Current Archaeology 354

2 mins read

On 6 June, we marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Among the Allied troops involved in that watershed campaign was the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, US Army. They were nicknamed ‘Easy Company’, but – thanks in part to a 2001 TV series – today they are better known as the ‘Band of Brothers’. Less well known, though, is that in the lead-up to the landings these soldiers were based at Aldbourne on Salisbury Plain. This summer, Operation Nightingale searched for traces of their camp – our cover story explores what they found.

From airborne exploits to more watery matters, our next feature traces London’s lost rivers. The city is cut through by numerous tributaries of the Thames, but most are today built over, preserving an archaeological time capsule in their waterlogged surroundings.

Another remarkable snapshot of the past comes from Wollaston in Northamptonshire. In 1997, excavation uncovered the princely grave of an Anglian warrior with a boar-crested helmet. Analysis of the burial is now complete – and the results are fascinating.

In the later medieval period, high-status graves were sometimes marked with stone effigies. We take a closer look at the finely carved examples documented in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire is also the setting of this month’s ‘In Focus’, which stars a humble cottage with an intriguing story. Marketed as Captain Cook’s boyhood home, this building was sold in 1933 to an Australian philanthropist and shipped to Melbourne where it was reconstructed brick by brick. Yet all was not as it seemed – and a recent dig in its original setting of Great Ayton has revealed that not all of the cottage made it to Australia.

Carly Hilts




Exploring the archaeology of London’s lost rivers
A new exhibition takes us on a tour of the Thames’ tributaries, telling the story of centuries of Londoners through the artefacts recovered from these waterways, and how many of these ‘secret rivers’ vanished from view.


Piecing together the life and times of an elite Anglian warrior
The best-preserved helmet to be recovered from an Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered 22 years ago. Since then, extensive analysis has shed intriguing light on the man who wore it, and the transformative times in which he lived.


Digging D-Day’s ‘Band of Brothers’
Operation Nightingale recently excavated the Salisbury Plain camp of ‘Easy Company’ – the American paratroopers better known as the ‘Band of Brothers’. Their findings bring to life the day-to-day lives of the soldiers before they travelled to take part in the D-Day landings.


Interpreting medieval effigies
Yorkshire boasts an impressive collection of medieval funerary effigies, with many surviving despite numerous attempts to destroy them over the intervening centuries. What can these monuments tell us about the medieval world?


How ‘Captain Cook’s Cottage’ emigrated to Australia – and what was left behind
In the 1930s, an Australian philanthropist purchased a cottage associated with James Cook, and had it dismantled and shipped to Melbourne. But recent excavations at Great Ayton have revealed that some traces still remain in Cook’s native Yorkshire.


Investigating the isotopes of the Blick Mead dog; Rethinking Scottish crannogs; Ordnance from the Battle of Glenshiel revealed; Early evidence of the Neolithic in Scotland; A handy discovery in Northamptonshire; Science Notes; New World Heritage site for the UK; Finds Tray


Can archaeology help combat the effects of climate change?


Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Rural living and religion in an ancient landscape: Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire

The Beaker People: isotopes, mobility, and diet in prehistoric Britain; Warfare, Raiding, and Defence in Early Medieval Britain; Torre Abbey, Devon: the archaeology of the Premonstratensian abbey; Raasay: the ACFA archaeological surveys 1995-2009; The Archaeology of Roman York; Performing the Sacra: priestly roles and their organisation in Roman Britain

Borderline Funny at Segedunum Roman Fort

Heritage Open Days
A selection of talks and events taking place during England’s biggest festival of history and culture

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry

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