What is the lost island of Drumclay, as featured on this month’s cover? Established in the 8th century, on the shore of Knockalough in Northern Ireland, it was in use for a millennium. But this is no ordinary island: it is a crannog — an artificial island — that was built on top of a series of wooden piles driven directly into the lakebed. How did the crannog work? What was life like on the crannog? And how did people maintain this extraordinary existence? Though crannogs are known from across Ireland and Scotland, few have been scientifically investigated. The excavations at the Drumclay crannog are thus revolutionising our understanding of this early medieval phenomenon. From water, we then turn to alcohol, and an exploration of the role of drinking rituals in Roman-era Scotland. But was this a case of getting drunk and disorderly, or something else? Certainly it seems that some of those in power used alcohol to create or bind the social order, as a new study of Roman glassware explores. For an analysis using very modern techniques, turn to our next article, where we offer the latest findings from the Ridgeway Hill mass grave. Chief scientist, Louise Loe, explains how she and her team have helped to date, age, and understand more about the horrific deaths of some 50 men who were found beheaded on a Dorset hilltop. Finally, we hear from CA‘s former editor, Neil Faulkner, whose excavations at the Anglo-Saxon site of Sedgeford are nearing their 20th year. Neil synthesises his current thinking, and explains why this is a people’s archaeology. Good reading!
IN THIS ISSUE:
A people’s archaeology The director’s cut from Sedgeford, an Anglo-Saxon settlement in Norfolk at which digs have been running for almost 20 years.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Drinking rituals in Iron Age Scotland What can beautiful Roman glassware found in Scotland tell us about the cultural and political impact of the drinking of alcohol?
THE DRUMCLAY CRANNOG-DWELLERS
Revealing 1,000 years of lakeside living A recent rescue dig has shed vivid light on a thriving community that inhabited an artificial island in Northern Ireland for almost a millennium.
DEATH ON RIDGEWAY HILL
How science unlocked the secrets of a mass grave Scientific analysis of around 50 skeletons, found in a pit on Ridgeway Hill, has revealed one of the most violent and dramatic episodes of Dorset’s early medieval past.
Old Sarum survey reveals lost city; Exning’s elite Anglo-Saxons; Rare rapier rescued; Richard III: case closed?; Harbouring secrets at Hunterston Sands; A Romano-British Epiphany; Fan Hole’s mirror to the past.
Conference Updated details of the timetable for Current Archaeology Live! 2015, plus interviews with our three nominees for Archaeologist of the Year. Reviews Rising Ground; Anglo-Saxon Farms and Farming; A Million Years in a Day Sherds Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues Odd Socs The Croydon Airport Society