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Comparisons with Pompeii or Tutankhamun’s tomb are often employed to convey the excitement of an archaeological discovery. Recent media coverage labelling an excavation in the heart of London as the ‘Pompeii of the north’ could risk dooming the results, however exciting, to disappointing comparisons with the Bay of Naples sites. On this occasion, though, the waterlogged finds aptly mirror the range of objects preserved by Vesuvius. The London dig has yielded 10,000 small finds, 350 writing tablet fragments, and successive timber buildings. We take a first look at a site that will rewrite the history of the Roman city.

with the Bay of Naples sites. On this occasion, though, the waterlogged

Another discovery that sparked international interest was a Viking boat burial in Scotland. Excavating this richly furnished grave was only one strand to a project tackling the full span of human activity on Scotland’s Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The results are teasing out how that Viking burial slots into a 6,000-year story.

In the 1950s Brading became the first Roman villa Barry Cunliffe ever visited. Even as a schoolboy he was struck by the site’s untapped potential. It was, Barry felt, a work unfinished. Half a century later he returned to the site with an excavation team, and revealed that there is far more to this villa than its sumptuous mosaics.

Christ Church, Oxford, famously stood in for Hogwarts School in two Harry Potter films. Recent work in this college and cathedral hybrid has revealed how the Medieval city tapped into a burgeoning European knowledge economy. It has also unearthed some unusual artefacts that would be familiar to a certain boy wizard.

Our contributors this month

TIME’S TIDES IN SWORDLE BAY HANNAH COBB Dr Hannah Cobb is an Instructor in Applied Archaeology at the University of Manchester, and one of the directors of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project, investigating Swordle Bay in Scotland.

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TIME’S TIDES IN SWORDLE BAY OLIVER HARRIS Oliver Harris is lecturer in archaeology at the University of Leicester. His research interests are varied, from Neolithic Britain and archaeological theory to big-scale histories of the human body.

CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD JOHN MOORE Since 1999 John has run John Moore Heritage Services, which specialises in archaeological fieldwork and historic building recording. He has previously worked in Turkey and the Ukraine, as well as extensively in the south of England.


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