CA Letters – March 2022

You views on the latest issues in Current Archaeology.

Co-op buildings under threat

Further to your recent article on the architecture of the Co-operative Movement (CA 382) and the need to acknowledge the significant contribution their stores made to the street scene, your readers will be disappointed to learn of the decision of Ipswich planners, granting permission for the demolition of the Co-operative department store buildings in Carr Street.

IMAGE: Lynn Pearson.

The range of buildings to be demolished are locally listed and, to quote the Conservation Officer, ‘collectively illustrate the growth of the Co-operative Movement in the early years of the 20th century’. The earliest, number 38, has been saved and converted into apartments. Across the narrow Cox Lane, number 48, with its round corner, curved glass windows, and clasped-hands motif on the parapet (with the date ‘1908’) is one of the buildings to be demolished.

The proposal is to build a primary school on the site, a site that fronts an area of previously demolished terraced housing currently used for temporary car parking – more than sufficient space for the school without demolishing the most significant of the former Co-operative buildings. Demolition will also involve the destruction of the ‘Harvest’ mural by Gyula Bajó and Endre Hevezi [pictured], described by Lynn Pearson as one of the four major Co-op murals of the 1950s and 1960s. The developer has promised to ‘photograph’ the mural and provide a print for the new school.

John Norman
Chairman, The Ipswich Society

CA contacted Ipswich Borough Council to enquire about the future of the Co-operative buildings and mosaic, and we received the following response:

The planning condition requires retention and relocation of the mosaic, friezes, and lettering, the details of which must be agreed by Ipswich Borough Council as the Local Planning Authority. Details of such need to be submitted and agreed by us before demolition of the building(s) commences.

The planning application for 48-68 Carr Street, Ipswich was considered at our Planning and Development Committee on 25/8/21.

You can find the papers for the application at pp.89-114 of the committee reports pack, which can be seen at:

You will also find the minutes of the meeting at: The item number is 50, and the details are on pp.7-9, where the decision is also given.

The Committee decision included the addition of a planning condition (No.4) requiring, prior to demolition, a historic record of the building together with details of retention and relocation of the mosaic, friezes, and lettering shall be submitted and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

Clive Power, Spokesperson for Ipswich Borough Council

Settlement pattern puzzle: solution #1

Graeme Innes-Johnstone asks (Letters, CA 383) why the majority of prehistoric settlements in the southern Outer Hebrides are on the western rather than the more sheltered eastern side of the islands. It may be that the conditions which have produced the ‘machair’ – the fertile soils produced by the prevalence of shells – made agriculture more viable there.

Graham Hannaford
Ngunnawal country, Canberra, Australia

Tim Niblett via / CC BY 2.0.

Settlement pattern puzzle: solution #2

Regarding the recent question about the distribution of prehistoric settlement in the Outer Hebrides (CA 383), the east-facing coasts are good only for harbours, with thin soils very hard to work – though later inhabitants did with so-called lazy beds created by extremely hard work – while the west-facing coasts are built of the shell sand that the Atlantic gales deposit: easy to work, fertile, and good for animal grazing, in Gaelic called ‘machair’ (referred to in the Cladh Hallan article – see CA 382). The matter is discussed in Frank Fraser Darling’s Natural History in the Highlands and Islands, which I first read as a teenager, and is now available in the edition revised by the late JM Boyd.

Niall Martin

Edible archaeology

As part of the Hadrian’s Wall Festival opening, and to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday on 24 January 2022, we commissioned a cake of the Wall.

PHOTO: Colin Davison.

Local cake maker Graeme ( took days to create the masterpiece and had daily inspiration, as he lives in Heddon-on-the-Wall!

PHOTO: Colin Davison.

See to read more about the festival and the range of events that will be taking place to celebrate this milestone year on the Roman frontier.

Cara Pringle

Current Archaeology Awards

The results are in!

We are pleased to share the winners of this year’s CA Awards, announced on 25 February. Watch again at:

Archaeologist of the Year: Raksha Dave

Research Project of the Year: Bridge over troubled water: Roman finds from the Tees at Piercebridge and beyond (Hella Eckardt and Philippa Walton, University of Reading/Birkbeck, University of London)

Rescue Project of the Year: Building a Roman Villa: a Romano-Celtic temple-mausoleum and evidence of industry at Priors Hall (Oxford Archaeology East)

Book of the Year: Bog Bodies: face-to-face with the past (Melanie Giles)

CA Online

Joe Flatman @joeflatman
The marine research section of my home proudly welcomes @LegoLostAtSea into their interdisciplinary community. A toothsome review follows in @CurrentArchaeo, with a longer article + site visit in due course. There will be sharks, shipwrecks, and #scones

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Thrilled to feature in this month’s @CurrentArchaeo! [CA 383] It gives us another opportunity to say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers, staff, donors, and anyone who contributed to this project. Thank you for bringing the Bronze Age to life at Butser.

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