The nearly 10,000-year-old skeleton who came to be known as ‘Cheddar Man’ was found in 1903, in Gough’s Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. In more recent times, his remains have been on display in the Human Origins Hall at the Natural History Museum. Despite his fame, until recently little was known about this individual. Now a team from UCL and the Natural History Museum has successfully sequenced his DNA for the first time, revealing a wealth of details about his physical appearance – with dramatic implications for our understanding of how inhabitants of Mesolithic Britain looked.
Archaeological analysis has revealed what is being called a Mesolithic ‘crayon’. It came from the ancient Lake Flixton – now covered in peat – in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire. It is an area rich in prehistory, not least the famous occupation site of Star Carr (see CA 282). Now, a collaborative project between the Universities of York, Chester, and Manchester, studying ochre objects from the lake, has provided new evidence of how our ancestors may have coloured their animal skins and artwork.
This is the 18th Season at this multi period site dating from the Mesolithic to 17th century pagan deposits. The dig has featured extensively on the world media and had a National Geographic Documentary made on it. The Director Jacqui Wood was listed last year in the top 2% of researchers on Academia.edu (based in […]
The early medieval cemetery at Sutton Hoo has a long and complex history. Our cover feature explores how a royal burial ground was transformed into a grim place of execution; how interpretations of the site have evolved; and how its wider context traces the Anglo-Saxon story, from pagan immigrants to a Christian kingdom. New arrivals […]
One of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects brought with it one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever undertaken. Lucia Marchini takes a trip through London’s buried past at the Museum of London Docklands’ exhibition of highlights from the Crossrail excavations. Tens of thousands of artefacts were unearthed at 40 construction sites dotted across London between […]
For more than 20 years, Cambridge Archaeological Unit has been excavating fields lining either side of the Great Ouse, at Barleycroft Farm and Over, in the Cambridgeshire Fens. This cluster of ancient mid-river islands and ridges turns out to house surprising secrets: they seem to have been the focus of some intriguing Iron Age mortuary […]
This month CA turns 50 and we are taking the opportunity to celebrate. Alongside the usual array of fascinating archaeological discoveries, we have sprinkled a selection of offerings with an anniversary theme. Our special wraparound cover pays homage to the very first issue, giving a modern and CA 1-style treatment to the excavations at the […]
How should we study ancient stone monuments? In the past, great ingenuity has been expended on cataloguing them according to ever more intricate typologies. Now a survey of Neolithic monuments in Pembrokeshire is applying simpler classifications and focusing on what these edifices meant to the communities that raised them. The results raise questions about how efforts to clear the first farming land […]
Exploring the ‘first place’ in the stonehenge landscape Ongoing excavations at Blick Mead, an ancient spring on Salisbury Plain, have revealed an unprecedented array of evidence for large Mesolithic gatherings and extravagant feasts taking place just over a mile from where Stonehenge would be built thousands of years later. Now the project has produced signs […]
The Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) is a community archaeology project recording the fast-eroding archaeology of the Thames; at low tide the Thames foreshore is the longest archaeological site in London. To date the project has recorded over 1000 features in the dynamic and fast changing intertidal zone of Greater London, including Mesolithic, Bronze Age […]