Chedworth Roman Villa is undergoing a major transformation. Despite being one of England’s largest and best-preserved Roman villas, it was poorly understood. Past site reports had been lost, and previously excavated portions had been reburied. The National Trust has therefore launched a major project to re-explore the site. The results, as our cover picture reveals, are proving to be glorious.
We then go in search of more lost archaeology with Sean Kingsley, who takes us deep under the western English Channel to investigate the sinking of the Victory. The greatest warship of the early Georgian age of sail, the Victory’s disappearance was one of Britain’s biggest maritime mysteries. The finger of blame was pointed at Mother Nature’s tempestuous forces, and at the apparent ineptitude of a lighthouse keeper. Archaeology, however, tells a rather different story.
Back on land, we visit the bucolic Berkeley Castle, once the setting of a catalogue of dramas, including Edward II’s grisly murder in 1327. Bristol University archaeologists have been hard at work just outside the castle grounds. Though their aim has been to find one of England’s greatest medieval minsters, they have in fact uncovered 1,500 years of history — from the Romans to the Civil War — all within a single trench.
inally, we visit Bristol, to consider why its hall houses were so popular among the city’s late medieval burghers. All is revealed by Chris Catling, as he delves into Roger Leech’s compelling research on the city’s medieval houses, the first study of its type.
IN THIS ISSUE:
CHEDWORTH ROMAN VILLA
Revealing its lost glories
Ongoing research at one of England’s best-preserved Roman villas has shed new light on the buildings’ use, their spectacular mosaics, and the work of previous generations of archaeologists on the site.
Status symbols of late medieval Bristol
In the medieval period, Bristol was a bustling, wealthy city, but until recently its houses had been largely neglected by architectural historians. Now a new study has revealed a story of militias, martial decor, and emerging civic pride.
THE SINKING OF THE VICTORY
Natural disaster or first-rate human error?
Why was one of England’s greatest flagships wrecked in 1744? Recent underwater research is providing some surprising answers. Was the vessel in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was there some other problem?
RECAPTURING BERKELEY CASTLE
One trench: 1,500 years of English history
The search for one of England’s greatest medieval minsters has uncovered a wealth of archaeological finds spanning the Roman to Civil War periods.
Piecing together the Staffordshire Hoard; Stone circle discovered on Dartmoor; Lifting the lid on Saxon Stafford; Excavating Oxford’s notorious nunnery; Dorset’s earliest Iron Age burials; Britain and Ireland’s Bronze Age gold trade; Unlocking the secrets of Salford’s New Bailey Prison; Anglo-Saxon fish trap captured in Suffolk; Highland market forces at Tigh Caol
Festival of Archaeology
Highlights from this year’s nationwide celebration of all things archaeological.
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues
The Brookwood Cemetery Society