As I sat down to write this month’s ‘Welcome’, the internet was awash with images of Processions, a mass participatory artwork celebrating the centenary of voting rights being extended to (some) women in Britain. We explored the 1918 Representation of the People Act’s archaeological legacy in CA 336, and the anniversary also inspired a recent conference at Maryport. Some of the research presented there forms the basis of this issue’s lead feature, which asks: what can archaeology tell us about the lives of women living on the Roman Empire’s northern frontier?
The Iron Age Iceni are most famous for the exploits of another woman, the rebel queen Boudica – but the tribe’s sophisticated metalworking skills deserve to be just as well known. Our cover story explores how a ten-year study of their coinage has illuminated its intricate and evolving imagery, including a host of enigmatic ‘hidden faces’.
Meanwhile, at Windsor Castle we examine how architectural appearances can also change over time, tracing the royal residence’s development from its early medieval-origins to its 14th-century zenith as the centre of Edward III’s chivalric court.
From the political to the personal, we travel to Llandudno to meet a late Neolithic woman nicknamed ‘Blodwen’. What can her remains tell us about her life and death 5,500 years ago?
Finally, this issue we have extended the ‘News’ section with two longer reports. The first gives the latest on a Roman sarcophagus discovered last year – intriguing clues about its occupant have now emerged. The second visits Sutton Hoo to hear about the first excavation within the scheduled area in almost 30 years.
IN THIS ISSUE:
THE FEMALE FRONTIER
Tracing the lives of women on the edges of the Roman empire
How far can archaeology illuminate the experiences of women who lived in Roman frontier zones? We explore research bringing their lives to light, and highlighting how women created their own space and identities in the male-dominated sphere of military communities.
Investigating Icenian coinage
Having left few traces of themselves behind, it is the coinage of the Iceni that offers one of the best ways to learn about this enigmatic Late Iron Age tribe. Here, we discover what the production, distribution, and characteristics of this currency tells us about their culture.
‘The most Romantique castle that is in the world’
It was the recent setting for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but Windsor Castle has been a residence for British royalty for centuries. We delve into this rich history to explore the medieval past, examining how the castle has evolved with each monarch.
Reconstructing the life and death of a Neolithic woman
Recent analysis of the remains of a Neolithic woman, discovered in the 19th century and nicknamed ‘Blodwen’, has provided intriguing evidence of her life – and death – on a rocky outcrop in North Wales.
The Harper Road woman: coming face to face with an inhabitant of Roman London
New dig at Sutton Hoo: expanding the story of a royal burial ground
Bailey on the border: Clifford Castle, Herefordshire
The Art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450; The Outcast Dead: the effect of the New Poor Law on the health and diet of London’s post-medieval poor; Paths to the Past: encounters with Britain’s hidden landscapes; The Chambered Tombs of the Isle of Man: a study by Audrey Henshall 1969-1978; The Stonehenge Bluestones; Viking Nottinghamshire
Our selection of exhibitions and events
Marguerite Wood and Margaret Simpson
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues
Pavilions of Music