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The number of wrecks off England’s coast is a stark reminder of our reliance on shipping: 37,000 vessels, cargoes, and even ditched aircraft have been identified. Events that often spelled tragedy for crews have transformed these craft into time-capsules. While most postdate 1815, traces of scattered cargoes date back to the Bronze Age. We tell the story of these lost vessels.
Something that may have been lost without us even realising is the Hastings battlefield. An Abbey founded after the fighting was believed to mark the spot, but rival candidates have recently emerged. Investigation by Time Team has raised the prospect that a roundabout now lies where Harold Godwinson was cut down.
Less severe injuries could earn the afflicted a spell in a Medieval hospital. Excavations in Cambridge revealed both a hospital cemetery and an insight into 12th-century healthcare. The dig also touched on a former archaeologist’s garden, where disturbed burials had been reinterred in a way that evokes Neolithic practice.
Neolithic burial rites are also under the spotlight at the Garn Turne dolmens. As well as exposing the earliest masonry-working known in Britain, digging has shed light on how gigantic capstones were lifted using Neolithic technology. Work at Welwyn may have uncovered a very different form of funerary monument. Burials focused on a large pit have raised questions about whether this could be a symbolic gateway to the underworld.
Finally, see p.42 for our conference news and the fantastic projects, publications, and people nominated for CA awards. Vote now!
Our contributors this month
OLD DIVINITY SCHOOL CRAIG CESSFORD Craig Cessford has worked in field archaeology for more than 20 years. He is currently employed as a Senior Project Officer with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, specialising in Medieval and later urban archaeology.
HOW TO BUILD A DOLMEN VICKI CUMMINGS Dr Cummings is a Reader in Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. Her research focuses on the Mesolithic and Neolithic of Britain and Ireland, particularly monuments and landscape.
WELWYN’S ROMAN MYSTERY TONY ROOK Tony Rook began his career in the RAF, servicing radar in bombers. Having worked in building research, taught science, and introduced rescue archaeology to Hertfordshire, this photo reflects his longstanding (seasonal) day job.
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