This year’s AGM will be held at Lavenham village Hall/ Library on Friday 16th March, 7pm for 7.30pm.
The talk will be about Spong Hill and the Anglo-Saxon migration to Britain
by Dr Catherine Hills
”They came from three of the strongest tribes in Germany, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.” This apparently simple statement by the Venerable Bede in the eighth century has been debated for centuries. Are the English descended from invading Germans, unlike the truly British Welsh, Scots and Irish? Or, were there just a few chieftains with their warbands? Archaeological evidence has been used to answer this question in both directions. In this lecture the finds from a large fifth-century cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Norfolk, will be discussed in the context of this debate.
Dr Catherine Hills has researched and taught the archaeology of early medieval Europe for many years. She directed the excavations at Spong Hill in the 1970s, presented archaeology programmes on channel 4 in the 1980s and was a lecturer at Cambridge University from 1977 to her retirement in 2014.
Despite the weather SVCA members have already begun a busy year of archaeology. On Saturday 3rd February a group spent a happy morning sorting finds from last year’s digs. This vital work ensures that our records are up to date and enables us to plan for future escavations.
On Saturday 10th February Ashley Cooper organised a splendid field walking refresher session between the Roman Villa site and the Romano British site. Despite the bitter cold we were able to refresh our old skills and learn some new ones.
After warming ourselves up with a hot drink we were able to wash and examine the finds. As well as a number of burnt flints (possibly Neolithic) and Roman brick and tile we found some fossils. Ashley’s local knowledge was invaluable as he was able to identify and provide context for all that we found. Although even he wasn’t expecting to find a fossil that told us that we were doing OK – see the image below!
Colchester Archaeological Group run talks on Monday nights during the winter. Our own Ashley Cooper give a talk about the archaeology and history of Goldingham Hall at 7.30pm on 29th January. Entry to CAG members £2 to others £4
Friday 3rd November saw the end of the current autumn phase of our Romano-British excavations. During this phase, diggers encountered every type of weather, from unseasonal heat and sunshine to wet and windy ‘Somme-like’ conditions! The earlier wet weather meant that we could, at least, catch up with the back-log of finds washing and processing.
This phase of the excavations concentrated upon Trench G26, which continued to produce a great amount of pottery containing or associated with pig bone, deposited at regular intervals along the flint cobbled surface of the trench. Extensions in each direction revealed more such deposits, including an unusual fine terracotta vessel and the discovery of a small iron band/strap(?) within another vessel. The possibility that this area may have been used for some sacred or ritual purpose was further emphasised by a visit from Ernest Black, whose recently published paper ‘A Survey of Selected Late Iron Age & Roman Sacred Sites in Eastern England, with particular reference to Essex’ (Vol.6, Essex Society for Archaeology & History) reveals many interesting parallels with our site.
During this phase Trench F was extended and the predicted extension of the flint cobbled surface in Trench C, beyond ditch B was revealed. An extended slot in Trench A revealed the location of a ditch and more pottery.
An additional activity took place in October, an introductory course in the use of LIDAR. This was led by one of our members, Cliff Ashcroft, who proved to be an excellent tutor, especially for those of us who are technically challenged! His clarity and patience resulted in everyone feeling more confident and able to manipulate the LIDAR information on their own. Thank you, Cliff!
The next SVCA activity will be a pottery identification session, processing some of our many finds, on Saturday 11th November.