Ten of the best archaeology blogs from current UK history projects

By Ben Miller | 14 January 2015

If you can't be there with a trowel, blogs are one of the best ways to keep up with the latest finds from archaeological digs. Here are ten to keep you up to speed

A photo of a pair of hands holding a large white archaeological rock
© Chris Day, City of York Council
Hidden Guildhall Project Diary, York

Launched last July, this community-focused excavation is one of the largest ever undertaken in the centre of York. From the remains of a medieval friary to remnants from a 19th century garden, Mitch Pollington kept everyone updated during the main dig, in August. Look out for more from the team as the finds are pored over and the second phase begins.

A photo of a hand holding up a small white archaeological artefact beneath a blue sky
© CAER
CAER Heritage Project, Caerau and Ely

It’s difficult not to be charmed by a group who sent two of their members to a conference dressed as postmen from the past and future (the latter in an intergalactic suit with helmet, encouraging audience members to pen advice to their predecessors). It’s also the place to get all the updates on an Arts and Humanities Research Council-backed collaboration led by Cardiff University and local groups, based around a little-known but very important Iron Age hillfort in the city which regularly results in the discovery of everything from livestock corrals to glass beads. Read more.

A photo of a large gold torc from long ago within a brown mud archaeological pit
© Jersey Heritage
Treasure Blog, Jersey Heritage

The Museums Conservator on the island, Neil Mahrer, writes this cheery, fascinating view from the labs at Jersey Heritage. Their most recent star object, a gold torc which was Culture24’s most read-about archaeological find of 2014, has given him plenty to recount recently, although the team have been quick to assure their fans that they are equally attentive to the rest of the shimmering hoard and the large number of artefacts Jersey has been known to provide.

A photo of a woman digging into mud at an archaeological site with a small fork
© University of Reading
Lyminge Archaeological Project, Kent

Examining the antecedents and development of a documented Anglo-Saxon monastic community founded by the Kentish royal dynasty during the 7th century AD, this University of Reading-led project began in 2010. Its second phase of investigations, at the picturesque Tayne Field, recently concluded after three highly revealing years of good work, including vast quantities of metalworking and enough coloured beads to do all the colours of the rainbow proud. Also see lymingearchaeology.org.

A photo of a large number of archaeologists with wheelbarrow working on a green site
© Vindolanda Trust
Vindolanda Charitable Trust, Northumberland

Far from the height of the summer searching season along Hadrian’s Wall, this is the place where you can find the lengthily-compiled reports from decades of digging, as well as inside stories from a site where a Roman gold coin was near-miraculously found last June. It came more than 40 years after the former military post had produced a set of wafer-thin tablets regarded as one of the British Museum’s top ten domestic treasures.

A photo of a computer-generated image showing a square tomb inside a cathedral
© van Heyningen and Haward Architects
King Richard in Leicester, Leicester

Pete Hobson’s inside track on the reinterment of the King’s remains at Leicester Cathedral has already shown prolific form this year, and it’s likely to get busier as preparations accelerate. “I think we may need to do a little more work to change the agenda,” he writes frankly on the blog, having seen a “flurry of media” pose questions largely based around York’s counter-claim to provide Richard’s final resting place and whether the burial should be Catholic or Anglican.

A photo of a man in a high visibility jacket carrying out a measurement by a river
© Thames Discovery Programme
Frog Blog, London

Launched in 2008 and enhanced by the expertise of Museum of London Archaeology, the manoeuvres of the Thames Discovery Programme – which sees the Thames as the largest open-air archaeological site in London – are keenly documented by this frog. Timber trading south of the river more than 200 years ago and the man who might have saved the city during wartime bombardment are among the stories.

A photo of people digging a large muddy pit at an archaeological site in the country
© Courtesy Megan Stoakley / Wardell Armstrong Archaeology
Wardell Armstrong Archaeology, Cumbria

These archaeology and heritage consultants published a compelling four-part series on an important dig at Papcastle, and their revelations from Roman Cumbria look set to continue with this year’s investigation of the Derventio area. They also write authoritatively about the challenges facing experts on a case-to-case basis – in a recent post, Regional Director Helen Martin-Bacon pointed out some of the pitfalls for land developers.

A photo of a large ancient wooded games board from a ship sunk hundreds of years ago
© Mary Rose Trust
The Mary Rose Blog, Portsmouth

As reliable as ever for archaeological finds since reopening in 2013, the blog of the museum devoted to Henry VIII’s mighty warship likes to mix it up. Recent posts included the discovery of the ship’s youngest crew member – the resident dog - and a few of the things which didn’t cause the Mary Rose to sink, both written by Simon Clabby. You can also read his review of 2014 at the museum.

A photo of a large square brown archaeological pit with mud and stones inside it
© Courtesy UoB
The Heritage Journal Campaigns

The high-passion section of The Heritage Journal is action-packed: nighthawking, the “no compromise” backlash against the government’s proposed tunnel at Stonehenge and various valiant initiatives to protect sites of historical value around the country have been a few of the topics touched upon during recent weeks. Questionable government responses give it a slight Private Eye feel.

A few more to watch:

Heritage of Wales News for the latest from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales; the London Wreck project to salvage a ship which sank off Southend 350 years ago; Oxford Archeaology News for updates from one of the country’s most respected teams; Lizard and Penrose NT Blog for treasures from the tip of the country; Love Arch for the magazine Glasgow Uni archaeologists promise is “excellent”; GUARD publications for thorough accounts of archaeology north of the border; Wessex Archaeology News for an always-interesting and diverse range of reports and links from around the country; Elmet Archaeology’s discoveries in South Yorkshire; the British Museum’s wide-ranging archaeology blog; the National Museum Wales blog to find out how to become an Iron Age carpenter; the Culver Project diary entries from a Roman villa in Sussex; the Cairns Project, looking back on an Iron Age investigation in Orkney; the Day of Archaeology coming up in July.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More from Culture24's Archaeology section:

Culture24's top ten archaeology stories of 2014

More than a pile of stones: The archaeological quest at a burial chamber in Neolithic Cornwall

"Breathtakingly rare" late Middle Age feasting cup and chalice to go on national tour
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