Happy New Year! It always feels odd when I sit to write my December letter, knowing that I am addressing you in a different year – and the past year has been a particularly strange one, both in our own lives and for archaeological fieldwork. I hope 2021 brings brighter times for us all – and I look forward to joining you there in a few weeks!
There is still plenty of exciting research happening, however. We begin by looking at a material that we all have at home: glass. Today, it is readily available and relatively inexpensive, but how did it come to be so? We trace the archaeology of glass production from the post-Roman period to the industrial present.
We next visit a magnificent monument on the outskirts of Dorchester: the Mount Pleasant mega-henge. New dating evidence for this huge and complex Neolithic site suggests it came together in a much shorter period than previously thought.
Another impressive creation forms the focus of our third feature: an intricate late Roman mosaic excavated at Boxford. Its surface is crammed with Classical imagery – join us to explore the latest thinking on what its motifs mean, and what they tell us about the mosaicists’ influences.
From Boxford to Bath: our fourth feature eloquently demonstrates how topical archaeology can be, as we learn how 19th-century local authorities responded to a public health emergency and the arrival of a new pandemic.
Finally, we travel to Port Meadow, an Oxford floodplain that has long been recognised for its prehistoric remains – but which also preserves traces of a much less well-known First World War aerodrome.
In This Issue:
Examining the archaeology of glassmaking in England
The history of glassmaking is a fascinating one, built on the expertise of Continental entrepreneurs. We explore what archaeology can tell us about the development of this industry in England, from the early medieval period to the industrial present.
Unpicking the evolution of Mount Pleasant’s monuments
The Mount Pleasant mega-henge in Dorset was last excavated in the 1970s, but new dating evidence has revealed incredible details about the construction of this massive Neolithic site, indicating that it was completed far more quickly than previously thought.
WINNING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME
New thoughts on the Boxford ‘Triumphs of Pelops and Bellerophon’ mosaic
Recent analysis of Boxford’s late 4th-century mosaic has revealed new details about the Classical stories told through its intricate imagery, and the influences behind its iconography.
PANDEMICS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Cleansing Bath’s ‘Great Unwashed’
The discovery in Bath of one of the earliest Victorian wash houses in Britain has shed light on changing attitudes towards the poor, as well as how local authorities and campaigners from the community responded to a public health emergency.
PLANES OVER PORT MEADOW
Revealing a First World War Home Front aerodrome
A First World War aerodrome located on a flood meadow in Oxford was all but forgotten until a community initiative brought attention to it once more, searching for evidence of its ephemeral tented remains below ground.
Britain’s first 5th-century mosaic identified?; A new chronology for Glastonbury Lake Village; Roman villa revealed near Wrexham; Searching for the people of Doggerland; Updates to the definition of Treasure; Science Notes; Contextualising Bronze Age burials on the Isle of Man; Finds Tray
Mapping the coast edge: Flimston Bay, Pembrokeshire
Nazi Prisons in the British Isles: political prisoners during the German Occupation of Jersey and Guernsey 1940-1945; Living on the Edge of Empire: the objects and people of Hadrian’s Wall; Offa’s Dyke Journal, Volume 1; A Biography of Power: research and excavations at the Iron Age oppidum of Bagendon, Gloucestershire (1979-2017); Impinging on the Past: a rescue excavation at Fladbury, Worcestershire, 1967; The Archaeology of East Oxford – Archeox: the development of a community
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues
The Art Deco Society UK
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