Category: Features

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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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Interview: John Reid talks about bullets and Burnswark on BBC Radio 4

Listen to John Reid, author of our cover feature Bullets, ballistas and Burnswark, discuss his research at Burnswark Hill on Radio 4’s Today (2 June 2016). The hill in Dumfriesshire is home to a 17-acre native hillfort held in a vice-like grip by two Roman camps. This configuration of Roman camps straddling a hillfort is unique in Britain, and attempts to […]

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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 […]

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Bathing at Binchester: creature comforts in the military north

  The two bath suites at Binchester Roman fort were discovered almost 200 years apart. But while the first was found when a horse and cart pitched into a cavity, the second emerged during a major campaign of excavations. David Mason is our guide to the results, and the bathing facilities on offer at a […]

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Prehistoric monuments and 150 Anglo-Saxon graves found at Bulford

Excavations on MOD land in Bulford, Wiltshire, have uncovered 150 Anglo-Saxon graves spanning the later 7th to early 8th century, and a host of prehistoric finds – as well as new insights into early medieval burial practices. Containing the remains of men, women, and children, the burials were arranged in neat rows, packed closely together […]

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Wales in the Vanguard: Pioneering protection of the past

Fortieth birthdays rarely pass without a moment of introspection, but Wales shows no sign of resting on its laurels as its Archaeological Trusts notch up that anniversary. Instead, the country is blazing a trail through the landscape of heritage protection. Chris Catling casts his eye over how Wales got to where it is today, and […]

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Doggerland rises: exploring lands and livelihoods lost under the North Sea

The dramatic impact of flooding on modern British communities was all too clear at the start of this year. But how did our prehistoric predecessors respond to the inundations that transformed their surroundings and drove them from their homes at the end of the last Ice Age? Jim Leary reports. The recent flood of desperate […]

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