July 2014's top ten UK archaeology artefacts

By Ben Miller | 30 July 2014

The hot weather of July allowed archaeologists plenty of opportunities to dig in and make discoveries. Here are ten of the most tantalising

A photo of bits of gold
© Wessex Archaeology
Gold beads found at the Kingsmead Quarry in Berkshire

Found alongside flint blades from 12,000 years ago, the strongest evidence of Neolithic housing in Britain and the body of a necklace-wearing woman thought to be at least 35, these beads are made from some of the oldest gold ever found in Britain. They have gone on public display at the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum.

A photo of a large jagged rock
© Courtesy Colchester Archaeological Trust
Hacked Roman legs and jawbones beneath a Colchester department store

Although traces of the brutal Boudiccan battles of uprisings during Roman times are not uncommon in Essex, this was only the second time human remains had been found. Archaeologist Phil Crummy said the soldier these once belonged to may have been felled and then consumed by flames (“this could be way too fanciful”, he then conceded.)

A photo of a large red and white house in front of grass
© Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
A Roman bath containing a steamroom, cold and tepid rooms and a gym

“We’ve got a Roman cement-lined cold plunged bath, which absolutely puts the tin lid on it,” said Nick Hodgson, the manager of the age-old project to find a Roman bath on the edges of Segedunum Roman Fort on Tyneside. Its foundations turned up on the former site of the Ship in the Hole pub. “It was simply one of those longstanding mysteries,” added Hodgson.

A photo of a series of ancient coins
© Richard Davenport Photography
A set of Derbyshire coins buried as savings by tribespeople

Coins from the Corieltavi tribe, predating the invasion of Britain in AD 43, have been found before. But these Late Iron Age ones are the first to have been found in a cave, hidden in Reynard’s Kitchen in a burial archaeologists compared to a modern-day ISA.

A photo of a stone circle on a beach
© Norfolk Archaeological Unit
A Bronze Age stone circle sister to Norfolk’s coastal Seahenge

Never excavated, archaeologists used tree ringing to date this stone circle to 2049 BC – making it a mysterious sister circle to Norfolk’s Seahenge. It remains unclear why it was built, although its prototype is thought to have marked the death of an individual in a cenotaph.

A photo of a skull buried among clay
© Nathaniel Hobby
The skeletons of two men and three women near their Roman villa

Archaeologists in Bournemouth hope these mid-4th century skeletons, found near a villa, could represent three generations of burials from the same family. They now plan to examine the remains in order to find out more about the rural elite of late-Roman Britain.

A photo of a computer reconstruction of a medieval man's face
© Hayley Fisher
Medieval men, women and children recreated in Edinburgh

Using the latest technology on burials found at a former church site in medieval Edinburgh, these striking profiles are eerie reconstructions of the people who resided in the Scottish capital 500 years ago. A young man and woman and a teenager were among those brought back to digital life, with archaeologists also releasing details about the heights and diets of some of the people they discovered.

A black and white photo of a large Egyptian mummy
© Griffith Institute, University of Oxford. Photo: Harry Burton
The outermost gilded wooden coffin of the mummy of Tutankhamun at the Ashmolean

A foreboding reminder of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon’s amazing archaeological discovery of 1922, when they discovered the tomb of the ‘boy king’, Tutankhamun. Photographer Harry Burton’s photographs reveal all in Discovering Tutankhamun, which has just opened in Oxford.

A photo of a ring with a red bit at the front
© Courtesy Durham University
A spectacular silver ring in Roman Durham

Archaeologists dubbed Binchester Roman Fort "the Pompeii of the north" after finding a huge bath house there. This seemingly-glowing ring had a touch of the Tolkien about it, with features indicating a 3rd century creation which, according to archaeologists, was surprisingly early for a Christian object in Britain.

A photo of a digitally-reconstructed skeleton against a black background
© Andrew Weekes Photography
Richard III's Bosworth battle wounds via computer recreation

Some of the remains of Richard III, held at Leicester Royal Infirmary, were used to create a printed 3D replica of his skeleton as part of the new Richard III Visitor Centre. “It was quite clear to see a number of the significant injuries that he had sustained in battle,” said Professor Russell Harris, who led the Loughborough University team behind the research.

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More from Culture24’s Archaeology section:

In Pictures: The new £2.4 million Wessex Gallery of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum

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