The West Ward jet crucifix

Readers of our Facebook page may have seen the BBC article relating to the medieval graveyard identified during work at St John’s College, Cambridge University (

The reason it gained particular interest from out team is due to the rather fine jet crucifix, depicted towards the bottom of the article. This was amongst the few finds recovered on this site, but we had, during our excavation in the West Ward at Bamburgh Castle, dug through a substantial midden deposit of 12th to 15th century date that contained numerous finds. Amongst the more unusual was a fragment of a jet crucifix, that seems to closely resemble the one recently unearthed in Cambridge.

The West Ward crucifix

The West Ward crucifix

We need a more up to date photo with a scale, but you can see the resemblance above. The Bamburgh crucifix is a little under 3cm across and is currently on display at the archaeology museum in Bamburgh Castle.

Meet the Staff of the BRP 2012: Trench 1

As part of the blog thread ‘Meet the Staff of BRP 2012’ I asked all the BRP staff if they could put a few paragraphs together about their hopes for the forthcoming season. We have heard from Graeme and Gerry, our Project Directors, and the staff working out at the prehistoric wetland site, near the Bradford Kaims (To see the Kaims post click here). So today we are moving to the West Ward of Bamburgh Castle to meet the staff of Trench 1. Archaeology Supervisor, Alex Stevens will be over-seeing the day-to-day running of the trench, with the help of former BRP student, Jessica Garrett, who is one of our new Assistant Supervisors.

Picture of T1, facing south.


To see Alex’s profile from last year please click here.

I’m definitely looking forward to the 2012 season. It’s going to be my first as a supervisor at Bamburgh, something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now! Trench 1 has really been evolving over the last few seasons, and I think we’ll see some really exciting developments this year as well. With new features turning up all over the place, and old ones starting to make more sense, it should be a really good year.

Alex ‘supervising’ at T1.

As well as on-site excitement, this year is promising to be better than ever back at camp as well. Electricity in the mess tent? Magical! Christ we have simple pleasures don’t we? I’m also looking forward to a highly productive forging season. Our efforts last year showed how good we can be with the right tools, I’m thinking we could actually make something useful this year! Bring on the noise.

The foon. One of our more interesting forged (I use the term loosely!) creations


Not long till BRP 12 guys! I have missed the place, the people and the trenches loads and can’t wait to get dug in soon. As nervous as I am for giving the assistant supervisor role a shot, I am really looking forward to the challenge and I hope that I get to grips with it quickly … bare with me guys. I mainly want to give the students the best BRP experience possible through increasing their knowledge, skills and confidence in the archaeology and excavation techniques, whilst making sure they have an ace time in Trench 1, as well as in their spare time.

Jess moosing around in T1.

Just as Alex has mentioned, I have already anticipated the highlight of the season being the ‘Big Lights Switch On’ in the mess tent, which I know is going to equate to the popularity of the annual Blackpool lights and I strongly feel there should be an after party for this amazing event. Get involved.

More to follow in the next two weeks before the start of season.