inside this issue
Archaeology Society - p.2
Annual Stonehenge Visit - p.4
Museum Collections Management - p.3
BA Archaeology and Heritage Studies • BSc Archaeology and Landscape Studies
Archaeology and Heritage students benefit from Cathedral partnership
Enhancing Employability in Archaeology Four Archaeology students were employed under the University’s “Earn as you Learn” scheme over the Easter vacation in the field of post-excavation analysis and archive maintenance. The project was designed to enhance student employability and was based around the principle of students as researchers. The students worked with research material resulting from archaeological training excavations carried out by the University of Worcester and tasks included the cataloguing and identification of artefacts and the creation of digital archives. The four students had the opportunity to work with `live’ project data which ultimately provided them with a range of real world practical competencies and research skills that will be attractive to employers in both the archaeology and heritage sectors. All four students completed a total of 37 hours paid work. Activities
over the one week period included the quantifying, identification and marking of pottery shards gathered from the vicinity of the Neolithic site of Stanton Drew in Somerset, the digitisation of site drawings from a Mesolithic site near Bath, photography of archaeological artefacts to publication standard and the organising, labelling and storing of archaeological archive material. Feedback from the students was good, with particular reference made to the usefulness of the project for the future career aspirations of the students. And of course, the opportunity to earn some money whilst learning was most welcome! The University of Worcester actively promotes “Earn as you Learn” opportunities and the career service can also help you find work related to Archaeology and Heritage whilst you are studying. 1
Students on the Archaeology and Heritage course have been benefitting from a unique partnership between the University and Worcester Cathedral. As part of the partnership a number of collaborative projects and activities have been developed around the management and promotion of the Cathedral building and its historic library collection. First year students, taking the Protecting Heritage module, have benefitted from this by being able to learn first-hand about the issues surrounding the management of the Cathedral as an historic building. They were able to hear from the Cathedral Archaeologist about the legal frameworks and controls underpinning the management of cathedrals, and also looked at the work of the Cathedral Stonemasons who maintain the fabric of the building. Being able to hear from historic environment professionals actively involved in managing this historic site has helped students appreciate the wide range of complex issues involved in heritage management and has provided valuable information to feed into their assignment on heritage management plans.
Student Archaeology Society The student Archaeology Society has had a busy year of lectures, fieldtrips, events and socials. Guest speakers have pondered the presence of prehistoric metalwork in rivers and the emotional experience of excavating human remains, students have learnt to flint knap in a practical session, trips have included prehistoric burial monuments, Medieval castles and Anglo-Saxon churches and several curry and pub nights have been held. In December the society organised a flint knapping workshop that was run by one of the UK’s leading authorities on all things flint, Karl Lee. After a demonstration by Karl the students had the opportunity to knap (and keep) their own version of a Neolithic barbed and tanged arrowhead. In March, the Archaeology Society took over Brecon Youth Hostel for a weekend of site visits, expertly guided by our postgraduate students. The sites visited included Bronze Age round barrows, a medieval priory, Iron Age Hill forts, a crannog, two castles and of course one or two pubs. In March the Archaeology society visited a number of early churches in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The itinerary included visits to one of the best preserved Anglo Saxon churches in Britain and its associated minster church (Oddas Chapel and Deerhurst). A visit to see “one of the most outstandingly complete and well preserved sets of medieval wallpaintings in England, dating from the
12th and 14th centuries” at Kempley, and a visit to the church at Dymock where students attempted to unpick the phasing of the church, which is a nice archaeological jigsaw puzzle. The students also visited Much Marcle Church with its famous yew tree and green man carvings. The trip was expertly led by Dr. David Mullin and was a good opportunity to learn about church architecture and the archaeology of standing buildings. The Archaeology Society is also involved in two landscape projects. The first, at Pirton in Worcestershire, aims to survey a cropmark believed to represent a Neolithic cursus monument. The work will involve fieldwalking, geophysical and topographical surveys and possibly a small scale excavation. The second project at Croome Park aims to uncover the unknown history of Capability Browns first complete landscape project using geophysical survey techniques. Both landscape projects offer the opportunity for students to learn how to use survey equipment and learn practical archaeological skills that will be useful not only in their student life but also in future careers. Robbie Austrums, a former geophysical survey project officer, will be lending his experience to guide the students, from project design through the survey itself to the final completion of a professional standard survey report.
Field classes: get your hands dirty and your mind active Students in the Introduction to Fieldwork in Archaeology module are given hands on experience in the skills and arts of site discovery and excavation. This Spring, students spent two sessions learning to excavate and experiencing the use of geophysical equipment. Evidence of Roman Period activity as well as modern farming
was uncovered. Next year, the plan is to investigate the Worcestershire river terraces for evidence of Palaeolithic settlement. This class has made yearly contributions to the local archaeological record of Worcestershire, demonstrating that students can do ‘real’ archaeology at all levels of their study. 2
The real story behind CSI:NY
In November 2011 students were asked to recover the remains of a ‘missing undergraduate’, using survey techniques, field reconnaissance and excavation. Specialists then instructed students on creating a legal report, whilst supporting the development of professional conduct and practice. This Forensic Archaeology module appeals to Forensic Science and Archaeology students alike.
Archaeologists receive University Scholarships
The University runs a University Scholarship Scheme each year to assist students with participating in extracurricular activities. Students can apply for funding, up to £1000, to finance extra-curricular involvement in activities either directly related to or distinct from their course of study. Over the past few years, Archaeology students have been successful in receiving funding to attend excavations abroad, and have participated in projects from Bulgaria to Macedonia.
Archaeology students took part in the excavation of two 4000 year old Neolithic standing stones in Somerset during the Summer 2011 vacation. The exciting project aimed to find material associated with the stones to better understand the role of such sites in ritual and ceremonial activities. Students found a series of pits, one of which contained a broken up standing stone and another the burial of a complete pig with a flint scraper. The team also discovered a platform of specially imported blue clay that had been laid around one of the stones that acted as a “stage” for the ceremonies taking place.
Summer 2012 Dig Update This summer archaeology students will be participating in an excavation on the Mendip Hills, Somerset. Students will be digging a 4000 year old Bronze Age round barrow, an important type of monument used for burial and ritual activities. The barrow had previously been explored in the 19th century by the Rev. John Skinner so the first task will be to re-excavate the old excavation. Skinner hired miners and paid them in cider, so students will be keeping their eyes peeled for broken flagons and bits of disturbed bodies before getting to the Bronze Age layers! The Mendip Hills are one of the great prehistoric landscapes of Britain and the dig will provide students with the rare opportunity to excavate one of the most iconic monuments of the period.
Mick Aston Seminar
Mick Aston of Time Team fame gave a special seminar to Landscape Archaeology students on his new research venture, the Winscombe and Sandford Archaeological Survey Project in Somerset, and some exciting new discoveries regarding the archaeology of Cheddar cheese! Students were introduced to the project and encouraged to question Mick about this and other issues in Landscape Archaeology.
In May this year, eight first-year Archaeology students are heading to Morocco to participate in an archaeological survey project run by Richard Jeynes of local company Trailquest Archaeology. They will be surveying a remote Foreign Legion blockhouse that had been the focus of a major attack in 1908. The overall aim of the research project is to carry out a detailed archaeological and anthropological survey of the Plain of Tamlelt and the Oued Guir valley in south-east Morocco, where the first campaigns and military occupation took place at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Archaeology and Heritage Students gain experience in museum collections management This year, students from the Archaeology and Heritage Studies course have been putting knowledge gained in their degree programme into practice and gaining valuable experience in museum collections management by helping in setting up a new medical museum, which is due to open in the autumn at the University’s City Campus. The City Campus was once the home of the Worcester Royal Infirmary and the new museum will provide a link with this important part of Worcester’s heritage. The new museum, set up with Heritage Lottery funding, is a partnership between the University and George Marshall Medical Museum, located at Worcester’s current hospital site. Students volunteered to assist in the important process of 3
transferring part of the collection from the George Marshall Medical Museum to the new Infirmary Museum (see photograph below). Students have also been involved in cataloguing artefacts in the collection and helping in developing the museum’s learning programme and activities associated with school visits. Catriona Smellie, curator of the Infirmary museum said ‘...the student volunteers have been a great help and in the longer term there will be lots of opportunities for students to be involved in the management of the collections at the museum.’ More information about the Infirmary Museum and the work of the students can be found on the museum’s Facebook page: http://www. facebook.com/TheInfirmaryWorcester
No barriers to Stonehenge! As is traditional, Archaeology students will round off the academic year with a special access trip to Stonehenge. This involves an out of hours visit to the famous stone circle, with students experiencing the most unusual and enigmatic monument in Britain from within – no standing behind the barriers! A tour of the Stonehenge landscape is also given by Drs Jodie Lewis and David Mullin and then all return to the campsite for barbeque, drinks and musings on the mystical monuments of Wessex.
Dr Jodie Lewis has recently presented papers at two international Archaeology conferences. The first was at the British Museum for a conference entitled “Britain 3000BC” where she considered the implications of her research at the Priddy Circles, Somerset, where she has discovered a rare kind of monument comparable with Stonehenge. The second was at the Bronze Age Forum conference, held at the University of Cardiff, and looked at the results of her excavations at a Bronze Age metalwork hoard in Shropshire. Here Dr Lewis and her team found startling evidence for 3000 years of ritual deposition at a sacred spring site. Dr Helen Loney attended the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference/Roman Archaeology Conference in March 2012, where she jointly presented a poster titled ‘Material Culture in the Margins: Comparing Roman and Roman Iron Age Sites in the Military Zone of North-West England.’
Summer Vacation Research Assistant Last summer Dr Jodie Lewis was successful in her bid for a summer vacation research assistant. The successful candidate, Mark Evans, graduated with a first class honours degree in Archaeology & Heritage Studies in 2011. He was paid to work with Dr Lewis on the project ‘The analysis of a molluscan assemblage from Langley’s Lane, near Bath” and learnt new skills in the analysis of paleoenvironmental materials from a nationally important 6000 year old Mesolithic site. This valuable work will help archaeologists to reconstruct tree cover and other vegetation changes around this fascinating spring and tufa site which appears to have been a focus of votive deposition.
Selected Recent Publications by the Course Team Hall, T and Barrett, H 2011. Urban Geography (4th ed.). Routledge. Lewis, J and Mullin, D 2012. Between the Channel and the Chalk: A Regional Perspective on Grooved Ware and Beaker Pottery from the Mendip Hills, Somerset in Pearce, S (ed) Recent Archaeological Work in South Western Britain. Papers in Honour of Henrietta Quinnell. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. Lewis, J (ed) 2011. The Archaeology of Mendip: 500,000 years of Continuity and Change. Oxbow Books/Heritage Marketing and Publications. Lewis, J and Mullin, D 2011. New Excavations at Priddy Circle 1, Mendip Hills, Somerset. Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society, 25(2), pp 133-163.
Loney, H 2010 ‘Iron age pottery at Baldhowend, Cumbria’, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, proceedings of the Ceramic views of Scotland and northern England from the Neolithic to the 20th century: issues of method, practice and theory. University of Glasgow/Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Loney, H and Hoaen, A 2010 Excavations at Glencoyne Park 2002: interim report. Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society. Mullin, D 2012. The River Has Never Divided Us: Bronze Age metalwork deposition in western Britain. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 33.1, 47-57. Mullin, D 2011. Barrows and Bronzes: the Bronze Age of Mendip in Lewis, J (ed) The Archaeology
of Mendip: 500,000 years of Change and Continuity. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 119-138. Mullin, D 2011. Borders and Belonging: exploring the Neolithic of the Anglo-Welsh borderland in Jones, A.M & Kirkham, G (eds) Beyond the core: reflections on regionality in prehistory. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 5-14. Mullin, D 2011. Earlier Prehistoric Pottery in Atkins, R Beaker Pits and a probable mortuary enclosure on land off Stirling Way, near Witchford, Ely Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society C (100), 47-65.