Issue 136, May/June 2014

On the Cover

Nunalleq: Rescuing a Prehistoric Eskimo Village

Climate change affects us all, and potentially threatens all our heritage. Rick Knecht, an archaeologist at Aberdeen University, is working at an extraordinary site in Alaska, where the permafrost that once preserved remains is now giving them up – as storms wash them into the sea.

Death on Ridgeway Hill

In 2009 archaeologists found evidence for an unrecorded atrocity that happened a thousand years ago. Who were the victims? Who killed them? Why? This report on a forensic and shocking excavation may change the way we think about early medieval Britain. It reveals the full story behind the human remains currently exhibited in the British Museum’s Vikings exhibition – the brutal execution of over 50, mostly young and fit, Viking men, probably by native Anglo-Saxons.

Surveys Find Ancient Town on Solsbury Hill

Little Solsbury, at the southern end of the Cotswolds in Somerset, is better known to many for Peter Gabriel’s song “Solsbury Hill” than for its prehistoric fort. Apart from small-scale excavations there over 50 years ago, the site had been little studied by archaeologists. Now a group of local amateurs has conducted a major geophysical survey, and found the hill to be covered with the remains of at least 20 or 30 iron age houses.

Recovering Spitfire P9503

For the first time, a complete historic plane crash site has been professionally excavated, by archaeologists working with Operation Nightingale, a Ministry of Defence project designed to help men and women recover after military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The results show exactly what happened to pilot officer Paul Baillon’s Spitfire, after he was shot at and forced to bail out over Wiltshire in 1940.

Hoards – They Keep on Coming

A small area west of Salisbury known for a remarkable number of prehistoric metal hoards, has produced another – with 41 bronze age ornaments and tools dating from 1400–1250BC – described as the best example of its kind ever seen. From the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, comes an older and unique hoard of gold bracelets. They are so tiny, they were probably worn by children, implying they would have been acquired from parents or guardians – a rare insight into bronze age property ownership. And we consider the future of the Staffordshire hoard, after seeing it all laid out on a giant table in Birmingham.

Oxford Looks East

There are dreaming spires and college quads. And there is the other Oxford, of council housing and factories and, infamously, joyriding on the Blackbird Leys estate. Archaeologists are helping a community explore parts of the city that tourists rarely reach.

Digitised Diseases

Bradford University has the remains of over 4,000 people excavated by archaeologists. It has put them at the centre of a new online digital resource, with 3D scans of bones that have value for understanding modern diseases as well as for researching the past.

Return to Wroxeter

Archaeologists and partners who worked at a famous Roman dig near Shrewsbury that began in the 1960s, gathered at the site for a reunion. What had they made of their lives since the dig ended?

Regulars Include

My Archaeology

Delwar Hussein discovers London’s past.

Greg Bailey on TV

Time Team just keeps on going.


A major project to record the UK’s first world war remains.


The hard-working world of outreach.


Interpreting Shapwick, and understanding Silbury Hill.


Royal Star & Garter, London.


Opportunities for fieldwork, conferences and more.


Jesse James and Roman Britain.

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