Archaeology without digging

When most people think of archaeology they have visions of digging large trenches on your hands and knees using a trowel. Well, that certainly is a part of it although not all the digging is done with a trowel. A considerable amount of work is done with Non-Invasive Methods or Landscape Archaeology. This means investigating the area by any and every effective means at our disposal, and there are quite a few, without digging holes or destroying any of the remaining evidence. Traditionally landscape historians used written records and maps. We can add many more techniques which have been developed in the modern world such as aerial photography and geophysical surveying. We are fortunate (so

All that is gold totally glitters

Treasure. Archaeology. In popular culture, they go together: after all, Indiana Jones seems to find a lot of it, as does Lara Croft. In the workaday world of field archaeology we know the reality is very different. We're more likely to get excited by a layer of grey-brown soil with pottery inclusions than to find buried treasure. Except when we really do find buried treasure... In August 2003, during a last-week routine metal-detector sweep of the site by Kev and Terry to clear it before the winter, a strong non-ferrous (ie not iron) signal was detected in an otherwise uninteresting corner of a particularly muddy area. The signal was pinpointed. They dug. Kev moved a piece of bone aside to g

Unlocking Sedgeford's Medieval Past

In 2018 we are introducing a new course delving deep into the medieval history of the very typical English village of Sedgeford. Organised by Brian Fraser, John Jolleys and Kathryn Oliana, and featuring the assistance of the Landscape team, the course will run from Sunday 8th July to Friday 13th July during the forthcoming 2018 excavation season. The team has the challenge of understanding the workings of the manors, agricultural practice, the economy and everyday life of the people in medieval Sedgeford, whilst looking into patterns of settlement and the buildings themselves. The course will consider original historical documents and maps and how these can and have been interpreted as well

In memory of Miner John: the John Hensby Memorial Bursary

In the 22 years that SHARP has been digging in Norfolk, we have had many amazing people come to join us and, sadly, some have also gone. John Hensby - nicknamed 'Miner John' to distinguish him from the various other Johns on site - was a member of the SHARP team for many years until a cancer diagnosis called an end to his time on the Boneyard in early 2012. A former coal miner from Lancashire with a classic Liverpudlian accent, John came to SHARP in the early 2000s. Like so many long-term SHARPies, he was trained up through the BERT course and became a much loved and respected member of the supervisory team. Team members who knew John remember his passion for knowledge, his t-shirts, his gen

Memento mori

Archaeologists dig up plenty of interesting stuff, but arguably none of it is more interesting - or meaningful - than excavating the remains of the people who put the archaeology there for us to dig up in the first place. It was the ancient cemetery that gave Boneyard its name, and formed the core of the first decade of SHARP's activities. But even though we haven't been excavating burials on a regular basis for a long time, the human remains are still an intrinsic part of our work. Dr Sophie Beckett of Cranfield University has been part of the human remains research program at SHARP on and off since 2002, and, along with the other human remains team members, helps to organise the research a

SHARP's pre-Easter week

Rather than undertaking our usual field walking exercise this Easter, we spent the time on a number of mini projects. To give us a more comfortable working environment we used the New Village Hall as our base which was lovely and warm! We had Ian continuing his analysis of the daub from the ovens in Trench 23; Mark, Janice, Perry and Min identified and carried out an analysis of the pottery finds from the field walking exercises undertaken in 2015, 2016 and 2017, plotting the density of finds on maps. A number of meetings took place, including one of several Committee meetings that occur outside the summer season. Brian continued with his wide range of tasks from dealing with new bookings, t

Sedgeford's medieval graffiti

Modern graffiti ranges from the highly sought-after art of Banksy to that quoted in a Cambridge Part II Philosophy examination paper ("Crick for God" - graffito, Free School Lane - discuss) to the more basic "Shaz and Gaz woz 'ere". Graffiti were also common in the medieval period and many are to be found incised into the stonework of our churches - not as acts of boredom or vandalism, but having a meaning and protective influence which the modern world can only, in part, comprehend. A significant number and variety of graffiti from the medieval period can be found in the Church of St Mary the Virgin at Sedgeford. Apart from the intricate compass-drawn design which is clearly visible inscrib

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