Features

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Review – Reading Abbey revealed

Almost a decade ago, the crumbling remains of Reading Abbey – once one of the most important medieval religious centres in northern Europe – were closed to the public. Now, following major conservation work, the site has reopened. Carly Hilts paid a visit.

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Excavating the CA archive: Coppergate

In this latest excavation of the CA archive, I continue to explore some of the ‘great excavations’ reported on over the years by the magazine. Last month, CA 340 included news of a York Archaeological Trust (YAT) oral history project, which is capturing memories of the 1976-1981 Coppergate excavations; fittingly, it is to this site that I now turn, by any standards a ‘great’ excavation in terms both of its discoveries and its public engagement.

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The die is cast: Investigating Icenian coinage

In a period that is largely defined by the Romans and their written histories, thanks to a relatively poor archaeological record, coinage offers one of the best ways of learning about Britain’s sometimes elusive Late Iron Age tribes. A ten-year study of the coins of the East Anglian Iceni by John Talbot has delved into the production, distribution, and characteristics of their currency, illuminating previously unknown aspects of their culture. Here, he explores questions of identity, and hunts for hidden faces.

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Unpicking Pictish Burghead

The Picts remain one of the more elusive early medieval kingdoms of Britain, and our knowledge of their culture is still rather limited. But archaeological work and post-excavation research at Burghead, near Lossiemouth in Moray, is helping to illuminate these enigmatic people.

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The Londinium diet

A recent study, conducted by researchers from the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London and Durham University, has looked into the diet of Roman London. Children were of particular interest to the team, as they may have had a different diet to that of adults due to their lower social status in Roman culture.

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Moat of Newark Castle uncovered

The long-lost moat of Newark Castle has been rediscovered during a £60m project led by Severn Trent to upgrade Newark’s sewers. The discovery was made while the engineers were working in Castlegate Street, just to the south-east of the remaining castle ruins. Subsequent excavations by Trent & Peak Archaeology showed that the moat, found at a depth of 3m below the current street level, contained animal bones and green glazed pottery, broadly dating to the 13th and 14th centuries.

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CITiZAN triumphs

CITiZAN, a community archaeology project focused on vulnerable intertidal and coastal sites, has won the Arts, Culture, and Heritage prize at the Charity Awards 2018 – Civil Society Media’s annual awards programme to recognise organisations for their commendable charitable work.

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Searching Scillonian seas

The Isles of Scilly are known for their sandy beaches and shallow tidal waters, but the archipelago was not always like this. A collaboration between researchers is investigating how the islands and their surrounding sea have changed over the millennia, reconstructing the ways in which our prehistoric ancestors adapted to a changing landscape – and examining how current climate patterns are likely to affect the islands in the future.

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Revisiting radiocarbon – no, it has not been debunked

In today’s era of ‘fake news’, we haven’t been entirely surprised to see recent headlines claiming new research has proven that radiocarbon dating is inaccurate or plain wrong (one even went so far as to say ‘A Crucial Archaeological Dating Tool is Wrong, and It Could Change History as We Know It’). To be fair, once you get past the headlines, the articles mostly provide a bit more of the truth and a little less clickbait. Nonetheless, we thought it pertinent to delve into the actual science of this discovery and offer a more impartial, if less sensationalist, account of the findings.

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Revealing the remains of Rousay

An ambitious project to conduct the largest geophysical survey to-date of the island of Rousay in Orkney has begun. It is being led by a team from the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Römisch-Germanische Kommission (DAI) – which is based in Berlin – working together with archaeologists from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute.

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