Thursday, 29 October 2015

Dean Crawford — Living among the Dobunni: more archaeological work

Excavation at the Wyre-Piddle Bypass
photo: Dean Crawford
Before I start with today's topic, I must apologize to anyone who clicked on the link to the Throckmorton excavation report and got the wrong file. Unfortunately no excavation report appears to be online, not even at the Archaeology Data Service. In its place is now just a general overview of the site. On a more positive note, I spoke about the "more on fragmentation" post last night to my friend Robert Kokotailo of Calgary Coin Gallery, and he told me that he had been planning, this weekend, to do an article on coin metal crystallization as part of his coin reference pages. He purchased an ancient Greek silver coin which had been broken by someone who had dropped it on a hard floor exposing its crystalline interior. You cannot, of course, see such a thing by sawing a coin in half as the surfaces exposed are new and appear quite smooth. To study the interior, a coin must be broken with a hammer. Although fine quality silver is malleable, after about a thousand years it starts to recrystallize. You can see this effect often with the chips and fractures common on Anglo-Saxon coins but it does not appear on coins of the the later Medieval period onward. This means, of course, that these later coins, if left in the ground will also start to disintegrate. This effect being increased when the position of the coin changes in the ground and especially so when it gets closer to the surface through a number of agencies such as farming activity, removal and transference of top soil. or wildlife activity.

Dean's finds from different periods at the
Wyre-Piddle Bypass excavation
photo: Dean Crawford

We start with the excavation at the Wyre-Piddle Bypass site. You can see that quite a range of periods are represented here including a couple of fragments of La Tène 2 or 3 brooches (wrought, not cast). It would be most likely that these brooches were made not too far away from the site.

Romano-British enamel

photo: Dean Crawford

Next comes the 2011 Trial trenching and WB at Redhill Reservoir, Telford by Worcestershire Archaeological Service. Of the find photographs Dean sent me, I chose this example because I used to own a small disc brooch of similar design. It displays a Celtic triskele with red enamel comma-shaped voids.

Anglo-Saxon silver-gilt disk
photo: Dean Crawford

This splendid silver-gilt disk with its spiral and triquetra design from Childswickham, Worcestershire must have belonged to a very high-status visitor. It is also illustrated (figure 28) in the excavation report. Very little evidence of Anglo-Saxon presence is noted in the report.

photo: Dean Crawford

Finally,  Dean also worked on the archaeological site at Malvern, Worcestershire and he is given credit and his finds are listed in the excavation report.

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