Everything of significance found on site makes its way to the Finds Team, who work together to ensure that all artefacts recovered by SHARP get the care and attention they require, from cleaning and identification to recording and correct curation. As sites are usually dated and identified by their finds, it is one of the most crucial aspects of the Project's work.
Small Finds recovered during the summer excavations are given a unique number. They are carefully cleaned, drawn and photographed. Basic recording also includes an identification where possible, a description of the artefact and the location of its discovery. Such finds may include all metal and glass and any worked organic material such as bone. Out of season these finds may be given further treatment or attention to assist in their identification and research, such as xray or examination by external experts. When all possible information has been collected a report for each seasons finds is then written and added to the projects post excavation section of the website. It is possible for written reports and archived finds to be made available to researchers by arrangement.
Bulk Finds, including pottery, animal bone and shell are carefully cleaned during the season. They are quantified, labelled and packed away before being sent to individual material experts for further analysis. Volunteers wishing to work with finds during the season, particularly cleaning, are warmly welcomed!
What the did the landscape look like when the people of various times and cultures were living and working here? What did they grow? What did they eat and drink?
Environmental Archaeology can answer some of these questions by looking at the tiny pieces of evidence left behind by the actions of both people living their lives, and by nature itself. Wet and dry sieving recovers minute shells, bones, seeds and pollens which are examined by microscope and interpreted to reveal their hidden secrets.
Led by current post-graduate researchers in the field, the Environmental Archaeology team is exploring new and cutting-edge ways of learning everything we can from the soil. Interested volunteers are welcome to work with the team or enrol for the 2018 course.
The Human Remains research program at SHARP aims to reconstruct the lives - and, where possible, the deaths - of the people of the Middle Saxon community, through post-excavation analysis of the skeletal assemblage excavated from the Boneyard cemetery in various interventions over the past sixty years.
During the excavation season the Human Remains research team provides expert advice on skeletal remains, conducts a six-day introductory and five-day advanced course in osteological methods and studies, and provides a detailed display on aspects of its research for the public every Open Day. Activities outside the excavation season include lectures by invitation, preparing academic papers for publication and research for the forthcoming monograph on the Boneyard cemetery.
Volunteers wishing to work with the Human Remains team during the annual excavation season are welcome, and researchers may apply to access the skeletal archive for under- or post-graduate academic research by arrangement.
Zoo-archaeology (animal osteology)
Humans and animals have lived side by side for time immemorial, but particularly since the Agricultural Revolution that gave rise to our modern cultures. Analysis of the bones found at a site can provide valuable information on how animal husbandry formed part of the agricultural practices of the past as well as about the wild species that formed part of the contemporary landscape.
By examining, counting, analysing and documenting animal bone finds we can augment a great deal of information that may not otherwise have been discovered about the site.
The zoo-archaeology team features a number of experienced individuals with ongoing research into SHARP's extensive archive of animal remains. Volunteers are welcome, as are enrolments into the formal combined course in Zoo-archaeology and Environmental Archaeology.