Features

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Must Farm: an extraordinary tale of the everyday

The remarkable preservation at Must Farm promised insights into day-to-day life that would revolutionise our knowledge of the late Bronze Age. As excavations at the site reach completion, it is already clear that we will never see that era in the same way again. Mark Knight, Susanna Harris, and Grahame Appleby told Matthew Symonds about […]

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The Archaeology of the Olympic Park – London’s first East Enders

Preparations for the 2012 games provided a unique opportunity to investigate an area of London’s East End the size of the walled City. Nick Bateman of MOLA, Gary Brown of PCA and Pippa Bradley and Andrew Powell of Wessex Archaeology told Matthew Symonds how 121 trenches produced 10,000 finds spanning 10,000 years. This summer, images […]

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The archaeology of the domestic cat

Of mousers and men When did cats graduate from convenient pest-control to one of the world’s most popular pets, and how can you tell the difference in the archaeological record? The answer, John Buglass and Jennifer West suggest, may lie in Roman Yorkshire. Today, the image of a pet cat purring on its owner’s lap […]

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Orkney: A tale of two Neolithics?

Investigating the evolution of house societies in Orkney For decades, the accepted view of the Orcadian Neolithic was one of two cultural packages with a sharp break in the middle. New research has revealed a much more complex and nuanced picture, however. Carly Hilts spoke to Colin Richards to find out more. The traditional understanding of the Neolithic period […]

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Rievaulx Abbey

Nestled in the green, wooded hills of the North York Moors lie the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. English Heritage has recently opened a new museum on the site, more than doubling the number of artefacts on show. Lucia Marchini discovered how the state-of-the-art displays explore over 400 years of Cistercian abbey life. Founded in 1132 […]

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Worlds apart?

The Romans in Ireland Ireland has no known Roman forts, villas or planned towns, but a recent project designed to investigate Ireland during the first five centuries AD found plenty of evidence for interaction between Ireland and the Roman world, as Chris Catling now reports. History in Ireland traditionally begins with the arrival of St […]

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Letters from Londinium

Reading the earliest writing from Roman Britain Among the remarkable artefacts recovered by MOLA archaeologists on the site of the new Bloomberg headquarters in London were 405 writing tablets. Of these, 87 have now been deciphered, providing a tantalising insight into the lives and legal wrangling of the first Londoners. Roger Tomlin and Sophie Jackson […]

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Bullets, ballistas, and Burnswark

A Roman assault on a hillfort in Scotland The ancient author Josephus once observed of the Roman military that ‘their training manoeuvres are battles without bloodshed, and their battles manoeuvres with bloodshed’. The difficulty in distinguishing between these states is well illustrated by the residue from a Roman artillery barrage at Burnswark. Were they aiming […]

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Earliest written reference to London found

The earliest-known written reference to London was revealed today (1 June) by MOLA archaeologists, as part of Britain’s largest, earliest, and most significant group of Roman waxed writing tablets. The reference forms part of an address – Londinio Mogontio, ‘To Mogontius [a Celtic personal name], in London’, and appears on a writing tablet dating from c.AD […]

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Medieval voices: recording England’s early church graffiti

What can graffiti, whether impulsive or ornate, tell us about the hopes, fears, and interests of our medieval forebears? Matthew Champion describes a pioneering project that is shedding light on these enigmatic etchings. Six years ago, deep in the wilds of the Norfolk countryside, a small community archaeology project was born. Established as an entirely […]