Current Archaeology 375

Cover Story

Back at Butser Ancient Farm: reconstructing the past and safeguarding its future In mid-April, CA travelled to Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire – our first site visit of 2021! – to catch up with what’s new at the recently reopened experimental archaeology centre. The site has just unveiled an immersive reconstructed Neolithic…

Features

Darkness dispelled: exploring 1,500 years of life and death at the Sculptor’s Cave The Sculptor’s Cave, on Scotland’s north-east coast, is best known for the Pictish carvings that give the site its name. Recent research by Ian Armit and Lindsey Büster, however, has…
A story of two castles: tracing the origins of two fortifications in the March of Ewyas Straddling the border between Herefordshire and Monmouthshire in the lee of the Black Mountains, the parish of Longtown has the remains of two castles. One is a popular visitor attraction…
Touching the past: encountering Iron Age bog bodies Bog bodies are particularly potent archaeological discoveries, representing the recognisable faces of people from the past. Why were so many of these figures consigned to watery graves during the Bronze…
Time Team returns: how an archaeological institution rose to dig again For 20 years, Time Team was an archaeological household name – and, while the show came to an end in 2013, its popularity has soared once again during lockdown. In…

News

Unprecedented prehistoric finds on Skokholm Island After this first discovery, further finds were unearthed from the warrens, including large pieces of pottery that have been identified as part of an Early Bronze Age vase urn, usually…
Enigmatic Roman building complex discovered at Scarborough Current theories suggest that it could be a villa or possibly a religious sanctuary, but it probably will not be until post-excavation analysis is complete that a more definitive idea…
Highlights of the latest Treasure Report The most recent Treasure Annual Report, which covers finds made in 2018, has been released by the British Museum. In total, 1,094 cases were reported as Treasure for that year,…
Neolithic salt production at Street House? Many of these characteristics bear a close resemblance to other salt-production sites in Britain from the Bronze and Iron Ages, and are features in common with known Neolithic salterns from…
Connecting the dots: analysing skeletal remains with limited context Overall, these results seem to be consistent with lay individuals who may have entered into a monastic life as children and subsequently gained access to a higher-status diet.
Nunnery revealed at Jesus College, Cambridge Historical records indicate that the nunnery, dedicated to St Radegund and St Mary, was founded on this site in the 12th century and dissolved in 1496.
Digging Dunragit’s prehistoric past If these post-holes form part of this larger complex, it would mean the entire site extends for 2.5km across the landscape, making in one of the most significant prehistoric ceremonial…

Views

The Unicorn Preservation Society Groups Now approaching her 200th anniversary, HMS Unicorn is the third oldest ship still afloat in the entire world.
Excavating Glamorgan and Monmouthsire Comment This publication features, among other highlights, the extraordinary, emotive survival of a series of footprints made by a Mesolithic child.
Finds tray – Roman mount Objects This is a Roman mount made of copper alloy and probably dating to between AD 200 and 300. It was discovered by a metal-detectorist near Doulting in Somerset and recently…
History hidden in plain sight Comment Banksy has made himself very rich with witty examples of the genre, and both Historic England and the National Trust now conserve and celebrate historic graffiti.
Heritage from home: May What's on With restrictions lifting around the UK and outdoor sites reopening, we hope it won’t be long until we can visit museums and indoor heritage sites again. For now, Amy Brunskill…
Sutton Hoo helmet in LEGO The Picture Desk 'We really need the public’s help to make the LEGO Sutton Hoo helmet an official LEGO set that anyone can buy and build.'
Letters: April/May 2021 Letters Herefordshire is a cornucopia of remarkable church architecture, not only of the 14th century but also of the 12th, and the county rewards explorers with its riches.

Reviews

Hadrian’s Wall: Creating Division Symonds provides a particularly accessible and entertaining overview of this complex monument, including the history of its construction and the role of the Wall in later history.
Managing Archaeology in Dynamic Urban Centres This new publication, which draws on discussions at the 2017 European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) conference and the work of the EAA Urban Archaeology Community, explores the complexities of carrying…
Never Greater Slaughter: Brunanburh and the birth of England Assembling an extensive patchwork of evidence, Livingston tries to recreate the ‘facts’ of the Battle of Brunanburh – the major battle between King Æthelstan’s English forces and an alliance of…
Contested Heritage: contemporary Pagan groups and the archaeological and heritage professions in Britain Relationships between contemporary Pagan groups and those who work in the fields of archaeology and heritage management have been strained for many years due to disagreements over ancient sites and…
Heritage from home: May With restrictions lifting around the UK and outdoor sites reopening, we hope it won’t be long until we can visit museums and indoor heritage sites again. For now, Amy Brunskill…
River Kings: a new history of Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads It all began with a bead: a small piece of carnelian recovered during the excavation of a Viking Great Army mass grave at Repton in 1982. Thirty-five years later, it…
Thames Mudlarking: searching for London’s lost treasures Searching the beaches of the River Thames for artefacts has grown enormously in popularity over the last decade or so, with hundreds of enthusiasts now engaged in this activity and…

From the editor

In mid-April, with outdoor attractions reopening to the public, CA marked an exciting milestone: our first site visit of 2021. We went to Butser Ancient Farm, the ever-inventive experimental archaeology centre in the South Downs, and this month’s cover feature introduces the site’s latest reconstructed building – a Neolithic house based on remains excavated by Wessex Archaeology near Horton – as well as an online platform devised to safeguard the site’s financial future and help share its research worldwide.

Turning from the Neolithic to later prehistory, our next two features explore enigmatic Bronze Age and Iron Age ways of engaging with the dead. Extensive research focused on the Sculptor’s Cave in Moray has illuminated 1,500 years of activity, including intriguing funerary traditions, at the remote site. We then examine an equally distinctive tradition of treating the dead: what can we learn from bog bodies?

Leaping forward to the medieval period, we then investigate two castles on the Welsh border – who built them so unusually close together, and why?

Finally, this month’s ‘In Focus’ heralds the return of an archaeological institution. It was almost exactly 100 issues ago, in CA 274, that we reported on Time Team coming to an end. This long-running TV programme was hugely influential – not least to me: I was six when the show first aired and pretty much grew up with it. Time Team also gave me my first job in ‘archaeological media’, when I worked as a researcher on Series 18. (Bonus points if you can spot my fleeting on-screen appearance dressed as a Roman!) It’s very exciting, then, to share news of the Team’s plan to carry out two digs in the summer – watch this space for further updates.