The most exciting thing about archaeology is the way fresh discoveries can overturn established theories in the  blink of an eye. Witnessing how a new consensus emerges  from these is also thrilling, and the sight of scholars  with opposing views scoring and conceding points is  a conference staple. Ultimately this debate forges our  perceptions of the past.

This issue we bring you one such debate in its raw form. The announcement  that a jawbone found in Kent’s Cavern, Torquay, is not only modern human, but also  from the earliest modern human in Britain grabbed many headlines this month.  Less reported was the concern among archaeologists working in the cavern that  the deposits were unsuitable for the dating technique used. Here we present the  arguments, and take a detailed look at major research underway in the cave.

Another important discovery is the existence of a key Iron Age settlement under the  Roman villa at Folkestone. As archaeologists race to excavate the remains before they  are lost to the sea, we examine a prehistoric port on the scale of Hengistbury Head.

The Mesolithic site at Bouldnor Cliff is already underwater.  Publication of research there provides an opportunity to catch  up with the latest findings. Finally, the excavation of a late  Roman octagonal building has reignited debate about the  purpose of these high-status structures. Were they custom  built for the bulk baptism of pagans?

FEATURES

THE FIRST MODERN HUMAN IN BRITAIN?

The KC4 maxilla controversy
Why has a small fossil from Kent’s Cavern triggered debate between some  of the UK’s leading prehistorians?

RETURN TO KENT’S CAVERN

New excavations in Britain’s oldest Scheduled  Ancient Monument
Hunting for hyaenas, woolly rhinoceros, and Neanderthals in the middle of Torquay.

EARLY HOMO SAPIENS IN KENT’S CAVERN

The whats and whens of the KC4 maxilla
Kent’s Cavern experts Dr Paul Pettitt and Dr Mark White respond  to the controversial new findings.

FOLKESTONE

Roman villa or Iron Age oppidum?
Archaeology on the edge: exploring a precarious  clifftop excavation.

BOULDNOR CLIFF

A glimpse into the Mesolithic
Underwater fieldwalking and excavating by lobster.

BAX FARM BAPTISTERY?

Faversham’s octagonal  bathing suite
Dipping into the story of an enigmatic  Roman building.

NEWS

Quay to London’s Roman foreshore; Sealing the deal; Pictish monastery  unearthed; Eliseg: Powys’ pillar of society; Industrial and in danger;  Restoring Wolsey’s Roman roundels

REGULARS

Conference
Further details on what promises  to be our biggest conference yet.

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take  on heritage issues.

Last Word
Andrew Selkirk celebrates  the half-century of an ever-expanding  institution.

Odd Socs
The Tools and Trades History Society

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