Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dean Crawford — Living among the Dobunni: Throckmorton Airfield and the Time Team

Dean at the Throckmorton Airfield site with a Time Team vehicle.
photo: Laura Griffin, Senior Finds Archaeologist at
Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service.

"The Throckmorton Airfield site, is what started it all — actually getting paid for my services. I had been detecting all round the airfield for years and knew there was something good under there — the pottery scatters and finds led me to believe it to be so. I offered my help and told them there was something big  under the airfield and they accepted. When I arrived, the machines had already stripped a big area ready for the foot and mouth burial pits. I remember one of the archaeologists jokingly say to me: "Where's this [expletive deleted] Roman site then?". Well, there was nothing coming up that day.

The Polden Hill Brooch
photo: Dean Crawford
"The next day I had a voicemail message —  'we've got all sorts going on — pits, features and lots of pottery.'  It turned out to be so interesting that even the Time Team spent 3 days there, and I was also paid for that, too. I found a large Medieval brooch along with various finds. Also, the complete Polden Hill brooch, which appeared on the program [This episode requires a sign-in and might be available only to those in the U.K.]. I was on camera for about three seconds!

"I found the Polden Hill brooch in the spoil when they machined off the "top soil". It was of little interest at the time because they had planned a theme for the show which only included the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. This was due to the geofizz [geophysical] results that were full of circles and Francis Pryor MBE FSA, was drafted in. It had all been arranged beforehand, so they concentrated on his area of expertise. Roman finds were distorting the picture that they hoped to create. Dr Jeremy Taylor was suspicious about the brooch, as it was so complete and undamaged and came from the "top soil". The truth is, as is usual, the digger bucket went a tad too deep in places. I did find a piece of a bronze razor in the spoil too, which was included in the show and digitally reconstructed."

Tomorrow, more archaeological excavations where Dean was contracted to assist.

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