The early years of London seem both uncannily familiarand unimaginably distant. Today, no one would bat aneyelid at Tacitus’ description of a settlement heaving with’businessmen and commerce’. Accounts of reckless loans,eye-watering debt, and advice to maintain a stiff upper lip(or at least ‘not to appear shabby’) in the face of adversityreinforce a sense that some things never change. But this was also a world whereslaves conducted their master’s business, and opportunistic traders followed hoton the heels of the legions.
Everyday life during Britain’s first civil war is also under the spotlight in this issue.The chaos of King Stephen’s reign was memorably summed up by one chroniclerwho lamented that ‘Christ and his Saints slept’. But did the king and his cousin’sbattle for power leave a lasting archaeological legacy?
In Ireland, the search has been on for aftershocks from the Roman annexationof Britain. Tantalising clusters of finds, graves of people who seem to have beenborn in Britannia, and coastal emporia doing a roaring trade in Roman-style artefactssuggest that not all traders waited for the legions to get there first.
Recent excavations in Lincoln castle may have uncovered traces of a rathermore august visitor: King Henry II. What can table scrapsreveal about feasting that was fit for a king?
IN THIS ISSUE:/n
THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF ANARCHY/n
Investigating England’s first civil war
‘The Anarchy’ of King Stephen’s reign in the mid-12th century has long attractedhistorians, but what can archaeology tell us about this turbulent time? Did thepower struggles of the elite have any impact on the everyday lives of the masses,or was it business as usual?
The Romans in Ireland
There is no sign that the Roman Empire ever attempted to colonise Ireland, andthe impact of the emergence of an imperial province in Britain is rarely explored.Yet there are a number of Roman-style finds from Ireland, and it was certainlyknown to the Romans – so just what interaction was there across the Irish Sea?
FINDS FIT FOR A KING?/n
Uncovering signs of luxury living at Lincoln Castle
Renovations at the Norman castle have unearthed a wealth of archaeology.We take a look at the Roman houses, long-lost church, and medieval banquetmidden that lay superimposed within the walls of Lincoln Castle.
LETTERS FROM LONDINIUM/n
Reading the earliest writing from Roman Britain
Archaeologist excavating at the site of the new Bloomberg headquarters in London have unearthed 405 Roman writing tablets. Now 87 of these have been deciphered, shedding new light on debt, trade, and immigration in the city once described by Tacitus as being ‘very full of businessmen and commerce’.
Plague and pottery: new insights into the Black Death; Excavating Llangefni’s surprisingcemetery; Painting Roman Bath red; Dorset’s earliest burnt mound; Venus figurinefound in Long Melford; Eagle-eyed archaeologists make rare find; Newgrange dog-bonesheds light on canine origins; Hunt for Henry I begins in Reading; Will the Queen’s Speechaffect archaeology?
Landscapes and lasers atSouth Downs National Park
Festival of Archaeology
A selection of regional highlights fromthis year’s celebration of archaeology
In Search of the Irish Dreamtime;Stonehenge: Making Sense of aPrehistoric Mystery; An ArchaeologicalStudy of Human Decapitation Burials;Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of aNaval Battlefield
Chris Catling’s irreverent take onheritage issues
TheFriends of St Augustine’s