Issue 138, September/October 2014

On the Cover

Archaeology in 3D

Things move fast in the digitisation of archaeology. How do you keep up? How do you afford the kit, or access computer power? In two separate features, archaeologists write about the revolutionary, and democratic power digital cameras are bringing to one of the field’s most critical areas – recording and visual analysis.

 

Among Other Stories

Seahenge One of a Pair

Seahenge, the prehistoric timber circle controversially excavated by archaeologists from a Norfolk beach in 1999, was not alone. A second oak ring was found at the same time nearby, but left alone. As it slowly washes away, new research shows both were built in the spring or summer of 2049BC. Proof that two such ritual structures were precisely contemporary is thought to be unique.

The Stones that made Stonehenge

Some of Stonehenge’s megaliths came from Wales. A project 30 years in the making is bearing fruit, as many of the once mysterious stones are traced to their original sources – almost all different from what had once been thought. But there remains a challenge: the Altar Stone, described by the authors as “the elephant in the circle”. The biggest of the “bluestones”, it is the only sandstone in the group. Once thought to be Pembrokeshire, could its source be as far away as Orkney?

Challenging Higher Education’s Sacred Cows

MOOCs – “massive open online courses” – offer cheap university-level courses. Do they threaten universities or might they strengthen them by highlighting quality and widening reach? Who signs up to them? What are they, and how are they run? British Archaeology asked two pioneering UK university departments to reveal their MOOC insights.

The Art of Brodgar

A lost world is being revealed on Orkney, where a large complex of neolithic buildings survives with extraordinary detail on the Ness of Brodgar. Not least of the rewards is an unprecedented collection of decorated stone. We feature the new gallery with some stunning photos.

Somerset Under Water

The Somerset Levels have a history of inundation on a scale which dwarfs the widely reported recent floods. The accumulated layers of wet clay and peat preserve remains that otherwise rarely survive, offering rich material for archaeologists. Excavation at a major landfill site since 2000 has been revealing how people in the past attempted to keep ahead of rising waters.

Dutch & Flemish Gables

An estate agent in Kent became curious about the region’s older houses. The first one he surveyed had unusual, decorated gables. What was their story?

Regulars Include

Spoilheap

A guide to collecting antiquities

Greg Bailey on TV

Erudite presenters and good research win praise

Letters

Children, Will Self and benches, at Stonehenge

My archaeology

Cyprian Broodbank, university archaeologist and writer

Books

A Viking-age cemetery and reflections on Silbury Hill

Briefing

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

Correspondent

Helping students make the most of archaeology

Casefiles

Lumsdale valley, Derbyshire

 


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