Current Archaeology 376

Cover Story

Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard: secrets of a Viking Age collection from south-west Scotland Buried c.AD 900, the Galloway Hoard is thought to be Scotland’s earliest-known Viking Age hoard. In the years since its discovery in 2014, wide-ranging research has illuminated its eclectic and often unique contents. As a new exhibition opens, exploring the…

Features

Iron in the time of Anarchy: investigating a smithy site forged in 12th-century civil war When Headland Archaeology excavated a site in Cheveley, Cambridgeshire, there was every expectation that the medieval village would yield archaeological remains. What was found far exceeded the team’s anticipation, though,…
‘Who will deliver me from this turbulent priest?’ How two Henrys failed to erase the memory of Thomas Becket The story of Thomas Becket’s murder in AD 1170 still resonates after 850 years, despite the attempts of Henry VIII to eradicate all memory of the man that Henry II…
Nero’s Britain: rebellion, reconstruction, and a revised reputation The Roman emperor Nero has long been reviled as a notorious tyrant, prone to lavish and often murderous excesses, who headed a chaotic regime that saw Britain erupt into open…
Carmarthenshire’s missing monument: how one of the biggest excavations in Wales uncovered a long-lost henge The installation of the South Wales Gas Pipeline allowed archaeologists to investigate a 317km corridor stretching from the Pembrokeshire Coast to Gloucestershire. Their finds have illuminated more than 10,000 years…

News

Latest dating evidence for the Cerne Abbas hill figure Analysis of sediment samples taken from the Cerne Abbas Giant has shed new light on the origins of the Dorset hill figure, suggesting that the chalk outline may have been…
Using computer science to classify potsherds ‘Now, using digital photographs of pottery, computers can accomplish what used to involve hundreds of hours of tedious, painstaking, and eye-straining work by archaeologists, who physically sorted pieces of broken…
AI advances in archaeology Recently, researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have used the latest in AI technology to study the Great Isaiah Scroll (known as 1QIsaa), an ancient manuscript dating…
Proteomic analysis of rare medieval birthing girdle It is believed that women would wear these girdles wrapped around themselves during the later stages of pregnancy and perhaps even during childbirth, but before now there was never any…
Gloucester Castle: from garrison to gaol Previous archaeological work at the prison had already confirmed the location of the medieval keep and a few other buildings that would have formed part of the castle complex; the…
Neolithic fingerprint found at the Ness of Brodgar Further analysis of the print will contribute to ongoing research into the identification of archaeological fingerprints, and may reveal more details of the anonymous potter thanks to known variations in…
Calculating cancer risk in medieval Cambridge Through radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scanning of human skeletons, cancerous lesions can be accurately identified...
Oldest surviving synagogue in Wales recorded This work was deemed particularly important, as the building had been identified as one of the 16 most important synagogues at risk in Europe.

Views

Bringing an Anglo-Saxon brooch back to life The Picture Desk Given the prominent location of this woman’s grave, overlooking the Ock valley, and the elaborate items she was buried with, it is likely she was a member of a leading…
Shrines to saints and Pink Floyd Comment Museums and sculptors should work more closely with archaeologists and palaeontologists to recreate the appearance of our extinct ancestors.
Finds tray – dragonesque Roman brooch Objects While these types of brooch first appeared in Britain shortly after the Roman conquest in AD 43, they clearly include aspects of Celtic design, and this is reflected in the…
‘Who will deliver me from this turbulent priest?’ How two Henrys failed to erase the memory of Thomas Becket Feature, Museum, What's on The story of Thomas Becket’s murder in AD 1170 still resonates after 850 years, despite the attempts of Henry VIII to eradicate all memory of the man that Henry II…
The Church Recording Society Groups Church Recorders work in groups of 10-15 people, supported by a skilled photographer. They research and document the memorials, stonework, flooring, woodwork, metalwork, windows, textiles, paintings, organ, books, and historical…
Nero’s Britain: rebellion, reconstruction, and a revised reputation Feature, Museum, What's on The Roman emperor Nero has long been reviled as a notorious tyrant, prone to lavish and often murderous excesses, who headed a chaotic regime that saw Britain erupt into open…
Excavating Surrey Comment The county is one that historically suffers from being overlooked: its proximity, and partial absorption, into Greater London risks obscuring its significance.
Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard: secrets of a Viking Age collection from south-west Scotland Feature, Museum, What's on Buried c.AD 900, the Galloway Hoard is thought to be Scotland’s earliest-known Viking Age hoard. In the years since its discovery in 2014, wide-ranging research has illuminated its eclectic and…

Reviews

The World Before Us: how science is revealing a new story of our human origins After decades of slowly piecing together the puzzle of our human origins, the last ten years have seen a gigantic leap forward in our knowledge, spurred by advances in aDNA…
‘Who will deliver me from this turbulent priest?’ How two Henrys failed to erase the memory of Thomas Becket The story of Thomas Becket’s murder in AD 1170 still resonates after 850 years, despite the attempts of Henry VIII to eradicate all memory of the man that Henry II…
Greenwich at Work: people and industries through the years Situated on the bank of the Thames near central London, Greenwich was once a hub of industrial activity, with bustling docks and hundreds of manufacturing, maritime, and riverside trades. The…
Nero’s Britain: rebellion, reconstruction, and a revised reputation The Roman emperor Nero has long been reviled as a notorious tyrant, prone to lavish and often murderous excesses, who headed a chaotic regime that saw Britain erupt into open…
Timeline: the archaeology of the South Wales Gas Pipeline Underpinning this comparatively slim volume is a remarkable archaeological programme. The South Wales Gas Pipeline was constructed in 2005-2007, extending from the Pembrokeshire coast to Gloucestershire. It was not a…
50 Finds of Early Medieval Coinage In this latest publication in the ‘50 Finds’ series from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, John Naylor draws on a selection of 50 early medieval coins from the 10,000 recorded in…
A Neolithic to Late Roman Landscape on the North-east Yorkshire Coast: excavations at Street House, Loftus, 2004-2017 Lying 2km from Loftus in North Yorkshire, Street House is home to a diverse span of archaeological evidence reflecting more than 4,500 years of activity. Stephen Sherlock has been excavating…
Excavations at Stoke Quay, Ipswich: southern Gipeswic and the parish of St Augustine This monograph provides a detailed report on the major excavations by Oxford Archaeology South and Pre-Construct Archaeology at the site of Stoke Quay, Ipswich (2011-2012), covering 1.2 acres of the…
Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard: secrets of a Viking Age collection from south-west Scotland Buried c.AD 900, the Galloway Hoard is thought to be Scotland’s earliest-known Viking Age hoard. In the years since its discovery in 2014, wide-ranging research has illuminated its eclectic and…

From the editor

In around AD 900, a unique Viking Age hoard was buried in south-west Scotland. Known as the Galloway Hoard, its eclectic contents come from as far as Asia, and preserve stunning examples of early medieval artistry that have not been seen for over 1,000 years. Since its rediscovery, the hoard has been carefully conserved and analysed in detail. Our cover story presents the latest discoveries as a new exhibition opens.

We next examine a much larger archaeological find whose location had also long faded from memory: Britain’s most south-westerly Neolithic henge, which has been identified during a major infrastructure project in south Wales.

The Vaynor Farm henge’s demise may have come about amid dramatic cultural changes at the onset of the Bronze Age; our third feature explores another watershed period: the medieval civil war known as the Anarchy. Can the remains of a 12th-century smithy shed light on how the Anarchy affected one fenland community?

Remaining in the 12th century, we next visit the British Museum to explore their new exhibition about Thomas Becket. Artefacts and a stunning stained-glass window come together to tell the story of a murdered archbishop and why so many people in medieval Europe flocked to his shrine.

The British Museum is also telling the story of the notorious Roman emperor Nero, who came to power when the conquest of Britain was far from complete. His reign saw both the revolution of the Boudican uprising and efforts at reconciliation and reconstruction in its aftermath; we explore the latest thinking on Neronian Britain.