Confirmation of Britain’s first Viking helmet

After extensive research, Dr Chris Caple from Durham University has determined that the Yarm helmet – discovered in the 1950s by workmen digging trenches for new sewerage pipes at Yarm in North Yorkshire – is of Anglo-Scandinavian origin. This makes it the first, and only, example to be found in Britain.


Somerset’s first timber circle found

A Neolithic timber circle has recently been identified in Somerset near the village of Priddy. It is the first such monument to be formally identified in the county.


Christian chalice found at Vindolanda

A lead vessel bearing early Christian iconography has been discovered at Vindolanda. It is the first cup or chalice to be found at a fort associated with Hadrian’s Wall, and the only one from this period to have been found in Britain.


A road to discoveries in County Cork

Earlier this year, excavations on two sections of the N73 between the historic towns of Mallow and Mitchelstown in the north of Co. Cork have revealed a rich picture of how the landscape was used through the centuries.


Ancient smallpox strain in Anglo-Saxon Oxford

A recent study has detected a previously unknown ancient clade of the variola virus (VARV) – the causative agent of smallpox – which appears to have been widespread in Britain and Scandinavia during the early medieval period.


Review – Mercia: the rise and fall of a kingdom

A lack of sources regarding the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia has often led to it being overshadowed by other contemporary kingdoms, such as Wessex, in discussions of the Heptarchy, but in this book Annie Whitehead has gathered all of the available historical references to tell the story of the kingdom and the people who shaped it.


Review – Kindred: Neanderthal life, love, death, and art

Neanderthals must be the most-familiar members of our extended family tree. Since the first discoveries of their bones in the 1850s (a decade that also saw the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species) shook perceptions of what it meant to be human, public fascination has endured unabated. In this absorbing new book, Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes explores the evolution of our understanding of these ‘truly A-list’ hominins, as well as discussing exciting recent discoveries.


Review – The Graveyards and Cemeteries of Edinburgh

Charlotte Golledge’s book takes us on a tour of the burial places of Edinburgh. For each cemetery, she provides a small precis of its history, and then delves into the lives of some of the famous people buried within it – and, in some cases, highlights more everyday burials, including the small grave of an infant whose surviving twin added a new headstone after discovering her burial place several decades later.

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