Scattered across England, a host of monumental mounds have long been interpreted as Norman castle mottes. Large round mounds boast a much earlier pedigree, however – as this month’s cover star, Silbury Hill, attests. A recent project has been investigating whether any sisters to Silbury are hiding in plain sight – with some surprising results.
Author: Kathryn Krakowka
The nearly 10,000-year-old skeleton who came to be known as ‘Cheddar Man’ was found in 1903, in Gough’s Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. In more recent times, his remains have been on display in the Human Origins Hall at the Natural History Museum. Despite his fame, until recently little was known about this individual. Now a team from UCL and the Natural History Museum has successfully sequenced his DNA for the first time, revealing a wealth of details about his physical appearance – with dramatic implications for our understanding of how inhabitants of Mesolithic Britain looked.
Ancient DNA analysis of an Anglo-Saxon woman from East Anglia, afflicted with leprosy, has indicated that there could be a link between the spread of the disease and squirrels. The discovery adds to the already comparatively high number of medieval leprosy cases from the region.
Archaeological analysis has revealed what is being called a Mesolithic ‘crayon’. It came from the ancient Lake Flixton – now covered in peat – in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire. It is an area rich in prehistory, not least the famous occupation site of Star Carr (see CA 282). Now, a collaborative project between the Universities of York, Chester, and Manchester, studying ochre objects from the lake, has provided new evidence of how our ancestors may have coloured their animal skins and artwork.
A Bronze Age barrow cemetery has been uncovered in Hampshire, along with a connected mortuary enclosure and other possible ritualistic features. After an earlier evaluation by Wessex Archaeology and a geophysical survey by GSB revealed ring ditches, the site’s potential archaeological significance was flagged – and with the area selected for development, Cotswold Archaeology began a 2ha excavation last November, targeting the areas highlighted during the initial investigation.
Post-excavation analysis of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, which staged some of Shakespeare’s plays (see CA 316), has revealed new clues to how the Elizabethan playhouse was used. Among the key discoveries revealed by MOLA archaeologists was that the theatre’s stage was the same length as a modern-day fencing piste – 14m from stage left to stage right, and 4.75m deep – making it perfect for performing elaborate fight scenes.
In the first ‘Science Notes’ (CA 333), we discussed the identification of a possible female Viking warrior using ancient DNA analysis. This is a guaranteed way to confirm sex in human remains, but can be costly, time-consuming, and destructive to the bone, meaning that it is not feasible when a project needs to determine the sex of a large number of skeletons.
Seven finds uncovered in Wrexham and Flintshire during 2015 and 2016 have been declared Treasure by the Coroner for North-east Wales. The discoveries, dated from the Roman through to the post-medieval period, include a coin hoard as well as fine medieval jewellery.
We are delighted to announce that Hella Eckardt is the winner of this year’s prestigious Archaeologist of the Year award. Top honours for Archaeologist of the Year at the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards for 2018 went to Dr Hella Eckardt of the University of Reading. A specialist in social approaches to Roman archaeology, she explores social and cultural […]
Winner of the award for Book of the Year was Mark White for Lost Landscapes of Palaeolithic Britain (published by Oxford Archaeology). Winner of the award for Book of the Year 2018 was Lost Landscapes of Palaeolithic Britain, edited by Mark White and published by Oxford Archaeology. This book explores the palaeo-landscapes of southern Britain, focusing […]