How shCA194-1ould we look after our historic towns? At Lincoln,  English Heritage has been sponsoring a new way of  assessing them, a project that will certainly be a world  beater. Instead of just one research agenda for the town,  there are now no fewer than 550 research agendas,  arranged by era and each covering a small zone of the  town. The book that outlines the new agendas is accompanied  by a CD Rom for computers, on which all these  Research Agenda Zones are mapped. This is the way that  urban archaeology should be done: let the world take  notice.

The project involves a complete re-assessment of  Lincoln’s history, so here we look at four separate  aspects. Was there anything at Lincoln before the  Romans came? Who was the owner of the huge villa  just outside Roman Lincoln? Then, medieval Lincoln:  why did it rise so early and collapse so early too? And  finally, the remarkable resurgence of Lincoln in the late 19th century  to become a major industrial centre.

Who would have thought that a new Roman emperor would be  discovered? His name was Domitianus II, and he was probably  emperor for a very short period around 270 AD at a time when the  Gallic provinces had broken away and had their own emperor. All  this is based on a single Roman coin found by a metal detectorist,  and Ian Leins of the British Museum has worked out the full story.

Kintore, near Aberdeen, has long been known from aerial photography  as the site of a huge Roman temporary camp. Left behind  after Agricola’s attempt to conquer Scotland in the 80s AD, it is now  being swallowed up by a new housing estate, but archaeological  excavations in advance found that the Roman temporary camp was  the least of the features. There were roundhouses stretching from the  Bronze Age to the Pictish period, – to say nothing of exotic Neolithic  rituals.

The spire of Salisbury cathedral was for long the tallest structure  in England. Inside it is an elaborate scaffolding, left behind to provide  permanent access. But what is the date of this scaffolding? A long  programme of tree ring dating has provided some interesting  answers.

News items include a second magnificent gold coin, this time of  a little known Saxon king, as well as the opening of two new  museums at Piddington and Cirencester. But who was the rich lady  at Cirencester, and how did she display all her wealth?

It is satisfying in this issue to be able to cover Lincoln so fully. We  do not always sing the praises of English Heritage – or of those who  slave in the bureaucracy of archaeology – but here they really have  demonstrated that England, for once, really does lead the world!

Andrew Selkirk

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