SHARP 2023: Week 1
Our first week of the Summer 2023 season started off with a bang. We are kicking off the season with a much greener (and quieter) Boneyard this year thanks to our new solar array. This new set-up allows us to run the site
almost entirely on solar energy and it is working really well!
When we started the week there were a lot of plants that had grown up since last year which needed clearing. This year, we have also suffered more than the usual disturbance from animal activity. However, the volunteers and supervisors have worked really hard and we have managed to trowel clean the majority of the site. We even got going on new slots and sections of features.
This week we have been seeing more evidence emerging for kiln 6 with a lot of interesting daub being found throughout the week. We have also been investigating features with signs of burning. We have gridded the area of kiln 6 and Duncan and Jay’s group of volunteers have taken lots of environmental samples.
In Steve’s area by malthouse 1 and 2, a volunteer has created a section of the wall of kiln 2 as this feature is starting to suffer from being exposed in the ground. The section has shown that the clay wall varies considerably in its thickness and is helping us to understand more about the kiln’s construction.
The area of malting floor 1 also has more daub and burning evidence being revealed. We are currently considering whether this is the burnt wall from the cistern or something from an earlier phase. Under the floor there seems to be a lot of yellow clay and daub giving more evidence for another phase. A large flint found within one of the slots where there was less daub and clay suggests we may have found where the line of the building had been. We will let you know more as the excavation of this area progresses.
We have recovered even more daub from the area we thought might have another kiln near kilns 3 and 4. This might be a daub scatter similar to what we found when malthouse 3 was first exposed. We are still recording the areas around malthouses 3 and 4. Tom has been busy processing environmental samples and the area where we think we have the collapse from the drying floor has the largest concentration of grain we have found so far….
The BERTs have had a busy but fun week putting their learning into practice on the trench. They got to work on their own feature; the newly revealed ditch on the Western side of the malting complex. We are excited to see how the work on this area progresses over the season.
On Tuesday evening Dr Hannah Caroe gave an excellent lecture on her PhD research. This puts the malting site at Sedgeford into its wider context. This lecture was recorded and we hope to be able to upload this to our Lectures Digital Trench soon.
This week we have also had several visits from groups of home-schooled children. They all really enjoyed digging in the teaching trench and cleaning finds and sorting finds. They also made their own pots and had the opportunity to do some work with the environmental archaeology team.
Our preparations continue for the Festival of Archaeology, which takes place on Sunday 23rd July 2023. This is open to the general public and we will be hosting lots of activities throughout the day. If you are joining us in the coming weeks and have anything suitable to donate to our raffle/tombola prizes, we would be very grateful if you could bring them with you. You can drop them with either Ann or Brenda in the Finds hut. Thank you!
Keep up to date via SHARP’s Digital Trenches and social media posts! Check out our weekly video blogs about SHARP’s activities this summer on the 2023 Summer Season Digital Trench. The video for Week 1 has now been uploaded and available to view. If you haven’t already registered on the Digital Trenches site, you can do so by via the SHARP website. If you would like to be notified when new content is uploaded, subscribe to the Site News/ Latest News Forum. Follow us on Facebook for our daily updates of progress and discoveries made on trench, posted by Dr Ellie Blakelock in her Director Site Diary.
Are you wondering what to do after the summer season ends? Will you miss the archaeology? Book a place on SHARP’s new online short course! This is a new and exciting venture for SHARP and the Human Remains team have created a course on Cremation and Cremated Remains in Archaeology. This starts in September 2023 but you can find out more information on the SHARP website and you can book your place now at the introductory rate of £50.