Study day: led by David McOmish: " Making Sense of Monuments: Landscape Archaeology of Sussex: The Bronze Age" - 30 September 2017
Seventeen of us spent a fascinating day in the very special setting of the Downs Barn in Sompting. Led by Bob and with Gill providing expertise on a viewing of the Upton flint collection, we sat under gazebos for protection from the sun and knapped happily to our hearts content.
Bob’s aim was for us to produce a flint tool kit which during Neolithic times would have consisted of at least 9 different types of tools. All members of the family would have taken part with the younger ones learning knapping skills from their elders. Essential for skinning animals to provide food, fashioning wooden implements and so on, flint continued to be used prolifically until the Bronze Age when the use of flints decreased with the introduction of metal.
This was very much a ‘hands on’ demonstration as was evident from the amount of plasters needed during the flint knapping process, flint being an extremely sharp material!
Connie brought along a deer skin which a few brave souls amongst us (not me!) applied their newly fashioned blades to.
Towards the end of the day, Bob gave us all a lump of flint and tasked us (in 20 minutes!) with the job of fashioning a flint tool of some sort. We then went round to each person to say what type of tool we had made and what it would have been used for.
We learnt a lot and had a great time and many thanks to Gill and Bob for their tuition and for everyone who made it such a splendid day.
The 30th Binsted Strawberry Fair was held in the special setting of a flint 19th Century threshing barn, in Binsted Lane, surrounded by the beautiful Sussex countryside. Members of Worthing Archaeological Society have regularly had a stall at this unique fair. We set up our display collection of finds dating from early Palaeolithic stone tools to Post Medieval tiles and pottery.
We were welcomed by Mike Tristram, who lent us another gazebo to keep us dry; other stall holders lent us an umbrella and some pegs to stop our table cloth and membership forms from blowing away.
The squally English weather didn’t stop us having a fine afternoon. We had many visitors to our stall who were interested in all the WAS activities in Binsted local area. We answered questions about the Roman villa site in Walberton, the pottery kilns in Binsted and the Goblestubbs sites across the A27. Some of the visitors told us about their own finds, including pieces of pottery, flint tools and a polished flint axe, which they, their parents or grandparents, had found in fields nearby.
We had a delightful time meeting so many people interested in archaeology and appreciate the help from Society members and others. See you there next year!
Environmental Archaeology Training Day with Mike Allen
Visit to Mike Allen's laboratory.
On 17th July seven WAS members of the finds team visited Mike Allen's laboratory, at Allen Environmental Archaeology in Wiltshire. Our main object was to learn about samples processing, in particular for our carbon samples from the recent dig at Slindon field 20. Thanks to an early start and our excellent drivers, Chris and Richard, we arrived in good time at the right place, easily recognised by the giant snail on the gateposts.
Mike gave us a tour of the facilities available in the laboratory including his impressive bespoke flotation system. This was followed by a demonstration of flotation and sieving of a land snail sample from Stonehenge. We examined samples of charcoal under a microscope, learning how the tree species could be identified, and the importance of differentiating heartwood from round wood.
We also used the microscope to look at cereal and chaff grains as Mike explained the significance of what types were found in a sample.
Mike impressed on us the importance of being clear about what we wanted to learn from our sample before collecting it, also the care that must be taken choosing and actually collecting the samples. He also explained how we could carry out our own floatations and sieving using meshes, pegs and buckets.
After a convivial lunch in the garden, it was a lovely warm and sunny day, we set off in convoy to Larkhill, for a guided walk around the Stonehenge landscape. Mike told us about ongoing research excavations in the area and we were able to look into a partially backfilled trench which had turned out to be a 2m deep pit, probably Mesolithic, which bore the characteristics of a large post hole, possible for a totem pole type construction. The highlight of the afternoon was walking uphill along the Avenue and seeing
Stonehenge appear ahead over the brow of the hill.
Many thanks to Mike for such a great day and hopefully we will be doing the floatation processing of our own samples before long.
The weather did get the better of us but we still have fun. Lots of archaeology turning up but still not clear just what this structure was yet.