Current Archaeology 374

Cover Story

Tracing the fluctuating fortunes of Roman and medieval Exeter The team behind the ‘Exeter: A Place in Time’ project tell us about the sites that were excavated in the last 50 years.

Features

Reinterpreting a Tudor flagship: the Mary Rose and her crew Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, famously sank in the Solent almost 500 years ago. Her partial remains were recovered by archaeologists in 1982 – what has been learned since…
The women of Sutton Hoo: tracing female stories at a celebrated cemetery Sutton Hoo is best known as the location of an astonishing ‘princely’ Anglo-Saxon ship burial – but the site has compelling stories to tell about women too. We explore the…
Stringbags to Star Wars: an archaeology of airfields Why should we study airfields – and do these sites even count as archaeology? We make a case for investigating and preserving such sites as important drivers of social change,…
Mounds and monasteries: burials in late Iron Age and early medieval Ireland The Irish archaeologist Barry Raftery (1944-2010) wrote: ‘Death represents the ultimate confrontation between the human and the supernatural worlds. The surviving burial remains and the associated funerary monuments thus provide…

News

Conservation reveals new details of Wimpole figurine The recent conservation of a small figurine thought to represent the Celtic god Cernunnos has revealed new details that call the identification into question.
Roman phallic find along the A14 Post-excavation analysis of the many finds discovered on Highways England’s A14 Cambridge-to-Huntingdon improvement scheme (see CA 339) has revealed a rare Roman millstone carved with a prominent phallus.
World news: Indonesia, Germany, Mexico Earliest known rock art ever found in Indonesia; skulls relating to sacrificial ceremony found in Tenochtitlan; German enigma machine discovered in Bay of Gelting.
Anglo-Saxon feasting finds? Scientific analysis of some enigmatic burnt features found in several Anglo-Saxon settlements across the east of England has provided new insight into early medieval cooking practices.
Eroding evidence of prehistoric Orkney A massive incised rock has recently been discovered at the northern end of the Bay of Skaill in Orkney.
Illuminating St Kilda’s Iron Age inhabitants A newly published report from GUARD Archaeology has revealed evidence for the Iron Age inhabitation of St Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and isolated archipelago located 64km west of…
Unique spearhead sheds light on Bronze Age Jersey The largest and most-complete late Bronze Age spearhead to be found in the Channel Islands has been discovered in Jersey, sparking questions about the ritual practices of the prehistoric islanders.
Reassessing the timeline for Neanderthals in Europe The team from the ORAU and a group of researchers from across Europe have applied a compound-dating technique to Neanderthals, this time from Belgium, and once again the results have…

Views

Letters from CA March 2021/April 2021 Letters A collection of letters, tweets, and anecdotes from our readers! Featuring, mosaics, Chactonbury Ring, and auto-generated subtitles
Heritage from home: April Culture, What's on With the arrival of spring and the promise of lockdown restrictions lifting over the next few months, we are looking forward to visits to museums and heritage sites in the…
The value of culture Comment Economics cannot be used to measure the emotional, educational, psychological, spiritual, health, and social benefits of heritage – all the things that make life worth living.
The Co-operative Heritage Trust Groups Historic England’s latest book is an architectural history of England’s Co-operative Movement.
Dewlish leopard The Picture Desk Discovered during excavations at Dewlish in 1974, the leopard mosaic is considered one of the most realistic depictions of an animal by a Romano-British artist to survive in any artistic…
Excavating the past of south Wales Comment This revealed much about life in ‘Roman’ Wales, in both its modest urbanised centres and its wider hinterlands.
Finds tray – Roman ‘horse and rider’ figurine Objects This is a Roman ‘horse and rider’ figurine, made of copper alloy and probably dating to between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. It was found in 2015 near Penllyn,…

Reviews

Heritage from home: April With the arrival of spring and the promise of lockdown restrictions lifting over the next few months, we are looking forward to visits to museums and heritage sites in the…
New Light on the Neolithic of Northern England The Neolithic is that pivotal point in prehistory where community changes, from dependence on hunting, fishing, gathering strategies based on seasonal availability to seasonal harvesting, animal husbandry, food procurement, and…
Roman Britain’s Missing Legion: What Really Happened to IX Hispana? Famously (or infamously), the Roman Ninth Legion is believed to have disappeared around the end of the 1st century AD, a view made popular by Rosemary Sutcliff in her fictionalised…
Making Deep History: zeal, perseverance, and the time revolution of 1859 A few days ago I saw a notice that said ‘BeGambleAware’. It warned of the dangers of addiction, but it could have referred to the author of this book. Readers…
Darkness Visible: the Sculptor’s Cave, Covesea, from the Bronze Age to the Picts Caves can be portals to otherworlds, and Covesea Cave on Scotland’s Moray Firth is no exception. Armit and Büster’s handsomely produced volume transports us back in time to both the…
Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries: kinship, community, and identity It has been more than two decades since Sam Lucy’s seminal book The Anglo-Saxon Way of Death, and in the intervening years new cemeteries, methodologies, and mortuary archaeology theory have…
Faxton: excavations in a deserted Northamptonshire village, 1966-1968 The film The Dig has shown that public interest can be engaged by a vintage excavation, and this book likewise recounts the results and evokes the mood of three seasons…

From the editor

Urban expansion in the 1970s drove an explosion of archaeological investigations in historic city centres – but with scant resources for publication, reports did not always keep up. Our cover feature highlights a project working to redress this, with a focus on Exeter. We explore some of the insights into this city’s Roman and medieval past that have been revealed.

From bustling city life to the ways in which we treat our dead, our next feature looks over almost 1,000 years of changing burial traditions in Ireland, spanning the late Iron Age to the dawn of the Viking Age.

We then turn to matters maritime, sharing the latest thinking on Tudor flagship the Mary Rose, whose wreck was recovered from the Solent in 1982. After almost 40 years of specialist research, what has been learned about the ship’s appearance and her crew?

The Mary Rose’s 16th-century gunners could have only dreamed of the technology available since the onset of aviation. But should airfields be thought of as archaeology? We consider these sites as relics of landscape, social, and architectural history, as well as their military significance.

Finally, we visit the Anglo-Saxon barrow cemetery of Sutton Hoo. This site is indivisibly associated with the splendid ship burial discovered beneath Mound 1, and its ‘princely’ male occupant, but there are also fascinating female stories to be found. Following on from our review of Netflix’s film about the 1939 excavation, The Dig, in CA 373, we meet four women who made vital contributions to the investigation, as well as a nameless 7th-century ‘queen’ who was laid to rest in the royal burial ground.