Current Archaeology 369

2 mins read

As Autumn draws towards its close, this is a time of year when thoughts turn towards people and places that have gone before. Our cover feature concerns a voyage that took place 400 years ago: the sailing of the Mayflower, which set out for the New World in 1620. Its departure point, Plymouth, has opened a new museum (The Box) whose inaugural exhibition marks the expedition’s anniversary. What can we learn of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ and the bustling port city they left behind?

We also trace the long-vanished kelp industry that employed thousands of families on the west coast and islands of Scotland between 1750 and 1820. After this brief boom, production disappeared from our shores – what has been left behind for archaeologists to uncover?

Further enigmatic clues await at Fulford, just outside York. This location witnessed the Battle of Fulford in 1066, the first of three engagements that culminated in the Norman Conquest. Fulford’s Old St Oswald Church is a post-Conquest building, but did it have an Anglo-Saxon predecessor that might have witnessed those watershed events?

Remaining in North Yorkshire, we next visit Aldborough, home to the remains ofIsurium Brigantum, once a prosperous Roman town. A decade of investigations has shed fascinating light on when Isurium was founded and how it evolved, including extensive geophysical surveys that have revealed vivid details of its streets and buildings.

We explore more images in our fourth feature, taking a tour of a unique digital archive curated in Oxford. The HEIR Project preserves long-lost vistas and fascinating photographs of past archaeological excavations – pictures worth thousands of words.

In This Issue:



Sifting through the remains of Scotland’s kelping industry
For a brief time between the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Scotland saw a massive boom in the kelping industry. But what archaeological traces has this elusive period left behind?


Searching for the origins of Old St Oswald Church, Fulford
Many Norman churches are thought to have Anglo-Saxon roots. But how far is this the case for Old St Oswald Church in Fulford? A local history society has set out to learn more.


Exploring Aldborough’s Roman remains
Since the 16th century, it has been known that the Roman town of Isurium Brigantum lay under the village of Aldborough. Now, extensive investigations have illuminated the earlier settlement’s layout and the story of how it evolved for the first time.


Exploring the Historic Environment Image Resource
Based in Oxford, the HEIR Project has collected and collated a vast number of historical photographs held in diverse institutions. Here we explore this unique digital database and what it can tell us of changing landscapes and long-lost views.

THE MAYFLOWER, 1620-2020

Tracing voyages of discovery in Plymouth’s past
In 1620, around 100 men, women, and children departed from Plymouth to start a new life in America. What do we know of the
Mayflower passengers – and what was the city that they left behind like?


Anglo-Saxon ‘warrior’ burial uncovered; Unexpected discoveries at Beacon Ring; Roundhouse revealed at Bamburgh Castle; Ipswich’s medieval population investigated; Surprising finds at Shrewsbury Castle; Science Notes; Delving into Viking DNA; Finds Tray


Joe Flatman excavates the
CA archive

Second World War wrecks, Brecon Beacons

1520: the Field of the Cloth of Gold; The Life Biography of Artefacts and Ritual Practice: with case studies from Mesolithic-early Bronze Age Europe; The Chadwell St Mary Ringwork: a late Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon settlement in southern Essex; Old Oswestry Hillfort and Its Landscape: ancient past, uncertain future; Great Cloister: a lost Canterbury Tale; The Isle of Man: Stone Age to Swinging Sixties

Heritage from Home
A selection of resources to help you get involved in archaeology-themed activities from home – as well as news of heritage sites that are reopening to the public

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Kilvert Society

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