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A Visigoth in Kent?

A small piece of rusted iron discovered by Wessex Archaeology at Springhead, near Gravesend, turned out to be a 5th - early 6th century Visigothic brooch.

The Visigoths (West Goths) were one of the German tribes. Settled near the Black Sea in the 3rd century AD, by the 6th century they had migrated west and reached Spain and southern France.

The Springhead brooch is a very exciting discovery indeed. A number of similar brooches have been found in southern France and central Spain, with a few in northern France, but this one is the first to be found in Britain.

X-ray photography showed that the brooch was made of iron with silver inlay, very similar to two Visigothic brooches found in Fr�nouville, Normandy.

In the last 30 years or so a number of objects of Visigothic design have come to light in this country, mainly in south-east England.

The Springhead brooch is another piece of evidence suggesting connections between the cosmopolitan people of Kent and the small number of Visigothic groups known to have lived in northern France at the time.

Could it be that the Springhead brooch was worn by a Visigoth here in Kent?

To read the article in full and to find out more about the archaeology of Springhead

Innova Park, Enfield

The present industrial and urban character of the lower Lea Valley marks only the latest stage in a constantly changing landscape. Since the end of the last Ice Age people have taken advantage of its abundant natural resources in a variety of ways. Find out more about this fascinating area.

Wessex Archaeology on BBC Radio 3

Wessex Archaeology will be featured on BBC Radio 3’s “Sunday Feature” on Sunday 5th February at 9.30pm.

In one of the most famous last lines of modern poetry,Seamus Heaney resolves to use his pen as a spade and excavate. Like many poets, Heaney is drawn to archaeology. Christine Finn, an archaeologist and poet herself, explores the connections between these two crafts.

As part of the programme, Christine visited our excavations at Renny Lodge, Newport Pagnell. The result is broadcast as The Sunday Feature and is called “I’ll dig with it.”

Further details can be found on Radio 3’s Sunday Feature website.

Fulston Manor - Latest discoveries

Recent excavations at Fulston Manor in Kent, in advance of a new road, have revealed yet more about this fascinating area. Previous excavations by Wessex Archaeology led to the discovery of a medieval bakery. Now the history of the site has been traced back even further. The earliest find is a pot dated to the Middle Bronze Age, some 3,300 years ago. Iron Age finds show that people were still using this landscape 2,500 years ago. We know this from the presence of pottery and field boundaries. Most interesting of all, slag produced during iron smelting suggests that iron was being worked somewhere very close by at this time. We also know that people continued to live here into the Romano-British period as we have found traces of the boundaries around their fields.

Find out more about our previous excavations at Fulston Manor

Kingsmead Quarry

Visit the website to find out more about prehistoric Berkshire, from flint to flood gates!

Marvellous Margate

Discoveries ranged from hoards of metalwork, to cemeteries and bakeries. Find out more about the Margate pipeline.

Archaeocast 4: Ancient Technology with Phil Harding

The latest edition of Archaeocast is available for download over at the Wessex Archaeology Events Blog. Phil Harding explains about stone tool technology, and how the past wasn’t the primitive place we are often led to believe.

If you would like to subscribe to Archaeocast, our RSS feed is http://feeds.feedburner.com/Archaeocast - enter this into your favourite podcast software (such as iTunes) and the latest edition will download automatically to your computer (instructions).

 

Archaeocast 4: Ancient Technology with Phil Harding

Phil Harding, one of our archaeologists, and famous for his role on Channel 4’s Time Team, explains the ancient technology of stone tools - how they were made, and how people in prehistory weren’t as primitive as is often believed.
 

14:00 minutes (12.82 MB)

New volume in the Mary Rose series is out now!

The Mary Rose sank outside Portsmouth on 19th July 1545, as she sailed out of Portsmouth harbour to meet the French fleet. Trapped by netting, or below deck, the crew stood little chance, and their bodies and belongings went to the bottom of the Solent. Excavation of the hull and its contents produced a huge and varied collection of objects, that together make up a detailed and unique picture of what life was like on board a sixteenth century warship.

‘Before the Mast: Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose’, edited by Dr Julie Gardiner is the biggest and most ambitious of the series of volumes on the archaeology of the Mary Rose, produced by Wessex Archaeology for The Mary Rose Trust. With over 700 pages, and more than 570 illustrations (71 in colour), it is a truly magnificent achievement.

This volume covers all the objects from the ship apart from the weapons (Weapons of Warre: The Armaments of the Mary Rose by Alexzandra Hildred will be published next year). Clothing, tools, personal objects and navigation equipment are all examined in meticulous detail, together with environmental evidence of foodstuffs and other organic materials, insects, pollen and the content of ointment canisters.

The volume contains articles by a most impressive team of experts in their field and will be absolutely invaluable to scholars, students and re-enactors, as well as offering a fascinating insight into Tudor life for the more general reader.

To buy a copy visit the Mary Rose Shop or Oxbow Books

New pages on the Wessex Archaeology website

Earlier this month, the nineteenth century timber granary at Vale Farm, Sutton Waldron was successfully lifted and moved. You can find out more about the background to the project on our new web pages.

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