Phil's Final Round-Up

Phil Andrews, Site Director at Barrow Clump, summed up the highlights of the final week of excavation for us when the site closed down three weeks ago:

Well, we didn’t find a grave on the final day, but we discovered one Saxon burial on Wednesday and another on Thursday – Richard Osgood was recovering disarticulated bone from a badger burrow … and found a foot that wasn’t disarticulated! Anyway, this all ensured that interest and excitement was maintained right up to the end and gave us a final tally of 27 burials. It also meant that instead of a relaxed weekend tidying up loose ends we had a rather busier one, but thanks to everyone who came in and helped we did have a relatively comfortable day on Monday packing up and backfilling.

The grave mentioned last week with an interesting group of finds continued to produce more material. An adult female in possibly a plank-lined grave was accompanied by one of the smallest square-headed brooches ever seen, two button brooches, a cosmetic brush, and a range of amber, crystal and glass beads, including over 50 minute green glass examples.

630 The skull of the female grave in Trench 3, showing the position of the tiny square-headed brooch

We also took the opportunity to expose more of the Beaker ring-ditch below the centre of the Early Bronze Age barrow mound and, to our surprise, showed that there had been a stake- or post circle constructed on the site of the Beaker monument before the barrow was built.

Apart from finishing excavating and lifting the last of the burials we also had quite a lot of recording to catch up with. However, by the time we left all the context sheets had been completed and everything drawn and photographed.

631 Angus Forshaw, Community Archaeologist, recording the female grave in Trench 3

The end on Monday came too quickly and after six busy and exciting weeks it was rather sad to see the excavation trenches backfilled, the last of the tents taken down and everyone departed. However, we’ve now started work on preparing an interim report on the 2012 excavation and are looking forward to the possibility of a further Operation Nightingale project at Barrow Clump in 2013 to investigate more of this exceptional site.

It just leaves me to thank everyone, particularly soldiers and also civilians, for everything they did in contributing to such a successful excavation project and hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.


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