I hope you’re all well! It has been lovely hearing from so many of you over the past few weeks – what is clear during these ‘interesting times’ is that, although we’re currently apart, the archaeological world is still very much a community. Hopefully we will be together again soon – and while many heritage opportunities remain limited, we have selected a second smorgasbord of online activities, educational resources, and ‘virtual visits’ for you to enjoy.
Our cover story explores the world of the intriguing but archaeologically elusive Picts. Their powerbases were traditionally thought to lie in central Scotland, but intrepid excavations at picturesque – and occasionally precarious – locations have uncovered promising sites further north.
A high-status centre has also been identified at Llangorse Crannog, near Brecon: an artificial island settlement that has yielded a wealth of clues about life c.1,100 years ago.
From these enigmatic sites, we leap forward almost to the present day, exploring the legacy of the Cold War. What can archaeology add to our understanding of this extraordinary period?
More removed from living memory is the trio of anniversaries being marked by Canterbury Cathedral: 2020 is c.900 years since the birth of Thomas Becket, 850 since the archbishop’s murder, and 800 since his reinterment in an ornate shrine that became a major pilgrimage destination. Over the last few years, major works have revealed centuries of secrets from this sacred space.
Finally, we consider medieval religious life on a much more intimate scale, exploring traces of the hermits who, rather topically, truly embraced social isolation.
In This Issue:
THE PALACE IN THE LAKE
A royal residence on Llangorse Crannog
What can the only crannog found in Wales tell us about its elite occupants in the late 9th and 10th century? Re-examination of the remains sheds light on the royal court in the kingdom of Brycheiniog, and reveals stories from later in the site’s history.
Searching for a lost people in northern Scotland
The relative scarcity of archaeological material associated with the Picts, who occupied parts of Scotland in the 4th to 10th centuries, has long been recognised, but recent research is helping to illuminate these elusive people.
OBSERVING THE OBSERVERS
Exploring Cold War archaeology in Berkshire
Underground Monitoring Posts were built across Britain during the Cold War to monitor and forecast potential radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs. What can archaeology add to our understanding of a period still within living memory?
ENGLAND IN STONE
Recounting recent research at Canterbury Cathedral
Major conservation and restoration works at Canterbury Cathedral have revealed details of the building’s life over the centuries, from multiple phases of rebuilding to its rich record of graffiti and inscriptions.
THE POWER OF SOCIAL DISTANCING
Exploring the legacy of England’s holy hermits
What can the archaeological remains left behind by medieval hermits tell us about their lives of prayer and contemplation in caves, islands, and marshes?
Bronze Age burials at Lechlade skatepark; X-ray analysis of chainmail from the Mary Rose; Dating Bosigran’s prehistoric field systems; Sunken Second World War landing craft found; Heritage Emergency Fund launched; Science Notes; Collecting COVID-19; Finds Tray
Clava Cairns, near Inverness
A Riverine Site Near York: a possible Viking camp?; Houses of the Dead?; Ceremonial Living in the Third Millennium BC: excavations at Ringlemere Site M1, Kent, 2002-2006; Digging into the Dark Ages; Invasive Aliens; Gloucester: the Roman and post-Roman sequence at the city centre
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues
The Coracle Society
Have all this delivered directly to your door every month – click here to find out more about subscribing to Current Archaeology, the UK’s favourite archaeology magazine.