Post ex and festivals

In the office today after two weeks out on a cliff edge excavating a burnt mound, not too unhappy as it is pouring outside and almost dark!

Its been a game of two halves today as I start on the post excavation tasks from the dig and also prepare for a Festival of British Archaeology event at A la Ronde near Exmouth.

Seatown, Dorset. The burnt mound can be seen eroding from the cliff about a meter down

Seatown, Dorset. The burnt mound can be seen eroding from the cliff about a meter down

There are flints to process and some pottery to clean. We also took lots of samples from the burnt mound so need to think what we need to know from them, and also sort out which charcoal sample we will send off for radiocarbon dating. We found two iron age ovens as well as the bronze age burnt mound, so the samples and pottery span over both ages. As for the flints they range from microliths to possible lathe tools a real mixed bag.

 

A lovely scraper from Seatown burnt mound excavations

A lovely scraper from Seatown burnt mound excavations

 

 

Lovely sherd of decorated pottery from the Seatown excavations

Lovely sherd of decorated pottery from the Seatown excavations

The black burnt mound at Seatown Dorset

The black burnt mound at Seatown Dorset

The ovens above the burnt mound level at Seatown Dorset

The ovens above the burnt mound level at Seatown Dorset

The event at A la Ronde will be a small one woman band affair, with lots of activities for the young one to do, environmental sort trays, finds identification, colouring, and a bit of knightly brass rubbing 🙂 another mixed bag!

More about the mound and all the other things we do as archaeologists here at the National Trust south west can be found on our blog archaeologynationaltrustsw.wordpress.com

Bits and Pieces

A day of many colours, it started with dark grey clouds and a blue green sea with white-topped waves, as I headed to a finds drop! I had to hand over a box of finds to a National Trust colleague,  from a dig we did on Brownsea Island so they can create a display for Festival of the British Archaeology event at the end of July. A drive through the glistening rain to the Warminster office, past lush green trees and between kamikaze birds jumping out of bushes! First another finds drop, this time a feely bag activity for another NT  colleague to use in Gloucestershire for FofBA. Then up the stairs past magnolia walls to my desk, first sort out more activities stuff for yet another FofBA event, this time  at Corfe Castle, spinning and weaving kit, colouring sheets, a notice to say we are closed for lunch (so my volunteers can get a break) and some pictures of mosaics. One thing I really wanted to get done was a photomontage in memory of ‘Gerry the Rope’, who passed away recently and we  will miss him so much at our event. He was a historical interpreter who had been coming to Corfe Castle for about twenty years doing rope making (both Medieval and Victorian), games, pole lathe demonstrations and candle making. He was a great communicator and friend.

As late afternoon approached I had to turn my mind to getting everyting ready for our excavations that start on Monday!  write and print risk assessment, get day volunteer form printed, and  go to the shed to sort the tools.  We are digging up the last of the mosaics at Chedworth Roman Villa; they had been re-covered by the Victorians. It’s the last part of a big Heritage Lottery Fund project to put a new cover building over the mosaics and the reinterpretation of the site. Three weeks of mosaic digging, Yay! Red, purple, green, yellow, blue ‘gorilla’ buckets, soft bruhses, hand shovels and a pick axe!  The last item is for prising up the tarmac path. Note to self ‘bring foot pump to blow up flat wheelbarrow tyre’

Nearly the end of the day,  just a couple of things to do before the weekend. One is to send a flint report, web link and finds drawing to an artist, Simon Ryder, who is making an art work for the ExLab project, part of he Cultural Olympiad down in Weymouth. He is getting a 3D scan and printed model of a Mesolithic Portland Chert microlith which we excavated from a site on the cliff edge near Eype in West Dorset, an exciting project. The final job was to check a newsletter article about a pottery grenade found at Corfe Castle and finally identifed 25 years after it was dug up!  Thanks to the Wessex Archaelogy  finds specialist for posting the pot on the Medieval Pottery Research Group facebook site, the wonders of social media.

So into my Red Berlingo and southwards to Weymouth, with the wheelbarrow rattling in the back.

 

 

 

Unlocking the past – Festival of British Archaeology

Spent the day running an event for British Archaeology festival, at Corfe Castle in Dorset. We had our National Trust activities, environmental sort trays, mosaic making, spinning and weaving, etc. The Ancient Wessex Network, a group of archaeologists and artists/artisans with their activities – prehistoric pottery, wood carving, metal casting, art works, archaeological illustration and beads. Also Gerry the rope with his Victorian encampment and games. Along with the County council historic environment department and Finds liasion officer. Had some great feed back on our comment cards with one memorable one from a child under What have you learnt today, ‘that even a stone has a history’ Its great to spend time with young people with bright eyes and lots of questions so hope fully there is still a future for our past. Now time for bed, perchance to dream …………..