Articles

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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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Getting to the core of Stonehenge

A long-forgotten piece of one of Stonehenge’s famous sarsen stones, which make up the outer ring of the monument, has travelled thousands of miles from the USA to return to the Salisbury Plain site. The core was drilled from one of the stones during excavation work in 1958, when archaeologists raised an entire fallen trilithon.

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Remains of Kirkwall Castle revealed

The remains of a long-destroyed medieval castle have been unearthed by the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) during a watching brief for a road infrastructure project in the centre of Kirkwall, Orkney.

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Unusual Iron Age burial uncovered at Childrey

A settlement dating to the Iron Age and the Romano-British period has been uncovered near the village of Childrey in Oxfordshire, ahead of works to lay new water pipes for a Thames Water project.

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Science Notes – Fashioning the face of man’s best friend

Facial reconstructions have become an increasingly common output of archaeological analysis. From the dark-skinned Cheddar Man (see CA 337) to the battle-scarred men from the Mary Rose, these life-like models put a face (literally) on the past in a way that artefacts cannot. Now, a reconstruction has been created from the skull of a Neolithic dog, opening up new possibilities for the ways in which this forensic technique may be used in the future. But how are these models created, and how accurate are they? In this month’s ’Science Notes‘, we explore the details of this technique and how it was applied to a canine from Orkney.

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Remains of Cook’s cottage recovered

The foundations of a house built by Captain Cook’s father – which stood in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, until it was moved stone by stone to Australia in 1934 – will be on public display this summer following their recent rediscovery.

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Review – Durovigutum: Roman Godmanchester

This large, handsome volume, organised into 11 well-crafted chapters and associated appendices, describes the trenching rationale from 25 sites and reveals the former street and building layout of the town, along with a vast artefact assemblage. The systematic and careful editorial not only brings to light an excellent synthesis of the fieldwork but also reveals something of the character of a man who spent 30 years of his life digging this significant Roman site.

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Review – Avanke, Bever, Castor: the story of beavers in Wales

In this fascinating book, Bryony Coles charts the history of beavers in Wales, from their earliest evidence dating to the Ice Age (found in Pontnewydd Cave in North Wales) to historical evidence that suggests that they continued to exist in Wales as late as the 18th century. The book explores the biology and behaviour of beavers and the physical evidence of their presence, and along the way considers the impact they had in medieval and later culture.

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Review – Citadel of the Saxons: the rise of early London

Written with an evocative turn of phrase and a sharp eye for interesting detail, Citadel of the Saxons is packed full of information, and impressive in its scope given that it is under 200 pages long. Rory begins his account in the 5th century amidst the ruins of Roman London, before tracing the settlement’s rebirth and rise to new heights of prosperity, ending with the Norman Conquest of 1066.

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Review – ‘Our Lincolnshire’: exploring public engagement with heritage

Based on the ‘Our Lincolnshire’ project, this book details the project’s aim of connecting the people of Lincolnshire with the rural heritage of their region, and the challenges this presented. Given that one of the core issues with public archaeology is the lack of data on its effects and effectiveness, this volume represents an important starting point for community evaluation and engagement.

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