Final season 24 blog
As it was the last week of the season, not much actual excavation was done in either Trench 23 (with this week's activity mostly concerning the final recording and paperwork) or Trench 25 (which was covered over at the end of last week).
There was, however, the discovery of an assemblage of Romano-British pots, three in total – two of which are almost completely intact. Initial interpretation suggests that these are a late 2nd/ early 3rd-century cremation assemblage. The soil layer into which the cremation was deposited was clearly being maintained by draining and ploughing before the cremation was buried into it. A shallow gulley or paleochannel below the level of the cremation cut was silted and finally sealed by this plough soil; as was the north-south drainage ditch first excavated in 2003 and identified as Iron Age/Prehistoric.
The three pots were block lifted with great care, and skill, and will be scanned before the human remains team carry out a careful excavation of the pots. Once the pots were lifted the whole area was terramed and backfilled but will certainly be revisited next season. Investigation into the east-west aligned Water Management Feature, with 12th-century unglazed Grimston Ware (12th Century) in the lowest layer, leaves us with more questions than answers.
Trench 23 will be continuing too, as more potential daub structures and kilns will be uncovered in the years to come.
Tuesday Lecture -
With the end of the season coming up, this week's talk was a group effort by the SHARP team, as they came together to sum up their work, and how a picture of medieval Sedgeford is slowly being produced. With the 25th season next year, it is clear than although there has been a large amount done, there is still more to find out.
This week also had the metallurgy course running, lead by Eleanor Blakelock. From learning how to make moulds from cuttlefish, to producing pewter objects within them, it was certainly a hands-on experience, though there were several theoretical sessions, including an overview of how skills learned as part of the course could be used: Eleanor has been deeply involved with the Staffordshire Hoard, and gave a lecture on how she has been determining how those artefacts were created. Their other main activity was the creation of a furnace in which to attempt to smelt iron from carrstone. This year, they proved more successful than any other attempt, with some slag produced that appeared instead to be bloom, a mixture of iron and slag. Working the bellows long into the night, in order to reach the 1200oC needed, the whole camp became involved with the process, as many of the diggers rotated round to give the metallurgists a break from their labour.
Cricket 2.0 -
After losing once more to Snettisham Cricket team, a friendly match was arranged. Sadly, victory was not attained by SHARP, but fun was had by all.
Friday Entertainment -
Hugh Lupton returned this Friday for another evening of poetry, this time focusing on the enclosures. As always, he kept the audience enthralled with his literary skills.
If yo have enjoyed following this year's blog, why not come and join us for next season - our 25th! Our season will be running from 28th June to 7th August 2020. More information can be found on our website.
Finally a massive thank you goes out to all Team members, volunteers and course attendees who helped make Season 24 such a huge success. Special thanks go to Brian, Dave W and Ian D for making sure the campsite ran smoothly; to Tom and Hannah in Enviro for processing the largest number of samples ever; to our wonderful catering team (Kali, Sam and Tom) who kept us very well fed the entire time (despite having no water at one point). We look forward to tasting your brilliant cakes again next year, and finally to Ellie who made such a success of our Festival of Archaeology and who an Trench 23 so well. To the rest of the team - a huge thanks for your many and varied contributions. We could not have done it without you. Here's to an even better season next year - our 25th!