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.
‘This is an archaeological book, I make no pretensions to write history.’ So writes Martin Carver in his wide-ranging new book – yet the more than 700 pages that follow represent a sweeping and impressively comprehensive account of Britain’s past, spanning the 5th to 11th centuries AD.
As I sat down to write this month’s ‘Welcome’, the internet was awash with images of Processions, a mass participatory artwork celebrating the centenary of voting rights being extended to (some) women in Britain. We explored the 1918 Representation of the People Act’s archaeological legacy in CA 336, and the anniversary also inspired a recent […]
It is always a joy and a privilege to visit excavations on behalf of CA, but I seldom get to see a dig on the scale of the project currently under way beside the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. There, major road improvement works are allowing an entire historic landscape to be explored in minute […]
As this month’s contribution to the ‘great excavations’ mini-series, I turn my attention to a ‘great’ project of Anglo-Saxon archaeology: Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. The site is one of the best-known in the country thanks to the stunning array of high-status grave goods recovered during the 1939 excavations and displayed in the British Museum since the late 1940s. But in this column I want to focus not on the objects but rather on the two great post-war phases of fieldwork undertaken on the site between 1965 and 1971, led by Rupert Bruce-Mitford, and then again between 1983 and 1992, led by Martin Carver. With CA having launched in March 1967, the timing of these projects coincides perfectly with the emergence and growth of the magazine.
Sutton Hoo is best known for the elite Anglo-Saxon cemetery excavated there in the 1930s, but more recent campaigns tell an even richer tale. The royal burials sprang from an earlier cemetery, and were followed by dozens of graves of execution victims. How does the sequence track the journey of Anglo-Saxons, from pagan immigrants to […]
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 […]
Marking the 75th anniversary of a watershed discovery In May 1939, Suffolk archaeologist Basil Brown made a discovery that would change perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England forever: a spectacular 7th-century ship burial, overlooking the River Deben at Sutton Hoo. Seventy-five years on, its contents form the centrepiece of the British Museum’s recently reopened Early Medieval Europe […]
After such sensational discoveries it was inevitable that archaeologists would return to Sutton Hoo. Rupert Bruce-Mitford was the first to pick up where the 1939 team left off, re-excavating Mound 1 and removing the remaining ship rivets in the 1960s.
This was no ordinary burial. The group that gathered on a grassy promontory overlooking the River Deben around AD 625 was participating in a ceremony that is without equal in Britain. First a huge vessel, 27m long and honourably scarred and patched through long service was hauled a mile uphill to the mounds of a […]