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.
Review – In the Shadow of Corinium: prehistoric and Roman occupation at Kingshill South, Cirencester, Gloucestershire
This new publication by Oxford Archaeology is a monograph report of an excavation undertaken between 2009 and 2013 ahead of house-building just outside the site of the Roman town of Corinium – modern Cirencester. It is copiously illustrated in full colour, with thorough accounts of the archaeological sequence, the finds, biological evidence, and radiocarbon dating, plus a synthesis and discussion.
A biography normally explores the life of an individual person, but in this wide-ranging new book, Richard Hingley (Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Durham) tells the story of an entire town and the lives and livelihoods of its occupants over the course of five centuries.
Excavations in the north and south continue to reveal evidence of how Romans buried their dead. Lucia Marchini explores two exhibitions in London and York approaching the subject in different ways.
In June, the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2018 saw Vince Gaffney of the University of Bradford awarded an MBE ‘for services to archaeology’. Formal honours are a rarity in our community, and so all the more to be celebrated when they occur. In the spirit of my ongoing mini-series of ‘great excavations’ reported in the pages of Current Archaeology down the years, I give here the story behind the MBE from one perspective, that of the great ‘site’ (if it can rightly be called that) of Doggerland.