A lot of work during these winter months is the behind the scenes, or beyond the trench jobs 🙂 We can finish the last of finds washing and marking, gather the specialist reports from excavations, receive paperwork and finds archives from contractors and prepare for publishing. Also as it’s the end of the financial year some projects are coming to fruition including some involving archaeological archives.
We have spent many days lately putting up shelving and moving hundreds of boxes of finds into newly renovated buildings and rooms.
New archive room at Lanhydrock
At the Lanhydrock office a room had been racked out to create a central area for archaeological archives. Now we had room to open an old, dusty, unmarked box and have a look at what it held.
Box of finds from across Cornwall, found by the public, Rangers and property staff
Among the bags of pottery, bone, stone and plaster we found some strange brown stuff stuck to open weave cloth.
Brown stuff on open weave cloth
Textured side of the strange brown stuff
It was all cracked but had a textured side, very strange……. but luck was with us and we found a small note that explained what we were looking at!
It’s old latex!
I would never have guessed that the mystery substance was latex! It had been used to take an impression of the surface of pottery, with the hope that it would help with identifying the grass seeds and the type of weave showing on the pottery surface.
Some of the pottery with impressions of cloth or basket work
The next archive project involved building work on an important building so we could create a store and resource space for our finds from the Kingston Lacy Bankes estate. The WWII American Army hospital, 10 bed isolation ward, needed a new roof and its concrete cancer treating, it also needed a use and as we had already been using it to work on and store our archaeological collections it seemed logical to extend this use.
The old hospital building with its new roof
After emptying out everything into large ocean-going containers the work was done over the autumn and winter. Finally after a lick of paint it was time to put everything back so with help from two house removal experts we moved 350 boxes and many other oddments back into the fresh bright well racked room. This now allows good access for researchers to study the finds from all ages of sites from across the estate.
The last big move was the Crickley Hill collection from excavations that ran from 1969 until 1993. The contract for re boxing and creating an archive copy of the Crickley photographic collection was under taken by Cotswold Archaeology, and the store at our Sherborne Estate office was to be its final destination.
Sherborne store ready for the Crickley finds
after the delivery of the finds
The environmental sample tubs
Last week the day came to move it all back into the store, a total of 244 finds boxes and 90 environmental sample tubs.
The guys from Cotswold Archaeology turned up in their white vans and we spent a few hours off loading everything onto the new shiny racking.
Tom, Fran, Emily and Claire from Cotswold Archaeology
Phew! three down two to go! the next archive stores waiting for an update are Purbeck and Lacock but they can wait until my back has had a good rest and a few chiropractic sessions 🙂