The king’s new clothes

Researchers had moved the best textiles, including the ‘Eagle Silk’ and a pillow with birds, deemed more fitting for a king, over to Cnut’s shrine, where they are displayed with his remains under a glass lid.…

Anglo-Saxon burials revealed

‘We had expected to find some kind of Anglo-Saxon burial, but what we found exceeded all our expectations and provides new insights into this stretch of the Thames in the decades after the collapse of the Roman administration in Britain.’…

Painting the past

Joining the gallery’s collections is an 1819 oil-on-paper painting by Achille Etna Michallon (1796-1822) of The Forum at Pompeii.…

A new approach to wood preservation

Wood can be a difficult, and costly, archaeological material to preserve. This is nowhere better highlighted than by the enormous efforts put into place to help conserve the Mary Rose. When the remains of Henry VIII’s warship were lifted out of the Solent in 1981 (see CA 318 and 272),…

Migration and disease in the Iron Age

Scientific analysis of a human skeleton discovered at Tarrant Hinton in Dorset has shed new light on life – and the transmission of infectious disease – in Iron Age Britain. The remains were originally found during excavations at a small Iron Age/Romano-British settlement between 1967 and 1985. Examination and radiocarbon…

Prehistoric settlement uncovered in Aberdeenshire

Evidence for an extensive settlement, possibly dating to either the Bronze Age or Iron Age, has been uncovered on the outskirts of Cruden Bay in Aberdeenshire, on a site overlooking the North Sea. It is the first major prehistoric site to be identified near Cruden Bay, making it an important…

Witch marks discovered in Stoke Mandeville?

Unusual graffiti have been discovered among the ruins of the medieval church of St Mary’s in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire. Archaeologists from Fusion JV have been carefully excavating and deconstructing the church ahead of HS2-related construction. The building was supposedly demolished after it was decommissioned in 1866, when a new church…

Hadrian’s Wall revealed at Walltown Crags

Many miles of Hadrian’s Wall survive beneath turf and rubble, unexplored and often under threat from erosion, people, and animals. A recent excavation at Walltown Crags in Northumberland, undertaken in advance of fixing some of this damage, revealed sections of the Wall that had not been seen for centuries. The…

Judicial facial mutilation in Anglo-Saxon England?

Anglo-Saxon law codes speak of facial mutilation as a punishment for certain crimes, but until recently no archaeological evidence had been found for it in England. Now the skull of a young woman discovered in Oakridge, Basingstoke, has been identified as the first possible example. It also suggests that this…

Spectacular prehistoric discoveries from County Sligo

COVID-19 restrictions have not stopped the Sligo Community Archaeology Project, which can boast of some very exciting prehistoric discoveries in the county over the past few months. This initiative (undertaken in partnership with the Heritage Council) aims to connect archaeologists and members of the public in order to properly record…

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…

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…

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