The final week of the final season at Barrow Clump has drawn to a close. And what another good year it has been, exceeding my relatively modest expectations – the Anglo-Saxon grave count for this year is 13, bringing the total to almost 75. But then Barrow Clump has always come up with pleasant surprises, and it is without doubt a site to remember (for all the right reasons!).
The finding of the Anglo-Saxon sword, by Steve Winterton, couldn’t have been better scripted, and the two Early Bronze Age cremation urns were just what Jackie McKinley had wished for; the Anglo-Saxon crouched burial was also unexpected. But perhaps my most satisfying moment was the discovery of Lt Col Hawley’s late 19th century excavation trench, something we had failed to find in previous seasons.
Amongst the other finds there was the usual range of weapons, including spearheads and shield bosses. Another pair of saucer brooches was uncovered and there was a fourth example of an Anglo-Saxon woman buried with a Roman brooch. It also proved to be a very good year for beads, particularly glass, with a range of shapes, sizes and colours found with three of the female burials.
Having a ‘cherry-picker’ on site on Thursday gave us a chance to see the results of our work from above. The final burial was lifted on Friday and all recording completed. The last people left site on Saturday and by the end of Tuesday the excavation trenches had been backfilled and we said our farewells to Barrow Clump.
However, finds processing and post-excavation work will continue over the autumn and winter, and we are all looking forward to what the X-rays of the sword may reveal.
Finally, a huge Thank You to everyone who took part in, or contributed to the project, for making it such an enjoyable, exciting and worthwhile experience – archaeology is not always like this!
Written by Phil Andrews