Cave archaeology has a long pedigree. Romantic images of our earliest ancestors sheltering in caverns led to many being stripped of their stratigraphy in the 19th century — when recording techniques were still in their infancy. New work has revealed remains that escaped antiquarian attention, shedding light on a once-vibrant world under the uplands.
Research in Oakington, Cambridgeshire, is unearthing an Anglo-Saxon Fenland community. The project has battled to bring modern villagers face to face with their forebears by securing a permit to excavate skeletal remains openly. Now everyone can share in the investigation of a settlement and cemetery, complete with rare examples of 6th-century infant burial rites.
Alderney has been famous for its fortifications ever since the British government ordered it transformed into a new Gibraltar. But the oldest of its defences has long defied dating. ‘The Nunnery’ has a groundplan that is otherwise uniquely Roman, yet archaeologists who studied it in depth tended to conclude it was Medieval. As recent excavations progressed, stripping ivy from the walls demonstrated that clues to the site’s origin do not just lie underground.
Finally, a survey of the Brecklands is piecing together the elements of a forgotten luxury industry. For centuries, rabbit fur and meat were prized goods. Massive artificial warrens were overseen by wardens living in fortified lodges and tasked with protecting their furry charges from predators and violent bandit
gangs. Join us for a rabbits-to-riches tale.
UNDER THE UPLANDS
Cave archaeology in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Dales
New research is allowing the conclusions of pioneering cave archaeologists to be tested — and revealing an underground world of extinct animals and Roman cults.
Cemetery, settlement, and life beside the East Anglian Fens
What can the graves of a pregnant woman, an old warrior, and an unusual number of children tell us about life and death in the 6th century?
Alderney’s Roman fort?
Is the enigmatic site overlooking Longy Bay a Medieval ruin or a remarkably well-preserved Roman military fortification?
THE WARRENS OF BRECKLAND
From rabbits to riches
‘Bunny huggers’ fight back with a new study of the historic rabbit farms that helped shape the landscape of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Kent’s latest home from Rome; Ringing the changes on the North Downs; Pictish symbol stone found on Highland farm; The case for community archaeology; the Antonine Wall on display; Roman west not so wild
Some initial details to whet your appetite for the upcoming conference.
Frontiers of Imperial Rome; Brooches in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain; Visions of Ancient Leicester; Rediscovering Bradford
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues.
Andrew Selkirk celebrates the 60-year project to reconstruct a lost Tudor palace.
The Regional Furniture Society