Reviews

Writing-Britain's-Ruins

Review – Writing Britain’s Ruins

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Reformation and the Civil War reduced a great many of Britain’s abbeys and castles to ruins – or, as they are described by a number of 18th- and 19thcentury poets, ‘piles’ of a ‘venerable’, ‘stately’, ‘stupendous’ or ‘lowly’ variety, or even ‘dismal Heaps’. These monuments have formed part of the country’s cultural consciousness, and their impact can be felt particularly keenly in Gothic fiction and Gothic Revival architecture.

Ness-of-Brodgar

Review – The Ness of Brodgar: digging deeper

Perched on a peninsula in the heart of the Orkney archipelago, the Ness of Brodgar is a truly remarkable site. Long-running excavations there are bringing a wealth of discoveries to light, illuminating the life and death of a sophisticated Neolithic community (see CA 335).

Recollections-of-a-Female-Archaeologist

Review – Recollections of a Female Archaeologist: a life of Brenda Swinbank

With a mixture of personal and archaeological anecdotes, this short book gives a real insight into the life and studies of Brenda Swinbank. As a woman researching in a very male-dominated field, the support she received from more established scholars is a credit to her work. Despite this support, she struggled to get a permanent academic job. Perhaps things were not so different 60 years ago…

Roman-Britain-the-frontier-province-cover

Review – Roman Britain: the frontier province

This collection of papers by Mark Hassall, for many years a lecturer at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology and co-editor of the epigraphic roundup for the journal Britannia, takes as its model a 1953 collection, Roman Britain and the Roman Army, by the eminent scholar of Roman Britain Eric Birley. Like that volume, this current collection takes stock of previously published research to present an academic ‘greatest hits’ compilation.

Maryport

Review – Maryport: a Roman fort and its community

Maryport stands out among the Roman forts in northern Britain. Popular accounts of such sites normally focus on providing a structural biography of the fort buildings, with less said about individual soldiers or the world beyond its ramparts. Books about Maryport must buck this trend, as comparatively little is known about the fort interior, but fascinating insights into activity outside the defences are steadily accumulating. Despite this work, the fort remains most famous for its collection of sculpture and inscribed stones, especially altars.

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Jorvik Viking Festival 2018

In February, Norsemen strode the streets of York once more in the city’s annual Viking Festival. Carly Hilts went along to see for herself.

Early-Bronze-Age-Round-Barrows-of-the-Anglo-Welsh-Border

Review – Early Bronze Age Round Barrows of the Anglo-Welsh Border

This volume, a PhD thesis, is a detailed study of round barrows in the central and northern Anglo-Welsh borderland. This is an under-researched region, as other scholars have tended to focus their studies where barrows are densely clustered or have seen extensive antiquarian excavations. The book begins with an overview of approaches to round barrows and their settings, and a useful synthesis of evidence for prehistoric settlement in the study area.

The-Western-Cemetery-of-Roman-Cirencester

Review – The Western Cemetery of Roman Cirencester, 2011-2015

Archaeology always retains the power to surprise. The site of Cirencester’s western cemetery, much developed and truncated over the years, ought to have retained few secrets, but the results of the excavation – 126 graves, a walled cemetery, deviant burials, an enamelled bronze cockerel, and a complete tombstone – exceeded expectations.

Humble-Works-for-Humble-People

Review – Humble Works for Humble People: a history of the fishery piers of County Galway and North Clare, 1800-1922

Humble Works for Humble People is a study of the structures associated with Galway and North Clare’s fishing industry: from ‘artisanal’ piers and slips to larger, more sophisticated ship and boat quays – built in large numbers from the early 19th century. It details the effects of wider, as well as more local, historical events on fishing and traditional occupations in the west of Ireland.

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