Features

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Review – Terracotta warriors

The tomb of China’s first emperor is renowned for its buried army of terracotta warriors. Lucia Marchini tours a new exhibition exploring the story behind these archaeological celebrities.

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Normal for Normans? Exploring the large round mounds of England

Most of England’s monumental mounds are assumed to be Norman castle mottes built in the period immediately after the Conquest – but could some of them have much earlier origins? Jim Leary, Elaine Jamieson, and Phil Stastney report on a project that set out to investigate some of these mighty constructions.

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Excavating the CA archive: Silchester

In this latest column exploring ‘great excavations’ (a mini-series that we began last month), I turn my attention to the Roman period. Everyone loves a good Roman site – to visit as much as to dig – and CA can modestly argue to have set the ball rolling on the excavation of at least one such site. It is a challenger for the crown of ‘great excavation’: the Iron Age settlement and (from the mid-1st century AD onwards) Roman town of Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum). Located on the northern edge of Hampshire, it has been subject to nearly constant excavation by the University of Reading since 1974.

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Current Archaeology Awards 2018: winners announced

Every year, the Current ArchaeologyAwards celebrate the projects and publications that made the pages of the magazine over the past 12 months, and the people judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology. These awards are voted for entirely by the public – there are no panels of judges. The winners of the 2018 Current Archaeology Awards were announced on […]

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Butser: the future of education?

How do you run an experimental Iron Age Farm, or indeed a museum in these days of cuts to the government budget? The answer can be seen at the Butser Ancient farm on the South Downs near Petersfield, which I heard all about at the Archaeology Fair, at our Archaeology Live Conference in February 2018. […]

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Face to face with Cheddar Man

The nearly 10,000-year-old skeleton who came to be known as ‘Cheddar Man’ was found in 1903, in Gough’s Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. In more recent times, his remains have been on display in the Human Origins Hall at the Natural History Museum. Despite his fame, until recently little was known about this individual. Now a team from UCL and the Natural History Museum has successfully sequenced his DNA for the first time, revealing a wealth of details about his physical appearance – with dramatic implications for our understanding of how inhabitants of Mesolithic Britain looked.

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Measuring Mesolithic (artistic) media

Archaeological analysis has revealed what is being called a Mesolithic ‘crayon’. It came from the ancient Lake Flixton – now covered in peat – in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire. It is an area rich in prehistory, not least the famous occupation site of Star Carr (see CA 282). Now, a collaborative project between the Universities of York, Chester, and Manchester, studying ochre objects from the lake, has provided new evidence of how our ancestors may have coloured their animal skins and artwork.

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Bronze Age barrow cemetery revealed in Hampshire

A Bronze Age barrow cemetery has been uncovered in Hampshire, along with a connected mortuary enclosure and other possible ritualistic features. After an earlier evaluation by Wessex Archaeology and a geophysical survey by GSB revealed ring ditches, the site’s potential archaeological significance was flagged – and with the area selected for development, Cotswold Archaeology began a 2ha excavation last November, targeting the areas highlighted during the initial investigation.

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Setting the stage at Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre

Post-excavation analysis of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, which staged some of Shakespeare’s plays (see CA 316), has revealed new clues to how the Elizabethan playhouse was used. Among the key discoveries revealed by MOLA archaeologists was that the theatre’s stage was the same length as a modern-day fencing piste – 14m from stage left to stage right, and 4.75m deep – making it perfect for performing elaborate fight scenes.

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