The archaeological societies founded in the 19th century embraced all aspects of the discipline, and from about the beginning of the 20th century societies came to be formed. In recent years, they have been joined by more-specialist societies and journals. And, in a new move related to changes at publishing outlets, journals are being produced and distributed by publishers rather than societies. Now we are presented with a journal on a single, albeit complex, monument, Offa’s Dyke, adding to the growing range of journals published by Archaeopress, and on open access.
Do we need another book on Hadrian’s Wall? The answer in this case is a resounding ‘yes’. The authors curate the magnificent collections derived from several centuries of research, excavation, and antiquarian collection along the frontier. Their expertise and knowledge are demonstrated by their selection of illustrations, but this is not a mere catalogue. Each object has been chosen to illustrate a particular aspect of the lives of the people – men, women, and children; military and civilian – who lived along the frontier and in its shadow.
Review – Nazi Prisons in the British Isles: political prisoners during the German Occupation of Jersey and Guernsey 1940-1945
This is a welcome addition to the literature on confinement, a topic that has developed from a little-studied phenomenon into one of most vibrant areas within the subdiscipline of Conflict Archaeology. Gilly Carr has been a part of this through her work on the Channel Islands during the Second World War. She has been investigating Lager Wick, a forced labour camp on Jersey, and has many publications on the impact of WWII on the Channel Islands.
Hillforts, arguably the most Romantic and certainly the most monumentally impressive of archaeological sites in Britain, are currently undergoing a renaissance. Fieldwork today is moving beyond the simple study of ditch-and-rampart sequences and, as this excellent book demonstrates, is making fantastic new discoveries.
Review – Excavations at Chester: the northern and eastern Roman extramural settlements, excavations 1990-2019 and other investigations
This is a lucid and business-like report on developer-funded digs in the northern and eastern environs of the legionary fortress at Chester. It brings together work by various archaeological contractors, an initiative of synthesis to be applauded, and complements recent publication of work south and west of the fortress.
Concentrating around Southgate Street, Hurst’s meticulous open-area investigations revealed the Roman legionary headquarters, over which he discovered remains of the later Roman forum. Above lay the very different archaeology of the 10thcentury renewal of the town, an Anglo- Saxon basis for the city’s heyday in the 13th century. I was a young volunteer on these excavations, spellbound by Hurst’s masterful management of slim resources to tell a great story about one of Britain’s first coloniae, then an early Roman city and its medieval successor.
The Ness of Brodgar in Orkney is ‘a site of superlatives’. So write the authors of this absorbing new book about a truly extraordinary site. Nestled on a thin spit of land between two lochs, the Ness is a unique complex of monumental buildings in an area already rich in Neolithic archaeology.
Despite the title, this book is about far more than the archaeology of Roman Cambridge and its western hinterland. It includes associated research into human landscape evolution, historiography, and biography, as well as a history of the 20th-century development of the university, and the homes and activities of its academics and antiquarians.
Hugh Willmott’s important new book seeks to redress the balance by providing a more-rounded and -nuanced explanation of the processes involved in the Dissolution (which were unquestionably complex and far-reaching), as well as the reasons for it. He does not hide away from any aspect of the events or people involved, and provides copious examples across a wide variety of themes centred on them.
Within its 225 square miles, the Isle of Man boasts an impressively diverse historic landscape spanning some 10,000 years of human activity. In this compact but wide-ranging book, our guide is Matthew Richardson, curator of social history at Manx National Heritage.