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Recent Finds

3D Iron Age

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For #FindsFriday we’re thrilled to share a 3D model of an amazing find from the Middle Iron Age — a pole ladder, one of the earliest examples of its kind found in the UK.

The ladder was discovered largely intact, leaning against the side of a well. With two siderails and five rungs carved from oak, and measuring 2.3m x 0.7m, it was extremely robust compared to other Later Iron Age and Romano-British ladders. It would have weighed 70kg when first built, but has gradually dried out over the centuries, weighing 50kg when excavated. The rarity of waterlogged wood from the Iron Age makes this discovery even more exciting!

This 3D model by Valerio and Isaac, our Geospatial Data Team, is part of a collection we’re planning to add to our forthcoming Virtual Museum.

A possible first in the country!

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For #FindsFriday, a repaired dolium from Newgate Street in the City of London. Dolia are large, neckless jars usually associated with viticulture; they could also have been used as storage or preserving jars. They’re relatively rare in Roman Britain. The complex lead brackets used to repair this example are exceptional and very few parallels are known to have been used on pottery vessels. While there are a few known repaired large storage vessels in Roman Britain, excitingly this may be the first repaired dolium-type vessel to be found here!

Kathy Davidson will be giving a talk on our work at Newgate Street at the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society conference tomorrow. Read more about the site, with a link to book tickets, here:

A Skeumorphic Friday Find

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This funky piece of late Iron Age pottery is a recent find at a site in Buckinghamshire. It’s a ceramic foot for a quad pod cauldron, imitating continental examples in metal. You can see it is heavily decorated with slashes, dots etc – this is probably skeumorphic, representing the rivet and hammer marks on the copper originals. Needless to say it’s extremely rare!

Lifting an Anglo-Saxon sword

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If you enjoyed seeing the gold pendant, with possible Christian symbolism, from our cemetery site near Winchester on ‘Digging for Britain’ this week, here’s an Anglo-Saxon sword from the same site for our Friday Find.

About half of the 100+ burials contained grave goods, which, along with other aspects of the cemetery, suggest a community in the throes of religious evolution during the 7th century. This iron sword is 90cm long and was found in a grave with mineralised material, possibly wood from a scabbard.

Excitingly the xray seems to show a chevron pattern on the surface of the blade. Read more about the site here or if you missed Digging for Britain (and fancy a weekend of binge-watching archaeology!), the whole series is available on iplayer

CWR Portable Medieval Whetstone

By Central Winchester Regeneration, News, Recent Finds No Comments

For #FindsFriday, a well-worn whetstone, or honestone, from our Central Winchester Regeneration site. Dating back to the medieval period, this whetstone would have been used to quickly sharpen knives for cooking and crafting. The addition of a hole allowed the stone to be easily attached to clothing, ensuring portability and quick access. This artefact was unearthed from material behind the revetment of a medieval ‘brook’ in Trench 2.

Lower-Middle Palaeolithic Handaxe

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This battered but fascinating find is a heavily rolled and mineral-stained biface, probably a handaxe, dating back to the Lower-Middle Palaeolithic period. It measures 87mm long, 82mm wide, and 44mm thick, and is of lenticular/cordiform shape. One side displays centripetal working with opposed removals on the other. Its well-worn condition indicates long periods spent within active burial environments, such as glacial tills or river terrace deposits. The natural deposits beneath the site are Lowestoft Formation glacial till, dated to the Anglian glaciation, around 400,00–500,00 years ago. Though its exact origin isn’t certain, if it’s from these glacial tills its rolled state indicates that it pre-dates them, making it an exceptionally old and rare discovery. However, as it was found close to the surface, such an attribution is far from certain. No other Palaeolithic artefacts have been recorded in the vicinity.

‘PEACE 1856’ pipe

By Central Winchester Regeneration, Recent Finds No Comments

This clay tobacco pipe, which reads ‘PEACE 1856’, commemorates the treaty of Paris which ended the Crimean War. The pipe was made in Winchester at the Bridge Street kiln site by Richard Goodall who ran the site from 1860 until at least 1914. The pipe mould has a long and complex history; it was originally used by James Chamberlain and lacked the shields, which were added after the 1856 peace treaty. The mould was then passed on to Richard Goodall, probably via his father, Richard Sr., and occurs in the 1860s deposits from his kiln site in Winchester, so it was clearly in production for some time after the event commemorated. We may well come across more pipes from this kiln site in our ongoing work at the Central Winchester regeneration site!

Finding the ‘Darlington Eagle’

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Meet Rowan, who was lucky enough to find the Roman ‘Darlington Eagle’ on their first ever site as a commercial archaeologist!

For the Festival of Archaeology Rowan shares the thrill of finding this amazing artefact and why they love working in commercial archaeology. Rowan outlines theories about the eagle put forward so far… is it the Lost eagle of the ninth, off a helmet or military standard, or is it simply scrap metal? Is it a brazier or part of an oil lamp? What do you think?

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