Lithological provenancing has featured heavily in the pages of Current Archaeology recently. In one of last month’s features, we discussed the recent evidence behind the potential origins of the Stonehenge bluestones, and this month we are examining the source of the monument’s celebrated sarsens. As we have yet to explore petrology or geochemistry within ‘Science Notes’, I thought it a good opportunity to rectify this and delve into the details of some of the techniques used for these projects.
Author: Kathryn Krakowka
A project – led by Dr Elizabeth Craig-Atkins from the University of Sheffield, and Dr Richard Madgwick and Dr Ben Jervis from the University of Cardiff – has examined the impact of the Norman Conquest on diet. Using finds excavated in Oxford and dated to between the 10th and 13th centuries, the team applied a multiproxy analytical approach, combining ceramic residue analysis, isotope analysis of both human and animal bones, incremental isotope analysis of tooth dentine, and palaeopathological analysis of skeletal remains.
The Storegga tsunami, caused by the sudden shift of a Scotland-sized section of the seabed off the coast of modern-day Norway, raged across the North Sea approximately 8,150 years ago. Archaeological evidence for this event has been found in onshore sediments across western Scandinavia, in parts of north-east Britain, and even as far away as Greenland. But, although models of the tsunami suggest that it possibly affected parts of the southern North Sea, no concrete evidence for it had been found in this region – until now.
Every few years, the radiocarbon calibration curve used to determine the calendar dates of almost all 14C measurements gets updated. The last recalibration was in 2013. Called IntCal13, it was based on 7,019 raw data points. This year, a major revamp – one of the biggest since its inception – has taken place and the new IntCal20 now takes into consideration more than 12,900 measurements. As with previous versions, the separate curves for samples from the Southern Hemisphere (SHCal20) and from marine reservoirs (Marine20) have also been updated. In this month’s ‘Science Notes’, we break down the history of these curves and dissect some of IntCal20’s new ‘features’.
With construction work continuing during the lockdown, the York Archaeological Trust (YAT) has remained busy. Since last September, they have been excavating and monitoring the North Annexe area of the city’s Guildhall during redevelopment of the site by VINCI Construction UK.
A project, headed by researchers from Trinity College Dublin, has sequenced the DNA of more than 40 individuals excavated from both Mesolithic and Neolithic funerary contexts across Ireland. The results illuminate not only the Irish transition to an agrarian way of life but also the social hierarchies that might have formed during this time.
For this month’s Science Notes we turn to two papers that recently made the headlines for their surprising findings, which have changed the ways in which we look at traditional archaeological contextual interpretations.
In this month’s ‘Science Notes’, we dive into the world of palaeoparasitology, and examine what the study of faecal matter can tell us about human health and behaviour in the past. While we may not like to acknowledge it, humans play host to a large number of parasites. Which parasites affect us and how they influence our health, however, can vary wildly based on our diet, living conditions, and other environmental factors.
This book offers a unique interpretation of the Lullingstone Roman Villa in the Darent Valley of Kent, exploring how its inhabitants used space to assert their position in society, as well as their cultural identity.
August saw the first ever archaeological excavation to be carried out at the iconic north Wales prehistoric coastal fort of Dinas Dinlle, owned by the National Trust. The hillfort, which is mentioned in the Welsh legends of the Mabinogi, is being dramatically cut by coastal erosion. Between 20m and 40m of the western side has […]