In September, the #OAat50 highlights explored the early medieval origins of Norwich and the long, complex history of Oxford Castle and its quarter. We looked back at an exceptional dig to bring back to light a Spitfire shot down in the Fens during the Battle of Britain. And we revisited the multi-phase site at Stainton West, Cumbria, where the OA team uncovered traces of gatherings during the Mesolithic. 

Writing about early medieval Norwich

OA has an excellent post-excavation and publication team and a great track record of publishing many of our projects for the public. Sometimes we analyse the finds and information from excavations carried out by others.

This #OAat50 highlight is one of these cases. We had the privilege to work on the results of excavations by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit (NAU) in Norwich between 1999 and 2008. We now publish "Aspects of 7th- to 11th-century Norwich", the results of this work focusing on 7th-11th century Norwich.

You can find all the publication's details and read more about Anglo-Saxon and medieval urbanism on the Knowledge Hub at the links below.

View of the excavations in Norwich; the findings were written in the OA's publication about early medieval Norwich.

A Spitfire in the Great Fen

On 15th September 1940, the Luftwaffe launched its largest daytime attack against London, aftre starying its air campiagn agains the UK in July 1940. The aim of the attack was to defeat and destroy the RAF to launch a new phase of the invasion of Britian. The RAF command, however, defeated the attack, also thanks to weather conditions, and lived to fight the long nights of the Blitz. Today the Battle of Britain is commemorated to remember, in Winton Churchill's words, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few". This week's #OAat50 highlight also commemorates "The Few".


The OA team and Operation Nightingale veternas excavating the Spitfire

From Anglo-Saxon beginnings to modern jail

For the next #OAat50 highlight, we go to an iconic Oxford site that was almost next door to our original office in Hythe Bridge Street: Oxford Castle and Prison.

Tom Hassall, our original director, excavated peripheral parts of the castle in the late 60s and early 70s, but it was only once the prison closed in 1996 that the entire site became accessible to anyone other than prisoners or their gaolers, and we were finally able to work inside its walls. In 1999 we started investigations in support of the Oxford Castle Heritage Project, which transformed the site and the old Victorian prison into a hotel, with restaurants, apartments, and a new heritage centre.

You can find more details about this exciting piece of Oxford's history on the Knowledge Hub at the link below

St George's tower in the Castle Quarter

Before Hadrian's Wall

This #OAat50 highlight is an outstanding site that sheds light on the Mesolithic and Neolithic inhabitants of the Solway area.

Between 2008 and 2009, Oxford Archaeology undertook an extensive programme of investigations in advance of the construction of the Carlisle Northern Development Route, Cumbria.

See more about Stainton West at the links below.

Aerial view of Stainton West