Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Bottles, Stones & Pottery: a note from our Finds Czar Jules McHale

Some of the Greatest Hits from the Victorian midden in the St Serf's trenches
Comforted by Pringles, giant buttons and a variety of visits from our SERF team and residents of Dunning, this year’s small finds processing has been carried out at the wee school in Dunning Village. In this season's infancy, the finds recovered were predominantly from our trenches at Kirk Wynd, behind St. Serf’s church. We have amassed a plethora of bottles, clay pipes and pottery from a late 19th/early 20th century midden site.

An example of late medieval green-glazed pottery, showing the thumbprint of the potter
Throughout the season, St Serf's has produced medieval pottery sherds, while Kay Craig has produced multiperiod material from early Iron Age pottery to a possibly medieval crucible for melting precious metals.

Leadketty, with its complex and numerous features, has been sterile of any finds so far! But its sterile condition is very different from the situation in last year's henge and palisaded enclosure excavations, where numerous contexts turned up Grooved Ware ceramic and burnt deposits. This does infer that the monuments were most likely kept intentionally clean. In this case, there is important evidence for prehistoric ritual activity even in this absence of artefacts. Both rich and sterile excavation conditions provide us as archaeologists with information that can potentially shape our interpretations and understanding of the sites.

A very unusual quartz pivot stone, split in half, found in the St Serf's trenches
All of the small finds that have been recovered from the series of trenches at SERF 2013 have been washed where appropriate, catalogued and stored to enable potential further study. To date, approximately 500 finds in total have been recorded. The assemblages of artefacts vary across lengthy time periods.

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