Avebury Dig – Finds in the Farmyard

Avebury Dig Day 11 - Finds in the Farmyard

Avebury Dig Day 11 – Finds in the Farmyard

Well yesterday was #AveburyDig Day 11 and the team was out on site digging hard as they dodged the showers. But some of us were in the Farmyard next to the Barn Gallery of the Museum carrying out another essential part of the excavation process – cleaning finds.

Washing finds from the dig

Washing finds from the dig

Some finds such as flint can usually be cleaned  with  plain old fashioned tap water and a tooth brush applied in a suitably careful manner. Others like sherds of prehistoric pottery are set aside to be carefully cleaned at a later stage because one application of a toothbrush would spell disaster – they’re liable to fall apart!

A flint micro-denticulate from the dig

A flint micro-denticulate from the dig

Finds cleaning can  reveal as many unexpected things as digging. Sometimes artefacts will have been dug up on site and recognised as important but its not until they’re cleaned that we’re able to see the full picture. This small piece of flint,  for instance, was recognised on site as being a deliberately struck flake. But it was only when it was washed that we could fully appreciate that five thousand years ago someone had taken another flint and made tiny notches along its edge to create what we call a micro-denticulate (in other words it has tiny teeth). It was probably used for working wood, bone or antler.

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About Dr Nick

Dr Nick Snashall is Archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. She is fascinated by prehistoric stones, large and small, and their potential for unlocking the secrets of our past. Nick is co-director of Between the Monuments (a research project investigating landscapes of residence between the 4th and 2nd millennia BC in the Avebury region) and Ground -Truthing Stonehenge’s ‘Superhenge’ (excavations at Durrington Walls) .

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