Portraits of Archaeologists

We had 57 people dig in our 1960s trenches over the previous three weeks. Many of them were snapped by me, our photographer Peter Wheeler, or by one of our Student Reporters, whilst we all photographed the various features, sections, postholes and finds. Not everyone was caught on camera, and these portraits are only a […]

We had 57 people dig in our 1960s trenches over the previous three weeks.

Many of them were snapped by me, our photographer Peter Wheeler, or by one of our Student Reporters, whilst we all photographed the various features, sections, postholes and finds.

Not everyone was caught on camera, and these portraits are only a small selection of the team that contributed to the excavation season, but we thought we’d share some of our favourite snaps of archaeology in action with you all.

You’ll notice that everyone was far too busy to look up from the task-in-hand, so there are lots of shots of the top of our heads! A sure sign that the archaeology was keeping us very busy indeed!

Portraits of Archaeologists

Basing House Summer Season 2013

Alina, 2nd year undergraduate BSc student. Always cheerful, lending a helpful hand across the entire site. Total station ‘minion’ (her words, not mine) extraordinaire!

Dan, Archaeological Computing MSc student, and recording genius. No context went unnoticed and documented with Dan on the case.

Phoebe, 1st year undergraduate student. Expert icecream serving, meticulous finds marking, and a great sport when it came to dressing up as a Tudor boy for an afternoon as part of the Open Day preparations!

Garrard, a volunteer at Museums Service HQ in Chilcomb, and a bones expert. Speedy and accurate post-hole excavator.

Dan, a 2nd year undergraduate student volunteer. Dan parties hard, and works even harder. Supported the survey of the Common as well as excavating.

Eddie, 1st year undergraduate student. Eddie worked tirelessly on trench 8A with Briony, producing some excellent sections.

Christina, Roman architecture specialist. Christina excavated solidly for three weeks, removing the in-fill of an entire trench, and helping students and volunteers alike.

Gareth, one of the co-directors of the project. Gareth is a PhD student, researching into the use of 3D visualisation techniques for the interpretation of Roman painted statuary.

Neil, a locally based volunteer and Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society. Neil dug with us for the whole three weeks and was an important contributor to understanding the archaeology of the site.

David, a History graduate from the university, and a project volunteer. David’s enthusiasm for excavating and keen eye resulted in numerous fascinating metal finds.

Lizzie, our survey specialist, and also a PhD student specialising in geophysical survey. Lizzie worked hard to excavate the large flint feature that we found, and is the finder of one of the Roman coins.

Will, 2nd year undergraduate, volunteering with us. Will and Alina supported Lizzie with the huge task of surveying in all levels, edges, and special finds.

Jane, a volunteer from the Museums Service HQ in Winchester. Jane excavated one of the centrally located postholes, and on the last day found the metal pieces within the posthole fill.

Miriam, a locally based volunteers. Miriam was one of the youngest diggers on site, and impressed us all with her mattocking and shovelling skills.

Peter, our Artist-in-Residence, is also currently studying at Winchester School of Art. Peter made some fantastic sketches of the excavation over the three weeks, as well as a series of Zines, summarising the day’s digging.

Jamie, a 1st year undergraduate student. Jamie and Sophie tackled the most challenging trench, early on in the excavation. Jamie’s section drawings became a benchmark for the rest of us to aspire to!

Andrew, a locally based volunteer. Andrew dug the problematic gully that ran across the whole excavation area.

Liv and Lucy, both volunteers from nearby Chineham. Lucy is studying Fine Art at Loughborough University, and Liv is studying at the University of West England. Both Liv and Lucy brought an interdisciplinary approach to the archaeology of the site. As an art student, Lucy worked with Peter to produce some excellent monoprints.

Peter, a locally based volunteer, who helped with everything on site. Peter excavated, but also worked on the survey of Basingstoke Common. Peter’s previous experience, excavating at the site, was invaluable to our understanding of the trenches, and the site as a whole.

Sophie, a 1st year undergraduate student. Sophie, with Sam and Jamie worked hard to produce a final review of the archaeology of the trenches in the final days of the excavation. She is also an excellent producer of section drawings.

Warwick, volunteer and also Archaeology graduate from University of Winchester. Warwick was our trench action man, always able to mattock away a clay patch that we’d been struggling with – It was impossible to get a photo of him standing still! We wish him all the luck in his future studies!

Ian and Michael, both 1st year undergraduate students. Ian contributed to many of the activities of the project, including the surveying, finds processing, education activities, Open Day stall manning and laser scanning.

Vicky, a 1st year undergraduate student. Vicky helped out with much of the digital recording on the site. Seen here helping Alina with the Total Station surveying, Vicky also helped on the Common with magnetometry, and even found time to learn how to RTI finds.

Dave, Co-Director of the project, and Keeper of Archaeology for Hampshire County Council Museums Service. This excavation would not have been possible without Dave’s support. Thanks Dave!

Dom, a 1st year undergraduate student. Dom took part in many of the activities on the site, including finds cleaning and excavating.

Mike, a recent graduate from Winchester School of Art. Mike came and ran a fantastic day of screenprinting with Jeff and Peter. Between them, they helped more than 50 children and adults create screenprints. Pretty impressive output for one day’s work!

Peter, Archaeological Computing student. Peter set up all sorts of cool recording on site, including producing timelapses of features being excavated, panoramas of the trenches, and aerial photos. He also taught students how to carry out buildings surveys.

Chris, Co-Director of the project, and also a PhD student studying the relationship between research archaeology, communities and museums. Chris organised the student-led Open Days that we ran as part of the Festival of British Archaeology.

Jude, our Finds Specialist. Jude, pictured here cleaning a Roman coin with Lizzie, trained students and volunteers to process finds, and worked closely with Alice to ensure that the finds were all recorded and packed ready for storage by the end of the excavation.

Paul, volunteer and also Research Fellow at the university. Paul came onto site to help remove the huge walls of earth that separated the box trenches. Paul also helped to train the Archaeology students in archaeological excavation methods.

Alice, 1st year undergraduate student. Alice excavated on site, but also was a key player in the family activities ran as part of the Open Days. Alice also singlehandedly added every single find into the finds database.

A big thank-you to all of our archaeologists: local and not-so-local volunteers, students, staff from Hampshire County Council, staff from the University of Southampton, members of the Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society and also Winchester School of Art staff and students.

The excavation could not have happened without all of you!

THANK-YOU!


Filed under: Archaeologist Portraits, Chris Elmer, Dan Joyce, Dave Allen, Gareth Beale, Lizzie Richley, Meet the Team, Michael Davies, Nicole Beale, Peter Driver Tagged: archaeologists, BAHS, photos, portraits, staff, students, volunteers, wsa

Day 17 – A View from the Trench Edge – by Sophie, Jamie and Sam

On the penultimate day of the excavation Sophie took a few minutes out with a number of members of the excavation team to ask them about their views on the project and if it had met the aims set out at the start. Dave (Co-Director) “The dig has been very successful, in that we have […]

On the penultimate day of the excavation Sophie took a few minutes out with a number of members of the excavation team to ask them about their views on the project and if it had met the aims set out at the start.

Dave (Co-Director)

“The dig has been very successful, in that we have not only uncovered the original 60’s excavation, but have been able to add information to the existing record. Some questions we set out to answer have been difficult to as we discovered that the ‘roundhouses’ had been over-dug, however what we’ve shown with sections and the opening up of areas by removing the baulk is a better understanding of the site as a whole. The original box-grid method used in the 60’s has proven to be very confined on a site like this- it has been much easier to interpret an area once it has been opened up.”

Nicole (Co-Director)

“I think the dig has gone really well. We started out with a few different aims; to allow the students of Southampton to experience a variety of different aspects of archaeological fieldwork, and to confirm the 1960’s report of the area, as there is not a huge archive of information concerning the original excavation. It took us quite a while to define the original edges of the 1960’s excavation, but despite this slight set-back it has been really interesting to experience the ‘archaeology of archaeology’.

The finding of old survey pegs from the original excavation and replica pottery left behind by re-enactors has allowed us to add to the story of the site. More recently the finding of Roman coins within baulks has nicely high-lighted the extensive history of occupation at the site.

One noticeable aspect of the dig has been the interest from local people and the amount of volunteers. It just demonstrates that people from all different backgrounds, with mixed experience can contribute to archaeology- there is something that everybody can get involved with.”

Gareth (Co-Director)

“The main aim of the dig was to further refine the findings of the 60’s excavation and to build a more rounded idea of the site as a whole through the different layers of occupation. I think we have been successful in doing this. The digitisation aspect of the dig has been useful in documenting the corbels mounted in the old museum, so that there is now a three-dimensional record of them. The RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) has also allowed us to create images within which objects can be interactively relit in different ways, which has been particularly useful in reading the Roman coins found on site.”

Dan (Excavation Supervisor)

“I feel that we have been successful in achieving our aims, the main aim being to demonstrate what was dug in the 60’s. I think we were also successful in demonstrating that a lot of what they found in the 60’s has since been destroyed, possibly due to over-digging or the lack of back-filling.”

Lizzie (Survey Supervisor)

“I think we have definitely achieved our aims over the past three weeks and everyone has learnt something different.”

Jude (Finds Supervisor)

“I think we have found roughly what we expected to find in the last three weeks. It is quite noticeable that we’re getting much higher quality finds from the baulks that have been excavated over the last few days of the dig, especially in the case of the Roman coins, which if identifiable will give us an idea of the date of Roman occupation on the site. From a finds point of view there is not much of a gap between the Roman and Iron Age pot as they are coming from similar contexts, and this indicates that the site was most likely continuously occupied.

The roman finds are not particularly high status and this suggests to me that there may have been a set of farmers living in the area who had adopted Roman culture, but were not able to afford really sophisticated items. However, now that the baulks are coming down, we are beginning to find more Samian ware and fineware which suggests that perhaps the Roman occupants were able to afford more elite equipment. Generally speaking it looks as though the material is more prolific in the early Roman period, especially in terms of the fineware.”

Finds drying in the sunshine after gentle cleaning by the Finds Team.

The moment another Roman coin is found.

Ellie (Bones Expert)

“From the bones found so far, I have been able to pick out mostly sheep and cow remains, however there is also a pig tooth. These finds suggest that there were domesticated animals on the site, hinting at a farming community as sheep and cow are the most commonly found remains on domestic sites. However this is not conclusive as there have only been small fragments of bone recovered and there is quite bad preservation.”

Bones discovery.

Chris (Co-Director)

“I’m really pleased with how well the dig has gone, it was a bit of an experiment in the sense that it was not just about excavation, but other elements of archaeology like geo-phys, engaging with the public and digital and creative aspects. We also had the opportunity to visit Hampton court which was interesting and very relevant as it allowed us to visualise how Basing House may have once looked.

The dig itself was also interesting due to the complexity of the site. We have had the opportunity to dig a variety of different archaeology due to the many different periods of occupation ranging all the way from the Iron age/Roman to the Civil War. It has also been good to have a dig with people from all different backgrounds, including students with a variety of experience, volunteers and staff.

From a public perspective I think the presence of the dig has added a special dimension to the site as it has created excitement, not only for the viewing public, but for the staff. The education aspect of the dig has been very important in engaging the public as there is often a real barrier between archaeology and the public. The open-days we have offered have allowed students to engage with the public and create activities to try and appeal to the local community and gain interest.”

Part of Ellie and Richard’s bones display.

Alice (University of Southampton, 1st Yr)

“The best part of the dig was learning how to recognise finds and analysing them to create a bigger picture of the overall site.”

Vicky (University of Southampton, 1st Yr)

“The dig has been a good learning experience. I am particularly interested in Magnetometry and digitisation and it was great to be able to put that into practice, as well as being involved in fieldwork.”

Alina (University of Southampton, 2nd Yr)

“It has been really good to be involved with a wide variety of archaeological activities on this dig, as there is something for everyone. The ‘archaeology of archaeology’ was a new concept for me as I have never dug anything like it. Overall I think it has been a well-rounded experience.”

Miriam (Basingstoke Volunteer)

“This has been a really good experience. It has been a lot harder than expected, but it has given me a realistic idea of what field archaeology is about, especially as I am going to be starting an archaeology course at the University of Southampton in September. One thing I really did notice is how welcoming everyone is. I found it really easy to integrate my self into the group and feel like I have built up some really good relationships with the staff and student community for next year.

I have never done any finds work before and have found the post-analysis really interesting, especially thinking about an objects background and use. The message that has really come across from this dig is how important field-archaeology is to archaeology as a whole.”

Olivia (Chineham Volunteer)

“I live in Chineham, a few miles away from site, and have always been interested in archaeology, partly because there is so much history in the area. As a child I always thought it would be really interesting to find something and this dig has given me the opportunity to do that. It has been quite tough in the trench sometimes but there has been a good atmosphere and I have definitely learnt a lot. The best part of the dig by far, has been meeting people who share my interest.”

Neil (Basingstoke Volunteer)

“The dig at Basing House has been a new type of dig for me as I have dug mostly on Roman sites. It has been very interesting, even from day one, particularly because of the different layers of occupation. It has been interesting finding cuts in the stratigraphy and the small finds have been really interesting.”

A section set up for photographing.


Filed under: Archaeology of Archaeology, Chris Elmer, Dan Joyce, Dave Allen, Day Seventeen, Gareth Beale, Jude Jones, Lizzie Richley, Meet the Team, Nicole Beale, Student Reporter, Summer Excavation

Meet the Team – Michael Davies

I’ll be attending between the 29th and the 31st to help out and work with Peter on making little prints, probably woodcuts and monoprints in response to the objects excavated at the site. My work has been of abstract landscapes as of late, so to explore treasures underneath the surface will be an exciting experience […]

Michael Davies

Michael Davies

I’ll be attending between the 29th and the 31st to help out and work with Peter on making little prints, probably woodcuts and monoprints in response to the objects excavated at the site.

My work has been of abstract landscapes as of late, so to explore treasures underneath the surface will be an exciting experience and possibly something I can take away with me for inspiration as to where my own work can develop in the future.


Filed under: Meet the Team, Michael Davies, Winchester School of Art Tagged: art, artist in residence, michael-davies, wsa

Meet the Team – Dan Joyce

What will you be doing at Basing House? Supervising some diggers and experiment with some random recording methods. What you are hoping to experience at Basing House? Some exciting archaeology and a slight rest from dissertation writing. What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House? The shear amount of different archaeology that is […]

Dan Joyce, digging in Italy

Dan Joyce, digging in Italy

What will you be doing at Basing House?

Supervising some diggers and experiment with some random recording methods.

What you are hoping to experience at Basing House?

Some exciting archaeology and a slight rest from dissertation writing.

What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House?

The shear amount of different archaeology that is on site.

What you do when you’re not at Basing House?

Think about Basing House as I am doing my dissertation on it!


Filed under: Dan Joyce, Meet the Team Tagged: dan-joyce

Meet the Team – Chris Elmer

What will you be doing at Basing House? Basing House is open to the public on most days when the excavation is taking place and so we thought it would be worth providing some activities for visitors to get involved in which help to explain the site and archaeology in general. I will be leading […]

What will you be doing at Basing House?

Chris Elmer on a recent trip to the wilds of Canada.

Chris Elmer on a recent trip to the wilds of Canada.

Basing House is open to the public on most days when the excavation is taking place and so we thought it would be worth providing some activities for visitors to get involved in which help to explain the site and archaeology in general.

I will be leading a number of creative student workshops to get the students attending the excavation to provide a number of engaging activities for visitors over six days of the Dig. We will be able to use resources provided by Basing House (for their own Educational group visits), but also create our own approaches to working with the public.

What you are hoping to experience at Basing House?

I always look forward to the positive experience of working in teams to create a resource for the public which can then be seen in action. I hope all students working on the Dig, and any other volunteers who want to help, will enjoy putting together and delivering the drop-in activities for visitors.

What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House?

Being at the site itself and the opportunity to do some digging, as well as the visitor activities, is something I’m looking forward to. Having worked at Basing House on and off for over a decade I still find the site a special place to visit, a place where the past feels very tangible.

What you do when you’re not at Basing House?

I’m now researching Public engagement and archaeology at Southampton University having spent close to 20 years working in the Heritage sector.


Filed under: Chris Elmer, Meet the Team Tagged: chris-elmer

Meet the Team – Kris Strutt

What will you be doing at Basing House? Hopefully some survey, geophysics, and exploring the amazing landscape of the area. What you are hoping to experience at Basing House? A good, strong, eclectic team of people doing what they do best. What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House? The amazing archaeology, and […]

What will you be doing at Basing House?

Kris Strutt, working on the EES Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project – http://eestheban.tumblr.com/

Hopefully some survey, geophysics, and exploring the amazing landscape of the area.

What you are hoping to experience at Basing House?

A good, strong, eclectic team of people doing what they do best.

What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House?

The amazing archaeology, and definitely the tea and biscuits.

What you do when you’re not at Basing House?

Move from survey to survey in Europe and elsewhere, write and teach.

Useful links

Kris’ staff page at the University of Southampton website: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archaeology/about/staff/kds.page

Kris tweets as @kdstrutt

Kris’ website: kdstrutt.wordpress.com


Filed under: Kris Strutt, Meet the Team Tagged: kris-strutt

Meet the Team – Lizzie Richley

What you are going to be doing at Basing House? I am going to be heading up the geophysics and survey work undertaken during the project and will be teaching the techniques as well as discussing the importance of these techniques in archaeology and how they benefit and help preserve the archaeological resource. What you […]

What you are going to be doing at Basing House?

Lizzie Richley, at an archery competition.

Lizzie Richley, at an archery competition.

I am going to be heading up the geophysics and survey work undertaken during the project and will be teaching the techniques as well as discussing the importance of these techniques in archaeology and how they benefit and help preserve the archaeological resource.

What you are hoping to experience at Basing House?

I’m hoping to experience a fun and enjoyable excavation at Basing House with lots of tea, biscuits, sandwiches and banter.  It is an opportunity for me to continue the work that was started during the field school during the easter holiday with the undergraduate geophysics and survey students from the University of Southampton…and if I’m lucky I might be able to have a dig around in a trench.

What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House?

The complete mixture of archaeology that has been found there, from the prehistoric (I recall a rather nice hand axe being passed around during the field schools) to civil war battle site and much more between.

What you do when you’re not at Basing House?

Sit in front of a computer processing a mountain of geophysics data and researching my PhD on 3D geophysical data integration and visualisation at Portus techniques whilst chatting incessantly about squash (the racket sport not the drink), archery and which cakes I’m going to attempt to bake next.

Useful Links

http://www.portusproject.org/


Filed under: Meet the Team Tagged: lizzie-richley

Meet the Team – Adam Chapman

What will you be doing at Basing House? Hopefully, what I’ll be doing at Basing is to try and relate some of the historical accounts to what we can see on the ground and to provide some historical context to the archaeology, particularly with regard to the period before the Civil Wars. What you are […]

What will you be doing at Basing House?

Adam Chapman

Hopefully, what I’ll be doing at Basing is to try and relate some of the historical accounts to what we can see on the ground and to provide some historical context to the archaeology, particularly with regard to the period before the Civil Wars.

What you are hoping to experience at Basing House?

Er? Rain, cold, sunshine, tea and biscuits.

What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House?

The opportunity to get away from my computer and spend some time with books and buildings

What you do when you’re not at Basing House?

What I’m paid for: http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/about/staff

In other words, editing local histories of England and producing training material and trying to make the whole process as accessible as possible while trying to sneak in my own research on the side.


Filed under: Meet the Team Tagged: adam-chapman

Meet the Team – Dave Allen

Dave’s Biography Dave began his digging career in Wales, working on Iron Age hillforts at the Breiddin and Moel y Gaer, and a range of sites in the BrenigValley.  Forays into England included Gussage All Saints and a season at Hambledon Hill.  He also fitted in four years fieldwork in his native Buckinghamshire. He has […]

Dave Allen, Keeper of Archaeology

Dave Allen, Keeper of Archaeology

Dave’s Biography

Dave began his digging career in Wales, working on Iron Age hillforts at the Breiddin and Moel y Gaer, and a range of sites in the BrenigValley.  Forays into England included Gussage All Saints and a season at Hambledon Hill.  He also fitted in four years fieldwork in his native Buckinghamshire.

He has been looking after the Hampshire County archaeology collections for more than 30 years.  For twenty of them he was also Curator at Andover, helping to put together the Museum of the Iron Age, which brought with it the opportunity to dig at Danebury and Danebury Environs sites.

Work with the Museums’ Service has included excavations at Basing House, OdihamCastle and Beaulieu Abbey, nearly all episodes of which are published!

Dave’s most exciting moment at Basing…

The unearthing of a severed head in the postern gate in 1991 – and the discovery (by Alan Turton, former site manager) of the makers’ marks inside the lead window cames from the Grange excavation (2000) which dated the construction of the post-Civil War house to 1677.


Filed under: Meet the Team Tagged: dave-allen

Meet the Team – Nicole Beale

What will you be doing at Basing House? I am lucky to be one of the co-directors of the project. I worked at Basing House a couple of years ago, helping with the Heritage Lottery Funded project, and I have been dying to return to the site, and to work again with the excellent Hampshire […]

What will you be doing at Basing House?

Nicole, one of the project co-directors.

I am lucky to be one of the co-directors of the project. I worked at Basing House a couple of years ago, helping with the Heritage Lottery Funded project, and I have been dying to return to the site, and to work again with the excellent Hampshire County Council Museums Service team. I’ll be generally running around checking that everyone is okay, and that the students and the fab volunteers that we have are all getting the best experience possible. I specialise in outreach and museums, so I’m hoping to get involved in that side of things.

What you are hoping to experience at Basing House?

As well as the excavation, we’re planning lots of additional sub-projects, including supplementing the surveying that the team from our Archaeology Department carried out with students earlier this year. I’m hoping to find out lots more about this fascinating site. In particular, I’m very excited about the potential of finally getting an overview of the history of the archaeology that’s happened at the site: A sort of historiography of archaeological excavation of Basing House. I think that Dan is very interested in this too, so we’ll have to get our heads together and plot something.

What’s the unique thing that attracts you to Basing House?

The fact that the House has such a long history of settlement. A few weeks ago, the building contractors found a Mesolithic handaxe. How cool is that?! The site has been almost constantly occupied, and it multi-phase, I can’t wait to see what kinds of things we unearth!

What you do when you’re not at Basing House?

I am currently part way through a PhD which is focusing on the impact that the web is having on the work of regional museums. In addition to this, I am based in the Archaeological Computing Research Group. I have a background working for regional museums and in elearning. Alongside Gareth and Adam, I co-direct the OuRTI project (http://ourti.org/), which is exploring methods for adoption and adaption of open source applications for community groups for archaeology and history.

Useful links

My blog is The Cultural Heritage Web (http://theculturalheritageweb.wordpress.com/), and I tweet at @nicoleebeale


Filed under: Meet the Team Tagged: nicole beale