Current Archaeology 381

2 mins read

If you think of the monastery that was founded on Iona in AD 563, your imaginings are probably tinged with tragedy, evoking an island community all-but extinguished by vicious Viking raids. Increasingly, though, research suggests that the religious site was much longer-lived than previously thought, as our cover story reports.

Turning to more secular settlements, archaeology can establish where medieval peasants lived, and what their homes were like – but how far can we uncover their sense of identity? A wide-ranging project focused on south Oxfordshire has revealed intriguing clues.

Leaping forward to the present day: as this issue rolls out, the UN Climate Change Conference is under way in Glasgow. Can improving our understanding of the past help ameliorate the current climate crisis? Research on Mersea Island, Essex, suggests so. Speaking of green matters (which I know from my inbox concern many of you), a quick reminder that the polythene that wraps subscribers’ copies can be fully recycled at larger supermarkets and in some household collections. We are actively looking into biodegradable packaging, though, and are determined to switch when financially viable.

Our next article explores the history of archaeological illustration, before we cover a site that is really changing images of the past: Blick Mead in Amesbury has flipped the balance of Mesolithic finds in the Stonehenge landscape, producing tens of thousands of pieces of worked stone and evidence of feasting. I visited the project in October to hear the latest news – and, while prehistoric finds still abounded, the team also had a colourful medieval discovery to share.

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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:



Laying a ‘zombie narrative’ to rest
Iona’s medieval monastery was destroyed by marauding Vikings… or was it? Archaeological and historical evidence suggests that the religious community lived on, and flourished, long after the raids.


Uncovering medieval peasant perceptions of landscape
Place-names, the orientation of buildings, and even modern experiments with sound can tell us a lot about how medieval peasants experienced the areas in which they lived and worked, and their sense of identity.


Protecting the future by understanding the past
How can studying the past help combat the climate crisis? A community-based project on Mersea Island in Essex has yielded fascinating insights into coastal erosion.


The evolution of archaeological illustration
To celebrate 175 years since the founding of the Cambrian Archaeological Association and its journal Archaeologia Cambrensis, we take a look at the history of archaeological images, from woodcuts to vector graphics.


Uncovering Mesolithic and medieval finds at Blick Mead
CA visited Blick Mead, near Stonehenge, for an update on the excavations at this illuminating Mesolithic site. The project’s prehistoric finds continue to proliferate, but the team had also made an exciting medieval discovery.


Excavating Scotland’s earliest railway; Iron Age shrine unearthed in the Yorkshire Wolds; Over 90 burials discovered in Deal; Experimental ‘Bronze Age roundhouse’ unveiled; Roman Venus figurine found in Gloucester; Science Notes; Little Hadham’s road to the past; Finds Tray


Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Capturing a ghost ship: Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

A Mighty Capital Under Threat: the environmental history of London, 1800-2000; London’s Roman Tools: craft, agriculture and experience in an ancient city; St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale, North Yorkshire: archaeological investigations and historical context; Cruck Building: a survey; Stranger in the Mask of a Deer; The Wrecks of HM Frigates Assurance (1753) & Pomone (1811)

Northampton Museum & Art Gallery

Museum News
The latest acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions.

Our selection of exhibitions and events, as well as historical, archaeological, and cultural resources from around the world that are available online.

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
Friends of Canterbury Cathedral

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