The skeleton of a man wearing thigh-high leather boots and buried face-down in the mud has been discovered in the Thames. The individual’s remains were found near Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey by MOLA Headland archaeologists working in advance of construction for the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a ‘super sewer’ intended to stop sewage pollution in the Thames.
Hoards of different periods have been uncovered in many parts of Britain. A touring exhibition brings together some of these intriguing caches of objects hidden long ago, and explores the possible reasons behind their burial. Lucia Marchini travelled to Salisbury to find out more.
In my column on the ‘great excavation’ of Shapwick (CA 345), I included one of my all-time favourite Current Archaeology cover photos, that of CA 151 (February 1997), where a then broken-legged Mick Aston (injured tripping over a holy well!) is shown on site in Shapwick along with some curious local cattle. Over the years, CA has featured some memorable cover photos, and in my column in CA 321 (December 2016), I picked some of my favourites from the first hundred issues of CA between 1967 and 1986. I will pick up this ‘cover stories’ thread again over the next few columns, commencing here with some more of my favourites from the first hundred issues, and the stories behind them.
How did the kingdoms of early medieval England evolve into a single nation?A new exhibition at the British Library combines artefacts and manuscripts to tell the story of the Anglo-Saxons in their own words. Carly Hilts reports.
Recent research on Pictish symbols has provided a new chronology for the carvings, transforming our understanding of their evolution.
A new study analysing the teeth of adults who died in the Kilkenny Union Workhouse at the height of the Great Famine (1845-1852) has revealed some of the possible social reasons for their poor oral health, and how this may have affected their general wellbeing.
The remains of a settlement associated with the Roman fort of Bravoniacum has been unearthed near Kirkby Thore in Cumbria. The footprints of post-built structures were discovered by GUARD Archaeology Ltd, working with Highways England and Amey Consulting during improvement works along the A66.
At the opposite end of the country to the Cumbrian settlement described above, signs of another possible extramural fort settlement have been identified at Okehampton, in Devon. Working during housing development, AC Archaeology has discovered the remains of at least 25 timber buildings lining both sides of a well-preserved Roman road, leading eastward from a known Roman fort (a scheduled monument since the 1970s).
King Henry I is said to have died from eating a ‘surfeit of lampreys’, but there is no excess of these eel-like fish in the archaeological record, as their remains rarely survive. Indeed, traces of lampreys are so scarce that they had previously only been identified at two sites in the UK. Now a third example has been found during post-excavation analysis of a midden uncovered in central London.
In the early days of archaeology, human remains were often treated as an afterthought, deemed unable to tell us much about past populations. As we are well aware today, though, this could not be further from the truth, and in more recent decades the study of human bones has become a major component of archaeological research. But, despite this skeletal success, there is another key aspect of burials that remains relatively under-researched: the grave soil.