AD 886 – Return to the Roman City: Bullwharf

On Christmas Day 886, King Alfred, exasperated by the attacks of the Danes, finally decided to abandon the undefended ‘open’ site of Lundenwic, and to return to the safety of the old Roman walls. At Bullwharf, evidence of this very first return has been discovered, on a site already recorded in the documents as ‘Queenhythe’. […]


AD 1000 – Canterbury Cathedral

A major Anglo-Saxon cathedral has been revealed – directly under the flagstones of the nave of Canterbury Cathedral. To everyone’s surprise, the Anglo-Saxon Cathedral was almost as big as its Norman successor.

dragon hall

AD 1200 – Norwich: the second largest medieval city

Norwich was the second largest city in Medieval Britain: why? In recent years a number of major sites covering more than 20 acres in all have been excavated in medieval Norwich, which between them have revolutionised our knowledge of this crucial medieval city. Let us take a look at these excavations in order to throw […]


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.