To kick off OA's 50th birthday, we started with the finds that symbolise OA's three regional offices. We then went back to 1973 Oxford to explore one of the first sites excavated by what was then the Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit; looked at a runic curse tablet from Ipswich; travelled to West Yorkshire to find an exceptional Iron Age chariot burial.

All Saints church excavations, Oxford, 1974-74

In 1973, the newly established Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit started works at the All Saints church on Oxford's High Street. The excavations were carried out ahead of work to convert the church into Lincoln College Library, as it is known today.

an overview shot of the excavation site, it has stone structures in every corner and centre of image

Early medieval curses from Ipswich

In the course of excavations at Lower Brook Street in Ipswich, OA archaeologists found this lead plaque, approximately 2 x 1.5 cm in size, with runes on one side, which dates to between the 8th and 11th centuries AD.

tan in colour piece of lead with runes on the flat surface

A real surprise: the Ferry Fryston chariot burial

The rare chariot burial (the Ferry Fryston chariot), found near Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire during the upgrading of the A1 in 2003, was part of a funerary landscape created over several thousand years, from the early Bronze Age to the Roman period, including cremations within ring ditches, a beaker burial, also containing a dagger, and an archer’s wristguard in Langdale tuff, a possible timber structure and a pit alignment. It was found some 30m from a square timber enclosure, of a type often interpreted as a shrine.

a tan pit with a chariot wheels left in the section of excavation. the centre is excavated down to the level of the human remains.