A decade of exciting finds from our Milton Keynes office!

To celebrate 10 years since we opened of our Milton Keynes (MK) office, we’ve picked our five favourite finds made by our MK archaeologists based there during those 10 years.

Bronze Age Collared Urn  from Linton
Bronze Age Collared Urn from Linton, Cambridgeshire

This near complete Bronze Age Collared Urn was recovered from a site at Linton, Cambridgeshire in 2017. The collared Urn tradition began in the Early Bronze Age (c. 2200 BC) and continued until the mid-2nd millennium BC (c. 1500 BC). This particular vessel had been used as a cremation urn.

This Iron Age metalwork hoard was recovered in 2016 from a ring-ditch at a site near Brixworth, Northamptonshire, where it had been deliberately deposited within a pit, perhaps wrapped in a bag or cloth. The hoard included a metalworker’s poker, a possible file, at least one short sword or dagger, a probable bucket fitting, a possible strip-binding or mount and a hammerhead. The metalwork was recovered alongside a fine-grained siltstone whetstone (not pictured). The hoard dates from the Middle to Late Iron Age date, with a radiocarbon date from the ditch providing a date range of 188–44 cal. BC.

Iron Age metalwork hoard  from Brixworth
Iron Age metalwork hoard from Brixworth
Roman figurine of Venus from Towcester
Roman figurine of Venus from Towcester

This Roman figurine of Venus fragment was found at Towcester, Northamptonshire in 2013. It was manufactured in Central Gaul during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. These were most commonly distributed across the northern provinces, including Britain, and are most often associated with urban or military sites. Although their function is unclear, they may have been used in religious practices within domestic settings such as household or portable shrines. A more complete example was discovered recently by our archaeologists in Gloucester.

This Roman nummus of Constantine I dates to the period AD 310–313. It was found in the backfill of a kiln at a site in Marston, Oxford, in 2019. The kiln was producing Late Roman mortaria and colour-coated wares. While it provides useful dating evidence for the end of pottery production at the site, its presence within the kiln may also be significant, potentially representing a structured deposit marking abandonment of the structure in the early 4th century AD, a date which conveniently fits with the pottery evidence. It’s always nice when things work out like that!

Roman nummus of Constantine I from Oxford
Roman nummus of Constantine I from Oxford

These fragments of fired clay may look unassuming but they provided us with evidence of Post-medieval pottery production at a site near Woodville, Derbyshire in 2019. The fired clay is part of a vessel called a saggar. These were large open tubs into which pottery vessels were placed to protect them during firing. They were made with an oversized wooden lollipop which was used to pound the clay flat. The people who made these vessels became known as ‘Bottom Knockers.’ The fragments of pottery are mocha wares, which were also recovered from the site and were possibly made within the saggars.

We’re already looking forward to even better selection for our 20th anniversary!

Peter Banks, Jacky Sommerville and Ed McSloy

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