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Great Cloister: a lost Canterbury Tale

Among the 856 heraldic shields emblazoned on the ceilings of the cloister of Canterbury Cathedral is hidden a story of the social and political history of 14th- and 15th-century England. In this large and intensively researched volume, Paul A Fox sets out to unravel the connections between the families and…

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The Isle of Man: Stone Age to Swinging Sixties

Within its 225 square miles, the Isle of Man boasts an impressively diverse historic landscape spanning some 10,000 years of human activity. In this compact but wide-ranging book, our guide is Matthew Richardson, curator of social history at Manx National Heritage. Travelling chronologically, we begin when humans first arrived on…

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1520: the Field of the Cloth of Gold

Published 500 years after the event took place, this book serves as a quincentenary celebration of the legendary first meeting between Henry VIII, the English king (r. 1509-1547), and Francis I, the French king (r. 1515-1547). Known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the festivities were held over…

The Kilvert Society

The Reverend Francis (Frank) Kilvert (1840-1879) died as a result of peritonitis at the age of 38, days after returning from his honeymoon in Scotland. Although greatly mourned by his widow, family, and parishioners, he would nevertheless have been an obscure figure but for the publication 60 years after his…

The disappearing Neanderthal Y chromosome

Over the last decade, developments in genetic sequencing, as well as in the successful extraction of DNA from increasingly older and even contaminated remains, have allowed our knowledge of ancient hominins to expand exponentially. But even with these advances, our understanding of the Y chromosome – the one responsible for…

Finds tray – early Roman axehead

Last December, a metal-detectorist discovered this cast of a socketed axehead near Boynton in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Made of copper-alloy, it is perfectly complete but has been made in miniature, measuring only 23.9mm long. While it was probably deposited in the late Iron Age or early Roman period…

Delving into Viking DNA

A large study, led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, has mapped the DNA of the Viking world. The results (recently published in Nature: https:// doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2688-8) paint a complex picture of population movement across Europe during this period. Over ten years, the team sequenced the DNA of 442 individuals…

Surprising finds at Shrewsbury Castle

Archaeological investigations at Shrewsbury Castle have provided surprising insights into the make-up of some of its defences. The castle was founded by the Normans and reworked in the 13th century, and the imposing ramparts, crowned with curtain walls, that surround its inner bailey give every impression of being medieval earthworks…

Roundhouse revealed at Bamburgh Castle

Excavations within the West Ward of Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland have revealed the partial foundations of what appears to have been a substantial roundhouse. Based on its stratigraphy, it is thought to be late Romano-British, but could potentially be earlier in date – further post-excavation analyses will aim to confirm…

Ipswich’s medieval population investigated

In 2012, an extensive excavation was carried out in the Stoke Quay area of Ipswich by Oxford Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology. Covering an area of 1.2ha, the project was a major undertaking and made finds spanning the early medieval period through to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The results have…

World News: Mexico, Germany, Kazakhstan

Ochre mining in Mexico Evidence for the mining of red ochre has been discovered in the now-submerged caves of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Dated to between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, this is the earliest-known exploitation of this mineral in the Americas. Over the course of several dives…

News in brief

National Trust report on colonialism The National Trust has released their Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, including Links with Historic Slavery (read more in ‘Sherds’ on p.64). Commissioned in September of last year, it analyses the history of…

Unexpected discoveries at Beacon Ring

Archaeologists excavating the Welsh hillfort Beacon Ring (Caer Digoll) made an unexpected discovery relating to the 19th-century Ordnance Survey this summer, which has cast new light on early map-making fieldwork. Beacon Ring is on the Long Mountain overlooking Welshpool. Since 2008, it has been owned by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust…

Anglo-Saxon ‘warrior’ burial uncovered

The grave of a 6th-century man – a possible warrior – has been uncovered on a hilltop near Marlow, overlooking the Thames Valley. Its location within the borderlands of prominent neighbouring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms – at different times Wessex, Kent, and Mercia – will hopefully shed new light on this often-overlooked…

Sifting through the remains of Scotland’s kelping industry

For a brief period, from around 1750 to 1820, the west coast and islands of Scotland experienced a boom in demand for kelp, a seaweed-derived substance used in the soap and glass-making industries. Kevin Grant – formerly St Kilda Archaeologist with the National Trust for Scotland, now Archaeology Manager at…

Current Archaeology 369

• Mayflower 1620: a 400-year voyage of discovery
• Exploring the HEIR archive
• Aldborough’s Roman remains
• Scotland’s lost kelp industry
• Origins of Old St Oswald Church, Fulford…

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