Caroline Wickham- Jones offers a useful, if at times rather dry, overview of current research on submerged landscapes around the world. The realisation that sea levels were up to 140m lower globally at the height of the last Ice Age (26,000 to 19,000 years ago) – reaching present-day levels only around 5,000 years ago – is arguably one of the most important advances in archaeology over the last decade. Despite numerous scientific papers and important projects, an accessible overview of this work has been lacking and, as a result, this book is to be welcomed.
Roots of Nationhood is a timely volume that explores questions of heritage and nationhood. The chapters offer perspectives on themes of place, material culture, ideologies, and engaging with cultural heritage.
An exhibition at Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology brings together artefacts from early excavations at Star Carr, the latest finds from the celebrated site, and more, to conjure up what Mesolithic life was like beside Lake Flixton. Lucia Marchini went along to take a look.
In this final column exploring the stories behind Current Archaeology cover images, I am bringing things right up to date by examining covers from issue 301 (April 2015) onwards. Despite the challenging environment for archaeology in recent years, with particularly worrying cutbacks in local-authority heritage services, there has still been some amazing work and some spectacular sites and finds to celebrate.
Four years of excavations at a 5,500-year-old causewayed enclosure have shed vivid light on a Berkshire monument and the landscape’s early Neolithic past, illuminating the lives of some of the first farming communities in Britain.
Three long-lost gravestones belonging to one of the most significant collections of Viking Age sculpture in Britain and Ireland have been found during a community dig in the churchyard of Govan Old Parish Church in Glasgow. The stones were (re)discovered by Mark McGettigan, a 14-year-old student volunteering on his very first excavation, which was run by Northlight Heritage.
Previous isotopic analysis of animal remains from Durrington Walls, a large henge enclosure 3km northeast of Stonehenge, demonstrated that both cattle and pigs were brought to the complex from across Britain (see CA 334). Now, a further study looking at pig bones from three other nearby Neolithic sites, as well as examining the Durrington Wall pigs more thoroughly, has found that this was not an anomaly – it seems that all these complexes served as meeting points for people from across the British Isles.
A lost monastery founded by an Anglo-Saxon princess may have been rediscovered, potentially bringing an end to a search that has gone on for decades.
In Current Archaeology 339, we reported the discovery of a number of human skeletons on the ominously named ‘Rat Island’ in Gosport, Hampshire. These burials had been exposed as a result of erosion following winter storms and were found to be those of adult males – probably prisoners from the prison hulks that had been moored in the harbour in the 18th and 19th centuries.
A team from the universities of Leicester and Southampton recently re-examined previous Avebury excavations and conducted new surveying of the site (in a study published in the journal Antiquity), establishing a possible new chronology of the monument’s construction and shedding new light on its use.