When I joined Current Archaeology (as Editorial Assistant) in 2011, the first issue I worked on was CA 259. I can’t decide whether I am more flabbergasted that that was 12 years ago, or that we are now publishing CA 400. It has been such a joy and a privilege to contribute to the intervening issues, and I hope that this one is a fitting marker for the milestone.
I was keen that the whole issue should not be a retrospective, but should celebrate different aspects of archaeology’s past, present, and future, drawing on sites from across the British Isles. To that end, this month’s features are complemented by a bumper version of Joe Flatman’s column, digging into our archives to trace how archaeology has evolved since the 1960s; and Andrew Selkirk’s ‘Last Word’, in which our Editor-in-chief summarises the history of CA itself.
As for the features themselves, the first demonstrates how developer-led excavations can shed light on even very well-known monuments, with a report on the recent discovery of a new Hadrian’s Wall turret in an unexpected place. We then consider how historical research and archaeological investigations complement each other – in this instance, to shed light on the activities of medieval hermits in Britain and Ireland.
Next, we share the story of one of our oldest commercial units, the York Archaeological Trust, which has recently celebrated its 50th birthday, and which has always been a pioneering force in presenting the past to the public. Finally, we hear from DigVentures, a thriving crowdfunded archaeological enterprise, to explore how ways of ‘doing archaeology’ are changing today, how we can make it more accessible, and what the future of the discipline might look like.