A Contemporary Archaeology of London’s Mega Events

Review by Robin Hughes In this engaging example of contemporary archaeology, Jonathan Gardner explores the multifaceted impacts of three London-based ‘mega events’ on the capital: the Great Exhibition of 1851, the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank, and the 2012 Olympics. Gardner (who worked as an archaeologist on…

Finds tray – Roman owl figurine

This copper-alloy owl figurine was found last year by a metal-detectorist on cultivated land in the Cotswolds, and it dates to the Roman period, when owls were associated with the goddess Minerva. The 6.8cm-tall bird is perched on a round, flanged pedestal, which is hollow in the middle, suggesting that…

Muldlark’d: hidden histories from the River Thames

Review by HB. This lavishly produced volume offers an introduction to Thames ‘mudlarking’ – the practice of searching the river’s foreshore (with a permit!) for historical objects and other items of interest. The book is not so much a practical guide (though it does include a short ‘primer’ with advice…

Farming Wales

This image shows Esgair Llewelyn in Powys, one of the oldest farmhouses in Wales. It was built as a cruck-framed upland hallhouse c.1500. It would have originally had an open fire in the middle of the hall floor, but the building was remodelled in the 16th and 17th centuries to…

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Archaeology events, exhibitions, and heritage from home

There is a wonderful selection of archaeological and historical events and exhibitions scheduled for this summer, ranging from the return of Europe’s largest Viking festival to new exhibitions at the British Museum and the London Transport Museum. There are also still many ways to get involved in history and heritage…

Strange Relics: stories of archaeology and the supernatural, 1895-1954

Review by CH Ancient remains and ghostly narratives often coincide in the popular imagination, providing fruitful inspiration for chilling tales. This anthology of 12 short stories has been curated by archaeological historian Amara Thornton, of the University of London, and Classical archaeologist Katy Soar, from the University of Winchester. They…

When was Hadrian’s Wall built?

We know that Britain experienced tumultuous events during Hadrian’s reign. What we do not know is the order in which they played out. The answer may hold the key to understanding Britain’s premier Roman monument, as Matthew Symonds explains.…

Fragments of the Bronze Age

Review by Chris Griffiths. Those with an interest in Bronze Age metalwork will know that the literature tends to focus on the question of why metal objects were destroyed and buried: were they deliberately broken for recycling, to serve a pre-monetary function, or for symbolic or ritual reasons? Drawing on…

The Marlipins Museum, Shoreham-by-Sea

With its distinctive chequerboard exterior combining Caen stone and knapped flint, the Marlipins building in Shoreham-by-Sea has been an eye-catching landmark for centuries – in fact, dendrochronological analysis suggests that it is the earliest surviving secular building in Sussex. Its original purpose presents more of an enigma, however. The meaning…

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