Fifteen thousand years ago, nomadic hunter-gatherers set up camp at Les Varines, Jersey. Their existence was no hand-tomouth search for subsistence, though: they also had time to engrave enigmatic patterns on fragments of stone. Our cover story explores recent analysis of these fascinating finds, hailed as the earliest art yet identified in the British Isles.
Prehistoric pioneers also feature in our article exploring evidence for Neanderthals in Britain. What can modern archaeological research and scientific advances tell us about their lives and experiences within these shores?
Neanderthals left fewer archaeological footprints in Britain than on the Continent, and elusive clues form the focus of our next feature, too. Keith Marischal, East Lothian, is an imposing baronial house – but one whose appearance is largely the result of relatively recent remodelling. How far is it possible to reconstruct its 16th- and 17th-century glory?
This latter period also witnessed the beginnings of Britain as a major sea power, heralding prosperity and exploration, but also the exploitation of enslaved peoples. We survey evidence from shipwrecks and standing remains to reflect on Britain’s colonial past.
Our last feature delves into domestic gardens, where many of us have been spending much more time during lockdown. Have you uncovered anything while digging at home? Some of the garden discoveries recently announced by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, including a Tudor hoard, have been spellbinding, as we explore this month.