What are the origins of the classic English village? Once believed to be an Anglo-Saxon or Viking import, the appearance of this quintessential countryside feature is increasingly looking like a post-Norman Conquest imposition. So what did the Anglo-Saxon equivalent look like? Tapping into the wealth of information flowing from developer-funded archaeology, John Blair has been investigating. In a major feature, he reveals how these unsung settlements projected the intricate ordering of space gracing the finest Anglo-Saxon jewellery across an entire landscape. The quern stone is another staple of daily life whose wider significance may have been overlooked. Despite being crafted from the hardiest stone around, many of these ended their days lying broken in pits. Accidental damage on this scale would need violent carelessness, hinting instead that querns were deliberately broken because their role in providing daily bread imbued them with symbolic potency. The Roman love of bathing has also left an enduring mark on the archaeological record. But, despite bath-houses being robustly engineered in durable materials, few in Britain are as impressive as that recently discovered at Binchester, which still stands to window height. We catch up on the latest finds from this fascinating fort. Finally, the 1939 excavation of Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo is hardly breaking news, but the famous ship-burial found within remains one of the most celebrated archaeological discoveries ever. As the BritishMuseum revamps the gallery displaying the Sutton Hoo finds, we examine what has been learnt since those trailblazing days 75 years ago.
EXPLORING ANGLO-SAXON SETTLEMENT
In search of the origins of the English village We find out how Early Medieval settlements unearthed by development-led archaeology are pointing to a new origin for the English village.
CYCLE OF LIFE
Decoding the symbolism of quern stones Used for grinding cereal, querns had an obvious utilitarian function for their prehistoric owners. Did they also hold a deeper significance?
A buried Roman city in the county of Durham? Revisiting a 19th-century excavation – and discovering an astonishingly well-preserved bath-house. But just what was life at Roman Binchester like?
SUTTON HOO AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Marking the 75th anniversary of a watershed discovery The British Museum has transformed its Early Medieval displays to mark a major archaeological milestone. We consider how it reflects the latest thinking on Sutton Hoo’s remarkable Anglo-Saxon ship burial.
Offa’s Dyke: the work of multiple kings?; Signs of the synod at Whitby Abbey; West Knoyle’s ritual remains; Lovesick Lydgate; Commemorating Cudburg; Planning for the Plague; Hadrian’s Wall Trust to close
Context Admiring Orkney’s oldest art at the Smerquoy ‘hoose’ Reviews Liturgy, Architecture, and Sacred Places in Anglo-Saxon England; The Stone of Life; Everyday Life in Viking-Age Towns; If Hitler Comes Sherds Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues Last Word Andrew Selkirk explores English Heritage’s recently revamped and reopened Kenwood House Odd Socs The Huguenot Society