As part of the recent ‘Festival of Archaeology’ events, on Saturday (29th July) Cotswold Archaeology attended ‘Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology’ day held by Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery at the Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol, where thankfully the weather held off and a brilliant day really was had by all.
Cotswold Archaeology took over the Victorian Classroom (complete with canes!!) with displays and finds from recent excavations at Ding’s Crusaders in Lockleaze, and Glassfields in Bristol city centre. The finds from Dings, including jewellery, coins, worked bone hairpins and a cosmetic spoon proved very popular and lots of interested locals were able to find out more about the site.
The history of the Glassfields site as a Whisky Distillery also sparked interest from many Bristolians, who were amused to find out that the whisky they had once produced was ‘bland’, ‘highly suspect’ and contained added methylated spirits!!
In keeping with the Roman finds on display, children were able to turn their hand to making their own Roman brooches, complete with gemstones. Several different brooches were available and CA’s ‘Dannicus’ logo was a popular choice. CA staff helped with the creation of over 120 very colourful brooches, and even managed to find the time to adorn themselves.
Our Kemble office recently welcomed students from Sir William Romney’s School in nearby Tetbury. As part of the school’s Activity Week students from years 7 – 9 visit a variety of local and national attractions, and some students have the opportunity to visit and learn about businesses in the surrounding area, including Cotswold Archaeology.
A group of students with a passion for history opted to take part in a day of archaeological activities at CA, giving them a taste of the exciting work our staff undertake on a daily basis.
In the morning the students and teachers spent time out in the sunshine exploring Kemble Airfield with members of our Consultancy and Geomatics teams. They found out how we use historic maps and documents to learn about the history of a site before we excavate, and had a go at making a photographic record of a building, in order to create a 3D model.
After lunch they joined members of our Post-Excavation team, who introduced them to the world of finds. The students assisted staff in identifying and sorting different types of finds, including some quite unusual objects, while learning about how we date artefacts and how this can help us understand the historical development of an excavated site. They also had the opportunity to see some of the most exciting finds from our recent excavations, including those from a Roman Villa complex, excavated near Bristol.
Sir William Romney’s School is one of many local schools CA welcomes work experience students from regularly. During a week spent in one of CA’s offices, GCSE and A level students have the opportunity to spend time with staff in all of our departments in order to experience a taste of life as an archaeologist.
Cotswold Archaeology has just completed a scoping and rationalisation study of the archaeology collection at The Museum in Park, Stroud. Hazel O’Neill (our Post-Excavation Supervisor at Kemble) and her team of volunteers audited and photographed almost 1000 boxes of finds and documentary archives, to allow the museum to better understand what they’re holding and how to store it safely. Some of the sites dated back to the 1970s and featured some inventive on-site packaging!
While this project was running, other loyal CA volunteers have been continuing with their sterling efforts back at Kemble, in particular working on large amounts of finds recovered from excavations in the centre of Gloucester, and preparing these artefacts for deposition with the Museum of Gloucester.
To thank our amazing volunteers for their enduring hard work and support over the past year, on 7 February we had a behind-the-scenes tour of the stores of the Museum in the Park. Kindly led by Documentation & Collections Officer, Alexia Clark, the volunteers were treated to many sights, including the beautiful 18th-century book ‘An Account of the Remains of a Roman Villa Discovered at Woodchester’ by Samuel Lysons, and the extremely rare bones of the dinosaur Megalosaurus Bucklandii. They also saw the patent for the world’s first lawnmower, and a desiccated cat that had been placed behind a chimney breast in a local mill to ward off evil spirits. It seemed to have worked, as the visit was followed up with tea and cake in the museum.
Followers of our Facebook page will be treated to a daily photo and associated question, with those accumulating the most correct answers at the end of the 24 days going forward to a prize draw. The first out of the hat will then win a stunning one-off Hnefatafl set (similar to the below), hand crafted by Jack Windsor of Ignited Arts & Design, Maryland, USA. The board will be decorated using pyrographic techniques which, for authenticity, will be based on the Viking Jellinge phase. Jack is also designing us a one of a kind ‘King pawn’, the central playing piece in the game. Two runners up will also receive a Hnefatafl set, the purchase of which has supported the work of National Museums Scotland.
To be in with a chance, head over and like our Facebook page, then get your thinking caps on!
Cotswold Archaeology have just been awarded Full Recognition in the Skills for Stroud Work Experience and Employability Charter. This is a scheme designed to recognize and promote the career preparation and development of young people within the Stroud District area. Full Recognition was awarded to CA following a very detailed review of our current practices regarding work experience, volunteer placements, staff training and continuing professional development. The reviewers described CAs work experience programme as ‘broad, dynamic and of outstanding quality’, which is a great reflection on the many CA staff providing support to our work experience students. Full details of the Charter scheme can be found on the Skills for Stroud website .
The second season of investigations by the Boxford History Project have commenced. This project is being undertaken by a partnership of the Boxford History Project, the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group and Cotswold Archaeology with generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Following last year’s successful dig on the site of a major Roman villa this year teams of volunteers will be investigating a second Romano-British Site just outside the village of Boxford in the Kennet Valley, with Cotswold Archaeology Staff providing supervision and, importantly, training, to allow the volunteers to gain valuable skills.
The early results are looking very promising with evidence of structures being revealed ion the main trenches.
An open day is planned for Sunday 4 September 2016. Updates can be seen on the Boxford History Project Blog and see the Cotswold Archaeology twitter feed (@CotswoldArch) for more updates as works progress.