Current Archaeology 401

3 mins read

This month’s cover feature takes us back to the time of the Crusades, telling the story of the Knights Hospitaller, a military religious order that became a powerful political and economic force in England and Wales. Only one preceptory (administrative centre) associated with the Hospitallers has ever been excavated in detail in England, but Time Team have been working to redress the balance at Halston in Shropshire.

From there, we move further south-west, to explore the architecture of Cornwall. This is a county that I have recently returned from myself, partly on CA business – watch out for site visits and an exhibition review in future issues – and partly to support my other half and the ‘Wellington Wailers’ ( at the International Sea Shanty Festival in Falmouth. From prehistoric quoits and settlements to non- Conformist chapels, there is a host of diverse and distinctive structures to explore.

Masonry also forms the focus of our next feature, which takes us to the heart of Roman London. By the 3rd century, the settlement was ringed with an imposing stone circuit that ran around all three landside edges and along the Thames foreshore. As this summer has seen the opening of a new museum showcasing a section of the landward wall and a mighty bastion, as well as three portions of the riverside wall gaining scheduled status, we explore what is known about Londinium’s defences.

Finally, we travel to the North Channel between south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland to learn more about the regionally distinctive Neolithic burial monuments that developed within this area, and how archaeologists are tackling the challenge of presenting often abstract ideas to a younger audience.

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In This Issue:



Time Team and the Knights Hospitaller of Halston Hall
The Knights Hospitaller once offered armed protection, hospitality, and medical care to pilgrims in the Holy Land, and also built communities back in Britain to raise funds for their work. Only one of these has ever been excavated in detail, but Time Team hope to add to this picture – and they have just three days.


Discovering the distinctiveness of Cornish buildings
While many regions of the country are defined by their local geology, this is particularly true of Cornwall. Not only has its mineral wealth played a major role in its history, but its characteristic granite has typified the buildings there from prehistory to the present day.


Tracing London’s Roman walls
The history of Londinium’s defences has recently been highlighted by the opening of a new museum displaying part of the Roman wall that once encircled the settlement, as well as the scheduling of three sections of its riverside fortifications.


Presenting a very regional Neolithic
During the Neolithic, people on both sides of the North Channel (between Scotland and Northern Ireland) built communal monuments, variously called Clyde cairns and court tombs, to house their dead. What does the latest research tell us about the people who built these enigmatic structures, and how are archaeologists rising to the challenge of presenting these often remote-seeming sites to a younger audience?


Plague DNA identified in Bronze Age remains; Uncovering the origins of Exeter Cathedral; A Roman transport canal into Leicester?; Oldest decoratively carved wood in Britain identified; In search of the prehistoric landscape of Ceredigion; Science Notes; Bronze Age burnt mound brought to light in Suffolk; Finds Tray


Archaeology in Alderney: excavating the biggest Iron Age and Gallo-Roman site in the Channel Islands


Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Farrah the Fox featuring at Hi! Street Fest: Woolwich, Greater London

Lessons from Our Ancestors: equality, inclusivity, and sustainability in the Ancient World; The First Stones: Penywyrlod, Gwernvale, and the Black Mountains Neolithic long cairns of south-east Wales; Chariots, Swords, and Spears: Iron Age burials at the foot of the East Yorkshire Wolds; A Mighty Fleet and the King’s Power: the Isle of Man, AD 400 to 1265; An Archaeological History of Hermitages and Eremitic Communities in Medieval Britain and Beyond; Death in the Iron Age of Eastern England: an interdisciplinary analysis of human remains from 800 BC to AD 60

The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions

The Hunterian Museum, London

Regional highlights from among the many events, activities, and digital resources offered this July as part of the CBA’s Festival of Archaeology

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

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

The Stereoscopic Society

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