Features

MargaretRoot

Profile: Marguerite Wood and Margaret Simpson

Search the internet for Marguerite Wood (1888-1954) and Margaret Simpson (1906-1994) and you will not find much – an unusual occurrence these days, when everything seems to be recorded on the web. Their names are little known today, despite the impact of their work on Scotland’s heritage – and despite Margaret having a claim to […]

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Battling Old Father Thames: The Thames Discovery Programme at ten

The Thames Discovery Programme – whose volunteers record the archaeology of the Thames foreshore – has recently celebrated its tenth birthday. Eliott Wragg, Nathalie Cohen, and Josh Frost explore some of the initiative’s most important findings from its first decade of life.

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Conclusive chronologies at Carnoustie

Two Neolithic halls have been identified within a previously unsuspected prehistoric landscape, thanks to new dating analysis following extensive excavations in Carnoustie, Angus.

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Recording Roman graffiti near Hadrian’s Wall

Rare examples of graffiti, made by the Roman army while they were repairing and rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall, have been recorded in a Cumbrian quarry associated with the monument’s construction. Dating to the early 3rd century AD, these inscriptions have survived for more than 1,800 years, but gradual erosion of the soft sandstone into which they were cut has put them under threat. In an effort to save the graffiti before they are lost, they are being documented by Newcastle University archaeologists in a project funded by Historic England.

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Neolithic cranium found on the Thames foreshore

The oldest human cranium fragment ever mudlarked from the Thames (found on its foreshore) has been identified as Neolithic. The cranium was discovered by Martin Bushell while he was walking along the south bank of the river, just one week after starting his new hobby of mudlarking.

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New insights into Irish bog butter

A study recently published in Scientific Reports, examining examples from across Ireland of what is known as bog butter – waxy deposits found in the peat bogs of Ireland and Scotland (see CA 226) – has demonstrated that this was an unusually long-lived practice, spanning from the Early Bronze Age through to the post-medieval period.

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Science Notes – Analysing archaeobotany along the A14

Recent news from post-excavation analysis of the excavations for the A14 Cambridge-to- Huntingdon improvement scheme (see CA 339), which recently won the Current Archaeology Award for Best Rescue Project of 2019, is bringing archaeobotany into the spotlight. Archaeobotanist Lara Gonzalez Carretero has discovered that organic samples taken from the site, dating to the Iron Age, are consistent with the by-product of making beer and may represent the earliest evidence for this process in Britain.

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Investigating leprosy in Ireland

New research into the origins of leprosy in Ireland has revealed connections with the Viking world. A team from Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton, and the University of East Anglia analysed five skeletons: three from Dublin (SkCXLVIII, SkCXCV, SkCCXXX), one from Armoy, Co. Antrim (Sk171), and the last from Ardreigh, Co. Kildare (Sk1494). All five presented with lesions consistent with leprosy, but to confirm the diagnosis the team conducted aDNA analysis of the remains.

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