News

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Investigating the isotopes of the Blick Mead dog

In 2016, a single canine tooth was found at Blick Mead – a major Mesolithic site 2km from Stonehenge. Now further isotopic analyses have revealed a complicated picture of the dog’s diet and possible migration patterns.

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Unique Iron Age bark shield found in Leicestershire

Post-excavation analysis of an Iron Age bark shield – the only one of its kind ever found in Europe – is greatly enhancing our understanding of how such objects were made and wielded during this period.

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Blackmiddens: distilling the history of Scottish whisky

In what is thought to be the first excavation of its kind, the remains of a 19th-century Scottish whisky distillery have been uncovered in Cabrach. The project, undertaken by Peter Bye- Jensen from the Cabrach Trust along with Cameron Archaeology and local volunteers, has provided valuable new insights into early whisky production, and a period of prosperity that transformed this rural region of Scotland.

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Dissecting the diet of medieval peasants

A recent project analysing food residue on pottery from a medieval rural settlement in Raunds, Northamptonshire, has yielded detailed new information on the diet of peasants between the late Anglo-Saxon period and the 15th century – a vital aspect of medieval life that is often overlooked in the historical record.

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Roman marching camp revealed in Ayr

A previously unknown Roman marching camp has been discovered in Ayr, adding new evidence to our understanding of the Roman conquest of Scotland.

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Science Notes – Picking out Paget’s disease using proteomics

In CA 338, we discussed proteomics – the study of proteins – and how it is quickly growing as a new way of analysing archaeological remains. That month’s ‘Science Notes’ explored how it had been applied to dental calculus, or plaque build-up, to assess an individual’s diet and health. Now research has used proteomics to help with the identification and diagnosis of ancient diseases, further proving its potential to revolutionise our understanding of health through history.

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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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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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