CA202Battlefield sites are endlessly debated. Where did the final  defeat of Boudica take place? What was the exact location of  the Battle of Bosworth? Occasionally archaeologists stumble  upon an answer by chance. David Mason has been investigating  some mysterious burials overlying the Roman small-town site at  Heronbridge just south of Chester. A military earthwork, vicious  multiple injuries on the bodies, and a batch of radiocarbon dates  clustering around the early 7th century, make it all but certain  that he has found the site of the Battle of Chester, fought  between Briton and Anglo-Saxon in AD 616.

Then we cross from west to east to hear about the  excavation of a Bronze Age barrow near the Humber Estuary. It  is a tale in three parts – antiquarian barrow-digging, local society  dig, and then a last-minute rescue mission to record the site  before the sea destroyed it completely. And it turned out to be  more than just a barrow – there was also a Bronze Age henge  and a Neolithic long-house.

Our third story takes us to farthest South-West Wales.  Carmarthen was one of the most remote towns in the Roman  Empire. Heather James has been working there since the 1970s  and has just published a major report. It turns out the town  never took off: the local bigwigs stayed in the hills, preferring a  traditional Iron Age life among their clansmen to  Mediterranean-style baths, mosaics and wine!

What happens after a precious and fragile object is dug up?  In CA 188 we reported the discovery of a Roman cavalry  parade-helmet buried with coin hoards in an Iron Age sanctuary  in East Leicestershire. The helmet has since been excavated in  the British Museum conservation lab. As the clay was picked  away, a face was revealed on the wafer-thin fragments of metal.  Was it the emperor himself ? And what was this thoroughly  Roman object doing in a British sanctuary?

Our last feature concerns the highest of high-tech. How do  you record a priceless artefact like the Lord Mayor’s Coach that  is a mass of curves and swirls? The answer is a close-range  laser scanner. Befuddled by the science, I went to see Duncan  Lees for a practical lesson in the new art of ‘geomatics’ and an  explanation of a £30,000 recording project at the Museum of  London.

Finally, as well as all the usual regulars, we have Carenza  Lewis describing the second phase of Time Team’s Big Roman  Dig last summer, and, new to the magazine, Anthony Francis, a  veteran field archaeologist based on London, alerts us to a  ‘crisis’ at the trowel-face of commercial archaeology.

Good reading!
Neil Faulkner

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