We start this issue with a final report on one of the biggest Roman digs of recent times: the Caerwent forum-basilica. Here was a tiny town on the furthest fringe of the Roman Empire. When did it start, how did it fare, and how long did it last? Richard Brewer dug the site with student volunteers from 1981 to 1995, and here, with close colleague Peter Guest, he tells the story.
Then we go to Mount Caburn, perhaps the most excavated site in England, and long considered one of the classic hillforts of the south-east. But was it? Peter Drewett and Sue Hamilton set out to piece together the unpublished evidence, fill in the gaps with some well-placed new trenches, and work out what really happened at prehistoric Caburn. They reach some startling conclusions and pose the question: classic hillfort or sacred mount?
Our third article is a tribute to Philip Barker, who died at the beginning of this year. Perhaps best known to most readers as author of the standard textbook on how to dig, he is of course also famous for his two great research excavations - of Hen Domen motte-and-bailey castle, and of the early Dark Age remains overlying the Baths Basilica at Roman Wroxeter. Many believe he was the finest excavator of his generation. Certainly his methods were revolutionary and the results spectacular. Here, with the help offormer close colleagues, we profile his life and work.
Finally, we have Mike Baillie, no stranger to Current Archaeology, stirring up controversy again! In our fourth feature, he throws down the gauntlet on the 'AD 540 event', probably the biggest environmental disaster of the last two millennia. Not the result of a volcanic eruption as commonly believed, he argues, but of a close encounter with a comet. Mike Baillie is a top archaeological scientist - so read his piece and see what you think.
Also in this issue, an urgent call to arms in our Diary section. The British Government could be on the brink of banning amateur archaeology, and Current Archaeology is backing the Council for Independent Archaeology's campaign to stop this. Please give your support by signing the Open Letter and writing to the CIA to this effect.
Valetta Treaty: government to outlaw amateurs, What is Article 3? Historic Environment Forum, Open Letter, Leigh Beck, Seahenge revisited, Pompeii, Knowlton Henge, and SmallTalk.
Fairweather Eden; Hengeworld; Facing the Ocean; Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain; Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership.
• letters Christianity's Jewish roots, Peewit or not peewit? Self-propelled chariots, Yarntons railway, War memorials, Foot-and-Mouth burials, Stonehenge explained, The Potteries Museum, and Naked troweller.