What are borders for? It is a question that has recently gone mainstream. Debate about ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ borders finds a parallel in attempts to determine whether Roman borders blocked or simply regulated movement. In this regard, the true nature of Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall remains a mystery. As the modern world is reminding us, though, the nature of the controls they imposed could have far-reaching consequences. We examine the impact of Rome’s most remarkable border systems.

Behind the frontiers, the vast majority of Britons lived in the countryside. Although Roman villas have long attracted attention, recent decades have delivered an explosion in information about more modest farmsteads. Much of this has emerged from excavations linked to development work, and now a major project is drawing it together to tell a remarkable story of everyday farming folk.

A major discovery during construction work at Larkhill, Wiltshire, dates back to well before the Roman period. The remains of a previously unsuspected causewayed enclosure have been found on a hillside just outside the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, raising questions about the early Neolithic focus of this landscape.

Meanwhile, at Thornton Abbey, Lincolnshire, excavations provide a rare glimpse into the life of a named individual from the distant past, bringing us face to face with a medieval priest.

Finally, this issue brings the 2017 Digs Guide. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you out in the field over the summer.

Matt Symonds

IN THIS ISSUE:

FEATURES

ROME’S HOMES ON THE RANGE

Revealing the Romano-British countryside
How did the majority of the population live in Roman Britain? Casting aside the glamour of the country villa, we explore rural settlement to find out what constituted normal living.


THE LARKHILL CAUSEWAYED ENCLOSURE

Rethinking the early Neolithic Stonehenge landscape
Excavations at Larkhill in Wiltshire have uncovered the remains of an early Neolithic causewayed enclosure, providing new insights about what would become the Stonehenge landscape. We investigate the marks left on the hillside by the fi rst farmers and by soldiers training in the First World War.


HARD OR SOFT BORDERS?

The Roman experience in Britain
In the north of the province, we take a look at Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall. What was their purpose, and how did these monumental frontiers influence everyday life nearby?


RICHARD DE WISPETON

A face-to-face encounter with a medieval Lincolnshire priest
On the 700th anniversary of his death, we gaze on the unusual grave of Richard de Wispeton, a medieval priest given an elaborate burial in a prestigious part of Thornton Abbey.


NEWS

Britain’s earliest Iron Age gold objects found in Leek; Bronze Age weapon hoard found at Carnoustie; Grime’s Graves prehistoric mine opened to the public; Gower footprints lead further back in time; Tracking the Bronze Age at Mersea Island; Ecclesiastical clues in Nottingham?; Finds tray


REGULARS

Digs Guide 2017
This special section gives a taste of the projects you can get involved in this summer

Comment
Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Context
Untangling 8,000 years of human activity in a Worcestershire field

Reviews
Letters from Baghdad; A Geography of Offerings; Medieval Wexford; Art and Architecture in Neolithic Orkney; Standing Stones; Roman Artefacts and Society

Museum
Meeting the Romans at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum

Conference
A round-up of what happened at CA Live! 2017

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
Caring for God’s Acre

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