Archaeology in East Oxford

Finds Sorting

On Thursday, we had a get-together to do the final sorting of the finds from Bartlemas. As these had all been washed so we didn’t need to do any wet and messy stuff, Hazel (who runs the ArkT Centre) let us use the church itself. It meant we had a bit farther to lug the tables and chairs, but that was no real problem.

We started off by sorting all the bags into Trench order – and Sector order in the case of Trench 1; one of the problems with having different people digging the same contexts is that one ends up not knowing how many bags of finds that that particular context has generated. Hence the sorting process – also why we needed a fairly large space to lay it all out in, let alone needing quite a bit of elbow room for the ensuing work.

Just some of the finds bags laid out

Once we had sorted all the bags, then the real work started: – the contents of all the bags for one context had to be sorted into types of content; pottery, metal, bones etc. These then had to be described, measured (not every item, thankfully, just the biggest and smallest to establish a range), and weighed in the case of stuff which was going to be discarded – mainly CBM (Ceramic Building Material), fossils and pebbles.

The pottery from my trench in Sector D of trench 1, by the strange "arch"

All the details were entered onto a ‘Bulk Finds’ sheet, and everything was photographed – even the stuff which would be discarded.

Most of us hard at work!

We got the whole lot sorted by the end of the day, so many thanks to – in alphabetical order – Christopher, Leslie, Louise, Pam, Roelie & Steve; the ‘officials’ were Jane & Jo.

Leigh & Gill


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