This month marks 40 years since Wessex Archaeology was founded. Milestone birthdays are often a time of reflection as well as celebration, and in this issue we are exploring four of Wessex Archaeology’s recent projects to shed light on widely contrasting aspects of commercial archaeology.

At New Covent Garden Market, Battersea, detailed osteological analysis of human remains recovered from a Victorian graveyard is shedding vivid light on a community faced with rapid urbanisation and grinding poverty.

A rather earlier population is under the spotlight at Datchet, near Windsor, where investigations in a gravel quarry have yielded not only the monumental remains of a 5,500-year-old causewayed enclosure, but a wealth of evidence for early Neolithic feasting and funerary practices.

From rural Berkshire to the bustling heart of Sheffield, we next visit the location of a long-demolished medieval castle – when redevelopment of the site offered the rare chance to excavate, what traces would be brought to light once more?

Leaving the land altogether, we plunge into the world of marine archaeology to learn more about how a Second World War ship’s bell was recovered from the bottom of the North Sea and carefully conserved for public display.

Finally, this month’s ‘In Focus’ complements this smorgasbord of commercial digs, highlighting a fascinating research project by intrepid University of Newcastle archaeologists who are descending on ropes to record a 3rd-century quarry wall, documenting eroding Roman inscriptions linked to the maintenance of Hadrian’s Wall.

Carly Hilts

IN THIS ISSUE:

FEATURES

A TALE OF NEW CITIES

Revealing the lives of the first modern Londoners at New Covent Garden Market
The recent excavation of a 19th-century graveyard in Battersea has revealed a story of rapid industrialisation and its effects on those who lived in the area.


THE LAST PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

Digging the final section of Datchet’s causewayed enclosure
A monumental early Neolithic find in Berkshire is helping to illuminate the lives of some of Britain’s first farmers, yielding hints of feasting and funerary rites.


BEFORE THE ‘CITY OF STEEL’

Excavating Sheffield’s lost castle
Sheffield’s medieval castle, which was destroyed during the Civil War, has long loomed large in local imaginations. Now, recent excavations are shedding new light on this enigmatic stronghold.


VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

How a sunken steamship’s bell travelled from the Suffolk seabed to Sunderland
The construction of an offshore wind farm led to the rediscovery of a bell from a merchant ship sunk by a German mine in 1939. The bell has now returned to Sunderland, where the vessel was originally built.


40 YEARS IN DEVELOPMENT

Wessex Archaeology and the rise of professional archaeology
This month, Wessex Archaeology marks its 40th birthday, and during this time professional archaeology has changed by leaps and bounds. We explore some of these developments through the unit’s projects.


ROMAN WRITING ON THE WALL

Recording inscriptions at a Hadrian’s Wall quarry
Deep in a Cumbrian wood, intrepid archaeologists have been exploring a Roman quarry wall on ropes to document eroding 3rd-century inscriptions.


NEWS

Rediscovering the lost Govan Stones; Monumental meeting points in Neolithic Britain; Finding Æbbe’s monastery; Return to Rat Island; Reassessing Avebury; Science Notes; Cold War monitoring post uncovered near Wokingham; Finds Tray


REGULARS

Comment
Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Context
A muddy view of the history of London: the Thames foreshoreD

Reviews
Roots of Nationhood: the archaeology and history of Scotland; Landscape Beneath the Waves: the archaeological investigation of underwater landscapes; ‘Our Lincolnshire’: exploring public engagement with heritage; Citadel of the Saxons: the rise of early London; Avanke, Bever, Castor: the story of beavers in Wales; Durovigutum: Roman Godmanchester

Exhibition
A Survival Story: prehistoric life at Star Carr at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge

Calendar
Our selection of exhibitions and eventsC

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
Gisborough Priory Project

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