Archaeology at Austhorpe: Results

Last June I posted to say that I was looking forward to working with Austhorpe Primary School on their forthcoming archaeological project. At the time I wondered whether the finds would be similar to those which we found in during a similar project in 2013.

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19th and 20th century pottery

It became clear that they weren’t, soon after we began to excavate. . In 2013 we found a large range of finds including what might have been a Roman coin and what were certainly fragments of medieval pottery. In 2016 was found only a few artefacts of 19th and 20th century date. The only way I can think of to explain the contrast is that in 2013 were working at the edge of the school playing filed on what used to be farmland and that in 2016 we were not . The 2013 finds could have come from night soiling – the practice of spreading household waste and farmyard manure onto the fields as fertiliser. This year we were probably working on part of the grounds which had been landscaped during the building of the school. If that’s so, the soil (and the finds in it) could have been brought in from anywhere as bedding for laying the school lawns.

Children working on site

Children working on site

Despite the small number of finds the children all enjoyed themselves and worked very hard during their excavations sessions. For me it proves (if proof were needed) that there’s more to education than learning from books…

To download a pdf of the complete site report click on the link below.

Austhorpe 2016 Site Report v 3

 

 

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Austhorpe Excavations 2016

Fragments of clay tobacco pipe

Fragments of clay tobacco pipe

It’s nearly three years since I last dug at Austhorpe Primary School on the outskirts of Leeds (West Yorkshire, UK). We’ve started on a on a second dig there today. We’ve not done any excavation yet just some classroom teaching and some site preparation. Fieldwork starts in earnest tomorrow. However, I can’t help wondering what we are going to find. Perhaps there’ll be more pipe stems like these from the 2013 excavations.

There are more pictures of finds from the 2013 excavations at Austhorpe on my Facebook page.