This issue is bookended by the archaeology of Kent. Our cover feature showcases Dover Castle, whose 12th-century Great Tower is banded with gleaming limestone imported from Normandy to make its fortifications an even more visible landmark guarding the entrance to Henry II’s English kingdom. Meanwhile, this month’s ‘In Focus’ highlights more ephemeral historic remains – hosts of buried features that were threatened with destruction during development, but have been painstakingly recorded by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit for over half a century.
Staying in the 12th century, Northampton was another of England’s most important towns during this period (and also home to an impressive castle, sadly no longer standing). Excavation in the town centre has revealed what is thought to be the first medieval workshop making chess pieces yet found in Britain – as we learn in our next feature.
Our two following articles take experimental archaeology as their theme. The first goes behind the scenes of Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire, illuminating the archaeological research and imagination that went into their latest reconstructed building, a Neolithic house. We then take a trip to Woodbridge, Suffolk, for an update from the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company, who are working to build a full-sized, seaworthy reconstruction of the Anglo-Saxon vessel famously excavated at Sutton Hoo in 1939.
Finally, I hope you are keeping well and managing to explore some local – or not-so-local! – heritage sites as restrictions ease. Having moved to West Sussex a year ago, I have loved recent visits to hillforts and the castle remains at Bramber and Edburton Hill. I hope your archaeological adventures are just as enjoyable.