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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.