Comparisons with Pompeii or Tutankhamen’s tomb are easily overused when attempting to convey the excitement of a new archaeological discovery. Recent media reports labelling an excavation at the new Bloomberg Place in the heart of London the ‘Pompeii of the North’ could risk dooming the results, however exciting, to disappointing comparisons with the Bay of Naples site. On this occasion, however, the wealth of waterlogged finds mirrors the range of objects preserved by Vesuvius. With Bloomberg yielding 10,000 small finds, 350 pieces of writing tablets, 700 boxes of pottery, thousands of fragments of industrial waste, and the well preserved timbers of successive Roman buildings. We take a first look at a site that will rewrite life in Roman London.
Another discovery that provoked international media interest was a Viking boat burial on Scotland’s Ardnamurchan peninsula. Excavating this richly furnished grave was only one strand to a project tackling the full span on human activity in the area. The results are teasing out how the Viking interlude slots into the wider story of Swordle Bay.
Barry Cunliffe’s interest in Brading dates back to the 1950s when it became the first Roman villa he ever visited. Even as a school boy he was struck by the site’s untapped potential. It was, Barry felt, a work unfinished. Half a century later he returned to the site with an excavation team and revealed that there is far more to this villa than its sumptuous mosaics.
Christ Church, Oxford famously stood in for Hogwarts school in some Harry Potter films. Recent work in this unique college and cathedral hybrid has revealed how the Medieval city tapped into the burgeoning European knowledge economy. It has also unearthed some unusual artefacts, some of which may have been familiar to a certain boy wizard.
Finally, a new Mary Rose museum has just opened at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. Do not miss our review.
The rise and fall of a Roman waterfront
Excavations in the heart of London have revealed a wealth of well-preserved timber structures and almost 10,000 artefacts. What do they tell us about life in Londinium?
TIME’S TIDES IN SWORDLE BAY
Life and death on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula
From a Neolithic chambered tomb to a Viking boat burial, we explore the rich archaeological landscape of mainland Britain’s westernmost point.
Brading Villa on the Isle of Wight
Famed for its stunning mosaics, Brading Roman villa has a much wider story to tell — as Barry Cunliffe reveals.
CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD
Discovering Medieval Oxford beneath the quads
What lies beneath Oxford’s dreaming spires? Recent archaeological work has uncovered a story of unfinished chapels, lost streets, and alchemy.
Kingsmead Quarry — fit for a queen?; Lincoln’s lost church; Leicester’s faithful finds; Testing Burrough Hill’s metal; Axe and receive in Glamorgan; Mapping Medieval Dunwich; Eilean Donan recaptured; Jersey’s alien priory
The new Mary Rose museum opens
Piltdown Man: case closed; Roman Britain through its objects; Historic Wales from the Air
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues.
Mick’s Dig Diary
Having explored historic mapping, Mick is joined by Phil and Mandy Knibb to sample digital varieties
The Bagpipe Society