Almost a third of this book comprises a review of pre-Roman record keeping, before moving to the title period under headings such as ‘Archives and libraries in the Roman world’ and ‘Epigraphy’. The latter discusses, among other things, inscriptions on stone, writing tablets, and monuments, such as Trajan’s Column, as examples of forms of visual communication. Five appendices are preceded by a final brief chapter on the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes.
As you would |expect from CA’s Archaeologist of the Year, this is an extremely well-researched and well-written book. Split into three parts, the first deals with understanding writing and literacy in the Roman world. Part two tackles the data (inkwells), with a focus on metal types. The final section considers writing equipment in terms of identities and social context.
In last month’s ‘great excavations’ mini-series (CA 337), I mentioned the then editor’s suggestion in CA 8 (May 1968) that ‘one of the Roman towns like Silchester or Wroxeter that are ploughed every year’ be excavated by the BBC as an example of public archaeology – Time Team before the Team, so to speak. With Silchester featured last month, it is worth turning to the other site mentioned, Wroxeter – a well-known Roman site near Shrewsbury. It is a site familiar, I am sure, to many readers of CA for its impressive upstanding remains.
Vindolanda, the Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall, is known for its treasure trove of well-preserved Roman archaeology, and this past excavation season has proved to be one of the most successful yet. The team has been excavating a pre-Hadrianic cavalry barracks, where they uncovered finds including complete swords, copper-alloy horse gear, leather shoes, bath clogs, combs, dice, and a small hoard of wafer-thin writing tablets, many of which bore fine examples of ancient cursive script (see CA 330).
Archaeology always retains the power to surprise. The site of Cirencester’s western cemetery, much developed and truncated over the years, ought to have retained few secrets, but the results of the excavation – 126 graves, a walled cemetery, deviant burials, an enamelled bronze cockerel, and a complete tombstone – exceeded expectations.
PLEASE NOTE THE 2020 EXCAVATION SEASON HAS BEEN CANCELLED SHARP (the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project) is a long-term, independently-run archaeological project. Our primary objective is the investigation of the entire range of human settlement and land use in the north-west Norfolk parish of Sedgeford. Established in 1996, SHARP is one of the largest […]
The Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society is open to all whatever their experience. You will need to be a member to participate, which is £20 full or £10 student, and are advised to have a current tetanus. You can join via the website www.brightonarch or come along to an event and fill in an application […]
PLEASE NOTE SOME OF ARCHEOSCAN’S 2020 EXCAVATIONS HAVE BEEN POSTPONED – SEE THE WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS Archeoscan run a number of digs open to members of the public throughout the year. This year we will once again be returning to at least two Roman sites. In April, our first dig will focus on the […]
Colemore is in the west of the South Downs National Park with a fascinating buried landscape of past rural settlement. Eleven seasons of excavations, test pits, desk-based research and geophysical survey reveal a complex settlement of enclosures and habitation dating mainly to the Romano-British (RB) with glimpses of the Iron Age (IA). Buildings include a […]
Colchester Archaeological Group and Fordham History Society, with permission from The Woodland Trust are carrying out ongoing excavations on a Roman Site at Fordham Hall, Essex. Geophysics, field-walking, trial trenching and finds from Phase I in 2015 all suggested significant Roman activity on the site. Phase II excavations, begun in 2016 and due to finish […]