CA196-1Rarely does an archaeological discovery change  accepted history. The traditional story of the Roman  invasion of Britain usually has Vespasian, later the  Roman Emperor, at the time commanding the  Second Augusta Legion, conquering the West  Country. But did he? A new legionary tombstone  from the Roman fort at Alchester has rewritten the  story, moving Vespasian to the Midlands. Excavation  director Eberhard Sauer presents the evidence.

Our second story also concerns a famous  historical figure: Mad King George III. He stayed  much of the time at Kew Palace. The old house is  now being done up, and archaeologists have been at  work peeling back the layers to reveal traces of  paint and paper that show how the house looked in  George III’s time. Lee Prosser of Historic Royal  Palaces describes the project.

Then we revisit the site of one of the first digs  on an Anglo-Saxon settlement site: Bishopstone. The  old dig was on Rookery Hill, but the settlement here  was abandoned in the 7th century. Why? And did  people move straight-away to the current village site?  Anglo-Saxon specialist Gabor Thomas has been  excavating there to find out – and seems to have found  the residence of a Saxon lord next to the parish church.

What was samian ware used for? The usual answer  is that it was best table ware for special occasions. But  Roman pottery expert Edward Biddulph has been  eating his cornflakes out of replica bowls to find out  how the wear patterns on excavated vessels formed –  and now samian does not look so special after all.

Then, in My Time, we go back out into the field to  hear from Carenza Lewis about a fascinating Time Team  dig at Northborough near Peterborough, where a  Neolithic causewayed enclosure has just been found.

We finish with another profile of one of our leading  practitioners: Brian Philp, pioneer and veteran of Kent  rescue archaeology, where he has explored over 700  sites in a career spanning 50 years.

We also have all our regulars – News, Diary, and  Books. In Diary we debate two big national events  planned for the summer. Which sounds best to you? In  Books we review Francis Pryor’s trilogy of Seahenge,  Britain BC, and Britain AD. Has Francis got it right?

Neil Faulkner

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