Issue 129, March/April 2013

Introducing the March/April edition of British Archaeology

On the Cover

The Art of Animals

Reindeer engraved on a bone from the British Museum’s Ice Age art exhibition, and a white horse carved into a Dorset hillside – and painted by Eric Ravilious.

New 'geofizz' results from the Roman fort at Brancaster

Brought to book: Eric Ravilious’s white horses

The English artist Eric Ravilious (1903–42) was working on an illustrated book about chalk hill figures when he died. The dummy vanished, and was assumed destroyed. Last year it suddenly re-appeared. James Russell reports.

The spring of the soul: Syria’s endangered past

60,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising, and hundreds of thousands have fled the country. Accompanying such tragic statistics are other stories of waste and destruction. Emma Cunliffe has exploited rapidly changing modern communications to attempt an up-to-date survey of Syria’s heritage losses. What are they? Should we care?

Wiltshire museums say, stop digging!

British Archaeology believes two Wiltshire museums are the first to call a stop to archaeological excavation. Archaeologists are digging up so much stuff, that there is nowhere to store it and no money to pay to look after it. The museums say the situation is unsustainable, and contravenes national planning policy. They will object to new development proposals until a solution can be found.

The strange case of the bronzes buried in the Vale of Wardour

Did prehistoric Britons have museums? That is one explanation, perhaps in the form of shrines, for a group of metal hoards from Wiltshire and Hampshire brought into focus by an extraordinary new find. Dot Boughton reports.

Ice Age Art: meeting the modern mind

The exhibition at the British Museum that all archaeologists will want to see, with masterpieces of prehistoric art displayed beside works by Matisse, Mondrian and Henry Moore. Jill Cook, who curated the show, introduces an ancient world “teeming with game and symbols”.

Saving Britain’s ancient sites

2013 marks a significant centenary in the struggle to preserve and understand our ancient sites and landscapes – the passing in August 1913 of an act to protect ancient monuments. Sebastian Fry tells the full story.

Roman infants dressed to impress

Study of 1,000s of leather shoes from the Hadrian’s Wall fort of Vindolanda, Northumberland, is revealing how children’s dress was styled to reflect family status. In one example, an infant shoe was found in the residence of Flavius Cerialis, prefect of the Ninth Cohort of Batavians. It’s a luxury boot, not a bootee: too young to stand, the infant was dressed as a little prefect.


In tribute to their everlasting contributions to the story of our origins and history, British Archaeology brings together the names of some of the archaeologists and lovers of antiquity who died in the past year.

Regulars include

Mick’s travels

Mick Aston is on Exmoor: he explores remote farmsteads, fails to find a medieval standing stone, and is pleasantly surprised by a seating list.


Celebrating the occasion when parliament discussed prehistory – when “England was inhabited by barbarians”.

Greg Bailey on TV

Rome’s Lost Empire’s puzzling omissions


If we teach our kids that ancient Brits were primitive and uncultured, might they think the same of anyone who’s different from us?

My archaeology

Creating an archaeological identity in Wales: Bill Britnell retires after nearly 40 years at the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust.


Medieval Life and a landscape of rock art.


The UK's only archaeological events listing, with exhibition reviews.


Architectural history and archaeology have nothing in common. Wrong, say Jon Wright and Claire Price.


The Marconi Factory

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