Finishing the Dig

Hope you’re all enjoying your test pit discoveries!

We carry on now from last week, where an exciting-looking pottery piece was poking out in the last layer. It was important to not get over-excited and just pull the find out; you should continue in the usual gentle and methodical scraping away until it is fully uncovered. That way, we don’t damage it or miss anything buried around it.  

  I have now uncovered it, and just look! It is a section of the lip of a pot, and it seems to be Anglo-Saxon! The Anglo-Saxons were the inhabitants of Britain from 410 to 1066 (656 years), when they were conquered by William of Normandy, often known as William the conqueror.

  This pottery is peasant pottery, judging by the rough texture and grey colour. The upper-class folk would have had more ‘finished’ pottery, with more colouration, a smoother texture, and more decoration.

  Even so, this is an amazing and fascinating find. Just stop and think for a moment. We know already, just from simple observation, a little about this find. But there is so much more that we do not know! Who crafted this pot at the potter’s wheel? Who gathered the clay to make it? Who drank from it? How long did it take to make? Was it a gift from one friend to another? Though we will never know these answers, we need to think about these kinds of questions in order to properly connect with the past.

  Now that we have finished the last 10 cm, we are ready to begin cleaning and storing our finds. To clean the artefacts, the best thing to use is an old toothbrush and warm water. Do not use any cleaning fluids, as they are likely to do more harm than good. (They may even corrode your artefact). Once you have gently cleaned your finds, pat them dry with an acid-free tissue, paper towel or kitchen roll. Finally, store your artefacts in a plastic box lined with cotton roll, along with their descriptions and all the details of where you found it. You will be amazed at how much fun it will be to look back at in later years!

The finished test pit

  Thank you all for joining me on this test pit, and I hope you all enjoyed it. Next week, we will be exploring some of the oldest archaeological sites in Britain – at the time the pyramids were being built in Egypt.

  What treasures did our ancestors leave behind?

  Stay curious!