This latest column continues the thread that I began last month, exploring Current Archaeology’s coverage of sites in the care of the National Trust. Last time I looked at stories from issues 1-100 (1967-1986), and this month I delve into issues 101-200, spanning 1986 to 2005.
Recently I accepted a new position at the National Trust, working across south-east England on the amazing sites and landscapes in the Trust’s care. With this change in roles, it seemed appropriate to devote my next few columns to National Trust sites that have appeared in the pages of CA down the years. I am pleased to report that such appearances have been regular and diverse, featuring sites spanning prehistory to the late 20th century and ranging across the country. This column focuses on some of the Trust’s sites – and the stories that appeared about them – from the first two decades of the magazine, between 1967 and 1987.
In this final column exploring the stories behind Current Archaeology cover images, I am bringing things right up to date by examining covers from issue 301 (April 2015) onwards. Despite the challenging environment for archaeology in recent years, with particularly worrying cutbacks in local-authority heritage services, there has still been some amazing work and some spectacular sites and finds to celebrate.
Following on from last month’s issue, I explore here some more of my favourite covers from issues 201-300 of Current Archaeology, covering the period 2010-2013.
In my last two columns I picked some favourite covers from issues 101-200 (1986-2005) of Current Archaeology. I continue this series in the next two columns, focusing on CA 201-300 (2006-2015). Current Archaeology readers of this period and onwards benefited from the wider shift in publishing that had taken place in the early 2000s, when the cost of using colour in magazines dropped dramatically. The CAs of the 2000s are thus full-colour, 60-page editions that seem light years away from the magazine’s humble black-and-white, 20-page origins. But while much had changed in publishing and archaeology alike, the sites and stories range as widely as ever. Here are some of my personal favourites.
In last month’s column I highlighted some of my favourite covers from issues 101-200 (1986- 2005). Now I pick up where I left off, continuing my explorations of this era through the pages of Current Archaeology, and roving in time from the 3rd millennium BC to the 18th century AD, and in space from northern Scotland to the south coast of England.
In last month’s column, I picked some of my favourite covers from the first hundred issues of Current Archaeology, the years 1967-1986, a period that has come to be seen by some as a ‘golden age’ of rescue archaeology, and by others less happily as a desperate scramble to gather sufficient resources to stem the tide of destruction. Continuing with this theme, in this and next month’s column I will explore the stories behind some of the covers in issues 101-200, the years 1986-2005.
In my column on the ‘great excavation’ of Shapwick (CA 345), I included one of my all-time favourite Current Archaeology cover photos, that of CA 151 (February 1997), where a then broken-legged Mick Aston (injured tripping over a holy well!) is shown on site in Shapwick along with some curious local cattle. Over the years, CA has featured some memorable cover photos, and in my column in CA 321 (December 2016), I picked some of my favourites from the first hundred issues of CA between 1967 and 1986. I will pick up this ‘cover stories’ thread again over the next few columns, commencing here with some more of my favourites from the first hundred issues, and the stories behind them.
Last month’s ‘great excavation’ explored prehistoric Somerset through the work of John and Bryony Coles along the Sweet Track. In this month’s column, I stick with the same county, but move to a different era and two very different ‘great’ archaeologists: Mick Aston and Chris Gerrard at Shapwick.
In my archival ‘excavation’ of Doggerland (CA 342), I mentioned that it was Bryony Coles who coined the name of this site and led early research into its landscape, and that I planned to return to her work in a later column. Here I make good on my promise, for hers is a story well worth exploring. Beyond Doggerland, Bryony Coles is best known for her work on the Somerset Levels in the 1970s and 1980s. It was here that she and her collaborator (later husband) John Coles led many seasons of fieldwork on a range of prehistoric sites. In the process, they effectively invented the formal discipline of ‘wetland’ archaeology.