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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

Pop-up Exhibition

By Arbor City Hotel, News No Comments

Explore the archaeology of Whitechapel at our pop-up exhibition on Friday February 9th, from 11am to 4.30pm.

Join us at Hampton by Hilton London City Hotel to see a display of artefacts found during our excavations which took place as part of the hotel’s development.

Archaeology was discovered dating from the Roman period, when the site was located close to the main road to Colchester, through to the late 19th century. In particular the excavation recorded alleyways, houses, workshops and yards showing the development of this area during the Tudor period. The finds recovered included high status imported ceramics and artefacts associated local manufacturing notably glass-making, sugar production and bell founding.

Newark Castle

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One of our teams is lucky enough to be beginning an excavation at the spectacular Newark Castle today. The aim is to uncover additional information about the historical layout of the castle by revealing a stable building that stood next to the gatehouse 200 years ago. The building was partially located by Salford Archaeology in 2018, and sections of a wall are illustrated on plans and drawings dating from 1823 to 1885. Our 20m x 5m trench should expose the structure in its entirety.

As well as offering a glimpse into the castle’s historical evolution, our findings will play a crucial role in shaping the next phase for the castle: the development of the Gatehouse as a visitor attraction, with a new community facility in the location of the former stables. It is hoped that the remains of the stable, depending on preservation, can be exposed and tastefully incorporated into the new space.

You never know what you’re going to uncover on a dig, especially on a site as rich in history as our own spectacular Newark Castle. It’s been the home of a bishop, seen the death of King John, been taken apart by townspeople rebuilding after the Civil War and much more, and I can’t wait to see which stories it will tell us next.

Sarah Clarke, Project Development Manager for the Newark Castle Building Bridges Project

A Skeumorphic Friday Find

By News, Recent Finds No Comments

This funky piece of late Iron Age pottery is a recent find at a site in Buckinghamshire. It’s a ceramic foot for a quad pod cauldron, imitating continental examples in metal. You can see it is heavily decorated with slashes, dots etc – this is probably skeumorphic, representing the rivet and hammer marks on the copper originals. Needless to say it’s extremely rare!

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