thinking about archaeology

New British Archaeology

Cover with Spine

The new British Archaeology is out this week. The digital edition is online now, and printed copies are in the post and will in the shops on Friday.

There are two pieces that I particularly like as classic examples of archaeology at work: finding human stories we’d otherwise know nothing about.

First is the discovery of 400 wooden writing tablets from the early years of Roman London; the texts include the oldest reference to the city’s name, Britain’s earliest dated document (January 8, AD57), and advice to a moneylender.

BA 149 A'a.jpgThen there is A’a, a wooden figure of a Pacific god collected by Victorian missionaries. It’s been in the British Museum for over a century, but new scientific studies revealed many surprising – and, for some, challenging – insights.

BA 149 Ambrus.jpgI have profiled the distinguished illustrator Victor Ambrus, best known for his work on TV’s Time Team.

A303 at Stonehenge (c) Mike Pitts.jpg

Stonehenge may get a road tunnel: how do we judge the options? The CBA sets out some principles.

Another unexpected discovery, and one easily overlooked for its significance, is still under excavation, at Bulford in Wiltshire. There are two small henges (known since OGS Crawford’s time from air photos, but thought to have been bronze age barrow ditches) and lots of neolithic pits full of “ritual” deposits. The site is just back from the east bank of the river Avon, above the junction with its tributary the Nine Mile river. The relevance of that location becomes clearer if I add that on the west bank opposite, are Woodhenge and Durrington Walls. This is a news story, but I put it on the front cover (some of you may recognise Phil Harding and Alistair Barclay standing on the right, and Josh Pollard on the left). I hope the archaeologists will write about it at greater length for British Archaeology when the dig is over and analyses are under way. It’s an important addition to the world heritage site landscape (albeit the wrong side of the river!).

And much more. All in all another issue packed with the best of British archaeology!

BA 149 Filming antiquity.jpg

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