Current Archaeology 378

6 mins read

Rivers can be rich sources of archaeological finds, but how can we tell why an object was consigned to their waters? Our cover feature considers some of the more than 3,600 Roman artefacts recovered from the Tees at Piercebridge, near Darlington. Do they represent ritual acts or discarded rubbish – and how can we distinguish between the two?

From waterways to roads, our next feature takes us to Dunragit, where the construction of a bypass has given archaeologists a linear snapshot of human activity spanning c.8,000 years – including what may be the earliest Mesolithic structure yet found in south-west Scotland.

Heading further north still, we next visit Iona in the Inner Hebrides. This important early Christian site was once adorned with numerous ornate stone crosses. Many were destroyed in the 17th century, but research centred on a replica of the Cross of St John has illuminated innovative aspects of the 8th-century original’s design.

Our fourth feature focuses on the highland village of Glencoe, which is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery but is also synonymous with an infamous massacre in 1692. What has recent fieldwork by the National Trust for Scotland revealed about surviving settlement evidence from this time?

Finally, this month, instead of the usual ‘In Focus’, we have two pieces looking at key issues facing UK archaeology today. Hugh Willmott addresses the planned closure of the University of Sheffield’s Archaeology department, while Raksha Dave – newly appointed president of the Council for British Archaeology – discusses how to dispel myths about the profession and make archaeology as accessible as possible.

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In This Issue:

FEATURES

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

Roman finds from the Tees at Piercebridge and beyond
Over the decades more than 3,600 Roman artefacts have been recovered from the River Tees at Piercebridge. But were these objects ritually deposited or discarded rubbish? A recent project aimed to find out.


ROAD TO THE PAST

Exploring the prehistoric heart of Galloway
Excavations by GUARD Archaeology in advance of the construction of a new bypass near Dunragit have revealed evidence of human activity spanning c.8,000 years on the south-west coast of Scotland. With the findings now published in full, what has been learned about this complex landscape’s past?


IONA’S ARCHETYPE?

A concrete replica of the Cross of St John speaks
It is thought that many crosses may have once dotted the island of Iona, before they were destroyed in the wake of the Synod of Argyll. Recent analysis of a concrete replica of one particular cross, however, has illuminated surprisingly innovative aspects of its design.


‘A ROOF O’ER THEIR HEADS’

Exploring the archaeology of Achtriachtan township in Glencoe
Although the history of Glencoe and the eponymous massacre of 1692 have been studied in detail, archaeological remains of contemporary settlement have remained elusive – until now. A new project by the National Trust for Scotland has helped shed light on the village in the 17th and 18th centuries.


NEWS

HS2 unearths Iron Age coin hoard in Hillingdon; Confirming Plague victims in medieval Cambridgeshire; Rare Roman relief revealed at Vindolanda; 17th-century bridge uncovered in Belfast; Roman sarcophagus discovered in Bath; Science Notes; A Viking Age family reunion; Finds Tray


REGULARS

Comment
Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Context
Illuminating a far-travelled vessel: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Reviews
Visions of the Roman North: art and identity in northern Roman Britain; The Wandering Herd: the medieval cattle economy of south-east England c.450-1450; Life, Death, and Rubbish Disposal in Roman Norton, North Yorkshire; Bar Locks and Early Church Security in the British Isles; Hoards from Wiltshire; Ecclesiastical Landscapes in Medieval Europe: an archaeological perspective

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.

Interview
We speak to Raksha Dave, recently appointed president of the Council for British Archaeology, about her career, issues facing archaeology in the UK today, and how we can make exploring the past as accessible as possible

Opinion
With the University of Sheffield’s longstanding Archaeology department facing closure, Hugh Willmott makes the case for the discipline’s importance as a field of study, and the wider benefits of archaeology for all

Sherds
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Mortimer History Society


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