Recent analysis of cremated human remains excavated from Stonehenge has shown that some of the individuals buried at the Neolithic monument may have spent some of their lives in western Britain, or even west Wales – the same region where the Stonehenge bluestones are believed to have come from.
The search for the lost monastery where the Book of Deer – a tome containing the earliest surviving Gaelic writing – was written and illuminated – continued this summer. Digging in the walled garden of Pitfour Estate near Old Deer in Aberdeenshire, where the monastery is thought to have been located, the excavation uncovered a number of interesting finds. One of the most notable was a game board that may have been used to play the Norse strategy game hnefatafl.
A well-preserved prehistoric hearth has been discovered 5ft below the surface during a commercial watching brief on a pipe trench in St Clement, southeast Jersey, which was carried out by the Société Jersiaise’s Field Archaeologist Robert Waterhouse.
The latest excavation season in Orkney has uncovered a cornucopia of finds. these include what may be the oldest wooden bowl yet discovered in the archipelago, unearthed at the cairns, South Ronaldsay, by a team from the UHI Archaeology Institute.
In this month’s Science Notes, we turn to one of the most immediately recognisable monuments in the world – Stonehenge – examining how the origin of its bluestones was taken for granted for so long, and how it shows why research is ever evolving, and never absolute.
A Pictish coppersmith has left his prints – literally – on the remains of his workshop, recently excavated on Rousay, Orkney. This discovery was made at the Knowe of Swandro, a multiperiod site that includes a Neolithic chambered tomb as well as subsequent Iron Age, Pictish, Viking, and Norse settlements, but which is slowly slipping into the sea. In a race against the tide, the Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust, along with a host of partners, is working to excavate and record the site before it is too late.
The popular (and beautifully illustrated) series exploring Portable Antiquities Scheme finds in different areas continues with a slim volume focused not on a region, but on all of medieval England.
The New Forest is in many ways a paradox: a liminal landscape that many of us have ventured past or through and feel a connection with. The death of an English king while hunting is for many the only narrative of which they are aware, but there is a much wider story to be told about this fascinating part of Britain.
Students of Irish archaeology will be familiar with John Waddell’s Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. This new publication is far removed from that sturdy workhorse, offering hypotheses on the symbiotic relationship between myth and archaeology.
Neither Harry nor June Welsh require an introduction in Northern Irish archaeology, being the authors – both jointly and separately – of two publications on the province’s heritage: Tomb Travel (2011) and The Prehistoric Burial Sites of Northern Ireland (2014). Their most recent is very much the companion volume to the burial sites book.