Current Archaeology 390

Cover Story

Designed to enchant: the great dolmens of Neolithic northern Europe The word ‘dolmen’ – derived from the Breton taol maen (‘stone table’) – is regarded as a folk term for Neolithic monuments that consist of a massive capstone supported by three or more upright stones, or orthostats. Archaeologists have sought…

Features

No stone unturned: new insights from community archaeology on Hadrian’s Wall Over the last three years, the WallCAP community project has carried out illuminating archaeological fieldwork at more than 15 sites on and around Hadrian’s Wall. With the initiative now drawing…
From abbey infirmary to academic accommodation: the evolution of Dulverton House Dulverton House began life as part of a medieval priory, and has since seen centuries of adaptations and amendments. What traces of its historic fabric have survived to the present…
Uist Unearthed: Hebridean archaeology goes virtual How can digital tools help to engage people in an area’s archaeological heritage? Dr Rebecca Rennell and Dr Emily Gal from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) explain…
Life before Stonehenge: exploring environmental evidence from Blick Mead Scientific analysis of sediments, pollen, and ancient DNA preserved at Blick Mead in Wiltshire has revealed a detailed picture of the Mesolithic landscape close to Stonehenge. David Jacques and Sam…
Gravestones and grindstones: one of England’s earliest-known shipwrecks discovered off Dorset A 13th-century merchant vessel carrying a cargo of Purbeck marble has been identified as the earliest-known wreck site to be found with surviving timbers in English waters. Carly Hilts reports.

News

Endangered buildings: Victorian Society calls for nominations Previous structures nominated for inclusion have ranged from water towers and cranes to stately homes and churches.
Using peat to explore the impact of climate change The abandonment of environmentally fragile Irish uplands like Slieveanorra – a remote site with a small raised bog – has previously been linked to socio-economic problems driven by climate change.
Iron Age remains and animal sacrifices found in Dorset The newly uncovered banjo enclosure, which contains at least three roundhouses and 65 deep, cylindrical storage pits dating from c.300-100 BC, was discovered during a geophysical survey.
Medieval ‘Daneskins’ revealed to be animal hide ‘Daneskins’ – medieval skin fragments that have been found attached to the doors of some English churches – have been interpreted as coming from the bodies of Viking Age raiders.
Evidence for some of Britain’s earliest humans found in suburban Canterbury The team identified 251 new flint artefacts, including flakes, cores, scrapers, and a small piercing or boring tool.
Killer whale remains from Anglo-Saxon Norfolk Thanks to the development of ZooMS, it is now possible to differentiate between different animal species using collagen peptide fingerprinting techniques.
Cobalt mine ‘time capsule’ uncovered in Cheshire Leather shoes, clay pipes, a metal button, and an enigmatic clay bowl are among the items that the club found in the newly discovered mine.
Digging the beautiful game in Glasgow Previously used by Queen’s Park FC, who built the second Hampden Park there in 1884, the football ground was re-established as New Cathkin Park in 1904 by Third Lanark.

Views

CA Letters August 2022 Letters Your views on issues raised in Current Archaeology.
Exhibitions, events, and heritage from home – Summer and Autumn 2022 Museum, What's on There are many brilliant opportunities to get involved in archaeology, history, and heritage around the UK over the coming months, ranging from new exhibitions and lectures to returning festivals and…
Unusual museums: from Doctor Who to ‘unicorn poo’ Comment, Museum If you want to encounter a Dalek now, you can visit the scenic Northumberland village of Allendale, where one of these terrifying cyborgs stands harmless outside the Georgian home of…
Treasure of Mercia The Picture Desk The Staffordshire Hoard – the largest cache of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever found in Britain – is predominantly made up of weapon parts and other martial gear, including sword…
The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Museum, What's on With the 40th anniversary of the raising of the wrecked Tudor flagship Mary Rose approaching this autumn, the Portsmouth-based museum dedicated to the vessel is trialling immersive new approaches to…
The Offa’s Dyke Association Groups The Offa’s Dyke Association (ODA) – one of the many heritage bodies that have recently celebrated their half century – was founded in 1969 by Frank Noble, a school teacher…
Excavating Worcestershire and Warwickshire Comment, Places On the edge of a former prehistoric river channel, archaeologists found mammal bones, plant fossils, insect remains, and mollusc shells, along with stone tools, indicating that humans were exploiting this…
Finds tray – Epicurus figurine? Objects This Romano-British copper-alloy figurine was found last year by a metal-detectorist near Marlborough in Wiltshire. It weighs 98.5g, and stands 62.5mm tall. IMAGE: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum/CC BY 2.0.…

Reviews

Lyde Green Roman Villa, Emersons Green, South Gloucestershire Review by Simon Esmonde Cleary. Excavations in 2012-2013 on the north-eastern edge of Bristol revealed an area of landscape with evidence of human activity from the Neolithic to the recent…
Exhibitions, events, and heritage from home – Summer and Autumn 2022 There are many brilliant opportunities to get involved in archaeology, history, and heritage around the UK over the coming months, ranging from new exhibitions and lectures to returning festivals and…
Unusual museums: from Doctor Who to ‘unicorn poo’ If you want to encounter a Dalek now, you can visit the scenic Northumberland village of Allendale, where one of these terrifying cyborgs stands harmless outside the Georgian home of…
The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth With the 40th anniversary of the raising of the wrecked Tudor flagship Mary Rose approaching this autumn, the Portsmouth-based museum dedicated to the vessel is trialling immersive new approaches to…
Land Surveying in Ireland, 1690-1830 Review by William D Shannon. O ’Cionnaith, himself a land surveyor, presents a vivid account of how Ireland became one of the most-mapped countries in the world, following the Cromwellian…
Shadowlands: a journey through lost Britain Review by HB. Shadowlands is a moving and at times personal tour of Britain’s lost villages and urban spaces. The author pointedly excludes the historical remains of ‘urban success’ found…
Assessing Iron Age Marsh-Forts Review by Ian Ralston The subtitle to this volume – ‘with reference to the stratigraphy and palaeoenvironment surrounding The Berth’ – indicates clearly its main objective: detailed consideration of the…
The Prehistoric Artefacts of Northern Ireland Review by C McSparron. This book is a comprehensive catalogue of finds of artefacts made by archaeologists, antiquarians, and members of the public over centuries in Northern Ireland. It records…
Atlas of the Hillforts of Britain and Ireland Review by Andrew Tibbs. This invaluable contribution to our knowledge of hillforts is the most complete study on the subject in Britain and Ireland to-date. A long-awaited volume, it sheds…

From the editor

With enormous capstones perched precariously on stone supports, Neolithic dolmens appear to defy gravity – and, in some cases, interpretation. Why were these mighty monuments built across northern Europe, and were their stone frames intended to impress, or originally concealed within earth mounds? Our cover story investigates the options.

Equally monumental in construction, though very different in nature, are the frontier fortifications of Hadrian’s Wall. How did the Romans source the stone used to build this edifice – and how were these materials redistributed and reused in subsequent centuries? A community archaeology project that has excavated more than 15 sites on and around the Wall since 2019 set out to find more.

Hadrian’s Wall left an indelible mark on the surrounding area, but our next feature explores rather earlier environmental evidence, based on recent scientific analysis of sediment, pollen, and aDNA samples from the Mesolithic ‘home base’ at Blick Mead, near Stonehenge. The results paint a vivid picture of a long-vanished landscape.

From Salisbury Plain, we then soar towards the northern fringes of Britain, paying a visit to the Outer Hebrides, and specifically South Uist, where cutting-edge augmented- reality technology is being used in innovative ways to illuminate the island’s rich archaeological heritage, from Bronze Age mummies to a Viking longhouse.

Finally, we take a tour of Dulverton House, a former monastic infirmary near Gloucester Cathedral which was recently refurbished to become a Sixth Form Centre. What have these works revealed about the building’s long and varied past, and what material traces of these earlier incarnations survive?