Current Archaeology 382

Cover Story

Syon Abbey revisited: reconstructing late medieval England’s wealthiest nunnery Founded by Henry V and built by Henry VI, Syon Abbey was one of 16th-century England’s richest religious houses. A previous Time Team investigation into its remains provided an invaluable springboard for further research, but their three-day dig could only…

Features

Cladh Hallan: exploring the roundhouse way of life in South Uist Located in the Outer Hebrides, the prehistoric settlement of Cladh Hallan is best known for the Bronze Age mummies found buried beneath its roundhouses. As well as these insights into…
Shops ‘of the plainest kind’? The architecture of England’s co-operative movement Planners predict that our historic town and city centres will be transformed over the next decade as online shops take over from bricks-and-mortar retail outlets. But change in the High…
Roman Britain in colour: recent finds at Richborough’s amphitheatre English Heritage and Historic England archaeologists have been investigating the remains of Richborough’s Roman amphitheatre – uncovering rare traces of painted decorations, as well as insights into the later years…
Neolithic artistry from the Stonehenge landscape Cutting-edge photographic techniques have shed illuminating light on a series of carved chalk plaques excavated close to Stonehenge. What have they revealed about artistic endeavour in Neolithic Britain? CA explores…

News

First ‘Hampden Park’ football stadium unearthed in Glasgow The first Hampden stadium, complete with enclosed pitch and turnstiles, was built in 1873.
England’s largest Anglo-Saxon gold coin hoard found in Norfolk Most of the hoard was discovered between 2014 and 2020 by a single anonymous metal-detectorist.
Orkney fingerprints belonged to Neolithic teenager Both fingerprints were male and had been left by individuals around 13 and 14 years old.
John Dee’s mirror and the magic of geochemical analysis The geochemical compositions of ‘the John Dee mirror’ were found to match obsidian from Pachuca
Roman sculptures unearthed in Stoke Mandeville The busts appear to have been intentionally discarded: the adult ones were broken between the head and torso, perhaps before deposition, and only the head of the child survives.
Medieval tannery found at Fountains Abbey Animal hides, treated in tanneries, were used to produce essential materials like vellum for religious texts and leather for book bindings
Coin discovered under mast of HMS Victory The ship is best known as Admiral Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar

Views

CA Letters – December 2021 Letters Your views on the latest issues of CA.
Museums, exhibitions, and events in December 2021 Museum, What's on There is a great selection of new exhibitions and events taking place at museums and heritage sites around the UK in the coming months, whether you’re interested in how the…
Excavating Lincolnshire Comment The concentration of artefacts was so rich that it led prehistorian Mike Parker Pearson to compare Fiskerton to La Tène, the 19th-century Swiss lakeside excavation that had a profound influence…
Digging up memories Museum, What's on An immersive online exhibition hosted by the Vindolanda Trust uses the extraordinary range of wooden artefacts excavated at the Roman fort to evoke memories and forge connections with communities who…
Aerial archaeology The Picture Desk The distinctive lozenge-shaped ramparts of Whitley Castle Roman Fort, situated north-west of Alston in Cumbria, survive as earthworks that are clearly visible in aerial photographs like this one.
Clerical sinners and forgeries Comment Quarreling was commonplace, especially over who was entitled to sit in ‘the best’ pews. Clergy complained about being assaulted: one Kentish aristocrat took his hawk to church in 1514 and…
Duck-shaped Roman lock component Objects IMAGE: Portable Antiquities Scheme/CC BY 2.0. Carrying on the ornithological theme from last issue’s ‘Finds Tray’, which profiled an early medieval brooch featuring a bird, this Roman lock component was…
The Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust Groups Suppressed in 1537, the abbey was plundered for its stone and five out of the 14 delicately carved 13th-century arcades ended up beautifying the church at Llanidloes, some ten miles…

Reviews

Landscapes Revealed: geophysical survey in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Area 2002-2011 Over the past 50 years or so, archaeologists have managed to hone their focus on several areas of Europe that show clear advances in social and ritual development: areas such…
Museums, exhibitions, and events in December 2021 There is a great selection of new exhibitions and events taking place at museums and heritage sites around the UK in the coming months, whether you’re interested in how the…
Bath Quays Waterside: the archaeology of industry, commerce and the lives of the poor in Bath’s lost quayside district To any well-read person, mention of Bath conjures up a Regency vision of elite spa bathing which makes it hard to think of the place as the abode of poverty…
Digging up memories An immersive online exhibition hosted by the Vindolanda Trust uses the extraordinary range of wooden artefacts excavated at the Roman fort to evoke memories and forge connections with communities who…
Museum News December 2021 The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions.
The Hadrian’s Wall Military Way: a frontier road explored It is always stimulating to be reminded how much more remains to be said about Hadrian’s Wall, a Roman frontier system that is often believed – from an archaeological perspective…
Ireland Encastellated, AD 950-1550: insular castle-building in its European context Ireland has been very well served in recent years by modern scholarship on her medieval castellated landscape. This book by O’Keeffe takes this research much further, especially in the way…
Country House Collections: their lives and afterlives ‘Helicopters flew in, and prices flew up.’ James Miller’s summary of the Chatsworth attic sale of 2010 sets the tone for much of Country House Collections, a fascinating series of…

From the editor

Our cover image shows the grand edifice of Syon House in west London – as well as the remains of another imposing complex that once stood on this spot. Founded by Henry V, Syon Abbey flourished to become one of the wealthiest religious houses in 16th-century England, but after the Dissolution of the Monasteries its layout was lost to memory. What can archaeological research add to this picture?

A rather different community forms the focus of our next feature: a row of roundhouses at Cladh Hallan in the Outer Hebrides, which have yielded an illuminating array of domestic debris spanning 500 years of life in the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Moving from roundhouses to oval amphitheatres, we report on a recent site visit to Richborough in Kent. Once the ‘gateway to Roman Britain’, Rutupiae was a flourishing port town that boasted a huge triumphal arch and an amphitheatre that could seat 5,000 people. What has this autumn’s excavation revealed about the construction – and decoration – of this latter amenity?

Leaping forward to more modern constructions, our next feature explores the diverse range of architecture that evolved in response to England’s co-operative movement.

Artistic endeavour also features in this month’s ‘In Focus’, which highlights recent research using cutting-edge photographic techniques to reveal previously unknown details of four decorated chalk plaques excavated in the Stonehenge landscape.

Finally, voting is now open for the 2022 CA Awards! Check out the page to find out more about the people, publications, and projects that have been nominated, and for details of the speakers confirmed so far for our upcoming conference.