Writing our History:Digging our Past
Connected Communities

Southwell Community Archaeology Group: Challenge Fund report

SACG archaeological finds analysis July 2012

The Southwell Community Archaeology Group whilst originally formed to promote and preserve the archaeological heritage of Southwell is engaging with its members and the wider community in a more practical manner. The Connected Communities Challenge Fund award has been a most welcome boost in this connection. It was agreed at the outset that the award would be used to facilitate practical sessions which any member of the group was welcome to attend. The training sessions were tailored to be ‘inclusive’ so that members not able to undertake heavy practical work were included. In addition to the sessions, the Group has continued to undertake a number of test pitting days and other practical activities under professional supervision.The award funded training sessions were under the following headings:

An introduction to Surveying 

Saturday 19 May 2012

This session attended by a dozen members helped them to understand the principles of surveying archaeological features and was particularly useful for those wishing to undertake field work on the Burgage Earthworks Project.The session was principally class-based covering the basic elements of archaeological surveying including: section drawing; planning of archaeological features; how to set out a planning grid around a feature; use of equipment, e.g. ‘dumpy’ level; how to take height measurements (levels) of features. In addition members ‘walked’ the area of the Burgage, being the land forming our longer term project. This gave many who had not seen the extent of the land an idea of the issues and scale.

An Introduction to Finds Analysis

Saturday 14 July 2012

This session attended by sixteen members and was very useful in helping us to recognise artefacts and understand what they are made from and what they were used for. Materials covered included: flint; chert; pottery; glass; coins and metalwork. It was particularly useful for those wishing to undertake Test Pit excavations and post-excavation analysis of material recovered.The day comprised a class-based session covering the basic elements of find analysis, including: recognising objects and what they are made from; understanding how they were used; learning the basic principles of post-excavation analysis; how to look for key ‘signs’ that help archaeologists to identify / date certain objects. In addition we ‘enjoyed’ a practical ‘finds handling’ and identification session and looked at the processes involved in turning a muddy ‘unknown’ object into a museum display piece!

An Introduction to Dowsing

Saturday 18 August 2012

The session was attended by thirteen members and was extraordinarily useful and interesting in understanding the principles of dowsing and how it can be used within archaeology. It was particularly useful for those wishing to undertake field work on the Burgage Earthworks Project where the plan is to survey/dowse/geophys/dig test pit in that order! There was a fascinating class-based session covering the basic elements of dowsing including: what the concept of dowsing involves; how it originated and developed over time; how the basic principles of dowsing work; how it has been / can be used to locate archaeological features. There followed practical sessions including dowsing for ‘chocolate bars’ & later a first introduction to the undulating feature of the Burgage Green. The training for this day was provided by Albion Castle.

All the training sessions have been under the professional leadership of MB Archaeology

John Lock
Chairman Southwell Archaeology
 8 October 2012

Posted on Thursday 11th October 2012