current archaeology number 80
In this issue . . . A new chapter in the development of the Christian church may have to be written as a result of the remarkable discoveries at Littlecote. This issue of Current Archaeology also brings the latest news from Canterbury, Wharram Percy and Norwich.
The current hot topic in archaeology is the government's proposed re-organisation of ancient monuments and historic buildings, so this inevitably opens our Diary. We then look at the Lloyds Bank Fund, Archaeology in 1981, Young Archaeology, Museums, Dorothy Charlesworth and The New Medieval Archaeology.
This is followed by a summary of the government's Consultation paper on The Organisation of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings in England.
A magnificent mosaic pavement showing Orpheus was discovered at the Littlecote Roman villa in 1728. This has now been re-excavated and restored, and it appears to be part of what looks very like an Orphic "church". This offers some remarkable parallels to the development of the Christian churches.
Canterbury has long been the prime example of 'continuity' from Roman to Saxon. This claim is now challenged, and the extensive excavations by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust have thrown new light on Belgic, Roman and Saxon Canterbury as well as solving the mystery of 'Dane John'.
Science Diary looks at Science Grants, Carbon 13 and Diet, Butchery, Who's your relation? Jet or Shale? and Archaeology Abroad.
In Books we look first at three major studies, of The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Periods, Christianity in Roman Britain, and The Agrarian
History of England and Wales: Prehistory. We then go on to Farming Practice in British Prehistory, The Origins of Open Field Agriculture, The Environment in British Prehistory, Early Landscape from the Air, Anthropology for Archaeologists, Roman London, Scot/and and Reconstructing the Past.
The 32nd season of excavations at Wharram Percy, the Deserted Medieval Village on the Yorkshire Wolds, has now been completed. We up-date our previous accounts with the latest news of the continuing Saxon hunt which has already produced the post-medieval vicarage and a medieval smithy, and may produce a Roman villa. We also chronicle the heroic (and muddy) ending of their excavation of a medieval millpond.
At Norwich, a magnificent Norman hall has been discovered, still standing head-high. But this is not quite what the Norfolk Archaeological Unit was expecting to find on the site . . .
At Sheffield University, Jennifer Hillam and Ruth Morgan set up a Dendrochronology laboratory which does all the dating for the DoE's rescue excavations. Here they describe how their frustration over the refusal of timbers from York and Carlisle to conform has been more than counterbalanced by their successes in extending the sequence for London and Canterbury through Saxon times back to the Roman period.
Cover photo. A reconstruction painting by Trevor Caley of the Orphic temenos at Littlecote. The river flows past the building to the right, while the main villa lies off the picture to the left.
262 Organisation of Ancient Monuments and
Historic Buildings in England
276 Science Diary by John Musty
281 Wharram Percy
286 Dendro Dates from Sheffield by Jennifer Hillam and Ruth Morgan