Rendlesham behind the scenes: finishing off the post-excavation processing

Volunteer counting and weighing the finds

Featured image: volunteer counting and weighing finds by category.

Here is another update on the post-excavation work, as part of the Rendlesham Revealed project.

As the post-excavation work continued throughout December, the tasks were shared amongst our volunteers so that everyone had a chance to learn some new skills. Some of our volunteers have never had the opportunity to work with archaeological finds before and are really enjoying handling new material and learning the varied tasks that make up the role of a post-excavation archaeologist.

Even our more experienced volunteers are enjoying the work and uncovering exciting finds, such as a tiny Anglo-Saxon bead discovered in one of the environmental samples, not something you see every day!

Cotswold Archaeology have worked closely with the volunteers and delivered several “tea-break talks” and workshops, to help the volunteers identify the material they are handling on site and during the post-excavation work, as well as to highlight the type of information that can be gained from the archaeology material. Finds Officer Dr Ruth Beverage focused on First Aid for Finds, showing the group how to care for special objects such as glass, leather, amber, jet and ivory; this included glass and shale beads from Rendlesham, along with objects from other excavations within Suffolk. Principal Post Excavation Manager Jo Caruth discussed Anglo-Saxon pottery, its usage, the different forms, typologies, and evidence archaeological for itinerant potters. Project Officer Mike Green led a hands-on flint identification workshop, explaining the chronology of worked flint tools and how to identify that flint has been worked. Finally, this week, Dr Heidi Stoner one of Cotswold Archaeology’s post-excavation assistants gave a short lecture on Anglo-Saxon Kingship based on her PhD thesis, giving a wonderful overview of how Rædwald was portrayed by Bede and the symbology of Kingship during the Anglo-Saxon period.

As December moved on, the volunteers all worked hard on the final push of bulk find quantification. All the finds were counted and weighed and then boxed up by material type. Now that the volunteers have completed this major post-excavation process, the finds and flots from samples will be sent to the respective specialists to be assessed, so keep an eye out for more updates.

If you are interested in volunteering for the next season of fieldwork, you can join our e-newsletter mailing list to receive updates.

This fieldwork is part of the community archaeology project Rendlesham Revealed: Anglo-Saxon Life in South-East Suffolk, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We are very grateful to our many local and national partners who have made this project possible, and for the support of our volunteers and of the landowners and farmers who work and manage this historic landscape.

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