Issue 140, January/February 2015

On the Cover

Viking Hoard Was Buried Inside Building

In the first full report on how a major Viking-age hoard was found and recovered in Galloway, south-west Scotland, we reveal that excavation suggests the treasure had been buried in the corner of a timber building over 12m (40 feet) long. The building stood within a bank-and-ditch enclosure, and may have been part of an early Christian monastic site. Research is still at an early stage, however, and the discoveries pose more questions than they answer. Among other news is that there were actually two hoards, one buried above the other.

Among Other Stories

Not Just a Castle: Old Sarum Was Once Major Town

A new geophysics study at Old Sarum, an early medieval settlement that preceded Salisbury in Wiltshire, has shown there was much more on the hilltop than a castle and a cathedral (both now gone). What is now a large grassed space was crammed with streets and substantial buildings, many in stone. Previous ideas that the area featured little more than tents will have to be abandoned in favour of a thriving town with residential and industrial quarters.

A tale of old crockery

Roy Towers was working through a large collection of broken prehistoric pottery, excavated from the Knowes of Trotty bronze age burial mound on Orkney, when he was distracted by some shiny sherds. They led him into an intriguing story of 19th century archaeologists, a marine tragedy and a world-beating iron bridge.

Laying bare the Upper Thames Valley

Even professional archaeologists are often unaware of how much excavation is happening across the UK. Many results are left in obscure archives. Researchers at the University of Oxford wondered what could be done. Could they gather all the records for a region, and synthesise their contents? What would this reveal? We report on an eye-opening project.

The discovery that inspired a generation

“My interview for secondary school came after seeing the temple of Mithras, ’cause when the Headmaster asked me what I wanted to do when I left school, I said, ‘Archaeologist. I want to be an archaeologist’” (Ken Thrower, black cab driver, aged 12 in 1954). With restoration underway of a London temple to the Roman god Mithras, excavated 50 years ago, Museum of London Archaeology is listening to people who witnessed the dig.

Building power

European colonies in 19th century coastal east Africa left a distinctive architecture. As Daniel Rhodes found, an archaeological understanding of buildings and towns in the region can inform both history and modern self-determination.

Experiments with time

England has hosted major exhibitions from two of the world’s most ambitious and powerful living artists, Anselm Kiefer from Germany and Ai Weiwei from China. Mike Pitts discusses the relevance of their work, and of the Russian poet Velimir Khlebnikov, to how we think about the remote past.

historic north and east Scotland.

Regulars Include

Spoilheap

What exactly is a palaeolithic restaurant?

Greg Bailey on TV

What makes bad TV archaeology? (And good)

My archaeology

Bill Tidy – who created his first cartoon for British Archaeology in 2000 – talks about history, drawing and what annoys him.

Letters

Archaeology, borders and nationalism.

Books

Neolithic origins, and imagining the Jorvik Viking Centre

Briefing

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

Correspondent

How archaeological training can promote access and participation

Casefiles

Grenson shoe factory, Northamptonshire


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