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Cate Davies

The Autumn London Archaeological Forum

By News, Talks

CBA London will be hosting the London Archaeological Forum online this year, on Monday 8th November at 6pm.

The event is free and you can reserve your place below:

Matt Edmonds will be discussing the results of our recent excavations at Holywell Lane, Shoreditch Village, where excavations in advance of redevelopment for the basement of a hotel quickly revealed that the basement footprint covered important structural elements of Holywell Priory.

Holywell Priory was founded on the site between 1152 and 1158 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. It housed canonesses of the Augustinian Order and was originally a single-aisle building, but no remains of this early phase of church were found during the excavation.

The priory church was reorganised at the end of the 12th century (c. 1170-90) with the construction of a narrower central aisle with north and south aisles. We found many important architectural features of this later church in the excavation of 2012, including the portico entrance, column bases between the south aisle and the nave, and an impressive, extensive section of Westminster tile floor.

A total of 45 medieval skeletons were exhumed; 16 to the south of the church with the rest buried within. The burials in the south aisle resulted in the raising of the floor, with at least 3 phases of floor discernible in this part of the church. The assemblage of human remains included both adult and juvenile, men and women and the skeleton of a priest, recognised by a mortuary chalice placed within the grave.

Excavations in the southern part of the site showed how the original bank and ditch perimeter was replaced by a curtain wall, and that the original gatehouse was expanded and altered over hundreds of years. The gatehouse was clearly a very important building in its own right, and included a bastion to the west of the gate, with the doorstop still visible, where the roadway passed through. A ‘holy’ well was also constructed against the outside of the curtain wall, presumably as a gift from the priory to the people of Shoreditch.

Holywell Priory was dissolved in 1539 and the property granted to a number of individuals, the largest portion was acquired by a Henry Webbe. Demolition of the church was undertaken in a number of phases. Stow reported in the 1590’s that ‘the church thereof being pulled downe, many houses have been builded for the lodgings of noble men’. One of those aristocratic land owners was the Earl of Rutland who built a mansion house to the south of priory church.

The south wall and portico-entrance of the priory church at our site were incorporated into a large 16th century building with the two columns defining the south aisle of the priory built into an internal wall. A notable feature of this building was a large fireplace with a base of glazed tiles; a second phase of fireplace floor was formed with brick and tile in a herring bone pattern. The fireplace faced west, suggesting the building had at least two adjoining wings set at right angles to each other.

By the 18th century both the priory church and 16th century house had been subsumed into the backyards of properties. Excavated features of this date include domestic rubbish pits, wells, cess pits and small ancillary buildings. The priory gatehouse, however, appears to have remained standing until at least the 18th century. Cellared rooms were added to the rear, the wall between adjoining medieval rooms was knocked down to create a single room and brick floors were laid.

Recent Excavations

Between 2019 and 2020 several phases of excavation undertaken on the eastern side of the site revealed the eastern end of the medieval Holywell Priory church and further parts of the cemetery. A total of 220 medieval skeletons were exhumed from an area thought to be a cemetery associated with the priory church. All the graves were orientated east-west which suggests that they were Christian burials as expected on a medieval priory cemetery site. The assemblage of human remains included both adults and juveniles, men and women, and included the skeletons of three further priests recognised by a mortuary chalice placed within their graves.

Several phases of the medieval church were identified including the south transept and additional cells to the east. A later phase of church construction included a robbed out wall which delineated a later phase of the south transept.

With the post-excavation work well underway, the osteology will be an important part of ongoing research into the community in the cemetery and the significance of burials within the church and chapels within the priory.

Find of the week!

By News

A wonderful find from one of our sites yesterday!

This complete German Frechen stoneware Bartmann (or Bellarmine) jug has a benign face and a medallion with an unknown coat of arms. It dates from c. 1580-90 and was used for serving alcohol (probably ale).

Complete examples of these jugs are more frequent finds than other post-medieval pots because they are a robust stoneware and were often used as witch bottles buried whole, containing nails, hair, urine and other items. Witch bottles were usually buried on the threshold of homes and used to trap and stop evil spirits entering the home. Examination of the contents will reveal whether this is the case with this example!

The faces on Bartmann (which is German for ‘bearded man’) jugs may be a derivation of the green man motif.

Before Bedale: a talk

By News

Friday 29th October 2021 at 7pm

Dr James Gerrard will be giving a talk in the Ballroom at Bedale Hall on the results of our excavations ahead of the Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar bypass in North Yorkshire. A selection of artefacts will be on display.

To see our highly illustrated booklet detailing the fascinating discovery of an Iron Age enclosure and Roman villa, click here.

To read more on our blog, including press coverage, click here.

This event is organised in association with Friends of Bedale Community Library and Snape Local History Group. Proceeds to Bedale Community Library and Snape Local History Group. See the poster below for booking details.

Surrey Historic Environment Research Framework Conference 2021

By News, Talks

This year’s conference, ‘Archaeology of the Church: perspectives from recent work in the South-East’, will be run jointly with CBA-SE and held as an online event on Saturday 27 November.

Alistair Douglas will be giving a talk called ‘The Story of Bermondsey Abbey from Saxon Minster to the Dissolution’, in which he will summarise evidence from extensive excavations at Bermondsey Abbey and present his ongoing research into its Saxon foundation as a Minster and development as a Cluniac church following a European model. This complex of buildings, wide range of artefacts and strategic position are all the subject of discussion within a forthcoming PCA monograph.

Tickets are priced at £5 each household for CBA-SE and SyAS members (£7 others) and are bookable online via the SyAS website (www.surreyarchaeology.org.uk/events) with card payment using PayPal.

The 2021 Autumn Roman Finds Group Conference

By News, Talks

The title of this year’s Autumn Roman Finds Group Conference, held in association with King’s College London, is Roman Finds from Infrastructure Projects. The conference be online, and will consist of illustrated papers (some pre-recorded and some live) on Monday 18th October.

There will be three talks on PCA sites: firstly Berni Sudds will be giving a talk on ‘The Roman bath house in Southwark‘ found during the Thameslink excavations. During the course of excavations along the route of the Thameslink infrastructure project, a number of interesting findings were made, but undoubtedly one of the most significant of these was the discovery of a substantial Romano-British bath-house. Was this Southwark’s long anticipated municipal public bath-house, a military or commercial facility, or perhaps part of a larger complex of religious or civic function? The remains were determined to be of national importance and were scheduled in 2015. Whilst the excavations provided the opportunity to discover more about the north island of Roman Southwark, the process was not without challenges due to the small-scale nature of the interventions, and in the case of the bath-house, preservation in situ.

Following Berni’s talk, James Gerrard will be giving a live presentation titled ‘Seal boxes and other small things in Southwark: the Roman finds from Thameslink‘.

One of the two Roman seal boxes from Thameslink, traditionally seen as a means of securing the seals on letters, but more recently argued to be for securing bags of money.

This will be followed by another talk by James on our excavations ahead of the Bedale bypass in North Yorkshire ‘Late Iron Age and Roman Finds from the A684 Bedale By-pass’.

To see our highly illustrated booklet ‘Before Bedale’, click here.

To book your tickets for the conference, click here. It will be open access so there’s no charge but you must pre-book.

Exploring Archaeology in Roman Southwark

By News, Talks

An online discussion via Zoom on Monday 18th October 2021, beginning at 7pm at The Rose Playhouse

Ireneo Grosso will be joined by Chris Constable (Southwark Archaeology) and Antonietta Lerz (MoLA) to discuss the results of our recent excavation of a Romano-British cemetery carried out at Suffolk House, Great Suffolk Street.

Following an evaluation in 2019, a full-scale excavation of a large basement was undertaken, revealing a Roman cemetery which produced 64 skeletons including both adult and juvenile, men and women, and 5 cremations. Most of the graves had evidence of wooden coffins, with iron nails around the base of the graves. The grave goods recovered included a spectacular 3rd-4th century grass bottle with ‘dolphins handles’ (below) and other complete vessels, some containing cremations.

There were some interesting burials, including a chalk burial and a grave lined with large sherds of amphora. Some individuals had their head cut off and placed next to the legs or underneath the torso and three had their hands tied behind their backs.

Chris, Ireneo and Antonietta will also look back at our excavation at Harper Road which uncovered the skeletal remains of an adult, probably female, buried in a stone sarcophagus. The Harper Road sarcophagus formed the centrepiece of a temporary exhibition, Roman Dead, held at the Museum of London Docklands between May and October 2018.

They will also discuss the astonishing recent discovery that the lower part of the statue of King Alfred in Trinity Church Square, previously thought to be medieval or later, dates to the late first or early second century and probably originated at our temple complex site at Tabard Square.

Tickets are £6 (reduced for Friends of The Rose and students) – click here to book through Trybooking.

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The Harper Road sarcophagus in situ

Cambridge Antiquarian Society Proceedings CX, 2021

By News

We’re proud to have three interesting articles in this year’s proceedings with Streph’s photo of the Cherry Hinton pots, below, making the front cover.

13th-century Hedingham Ware jugs from a well at Cherry Hinton. Photo by Strephon Duckering.

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‘Occupying the middle ground: further evidence of polyfocal settlement in medieval Cherry Hinton’

by Tom Woolhouse and Frank Meddens

This article details excavations undertaken in 2014, in a little-investigated part of Cherry Hinton on the south-eastern edge of Cambridge, adding to knowledge of its medieval development. The site lies halfway between the two known focal points of the Anglo-Saxon and medieval settlement, at Church End and Mill End.

Unusual ceramic and environmental assemblages from the site, and the find of a medieval copper-alloy mace-head at 58 Fisher’s Lane, 50m west of our site, suggest, intriguingly, that 12th- to 14th-century occupation in this area may have been of relatively high status, or focused on an activity such as beer/ale brewing and consumption, rather than just comprising peripheral activity situated in the low-lying area between Church End and Mill End.

High status copper-alloy mace head. Photo by Strephon Duckering.

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‘An Early Iron Age watering hole and Later Roman roadside activity at Thrapston Road, Ellington’

by Katie Anderson

Excavations at this site in 2017, in advance of the construction of commercial buildings, revealed evidence of Early Iron Age, mid to late Roman and post-medieval activity, but the focus of this article is primarily on the later Roman activity (c. AD200–400). This comprised two phases of a trackway extending across the site, as well as a series of enclosures on the northern side of the trackway and associated features including pits and possible structures. The finds assemblages provide evidence of small-scale industry in the form of iron smithing and on-site cereal processing.

Of particular interest were two complete pottery vessels deposited in one of the trackway ditches, dating to the 4th century AD, which appear to represent a deliberately placed deposit. Photo by Ryan Desrosiers.

An interesting range of small finds includes an assemblage of later 4th century AD Roman coins as well as two styli and two further artefacts associated with weighing and measuring, suggestive of market-based activity, but perhaps of most significance were the two pots pictured above, a large, complete Nene Valley colour-coated jar and a Nene Valley wall-sided lid. These were placed on the base of the ditch, covered by a single homogenous fill, suggesting a foundation’ or ‘closure’ deposit. The use of pottery in ritual deposits within ditches, although rare is not unknown, examples in other parts of Roman Britain occurred throughout the Roman period.

The nature of activity at the site raises questions concerning our current models for site classification in the Roman rural landscape. The site is broadly similar to other contemporary sites in the region, but it does appear to have distinctive morphology in terms of finds assemblages, indicative of several small-scale industries co-existing, with probable market elements occurring with the trackway playing a pivotal role, and thus perhaps deserves its own category (or at least sub-category) of site type in recognition of this.

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‘Two Prehistoric and Roman Settlements near March’

by Matt Jones

.In this article Matt Jones details two sites near March which revealed evidence for prehistoric and Roman settlements.

At March Road, Wimblington, excavations in 2017-18 identified part of a rural farmstead and associated agricultural landscape occupied from the prehistoric through to the Roman period. Prehistoric evidence consisted of a Bronze Age post-built roundhouse and associated features, an undated ring-ditch and Iron age field boundaries, suggesting that the main settlement lay elsewhere during the Iron Age. In the Roman period activity shifted to the north-western part of the site, comprising a series of rectilinear enclosures, field systems and a trackway as well as three post-built structures, waterholes and finds-rich pits.

At Jobs Lane, March, excavation in 2017 revealed that the site was on the peripheries of a large Roman settlement complex. Apart from an inhumation burial and a single ditch of Iron age date substantial activity on the site began during the 2nd century AD, with the establishment of a series of large agricultural enclosures and associated trackways. Five structures were identified. The later 2nd–3rd century saw an increase in the number of enclosures, an additional post-built structure and a shift towards an industrial emphasis demonstrated by four bread ovens. This trend continued into the later Roman period with the construction of two clay lined water tanks. In the 4th century AD a series of north-south aligned boundaries divided the site into regular ‘strip’ like fields. There were also four large waterholes, two of which had associated superstructures. Part of a building was represented by the remains of wall footings which had survived in one of the earlier ditches.

Together these two sites provide further evidence for the occupation of fenland in the Roman period, and begin to fill in the gap in our knowledge of that period on the fen island of March.

PCA London Field Staff

By Jobs

PCA is one of UK’s largest archaeological companies, with seven regional offices across the country. We have been delivering professional heritage services for more than 25 years. We are delighted to announce the opportunity to join our multi-disciplinary team of specialists, as we continue through 2021 with a range of exciting projects across Greater London and North Kent. We will be looking to recruit Field Archaeologists and Supervisors.

About The Job:

Location: Various projects in and around the London/Greater London area and north Kent

Working week: Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week, usually 8am – 4.30 pm, with breaks for lunch and tea

Salary range: Field Archaeologists – ranging from £24,247 to £25,367 per annum; Supervisors – ranging from £28,613 to £29,736 per annum.

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Archaeologist roles-

Requirements:

  • Interest in archaeology
  • Ability and willingness to work on site in all kinds of weather
  • Good oral and written English, basic math skills are essential
  • Willingness to learn new skills, positive attitude and excellent work ethic
  • Good teamwork
  • Punctuality and good time keeping
  • Attention for detail
  • Commitment to PCA’s health and safety policies at all times
  • 3 months of commercial fieldwork experience

Desirable:

  • Membership with CIfA
  • Clean driving license and willingness to drive company vehicles
  • First-aid training
  • Valid CSCS cards
  • Experience of Watching Brief work

Supervisor Roles-

Requirements:

  • Excavation and recording of archaeological features and deposits to a high quality
  • Supervision of small teams
  • Machine watching
  • Site survey
  • On site liaison with clients and contractors
  • Preparing written account of undertaken field work (grey literature reports)
  • Excellent oral and written English
  • Ability and willingness to work on site in all kinds of weather
  • Ability to work under pressure and deliver to strict deadlines while maintaining excellent quality of work, mindfulness of project budget
  • Willingness to learn new skills, positive attitude and excellent work ethic
  • Good teamwork
  • Punctuality and good time keeping
  • Attention to detail
  • Degree in Archaeology or related subject
  • Computer literacy (MS Office package, databases, knowledge of graphic programs such as Auto Cad, QGIS, Illustrator etc. will be advantageous) 
  • Minimum two years of fieldwork experience in the UK
  • Experience in report writing is desirable but not essential
  • Experience in GPS surveying is desirable but not essential
  • Full clean UK driving license and willingness to drive company vehicles (if applying for a Supervisor)
  • Commitment to PCA’s health and safety policies at all times

PCA follow all current guidelines regarding SOP and COVID19 and take the safety of our staff as paramount – advice is continuously updated in line with government guidance and site-specific RAMS are provided for each project.

Employee benefits:

  • Friendly and supportive work environment
  • 28 days of annual leave (including bank holidays, with 2 extra days for If you are employed with us over the Christmas period), rising on service length
  • £15 per night subsistence when working away from home (and high-quality accommodation provided)
  • High quality PPE and site welfare provision– the safety of our staff always comes first
  • Mental Health First Aiders
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Flexible working, TOIL, possibility of work from home if eligible
  • Childcare vouchers, Christmas vouchers
  • H&S training relevant for your role will be provided and paid in full (CSCS, SSSTS, First Aid, Asbestos Awareness, CAT and Genny etc.)
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (Cifa) subscriptions paid in full
  • Driving time paid at 150% normal rate (when driving company vehicles outside of normal working hours)
  • Paid mileage if using own vehicle (subject to eligibility)
  • Annual appraisal and progression opportunity
  • Company pension scheme

PCA is committed to a comprehensive equal opportunities policy in which individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to race, religion or belief, colour, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. All applicants with the relevant qualifications and experience are welcome to apply for this opportunity.

We are expecting a high volume of applications and therefore cannot commit to confirming receipt of applications. In accordance with our GDPR policy, we will not keep unsuccessful applicants’ details or CVs on our system, unless you expressly request that we do. Please be advised that you must hold the right to work and live in the UK in order to apply for this job.

To apply please email your CV and covering letter to Caroline Edwards (CEdwards@pre-construct.com) Please specify on your application which role you are applying for. If successful, you may be asked to attend an interview at our office in London. For more information, please visit http://www.pre-construct.com

Archaeologists-Project Officers, Cambridge and Norwich

By Jobs

PCA is one of UK’s largest archaeological companies, with seven regional offices across the country. We have been delivering professional heritage services for more than 25 years. We are delighted to announce the opportunity to join our multi-disciplinary team of specialists, as we continue through 2021 with a range of exciting projects across East Anglia, undertaken from our offices in Pampisford (Cambridge) or Honningham (Norwich). Our recent sites in the region included large scale Iron Age, Roman and medieval settlements, as well as various rural and urban projects of all periods.

We will be looking to recruit staff at all levels from Archaeologists up to Project Officers.

PCA offers a competitive salary and a range of attractive employee benefits, including a pay banding structure that allows for career progression.

All successful candidates will undergo a probationary 3-month period, after which, given satisfactory performance, they will be offered a permanent contract.

PCA follow all current guidelines regarding SOP and COVID19 and take the safety of our staff as paramount – advice is up to date with government guidance and site-specific RAMS are available.

Employee benefits:

  • Friendly and supportive work environment
  • 28 days of annual leave (including bank holidays and 2 days for Christmas, if employed over the Christmas period), rising on service length
  • £15 per night subsistence when working away from home (and high-quality accommodation provided)
  • High quality PPE and site welfare provision– the safety of our staff always comes first
  • Mental Health First Aiders
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Flexible working, TOIL, possibility of work from home if eligible
  • Childcare vouchers, Christmas vouchers
  • H&S training relevant for your role will be provided and paid in full (CSCS, SSSTS, First Aid, Asbestos Awareness, CAT and Genny etc.)
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (Cifa) subscriptions paid in full
  • Driving time paid at 150% normal rate (when driving company vehicles outside of normal working hours)
  • Paid mileage if using own vehicle (subject to eligibility)
  • Annual appraisal and progression opportunity
  • Company pension scheme

About the job:

Location: East Anglia and surrounding areas (transport provided from Pampisford or Norwich/ Honningham)

Working week: Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week, usually 8am – 4 pm

Salary range:

Archaeologists – starting at £21,092

Assistant Supervisors – starting at £23,253

Supervisors – starting at £24,797

Project Officers – starting at £28,930


Field Archaeologists

Responsibilities:

  • Excavation of archaeological features and deposits
  • Collection and labeling of artefacts
  • Writing context sheets for archaeological features and deposits, drawing plans and sections to scale, on site photography
  • Collection and processing of environmental samples
  • Post-ex office work (occasionally required) including washing, marking and labeling finds, archiving site records

Minimum requirements:

  • 3 months of fieldwork experience
  • CSCS card
  • Good teamwork
  • Punctuality and good time keeping
  • Commitment to PCA’s health and safety policies at all times

Assistant Supervisors and Supervisors

Responsibilities:

  • Excavation and recording of archaeological features and deposits to a high quality
  • Supervision of small teams
  • Machine watching
  • Site survey
  • On site liaison with clients and contractors
  • Preparing written account of undertaken field work (grey literature reports)

Minimum requirements:

  • Excellent oral and written English
  • Ability and willingness to work on site in all kinds of weather
  • Ability to work under pressure and deliver to strict deadlines while maintaining excellent quality of work, mindfulness of project budget
  • Willingness to learn new skills, positive attitude and excellent work ethic
  • Good teamwork
  • Punctuality and good time keeping
  • Attention to detail
  • Degree in Archaeology or related subject
  • Computer literacy (MS Office package, databases, knowledge of graphic programs such as Auto Cad, QGIS, Illustrator etc. will be advantageous) 
  • Minimum two years of fieldwork experience in the UK
  • Experience in report writing is desirable but not essential
  • Experience in GPS surveying is desirable but not essential
  • Full clean UK driving license and willingness to drive company vehicles (if applying for a Supervisor)
  • Commitment to PCA’s health and safety policies at all times

Project Officers

Responsibilities (all of above plus the following):

  • Assisting in the management of projects
  • Supervision of a variety of sites, including large scale and infrastructure projects
  • Preparing written account of undertaken field work, including publications, journal articles etc.
  • Report checking, preparing WSIs, DBAs and RAMS
  • Regular liaison with clients and contractors
  • Health and safety responsibilities

Minimum requirements: (all of the above plus the following)

  • Degree in Archaeology or related subject
  • Full clean UK driving license and willingness to drive company vehicles
  • Experience in GPS survey
  • At least five years of field work experience in the UK, including minimum two years of working in a supervisory role
  • Proven written account of undertaken projects (grey literature reports, desk-based assessments, publications etc.)
  • The successful candidates need to present a high level of self-motivation and discipline
  • Commitment to PCA’s health and safety policies at all times

PCA is committed to a comprehensive equal opportunities policy in which individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to race, religion or belief, colour, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. All applicants with the relevant qualifications and experience are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Please be advised that you must hold the right to work and live in the UK in order to apply for this job.

Please be advised we are expecting a high volume of applications, and therefore cannot commit to responding to all emails. In accordance with our GDPR policy, we will not keep unsuccessful applicants’ details or CVs on our system, unless you expressly request that we do. To apply please email your CV and covering letter to Caroline Edwards, HR Officer: CEdwards@pre-construct.com  Please state on your application which role you are applying for and at which office would you want to be based. If successful you will be asked to attend an interview at our office in Pampisford. For more information please visit http://www.pre-construct.com