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Kingsmead Quarry, Horton 2013 - back-room team
Finds are beginning to come in thick and fast, now that the excavation team has increased. Last week 16 kg of finds were returned to the office, so it’s time for Ellie and Rachael to introduce themselves …
"We’re part of the ‘back-room team’, who clean-up, identify, date, write reports on the finds, as well as securing them for long-term storage. During our site visit to the quarry we were able to preview the finds, albeit still covered in mud, while chatting to the guys about their favourite pieces and what to look-out for.
From this, it’s already clear that the pottery found so far spans all four centuries of the Roman period (1st–4th century AD). It’s mostly locally-made ‘coarsewares’, used in the kitchen to prepare, cook, store and serve food, but we did notice one small piece from an unusual British lead-glazed ware beaker, a ‘casserole-dish’ made in the Wareham/Poole Harbour region of Dorset as well as a few pieces of imported samian. The animal bone is mostly from the common domestic species – cattle, sheep and pigs – while other materials include Roman brick and roof tile, fired clay fragments, probably from the linings of ovens or hearths, and part of a Greensand quern, used to grind grain into flour – all standard stuff for a Romano-British farmstead. In places, the grinding surface of the quern is highly polished through use, and it also shows signs of more general burning, raising the possibility that it was turned too fast, for too long and the whole thing caught fire; no bread that day!"
So, what are the other prize finds so far? Well, there’s a beautifully polished and decorated handle from a shuttle tip or gouge, made from the lower limb bone of a sheep or goat (skeletally, these species are very difficult to tell apart), which is probably slightly earlier, of Iron Age (700-1 BC) date.
A slightly rusty iron bar, broken at both ends, doesn’t look much at first sight … but the ‘barley-sugar’ twist in the metal indicates that it is part of a Roman cauldron chain or open-lamp hanger.
One of the pieces of samian (a form 18/31 dish) is stamped - by Paterclos ii, a potter who worked at Les Martres de Veyre, where this vessel was made, and then at Lezoux (both near modern Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne, France), during the first half of the 2nd century AD.
For more about the Kingsmead Quarry, Horton excavations click here