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Current Archaeology 328

Between 1974 and 1981 a remarkable campaign of excavations in Dublin exposed a swathe of the Viking town. From an archaeological perspective the conditions were perfect, with waterlogged layers preserving the vestiges of hundreds of houses and thousands of artefacts. But this was also a race against the clock, with public demonstrations buying more time […]

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Current Archaeology 322

Archaeology is alive with uncertainties. Time and again new sites or technologies upend longstanding theories. All this month’s featured sites show the sometimes fractious relationship between fresh research and what we think we know. Early digging at a newly discovered Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Great Ryburgh unearthed a rare coffin created from a hollowed-out tree. The […]

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Interview: John Reid talks about bullets and Burnswark on BBC Radio 4

Listen to John Reid, author of our cover feature Bullets, ballistas and Burnswark, discuss his research at Burnswark Hill on Radio 4’s Today (2 June 2016). The hill in Dumfriesshire is home to a 17-acre native hillfort held in a vice-like grip by two Roman camps. This configuration of Roman camps straddling a hillfort is unique in Britain, and attempts to […]

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Bullets, ballistas, and Burnswark

A Roman assault on a hillfort in Scotland The ancient author Josephus once observed of the Roman military that ‘their training manoeuvres are battles without bloodshed, and their battles manoeuvres with bloodshed’. The difficulty in distinguishing between these states is well illustrated by the residue from a Roman artillery barrage at Burnswark. Were they aiming […]