Archaeology

Read the Trusted Source articles about archaeology...

A view over Housesteads Fort at Hadrians Wall

What is Archaeology? 

Archaeology is the study of human society and life in the past through physical remains.

Standing Stones at Avebury

What is a World Heritage Site? 

A World Heritage Site is a cultural or natural landmark that has been recognized by UNESCO due to its universal value to humanity, both in the present and for future generations.

Barras Nose headland, Tintagel, North Cornwall

Who was King Arthur? 

Historians and archaeologists fiercely debate the possibility of a ‘real’ King Arthur.

Detail of an early fourteenth century Italo-Byzantine triptych

How did Byzantium influence the British Isles? 

The Byzantine Empire was a strong power for more than 1000 years. Its influence was felt across the world, including the British Isles.

The Egyptian temple in Egypt at Biddulph Grange

What is Egyptomania? 

The term Egyptomania refers to the enthusiasm for everything that is related to ancient Egypt. Although Egyptomania has been seen in many places and at many times, several peaks are especially noteworthy.

William John Bankes by George Sandars

Who was William John Bankes?  

William John Bankes was one of nineteenth-century Britain’s most extravagant collectors of art and antiquities, which he amassed at his country estate at Kingston Lacy in Dorset.

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson in Turkish Dress by Henry Wyndham Phillips

Who was John Gardner Wilkinson? 

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875) was a nineteenth-century traveller and scholar. He was a pioneer of Egyptology, the modern science devoted to the study of ancient Egypt.

Shabti fragment from a box marked 'Minor Egyptian Antiquities', Kingston Lacy

What is a shabti? 

A shabti is a generally mummiform figurine found in many ancient Egyptian tombs. The meaning of the Egyptian term is still debated, however one possible translation is ‘answerer’, as they were believed to answer their master’s call to work in the afterlife.

Hercules in the gardens at Powis Castle, Wales

Who were the Classical heroes? 

In Classical mythology, heroes were often the descendants of gods. The Italian Renaissance rediscovered the artistic appeal of such mythological figures, and this movement widely influenced British art and architecture from the sixteenth century onwards.

A handcrafted replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet

What are the Beasts of Battle? 

‘Beasts of Battle’ is a recurring image in Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and Old Norse (Viking) poetry. The three beasts are the raven, the eagle, and the wolf, who feast on the bodies of the slain.

Looking towards the sea, over the heather-covered ground at Dunwich Heath, Suffolk

Why were some medieval villages deserted? 

There are over 2000 known sites of deserted medieval villages in England. Some villages were depopulated gradually by disease, enclosure or depleted local resources, others destroyed for aesthetic reasons by landowners, and others swept away by the effects of a changing climate.

Engraving in the collection at Parke Estate, Devon

Why were local fairs important? 

The local fair was a site for trade, celebrating community identity, and welcoming outsiders to a town or village. There were hundreds of fairs across Britain, often occupying the same site on the same date for centuries.