Roman

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Worlds apart?

The Romans in Ireland Ireland has no known Roman forts, villas or planned towns, but a recent project designed to investigate Ireland during the first five centuries AD found plenty of evidence for interaction between Ireland and the Roman world, as Chris Catling now reports. History in Ireland traditionally begins with the arrival of St […]

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Letters from Londinium

Reading the earliest writing from Roman Britain Among the remarkable artefacts recovered by MOLA archaeologists on the site of the new Bloomberg headquarters in London were 405 writing tablets. Of these, 87 have now been deciphered, providing a tantalising insight into the lives and legal wrangling of the first Londoners. Roger Tomlin and Sophie Jackson […]

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Current Archaeology 317

The early years of London seem both uncannily familiar and unimaginably distant. Today, no one would bat an eyelid at Tacitus’ description of a settlement heaving with ‘businessmen and commerce’. Accounts of reckless loans, eye-watering debt, and advice to maintain a stiff upper lip (or at least ‘not to appear shabby’) in the face of adversity reinforce a sense that some […]

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Current Archaeology 316

The true nature of the events that played out at Burnswark in the 2nd century AD has long excited speculation. Two Roman camps were aggressively positioned to hold a former native hillfort in a vice-like grip, but does this dramatic arrangement testify to a desperate siege, or a rigorous military training regime? Now an ingenious new approach to studying the […]

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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 […]

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Earliest written reference to London found

The earliest-known written reference to London was revealed today (1 June) by MOLA archaeologists, as part of Britain’s largest, earliest, and most significant group of Roman waxed writing tablets. The reference forms part of an address – Londinio Mogontio, ‘To Mogontius [a Celtic personal name], in London’, and appears on a writing tablet dating from c.AD […]

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The fragrant dead: How to treat your dead, the Roman way

Within Roman society, highly aromatic resins were important in ritual activity, and sometimes even applied directly to the body at death. But did this sacred rite ever reach the remote province of Britannia? Bradford University’s Rhea Brettell and Carl Heron launched a project to discover more. To the Romans, frankincense, myrrh, and other fragrant resins […]

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PRESS RELEASE: Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott win Current Archaeology’s prestigious Research Project of the Year award for 2015, for their work at Maryport

Top honours for  Research Project of the Year  at the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards went to Professor Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott, Newcastle University. They were recognised for their work at Maryport, a  research project initiated and funded by the Senhouse Museum Trust, where ongoing excavations at the 2nd century Roman fort have revealed the […]

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