News

Quern stone from Hinkley

In 2012/2014 Cotswold Archaeology excavated a late prehistoric and Romano-British settlement site at Hinkley Point, Somerset. One of the many artefacts discovered was a complete upper stone from a rotary quern, which is the subject of a recent online publication by Dr Ruth Shaffrey – The Movement of Ideas in Late Iron Age and Early Roman Britain: An Imported Rotary Quern Design in South-Western England.

Quern stone under excavationThe quern stone has a projecting socket for a vertical handle and thin-section analysis has revealed that it was made locally, in Somerset.

The object is remarkable for being the earliest dated example of a quern of this form so far found in England. It is also the first example ever found in southern England; querns with horizontal handles were more typically used in this region during the late Iron Age and early Roman period. As the quern stone was produced locally, the design appears to have imitated styles more popular elsewhere. This type of quern was common in Germany during the late Iron Age and early Roman period, although broadly similar styles of rotary querns are also found in north-eastern Ireland and south-western Scotland.

Ruth’s fascinating online First View publication is available on Cambridge Core.

Quern stone from hinkley


New Trustees 2019

We have recently added two new trustees to our Board.

chris gerrard photoProfessor Christopher Gerrard has held a Chair in Archaeology at Durham University since 2009. He gained a PhD at the University of Bristol in 1987 and joined the newly-formed Cotswold Archaeological Trust (as we were called then) in 1989, going on to become the Senior Archaeological Consultant at Countryside Planning and Management. He left commercial archaeology in 1992 to become a lecturer at the University of Winchester, joining the Archaeology department in Durham in 2000. Chris specialises in later medieval archaeology and has conducted fieldwork in many different parts of Britain and Europe, most notably at Shapwick in Somerset and Clarendon in Wiltshire.

keith wade photoKeith Wade gained a degree in Archaeology from Southampton University in 1973 and joined the Suffolk Archaeological Unit in 1974 to take up the post of Urban Archaeologist. Between 1974 and 1990 he directed 35 excavations in Saxon and medieval Ipswich. In 1991 he became County Archaeologist at Suffolk County Council, a post he held until retirement in 2012. Keith has served as a Trustee with many organisations in Suffolk including the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village Trust and the Sutton Hoo Research Trust. He founded Ipswich Archaeological Trust in 1982 and is still a Trustee and Honorary Secretary.

Neil Holbrook


Marcus & The Mystery of the Pudding Pans

CA is pleased to present you with a fantastic animation produced for The Seaside Museum Herne Bay exhibition ‘The Mystery of the Roman Pudding Pans’.

The Kentish mystery, which is now the subject of an ongoing exhibition and animation, concerns the story of the contents of a Roman ship that sank or jettisoned its cargo off the Kent coast, c. AD 180 –200. Pottery from the wreck has been recovered by fishermen since at least the 18th century and was used to cook a Kentish pudding, hence the site being known as ‘pudding pan’.

The animation was written, produced and directed by Phil Gomm, and CA’s very own Senior Marine Consultant Dr Michael Walsh acted as archaeological consultant, due to his ongoing research into the site. Michael’s research was published in 2017 by the British Museum Press, and is available from their online bookshop.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the animation is the result of a partnership between staff and graduates of the Computer Animation Arts at the University of the Creative Arts (UCA) Rochester, professional voice actors, The Seaside Museum and pupils from Herne Bay Junior School, where Michael led a whole school assembly on Friday 26 April. We have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this wonderful project.

You can visit The Seaside Museum Herne Bay exhibition and see the pottery on display until the 2nd June 2019.

Copyright: © Phil Gomm


Iron Age settlement at Childrey Warren, Oxfordshire

Iron Age bone comb
Bone comb

A multi-million pound Thames Water project to protect the future of a rare Oxfordshire chalk stream has revealed some fascinating and gruesome discoveries dating back almost 3,000 years. The excavation at Childrey Warren, led by CA’s Project Officer Paolo Guarino revealed an ancient settlement containing an array of historic artefacts. Among the important finds were 26 human skeletons believed to be from the Iron Age and Roman periods, and some likely to have been involved in ritual burials, along with evidence of dwellings, animal carcasses and household items including pottery, cutting implements and a decorative comb.

Unusual Iron Age burial from Childrey Warren
Unusual Iron Age burial

Our CEO Neil Holbrook, said: “The new Thames Water pipeline provided us with an opportunity to examine a number of previously unknown archaeological sites. The Iron Age site at Childrey Warren was particularly fascinating as it provided a glimpse into the beliefs and superstitions of people living in Oxfordshire before the Roman conquest. Evidence elsewhere suggests that burials in pits might have involved human sacrifice. The discovery challenges our perceptions about the past, and invites us to try to understand the beliefs of people who lived and died more than 2,000 years ago. We’ve had a tremendous reaction to this discovery on social media with people wondering just what was going on here – see what people have been saying at our Facebook post.”

Project Officer Paolo added: “These findings open a unique window into the lives and deaths of communities we often know only for their monumental buildings, such as hillforts or the Uffington White Horse. The results from the analysis of the artefacts, animal bones, the human skeletons and the soil samples will help us add some important information to the history of the communities that occupied these lands so many years ago.”

Iron Age pottery from Childrey Warren
Excavation of an Iron Age pottery vessel

Cotswold Archaeology has now carefully removed the items for examination, allowing Thames Water to start laying the six kilometre pipe which, following consultation with residents, will supply nearby villages with water taken from groundwater boreholes near the River Thames and not Letcombe Brook. The archaeological findings have already been shared with residents at events in Letcombe Bassett and Letcombe Regis village halls.

Related events:

9 July 2019 Childrey Warren exavation results. Talk at Letcombe Regis village hall

 


Cotswold Looks East

Cotswold Archaeology and Suffolk Archaeology Merge.

We are pleased to announce that Suffolk Archaeology Community Interest Company has become part of Cotswold Archaeology. This initiative builds on the strong history of collaboration between the two companies in East Anglia over the past few years on projects such as Sizewell Nuclear Power Station and the cable connection to East Anglia One offshore wind farm.

CA chairman Tim Darvill signing the agreement with Suffolk Archaeology
CA chairman Tim Darvill signing the agreement with Suffolk Archaeology

Cotswold Archaeology Chief Executive Neil Holbrook said “I am delighted that Cotswold Archaeology and Suffolk Archaeology have merged operations. We have enjoyed working with Suffolk over the last few years and have the utmost respect for their unrivalled regional archaeological expertise. Suffolk’s core operating area of Suffolk and surrounding counties is a great match with the territory we currently service from our office in Milton Keynes, so the synergies are obvious. Suffolk Archaeology’s current premises in Needham Market near Ipswich will from today trade as the Suffolk office of Cotswold Archaeology, and I am particularly pleased that their Managing Director Dr Rhodri Gardner will remain office head and join Cotswold’s Senior Management Group. Rhod will be a great asset to us, as will his colleagues who between them have decades of first-hand expert knowledge of the archaeology of East Anglia. We are looking forward to harnessing that expertise for the benefit of our clients, and building on their excellent track record of community engagement and outreach”.

Suffolk Archaeology’s Managing Director Rhodri Gardner said “The merger of Suffolk Archaeology and Cotswold Archaeology represents an exciting new development for archaeology in East Anglia. For our employees it will offer increased security and the chance to become a vital part of a larger national organisation with a tremendous reputation for high quality fieldwork and research. For our customers it will very much be “business as usual” in the short term, but we also look forward to being able to grow our regional capacity with the increased investment potential the merger offers. We look forward to working with our Cotswold colleagues in the coming years and using our knowledge and experience to strengthen the business as a whole and provide enhanced capability to all our clients and the local archaeological community”.

About Suffolk Archaeology

Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service was created in 1974 with a remit to conserve and record the county’s heritage. It originally carried out research or rescue projects as funding allowed, but from the early 1990s the Field Team developed into a self-financing contracting service for private and public sector clients.

By 2014 the Field Team was the dominant archaeological contractor in Suffolk, with projects ranging from small watching briefs to long-running investigations of extensive multi-period archaeological landscapes. It had also expanded its operating area into the neighbouring counties of Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk. This success led to the County Council’s decision in 2015 to outsource the Field Team as an independent Community Interest Company. Suffolk Archaeology now carries out in the order of 150 projects a year and maintains a staff of around 40. Find out more about Suffolk Archaeology here.

four people in a trench digging together, two wearing CA PPE and two in Suffolk archaeology brand clothes


Archaeology Session at Wickham CoE Primary School

Supported by Croudace Homes and Winchester City Archaeology, Cotswold Archaeology were keen to engage children with our investigations at Wickham.

On the 28th February, Years 3 and 4 from Wickham Church of England Primary School welcomed Project Officers Jeremy and Sam to lead an interactive hands-on workshop about the investigations in Wickham.

wickham times maemay

In preparation for the workshop, the pupils spent time learning about archaeology and watching the on-site video. Encouraged by their teachers, they produced imaginary newspaper reports about the investigations on site. Sharing these with Jeremy and Sam on the day, we felt they deserved wider publicity and have included two fantastic examples below (please note poetic licence will be required when reading).

Through a combination of talks and practical activities, involving sorting, identifying and dating artefacts, the pupils developed their knowledge of archaeology and the methods and techniques used at Wickham.

The workshop aimed to raise awareness and spark interest, and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting the pupils of Wickham Church of England Primary School. If you are interested in learning more about the school workshops we offer, please contact community@cotswoldarchaeology.co.uk.

Children’s reports on Wickham excavations: