Posts Tagged ‘archaeology’

A bit of garden archaeology

April 26, 2015

We don’t find much in our garden but this year my wife found a glass shard – clearly part of a bottle with just enough on it to be interesting.

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There’s a large H at the top of the piece of glass which measures about four and a half centimetres from top to bottom. This H looks as though it must be the first letter of (perhaps) a company name which ran around the bottle’s shoulder.

Below and running straight around the curve of the bottles we have the letters CHE.

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This could be the beginning of all sorts of things. Perhaps the company was in Cheam or Cheltenham, for example, or maybe they were a chemist.

Has anyone out there any ideas?

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A young archaeologist

April 12, 2015

I can’t really remember how it came about that I joined a ‘dig’ when I was about 11. It wasn’t hard work and it did prove to be good fun. The dig was in a dried up moat around an old Tudor house not far from where I lived. If memory serves me right the dig was organised by a school teacher who lived very close.

The moat was soft and easy to cope with and really we were looking for discarded rubbish, flung into the moat to get rid of it. We didn’t expect any ancient finds but we had finds a plenty.

Two things stick in the memory – clay pipes with lots of stem and not so many bowls and blue and white china.

We were allowed to keep some bits and I obviously put my treasures in a handy box. And there they still are.

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The box is for twenty five cigars. I have no idea where it came from. At that time nobody in my family smoked. It had probably felt useful at a jumble sale.

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The inside has contents and a pretty inner lid!

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The three clay pipe bowls there do not have any maker’s marks which is a shame. I dare say had they been marked, they’d have been kept centrally.

I’d love to date these. I’m going to guess that the top two are early eighteenth century but really it is only a guess. If I was a real nerd I’d apply the Harrington rule. This involves measuring the size of the hole through the pipe in sixty fourths of an inch and then looking it up on this table.

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OK, I am a real nerd and on that basis I get that the top two are 1720 to 1750 and the fluted one is 1680 to 1720.

But do, please put me right on that if you can.

I also have fragments of pottery. What better than to toss broken china ware into the moat.

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I’m not even going to try to date these items but again, if anyone likes to tell me anything, I’ll be delighted.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we do turn up odd finds in our garden and even though they have zero cash value we can still be very pleased with them.

Oh, I found a recent photo of the house and moat on the web. That moat is now full of water again. Maybe, back in about 1960 it had been drained deliberately

A Courtyard Tomb near Cleggan

February 21, 2014

The west coast of Ireland holds a magic for me. I don’t go in for leprechauns. There’s no need for the little people when the real people are so wonderful and friendly and the landscape is so exquisite. It has everything from gorgeous sandy beaches to impressive, dominating mountains. It has a range of wild flowers that are just stunning. And of course, it has history.

Back in 2011 we camped on the west coast not too far from the little harbour village of Cleggan. This is in Connemara. There chanced to be a chap nearby who was keen on archaeology and he told us of a courtyard tomb near Cleggan. We decided to visit on a glorious, sunny evening.

Now it may be near Cleggan, but in this west coast world of rocky inlets, Cleggan was actually across the water.

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Here’s the tomb with its courtyard – a kind of porch – at this end.

The tomb is on the cliff-top and the rolling hills rise up gently behind it.

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It is lovely scenery and gentle enough for people of the third age to enjoy.

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Cleggan is across the water.

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Some of the locals were a bit curious about us.

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Cliffs, sea and a profusion of flowers.

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Who could ask for anything more?

Righting the Stones

November 4, 2013

Back in April 2003 I passed through Avebury. There’s nothing unusual about that for I do not live that far from the ancient stone circle. But this time, something was different. The engineers were at work securing stones which, maybe, threatened to fall over.

This was no light-weight undertaking.

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Equipment of quite massive proportions had been brought in to steady the stone whilst work was in hand. The work involved digging down on one side of the stone and then gently pushing the stone to an upright position.

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As we can see, the stones are huge. One was found to have over two metres of it in the ground apart from what we see above ground level.

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Apart from the engineering side of this, the archaeologists were sifting the soil which was dug out by the stones, just in case anything interesting had been lost, thousands of years ago, when the stones were first erected.

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Maybe there are interesting finds there.

The whole process was interesting to me. Ten years on not a trace of the work remains.