British Archaeology – Back Issue 142

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An exceptional Roman burial

Less than six months ago, a metal detectorist found some Roman bronze vessels in Hertfordshire, at Kelshall near Royston. Archaeologists secretly excavated the site. Here they together present the first report on the grave. Objects buried with the individual included a pair of unique millefiori glass dishes, glass vessels, an iron lamp and three decorated bronze jugs and a patera. One of the jugs has scenes reminiscent of the Georgics, a text by the Roman poet Virgil.

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An exceptional Roman burial

Less than six months ago, a metal detectorist found some Roman bronze vessels in Hertfordshire, at Kelshall near Royston. Archaeologists secretly excavated the site. Here they together present the first report on the grave. Objects buried with the individual included a pair of unique millefiori glass dishes, glass vessels, an iron lamp and three decorated bronze jugs and a patera. One of the jugs has scenes reminiscent of the Georgics, a text by the Roman poet Virgil.

Among other stories

  • Why was a wealthy Anglo-Saxon woman buried in Norfolk? – If Tom Lucking’s discovery is declared treasure, his archaeological hobby may end up paying for his university degree. Early in the new year, archaeologists joined him for the excavation of a remarkable grave
  • Sculptures on Hadrian’s Wall – Hadrian’s Wall, built across the north of England in AD122, is well known. Less so are the many carved stones that document life at the extreme tip of the Roman empire. As English Heritage launches new projects along the wall, a scanning project hopes to bring those carvings to a wider audience
  • The real Wolf Hall: Seeking a palace among the cowsheds – Wolfhall, which gave its name to the acclaimed historical novel and BBC TV series, was a real place. Now a scatter of houses and farm buildings, it was once a country palace where Henry VIII dined on lobster, peacock and swan. The site has never been investigated, but contemporary records reveal stories of rural luxury, and remains may still survive
  • “Celtic” Face looks out from unique bone comb – A weaving comb carved from a horse bone, excavated at an iron age village (450–0BC) near Harwell, Oxfordshire, is decorated with geometric designs and an enigmatic human face. A face is unique on a comb and rare in any context in a sophisticated art form that is mostly abstract
  • Is Mesolithic wheat possible? – A pioneering study at Bouldnor, Isle of Wight, challenges accepted views about the spread of farming across Europe. Information from sedimentary DNA suggests people were eating some kind of wheat bread 2,000 years before anyone in Britain was farming. British Archaeology asked the research team to explain a controversial discovery
  • The importance of Blick Mead – Amesbury, Wiltshire, has been dubbed the UK’s oldest continuous settlement by the Guinness Book of Records – one of several debatable claims for a mesolithic site frequently in the media. British Archaeology sifts the evidence
    Update from Project Director
  • Altar scene on Buckinghamshire Roman jug – A Roman grave has been found near Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire, in which the cremated remains, possibly of a woman, were accompanied by pots, glass vessels, an iron lamp and a copper alloy jug and patera. An unusual religious scene on the jug handle, with a pair of adults and a possible child before an altar, makes the find of national importance

Regulars include

  • Letters – The spectre of museums charging researchers
  • Greg Bailey on TV – Channel 5 looks for cavemen in a Bulgarian forest
  • My archaeology – Sue Hamilton, new director of the UCL?Institute of Archaeology
  • Correspondent – What has the government done for heritage?
  • Casefiles – The James Reckitt Library, Hull
  • Books – Identifying first world war dead, and Celtic art
  • Spoilheap – Saving parliament from terminal collapse.
  • Briefing – The UK’s only archaeological events listing, with exhibition reviews

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