AD 1250 – Wood Hall

In the Middle Ages, life was communal, and the basic building structure was the open hall. Even comparatively grand structures, such as manor houses, consisted mainly of a large open hall with a fire at the centre, where the smoke escaped up to the rafters and through the thatched roof. A good example of such […]


AD 1300 – Conwy Castle

The medieval castle is one of the great glories of British archaeology. The finest are those in North Wales, the products of the conquest of Wales by Edward Ist, in the years just before 1300. One of the most majestic is Conwy (or Conway), and here Arnold Taylor, the former Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments […]


AD 1300 – Rhosyr – A Welsh Prince’s Palace

Before the conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1283, the Welsh Kingdoms were flourishing. Yet archaeologically, little is known of this period. There are ‘native’ Welsh castles, but these are late and peripheral: the centre of Welsh culture lay in the royal courts – the ‘llys’ (pronounced “leese”). For the first time, one of […]


AD 1300 – Newark: Excavating a medieval castle

Newark Castle has always been something of a problem. The west front, facing out onto the River Trent, is a magnificent structure, still standing three stories high, well-known to travellers along the Great North Road. But what lay behind it? A major research excavation was carried out using mostly volunteer excavators to investigate the castle.


AD 1600 – Glenochar: a Bastle and its Fermtoun

The closing years of the independent Scottish kingdom were turbulent times in the Anglo-Scottish borders. When in 1603, King James VI of Scotland became James I of England, one of his major steps was to impose law and order on the border country and to put down the border reivers who were terrorising the area. […]


AD 1800 – Crossing the Atlantic

In the 18th and 19th centuries, hundreds of thousands of people crossed the Atlantic to a New World in America. Why? The Flora MacDonald Project, of the University of Sheffield is following the fortunes of a group who crossed from the Hebrides to Nova Scotia, or New Scotland, in what is now Canada.


How to Kill a Witch – The Reigate witch bottle

What do you do if you find yourself bewitched? If you find you are constantly out of sorts, and you just know someone has put the evil eye on you? The answer is obvious: you must set about killing the witch who has bewitched you. But how do you set about killing a witch?


Footloose in Archaeology

“Feet- did you say Feet?-Ugh-h-h!” That is the usual remark I hear when I mention my Research Project. I hope that when you have finished reading this your reaction will have changed.

Advice and encouragement for first-time diggers

Many people from all walks of life find the idea of going on an archaeological dig to be a fascinating prospect, but face the reality of actually doing it with a certain amount of trepidation. Fear not – most excavations looking for volunteers and/or trainees anticipate all levels of experience and are set up (with […]


Joining a field school

Few activities are as rewarding as the physical exploration of a personal hobby or interest, and for archaeological enthusiasts an increasing variety of opportunities to participate in fieldwork are becoming available across the country. There is high demand each season for places on the expanding number of training excavations and field schools, as people from […]