On 12th September the University of Leicester held an extraordinary press conference. They announced that a three week dig seeking the remains of Richard III had ‘entered a new phase’ with DNA testing under way on an adult male skeleton. So what had they discovered? Richard Buckley, Jo Appleby, and Helen Foxhall Forbes told Matthew […]
New excavations have revealed why the country’s finest set of Jupiter altars were committed to the earth in gigantic pits. Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott explained the contents of the Maryport pits to Matthew Symonds. ‘Never before’, the great Hadrian’s Wall scholar John Collingwood Bruce declared in July 1870 ‘were the antiquaries of this district […]
Is a Medieval mass grave in London’s Spitalfields cemetery linked to a massive volcanic eruption?
Spitalfields in London is thought to be the largest excavated cemetery in the world. Recent research has focussed on the site’s mass graves, uncovering a wealth of new information about the population of Medieval London. One of the archaeological advantages of mass burials is that the urgency of the situation leaves no time to […]
In CA 111 Chris Scarre pointed out that the explosion of Thera could be dated to 1626 BC. This may, however, only be the beginning. There are at least 4 other prehistoric dates that the readers of CA should learn by heart; I believe that our work on tree-rings has revealed several major volcanic eruptions […]
In 1985 I presented a population graph for Britain extending from the Mesolithic to recent times, which was characterised by periodic ups and downs, the lows being the result of catastrophic processes in which an overall loss of the order of 50% in a century was envisaged. This was on the level of the historical […]
When Andrew Selkirk asked me to append some comments to Mike Baillie’s piece on volcanic “events”, it prompted the notion that I had written on catastrophes in Current Archaeology some years ago. It proved after a long search to be exactly ten years ago (CA 67) and to be a paragraph entitled “Catastrophe?” I postulated […]
Immortalised in Henry V as ‘this wooden O’, the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch was home to Shakespeare’s company of players until the completion of the Globe in 1599. Yet despite staging some of the playwright’s most famous works, barely 50 years after its opening in 1577 the theatre faded into obscurity and was lost— until […]
Anglo-Saxon skeletons have been surfacing for almost a century in the fields of Oakington. Now a new project has laid bare the trials and tragedies of a small 6th-century Fenland community. Duncan Sayer, Richard Mortimer and Faye Simpson bring flesh to the bones. In 1926 four early Anglo-Saxon burials, one equipped with a spear, knife […]
An entire Neolithic settlement, predating Skara Brae, has been found on the tiny Orkney Island of Wyre.