Current Archaeology 365

2 mins read

Our cover story takes us to the territory of the Iron Age Brigantes, in what is now North Yorkshire. There, major works on the A1 have revealed extensive settlement remains, telling a powerful story of how a community’s first contacts with the Roman Empire brought unprecedented prosperity, but also set wheels in motion for the settlement’s demise.

Remaining in the Roman period, we next explore evidence for whether the 2nd-century Antonine Plague reached Britain, as well as considering whether disease might explain why so many extramural settlements on Hadrian’s Wall seem to have been abandoned in the late 3rd century.

In the present circumstances, it is a comforting thought that we are able to talk about past pandemics precisely because they ended. While we are once again running our special ‘Heritage from Home’ section to help you explore the past without leaving the house, we are delighted to report that this month – as things gradually begin to open again – it also includes details of some heritage sites that are welcoming visitors back.

Our third and fourth features showcase recent research on the Cerne Abbas Giant. The chalk hill figure is one of Dorset’s most famous landmarks, but how old is it? Intriguing clues are beginning to emerge – and if we can narrow down the monument’s origins, what was the historical context behind its creation?

Finally, we venture back inside to examine the remarkable legacy of cruck-built structures. Once stereotyped as crude and unsophisticated, this intricate architectural style has much to tell us about medieval society.

In This Issue:



Exploring Iron Age industry and Roman riches at Scotch Corner
Major excavations beside the A1 in North Yorkshire have uncovered the remarkable story of how contact with the Roman Empire brought an Iron Age settlement unprecedented prosperity, but ultimately spelled the community’s doom.


Interpreting evidence forpandemics in Roman Britain
Did the 2nd-century Antonine plague reach Britain? And could the lesser-known 3rd-century Cyprian plague explain why so many extramural settlements on Britain’s Roman frontier were abandoned in the late 3rd century?


Investigating the age of the Cerne Abbas hill figure
The chalk outline of Dorset’s Cerne Abbas Giant has long been a source of fascination – but how old is it? Recent analysis has yielded some intriguing clues about the landmark’s origins.


Identifying the Cerne Abbas hill figure as ‘The Choice of Hercules’
If we are able to narrow down the Giant’s likely age, what was the historical context of its creation – and who might the hill figure represent?


An uncouth and rudimentary building technique?
A new survey of cruck-built structures looks at changing attitudes towards these medieval buildings, as well as exploring long-running debates about their social status, origin, and distribution.


Out of the blue: the Seacombe Smalt Works; Changing diets in Pictish Portmahomack; Amateur archaeologists identify new sites; Analysing injuries from medieval arrows; The role of the River Boyne in prehistory; Science Notes; Historic England emergency response funds; Finds Tray


Joe Flatman excavates the
CA archive

Where’s Wallace? Kirkmichael, Dumfriesshire

Llangorse Crannog: the excavation of an early medieval royal site in the Kingdom of Brycheiniog; The Antonine Wall: papers in honour of Professor Lawrence Keppie; Making One’s Way in the World: the footprints and trackways of prehistoric people; London’s Industrial Past; The Rock-art Landscapes of Rombalds Moor, West Yorkshire: standing on holy ground; The Archaeology of Manchester in 20 Digs

Heritage from Home
A selection of resources and activities to help you explore the past without leaving the house – as well as news of heritage sites that are reopening to the public

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Milton Abbas Local History Group

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