News

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Another record year for the Portable Antiquities Scheme

A record number of Treasure finds have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) for the second year running. At the launch of the 2016 Treasure Act Annual Report and the 2017 Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report, held at the British Museum last December, it was announced that 1,267 Treasure items had been recorded across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2017.

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Winners of 2018 Heritage Angel Awards announced

The winners of the 2018 Heritage Angel Awards – a programme established in 2011 and supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation – have been announced. The aim of the awards, as outlined by the Foundation, is to ‘celebrate the achievements and determination of “unsung heroes”, the individuals and groups who show passion, commitment, and initiative in tackling often challenging restoration projects, who work tirelessly to protect their local historic buildings, and who keep our heritage alive and thriving for the next generation.’

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Orkney bowl shows signs of repair

Post-excavation analysis of the oldest wooden bowl yet found in Orkney (see CA 343), has revealed details of its Iron Age use. Found by a team from UHI Archaeology Institute, during last summer’s excavation at the Cairns site in South Ronaldsay, the bowl was discovered in a stone chamber known as the ‘The Well’, beneath an Iron Age broch. As little is known about the function of this ‘well’, it was hoped that the bowl could provide some clues.

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Science Notes – Getting to the core of it: examining silver mining through ice-core analysis

This month, we are discussing something new for Science Notes: ice-core analysis. This technique is based on the fact that, as atmospheric particles settle on glaciers – whether through precipitation or wind – they become trapped in the outermost layer of ice. As these layers accumulate each year, they create a sequential time capsule. By extracting cores from these glaciers, the layers can be separated and the particles analysed, providing evidence for global climate and pollution fluctuations through history.

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Investigating London’s man of mystery

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.

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Rethinking Pictish symbols

Recent research on Pictish symbols has provided a new chronology for the carvings, transforming our understanding of their evolution.

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Dental health and poverty during the Great Irish Famine

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.

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Roman fort settlement revealed in Cumbria

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.

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Vicus discovered in Devon?

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).

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Lamprey for dinner in medieval London

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.

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