Grave AX at Yeavering remains one of the most-extraordinary discoveries in Anglo-Saxon archaeology. Its occupant lay in a slightly flexed posture, with a goat’s head at the feet, a broken spear laid diagonally across the torso, and, running down the central axis of the grave, above the body, a Roman-style groma.
Investigations beneath the floorboards of Oxburgh Hall, a great moated country house near King’s Lynn, have revealed a remarkable time capsule of finds spanning 500 years, from high-status manuscripts to Tudor textiles. Anna Forrest describes some of the highlights.
Our cover feature takes us to the lofty attic spaces of a grand country house: Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, where ambitious conservation work has revealed a wealth of fragile finds spanning 500 years, including the astonishing illuminated manuscript page that appears on the front of this issue. Some 200 miles from Oxburgh’s red-brick splendour stands […]
Review – The Role of Anglo-Saxon Great Hall Complexes in Kingdom Formation, in Comparison and in Context AD 500-750
The site of Yeavering, Northumberland, identified in 1949 and excavated with some precision by Brian Hope-Taylor, remains the most comprehensively excavated great hall complex in Britain, and justifiably takes pride of place in any research on the subject. Yet the importance of this site and its research history has somewhat dominated the subsequent investigations on early medieval palatial complexes, sometimes to the detriment of understanding other sites and landscapes.
Review – Farmsteads and Funerary Sites: the M1 Junction 12 improvements and the A5-M1 Link Road, Central Bedfordshire
Farmsteads… is the result of the latest in a long line of infrastructure projects in Bedfordshire. The M1 itself opened in 1959, but it was not until 1969 that motorway archaeology developed. Early approaches had focused on single sites, but – with the construction of the M5 – emphasis shifted to the landscape as a whole. The two schemes represented by this volume began conventionally, with early assessment and evaluation followed by a series of excavations.
Leaving aside the extraordinary feats expected from the team who excavated the Bronze Age remains at Must Farm, later prehistoric settlement studies have, latterly, struggled to break new ground, despite many more dots on many more development-led distribution maps. Perhaps because of Must Farm, it is incumbent on students of the period to seek out those instances where the atypical will provide new, much needed, insight.
Damage to statues and other monuments has made for heated headlines and sharply divided opinions this summer. One act seems particularly heinous, however: the deliberate destruction of a grave marker commemorating ‘Scipio Africanus’, an enslaved black teenager who died in Bristol in 1720.
Where did the Stonehenge bluestones come from? Scientific advances are allowing us to pinpoint the outcrops that they were quarried from with ever-greater accuracy. Rob Ixer, Richard Bevins, and Duncan Pirrie describe some of the latest thinking.
Last summer, we ran a feature about the long-running excavation at Poulton, near Chester, which was then exploring a cemetery associated with a medieval farming community. Within the grave fills, however, the team found far older artefacts: hints of earlier occupation. Now they have revealed the remains of a completely unexpected Iron Age and Romano-British […]
What are we to make of the strange abstract patterns – cup marks and cups and rings – pecked into boulders and outcrops in upland areas? Can they be compared with similar designs on specialised monuments like stone circles, cists, and megalithic tombs? In that case, their wider significance can be investigated. Or is a clue provided by the choice of rock for these strange designs? If so, they can be treated as parts of the landscape.