Medieval St Paul’s would have been a striking sight. Its central tower and spire, completed around 1220, rose to a height of over 400 ft, making it the tallest steeple in Europe. But it was not to last. In June 1561 a lightning strike brought down the spire, and just over a century later the Great Fire gutted the remainder, paving the way for Wren to plan Europe’s first custom-built Protestant cathedral. Now careful study of the surviving archaeology and architecture allows a peek inside Britain’s greatest lost Medieval cathedral.
The Late Roman cemetery at Lankhills, Winchester, was the site of a landmark study that deduced ethnicity from burial practise in the 1960s. More recent excavations have used scientific techniques to tell us where the dead grew up. The results show a diverse group, but not in the way the 1960s study predicted.
The Isle of Thanet was the site of 2010’s biggest British dig. Rich in archaeology, this corner of Kent has long been a conduit of migration and invasion. Excavating a landscape on this scale has exposed the ever-evolving story of the gateway to Britain.
A heavy storm in 2006 devastated a timber plantation on Dartmoor. Excavations to assess the damage revealed an astonishingly well-preserved roundhouse interior, and a glimpse of life as a Bronze Age pioneer colonising the uplands.
Finally, it has been a busy month here at CA. As well as our annual conference and awards, which you can read all about in this issue, we have been putting together our digs supplement. This is your passport to excavations occurring across the UK and Ireland this summer. I’m hoping to get to as many as possible, and it would be great to see you there!
ST PAUL’S BEFORE WREN
Resurrecting London’s lost Medieval cathedral
One of the most famous features of the London skyline – but not as we know it.
Ethnicity and death in Late Roman Winchester
Dignitaries, outcasts, and visitors from overseas: what can this cemetery tell us about Late Roman burial practice and identity?
ISLE OF THANET
Digging the gateway to Britain
East Kent’s road to ruins – 2010’s biggest British dig has uncovered a wealth of archaeological remains, from the Mesolithic to the Second World War.
BRONZE AGE BELLEVER
Settling Dartmoor in the 2nd millennium BC
Commercial disaster or archaeological opportunity? When storms tore down a timber plantation, it provided the opportunity to excavate a prehistoric roundhouse.
Saxon sleeping beauty; Scale models; London’s roaming temple; The origin of specimens; Hidden Hebridean heritage; Writing on the wall; Neanderthals caught knapping; Unflagging interest
Uncovering the cost of Victorian living
Viking Warfare; The Romans who shaped Britain; Stone Axe Studies III; Handbook of Geophysics and Archaeology
A round-up of CA Live! 2012 and the results of this year’s awards.
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues.
The National Association of Mining History Organisations