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Archaeology is all about teasing out hidden details. At Verulamium, the site of the Roman city scrutinised during recent investigations is conspicuous enough, but its streets and city blocks have long since grassed over. Now geophysical survey has laid bare one of the great cities of Roman Britain.
On Anglesey, a project is seeking to reveal a lost prehistoric ritual landscape. Previously, this has been eclipsed by the spectacular passage tomb at its heart. A wealth of ancient art serves as a reminder of what can be overlooked when we are transfixed by impressive monuments, at the expense of more ephemeral activity in their hinterland.
Before Wallingford Castle was reduced to rubble by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers, its grandeur rivalled the strongholds at Windsor and Oxford. Today, little more than earthworks studded with shattered masonry remain, but combining survey, surviving documents, and excavation allows us to glimpse the former glory of a royal castle.
At Spitalfields, the flourishing post-medieval suburbs were gradually engulfed by later urban development. The Spitalfields Market excavations opened up a huge swathe of lost London, exposing the hidden habits of its former inhabitants to modern scrutiny.
Finally, your editor has also been somewhat hidden this month, having been away on paternity leave. Particular thanks are due to Carly, who inherited many of my duties. I’d also like to introduce young Thomas.
Our contributors this month
VERULAMIUM REVEALED KRIS LOCKYEAR Kris is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, and Director of the Welwyn Archaeological Society. One of his main interests is geophysical survey, and he has undertaken work in the UK and abroad.
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EXCAVATING SPITALFIELDS MARKET CHIZ HARWARD Chiz was employed by MOLA for ten years, working on sites such as Spitalfields and the Upper Walbrook Roman cemetery. He is now a freelance archaeologist and illustrator.
EXCAVATING SPITALFIELDS MARKET NIGEL JEFFRIES Nigel is a medieval and later ceramic and glass specialist at MOLA, and led analysis and cataloguing of Spitalfields’ post-medieval finds. He is widely published on early modern, Georgian, and Victorian London.
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