War of Words – ‘Britannia’

Ancient Britain was known to the Mediterranean world. The Greeks called the island Pretannia, but the Romans named it Britannia, and made it part of their empire. The term ‘Britannia’ therefore figures prominently in military history. The Roman conqueror Julius Caesar twice invaded Britannia, landing in Kent in 55 BC,…

Recovering an anchor from the North Sea

Through the combined efforts of ScottishPower Renewables and Maritime Archaeology Ltd, with support from Historic England, a wrought-iron anchor, possibly dating from the Roman period, was successfully raised from the North Sea in June of last year. The location of the anchor, approximately 40km off the coast of Suffolk, had…

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Excavating Scotland

Moving geographically west to east, we then come to Bearsden on the north-west outskirts of Glasgow. This site is, if not the most excavated of Antonine sites, then certainly that most visited by Current Archaeology.…

The Wesley Historical Society

Non-conformist chapels and meeting houses have greatly enriched our townscapes, though we have been slow to recognise their merits. Indeed, the late Princess Margaret, when opening the Keele office of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of England in 1984, asked why a Royal Commission – answerable…

Finds tray – a Roman cornu

This is the mouthpiece of a Roman instrument, called a cornu (plural, cornua), which was found during an excavation at Vindolanda this past May. It was recovered deep under the remains of a schola – an officers’ mess and club where middle-ranked soldiers would dine and socialise – along with…

Denmark Quiz

Denmark's current monarch, Queen Margrethe II, traces her lineage back to which 10th-century king?…

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Odin: wisdom, war, and poetry

Odin is a war god, fomenting conflict to see who is worthy of entering his hall, Valhalla, and ultimately fighting at Ragnarök (the events, including a battle, at the end of the world). But he is also a god of magic and wisdom, something he is always seeking…

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John Wesley Gilbert (1863-1923)

Gilbert was one of the first Americans – of any ethnicity – to undertake archaeological work in Greece. There, he is likely to have met Heinrich Schliemann, rediscoverer of Troy, and certainly he did groundbreaking excavation work on the neighbourhoods of Athens…

Aï Khanoum, 1968-1973

One archaeological milestone this year is the centenary of the founding of the Délégation archéologique française en Afghanistan (DAFA) in 1922. Their century of research has included investigations at Aï Khanoum, a Hellenistic city on the banks of the Oxus River in northern Afghanistan. Its (later) name means ‘Lady Moon’,…

Historic Texts Quiz

In which Roman fort were the wooden tablets found that contain the earliest handwriting ever discovered in Britain?…

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Excavating Northamptonshire

If there is a challenger to Piddington’s crown as the ‘prime’ site of Northamptonshire, then the multi-period site of Raunds in the north-east of the county, with its intriguing history of early medieval and later settlement, is a strong contender.…

CA 392 Letters – October

Dedication for the Dover Boat This year is the 30th anniversary of the discovery and rescue of the Dover Bronze Age boat (see ‘Context’, CA 391). I am sending a poem I wrote, of which a shorter draft was published by Arrival Press in their anthology Poets Around Britain (edited…

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