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British Archaeology – Back Issue 167 (July/Aug 2019)

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BLING KING RETURNS

Details of the Anglo-Saxon Prittlewell prince are revealed as study of the burial excavated in 2003 is published and a new exhibition opens in Southend.

Other Stories: 

  • Reading’s Secret Dig
  • Stonehenge stone irradiated in 1950s
  • Life-long learning using archaeology in care homes
  • Middens and the end of the Bronze Age
  • Britain’s earliest scripts
  • Big data on the Roman table

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ON THE COVER

BLING KING RETURNS

Details of the Anglo-Saxon Prittlewell prince are revealed as study of the burial excavated in 2003 is published and a new exhibition opens in Southend

AMONG OTHER STORIES

Reading’s Secret Dig

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has secretly excavated at Reading Prison, where Oscar Wilde witnessed the execution and burial of a fellow inmate as described in The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and over remains of Reading Abbey, where Henry I was buried. A Freedom of Information Request revealed that the MoJ fears that making the excavations public would reduce the market value of the land, which it wishes to sell for redevelopment – despite the Prison being a listed building, so any future owner would be bound to respect the site’s archaeology. We reveal the full story, including the history of Reading Abbey. And we propose the exact site of the grave of Henry I – beneath the carpark tarmac of Reading Prison.

Stonehenge stone irradiated in 1950s

Radioactive sodium was rushed from Harwell to Stonehenge in 1958 to measure cracks in one of the large megaliths. Bolts were drilled through to secure it. A core of sarsen removed at the time has been returned to the site’s custodians, having travelled in private across the US.

Life-long learning using archaeology in care homes

Taking archaeology to care homes stimulated older people to talk about their lives and ask challenging questions.

Middens and the end of the Bronze Age

How did societies change when iron first came to Britain? A new project revisited an extraordinary mound at East Chisenbury in Wiltshire, hoping to create the first requirement of answering that question – a scheme to say what happened when. They succeeded

Britain’s earliest scripts

In the first of two features about early scripts in Britain, we visit north-east Scotland, where a new project has dated Pictish symbol stones, suggesting they were inspired by contact with the Roman world. The second feature is set in Orkney. A famous Neolithic monument was visited by Norse travellers in the 1100s, who inscribed messages that have been digitally examined for the first time.

Big data on the Roman table

Archaeologists like to classify ancient pottery by type, texture and colour, but such things may offer little help with understanding how the vessels were used. A major collaborative project has considered new ways in which pots might inform our knowledge of Roman dining.

REGULARS INCLUDE

* News

A Neolithic dog’s face reconstructed

* Letters

Treasure Act review

* Greg Bailey on broadcasting

Robert Macfarlane’s Underland on Radio 4

* Sharp focus

WW2 structures intended to confound invading aircraft

* My archaeology

Linda Brothwell, artist with a passion for tools

* Correspondent

The challenges of archaeological publishing

* Casefiles

Low Whita Farm, Swaledale, North Yorkshire

* Books

The Prittlewell Princely Burial

* Spoilheap

The US share flotation that outfoxed UK museums

* Briefing

The UK’s only archaeological events listing, with exhibition reviews