Current Archaeology 369

Cover Story

The Mayflower, 1620-2020: tracing voyages of discovery in Plymouth’s past Four hundred years ago, the Mayflower carried around 100 would-be colonists across the Atlantic to found Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. What can we learn of these voyagers, the city they left behind, and the impact they had on the indigenous…

Features

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…
The origins of Old St Oswald Church, Fulford Many a church guide claims that their present building sits on the site of a more ancient structure. But how accurate are these claims? Recently the Fishergate, Fulford, and Heslington…
HEIR to the past: exploring the Historic Environment Image Resource A unique digital archive preserves a wealth of images spanning the history of photography, offering long-lost views and vivid insights into how the historic environment has evolved over time. Janice…
Illuminating Isurium: exploring Aldborough’s Roman remains Isurium Brigantum was a thriving and prosperous Roman town in what is now North Yorkshire, but it has attracted relatively little modern archaeological attention. Now, though, a decade of geophysical…

News

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…
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…
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,…
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…
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…
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…
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.…

Views

Second World War wrecks: Brecon Beacons The Picture Desk Today this wreck, along with several others in the Beacons, stands as a monument, a tangible example of the enormous sacrifices that were made every day during the Second World…
Excavating the CA Archive: Derbyshire Comment Peak prehistory and Britain's first cave art: Joe Flatman explores half a century of reports from Derbyshire
Sherds: The good, the bad and the ugly Comment 'Context is all': as the culture wars heat up, Christopher Catling looks at the problems of our contested heritage
The Kilvert Society Groups 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…
Finds tray – early Roman axehead Objects 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…

Reviews

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…
Old Oswestry Hillfort and its Landscape: ancient past, uncertain future Sharing elements with a standard regional study of a hillfort in geographical context, this series of papers is distinctly wider in scope. It is neither underpinned by recent excavation, nor…
The Life Biography of Artefacts and Ritual Practice: with case studies from Mesolithic-Early Bronze Age Europe Within the context of burial and ritual, archaeologists have found it near-impossible to understand why mundane objects became the focus for ritual deposition.  I suppose it is all too easy…
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.…
The Chadwell St Mary Ringwork: a late Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon settlement in southern Essex This volume in the British Archaeological Reports series presents the results of excavations by Archaeological Solutions Ltd in advance of gravel-quarrying on a hilltop next to the Thames Estuary in…
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…

From the editor

As Autumn draws towards its close, this is a time of year when thoughts turn towards people and places that have gone before. Our cover feature concerns a voyage that took place 400 years ago: the sailing of the Mayflower, which set out for the New World in 1620. Its departure point, Plymouth, has opened a new museum (The Box) whose inaugural exhibition marks the expedition’s anniversary. What can we learn of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ and the bustling port city they left behind?

We also trace the long-vanished kelp industry that employed thousands of families on the west coast and islands of Scotland between 1750 and 1820. After this brief boom, production disappeared from our shores – what has been left behind for archaeologists to uncover?

Further enigmatic clues await at Fulford, just outside York. This location witnessed the Battle of Fulford in 1066, the first of three engagements that culminated in the Norman Conquest. Fulford’s Old St Oswald Church is a post-Conquest building, but did it have an Anglo-Saxon predecessor that might have witnessed those watershed events?

Remaining in North Yorkshire, we next visit Aldborough, home to the remains ofIsurium Brigantum, once a prosperous Roman town. A decade of investigations has shed fascinating light on when Isurium was founded and how it evolved, including extensive geophysical surveys that have revealed vivid details of its streets and buildings.

We explore more images in our fourth feature, taking a tour of a unique digital archive curated in Oxford. The HEIR Project preserves long-lost vistas and fascinating photographs of past archaeological excavations – pictures worth thousands of words.