Vindolanda, violence and war; forthcoming events in CBA North-land

CBA North News
Today our email combines our alphabet of archaeology with the letters V and W with a regular update of events across CBA North-land. This month started with the Belief in the North East conference at Durham University today.

Hot on the heels of the conference are three further events for the Bronze Age, Ancient Egyptians and Mary, Queen of Scots, in this week alone. Vindolanda, violence and war all feature in events this and next month; there is plenty for you to take your pick with (as well as more to come this week)!

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
01.10.2017

Local society events this month
Here is a list of events that we know of, so far, this month. Events, however, continue to be added to our website page – please let us know anything that we are missing!

2 October – “Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be broken”: reconstructing Bronze Age fighting styles, Andrea Dolfini [BAS]
7 October – Cobras, Demons and ‘Fighters’: Demonology in Ancient Egypt, Kasia Szpakowska [NEAES]

8 October – Mary, Queen of Scots, Jordan Evans [TILLVAS]

11 October – The Jomon Period Obsidian Mines in the Hoshikuso Pass, Nagawa, Japan, Pete Topping [NAG]
12 October – Medieval Grave Slabs of Cumbria, Peter Ryder [APPLEBY]
13 October – The Archaeology of Early Steam Locomotives, Dr Michael Bailey [Newcomen North East]
14 October – Title to be confirmed, David Mason [ARCH & ARCH]
15 October – David Dippie Dixon Memorial Lectures: The Roman assault on Burnswark Hill and New Views on Roman Scotland, John Reid [CCA]
25 October – Putting the People in the Pageant: Visions of People’s History and the Industrial Revolution in Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016, Alexander Hutton [SOCANTS]
31 October – The River Tees Rediscovered, Robin Daniels [TAS]

Conference review: SGRP at Carlisle
Our region has played host to a number of national conferences this year which we hope to report to all members. Paul Bidwell, formerly Head of Archaeology, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, who retired in 2013, has provided this review of one of those events.

Paul writes “The Study Group for Roman Pottery (SGRP) was established in 1971 and now has a membership of 170 which consists mainly of people working for archaeological contracting organisations and museums, together with a healthy representation of independent researchers. This year its annual conference met at the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle on the weekend of 14–17 July.

Although there was a wide range of papers, the focus was on recent fieldwork and research in northern England. Pottery and burial practices in the Roman cemetery recently investigated at Botchergate, Carlisle were described by Megan Stoakley. Presentations on the material from the excavations in the extra-mural settlements at Brougham were given by Ruth Leary and Gwladys Monteil. One particularly interesting aspect of the pottery at Maryport is the presence of coarse wares imported from Mucking on the Thames estuary in Essex. It is a demonstration of the extent to which Roman military and urban sites in northern England had become dependent on the import of pottery from the Midlands and southern England in the mid-Roman period. Some of the implications of this change from local production in the earlier Roman period were explored by Jerry Evans in his account of pottery from recent excavations at Vindolanda. In the third century imports from continental Europe were in decline but were still of some importance. Most of the wine supplied to the Roman army in the North seems to have been supplied from southern Gaul and the Rhineland in barrels rather than amphorae, but, as Paul Bidwell explained, during the mid- to late third century imports from the famous wine-producing area of Campania in central Italy arrived in large quantities. They were contained in amphorae of distinctive forms and fabrics (see the photographs below).

Two mid-third century wine amphorae from Campania found at South Shields and Wallsend
(© Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums)

The Pottery Group meetings always include a short field trip, and this year an excursion was made to Vindolanda and the stretch of the Wall between Gilsland and Birdoswald. A highlight was the firing of a replica Roman pottery kiln at Vindolanda which was organised by Graham Taylor, a professional potter.

Other very interesting contributions dealt with pottery beyond our region, but mention made of some that described work at Scotch Corner and Catterick on the border with North Yorkshire. Excavations connected with the completion of the A1(M) have been on a huge scale and are likely to transform our understanding of Roman settlement in north-east England when the post-excavation analyses have been completed”.

Looking further ahead
Here is a selection of some of the other events happening in October and November across the CBA North region. If you want to get involved with these, with the exception of the open day next weekend, then you will need to book up. Contact details can be found in each of the posters.

For those that haven’t satisfied their fieldwork needs during the summer yet, Wardell Armstrong have sent us details of a further project examining whether a series of large stones in the Wear are the remains of a Roman structure.

Looking further ahead the Arbeia Society conference in November continues the Roman interests

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