Current Archaeology 377

2 mins read

This issue is bookended by the archaeology of Kent. Our cover feature showcases Dover Castle, whose 12th-century Great Tower is banded with gleaming limestone imported from Normandy to make its fortifications an even more visible landmark guarding the entrance to Henry II’s English kingdom. Meanwhile, this month’s ‘In Focus’ highlights more ephemeral historic remains – hosts of buried features that were threatened with destruction during development, but have been painstakingly recorded by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit for over half a century.

Staying in the 12th century, Northampton was another of England’s most important towns during this period (and also home to an impressive castle, sadly no longer standing). Excavation in the town centre has revealed what is thought to be the first medieval workshop making chess pieces yet found in Britain – as we learn in our next feature.

Our two following articles take experimental archaeology as their theme. The first goes behind the scenes of Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire, illuminating the archaeological research and imagination that went into their latest reconstructed building, a Neolithic house. We then take a trip to Woodbridge, Suffolk, for an update from the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company, who are working to build a full-sized, seaworthy reconstruction of the Anglo-Saxon vessel famously excavated at Sutton Hoo in 1939.

Finally, I hope you are keeping well and managing to explore some local – or not-so-local! – heritage sites as restrictions ease. Having moved to West Sussex a year ago, I have loved recent visits to hillforts and the castle remains at Bramber and Edburton Hill. I hope your archaeological adventures are just as enjoyable.

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P.S. Details of all the content of the magazine are available on our new site, The Past. Here you will be able to read each article in full as well as the content of our other magazines, Current World Archaeology, Minerva, and Military History Matters. Subscribers should see the advert inside the magazine for a very special offer!

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In This Issue:



Uncovering Britain’s first medieval chess workshop
The remains of a 12th-century carver’s workshop where chess pieces were being manufactured have been revealed during excavations in Northampton town centre. It is the first such workshop to be found in Britain.


Angevin innovation, or a medieval white elephant?
At first glance, Dover Castle appears to be the epitome of medieval fortification, but a recent in-depth look at its construction has yielded a much more nuanced and complex picture of the site’s design.


Experiments in construction at Butser Ancient Farm
An archaeologist at Butser Ancient Farm takes us behind the scenes, providing an in-depth look at the experimental archaeological techniques that the team uses to create the site’s reconstructed buildings.


The latest news from the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company
We bring you an update from the ambitious project working to accurately reconstruct the famous Anglo-Saxon ship excavated at Sutton Hoo in 1939.


Marking 50 years of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit
Over the past half-century, the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit has helped record numerous archaeological sites threatened by development. We highlight some of their biggest trials and triumphs to-date.


Prehistoric animal carvings discovered in Kilmartin Glen; Cornish connections in Bronze Age Germany; Further fingerprints found at the Ness of Brodgar; Medieval village uncovered near Netherton; Roman execution cemeteries revealed in Cambridgeshire; Science Notes; Examining the Hours of Isabella Stuart; Finds Tray


Evidence of enslavement? Examining a shackled Roman burial at Great Casterton


Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Integrating art and archaeology: Eastbourne, East Sussex

Silchester Revealed: the Iron Age and Roman town of Calleva; Migrants in Medieval England c.500-c.1500; Garranes: an early medieval royal site in south-west Ireland; Roman County Durham: the eastern hinterland of Hadrian’s Wall; Breaking Seas, Broken Ships: people, shipwrecks, and Britain, 1854-2007; 50 Finds from Kent: objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Heritage from Home
A selection of sites that have recently reopened, as well as plenty of historical, archaeological, and cultural resources from around the world that are still available online.

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
Saline & District Heritage Society

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