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current archaeology

July 1970

In this issue . . .

This is a special issue of Current Archaeology devoted to Houses through the Ages. In the past, many different types of house have been used in Britain, and in this issue we take a look at some of the outstanding types.

First of all, Richard Bradley, who has recently been excavating a Beaker site on Beachy Head, discusses Beaker Houses. Houses of the Beaker period have often proved elusive, and the author discusses the various theories that have been put forward in the past, and where we should look in the future.

In the Bronze Age and Iron Age, Round Houses reigned supreme. In a major article Chris Musson describes how these houses were built. First of all, how big were they? Here he argues that many of the earlier Bronze Age houses were much bigger than has hitherto been thought. Secondly, how were they built? The classic house at Little Woodbury is often taken to be typical, but the author completely re-interprets the generally accepted reconstruction. Finally, Mr. Musson, who is trained as an architect, describes five different ways of building round houses, and gives practical examples of how two of these different ways can be deduced from the excavations at Whitton and Llandegai.

Perhaps the best known houses of archaeology are Roman Villas, and David Johnston discusses some of the current problems. These are no longer studied simply as ground plans; archaeologists today want to know how they developed, how they were decorated, the kind of wall plaster and the school of the mosaics; and perhaps the most exciting recent development of all—what were the gardens like? But villas were not just buildings, they were also farms. How did Roman farming methods affect existing methods when they arrived? And how long did they survive into the Dark Ages?

To round off the survey of houses, we take a quick look at one of Britain's latest museums—the Open Air Museum of the Weald and Downland at West Dean in Sussex. Here a Saxon grubenhaus is being reconstructed, and a fine Medieval timber framed farmhouse, rescued from destruction, is being re-erected.

As the excavating season is here we have replaced Notes and News by a round-up of Digs to Visit. Book Reviews consider 'The Viking Achievement', 'Science and Archaeology', and 'The Historic Towns Atlas', while in Letters to the Editor, two outstanding younger archaeologists announce their plans to set up an 'excavation partnership', whilst another correspondent commends the use of the polarizer in archaeological photography. Our cover photo is a reconstruction drawing of the Roman villa at Rapsley in Surrey, and is the work of the outstanding young archaeological artist Cedric dela Nougerede.


by Richard Bradley 267 ROUND HOUSES

by Christopher Musson


by David Johnston 287 WEST DEAN MUSEUM Inside Back Cover: LETTERS

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