Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Wraysbury Excavations

Wraysbury is a town in Berkshire. In the seventies it was a place I used to go to. It had an archaeological site in the field behind the local church. It was seen as a mixed site in which artifacts from all periods of history emerged (eg. prehistoric flints, saxon and medieval potsherds etc). There were two, or more trenches in which one was taught the basics of excavating using a trowel. Work here was done by volunteers, and ofcourse, I was one them.

Victor Marchant was the site director with a great experience in practical archaeology. He was a tall affable thin man.  Quite often during my work there I found pieces of animal bone. But Victor though was more keen on finding human ones!! As for the animal bones, and notably potsherds I used to take them home to be cleaned, and marked in white paint indicating where they had been found.

One of the things I learnt in Wraysbury was the construction of a grid diagram. This was a pen and paper job in which I managed to trace the "primitive" foundations of a Anglo-Saxon building(s).

It was around this time that I was a member of Young Rescue (now renamed) which was a "club" for young budding archaeologists. It was probably the first organization of its kind in the world.It produced a "magazine" now, and again which was crude by today's standards in that it was simply a collection of photocopied typescripts of articles. In 1975 I contributed one such article which included line drawings, or rather sketches. Incidently, I also received Current Archaeology which was a professionally produced journal.

PS. Whilst gardening in Burnham I found a coin virtually on the surface of a flower bed. The British Museum claimed that it was one of those minted in Roman Britain, and was hence, of inferior quality but still acted as a medium of exchange. It also had the head of an obscure Roman Emperor whose rather unusual name escapes me completely!


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