Current Archaeology 388

Cover Story

Commemorating Hadrian’s Wall: searching for signs of a 2nd-century celebration This year marks the 1,900th anniversary of the visit of the emperor Hadrian to Britain where, according to his biographer writing more than 200 years after the event, ‘he put many things to right and was the first to build…

Features

Leicester and Roman Africa: exploring ancient multiculturalism in the Midlands Last month we explored the evolution of Roman and medieval Leicester. Now Mathew Morris explains how recent University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) excavations in the city have revealed links…
The archaeology of Black Cat Quarry: farming, flooding, and fighting in the Great Ouse valley Recent excavations at Black Cat Quarry in Bedfordshire have revealed a story of farming communities spanning the Neolithic to the early medieval period, as well as the possible remains of…
Restoring Marble Hill: how archaeology helped to revive a Georgian gem When Henrietta Howard (née Hobart) built her Thames-side country house in Twickenham in the 1720s, it represented so much more than a fashionable escape from the bustle of court life:…
What are hillforts? Investigating one of the most misunderstood monuments in Britain and Ireland Not so long ago, the word ‘hillfort’ was habitually preceded by the words ‘Iron Age’, but now we know plenty of older examples. Not all of them are built on…

News

Thousands of possible prehistoric pits found near Stonehenge Among the larger features excavated in the course of the investigations, the team found a 10,000-year-old pit that had been dug into the chalk bedrock, perhaps to catch game such…
Survey identifies remains of Greasley Castle in Nottinghamshire The survey work showed that the complex was a ‘courtyard castle’ with corner turrets and a great hall...
The science of conservation: preserving Tudor bricks from the Mary Rose The Tudor vessel sank during the Battle of the Solent in 1545, and its surviving timbers and contents have been undergoing conservation since the wreck was raised in 1982
Hyde900 project finds Hampshire abbey’s medieval nave All that remains of the abbey above ground since its demolition at the Dissolution of the Monasteries is an arched stone gatehouse.
In search of Guthlac, Crowland’s early medieval hermit Excavations in Crowland, Lincolnshire, are exploring the remains of a structure that might be linked to an Anglo-Saxon anchorite. Project directors Duncan Wright and Hugh Willmott report.
New analysis of Blick Mead’s Mesolithic landscape Excavations at the site have revealed traces of a significant Mesolithic ‘home base’, including evidence of extensive flint-tool manufacturing and major feasting events.
‘Prehistoric farming settlement’ found on North York Moors A community excavation led by DigVentures has unearthed post-holes and artefacts thought to date from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Roman periods.
New analysis from Oxford hospital cemetery ‘We’ve been able to diagnose tuberculosis, a possible case of leprosy [a rare find for this period], and syphilis.’

Views

CA 388 Letters – June Letters Digging up memories I was delighted to see a reference to the 1974 excavation alongside the Mermaid Theatre in London (CA 386, ‘The triumphal arch’). I was one of the…
Finds tray – Roman owl figurine Objects This copper-alloy owl figurine was found last year by a metal-detectorist on cultivated land in the Cotswolds, and it dates to the Roman period, when owls were associated with the…
Farming Wales The Picture Desk This image shows Esgair Llewelyn in Powys, one of the oldest farmhouses in Wales. It was built as a cruck-framed upland hallhouse c.1500. It would have originally had an open…
From scandalous sculptures to Selfridges Comment The objectionable trough has survived, though the figures are so eroded that you need advanced powers of imagination to see anything erotic or outrageous in these maenads – female followers…
From Julius Caesar to Boadicea: a century of Icenian coins Museum, What's on Iron Age coins are not just currency: they are miniature works of art. Carly Hilts visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to see a new special display exploring the imagery…
Archaeology events, exhibitions, and heritage from home Museum, What's on There is a wonderful selection of archaeological and historical events and exhibitions scheduled for this summer, ranging from the return of Europe’s largest Viking festival to new exhibitions at the…
When was Hadrian’s Wall built? Comment We know that Britain experienced tumultuous events during Hadrian’s reign. What we do not know is the order in which they played out. The answer may hold the key to…
The Faversham Society Groups ‘Widening access’ and ‘access for all’ are two of the slogans that characterise today’s heritage practice, but the community-minded people of Faversham have been doing access for half a century.…
Excavating Essex Comment One discovery in Essex above all others has regularly hit the archaeological headlines since the early 2000s – the spectacular Saxon princely burial from Prittlewell, near Southend-on-Sea. This was... one…
Anglo-Saxon artefacts feature in new exhibition at Sutton Hoo Museum, What's on The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions in the UK.

Reviews

A Contemporary Archaeology of London’s Mega Events Review by Robin Hughes In this engaging example of contemporary archaeology, Jonathan Gardner explores the multifaceted impacts of three London-based ‘mega events’ on the capital: the Great Exhibition of 1851,…
Barrows at the Core of Bronze Age Communities: Petersfield Heath excavations 2014-18 in their regional context Review by David Field. Rarely in recent times have extant barrows, let alone groups of them, been excavated, for in most cases developer-funded excavation has only encountered levelled examples and…
Muldlark’d: hidden histories from the River Thames Review by HB. This lavishly produced volume offers an introduction to Thames ‘mudlarking’ – the practice of searching the river’s foreshore (with a permit!) for historical objects and other items…
From Julius Caesar to Boadicea: a century of Icenian coins Iron Age coins are not just currency: they are miniature works of art. Carly Hilts visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to see a new special display exploring the imagery…
Archaeology events, exhibitions, and heritage from home There is a wonderful selection of archaeological and historical events and exhibitions scheduled for this summer, ranging from the return of Europe’s largest Viking festival to new exhibitions at the…
Fragments of the Bronze Age Review by Chris Griffiths. Those with an interest in Bronze Age metalwork will know that the literature tends to focus on the question of why metal objects were destroyed and…
The Marlipins Museum, Shoreham-by-Sea With its distinctive chequerboard exterior combining Caen stone and knapped flint, the Marlipins building in Shoreham-by-Sea has been an eye-catching landmark for centuries – in fact, dendrochronological analysis suggests that…
Anglo-Saxon artefacts feature in new exhibition at Sutton Hoo The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions in the UK.
Silures: resistance, resilience, revival Review by Miranda Aldhouse-Green. Ray Howell’s new book focuses on the Iron Age and the transition to the Roman period as experienced by one particular tribe (or polity), zooming in…

From the editor

This year, events are taking place across the country to celebrate the 1,900th anniversary of the construction of Hadrian’s Wall (the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that this most-famous Roman landmark has also featured, in some capacity, in every issue of CA since January). This month our cover story considers whether the Romans too may have commemorated the Wall’s construction – and we also have an opinion piece asking how sure we can be about its date.

From monumental stonework to modern quarrying, we next head to Bedfordshire to learn about archaeological investigations at Black Cat Quarry, carried out before extraction works began on the site. There, excavations have revealed an impressive multi-period landscape, including Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements, a significant Roman farmstead, and what may be the remains of a Viking ‘fort’ referred to in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Archaeology can shed vivid light on the activities of past populations – but what can we learn about the make-up of such communities? Excavations in Leicester have revealed intriguing hints of diversity during the Roman period, including links to North Africa.

We return to monumental themes for our next feature, exploring the hillforts of Britain and Ireland, the different forms they take, and their often-enigmatic purpose.

Finally, we take a trip to leafy west London to visit Marble Hill – an elegant Thames-side villa that has just been restored to its Georgian glory, and has a fascinating story to tell about its resourceful female owner.