We are now half way through the season and are making good progress on Trench 23. The BERTS and volunteers have continued their hard work in the relentless sun and heat of the week – but we are getting good breaks and drinking plenty of water, and Kali has ice lollies for sale at break time!
We are continuing to uncover kilns 1 and 2, to identify postholes of the structure covering Malt House 1, and Dan and Dave are doing an excellent job of excavating the southern half of the cistern. The prize for find of the season so far goes to Dan and his Middle Anglo-Saxon jug! (see below)
As well as the work on trench we also have a small team working on the Environmental samples left over from last year, and new samples being taken this year. There is a significant advantage to being on this team in this weather – you get to have your hands in lovely cool water from long periods of time! Essentially, soil samples are mixed with water and run through a number of sieves. Then the retained material is dried and sorted. We use microscopes, magnifying glasses or just eyes (if they are good enough!) to look for small animal bones, and different seeds and grains. In collating this information, it adds to the bigger picture of what / and how the land and kilns in Trench 23 were used.
We also have our animal bones team continuing the analysis of the animal bones found over the years. Particularly useful is their analysis of the types of domestic animals found on site and the age at which they died. This can tell us what the people of Sedgeford were eating and what they were using their animals for. Younger animals were killed for their meat, whereas animals that died later in life were probably used for milk, fleece or traction depending on species.
On the social front, this week’s quizmaster was Kali – and for a change John Jolley’s team didn’t win! In fact, it was a tie, even after a Disney sing-off! So the two winning teams got to share the prizes. The Tuesday evening lecture in the Church was well attended by Sharpies and the public. This week it given by Neil on Sedgeford’s Anglo-Saxon Malt House. Neil presented the very latest evidence that we do indeed have something remarkable at Sedgeford this year. His evidence was compelling and a lively debate which began in the church continued over a pint of the end product of the malting process in the King William pub.
But we have an even bigger social event later in the week (which is why this week’s blog has been posted early) – we have ‘An evening with Hugh Lupton, The Mardling Acre’ – a programme of folk tales, legends, memories, music and songs from the gossiping acres of East Anglia. Tickets are still available from firstname.lastname@example.org and cost £20 (inc. meal and drink) or £15 for SHARP members / Friends. The evening will end with the return of the John Preston Tribute Band who visited us a couple of times last year. They are very entertaining, and it will be great to see them back.
Then this Saturday will see some of us moving away from the Anglo-Saxon era, to that of the First World War. A memorial has been installed at the Sedgeford Aerodrome site by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, and short dedication service will take place at the airfield (9:45 for 10am). The unveiling of the memorial will be followed by an exhibition at St. Mary’s Church, Sedgeford where there will be a display of the research which has been undertaken at the aerodrome. It will also be possible to purchase two recently-published books by SHARP members on the First World War, namely:
Sedgeford Aerodrome and the Aerial Conflict over North-west Norfolk in the First World War, by Gary Rossin
The Baker Brothers: Diaries from the Eastern Front 1914-1919, by Brenda Stibbons