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Return of the Vikings? 8th September

A table is set up in a barn. It holds a light, laptop and various finds. Some are stones, marked with a finds label. Others are in labelled bags. Some bags have been put into boxes to give them extra protection. The boxes are labelled glass, copper alloy,
The finds hut, where this blog was written. Boxes contain individually bagged finds, boxed by type - pottery, lead, copper alloy, etc. Other bags are still being processed. The large stones are possibly building materials.
Two students sit on upturned crates each with a bowl of water in front of them. They use toothbrushes to clean pieces of animal bone ready for analysis
Washing animal bone. The students use toothbrushes and soft wooden sticks to carefully remove soil.
Ten seed trays contain varying amounts of cleaned animal bone. A white waterproof label attached to each tray describes exactly where the bone was found
Animal bone finds drying in the sun. If there was any sun! The trays are labelled according to the 3D location ("context") of the finds
A student archaeologist agitates a soil sample in water. A series of three water tanks with a pump sends water through a medium and a fine mesh to separate archaeological evidence from the soil
Wet sieving of soil samples. The first mesh to capture the "coarse residue" is in the top of the oil drum. The finer mesh is above the centre tank to sieve off microscopic evidence such as pollen grains


In the past week finds processing started in earnest, as stratified deposits were by then being dug across most of the site. In the first two weeks keeping on top of the objects coming from the site had only been a part time job: listing and packing the individual metal, pottery and glass finds that had been turning up. With the serious digging of stratified deposits, however, animal bone worth keeping for further study, started to emerge in considerable quantity. The midden (spread of dumped rubbish) in the main trench (Trench AG) was also being systematically sampled, producing tubs of soil needing processing. 


The animal bone and the soil samples form the two main strands of the finds processing going on site. The animal bone needs washing and drying before it can be bagged up for future study: when it will hopefully give insights into the diet and farming methods of the inhabitants of the site. 











The soil samples are processed in a flotation tank. A sample, held in a fine mesh, has water pumped up through it from below while being agitated and broken up by the hands of the operator. The flow of the water carries off light, organic, components (charcoal, grain, seeds and other plant remains), which is collected in a very fine mesh sieve. Meanwhile the bulk of the soil drops through the mesh into the bottom of the tank leaving the coarse residue of the sample in the mesh. This is mostly small fragments of stone but will hopefully also contain small animal and fish bones that would not otherwise get found. Both the material floated off and the coarse residues are then left to dry and bagged up for later sorting.

 Evan Chapman

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