Boneyard through the ages

Last month we brought you Boneyard-before-SHARP. So it only makes sense to follow that nostalgia trip with another tracing SHARP's adventures on Boneyard 1996 to 2007.

First: a bit of technical information.

It might be hard to see, but this image shows the various archaeological interventions on Boneyard up to and including the main trench SHARP opened in 1996 (red rectangle). Previous interventions in 1957-58 and 1960-61 excavated a number of skeletons that made their way to an archive at Cambridge University, where they remain. SHARP was merely the latest to come to the Boneyard party.

In 1997 the Reeddam test-pitting was converted to a full trench, seen at the bottom of the hill (top of the photo), and the main (Old) trench was already starting to encroach on that territory. Note the Enviro Tree taking on its accustomed role of sentinel over the eastern side of the trench - its mute message being 'Here Be Archaeology', or perhaps 'Don't Fall Into The Trench'.

The push to merge the Boneyard and Reeddam trenches, to understand the land use as a cemetery across both, continued in following years. The next photo from 1998 shows an extension to Old Trench and excavation around the stumps of the poplar trees cut down two years earlier.

Uphill looking down... and downhill looking up in '98.

1999 rolls around and the merger of Boneyard and Reeddam is almost complete, as the following chronological drawing and photo show. In addition a large southern extension has been added to the Old Trench.

Here's a nice image of archaeology in action, '99 style. Sort of: at least someone is doing something. SHARP old timers will appreciate the yellow van and old marquee in the background.

The new millennium dawns, and SHARP celebrates on Boneyard by opening the New Trench, west of the Old Trench. Its purpose was to re-excavate the Jewell trenches of the 1950s and hence answer questions regarding the skeletal excavations of the time by picking up what (or who) was left behind.