Rome changed Britain. New roads opened up this country as  never before, creating a captive market — weary travellers.  Settlements seeking to part them from their sestertii sprung  up rapidly, but they are rarely excavated. Now work at Syon  Park has revealed life in one of Britain’s first service stations.

When Conan Doyle loosed his spectral hound on Dartmoor,  he painted it as a desolate wilderness. In doing so he glossed over a once thriving industry. Often eclipsed by the metalworkers of Cornwall, it is Dartmoor that holds this country’s finest relics of Medieval mining.

While archaeology brings some aspects of the past tangibly closer, others remain  impossibly distant. Ninety-nine years ago Mr Cocks excavated Yewden villa, and  uncovered so many baby burials he suspected infanticide. Recent research supports his  conclusion, giving a harrowing insight into a world where rearing newborns was a choice.

Nottingham’s soft sandstone has long invited underground exploration. There are  estimated to be 500 manmade caves in and around the city, where people lived, worked,  and worshipped. Recent laser survey has captured this subterranean city.

Finally, I am thrilled to announce that next year’s Current  Archaeology Live conference will be held on 2-3 March 2012,  at Senate House in London, in conjunction with the Institute of  Classical Studies. More details next issue, but this celebration of  archaeology will provide the perfect opportunity to be informed  and entertained by the experts. I hope to see you there.

FEATURES

SYON PARK SERVICES

Life and death on the Roman roadside
Checking in at Syon Park, where the weary traveller in Roman Britain could  find bed and board.

DARTMOOR: INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPES

Mining the Moor
Among Dartmoor’s famous prehistoric monuments lie clues to a flourishing  Medieval industrial history.

INFANTICIDE IN ROMAN BRITAIN

The Yewden Villa babies
Have excavations at a wealthy Roman villa unearthed an ancient murder mystery?

NOTTINGHAM UNDERGROUND

How a subterranean city was used through the ages
Laser-scanning has produced stunning new images of underground houses,  chapels, drinking dens, and bomb shelters.

NEWS

Stonehenge’s sister?; Ham Hill; Silchester; Harbouring legions; Aldborough  amphitheatre; England’s ancient landscapes; Scottish redware; Priddy Circles  bulldozed; Protecting Ireland’s recent past; Wedding cheer to a sad burial feast

REGULARS

Context

Reconstructing the Roman fortlet  at Castleshaw in the Peak District.

Reviews

Burial in Later Anglo-Saxon  England c.600-1100 AD; Becoming  an Archaeologist; How to Read  Industrial Britain

Sherds

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on  heritage issues.

Last Word

Andrew Selkirk comes face-to-face  with Councillor Alan Melton, and  talks ‘bunny huggers’.

Odd Socs

The Battlefields Trust

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