Finishing the cleaning phase and welcoming the first visitors

Cordelia cleaning back

Cordelia cleaning back the trench

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.

Susan and celia

Susan and Celia enjoying the softer soil after a bit of rain

Cleaning after rain

Nearing the south end of the trench, the cleaning is almost done! You can clearly see where we started cleaning back after the rain.

Roo cleaning

Roo gets shoveling

Remains from a party (below) came up in the machine bucket, and we have trays and trays of struck flint.

Tray of flints

Just a few of the masses of struck flint and flint tools we are finding across the site

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.


The remains of a good time had on Tayne Field!

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.

Site tour

Gabor gives the first site tour, here explaining the sunken-featured building

Helen showing finds

Helen shows visitors some of our finds

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.

Whitney and Kelsey

Whitney and Kelsey get ready for the finds talk

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!

Ben inspects a find

Ben inspects a find

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

Rosie cleaning

Rosie speeds towards the south end of the trench

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.

In situ pottery

This slightly unprepossing pottery is in the sunken-featured building, and is in fact rather exciting

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.

bowl with handle

A highly diagnostic and rare find, this vessel has a small handle and is very rare.

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.

Lyminge cup or bowl

The vessel has a handle, and both the base and the rim, so we can very accurately reconstruct its shape when whole. It came up so recently we haven't had a chance to wash it yet!

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One Response to Finishing the cleaning phase and welcoming the first visitors

  1. Margaret Cross says:

    Your blog was directed to me here in scotland by my goddaughter, a Lyminge resident. I admire your enthusiasm and patience infinding and caring for these historic artefacts. I was rather amused by the constant reference to combs which conjured up very hairy people! They probably had to comb out the bugs – an activity not unknown to me from my own childhood in Kent. My home now is close to Kilmartin Glen, a valuable prehistoric site in Argyll with a wonderful museum. There are several cairns and cup and ring marks worth a visit if you ever come up this way.

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