News

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Unexpected discoveries at Beacon Ring

Archaeologists excavating the Welsh hillfort Beacon Ring (Caer Digoll) made an unexpected discovery relating to the 19th-century Ordnance Survey this summer, which has cast new light on early map-making fieldwork.

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Anglo-Saxon ‘warrior’ burial uncovered

The grave of a 6th-century man – a possible warrior – has been uncovered on a hilltop near Marlow, overlooking the Thames Valley. Its location within the borderlands of prominent neighbouring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms – at different times Wessex, Kent, and Mercia – will hopefully shed new light on this often-overlooked region, which was previously viewed as an obscure backwater during this period of history.

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Confirmation of Britain’s first Viking helmet

After extensive research, Dr Chris Caple from Durham University has determined that the Yarm helmet – discovered in the 1950s by workmen digging trenches for new sewerage pipes at Yarm in North Yorkshire – is of Anglo-Scandinavian origin. This makes it the first, and only, example to be found in Britain.

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Somerset’s first timber circle found

A Neolithic timber circle has recently been identified in Somerset near the village of Priddy. It is the first such monument to be formally identified in the county.

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Christian chalice found at Vindolanda

A lead vessel bearing early Christian iconography has been discovered at Vindolanda. It is the first cup or chalice to be found at a fort associated with Hadrian’s Wall, and the only one from this period to have been found in Britain.

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A road to discoveries in County Cork

Earlier this year, excavations on two sections of the N73 between the historic towns of Mallow and Mitchelstown in the north of Co. Cork have revealed a rich picture of how the landscape was used through the centuries.

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Ancient smallpox strain in Anglo-Saxon Oxford

A recent study has detected a previously unknown ancient clade of the variola virus (VARV) – the causative agent of smallpox – which appears to have been widespread in Britain and Scandinavia during the early medieval period.

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Examining Norman nutrition

A project – led by Dr Elizabeth Craig-Atkins from the University of Sheffield, and Dr Richard Madgwick and Dr Ben Jervis from the University of Cardiff – has examined the impact of the Norman Conquest on diet. Using finds excavated in Oxford and dated to between the 10th and 13th centuries, the team applied a multiproxy analytical approach, combining ceramic residue analysis, isotope analysis of both human and animal bones, incremental isotope analysis of tooth dentine, and palaeopathological analysis of skeletal remains.

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