As part of our continuing involvement with Time Team, we have recently been helping out with a project at the putative site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Time Team have been working with English Heritage, looking at the evidence for possible locations for the famous battle. Our staff carried out geoarchaeological work on site, and monitored topsoil stripping in advance of a metal detector survey.
Metal detecting produced over 200 objects, most of which were clearly of fairly recent origin, although some medieval items were identified, including an inscribed finger ring. Two iron objects, unidentifiable (and therefore undatable) in the field, were highlighted as being of possible interest, and it was decided to X-ray them as a means of identification. Using our new X-ray machine, our Conservator, Lynn Wootten, ran the objects through the process.
While we thought it unlikely that any objects found could be directly linked to the battle, we were hoping that the objects might at least be medieval – unfortunately one turned out to be a modern cable, and the other a completely unidentifiable corroded lump! However, the exercise proved the value of the X-ray machine, in providing useful information to supplement Time Team’s programme.