Friday, 24 April 2009

April 2009

Prepare to Joust!

Some fieldwork, and opening of new trenches on the Melorn village site were made in preparation for the main bout of excavating from 2nd to the 12th July 2009. On the weekend of the 4th-5th July there will be a Jousting, Falconry, Hunting Games, Bow and Sword Skills, Storytelling. Try your hand at the bow & arrow. FREE shuttle bus service every hour between Churchfield Car Park and the Arthurian Centre From 10 am to 6 pm. FREE entrance to the Centre to visitors in Medieval Costume
Otherwise: £3.00 Adults. £2.00 Children/ Students/ OAPs and Disabled. £8.50 Family (2 Adults + up to 4 children)

At this event we will be formally launching North Cornwall Heritage, an umbrella group to run the TESP and STEP projects.

An interim report on all the STEP works to date is being compiled and written. The summary on this site will be updated as it is published.

Easter and June-July 2008

A whole hearth and home

This was the most extensive season of activity on the site so far, which has among other things, completely exposed the building that was discovered in our first trench back in 2003. During the Easter period a geophysical survey was carried out across the village and the battlefield by Winchester MA students Emma Ashley and Rachel Nicholls. Some finds processing, survey and buildings recording was carried out. The mosaic cobble pavement was fully recorded, and the rectangular feature at the rear was excavated but was found to not be a pond.

20 square metres were opened on the battlefield supervised by Rachel Nicholls, test pits and extended units, targeting geophysical anomalies. However, all ran to natural very quickly and there were few finds, mostly Victorian pottery at north end of the battlefield.

The further work on building 3 in Melorn village which was first discovered in 2003 has lead to its near complete excavation. The work continued on the main building studying the relationship with the square enclosure and the removal of roof collapse to show more of the flooring, and a larder structure at the north-east corner of the building with a drainage gully and shelving either side. This in addition to the hearth and steps to an upper storey found last year is now enough to get a sense of the building as a whole. The rooms at the east have clearly been added later. The finds from this season on this building include more glazed ware which is being re-assembled and some corroded iron.

Our 2008 team were: Niall Finneran (Winchester University), Geoffrey Tassie (UCL), Anthea Harris (Birmingham University), Beth Compton (USA) Tom
Thear, Pete Vellet, Nick Cokes, Rachel Nicholls, Chris Johnson, Matt
Fenn, Jennie Cronin, Sophie Wood, Robin Mann, Martin Phelps, Dave Grant,
Rose Dear, Bex Groves, Jamie Lewis (all Winchester), also our former SOAS student digger Soraya Hoppe, plus local volunteers David Ashton and Malcolm Wright. (Unfortunately I, Nick Hanks couldn’t make it on site at all that year, hence the delay in this posting).

Sunday, 2 September 2007

July 2007

During National Archaeology Week the weather smiled, and the gods of archaeology smiled. Consequently Building 3 in Trench 1 now has a fireplace and a spiral staircase. Lovely! But there is still more work to do to clean up these new features.

June 2007

Nice Weather for Ducks? (Apparently Not)
In July, students from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, London) were on site here at Slaughterbridge. While they were out planning the garden mosaic down by the River Camel the skies opened. Opened more than almost anyone had seen before. It was not quite as heavy as the disastrous flood which damaged the nearby village of Boscastle, but it was looking like it may go that way. All took shelter under the gazebo right opposite the river level gauge. This then hit the national news “Slaughterbridge” was on the today programme on Radio 4. They were all rescued by the mini-bus and returned to the safety of the base camp. So we all sat in front of the TV waiting to see the report about our storm. But then it returned. Lightening struck the national electricity grid pylon and the power was lost (lucky for us the barbeque did not rely on electricity). Oh, and one of us observed a duck taking shelter from the storm in a barn, peering out with a grumpy expression. It was too wet even for ducks! (PS - It didn’t rain all week.)

Mumming Play
After the storm moral boosting was much needed. So after a huge barbeque and just a little drinkie, we performed a Mummers Play especially adapted for the occasion (traditional rough British folk drama, best performed when not entirely sober). Much hilarity was caused by this larking about. In particular having a German cast as St. George saying “I am St. George, that noble knight. I lost my blood in England’s’ fight! I know this drowned soggy rat, my head he would step on; That’s why I carry this bloody weapon… En Garde!”, and the Doctor saying “If you were to bring me an old woman, Seven years dead, eight years buried, nine years laid in her grave; If she’s got one umpum scrumpum jack-toothe left in her head, I’ll have her up and eating hot apple dumplings Before you can say Petrie’s Seriation Nagada III”(a reference to a pottery lecture earlier in the day). This now looks set to become a tradition.

May 2007

(Middle) East Meets (South) West
In May an encampment of Bedouin could be found being trained in trenches in this quiet corner of Cornwall. So what was going on? Well they were seven students from the United Arab Emirates here to experience basic archaeological excavation as part of their wider training in Museum and Heritage matters. The tide of history has truly turned now that British archaeology is being investigated by those from the Middle-East rather than the usual way round. These students were particularly interested in the important connections between this part of Cornwall and the Middle-East in the 6th century, exemplified by the large deposits of Eastern Mediterranean pottery at Tintagel. They also commented how pleasantly sunny and warm Cornwall was! A compliment indeed. However, this good news Muslim story was completely overlooked by the media.


Some of the diggers:- Yvonne Aburrow, Betty Alexander, Marie-Laure Aknin, David Ashton, Rod St. Barbe, Michael Blake, Jenny Craig, Jenny Cronin, Beth Compton, Nick Cokes, Rose Dear, Matt Fenn, Dave Grant, Lex Griffiths, Louise Griffiths, Wesley Griffiths, Bex Groves, Sarah Fisher, Soraya Hoppe, Phil Horswell, Oscar Landman, Roderick Landman, Chris Johnson, Rachael Kiddey, Jamie Lewis, Robin Mann, Vanessa Mclean, Matt Mossop, Cassandra Newland, Rachel Nicholls, Courtenay Parsons, Daniel Parsons, Joe Parsons, Millie Parsons, Sam Parsons, Stacey Perry, Martin Phelps, Mel Prett, Francesca Pontin, Mark Pontin. Stefan Rance, Tom Thear, Pete Vellet, Astrid Vonfeld, Dave Whitcombe, Jill Williams, Katy Williams, Kevin Wilson, Sophie Wood, Malcolm Wright.

Special thanks
:- Nick Johnson (Cornwall County Council Historic Environment Service), Steve Hartgroves (Principal Archaeologist Heritage Information Team), Dr. Tim Mowl (University of Bristol), Prof. Charles Thomas, Dr. Geoffrey Tassie (UCL), Dr. Anthea Harris (University of Birmingham).

About this blog

This is the excavation diary for the STEP and TESP projects at Slaughterbridge. It will be updated erratically as and when something happens.