4.15 Other Material Classes: Additional Data Recovered in 1995

by Christine Haughton *

4.15.1 Worked bone

An additional 100 items were recovered during the 1995 excavation season, bringing the total of worked bone, antler and ivory artefacts to around 800. The majority of these items are represented by bone combs, but the assemblage also includes bone pins and thread beaters, spindle whorls, trial pieces and miscellaneous objects including a pottery stamp, weaving tablet, bone knife, and the bridge from a lyre. The objects span the Roman to Middle Saxon periods. The large assemblage of single-sided, double-sided and handled combs should provide much dating potential, and can be compared with the assemblages recovered from, in particular, York.

4.15.2 Copper alloy

The copper alloy assemblage now comprises some 800 items spanning the Late Bronze Age to Middle Saxon periods, 25% of which were recovered during the 1995 excavation season. The most recently recovered material includes a much greater Roman and Middle Saxon element than that from previous seasons. New Roman material includes several trumpet and disc brooches, two brooches with glass bosses, and bangle fragments. The Middle Saxon period is represented largely by a series of dress pins, notably those with curled wire heads, bun-headed pins, a pin pair with the chain still attached, and a rather fine fish hook. A small gilded strap-end with Salin Style I decoration was recovered from the area of the Roman 'shrine' and has been dated to the first half of the 7th century by Tania Dickinson (pers. comm.). This material, which, together with the coinage, provides the most 'secure' dating evidence of the entire assemblage, will be of paramount importance in the phasing of the site.

4.15.3 Coins

The number of coins recovered from the site has now risen to 111. The 58 coins which comprise the1995 assemblage includes two stycas and a sceatta, but the majority of the new material belongs to the 4th century - Constantine I and II, Gratian, Valens and Theodosius. A sestertius of Antoninus Pius and a rare Iron Age coin were also recovered. It is likely that further coins were lost to metal detectors prior to the start of the season. All of the coins have now been X-rayed and it has been arranged that John Davies will undertake the identification and analysis of the Roman material. The coins require specialist identification and full documentation as to production date and date range of active use. This work will be of crucial importance in the discussion relating to continuity.

4.15.4 Iron

The 750 items of iron recovered during the 1995 season now brings the total assemblage to around 3,000, the vast majority of which have now been X-rayed by the Conservation Laboratory. Whilst many are unidentifiable fragments and modern pieces, there are large numbers of both nails and knives, as well as several dress pins, belt buckles, keys, a ferrule and an axe of possible Middle Saxon date. It has been suggested by Jacqui Watson of the Conservation Laboratory that those items previously identified as styli are, in fact, iron heckle teeth, used in the manufacture of textiles. Jane Cowgill will undertake basic technological aspects of the manufacture of the iron objects and the analysis of the slags and other metal-working debris. It is hoped to initiate an AML project of metallographic analysis once the initial phasing is complete.

4.15.5 Worked stone

Items of worked and utilised stone include querns, whetstones, spindle whorls and loomweights, and an anvil. New elements encountered in the 1995 assemblage include several fragments of turned chalk vessels, some of which are decorated, which may be interpreted as moulds for pottery vessels. There were also fragments of carved masonry of Roman date and a single piece of marble. Three shale spindle whorls and two shale bangle fragments were also recovered. The total of 12,500 records of worked or utilised stone is somewhat biased due to the vast quantity of Niedermendig lava, used as quern material, which is included in this total. Some outside assistance will be required for the petrological identification of much of the remaining material in order to quantify both local and imported stone such as Scandinavian whetstones.

4.15.6 Glass

The total assemblage now numbers some 300 items, including beads, bowls, claw and cone beakers and bangle fragments. About 20% of the total glass assemblage is post-medieval in date. Both Roman and Anglo-Saxon material is well represented, although the 1995 assemblage contained a greater percentage of Roman glass than in previous years. Jenny Price will be approached to assist with some of the identification (1-2 days).

4.15.7 Other materials

These include amber beads, silver pins, lead objects and re-used sherds, which make up a tiny percentage of the total assemblage. The silver artefacts in particular will be of value as dating indicators. A series of fired and unfired clay loom-weights, which are almost certainly made from locally-derived clays, will be of particular value in the analysis of the pottery, helping to ascertain which pottery fabrics were local products.


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Last updated: Tue Dec 15 1998