How do you explain the latest thinking about a 73-mile-long monument to the public? Visitors to Hadrian’s Wall in recent years may have noticed some changes at the English Heritage sites and museums on the Roman frontier. Frances McIntosh takes us on a tour of the latest developments.
This latest column continues the thread that I began last month, exploring Current Archaeology’s coverage of sites in the care of the National Trust. Last time I looked at stories from issues 1-100 (1967-1986), and this month I delve into issues 101-200, spanning 1986 to 2005.
The 73-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall, as well as the forts and structures associated with it, has yielded thousands of intriguing objects shedding vivid light on life on the Roman frontier. Here are 13 key finds that highlight how the material culture of the monument can enhance our understanding of the people who lived and worked along it.
Ongoing research into Winchester Cathedral’s mortuary chests – one of which is shown – is providing vital new evidence about the identities of the individuals interred within them, it has been announced.
Post-excavation analysis of an Iron Age bark shield – the only one of its kind ever found in Europe – is greatly enhancing our understanding of how such objects were made and wielded during this period.
In what is thought to be the first excavation of its kind, the remains of a 19th-century Scottish whisky distillery have been uncovered in Cabrach. The project, undertaken by Peter Bye- Jensen from the Cabrach Trust along with Cameron Archaeology and local volunteers, has provided valuable new insights into early whisky production, and a period of prosperity that transformed this rural region of Scotland.
A recent project analysing food residue on pottery from a medieval rural settlement in Raunds, Northamptonshire, has yielded detailed new information on the diet of peasants between the late Anglo-Saxon period and the 15th century – a vital aspect of medieval life that is often overlooked in the historical record.
A previously unknown Roman marching camp has been discovered in Ayr, adding new evidence to our understanding of the Roman conquest of Scotland.
In CA 338, we discussed proteomics – the study of proteins – and how it is quickly growing as a new way of analysing archaeological remains. That month’s ‘Science Notes’ explored how it had been applied to dental calculus, or plaque build-up, to assess an individual’s diet and health. Now research has used proteomics to help with the identification and diagnosis of ancient diseases, further proving its potential to revolutionise our understanding of health through history.
New DNA research into the evolution and spread of the plague has shown that during the first documented pandemic (AD 541-750) there were several different strains of the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, affecting different parts of Europe during different waves of the disease. The project also identified the earliest evidence of plague in Britain.