Features

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Review – Bodies of Evidence

The whereabouts of some of the estimated 1,700 men who died in captivity after the Battle of Dunar was not known until the discovery of human remains in two pits during building work at the city’s Palace Green Library in 2013. Today, a memorial plaque on the wall outside the library’s courtyard café commemorates those who were found at this spot and those who still lie buried beyond the boundaries of the excavation. It is at this most fitting venue that the exhibition Bodies of Evidence: how science unearthed Durham’s dark secret delves into research behind the identification of the excavated remains.

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Excavating the CA archive: River Thames

In June and July this year, the archaeological organisation CITiZAN (Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network) had two good pieces of news to share: firstly, they had won the 2018 Charity Award for Arts, Culture, and Heritage (see CA 342); and secondly, they had gained backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the initiative beyond its initial three-year funding cycle. CITiZAN’s remit covers the coasts of England, but it has its roots in a more focused location, that of the River Thames in and around London (where it is headed by MOLA). In the spirit of my recent columns on ‘great’ excavations, here I explore the story of how fieldwork along the Thames dating back to the early 1990s grew into the flourishing success that is CITiZAN today.

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Sleeping by the riverside

An excavation on the edge of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, has uncovered a cluster of intriguing Anglo-Saxon graves, including the rare remains of a young woman lying on a wooden bed, accompanied by lavish grave goods. Carly Hilts reports.

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Megalithic discoveries in County Meath

A previously unknown Neolithic passage tomb has been discovered in County Meath, Ireland, beneath the 18th-century manor house of Dowth Hall. The monument was unearthed by a team from Devenish – the Belfast-based agri-technology firm that has owned Dowth Hall and the surrounding estate since 2013 – in partnership with UCD School of Archaeology, and has been hailed by Dr Clíodhna Ní Lionáin, lead archaeologist on the project, as ‘truly the find of a lifetime.’

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Did the people buried at Stonehenge come from Wales?

Recent analysis of cremated human remains excavated from Stonehenge has shown that some of the individuals buried at the Neolithic monument may have spent some of their lives in western Britain, or even west Wales – the same region where the Stonehenge bluestones are believed to have come from.

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Medieval game time in Aberdeenshire

The search for the lost monastery where the Book of Deer – a tome containing the earliest surviving Gaelic writing – was written and illuminated – continued this summer. Digging in the walled garden of Pitfour Estate near Old Deer in Aberdeenshire, where the monastery is thought to have been located, the excavation uncovered a number of interesting finds. One of the most notable was a game board that may have been used to play the Norse strategy game hnefatafl.

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Neolithic hearth found in Jersey?

A well-preserved prehistoric hearth has been discovered 5ft below the surface during a commercial watching brief on a pipe trench in St Clement, southeast Jersey, which was carried out by the Société Jersiaise’s Field Archaeologist Robert Waterhouse.

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Orkney’s oldest bowl unearthed?

The latest excavation season in Orkney has uncovered a cornucopia of finds. these include what may be the oldest wooden bowl yet discovered in the archipelago, unearthed at the cairns, South Ronaldsay, by a team from the UHI Archaeology Institute.

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Science Notes – The Stonehenge bluestones and research replication

In this month’s Science Notes, we turn to one of the most immediately recognisable monuments in the world – Stonehenge – examining how the origin of its bluestones was taken for granted for so long, and how it shows why research is ever evolving, and never absolute.

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Raising a (Pictish) hand at the Knowe of Swandro

A Pictish coppersmith has left his prints – literally – on the remains of his workshop, recently excavated on Rousay, Orkney. This discovery was made at the Knowe of Swandro, a multiperiod site that includes a Neolithic chambered tomb as well as subsequent Iron Age, Pictish, Viking, and Norse settlements, but which is slowly slipping into the sea. In a race against the tide, the Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust, along with a host of partners, is working to excavate and record the site before it is too late.

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