Current Archaeology 407

3 mins read

Happy New Year! And happy birthday, too, to Oxford Archaeology, one of the UK’s oldest commercial units, which recently celebrated 50 years in operation. When an archaeological organisation reaches such a significant milestone, it is a cause for celebration for all of us, demonstrating that the profession continues to thrive. Our cover feature explores how archaeological practices have changed over half a century, how these changes are reflected in some of the sites dug by OA, and what the future might hold for exploring the past.

From development-led investigations to pioneering feats of engineering, we then head west from Oxford into Wales, to take a trip through the 225-year history of the Swansea Canal and its industrial influence.

Travelling further west still to Co. Roscommon in Ireland, our next feature spotlights a different aspect of infrastructure, revealing how investigations associated with road-improvement works have uncovered the remains of a previously unknown medieval settlement and multigenerational cemetery.

For our final feature, we return to Wales but move further back in time to learn how recent excavations in Beaumaris, Anglesey, have revealed the surprise survival of a section of the town’s medieval defences that was thought to have been demolished long ago.

Finally, don’t forget to cast your vote in the upcoming CA Awards. Visit to learn how to have your say, and for the latest details of our annual conference, at which the results will be announced.

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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 ArchaeologyMinerva, and Military History Matters. Subscribers should see the advert inside the magazine for a very special offer!

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In This Issue:



Navigating the history of an industrial artery
We explore the story of the Swansea Canal, from the pioneering feats of engineering when it was a first built at the end of the 18th century, via the vital artery of transport and industry that it became during the 19th century, to today, where it has largely been reclaimed by nature.


Exploring half a century of excavations
As one of the UK’s oldest commercial units celebrates a major milestone, we trace the history of Oxford Archaeology and some of its key projects, explore how the world of professional archaeology has changed in that time, and consider what the future may hold.


Repopulating a forgotten settlement-cemetery in Co. Roscommon
In 2015, archaeological investigations ahead of routine road improvement works on the N61 in Ireland made the surprise discovery of a previously undocumented medieval settlement. Over the course of 1,000 years it had become a prosperous centre of production, accompanied by hundreds of burials in a multigenerational cemetery, before fading into obscurity.


Tracing the lost defences of Beaumaris
Recent excavations in Beaumaris, Anglesey, have revealed a section of the town’s medieval defences – long-believed to have been demolished – as well as evidence of the people who lived in their shadow over the centuries.


Final year of excavation at Rendlesham reveals exciting new discoveries; New evidence for the changing importance of cattle husbandry in Ireland; New Roman garden opens at Butser Ancient Farm; Caithness Broch Project moves forward; Stunning details of the Harpole Treasure revealed by conservation; Science Notes; Recent storms reveal further burials at the Wemyss Caves; Finds Tray


Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Colliery headstock and winding house listed: Swanwick, Derbyshire

Britain’s Landmarks and Legends: the fascinating stories embedded in our landscape; War Paths: walking in the shadows of the clans; Discovering Medieval Ferns, Co. Wexford; 50 Post-Medieval and Modern Finds; Castles and Fortifications of the West Country; In the Shadow of Segsbury: the Archaeology of the H380 Childrey Warren Water Pipeline, Oxfordshire, 2018-2020

The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions

Living with Land and Sea at the British Museum

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

Details about Current Archaeology Live! 2024, including interviews with the nominees for our Archaeologist of the Year award

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

British Sauna Society

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