In December I was fortunate enough to stand on the Nene riverbank in 1300 BC. Beside me were the stumps of prehistoric willow trees. Beneath me was a channel choked with the detritus of Bronze Age river life. Perfectly preserved eel traps, fish weirs and boats — six of them — still lay where they had been abandoned in the eddying waters. I have been lucky enough to visit many excavations over the years, but rarely has the past felt closer than that morning in Must Farm quarry. A powerful demonstration of what developer-driven archaeology delivers, I hope that our lead feature does justice to this fascinating site.

Secret passages are the stuff of childhood adventure stories, but all too rare in real life. Now excavations in Ireland’s County Louthare unearthing the elaborate precautions that those threatened by Viking raids took to protect their families.

Britain in the dying days of Roman control is a captivating though elusive subject. Excavations at Binchester are revealing how an industrial revolution swept through the fort, as the former garrison became ever more dependent on local produce to keep them in food and leather. Was this pocket of Empire the genesis of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom?

Finally, we travel to the remote St Kilda archipelago, to see how hardy 19th-century islanders won a living from this windswept world, and examine tantalising traces of their prehistoric forbears.

FEATURES

WATERWORLD

Life on the Bronze Age riverfront
Going with the flow: what can Must Farm’s spectacular prehistoric remains reveal about how Bronze Age people adapted to their changing surroundings?

ESCAPING THE VIKINGS

Souterrains in Co. Louth, Ireland
Going underground: exploring the secret tunnels dug to outwit marauding Norsemen

BINCHESTER AFTER ROME

Continuity or change in the Imperial twilight?
What happened when the Roman Empire left? New investigations reveal the role of a fort in the new post-Imperial world.

SURVEYING ST KILDA

Life on the edge
A new survey uncovers 5000 years of activity at one of the most remote settlements on the British Isles.

NEWS

Stonehenge: sourcing the bluestones; Britain’s first Viking boat burial surfaces; Village of the Pictish symbol stones; Another towering Pictish find; Lakeland Neolithic rock art; Misplaced Place of Kelly; How do you date a hoard?

REGULARS

Conference
Further details to whet your appetite for Current Archaeology Live! 2012.

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues.

Last Word
Andrew Selkirk  has been to the new Ashmolean Egyptian galleries.

Odd Socs
Regia Anglorum

 

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