Current Archaeology 373

5 mins read

The immediate aftermath of Roman occupation in Britain is often stereotyped as a post-imperial anti-climax during which the Roman way of life rapidly fell away. In recent decades, though, archaeological research has done much to dispel this pessimistic picture of the ‘Dark Ages’ – and, it appears, not all Roman fashions were so fast to fade. New dating evidence from Chedworth villa in Gloucestershire suggests that its inhabitants were still investing in their high-status home, even installing new mosaics, well into the 5th century.

It was not only the material trappings of Romanitas that were held to have departed our shores at this time – according to traditional narratives, Christianity also flickered out in post-Roman Britain, only to be resurrected generations later by late 6th-century missionaries. Archaeology tells a different story, however, suggesting that the flame of faith continued to burn in western Britain and Ireland.

Speaking of the Romans, our third feature whisks us north to the monumental fortifications of Hadrian’s Wall. Could the key to understanding this imposing construction lie in guerrilla warfare?

We then travel to Jersey, and the largest Iron Age hoard found in the British Isles. Join us as we explore its eclectic contents, learning more about the cutting-edge techniques that are helping to tease apart the secrets of this unique assemblage.

Finally, we head to the outskirts of Salisbury, where recent discoveries take a more personal tone. There, development-led investigations have uncovered a number of early Bronze Age burials, including that of an infant who was laid to rest with a child-sized beaker.


In This Issue:

FEATURES

THE CASE FOR CHEDWORTH VILLA

Exploring evidence for 5th-century occupation
Recent dating evidence from Chedworth Roman villa has provided intriguing hints of high-status Roman-style living continuing well into the 5th century, long after imperial occupation of Britain officially ended.


FORGOTTEN FAITH?

Tracing early Christianity in western Britain and Ireland
It was traditionally thought that Christianity disappeared from Britain after the Roman period, requiring reintroduction by 6th-century missionaries. We explore evidence that the religion continued to thrive in parts of western Britain and Ireland.


HADRIAN’S WALL

Creating division
What was Hadrian’s Wall for? Recent analysis suggests that there is a more nuanced story to tell about the relationship between the Roman army and the indigenous communities living in the Wall’s shadow.


LE CÂTILLON II

Conserving Britain’s biggest Iron Age hoard
In 2012, a cache of over 69,000 Celtic coins, as well as jewellery and other artefacts, was found in Jersey. Find out how the largest Iron Age hoard yet found in the British Isles has been carefully conserved and analysed.


MOURNING IN MINIATURE

Excavating an infant Beaker burial near Salisbury
Investigations outside Salisbury have uncovered evidence of early Bronze Age activity, including an infant buried with an unusually small beaker


NEWS

Stonehenge: a recycled Welsh monument?; Life and death in medieval Cambridge; Elizabethan gardens found in Warwickshire; Victorian bathhouse revealed in Manchester; Northamptonshire’s largest Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered; Science Notes; Reassessing Neanderthal teeth in Jersey; Finds Tray


REGULARS

Comment
Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Context
The Conan Stone: Dingwall Museum, Highlands

Reviews
The Horse Butchery Site: a high-resolution record of Lower Palaeolithic hominin behaviour at Boxgrove, UK; The Social Context of Technology: non-ferrous metalworking in later prehistoric Britain and Ireland; Landscape and Settlement in the Vale of York: archaeological excavations at Heslington East, York, 2003-2013; Worcester Magistrates Court: excavation of Romano-British homes and industry at Castle Street; Life, Death, and Rubbish Disposal in Roman Norton, North Yorkshire: excavations at Brooklyn House, 2015-2016; The Tale of the Axe: how the Neolithic revolution transformed Britain

Heritage from Home
A selection of resources to help you get involved in archaeological-themed activities from home during lockdown

The Dig
Read our review of Netflix’s new film telling the Sutton Hoo story

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Lutyens Trust


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