Our cover feature takes us to the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney, home to an astonishing array of Neolithic finds from monumental buildings to hundreds of examples of ancient art. We then roam the Orcadian archipelago more widely to see how digital wizardry called photogrammetry is revolutionising records of the islands’ chambered cairns (a monument type that had its own special issue in CA 34), building models that are both a great boon to research and conservation, and are transforming accessibility to these often-remote tombs.
Moving from prehistory to the Roman period, two short pieces explore how silver was first introduced to the people of Scotland by the imperial army, and unpick a hacksilver hoard, recently found in Fife, that is illuminating how Rome secured her northern frontier.
Finally, we visit Lochmaben Castle, where geophysical survey is revealing clues about a medieval ruin that was once both a Scottish royal stronghold and one of the most important English-held castles in the region; and we tour each of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites to learn about their diverse histories and how they played their part in the 2017 celebrations.
IN THIS ISSUE:
Uncovering Orkney’s Neolithic heart
The Ness of Brodgar lies in the centre of the Orcadian archipelago, surrounded by a wealth of Neolithic monuments. Long-running excavations are uncovering a spectacular settlement, home to huge buildings, Neolithic art, and artefacts brought from far afield.
PICTURES WORTH 1,000 WORDS
Capturing Orkney’s chambered cairns
Cutting-edge digital technology known as photogrammetry is helping to illuminate the dark interiors of Orcadian chambered tombs, recording their features in unprecedented detail and building intricate 3D models.
SOLVING A SILVER JIGSAW
A new hoard of Roman hacksilver from Fife
The recently discovered Dairsie Hoard represents the earliest-known example of Roman hacksilver found outside the empire’s borders. In examining its contents, we explore how silver was used by Rome to shore up the Scottish frontier.
Exploring Scotland’s silver age
Silver was first introduced to Scotland’s Iron Age inhabitants by the Roman army, sparking both creative ingenuity and political instability. We consider the impact of this metal throughout the 1st millennium AD.
Exploring the tumultuous history behind a romantic ruin
Once a pivotal fortification in medieval Anglo-Scottish wars, Lochmaben Castle was left to fall into ruin after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Now geophysical survey is beginning to uncover its secrets once more.
SCOTLAND IN SIX
Celebrating stone and steel
In 2017, Scotland marked the Year of History, Heritage, and Archaeology. Here we look back at the celebrations and discover the role that Scotland’s World Heritage Sites played in raising wider awareness of the country’s historic past.
Electrifying discoveries at Hampton Court Palace; Neolithic wanderings in Wales; Uncovering Bilton Water Main’s ‘warrior burial’; Further intrigue at Halton Castle; Was Caesar’s British invasion launched from the Isle of Thanet?; Science notes; Gluttony at Glenfield Park; Finds tray
Far flung finds: analysing Roman sling bullets from Burnswark, Dumfriesshire
Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive
White Caterthun, Angus
Stonehenge: the story so far; Arthur and the Kings of Britain: the historical truth behind the myths; The Friaries of Medieval London: from foundation to dissolution; Fishing and Managing the Trent in the Medieval Period (7th-14th Century): excavations at Hemington Quarry (1998-2000), Castle Donington, UK; First Stop North of Londinium: the archaeology of Roman Enfield and its roadline settlement; 50 Finds from Oxfordshire: objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme
Harry Potter: a history of magic at the British Library
Our selection of exhibitions and events
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues
The Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society