Between 1974 and 1981 a remarkable campaign of excavations in Dublin exposed a swathe of the Viking town. From an archaeological perspective the conditions were perfect, with waterlogged layers preserving the vestiges of hundreds of houses and thousands of artefacts. But this was also a race against the clock, with public demonstrations buying more time for the archaeologists to investigate the site before construction work swept it away. Now full publication of the results is revealing a cultural melting pot, where Norse runes were used alongside Ogham and Latin.

The power of writing is well demonstrated by the surviving eye-witness accounts of Roman Britain. Letters and documents sketch out the rhythm of daily life, but just how widespread was literacy? An artefact introduced after the Conquest gives a sense of who was writing and how they might express their pride in this skill: the humble inkwell.

In the Middle Ages, masses of goods arrived in eastern Britain from the Continent, with commodities shipped via the North Sea to bypass the perils and discomforts of travelling inland. We assess the mark left on coastal communities by the rise of trade across what – until the First World War – was known as the German Ocean.

The 1914-1918 conflict brought soldiers from many nations to Britain. Among them were Australians, New Zealanders, and Canadians, some of whom were sent to Larkhill, Wiltshire, for training. Recent excavations have revealed how a practice battlefield prepared them for combat above and below ground on the Western Front.

Matt Symonds

IN THIS ISSUE:

FEATURES

WOOD QUAY

Revealing the heart of Viking Dublin
In the 1970s, excavations started at Wood Quay, Dublin, unearthing the waterlogged and well-preserved remains of the Viking town. As the full results are published for the first time, we explore the project’s remarkable findings.


AGE OF INK

Inkwells and writing in Roman Britain
Inkwells first appeared in Britain after the Claudian conquest in AD 43. What can these often overlooked objects tell us about the spread of literacy and the status of writers in Roman Britain?


SAILING THE GERMAN OCEAN

Medieval Europe around the North Sea
Instead of separating Britain from mainland Europe, the North Sea connected communities scattered around its shores. We take a look at goods traded and ideas exchanged around the busy basin.


PREPARING FOR THE FRONT

A forgotten First World War practice battlefield at Larkhill
Work at Larkhill has revealed details of how soldiers were trained in trench warfare both above and below ground. We investigate the findings from this intricate practice battlefield.


DRAWN TO ORKNEY

The Ness of Brodgar as archaeological muse
How can art complement and contribute to archaeological research? We find out from the Artist in Residence at Orkney’s Ness of Brodgar.


NEWS

Culzean Castle’s secret garden; Long-lost Caxton pages found; The matrix decoded; Rediscovering hidden woodland heritage; Dorset’s high-flying finds; Of monarchs and mementos; Burning inspiration from Verulamium; Holy hens?; Finds tray


REGULARS

Comment
Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Context
Chasing the sun at the Ring of Brodgar

Reviews
Westward on the High-hilled Plains; The Arte Militaire; European Archaeology as Anthropology; Archaeology and Environment on the North Sea Littoral; Pembrokeshire County History; England’s Cathedrals

Museum
CA relives the Summer of Love

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Palmerston Forts Society

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