Tag Archive: iron age


Sorry I’ve been a bit lax in my original posting recently. It’s been a busy time and I added to my schedule a few sessions at an archaeological dig on the edge of Aylsham, the ‘Aylsham Roman Project’ next to a well known nursery, Woodgate.

Funded by the landowner and donations a professional archaeology Team from Britannia Archaeology supervised a huge army of volunteers in exposing two Roman pottery kilns and several other notable features, including iron age ditches and post holes. I spent time sieving spoil, washing finds and on my front prone over one of the kilns excavating around a mish mash of brick, tile and pottery clitter, often with a tiny trowel- the latter was the most rewarding activity, almost like an artistic act of creativity as I presented the solid features proud of their dirty surrounds. It turns out the kilns may be of national importance, as one of them still has its firing chamber intact , and the other appears to have had three walls built up around it as successive kilns collapsed.

After two weeks work a massive load of pottery and other finds have been amassed (nearly 15,000 by all accounts) and it’s planned to return here next year to continue the excavation…hopefully I’ll be around to take part (it was great fun), and may even extend my involvement to surveying and drawing.

Further information: Aylsham Roman Project Facebook page

Old School Gardener

IMG_6665Whilst on our summer holidays in Cornwall and Devon, we visited a fascinating iron age village – Chysauster, near Penzance. Thought to be around 2,000 years old, this wind-swept, rocky network sits on a south-facing slope overlooking Mount’s Bay.

It’s thought the location takes advantage of a natural spring on the hill slope, for to locate a settlement in such an exposed spot would other wise seem a little crazy. However, having got their supply of fresh water the occupants were able to create a microclimate within their thick stone encircling walls (The walls survive to heights of up to 3 metres). Channelled water to each house and it’s accompanying courtyard/garden and the tall, 4 metre-thick walls created a sheltered, sun soaked encampment – perhaps they even grew food inside these compounds?

Primarily agricultural and unfortified, and probably occupied by members of the Dumnoii tribe, the village today has the remains of around 10 courtyard houses, each about 30 metres in diameter. Eight of these form two rows. The houses have a similar layout with an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms, orientated on an east-west axis, with the entrance facing east. A field system in the vicinity demonstrates the site’s farming connections. The whole site also has wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.

Work is underway with local schools to create an ‘iron age garden’  where some of the old varieties of wheat (such as Spelt) and other plants will be grown. The Site Manager, Steve (whose accent I immediately recognised as East London!) , gave us a great potted guide to the place and he’s obviously enthusiastic for the site’s future development as a super educational as well as heritage ‘must see’ attraction.

 

Further information:

English Heritage

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