Around 97% of all archaeological fieldwork within the UK is undertaken by the private sector, especially large infrastructure projects such as road schemes. Since the introduction of national planning guidance for archaeology in 1990 and the emergence a professionally run commercial sector, archaeology and cultural heritage has been at the forefront of the planning process.
For this month’s Science Notes, we will be exploring a technology that is mentioned frequently in the pages of CA, and which, in a recent survey of the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland, has allowed hundreds of previously unknown sites of archaeological interest to be discovered.
In this book, the history of Yorkshire from prehistory to present day is told through the lens of the conflicts that occurred in each period. Beginning with prehistoric occupation and following the story of the region up to the 20th century, the bulk of the work focuses on the medieval conquests and battles, and the effects that they had on the area and its population.
This is a thoroughly revised, weighty second edition, and can be regarded as a companion piece to Richard Bradley’s recently co-authored and more broadly focused The Later Prehistory of North-west Europe (2015). This book concentrates on those few islands on the western fringes, blinking in and out of Europe, and proceeds to examine their history closely.
Making a Mark focuses on decorated portable artefacts from mainly the Neolithic, and provides the reader with an excellent discussion forum. Across the book’s 15 chapters, the authors discuss a number of issues, such as the would-be relationship between certain motifs found on both portable and static art (for instance, passage grave megalithic art). For this, the authors use several core areas of Neolithic Britain and Ireland.
Clifton Quarry is a key site for the prehistory of the West Midlands. The outstanding discovery was an early Iron Age settlement, dating from a short period in the 6th to 4th centuries BC, consisting of numerous four-post structures, but curiously with no clear evidence for roundhouses. Charred grain and charcoal from the post-holes of the four-posters suggest that they burnt down and supports the idea that such structures were granaries.
Robin Derricourt’s book is an overview of current and past research on the nature of the evidence for children in prehistory. As he points out, children are likely to have comprised about 50% of the population of most prehistoric societies, and so it is high time they were studied to the same degree as adults.
It has long been assumed that the technique of spinning thread has a lengthy and robust history. New evidence, though, suggests that a different way of making thread – called splicing – was instead the norm throughout most of Europe and the Near East during prehistory.
Neither Harry nor June Welsh require an introduction in Northern Irish archaeology, being the authors – both jointly and separately – of two publications on the province’s heritage: Tomb Travel (2011) and The Prehistoric Burial Sites of Northern Ireland (2014). Their most recent is very much the companion volume to the burial sites book.
The creation of a new town on the eastern side of Plymouth has afforded a rare opportunity to investigate a wide multi-period archaeological landscape, revealing the hidden secrets of the people who lived there centuries before. Gareth Chaffey and Matt Kendall explain how these discoveries are pushing back the boundaries of our understanding of southern Devon’s past.