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All that glitters is not gold? According to the latest research on the Staffordshire Hoard, it certainly seems so. Ongoing investigations are revealing that Saxon artisans had developed a sophisticted technique to make their gold appear to be rather more golden than it really was. But how did they do it? Carly Hilts met with the team to discover more.

This issue then gets stranger than fiction as we go in search of Alice in Wonderland’s ‘Treacle Well’. Yes, it exists, and Martin Henig has been on a mission to disentangle its curious history. We then visit the Museum of London’s latest blockbuster exhibition, The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die, on London’s favourite fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. The exhibition inspired us to ask: which real-life London archaeological mysteries are worthy of Sherlock? Five of the Museum’s curators take their pick.

We then return to Piddington, the long-running independent excavation led by the Friendship-Taylors. The dig has now extended beyond the Roman villa, but what have they found? Andrew Selkirk enlightens us. Thereafter, we go behind the scenes at the exquisite country mansion of Knole, where we discover something of its rather dirty, devilish history.

Finally, we salute Beatrice de Cardi, the indefatigable world archaeologist, and former Secretary of the Council of British Archaeology, who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year. Good reading!

Our contributors this month

SECRETS OF THE STAFFORDSHIRE HOARD ELEANOR BLAKELOCK Eleanor trained as an archaeometallurgist, and in 2012 finished a PhD studying AngloSaxon and Viking iron-working techniques. She is also a council member for the Historical Metallurgical Society.

PIDDINGTON UNCOVERED ROY AND DIANA FRIENDSHIP-TAYLOR Roy and Diana have been heading the excavations at Piddington Roman villa for 35 years. Roy is Chairman of the Upper Nene Archaeological Society, and Diana is a specialist in archaeological leather.

KNOLE UNLOCKED NATHALIE COHEN Nathalie is a regional archaeologist for the National Trust, covering properties in Kent and East Sussex, with a particular focus on the major project at Knole. She is also a Community Archaeologist with the Thames Discovery Programme.

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