Author: Kathryn Krakowka

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Fishbourne at 50: Celebrating half a century at a unique Roman palace

This month marks 50 years since Fishbourne Roman Palace, one of the great archaeological discoveries of the 1960s, opened its doors to the public. The site continues to hold wide appeal for visitors and researchers alike. Here, Betina Blake and Katrina Burton explore how our understanding of the Roman structures has evolved, and how the anniversary is being celebrated.

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Think differently: think Archaeology!

This month marks the second University Archaeology Day, following 2017’s successful inaugural event. Charlotte Frearson, Jennifer French, and Andrew Gardner discuss why any prospective undergraduate should give the discipline serious consideration.

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Coppergate memories: remembering York’s revolutionary Viking dig

Four decades on from the extraordinary Anglo-Scandinavian discoveries of the Coppergate excavations in 1976-1981, York Archaeological Trust is running an oral history project to capture memories of a truly game-changing investigation. One year in, Chris Tuckley shares some of the highlights recorded so far, and offers an invitation for more.

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Current Archaeology 340

In the recent hot weather, the trees that line many of our urban streets offer welcome shade – but when these leafy avenues were first introduced to Britain they were highly controversial. We trace the progress and pitfalls of this movement from its 19th-century roots to the present day. Greenery was also a key feature […]

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Burning questions at Dun Deardail

It remains one of the biggest archaeological mysteries: why do so many hillforts, particularly across Scotland, appear to have undergone a significant burning event that caused their stone walls to melt and ultimately fuse (see CA 133)? Was it done deliberately, either during an attack or as a ceremonial act, or was it accidental? One of these ‘vitrified’ forts, Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis, was recently excavated over the course of a three-year project funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Nevis Landscape Partnership. This Iron Age hillfort was built in the middle of the 1st millennium BC, around 2,500 years ago, and was eventually destroyed in a catastrophic fire. Now excavations have shed light on its construction, occupation, and destruction.

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Highland housing in the Mesolithic

Excavations at Caochanan Ruadha, a previously identified Mesolithic site in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish Highlands, have revealed evidence of a possible small structure surrounding a central hearth – an intriguing find, as the identification of Mesolithic buildings is quite rare. The dig was part of the first phase of the Upper Dee Tributaries Project (UDTP), through which an interdisciplinary team from institutions across the UK and Ireland is exploring the early prehistory of Mar Lodge Estate – owned and maintained by the National Trust for Scotland.

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Never a dull moment: the lives of Early Bronze Age axes

The Reverend William Greenwell (1820-1918) was a British antiquarian who, throughout a long career of excavating prehistoric barrows, accumulated a large collection of artefacts. This included almost 570 copper-alloy axes from across Europe. Unfortunately, due to practices (or the lack of them) at the time, many of these objects – now curated at the British Museum – have no known provenance or any other contextual information. This had meant that, for the most part, they remained in museum storage, deemed useless for research. A new study, however, has once again brought the axes in this collection to light, by macro- and microscopically analysing them for wear patterns and other signs of use.

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Bronze Age barrow discovered in Cornwall

Since 2012, the Southeast Kernow Archaeological Survey – a collaborative effort between Dr Catherine Frieman from the Australian National University and James Lewis, an archaeologist based in Scotland – has seen the geophysical and topographic investigation of many prehistoric sites in the region. This year, they continued their project at a probable Iron Age site outside the village of Looe, Cornwall, which had been identified by aerial surveys carried out through the National Mapping Programme (NMP).

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Reading the painting on the wall

Last month, we reported in ‘News’ on the recent LiDAR work done to accurately measure the length of the Antonine Wall. Here, we highlight further groundbreaking research being carried out to uncover the history of this magnificent monument. Dr Louisa Campbell from the University of Glasgow has used X-ray and laser technology to analyse the remnants of the Wall as part of the Historic Environment Scotland-funded project, Paints and Pigments in the Past.

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Science Notes – Bridging the divide: the role of science in archaeology

This month we are doing something a little different, exploring a wider theme rather than a specific technique. A recent public-interest piece in Nature – published in response to their research paper about the Bell Beaker culture (for more on this research, see CA 338) – discusses the ‘sometimes straining’ relationship between archaeologists and geneticists.

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