Saturday, 23 January 2016

Pots, pots and bones

At the beginning of this week it was stretching out with plenty of time to sew and catch up on my Mini Mania, when an email dropped into my inbox.  Volunteers were required to help with pot washing for the Chester Farm project and as I had all this free  time I volunteered!

We were very lucky because space had been found at Knuston Hall that was in the warm, had running hot and cold water and a coffee break with home made biscuits.  We were in heaven so we set to and cleaned up the finds from the recent excavations since December 2015.  The pot finds and bones were going to be sent to specialists for analysis and as payment is by the kilo, mud and dirt had to be washed off.
Knuston Hall
The stable block next door to our room
Bowls and toothbrushes at the ready!!
I chose a large bag of pottery bits and pieces and really enjoyed washing off the mud to disclose what was underneath.
Egg trays are useful for drying

Every bag is marked to show where it came from on the archaeological map so each tray must stay with its bag.  I found this lovely looking Roman bowl in my bag -
Slightly out of focus, but note the kink on the left hand side
What a lovely base
Can you see red showing through the black slip just above the base.  These are the potter's fingerprints where he would have held it upside down to dip it in the 'slip' before firing.  How brilliant is that!!   Really proud of this.

We were also shown some other finds:
This a Money Pot and shows how the glaze has run down inside.
Finger mark at the bottom showing where it was held in the slip

 Shell ware was also washed and from the photo you can see the shell pieces glinting in it.  This type of pottery was made extensively in the local area at Harrold and Odell.
Inside - lovely markings
Not washed by us but this rim shows the makers mark - Gratinus
Pot with a lip
The pot above would have been flipped while soft to produce the lip,  Note the makers mark on it.

Next came a big bag of animal bones.  These will checked by the specialist to give some indication of the type of animal - deer, cattle, sheep, goat, rabbit, badger etc.
Shell on the right hand side, mostly fresh water oysters
Teeth, probably from sheep or goats.
I did recognise this as horn when I washed it -

and was delighted when it fitted together very neatly.  Probably sheep or goat.

I hope everything we cleaned was from Roman times but I won't know until the specialist reports come back.

Update on Mini Mania - I have nearly joined all the squares but I have a week to quilt and finish it; onwards and upwards!!  I WILL HAVE IT FINISHED ON TIME - if I say it often enough it will happen.


  1. You are so lucky to have handled items from the Roman period! How cool is that?
    You'll finish the Mini in PLENTY of time!!

  2. Not sure how I feel about washing pots even if they are Roman,but glad you enjoyed yourself. That Mini will be finished X