Wednesday 17 October 2018 was a red-letter day for our Exeter team. After much searching we have finally moved into new larger premises, less than 5 minutes from our old office!
The new office gives us much greater flexibility, space to grow and the ability to deliver a wider range of services.
Fortunately we were able to take on the new office a few weeks before our move date so the process of moving over has been relatively pain free and has allowed us to function as normal through the process.
We will be settling in and making the most of the extra space we now have, there is even talk of buying a table tennis table, so we will all be fitter and have better hand – eye coordination!
Throughout the summer, Exeter University have been excavating a site at Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot in Devon. The site is being investigated by the university as an annual student training and community excavation and is part of the HLF-funded ‘Understanding Landscapes’ project. Jerry, from Cotswold Archaeology’s Exeter office, has been working with the university to help train students and members of the local community in archaeological techniques.
This year, the excavations have yielded interesting settlement-related features of Iron Age and Roman date, as well as what may be part of a Christian cemetery: the graves were laid out on an east-west orientation, although they are yet to be firmly dated.
On Saturday 8th September, as the season’s excavations drew to a close, members of the public were invited to an open day at the site. Staff from Cotswold Archaeology’s Exeter Office and Outreach team were on hand during the day to encourage visitors, old and young, to ask questions about what they had seen during their visit and learn more about the history of their village. Plenty of exciting activities were provided, and many families left contently with their own decorated Roman coins and split-pin Roman soldiers. Emily and Zoe went dressed for the occasion, but even they couldn’t match the clothes, weapons and armour of the Roman reenactors who took part in the day.
The day was a great success and over 600 people took part in the site tour and visited the stalls. We all eagerly await the results of future excavations at Ipplepen, and look forward to learning about what else the site will reveal in years to come!
Our charitable status is an important aspect of Cotswold Archaeology, but we can’t be a charity without trustees who are responsible for setting our overall direction and ensuring good corporate governance. Trustees don’t get paid; they perform the role because they believe in us and care about what we are doing. In September we welcomed three new people onto the Board of Trustees, and it is pleasing in particular that we now have greater female representation at this level. So welcome to Laura Evis,Clare Kirk and Christopher Young. Bob Bewley has decided to stand down from the Board owing to pressure of work, but becomes one of our academic advisors. Thank you for your contribution Bob over the last three years.
Cotswold Archaeology is proud to have been involved with the exciting Boxford History Project investigation between 2012 and 2017. That project culminated with the fantastic discovery of a major Roman mosaic, described by experts as the most important new mosaic find from Britain in the last 50 years. Careful excavation, with our staff supporting a great band of volunteers, revealed about half of the mosaic, which is covered in Greek mythological characters, but time did not allow us to investigate its full extent.
The Boxford History Project has been focusing subsequent efforts on fundraising so as to realise it’s ambition to return to the site and fully excavate the mosaic, and so discover more about its date, construction and what the images tell us about the people responsible for its creation. Great strides have been made and some very generous donations have already been confirmed, but to enable the project to meet its objectives further donations are being invited through The Good Exchange website.
Click here for more information about the project.
As part of our busy work experience programme, two students from local schools were treated to a talk from our post-excavation processor, Claire Collier.
Claire is a member of Regia Anglorum, an early medieval re-enactment and living history group. The group aims to reenact as accurately as possible the lives of people from a cross-section of English society at around the turn of the first millennium AD. The group’s watchword is ‘authenticity’ and they will not make any item of kit that they cannot verify from contemporary sources. All aspects of life are portrayed by the group, ranging from the lowly baker to the mighty warrior.
The students were shown reconstructed items used in everyday early medieval life, including clothes and dress accessories. They also learned about the early medieval diet, handling objects associated with eating and drinking such as wooden bowls and ceramic and horn cups.
They were also able to handle weapons which have been reconstucted based on archaeological finds of Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman arms, including a sword, axe, mace and bow and arrow.
Don’t worry, they’re not as scary as they look! (Well, except for Claire maybe…)
For more information on Regia Anglorum, visit their web page at: regia.org
On Saturday (28th July) Cotswold Archaeology attended Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology Day held by Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery in the beautiful Blaise Castle Estate. The event focuses on the amazing archaeology to be found in and around the city. Unfortunately, the heat wave came to an abrupt end, forcing us to dismantle wind swept gazebos and head indoors where it was much dryer!
Once we’d dried off, we were able to showcase some of the finds from our most recent excavations at the new UWE sport pitches including a beautiful Roman glass bead and two Roman coins (see below). We also featured finds from our central Bristol site at Redcliffe and another Roman site in Thornbury.
The Redcliffe site has produced lots of well-preserved medieval organic material, including soap and human faeces. Visitors of all ages had a go at our ‘Mystery Find’ guessing game and also tried to identify the difference between medieval soap and medieval poo.
These unusual finds inspired our soap making activity and over 150 soaps were made throughout the course of the day. The soap included herbs and biodegradable glitter of the maker’s choice, so there were plenty of bespoke examples in bathrooms across Bristol on Sunday morning.
This was one of the events busiest years yet and there were 1286 visitors taking part in a huge range of archaeological activities. It was great to meet and answer questions from so many people and we had a lot of fun doing so.