Exeavating the CA arehive Joe Flatman explores half a century of reports from the past.
This latest look at CA's reporting down the years continues the chronological survey we began in CA 329 by examining the Viking and Anglo-Saxon period: what used to be referred to as the 'Dark Ages' but now sits under the more accurate - albeit less Romantic - moniker of 'early medieval'. The early medieval period has struggled a bit for coverage in CA over the years, for various reasons: the relative absence of surviving 'monumental' sites, the uncertain place of this topiC in universities (does it sit in the history, archaeology, or even literature departments?), and the burial of some of these sites beneath later medieval and modern developments all take their toll in different ways. Notwithstanding these challenges, CA has covered some amazing sites over the years.
IN THE CITY It is impossible to explore this period through the pages of CA without mentioning the husband-and-wife team of Martin Biddle and Birthe Kjolbye-Biddle. The former was one of the leading lights of Anglo-Saxon archaeology back in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s; the latter was a Similarly significant figure in Viking archaeology; together, they were leaders of friendship with the Selkirks, their sites appeared regularly in the pages of CA in its early years.
Down the years, a generation of archaeologists (many still at work today) cut their teeth on the complex Roman, and early and high medieval archaeology of Winchester with Biddle and his colleagues. As they went along, they developed many of the approaches that are now taken as standard in the discipline, especially recording and drawing conventions. Winchester played a starring role in CA 2 (May 1967) and popped up regularly thereafter, appearing in, among others, CA 6, CA 20, CA 100, CA 102, CA 110, CA 200, CA 271, and CA 300. Biddle and Winchester thus vie with Crummy and Colchester for the crown of CA's 'most featured' site over the years.
Viking Age York is another early medieval urban centre that can make claims in this direction: few among us have not visited the]orvik Viking Centre at least once, and its creatorsthe York Archaeological Trust - have a Similarly distinguished pedigree in the history of rescue archaeology as their southern cousins in Winchester. CA 17 (November 1969) was the first in-depth visit by the magazine to York, but it returned in CA 37, CA 58, CA 76, CA 104, and CA 140, as just some examples.
the rescue-archaeology movement over the same period. A TALE OF THREE CITIES This polymath pairing quickly recognised the potential of the A less happy urban story came in CA 66 (April 1979), nascent Current Archaeology and, as a consequence of their which reported on the 'excavations' - very much rescue archaeology - at Wood Quay in Dublin, centre of Viking
Dubh Linn (the town of the 'black poo!'). Dublin's cultural vibrancy and rich history attract tourists from across the world, but few of them, I suspect, spare as much as a glance for the rather forbidding 1970s council offices that dominate the popular Temple Bar district. Fewer still are likely to realise that they are at the heart of the old Viking town, with its sea connections to locations that are now but a Ryanair flight away.
One such flight would land the modern visitor at Southampton, with its Saxon (and before that, Roman) origins and unexpected links to those modern-day lovers of Viking-like ostentation: Premier League footballers. CA 79 (October 1981) reported on finds from Saxon Hamwic, underlying and adjacent to what is now Southampton F.C.'s St Mary's Stadium.