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Cate Davies

World Heritage Day

By News No Comments

For #WorldHeritageDay we’d like to share our recent work at the Tower of London.

PCA has been commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces to undertake built heritage work during several stages of restoration at the Tower of London. In 2018, during the replacement of the protective staircase in the Flamsteed Turret, the timber covers and the underlying stone stair vice built from 1075/79 to 1100 were recorded. In 2021, building recording was carried out when the walkways leading to and from the Wakefield Tower were replaced, while in 2023 a petrological survey of the Cradle Tower was undertaken prior to repair.

Building recording at Wakefield Tower

Building recording at Wakefield Tower.

Our petrological survey of Cradle Tower
identified poor quality stone in need of

A medieval stone culvert in Wakefield Tower

A medieval stone culvert in Wakefield Tower.

Specialist Kevin Hayward's petrological analysis in the Flamsteed Turret identified the same 1080 to 1090/93 building break as that seen elsewhere in the fabric of the White Tower, around 23m OD

Petrological analysis in the Flamsteed Turret identified the same 1080 to 1090/93 building break as that seen elsewhere in the fabric of the White Tower, around 23m OD.

Very rare Roman coins identified!

By News, Recent Finds No Comments

We’re accustomed to unearthing fascinating artefacts, but every so often, something extraordinary is discovered which sends ripples through the archaeological community.

During recent excavations in Suffolk, our team found two very unusual Roman coins. Dr Peter Guest, who has undertaken extensive research on the coins has just posted his findings on LinkedIn.

The coins in question belong to the reign of Carausius, a usurper who ruled Britain and northern Gaul from 286 to 293 AD. Carausius’s coinage served as a canvas for sophisticated propaganda, which portrayed Carausius as an equal to the official emperors of the time, Diocletian and Maximian, and as the upholder of traditional Roman values. He was clearly particularly fond of the poet Virgil, especially his Aeneid (which was 300 years old at the time).

I struggled with the 2 new coins for a while because the combination of obverses and reverses didn’t make sense. Their obverses bear the emperor’s helmeted radiate bust facing left with spear and shield and the legend IMP CARAVSI-VS AVG (‘The Emperor Carausius Augustus’). The helmeted obverse bust was modelled on a type issued during the reign of Probus (276-282) and, although it is known for Carausius, it was not common.

Dr Peter Guest

The coins’ reverses are equally intriguing, also derived from coins of Probus but of a type unknown on Proban radiates and only known from gold aurei struck ing Rome and Siscia. on Carausian radiates. The reverses depict the helmeted emperor facing left, holding a spear and shield. He addresses two supplicants on either side, with the legend “PACAT ORBIS” (Peace-bringer to the world). The mint marks on these coins – //oXXVL – are previously undocumented for Carausius.

This type of Carausian radiate is not recorded in the relevant volume of Roman Imperial Coinage (published in 1933) and there is no mention of it in the Online Coins of the Roman Empire corpus (, or anywhere else for that matter.

With the invaluable assistance of colleagues from The British Museum, including Andrew Burnett and Dr. Sam Moorhead, Dr Guest discovered that two other coins of the same type and mint mark had been recorded since 1933, providing crucial context and validation for our find. The inclusion of these coins in the upcoming edition of Roman Imperial Coinage Vol. V.5 further cements their significance in numismatic history.

Yet, questions remain. What were these rare coins doing at a settlement in West Suffolk, amidst a cache of 596 other Roman coins?

3D Iron Age

By News, Recent Finds No Comments

For #FindsFriday we’re thrilled to share a 3D model of an amazing find from the Middle Iron Age — a pole ladder, one of the earliest examples of its kind found in the UK.

The ladder was discovered largely intact, leaning against the side of a well. With two siderails and five rungs carved from oak, and measuring 2.3m x 0.7m, it was extremely robust compared to other Later Iron Age and Romano-British ladders. It would have weighed 70kg when first built, but has gradually dried out over the centuries, weighing 50kg when excavated. The rarity of waterlogged wood from the Iron Age makes this discovery even more exciting!

This 3D model by Valerio and Isaac, our Geospatial Data Team, is part of a collection we’re planning to add to our forthcoming Virtual Museum.

A possible first in the country!

By News, Recent Finds No Comments

For #FindsFriday, a repaired dolium from Newgate Street in the City of London. Dolia are large, neckless jars usually associated with viticulture; they could also have been used as storage or preserving jars. They’re relatively rare in Roman Britain. The complex lead brackets used to repair this example are exceptional and very few parallels are known to have been used on pottery vessels. While there are a few known repaired large storage vessels in Roman Britain, excitingly this may be the first repaired dolium-type vessel to be found here!

Kathy Davidson will be giving a talk on our work at Newgate Street at the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society conference tomorrow. Read more about the site, with a link to book tickets, here:

Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum

By News No Comments

Katie Mountain will be giving a talk on Saturday 9th March at the Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum in Hexham. Book your ticket here.

Katie will present our work at Turret 3a, one of the largest turrets uncovered and the only known confirmed turret east of Newcastle. Our discovery demonstrated that the potential for significant archaeological remains relating to Hadrian’s Wall can survive even in built-up areas of urban Tyneside.

Turret 3a showing cippi pits

Read more about Turret 3a here

Polebrook school visit

By News, Outreach No Comments

Sian O’Neill’s recent talk to a group of Reception and Year 1 kids was a big hit!

Sian came to visit us at Polebrook school as the ‘Fabulous Finish’ to our History learning. She was brilliant!

Sian was exciting, engaging and passionate about archaeology. The children loved finding out about Polebrook in the past and the powerpoint was full of great images that really helped them to understand the different stages in history. The children were delighted to touch and hold real life artifacts and order them- This was just magical to watch!

The whole session was perfectly aimed at KS1 children, and we just can’t thank Sian enough for the opportunity to learn from a real-life archaeologist. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and visit! 

 Jessica McIntosh, teacher

LAMAS 60th Annual Conference

By News No Comments

The LAMAS (London and Middlesex Archaeology Society) annual archaeological conference is back this year in person at the Museum of London Docklands, as well as being available online via zoom. The conference takes place on Saturday 23rd March, and tickets are now available here.

The conference combines an overview of recent work in and around London (with our own Kathy Davidson presenting the recent excavations at Newgate Street), with a series of talks on a theme, which this year will be “The DUA and DGLA, 50 and 40 years on”.

Archaeology at 81 Newgate Street, last day of site

The former GPO site at Newgate Street was one of the stand-out excavations within the City of London by the DUA in the 1970s. This important site revealed late Iron Age and early Roman buildings within early Londinium, some late Saxon buildings and traces of medieval occupation, alongside remains of the church of St Nicholas Shambles, dating from the 12th century, with an associated cemetery.

The building constructed after the 1970s work was recently extended and its basement enlarged. Our team, led by Kathy Davidson, excavated the surviving archaeology over a trench measuring 25m by 4.5m. Despite expectations, the complete absence of medieval burials was notable, suggesting they may have been removed during 19th-century development; we did however discover human remains in an unexpected location!

We found good sequences of medieval rubbish pits, extensive Roman buildings and earlier AD 1st century quarries. The Roman phases also showed a strong indication for smiths working either on-site or nearby – this will be a focus for further investigation for publication.

Pop-up Exhibition in Whitechapel

By Arbor City Hotel, News No Comments

We had a steady stream of interested people at our pop-up display at Hampton by Hilton London City hotel, of finds recovered from excavations prior to its construction. The visitors were a range of mudlarks, professional archaeologists, university students, workmen at the hotel, hotel guests and staff, and many people stayed for 30 minutes to an hour!


Finds on display included a 17th-18th century sugar cone mould, a tiny ‘false die’ with two 5s, medieval floor tiles and a ‘facon de Venise’ goblet featuring a lion’s mask. Click here to see more finds from this fascinating site.

Newark Castle Update

By News No Comments

Our work at Newark Castle is making the news! Join Phil in these videos to discover the industrial past which lies beneath the now-landscaped castle grounds. We’ll be providing an update on our work here soon, but in the meantime…

catch the team on NottsTV tonight 15 February at 7, or online from 8pm for a week.

the BBC’s coverage here and the Newark Advertiser’s here

Newark Castle have also released a video with site supervisor Phil Jefferies discussing our work which is available to view here

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