The Festival of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum was a huge success, with large numbers of people attending and taking part in fun-filled activities for all ages.
Phil Harding and Lorraine Mepham played a key role in the event by demonstrating archaeology in action. They excavated a test pit in the Museum grounds, which provided the opportunity for people to see the archaeological process as it happened, and to discover what lies beneath their feet.
Prior to the event a team from Wessex Archaeology had carried out a detailed gradiometer survey over three small areas at the Museum. Unfortunately, because the results were dominated by ferrous material, the survey was unable to identify any magnetic anomalies which would have suggested potential archaeology. Therefore, when Phil and Lorraine started excavating we were unsure what they would uncover.
Despite the survey results, the test pit did provide some archaeological evidence, and a range of finds was excavated, including medieval pottery, ceramic roof tiles and clay tobacco pipes. The finds were identified by Lorraine on site, and provided a chronological sequence – from medieval to modern – which Phil then matched to the stratigraphy. He was also able to relate this information to the history of the site, and to the wider story of Salisbury and its cathedral. Phil and Lorraine presented their findings during the Sunday afternoon lectures.
People had the opportunity to follow in Phil’s and Lorraine’s footsteps by getting involved in excavating and identifying artefacts, as well as putting together pottery jigsaws, and learning about the work of Wessex Archaeology – as usual, we had an information stand at the event.
All the Wessex Archaeology staff involved in the event had a fantastic time, and we were delighted to see so many people enjoying themselves and engaging so enthusiastically with archaeology.