When thousands of bodies were discovered in Medieval mass graves at Spitalfields cemetery, the Black Death was believed to be responsible. Then the radiocarbon dates came back. These placed the burials almost a century before the plague. Seeking an alternative explanation for the deaths, the archaeologists found historical accounts of a famine, and a tantalising [...]
Is a Medieval mass grave in London’s Spitalfields cemetery linked to a massive volcanic eruption?
Spitalfields in London is thought to be the largest excavated cemetery in the world. Recent research has focussed on the site’s mass graves, uncovering a wealth of new information about the population of Medieval London. One of the archaeological advantages of mass burials is that the urgency of the situation leaves no time to [...]
In CA 111 Chris Scarre pointed out that the explosion of Thera could be dated to 1626 BC. This may, however, only be the beginning. There are at least 4 other prehistoric dates that the readers of CA should learn by heart; I believe that our work on tree-rings has revealed several major volcanic eruptions which may have caused climatic upset on a world wide basis. [...]
In 1985 I presented a population graph for Britain extending from the Mesolithic to recent times, which was characterised by periodic ups and downs, the lows being the result of catastrophic processes in which an overall loss of the order of 50% in a century was envisaged. This was on the level of the historical population disasters of the 6th and 14th centuries AD. Just such [...]
When Andrew Selkirk asked me to append some comments to Mike Baillie’s piece on volcanic “events”, it prompted the notion that I had written on catastrophes in Current Archaeology some years ago. It proved after a long search to be exactly ten years ago (CA 67) and to be a paragraph entitled “Catastrophe?” I postulated then a [...]
Restoration work at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich has revealed a cache of hundreds of Victorian objects, from champagne bottles to tennis balls – hidden beneath a bricked-up flight of steps.
From Roman recipes to Victorian victuals, the Museum of London is hosting a series of cookery workshops exploring how our ancestors prepared their favourite dishes. Between September and December, members of the public can learn how to prepare ancient dishes and sample bygone flavours – including ancient Rome’s infamous fish sauce. Led by Sally Grainger and [...]
‘Valhalla: examining Viking burials in the British Isles’, a new exhibition exploring Viking burials across the British Isles, opens tomorrow (21 July) in York.
Recent discoveries from Silchester include the burial of a ‘poodle’ and Britain’s first Iron Age olive.
Do you have gaps in your collection of Current Archaeology back issues? John Allistone in Poole, Dorset, has duplicate copies of issues 148-203 and 205-214 that are free to a good home to anyone willing to come and collect them.
Excavations in Norfolk have uncovered one of the largest Romano-British cemeteries ever found in the region.
This July over 750 archaeological events are taking place across the UK. Co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology, we picked out some highlights in CA 269 but there is plenty more still to see – find out more at www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/whatson
Almost a quarter of a century after the 16th-century Rose Theatre was rediscovered during archaeological work ahead of the construction of a new office block (see CA 115), its trustees today (13 July) launched a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to secure its future.
Professor Mick Aston has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 British Archaeological Awards.
The results are in: the winners of this year’s British Archaeological Awards were announced today (9 July) at the British Museum in London.
After featuring in CA 269 Sherds, there is an opportunity to catch the London première of The Chalk Legend at The Forum in Kentish Town. Based on the discovery of a mass grave of fifty-one decapitated Viking skeletons in Dorset, this opera-oratorio depicts the moment when a band of Viking warriors lands on the Dorset coast and encounters an encampment of Anglo-Saxons, with fateful results. [...]
Immortalised in Henry V as ‘this wooden O’, the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch was home to Shakespeare’s company of players until the completion of the Globe in 1599. Yet despite staging some of the playwright’s most famous works, barely 50 years after its opening in 1577 the theatre faded into obscurity and was lost– until [...]
A record-breaking hoard of Iron Age coins has been found in Jersey, archaeologists have announced. Estimated to contain between 30,000 and 60,000 coins, if the upper estimate is correct the find could push the Frome Hoard of 52,000 Roman coins into second place as the biggest coin hoard ever discovered. Weighing ¾ of a tonne, [...]
Anglo-Saxon skeletons have been surfacing for almost a century in the fields of Oakington. Now a new project has laid bare the trials and tragedies of a small 6th-century Fenland community. Duncan Sayer, Richard Mortimer and Faye Simpson bring flesh to the bones. In 1926 four early Anglo-Saxon burials, one equipped with a spear, knife [...]