This week has been a particularly fascinating week for finds, especially in Trench 1. Not only has it produced the most interesting and the largest quantity of finds (unusual in comparison to previous weeks/years), but it has given us artefacts with valuable dating information.
We have two sherds of Roman pottery from context 1272. Both items are plain Samian ware sherds. Samian ware is roughly dated from the 1st to 3rd Centuries AD, but usually from the 2nd Century in Britain. As both sherds are undecorated, and un-diagnostic in terms of structural elements, they may prove difficult o date and provenance. We hope that a specialist should be able to tell far more about both of these areas from the fabric and glaze etc.
During the 2009 season, a silver Short-Cross Penny was recovered from the same context. These are dated from 1180 – 1247 AD. Although we’re excavating at an earlier part of the context, it’s unusual for Samian ware of 2nd to 3rd Century date to be recovered from the same layer, particularly when the northern half of the trench in this area has so far appeared broadly contemporary with the south. This large gap in the dating of finds coming from the same layer indicates that we may need to be looking for a pit which has either disturbed earlier contexts below, or has been filled with a deposit from another location-which contains earlier material or is earlier in date. There is also the possibility that the items could have been ‘collected’ and saved/inherited for use or decoration from an earlier time period.
This week we also got our first firm date for this area of the trench in the form of a half–Styca fragment from context 1261. The copper alloy styca is a half-Styca with a modern break to one side, and the half-break appears to be archaeological. This could be a purposeful break, such as those used on later medieval currencies to halve the value of the coin. However it is most likely to have broken in the ground.
This bone tool was recovered from Trench 1 earlier this week. The bone is worked into a point at one end and shows some possible signs of working at the widest flattest end. The point itself appears to have been shaped for a specific function. The tool could have been used for puncturing (e.g. in leather working), or as a needle/ hook in loose textile work. The shape of the point also lends itself to the idea of a writing stylus but this is unlikelt, as styluses are usually made from iron.