We’ve come to the end of a very successful first week! The over-night rain really helped ease the cleaning back of the site, and the students and volunteers sped through the last few metres, which was much easier on the blisters than the first few days.
Remains from a party (below) came up in the machine bucket, and we have trays and trays of struck flint.
Almost every piece of flint that comes up out of the trench at Lyminge appears to have been struck or worked, and the quantities are quite remarkable for a potentially mesolithic site.
At 2pm our first scheduled site tour took place. The finds team organised artefacts for visitors to look at, which dated from the very recent right through to around 8000 BC, and Gabor took the visitors round to explain the excavation process and our initial discoveries.
Even though we haven’t begun excavating into the archaeological features yet there is still plenty to discuss and interpret at this stage, although of course much of it is speculative until we begin to dig into the features themselves.
Helen, Whitney and Kelsey explained the range of finds that we are starting to get, particularly those that are suggestive of Anglo-Saxon occupation, but also those that indicate we have a multi-period site here. The location close to fresh water in a fertile valley, out of the way of flooding is significant – throughout prehistory and into the present day Lyminge has been an ideal place for settlement.
Students, volunteers and staff alike worked hard to clean back the trench, so hard, in fact, that we finished a little bit early on Saturday!
Tea duties were fulfilled and odd jobs around site handed out, but in the end we were able to let everybody go off to the pub a little earlier than usual which
made for a rather nice end to the first hot and tiring, but successful week of digging on Tayne Field.
Of course, the excitement always happens at the very end of the day. Just as we were leaving, Gabor decided that as our rest day is on Sunday, he wanted to lift the large Saxon bowl that was sitting in the top of the SFB for safe keeping.
It was open to the elements and the weather was looking unsettled. Helen carefully took up the pottery and to our delight discovered that it had a handle, just like a modern large coffee cup.
The handle was facing down into the ground, so it was not obvious that it was this type of vessel at first. One of these ‘cups’ was found at Bishopstone, Sussex, Gabor’s previous Saxon excavation, and another is known from Chichester.
These vessels are extremely rare, so it is really exciting to find one here at Lyminge. Lyminge continues to provide us with fascinating finds, and we’ll certainly have more over the next 5 weeks that will help us to tell the story of the people who settled in Lyminge over thousands of years.