Our cover feature explores a significant change of heart: why were Silchester’s Roman baths demolished in the 1st century, just as the lavish complex was nearing completion, only to be rebuilt on an even grander scale? We visit the latest excavations at the Roman town to find out more.

Continuing our watery theme, Wales’ more than 2,000km of coastline has been a busy highway carrying people, goods, and ideas since prehistory. This month we explore the country’s rich maritime history.

Speaking of things on an impressive scale, Knole’s country house is one of England’s greatest historic mansions. There, years of conservation and restoration work have revealed a wealth of insights into its 600-year history – including tangible traces of a loyal servant (and very prolific creator of graffiti).

The mighty earthworks known as Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke are the most literally monumental of the sites featured this month. Associated with the kingdom of Mercia, their function on the Anglo-Welsh borderland has been hotly debated for centuries. What have recent investigations revealed about their construction and date?

Our features end on a more personal note, examining characterful and idiosyncratic examples of later medieval ‘face pots’. What inspired these cartoonish creations?

December’s drift towards the end of the year is always a period of reflection – for me, it marks my 100th issue since I joined CA as editorial assistant eight years ago. It is a time for new ideas too: this issue, we launch a page covering the latest news from the museum sector.

Finally, voting is open for the CA Awards! See p.60 to have your say, and for the first details of our annual conference.

Carly Hilts

In This Issue:

FEATURES

WALES AND THE SEA

Ship-shaped trade and industry
Wales is a country with a rich maritime history. How were the development of its industries and its role in global trade influenced by its relationship with the sea?


SILCHESTER

Dramatic changes at a grand Roman bathhouse
Excavation at Silchester is revealing the story of the Roman town’s grand bathhouse. Why was this lavish complex demolished and then rebuilt even bigger in the 1st century AD?


MESSAGES FROM THE PAST

Revealing the hidden history of a great country house
Conservation and archaeological work at Knole in Kent has uncovered illuminating clues about the mansion’s 600-year past, including objects, letters, and graffiti left behind by its inhabitants and visitors.


ENIGMATIC EARTHWORKS

Excavating on Offa’s and Wat’s Dyke
New work on these mighty but mysterious linear monuments has produced information that could help to date them, as well as some surprising discoveries relating to their construction.


POTS OF PERSONALITY

Exploring Nottingham’s medieval ‘face pots’
Between the mid-12th and 15th centuries there was a later medieval trend for creating cartoonish faces on clay vessels. Where did this anthropomorphic pottery come from, and what was it used for?


NEWS

Mesolithic structure with surviving timbers found at Killerby Quarry; New discoveries in Sutton Park; Age of Alfriston Clergy House revealed; Early Bronze Age ring-ditch at Clitheroe; Investigating a Highland drovers’ inn; Science notes; Medieval structure found at Buckland Abbey; Finds Tray


REGULARS

Comment
Joe Flatman excavates the
CA archive

Context
Buried bronzes: Havering, London

Reviews
Mudlarking: lost and found on the River Thames; Brick: a social history; Living off the Land: agriculture in Wales c.499-1600 AD; The Romans in Scotland and the Battle of Mons Graupius; Small Change: a history of everyday coinage; The Lost Shrine

Exhibition
Tutankhamun: treasures of the golden pharaoh

Museum News
The latest acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions

Calendar
Our selection of exhibitions and events

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Pictish Arts Society


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