Features

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Generating the genomes of ancient plague

New DNA research into the evolution and spread of the plague has shown that during the first documented pandemic (AD 541-750) there were several different strains of the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, affecting different parts of Europe during different waves of the disease. The project also identified the earliest evidence of plague in Britain.

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Review – The many faces of Tudor England

A new temporary exhibition presents the latest research into the remains recovered from the Mary Rose, revealing new details about a diverse crew who hailed from both Britain and abroad, and setting them in the context of Tudor society.

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Excavating the CA archive: The National Trust, 1967-1987

Recently I accepted a new position at the National Trust, working across south-east England on the amazing sites and landscapes in the Trust’s care. With this change in roles, it seemed appropriate to devote my next few columns to National Trust sites that have appeared in the pages of CA down the years. I am pleased to report that such appearances have been regular and diverse, featuring sites spanning prehistory to the late 20th century and ranging across the country. This column focuses on some of the Trust’s sites – and the stories that appeared about them – from the first two decades of the magazine, between 1967 and 1987.

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New secrets from Prittlewell: reconstructing a burial chamber fit for a prince

Sixteen years after a spectacular early Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered in Essex, a team of more than 40 archaeological experts – including conservators and finds specialists, ancient timber specialists, and engineers – has produced revolutionary new insights into the lavishly furnished wooden chamber and the man buried there.

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Roman rabbit discovered at Fishbourne

A chance find made during re-examination of zooarchaeological remains from Fishbourne Roman palace could push back the timeline of the introduction of rabbits to Britain by more than a millennium.

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Finding the origins of the first farmers

A recent ancient DNA study looking at the genetics of Neolithic Britons provides strong evidence to suggest that the shift to farming in Britain was due to migration from the Continent and not from local populations adopting agricultural methods – something that has been hotly debated for decades.

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Getting to the core of Stonehenge

A long-forgotten piece of one of Stonehenge’s famous sarsen stones, which make up the outer ring of the monument, has travelled thousands of miles from the USA to return to the Salisbury Plain site. The core was drilled from one of the stones during excavation work in 1958, when archaeologists raised an entire fallen trilithon.

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Remains of Kirkwall Castle revealed

The remains of a long-destroyed medieval castle have been unearthed by the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) during a watching brief for a road infrastructure project in the centre of Kirkwall, Orkney.

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Unusual Iron Age burial uncovered at Childrey

A settlement dating to the Iron Age and the Romano-British period has been uncovered near the village of Childrey in Oxfordshire, ahead of works to lay new water pipes for a Thames Water project.

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Science Notes – Fashioning the face of man’s best friend

Facial reconstructions have become an increasingly common output of archaeological analysis. From the dark-skinned Cheddar Man (see CA 337) to the battle-scarred men from the Mary Rose, these life-like models put a face (literally) on the past in a way that artefacts cannot. Now, a reconstruction has been created from the skull of a Neolithic dog, opening up new possibilities for the ways in which this forensic technique may be used in the future. But how are these models created, and how accurate are they? In this month’s ’Science Notes‘, we explore the details of this technique and how it was applied to a canine from Orkney.

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