CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGY 117
should be provided. Indeed, one suspects that slowness of response by archaeologists in providing comments may have been one of the causes in holding up publication of the present lists. Such comments as are included tend only to be an elaboration of the description of the sample context which may have been taken from the application form.
Palaeolithic songs Did the painted caves of West ern Europe resound to the music of Palaeolithic chants'. This question is posed by Chris Scarre writing in Nature (30 March 1989) about the findings of two French workers, Iegor Reznikoff and Michel Dauvos. Apparently, they have discovered that the acoustics of caves in the French Pyrenees must have played a significant part in deciding where to paint the walls. They reach this conclusion because a 'resonance map' of the caves examined showed that most of the cave paintings were within a metre of points of resonance. This suggests that music and singing may have been of considerable importance in the rituals of our early ancestors.
** English Heritage has established a working party to discuss problems relating to the disposal/retention of waterlogged structural wood. Subsequently, the working party's guidelines and recommendations will form the basis of the agenda of a symposium to be mounted by the Wetland Archaeology Research Project in conjunction with English Heritage. This is to be held on 15 January, 1990, at the Society of Antiquaries.
** Geoscan Research has moved. It is now at Heather Brae, Chrisharben Park, Clayton Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD14 6AE. Telephone (0274) 880568.
This stylised animal head may have been a key handle or a latch lifter. It probably held a ring in its mouth. The Upper Nene Society has adopted it as its emblem or logo.
At the end of the third century, the Piddington Roman villa was in turmoil. There was a new Emperor - a rebel emperor who had proclaimed independence from Rome, and under the new regime, the owner of the Pidding ton villa was doing well. He was determined to rebuild his villa to reflect his new-found wealth and status, and everywhere in the villa, rebuilding was in progress. Build ing materials were stacked in the courtyard, heaps of tesserae had been accumulated to produce new tessellated floors; walls were plas tered but not painted, and tiles were being manufactured some where in the vicinity: some were even being dried in the best rooms of the villa, for impressions of mosaic and tessellated floors were found on the undersides of several large tiles. But then disaster struck. Constantius, the official emperor from Rome invaded. Allectus was defeated, his supporters fell, and the Piddington villa was abandoned.
At least, this is the current version of the story. Much depends on a single coin of the rebel emperor, Allectus (293-6) found sealed under the spread of unused tesserae in the courtyard. But a scenario like this may possibly explain one of the more interesting aspects of the villa - its early abandonment. But let us begin at the beginning.
Piddington lies in the beautiful rolling Northamptonshire countryside six miles south of Northampton. The villa was originally discovered in 1781, when, according to a letter preserved in the Northamptonshire Record Office, a large mosaic, 50 feet square, was uncovered. The current work began when the local vicar rediscovered the site with his metal detector, and began trenching along the walls. Roy and Elizabeth Friendship-Taylor, who live only two miles away and were already engaged in intensive archaeological research of the neighbouring parish, felt that they should step in before the vicar, the ploughing, and a threatened 24 inch water main destroyed what was left. The farmer has proved extremely cooperative and enthusiastic, and since 1979, the Upper Nene Archaeological Society have been excavating there at weekends throughout the year, and for two weeks of continuous digging in the summer.
In 1986 the first stage of the excavation was completed, revealing most of the central range; now a second large area to the south has