Category: Articles

Staffordshire Hoard: trophies of warrior kings

The largest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold ever found, was discovered this summer by a metal-detectorist in a field in Staffordshire and is set to revolutionise our perceptions of life in the 7th and 8th centuries. With more than 650 items made from gold and more than 500 in silver, this is truly a king’s […]

Nick Saunders: launching the new discipline of modern conflict archaeology

First World War trenches? Second World War air-raid shelters? Cold War bunkers? This is the stuff of modern conflict archaeology, but what can it teach us that we don’t already know about such thoroughly documented events as the great military confrontations of the 20th century? Bristol University is about to launch the first-ever degree course […]

Achill Island: Irish island archaeology from the Neolithic to the Great Famine

The recent work of the Achill Archaeological Field School examines the island’s archaeology from the Neolithic through to the dark days of the Great Famine. Stuart Rathbone explains. Achill Island is a remote spot on the north west coast of Ireland, separated from the mainland by a narrow sound. It is the largest of the […]

Norfolk: land of Boudicca

Leading Norfolk archaeologist John Davies has just published a new book on the perennial favourite rebel queen, Boudica. We asked him to explain what recent archaeological discoveries have revealed about the homeland of the Roman Empire’s most famous British enemy.

Worship, Death and Taxes: the story of Higham Ferrers

Two very important discoveries have been made at the multi-period site of Higham Ferrers, in Northamptonshire: one a Romano-British shrine complex, and the other an example of the realities — and occasional brutalities — of Middle Saxon regional government. Oxford Archaeology’s Alan Hardy takes up the story. Higham Ferrers lies in what is now an […]

Metal Detecting & Archaeology

This is a book that reflects the uncomfortable truce that has been reached between pragmatism and ideology within the archaeological community in regard to metal detecting. Papers on metal detector use in Poland and South Africa describe regimes wherein freelance metal detecting is banned; detectors may only be used under licence within a controlled research […]

Greening the valleys:

the archaeology of industrial Wales Wales  was  central to  the world’s first industrial revolution; the abandoned remains of 200-year-old coal and iron industries litter the valleys. Frank Olding reports on the Green Mines Project, which is conserving and presenting the physical remains in Blaenau Gwent and regenerating this once-plundered landscape. An 18th century ironworks; a […]

Hill Hall: home of a Tudor intellectual

In 1969, fire raged through this exceptional Elizabethan house. Paul Drury explains what archaeologists were able to rescue from the burnt-out husk. Since 1952, Hill Hall, at Theydon Mount, in Essex,   had been a women’s open prison whose unwilling guests included Christine Keeler. To architectural historians, this was indeed a fall from grace for […]

Galloping down the centuries: new light on Britain's chalk-cut hill-figures

With the widespread use of optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) for dating soil samples, the mysterious giant hillside carvings of horses and men are finally being placed in an historical context. Paul Newman, author of a comprehensive survey of the subject, considers our current knowledge of these impressive relics, set against the many ways we have […]

Making a mint: the archaeology of a Late Iron Age industry

There were no credit crunches in the Late Iron Age: highly skilled Celtic mintmasters took painstaking care to ensure money had real, solid, and unchanging value. Mark Landon has studied two huge hauls of coin-making debris from North Hertfordshire and reports on his findings.