On the 10th February, under a cloak of secrecy, the remarkable artefacts in the Staffordshire Hoard were reunited for the first time since they were scattered by a plough strike. This helped specialists studying the vast Anglo-Saxon jigsaw puzzle to match up fragments that once adorned the same items. It is now known that decorations were stripped from far more weapons than previously suspected. Could the hoard comprise the spoils of multiple battles?
The level of violence needed to persuade Mesolithic groups operating in Britain to join the Neolithic club remains a source of spirited debate. Were the hapless hunter gatherers slaughtered by invading Continental farmers, converted by groups of colonists, or seduced by the brave new world flourishing across the Channel? We catch up with the latest thoughts on the origins of a lifestyle that laid the foundations for modern Britain.
The drive to modernise was also behind recently discovered trenches at Gosport. As losses mounted in the First World War, the doctrines that had defeated Napoleon were belatedly rejected in favour of the combined infantry, tank, and air assaults that underpin modern warfare. We discover how practice trenches aided this transformation.
Extensive excavations beside the River Frome in Bristol have laid bare how fluctuating religious and industrial fortunes created an ever-shifting backdrop against which residents’ lives were played out.
Finally, we have brought you a bumper issue of CA this month. The extra pages provide a taste of the options available for this year’s digging season. The full listings are at: www.archaeology.co.uk/digs
Piecing together the wealth of Anglo-Saxon Kings
England’s largest-known cache of Anglo-Saxon metalwork has been reunited for the first time since its excavation, allowing researchers to uncover a wealth of new information about its parts, provenance, and purpose.
INVASION, COLONISATION, OR IMITATION?
Debating how and why Britain joined the ‘Neolithic Club’
Why did the Neolithic Revolution reach Britain and Ireland almost 1,000 years after farming had become established on the Continent?
DIGGING FOR VICTORY
Discovering a First World War practice battlefield in Gosport, Hampshire
We explore a corner of an English field that is forever foreign. What can facsimile trenches, built to train soldiers, add to our understanding of the First World War?
DISSENTERS AND THE CITY
Excavating friars and non-conformists in Bristol
Large-scale excavations have revealed a vivid slice through Broadmead’s past, telling a story of religious diversity and urban growth from the 12th century to the present day.
DIGS SPECIAL 2014
With summer rapidly approaching, this special section brings you a selection of exciting excavations and archaeological experiences available this year in Britain and Ireland.
Haddenham’s Anglo-Saxon island; Viking victims at Ridgeway Hill?; Rendlesham: home of the Sutton Hoo elites?; Britain’s earliest ditched irrigation at Cambridge; Lincolnshire’s font of Roman knowledge; Cardigan Bay: seeing the woods from the trees; Rediscovered: regal stone from Deptford Royal Dockyard; No view to a kill at La Cotte
A round-up of what went on at Current Archaeology Live! 2014
Vikings: life and legend at the British Museum
Nottingham: the buried past of a historic city revealed; Shuffling nags, Lame ducks; The economics of the Roman stone trade
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues
We speak to Cadw’s Marilyn Lewis and Gwilym Hughes about archaeology in post-devolution Wales
The Castle Studies Trust