported a large wooden post. Although this posthole was never dated when it was excavated in the early 20th century, so cannot be ascribed to the Mesolithic and Pollard noted that its positioning had no relation to the rest of the henge, that it may therefore have been erected centuries or millennia before the henge was built.
They compared this with similar wooden posts, erected in southern Britain during the Mesolithic at Stonehenge and Hambledo
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to