001_CA279_Cover_Final_SC.inddWhat was life really like for Medieval peasants? Renowned as the epitome of poverty, they appear as stock images performing hard manual labour in the margins of illustrated manuscripts. With the squalor they faced memorably lampooned by Monty Python, among others, it has always been assumed that the ramshackle hovels they called home have long since decayed. Not so. A recent programme of radiocarbon dating has revealed that thousands of their homes still stand in the Midlands and Wales. They are shedding new light on a peasant’s lot.

When ploughing revealed traces of a ring ditch near the Great Dorset Cursus, it appeared to be just another satellite structure speckling the environs of this monumental earthwork. Excavation revealed a fascinating set of burials and tantalising traces of a macabre Bronze Age tradition of displaying the deceased. Are drill holes in the bones traces of an attempt to peg decaying corpses together?

Regeneration of Southampton’s former French Quarter provided the opportunity for the largest ever examination of the city’s historic core. The results tell a story of boom and bust in a vibrant port town, as armies, merchants and artisans came and went.  

Finally, excavations in Cumbria have unearthed Papcastle Roman fort’s bathhouse. Intended to allow Rome’s soldiers to enjoy the trappings of Classical civilisation in the frontier zone, by the early 3rd century AD the heating system was choked with dead goats. What does this mean for military hygiene, and why did a body suffering multiple pathologies end up in the ruins?          

 

FEATURES

PEASANT HOUSES IN MIDLAND ENGLAND

How the Black Death prompted  a building boom
While high-status Medieval houses are a celebrated part of the historic environment, new evidence suggests that many more humble dwellings also survive in English villages.

 

KEEPING THE FAMILY TOGETHER

Canada Farm’s Bronze Age burials
What do enigmatic signs of defleshing and drilling on seven ancient skeletons add to our understanding of whether the prehistoric dead were left to rest in peace?

 

SOUTHAMPTON’S FRENCH QUARTER

Trade, Prosperity, War and Poverty at a Channel port
The largest excavation to take place in Southampton’s historic centre has shed new light on the city’s French connections, before and after the Norman Conquest.

 

RETURN TO  DERVENTIO

The body in the bath house
Investigations on the other side of the river to Papcastle’s extensive Roman remains have revealed traces of more substantial buildings, and an unexpected burial.

 

NEWS

Bedale’s hoarded secrets; Roman track and ore; Walbrook channel: mystery panel; Ringing the changes?; Flodden field day; Edinburgh: a knight’s tale?; Unpicking hidden Holcombe; Fermanagh crannog’s remains

REGULARS

Context
Rediscovering Worsley New Hall, Salford

Reviews
Iron Age Hillforts in Britain and Beyond; Viking identities; Handbook to Roman Legionary Fortresses; Worlds of Arthur

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take  on heritage issues.

Last Word      
CA‘s Editor in Chief Andrew Selkirk examines the balance between authenticity and cost when restoring historic buildings.

Odd Socs
The Traditional Paint Forum

 

2 Comments

  1. Charles Frederick
    May 4, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Indeed a very nice post. I am also associated with Heat Pump , Air Source Heat Pump , Domestic Heat Pump . Thanks for writing such good posts and as I have subscribed to your blog, I do expect that you will be posting nice posts like this on a regular basis.

    Reply

  2. Peasant houses in Midland England: How the Black Death prompted a building boom | Current Archaeology
    April 10, 2015 @ 10:10 am

    […] This article is an extract, but you can read the full text in  CA  279 […]

    Reply

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